True Political Courage

What Keith Olbermann did tonight took true courage. Not the faux, pseudo-decisive “stick-to-my-guns” variety of our failing President, but the very real courage of someone who took a chance, that of a man taking a very real career risk to do his job: disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed. And distrurb the comforted is what Olbermann did tonight. Watch it:

Olbermann tonight epitomizes how a friend defined courage recently. He said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

Nota bene: If you have a You-Tube account, when you watch the video, please rate it. That way it gets maximum exposure. I’d be very grateful. You-Tube link here.

A great suggestion from member whataboutbob:

Email MSNBC & support Keith – now!

You think MSNBC is getting barraged by Rightwingers? Bet on it…please write them and support Keith’s courage!

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Keith Olberman finally launched the kind of accusations that I’ve been waiting to hear on TV for the last six years. Finally somebody pointed at one of these nixons and named him.

    Keith Olberman just earned himself a beer, if he’s ever in O.B.

    “Death before being dishonored any more.” – Col. Ted Westhusing

  • If the rest of the MSM wasn’t already in the Repug’s hip-pocket, I’d feel a *lot* more stirred by this speech.

    Unfortunately, MSNBC is “niche media”, and not watched by any majority of Americans: Olbermann didn’t have the audience Murrow had…..I wish he had. These words need to be heard.

    I think MSNBC will stand by him, but it will be painful: count on the FCC to be peering up their asses with the largest proctoscope they can find, wrapped in 40-grit macho-wipe.

    Olbermann should be sitting in the seat Couric will be occupying starting next week…..he’s (to me) the spiritual successor to the greats like Rather, Jennings, Cronkite, Brinkley, Murrow. Katie will have to work *very* hard to show us that she is a real journalist and not the perky host of morning TV.

    -5.75,-4.05 “The invisible hand of Adam Smith seems to offer an extended middle finger to an awful lot of people”—George Carlin

  • I had to pinch myself. I saw the spirit of Murrow coming alive before Murrow was mentioned at the end.
    Many people are reluctant to say what many more, than before, are now saying in one way or another, that the administration is simply incompetent. It will take more expositions like this one of Keith Olberman’s to keep pushing people toward the courage to actually examine the manner in which they have chosen to perceive GW, Rummy and Cheney and dare to ask the questions that need to be asked. As one who questions everything, it just is a total mystery to me how so many Americans seem to feel that just going along with GW is the thing to do.
    I congratulate Keith Olberman for his courage to carefully plan and deliver a speech that conveys outrage, his version of “I’m sick and tired and I’m not gonna take it any more!” We all should endeavor to walk in Murrow’s shoes as Keith has done. We can hope that Mr. Olberman will be an inspiration for others.

    Ventura CA USA

  • Bravo Mr. Oberman!

    I found this to be not only the most interesting and moving news commentary, but also the most riveting political speech I can remember hearing in the last four decades. It took courage to do it. But it really had to be done. There are ways in which the risk was bigger than the one Murrow himself took. And there are ways in which the societal payoff might be greater, assuming Oberman is heard where he needs to be heard most.

    America has precious few heroes right now. But after hearing Oberman’s performance I know it has at least one.

  • Text of Rumsfeld’s speech to the American Legion When I read the speech it struck me that’s its odd how his written view lacks the impact of his spoken voice. I can understand how someone who admires Rumsfeld would give the link to his written speech, because on paper it doesn’t come across as being as significant. It reinforced that all of our senses are needed to act as filters to grasp the full meaning of information.

    Crooks and Liars: John King had Torie Clarke and Paul Begala on The Situation Room to talk about Rumsfeld’s “Hitler appeasement” comments.

    Click to watch in WMV or Quick Time format.

    Begala: “He sounded like a batty old man. A more decent society would put him in one of those coats with no cuffs and take him off to one of those rooms with padding on the walls”. He went on to say, “Terrorism? Appeasement? Nobody is appeasing terrorists. This is about Rumsfeld not killing Bin Lauden who still walks the earth today. Why? Because Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush didn’t have the will to go after him in Tora Bora. That’s the Democratic critique on terrorism.”

  • Olberman’s idea is right on. We are, actually, closer to fascism than one thinks. A favorite writer of conservatives, Friedrich Hayek laid out several criteria to watch for in a society that is moving toward fascism in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom. The ruthlessness of the powerful and the harsh treatment of dissent are two points that Hayek and Olberman agree on. But there is much more. I’ve laid out these ideas in my forthcoming book Call to Liberty: Bridging the Divide Between Liberals and Conservatives. Learn more at

  • Can we permanently put it on the side bar?

    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • I send an email of praise to Olberman. You all should too!

    Anybody else care to comment on how he TOTALLY reframed the issue to make Bushco into the modern day Chamberlain? Sneaky…

    So, does that mean that Murtha is Winston Churchill?

    How accurate is all that stuff about Chamberlain claiming omniscience and marginalizing Churchill? I wasn’t aware of all that.
    Of COURSE you can trust the US Government! Just ask the Indians.

  • many thanks for the links, I added them to the post so more people can easily find them. :)

    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • Spinning the bullets
    By David Fickling / USA 03:08pm

    It seems incredible, but on a day when at least 52 people were killed in bomb and gun attacks in Iraq after three years of chaos and insurgency, the US has concluded that its problem in the country is one of bad publicity.

    The American military is offering $20m over two years for anyone who can monitor the US, international and Middle Eastern media and ensure that a more positive message gets out.

    We’ve been here before. Ever since the Iraq invasion, complaints about alleged media bias have been a regular fixture of autumn in Washington. Back in October 2003, President Bush was blaming the bad news out of Iraq on the media’s “filter”.

    A year later came reports of a public relations campaign to sell the occupation ahead of the 2004 Presidential elections, and last year the conservative Media Research Center targeted America’s TV news networks for their “defeatist coverage” of the war.

    Given the scale of the problems that Washington faces in its war on terror, this refusal to accept the reasons behind the bad coverage from Iraq is astonishing.

    Donald Rumsfeld, who was behind one of the creepiest bits of Bush-era public relations with his creation, closure and semi-secret resurrection of the Orwellian Office of Strategic Influence in 2002, was at it again in Salt Lake City earlier this week, comparing his critics to Nazi-era appeasers.

    Even the Salt Lake City Tribune – hardly a hotbed of radicalism in one of the US’s most conservative states – laid into Rumsfeld’s “distorted vision of reality”.


    In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

  • I have heard many news stories from the US. This is one of the few that told the truth.
    This truth will burrow back into the administration so very slowly, but it will dig in there.
    By the time it finds the truth Bush will be hiding out along with Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld.

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • Peter W. Galbraith | Boston | August 31, 2006

    Boston Globe In his most recent justification of his Pentagon stewardship, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reached back to the 1930s, comparing the Bush administration’s critics to those who, like US Ambassador to Britain Joseph P. Kennedy, favored appeasing Adolf Hitler. Rumsfeld avoided a more recent comparison: the appeasement of Saddam Hussein by the Reagan and first Bush administrations. The reasons for selectivity are obvious, since so many of Hussein’s appeasers in the 1980s were principals in the 2003 Iraq war, including Rumsfeld.

    In 1983, President Reagan initiated a strategic opening to Iraq, then in the third year of a war of attrition with neighboring Iran. Although Iraq had started the war with a blitzkrieg attack in 1980, the tide had turned by 1982 in favor of much larger Iran, and the Reagan administration was afraid Iraq might actually lose. Reagan chose Rumsfeld as his emissary to Hussein, whom he visited in December 1983 and March 1984. Inconveniently, Iraq had begun to use chemical weapons against Iran in November 1983, the first sustained use of poison gas since a 1925 treaty banning that.

    (the rest of this terrific piece is at the link)

  • Lawmakers to Seek a Vote of No Confidence in Defense Secretary

    By Jonathan Weisman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, September 1, 2006

    Under assault from Republicans on issues of national security, congressional Democrats are planning to push for a vote of no confidence in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this month as part of a broad effort to stay on the offensive ahead of the November midterm elections.

    In Rumsfeld, Democrats believe they have found both a useful antagonist and a stand-in for President Bush and what they see as his blunders in Iraq. This week, Democrats interpreted a speech of his as equating critics of the war in Iraq to appeasers of Adolf Hitler, an interpretation that Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff disputed. But Democrats said the hyperbolic attack would backfire.

    But even before that, Democrats and some Republicans had maintained that Bush has never held anyone in his administration accountable for decisions in the Iraq war that many military analysts say went disastrously wrong. The decisions include not mobilizing enough troops to keep the peace, disbanding the entire Iraqi army and purging all members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party — including teachers and low-level technocrats — from the Iraqi government.

    “Secretary Rumsfeld’s stewardship of this effort is a failure, and he has let down our armed forces,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who is pushing for the no-confidence move.

    By demanding accountability, Democrats hope to blunt what has been an all-out assault on their positions on national security. The Republican National Committee yesterday blasted Democrats again as “Defeatocrats,” and the attacks will continue when Congress returns next week from its month-long recess. Republican leaders plan to consider a full slate of security-related legislation before leaving on Sept. 29 for the campaigns.

    The legislative calendars in the House and Senate include defense spending bills, the annual defense policy bill, legislation to authorize the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program and a measure to bring Bush’s military tribunals into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling that declared the initial tribunals unconstitutional.

    more at Washington Post

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