Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

The rule of law, a “foreign” concept

September 29, 2012

I mean, if you want to worry about the rule of law, look out your window. Why do you have to go all the way down to China?

Today, under “In China, no rule of law”  the editorial board of the Washington Post is lamenting the rule of law …… in China, that is!

I mean we went to war over a lie in Iraq. We illegally spied on our own  citizens, we introduced indefinite detention, tortured people and invented a euphemism for it “enhanced interrogation technique”. Remember  Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram etc…  and other “naked” transgressions?  How many were prosecuted, let alone convicted of a crime? A grand total of zero.

The banking shenanigans and Wall street theft that led to the near collapse of the world economy are still going on under one guise or another. How many  of those knaves that consciencely caused all of that were brought to trial? Zero.

Our constitution has been shred to pieces. But Obama famously declared (in a stark reversal of a campaign promise) “we should look forward not backward” to justify not prosecuting the Bush-era war crimes.

And on and on and on, and the Washington Post did not a raise a hoot about the rule of law. In fact, in the case of the ongoing wars, they cheered them on.

In China, at least they fired Bo Xilai and they are bringing charges against him and his wife.  Heck even Iran sent the daughter of ex-president and strong man “Rafsanjani” to prison on corruption charges last week.

To the Wash Po, the rule of law is, literally,  a  “foreign concept”.

The notion that our main stream media  takes the rule of the law seriously is ….. well,  a joke.


What the Indy 500 and American Journalism have in common

March 20, 2012

What do Danica Patrick and Kevin Drum have in common?

When Danica Patrick said “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions”, I thought, well, she is just an auto  racing driver. Focusing on making a “quick buck”, literally, she probably had not given much thought to George Orwell’s writings on government, assuming she ever heard of the man.

But when Kevin Drums, a  so-called “independent  journalist”- a oxymoron in the lexicon of American press, at Mother Jones writes what, in essence, amounts to the same thing, absolving Obama of a crime against an imprisoned Yemeni journalist, just because he is “our president“, then one has to wonder whether  the pit of American journalism is  bottomless:

But which do I find more likely? That Shaye is indeed affiliated with al-Qaeda based on evidence that hasn’t been made public? Or that Barack Obama is a sociopath who pressures foreign leaders to keep innocent journalists in prison based on the fact that they very slightly annoy him? Call me what you will, but I have to go with Door A. U.S. attacks within Yemen might be bad policy. The entire war on al-Qaeda might be bad policy. What’s more, Obama — along with the entire security apparatus of the United States — might be specifically wrong about Shaye. But I don’t believe that they’re simply making this story up because of a basically inconsequential piece that Shaye wrote two years ago. That just doesn’t add up.”

(Note how Mr. Drum, the “independent” journalist, not only did he not say his investigations prompted him to choose “Door A” , but also he seemed to conveniently ignore the many “other”  wars Obama is waging against whistleblowers and real journalism. It is not just about this  “inconsequential piece“, Kevin. This is only one piece of the puzzle).

Orwell must be rolling in his grave.  What is the job of a journalist if not that of a watchdog to hold government leaders accountable, investigate their actions and their statements, and publicize issues that need attention, among other things?


Stressed hunters!

March 5, 2012

Another day, another act from the theater of the absurd, a.k.a the U.S. media.

Drones operators are feeling stressed, our media reports!

The brave operators of the drones, killers in the skies, while sitting in the comfort of their chairs in Nevada or Colorado, are showing high stress levels.

Not so the civilians who are being killed on screens, even children, half-way around the world, in front of these operators, by these operators. These civilians are stress-free now. In fact, they’re comfortably dead.  Even the mourners and the rescuers of the drones victims are not spared!

I can’t begin to imagine the terror under which the residents on the receiving end are living. Can you imagine what it feels like to be under the threat of a borg-like killer watching your every move  from the sky, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days (and a quarter!) a year? 

That there are actually living, breathing human beings behind the screens of “our brave drones operators” is irrelevant.

I guess looking at the other side of the story is not a job at which our “free and independent”  media is good. Propagandizing and  stenography for the Pentagon? Now that  is a job it excels at.


For whom the NASDAQ tolls?

February 1, 2012

I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the fact that Fox News is celebrating 10 years as the top-rated cable news.

“We are extremely proud of the phenomenal achievement created by the hard work and talent of the FOX News Channel employees and recognize how difficult it is for a cable network to sustain this level of dominance for a decade,” said FOX News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. “America has clearly embraced fair and balanced news.”

