Friday, December 29, 2006

Forget about democracy...(part 2 or something)

Here’s a footnote or addendum or something to the previous post...

I just got off the phone with my mom. She was calling because she’d just finished reading some articles I’d left for both my parents to read the other day. (My way of spreading Christmas cheer, I comes Danny Claus with his bag of depressing news articles for all the boys and girls...) Among the articles I left with them (click on the titles to read the full articles)...

War Profits Trump the Rule of Law

Bush “Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons” for Offensive Use

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment

Testimony Helps Detail CIA’s Post-9/11 Reach

She called because she was so disgusted with what she’d read and just...speechless that our government (and, if you read the first article, most other governments who’ve had colonialist and/or imperialist agendas since the last century) was capable of such things. She wondered why nobody in the mainstream media reports any of this, and also asked why I don’t just email a link to the TruthOut website to all the newspapers and television stations I could find.

My responses to her, kind of in a reverse order (and without the BlogDiarrhea at which I am so adept, of course), were...

a.) As wonderful as TruthOut is at providing truly independent and un- or under-reported news (and god bless Wendy for first bringing those folks to my attention), they also serve the interests – philosophically speaking – of the Left as a whole...thus, they do their fair share of regurgitating Democratic Party propaganda. You have to pick and choose which articles you consider truly journalistic versus public relations. And I’m not about to give anyone the idea that I have the slightest intention of promoting anyone’s propaganda, regardless of the politics behind it.

b.) As for why none of the mainstream media reports any actual news these far as I can tell, there just about aren’t any independent mainstream media outlets anymore. Every “major” news organization seems to be owned by – or is at least an unpublicized subsidiary of /partner with – some sort of monolithic, Frankenstein corporation. Examples...Disney and ABC; General Electric and NBC; Viacom and CBS; Time Warner and CNN; the New York Times Company, which owns quite a few other newspapers in addition to its namesake; the Washington Post Company, which also owns Newsweek and Slate magazines; and the list goes on. And all of those corporations have additional commercial “interests” hovering over the decisions of what does or doesn’t get reported. Or, obviously, how something gets reported. So, aside from the scattered independent internet-based journalists – who can be hard to locate – who can you trust to report news in an as-unbiased-as-possible fashion? So much for The Fourth Estate.

c.) As far as what our government is capable of...I told her I’d loan her my copy of Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival. It’s an eye-opener in places, and I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re interested in learning about 20th century American history that wasn’t necessarily widely reported. (And if you’re one of those people who think the face of Ronald Reagan needs to be added to Mount Rushmore or the ten dollar bill.) Granted, Chomsky is as liberal as the pope is Catholic. However, he’s thorough as all get-out with regard to factualism, footnoting sources, etc., and he doesn’t hesitate to sling as much mud onto Democrats as he does Republicans. Because, again...corruption and greed aren’t exclusive to either party.

Anyway, at one point I said to her, “It all goes back to deregulation,” and the incestuous orgy of corporate takeovers, mergers, etc., that began with the Reagan administration. (Actually, Molly Ivins wrote an article about that very thing a few months ago.) But after I hung up, I realized I was incorrect. What it really “all goes back to” is the fact that the vast majority of Americans – ordinary yokels like you and me who have no vested interests in any of the titanically huge corporations that program our lives without us even noticing – have no real power anymore. Because both parties are so thoroughly - and deliberately - in the pockets of the people and companies who finance them (entities who often finance both parties simultaneously in order to maintain their power status regardless of which party is “in control”), our government – from the federal level all the way down to the municipal level...basically, anywhere politics operates on a partisan basis – is beholden to and powered by one thing and one thing only: money. Period.

And the only way to dismantle the system of financial influence and corporate control that has taken over virtually every aspect of our daily lives...really (and ironically), since the day President Eisenhower first uttered the phrase “military/industrial complex” for us ordinary folks to start demanding and working for political reform. Reforms like the “instant runoff” electoral process I mentioned in my previous post; reforms like creating truly independent, citizen-run policing of our elections and our government agencies; reforms like enacting and enforcing stronger ethics regulations; reforms like removing money completely from our political “system” so that even the slightest hint of corporate influence on any officeholder becomes a crime.

That’s really what “it all goes back to”...becoming a citizenry in charge of the government rather than the other way around. It will have to happen one reform at a time, but it has to start somewhere, somehow. And it has to happen soon…before things become even uglier than they already are.

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Anonymous wendy said...

Political reform, yes and also economic reform that begins with you and me, the consumer. We need to stop trying to self-medicate ourselves with more useless, superfluous shit that we don't need. We have to stop buying plastic, Chinese-made crap at Wal-Mart. We don't need more stuff!!! We don't need a bigger car/SUV, a bigger house, a bigger (plasma, high-definition) TV, a new cellphone with video...

And when buying food, buy local. Virtually all of the organic, natural food companies that look small and private are actually owned by the behemoths: Cargill, Nestle, Con Agra, etc.

2:33 PM  

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