The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished

Bush bills U.S. taxpayers nearly $500 million

Bush bills U.S. taxpayers nearly $500 million to fund anti-American radio

Lost in Translation: Alhurra—America’s Troubled Effort to Win Middle East Hearts and Minds

An Arab-language television network and radio station, founded by the Bush administration to promote a positive image of the United States, has aired anti-American and anti-Israeli viewpoints, has showcased pro-Iranian policies and recently gave air time to a militant who called for the death of American soldiers in Iraq.

So far, U.S. taxpayers have spent nearly $500 million to fund those broadcasts. The television station, called Alhurra, and the radio network, Sawa, were meant to provide an American perspective on world events and counter the wave of global criticism that had been building against the Bush administration since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

We’re still in the age of crony conservatism. Brian Conniff  who was appointed president of Alhurra doesn’t speak Arabic and had no journalism experience.

George Carlin passed away today Brillant at Breakfast has a nice tribute post,

Carlin’s job was to expose the hypocrisy, the venality, the complete and utter horseshit of modern life. And he did so fearlessly.

Reporters Say Networks Put Wars on Back Burner

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

Much of the media bought and sold the war like a herd of snake oil salesmen. Now they’re trying to ignore the war in hopes the public will forget how they were Bush’s partner in for the most part wasn’t much more then a propaganda campaign.

The real McCain

Yet much of the dark side of John McCain lies behind the closed doors of K Street, a Washington DC boulevard lined with glitzy buildings and home to the capital’s booming lobbyist industry. A close examination of McCain’s campaign workers, political allies and backers reveals a dense world of dubious loyalties, uber-lobbyists and powerful corporate interests. McCain is very much at home with K Street’s sharp-suited denizens, their wealthy clients and their art of influence-peddling.

Take one of McCain’s closest aides and senior counsel, Charlie Black. For decades he worked as one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington DC. His firm represented some of the most unpleasant dictators in modern history, among them the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos and Zaire’s kleptomaniac president Joseph Mobutu. Then there’s Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, the man leading the effort to capture the White House. Davis, too, has been a top lobbyist. His firm’s clients ranged from Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov to telecoms giants such as Comsat and Verizon.

But Black and Davis are far from alone. McCain’s staff was so riddled with lobbyists that at least four have resigned because of their contacts and businesses. They included Doug Goodyear, McCain’s convention chairman, whose company was paid to improve the image of Burma’s brutal dictatorship.

McCain might be over selling himself as the Uber Military leader. Much of the time in his public appearnces he seems like he’s acting out a Saturday Night Live charactertur of himself. A General, someone with actual command experience which McCain does not have has noticed – video at link, Gen. Wesley Clark on John McCain’s lack of policy-making and foreign policy leadership experience

Clark says McCain has always been for the use of force, and more force, when a president should view force as a last resort. He complains that when McCain talks about throwing Russia out of the G8 or makes up ditties about bombing Iran, he “betrays a disrespect for the office of the presidency.”

McCain is trying to get the extreme Right freeper/John Bolton vote. That’s fine except that is not where the majority of Americans are at. They’re fed up with being in Iraq and have no desire for a hundred years of being entangled in Middle-East conflicts.

Obama supporters would be wise not to get over confident he has his work cut out for him, Salon gets it (finally)

This is in today’s edition of Salon. It’s what I’ve been saying for months. Maybe this writer at Salon could talk to the reviewer of my book at Salon, who didn’t seem to get the dimensions of the problem we face with ignorant voters.

Barack Obama has been running for president for 16 months. He’s written two best-selling books, has already spent more money on TV ads in most states than any presidential candidate in history and employs about 1,000 paid staffers — and a legion of unpaid volunteers — working around the clock to spread the word about him.

You’d think that would be enough to get some basic facts about the guy lodged in voters’ heads. But you’d be wrong. In recent focus groups in key battleground states, participants told Democratic pollsters matter-of-factly that Obama, if elected, would refuse to be sworn in on the Bible. In one group conducted on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, seven out of 12 independent Virginia voters taking part said they thought Obama was a Muslim (he isn’t), and some questioned his patriotism, saying he needs to prove he’s “for America.” That particular clump of “low information” voters was probably an outlier, but a survey in March found 13 percent of voters — up 5 points from the previous poll — shared their belief that Obama was Muslim. Another 44 percent weren’t sure what his faith was. And e-mails are flying around the Internet with winking implications that Obama isn’t really American (and, worse than that, he’s African, if you know what the writer means).

Politics and religion are like on/off buttons for rationalism. If you handed one of these people a two by four and said you believe it will fit they’d insist on measuring it, twice. Send them an e-mail with the wildest rumor and they swallow it without question.

The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished ~ George Bernard Shaw