Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Harry Belafonte

We're all trying to do more book coverage at our sites.  The book I read was by Harry Belafonte, his MY SONG: A MEMOIR written with Michael Shnayerson. 

This books deserves praise first and foremost for being so interesting and holding attention.  There wasn't a page in the book that I wished, "Get to the point!" or, "Enough!"  This was a beautifully written book.

Let me note that Harry Belafonte is a singer, his most famous song would be "The Banana Boat Song" ("Daylight come and me want to go home . . .").  His calypso songs were very popular.  He is also an actor and has starred in many films including CARMEN JONES, UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, KANSAS CITY (directed by Robert Altman), ISLAND IN THE SUN and BOBBY.  So he's not just an actor, he's also a movie star.  In addition, he's also an activist.  He was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement and has been politically active in many other areas.

So that's the other point about the book, there's a lot of interesting things you learn.

He was friends with MLK.  He writes about MLK like a person and that's nice to read because some writings remove Dr. King completely from human life, they hero worship him so much.

MLK is a hero.  He deserves praise and applause.  But we need to remember, he was also human.  He did amazing things because he had so much courage and faith.  And by remember he did this as a human, we can realize that there is so much that we can do that we don't even try to do. 

I'm never going to be MLK.  I don't have his gifts.  But I can be more like MLK if I work at it.  We all can.

I can also try to be more like Harry who has been something himself.

He's seen so much and it's captured perfectly in the book.  It's interesting when he discusses the late Dorothy Dandridge.

At one point, he writes, "I wasn't an artist who'd become an activist.  I was an activist who'd become an artist."

I strongly recommend this book.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, March 27, 2018.  Does violence in Iraq not matter?

ALSUMARIA reports that a bombing east of Baghdad left two people injured.  At ANTIWAR.COM, Margaret Griffis counts 35 dead in Monday's violence.  SHIA WAVES notes one incident of violence on Monday.

Saturday's violence resulted in at least 21 deaths.  The violence receives little coverage in the US media these days.  The silence certainly helps the US government sell the lie that the war is over and that Iraq has "turned a corner" -- that mythical turned corner claim is trotted out every few years.  It's never been true so far but they keep trying.  MSNBC features Rachel Maddow who will never explore violence in Iraq or note dead Iraqis.  She's got so much to talk about -- none of it important.  We avoided Keith Olbermann here because his reputation was well known (sexist and piggish).  During his rise on MSNBC, you won't find me praising him here.  But I will note now that he was willing to discuss Iraqi deaths and the effects on the Iraqi people.  Rachel won't.  But she was for the Iraq War before it started.  Then came AIR AMERICA RADIO and, on UNFILTERED, she wouldn't book veterans who were against the war.  She would repeatedly say that there was no point in talking about the US leaving Iraq because they were there now.  That's the sort of voice that gets on MSNBC.  (Also remember, she put on a man -- not once but twice -- known to have beaten his wife and praised and coddled the man -- known to have beaten his wife that year.  That's the sort of 'caring' and 'social minded' talk show host Rachel is.)

The faces on camera for MSNBC have shuffled but the people behind the scenes have not and MSNBC existed to sell the war.  So much so that they fired Phil Donahue on the eve of the Iraq War because they couldn't have anyone on air who might prompt actual thought.  When you grasp that, you grasp the current on air 'talent' at MSNBC and how they serve a purpose: Diversion.  They exist to distract you from real problems.  They exist to ensure that you never take on the government, you only take on your fellow citizens.  They distract from reality.

Rachel had Colin Powell on her show, you may remember.  And fawned all over him.  Didn't make him uncomfortable about his lies to the United Nations about Iraq.  Because that's not why she's on television.  She's there -- like a good whore -- to provide a distraction that lets you safely vent anger at safe targets.  She's a fake.  A radio dee jay mistaken as a journalist.  She spent weeks on her self-titled AIR AMERICA RADIO SHOW lying to her listeners as she defended the TIME magazine writer who wrote the lurid prose piece on Ann Coulter.  Critics were outraged by that piece -- rightly -- but Rachel defended it.  She forgot to tell you that she was besties with the writers -- a gay man who referred to her as "my angel."  She forgot to tell you that, so we had to.  That's how it works.  You'll never get the truth from her.

UNFILTERED listeners learned that the last month of the show.  Lizz Winstead walked off the show when they learned it was the last month and that they would be replaced by Jerry Springer.  Rachel didn't walk.  Like a good whore, she showed and she lied.  For a month, she lied that Lizz hadn't quit -- the show's official message board was enraged that Lizz wasn't there -- she lied and insisted that Lizz was just home sick.  That's how she lies to her audience.  And the fact that she did that not only got her a solo show on AIR AMERICA RADIO, it ended up getting her a slot on MSNBC.

That's who some people wrongly put their trust in.  A spoiled, baby ass who got her own parents to be sock puppets on the AIR AMERICA RADIO message boards.  How pathetic.

But people think she's smart -- only when it comes to whoring -- and that she's honest.

She's just another person pocketing millions for deliberately distracting the American people.

Rachel Maddow exists to distract.

She doesn't inform.  She doesn't shine a light.

