Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Book details secrets of overcoming mainstream news media bias

Secrets of New Media Networking; New book released by award winning journalist and author
PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ray Hanania
July 26, 2009 rayhanania@comcast.net

Book details insider tips on using the Internet to
side step the biased Mainstream American News Media

(Chicago) Veteran Journalist and award winning columnist Ray Hanania has been battling bias in the mainstream news media since the day he picked up his first newspaper in the suburbs of Chicago.

An American Arab, Hanania believed that the media was unfairly covering the Middle east conflict and was intentionally portraying American Arabs as terrorists, always ignoring their positive contributions to American society.

That battle has become his lifelong avocation and this week he announced the release of his latest book, a battlefield manual to fight against the inherent bias in the mainstream American news media using Internet networking strategies.

“Too often people in my community blame media bias on another race or religion but this is mistaken stereotyping to excuse away their lack of understanding of how the mainstream news media really works,” says Hanania who entered professional journalism in the early 1970s.

“In the past, the only way to battle mainstream media bias was to enter journalism as a profession and balance the two goals of journalism professionalism against activism. But with the rise of the Internet and the collapsing mainstream news media, you do not need to go to the mainstream news media to reach the public.

“You can do it on your own. ‘Secrets of New Media Networking’ helps you understand not only how to set up an effective Internet Media Network to promote your community, views, activities, opinions and more. But it also walks you through a real understanding of communications in America and the principles that make message compelling.”

Hanania manages a network of four major web sites, 11 blogs, writes for more than two dozen newspapers in print and online, manages several online news organizations, hosts his own morning radio show and weekly cable TV show, and uploads his radio and video broadcasts to the Internet. Merging in social networking strategies and other online assets, his network reaches millions of people every year.

“The mainstream news media is biased and they won’t change. That bias more than any other factor is what is helping to undermine the media and force many mainstream newspapers to close,” Hanania says.

“You can still use the mainstream news media, but you do not need them to get your message out. You can create your own media and my book helps you do it in a professional and effective manner.”

For more information on Secrets of New Media Networking, visit www.TheMediaOasis.com.

Contact Ray Hanania at rayhanania@comcast.net

236 Pages, $34.95. Published by Hanania Enterprises Ltd., and CafePress.com

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chicago 2016 Olympic bid jeopardized by Mayor Daley's failure to seriously address needs of American Arabs

Commentary on Mayor Daley and the 2016 Olympic Bid

Discrimination against Arabs in Chicago could jeopardize the Chicago bid and Mayor Daley has the ability to change it. But will he?



-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, July 18, 2009

humor column (Jerusalem post) Is Facebook and Israeli plot to take over the world?

Humor: Is Facebook an Israeli Plot to take over the world?
By Ray Hanania

Why would the Israelis want to control the world when they are having a hard enough time trying to control themselves? Still, it's a question worth pondering especially in the age of the Internet and the rise of the Zionist conspiracy called "Facebook." Let's "faceit," Facebook has a very strong Israeli face. Well, that's if you assume all Jews are Israelis and all Israelis are Jews. The evidence suggests a link.

The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was born on May 14, 1984. Coincidence? (Hint, Israel's birthday!) And 1984 - the subject of George Orwell's book about the battle to control the world! Zuckerberg is from New York, or, little Israel as Osama bin Laden refers to it. He launched Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard, a scholarly institution controlled by, you know who. No! Not Jews. Presbyterians. (Jews think they control the media, the Arabs believe the Jews control the media and the Presbyterians do control the media. And Presbyterians are not sure who they dislike more, Jews or Arabs.)

Palestinians complain they have an extremely difficult time on Facebook. Do they join the Zionist entity and engage in "normalization" or do they go to the Arab alternative, Berqabook?

I HAVE my own tribulations with Facebook. I have been booted from the worldwide entity twice! Coincidence? The first time, I was writing criticism of the Israeli government. The second time, just this past week, I was writing criticism of the Israeli government. (Actually, I always write criticism of the Israeli government, but so what?) Immediately after and without notice, Facebook shut my account and my 1,363 "friends" vanished off my computer "facescreen" like "born again Christians" scooped up in the rapture. (That's where Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel turn on the Jewish state and read the fine print that if Jews don't convert to Christianity, they get punished like the Muslims.)

I am slowly working my way back from "Ground Zero" and no friends to recovery. I now have 124 "friends as of this writing." What I am learning is that I now have 1,363 people who were once "friends" and who are now angry at me, thinking that I "de-friended" them. Oops! (De-friending someone to a Facebook-nick is like anti-Semitism to a Jew.) About 911 of those former "friends" are Arabs, mostly relatives. (Yes, "Hanania is my last name" has a group on Facebook.) It includes the 15 Saudis whom I don't know but who asked to be my "friend" using a library computer at Guantanamo.

