portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

media criticism

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed?

Things are coming down so fast these days it's hard to keep up. Now's the time to start paying close attention to everything that's going on and not get distracted. What's really going on here?
"Getting nothing but static, getting nothing but static
Static in my attic from Channel Z ...
Gonna shoot that static down the drain
Gonna put that static out of my brain
Gonna put up my antennae. FREE!"
-- The B-52's - Channel Z [  link to www.lyrics4all.net ]

Have you ever heard the sound of an approaching avalanche? Well, I don't suppose you have, or chances are you wouldn't be reading this right now, and I haven't either -- at least not literally. But in a metaphorical sense I can hear one right now. In fact, I started hearing the first few rocks tumble down the mountain about a decade ago. I shrugged it off though (most people didn't even pay attention).

Yeah, that Waco and Ruby Ridge were some dirty business. Yeah, it sure looks like Vince Foster and Ron Brown were murdered. Well, politics gets dirty sometimes. It's always been that way, hasn't it?

Hmmm ... the protests in Seattle were really getting somewhere and then *boom* -- there was a media blackout. The only way I could find out they were shooting rubber bullets at people was by checking out this new website called Indymedia. And there it was -- a cop aiming a rifle into the crowd.

Dang, that's kind of scary, especially how the media seemed to be in lockstep about all that, but we all know the big corporations look after their own. No need to get alarmed. Just a few rocks, is all.

Then some bigger rocks began to fall. Hell, these weren't just rocks, they were goddamn boulders. I stayed up until 5 in the morning after election night 2000. Bush wins by 500 votes?? Bullshit!

But the media just seemed to roll over and play dead, and Al Gore soon followed. Something's wrong here, I thought. I sure hope not, but ... what if this is the start of an avalanche?

The crash and tinkle of a few more rocks -- a few more Seattle-like protests (they ran over and shot a kid in Genoa and called it self-defense). Enron plunges California into darkness. Accounting scandals hit the boiling point. I still held out they'd nail that bastard Bush with vote fraud and make him give the presidency back to Gore, kind of like how when I was six I held out that someone made a mistake when they said my uncle died and everything would get fixed somehow the way it always does on TV.

Then a huge boulder crashed down the mountain. Everybody heard this one as it wiped out entire buildings. People got mad and started mobilizing, pointing their fingers and shouting "the terrorists did it! They pushed that boulder off the cliff and killed thousands of people! Let's get 'em!" And we all started rushing up the mountain. But it didn't take long before I realized the huge boulder was probably part of an avalanche, and we were rushing to our doom.

So much is going on now you can barely focus on individual rocks anymore. Things sound like a dull roar. Massive election fraud in Mexico. Replays of My Lai. Civil war in Iraq. Declarations of WWIII. Korea, India and Pakistan testing nukes and missiles. People connected with Enron dying left and right. Legislative war against immigrants. Scandal after scandal skirting the White House. Israel blasting a democratic country's infrastructure, innocent civilians and a UN building into smithereens, committing obvious war crimes, and what makes headlines?

US cyclist has too much testosterone.

"All over the world, autocratic-minded rulers ... have learned that de facto control of the political content of television is perhaps the most important lever of power in our day. They have learned that it does not matter politically if 15 or even 25 percent of the public is well informed as long the majority remains in the dark. The problem has not been censorship but something very nearly censorship's opposite: the deafening noise of the official megaphone and its echoes--not the suppression of truth, still spoken and heard in a narrow circle, but a profusion of lies and half lies; not too little speech but too much. If you whisper something to your friend in the front row of a rock concert, you have not been censored, but neither will you be heard." -- Jonathan Schell, "Too Late for Empire"  http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060814/schell

I don't have a TV, and perhaps I'm less distracted than most. I feel it's my duty to inform you: it sounds like there's an avalanche coming. Maybe that's not the best analogy, because maybe collectively there's something we can do to stop whatever it is that seems to be barreling our way. Surely we can prepare for it! But how can we if we're too distracted to realize the danger? There's a huge disinformation campaign out there, and it's being used as a weapon against us. Here's just one of the latest examples: "Israel backed by army of cyber-soldiers"  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,174-2289232,00.html

But the organized distraction isn't limited to any medium or nationality. All mainstream media are affected on a global scale. Who's really behind all this? What can we do about it?

