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Stan
Reply with quote  #1 
The events this week in Georgia have made me wonder just what kind of "freedom loving"state is Georgia. My experience with freedom fighters and free elections includes the 1991 election in Nicaragua. I was there as part of Jimmy Carter's election monitoring team to insure that the voting was free of fraud and fair.

The first thing that I noticed was the shiny new trucks and media dispersion devices of UNO, the opposition to the incumbent Sandinistas. These were not the kinds of vehicles you obtaiined unless you had aid and comfort from some generous outside orgainzation. It eventually turned out that my suspicions had been well founded. Like the terrorist Contras supported by the US CIA the UNO party was a CIA front. They won the election by a program of fear of the Contra war and how if the Sandinistas were elected the war would go on and on. The people were tired of dying so they gave in and voted for the CIA backed UNOs.

The result of  "freedom" movements in the Ukraine and Georgia seem to me to have the same flavor. The huge so-called freedom rallies of years past looked staged and orchestrated by the CIA. The US is seeking hedgemony in the Caucuses because of oil and oil pipelines. These always result in "freedom" movements IMHO.

The president of Georgia looks like the perfect emulation of a puppet.  He LOVES America and the great American people. He could almost be running for president on the Republican side if we didn't have a war mongering madman running already.

I wonder how the US would feel if Russia tried to influence a Central American country? Oops been there done that in Cuba and Nicaragua. What goes around comes around.

Now of course China is quietly buying and gaining influence here in Central America under the radar. They are providing no military aid especially here in Costa Rica which has no military. China is now Costa Rica's main trading partner and aid provider. They also have major supply contracts with South America especially Brazil the new behemoth of the south. As far as I am concerned these are good things for the people of the southern hemisphere.. Centuries of US hedgemony in Central and South America has done little for social or political progress. The United Fruit Company, the vanguard of US influence that wrought havoc for years with governments of Central America is gone. Their properties have become national parks in Costa Rica.

Stan
Reply with quote  #2 
aND MY POINT IS:

A Free Press? Not This Time.


               
                               
                                       
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By Olga Ivanova
Friday, August 15, 2008; Page A21

I wish I could fly back to Russia. I have been in the United States for a year, and I am studying and working here to get experience in American journalism, known worldwide for its independence and professionalism. But in recent days it has felt as though I am too late, that the journalism of Watergate is well behind us and that reporting is no longer fair and balanced.

For years I have respected American newspapers for being independent. But no longer. Coverage of the conflict between Russia and Georgia has been unprofessional, to say the least. I was surprised and disappointed that the world's media immediately took the side of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili last week.

American newspapers have run story after story about how "evil" Russia invaded a sovereign neighboring state. Many accounts made it seem as though the conflict was started by an aggressive Russia invading the Georgian territory of South Ossetia. Some said that South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali, was destroyed by the Russian army. Little attention was paid to the chronology of events, the facts underlying the conflict.

Last week, Georgia's president invaded South Ossetia during the night, much as Adolf Hitler invaded Russia in 1941. Within hours, Georgian troops destroyed Tskhinvali, a city of 100,000, and they killed more than 2,000 civilians. Almost all of the people who died that night were Russian citizens. They chose to become citizens of Russia years ago, when Georgia refused to recognize South Ossetia as a non-Georgian territory.

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The truth is that, in this case, Russian aggression actually made some sense. Russia defended its citizens.

Yet American newspapers published stories that omitted mention of the Georgian invasion. And American media as a whole have been disturbingly pro-Georgian. The lead photograph on the front page of Sunday's Post showed two men -- one dead, the other crying -- amid ruins in Gori, Georgia. Many other images could have been used. Monday's Wall Street Journal, for example, contained several stories about the conflict and even an op-ed by Saakashvili. Where was the Russian response?

I understand why the Georgian government would block access to Russian media Web sites. I understand why Russian media would present events in a light that favors Moscow's actions. But American media are not supposed to do the equivalent.

The much-revered American principle of a free press guarantees access to an independent source of information. It is supposed to mean that nobody takes a side, that journalists give readers the facts and let them draw their own conclusions. The Georgian president quickly became a chief newsmaker for Western media outlets, yet little could be found to explain the Russian side.