Talent indeed! Talent in fabricating fact-free anecdotal news: like this , or this, or this, or this; I could go on all day!

Talent in bringing to you entertaining demagogues like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, etc… masquerading as newsmen and political and cultural commentators. And don’t forget the biggest one of them all, the owner of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, who came up with the “fact” that if we invaded Iraq, oil prices will drop to $30.00 a barrel. Rupert Murdoch no less who was subpoenaed to testify before the British house of common and got some of his high-ranking staff convicted of illegally hacking into people’s cell phones and personal records.

We have indeed sunk to where the statement  “America has clearly embraced fair and balanced news” is true.  This is very unsettling. It should put fear in everyone’s heart over the future of this country. We should all be mourning and lamenting reason and critical thinking  instead of cheering and ringing the NASDAQ bell celebrating idiocy.


Online gluttony will be moderated

January 2, 2012

One friend has just posted pictures of a recent summer trip. Another has posted wedding pics.

One of the Kardashians got divorced and another is pregnant.

The perennial presidential campaign circus heats up while the economic outlook is colder than the Arctic.

Between Facebook, the Internet, and TV, a person in modern times has hardly “alone” time.

How much can the brain, and the whole system really, gobble up?

Everyone knows we’re “overloaded” and has something to say about it. Some of us are actually raising alarms about dire consequences ranging from lack of deep thoughts and attention deficit disorder to frivolousness and lack of empathy. Some throw unhappiness and even the morphing of the human race into the mix.

I beg to differ.

We have survived the ice age, the plague, and  all the  disasters–  natural and otherwise. And I think we can survive the gluttony of being ” over plugged-in” unscathed (we may not survive our greed and arrogance, but that is another issue for another day).

This whole online gluttony resembles eating disorder. Humanity is basically acting like the proverbial kid in a candy store but will sooner or later get sick, grow out of it, and settle within a normal range.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of  the “Jenny Craigs” and the “Atkins diets” for online feeding disorder, anytime soon. It wouldn’t surprise me either if clinics for online “overindulgence”, where one would pay to be “plugged-in free”, start to pop up, and destinations, where one would pay for the privilege of having no phones, Internet, or TV at all,  become popular tourist attractions.

We will always have  the likes of that teenager from California who averaged 10, 000 messages every 24 hours for a month. But also, we will always have the deep thinkers that stand outside of it all so they can have something good to bring to us.

And just like a healthy weight and food nutritional facts have been established, an average of healthy plugged-in time and guidelines will be established (may be a unit other than hours/day will be assigned to account for age, line of work, mental maturity and so forth).

We have thrived with some of us overweight, slim, or average. We will do just fine with some of us over-connected and plugged-in 24 hours a day and some of us not at all.


The trillon dollar lesson

December 24, 2011

It never ceases to amaze me how inflated  Man’s ego can be.

In the very entertaining  movie  ” The War of the Roses”, we’re treated to a feuding couple  going through divorce. The two parties become consumed with hate and vengeance. Each spouse wants to teach the other a lesson.  It all ends in self-destruction.

This comes to mind every time I recall the real reason Dick Cheney and George Bush took this nation to war with Iraq; a country  they knew  had nothing to do with Al Qaeda and had no WMD . “We have to hit the heart of the Muslim World to teach them a lesson”, Cheney convinced a clueless Bush.

Listen to one of the most influential foreign policy “experts” on the Middle East justifying the worthiness of that war too.

Was it really worth it? Or was it a self-destructive big ego war? Over 4500 soldiers dead and 30,000 injured; over trillion dollars spent and counting; over 500,000 dead Iraqis; millions more displaced. And the economy is teetering thanks, in no small measure, to that war.

I have no problem making the perpetrators pay for their crimes. But that was not it.

Over what exactly? To teach “Them” a lesson?

Is that lesson even worth the life of one soldier not coming back to his family on Christmas? Let alone all the economic  suffering the nation has endured  the last 4 years.

Just like the Roses, we have  become so consumed with hate and vengeance  that we have been  willing to self-destruct in the process .

I marvel at how we have become so numb that we don’t even see this “bullies mentality” for what it is.


All the ignorance money can buy

December 18, 2011

TLC has been airing a series  “All American Muslims”, a reality show that follows the daily lives of muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan and gives a glimpse into  a minority group not many of us know much about– except how it’s defined by O’Reilly, Glen Beck, and their ilk, that is.

This was too much for the sensibility of the all loving God of  “Florida Family Association”, an evangelical group that complained the show is portraying Muslims too positively! God forbids Americans wake up one day and find out that Muslims are people like the rest of us after all. So they urged sponsors to boycott the show.

