has come, the media say,
to talk of pigs with wings
29 April 2009: Yesterday the Chronicle devoted almost
half its A section to alarming headlines and contradictory news
and blather about a possibly emerging flu epidemic and then headed
their lead editorial, "Now is not the time to panic." Of
course, I didn't read the editorial because it wasn't signed.
But I e-mailed friends in San Diego, where 5 of the 3 million
county residents had been diagnosed with mild cases of "swine
flu" to ask if they were in a panic. They weren't. As for me,
only one of probably over 40 million Californians not infected,
you may not care what I think since I have not spent a minute,
since September 11 2001, fearing a terrorist would strike me.
But I'll tell you anyway that I think now might be a good time
for a trip to Mexico.
Oh I know. There's been either 200
or 102 or 2 deaths clearly pinned on swine flu there, and maybe
2000 milder cases (a few or very few or even fewer of which have
been verified) in a national population of (approximately or possibly
or maybe) about 120 million. It's the "danger zone."
On today's front page, the Chronicle
asks why - that is the Chronicle claims "puzzled" scientists are
wondering with all their might WHY - there are so many more unconfirmed
cases and not-certainly related deaths in Mexico than anywhere
else. After puzzling myself about why they'd be asking such a
stupid question, I came up with only a half dozen obvious answers,
beginning with (1) it started there and (2) pigs don't fly.
Obviously the Chronicle, like Backtrack
Obama who also doesn't know what to do, is just thrashing around.
To sensibly fill the big spread they think they need would require
a hard squint at some facets of the problem or pseudo problem
they instinctively know they don't want to touch. Too bad, because
this MAY be a situation that could use some media with the brains
to keep the public properly informed. I say it COULD be, because
it could be.
The most useful actual fact I dug
out of the blather (it wasn't up front where it belonged) is that
you can't get swine flu from eating cooked pork. A lot more of
that kind of information was needed, such as, for instance, that
the reason First World cases so far reported are mild is that
First World people live in cleaner and less crowded conditions
than poor Mexicans and have more resources when they get sick.
I also learned in today's Chronicle
that U.S. pig farmers say swine flu doesn't even come from swine;
and from a number of sources since yesterday that Mexican investigators
say it damn sure does but they aren't sure ANY cases in Mexico
came from swine; and that they aren't sure if all or even many
of the cases ARE cases; and that the Mexican government thinks
the disease may come from ANOTHER country (that's called keeping
your eye on the ball); and that some scientists think the disease
may have already been common everywhere and is now being found
because they're looking for it, so the more they look for it the
more they find it, and the more it looks like a pandemic.
To belabor a point that needs belaboring,
one question the media don't have the wit or the will to answer
for me is: are most cases in poor, crowded, unsanitary neighborhoods?
I think so, and the reasons I'm not afraid to go to Mexico now,
when I won't be tripping over a lot of other tourists, is that
(1) I'll be driving alone in the clean interior of my own car,
not riding a crowded bus, (2) I'll be drinking bottled water,
like all tourists and all well-off Mexicans, (3) I'll eat only
hot cooked foods from clean stands or in clean places where nobody
looks sick, (4) I'll be staying NOT in crowded dirt-floored shanties
but in clean little hotels where the sheets and pillow cases are
washed daily, (5) I'll be bathing and brushing my teeth and gargling
mouth wash and washing my hands regularly and cleaning my nails,
etc. That is I'll be living like a first world person, as I always
do, not the way the world's poor majority live. Add that (6) I'll
be taking my first world health in with me, with infection and
disease resistance built on a lifetime of good nutrition, that
is I won't be weakened by any of the endemic diseases and conditions
that plague the majority poor, and after decades of Latin American
travel I won't be threatened by Montezuma's revenge, either. All
this plus odds steeper than the lottery against catching swine
flu at all (YET) and, apparently, odds of at least hundreds to
one (probably thousands to one) that the case I catch will be
mild. Add to that the fatalism of a 72-year-old seasoned traveler
and realistic philosopher who knows that the death rate is 100%,
I don't mean to foolishly guffaw at
the swine flu threat. If it's not just a way to keep us from noticing
what's happening in Pakistan, or a way to punish Latin America
for siding with Cuba, it's at least a more real KIND of threat
than most of the threats the media hype. It could turn out a number
of ways, though.
It could be a false alarm just like
the bird flu and West Nile disease. Or it could be as bad as sleeping
sickness or an outbreak of cholera or AIDS, devastating to certain
populations but not others. It could be a worse strain of flu
than the strain they say killed 50 million people once upon a
time (never believe catastrophe stats) yet less disastrous because
people now are more resistant. Or that could be true in the suburbs
but not in the ghettos. Or it could be more deadly this time because
there are so many more people living so much closer together and
intermixing so much more in so many more ways. Assuming this is
a poor people's disease (which I do), it's important that, along
with having 6 times as many people now as in 1918, we have more
than 6 times as many poor people.
Anyway, there'll be more pandemics
and if this one's not bad enough, the next one or the next one
will be. During the 20 years between 1950 when, at 14, I was given
my first typewriter and 1970, when I gave up hope that I, anyway,
could penetrate human denial - during that time when, unlike now,
I was actually on a crusade, I regularly predicted that the eco-collapse
of the 21st Century (brought on by overpopulation and the overgrowth
of the human encampment, exacerbated by capitalism and its necessary
corollary sprawling poverty, facilitated by religion and tribalism)
would include endless wars for space and "free running diseases."
For free running diseases read pandemics - which
has to be plural. I and others like me who struggled hopelessly
to make that point back then were called "doomsayers" by media
that never identified or quoted us. But now it appears that Mother
Nature, who can't be ignored, is starting to make our point for
is lectured in Trinidad by angry Latin American leaders
21 April 2009, I can't say much about what went on
summit-wise at the "Summit of the Americas" in Trinidad. My best
source is Fidel Castro, who wasn't there, through his Granma column,
well headed "The Secret Summit," since this was the second Latin
American presidents' meeting in less than a month to be disappeared
behind a U.S. leader's photo op.
Almost all western media wrote it up
as a clip-out for Obama fans, blurring over the off-THEIR-screen
back talk from a crowd that WASN'T Obama's fan club. Like loyal
embedded press who didn't understand the issues,anyway, they focused
on pix of Obama and read-outs from his slick and speechy but shallow
pronouncements, mixing what he said to the press, to the assembly,
and to private groups of sycophants, with no concern for clarity
or the possibility that anyone in the audience wasn't clapping.
The impression given is of a remote
rose garden meeting of plantation peon reps and their new boss,
whom at least the SF Chronicle had expected to be greeted like
a "rock star." Some selected grumbling is mentioned, a little
in this story and a little in that, as a kind of vague context
for the new boss's triumph. But the starry-eyed press is as convinced
as Obama himself that the empty oratorical flourishing and self-consciously
velvet gloved whip cracking that has become his and Hillary Clinton's
trademark will both win the necessary respect of the peons, impress
readers, and continue to delight Obama's heroically oblivious
I wrote March 30, though (see below),
that I would expect a response to Joe Biden's arrogance in Santiago,
and behind the newsprint veil, my expectations were met in Trinidad.
Apparently, while media have been going on and on and (JHC!) ON
about Washington's beautiful new facial expression and studiously
or stupidly ignoring the growing world-wide anger of everyone
who recognizes the same-ol' American whip-hand, the Latin American
presidents who really didn't like being lashed by Biden in March
have been lying in wait for their chance at his fool boss in April.
BBC called it a "sour note" (in the Obama
debut symphony they were stubbornly directing) when Evo Morales
demanded an apology for the Obama State Department's role in a
recent attempt to assassinate him (I don't know about that, but
neither do you). But the Bolivian president was actually perfectly
I'm sure the actual new leaders of the
free world came hoping to disarm America's swell-headed pretender
with a generous measure of diplomatic applause and friendliness
up to a point, but I doubt they were surprised when he stupidly
repeated Biden's recitation that the embargo couldn't be expeditiously
ended because "the Cuban people still aren't free" (see the definition
In fact, they arrived in Trinidad already angry.
Hugo Chavez didn't just run out to the
hotel bookstore for a copy of Eduardo Galeano's " Open Veins of
Latin America" and present it to Obama as a spontaneous response
to the American's presumptuous explanation to a group of new socialist
leaders that poverty must be alleviated "from the bottom up (?)".
Obviously, Hugo already knew that his junior colleague needed
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner
wasn't just ad libbing in response to Obama's asininely boss-like
(or Fox News-like) advice not to blame America for all their problems
when she read off a litany of U.S. business, political, and CIA
sins against civilization.
And though Nicaraguan President Daniel
Ortega's address was apparently not pre-written, he was only freshly
motivated by Obama's repeating Biden's slander of Cuba when, as
part of a list of Nicaraguan grievances against a comprehensive
list of U.S. presidents, he expressed everyone's "shame" for attending
a supposed "summit" from which Cuba was excluded not by the majority,
nor (as the media said) by anonymous organizers, but by the U.S.
Ortega also vainly reminded the comatose
press that Latin America has recently started organizing their
own new trading bloc, quarter-world bank, and progressive summit
organization - the most important news blacked out of the main
stream media story from Santiago.
