News & Distraction

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Sample newsletter (from December 2001):

:::::: NEWS & DISTRACTION ::::::

• After September 11, Clear Channel, America's biggest owner of radio stations, sent out an internal memorandum with a list of songs the stations were forbidden to play, including John Lennon's "Imagine". In response, Yoko Ono, took out a full page ad in the New York Times with lyrics from the song. Ono said: "I think they (Clear Channel) wanted everyone to be in a kind of attack mode."

• During the first Gulf war, a TV ad featuring a cartoon-sexy languorous female bunny rabbit offering Cadbury's Caramel to soldier ants was banned from UK TV. Presumably the unstated message "lazy sex & chocolate is better than marching to war" was deemed inappropriate by those authorities who know what's best for us.

• Gore Vidal, the political historian and dissenter, said he can't find a publisher willing to print his book on US foreign policy (BBC2 Newsnight 7/12/01). Vidal has previously commented that his criticisms of US policy are excluded from public debate.

• One in seven people aged over 65 in the UK are malnourished, or at severe risk of malnutrition, according to the Malnutrition Advisory Group (MAG).

• According to Dr Sadie Plant, the cellphone has become a "psychosexual symbol of performance". (Guardian 1/12/2001)

9th December 2001 - Some voices of "reason and moderation" from the respectable US media:

Michael Kelly (Washington Post): "American pacifists... are on the side of future mass murders of Americans", they are "objectively pro-terrorist", "evil" and "liars".

Steve Dunleavy (New York Post) "The response to this unimaginable 21st-century Pearl Harbor should be as simple as it is swift - kill the bastards... A gunshot between the eyes, blow them to smithereens, poison them... As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball courts".

Rich Lowry (National Review): "If we flatten part of Damascus or Tehran or whatever it takes, that is part of the solution".

Jonathan Alter (Newsweek): Urged dissenters to shut up because "it's kill or be killed".

A.M. Rosenthal (Washington Times): In addition to Afghanistan, wants to bomb Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Iran, and Syria.

Ann Coulter (ex-National Review): Her response to terrorism is to "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity".

Interesting survey by FAIR of imbalances in the US press coverage following September 11th (

Here's a brief excerpt:
"In polls that offered a choice between a military response or nothing, it's true that overwhelming majorities chose war. But given the choice between either a military assault or pressing for the extradition and trial of those responsible (eg Christian Science Monitor, 9/27/01), a substantial minority either chose extradition (30 percent) or were undecided (16 percent). These people had next to no representation in the op-ed debate; in fact, it's likely that many people asked to choose whether or not to go to war had never seen an alternative to war articulated in a mainstream outlet."

(From Robert Anton Wilson)
"In the feudal age, people once fought wars over Land, when Land served as the source of wealth. Those who had Land wanted more, on the usual addictive rule that we want more of what makes us feel very very good. They also worried that others wanted to take their Land away. Then paper Money appeared, almost as abstract as pure information in communication theory. For over 400 years now, the world has struggled over Money -- working for it, swindling and robbing for it, conspiring to monopolize it, going to war over it. Since less than one percent of Earthians owns 99 percent of the Money, the [approximately] 6 billion of the rest of us struggle evermore desperately over the one percent of the green magick not yet monopolized".