Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Law and Disorder addressed PBS and Armenia

If you missed it in the panting over Katie and Tom having a baby!, (a true miracle, I'm guessing to judge by the coverage), Bully Boy issued some pardons. The name that stood out to me was this one:

Mark Reuben Hale, Henderson, Texas, savings and loan fraud. Sentenced July 10, 1991, to three years in prison.

I know what you're thinking, Neil Bush. Yeah, but move on past that.

Hale defrauded the government of at least five million dollars. He didn't even get a year for each million. So it's interesting that he now gets a pardon. From "UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FIFTH CIRCUIT_______________No. 92-4790 _______________UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus BILL WILDER, Defendant-Appellant:"

For example, Wilder enlisted the assistanceof Glasscock, Hale, and Kinney in defrauding the two savings and loans and concealing Wilder's participation in transactions through the use of sham land transfers. Moreover, Wilder agreed to release Glasscock and Kinney from liability regarding the G&K land purchase
We also note that the parties stipulated that Wilder's scheme to defraud the two savings and loans caused losses of over five million dollars. See United States v. Allibhai, 939 F.2d 244,252-53 (5th Cir. 1991) (upholding district court's finding that amoney laundering scheme was "otherwise extensive" because over onemillion dollars was involved), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 967, 117 L. Ed. 2d 133 (1992).

Thinking of that song where they sing "'Cause you gotta' have friends . . ." Me too. And Mark Hale was there to stick up for his buddy when Bully Boy's AWOL was all the news via 60 Minutes II. In fact, he wrote at The American Spectator that "Somehow we need to raise Johnson from the dead, ask him to make good on the promise, take CBS off the air!" (Swiping from C.I., the link goes to a cached version of Hale's comments, so hopefully no additional traffic for the magazine.)

It's good to be a Republican. You can take part in a scheme that costs tax payers over five million dollars, get a slap on the wrist by serving three years and then have your buddy Bully Boy come along to pardon you.

Are you listening to Law and Disorder? On WBAI Mondays or somewhere else? Mike and I are both writing about it tonight. Heidi Boghosian is with the National Lawyers Guild (I think she's the executive director) and one of the hosts. I think I may have mentioned her last week. But her grandparents came from Armenia so the genocide last century matters to her. (She said "early this century" at one point, I think, but I don't know anyone that's not still making that mistake -- including me. It's like writing checks the first week of January and forgetting to add another year to the date.)

I told C.I. I was writing about this and got two links. The first goes to Democracy Now! giving the history on the genocide. The second goes to an interview Amy Goodman did with Sibel Edmonds where it was mentioned that Denny Hastert got money from Turkey just when Gongress was going to put forth a resolution condeming the genocide (all these years later).

Boghosian talked about how she grew up hearing nothing about the genocide in school and how she asked her mother why people didn't know about it. That's because it didn't make the history books. Our government was in bed with Turkey and the genocide didn't matter. (Like it didn't matter when Saddam attacked people -- until later when we needed an excuse to go to war -- we looked the other way because it was beneficial to us.)

So following WWI, the genocide occurred. And PBS decided to do a program on it but they also wanted a "discussion" on it. And they included, on the panel, two people who are deniers of the Genocide. They wouldn't do a panel on the Holocaust and include deniers and it was one of the Michaels (Ratner or Smith, I think Ratner) who pointed out that denial is another form of abuse. You're denying the tragedy that happened.

I identify with the race issues when they're discussed (and don't pretend otherwise) so I asked Mike if I could grab this one and he was cool with it because he wanted to talk about the Clintons. Discussions on race always grab my interest because I don't think enough of them take place in the media. I think we hear a lot of "things are great" nonsense. I don't think we get much exploration of realities. Which is a good reason to seek out alternative media.

If there's someone stopping by for the first time, I'm African-American. I've heard it all, and on TV and radio, from "Blacks liked slavery! They had jobs and food!" to "Black women just have babies to make money!" Everything in between. Every lie you can imagine.

