Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Hate The War

JAY: So, then, what do you make of Obama's promise of change and all the rhetoric that's been going along with his campaign?GRAVEL: It's foolish. Foolish. Dangerous. Dangerous, because he doesn't even recognize that he can't deliver. That's dangerous. I would rather -- Hillary. At least she knows what she's talking about. He doesn't.
JAY: Edwards?
GRAVEL: Edwards? He probably knows better, what he's talking about, than Obama. Obama of the three is the most dangerous, because he raises greater expectations of the youth and can't deliver. And the worst thing a leader can do is raise expectations, and they don't happen. You create a whole new generation of cynics. And that's what he's doing. And he’s used the line [inaudible] reason out what he's saying. You know, the statement I like that I've heard from young people: there's no ‘there’ there. And listen to the words. Make a speech and use the word change ten times--what specifically are you going to change? You're going to change the health care system? Not really. You're going to change the military-industrial complex? Not really. He wants another hundred thousand more troops. Are you going to change anything about your relationship with Iran? Not really. Nukes are on the table. Are you going to change anything with respect to Israel? Not really. He's supported by AIPAC. Are you going to change anything for education? He's on the education committee. He's supported by the NEA. Where's change? I don't see any change. But he doesn't say any of those things. He lets you figure out what the change is. So it's like an actor. What does an actor do? He gives you a scene, and you read into it what the scene means to you. And that's what he's doing. It's terrible, because what you read into it isn't what's going to happen, 'cause he's going to have the reality. The simplest one of all is we have a $50 to $70 trillion fiscal gap. There's no money to do anything, never mind this imperialism, which is why there's no money to do anything. Here. You recall that Hillary, Edwards, and Obama all said, when asked by Tim Russert, would you have the troops out of Iraq by the end of 2013? And all three of them equivocated, weren't sure that they could do it. And then you heard just last night, oh, yeah; I'm going to start withdrawing them immediately. What are they talking about? Say one thing; say another thing. You know, withdrawing immediately, what does that mean? We'll withdraw ten this month, and then I'm going to change my mind next month? It's gross hypocrisy - is really what it is. It's politics as usual, and that's sad, because we're at a turning point in '08. If we continue with American imperialism, we're done as a nation.

The above, noted by Hilda (Hilda's Mix), is from Paul Jay's interview "Mike Gravel rates Democrat opponents" (Information Clearing House). Please note, this is video and text. And of course, Mike Gravel calls it like it is. Something independent media (in the US, more on that in a bit) can't be bothered with. They continue the lie that Bambi is against the illegal war and Bambi was always against the illegal war and Bambi voted against the 2007 Iran resolution and one lie after another.

Lynda noted that I seemed "disjointed" in the snapshot today. That's putting it mildly. I made an observation to Jim, on the phone with Jim, Tuesday and he 'claimed' it for The Third Estate Sunday Review. The snapshots are dictated and I didn't have time to self-censor while dictating so things were pulled out quickly (after) to leave the point Jim wants to carry over to Third out of it. But to be clear, the Bambi-love in 'independent media' reveals it to be neither 'independent' nor 'media.' Unless you consider People magazine the media (Professor Patti does, remember when she compared African-Americans to dogs based on her exhaustive reading of People?). But it's gotten so bad that 'independent media' is going after Gloria Steinem. I don't tolerate that. As Mike noted tonight, that site has been pulled. (Also see Rebecca's post tonight.)

When the Zapatistas were being trashed by some of the indymedia types due to the outcome of the 2006 Mexico election, we noted that the Zapatistas are a movement and more important than a political candidate. By the same token, Gloria Steinem's work is more important than propping up a War Hawk candidate. But it's good that they drug Gloria into it because it did demonstrate to a few more that they weren't concerned about the illegal war. They aren't.

They don't give a damn about the illegal war. They rush to write about anything else. And then they lie that Bambi's an 'anti-war' candidate. It doesn't bother them to lie because they don't care. You can see it in what they choose to cover. Nine US service members killed in Iraq today, a slaughter going on in Diyala Province and what are they doing? Trashing Gloria.

It just demonstrates that they are not journalists, they are mouthpieces and groupies for Bambi. That was the most important thing today for them, to trash Gloria. And, in doing so, they revealed that their problems with Hillary Clinton really were just over the fact that she's a woman. That she's a she. They want to accuse her of playing the 'gender card' or of 'identity politics' and it's like the Bully Boy speaking in that they reveal/confess their own bias. Bambi and Hillary have no differences on the illegal war. Does Edwards?

Mike quotes Edwards e-mail sent out today (when the deaths of 9 US servicemembers was in some of the media coverage) and notes that Iraq didn't make Edwards' laundry list. So if you're voting for one of the three front runners, there's no difference. You'll have to either focus on something other than Iraq to make your determination, hope Gravel stays in for you to vote in your state's primary or consider going Green or independent. That's reality.