The US has been at war with Iraq for fifteen years, had troops stationed in Iraq for fifteen years.  That's not a story for Rachel.  When she tried to make it one, it was so full of lies that even Randi Rhodes mocked her for her refusal to be honest.

And, getting back to yesterday's snapshot, a few e-mails came in saying "I can only follow so much, I can't go all over to pick up news reports I don't know about."

Alice Walker, in 2006, addressed what we can do.  That interview is collected in THE WORLD HAS CHANGED: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALICE WALKER (pages 308 - 309):

Many people live with two sides of themselves out of touch with each other.  They complain about paying their taxes but don't complain about what their taxes actually buy, like cluster bombs.  A million of these bombs, originally supplied by the US government, were left in Lebanon.  Children will come and pick them up, and they will blow up in their faces.  Then you have all these maimed and dying children.  But since your right hand, which wrote the check for the taxes, has learned not to care about the left hand, which has actually sent this off to the IRS and the government and the military, you pretend you are innocent.  Well, you're not.  That's what I mean.
Of course, I know how difficult it can be to become fully aware and bear responsibility, and even though I figure there's very little I can do to actually stop the war, I feel like I can make every effort to be aware.  Not to be aware is very soul shredding.  People might say, "I didn't know they were making tanks big enough to level people's houses."  Well, they should know that.  You may not be able to dismantle the tank, or even stop paying for the tank, but you can know that's what is happening.

Our government is at war on Iraq.

Black Alliance for Peace noted last week:

Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “Humanitarian intervention” to depose a “dictator” was the excuse. Now Iraq—home to a major civilization—is littered with military waste that has caused birth defects in Iraqi infants and has been a breeding ground for armed, right-wing Islamic groups. The bill for re-constructing Iraq is estimated at $100 billion. The United States says it will not pay a cent. Keeping Iraq in ruins allows the United States to control the oil Iraq produces and keep that crucial resource out of the hands of China and Russia, both of which have been demonized by the ruling class with the help of the Western press.

If you're not getting how bad the media is, check this out from a WASHINGTON POST journalist:

Total U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan: 6,950 Number of U.S. children killed by gun violence in past five years: 6,984

Apparently, we have to review this again.  US service members killed in Iraq are not the same as children killed in the US.  US service members are trained in combat, are given firearms, are sent to another country to engage in war.

Ingram, like the idiot we noted yesterday, ignores the true comparison: Iraqi civilians.

Nicholas J.S. Davis (NEW MINT PRESS) notes the death toll in Iraq is easily 2.38 million killed since the start of the 2003 US-led invasion.

It was bad enough with the idiot yesterday.  Why would a journalist like Ingram do it?  Because it's a talking point -- we've received it in the public e-mails.  It's part of astrotruf.  And that a reporter would do this?  That goes to how little Iraqi lives are valued.

Their 'crime' is living in Iraq.

For that, they are killed and injured.

It takes a lot of xenophobia to ignore the Iraqi people but, fortunately, the corporate media is full of xenophobes.

Outside the corporate media, most get it.

Not that I think the gun violence march in America was irrelevant but the children of Iraq, Syria, and Palestine would like to be safe in school and at home. Where are the marches for these children? Why is the world so silent when it comes to them?

1) Violence. When you see some poor father in Iraq crying, carrying his dead child in his arms, and you call it "collateral damage"? Well:

2) Children are killed by US military violence. Their lives are EQUAL to the lives of American children. Americans are not worth more, ok?!

3) When violence is practiced by a society anywhere, it will manifest within that society in ways the society did not anticipate.

4) When I was in grade school in 1970s, a sign in classroom said: "Children learn what they live" Somewhere we've lost sight of that.

5) Because our govt uses violence against innocent people and justifies it as "necessary", this same phenomenon manifests within society.

6) You cannot hope to end violence by banning a certain gun without banning the use of the same gun against kids in other countries.

7) Violence is violence in America, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It's wrong and evil in all the world. All children deserve safety, not just here

8) So let's have an end to drawing some line that says "This gun can be used to kill kids over there but not here." Or excusing govt murder.

9) The govt has murdered millions for reasons they themselves cannot fully explain. So let's have an end to THAT. Murder is murder.

10) Americans are too damn nearsighted on this. We've been killing people all over the planet for decades but don't like it done here.

11) When you say human life is sacred EVERYWHERE then it will permeate society here, too. But you've got to practice it! ALL LIFE IS SACRED!

As Nick Pemberton (COUNTERPUNCH) observes:

Violence in Iraq is safer for the ruling class and the middle class here in America. Barack Obama would never really drop a drone on a Jonas Brother, even if he makes jokes about it. Segregated neighborhoods operate in the same way. As long as the police continue to occupy them we assume we are safe from any stray bullets.
The contradictory media coverage goes something like this: When kids die in the United States it is senseless. When kids die in Iraq it is necessary. When kids die in the United States they have lost a future. When kids die in Iraq they have lost a present. When kids die in the United States their parents are heartbroken. When kids die in Iraq their parents are terrorists. When kids die in the United States it is tragic. When kids die in Iraq it is just another day.
[. . .]
The hysteria around the death of rich white children is a different sort of reaction than the occasional pity we feel for Iraqi children. 

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, DISSIDENT VOICE and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: