Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How All Things Media Big & Small enable war

Oh the dawn of man comes slow
Thousands of years
And here we are . . .
Still worshiping
Our own ego
-- "Strong and Wrong," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Shine.

As you look out on the landscape of published opinion in the US, "strong and wrong" really says it all. Well -- and stupid. Strong and wrong and stupid.

Where to start? How about the attitude that the Iraq War is a drug deal that went wrong and, f**k it, man, throw it in reverse and get the hell out of here! Whew, we made it. No looking back now.

Yeah, right. That'll work.

Oh remember the pointy heads who pretended to care about Iraq and not want war? Remember what they said, those Amy Goodmans? 'The problem with the media coverage was that they showed us the bombs taking off but they never covered where they landed.' How is their rush to abandon Iraq today -- Panhandle Media in all it's gimmie-gimmie non-glory -- any damn different? It's not.

If you really were opposed to the war -- even just that war, forget all wars, just that one war -- you'd want be sure that the lesson was learned and the lesson doesn't get learned by treating the illegal war like a drug deal that went wrong or a hit-and-run accident. The bombs landed in Iraq. Iraqis suffered. Iraqis continue to suffer. As you play at being the mdia's Red Cross and rush off on whatever tangent you've managed to bilk Pacifica Radio money out of to cover this month, grasp that you are the ones saying "Game Over" and treating the whole damn thing as a video game. The consequences of war?

They won't be covered by you. The children who die, the people caught in the struggle of warring exiles, that won't be covered. And when, in ten, twenty or thirty years, the US declares war on Iraq again, you'll hear a few people state (correctly) that the US installed Nouri al-Maliki. But the bulk of America won't know. Or won't believe photos of Donald Rumsfeld with Nouri the way they ignored the friendly photos of Donald Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein.

It's because our so-called 'independent media' (I'm talking Pacifica, The Nation, et al) won't do their damn job.

And that's one reason why war happens over and over.

Another reason? Don't let corporate media off the hook. Nothing but a megaphone for the White House, that's all US corporate media has become. It was that under Bush, it's that under Barack. It took over 60% of Americans to object to the Iraq War consistently for the corporate media to begin allowing that just maybe, perhaps, the Iraq War wasn't all it was sold as.

Barak wants to pretend it's over so the corporate media does too.

And we called out the ridiculous polls not long ago, remember? 75% of Americans agree with Barack's decision!!!! I have no idea what the number was. I don't remember things that don't matter. And that figure didn't matter because it was going to dissolve in the blink of an eye.

That figure was based on nothing but waves of Operation Happy Talk. What the media refused to put on TV, what most refused to put on the front page is now taking place on the letter pages of newspapers across America as well as few editorial boards. We have noted dissenting views on the war in the last weeks here and that's because I'm not an idiot. You shut out any opinion and it gives it credence because someone's going to say, "Why are they refusing to let that argument be heard?" You shut out any opinion for any length of time and it becomes 'the opinion they don't want you to hear.' You shut out an opinion, you breed a backlash.

That people were going to disagree with the US leaving Iraq was never in question -- the results of some trashy poll not withstanding. History shows a diversity of opinion at the end of any war -- though, time and again, the media finds it impossible to demonstrate that in real time.

The editorial board of the Beaufort Observer expresses opinions I disagree with completely:

We've said it before and we will continue to say it as needed: Barack Obama is losing the War in Afghanistan and in the process absolutely wasting American lives. He is also losing the "peace" in Iraq, and thereby wasting over 4000 American and many more Iraqi lives. He lost the War in Libya and time will show he created a monster there that will eventually cost many lives. Ditto Egypt, Syria and you name it. And he is grossly mishandling the situation with Iran and this has the potential for starting another world war.

Where on the left -- or on the right or center in the antiwar movement -- are the opposing arguments?

Competing opinions determine the argument. The militarization of the United States has a great deal to do with the failure of the left to compete following a war. We saw that after Vietnam, for example, and how the right took over the narrative and rewrote it into 'they made our guys fight with their hands tied, that's why we couldn't win!' There was no win because it was illegal. That's rather basic and in keeping with what children were and are taught about this country (whether you think it's truth or indoctrination) year after year.

Reality is in short supply on the left. Possibly many have exhausted themselves from whoring for Barack. What's going on in Iraq right now, for example, is not surprising to anyone who paid attention. But where we used to believe that we owned reality on the left, these days it appears we've dropped it off at the pawn shop and we're hoping we don't lose the ticket before a Republican next comes into the White House.

The idiocy, the simplistic chatter, is how you get an old drunk like Tom Hayden insisting, on the pages of the Los Angeles Times, days before the start of Iraq's (latest) political crisis that it's peace in Iraq at last.

In what world does that ever happen?

Oh, wait, I forgot, Tom Hayden was a Boat People denier.


He denied the Boat People. He insisted that what followed the US departure from Vietnam didn't really happen. So the question should really be why the hell did the Los Angeles Times go to a known conspiracy quack for a column?

The political crisis did not happen because the US pulled (partially) out of Iraq. The political crisis is the result of what the US has done in Iraq since the start of the war.