Readers may not know, since the media
never remind them, that The "Summit of the Americas" is an entirely
U.S. stage show, invented by George Bush I just before he left
office, for the specific purpose of isolating Cuba, then being
described as regularly as a pop song by tacitly obedient American
media as "the only country in the hemisphere still not free" (see
#10 under Misconceptions
About Cuba on this website). All the command delegates
know that and, had they not had slight hopes for Obama, it wouldn't
have surprised me if they'd all boycotted the Trinidad conference.
In effect, they probably ended its run,
as they refused to sign a "mission accomplished" type summit summary
document (written two years ago in the U.S.) until it declares
capitalism the hemisphere's worst problem and until it adds Cuba
to the membership list.
After Obama demonstrated the same velvet
insult technique that isn't fooling Iran by offering to smilingly
"listen" to Cuba's admissions of guilt, and after Raul Castro
obviously ironically responded on the radio from Caracas that
he will talk with Obama about several things including a prisoner
exchange, Hillary Clinton dizzily burbled that Raul seemed to
be admitting his errors, but only Obama's team and most of the
press were confused.
Just one news account I read that day
called Raul's radio speech "fiery" and "reminiscent of his brother,"
meaning when Fidel was angry. And the Washington Post registered
two days later that he was actually offering to trade Obama any
Cuban convicts Obama miscalled "political prisoners" (see my Friendy
Critique Of Cuban Press Freedom for the truth about
those guys) for the 5 Cubans jailed in America for spying NOT
on America but on the Miami mafia. But I believe (I hope) Raul's
point, talking about a "prisoner exchange", was that since the
embargo, which is based on the WWII American Trading With The
Enemy Act is to be continued, the opposing commanders in chief
could do some legitimately war-related stuff like that.
In his column, Fidel virtually told Obama
to stop talking and just end the embargo. He characterized Obama's
reference to the embargo as "aspero y evasivo." The few accounts
that have mentioned Fidel's response translated aspero
as terse or gruff, but Fidel meant that Obama's
apparent understanding of his subject was abrasively and insultingly
inadequate, and he added that, being over half as old as Fidel,
Obama was old enough to understand things better than that.
Fidel really nailed Obama as a specimen,
however (pay attention NOW Obama fan club), when he reacted to
Obama's ostentatiously diplomatic admission that Cuba's practice
of sending medical missions to other countries that need them
has been more effective than U.S. military missions in gaining
influence for the Cubans. The most highly respected chief of state
in the world explained, "We the Cubans don't do that to gain influence."
President Obama, to whom it is now clear
the purpose of power is power, even if he'd read that, might not
have understood it or even believed it, but outside the U.S. ignorance
bubble it's understood and believed, which is why all of Latin
America is "going Castro's way (see 20 February below)." But Obama,
who was invited to come along but failed the test when his false
summit collapsed (but who may have been comforted when he was
cheered the next day by CIA torturers he was defending), may not
be welcome now in the newly blossoming progressive government's
organization, ALBA (dawn), which, though still ignored by regressive
media, will hopefully soon be leaving the U.S. dominated OAS behind.
(To follow up this analysis, read If
Not Democracy, What? under On Political Philosophy on this
13 April 2009: As protesters and police struggle in Thailand,
media repeatedly interview exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin
Shinawatr. They ask him about the turmoil, whether he'll run for
election again, but they never ask him if he has a social or economic
agenda. Obviously, as a politician, he tosses in the word democracy
free. So what? If I were interviewing Thaksin, I'd ask him what
he expects to achieve THROUGH democracy. Does he intend to redistribute
wealth in Thailand? Voting is a means, not an end. What are the
ends of the insurgency the media think will support him? Cleaning
out the sex industry? Keeping U.S. troops out? Leveling slums
and building new homes? Diminishing the power of the king? If
it's not just a brawl, what's it about? The Thai story goes on
and on with no reference to the issues.
April 2009: Once again U.S. soldiers patrolling somebody
else's streets, this time in Kabul, break down a door and murder
a family and then claim they were fired on first. What were they
doing there? Were these foreign troops looking for Osama bin Laden
on a residential street in Kabul? If they weren't there, would
there BE any firing, and if there would be, has their presence
prevented it? Except for people dropping paper ballots into boxes
annually, has life in Afghanistan even changed since 2001? Will
Obama having his own war there change it?
April 2009: An Al Jazeera story quotes the relative
of a man murdered by Fujimori in Peru that Fujimori's conviction
is a mile post in the "fight against impunity." The word "impunity"
was well chosen by Gisela Ortiz. A president has been punished
for the impunity of murdering people in his own country. Over
60 years ago, a few presidents were punished for the impunity
of murdering people in other countries.
April 2009: Korea launches a sattelite.
Obama starts talking about WMD's and going to the Security Council.
Every day we're told and told and told that Obama talks differently
than George Bush. But, regardless of his tone of voice or the
expression on his face, U.S. rhetoric quoted in this story is
exactly like the talk that led up to the attack on Iraq. U.S.
war games in Korean waters ordered by Obama not Bush deliberately
provoked a response which permitted Obama to bluster. He already
has one war of his own. Does he want two? Every day we're told
and told and told that Obama, unlike George Bush, "will listen."
But he's not listening to North Korea's explanation that, after
being called "evil" and seeing Iraq, which was also called "evil"
and had no WMD's, attacked; while Pakistan, which has the A-bomb,
was befriended, they felt they needed atomic weapons to immunize
themselves from attack. Is Obama's supposedly changed approach
more reasonable than that?
end Cuban embargo, Biden tells press in Chile
March 2009, He said he wasn't there to talk about Cuba,
but exactly as if he'd been sent to Santiago last weekend to remind
Latin America who's boss, U.S. VP Joe Biden, speaking (I assume)
for Barack Obama, told the world and his hostess Michelle Bachelet
(who just got back from Havana) and all the other new regional
presidents (who all just got back from Havana) that the Cuban
embargo won't end until the Cubans are "free."
Since Biden's slickly insulting arrogance
perfectly echoed the 20th Century U.S. plantation-boss stance
south of the Rio Bravo, I'm now awaiting an appropriate response,
both from pseudo-progressive American Obama groupies who surely
weren't expecting this, and from Latin American leaders who surely
haven't been falsely raising their poor constituents' hopes.
Brazilian President Lula de Silva, who
once asked the UN to declare inequality a human rights abuse,
spoke out at the ignored Progressive Summit (actually presented
by media as a prep for a definitely NONprogressive G20 meeting
this week in Europe), accusing rich nations of turning the world
into "a giant casino," and rejecting "blind faith in the market."
But he's not reported as effectively defending Cuba from Biden's
obviously Miami inspired slanders. Maybe he did or will, but that
the Brazilian president (and other Latin American leaders) let
their so-called "Progressive" Summit meeting be turned into Biden's
regressive photo op and press conference and then went nonstop
from Santiago to Doha to embrace the Arab sheiks, among the world's
worst capitalists with the least interest in equality, makes me
wonder how clear Latin America is on their own revolution.
Just talking about arrogant US bullying
and exploitation of the world, Latin America ethically HAS to
support Ahmadinejad's refreshingly logical back talk. But there's
little to choose between the west and most of the middle east.
Besides the insiders further enriching their already obscenely
rich ruling families and the outsiders spreading their brutally
primitive religion, what agenda does the Arab world have? One
hears of socialist gestures there but not much and the internet
doesn't turn up much, either. I'm for the Latin American revolutionary
ideal of social and economic equality, and I don't think they
should surrender any sovereignty to the systemically stratified
U.S. OR compromise their integrity by getting ambiguously chummy
with the religiously stratified Arabs.
Latin America is a big enough part of
the world that, even with only their own company, they can't be
thought of as standing alone. So I don't see how misalliances
with the G20 or the Arabs help their cause. Trading is OK, although
they have everything between them they may think they need to
trade the Middle East OR the U.S. for and Cuba has done more than
anybody for its people for decades without U.S. help. So they
don't absolutely NEED to trade with any brand of fascists their
integrity may antagonize.
It would mean a lot to this lost world
if Latin America stood up all together on the podium I thought
they were building and, with a clear conscience, told Biden and
Obama AND the feudal Middle East: either normalize relations with
Cuba and recognize the virtue of the Cuban revolution and the
significance of our alliance with the Cuban ideal of economic
and social equality NOW or do without us!
Of course that would be revolutionary.
March 2009: A BBC headline
shouts "Venezuelan Military Seizes Ports! Does that mean Venezuela
is seizing Venezuela? BBC news reporting prejudice is too apparent.
When the news is about Venezuela, rich Venezuelan friends of the
U.S. who control Venezuela's biggest news media also control U.S.
and British media.
March 2009: In stories on
Sudan, the media never explain U.S. spokesperson Susan Rice's
role. What does she have to do with Sudan's friction with the
UN? The UN has a legitimate complaint against the president of
Sudan. But the automatic acceptance by media of the US assumption
that they have a say about everything dismays me. Why doesn't
the reporter ask Rice what business she has issuing proclamations?
Media don't need to explain why the world needs a strong UN. They
DO need to ask why it needs NATO, and a U.S. business motivated
puppet master in Washington.
March 2009: Obama offers a "new beginning" to
Iran, but, just reading his lips, his stance toward Iran is the
same as Bush's stance, arrogant and baseless. Apparently, all
the phrase "new beginning" means is that he's changing the look
on his face. Instead of frowning and demanding, he smiles and
demands. But he still demands with no real authority to demand
and he still makes charges without evidence. Iran's response that
it's the U.S. that needs to change is reasonable.
