Radical media, politics and culture.

Mainstream Media

E. Heroux writes
" From the Streets to the Inner Sanctum"

        By Evelyn Iritani

        The Los Angeles Times

Activists have come a long way since the violent protests of 1999. Now companies and trade policymakers are giving them a place at the table.

        Unhappy over the World Trade Organization's refusal to discuss contentious labor issues at its 1999 meeting in Seattle, activist Mike Waghorne joined tens of thousands of protesters on the streets. The demonstrations, which turned violent, sparked anti-globalization protests around the world.

        Nearly six years later, Waghorne is still unhappy with the Geneva-based trade group. But now he can voice his displeasure from a much more comfortable perch.

        Waghorne was among 70 outsiders given the chance to grill three candidates last month for the position of WTO director general. It marked the first time in the organization's 10-year history that activists were allowed to have input in the selection process, an event that Waghorne, an officer with labor coalition Public Services International, described as "civil" and a far cry from the fireworks he had expected.


Jack X writes:

"The Ward Churchill Example
Media Profits and Manipulation as Pathology

Jack X

On September 11, 2001, immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, renowned author and academic Ward Churchill wrote a stream of consciousness essay in response to the events. The essay, titled, “Some People Push Back” on the Justice of Roosting Chickens, was written at a point in American history when emotions ran through the roof, and it seems that Churchill felt the need to put a logical argument on the table concerning a dangerous United States foreign policy. In the article, he very correctly pointed out that, as the inhabitants of the land occupied by the United States, we bear responsibility for the actions of the US government. As Churchill states in the piece, “All told, Iraq has a population of about 18 million. The 500,000 kids lost to date thus represent something on the order of 25 percent of their age group.” This statement was said over two years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq which has accounted for exponentially more civilian casualties.

Army Centers Vandalized in Bronx and Manhattan

New York Post

February 1, 2005 -- Two Army recruiting stations, one
in The Bronx and one in Manhattan, were hit by vandals
in unrelated attacks yesterday, a law-enforcement
source said. David Seigel, 19, of Litchfield, Conn., was arrested
and charged with vandalism for allegedly throwing a
burning rag at the recruitment post in Parkchester at
around 7:30 a.m. yesterday. The rag caused some charring and minor damage to the
building. Fire marshals are investigating, and Seigel could face
additional charges.

Five hours later, an employee of an Army recruiting
station in the Flatiron section of Manhattan noticed
that the front door had been cracked by a rock. Someone also had used red paint to scrawl an anarchist
symbol and an expletive that mentioned the war in
Iraq, authorities said. Police have no suspects in the afternoon attack. The
Joint Terrorism Task Force is also investigating the
incidents, Channel 2 News reported. The source said that there was no indication that the
two attacks were connected.

Fascist-Symp Pomo Whore, Architect Philip Johnson, 1906–2005

New Criterion

[Nota Bene: The New Criterion is a prominent American neo-conservative cultural journal. While it is not totally mindless, it is usually fundamentally wrong. This is not an endorsement. This title is ours.]

News just came down the wire that the architect Philip Johnson — erstwhile disciple of Mies van der Rohe, more recently full-time architectural prankster and doyen of Postmodernism — died yesterday at the age of 98. Johnson had been a force in the architectural world since 1932. Although he did not begin practicing architecture until the 1940s (and did not manage to pass his licensing examination until well into the 1950s), his collaboration with Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Jr., on "The International Style: Architecture Since 1922" at the fledgling Museum of Modern Art in New York was a ground-breaking event. The exhibition, which opened in February 1932, toured thirteen American cities after closing at MOMA. A model of serious and innovative scholarship, it introduced American viewers to such important European modernists as Mies van der Rohe, Corbusier, and J. J. P. Oud, baptized one of the most influential architectural movements of the century ("The International Style" soon became a slogan for both friends and foes of modernism), and instantly established the intellectual reputation of its rich, dashing twenty-six-year-old co-curator.

"John L. Hess and His Times"

Alexander Zaitchik, NY Press

If one man ever gave blogging a good name, it was John L. Hess, who died last week of heart failure at 87. As late as New Year's Eve, Hess was speaking his sharp mind through his website, johnlhess.blogspot.com. There, as in his raspy-voiced daily commentaries for WBAI, the nation's oldest working media critic spat well-aimed poison darts at his favorite targets: bad food writing, lying politicians and the New York Times, Hess' journalistic home for a quarter century.