It's hard to understand how and why the terrible situation between Georgia and Russia has played out this way. Everything seemed too clear for the journalists writing about the conflict: Big, evil Russia tried to destroy small, democratic Georgia.

And the American media's willingness to choose sides provoked Russian media outlets. Russian newspapers did not waste time reminding readers that the true evil was the United States and that Washington was ultimately responsible for the conflict in Ossetia and Georgia.

Beyond the slanted coverage, I am also concerned about the lack of information on the number of civilians killed and wounded. How should we know which accounts to trust?

Over the past week, American media have achieved one thing for sure: They have lost prestige among a generation of young Russians who believed that America is a country of true, uncorrupted, independent information. Many Russian youths come to the United States for college and then go back to Russia to help build our own democracy. Russians believe in democracy. But I don't know whether many Russians will ever trust American media reports again.

U.S. newspapers have lost esteem among Russian journalists as well. These reporters have long looked to American newspapers as icons of quality journalism. They are supposed to stand for truth and serve the people's interests. But whose interests did newspapers serve by publishing stories in the best traditions of the Cold War?

I think that both the Russian and Georgian governments attacked civilians. I blame the governments for this war. But I am also saddened by the unfair coverage of the conflict from Russian and American media. If this is what freedom of the press looks like, then I no longer want to believe in this freedom. I prefer to stay neutral and independent, just like a professional journalist has to do.

The writer, a master's degree candidate at Duquesne University, is an intern at The Post.



Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #3 
Stan,

My younger brother Jack, the high school history and English teacher married a woman from Ukraine a few years ago and has since acquired some knowledge of the people and their deeply ingrained Russian language and culture. In light of your comments, I thought I'd share with you a little note I sent him this morning ...

Quote:

Jack,

It looks like Deputy Dubya Bush's constantly poking Russia in the eye has gotten President Micheil "Shaky Willie" Saakashvili of Georgia a royal mauling by Vladimir Putin. Still, you can't teach Republican neocon morons anything, so now they've bullied the Bush administration into putting Patriot Missiles and Reagan's phony "Star Wars" bases into Poland. When Russia first objected loudly to this proposed provocation, the Bushies claimed it had nothing to do with Russia, but only meant to defend Europe from "rogue" Iranian missiles that far-away Iran does not possess. Now, these same lying bastards say the Polish missle deployments have everything to do with Russia. These duplicitous derelicts simply do not care what they say or when or to whom they say it. Russian President Dimitri Medvedev and high-ranking Russian generals have simply replied: "This just makes Poland a target." Yikes! And now, we've upped the insane ante by demanding NATO membership for Ukraine where Russia bases its southern fleet! I simply can't believe what colossal clowns we've got fucking up America and so much of the world at the present time.

Anyway, a neocon pundit on a website for The Hill newsmagazine, Dick Morris, crows that the Poland missile deal shows how badly Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has screwed up by smacking down Shaky Willie Saakashvili for invading two little neighboring territories that don't want anything to do with Georgia. Morris, you might recall, used to do polling for President Bill Clinton but had to resign in embarassment after getting caught sucking on a prostitute's toes. The farcical movie "Mars Attacks," you might also remember, featured a cameo satire by Pauly Shore sending up Dick Morris as a sleazy caricature of a whore-trawling presidential assistant who picks up ugly alien bimbo in his cruising limousine and gets zapped by it later in his White House bedroom.

I responded to Morris's credulous crap with the following little rhyme:  

"Marching Backwards Through Georgia"

 

Republicans have done it once again

And proved that boys do not belong with men,

Since playing G.I. Joe with little toys

Leaves idiots undone by their own ploys

 

Dick Morris takes time off from sucking toes

And thinks he's had a thought about what goes

To them who come back in the very door

Wherefrom they just came out one hour before

 

It takes a gasp of history quite slim

To think invading Russia on a whim

Makes Hitler and Napoleon look smart

Or Cheney's threats a diplomatic art

 

Yet still Republicans try chewing gum

While walking, which for them means looking glum

As choking, gagging, gasping, they implore

Someone to tell them time and date and score

 