While disagreeing strongly with the Beaufort Observer's editorial, I have more respect for it than I do for the garbage that's coming out right now from much of the left or 'left.' Take Sarah Lazare's garbage at Left Turn. It's a real shame Lazare and her cohorts are so damn insulated. Otherwise, they'd realize what a joke they've become. There's a reason these people are no longer wanted on campuses, they've whored whatever was left of their name. When you want to rail against Bush (and you should, I agree) then you better have the guts to rail against Barack. Lazare hints that Barack's speech was wrong. That it was maybe dishonest. What's dishonest is a supposed anti-war person that's too chicken s**t to say what she means.

There are a lot of those these days. Vote-for-Barack Ani DiFranco plans to release an album of protest songs -- no kidding, protest songs -- this month because what could be better evidence of protesting than whoring for the ruler of a nation? Next up, look for Ani's page turner on how to be a recovering gay since she seems all about advancing the lie that it is a choice. Fake and phony, they flock to him.

And we're left with? The likes of this poor letter writer who is on 'our side' but not the side of information. He denounces a previous letter writer for calling the departure "Obama's Betrayal Day" and insists that the SOFA determined the exit date and Bush is responsible for that. Does the letter writer not know that the administration, that Barack, tried to get an extension of the SOFA? If he doesn't know that, it doesn't say much about the information level on our side. If he does know it, he's guilty of lying. And, thing is, most of the people on the other side, they're fully aware that Barack wanted an extension. So anything that letter writer might know, anything that might connect? It's not going to now because they all know he's either dishonest or doesn't know what he's writing about. A better example of someone arguing important points would be this letter.

There were lessons from Vietnam. Did everyone blow their brains on booze? Did no one pay attention? What the 'independent' media is doing right now is fostering an environment in which revisionary history takes hold. They especially do that by making Bush the target of the Iraq War pieces today. That happened after Vietnam as well. LBJ got erased and Tricky Dick was the only criminal standing. Bush and Barack own the Iraq War, both supervised it. You want to create a backlash, be unfair in who you parcel the blame out to, create a fall guy, that always helps a backlash take root quicker than anything else.

Keep blaming Bush, that more than anything else will allow history to be rewritten by the War Hawks. How come? Because, in the future, when Barack's out of the White House, you'll find a lot less people ready to whore for him. And, in the future, the reality of continuing the Iraq War (in spite of supposed promises to end it) will be historical record that can't be massaged. So all your efforts to demonize Bush and glorify Barack do nothing but weaken the anti-war argument because it's a lie and history will expose it as one.

Independent media's just inept. But a strong argument can be made that corporate media knows exactly what it's doing right now. And that the backlash they're helping to create -- one that will aid in selling the next war -- is neither accidental nor unintended.

Ivan Eland has an important piece on Iraq at Antiwar.com. I hope to bring that into the next entry but in case I don't have time or space, I'm linking to it here and will try to include it in the snapshot today.

Betty, Marcia and Mike updated last night:

For those who were on extended break due to the holiday, Common Ills year-end coverage included C.I.'s "2011: The Year of the Slow Reveal," Ruth's "Ruth's Radio Report 2011," Martha and Shirley's "2011 in books (Martha & Shirley)" and Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2011 in music." In addition, community coverage of 2011 also included Ann's "2011 best in film (Ann and Stan)" & Stan's "2011 in films (Ann and Stan)", Cedric's "Barack finally gets something right!" & Wally's "BARACK BEST 2011 MOVE!," Rebecca's "best of fall tv 2011" and Trina's "New Year's Parties."

Rebecca notes David Swanson's "Obama Crowned Himself on New Year's Eve" (War Is A Crime):

These were among the complaints registered the last time this nation had a king:

"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
"He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
"He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
"He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
"For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
"For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
"For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
"He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."

To prevent the U.S. government from behaving like a king, the drafters of the U.S. Constitution empowered an elected legislature to write every law, to declare every war, and to remove its executive from office. To further prevent the abuse of individuals' rights, those authors wrote into the Constitution, even prior to the Bill of Rights, the right to habeas corpus and the right never to be punished for treason unless convicted in an open court on the testimony of at least two witnesses to an overt act of war or assistance of an enemy.

President Barack Obama waited until New Year's Eve to take an action that I suspect he wanted his willfully deluded followers to have a good excuse not to notice. On that day, Obama issued an unconstitutional signing statement rewriting a law as he signed it into law, a practice that candidate Obama had rightly condemned. The law that Obama was signing was the most direct assault yet seen on the basic structure of self-governance and human rights that once made all the endless U.S. shouting of "We're number one!" significantly less ludicrous. The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police-and-war state.

President Obama has claimed the power to imprison people without a trial since his earliest months in office. He spoke in front of the Constitution in the National Archives while gutting our founding document in 2009. President Obama has claimed the power to torture "if needed," issued an executive order claiming the power of imprisonment without trial, exercised that power on a massive scale at Bagram, and claimed and exercised the power to assassinate U.S. citizens. Obama routinely kills people with unmanned drones.

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