March 2009: The last I heard
from our most reliable source on atomic weapons threats, Mohammad
Al Baradei, was that there is NO evidence of any intent by Iran
to develop atomic weapons. Remember that ignoring Al Bareidei
and other truly knowledgeable sources in 2003 was a serious mistake.
U.S. accusations, now as then, amount to an irresponsible provocation,
contradicting Obama's claims to a new and less arrogant way of
confronting the world, including Iran.
March 2009: Another story
today on China and Tibet not only assumes the Dalai Lama is telling
the truth, it seems to revere him, and thus seems to be promoting
theocracy. All western media take this stance. Why? Theocracy
is clearly regressive. The Dalai Lama, like the pope, is clearly
an atavism at best. He's also known to have been paid by the CIA
for a long time (maybe he still is). Objective observers before
the Chinese Revolution described Tibet as "Hell on earth" or words
to that effect. U-tube reports indicated the monks killed more
people in Llasa last year than the police. China is obligated
to deploy police when riots are imminent. The ongoing story that
constantly implies the Chinese oppressed the lamas by stopping
their riot in Lhasa needs to get real.
March 2009: Tariq Aziz has
been in jail since 2003, and now, finally being tried, just to
cover up the injustice of jailing him, he may be convicted of
war crimes that seem oddly unconnected to his job. In a world
of inarticulate people and politicians, I was impressed by Tariq
Aziz's clear and rational response to Colin Powell's clear nonsense
at the UN Security Council meeting that led to the criminal invasion
of Iraq. He vainly did his job as Iraq's press secretary well.
If he also, behind the news I know anything about, ordered a political
mass murder, he should be punished. But if that charge is trumped
up, then he's only guilty of being an eloquent diplomat and will
stay in jail until he dies for that.
March 2009: Responding
to an article on Polar ice melt up to 2003 - Over 60 years ago,
when there were already way too many people, I and a few others
KNEW the eco-system would be collapsing NOW and predicted, among
a lot of other things still not being mentioned, the melting of
the ice caps. The media gate-keepers, as stubbornly blind then
as they still are, scornfully called us "doomsayers" but never
told their readers who we were or what we said. But we sent our
message, hopelessly it seemed, TO the media, believe me. Now,
Mother Nature, who can't be ignored, is finally delivering it.
profitable press is not really a free press
Media rigging elections again
March 2009: The fourth
estate is a miserable failure in America.Though he never used
the phrase fourth estate, numerous quotations make it
clear that Thomas Jefferson advocated and constitutionally secured
freedom for the press precisely so media could serve as a disconnected
sector of government, uncontrolled or influenced by government,
able to keep the government honest by watching it and criticizing
it in the interest of the people.
Jefferson did foresee the misuse of an
embedded press (he didn't use the term embedded but that
was clearly what he meant), but he underestimated the force of
greed in a free enterprise society and the inevitable misuse of
a free enterprise press by the rich (and, yes, by other special
enterest groups but mainly by the rich) and, through the rich,
by the government itself, making the press in America, as a fourth
estate, a miserable failure.
The media are, right now, rigging elections
again - so blatantly that you might think they'd read my exact
description of their regular procedure (see 31 January below)
and were trying to prove me right. The article on page 1 of yesterday's
Chronicle about the "race" to win the California governor election
in 2010 is so outrageously, cunningly, insidiously dishonest,
I'm damned if I can see why every "news" reader above the lumpen
level isn't infuriated.
Of the 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans
the media and their very fishy "Field Poll" have themselves selected
and placed before the voters, only ONE has even clearly tossed
in her hat. And the Chronicle disingenuously allows that that
"leading" Republican, though not previously well known, "got some
help from the timing of the poll because (she) has been in the
news sinceannouncing her likely candidacy two weeks ago."
I'll say. In fact, the Chronicle has
been strenuously publicizing her for two weeks. But I'd bet (and
win for sure) that most California Republicans who supposedly
favor her have still never heard or thought of her. And I'd bet
(and win) that most California Democrats specifically asked if
they felt favorably or not favorably about the candidacy of Diane
Feinstein (who hasn't announced her candidacy) had not been thinking
about THAT. The election being rigged is a year and 8 months away,
and I'd bet most Californians had no idea it was already a "race"
with "favorites" already installed until the Field pollsters called
and told them so.
The most appalling thing about this sham
news story, except for the actually printed quote from Mark DiCamillo,
the director of the Field Poll, that "people have to be comfortable
with candidates and they're comfortable with Diane Feinstein,"
- except for that stunning proof of the fishiness of the Field
Poll, the most appalling thing is the revelation that, while 54%
of Republicans telephoned refused to offer an opinion, 80% of
Democrats were willing to play the game. I'm not a fan of democracy,
anyway (see my definition of democracy linked on the front
page), but I'm apparently more protective of it's imaginary virtue
than are the true believers, including the ostentatiously pro-democracy
pseudo progressives, because it's ME telling you this is not the
way America's vaunted democracy is supposed to work.
What good is democracy if THE voters
don't even select the redundant insider candidates THE voters
then dumbly and dutifully vote for?
fixated on Middle East fumble Latin American story
February 2009, Maybe their grip on the Middle East
is slippery, too, but thanks to Sunday school, Christmas carols,
and their own obsessive reportage including countless war maps,
even if they've got a lot of them wrong, at least they know there
ARE details there. If it wasn't about Mexican food, most western
editors couldn't pass the simplest pop quiz on Latin America,
which (except for the Amazon and Club Med) most of them think
is ALL Gus Arriola's Mexico south of the one and only border.
It's not that the places they cover aren't
important. My hometown's important and, to the Baghdadians, so's
Baghdad. But I'm talking about a place that starts right across
the border from San Diego, includes half the land area on America's
half of the planet (17% of the dry world and 9% of the world population),
has oil, winter fruit, art, music, dope, plenty of newsworthy
strife, and maybe the world's only respectable revolution, a uniquely
harmonious multi-country project that actually seems to be going
somewhere. I'm not mistaken. YOU just don't know about it.
Latin America, which doesn't do suicide
bombing and has only a few occasionally tense borders and no international
wars, may be the only part of the world currently progressing
(muy poco a poco - very slowly) toward political and philosophical
civilization, eventually to include (if the CIA and the U.S. Marines
will stand for it) actual social and economic equality - which
makes it more important than the U.S., Europe, or the Middle East.
Yet all the embedded news media are strenuously ignoring Latin
When I lived in San Diego, there wasn't
a highway sign in town pointing toward Tijuana or Mexico, and
there's not much sign of the approximately 30 countries south
of Imperial Beach in the San Diego Union, either. Nor in
the LA Times, SF Chronicle, NY Times or any major U.S.
media. On the world net, Al Jazeera MIGHT have one Latin American
story a day (usually the same one for a week), and BBC and CNN
A week ago, Michelle Bachelet, the president
of Chile (a country just as modern and twice as big and beautiful
as California and maybe more important right now), paid a visit
to Fidel and Raul in Cuba, which was certainly 10 X as important
as Hillary Clinton's farcical runway stop in South Korea the same day. The following
day, Venezuelans voted to let themselves keep Hugo Chavez, whom
I consider on solid grounds the real "leader of the free world,"
as their president for as long as they need him; then new Guatemalan
President Alvaro Colom almost stepped on Bachelet's heels as he
arrived in Cuba specifically to apologize for his country helping
the U.S. attack the Bay of Pigs in 1961 - landmark stories all.
But western media news-briefed the first, completely missed the
point of the second, overlooked the third, and made no connection
between them. I was reminded of how all their meager coverage
of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's campaign, election,
and inaugeration focused on her clothes and compared her image
to that of Evita or Madonna; I forget which.
If you're very young - not even very
- just young - in fact, if you're an American of any age informed
of the world mostly by your own religiously anti-communist media,
you may not know or remember that in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and
80's, there was a strong and rapidly spreading revolution all
over Latin America and even slopping a bit into the U.S. in the
60's and 80's against local and colonial capitalist poverty and
for socialist dignity and eventual equality, spearheaded by armed
guerrillas like FARC in virtually every mainland Latin American
country. American barbershop and coffeehouse owls, whose predecessors
hooted then of "falling dominoes," now think they think, with
media help of course and still NO grasp of their subject, that
all that ended in 1990. But it didn't.
Far from it (see Chapter Two of "Cuban
Notebooks" on this website). It didn't end because poverty didn't
end and, in spite of western media claims that communism had failed,
the Cuban beacon was still there. And, in fact, since Hugo Chavez'
emergence first prompted laughable American "suspicion" that he
was "going Castro's way" (of course he was), newly elected leftist presidents in
EVERY South American country but the tiny Guyanas, Peru, and Colombia
have followed him. That's right - almost EVERY ONE. When the FARC
take Hugo's advice to trade their arms for amnesty and equal political
participation, now fascist Colombia will probably follow him,
too, and as soon as the once leftist now quisling Alan Garcia
ends his presidential term, Peru certainly will. And that will
make a whole continent "going Castro's way" completely off the
mainstream media screen.
Isn't that a bigger better story than
the bloody awful but endlessly redundant and utterly pointless
religious tribal or tribally religious feuds of the Middle East?
OK, I know all the wars (besides boosting the arms business) are
really wars for space and THAT's important, but the editors don't
even know THAT.
Bachelet's visit to Cuba was a landmark
because, though she had looked less certainly militant than other
new leftist presidents, she clearly came out when she recently
hosted a South American summit in Santiago where Evo Morales'
eviction of the U.S. ambassador from Bolivia was applauded and
supported, and now she is the next to last of the new leftist
presidents to make what's apparently become (to wide awake people
and certainly the CIA) a necessary pilgrimage, a rite of passage,
an initiation for membership in the new Latin American order.
They've ALL done it. All the recently elected new strongly leftist new South American presidents suspected by the CIA of "going Castro's way" have apparently confirmed its squint-eyed hunch by ceremonially visiting Havana to talk to Fidel and Raul, except the most recent, Paraguay's President
Fernando Lugo, who, from an election celebration platform he shared
with Raul Castro in Asuncion last year, shouted, "Viva Fidel!"
Lujo, known as "the rebel priest" before he was elected president,
is reportedly planning his Havana visit some time in the next
of economics unclarified for you daily
February 2009, While the "western" world's designated
economy experts met earlier this month in a place called Davos
and tried but failed to come up with a solution to world financial
problems, the main yell of the protestors outside, who couldn't
have been Americans, was, "YOU're the problem! Resign!" Get it?
No? Try this then.
If the media accounts of how normality
became financial crisis and may now be restored if Obama's supposedly
better bail-out somehow works sound like hocus pocus to you; and
if the quoted comments of congressmen you know can't even speak
English read like pocus hocus, should you feel dumb? Why?
Just remember that the editors, "think"
tankers, and politicians who supposedly understand what you don't
understand are the same klunks who believe that digging up gold
and reburying it in an official cellar makes money more valuable
than beans or lumber or shoes or hard work or wisdom.
And they're the same klunks who believe
that the profiteering of a handful of U.S. billionaires at home
and abroad is everybody's major interest but that environmentalists
are a special interest group. They also believe the most important
thing a president can do is spend trillions of your dollars proving
he's tough by bombing places you never heard of and have nothing
against to supposedly somehow protect you from "terrorists" you're
not afraid of. They believe that a supernatural being nobody's
ever seen approves of the bloody exploits of our leading klunks
and the sacrifice of uniformed children to unexplainable causes
so much that he'll reward us all later in heaven with some deal
even better than 27 virgins apiece.
So maybe what reads like hocus pocus
to you IS hocus pocus.
start staging THEIR next election
January 2009, On January 12, an article on page 10
of the SF Chronicle kicked off the media's 2010 California gubernatorial
election. The possessive word media's isn't a typo. It's
always the media's election from start to finish.
This was the standard start: 22 months
before the vote, those who saw the article were handed, with no
effort needed on their part, a ready-made line-up of THEIR preferred
candidates, including some they may never have heard of, and told
how they already ranked them, not as philosophical leaders, just
as candidates in another exciting candidate race. There's even
already a favorite. Those who missed that article will find out
in the next one it's Diane Feinstein.
The Chronicle fielded 10 Democrats and
3 Republicans for their election, no Greens or independents or
socialists, though for sure once or twice between now and November
of 2010, voters will hear of the media's rejects in separate stories
specifically about the rejects as rejects. Voters will be constantly
told what they think of the viable candidates -AS CANDIDATES -
right up to election day, so they'll be prepared for the result.
Don't you realize you've seen this over and over throughout your
Just in case you've forgotten or are
habitually oblivious, I explained how it works in April of '05
in a letter from Cuba about how similar the Cuban elections are
to American elections in this respect. "As you certainly know,"
I wrote, "the rigging of American elections doesn't usually happen
on election day. The voters apparently vote as they wish. But
most of them (and that's all it takes in a democracy) wish what
they've been trained to wish. Starting long before election day,
after entrenched insiders decide which candidates are to be taken
seriously and line up their pictures before you in a kind of cast-of-characters
article (like the article that appeared two weeks ago, right on
schedule), the embedded media then stage a very long-running,
very predictable but very slick and expensive multi-media show
of irrelevantly trivial and personal but effectively relentless
and pervasive propaganda - a daily, hourly, up-to-the-minute smoke
cloud - that goes on for months, if not years.
"Pre-presidential election "reporting"
(brainwashing) in America used to go on for only about a year,
but, ever since the media were badly scared by their own loss
of control when they tried (every minute every hour every day
for only a year) and failed to convince Americans that Bill Clinton's
sex life was grounds for impeachment, it's been a 2-year frame-up.
"So, for at least a year but probably
two years, these days, not the candidates but the much more reliable
media, speaking like matching oracles from within the smoke, tell
Americans every single thing they reportedly think, not about
issues, almost never about what this candidate or that might do
to change or adjust the system to make life better for all the
participants, but just about the candidate race as a candidate
race, from the beginning until voting day, when the voters do
nothing but fulfill their assigned destinies. By election day,
they've been literally hypnotized. A relentlessly induced paralysis
of their individual and collective will stymies any urge to vote
outside the box.
"The American media, the mercenary bards
of the rich, the slickest propaganda machine ever anywhere, write,
direct, produce, and stage elections which always end with their
type of people still in power, with hardly a word ever spoken
about the purposes and functions of government and government
officials, because the actual, mainly business purposes of government
in America are too shallow or too shameful to reveal. Most of
the world follows the American plan, often with American help
(whether they want it or not)."
An Obama supporter, drunk with euphoria,
has pointed out to me that Obama's election proves that, no matter
how long it takes, the voters eventually always decide who their
leaders will be, but that's not what happens, and it's not what
happened in the last two years.
Two years ago, it should have been apparent
to anyone that the voters would be given John McCain as a sacrificial
goat, since the Republicans had to lose, and Hillary Clinton to
vote for, so they could go on thinking democracy works. Though
the candidates have to be safe for business, what the media sell
isn't just candidates; it's democracy (see democracy in
the definitions box on the front page). So not very long at all
after the curtain rose, in an era when too many people were getting
suspicious of America and what it was up to, a third actor was
added to the cast to provide the voters a more convincing democracy
show, with an exciting candidate race (they'd be told every day
how exciting it was - and they were) between an acceptable woman
and an acceptable black man. It was always obvious why the woman
was acceptable, since Hillary was no threat at all to the status
quo. In the last few weeks, it's become clearer and clearer why
Barack Obama was acceptable, too.
fans need to look up CHANGE
January 2009, CHANGE? Is that just a slogan or does
it mean CHANGE? Come on. What change? I don't think the insiders
want or will permit CHANGE.
Obama's first act as president today
was to go to a praying place and pray. Hey, that's NOT CHANGE,
folks. That's a familiar staged assurance that America's insider
media have written, produced, directed and staged the election
of yet another religious (or pretend-religious) leader, just like
in the Middle East. Of course, it's politically correct to be
or pretend to be religious. But hey! Political correctness is
NOT CHANGE, either. It's also the same old shit.
CHANGE would be to move away from the
fantasy world of gods and flags and anti-communism and secret
agents and "tough" leaders and overwhelming military force and
religiously-believed-in democracy and "free" trade and transparently
stacked-deck stock markets and "THE" economy which is only the
rich insiders' economy and eternal growth for the sake of business
(and to hell with the eco-system} and even entrepreneurial environmentalism
(thank you Mr. Gore) and other assorted politically correct posturing
and - FOR A CHANGE - INSTEAD OF CONTINUING TO LIVE IN THAT FANTASY
WORLD - come live with me in the real world - the one with NO
god but Mother Nature - the real world that desperately needs
real CHANGE, before the 80% forever poor finally get fed up with
being forever poor and revolt bigtime, and before Mother Nature
finally steps up her own obviously now on-going surge to the level
of zero tolerance and overwhelming force.
CHANGE, to the establishment, eternally
means centrism, which always always ALWAYS means NO CHANGE
that would threaten the flow of profits into the pockets of insiders
who ARE the establishment. And Obama is afraid to move any further
outside the rich insiders' establishment than into the other inside-the-pocket
"liberal" establishment, where CHANGE has meant the same
short-list of about four nice safe politically correct causes
for so long now that the establishment insiders have long ago
thrown the pseudo progressive "liberals" a bone and bought them
by adopting and tailoring their four nice safe causes into a safe
back pocket of centrism (Obama and his staged election
being the best imaginable example).
Obama? Change? Obama is on a short leash.
He can talk about eventually bringing the troops home, and respecting
other countries ONLY WHILE, like any Republican, staying a "tough"
homeland defender and still talking "tough" about upper-class
religious America's military support for upper class religious
Israel and food basket charity for lower class religious Palestine.
But he can't go to the UN as a member and urge the UN to persuade
the Middle Eastern countries, whether they ever become democratic
or not, to become civilized SECULAR states.
Obama can mouth the word environment
and play the presidential mime role in Al Gore's very conveniently
one-trick-pony show about one environmental issue. But he can't
direct American schools and urge the UN to persuade the world
to direct all its schools to immediately start teaching all children
everywhere from the first grade on that one child is enough, two
is maximum, and zero is fine, too, since there is no such thing
as too few people.
