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THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Voices Unheard

Our Burning World

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

On Sunday, I awakened, went to my living room, and thought: This looks like a funeral parlor.

Exhausted by bedtime, I’d removed the heavy red drapes, wooden rods, all the hardware, and I used one-woman ingenuity?placing a small rug under one side of a piece of heavy furniture to push, push, push to another area in the apartment. I almost felt like I’d given birth.

Got up Monday, took the bed out of the second bedroom, rolled up the rug, dragged it to another place, moved furniture to get to the rug in the family room and put it in the second bedroom. (Bet you thought I was going to tell you I got up on Monday and undid Sunday’s work.) Then, I loaded the Lesbaru and took stuff to a donation center.

My plan: to change my home environment. I want to make my living space a place of serenity, a haven from the craziness and violence of the world.

This is not escapism, advocating incuriosity and bowing to what our government wants each of us to do. Access Google News and take a look at "Top Stories". Generally, these include the latest from American Idol, something about Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan, subjects we’ve been programmed incrementally to believe are important. What’s Bristol up to? Snookie?

Meanwhile, our world is burning.

Congress passed a bill Thursday to renew three provisions of the Patriot Act, continuing the erosion of our civil liberties under the guise of security.

Regardless of our protests, the corporate-owned mainstream media provide minimal coverage.

The wars wage on under the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who is using more drone power than George Bush and speaking similar platitudes about peace and the spread of democracy. The hypocrisy is stunning.

Again, regardless of our protests, our voices are unheard.

Bradley Manning remains imprisoned, informally charged with releasing documents with information that should scald the conscience. Among the revelations are the killing of civilians by U.S. forces, the truth of Guantanamo, the murder of journalists, and the nature of imperialism. For his bravery, Manning faces life in prison.

Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing Congress on Tuesday, used the term "painful compromises" multiples times. The Palestinians, though, have made the compromises in something ironically called The Peace Process. Injurious to our country, the Palestinians, and to Israel, Netanyahu’s goals are racist, yet Congress, orgasmic over this extremist, lined up like fans at a rock concert to show adulation, reaching out to touch him, his clothing. (Remember, power is the greatest aphrodisiac, according to war criminal Henry Kissinger, one who knows well its influence.)

The cooling system at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant has failed. Radioactive water still may be leaking into the Pacific. Barack Obama has just stated that harmful radiation isn’t expected to reach the United States. Where’s the concern for the people of Japan? Surely, this is a catastrophe worse than Chernobyl. Further from Obama: "Nuclear power should remain a part of the U.S. energy matrix." Of course, the nuclear industry was/is a huge donor to the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

Again, our voices remain unacknowledged. Because the multinational corporations own our political system.

Recently, I spoke with a friend, someone who supported Obama and believed his message of hope and change. His disillusionment was palpable. His solution is to do what he can, individually and within his community, to be a positive force for peace and justice. I agree. And to accomplish this, I’ve started with the confines of my little environment, creating a place of tranquility where I can feel the balance needed to continue to work in opposition to war and a government descending to fascism.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Reach her at missybeat@gmail.com.