Friday, February 24, 2006

Democracy Now! and Danny Schechter

Good evening. Let's get the weekend kicked off right by noting Democracy Now!

140 Die in Iraq Following Bombing at Shiite Shrine
Iraq is under a high security alert following days of violence sparked by Wednesday’s bombing of one of the country's holiest Shiite shrines in Samarra. At least 140 people, mostly Sunni Arabs, have been killed across the country. The Sunni-led Association of Muslim Scholars has said 184 Sunni mosques have since been damaged or destroyed. 10 clerics have been killed and 15 more abducted. The government imposed a rare daytime curfew today in Baghdad and in three other provinces -- preventing many from attending Friday prayers. A series of joint Sunni-Shiite demonstrations have been held calling for national unity and to condemn the increasing violence. As many as 10,000 rallied in Basra alone. But many analysts fear Iraq is on the brink of civil war. The U.S. military is ordering its soldiers to stay in its barracks in Baghdad and to stay off the streets. On Thursday seven U.S. troops died. Meanwhile the staff of the satellite TV channel Al Arabiya is in mourning following the death of one of its best-known correspondents in Iraq. The 30-year-old Atwar Bahjat was assassinated along with her cameraman and soundman on Thursday.

Well is it civil war yet? Is it? Is this where the weak ass Dems wake up and stop saying "Stay the course." Or offering crap of: "We broke it, we've got to fix it." What an inflated sense of self they have. And who's this "we"? Who's over there? I don't see Hillary Clinton securing Baghdad.

Tony and I have a new friend in class. He was a Republican. Why? Because his parents were. When he found out about my site he started checking it out and used to come here and chuckle at the silly lefty. I wish I could say I convinced him. But, hey, I was a gateway. :D

He's crazy for The Common Ills. First thing when I get on campus today, he's running up asking me if I'd read "And the war goes on (Indymedia Roundup)" from last night? Yep. Better believe I did. C.I.'s hitting on Iraq over and over is what woke him up. Last week, for the first time, he started thinking about the prisoners at Guantanamo as something other than "animals." (That's his word for how he used to see them.) It was probably the last week of January that I caught on that he was checking out the other sites in the community. And I could tell he was checking out C.I.'s stuff because he'd make a mention every now and then. Then last week, he came out and admitted it. He's off the Bully Boy Kool Aid. And now he's going to try to get his parents off.

Now I'd love to say, "Man, what a writer I am." But that's not the case. But what is the case is that he checked out my site and found something worth reading for some reason and then started checking out the other sites. So here's the point: you can do that too.

You can talk to people and you may think, "Okay, I'm not able to do the job somebody else could . . ." but you do what you can and somebody may get curious. And then they may start finding out other stuff on their own. We can all make a difference.

A lot of the time, I find most of the people on campus who turned on Bully Boy didn't really follow politics. They just knew the media loved it and thought he was God. So they were just kind of following the media's lead. And one person can make a difference there. If you're surrounded by Bully Boy lovers, you saying you don't agree with him may make someone else wonder, "Well, what do I agree with Bully Boy on?"

Or you might find that they already have doubts but didn't want to be the first one to go out on the limb. So go out on that limb and see if they don't join you.

It was different with this guy. He was a Kool Aid drinker big time. Followed Bully Boy's speeches and all that. Could give you every talking point in the world. But he didn't hear anything but those talking points. He goes, "If C.I. did this on CNN, I would've seen the obvious a long time ago."

And we all need to see the obvious. So don't be silent.

Marines Conduct Secret Study Into Iran Ethnic Minorities
The Financial Times is reporting an intelligence wing of the Marines has hired a private defense contractor to conduct a secret study of Iran's ethnic minorities. This is a move that could indicate early stages of contingency plans for a ground assault on Iran. The Marines conducted a similar study in Iraq. A former intelligence officer said the ultimate purpose of the Marines intelligence wing was to "support effective ground military operations by the Marine Corps." The study appeared to focus on whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq. The Financial Times reports several Iranians living in the United States refused to help with the study because they saw it as part of an effort to break up Iran. To conduct the analysis, the military hired a subsidiary of the defense contractor SAIC, the Science Applications International Corp.

People said, "Oh no, Bully Boy's too smart to start a third war when two are still waging." They were WRONG! He is a menace. We need to impeach him. It's been said before and it'll be said again but that's because it's true: nobody died from the blow job. But the Republicans in the House impeached Bill Clinton. Here we've got a liar who has blood on his hands and you can see what the priorities of the press are. With Bill Clinton they paraded every looney they could dig up before the cameras. There stories didn't match with the previous version they'd told or the one before that. But the press loved it. They ate it up and they forced it on America.

Now we've got someone who has lied us into war. We've got someone who is incompetent. And they can say a word. They act like he is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now he wants to launch war number three and we have to say "NO!" loudly and repeatedly. We have to be prepared for all the usual fear mongering. When Condi and Dick start talking "Mushroom clouds" we have to remember we've seen this crap before.

I am so sick of the American corporate press right now. They lie and they lie again. That's probably why they can't call Bully Boy out -- they are a bunch of liars and cowards.

If they'd done their job in 2000, we never would have been stuck with Bully Boy in the first place. And don't think I think the Democratic Party has a bunch of brave leaders in it because they don't. Every single one of them should have been screaming loud during the recounts.