Obama can talk about eventually closing
Guantanamo, but he can't just close the damned place, instruct
his State Department to get agreements from all the other countries
involved to admit the released detainees with civilized guarantees,
immediately evacuate the marines from the once-Cuban enclave and
give it back to Cuba, and then go himself to Havana and meet there
with all the new truly progressive Latin American leaders and
LISTEN to their much less stagnant ideas about what CHANGE should
Obama and his head are being inflated
to mythic proportions, just when America needs to stop talking
down to the world and start looking up to the world's real new
leaders like Hugo Chavez, and it actually scares me when he speaks
of foreign affairs. He obviously still divides the world between
them and us; he obviously means to negotiate with the foreigners
more diplomatically now just so they'll do what Washington wants
them to do; he obviously still thinks the bad guys designated
as "evil" by his stupidest Republican predecessors are indeed
the bad guys. I'm afraid he knows no more about the "foreign"
world than Hillary Clinton. Maybe the appointment of an information
oriented man to head the CIA means something. But, if so, why
not just expeditiously close the CIA's covert meddling branch
(IF they'll let him - they never even let Jimmy Carter know what
they were up to) and CHANGE the department into an honest information
gathering agency to re-educate him and his government for participation
in a new more educated and constructive approach to domestic and
Dumping the Republicans in America should
be as great as dumping the Jihadists and Zionists in the Middle
East would be. But I don't think it's going to be. Everything
the new democratic leaders say seems to indicate we're going to
go on having mediocre political leadership. CHANGE? I think America
is more likely going to go on being SHORT CHANGED.
January 2009 It says in today's
SF Chronicle that Obama is "counting the days" until he takes
over as "leader of the free world." Q#1: When was THAT election?
Q#2: What is "the free world"?
The second answer first: "the free world" was
a World War II era term and then (because U.S. editors just couldn't
pull their heads out of those days of neat heroes and villains
and war maps and stuff) it hung on as a very inept cold war era
term actually based on an old Flash Gordon serial fantasy wherein
Flash's Perry-Mason-looking father was "leader of the free world"
and the rest of the world was on another planet called Mongo cruelly
over-lorded by a paper-doll string of Emperor Mings just begging
for a good old American punch in the nose.
Now the answer to the first question: if any
such election (I mean for "leader of the free world") were held
any time during at least the last half century anyplace outside
the American ignorance bubble, Washington and the CIA would lose
it. In fact, Obama's best bet to finally achieve the international
respect neo-Roman America doesn't have and doesn't deserve would
be to join the UN as a listening member. On page 10 of today's
Chronicle, Pakistan's prime minister is quoted as proudly admitting
the CIA is still leading THEM around by the nose. "The American
CIA and Pakistani ISI have an old working relationship," he boasts.
A lot of countries like Venezuela wouldn't second his probably
The Chronicle story goes on to tell us Obama
is asking his critics to send him their economic stimulus plans.
Mine's filed under 11 October below, and if I find his address
on You-Tube.com (the only clue provided) and send it in, I've
got as much chance to reach the man himself with it as I do to
reach Michael Moore (which I've vainly tried). Zero. So I suggest
instead that he talk to the actual leader of the newly free Latin
American world, Hugo Chavez, about re-joining the OAS as an equal
member with ears as well as a mouth. The 31 Latin American countries
who recently met very pointedly without the U.S. have some ideas
about stimulating the economy NOT of the rich but of the rest
On the other foot, today's Al Jazeera declares
that "Most Americans would stop short of tossing their footwear
at the outgoing president - not wanting to spend the rest of their
lives in one of his administration's secret prisons." Sounds like
a wild accusation. U.S. media regularly print such stuff about
Cuba, though, and Americans don't doubt it. In fact, nobody is
jailed in Cuba without a trial. But this charge by Al Jazeera
against Bush's U.S. isn't really far fetched. Is it?
An Al Jazeera photo today placed right beside their story
of Israel invading Gaza shows George Bush on the phone. He seems
to be talking to the Israeli war room. BBC yesterday reported
that Bush himself had rejected a unilateral ceasefire in Palestine
(that's what it's ALL called in my 1940 world atlas) and had outlined
HIS conditions for a ceasefire. What if, while the SF Chronicle
is front-paging nostalgic stories of twenty years ago or trying
to convince us Al Gore type "green" fiddling around is already
saving the world, our neo-Napoleon president declares a national
emergency and suspends Obama's inauguration so he can start World
You might not have noticed his bottom of the
news story declaration a few days ago, just before the Israeli
bombardment began, that Israel deserves to fulfill their dream
and finally win the much larger homeland they were promised in
the Bible. Hey! I didn't make that up. Always read to the bottom
of the story. And, while you're upgrading your reading habits,
go back to 2001 and re-read Bush's proclamations about his own
dream of "ending" 35-50 countries to stabilize the world for himself
and his fellow insiders. He's not gone yet.
the Chronicle screams at you in 60 point type
The Chronicle screams in big type a lot these days.
But it's not just to tell you what's going on, as in "INSIDERS
STRIKE AGAIN." RUSH isn't an objective third person verb
here. Maybe it's a noun. Maybe. But it looks like the command
form of the verb rush to me. Besides selling ads, the Chronicle
is selling home loans.
"Talk about economic stimulus," the "story"
excitedly begins its sales pitch, while leaving out the kind of
truly revolutionary counter advice this country needs. Hey! Ignore
the editor's cunning excitement. Do your own thinking and Don't
fall for it again!
Already over-squeezed borrowers are being urged
to put themselves back into the hands of the same cowboys who
just milked them dry. In the dictated context, which reflects
a situation 8 years ago, the reduced 4.5% interest rate that excites
the Chronicle may have been good. But in the current context of
home "owners" saddled with houses that cost 5 times what they
were worth due to an era of historically unregulated greed, it's
not. What's called for now and what the unfortunately suckered
American home "owners" should be demanding is historic CHANGE.
Not mild mannered Obama change. Really historic change.
The Chronicle talks about $300,000, $400,000,
and $600,000 houses as if those figures made sense. They don't,
except as historic price gouging. The profiteers aren't the majority
your vaunted democracy is supposed to represent. They're a piggish
minority, and they shouldn't be bailed out. They should be brought
down to earth.
FIRST, all the overpriced houses should be devalued
to their 2000 price plus a logical 8-year increase of about 2
percent a year, the same amount my pension went up each of those
years and, if you're lucky, your salary went up. THEN, people
who have really already paid enough for their houses should be
given their titles, while people who haven't are given lower interest
rates on what's left of their reduced home prices.
Would that be messy? Sure it would. Because
it's not enough. We need socialism. But, compared to the cow we
have now, which is being milked by the same crooks anticipating
more bail-outs in the future, at least that much would be neat
enough, easy to understand, and unprecedentedly honest.
November 2008, With elections pending, I had
to search to find the Chronicle's low-key one-line opposition
to putting another religious taboo into the California state constitution
on a grey page near the end of a throw-away tabloid insert. On
page ONE, however, I was slapped in the face by another in a series
of topside photo-flashy big-headed celebrations of an anti-intellectual
minority having a DEMOCRATIC impact - quite a story. One that's
become a regular reminder to every red-neck American Jihadist
that he isn't alone and CAN secretly vote against secular government,
civilization and social progress.
This kind of stuff challenges my previous claim
that the Chronicle is pushing democracy not religion. But I'm
sticking to it. After all, the insiders can HAVE convenient religion,
war, ecological destruction, oppression and privilege WITH and
THROUGH democracy, without revealing their fleshless grinning
skulls. The Chronicle is just being spectacularly clumsy because
they're over-excited by what looks like another of the kind of
dumb-people's backlashes that got them Ronald Reagan.
A better story (that they'll never
do) would be about how Americans who scorn the religious governments
of the middle east yearn for a religious government of their own
(Tom Jefferson will never know).
But the best propaganda isn't always what the
media say. It's just as often what they don't say. The biggest
unreported story of them all, which, just by being totally unreported,
conveniently convinces the public it doesn't matter, remains the
story of the now happening collapse of the eco-system due to excess
human population growth and the corollary (always profitable,
which is all the media care about) growth of the human encampment.
I invite you to search today's paper, yesterday's paper, all last
week's and last month's papers, and all next month's papers, cover
to cover. You'll find many virgin sidebar stories. But you can
count on it that, in the mass media, at least, too many cars will
never be driven by too many drivers, too many fish caught will
never be caught by too many fishermen, too much global warming
will never be caused by too many global warmers, etc. I can't
help wondering how too many readers can keep swallowing the hook,
the line, and the sinker with no apparent suspicion of what they're
Maybe they don't. The only intelligent
reference to overpopulation I ever see is in an occasional letter
to the editor. But I'd guess no more than one out of hundreds
of such letters are printed. I "guess" that because I started
writing such always unpublished letters (always exactly 350 words
or less, always in perfect journalistic style, I'm a retired journalism
prof, remember) to the Chronicle in 1959 when I first moved to
the bay area to study journalism at San Jose State. The media
can't stand too many anti-sustained-growth pitches. They like
Al Gore because, in their very own style, he's an insider conveniently
covering up the main story with a sidebar story that, guess what,
never mentions overpopulation, actually promoting a myth that
a problem that's not the problem can be solved by MORE business
- "green" business that will advertise in the Chronicle, WHILE
the unmentioned real problem keeps outgrowing all the phony but
The next best propaganda to flagrant
ommissions are sneaky insertions. Flipping past today's front
page celebration of religious homo-phobics, I'm taught that those
trials "in Cuba" are coming to an end. I wonder how many politically
and geographically challenged readers are continually confused
by Cuba's editorially apparent connection to Guantanamo. A lot,
I'd guess. They're certainly always given the chance. The AP writer
further slanders the island with references to iguanas, large
rodents, and "turkey" vultures which he associates with the same
Cuba where those awful trials are found. As a frequent traveler
in Cuba, I found an iguana under my pillow once in a beautiful
colonial house in Gibara, but large rodents and "turkey" vultures
don't ring a bell (though of course ugly wildlife exists everywhere
- including Texas). Maybe they came to Guantanamo, which (it's
stupid to say it but I have to) is NOT politically part of Cuba,
with the Marines.
