Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Bears Repeating

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

An Indictment against the Mainstream Media

I'd like to start by tipping my hat to Markos Moulitsas, founder and spiritual leader of the very popular website, Daily Kos, for setting that gasbag, Chris Matthews, straight. He also put Tom Tancredo in his place several weeks earlier, so I guess he's becoming something of a soft-spoken dragon slayer - What was wrong with pointing out that chicken hawk Tancredo claimed to be "too depressed" to fight for his country in Vietnam?

More recently - last week, in fact - Chris Matthews made the remark on his show, Hardball, that "I don't consider them [progressive bloggers] Democrats. I consider them Netroots. And if I see they vote in every election, or most elections, then I'll be worried. But I'm not sure they're regular, grown-up Democrats. I think a lot of these people are troublemakers who love to sit in the back seat and complain. They're not interested in governing this country. They never ran for office, they're not interested in working for someone in public office. They get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat and bitching."

So let's see, people who have never run for office, or are not interested in working for someone in public office are not grown-up Democrats. They're trouble makers who get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat bitching, and it worries him when he see them vote. What an arrogant and closed-minded, Washington beltway idiot. That pompus idiot casually sat there and wrote off most of America as children who bitch too much.

The irony is, the unmitigated arrogance of that statement is exactly what makes netroots and blogging sites like KOS and TPM so vitally important to America. Due to the many self-centered and closed-minded hacks like himself, the mainstream media has become all but irrelevant, and Moulitsas pointed that out, very adroitly, and much more diplomatically than I ever could have. He's the one who came off looking like an adult, responding to the immature and irresponsible rantings of a child.

Instead of indulging in insulting characterizations and name-calling (like I probably would have), Moulitsas, very calmly made his point through example. He pointed out that the following:

"In 2003, when Bush landed his plane in the aircraft carrier, and spoke in front of the banner that said, 'Mission Accomplished,' Chris Matthews had an entire show based on that event, and he said everybody knows that we won the war, except a few critics." Moulitsas went on to say, "Well, I was one of those few critics. People like me in the Netroots were some of those critics. And it turns out that we were right and the Beltway conventional wisdom was wrong. And once again, we're in a situation where people like Chris Matthews don't learn from these mistakes. They're trapped in this bubble and they think that they know better."

Bingo! That said it all, and he didn't raise his voice once. And he handled Tom Tancredo several weeks earlier with the very finesse. He literally ran Tancredo off the Ed Show, and again, without busting so much as a sweat bubble. The reason he doesn't have to raise his voice, is because he's confronting Washington hypocrisy with facts and courage - something that the mainstream media seems to have lost.

They've degenerated into cheerleaders with an unspoken agreement not to step outside the approved parameters of the status quo. Then Moulitsas is that guy who shows up at the dinner party with a crude but unyielding truth: "No, that's not a bad egg - somebody farted." That's who bloggers and are, and that's exactly what America needs.

On September 15, 2002–six months and four days prior to the Iraqi invasion--I published an article entitled "Would Bush's Saber Rattle as Loudly Against China?" in the Portland Independent Media Center (no one else would publish it at the time) that said the following:

Now that we've reached the anniversary of 9-11, I am consumed by one thought--in light of what I've seen over the past year I find myself much more afraid of Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft than I am the al-Qaeda. While I understand that terrorists strike without warning to destroy life and property to promote their own agenda, it has become increasingly clear that Bush and his cohorts threaten to be even more destructive by attacking life, liberty, and the very foundation of this nation in the promotion of theirs.

Over the past year these conservative war mongers have been playing the American people like a fiddle. Now they want to sacrifice American lives for nothing more than their own political advantage. Just ask yourself, what does Saddam Hussain have to do with 9-11? Absolutely nothing. Evidence of that can be found in the fact that if Saddam had been involved in 9-11 the administration would have gone after him initially. So why is it suddenly so imperative that we invade Iraq now? I'll tell you why. Since Bush was unable to produce the head of Osama Bin Laden, he now needs another villain to take Bin Laden's place in order to keep his numbers up in the polls-- and if that means having to sacrifice a few American lives and ignite even more terrorist activity on American soil in the process, so be it.