And it's not hard to say. Unless you're personally vested in one of the campaigns. If you are, then you're not really a journalist.

And let me add, you have the option of not voting. A coffee fetcher e-mailed to gripe me out about noting that. I've noted it before. The coffee fetcher can tell his mistress that her late and (by her) lamented USSR could compel people to vote but this is the United States and we have the right to vote and we have the option of not using that right. I vote in every election, myself. That's me. I know others who don't for various reasons including that they consider it a protest vote. Noting that reality isn't, pay attention coffee fetcher, "endorsing" non-voting. It's telling the truth. I realize that your employer is so far from the truth that you're probably confused but that is reality.

And independent media is far, far from the truth. Which is how the Cult of Bambi got created to begin with. Kat has a post on one of the female attackers of Gloria. It should be noted that the Bambi crowd is crowing, of the attacker, "She should be president!" Really? On the basis of a (bad) column, she should be president? It kind of demonstrates their intellectual capabilities, doesn't it? So it wasn't very difficult for independent media to pull the wool over the eyes of idiots like that.

They know nothing about her. So what are they rooting for? The attack on Gloria. They've been hoping for that attack. For those of us old enough to have seen the past attacks (including by The Ego of Us All), we're aware that Gloria inspires silent hatred among the sexists and, when they think there's a window of opportunity, they rush in. Thing is, any woman trashing Gloria Steinem for her NYT column isn't a feminist. She can hide behind "I'm young and my parents pay all my bills" (get a job, loser) "and this is how I see it," but she's just trashing a woman to get a little attention. Pathetically, it's not even for herself. She's attempting to advance her poster boy. Anyone with even a basic grasp of history would grasp how common that has been and how common the attacker is. She didn't even try, as some had the good sense to, to launch her attack via a woman's press. Because she doesn't have that option because she's not a feminist. If she was really trying to reach Gloria Steinem, she would have done that. She didn't because she's only interested in trashing Gloria in a place that will get her the attention she so desperately craves and advance her pathetic candidate Barack Obama.

Gareth notes Andrew Stephen's "Obama unmasked" (The New Statesman):

So it all came as a shock to the pundits and pollsters on the night of 8 January when, despite predictions of an overwhelming Obama triumph, it became clear that the voters of New Hampshire had given Hillary Clinton the victory over Obama she badly needed. The reason for the media's distortions, I believe, is that Obama's relationship with the press and the electorate is still at the stage of starry-eyed infatuation. Yes, he is a mesmerising political orator who offers a magic elixir that somehow contains both stimulants and sedatives: that we need not worry about the present or future, because we can look forward to a new dawn of hope and reassurance in the safe hands of President Obama. Exactly how and why this would happen is not clear, but it is heady and exciting stuff.
I suspect that the longer the relationship continues, however, the more Obama's many faults and shortcomings as a presidential candidate will emerge. In his speech admitting defeat in New Hampshire on Tuesday, for example, a hint of his bad-tempered haughtiness emerged. He is not the fresh-faced young idealist the media like to portray, but a hard-headed 46-year-old lawyer whose monumental drive and political calculations make the Clintons seem like a pair of amateurs. The media and electorate may have fallen in love with him spontaneously, but Obama has been carefully plotting his strategy to seduce them for decades.
A little "blow"
Even dedicated political operators such as the Clintons, for example, did not publish self-promoting memoirs at the age of 33 - but that is exactly what Obama did, revealing his use of cocaine ("a little blow") before anybody else could beat him to it, for example. In those memoirs, Dreams from My Father, he burnished a personal and political résumé that, in places, seemed almost unbelievable - so I was not surprised to read in his introduction to the reissued edition of "selective lapses of memory" and "the temptation to colour events in ways favourable to the writer".
I'll provide two brief examples of how Obama did just that. He wrote movingly of a turning point in his life when, as a nine-year-old, he read in Life magazine of a "black man who had tried to peel off his skin". But the Chicago Tribune - it and the Chicago Sun-Times being honourable exceptions to the media quiescence I have described - reported that "no such Life issue exists", and an exhaustive search of similar magazines failed to find any article remotely similar to the one Obama had described. The Obama media machine, too, obligingly enabled television crews this month to interview Obama's very elderly Kenyan "grandmother"; the only problem was that the woman in rural Kenya was not Obama's grandmother, but the alleged foster mother of Obama's father. "Give me a break . . . this whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," huffed Bill Clinton, visiting Dartmouth College on the eve of the New Hampshire vote, telling his audience the US media are not being tough enough on Obama.
Politically, there is remarkably little difference between the three leading Democrats - Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

In a country with a real independent media, Stephen's article would not be an exception. But it is. There is The Black Agenda Report and Paul Street and not much else. That's reality. Instead American audiences have gotten fluff and spin and one lie after another that Barack Obama is the "anti-war" candidate. Why does the war drag on? Because independent media isn't interested in truth. They're interested in propping up a bad candidate for his (emphasis on "his") presidential run.