But de-friending 896 relatives and Arabs is the quintessential definition of Jeeeehad! I'll never make my "fourth wife" goal at this rate.

SO I HAVE to slowly re-friend people, one-by-one, cursing my Zionist entity nemesis, "Maaaark Zuuckerberg!" Worse in all this is the jolt to my ego. I went from 1,363 "friends" to zero friends, reminding me that no matter where I live, I am little more than a Palestinian refugee in a harsh and insensitive world of YouTube videos, Twitter and podcasting.

There is something nice about not having people to argue with, though. Yes. In making "friends" on Facebook, you are actually setting yourself up for conflict, which is the dark side of the Facebook experience. The worst thing to do on Facebook is to let your heart do the talking. I've gotten into so many mini-Suez Canal wars with Israelis, but into even more "Black September" battles with Arabs.

The Americans are like "duh!" They friend me, read that I am "Arab" and then say good-bye, explaining they thought I was Puerto Rican. Americans are the most educated people in the world but the least educated about the world. They can't tell the difference between a Palestinian and a Pakistani, an Indian and an Iranian. And a good president and a moron. Well, that was before President Obama, who I love! "Yalla habeeby Barack Hussein! Luuu luuuu luuuu luuuu luuuu!" Give me a gun and I can do that celebratory dance Vanessa Redgrave did so salaciously years ago.

Maybe, though, we should use Facebook as a new forum for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. And make them post their views using Twitter, which forces each side to limit their disparaging comments about each side to only 140 characters, including spaces, which comes to about 35 words.

Do you know how hard it is for Arabs and Jews to insult each other in only 35 words? We can only hope. Hey Bibi. Do you want to be my friend?

(The writer is a Palestinian American comedian, columnist and Chicago radio talk show host. www.RadioChicagoland.com)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aljazeera expelled from West Bank exposes issues

Aljazeera Arabic under siege in West Bank
By Ray Hanania


Aljazeera Arabic became the first television station to broadcast balanced news about the Middle East, but over the years its editorial staff has expanded to include several people who are less about journalism and more about partisan political activism, mainly supporting Hamas and the growing Islamic extremist movement.

The biggest complaint has been about its coverage, which critics have called biased and supporters have said does not advocate pro-Palestinian and Islamic views enough.

The station has exposed corruption and government oppression in almost all of the Arab countries, except in its host country Qatar whose royal family launched the station using its huge oil profits, and the station has paid for that journalism.

It has been banned in several of the Arab World countries for challenging and criticizing the host governments, but it remains banned in the United States where pro-Israeli cable companies have refused to include it in its daily lineup, scheduling, instead, Shalom Israel and other pro-Israeli and rightwing programming.

But this week, the satellite TV station was banned in the one country where it has done the most good to expose government injustice, Palestine. For years, Aljazeera has lead the charge in breaking major news stories in Palestine that the biased mainstream American news media has refused to report because of pro-Israel partisanships.

It’s biggest critic has been Israel, which regularly censors the media and imposes bans against media who too harshly criticize the Israeli government. But the ban did not come from Israel, which can afford to tolerate Aljazeera’s tough news reporting. It came from the Palestine National Authority and the besieged and beleaguered government of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas acted to ban Aljazeera after a longtime critic and extremist member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Faruk Kaddoumi, accused Abbas of involvement in the “murder” of a sacred Palestinian icon and national hero, Yasir Arafat. Kaddoumi’s extremist views and his rejection of all compromise with Israel are notorious and are in part responsible for the failure of the Palestinians to have established a country after the 1948 Nakba or “Palestinian catastrophe.”

But instead of ignoring the irrelevant Kaddoumi, Abbas responded by shutting down all of Aljazeera’s West bank operations. It’s a stupid move but typical of the stupid moves the Palestinian leadership has made over the past 62 years since Israel was established.

The truth is Aljazeera does have some elements of bias and activism, editors recruited from pro-Hamas bastions like Chicago who openly use their journalism skills to skewer the truth and promote Hamas, the terrorist organization which has used violence and suicide bombings to undermine the peace process and the achievement of the “two-state solution” between Israel and Palestine.

