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Rupert Murdoch and My Sister


How powerful and controlling is the propaganda that rains upon the American people? Do even the words of a loved one make a difference when they conflict with a perceived reality that has been constructed by Fox News and the rest of the big media?

I recently moved from San Francisco to a small community outside of Nashville, Tennessee. I was born and grew up in this part of the country, and after 18 years living in California this was kind of a homecoming for me. A sad homecoming-my mother had passed away in the intervening years-but a homecoming nonetheless.

The other day I got together with my sister. We went out to a place called Harpeth Hills Cemetery, a scant five miles or so from the house we had grown up in, and laid some flowers upon our mother’s grave. Then we stopped for lunch afterward. Over lunch I mentioned that I am planning to vote for Dennis Kucinich for president.

"Who’s he?" asked my sister.

I wasn’t surprised at the question, given the fact that the media have all but ignored the Kucinich campaign.

"He’s a congressman from Ohio," I said, adding that I was for him because he had opposed the war in Iraq.

Mention of the war opened up a whole new avenue to our conversation. She is a reasonably intelligent, 45-year old woman, my sister. Yet like most of the rest of my relatives, she believes the war has been about fighting terrorism and deposing an evil dictator. Nothing I could say could convince her otherwise-although I did try.

I mentioned Saddam Hussein had actually once been an ally of the United States and that this had been back in the days when Ronald Reagan was president. This fact she had never heard of. I pressed harder on the issue.

"You remember when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds?"

Yes, she remembered this.

"Where do you think he got his chemical weapons?" I asked.

She didn’t know. When I told her it was from the United States it was almost as if a wall went up immediately between us. This was so contrary to-and so alien from-everything she had been told that I could see she simply wasn’t buying it or accepting it.

I tried a different tact.

"You remember the war between Iran and Iraq?"

She did.

"Who do you think the United States supported in that war?"

"I don’t know-Iraq?"

I replied that this was the case, but then I had to explain how and why this had come about which meant going into the Iranian revolution, the U.S. support for the shah, the shah’s secret police, the Savak, the emergence of radical Islam, and so on-and by this time the conversation had gone pretty far afield.

How do you overcome years of conditioning to think in a certain way? I asked myself. What words do you choose?

I tried citing examples of "evil dictators" the U.S. had supported-the shah being a case in point. I also mentioned Suharto of Indonesia. The shah she rememberd; Suharto she had never heard of. I then told her about East Timor, and how 200,000 people had died there, and that all this had taken place with the blessings of Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger.

She listened, absorbing all this, without saying too much in reply. Did she believe what I was telling her? Did she believe even half of it? I have no idea. Somehow, even though she didn’t say as much, I doubt it.

A few days earlier I had emailed to my sister, as well as to a couple of other close relatives, several articles on the Mad Cow story which I had gleaned from the Internet. I was hoping to get them to become vegetarian-as I have been for the past 14 years. I also figured what better way to illustrate the baseness and venality of those currently running the government? For what other story shows the lengths to which those we have entrusted will go to protect big business, even when it means deliberately exposing the public to an ominous health danger? Could any story currently in the news be more revealing of the utter callousness and indifference that exists within our "leaders" vis-à-vis ourselves, the people they are sworn to protect?

"Did you get the emails I sent you about mad cow disease?" I asked now.

She had, she replied, but she hadn’t had time to read them yet.

I was stumped.


October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Omar Kassem
Do You Want to See Turkey Falling Apart as Well?
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook is Listening to You
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria