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General News    H4'ed 8/18/14

Eduardo Galeano, A Lost and Found History of Lives and Dreams (Some Broken)

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Why are some walls so loud and others mute?

Barbie Goes to War

There are more than a billion Barbies. Only the Chinese outnumber them.

The most beloved woman on the planet would never let us down. In the war of good against evil, Barbie enlisted, saluted, and marched off to Iraq.

She arrived at the front wearing made-to-measure land, sea, and air uniforms reviewed and approved by the Pentagon.

Barbie is accustomed to changing professions, hairdos, and clothes. She has been a singer, an athlete, a paleontologist, an orthodontist, an astronaut, a firewoman, a ballerina, and who knows what else. Every new job entails a new look and a complete new wardrobe that every girl in the world is obliged to buy.

In February 2004, Barbie wanted to change boyfriends too. For nearly half a century she had been going steady with Ken, whose nose is the only protuberance on his body, when an Australian surfer seduced her and invited her to commit the sin of plastic.

Mattel, the manufacturer, announced an official separation.

It was a catastrophe. Sales plummeted. Barbie could change occupations and outfits, but she had no right to set a bad example.

Mattel announced an official reconciliation.

Lied-About Wars

Advertising campaigns, marketing schemes. The target is public opinion. Wars are sold the same way cars are, by lying.

In August 1964, President Lyndon Johnson accused the Vietnamese of attacking two U.S. warships in the Tonkin Gulf.

Then the president invaded Vietnam, sending planes and troops. He was acclaimed by journalists and by politicians, and his popularity skyrocketed. The Democrats in power and the Republicans out of power became a single party united against Communist aggression.

After the war had slaughtered Vietnamese in vast numbers, most of them women and children, Johnson's secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, confessed that the Tonkin Gulf attack had never occurred.

The dead did not revive.

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Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch (more...)

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