Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Questioning K'Naan

Thanks for this eloquent first-person account.

To paraphrase Michael Franti & Spearhead, we can machine the world to pieces, but we can't machine it into peace. And Pres. Morales of Bolivia said, what say you?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Thank you very much for the invitation and for this kind interview. I’m very pleased, as always, to talk with you and share our proposals on behalf of life.

I’ve come at the invitation of the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations. I was, as a union—to share experiences on climate change, first as a peasant union leader and second as a president.

Unfortunately, the so-called developing countries are the hardest hit by natural phenomena. These natural phenomena are a result of the unbridled industrialization of the Western countries. I think that the countries of the West are under an obligation to see how they can pay the environmental debt to reduce harm to the planet earth. The planet earth has suffered a death warrant [sic, poss. "wound"] and must be saved, and that means saving planet earth is to save life and to save humankind.

But there are other factors that are leading to the inflation in prices for some agricultural goods, ... And it’s not possible to understand in this new millennium how there are governments, presidents, institutions that are more interested in a heap of metal than in life. They’re more interested in fueling luxury cars than in feeding human beings.

That’s where we raise a question. First, land is to be for life and not land for scrap metal or a heap of metal. And while some presidents and some international organizations want to implement measures of this sort, well, I believe very much in the social movements. ... and we need to wake up some presidents and international organizations before this problem of hunger that’s suffered by families and hectares of land being earmarked to cars rather than people goes any further. [End quote.] Pres. Morales on Democracy Now! 24 April 08

Our world is fatally overmechanized. When the tsunami struck, the sea puked up the poisons dumped by the real pirates here, sickening your people, stealing their livelihoods. And now, more white men in more metal machines are on the way to escalate another bogus war.

Why is it that perpetual bogus "holy" war is the only way we know of being in the world? It's the mythology!

The myth of the cosmos as Newtonian mechanism needs to die now. We are organic beings who conceive of our selves and our ultimate Source as machines, that's our problem. And we help the Machine Men defeat us when we champion the same damn myths that oppress us.

As a fellow poet, K'naan, I'm curious: what do you think of Morales's rejection of mechanism as a way of life?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Think Progress and the Myth of "A Clean Break" from Bush

Hey TP, you war-mongering faux leftists: where's your "clean break" rhetoric now?

There are 3 pages of this schtick. You guys were jacking us with myths of a "clean break" before, now what say you?

And then there's Geithner and Summers and Crew; what kind of "clean break" do they represent?

Your "clean break" myth is busted, TP. We see through your mask, esp. regarding escalating our holy war in Afghanistan.

Lifting Bush's Shroud

"Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness," read a statement by Holder, underscoring the clean break with the Bush administration.

Obama's Wasted Efforts at Bipartisanship

In the early days of his young presidency, President Obama has already accomplished a great deal, making a clean break from Bush on a variety of issues, ...

Salazar makes clean break from Bush’s midnight ‘headlong rush’ into offshore drilling.



Obama Justice Department Re-Hires Attorney Fired ...
Hagen’s rehiring is only the latest move in an effort by President Obama and new Attorney General Eric Holder to provide a “a clean break with the past policies of the Bush administration.” [cites http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1876621,00.html ]

Economy -- Energy Recovery
Recognizing that it is time to "mark a clean break from a troubled past, and seta new course for our nation,"....

Obama abandons ‘war on terror’ catchphrase.
Obama’s First 100 Hours: A Clean Break From Bush.


Obama's intelligence and OLC picks are a clean break from the lawlessness of the Bush administration.


Friday, April 10, 2009

What are myths, and what do they do, anyway?

You'll want to listen to all four parts of each. Only 2 bucks each, what a bargain!



Pentagon's Message Force Multipliers Jacked Us to War

From the Media Matters Archive:

EXCLUSIVE: Military analysts named in Times exposé appeared or were quoted more than 4,500 times on broadcast nets, cables, NPR

On the heels of an April 20 New York Times investigative report exposing the hidden relationship between media military analysts and the Pentagon and defense industries, Media Matters for America today exclusively released an accounting of the analysts identified in the Times exposé and their more than 4,500 appearances and quotations on ABC, ABC News Now, CBS, CBS Radio Network, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, and NPR. The release documents just how far and wide the Pentagon program reached. Read more

Past Media Matters Research:

ACTION: Tell the Networks You Deserve Independent Analysts

Press Release: Four-Star Elephant in the (News)room

Military analysts named in Times exposé appeared or were quoted more than 4,500 times on broadcast nets, cables, NPR

CNN military analyst Shepperd on trip to Gitmo: "Did we drink the government kool-aid? -- of course"

Memo to the media: Have you hosted on air the person who told Rumsfeld at military analyst meeting, "You are the leader. You are our guy"?

Networks again refuse to go on the record about NY Times' military analyst exposé

Networks continue to ignore NY Times' military analyst story, but all find time for Hannah Montana

Networks reportedly refused to appear on PBS' NewsHour to respond to NY Times' military analysts story; several continue blackout

Special Report aired quotes from military analyst Robert Scales -- but has not mentioned he was in Times' exposé on military analysts

Multiple choice: Of the following, which outlet covered two recent major national security stories -- NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, or ... Comedy Central?

