Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Hate The War

As of Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007, at least 3,900 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

That's from AP's "US Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,900" and they also note 174 is the toll thus far for the UK, 33 for Italy, 18 for the Ukraine, 21 for Poland, 13 for Bulgaria, 11 for Spain, 7 for Denmark, 5 for El Salvador, 4 for Slovakia, 3 for Latvia, 2 for each of the following countries: Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania and Thailand, and one for each of the following countries: Australia (Jake Kovco), Hungary, Kazakhstan and South Korea.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3896. Tonight? *3900*. Just Foreign Policy's total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stood at 1,139,602. Tonight? 1,139,602. Apparently they're on holiday.

Not unlike US candidates for the Republican or Democratic parties' presidential nomination. AP's David Espo notes that John McCain, Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards and Mike Huckabee all weighed in. Don't forget Bambi! The Globe Gazette provides quotes from many and notes Mitt Romney, Dennis Kucinich and Bambi addressed it as well:

Democrat Barack Obama addressed the assassination at the beginning of a speech in Des Moines Friday morning.
"She was a respected and resilient advocate for democracy for the people of Pakistan," Obama said. "We mourn her loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and her supporters."

No, Bambi, she was a cheap thug. While women around the world were calling out the Taliban, the thug stood alone among world leaders openly supporting that terrorist regime that destroyed women's lives. She and her trashy husband couldn't keep their hands out of the public till which is what hurt her -- not her funding the destroyers and torturers of women in Afghanistan.

It's needs to be stated clearly that a woman who gets into power is not a "good" thing if she uses her power to harm other women. Women in Afghanistan saw their rights ripped from them, saw their lives destroyed. And Bhutto provided cover and support for the Taliban. It's equally true that her campaigns promised rights for women in Pakistan but never delivered. Rights would come when she was out of power. She was a piece of trash and the US ruling elite wanted her in co-power to provide cover for the regime that makes life a living hell for the average person in Pakistan today. Bhutto, happy to avoid prison, was more than willing to go along. Had she not been killed, she probably would have stood a chance at 'winning' the election -- the US has bought many an election overseas.

Bhutto was trash. Here's Christian Parenti on 'Saint' Bhutto, "US Illusions Die With Benazir Bhutto" (Agence Global via Pacific Free Press):

But who was Bhutto?
As 'chairperson-for-life' of the Pakistan Peoples Party she brooked no dissent. The PPP had populist roots, but over the decades its democratic and redistribution programs had devolved into largely meaningless rhetoric. Bhutto's two terms as Prime Minister, in the late 1980's and then again beginning in 1993, delivered nothing. She was implicated in the murder of her brother. Pakistan under her was one of few countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Kabul. And she grew increasingly corrupt, appointing her husband as Minister for Investment -- meaning he was in charge of all state investments, at home and abroad. The couple is accused of having accumulated $1.5 billion -- much of it public money. Upon her death she was facing corruption cases in Switzerland, England, and Spain. Partnered with Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto would not have transformed the deep rot of corruption, poverty, and underdevelopment that fuels a growing discontent -- in the form of Islamic fundamentalism and Pashtun nationalism -- in Pakistan’s frontier provinces. Nor would she have controlled Pakistan's security forces, which are economically and politically quite powerful and autonomous institutions. In short, Bhutto could not have delivered for Washington, and won the local "war on terror." She could not have provided domestic stability.

But that's not the 'Saint' independent media -- sounding like state propaganda -- bored us all with. Aileen Alfandary led with the canonization of Bhutto on not one, not two, not three but four news breaks on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Now she couldn't tear herself away from the propaganda long enough to note that 3900 US service members had died in the illegal war but she did a lovely job of reading out loud on Iraq. Sounding very uninformed on the theft of Iraqi oil, she might have raised a few eyebrows in the first, third and fourth news break; that's because she was stealing as well.

Listen to today's archived broadcast. Alfandary tells listeners about "a draft of a general amnesty bill for detainees being held in Iraqi prisons, a measure *which* could go a long way towards reconciling Iraq's *warring* sects and factions." Read this Al Jazeera page (based on "Agencies") and note that if you replace "which" with "that" and "warring" is replaced with "antagonistic" you can see the problem. You can see it throughout including when Alfandary concludes, ""Many key draft laws - including measures to share oil revenue and to allow some members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to hold government jobs - have remained mired for months in Iraq's *grid-locked* parliament." Replace "grid-locked" with "mired" and you have the conclusion of the wire report Al Jazeera's posting. Now the fact that KPFA would -- as NEWS -- present the theft of Iraqi oil that way raised eyebrows (and resulted in a ton of e-mails) but let's face reality with Alfandary's 'reporting' which has been mainstream all along, it's called plagiarism. It's the sort of thing that gets your ass canned in REAL MEDIA.

So what listeners got from the news reader wasn't even her own words. They got her ripping off the MSM coverage (it's AP, for anyone wondering -- that's where Al Jazeera got those sections). Not only did she never note that the words she was presenting as her own were not her own words, she never said "AP is reporting" or in any way attributed it to AP.

