Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Monday, October 08, 2007

So much to say, so little time...

Bloody hell.

When I have so much to say, my time is too limited to share all the thoughts, on-goings and good news going on here.

One thing I will say about understanding the state of a US in disarray: watch Lou Dobbs on CNN, and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

I knew Lou way back when. He worked at a Seattle TV station (I worked on the radio side) and he was regarded by my little circle as a pompous, knee-jerk conservative, sexist guy. If you asked me, "Does he think for himself?" My impression was no.

We knew of his great ambitions but were frankly surprised when he got his CNN gig. He came with his talking points, however, and stuck with them.

So, what happened that I recommend him now?

One thing that becomes clear to me: he became a man who chooses to think for himself. He is apparently a man who wants to learn, to dig, to know the truth even if it flies in the face of what he's said before, enough to grow as a person and as a media representative for all viewers, not the few who hold the purse strings of the lobbyists, political parties, corporate powers that be or advertisers.

Mind you, I don't agree with everything Lou says or does any more than I agree with everything Keith says or does.

But I do think he would be willing to learn if he finds he's on the wrong track. He's done it before. Likewise, Keith strikes me as someone who's more interested in the truth than in being "right." Or left.

Keep giving 'em hell, Lou, and looking out for all American citizens who feel so helpless and far away from any sense of power - especially since even the integrity of the vote is questioned since voting systems cannot be verified without an all-important but missing paper trail.

Keith Olbermann, has a terrific sports background, so I believe he sees politics more the way you and I do because he didn't get broken in to the national journalistic community through the typical channels: start small, know and socialize with the politicians about whom you report as you climb up the food chain, cut a few quid pro quo deals to get a scoop, and the list goes on.

The system has developed into one in which if you want to report on someone significant, if you want access to him or her, you have to toe the line or else they'll slam the door. The key is not to take no for an answer and not to get enmeshed with anyone to the point they owe you anything or you owe them anything.

The truth is the truth. An opinion is an opinion. I'm not threatened by either, but a whole lot of people are, and for a journalist to be threatened by either is dangerous.

Recently, a GQ Magazine article on Hillary Clinton was killed - apparently it had some pretty critical points to make about her as well as laudatory comments (the reporter said it was very balanced) - in order to secure a media seat on a plane traveling with former President Bill Clinton to Africa to show all the work being done there by him to help not only that nation, but others.

Part of the problem is that too many people are addled by a barrage of propaganda and spun data that the truth is very difficult to find, report or discern.

The biggest telltale sign of a poor, misleading report is one that simply quotes someone as fact, then quote someone else who disagrees with what was said. Neither is a fact, and in fact when especially someone from the Bush administration says something there is at least a 50-50 chance what they are saying is an outright lie.

For whatever reason, the President, thinking himself a king, not in an elected position; the Vice-President and other high level administrative appointees have no qualms about lying to make you do what they want you to do, believe what they want you to believe.

An unquestioning, unchallenging media provided the gateway to their hubris. To the point they actually convinced themselves they would never be caught in their lies; from there, they honestly think that no one would believe they would tell a lie.

They're wrong.

Some media have managed to get a spinal transplant. But too few to stop the partisan squabbling that may ultimately be the undoing of a genuinely great nation.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The Bush administration has used disinformation masterfully over the past eight years. Karl Rove is normally the creator of the self-serving fabrications spread to party loyalists, conservative groups, media, churches and others who will spread false information without question until the lie is believed to be the truth.

What exactly is "disinformation?"

It's the deliberate pronouncement of fraudulent statements passed off as "facts."

For example, many Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein, the executed leader of Iraq, was in some way responsible for the attack on the New York City World Trade Center September 11, 2001.

That false statement was made by Bush administration spokespeople so often, many Americans believed the lie when it was initially released, and astonishingly continue to believe it, even though it has been proved a hundred times over to be outrightly and completely false.

If it's possible, Saddam Hussein and Iraq had less than nothing to do with the attack.

Iraq was terrorist-free under Hussein because he was the ultimate dictator - paranoid about outsiders stirring up his carefully controlled population, which he ruled with a near- sadistic hand. He knew if any of the dozens of warring tribal factions in Iraq were armed or felt free to fight again (tribal wars have been going on for centuries, including the conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites), he would lose control of the people and "his" country.

It was not until the US attacked Iraq that terrorists, including al qaeda, found the opening they sought to not only move into the country, but use the deadly debacle created by the US in Iraq to recruit new members because now they had concrete evidence that the US is an aggressor; that it wants to occupy Middle Eastern nations.

Interestingly, the number of terrorists actually needed in Iraq is very few because now so many Iraqis themselves are furious at the US - whom they blame for devastating their country and being the cause of the violent deaths of some 600,000 innocent Iraqis. Their anti-US feelings have fomented them into taking arms against our soldiers in harms way there.

American intelligence sources report that approximately 4% of fighters in Iraq are associated with al qaeda. If that sounds like it's good news, it's not. It only means all the terrorist cells and individuals not fighting in Iraq are free to ply their trades in other nations.