If anyone is quietly pleased with Hess' passing, they likely work in a big newspaper building at 229 W. 43rd St. Since leaving the paper in 1978, Hess has been a merciless shadow ombudsman for the Times, a role that culminated in the 2003 publication of My Times, his tell-all account of his long and varied career at the paper. During his years with the Times, Hess was food critic, city reporter, foreign correspondent, desk editor and obit writer. (One can only speculate how much this last post helped him prepare for last week.)

My Times is Hess' monument to the future. It is a devastating account of how the paper helped Robert Moses ravish the Bronx and Pat Moynihan libel the poor; how it blew My Lai, Watergate and the banking scandals that almost bankrupted the city; how it played along with the CIA abroad and Con Ed and Lilco at home; how it helped to wreck the campaign for national health insurance.

In unpacking all of this and more, Hess makes a convincing case that the Times has never been among the best newspapers in the world, just the most powerful. In many important ways, Hess believed the Times remarkably poor for a major daily — over- and poorly edited, over-staffed, puffed-up and power worshiping. The self-satisfaction the paper took in being a loyal mouthpiece for the Establishment is summed up by former Times foreign editor Emanuel Freedman, who once told Hess, "I don't know why everybody wants to be a reporter — always asking questions."

Not surprisingly, the Times failed to review or mention My Times upon its release, even as Judith Miller was busy confirming its thesis. Hess once told me that someone high on the masthead ordered a large batch of the memoir, but the first mention of the book to appear in the paper was Douglas Martin's smug Jan 22. obituary. My Times, writes Martin, "mixed some acerbic memories [of the paper] with the occasional grudging compliment." Mostly, the book was a showcase for Hess' "curmudgeonly manner."

Besides illustrating Hess' point about Times editing — can memories be "acerbic"? — the obit is a pathetic attempt to gloat over the body of a man that brought so much acclaim to the paper during his career, and did so much to keep it honest in his retirement.

"China May Be on Course To Overtake U.S. Economy"

Charles Hutzler, Wall Street Journal

During the 1950s, China's communist government boasted that its economy would surpass Britain's in 15 years and catch up with the U.S.'s in 30. The prediction proved disastrously wrong, as did Mao Zedong's policies, which brought the economy to ruin.

But now, a half-century later, many economists say those goals look more attainable. Having grown an estimated 9.2% last year and maintained an inflation-adjusted average annual growth rate of 8% or more for the past 25 years, China's economy seems to be on a trajectory to one day overtake the U.S.'s, which has been growing at an inflation-adjusted average annual rate of about 3% for the past 25 years.

Predicting when China will achieve economic primacy isn't an exact science; it depends heavily on assumptions about future rates of growth and currency valuations, among other factors. When economists surveyed last month by The Wall Street Journal were asked to predict when — if ever — this would happen, the projections varied widely. Some economists said "never" while a few didn't even bother to take a guess, but most economists said China will overtake the U.S. in the next 20 to 40 years.

Venezuela Marks Anniversary of Democracy

Christopher Toothaker, Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Supporters of President Hugo Chavez
marched through Caracas on Sunday, demanding respect for
Venezuela's sovereignty following U.S. criticism and
Colombia's acknowledgment that it paid a bounty to capture a
rebel on Venezuelan soil.

To mark the 47th anniversary of Venezuelan democracy, critics
of Chavez staged a smaller march, accusing him of threatening
freedoms gained with the Jan. 23, 1958, overthrow of Gen.
Marcos Perez Jimenez, Venezuela's last dictator.

Four More Years of Bush Makes the World Anxious

Timothy Heritage, Reuters

PARIS — The rest of the world will be watching with anxiety when President Bush is inaugurated Thursday for a second time, fearing the most powerful man on the planet may do more harm than good.

Many world leaders, alienated by Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, would have preferred him to lose the U.S. election last November. Since his victory, they have been urging him to listen and consult more.

"Venezuela's 'Revolution'"

Washington Post

[This editorial, implicitly urging U.S. intervention, appeared in today's edition. The quotes in the title and below are in the original text.]

Last Sunday hundreds of heavily armed Venezuelan troops invaded one of the country's largest and most productive cattle ranches, launching what President Hugo Chavez describes as his "war against the estates." The next day Mr. Chavez signed a decree under which authorities are expected to seize scores of other farms in the coming weeks. This assault on private property is merely the latest step in what has been a rapidly escalating "revolution" by Venezuela's president that is undermining the foundations of democracy and free enterprise in that oil-producing country. The response of Venezuela's democratic neighbors, and the United States, ranges from passivity to tacit encouragement.

U.S. Soldiers Flee to Canada to Avoid Service in Iraq

Charles Laurence, Telegragh (U.K.)

American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than
fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who
flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.

An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq,
reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.


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