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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

February 08, 2005
It's Good To Be Imperial

In the "don't read too fast or you'll miss it" category, in MoJo blog entry about election turnout in Iraq:

Today we set out first to the Ministry of Agriculture to find out more about concerns surrounding CPA Order 81, which forces upon Iraqi farmers U.S.-style seed patent law and prohibits them from saving seeds from one season's crop for planting the next (which is how farming has long been done in Iraq).

Everyone who thinks this means Iraqi companies selling Iraq seed are getting protection, raise your hands.

Everyone who thinks this is another sellout of a piece of Iraq to corporate USofA interests, take a drink.

And then we find, in a discussion of public opinion polling in Iraq:

Dulaimie himself was approached by the International Republican Institute, which conducts many of the polls used by the Bush Administration, but said his meetings with them had been a waste of time.

And I find myself wondering just who is paying for this private, Republican Institute to run these polls? Is this another of the PR companies the Bush Administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on while saying we can't afford healthcare?


"They regard Iraq as a model for the region. And I told them, that's just propaganda. If you want to build Iraq, you should introduce a plan, not propaganda."

Pardon me if I think it's a bad, bad, bad idea for a polling company to head into a poll with their own set of beliefs they'd like to see confirmed, okay?

(I know...that's a lot of peevishness from one blog entry, but really. I'm aggravated that the USofA major media seems to have declared the Iraqi elections "a huge success" and then moved on. Even the daily bombings have been reduced to sidebar status. And I'm almost unable to find any discussion in any USofA media outlet about the laws we imposed on Iraq and the ones we're hoping to make stick.)

Let's move on....

Democracy in Iraq. It takes more than the suspect, incomplete polls we've seen so far to create democracy.

Checking Tobias's column today, we see the Bush Administration continuing to do their part to bankrupt Social Security by spending the surplus that's supposed to fund the future of the program.

I don't know about you, but I object. Money that's supposed to fund my basic retirement being stripped from my paycheck and used for bombs and bullets? I so totally object.

For the record, I still find myself expecting Them to be reasonable. I keep trying to find reasonable and believable explanations for the things they do. I'm not having a lot of success, but I'm trying.

Maybe there's a reason. Via Josh Marshall, I read down to the end of the article and read:

Ruben Burks, secretary-treasurer for the Alliance for Retired Americans, said a program that hasn't missed a payment in 70 years should be preserved.

"Who wants to gamble on a program that is so vital," he said.

Levin said he hopes that Bush is challenged by the audience members in Detroit to reveal the true costs of his plans.

Detroit Economic Club officials said Monday the traditional question and answer period after the speech has been dropped for Bush's visit.

Do you remember the days when accountability and responsibility were considered vital components of a democratic government?

Me, neither.

I think I'll buy a new book.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:40 PM


Part of me wants to run out on to the streets screaming.

Another part of me wonders if you recall the 1983 film "Under Fire" with Gene Hackman, Nick Nolte, and the exquisite Joanna Cassidy. It's set in Nicaragua in 1979, and the main characters are journalists. The big ethical dilemma, the controversial, pivotal event occurs when the journalists, while trying to secure an interview with an elusive rebel leader, get drawn into participating in a staged news event.

I remember being very impressed when I saw the movie, and wondering what I'd do, whether I'd be a party to something like that, and if so, whether I could continue to be a journalist. And it was this whole big question for me, philosophically.

The "Under Fire" question now seems quainter than the Geneva conventions. My own country's press corps participates in similar stagings every day. Every time they clean up Bush's pronouncements, every time they blandly say stuff like, "the administration's initial commitment of $30M for tsunami relief has now been increased to blah blah blah..." when we *heard it with our own ears* that the initial number was $15M. They skate over those "harmless" details without hesitation.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." - Henry Louis Mencken

Female-type men get tempted, too.

Posted by: larkspur at February 9, 2005 12:38 AM

I didn't see the movie, but I think if I found myself in such a situation...I'd refuse to participate. If that wasn't possible, I'd say later that it was all staged.

But the bigger problem can be (as with things like those shots of the toppling Hussein statue) that news organizations sometimes forget what's "news" and what's "entertainment." They think about "framing" a shot for maximum impact without thinking about whether their chosen impact is distorting the actual meaning of an event. I attribute much of the national news media's failures to that kind of thing, more than deliberate bias. (Also? If someone spoon-feeds you a story, it's easier to take their word for things than it is to dig around and find your own facts. So I attribute much of our current media problems to sheer laziness.)

On the topic of repeating Administration lies and half-truths? I find myself irritated by those, yes, but I'm almost equally irritated by the pruning and editing and recutting of Bush's (few) public remarks to make him sound like less of a dolt.

(Seriously...if the evening news, or the morning newspaper, reporting what the man actually said, without cleaning it up, I doubt he'd have scraped the 1% vote majority he managed.)

Posted by: Anne at February 11, 2005 12:18 PM