Thursday, December 18, 2003

Online Journalism Review: A Look Back at 2003,
and What's on the Horizon for the Online News Universe

".....This is the year when citizens' media exploded. In the U.S., the population of Webloggers grew, their audiences grew, and their influence grew..."

"....."Watch Weblogs and citizens' media bring freedom of expression and democracy to other lands next year. Whether in a small town in Iran or Iraq or America, citizens' media means that anyone can now own a printing press and has the power that goes with it. That will revolutionize news, media, politics, government, and marketing."
-- Jeff Jarvis, blogger and president of

Ivo Daalder: Whatever We Do, We Can't Cut and Run
December 15, 2003

".....what does the capture of the Butcher of Baghdad mean for America's continued involvement in Iraq? Many people both within and outside the Bush administration are touting yesterday's news as sealing America's strategic victory. We went into Iraq to get Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, they say. We never found the weapons, but we have found Hussein. We should now be able to start reducing our involvement in Iraq."

"....U.S. military commanders in Iraq have been saying for months that Hussein was not leading the insurgency. Although his capture may deal the insurgents a temporary psychological blow, it does nothing to weaken their ability to attack U.S and foreign forces as well as Iraqis cooperating in the rebuilding of Iraq.The insurgents' goal, moreover, remains unchanged. Iraq has long been a winner-take-all society, and insurgents aim to be the winner in post-Saddam Iraq. The only way they can achieve that goal is by making the occupation so painful that the Bush administration abandons the Iraqi people and orders a precipitous departure of American troops."

"...while yesterday's good news does not represent an opportunity for the United States to withdraw, it does represent an opportunity to get Iraq right."

My Favorite New Blog Discovery: TomDispatch

I discovered Tom Engelhardt's weblog via this Mother Jones "Daily Mojo" feature. It's a great read.
I especially appreciated the section about the Pentagon's urge to put the military, which occupies much of the world via its 700-plus bases, into the private "hands" of small numbers of corporate entities. Tom mentions the recent Georgian 'Velvet Revolution' and Rumsfeld's quick arrival on the scene. These lines appeared in a NY Times article's "fourth paragraph in a Thom Shankar report tucked away inside the paper, but at least you can count three countries and a pipeline in it":
".....The United States views Georgia as a strategic partner, in part for its location, along an arc of instability in a region thought to be a crossroads for terrorists. A pipeline set to open in 2005 linking Azerbaijan, which Mr. Rumsfeld visited Thursday, and Turkey, NATO's only Islamic member, runs across Georgia, as well."

Tom's weblog is a project of the Nation Institute.
It appears that the weblog's been around since May, 2003. If you haven't seen it yet, pay a visit.

From the site: is researched, written and edited by Tom Engelhardt, a fellow at the Nation Institute, for anyone in despair over post-September 11th US mainstream media coverage of our world and ourselves. The service is intended to introduce you to voices from elsewhere (even when the elsewhere is here) who might offer a clearer sense of how this imperial globe of ours actually works.
An editor in publishing for the last 25 years, Tom is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of American triumphalism in the Cold War era. He is at present consulting editor for Metropolitan Books, a fellow of the Nation Institute, and a teaching fellow at the journalism school of the University of California, Berkeley.

Diane Sawyer/Bush Interview:
No WMDs in Iraq--"So what's the difference?" says Bush

".....In the debate over the necessity for the war in Iraq, few issues have been more contentious than whether Saddam Hussein possessed arsenals of banned weapons, as the Bush administration repeatedly said, or instead was pursuing weapons programs that might one day constitute a threat..."

Bush's response to Diane Sawyer about the topic:
"So what's the difference?"

Could the difference be that the Bush Administration lied to the American public nearly every day?

Look at the lies...many of those lies are right HERE.

The NY Times did their own unique part in spreading propaganda through this woman..Judith Miller--a disgrace to the world of journalism

What's the difference that over 400 soldiers have died in order to find a tin-pot dictator hiding in a hole in his own piss with nothing more than a can of Happy Tuna, some broken eggs, and a broken spirit?