For as the game has ended with such loss

They only now await the final toss

As voters whom they¡¦ve lied to and betrayed

Now plan with sharpened knives to have them spayed

Later,

Mike

 

   

Stan
Reply with quote  #4 
Mike

I only hope that your faith in the US voter, as evinced by your last line is not in vain. It seems to me that the more stupid and inane a politician is in the US the more they can count on the vote. BTW I did away with CNN International because of their coverage of the Iraq situation and their ineptitude at news in general. I have been happily appraising the situation through the eyes of Deutsche Welle and BBC reporters. As usual the situation is never what the US media try to make their viewers and readers think. Are they just propaganda portals or do they simply underestimate the intelligence of their viewers or perhaps all of the above.

John McBomb (I love your name for him) has been as bellicose as he needs to be to satisfy the bloodthirsty neo cons (or are they all con?) If he thinks that his blustering makes him seem presidential, well most of the world thinks otherwise. BUT most of the world does not elect the US president. Only a small uninformed, unlettered minority of the world is allowed to do that.

Consequently the rest of the world must suffer from the benightedness of America. As I mentioned above I have seen all of this up close and personal. Why back in the 80s I actually was paying taxes, a considerable amount too, while US supported terrorists were lobbing mortars at us in northern Nicaraguan villages. These same terrorists were branded by Ronald Reagan as freedom fighters and the moral equivalent of our founding fathers. Well our founding fathers may not have been paragons of virtue but from my considerable readings of their activities they were not the Contras.
Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #5 
Stan,

As I sought to bring my poem to a conclusion, I needed a word to end my last line that (1) rhymed with "betrayed" as well as (2) implied the electoral equivalent of reducing further biological reproduction of Republicans. Hence, my choice of "spayed." I had considered using "neutered" as an alternative but I could see no way to fit that word into the meter and rhyme scheme of the poem.

Like you, I have only one vote to cast -- to the extent that anyone may actually count it -- so I can only place my confidence (I would never use a spooky animist term like "faith") in myself and those other Americans who may think and vote the way I intend to. If that number achieves the dis-election of Republicans and the solvency of the Social Security System for at least the next several decades, I suppose I can reasonably expect little more. Like all Republicans, Panama-John McBomb intends to (1) continually embroil America in needless imperial wars, (2) further eviscerate the working class by driving down real wages, (3) transfer even more national wealth upwards into the possession of America's super-wealthy, and (4) decimate the Social Security System. Therefore, I consider him a threat to my own economic survival and that of my two struggling sons. I want him to lose. Badly. So I'll do my part to elect the Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama as President. I have no further or grander visions of any miraculous "transformation" that my single vote may help to bring about. 

So, I suppose I have come around to agreeing with H. L. Menken: "I never vote for anyone. I always vote against." I vote against Republicans, for as my dear departed old working-class mother always said: "A vote for a Republican is a vote against yourself." Which sentiment forms the basis of ...

"Throw the Bastards Out"

I never vote for candidates
Whose policies provide
A fascism that simply hates
The poor who haven't died.
 
I always vote against the ones
Whose greed exceeds no bounds.
I wish to kick them in the buns
And sic on them the hounds.
 
And if I haven't made it clear
How I intend to vote
Then those who feed on lust and fear
May afterwards take note
 
That I won't vote against my own
Which means I know the score.
So I'll remember all they've blown
And show Repugs the door. 
katbarb
Reply with quote  #6 
The bulk of my IRA savings are in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds.  Now the US government is talking about "recapitalizing" them meaning to make a long story short, that they will be worth almost nothing.  Not that I ever counted on getting that money, but it was originally mine and was cold hard cash once.  I say that only to preface my right to make the following statement, repeating what I said to my Russian roommate who was stoutly defending Russia as we watched some of the Security Council debate today at the UN: 

In response to his comment that the US was 'the same as' the Soviet Union in its predilection for international rampages, I said, "George W. Bush would wet his pants if he could order up a hit job on a journalist whose reports on him he didn't like.  That's why he likes Putin so much; it's envy."  And I continued, "there is only one proper reaction here, and that is for ALL the Nato countries to quickly expedite Nato membership for every former Soviet satellite that wishes it.  Let the US pick on somebody its own size now." 

