“Suppressing Ideas Never Succeeds in Making Them Go Away”

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Obama’s remarks on what is happening in Iran:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

Does the United States have the moral authority to give true authenticity to these words?

For the world is watching us, too.

From Newsweek:

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding “secret energy meetings” with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama’s “clean coal” policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged “presidential communications.” The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig’s office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a “new era” of openness, “nothing has changed,” says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. “For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies.”

Of course we already know how transparent the Obama Administration is being when it comes to the issue of torture.

Where do ideas come from?

Where do solutions to our national problems come from?

Those ideas come from having the truth available, from having the information we need to see what the problem is and thus figure out how to solve it.

Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away

Withholding information suppresses ideas.

The world is watching.

The only way we can gain moral authority in the world today is to practice what we preach.  Otherwise the finest and most noble words are only mere words.

39 comments

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  1. … what would happen here in the US of A if the citizens rose up in massive numbers to protest the take-over of our democracy by the monied interests.

    Does anyone honestly believe the riot police wouldn’t be out in full force?

    That the CIA wouldn’t infiltrate our number?

    How different would it be here?

    • Edger on June 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Obama’s “new era” of openness now, aren’t we?

    He never let on during the campaigns that he would do the kind of things he’s been doing since he was inaugurated. In fact he shrewdly said as often as he could that he wouldn’t do these things, and it worked. It got him elected.

    Now he’s coming clean and being completely open and aboveboard and revealing his true intentions.

    It’s the shiny new era of openness.

    What’s not to like? :-/

    Rejoice.  

    • rb137 on June 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    In America, we are still too nominally pacified. The people in power do not work by supressing ideas, exactly — they work by misdirection of ideas. Do not expose the mainstream to ugliness, to the consequences of their actions, the the fact that the world is passing them by while they stare into an illuminated screen day after day.

    When they become uncomfortable, tell them who to blame. If that doesn’t work, send them to a superstore to buy a piece of cheap plastic shit to keep them happy for a couple of hours. But make sure that they are blaming and buying — and believing that they are better than everyone else on the planet.

    We don’t have riots and tear gas and shooting because corporate America distributes psychic opiates effectively. People would rather watch the reality (or fantasy) show from the comfort of their couch.

    That’s the American way of tear gas.

  2. up right here in the US.  Maybe for just such a cause.

  3. I was 16 when Kent State happened.  I have no doubt what our government can do to us.  

  4. I am struggling with how to write about this passage in Jane Mayer’s piece in the New Yorker.

    The Secret History: Can Leon Panetta move the C.I.A. forward without confronting its past?


    It turns out, however, that Panetta initially supported the creation of a truth commission. “I’m not big on commissions,” Panetta told me. “On the other hand, I could see that it might make some sense, frankly, to appoint a high-level commission, with somebody like Sandra Day O’Connor, Lee Hamilton-people like that.” The appeal was that Obama could delegate to others the legal problems stemming from Bush Administration actions, allowing him to focus on his ambitious political agenda. “In the discussion phase”-early in the spring, before Obama decided the issue-“I was for it,” Panetta said. “Because every time a question came up, you could basically say, ‘The commission, hopefully, is looking at this.’ ” But by late April Obama had vetoed the idea, fearing that it would look vindictive and, possibly, inflame his predecessor. “It was the President who basically said, ‘If I do this, it will look like I’m trying to go after Cheney and Bush,’ ” Panetta said. “He just didn’t think it made sense. And then everybody kind of backed away from it.”