Look at all those vibrant, on-the-move, hate-empowered terrorists who are NOT hiding, but running amok in the once tightly-yet-brutally controlled land of Iraq.

Think about how that tin-pot dictator known as Saddam was once contained like a bug in a jar by the UN before all the frenzied fundies from the varied Islamic sects inciting civil war were unleashed by Bush's pre-emptive dream-come-real!

So what's the difference?

Here's the difference.

Bush lied. Nobody likes a liar. Especially when the liar comes back later and tells you he doesn't even care that he lied to you.
His pre-emptive war caused death upon many. It was based on the premise that those he sentenced to his brand of war-death posed an IMMINENT threat to America.
It turned out not to be IMMINENT at all.
Bush doesn't think that's important.
His liar's war caused more danger than was present before..not only for innocent people throughout the Middle East, but for America. It's a natural consequence of universal law: an increase in hate will cause an increase in danger..unless we keep murdering those we've caused to hate us. What a ridiculous cycle! When will we learn?

When will an unexpected nuke appear upon our shores? Where is Homeland Security when a young man like Nathaniel Heatwole can stash box-cutters on airplanes and have to BEG the FBI by e-mail to pay him some attention and find the items? While we're shooting at Iraqi protestors at their rallies and playing into Osama Bin Laden's dream of a religious war (without the physical or moral support of most of our former allies), is there a danger we are not anticipating brewing from the most unexpected source?

art credit: A Taplet

Let's face it, intelligence was God-awful before all of this. Richard Perle and Douglas Feith picked what sounded really convincing from a pile of utter garbage-intelligence and fed it to the public through their Bushpuppet and Cheneymannequin every day as we led up to hitting Iraq last Spring.

What's the difference?

The difference is this: We aren't going to vote for a liar who is bold enough to tell us he doesn't care, in the end, whether we've swallowed the lies or not.

**See Paul Krugman's "Telling It Right" which was published in the NY Times a couple days after I wrote this entry....***
Now maybe, just maybe, Saddam's capture will start a virtuous circle in Iraq. Maybe the insurgency will evaporate; maybe the cost to America, in blood, dollars and national security, will start to decline.
But even if all that happens, we should be deeply disturbed by the history of this war. For its message seems to be that as long as you wave the flag convincingly enough, it doesn't matter whether you tell the truth.
Bill O'Reilly, unable to graciously take the news that his book sales lagged behind Al Franken's, goes off on the messenger.

"....O'Reilly called the DRUDGE REPORT a "threat to democracy."

Threat to wha..???

Did O'Reilly say Matt's a "threat to democracy"?!?

The poor, loud, splotchy egotist!

More on the news at Al Franken Web

St Petersburg Times Editorial:
Cheney's contempt for the democratic process is on open-ended recipe for unaccountable government

".....The Supreme Court has agreed to answer this question: Does the Bush administration work for the American people or exist to front for the oil and gas industry?"
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Unions rip attacks on Dean- Feighan's group pulls TV ads

"..."I think they're pulling the ad because they've done more damage to Dick Gephardt than any of his opponents could ever have hoped to have done."

Rick Sloane-
Communications Director of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
A Burning Lust For Armageddon-
JNW News: CBN chief [Pat Robertson]: "It's a religious war"

So he couldn't convince any of his 700-Club followers to nuke Foggy Bottom.
Maybe he can encourage some more bloodshed over in the Holy Land.

"If God's chosen people turn over to Allah control of their most sacred sites....if they believe their claim to the Holy Land comes only from Lord Balfour of England and the ever fickle United Nations rather than the promises of Almighty God -then in that event, Islam will have won the battle...Throughout the Muslim world the message will go forth, "Nah-Nah! Allah is greater than Jehovah."

".....Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Director Pat Robertson said Wednesday the world is convulsed in a religious struggle in which the central issue is whether Islam's Allah or the LORD God of the Jews and Christians is supreme..."
After the Capture of Saddam Hussein...

Robert Scheer: We Got Him...Now What?

"....The capture of Hussein, while providing the President with fantastic propaganda footage, does nothing to make us safer from international terrorism. It could, however, shine a harsh light on Washington's decade-long military and economic support of the barbaric Hussein in his war against Iran's religious fanatics, who were making inroads with their brethren in Iraq..."