Mentioned in passing, along with the
few journalists enduring Cuba's supposedly rodent and vulture
infested terrain along with the on-dragging extra-judicial charades,
are the trial of "an alleged communications specialist" (use of
the word alleged keeps him from suing them for calling
him a communications specialist, you see) and the "relatively
minor case" (if you can conceive of a war criminal less innocuous
than a communication specialist) of a 16-year-old boy whose confession
was tortured out of him.
But AP's main interest is in how many
journalists aren't covering "America's 6-year attempt to try what
it called 'the worst of the worst' for crimes of war." America's
attempt? I thought this was just the War Department's hypocritical
project. But AP calls it "America's...attempt," to convince Americans
that they are all part of the war effort, which they absolutely
are not. They're left out of the loop and ignorant with the help
Way down, almost lost in the story's
dregs, is this: "Only months ago, the military periodically flew
dozens of print reporters, TV crews, pool photographers and sketch
artists to Guantanamo Bay from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington."
As my own reporter going always to Cuba alone, with no permission
or assistance from AP or the Air Force, I may be the only one
noticing this reminder that King George I's idea of selecting
and conducting approved reporters to and around military scenes
is still in effect. Of course, most readers are now OK with the
concept of "embedded reporters." Aren't they? And Why? Because
their news/propaganda media constantly glorify the concept, proactively
discouraging them from ever thinking they might not be OK with
A few pages further on, a killer smog
that happened in a Pennsylvania factory town in 1948 is treated
as an historical oddity, from back in the olden days when U.S.
Steel was still (understandably?) naive enough to call it "an
act of God." Some awful leftists proved they were wrong and "it
was the first time," we are falsely told, "that people really
understood..." Not any more, you're supposed to think. In fact,
there's a story on BBC's Latest Headlines right now about
a catastrophic mud volcano that's been inundating whole towns
in Indonesia for two years, obviously caused by a gas drilling
outfit that denies it and blames a small earthquake, "an act of
On the next page, readers who are kept
from ever suspecting that most informed people in the world consider
Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Evo Morales as the good guys are
treated to a tear jerking tale of how ONE woman who earns a living
ironing gringo shirts may lose her job because Morales is kicking
the US out of Bolivia. Of course, Bolivia suffers from historic
poverty, but US media don't or won't grasp or don't want readers
to ever suspect that Morales' socialist agenda may eventually
eliminate poverty, while sustaining their own beloved status quo
will not. In fact, this story, like all others on Bolivia, simply
leaves that factor out. Instead, the reporter easily finds local
capitalists to criticize Morales, measuring Bolivia's problems
against their own discredited capitalist yardstick.
Two pages further on, a headline indites
"rebels (who) tighten grip over swaths of eastern Congo." WHAT
they are rebelling against, WHY there is a war, WHO are the socialists,
WHO are the capitalists, or IF it's in fact just tribal rivalry,
WHY UN "peace keepers" are taking sides, readers will not find
out. Strife in Africa, as in most of the barely reported world,
is just strife - with refugees, individual suffering, all the
regular stuff, but NO ISSUES. It regularly drives me nuts reading
paragraph after paragraph of stories like this, looking for some
reference to the issues and almost never finding any. Once in
a while a sentence, but almost nothing.
In today's Iraq story, US troop withdrawal,
for about the fourth time in a week, is tied to the year 2011.
Rat-tat-tat. 2011 2011 2011. When you've read that enough, you'll
forget you were ever hearing 2009 2009 2009. Try to remember with
little help from the media that Obama's stated target is 2010
On a lighter but still relevant note,
today's TraVel section, with the V printed in red, ac-cen-tu-ates
the positive and ee-lim-i-nates the negative about a place that
comes across as an almost funky Peru. There's even a picture of
an Inca flag. Did you know the Inca's had a flag? I didn't either.
Maybe I saw it and didn't notice it. I know that, in Peru, I saw
some of the worst poverty I've ever seen anywhere. Check my document,
"From the Andes" on my other website. But poverty isn't to be
stressed on a newspaper travel page. Pictures of Inca women selling
their wares show them clean, colorful, and happy.
I talked to the Indians a lot in Peru,
because, just as in Guatemala, I found their second-language Spanish
a lot like mine. Usually, the people I talked to were wearing
frayed and (excuse me) dirty clothing. Except for the beggars,
who aren't mentioned in today's happy story, I didn't find them
bitter. But I sure as hell knew they could be dangerous and never
talked to other travelers who didn't have some at least second
hand mugging stories to tell.
But this story's purpose is to promote
business, even foreign business, who cares, as long as it's business.
To encourage readers to part with dollars, all U.S. media regularly
declare high priced restaurants cheap and $500,000 houses at last
affordable again. As a practical, down-scale political tourist,
I'm always amazed to read about good hotel deals in places like
Cuzco for from $60 to $114 (single). I think maybe once in all
my Latin American travels, in a moment of weakness, I paid $60,
for a palacial colonial hotel in Antigua. I didn't record all
my bills in Peru, so I don't know what I paid, but partly because
I'd just come from one of the best hotels on Lake Titicaca covered
with flea bites, in Cuzco I treated myself to one of the most
beautiful rooms I've ever stayed in, virtually a turret, with
big windows overlooking all of tile topped downtown, clean, atmospheric,
gracious, for maybe $35, but I think I'd remember $35, so it probably
wasn't that much.
October 2008, Americans not well trained by their media
might wonder why the Chronicle has been pushing the primitive
Proposition 8 for three days, even providing a front page boxed
display of Biblical quotations. Of course, the hysterical right's
weird idea of a liberal press is wrong. The media are certainly
owned and edited by and for the rich. But PC liberal conspiracy
theorists are just as far off target. The media isn't above reminding
readers they believe in gods and absurd godly morality. But this
time the Chronicle isn't pushing religion or even straight sex.
It's pushing democracy, a pill readers are so well trained to
love to swallow whole, they're far beyond noticing it's daily
inclusion in the lesson plan anymore. They'd feel deprived without
Presenting Obama's nearly conscious
though timid ideas as equal to McCain's idiot Bushisms is part
of the same lesson plan. So's presenting Palin's popularity among
the dumb as if popularity could validate her dumbness. And so's
seriously headlining GOP uneasiness about the "peril" of a Congress
dominated by one party. The thrust of the Proposition 8 story
isn't that there are two significant views of an issue (and certainly
not that intellectual progress might again be bogged down in primitive
superstition). It's that one side's 14 point lead has gone down
to an 8 point lead. The myth of democracy that has to be taught
daily because it is so obviously wrong that it might easily be
forgotten is that you can count up the truth - that you can elect
logic. (see Democracy under definitions on the front page).
I witnessed the tragic foisting of
this insidious nonsense on revolutionary Nicaragua in 1996. The
Nicas were still in some respects behind the times. American liberals
had abandoned their own revolutionary integrity and embraced the
"pro-democracy" cop-out six years earlier. But the Nicaraguans
had bowed their heads and betrayed their pledge (here, nobody
sells out or surrenders)in 1990 from weariness of war and
death and injury and loss of friends and family and continuous
fear of a George Bush I invasion. But by the '96 election, a modern
TV extravaganza, the CIA, the US funded press, the opportunistic
big shots in the FSLN, and, yeah, Jimmy Carter, had sold Nicaraguans
the creed. So the pleading of honest militants that what mattered
was NOT democracy but the revolution fell on enough deaf ears
so that, by the numbers, falsehood, capitalism, and poverty were
counted the winners again.
You should know what I'm talking about
if you noticed the media didn't tell you yesterday that home prices
are almost sane again. They told you how many people are suddenly
buying homes again (so you should, too - get it?). And today they
don't tell you about death and pain in Iraq. They reported more
body counts, the higher the count, the more significant the incident.
One writer thinks a higher death count in one incident was the
"most fatal" in a 365-day period. On the business page yesterday,
they didn't discuss the actual need for a new downtown SF skyscraper.
They told you how many feet tall it will be and how many dollars
the lot cost. I know somewhere in today's paper you're told why
you should watch a TV show or see a movie. Why? Because a winning
number of other Americans are doing it. And again today, as yesterday
and the day before, you've learned why you should consider changing
your vote to McCain - because more people say they'll do that
today than said so yesterday.
11 October 2008,
If I had proposed a month ago that the feds start buying
the banks, I'd have been dismissed as a crank.
So now that just such useless half
measures are being taken, if I propose that, instead of buying
bank stocks, they nationalize the banks, close the stock market,
roll back and freeze all prices at the 2000 level subject only
to fair adjustment to keep them sensibly inter-related, and set
a permanent minimum and maximum annual income scale from $30,000
to $50,000, I'd be dismissed as a crank. So what? Obviously, the
crank dismissers have a propensity for being wrong.