So having said that, it is obvious here [stateside] that there is no appetite for war with Russia, or a resumption of the Cold War.  Nor is there any illusion about how inadequate is our standing to make such criticisms of Russia as "it is unacceptable to conduct foreign policy through brutality and intimidation in the Twenty-First Century", close to George Bush's exact words.  No wonder many are snickering.  Light on a hill or no, it should be no surprise to anyone that a bad example, once set, will be followed, and probably by the last one we hope will follow it.  But today it was definitely Russia vs. the UN, or so it seemed.  Of course I agree with you both that the missiles in Poland were counterproductive, yet we pushed on, no matter.  The standoff continues. 

I actually never planned to retire, anyway.  They will probably take a few years to let me know that there won't be anything left for me in Social Security, anyway.  Some say it is actually the case now.  Thus my long-time fantasy of getting kicked into a ditch for disposal now appears to be getting more and more likely.  That, by the way, was the tipoff of the economic expert who spoke on retirement, confidently averring that Baby Boomers "would not be retiring for YEARS" after they reached 65 (or in my case, supposedly, 67). 
Stan
Reply with quote  #7 
KB

Your diatribe vs Russia is only matched by John McBomb. As pointed out by an article in this morning's NYTimes by M Gorbachev, the Russians have been pushed into the position they are in by the US and the oil companies.

McBomb will obviously become the next US president. When people were talking about how easy it was going to be for Obama to defeat McBomb I laughed at them. Doesn't anyone remember that this is the country that has elected GW Bush, by whatever means, twice? This morning I note that McBomb is now AHEAD by 5 points in the polls. Just as I predicted. There will be a little leveling over the next couple of months but going into the election on Nov 4th I would say that McCain will be leading by 6 points and then win the election. Mark my words.

You know, living here in paradise, one would wonder why I even care what goes on in the lunatic asylum to the north. But somehow a political animal just can not purge the toxins from his sytem. The US is a lost cause, it will sink inexorably into oblivion over the coming decades, but I still somehow care. Chances of my ever returning there even for a visit are slim. IMO if people want to see me they should come here to a sensible beautiful place where people actually care about each other and don't want to consume all the world's resources so that they can look good. In a country like the US where you are what you have, you are nothing with nothing.

Perhaps I should start looking around for some places for you here KB? Living simply you can get along quite nicely here on very little money. And maybe you might be able, unlike me, to forget about the trials and tribulations of the lost cause al norte.

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #8 
I read Gorbachev's article, too, Stan. As usual he speaks with a great deal of credibility regarding Russia's relations with other nations. As he says, Russia has an extremely popular leader in Vladimir Putin and growing wealth -- not equitably distributed yet -- from the sale of natural resources to an energy-addicted world. Russia doesn't need or want little wars, much less big ones, but will of course respond if threatened with encirclement and missiles placed on its borders by a belligerent and reckless America/NATO alliance that has long outlived any usefulness it might once have had. Far too many Americans -- unfortunately including our good cabal conspirator Kate -- fail to understand what naked imperial aggression looks like to other countries facing it. Throughout its long history, Russia has had to face horrible invasions from Mongols in the East to Napoleon and Hitler in the West. Russians can properly assess their own national interests and will fight for them if they must. The self-styled "Russia expert" Condoleeza Rice apparentlly missed class the several semesters her professors discussed this important history back in her indolent college days. 

The Russians play chess, though, while the Americans play checkers. So, Russia will exhibit patience while America destroys itself playing retro-imperialist in a post-colonial world. China, India, and Iran will make new deals with Russia for energy supplies and nuclear -- if not spaceflight -- technology while America and Europe seethe in decadent frustration, lashed and driven to self-enfeeblement by apartheid Israel shouting "Do something to somebody! Do something to somebody! Do something to somebody!" Iraq and Afghanistan will slowly bleed America and NATO (the North Afghanistan Threatening Organization) dry for no discernible benefit whatsoever to America or Europe. As Rudyard Kipling wrote of British imperialists in that part of the world not that long ago:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Then turn to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your god like a soldier.