There is little at Aljazeera Arabic can do to change things. The practice of cutting ones nose off to spite their face is a cornerstone of Arab and Islamic culture. The rejection of solutions has always been the Arab and Islamic response to conflict. The extremists who hold the Arab and Islamic World’s hostage have helped bring Palestine to its knees, giving Israel every benefit to expand their occupation and annexation of civilian lands over the years.

Although Palestinians won’t admit it, because sometimes the truth is too painful to accept, it has been Palestinian extremist practices that have helped to reinforce the Israeli occupation and to enslave refugees in lifetimes of poverty, hopelessness and limbo.

The failure of Palestinians to use reason not emotion to develop strategies to confront the threats of destruction from Israel’s own extremists have undermined Palestinian national aspirations and have emboldened the destructive fanatics whose extremist policies are designed to benefit themselves personally.

Israel was quick to jump on the news of the PNA ban on Aljazeera issuing a statement calling the first Arab TV satellite station to break the barriers of Arab World oppression. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "What Al-Jazeera does is not journalism. It is political militancy.”

He’s not far off. But what Aljazeera does is far more professional in terms of true journalism than most Israeli or mainstream American news media who base their coverage of the Arab World on a savage and sometimes hateful anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim spirit.

Without Aljazeera, and a few other independently professional Arab TV satellite stations like Alarabiya, truth will continue to be the primary victim in the journalism coverage of the Palestinians and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Clearly, both Israel and the Arab governments, including the ineffective Abbas regime, share that same goal.

But while that may be true, Hamas is issuing phony proclamations about how the action has suspended freedom of speech and civil rights. Are you kidding me? Over the past decade, Hamas has been the leader in forcing women to veil, closing down dance and music stores, threatening and beating individuals selling alcohol and engaging in practices teaching children that violence, not reason, is the answer to suffering.

Aljazeera needs to clean its house of the handful of pro-Hamas activists who veil themselves in the phony cloth of journalism to promote their pro-Hamas and pro-Islamicist agendas.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and Chicago radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Take your 2010 U.S. Census form and shove it!

Take your 2010 Census Form and Shove it!
By Ray Hanania
The first question I always get from “Americans” is, “Why do you keep calling yourself ‘Arab-American?’ You are American!”

It represents the rock and the hard place where American Arabs have been pushed by the lack of education among most Americans.

It’s aggravated by what I also call the U.S. Government’s split personality when it comes to Americans Arabs. On one hand, they want to know us. On the other, they don’t. Here’s what I mean.

The only time the United States Government wants to know about Americans Arabs is when they are “profiling” us at airport and border security to “protect” the country from “the terrorist threat.”

But when it comes to counting people in the U.S. Census (so they can participate and share in government programs like grant funding awards, defining the borders of election districts like for congress, state legislatures or municipal councils) the U.S. Government pretends American Arabs don’t exist.

That is exactly what’s happening now in the massive 2010 U.S. Census drive.

The Government isn’t completely stupid, nor are they na├»ve. They are dishing out just enough money to American Arab organizations and PR agencies to do the outreach to the American Arab community.

The Government could do it but they don’t have a positive file on who we are. The Government only has “the negative file,” the one were American Arabs have been historically followed, investigated and probed by FBI agents repeatedly over the past 75 years.

The FBI investigated me over a two year period beginning in August 1975, right after I completed my active duty military service for this country during the Vietnam War. They said I must be a terrorist, because I was Arab; but they concluded the 45 page report by saying in small type, I’m just an American who is concerned about advancing his ethnic community.

During the two years, they talked to banks, employers, neighbors friends and anyone who had anything to do with me. It was all in the report, most of it blacked out with marker. When I finally received a copy in 1979, it pretty much explained the dismissal from jobs, why some neighbors and some friends had stopped talking with me or associating with me, and why several prospective employers had refused to hire me.

Hey, when the U.S. Government puts its attention on American Arabs, it’s usually not for a good reason.

That’s why I am upset -- no angry -- that the Government is pretending that they care for us American Arabs by reaching out and asking us to complete our Federal Census form for 2010.

There are these benefits that we will get from participating. Yea? Like what? What benefits do we as American Arabs actually get from supporting anything this government does?

For example, when I go through an airport, I am immediately identified as an “Arab.” I’m pulled aside and my bags and possessions are thoroughly searched. The friends I am with who are not Arab are made to feel like they are traveling with Osama Bin Laden. And strangers who pass through normal levels of security look at me like I’m going to cut their throats or blow myself up when I get on the plane.

It’s humiliating. But no one really cares. Better to be safe than sorry. If we have to make Arabs go through embarrassing and humiliating procedures that single them out solely because of their “look” or their “profile,” so be it.