Sandra Lupien, doing the same job before moving up to The KPFA Evening News, worked her ass off. She found stories othes were reporting -- often the things that very few were reporting -- and put them in her own words or else noted it was a quote. (Lupien had the story of Steven D. Green's arrest -- in the gang-rape and murder of Abeer as well as the murders of Abeer's parents and her five-year-old sister -- when no one knew about it and the only information was a press release the government rushed out and buried the Friday before.) Listeners to The Morning Show then got alternative news -- not just in terms of things no one else was reporting (if it's not going to make CNN's crawl at the bottom of the screen, Aflandary's not going to note it) but in terms of pulling from reports and putting it into KPFA terms that spoke to KPFA's audience.

Alfandary may think she's being more 'professional' by parroting the MSM but 'professional' does not include ripping off the works of others and passing them off as your own. Again, in REAL MEDIA that gets your ass fired.

This did not happen once, this happened repeatedly on the news breaks during The Morning Show today. One might also wonder why KPFA management has refused to take seriously the many complaints about Alfandary's work which never strays from the MSM's supposed 'center.' Had they taken those complaints from listeners seriously, they probably would have caught the fact that Alfandary's words were not her own a long damn time ago.

To be clear, should Katie Couric, Brian Williams or Charlie Gibson be caught on air in the same situation, it would be humiliating, require a public apology from the individual and the news organization and should result in their firing.

A news reader isn't a reporter. A news reader is providing headlines. During the headline section of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman attributes (specifically or generally) and does not steal the words of others unless she notes she's quoting. That KPFA has repeatedly allowed Alfandary to do otherwise goes to serious problems with the station. That Alfandary thought it was acceptable goes to serious questions about her competency and honesty.

At the most basic, even if she got away with it without ever being called on it, you'd think she'd feel enough embarrassment on those (rare?) times when she's approached with a compliment. You'd think she'd say, "I stole every word but one in a sentence. I need to stop doing that because people think I'm writing these things. I can't enjoy any praise that I didn't earn."

But that's not been the case, now has it?

Changing words, putting it into her own words, would be acceptable. Stealing an entire sentence and substituting one word (example: "grid-locked" for "mired") is not putting it into your own words. I recently made the comment to a MSM reporter that I thought a great deal of people worked in independent media because they couldn't get jobs anywhere else. Today, Alfandary proves me right.

Again, people have complained repeatedly that Alfandary's 'reporting' in the news break is to the right of KPFA's other news reports. Well there's your answer why. She's not 'reporting,' she's swiping 'her' sentences from the MSM. (And thanks to a friend at The Chronicle who pointed that out months ago.) KPFA can plug in MSM audio feed for the 'news'. They don't do that because they're supposed to be providing their own news -- which includes their own take as unembedded media -- and listeners believe that's what they're getting. Forget members, visitors have e-mailed this site trying to figure out what was the deal with Alfandary's 'reporting'? That's "the deal." It's not her reporting. She's stealing words of MSM and passing them off as her own.

Now let's move to realities about our presidential contenders, realities they seem unaware of: They are hoping to become the President of the United States. They are not running for Prime Minister of Pakistan.

This morning, before any of them uttered a public word, at this site, the following appeared:

Before we note anything else, ICCC reports the 3900 mark for US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war has been reached. Yesterday's snapshot noted that the announcement by M-NF took the count to 3899 and it appears the 3900th came via DoD which is a good way of burying news and why DoD has been used so often in the last months for that purpose (M-NF is supposed to announce deaths, DoD then issues the names of the dead after the family has been contacted, that's how it's supposed to work).That's the official count which does not include counting those who die from injuries received after they return from Iraq. We'll return to the topic in today's snapshot.

We don't "Like Mike" at this site but we'll note that when asked of current events before, he's begged off claiming he's so busy campaigning, he can't follow the news. Apparently, none of the others can either. And Mike Huckabee or anyone else has a staff that's supposed to prepare them. So did the staff fail or did all of our candidates running to be the President of the United States not give a damn that the death toll for US service members had reached 3,900?

War Hawk, Do-Nothing or Against It, all of them should have had a statement. The War Hawks should have offered the praise for the 'sacrifice'. The Do-Nothings would have clucked that someday, not someday soon, something needs to be done. (No specifics, they are, after all, running campaigns.) Those Against It should have had loud statements to the press.

None did. Poor little candidates, having to run from Prime Minister of Pakistan from the shores of the US because they didn't have enough money to travel overseas.

Now a skilled candidate could have noted both. But apparently the two major parties don't have a single skilled candidate. Sorry to break it to the campaigns but American voters would be more interested in hearing sop tossed about the 3,900 Americans killed than sop about one corrupt, Pakistan ruler.

"Independent" media (broadcast and some print) largely offered us state propaganda. Meanwhile the candidates for both major parties telegraphed just how little American deaths mean to them.

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