I loved it when Gorbachev used that phrase "wag the dog," in describing the trouble America faces with what Frances Fitzgerald called "bad puppets" in Vietnam. Several decades ago, an American complained to the North Vietnamese foreign minister: "How can you call the Saigon government a puppet when it consistently acts contrary to American interests?" Replied the North Vietnamese official: "Oh, its a puppet, alright. It's just a bad puppet." America doesn't have allies. It only has bad puppet dependent tails who spend so much time wagging the dog that the poor overweight animal looks like it suffers from epileptic convulsions. The Georgian bad-puppet-tail Shaky Willie Saakashvili just got himself and his frustrated attached dog bitten by an only-irritated bear. America, the bad puppeteer, seems congenitally incapable of learning; so it continually winds up strangled in its own strings.

Just as an aside,  we saw on television here the other night a program featuring a group of wealthy Taiwanese women (mostly wives of doctors and company CEOs) who had just returned from a shopping spree in America. It seems they just couldn't resist the urge to buy up several dozen mansions located throughout America on sale for distressed, foreclosure prices in devalued dollars that made these alternative homes look like flea-market bargains. Now their "parachute kids" will have a place to live, study, and party when they graduate from high school and need an American college to attend if they can't make it into the better universities here, in Europe, in England, or in Australia. Americans don't even seem to realize who just bought them or who sold them out -- and for how cheaply.

As for that one poll that claims to show whatever it shows about McCain "leading," I would only remind you that the same poll (and others like it) showed John Kerry and Al Gore winning at this time of year and, of course, Senator You-Know-Her easily winning the Democratic Party primary. As well, I really don't know how many Americans have only cell phones now -- and no home landlines -- which means that no one can poll them. Then, too, the Democrats have continued to out-register the Republicans among voters nationally by several orders of magnitude; the Democrats continue to raise tons of money from every kind of contributor imaginable; the American people generally despise and fear the corrupt Republican Party brand; and John McBomb has only stopped bleeding for the moment because his new Bush management team won't let him talk unless he utters nothing but the same three or four Orwellian euphemisms carefully spaced out over each day so as not to allow him the verbal blunders he normally spouts so profusely. Yes, Mr. Nice Guy Barack Obama has yet to get tough in McBomb's cancer-scarred face, but he has plenty of time to get a running mate to do that sort of thing.

So before getting too exercised about what passes for politics in America, I'd wait till people return from summer vacation. Barack Obama will pick his vice presidential attack dog any day now. The people will have a chance to watch and hear Obama in front of 75,000 people while Panama-John McBomb then showcases Darth Vader Dick Cheney, Deputy Dubya Bush and Holy Joe Lieberman in front of whatever lackluster group of ugly rich white people McBomb can beg to join his latest doomed bombing run to oblivion. If that glaring contrast in Obama's favor doesn't set him off on a two-month roll to the presidency, nothing will. No country on earth -- even one as stupid as America -- could possibly elect yet another Republican to the White House after eight straight years of monumental Republican disaster. No nation that did could hope to survive. On the other hand, if bible-thumping, holy-rolling American nutcases really do harbor a suicidal wish for Armageddon Now, then Jeebus may not have anyone left alive to "take away" when he returns in his spaceship from wherever he has travelled these past several thousand years. In that case, nothing will matter in America anyway.        
katbarb
Reply with quote  #9 
Hold your ground, you two.  I who once told Stan, "don't leave" now feel a distinct relief that he probably will not return even for a visit.  (They might have him on one of those lists.) 

I knew I was siding with the McCain position on Russia.  But I'm still probably too old and set in my ways to try to ingratiate myself in any other country, if they'd have me.  You'll be the first to know if I change my mind! 

I'm at peace with the eventual outcome of the presidential race, though I may make some phone calls for Obama.  I haven't found that voters are very apt to change their minds on him, money and feet on the ground notwithstanding, or so it was in the primary.  I'm at peace because at least we have a clear choice, either for unity and progress or for letting the current tradition of divisiveness and high crimes in office continue.  We will have the leader we so richly or ingloriously deserve. 

As for the real America, the other America, I'm just glad it's there, for you and for them. 

Stay well, you and all of yours, 


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