They have refused to cover the non-stop war against women in Iraq. They've refused to cover war resisters. They've refused to cover the parents speaking out about lies the US military command told them. In 2005, a spark went off in this country and independent media was there. Since then? Not really. Maybe they worried it would put too much pressure on the Democrats? (And what is independent media -- for the most part -- in this country but an arm of the Democratic Party?)

Pretend it's your brother or sister or son or daughter or wife or husband that's died in Iraq and the military has lied to you. Maybe, like Lanny Davis, you only found out the truth because you traveled a great distance to fight face to face for the truth. Your story doesn't matter to independent media. They don't know how to pair reality up with Bambi's Chicken Sop for the Soul. Lanny Davis' story about his son (Richard) is too much reality for them to handle. Better to waste more time with articles on polling or spit-polishing Bambi.

But the war is very real. And it is ongoing. And none of the three front runners in the Democratic race for their party's presidential nomination has done a thing to indicate they'll end it. All three refused to make a pledge to end it, if elected, by 2013. Sure John Edwards tosses out a few crumbs here and there. For a day or two. Then he falls silent. Finds another topic. If he loses the nomination, he should apply to work in independent media because he has demonstrated that he can play grass hopper leaping from topic to topic and never really saying anything. That is independent media.

I was explaining this to someone at a daily paper last month (actually to two -- one a friend, the other someone I don't know) but independent media has no more cards to play. They can't continue to scream about the embed program (that they rightly refused to take part in). The reason being, Alive in Baghdad and others report from Iraq and they don't interview them. (An exception being Deepa Fernandes.) But, okay, let's say independent media can't afford that and can't afford to send someone to Iraq. Okay, well that would mean if they cared about the illegal war and they were unable to cover it from Iraq, they would instead cover it via the home front. They would do that through the peace movement, through war resisters, you name it. But that hasn't happened either. A call to Canada isn't expensive at all. The peace movement isn't shy. But where are they in independent media? Like Lanny Davis who lost his son and suffered lies (he was told Richard was AWOL) that only ended because of his own determination and action, those stories don't get told by independent media. They didn't tell Abeer's story either.

So let's all stop kidding ourselves that independent media gives a damn about the illegal war. Did you notice Democracy Now! today. They had plenty of time to interview an environmentalist about the candidates on that issue. Where's the interview about the illegal war. 2007 came and went. It's 2008 and where's the interview about the candidates on the illegal war? Where's Military Families Speak Out, A.N.S.W.E.R., CODEPINK, World Can't Wait, etc. with a person on Democracy Now! speaking about the candidates on Iraq? Don't point to that "we only have a minute" interview last week. That was horrible. (See "Wack job of the week").

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (my opinion) do the best job in independent media. But even they haven't provided us with that segment or the stories of war resisters. We had no new war resister profiled on Democracy Now! in 2007. That wasn't because people stopped going public. They continued to go public. But there's just not any interest in it.

Now there's interest among people. The crowds on campuses are large. We've got a huge number of women's groups also interested in discussing Iraq. (Thank you to Dona who schedules each week.) But media interest left long ago. I'm looking at this and if you're reading it on the mirror site, hit the link in the title. You'll see all the things listed linked to on the left (the permalinks). I'm really not interested in inserting links tonight. Why bother? We've been more than kind with links.

So even with Big Media, I can't justify independent media's non-coverage. They just don't care enough about the illegal war to cover it. And I'm not interested in fluff or spin so I'm not interested in playing "here's ___" and here's "____."

Instead of the war, we get Jesse Jackson being asked about the 'house divided' (some family members supporting Bambi, some supporting Hillary). And that advances understanding how? It's a glossy news magazine kind of 'reporting.' I mean, at what point do we start getting, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

As Ruth's noted twice this week, NPR's The Diane Rehm Show has done real work on Iraq this week. Maybe that's because Rehm's old enough to remember how you cover a war. How when a nation goes to war, regardless of whether people are for it or against it, it is news.

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 3907. Tonight? 3921. Little Media's disinterest, please note, even during a seven-day period when 14 US service members died. During a period where we're seeing the same sort of collective punishment (a War Crime) being targeted at the civilians in Diyala Province as was done to Falluja. Just Foreign Policy's total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stands at 1,165,204.

We're told that the media (meaning big media) distracts us with nonsense. No argument. But it's not an argument that Little Media can make if they've distracted us with fluff and spin about a War Hawk candidate. That's not how it works. You can't be in the wrong and point to someone else in the wrong and play like you're doing the job.

The job's not being done.

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