Al Gore's #1 NYT best selling book The Assault on Reason just arrived here; I'll read it this week and review it next week here. I have a feeling these sorts of issues will be discussed there because often, if we're accurately informed about a subject, we can discern truth from lie by using simple reason.

Like, if you knew about how Saddam ran his country - ruling by making people terrified of him while keeping it terrorist-free, never wanting anyone to challenge his autocratic authoritarianism; that he would never tolerate tribal in-fighting because it would detract from his iron-fisted control - you would understand that anyone claiming that terrorists were allowed in Iraq or that Saddam had anything to do with them is simply and outright unreasonable.

Because the US Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on Prewar Intelligence Assessment about Postwar Iraq outlined these and many other facts, it predicted the horrors we face today if Saddam were not only unseated but the nation itself attacked to allow US-backed individuals to take over.

Unfortunately, many US Senators and Representatives believed this misinformation put out by the Bush administration instead of reading the report gathered by some 81 separate intelligence agencies, and voted to give George Bush the authority to invade Iraq - including US Senator Hilary Clinton.

It all comes back to the need for an educated, informed nation to effectively run a democratic republic like the United States.

But between outright disinformation disseminated freely by people who know the truth because they want to manipulate you, and an unquestioning media - that can be hard to come by through "normal" media outlets. US media tend to reproduce whatever they are told by "authoritative" sources without question or perspective - and those "authoritative sources" tend to be the very people who disseminate disinformation these days.

Think of the glib government disinformation on its response to Katrina - that "Brownie's doing a heck of a job," while we saw the massive destruction with our own eyes. The meteorologist who gave President Bush and the US Federal Government the grave warning of the oncoming disaster himself days before the hurricane struck. The response: "We had no idea this would happen."

Disinformers *love* this; they also love how frightened US media are when they are accused of being "unfair" or "one-sided" about their coverage.

Here's how that works:

Mr. X, an authoritative spokesperson, says "10."

US media pass it on, uncensored, unquestioned, unexamined.

Then Mr. C, an authoritative spokesperson who knows that "10" is an outright lie, says, "10 is not true! In fact, here's evidence it's an outright fabrication and harmful to our nation!" And there's the proof that you can see with your own eyes (Iraq's astonishing devastation, Katrina reconstruction is NOT happening as promised, etc.)

Mr. X responds, "There the 'liberal media' goes again - unfairly showing only ONE SIDE of the story!"

The media, terrified of being called "unfair," steps up the quotes by Mr. X and his cohorts, so we keep hearing "10," over and over again, and seldom see Mr. C and the actual evidence of Mr. X's fraudulent statement.

After awhile, "10" sounds like it *should* be true. Thereby becoming part of Stephen Colbert's genius term, "truthiness;" which means something that feels like it should be true.

By the way, I hope you understand that disinformers believe *you* are not only ignorant, but stupid. Stupid enough to buy whatever they sell. They particularly need their own followers to be ignorant of facts and stupid. Who else would believe such overtly ignorant statements and disinformation but people who want to believe them because they are their leaders and trust them blindly.

That's why "believers" whose information is challenged become so emotionally charged and outraged when others tell them anything that disagrees with what they've been told by their leaders. Because if the truth-tellers make those leaders wrong, then they -- the believers -- have to realize how stupid they were to believe them in the first place.

And no one likes to think of themselves as being duped. It's embarrassing. So they fight harder to "prove" the disinformation given them by their leaders.

This happens all the time in extremist religious circles who disperse disinformation, whether it's extreme fundamentalist Muslims or extreme fundamentalist Christians.

Here are more ways Wikipedia finds disinformation (intentional misinformation, lies, misrepresentation) are used: forged documents, manuscripts, photographs; propagation of malicious rumors and fabricated intelligence.

More, "In the context of espionage or military intelligence, it is the deliberate spreading of false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action. It also includes the distortion of true information in such a way as to render it useless.

"Disinformation techniques may also be found in commerce and government, used by one group to try to undermine the position of a competitor. It in fact is the act of deception and blatant false statements to convince someone of an untruth."

Tomorrow, I'll discuss how disinformation differs from propaganda, misinformation, The Big Lie, and other ways people with specific agendas not only try, but succeed to control your behavior, votes and money with misleading and outright untruthful statements.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm up with Alec's crusade...

Alec BaldwinAlec Baldwin appeared on an extended segment of the US daytime chat show The View, speaking about his new quest: to make significant changes in laws regarding parental alienation in divorce cases.

Remorseful about the unforgivably abusive message he left recently on his daughter's answering service that was heard by millions of people when it was released to the media, he said he sought more counseling (from Dr. Phil, no less); that now his mettle is steeled to take action to stop a process in which one parent is unnecessarily alienated from the other when it comes to custody battles.

Hear his apology for speaking so cruelly to his daughter and about his drive to help parents who are purposefully and without reason other than revenge alienated from their children here.

He explains that he suffers from parental alienation syndrome, which he believes drove him to say the terrible things he did to his daughter.

He says he and his legal team have tried to reach out to his ex-wife, Kim Basinger, through her lawyers so they could have a healthy communication for the sake of their daughter, but over the years they have refused.

