Media Lens: The Surge – Here to Help

22 May 2007 — Media Lens

The BBC’s Mark Urban And The Independent’s Adrian Hamilton On Iraq

On the May 14 edition of Newsnight, the BBC’s Mark Urban reported from Iraq that the US troop “surge” was an attempt to “turn the tide of violence” in Baghdad. Urban did not mean it was an attempt to turn the tide of violence in America’s favour and against its enemies – the media essentially never present the war in terms of conquest and resistance. The Americans are fighting for ‘security‘, ’stability’ and ‘peace’, not victory.

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From ‘al-Qu’eda’ to ‘Abductions’-the deceptions continue By William Bowles

17 May 2007

It’s ages since I’ve dumped on my favourite newspaper, the Independent for its ‘news’ coverage but I broke down and bought the damn thing because of what I found on the front page this week.

Under the head of “An American Nightmare” (15/5/07) we read that US troops have been “kidnapped” by “al-Qu’ida”. It’s not clear who holds the by-line for the front page, either Rupert Cornwall or Patrick Cockburn, not that it matters either way as on turning to page 2 we find that both are singing from the same song sheet.

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Ghosts of Tim Leary and Hunter Thompson By Joe Bageant

16 May 2007 — Joe Bageant

Freedom vs. Authority under the 40-foot pulsating rainbow vagina Everything Americans think they know, they learned from a televised morality play. It’s all theater. You root for some good guy and boo some bad guy. You pick your own, but you dance to the tune of the men running the show. It’s mind control, pure and simple, and if there is an American immune to it, then he is probably living in a snow cave somewhere in Alaska.
— Gypsy Joe Hess (1919-1988), prospector, self-educated philosopher and horse trader

In my ragged assed 40 years of writing, I’ve been lucky enough — or sometimes unlucky enough — to meet and write about many of America’s “somebodies,” mostly vapid asshole movie and TV stars and rock musicians. When I was young, so-called “media journalism” then was just what it is now, what we called “starfucking,” and amounted to writing PR for media corporations in “music journals” of the time. But we covered a few worthwhile iconic figures in the mix as well — the kind that stick around in the background of one’s thinking forever. At my age now, I find a lot of them are dying off, the Hunter Thompsons, Susan Sontags, Ken Keseys and Kurt Vonneguts. However, I have a self-imposed policy not to eulogize them because the hundreds of sentimental Internet tributes that flourish upon their deaths somehow seem ghoulish, and because it is a universal truth that we writers will do anything for an audience, and celebrity death is one of the easiest ways to attract one.

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Democracy inaction By William Bowles

15 May 2007

Believe it or not, there was a time when working people actually directly participated in the political process, believing that as members of the class of producers they could manage the affairs of state and eventually take control of the businesses they worked for; that was what socialism in the 19th century was all about. The entirety of Marx’s writings was essentially concerned with the way industrial capitalism had created the pre-conditions for this takeover, an analysis which included the nature of the increasing socialisation of production and distribution made possible by the factory system which in turn had led to the formation of trade unions and political parties of the producers that would represent and fight for their interests.

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Media Lens: The Shining City On A Hill – Part 2

11 May 2007 — Media Lens

The BBC’s Justin Webb On ‘Anti-Americanism’

The Lexicon Of Totalitarianism

In Part 1 of this alert (, we analysed Justin Webb’s recent BBC Radio 4 series on “anti-Americanism”, ‘Death to America’.

It is worth considering Webb’s premise that “anti-Americanism” is a meaningful concept that merits ‘balanced’ analysis. Continue reading

Rising Above Politics — Can we quit talking and start walking? By Joe Bageant

8 May 2007 — Joe Bageant

Well, lo and beshit! I never thought I’d ever see the day. But even in my hardcore Republican run hometown, many conservatives are quietly sneaking away from the sing-along around the campfire of George Bush’s war-crazed hootenanny. Most of them are ordinary bona fide conservatives. But others slipping off under cover of darkness are among our richest Republicans who profiteered mightily in the security, construction and service businesses that sprouted like mushrooms from every aspect of the Iraq War. Either they have suddenly developed a streak of conscience, or they simply don’t want to be associated with the trail of crime, blood and feces Bush and his cronies have obviously tracked across the carpet of American history. My bet is on the latter.

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