Sure enough, Lowe’s announced that it is pulling its ads. Another advertiser, Pernod Ricard,  has followed suit. I am sure many will follow and  bow to bigotry.  Suddenly, an informative and timely show is in danger.

Incidentally, it is hard not to notice that the denouncement of muslims as a monstrous species in our midst often helps politicians’ poll numbers, propel trash books to bestsellers lists, and promote opportunists’ careers and turn them into instant stars– Herman Cain, Bachman, Palin, and Newt come to mind. Just play this mind game. Replace  the word Muslim with Christian, Jewish, Black, Hispanic, or any minority group in America in any sentence these presidential candidates spew about Muslims.  Now just imagine the ensuing uproar, if you can. Exactly!

My main point here is not defending Muslims in particular. It is more general than that.

How much power do corporate sponsors and billionaires have in shaping your mind and coloring the world around you? A lot more than what you think. The TLC incident is but one more clear evidence.

Can we really learn anything “Big Money” doesn’t want us to know? And more poignantly, is anything we know about “Them”  and even “Us” really true? The answer is really scary.

If they can force this kind of programs off the air, what else are they not telling us?

It is healthy to keep that question  in mind.


Ideologue David Brooks wags the dog

October 23, 2011

Does David Brooks know something we don’t about an impending war with Iran? Is he just suggesting one?

It certainly feels that way.

In his weekly analysis for PBS this Friday, David Brooks, the ideologue who argued vehemently for the urgent invasion of Iraq, laid out in sketchy prints the grounds for an attack on Iran ever so subtly. The fact that all of his arguments for the war in Iraq were discredited did not deter the self-proclaimed pure moralist in the least. Nor did it deter PBS, or the NYT for that matter, from continuously providing him with the pulpit to propagate lies necessary for his ideological agenda.

In his signature sneaky way, he suggested Iran is a rogue state that not only the neocons view as very dangerous, but also the whole Western world.

Now combine this with his claim, in that same PBS segment, of the relevancy of foreign policy in deciding presidential elections, a view he himself used not to believe in. Add to that his assertion that “somehow the middle east is going to come back in September or October next year”. Now consider the fact that Obama’s reelection prospects  are looking dimmer and dimmer, and a picture starts to emerge.

I hope I am wrong but it feels like a “wag-the-dog” scenario is being promoted here.



Social Media and Western Governments Hypocracy

August 27, 2011

Remember when we bashed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the rest of “those” nations for going after the social media and restricting its access?

Remember when Hillary Clinton plead with Twitter to postpone their scheduled maintenance  service for a few more days so the Iranians demonstrators  can keep up the pressure against the government?

Well, this is from yesterday’s NYT :

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media:

The government’s home minister, Theresa May, according to one account of the meeting, said that the aim was not to “discuss restricting Internet services,” but to instead “crack down on the networks being used for criminal behavior.” A spokeswoman for Ms. May said the government “would not be seeking any additional powers.”

Yeah..yeah… I believe you!

Meanwhile… back  home:

“…The [corporation] Bay Area Rapid Transit’s  decided to temporarily turn off cell phone reception in four San Francisco stations, which was in anticipation of another protest, which was in turn a response to a recent police shooting in a San Francisco BART station….”

Replace Britain in the headlines with Iran, and Bay Area Rapid Transit with Ahmadi Najad and you’d have a level 6 condemnation hurricane from all over the civilised, freedom promoting Western governments AND its subservient media.

It is barbarism and tyranny only when “they” do it. It is defending law and order, of course, when “we” do it!

Orwell matters now more than ever.


Hezbollah pulls a Texas

July 12, 2011

The NYT editorial page today:

“An international tribunal has called on Lebanon’s government to arrest four suspects indicted in the 2005 car-bomb killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others. All four of the accused are members of Hezbollah…”. Hezbollah refused to the court’s decision.

“… [We are] not bound by a foreign court’s ruling.”

Guess what! The latter quote though was not from Hezbollah. It was from Texas Governor’s Press Secretary commenting on The International Court of Justice a few years back:

“The International Court of Justice ruled that 51 Mexican-born inmates nationwide, including Leal, were entitled to new hearings in American courts to determine if their consular rights were violated. ”

“No matter what Hezbollah says, the men accused of Rafik Hariri’s murder must be arrested….”, declared the editorial page of the NYT (which didn’t say anything about the Texas decision which was upheld by our supreme court last week.)

But why? Hezbollah has just pulled a Texas.