So I was really glad Boghosian addressed this. Especially after Dalia Hashad talked about her own experiences the week before. With regards to PBS, the news is that none of the big markets ended up carrying the panel (some smaller ones did). Boghosian said it was because of all the e-mails that came in (over 80,000). It's really sad that it takes that.

And it shows how little corporate media (PBS is corporate media -- when you get that much "sponoship" from corporations, you're commercial) gets it to this day. They, my opinion not the hosts, wanted to get their credit for covering a topic they should be covering (and should have been covering a long time ago). But to make sure no one's offended, they'll tack on a panel and invite two people who will say, "It never happened."

From what Ruth's written about PBS (and NPR) and stuff she's told me, that's not the mission of public broadcasting. (But PBS and NPR aren't public broadcasting.) The mission is to introduce ideas. Considering the historical blackout in this country on the genocide, there's no real reason for them to finally address the issue seriously and feel the need to bring on two people to say, "Never happened!"

But when you cater to the right-wing and always try to curry their favor, you can't tackle any event without trying to make sure no one's offended by the truth.

Boghosian spoke about her mother, her father and her grandmother (her grandmother came to this country to marry). I really wish there had been more of that because I'm guessing everyone who makes a point to listen thinks of the hosts as friends to spend time with and, when personal examples can be given, I think it carries more weight. The panel bothered the hosts. I could tell that. It bothered me too. But it really bothered Boghosian because this is a story of her family. If it weren't for the genocides, her ancestors might not have relocated. The genocide is a tragedy and it's history too. But it's also very personal to people whose families were effected. Ruth wrote about the PBS thing, in the round-robin I think, where she was asking people to e-mail on it (e-mail PBS). So I know they covered it before and this was just an update. It's my mistake not to have heard the earlier coverage. But I did miss that (I'll ask Ruth to check her notes and try to find out when that was -- if she can't, Gina should be able to because I am pretty sure the request for people to e-mail ran in the gina & krista round-robin because Ruth wanted to get it out there immediately and didn't have time for a full report).

By the way, I mention Gina and she is African-American but I like Krista too. Gina and I got paired in a group working on a link panel for The Common Ills a long time ago so I've known Gina longer. I am sure Krista would look it up for me gladly but since I've known Gina longer, I have no problem calling her up for a favor. I think the fact that they paired up for the round-robin is great because of their personalities and because they can approach an issue from an African-American perspective and a White perspective. I know Krista beats herself up, to this day, for a story links she suggested. I don't think there was anything wrong with them and never did. If someone's in prison and shouldn't be, it's a story. I'll disagree with Katrina vanden Heuvel on the importance of it. He may be a robber baron but he's not in prison for that, he's in prison because he's a political threat to Putin. Political prisoners need to be highlighted. If Tom DeLay was held in prison not because of his indictment but because of some trumped up reasons, I would object and I hate Tom DeLay.

I like Katrina vanden Heuvel's writing and usually agree with her but I was surprised that time when I heard on Democracy Now! and she responded to Amy Goodman's question in a kind of gruff manner. I know she knows Russia and I don't doubt that the Yukos guy isn't a nice person but I don't believe in political prisoners. (I don't think she does either. But I know her remarks caused Krista to beat herself up because Katrina vanden Heuvel is one of Krista's heroes.) (I don't think I have any heroes, outside of my family, who aren't dead. Maybe Three Cool Old Guys and C.I., that's about the closest I'd come to heroes outside my family.)

So the point of the Law and Disorder segment to me was the power that people can have. Not just with the panel. It took people using their power to even make PBS air anything on the genocide. That didn't happen in one month or one year or one decade. If you're a Howard Zinn reader, I am, you know there are many stories that never make the history books we're encouraged to rely on. But we can make history and we can rescue history and I'd argue that Armenians and people who heard the stories in the early half of the last century rescued this story. It's an important story. To deny it by saying it didn't happen or to deny it by not discussing it robs everyone.

