The incompetence of the prosecution of the war has been at times bewildering.
The incompetence of the anti-war effort remains surpassingly bewildering.”

This is the closing sentence to a commentary on the front page of Global Security.
The article talks about Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is camping out in front of the Shrub’s ranch in the Texas heat.
It turns out, according to this article that the P.R. firm of Fenton Communications who has been allied with Move On.Org is generating a lot of the publicity. It now seems the plight of this woman is part of a larger, national P.R. campaign that may or may not have her best interests at heart.
A look at Move On.Org’s page will find it plastered with Mrs. Sheehan’s image and articles of the vigils that are surrounding her.
The article in Global Security asks;

“Media relations firms serve an essential function in the information food chain, and David Fenton is certainly a fine fellow. But what purpose is served by the high visibility of this PR firm in the Cindy Sheehan matter? After all, the entire point of the Cindy Sheehan phenomena is that she is simply a citizen, speaking truth to power. Now she has been visibly repositioned as simply a pawn in the Washinton spin machine.”

After the march in New York in February before the U.S. went into Iraq the anti-war movement just dried up. The article chronicles Fenton’s involvement with Win Without War which purported to be a not for profit anti-war organization. The article goes on to state;

“On closer examination, Win Without War was revealed as a paid media buy. It was an advertising campaign, hosted at Fenton Communications, with a cast of hundreds of thousands hauled out at demonstrations to give the media buy legitimacy.
Once the war actually started, the paid media buy ended, and the anti-war "movement" as well.”

The point here is that there is no “organic” movement to end the war. By the fact that marches and now Mrs. Sheehan are touted by a P.R. firm once the heat is off and there is no more money paid to the P.R, firm the issue just dies.
This gets back to my post yesterday wondering where the actual anti-war movement is.

The incompetence of the anti-war effort remains surpassingly bewildering.


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A Slight Change

There will be just a slight change to the blog.
I am going to be using a larger font on my posts. I just felt the type was too small against the dark background. I hope it looks better to you. Could be I need another eye exam.
Media And The Truth

My friend Steve has been railing against the lack of courage in the media. There is no question this administration went to war on false pretenses yet the media has acquiesced to the charge that any dissent is un-American.
There are a few voices to be heard. Maureen Dowd (NY Times requires registration) has returned from her book tour and taken up the torch right where she left off. Her writing is witty but trite. I can say she has guts and is unrelenting in her insistence that the administration face the consequences of its actions. And of course there is the ever verbose Andrew Sullivan, a gay, Catholic, conservative. But Steve is right. Where are major media outlets on the Iraq issue? Where are the songs that speak to the hypocrisy? No where. They have stayed with commerce and refuse to budge.
Meanwhile a woman who has lost her son camps in the Texas heat and the Shrub refuses to see her while he has a vacation. His vacation from reality is leaving our country in dire straights and the media hides their collective heads in the sand.

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They Are Having Their Effect

I got off the subway today because of a young man with a backpack.

He got on the subway and stood in the doorway as a lot of young men do, staking out his territory by the exit. Short and dark his packpack was conspicuous in its size. In his left hand he held an electronic device with a wire that led up to a large pair of headphones.
I’m sure it was an MP3 player but the image of a large stuffed backpack and a device with a wire held in the hand of a young dark skinned man was just too much.

The conductor announced the closing of the doors and I was out as they shut.

Nothing happened, all the passengers got home safely. Terrorism isn’t the act it self it is the thoughts that we now live with every day.



A friend of mine sent me a link to a 1946 film
Despotism produced by the Encyclopedia Britannica Films. I’m not sure how or why he came across this film but it was interesting to see the simple style of an “educational” film of the era. He asked what I thought and I replied.

With the war just over, Truman in office and the death of Roosevelt still fresh there was a strong utopian movement. Communism was not the evil threat it would become in the fifties. How to keep from falling back into another world war was on everybody’s mind.
The even distribution of wealth was not looked down upon as an ideal as it is today. So this film takes a simplistic propagandistic view of democracy vs. despotism. But it makes a few good points that are relevant today.
These quotes are from the film.

“The spread of respect and power in a community is influenced by certain conditions which many observers measure by means of the economic distribution and information scales.”
“If a community's economic distribution becomes slanted, its middle income groups grow smaller and despotism stands a better chance to gain a foothold.”
If wealth is power, the concentration of wealth in the upper 1% has increased dramatically since Reagan coming to office.

“Look beyond the legal formalities of an election in measuring a community on the power scale to see if the ballot is really free.”
Anyone want to open up the Florida election results again?

The film goes on to talk about education and dictating to young minds.
“See how a community trains its teachers.”
"Bear this in mind. Young people cannot be trusted to form their own opinions.”
“And when teachers put such training into practice, despotism stands a good chance.”
The intimidation that many school boards are using on teachers to teach creationism comes to mind today.

Where are we today? We have an administration that came to power in a questionable election. Has insisted on tilting the judiciary towards the religious right, willfully lied to the people to start a war, is trying to change the constitution to define marriage according to their religious views and recently manipulated the legislature to press a right to life position in the case of Terri Schiavo.

The assault on Social Security is the battle to dismantle the programs that Roosevelt put in place. When Bush talks about the “ownership” society he is describing a society that truly evolutionary in that it will be all out survival of the fittest with no social programs.
It’s a silly film but it has some lessons that are being unlearned.
Just my opinion.

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