It is a well known political fact that the American people tend to rally around the president when the country's at war. That's why the Bush Administration fell all over themselves after 9-11 to declare "a war against terrorism." And the American people reacted just as planed-Bush's numbers immediately went up in the polls. But now with the mystery surrounding the fate of Osama Bin Laden, the administration has found itself without a war to sustain those numbers, so now they have to create one.

While I'm not prepared to say that the Bush Administration allowed 9-11 to take place, it is clear that the timing of the 9-11 tragedy was without a doubt the best thing that could ever happened to Bush's presidency. Bush was a lame duck the minute he was sworn in. It seems that as soon as Bush entered The Oval Office the stock market began to falter and the economy started to weaken. And whenever he spoke, the next day's news was not so much what he said, but whether or not he got through the speech without falling on his face. In addition, his big tax cut that was touted as the key to boosting the economy turned out to be a bust, and he was so inept in dealing with congress that a Republican senator changed parties costing Bush control of the senate. As a result, when 9-11 took place, it was embraced by conservatives more like it was a football rally than the sober occasion that it was--thus, all the flag waving, ceremonies, and strutting about.

But where was all that bluster prior to 9-11? ABC News reported on May 16th of this year that the Bush Administration acknowledged that U.S. Intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before 9-11 that Osama Bin Laden's terrorists might try to hijack a plane. It was also reported that Bush privately alerted transportation officials and security agencies, but other than that, simply sat on the information. The administration claims that the information they received was non-specific, but one would think that even if they couldn't determine exactly when and where the attack was going to take place, at the very least they could have warned the American people. If they had, maybe some of the people who died would have chosen not to fly-or possibly, chosen to leave their children behind. But no, this president who now claims to be so concerned with protecting our welfare that he feels compelled to launch an unprovoked attack against Iraq, was at that time more interested in the impact that warning us would have on the airline industry.

What the American people needs to understand is that the power elite in this country doesn't view the United States in the same way as its citizens. They see the United States as a huge corporation, with its various industries as its subsidiaries. They see American citizens, particularly the lower and middle class, as simply pawns to be cajoled and manipulated in whatever way is necessary to meet the goals of the corporation. Therefore, they didn't view the tragedy of 9-11 in the same patriotic way as the average American citizen. After the initial shock, they saw 9-11 in terms of dollars and cents. Ultimately, it was viewed as an assault on their corporate superstructure. Later they recognized that the incident could be used as a distraction for the American people, and still later, an opportunity to move on Middle Eastern oil interests.

So let there be no doubt, all of the flag waving, ceremonies, and patriotic speeches have nothing to do with 9-11; they are designed to whip the American people into such a frenzy that they're blinded to Bush's actual agenda. And that agenda includes the following.

1).Committing America (and American lives) to a war in order to get himself re-elected.

2).Taking control of Iraqi oil fields to benefit his friends in big business.

3).Keeping the American voter distracted from considering the ramifications of the recent corporate scandals.

4).Keeping the American people from recognizing how inept he is as president.

The rest of the world sees Bush's agenda for what it is, and the American people would too if they'd stop waving their flags long enough to consider the flag's true meaning. The American flag represents freedom and justice, not trying to dictate who should lead other countries. It represents the open debate of issues, not intolerance to any and everyone who disagrees with your point of view. It represents the guarantee of personal freedom, not the suspension of the Bill of Rights. If the American people would just stop to consider these facts, it would become clear that even while Bush and his conservative cohorts are frantically waving our flag, they are simultaneously waging war against the very values that the flag and this great country represents.

These issues can, and will, be debated ad nauseam, but the American people need only ask themselves two questions to put all of the administration's nonsense into perspective. First, would the administration be so anxious to go to war if we were talking about China as opposed to Iraq? And secondly, do we think that invading Iraq will make us more, or less safe from terrorist attacks? If we answer those questions honestly, it becomes clear that the administration is being disingenuous at best.***

Where was the mainstream media?  If a shade tree journalist sitting up in his den in the heart of a Los Angeles ghetto could see what was going on, why couldn't the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, CNN and all of the networks; Harvard, Yale, and all of the various and sundry Ph.D.s from America's great institutions of learning? Why couldn't the nation's think tanks, all of the nation's political scientists, and the United States Congress figure it out? The answer is, they had, then simply turned their backs and allowed our young people to march off to their deaths. The most irrefutable evidence of that? None of their children died.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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