And, to put a modern point on it, the illegal occupation of Iraq will be written into history. We can have input in that by using our voices now and not being afraid to call it an illegal occupation (which it is). And we can continue to protest the war. It won't end it tomorrow or next week and that's true of the reality of what happened in Armenia getting out and true of ending the war. I was thinking, while I listened, what Boghosian's mother must have thought when young Heidi asked that question? It must have been pretty hard to answer because, though her mother said it nicer, the underlying point was, "Dear, they just don't care enough to talk about it." And that made me wonder what her grandmother thought. This is my guess, and I'm just guessing, her grandmother may have thought, "New country. There will be people there who will welcome me. And there will be people who will care about what's going on." If she did think that, and she might not have, I wonder how long she thought it? Maybe she's alive now and got to see the change in thinking? Or maybe she never did. But did she keep hoping in the dark hours?

I have a grandmother who's alive and one who died. The one who died, died before I was born. My grandmothers liked each other and that's apparently not to common among my friends. But Grandma (who is alive) will talk about her like a friend (they were friends). And when she's tired or the world gets too much, sometimes she'll say that my grandmother who passed (she didn't have a grandmother name because she died before there were any grandchildren) was lucky to have passed away when she did, two weeks before Martin Luther King was assassinated. When Grandma's really tired or the news is just too awful, she'll say that and talk about how the dream was alive when my grandmother died. So when I hear someone talking about generations in their family, I wonder what the earlier ones thought.

I think they'd be proud of Boghasian because she really cares about this issue and I know people who don't care about things that came before. I really got angry with a friend (who is African-American) who was griping about the banks being closed on MLK Day. He was whining about how he couldn't put money in the bank. (He doesn't trust ATMs. He does have a reason, the bank lost a deposit of his once. But he was using a teller and not a machine.) My attitude was, "Be glad you have money and maybe you wouldn't if it weren't for the people who came before." Because MLK Day honors the man but it also honors the struggle that millions were involved in. And it stands for more than just this country because the struggle inspired world wide.

I'll give another example. Do you know the phrase "hood rat"? If you don't, you're lucky. Maybe you know Ronald Reagan's "welfare queens"? That's the same thing basically. A "hood rat" is one of those smears on African-American women. That's supposed to be a woman who just wants to live off welfare and child support and turns out a lot of kids (litters like a rat). What's really hurtful about this is that "hood rat" didn't come from a White person. And it's used by African-Americans. It's supposed to be funny. I don't know. Maybe we think it's funny if we say it first? But I have to wonder how many generations that fought the civil rights fight would hear it and think "funny."

I think we're unaware of what it took to get where we are (that's all of us, regardless of race -- and I'm still learning and will be all my life*) and that hurts us as much as anything that happens today. (Maybe because if we don't know our struggles, we just keep repeating them?)

I'll wrap up but I had a blast in California and my "*" was a C.I. story that I'll tell. C.I. won't be mad but will say, "You could have written about something important, Cedric." I think this is important. C.I.'s smart. Members know that. In California as we were going to rallies and meeting with different people, someone would bring up an issue from time to time. C.I. never bluffed. C.I. would just say flat out, "I'm sorry, I don't know anything about what you're talking about. But I loved to hear about it." To me, that's smart. You don't play along and try to put it together in your head and maybe miss key points. You just say upfront that you don't know and let someone walk you through it. I think learning never stops and growing continues for your entire life. There's a lot of things I love about C.I. If I write about a passing, I'll get a call and C.I. will start out saying, "That was so great" and then get all choked up. C.I.'s very generous with the praise and very supportive. But the thing I saw over and over last week was that C.I.'s not embarrassed to say, "I don't know, please tell me." A lot of people pretend they do know. They're too worried about how they'll look and I think they end up missing out on life and knowledge because if you fake your way through, you cheat yourself.

You should check out Law and Disorder because it will make you think and you'll really enjoy all four hosts. Also, check out Trina's "Gazpacho soup in the Kitchen" which is an easy recipe even for me. No cooking at all. I do have a blender so I used the blender recipes (there are two recipes). It turned out pretty good and, if you have cooking talent, it'll probably turn out great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Before you start posting slander about people.. you might want to check your facts out! Mark Hale is not a criminal! If he was he would not have received a pardon! Slander of someone on the other hand is a crime so watch what you say...learn your facts!!!!