Monday, August 23, 2021

TV: Corporate media's motives are simple

The profit motive is, we note mid-conversation, after all, a motive. It drives many whores, as we saw last week. Events in Afghanistan appeared to only hype the greed.

"You do know," a friend whispered to us, "about _____ _____?" No, we didn't. Dish already about this writer for a TV procedural. His male boyfriend was trapped in Afghanistan. He was so worried about the guy and -- Wait.

His boyfriend? When had he gotten the nerve to actually date?

Well, we were told, they're not dating. They haven't met in person. Yet.


So how much, we wanted to know, had he forked over?

Well, we were told, before the fall of Kabul, about $7,000 over 12 or so months. But now his 'boyfriend' needs $5,000 minimum to make it out of Kabul. It's very dangerous to be there.


Chances are -- Steve? We'll call him Steve. Chances are Steve's never been in Afghanistan but he is no doubt aware that any guy he's managed to get money from before will pay even more now that Steve's pretending he's in jeopardy.

Profit motive, after all.


Andrea Mitchell.


Sorry, we just wanted to quote her infamous appearance on 30 ROCK because, after all, most real news broadcasters pop up on sitcoms and use vulgarities. We, remember when Walter Cronkite showed up on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and called Ted Baxter a c**k sucking moron. Oh, wait. We don't remember that because it never happened.

No, not until Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams, among others, felt the need to be 'funny' did serious journalists start embarrassing themselves on sitcom episodes.

In fairness to Andrea and Brian, corporate journalists have been embarrassing since their inception so what's a few hissed "slut"s along the way?

Along the way as they grab for more money. Can't tell the truth. Can't risk the US occupation of Iraq. That's what last week was really all about, by the way.

Americans are supposed to be horrified by what's taking place in Afghanistan after US President Joe Biden pulled some troops out.

Is it a blood bath in Kabul? Not currently though didn't we all love the drama of I'm-with-CNN!

Didn't our hearts break for Clarissa Ward as the Taliban told her to stand to the side? Oh the horror, however did she live? What a brave little cry baby. Reminds us of the cry babies in Libya -- we'll be kind and not name them -- but as embarrassing as their tears were, they at least had something to cry over. Clarissa, not so much. But watch CNN try to turn the whole thing into another PROFILES IN COURAGE.

And watch Andrea Mitchell and the other bobble heads on cable talk shows bleat and screech.

This is shocking! It's alarming! Joe Biden has betrayed us all!

And, you know what, Joe had betrayed them . . . if they're the War Class.

The media isn't Democratic. It's not Republican. It's corporate and corporations are a huge part of the War Machine. It's the machine that is attempting to shred Joe right now.

If we had an honest media . . .

Well, first off, people like Andrea Mitchell would admit that they aren't reporters or even journalist -- the latter term being much more expansive than the former.

Second off, they'd admit that they honestly don't give a damn about Afghanistan.

To watch Andrea right now, for example, is to see her appear to be obsessed with Afghanistan but if you step back a moment and think -- something the chattering bobble heads never want you to do -- you'll realize just how much Andrea has ignored Afghanistan in 2021 and in 2020. Hell, you might even remember that once upon a time, instead of desk jockeys, MSNBC had an actual reporter, Ashleigh Banfield, who actually went to Afghanistan and other locations to report from them both on A REGION IN CONFLICT and in ASHLEIGH BANFELD ON LOCATION.

Now we're not saying that Alan Greenspan pulled a Lee Majors and insisted it be put into Andrea's contract that she be home at a certain time to cook him dinner, but we will note that she hasn't done actual reporting in years and she failed at reporting when she attempted it.

But she is outraged now. Outraged.

Damn that Joe Biden!!!!!

We believe Tara Reade so you might expect us to join the cry of "Damn that Joe Biden!"

But we're not joining the mob.

That mob is not working in the interest of the people. They are trying to alarm you and scare you.

We may be cold, but we are rational.

Joe is being rational and grasping that there's no 'win' in Afghanistan. 20 years later, there's no win to be won.

If the chattering bobble heads were rational -- and honest -- they'd show the horrors they're showing and explain that's what happens when the US leaves as an occupying force. (Please note, Joe does not plan to end the war, that's a whole other issue, but they're attacking him for the way he's pulled some troops out.) They'd be honest and explain that as messy as this is, it's been messy in Afghanistan for some time and you can talk to the Afghans that have lived under the corrupt system for years and you can talk to them about the drone attacks -- US drone attacks -- that killed people at such 'terrorist' events as weddings. It's long been messy and it's long been ugly.