We need to come to grips with the fact that disinformation and apathy are our worst enemies now. While we argue, jabber and whine few seem to hear the growing thunder from the mountaintop. People must be warned! We're standing in the path of disaster.

address: address: 270 McAllister, San Francisco CA 94102

what's that sound... 31.Jul.2006 20:32

Jason

For What It's Worth

There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there, telling me I've got to beware.
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.

There's battle lines are being drawn. Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds are getting so much resistance from behind.
Time we stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.

What a field day for the heat. A thousand people in the street
singing songs and carrying signs, mostly say "hooray for our side."
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid. Step outta line, the man come and take you away.
We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.
We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.
We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down.
We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look, what's going down...

Overwhelmed & fustrated 31.Jul.2006 20:38

m

Here is an answer I received when I tried to let them know what is happening. I am afraid there might be to many thinking this way. What a shame. So sad.


I wish you would be as interested in what God says as what these "scholars" say is the answer/s to the problems as they see them, and the solutions they believe would bring world peace. They have no knowledge of world history and Bible prophecy. Bible prophecy is being fulfilled. And there will not be peace. The main conflict in the world centers and will do so even to a much greater extent than currently, around Israel and the muslim nations in their vicinity. These other nations hate Israel/Jews. Israel is very small in geographical size. Maybe a little larger than Clackamas County.
It has no oil. The other nations around it have lots of oil. Why do they want to do away with Israel and all Jews? They want control of Jerusalem. And there will be attacks on Israel. Russia and Iran will join forces. And yes, eventually even "great hordes from the East" will descend upon Israel. This will for sure involve China.
There will be nuclear war some time in the future. So it does not matter what America does in the days, months and years ahead, the conflict in that part of the world will become more and more intense.

Our tactics are tired 31.Jul.2006 20:47

Our concerns are huge

We need new strategies and practices.

The old stuff is just not doing it anymore. Rallies. Vigils. More rallies, more vigils. Marching, carrying signs. Wearing buttons and T-shirt slogans. Signing e-mail petitions. I hate to say it, but it's all getting so boring and (much worse) very ineffective.

We can't keep marching around Pioneer Sq in circles and chanting to ourselves-
that way we are too easily dismissed. Corraled off to some irrelevant quarter.

There have to be some fresh ideas out there. Some creativity.

If we can think outside-the-box maybe we would not feel overwhelmed. Our work for peace, for social justice, for an end to the Bush Reign of Terror, could have some new energy and hope.

We have to think hard about this and work on it as if our very lives depended on it! Because others' lives do.

the object 31.Jul.2006 21:32

is action

it's easy to feel overwhelmed
and most people want to see tangible results from their efforts - it's human nature
but don't sweat the small stuff
in reality the outcome doesn't have to be known to you
when you choose an action, ya simply do it because you feel driven to

so take a few minutes and think back to say..WTO in Seattle..now flash forward
and remember that a momentum has built up through the years, a network has opened up globally among concerned humans - that's a tangible result

eventually it will form a tsunami and become a force immovable objects must contend with

overwhelmed??? 31.Jul.2006 21:46

me

We live in a country of pathetic dolts and idiots.

Gazans are living on the same amount of water that was available to them in the year 1947, because the Israelis maintain a stranglehold on the region's fresh water sources and refuse to allow the people of Gaza to draw any more from the aquifers than they did 50 years ago, even though the population of Gaza has grown exponentially because of refugees! (see Richard Harth, "Squeezing the Last Drops from Palestine,"  http://www.counterpunch.org/harth07272006.html) This PREDATES any of the most recent atrocities, including the deliberate destruction of the electricity plants needed for running pumping stations. So now the situation is even worse! The population already suffered epidemics of skin and kidney diseases due to unsafe and insufficient water supplies.

