Archive for April, 2005

Duplicity, redux

Oy…

The Preznit President of the United States, 28 April, 2005:

First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy. Secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power.

Third, we must develop promising new sources of energy, such as hydrogen, ethanol or biodiesel. Fourth, we must help growing energy consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently, and reduce global demand of fossil fuels.

With me so far? Nucular, excuse me, nuclear power, good; applying new technologies in growing overseas nations and reducing the global demand on fossil fuels, good. And remember our “big plan” for ending terrorism? Spread freedom.

Okay. So explain this to me, someone, please:

See, what they recognize is that — what America recognizes, and what Great Britain, France, and Germany recognize, is that we can’t trust the Iranians when it comes to enriching uranium; that they should not be allowed to enrich uranium.

And what the Iranians have said was, don’t we deserve to have a nuclear power industry just like you do? I’ve kind of wondered why they need one since they’ve got all the oil, but nevertheless, others in the world say, well, maybe that’s their right to have their own civilian nuclear power industry

I guess this would be another of those great “do as we say, not as we do” moments.

-never prouder to be American, no sir.

Published in: General | on April 29th, 2005 | No Comments »

Duplicity

Anyone who fails to see parallels between Iraq and Vietnam clearly hasn’t been reading about the latter:

“Implicit… is the fact that the embittered atmosphere of the peace movement must also be seen in the context of the so-called credibility gap. On every aspect of the war – the explanation of its origins, characterization of our role, praise of the South Vietnamese regime and its progress towards democracy, description of the unfailing success of all American military operations, minimization of civilian casualties, and denials of enemy and neutral gestures towards negotiation – the American government has been charged with duplicity by many of those who disagree with its policies… When all shades of misgiving about the war were scorned as cowardly and unpatriotic – the timidity of “nervous nellies? and “cussers and doubters? – the effect was to turn disagreement into rage.?

Jerome Skolnick,

    The Politics of Protest

, 1969; p. 30

Published in: History | on April 19th, 2005 | 1 Comment »

IMAP

Mmmm… IMAP.

For everything you ever wanted to know about the Internet Message Access Protocol, AKA IMAP, and much you never knew you wanted to know, check out Nancy McGough’s page at Infinite Ink.

If, after reading thru that, you decide you’d like to get in on that IMAP thing, by all means head over to my web and email provider and check out their offerings. Tell ‘em Slugsite sent ya, and who knows… maybe they’ll cut you a deal.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on April 18th, 2005 | No Comments »

damn that liberal media

Amongst practicioners of the Magickal arts, ‘tis said that to name a thing is to have power over it. Yet this power does not extend to changing the fundamental nature of a being; as calling a giraffe a robin does not allow it to fly. By changing something’s name you may befuddle or even impress the masses, but you can’t so simply alter reality.

To wax less metaphysical, let us consider the point of this article – the media in this country. The Republicans whine endlessly about the evils of the liberal media, often promoting it in their vilification to the Liberal Media. But this is, while perhaps not exactly wishful thinking on their part, still a typical bit of Republican propaganda; to wit, a lie.

Considered as a whole, the media in this country is distinctly right-of-centre, the majority controlled corporately and editorially by perhaps a dozen large corporations with distinctly and predictably neoconservative agendas. In such an unbalanced status quo, it is perhaps understandable – albeit unprofessional – for media outlets to try to paint their competition as being out of step with the party.

As understandable as their motivation may be, the nature of their criticisms is inevitably inept. One of the most frequently-levied criticisms of the so-called liberal media is that they intentionally distort the nature and conditions of our junket in Iraq. Aside from stirring up their fellow right-wing nuts into a froth of baseless indignation, this sort of allegation serves only to highlight the speaker’s ignorance about the nature of media itself.

The dictionary defines media as mass communications, and the industry thereof. For our purposes it is useful to consider the media as two separate and very different entities, the news media and the remainder. It is perhaps easiest to identify the latter as exclusive of the former, which include much (but not all!) of radio and television, a considerable portion of the magazine industry, newspapers, of course, and in these advanced times their online presences, branches, divisions, and counterparts. It is these forms of communication, whose business is at least in part to disseminate news to the masses, with which we are concerned.

Defining news is and has always been difficult. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, news is unusual things happening, or usual things not happening; but also occasionally usual things happening or unusual things not happening; sometimes things people want to see, but also things people need, broadly speaking, to see, and of course things people don’t want other people to see. In short, much like pornography, nearly anything can be news if done right, and, though difficult to define, you know it when you see it.

The definition of news is important to remember. The Republicans have a clear and open agenda – maintaining and consolidating their hold on political, and by proxy, commercial, power. To do this while maintaining a semblance of democratic process requires a degree of public support, and to ensure this support, and thus their continued survival at the top of the food chain, they and their media puppets engage in ethically dubious behaviour like imposing self-censorship, selective reporting of events, the use of highly partisan and biased reporting, and even outright propaganda. Rather than acknowledge this immoral manipulation of the public’s meme, they go on and on, criticizing the so-called liberal media for misrepresenting reality.

Pot, meet kettle.

Recent specific criticisms have been that by giving coverage to “less positive? developments in Iraq – American dead and wounded, terrorist attacks, anti-US demonstrations – the media is being biased. This is untrue. Unlike (for instance) Fox News, media outlets providing, let’s be frank, honest coverage of the American jihad in Iraq are doing what they’re supposed to – reporting news.

I’m sorry, but it’s newsworthy that American soldiers are dieing every day in Iraq, months after “major combat operations? supposedly ended, and that they’re being killed at increasingly frequent intervals. It’s newsworthy that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad to protest the de-facto American occupation of their country. It’s newsworthy that there were more terror attacks worldwide in 2004 than any of the last twenty years. Reality is, this country and its economy are in serious trouble, problems caused and exacerbated by the Republican administration. Rather than being, as right-wing nuts so often criticize them, un-American, news outlets reporting these and other stories are simply living up to their expectations and doing what is asked of them – namely, reporting news. In a country with constitutional freedom of speech and the press – the freedom and liberty to report important things regardless of government approval, or even more importantly despite government disapproval – it is those who criticize others for exercising their rights, those who are unabashedly in favor of censorship and propaganda, who are un-American.

When the religious fringe in this country bemoans the “liberal bias? in the media, what they’re really saying is that the few portions of the news media not controlled by their interests are, by their right-wing standards, not sufficiently conservative. When you’re as extremist as fundamentalist neoconservatives are today, everything looks liberal. Calling the media liberal does not make it so, for words and names alone cannot change the nature of something, no matter how often you scream, whine, and bellow them.

Or, to write in soundbites, conservatives lie… which is, truly, not news at all.

Published in: General | on April 18th, 2005 | No Comments »

So much potential…

An acquaintance sent me a link to Bill’s imaginatively named blog and his dated yet droll error pages. I expect by now most everyone has forgotten the former Iraqi Information Minister, which in a way is a sad thing, as he was the second funniest person on television at the time (after Stewie of Family Guy, who, as a cartoon character, arguably doesn’t count).

Anyway, Bill’s error page(s) is (are) much funnier than mine… though mine wasn’t intended to be funny. So there!

Published in: General | on April 16th, 2005 | No Comments »