But the drama the bobble heads are creating goes to one point: Don't leave Iraq.

They want the US occupation of Iraq to continue. Why? Because that's what their masters, the corporations who pay their checks, want. WAR IS A RACKET, Smedley Butler wrote about that decades ago (1935) and nothing has changed. The US is empire, like the Ottoman empire before it or the British empire or . . .

Afghanistan? Has natural resources but the corporations and US government know that they can work with the Taliban. They did so, after all, before 2001. Gore Vidal may be dead but his observations live on in his writings and in his interviews. Sadly, Hillary Clinton lives on. She does love to lie. She showed up on CNN to insist that what Joe was doing might put the Taliban in control!

Oh, Hillary, you need so much more than a podcast. You excel at lying to the American people so you really should be in the media. We know your daughter failed spectacularly. But you have a real gift for lying gab and you'd be the perfect new host of an MSNBC program, possibly one entitled TO HIDE A PEDOPHILE or TO HIDE A RAPIST.

When was the Taliban not in charge? Outside of Kabul, it's controlled the country for some time. Hillary leaves that out because it undermined her screeching. We're sure Hillary's heard of the Council on Foreign Relations. They say, that in July 2021, the Taliban controlled 54% of Afghanistan. (And, of course, the US signed a peace treaty with the Taliban in 2020.)  So before Joe's actions this month, the Taliban already controlled half the country. To be the red headed girl on KIDS IN THE HALL, it's a fact.

And it's one that the high drama really doesn't convey.

Again, you're being lied to.

And we said at THE COMMON ILLS for the last two weeks that the response (the lying) would be about Iraq. It's the jewel. The corporations can work with the Talbian -- as Union Oil -- based in California -- did when they signed a contract with the Taliban before 9/11. Again, read Gore Vidal, pay attention to the how the riches can be pipelined through the region and how Unical was all ready to do so.

Can they work with Iraq?

Who's in charge of Iraq?

Right now, the puppet government is in charge. The US military remains on the ground to prop up the deeply unpopular government that the US imposed upon the Iraqi people. If you don't realize how shaky that government is, grasp that Paul L. Bremer just dashed off a piece for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL insisting that Iraq is a success -- the same Paul Bremer who's disasters in Iraq include disbanding the military.

So if the US troops leave, expect something similar in Iraq.

But here's the big difference: There's no Taliban.

If the government falls in Baghdad, the US government has no idea who would be in charge.

The Kurds?

Hell, no. The Kurds would probably see it as an opportunity to fulfill their long held destiny of becoming a fully autonomous country.

So that leaves a huge portion of small minorities (Yazidis, Shabaks, Mandaeans, Roma, etc). And, if you remove the Kurds, it leaves the Shi'ites and the Sunnis. The US government largely turned the country over to Shi'ites -- but not any Shi'ites, they went with a group of exiles (cowards who fled the country and only returned after the US invaded) who pushed fundamentalist notions off on a people that had evolved while the exiles spent decades hiding elsewhere (largely in Europe). They don't represent anyone.

The current government is Shi'ite controlled. It does not represent the Iraqi people. The Sunnis have, for the most part, opted out after years of being persecuted. The Shi'ites -- the average Shi'ites -- look in dismay at the ruling going on and a number of young Shi'ites started The October Revolution -- a movement demanding a representative government that works for the Iraqi people. That movement started in 2019 and nothing has stopped it: not COVID-19, not attacks from security forces, not assassinations. They're not pushovers. They're prepared to fight and they are probably one of the best hopes for Iraq's future.

When US forces leave Iraq, you'll most likely see something similar to what's taking place in Kabul currently. The difference will be who grabs power after the US finally leaves is up in the air. When we ran scenarios with two State Dept friends, we were surprised to discover that they weren't automatically including those young people who are part of The October Revolution. After we raised the group to them, they agreed that they would be a variable but they hadn't factored them in on their own.

What's taken place in Kabul will likely take place elsewhere. It's a historical reality and we can look at any empire and see this.

Yes, Virginia, there is an empire, a US empire.

