Friday, December 02, 2005

Be sure to check out Mike's comments on the Democracy Now! items by visiting his site Mikey Likes It! I've got a few things to note this evening.

National Guard Offering $1,000 Recruiting "Finders Fee" (Democracy Now!):
Faced with dwindling recruiting numbers, the Army National Guard is offering a finder’s fee to soldiers who can enlist new recruits. This according to a report in USA Today. The Guard Recruiter Assistant Program, launched this week in five states, offers National Guard members rewards of $1,000 dollars for enlisting a recruit and an additional $1,000 dollars if the recruit shows up for basic training. The National Guard says recruiting has fallen 20% short of its goal this year.

This is a bit like Subway offering their employees bonuses for every new hire they can scare up.
The military trains people to recruit. It spends a lot of money on that. It also pays people who hold the job of recruiter.

Justice Dept.: Delay Redistricting Plan Violated Voting Act (Democracy Now!):
A memo obtained by the Washington Post shows lawyers at the Justice Department concluded a controversial Texas redistricting plan spearheaded by indicted Congressmember Tom Delay violated the Voting Rights Act. The memo argued the redistricting plan illegally diluted the voting influence of minorities in several Texas congressional districts. The memo said: "The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect." Texas lawmakers approved the plan anyway, the memo says, because it stood to increase the number of elected federal Texas Republicans. Following the plan's approval in 2003, Republicans gained five seats in the following year's congressional elections. The redistricting plan is currently being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Congressmember Delay is facing state charges of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with state elections.

The "violated" the Voting Rights Act. They broke the act. They packed the districts in to formations that were beneifical to them. It didn't matter if it was beneficial to voters because it's all about them and them getting ahead. It's as though you agreed to play Go Fish and mid-game, they decided you'd play Gin instead. Their lack of character is demonstrated in their eagerness to sell out tradition while screaming that tradition must be respected.

Yesterday, the online topic was race. In this community, four members weighed in. I want to note Cedric's because I think it's strong writing.

"Race" (Cedric's Big Mix):
So we're all supposed to write about race today. Everyone in the community. It's a web project and here I thought I was done with homework a long time ago.
I told C.I. that I would be happy to write about it but that I might not have anything anyone wanted to hear. C.I. said, "Even better. Be true to you."
Is this the day where the web purges the guilt for being white-white-white every other day of the year?
Will we see "fab post! hat tip to . . ." nonsense all over the net?
Rebecca wrote something brave. In it she talked about the ways Whites can aid racists. It was brave, it was Rebecca. But maybe some White person will write a "moving post" about Rosa Parks and it will gather steam all over the net and we'll once again here how wonderful the net is and how brave.
I don't expect much from it.
I'd love to be wrong but we can't talk about racism online.
We're not supposed to. We're supposed to look the other way.
Certainly if the net was racist, people of color would be shut out.
Oh wait, we are.
There's a token voice they include on their blog rolls and we're all supposed to be happy about that.
"One of us made it!"
Today is apparently Black day.
Women get ready because you're day will be coming soon.People of color and women get a day or two each year.
Otherwise it's white-white-white male-male-male.
So today a lot of people will get to feel good about themselves and sleep easy knowing that they did "their part."
Or maybe they'll kid themselves that because they blogged on TD Jakes/TD Jokes they're down with the peeps. You have to be pretty white to think TD Jokes speaks to African-American liberals.
But hey, you looked in the paper, you saw a Black man and thought, "I'll write about this!"Didn't matter that he's got nothing to say to the left. Doesn't matter what he preaches because us Blacks just love our preachers, right?

I like Danny Schechter's writing and wish I took the time to note it more but this was sent to me and ended up in the trash folder for spam. I almost missed it. If you've already seen it, well now you get to see it again.

"WAR ON THE MEDIA: 'Don't Bomb Us'" (Danny Schechter, BuzzFlash):
For some time, and other outlets have been reporting on the Bush Administration's contempt for the media and its attempts to manage and spin coverage.
Writing in this week's Nation, John Nichols and Robert McChesney catalogue the various strategies that have been deployed, charging, "with its unprecedented campaign to undermine and, where possible, eliminate independent journalism, the Bush Administration has demonstrated astonishing contempt for the Constitution and considerable fear of an informed public."
But would it actually attempt to "take-out" media institutions and kill or otherwise silence journalists? Would it bomb a TV station? How far will this government go?
We know that other governments have shown little restraint. An Indonesian and a Russian journalist were poisoned on airplanes in high profile cases. Others have been "disappeared," killed, jailed and tortured. Groups like Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of reporters compile the cases and regularly call for justice.

And tonight, instead of a peace quote, I want to excerpt C.I. on Dexter Filkins, the Green Zone, et al. I think it's really important that people are aware that "reporting" isn't what they might think. The reporters are like chickens on a corporate farm, piled one on top of another, no free ranging, confinded in the Green Zone.

"Democracy Now: Sami Rasuli, Arun Gupta, Jose Serrano; Margaret Kimberley, Robert Parry, Danny Schechter" (The Common Ills):
Lastly, a number of e-mails came in regarding Dexter Filkins & John F. Burns' "For Once, President and His Generals See the Same War" in the New York Times this morning. All want to know why no comment? I can imagine few things worse in the morning than having to read through Dexy's "reporting" (his "award winning" "reporting").
What do I think of the article after reading it? I think it's a real shame that Burns' attached his once formidable name to this nonsense. They do not "see the same war," the Bully Boy and the generals (note that I didn't say "his"). That flies in the face of not only logic but public record. (See Seymour Hersh's" Up In The Air: Where is the Iraq war headed next?" in The New Yorker to name the most recent example.) Sunning themselves in the Green Zone, Dexy and Burns think they're on to something. What?
Fakery? It's not reporting. With their team of black t-shirt clad bodyguards escorting them through the Green Zone (Dexy reportedly still packs his own heat), hiding behind stringers who risk their lives (and may get a brief obit if they die, otherwise they'll get nothing but "end credits"), they lie to readers each and every day. LIE.
That's the only word for it since no article notes "We're trapped in the Green Zone! We can't leave without a military escort!" That's they're choice, they chose to be embedded in the Green Zone from day one. So tell the truth already. Quit letting readers think that you're traveling through Iraq when you're hiding in the safety of the Green Zone that's not so safe now and supposedly is about to get a great deal less safe.
The Green Zone section of Baghdad is in danger of being lost. One of the few areas the American military controlled. And safe from the Green Zone, the embedded reporters have never told you how out of control other areas in Iraq are. If Americans had known a year ago, two, that "reporters" "in Iraq" for the mainstream media were Green Zone confined and why, it would be a lot harder for Bully Boy to spin Operation Happy Talk.
Today Dexter Filkins and John F. Burns disgrace themselves and their profession yet again by carrying water for the administration, pretending to be journalists who do more than report from their hotels in the Green Zone (a sub-section of Baghdad, they can't even roam through Baghdad freely) and spinning wildly even though public record refutes their nonsense.