June 17, 2004

New Media Grows Out of the Ruins

Jim Hightower affirms my own belief that an alternative media is growing up in the ruins of the decaying corporate media.

Says Hightower: "Democratic reformer Henry Adams, who decried the decline in democracy as the robber barons rose to power in the nineteenth century, did not mince words about the failure of the news media of his day: 'The press is the hired agent of a monied system,' he wrote, 'and set up for no other purpose than to tell lies where the interests are involved.'... If you detect a corporate bias in your news, don't feel lonely. Two-thirds of Americans told pollsters last September that they believe special interests or a self-serving corporate-political agenda infect news coverage... "

Hightower was recently on the road promoting his book Theives in High Places, and gained the distinct impression that an alternative to the corporate media is springing up out of a fertile soil fertilized not with money, but with passion. "I have good news for you," he says, "this is already happening! Thousands of hardy, grassroots people have been working steadily and creatively over the years in every area of media, and the result of their combined efforts is that a new media force is now flowering coast to coast ­ a force of hundreds of media outlets that is unabashedly progressive, fiercely independent, diverse, dispersed, and democratic. Some of these outlets are nationally known, others only locally known; some are brand new, others have been plugging away for decades. But the significant thing is that, collectively, they are a force to be reckoned with, celebrated, strategically deployed and deliberately expanded." Common Dreams

Our greatest power in America is still our power as purchasers. The key is education, awareness, information. A conscious population cannot be defeated in the battle for a just, sane society. And how fortunate that we just happen to find ourselves in the information age.

It is right there for the taking.

One of the most striking things I ever read on an album cover was on the first Frank Zappa Mothers album in the mid-60s. "Drop out of school and educate yourself if you've got any guts." I wouldn't necessarily recommend that literally to my own daughter, who I think would be well advised to do some more school. But I do encourage people of all ages to drop out of the group mind, refuse to be ruled by the mass media that dominates American society through the power of corporate America to control the images and to some degree mold the culture.

If a large number of people think for themselves, crooks like Cheney and sociopaths like Bush and psychopaths like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Ashcroft will not be able to continue pulling off their sleazy scam. It would just be over. And the word is getting out. There has been so much bad news since Bush stole the election it finally just burst the dam.

Hightower's article is encouraging evidence of movement, and of possibilities. A great ending: "Years ago, my momma taught me that two wrongs don't make a right - but I soon figured out that three left turns do. We must apply that same kind of street savvy if we're ever to find our way around the media blockages that the corporate interests have put in place to shut out our voices."

And furthermore...

  • Art Buchwald sums up the torture issue. In a time like this, even Buchwald is a black humorist.
  • Insurgents attack oil pipeline in Iraq. They strike at the only thing Bush and Cheney really care about. Boston Globe
  • Bush still rates badly on the economy in polls. After 1.4 million jobs added in the last nine months, there is still a net loss of 1.3 million since he took office. Reuters
  • Dean says people are ready for Kerry. "I think [people] are very worried about their jobs," he said. "They have a lot of concerns -- moving jobs overseas is a huge issue. You work for 20 years, and all of a sudden, your job is gone, and it's not coming back." But hasn't an improving job picture defused that? Dean: "Not a bit. Because the jobs we're getting are $8.50-and-no-benefits at Wal-Mart. The numbers you see help Wall Street [but] don't help people who are laid off. We globalized corporate rights, but we didn't globalize workers' rights. So, essentially, we have to relearn as a global economy the same lesson America learned when unions came in a hundred years ago ... that you have to find a way to divide the spoils of capitalism in some way that the workers feel is reasonable."

