Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Thursday, May 01, 2003

Quote of the Day

Dubya, in his speech released by White House:
No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because that regime is no more...

Apparently nobody will gain WMD from Iraq as they don't seem to exist on this astral plane.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Winning Their Hearts and Minds With Gentle Sensitivity

An article in today's Editor and Publisher, presumably written before 13 Iraqi protesters were shot dead by U.S. troops, illuminates a climate in which atrocities like this are bound to happen.

"We splashed that bastard," a Western eyewitness quoted one Marine as saying to another after they'd shot an Iraqi dead. The man was gunned down after he walked out of his door onto a balcony to see why three women were crying from the street below. It turned out their car had been shot up by Marines two minutes earlier.

Troops of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, had been targeted by sporadic rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire at their command post at the gate to Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad's Adhamiya district. But the eyewitness, producer Tim Lambon of Britain's Channel Four, said the man atop the balcony did not have a gun.

Accidents like the one above are never excusable. Yet one can partially understand how human beings, kids essentially, serving their country (and subscribing to its propaganda) could make a mistake when they are under such intense "kill or be killed" pressure from all sides ("friend" and foe). Ufortunately, mistakes are lives — often innocent. What is completely inexcusable, however, is the behavior of certain "journalists" working alongside the troops...

Journalist Peter Wilson watched as a Los Angeles Times reporter walked to the driver's window of a destroyed minibus on central Baghdad's Sinak Bridge. Inside the broken window was the carbonized corpse of the vehicle's driver, its charred arm resting on the window's ledge.

Bidding a photographer standing nearby to take his photo, the reporter, Geoffrey Mohan, stood about a foot from the corpse and, with his pen poised over his notebook, asked: "Well, sir, do you have any comment on what has happened to you here?"

Thirty feet away, behind a cordon of barbed wire, stood about 20 Iraqis watching the American conduct a mock interview with the corpse of a man who probably had a family -- all for a photo opportunity. They may have not understood what Mohan said, but they saw what he was doing, Wilson and two other Western eyewitnesses said.

This type of behavior is but a symptom of an attitude that underlies "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and the current state of the union. It is an attitude of superiority and supremacy mixed with a good dose of fear and hatred and devoid of compassion. Conveniently, the "weaker" traits — compassion, love, sadness, despair — are sublimated into loathing. This is a mindset cultivated and stoked by the powers-that-be and their media mouthpieces, birthed in the cauldrons of their minds and fueled by their greedy convictions. Nothing will get in the way of their interests. It is the perverted right-wing ideology of the Bush administration and the neocons behind their curtains. As this ideology is passed on to the indoctrinated, those who are too numb to fight it or question it, our world sinks into the state it is in now. "Liberators" killing protesters. People hating their "liberators." "Journalists" making a mockery out of the charred remains of a bombing victim. "Journalists" unquestioningly echoing the propaganda of their "leaders." "Patriots" hating those that dissent. So-called proud Americans who would trash the constitutional ideals this country was founded on just to get their way. These are the times that try our souls. Unfortunately, not enough people are trying to see past the veil.

Monday, April 28, 2003
Nero Fiddles With Tax-Cuts While The Citizens Eat Cake...

From the New York Times:

Jobless and Hopeless, Many Quit the Labor Force

PITTSBURGH, April 26 — Worn down by job searches that have stretched on for months, demoralized by disappointing offers or outright rejections, some unemployed people have simply stopped the search.

As the nation enters a third year of difficult economic times, these unemployed — from factory workers to investment bankers — have dropped out of the labor force and entered the invisible ranks of people not counted in the unemployment rate. More...

Juxtaposed with...

Leaders of Congress Pledge Tax Cut, but How Big?
The prevailing view in the Capitol is that a tax cut will become law, but even insiders say they have trouble imagining how it can be accomplished. And no one will say with confidence whether the cuts will total $550 billion over 10 years, as President Bush and the House want, or $350 billion, which senators say is the most they can live with, or some figure in between. More...

Ah, priorities...

Let the Past Be the Future, Let the Future Be Past

William Greider of The Nation wrote a disturbing analysis of the neocon-right's movement toward a less progressive past.

The movement's grand ambition--one can no longer say grandiose--is to roll back the twentieth century, quite literally. That is, defenestrate the federal government and reduce its scale and powers to a level well below what it was before the New Deal's centralization. With that accomplished, movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth--both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes--are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.

This article is a must-read as it outlines the right's destructive drive to erase all the progressive accomplishments of the last 100 years. Their ideal America is the land and time of the Monopoly boardgame complete with the fat cat in the big hat. Unfortunately, only the chosen few will pass go, the rest of us will languish in low-income housing on Baltic Place or just go to jail.

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