Wait Until Saddam Begins To Sing- -
Republicans Not Only Tolerated Chemical Warfare in late 80s, but SOLD Chem/Bio Weapons to Iraq

".....Publicly, the United States maintained neutrality during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980.

Privately, however, the administrations of Reagan and George H.W. Bush sold military goods to Iraq, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological agents, worked to stop the flow of weapons to Iran, and undertook discreet diplomatic initiatives, such as the two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, to improve relations with Hussein...."


BBC News: Vatican slams handling of Saddam

"....A top Roman Catholic official has attacked the way Saddam Hussein was treated by his US captors, saying he had been dealt with like an animal..."

**What are these constant televised images telling our children about our own society's basic morality,
regardless of the sins this man has committed?
What do our children think when they hear our President pushing the
hopes for the penalty of death for this man when he has never even looked into the face of Saddam Hussein and had refused to speak with him when he had the chance..before this stubborn and one-sided war plan was propelled into reality, causing the deaths of so many? When Bush responded to Saddam Hussein's proposal for a debate, his
then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer wontonly dismissed it as "not serious". Not serious? According to whom, I wonder?
Even in Kindergarten, we were made to understand that communication meant everything when it came to
heading off a recess brawl.***


Derrick Z. Jackson: Still no mass weapons, no ties to 9/11, no truth

"...Bush told the world we were going to secure America and liberate Iraqis at the same time. With no weapons of mass destruction, with no nuclear weapons, and with no tie to 9/11, Saddam's capture could not possibly have been worth the lives of 455 US and 80 European soldiers. With no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons, and no tie to 9/11, it could not possibly been worth the lives of 7,600 to 45,000 Iraqi soldiers. With no rationale for the invasion, you could consider this a massacre..."


Boston Globe: War crimes trial ahead for Saddam but how, when, by whom?

"...Any decision to seek the death penalty, in particular, could risk key international support for the process and leave Washington [US Taxpayers] with a bill for hundreds of millions of dollars.."


Jane's Intelligence Digest: Saddam - the can of worms

"....Few are naïve enough to believe that international politics is anything but a dirty business that may require co-operation with repressive and sordid regimes. However, putting Saddam on trial for crimes committed throughout his long term of office is likely to invite the defence to raise a whole raft of awkward questions about the West's role - and particularly that of the USA - in bringing Saddam to power in the Iraqi coup d'etat of 1968 and in sustaining him, often covertly, during the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988..."


James Carroll: Amid the cheers, sobering facts

"....The United States did not attack Iraq because of Hussein's wickedness (The world is rife with wicked tyrants). It did so because Hussein posed an imminent threat to his neighbors and America, and there was no other way to stop that threat. Additionally, Washington tied Hussein to 9/11 (an Al Qaeda-Iraq meeting in Prague), making the war against Iraq necessary to the war on terrorism.
It is already clear that these justifications were false. Even if Hussein now revealed a stock of chemical or biological agents, the question of "imminence" would remain, because post-invasion investigations have established that no weaponized agents were ready to use. And as for the Hussein connection with 9/11 (What meeting in Prague?), that has been exposed as fantasy.
The war in Iraq is more the result of America's agenda than Hussein's. The violence in Iraq (multiple bombings since Hussein's capture) is a result of Washington's terrible miscalculations. The threat from terrorism (Pakistan's leader nearly assassinated) has been made worse by Bush policies. The structure of American alliances has been needlessly undermined (hence James Baker's mission). America's extreme belligerence is imitated elsewhere (Sharon's faith in "overwhelming force"), making the world far more dangerous. These issues must not be blotted out in the glare of the media celebration of Saddam Hussein's capture.... "


Wesley Clark Voices His Plan to Bring Hussein to Justice

".....He believes that Saddam's trial should be held in Iraq.
He believes it's necessary to work with the international community in laying out procedures and charges against Saddam.
Thirdly, he wants to compile evidence and conduct hearings in Iraq on issues of concern to the international community. Finally, he believes the death penalty should be on the table as a possible punishment."