    Business Week

  • Celebs against Bush -- Madonna: "Our greatest risk is not terrorism, and it's not Iraq or the Axis of Evil. Our greatest risk is a lack of leadership, a lack of honesty and a complete lack of consciousness." The insipid Jessica Simpson sang at Republican fundraisers. Scotsman
  • Trying to grab onto the Reagan aura, Bush calls Kerry's criticism of economy "pessimistic". "But the private sector still has 1.9 million jobs fewer than it did when President Bush took office in 2001, and almost every public poll published in the past two months shows that most Americans are pessimistic about the economy and disapprove of the president's stewardship of it." Miami Herald
  • Twenty six former diplomats and military officers held a press conference to call for Bush ouster. They "served every president since Harry Truman." CNN
  • "The Bush-Cheney campaign said at least 20 members of the group have been involved in partisan political activities in the past." As if that somehow negates what they are saying. They would actually come off sounding smarter if they just stood dumbly as if they didn't understand the question. "No spika ingles." LA Times
  • Prominent members of the group of former State and Defense department officials to come out formally against Bush's re-election include retired Marine General Joseph Hoar, commander of S forces in the Middle East during the administration of Bush's father retired Admiral William Crowe, ambassador to Britain under President Bill Clinton and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Ronald Reagan and retired Admiral Stansfield Turner, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Retired General Merrill McPeak, former Air Force chief of staff Chas Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf war Scotsman
  • 9/11 panel concludes, stating there was no Iraq-Al Qaeda link. Bush and Cheney both repeated those lies this week. Al Jazeera
  • Saddam rebuffed Osama --
  • 9/11 panel says Pakistan helped Osama, Iraq didn't Times of India
  • So what does bush do? US President George W. Bush rewarded Pakistan with "major non-NATO ally" status, tightening military cooperation as both countries jointly battle terrorism. "I hereby designate the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally of the United States for the purposes of the act and the Arms Export Control Act," Bush said in a statement released by the White House. Channel News Asia
  • A third of all Americans under 65 lacked health insurance at some point during the last two years. Reuters
  • Reagan's deeply flawed administration -- "Yes, I know the dictum of Diogenes: 'Do not speak ill of the dead.' Yet when the worshipful deification of the departed distorts reality beyond recognition, duty beckons and journalists must get off the sentimental journey and start reporting the facts, disturbing as they are. The truth must trump adulation. Like Evita Peron, Ronald Reagan did have some charm and virtue. He was affable, humorous and optimistic. But he and his administration were far from saintly, and many at home and around the world suffered and died from the Reagan touch. .. The Iran-Contra scandal involved far more serious crimes than Bill Clinton's lies to cover up his sexual romps. Bribing terrorists in Iran with arms to free hostages and then using the proceeds to finance an illegal war in Nicaragua was disgraceful, criminal and impeachable....Ronald Reagan facilitated many of the very crimes George W. Bush would cite 20 years later to justify his war with Iraq. Niagara Falls Reporter
  • Ethics complaint against Delay -- USA Today
  • Damn the Death Threats! The marketing budget for Fahrenheit 911 will be the most ever for a documentary. By mid July it should be in 500 theaters. USA Today
  • Another new documentary film The Hunting of the President, based on Joe Conason's book, premiered June 15 in Little Rock. It opens at the Angelika in New York June 18.
  • Orwell meet Kafka -- The Torture Administration. Nation Institute
  • Jesse Jackson on Reagan. Sun Times
  • Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history. Krugman, New York Times
  • No Love Lost -- Ron Reagan on Bush, etc. "What's his accomplishment?" Reagan asked then about GWB. "That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"


    June 18, 2004

  • Right wing groups working hard to suppress "Fahrenheit 911" -- Alternet
  • But so far it only helps to hype the film for Moore. CNN
  • Mark Morford, enough with Reagan already -- SF Gate
  • Bush still sticks to the lie about Iraq and Al Qaeda. China Net BBC USA Todaym
  • NYTimes calls on Bush to apologize for war "It's hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday: there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11. Now President Bush should apologize to the American people, who were led to believe something different. Of all the ways Mr. Bush persuaded Americans to back the invasion of Iraq last year, the most plainly dishonest was his effort to link his war of choice with the battle against terrorists worldwide. While it's possible that Mr. Bush and his top advisers really believed that there were chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq, they should have known all along that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. No serious intelligence analyst believed the connection existed; Richard Clarke, the former antiterrorism chief, wrote in his book that Mr. Bush had been told just that."
  • Torture is legal? Washington Post Express India
  • 9/11 panel results will dog Bush -- NY Times

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