In spite of the religious belief of
philosophically challenged Americans that socialism is
a naughty word, someday they'll have to finally abandon the failed
capitalist game and progress maybe kicking and screaming to socialism.
The solution: stop kicking and screaming
and go for it - not in jerks and jolts but with dignity,with a
plan, carefully and logically.
And while you're at it, start solving
the world's even more important problems by dissolving NATO and
other counter-productive extra cogs in the wheel, by joining the
UN not as a bully but as a member, and by promoting world-wide,
Cuban style population control (they just peacefully teach everyone,
without coercion, that one child is enough and two is maximum,
and it works) and by moving pro-actively, as a world, away from
this savage dog-eat-dog economic non-system that Americans only
think they're trapped in toward civilization. As long as it's
finally being admitted that "urgent and exceptional action" is
called for, why not finally do the exceptional things that have
been really urgently needed for a long time?
I'm not crusading, by the way. I personally
gave up the world in 1970 as beyond salvation. This is in second
person for a reason. I'm saying that if YOU think the world can
still be saved, then you ought to finally start demanding that
your so-called leaders (obviously your misleaders) start doing
the things that need to be done to save it.
30 September 2008, "NOW WHAT?" the Chronicle screams
angrily in their biggest font at their naughty readers today.
Just yesterday, after all, the Chronicle told all you guys flatly,
"Make no mistake," clearly meaning, "Don't make the mistake of
thinking for yourselves; think what we tell you to," which was
quickly clarified as that "only a quick and immense response from
the federal government can prevent a historic breakdown of the
financial system, one that would have ..."
What did they mean "would have"? They meant
they were trying to conjure up a win for the insiders by reporting
it as a done deal, so you guys wouldn't waste time calling Congress.
A left top headline above that, cunningly labeled NEWS ANALYSIS,
claimed the "need" for the bill already "sways (in present tense)
even former skeptics, and another head on the right top declared,
again in present tense, "Many believe they must support the bill."
Trying to sound like Roosevelt or Churchill,
not as objective press but as editorial corporate media, the Chronicle
itself warned you against fear while trying to scare you into
believing that giving away $700 billion dollars quickly to insiders
without thinking about it was the only way to go. But they failed.
A flood of Americans who weren't suckered e-mailed and wrote and
called Congress and said, "Hell no, we won't go for it." Congress
got scared for their cushy jobs and voted down the bail-out. And
the shocked Chronicle reacted with today's huge headline, a doomsday
alarm trying to scare you again, trying again to tell you what
you think, trying to soften you up, actually, so you won't resist
the second bail-out bill, which will be a lame compromise coming
For a whole two days now, maybe for another
day or two (I won't expect more than that), this all reminds me
of when the Chronicle ran equally huge headlines screaming that
Americans had finally had enough of Bill Clinton's disgraceful
tom-catting and weren't going to take it anymore. But it didn't
work, and then, like now (for a few days now, anyway), their readers
refused to be told what they thought. It was the biggest story
never reported, not the Bill and Monica story, the U.S. media
and their readers story, which was never reported by the media
(though it certainly prompted extension of routine pre-election
public brainwashing from one year to two).
Americans were bombarded all that year,
every hour of every day, with puritan propaganda until finally
the media and Congress had to turn it off and surrender their
impeachment dream, because the people, who may have been stupid
enough to be fooled about politics and economics, at least knew
ALL about sex and COULDN'T be fooled about that.
Too bad this isn't about sex or sports
or pop stars. It's about politics and economics. And a new bill
faked up to look more acceptable is already on the table and being
hyped to the people with Cheshire smiles. So I'll be amazed if
the people's momentary good sense doesn't wash off.
But I was already pleasantly amazed when
the BBC blog board responded to THEIR bail out propaganda piece,
not with the usual lumpen blather but with numerous articulate
comments accurately nailing the bail out, the Republicans and
Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, and even capitalism. Some writers even
understood that the big bad debt was - IS - a fantasy, that the
crooks were to get real money to replace the dream loot they never
actually had in their hands to lose.
It would be something if Congress, pretending
to intelligently ponder an inadequately amended compromise bill
to reduce the ransom, were once again flooded with e-mails and
calls telling them, "Hell no! We STILL won't go for it!" I'm not
expecting that, but I'll do a little for the cause here - at least
for the cause of clarity - by explaining to my one or two readers
how an illusion has become a real mess that's really scary but
should be boldly used as a painful way to finally bring down the
jungle system of capitalism. Oh yeah. I bet.
Day before (or before that) yesterday,
the media explained to you (taught you) for the umpteenth time
that the crisis stems from lenders being merely "complicit in
the stupid decisions to offer mortgages to home buyers who couldn't
afford them." Sure. What really happened was that home buyers
who rightfully wanted homes were conned into agreeing to pay 5
times what the homes were worth by crooks trying to make a killing
and intending to foreclose on the first wave of suckers and then
re-sell at an even more criminal price to a second wave of suckers.
But once the first suckers had been screwed,
no second wave came, and prices started dropping (they haven't
stopped dropping yet and shouldn't until they get back down to
earth). So the crooks, in their minds, got screwed, too. But they
didn't lose $700 billion actual dollars. They failed to GET 80%
of the loot they wanted - a fantasy - dream loot. Their victims
couldn't pay it.
At that point, the government should have
stepped in, given the homes to the buyers, and locked up the crooks.
But it was the crooks who had friends who looked the other way
as they used the dream loot on their books like unhatched chickens
to reinvest in other ventures, and those ventures also used the
fantasy loot to pay for labor, materials, etc. So the fantasy
loot was transmuted into a real mess. That's normal capitalist
jungle chaos. But it got too big and obvious, so the foxy chicken
guards who let it happen decided to save us all by replacing the
dream loot with real money (that they're busy printing).
Some other countries the mess has slopped
into are nationalizing some of their banks. That makes sense.
That's what we should be doing, just for a start, because it's
past time to deep 6 capitalism, which never worked for anyone
but the winners, anyway. But it's more likely the losers WILL
finally be fooled again into voting against themselves again.
The estimated 1300 people who've killed themselves by jumping
off the Golden Gate, according to my calculator, are not quite
1/4 as many people as have killed themselves by joining the U.S.
military and going to Iraq and Afghanistan. But if you take the
time period into account and divide 4600 dead soldiers by 7 years
and l300 jumpers by the 71 years the bridge has been there, nearly
700 U.S. troops a year have jumped off Afghanistan and Iraq, while
only 18 people a year have jumped off the bridge. Now, considering
that the actual human death rate is 100%, meaning that of the
well over 6 billion people alive today, assuming an average life
expectancy of 65 years, even figuring an extremely bottom heavy
age distribution, loosely a million people die every year, not
only is it apparent that only 1 out of 55555 of them jump off
the Golden Gate, it's also apparent that the entire 1/55555 would
have died anyway if they hadn't made that jump.
If anyone thinks I'm being too frivolous
about such a serious subject, I remind you that, just like minorities
who claim the right to joke about racism, as a human getting close
to death, I have the right (and so do you) to be frivolous about
death, especially in response to a mass media which constantly
fakes a laughably pious attitude toward the subject, and especially
when the SF Chronicle prints a headline and picture that probably
unconsciously invite a realistically frivolous response, especially
when that response has important implications society's insiders
want to keep covered up.
Seeing the headline in the local section
today, Shoes memorialize bridge jumpers, over a picture of a whole
lot of shoes, I had to ask myself, "Did they all take off their
shoes before they jumped and are these their shoes?" Then, reacting
rationally to the pious but incoherent read-out, "Research shows
that if you can break that cycle, only for a moment, they might
not do it." my second question (and I hope yours, too) had to
be, "So What?" And then, seeing the cunningly misleading subhead,
Support for the barrier, I had to get pissed and ask another question,
"What support?" And you've gotta be unconscious if you can't guess
my 4th question, in response to the insidious unquoted nonsense
clearly representing the Chronicle's own fractured (at the comma
- look close) editorial view:
Though a recent unscientific online
poll by the district found that 75 percent of 1,600 respondents
opposed any changes to the bridge, the net (a stupid steel net
to catch people) seemed to be the most attractive alternative.
My own unscientific ongoing poll has so
far failed to turn up anyone who even opposes suicide or, get
this, anyone who doesn't admire and defend Dr. Kervorkian. So
my fifth question could be "What world does the Chronicle editorial
staff live in?" But it isn't. I know the answer. I also know the
defense for this story is that it's about a media event staged
by the supporters of a suicide barrier on the bridge. But that's
no defense for the spectacular absence of a large philosophical
feature explaining why no really rational person sees any reason
to spend a fortune disfiguring the bridge. And it's no defense
for the Chronicle's refusal to print ANY really realistic comment
on the issue of suicide, like, for instance, the following, my
own brief clear and unprintable letter to the editor:
July 9 2008, Originally, it was going
to cost $2 million to study how to waste another $2 million to
disfigure the bridge so people fed up with life can't exercise
their existential right to jump off. Now it's $40 to $50 million.
