Recent comments

  • Reply to: A Selected Sample of Iraqi Voices   15 years 6 months ago
    I watched "Voices of Iraq," which was distributed by and through Netflix-- and recommended by Netflix. The Netflix symbol was even in the corner of the menu! It was released October 30, and the footage covers the war into October. The film is supposedly an indy production filmed by 150 digital camcorders circulated through Iraq, with ordinary Iraqis taking the footage. Sounds like a very compelling grassroots project. It starts out with a few critical comments on the Americans and Abu Ghraib, and ends up with the Iraqis as the happiest people on earth since they have been "liberated." The U.S. occupation forces have by then completely disappeared from the film. It was the slickest pro-occupation propaganda piece I've ever seen; it even took me in at first.  But then I figured who paid for the high-quality cameras? (150 x $2000 = $300,000) Why are many Iraqis speaking in English? Why are they only supporting the interim "government"?  Why do they call all opponents terrorists?  Why are so many speakers living in comfortable elite homes? Why do the filmmakers display U.S. headlines critical of the war and then try to disprove them?  Who is the guy off camera speaking in English? How did the ordinary citizens film top officials including the Iraqi "president"? If they are just Iraqis taking home movies, where did they get the insurgent video footage and footage of Baathist atrocities? The project website is It looks like some critics have been wondering about and researching Army contracts and PR firm connections to the film: If you get this video through Netflix, comment on what you thought-- many others have--and ASK QUESTIONS as to Netflix's direct marketing role. I'm sure this film was developed to prepare Americans for the Iraqi P.R. election (see Edward Herman's book on "Demonstration Elections"), so we will hear more about it leading up to January 30. Dr. Zoltan Grossman Assistant Professor of Geography University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire P.O. Box 4004 Eau Claire WI 54703 (715) 836-4471
  • Reply to: White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out   15 years 6 months ago
    I would like to present this worst case senerio of the risks associated with the Social Security Reform plan. One problem I see is the looting of our Treasury. What if a very large number of Social Secruity investors had put their moneys into the likes of Enron, World Com, etc. I see the US Treasury forced to bail out these companies to save the Social Security investors. Effectively looting the treasury. Is this a likely senerio? Somebody stop "King George" before he creates more problems for us all.
  • Reply to: White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out   15 years 6 months ago
    I'd like to direct my reply to Larry - who sounds real confused and real republican. Social security is and has been a very successful and safe program for many years and benefited many Americans. Rich & poor. You commented that you wished you had been able to handle "your" money and how unfair it is for younger workers to have to pay for others. I don't know many 25 yr olds who are real good at saving and planning however I'm willing to grant that when you were that age you were wise beyond your years and capable of saving.You would have invested your money in the stock market or perhaps bonds or real estate and been very displined about it because you're a real smart guy. You're not only smart - you're lucky - you don't have your money in Savings & Loans, Enron - etc. No real estate bubbles for you. The bond market feeds you a steady stream of dividends. After 35 years you're ready to retire, rich. What a wonderful life - but how about the rest of the population? Those that aren't so savvy? Or educated? Or disciplined? Or just lucky? The point of "social security" was to prevent the utter poverty and terror of starvation and deprivation that had occured in the 1920's and 30's. It is apparent that, you, Larry have never been poor or needy. As for younger workers feeling resentment about the compact made with their parents and grandparents generation - they have more opportunities now to invest in IRA's etc. and the monies that presently accumulate in Social Security will be a safety net for them in the future. There are no guarantees on Wall Street and the consequences of fraud and fees are all too prevalent. Social Security does not need reform - at least not the way this administration wants to do it - but an adjustment of the actuary formulas used for benefits. I hope that young and old Americans will recognize that reform in this instance means the undermining of their collective futures and that they will insist and fight this outright theft of "their" money. I hope you , Larry have done well and at 60 yrs old don't need social security - just remember you don't have to take it. Sincerely, barnmonkey2/12/21/04
  • Reply to: White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out   15 years 6 months ago
    When I was 25 and thought SS was an investment, I wished I could have more say in the handling of the money so I could generate a better return. Now that I'm 60 and realize the true character of SS, I don't like the idea of 25 year olds having to support me with their payroll taxes. The ratio of retirees is much to their disadvantage and sure to generate ill will. In either case I would prefer more privatization, although it's too late to do me much good. larry
  • Reply to: Mo' Better News?   15 years 6 months ago
    I'd also love to see a news site that consciously <i>avoided</i> a "neutral point of view." <br><br> In reading blogs for the past couple of years, I've found that, contrary to the moral of the "blind men and the elephant," a collection of opinions can provide better understanding about an issue or event than any "objective" news report. (I've also developed a gag-reflex to the studied blandness of newswriting and the absurd, forced balance of he-said, she said reporting). I think a blog reader (at least those who bother to read more than Rush Limbaugh-type dittohead sites) would be demonstrably better informed about, say, Iraq than someone who relied exclusively on <i>The New York Times</i> and the CBS Evening News, and not just because of shoddy reporting and overreliance on disinformation from government sources. <br><br> Imagine a site that ran a report about the battle of Fallujah featuring short, unmediated essays by: <br><br> - A military expert<br> - A Middle East expert<br> - A soldier<br> - A resident of Fallujah<br> - An anti-war activist<br> - A Bush supporter<br> <br> I know it's possible, because I've come across all of those voices online. The report could also lay out basic factual information and pull together links to historical info, timelines, etc. It'd make the nightly news look like "Barney & Friends" in comparison.