Flashback: Media Matters had previously documented conservative misinformation from military analysts

Online Response:

Crooks and Liars: Pentagon Propagandist General Calls for US to Sponsor Terrorism Against Iran (May 15, 2008)

Salon - Glenn Greenwald: Joe Galloway blasts Pentagon and Larry Di Rita on "military analyst" claims (May 15, 2008)

Mediabistro - FishbowlNY: Everyone But the Networks Seem to be Talking About that NYT's Military Analyst Story (May 14, 2008)

Mediabistro - TVNewser: Examining the NYT's "Examination" (May 14, 2008)

Crooks and Liars: Military analysts named in Times Report appeared or were quoted more than 4,500 times on broadcast nets, cables, NPR

The Huffington Post: Pentagon "Media Analysts" Appeared on Major Networks or Were Quoted More Than 4,500 Times

The Politico: 4,500 times

The Carpetbagger Report: Pentagon Pundit propaganda produces political peril

Editor & Publisher: MM: Military Analysts Named by 'Times' Got on the Air 4,500-Plus Times

Open Left: Opening the Day: Obama to Get Crushed in W Virginia

Suburban Guerilla: 4500

Think Progress: Media quoted 'military analysts' over 4,500 times since 2002.

Eschaton: 4500+

Minnesota Monitor: Media Monitor: O'Reilly remixed (and more)

Democrashield: What Liberal Media?

DemocraticUnderground: Military analysts in NYT expose appeared or quoted 4,500 times on broadcast, cable, NPR

Message Force Multipliers, Wherefore Art Thou?

From Media Matters April 23, 2008

During the April 22 edition of The Daily Show, Stewart said:

STEWART: Now, another event making a recent cameo, the Iraq war. Remember? Remember when it started and it was kind of a big deal that some journalists were embedded with the troops? Well, this is great. As it turns out, it was more of an exchange program, because they actually also had troops embedded with the journalists. It's the subject of tonight's "The Less You Know."

[begin video clip]

STEWART: Look at these sweet, kindly former killing machines. The networks hire them to give expert analysis and insight into our country's war effort.

FMR. MAJ. GEN. PAUL VALLELY: We're winning the war on terror.

FMR. LT. GEN. THOMAS McINERNEY: This was the best-trained force we have ever had.

FMR. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS: This is the best leadership our military has had in its history.

FMR. GEN. MONTGOMERY MEIGS: And when I ask senior army officials who are longtime friends who aren't going to give me a B.S. answer how we're doing, are we winning or losing? They're saying we're winning.

[end video clip]

STEWART: These people are old and trustworthy, like my grandpa who served in the war. They wouldn't lie to me -- right, Grandpa? You killed Hitler. And never cheated on my grandma with a French whore. Why would he? He was in love.

STEWART: Well, it turns out many of these ex-military were not so "ex" -- working on behalf of defense contractors and the Pentagon itself. And while the news networks called them "military analysts," the Pentagon, in just released memos, referred to them as "message force multipliers" -- which sounds so much cooler than sneaky old guys. Message force multipliers. What are they, machine guns that shoot Post-it notes? By the way, message force multipliers? Worst Steven Seagal movie ever. They say he couldn't stay on message. They were wrong. They said he couldn't read prompter. All right. But have there been any reports about the broader war on terror that don't come in unreliable old-man form? Well, we're in luck, if by in luck you mean [bleeped out].

The Government Accountability Office just put out a report on America's progress pursuing the non-Iraqi perpetrators of 9-11, or as many of us refer to them, the perpetrators of 9-11. Now, the name of the report -- and this is admittedly a little coy -- is The United States Lacks Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Or, for you anagram fans, TUSLCPTDTTTACTSHIPFATA. The report stated that despite all that has occurred these last seven years, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border now has vast unpoliced regions attractive to extremists and terrorists seeking a safe haven. Well, thank God someone's safe.

For more, we turn to our own message force multiplier, senior military analyst Rob Riggle. Rob, thank you so much for joining us. Rob, this is serious revelations -- serious revelations coming out of the Pentagon and the Government Accounting Office about progress in the war on terror. What is your take on these reports?

RIGGLE: My take?


RIGGLE: My take is that in the United States war on terror, we've been walking in a [bleep] circle.

STEWART: Really?

RIGGLE: I mean, have you read this report?

STEWART: I read the, I saw the title.

RIGGLE: Well, let me just give you the Cliff Notes, OK? In 2001, there was a memo: Bin Laden determined to attack the United States from a safe haven in Afghanistan. Now, seven years and $700 billion later, we get a new memo saying, bin Laden determined to attack United States from a safe haven somewhere around Afghanistan. We're right back where we started. We could have gotten here by doing nothing.

STEWART: It is discouraging to see that -- it is discouraging. You know what's interesting, Rob? It is discouraging --

RIGGLE: I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. I knew this [bleep] didn't know where he was going. I mean, all of us, we were all in the backseat. America was just in the backseat. You know, you know, acting like, "I don't think this is the way to defeat Al Qaeda." And he's like, he's like, "I know what I'm doing. I know a shortcut through Iraq. Everybody, come on now, just trust me." And we're all like, "I don't know, maybe we should ask for directions. You know, I'm pretty sure Al Qaeda is the other way." And he's like, "Shut up, shut up. What the hell. I'll dump your ass in Yemen. You're just like your mother. Keep your hand off the radio, [bleep]."

STEWART: That's an interesting, that's an interesting -- Rob, that's an interesting metaphor.

RIGGLE: Man, shut the (bleep) up, all right?

STEWART: OK. So, do you think the president's going to make any changes based on these reports?

RIGGLE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, this will be a wake-up call. If there's anything this president responds to, it's written criticism.

STEWART: Well, thanks, Rob. That was a great report.

RIGGLE: Whatever. Whatever.

STEWART: Rob Riggle, everybody. We'll be right back.