Of course this isn't a secular state, but why should the people
of a supposedly secular state spend millions to enforce a religious
Come on! Here's a message from the real
world. If you don't want anyone jumping off the Golden Gate because
it's a costly and bothersome nuisance to try to drag their bodies
out, then put up signs on the bridge rail telling them the unreligious
Put up a sign every 50 yards explaining
that, "Hey! Hitting the water doesn't kill you. It just smashes
your bones and adds a lot of pain and the panic of being a helpless
cripple to the smothering horror of drowning in rude and icy saltwater!"
And at the bottom of each sign put a number
they can call to get suggestions and instructions for better ways
to kill themselves.
Better yet, pretend we really are both
secular and civilized here and sell 2-pill suicide kits without
a prescription in every drugstore, consisting of a sleeping pill
guaranteed to put you quickly and gently into a deep enough sleep
for surgery and a time-release cyanide capsule guaranteed to kill
you in 3 seconds while you're sound asleep "in the privacy of
your own room."
Oops! Did I go off nearly everybody else's
screen there? Sorry. I can never get used to living in a whole
world of cruel and dopy mystics, intellectual cowards, and piously
Remember my last question that I already
know the answer to was,"What world does the Chronicle editorial
staff live in?" and another question I already know the answer
to (which means it's ALL the Chronicle's OTHER readers who should
be asking these questions) is, "Why does the Chronicle strain
so hard to convince us we share their 19th century religious prejudice
Since the Chronicle won't tell you, I
will. It's because death postponement is big business. Population
growth and development are big business. Selling life-prolonging
products to lots and lots and lots more people through their youth,
adulthood, middle age, and old age is big business. Religion is
big busines. Denial is big business. And, not only are the Chronicle
publishers and (probably) editors businessmen, their major advertisers
are big businessmen. And even if it directly causes the rapidly
nearing total collapse of the eco-system, big business depends
on SUSTAINED growth. And to hell with all the losers who'd at
least like to pick up their useless marbles and abstain from further
participation in growth sustainment. Their forcibly sustained
life, failure and exploitable misery are big business.
More specifically, some insider wants
the contract to build the unneeded suicide barrier. And he doesn't
HAVE TO have a friend in City Government or on the Chronicle staff
(though he may). The 1/10 of 1% insiders who own and run this
country are all in the same general business. Whether their conspiracy
is tacit or explicit, "good" business is good for all of them.
So all of them (including media chiefs) try to be "good" for "good"
But since you probably aren't in the club,
why is the Chronicle trying so hard to convince YOU a money-making
scam like the suicide barrier is something you know in your heart
is needed? Come on. That's how big businessmen talk to suckers.
P.S. Compare it to the way the Chronicle
talks to you about the big business bail-out. SEE September 30
Back in 1982, Americans proud of their own fabled free
speech were smugly critical when Margaret Thatcher blasted UK
news media for covering the Falklands war objectively, but if
Thatcher were in the White House, she'd be happy with U.S. media
treatment of North Korea, which is so seamlessly slanted, you
may be too used to it to notice.
For instance, a Chronicle headline
today (Saturday) - North Korea backing out
of nuclear deal - is followed by an AP story that, instead
of calling the North Koreans bad guys just assumes you know that.
But, in fact, the placement of North Korea's side of the story
in paragraph #9, which, if this were on the front page, would
be past the jump and probably go unread, violates textbook journalism
rules, though it certainly fulfills the apparent rules of normal
Associated Press coverage of communist countries.
So the propaganda in the lead, on which
the headline is based (as if the Chronicle needed any help being
anti-communist, too), unbalanced by the distant paragraph #9,
saturates the readers' view. Re-read the headline Hi-lighted in
red above and then read the beginning of the story below, paying
careful attention to how coy but relentless anti-communist propaganda
A rare foreign policy success for
the Bush administration is imploding as North Korea backs away
from pledges to abandon nuclear weapons pretty much as the president's
critics on the right had warned.
Distracted by an economic crisis at
home and a series of diplomatic setbacks abroad, President Bush
and his top aides are watching the collapse of a painstakingly
negotiated process that just months ago seemed on track to produce
a major international success and perhaps bring a final end to
the Korean War before they leave office.
Maybe you ARE so used to the pitch
you don't see what's wrong with that lead. But I hope you can
at least gasp without my help at the inept pretense that George
Bush who's clearly trying to start a Korean war is trying to end
the old Korean War The 1945-50 Korean war!?! Holy cow! In the
first place, the supposed failure of an official war-ending peace
treaty way back then (because of South Korea's probably US inspired
refusal to sign) to end a war that, after all, was never officially
started is old, old, old meaningless hat, and second, it's irrelevant
to the current situation. The excessive length of this graph makes
me wonder if an old Chronicle editor inserted the 14 words after
international success to keep an old pot of his own boiling.
Maybe it's better not to dwell on whatever the point is.
But before that, just in the first
graph, repetition of the editorial word success is meant
not to inform but to teach readers what they think. Negative words
like imploding, abandoned and warned subtly support
the lesson. The lie that North Korea "pledge(d)" to surrender
without their own conditions being met reiterates previous lessons
about North Korea you've been relentlessly handed. The reference
only to unnamed critics on the right (who, I guess, "warned" Bush
he couldn't trust those rats) legitimizes the rightists' narrow
view, while robbing you of the less rabid views of other critics.
The second graph is worse, because
it's not the graph that, according to the rules of journalism,
belongs here, and because it's not news - it's just propaganda.
First AP provides Bush an alibi - that he was distracted
by his other failures. Then AP itself (nobody's being quoted)
praises what it calls a "painstakingly negotiated process," i.e.
relentless stonewalling and name calling (on both sides but with
less honesty on the Bush side), which readers are told by AP was
"on track to produce a major international success." That's what
AP says, which would be OK if you didn't think this was a news
story and if AP wasn't such a shameless lap dog.
But if my journalism students had printed
it, besides posting this story on the wall covered with red ink,
I'd have reminded them that they'd been taught that the second
graph of a story citing a serious accusation should cite the response
of the party being accused. And, the lesson being an important
one, I'd have posted a typed example on the wall beside it, including
an appropriately rewritten version of the buried paragraph #9
as the second graph.
What's been touted as a rare foreign
policy success for the Bush administration seemed to collapse
Thursday when North Korea apparently backed away from pledges
to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions in response to what
they called Washington's continued failure to fulfill its side
of the deal.
While White House national security
adviser Stephen Hadley called the North Koreans "obstructionists,"
Pyongyang spokespersons declared the DPRK had given up on Washington
and will "go its own way." North Korea has long demanded that
the U.S. take them off it's terrorist blacklist, but the State
Department has not complied.
This is a 13-graph story with only
one brief and buried nod to objectivity, preceded by numerous
stories just like it, some of which strenuously painted North
Korea as a pretty sordid place. I've never been there, and I don't
pretend to know. Maybe North Korea is sordid. but I'm sceptical
because the same kind of slander has been regularly heaped on
places that I do know don't deserve it. That is, I have no reason
to trust AP or any other mainstream western media, and neither
do you, and the example I'm deconstructing here should at least
make you wonder.
Understand that I'm not making a case
here for North Korea. I'm judging western media, especially but
not only AP, because there are a lot of sordid places in the world,
including parts of Texas, that they don't so strenuously slander.
So their current display of vitriol toward North Korea is contrived
and even trumped up to support George Bush, whom I certainly don't
trust, and also to reinforce their eternal and eternally regressive
and philosophically contemptible anti-communist stance.
You should recall and take notice that
AP never reminds you that the confrontation with North Korea,
including the constant unjustified presence of U.S. troops in
their faces, has been going on for over 60 years, ever since the
Korean War, which was started by the US and Russia, not by the
Koreans, fizzled out; and that it also includes dealings with
Bill Clinton who failed to fulfill his promises to North Korea;
the fact that George Bush very belligerently called North Korea
part of an "axis of evil" and then gratuitously attacked another
country on that supposed "axis" and seems bent on attacking another;
and the fact that Bush has never threatened Pakistan, a very unstable
muslim country guilty of many state approved human rights abuses,
with a population that mostly doesn't like us, and prone to wage
war against its neighbor, India. Since Pakistan's free pass is
clearly that they have nuclear weapons, North Korea's wish for
nuclear retaliatory capability makes sense. Doesn't it? Remember,
my POINT isn't that it DOES make sense, though I think it does,
but that AP makes a point of never acknowledging that it does.
22 2008, BBC's carefully official and repeated reference
to a "French resolution" on the Georgian conflict serves to remind
us that, since the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of
France, the U.S. insiders and their corporations have a new puppet
in the UN.
That's interesting, but this website is
and will be more interested in how obviously BBC, AP, and all
the mainstream media so smoothly and loyally pander to the insiders
political economic games and to their version of history and reality.
Today's BBC story is as much a part of the game as George Bush
whispering in Sarkozy's ear.
THIS FEATURE, "UNSPINNING THE NEWS," AN ANALYSIS,
PHILOSOPHICAL CLARIFICATION, AND HONEST RECONSTRUCTION OF THE
NEWS REGULARLY DISTORTED BY EMBEDDED MAIN STREAM RADIO, TV, NEWSPAPER,
AND INTERNET NEWS SOURCES, HAS NOW BEGUN AND WILL CONTINUE, CERTAINLY
NOT DAILY (I'M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THAT) BUT AS REGULARLY AS I
TO FRONT PAGE