And Joe Lieberman's ass should have been drop kicked out of the party when he went around giving interviews where he played his usual lame ass self. Giving the recounts away on Meet the Press should have been the last straw. But instead there was the press acting like Al Gore owed it to Stab-Me-In-The-Back-Lieberman to endorse him in 2004. The only people who wanted Joe Lieberman to win the nomination were the idiots and fools seeing a Joe-mentum that was never there. He's a coward and a suck up.

The segments on Democracy Now! are always important but Danny Schechter's one of the voices I've learned from The Common Ills and one that I really do look forward to reading because he speaks so good you can understand -- any issue and he just seems able to break it down so that you understand. He was on a segment of Democracy Now! today:

The News Dissector Danny Schechter Calls For March 21 Protests Targeting Media's Complicity in the Iraq War
We speak with Danny Schechter 'the News Dissector' -- veteran journalist, media critic and co-founder of, one of the largest online media issues networks. Schechter discusses the upcoming anti-war and media protest day, dangers journalists face in Iraq, coverage of war and more. We play an excerpt of his documentary "Weapons of Mass Deception."

I swiped that from C.I. because it had the links in it. I'm also going to swipe this announcement:


America's largest anti-war coalition,
United For Peace and Justice, is broadening its anti-war protest to include targeting a US media system that has largely substituted jingoism for journalism and backed the war -- often in the name of supporting the troops.
UFPJ Coordinator Leslie Cagan announced that her organization is partnering with and other media groups to organize a Media Day of War Coverage Protest on March 21, 2006. It takes part during a week of organizing and activism marking the third anniversary of the war. Plans are also underway for forums and film screenings on March 20th.
"We are thrilled that anti-war activists will now be connecting with media reform activists to challenge mainstream media 'coverage' that has underreported civilian casualties and much of the costs of the war," says MediaChannel Director David DeGraw."
Sadly, the media helped make the war possible, and despite mea culpas about flawed pre-war coverage, the coverage has basically not changed, an approach which treats every Administration claim seriously, while marginalizing the anti-war movement."
Even as public opinion shifted against the war -- only 37% of the American people are said to still back the war -- most of the media downplay reporting on demands for troop withdrawal.
Focusing on the media role is a departure for the anti-war movement that helped organize the protests that brought 30 million people to the streets on March 15, 2003. Until now, protesters have focused almost entirely on government policies and practices.Recognizing the media role indicts a corporate America that has, in some cases, profited from the war with rises in ratings and revenues. This includes General Electric (GE), owner of NBC-Universal, who received $600,000 in Iraq reconstruction contracts.Before the war began broadcast networks lobbied the FCC for rule changes to allow them to buy more stations. At the time, Washington insiders spoke of a quid pro-quo with the networks asking the FCC to waive their rules while their news shows waved the flag. In that period, then FCC Commissioner Michael Powell justified a need for more media concentration with the claim that "only big companies can cover a war like the one in Iraq."
Many journalists and media organizations have since blasted one-sided coverage. Editor & Publisher, a media industry trade magazine, has consistently documented and criticized pervasive media practices that boosted the war with more "selling than telling." launched a "Tell the Truth About the War" campaign months ago, calling for better and more consistent coverage. Thousands of emails from readers have gone to media executives.
If the war is to end, the coverage has to change. We need to press the press and move the media.
Now MediaChannel plans to organize meetings between critics and media companies. Planning for protests and panels is underway - not only in New York, but at local newspapers, radio and TV stations across the nation as part of a national effort. A national email campaign will be launched as well.If you would like to endorse or participate in this effort, or help in your community by organizing meetings, house parties - including screenings of WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) and other films critical of the war media coverage - contact

Now we all just discussed one of Schechter's books at The Third Estate Sunday Review at the start of the week: "1 Book, 10 Minutes (Danny Schechter, The Death of Media)." That's a great book. They also addressed Danny's documentary in March of last year (they, because I wasn't blogging then and I didn't help out on that) with "Must see DVD: Danny Schechter's Weapons of Mass Deception." I hope you'll look at those and consider picking up the book or getting the DVD. Last Friday I suggested this article "JACK ABRAMOFF'S WHITE MAN'S BURDEN: How the Sleazy Republican Lobbyist Boosted Apartheid" here and on campus, I passed it around. Kip, Tony and my new bud, was one of the ones I passed that out too. As soon as Kip gets done asking me today if I read C.I.'s "And the war goes on" last night, the next thing he's telling me about is that Schechter was on Democracy Now! today. I'm like, "Woah, dude, you're watching Democracy Now! these days too?" He is. Kip is off the Kool Aid.

I bet there's a Kip that you know and you probably think there's no point talking to him because you'll never reach him. But don't give up because you may end up surprised. He heard about my site and knew me from class. He'd make a crack here or there and I'd make a crack back and before you know it, we're talking. I was hoping that by the end of the semester, he'd be thinking a little and, dude, he's off in his own orbit now. He's getting the information he needs and he's bringing up stuff to me. So you never know. Talk to the people around you and who knows how much difference it could make.

And what else do you need to do? You know what you need to do. You need to get over to Like Maria Said Paz and check out Elaine's stuff. Let's all try to be the gateway antidote to the Bully Boy Spin Drugs. Here's one more thing you need to do: have a great weekend! :D