Northwestern University's historian Daniel Immerwahr noted in 2019 at THE GUARDIAN:


The proposition that the US is an empire is less controversial today. The case can be made in a number of ways. The dispossession of Native Americans and relegation of many to reservations was pretty transparently imperialist. Then, in the 1840s, the US fought a war with Mexico and seized a third of it. Fifty years later, it fought a war with Spain and claimed the bulk of Spain’s overseas territories.
Empire isn’t just landgrabs, though. What do you call the subordination of African Americans? Starting in the interwar period, the celebrated US intellectual WEB Du Bois argued that black people in the US looked more like colonised subjects than like citizens. Many other black thinkers, including Malcolm X and the leaders of the Black Panthers, have agreed.
Or what about the spread of US economic power abroad? The US might not have physically conquered western Europe after the second world war, but that didn’t stop the French from complaining of “coca-colonisation”. Critics there felt swamped by US commerce. Today, with the world’s business denominated in dollars, and McDonald’s in more than 100 countries, you can see they might have had a point.
Then there are the military interventions. The years since the second world war have brought the US military to country after country. The big wars are well-known: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. But there has also been a constant stream of smaller engagements. Since 1945, US armed forces have been deployed abroad for conflicts or potential conflicts 211 times in 67 countries. Call it peacekeeping if you want, or call it imperialism. But clearly this is not a country that has kept its hands to itself.
Yet among all the talk of empire, one thing that often slips from view is actual territory. Yes, many would agree that the US is or has been an empire, for all the reasons above. But how much can most people say about the colonies themselves? Not, I would wager, very much.
It is not as if the information isn’t out there. Scholars, many working from the sites of empire themselves, have assiduously researched this topic for decades. The problem is that their works have been sidelined – filed, so to speak, on the wrong shelves. They are there, but as long as we have the logo map in our heads, they will seem irrelevant. They will seem like books about foreign countries. The confusion and shoulder-shrugging indifference that mainlanders displayed at the time of Pearl Harbor hasn’t changed much at all.
I will confess to having made this conceptual filing error myself. Although I studied US foreign relations as a doctoral student and read countless books about “American empire” – the wars, the coups, the meddling in foreign affairs – nobody ever expected me to know even the most elementary facts about the territories. They just didn’t feel important.
It wasn’t until I travelled to Manila, researching something else entirely, that it clicked. To get to the archives, I would travel by “jeepney”, a transit system originally based on repurposed US army jeeps. I boarded in a section of Metro Manila where the streets are named after US colleges (Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Notre Dame), states and cities (Chicago, Detroit, New York, Brooklyn, Denver), and presidents (Jefferson, Van Buren, Roosevelt, Eisenhower). When I would arrive at my destination, the Ateneo de Manila University, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, I would hear students speaking what sounded to my Pennsylvanian ears to be virtually unaccented English. Empire might be hard to make out from the mainland, but from the sites of colonial rule themselves, it is impossible to miss.
The Philippines is not a US territory any more; it got its independence after the second world war. Other territories, although they were not granted independence, received new statuses. Puerto Rico became a “commonwealth”, which ostensibly replaced a coercive relationship with a consenting one. Hawaii and Alaska, after some delay, became states, overcoming decades of racist determination to keep them out of the union.
Yet today, the US continues to hold overseas territory. Besides Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and a handful of minor outlying islands, the US maintains roughly 800 overseas military bases around the world.
Advertisement None of this, however – not the large colonies, small islands, or military bases – has made much of a dent on the mainland mind. One of the truly distinctive features of the US’s empire is how persistently ignored it has been. This is, it is worth emphasising, unique. The British weren’t confused as to whether there was a British empire. They had a holiday, Empire Day, to celebrate it. France didn’t forget that Algeria was French. It is only the US that has suffered from chronic confusion about its own borders.

It's an empire. Most people don't grasp it because it's not covered that way. The corporate media treats the American people like stupid children. Andrea knows all about that. It was her husband Alan Greenspan, chair of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, who explained that the Iraq War was about oil. In his memoir THE AGE OF TURBULENCE: ADVENTURES IN A NEW WORLD, he wrote, "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

He was sad. Our guess is he only grew sadder as he promoted the book and immediately was pounced on for writing something so basic and truthful.

"Telling the truth can be dangerous business," Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman sang (in ISHTAR, Elaine May's cynical and accurate look at the US empire), "honesty and popular don't go hand in hand."

Truer words, right? Never spoken.

And truth certainly won't be spoken on corporate media. There's too much money at stake. Money for the weapons industry, money for the corporations (which does include the weapons industry), money for the US government, money for the cable and broadcast networks (corporate money), money that can be charged if they can deliver a larger number of viewers, money . . . . 

Money, money, money...
Money makes the trees come down
It makes mountains into molehills
Big money kicks the wide wide world around.

-- "This Place," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her SHINE


That's the hard reality, the ugly truth. The bobble heads exist to trick and fool you and ensure that the people-eating war machine continues so that they can keep making bank.



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