    Ken Gude, an associate director at the Center for American Progress, who specializes in national-security issues, and who has close ties to the White House, believes that Obama’s instinct, like Panetta’s, was to set up a truth commission of some sort. “I think the political staff walked it back,” he says. “They said it would be a distraction.” Obama’s political advisers dread any issue that could trigger a culture war and diminish his support among independent voters. They also see little advantage in picking a fight with the C.I.A. But the decision to discourage an accountability process, Gude says, has backfired. The Administration has lost control of the story, as revelations about C.I.A. misdeeds have continued to emerge through lawsuits and the press. “It’s now become the distraction they wanted to avoid,” Gude says. “The White House briefings have been dominated by questions about releasing documents and photos.” It’s understandable, he says, that Obama wouldn’t want to spend his energy on Bush’s mistakes. But, he warns, “they can’t leave the impression that they’re trying to cover it up.”It turns out, however, that Panetta initially supported the creation of a truth commission. “I’m not big on commissions,” Panetta told me. “On the other hand, I could see that it might make some sense, frankly, to appoint a high-level commission, with somebody like Sandra Day O’Connor, Lee Hamilton-people like that.” The appeal was that Obama could delegate to others the legal problems stemming from Bush Administration actions, allowing him to focus on his ambitious political agenda. “In the discussion phase”-early in the spring, before Obama decided the issue-“I was for it,” Panetta said. “Because every time a question came up, you could basically say, ‘The commission, hopefully, is looking at this.’ ” But by late April Obama had vetoed the idea, fearing that it would look vindictive and, possibly, inflame his predecessor. “It was the President who basically said, ‘If I do this, it will look like I’m trying to go after Cheney and Bush,’ ” Panetta said. “He just didn’t think it made sense. And then everybody kind of backed away from it.”

    Ken Gude, an associate director at the Center for American Progress, who specializes in national-security issues, and who has close ties to the White House, believes that Obama’s instinct, like Panetta’s, was to set up a truth commission of some sort. “I think the political staff walked it back,” he says. “They said it would be a distraction.” Obama’s political advisers dread any issue that could trigger a culture war and diminish his support among independent voters. They also see little advantage in picking a fight with the C.I.A. But the decision to discourage an accountability process, Gude says, has backfired. The Administration has lost control of the story, as revelations about C.I.A. misdeeds have continued to emerge through lawsuits and the press. “It’s now become the distraction they wanted to avoid,” Gude says. “The White House briefings have been dominated by questions about releasing documents and photos.” It’s understandable, he says, that Obama wouldn’t want to spend his energy on Bush’s mistakes. But, he warns, “they can’t leave the impression that they’re trying to cover it up.”

  5. I was just reading through quotes from Stokely Carmichael

    When I found one that describes the RW’s current fretting over Iran and “what to do”


    Now, then, in order to understand white supremacy we must dismiss the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their freedom.

    Stokely Carmichael

    Note that this was when ‘white supremacy’ had a different meaning than it does today.

    But it turns out that it was not Stokely but Sydney J. Harris that said

    “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer soon poses its own problems.”

  6. Single Payer, Ending War, the rule of law, these ideas ain’t going away anytime soon.

    Hey, curious. I saw you rec me on Orange and then take it back. Was it cause I went too far towards the end?

    I love and respect your work and ask out of curiosity, which has yet to kill this cat (3 lives left)

    ; )

    Cheers

    • Viet71 on June 21, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    You are right on.

  7. …diary, NPK.

  8. Just think of me as the ultimate think tank of our spy vs spy vs spy world.  The levels of deception run deep sometimes.

    Ponder.  Is the current Iran crisis another Mossadegh?

    Now that is an evil thought.

    http://findarticles.com/p/arti

    Here in the US suppressing ideas is the responsibility of the corporate media.  They have most successfully supressed the idea of 911 as a government run operation even if the rest of the world laughs at us and has long since moved on.

  9. who authorized, carried out, and continue to defend the “moral authority” of the US to torture detainees–now crying crocodile tears over those fighting for freedom in Iran is incomprehensible to me.  Many of these same people have wanted the US to “bomb Iran”, but now claim to be concerned about the the well-being of the Iranians protesting in the streets now–the same people they wanted in the past (and probably still want) to bomb.  Sorry, but I smell a political motivation rather than a humanitarian motivation in their crocodile tears at this time.

    As for the Obama Administration, it seems that they value “moderation”, “measured responses” and “raising the tone of political debate” over defending the Constitution, reasserting our right to moral authority by prosecuting those who violated international law, or possibly “rocking the boat” in international affairs.  OTOH, I doubt that any comments made by US leadership would in any way benefit the situation of those in Iran at this time, I fear that the opposite would be true–the regime already is accusing the protesters of being influenced/controlled by the “west”.

     

  10. …group (AEI? Cheney’s shadow govt?) have started running commercials about how scary Iran is, and I don’t recall having seen these ads before the election fallout in Iran began.  

    BTW, typo above:  The first line should have started with: “The same people who”.  Sorry.

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