And people wonder why there is terrorism?????! What are these people supposed to do, just agree to quietly die, maybe even speed up the process by just blowing themselves up?? Well, I guess they are doing that, but they've decided that, if they have to die, they're gonna take a few of their tormentors with them. Ie: The people on the other side of those checkpoints and walls and razorwire fences who have plenty of water and often even swimming pools. Why do I no longer find that so surprising??

I grew up going to Hebrew school, getting all kinds of Zionist indoctrination. Luckily, as an adult, I learned to think and read and learn things for myself. And now there's the Internet, where anyone with any kind of native curiosity can indulge it with no limit.

But in the meantime, the US ie still full to the brim with people who think and say dangerous but pathetic nonsense like this:  http://bostonmaggie.blogspot.com/2006/07/thanks-ogre.html

the revolution will happen when 01.Aug.2006 05:55

x

you realize that change really means change. look at your own life. how are you the same as before? how are you different? I mean, really different - not just different clothes or hair styles or piercings or whatever.

what class barriers have you broken? how many 'others' are in your Friday night party group? who are your allies? who are your enemies? why?

what does it mean that something like 80% of women are still in dead-end clerical jobs? what does it mean for the children?

what does it mean that 50% of a graduating 8th grade class in a public school does not know how to log-in to a computer? what are you doing to help the children?

what does it mean that Katrina survivors were turned back at the bridge by white men with guns? in the south. still. what do you fear? how would you change that? I mean, really change.

velorution 101 01.Aug.2006 08:38

long distance runner

it is overwhelming, but never give up hope. take one day at a time, turn off the television, cancel the corporate rag and tune into alternative media. donate something to worthy causes, volunteer something, attend rallies and spread the truth. have some fun like cycle to the beach, hike in the hills, and putter in the garden. relax and meditate to restore positive energy.

world keeps turning 01.Aug.2006 10:36

jamey

I second what "long distance runner" said. That is a very good course of action.

Also, dear, please try to remember that human civilization has never been a pretty picture. Bloody wars, atrocities, human rights abuses-- it's been going on for millenia. The dull roar you hear has existed for a long time. But today, we have more pictures. We have more media. We have more voices joining the cacophony.

Our lovely blue planet will be here for a long time to come. However, humans might not be. But-- you never know.

Here is a good blog I found today. Fascinating, sad, very professionally done.  http://www.BloggingBeirut.com/

ride your bike to the beach? 01.Aug.2006 13:21

steve

this is a tactic in revolution huh?

this is more likely the problem, at least with the middle-class activists who are so perplexed as to what is going on. The current world crises is yet another crises of capitalism, when nation-states battle for markets and raw materials to compensate for shrinking corporate profit-rates. For those who are serious about making social change, understanding the actual problem is a good place to start. For those interested in learning something, I would recommend browsing the following websites:

www.wsws.org
www.marxist.com

while bumming at the beach 01.Aug.2006 16:06

long distance runner

one could be meditating, renewing positive energy , or even reading communist tracts and plotting the velorution.

teach resistance consciousness! 01.Aug.2006 20:03

we are power

The avalanche, as you call it, has been coming down upon many many others since the inception of the imagination of government; it's been going down upon *all* but of course, our "good educations" have blinded us to such evils as, say, reducing broad human beings into "criminals" who are not allowed to be seen in any way except as breakers of imposed laws.

Traditional-oriented indigenous folks understand this. Reality is being exposed to those whom have been used to help implement the "New World Order", and now that you're not needed anymore...more and more you see the truths that most outside of the u.s.a. have seen for centuries!

You want a way to promote meaningful challenge? Grass-roots, man! Informal grass-roots. What if there were monthly national days of action where affinity groups and others went *door-to-door* and sought to communicate with anyone and everyone they dare to. And not just on the popular single issue, either. Talk to/with them on BROAD issues. The broader, and more personally-affecting the better. The trick is to focus on similarities between issues, to see similar ways in which we are hyped-up and divided against each other, etc.

i'll leave it up to your imaginations for where this contact could go.

