Americans are famous for their ignorance about the world, maybe in part because they rely on local newspapers or Tom Brokaw to know what's going on in the world. In the so-called information age, less and less reliable information is what we're being served up. Where cities had two newspapers, they now barely hold on to one. The number of publication companies has shriveled. And journalism's standards have commensurately fallen.
Journalistic standards too, he says? Remember the Vietnam War years, when daily we saw photos of suffering Vietnamese civilians? When's the last time you saw a photo or video of Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan civilian suffering? News of the first caliber helped influence Americans to pull out of Vietnam. News of the second caliber helps Americans ignore what happens in our present wars.
There are countless more examples: "imbedded" American journalists are no longer free to cover wars; they're constantly escorted by military types, helping to filter what Americans know of the world.
The result will be Surprise! not simply ignorance. In our name, with our tax money, the (presently) most powerful government on the planet goes about its business with little free press coverage to inform us of what may come. Then, Surprise! the Gulf of Mexico is suddenly no longer useable.
Below are some reliable free press sources that aren't "imbedded" and snippets of the types of information they make available daily.
The editor asks: "El Paso and other places on the US side of the border are actually far less violent than many communities in the interior of the US. Is anyone proposing to send troops to Albuquerque or Oakland?"
From their July 16, 2010 Immigration News release: "A report by Mexico’s National Institute of Geography, Statistics and Informatics provides details on the emptying of the countryside in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Of 537,000 homes in rural Michoacan, nearly one in four, 23%, stand abandoned throughout the entire year or portions of it, the study finds.
According to the federal agency, Michoacan’s population dropped from approximately 4.2 million people in 1995, a year after the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a time when economic crisis clawed the landscape, to an estimated 3,926,000 inhabitants today.
"Every year for the last 15 years, between 25,000-30,000 residents of Michoacan have moved to the United States, said Zaira Mandujano Fernandez, secretary of migrant affairs for Michoacan. Despite economic downturn and tougher US border security, Mandujano said she expected the current rate of migration to the US to continue for the next 20 years. Michoacan is a main battlefronts in the so-called narco war.
"Victor Castillo, of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, told reporters that 400 Mexican families have moved to McAllen and other nearby towns during the last six months. Further inland, in San Antonio, a representative of RE/MAX said Mexicans now make up 80 percent of the local company’s clients, up from 35% four years ago."
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"Tomdispatch.com is for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of our post-9/11 world and a clear sense of how our imperial globe actually works." For 15 years, he was Senior Editor at Pantheon Books where he watched the publishing world getting swallowed by corporations more interested in profits than literature.
Nick Turse writes American War Versus Real War (July 13, 2010) comparing news coverage of today's wars to the Vietnam War: "The horrific shots Army photographer Ron Haeberle took of what became known as the My Lai massacre as it was happening. . . The suffering and destruction our soldiers were bringing to ordinary civilians in a distant, disastrous war was far clearer then. . . Nick Turse points out in his discussion of Sebastian Junger’s new film Restrepo, our Afghan War is now generally being recorded in real time in the fashion made familiar to Americans on screen in the post-Vietnam years--that is, largely without Afghan suffering."
And you can find out Why We’re Losing the War Against Influenza - by John M. Barry.
Want to know where all the U.S. terrorism is coming from? Stephan Salisbury writes Plotting Terrorism - July 6, 2010.
"The Liberty City Seven, the Fort Dix Six, the Detroit Ummah Conspiracy, the Newburgh Four -- each has had their fear-filled day in the sun. None of these plots ever came close to happening. How could they? All were bogus from the get-go: money to buy missiles or cell phones or shoes and fancy duds--provided by the authorities; plans for how to use the missiles and bombs and cell phones--provided by authorities; cars for transport and demolition--issued by the authorities; facilities for carrying out the transactions--leased by those same authorities. Played out on landscapes manufactured by federal imagineers, the climax of each drama was foreordained. The failure of the plots would then be touted as the success of the investigations and prosecutions."
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This is the "daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 800 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S."
They Have Terrorized Our Community: Anti-Immigrant List Targets Latinos in Utah
"An anonymous group has distributed a list that is spreading terror and outrage among the Latino community in Utah. The list includes names, addresses, workplaces, phone numbers, birth dates and, in some cases, Social Security numbers of some 1,300 people that the group alleges are undocumented. The list was sent to law enforcement officials, state lawmakers and the media, and urges that those on the list be immediately deported. All the names are Latino, and they include over 200 children and the due dates for six pregnant women."
It's mid-July here in Denver and the temperature today might break 100. But that doesn't compare to: Global Warming to Bring Increased Heat Waves to US
"Following last week’s record-breaking East Coast heat wave, a new study by Stanford University climate scientists says as global warming continues, such heat waves will be increasingly common in the future. The study found exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next thirty years, posing serious risks to agriculture and human health."
Himalayan Glaciers Melting Faster Than Anywhere Else in World; Impact Could Devastate Over 1 Billion People
"We look at the impact of climate change in the Himalayas region in Asia, where scientists are warning glaciers are receding faster than anywhere else in the world, with the potential to devastate over a billion people. The Himalayan glaciers have been described as the water towers of Asia, as they provide a key source of water to ten major Asian river systems."
Goodman's voice is a little raking, but the content is worth listening to on NPR around the country. Or you can go to their website. And the site's even in Spanish. Gonzales couldn't work on Good Morning Vietnam but "he was the first reporter in New York City to consistently expose the health effects arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks and the cover-up of these hazards by government officials." And he started "the Parity Project, an innovative program that creates partnerships between local communities and media organizations to improve coverage of the Latino community and to recruit and retain more Hispanic journalists."
Es todo, hoy