Evidence and common sense reveal there are thousands, if not millions of children suffering even more than their custodial and non-custodial parents, for in the end it is the children who not only carry the burden of their parents' hideous dysfunction and brutal treatment of one another - especially when the child is used as the object of a custody tractor pull - but who go on to spread this monumental sickness in their own relationships as they mature.

Even Albert Einstein, arguably the most intelligent man in the world, evah, was not smart enough to avoid being an alienated parent. He suffered for years when he was blocked from seeing or communicating with his two sons following the separation from his first wife. The anguish he endured being deprived of his sons is outlined in his biography Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson.

It must stop. Now.

Alec is making it his mission, his legacy to do what he can to make things right, healthy and just - not only for the sake of the children in vicious custody battles, but for all the parents involved - many of whom will go on to remarry and parent even more children.

Alec's book on parental alienation comes out this fall. It does not involve his own personal battle, but is rather a treatise on the extent, seriousness and backlash from this barbaric situation that exists in the silence of too many darkened homes, in the tortured minds of too many children, custodial and alienated parents.

And it provides answers to heal this rift - revealing how the legal community and others involved too often incite and exacerbate the already miserable situation.

The thing about Alec Baldwin - whether you personally "like" him or not - is that he is a well-intended, rarefied force with which to be reckoned because he is willing to be vulnerable, to let us in, to be as honest as possible with himself and therefore others and to put everything on the line for a cause in which he believes.

Any actor reading this will recognize those are the very traits fine actors must possess.

And, I'd guess, a good parent.

He may be fueled by anger, but his purpose is positive, constructive and three-dimensional, unlike the structure of legal alternatives today for divorcing parents and their children. He's not against anyone, but for fair and just treatment of everyone concerned - especially for the sake of the children and therefore by extension the sake of the parents.

Alec says he is going to devote 3-5 years of his life to this cause, that he doesn't care if he ever acts again in this culture of tabloid press. He asked to be released from his hit show, 30 Rock, but (fortunately for fans like me) was refused by NBC. He did not want to hurt the show by all his bad publicity.

But. Know what?

Who ever released the infamous message?

As misdirected as he was in giving the tape to the media, he has set into motion massive attention to unleash the bedrock of a movement that will only grow exponentially to vindicate its target and unleash truthful testimony that has been locked away in bitter, weeping hearts all too long. The mole will find that his actions of embarrassing Alec will backfire in court and actually solidify the relationship between him and his daughter.

I suggest that after all the dust settles, Mr. Baldwin will not only rise from these ashes like the mythical Phoenix, but triumph in instigating innovative ways that we cannot even imagine right now to help our culture in the coming months and years.

You go, guy.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The war with Iraq - who's on first?

Do you know that President Bush has *never* attended the funeral or memorial service of even one soldier killed in Iraq?

But he attended the memorial service at Virginia Tech last week, proclaiming he mourned the senseless deaths of the 32 students killed by another student.

Flags fly at half mast honoring those slain students.

No flag has hung at half mast mourning the more than 3,300 American military lives lost in Iraq in the past four years.

Only starting this year, after a legal battle was fought are military caskets brought home to American soil in public. That legal fight was brought about by the parent of a son killed in Iraq who wanted the public to see - to understand - that his son gave his life for his country.

Before this, military caskets were brought home out of public view. In fact, there was a huge broohaha over a photo released to the media that showed a plane load of caskets carrying Americans soldiers killed in action home from Iraq.

It's almost as if the Bush adminstration wants the human cost of this war shaded in some sort of secrecy for fear the public would be outraged if we found out the truth and saw for ourselves the reality of what is going on.

Speaking of truth, did you know, according to author Jeremy Scahill, that the Bush administration has hired some 48,000 "private" soldiers from Blackwater mercenary services to fight in Iraq?

Which means we can actually withdraw the US military, but still pay billions for mercenary soldiers from other nations to continue the fight on our behalf - in our name - there?

A couple more books on the subject that may interest you that are not as politically progressive are Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) by P.W. Singer, and Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton.

Does this mean we are paying all those billions of tax dollars for the Bush administration to outsource a "US war" with Iraq?

Actually, Bush has pushed the US into what some declare catastrophic debt by borrowing the money to fight in Iraq - mostly from our, um, "close ally" China. Right.

There are some constitutional questions - like is this a legal war to begin with? What does having expensive private soldiers fighting a war on behalf of the US - in our name - mean?

Does going into such horrific debt with China give them some sort of power over us if they suddenly declare they want to get paid what we've borrowed from them *now!*?

Again - why are we losing all those American lives fighting a war in Iraq? Why are our valiant men and women coming home missing limbs, faces, and even their sanity? Only to have problems receiving proper medical and psychological care at home? Only to have families go through hell because their soldier has been so traumatized by what they've done and seen?

Why are we viewed in the world, more and more, as terrorists, invaders and occupiers instead of the good guys - liberators, freedom fighters and defenders of the downtrodden?

The only answers we seem to be getting to these questions are more questions .... like-

who's on first?

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