The idea of resistance consciousness, also known as "intellectual self-defense" (as Chomsky calls it) is to generate a cross-class awareness of how formal coercion works in society. How formal, state-funded institutions of every sort have a pattern of systematically interacting with "the public" in alienated, and thus war-like ways.

Take a look at my website for a kind of foundation of thought on this, and do explore on your own. And do *connect the dots* please!


repeat 01.Aug.2006 21:59

ed

check this link for ideas in comments

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/07/343449.shtml

ideas and thoughts 02.Aug.2006 18:34

anonymous

i certainly agree with the comments made regarding how big demonstrations are becoming useless ("our tactics are tired").

case in point: the anti-war actions in new york. we had half a million against the war, yet still we accomplished nothing; the media misrepresented us, the government's plans were fulfilled without a hitch, and everyone went home feeling a little more powerless than before.

the sad thing is, this is all predictable. we know most political demonstrations will end like this, with 50 or 50,000 people, but we continue planning them the same ways again and again.

what should we do instead?

we ought to organize into small tactical units, made up of friends, family, and other individuals we can trust. from there, decide as a group what action to take and when to take it. keep this information secret. when a day of resistance is announced, plan on coordinating your group's action to coincide. if 50 groups like this planned 50 different, unrelated but coordinated direct actions against the state and corporate actors in charge, we could paralize a city economically - much like downtown san francisco during the first week of the recent iraq war.

instead of being a big, predicatable, slow dinosaur, we ought to be a swarm of fast-moving, unpredicatable insects.

we also ought to avoid wasting our efforts on fighting purely symbolic abstractions (like local cops) or on standing around with signs, acting as human bilboards.

instead, maybe we should focus our attacks on those pushing the buttons to make war happen. by this, i am suggesting we go after defense contractors.

i would recommend visiting defense contractors in their homes and workplaces. make sure their neighbors know what they do for a living. you may want to bring some gifts! this may require a little research, but it's not hard to find the def cons in your own city.

for example, in portland:

bechtel
6135 ne 80th ave., #a7

dyncorp
5241 ne 122nd ave.

maersk
1001 sw 5th ave #1212

urs corp
4288 se int'l way

textron fastening systems
6020 n cutter cir

also in the portland area, gulfstream in lake oswego and west linn, pratt & whitney in clackamas, IDT in hillsboro, johnson controls in milwaukee, honeywell & ge aircraft engines in vancouver.

-----------------

anyway, i hope i've given you guys some ideas.

one last thing, though:

i am worried that we are on the verge of civil war, martial law, militarization of daily life, etc. as of the moment, i see two main possibilities for this occuring:

#1: a reckless middle east foreign policy provokes renewed terrorist attacks on us cities. (either that, or the govt fakes these attacks - they obviously consider progressive cities expendable.) this is used as a pretext for a 'terrorist crackdown' or something similar, resulting in a declaration of emergency, the suspension of rights, etc.

#2: the democrats win congress in november, and decide to remove bush from office. rather than let this happen, he uses his friends in the military to delare martial law and hold on to power.

as progressives/freedom fighters/activists/revolutionaries/whatever, it is important for us to be prepared for either of these two scenarios. i would recommend coming up with a plan of resistance for your household and neighborhood in the event of such an occurance.

with love,

anonymous revolutionary #52634354

Good point 03.Aug.2006 13:22

Jody Paulson

"instead of being a big, predicatable, slow dinosaur, we ought to be a swarm of fast-moving, unpredicatable insects."

I read this article by Styve:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/05/338769.shtml and was inspired to try it. I've noticed that one person walking around with one sign can pretty much reach almost as many people as a few hundred walking around (together) with one sign. I discuss this and other tactics here:
"Sick of sitting around waiting for the next anti-war protest?"
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/05/340070.shtml

As far as who we should focus on, you're right, defense contractors have been largely ignored by the populace as among the main scoundrels behind all this madness (please read: "Banking on War"  http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/080206Z.shtml ). But as I alluded to in the above essay, it might be worth our while to concentrate on the mainstream media, which I consider to be perhaps a more successful tool for "the powers that be" than the either the police or the FBI.