Meanwhile, Caucasian murderers and killers walk through security thankful that the government is doing at least part of their job to remove the Arab scourge. More than 95 percent of serial killers are Caucasian. Some of the biggest terrorists in the United States historically have been White supremicists and members of hillbilly militias and Neo-Nazi organizations based in the so-called “American Heartland.”

But if you have Olive skin and look Middle Eastern – a profile that fits more than 200 nationalities and ethnicities mainly from Middle East and Asian countries -- you are the person they have to stop.

This is the “Negative Attention” we get from our government.

Then, this same government that spends a fortune screwing us as American Arabs, spends a fortune trying to convince us that if we participate in the 2010 Census this year, we’re going to benefit?

I ask again, what benefit? There is no benefit. And there is no benefit for a reason. Arabs are NOT included on the Census forms anyway.

The census form asks for your Race, listing Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin. And they ask if you are Mexican, Mexican American (I didn’t know there were two categories of Mexicans), or Chicano? What kind of race is “Chicano?” What country do “Chicanos” come from? “Chicano-stan?”

They ask the same question again on the long form: Are you White? Black, African American or Negro? Are you American Indian or Alaskan Native and they even give you a place to write in your tribe name.

That’s not all. The form asks are you Asian Indian? Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Guamanian or Chamorro, Filipino, Vietnamese, Samoan or Other Asian where they give you a space so you can print your “race” like Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian “and so on.”

Oh, they don’t stop there. They ask are you “Pacific Islander” and ask you to print your race like Fijian, Tongan “and so on.”

Way at the bottom, in case they missed someone, someone not so important, they have the throw away line, to check here if you are “Some Other Race – Print Race.”

That is where I have to hand-write that I am “Arab.” And proud of it too, by the way.

Now, the U.S. Government argues “Arabs” are not a race. So they can’t be counted. They consider us “Caucasian,” although the last time I looked it was the Caucasian hate groups in this country like the former Bush Administration that singled out Arabs for special mistreatment, harassment and discrimination.

Arabs are “not” a race, but we are a “people” that must be profiled at airports, security centers, thrown out of buildings in New York City, expelled from seats on Airplanes, and denied jobs and government grants and rejected by voters on election day.

“Not” a race, the Government insists? Really? Wow. Is that why they have taken the other “races” and broken them down into so many miscellaneous categories? It is not enough to know that someone is Asian. They want to know what kind of Asian? What kind of Native American? What kind of Mexican. Is “Chicano” a race? Are “Latino” or “Hispanic” races?

But not “Arabs.”

We’re not a race.

We’re just a bunch of people that ignorant Americans can step all over and use us as punching bags when the times get rough or some nut job we’ve never heard of before decides to declare himself the spokesman for all Arabs and Muslims.

So here’s the bottom line, U.S. Government. You don’t put “Arab” on the form, I don’t fill it out.

Either add the category “Arab” to the form or throw out all of the categories and stop lying to us American Arabs about how much you care.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American Arab columnist, author and Chicago Radio Talk Show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Biased Peoria judge in Jeff Mazon case should resign

Peoria Judge who rejected Mazon plea deal should resign

By Ray Hanania

I covered both trials of Jeff Mazon, the man accused of allegedly taking a “bribe” in exchange for allegedly increasing a contract payment to a Kuwaiti firm that providing material support for our troops in Iraq.

In both trials, the jury deadlocked on the charges against Mazon. After meticulously weighing the evidence in the case during lengthy trials, neither of the two juries could agree to convict Mazon, who lives in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago.

Part of the problem is that many of the witnesses were not credible, some convicted felons who pled guilty to contract fraud and mismanagement while working for a spin-off of the controversial firm Halliburton called KBR.

The trial took place when the Justice Department was being run under the policies of former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The alleged bribe involved a contract let by a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR. Cheney was Halliburton’s CEO. Many believe he will profit from the years of contracts – and mismanagement – associated with Halliburton’s work in Iraq and the Middle East. Many people believed the government was using Mazon as a scapegoat to distract world attention from Halliburton’s history of problems and their association with Cheney.

And I believe the judge in the case did everything he could to protect Cheney, Halliburton and prejudice the jury to convict the defendant.

When prosecutors and the defendant finally decided to compromise with Mazon accepting a plea admitting to a misdemeanor last Spring, the judge in the case, Joe Billy McDade, decided to step in once again and put his own personal feelings above the law rejecting the bid this week and forcing everyone to consider another lengthy and expensive federal trial.

The case is very complicated. Yet despite that, juries in both trials saw through the accusations. The first jury in April 2008 split with half believing Mazon was innocent of the charges. Last October, the second jury was much tighter, thanks in a large part to pressure and biased rulings from Judge McDade.

It is an understatement to say that McDade did not play arbiter. He played prosecutor in the case, restricting Mazon’s ability to defend himself and pushing the jury to convict. McDade ran roughshod over the trial. Despite the judge’s bias, one juror in the second trial refused to surrender to McDade’s pressure. She recognized Mazon was not being treated fairly and that he is innocent.

A Texan, McDade was appointed to the federal court by the first President Bush on, of all dates, Sept. 11, 1991 -- 10 years before the terrorist attack that sent many seemingly intelligent Americans down the road of insanity, prejudice and hatred. Most Americans have since recovered but apparently McDade is not one of those Americans who has gotten beyond the anger that drove to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The prosecution, led by the capable Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Lange, did a good job of laying out their case against Mazon. The media has reported the charges as if they were fact, too, barely even covering the trial and running the Justice Department’s press release almost verbatim. But the facts just wouldn’t fit together neatly enough for the jurors to accept. There was a lot of reasonable doubt in both trials. And it is fair to assume that in a third trial, that McDade may be causing, the jurors will run into the very same challenges and far more than reasonable doubt.

But it is McDade’s conduct that should be noted now. In the last trial when the one juror held out, McDade openly tried to pressure her to change her mind. He singled her out for criticism and even suggested she might have done something wrong. It almost seemed as if McDade was determined to find Mazon guilty, despite the presumption of innocence this country gives under the U.S. Constitution to every American.

During the second trial, McDade’s voice soured with prejudice. He was never a fair judge in the case at all. And this week only proved what I believe may in fact be the truth in this case. Judge McDade is biased and should not be allowed to continue to sit on the bench. He’s prejudiced against Mazon, and maybe even prejudiced against anyone of Arab heritage from me to the people Mazon contracted with many years ago when the circumstances of this twisted story first surfaced.

This past Thursday (July 9), Mazon and his Orland Park attorney, J. Scott Arthur, traveled to Peoria to seal an agreement that they made with Lange, prosecutors and Judge McDade last Spring.

The agreement was this: The Justice Department would drop the Felony Charge of Major Fraud against the government, a conviction would have brought a jail term of between five and 10 years. In exchange, and to avoid going to trial for a third time, Mazon would plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge, which carries a penalty ranging from supervision and home confinement to a maximum jail sentence of one year.

Mazon had already served 22 days in a federal prison when he was arrested. For the past four years, his life has been a wreck. He can’t get a job while waiting for the case to end. He never got the alleged bribe money from the alleged contract swindle. And, he lives with his parents. He said he accepted the plea agreement to avoid going through hell one more time.

Under the agreement with prosecutors, Mazon would plead guilty and accept one year of supervised release including six months of home confinement. The deal was passed by McDade, lawyers said, last Fall.

Nine months passed. Not a word from McDade. During the same time, the real world changed. There is a new era of hope in America. The Bush-Cheney gang are gone from the White House, replaced by a new sanity and a reasoned president, Barack Obama. Even the Justice Department has changed and everyone is trying to focus on real Middle East crimes, not those that had the flavor of politics.

When Mazon, Arthur and Lange appeared before McDade, the mercurial and unpredictable federal judge threw the agreement out declaring, as if he were sitting on a judicial bench in a Texas outlaw town back in the mid-1800’s, that he didn’t like the agreement reached between the prosecutors and the defendant.

Amazing arrogance. Petulance. Unprofessionalism.

Everyone is now back to square one in this sordid, worthless case that continues to challenge reason and threatens to tax the taxpayers even more.

“We were completely surprised by the judge’s action. He gave no one any warning at all,” Arthur said Thursday by telephone.

“We felt the government thought this out carefully about the disposition of this case and we respect their feelings. But now, our client, Mr. Mazon, is back to square one and his life is back in limbo. It just isn’t fair.”

Lange politely responded, “No reaction. As always, we will proceed in accordance with the court’s ruling.”

So Mazon and the taxpayers are left with only a few options, thanks to McDade the Merciless:

1 - The government can re-prosecute the case and spend another fortune in taxpayer dollars to return all the witnesses.

2 - Mazon and prosecutors can come up with a new plea deal that might include some jail time to pander to Judge McDade’s bias.

3 - Mazon can plead guilty and fall on the “mercy” of the merciless McDade, who without a doubt would send Mazon away to jail despite a plea-bargain and misdemeanor to 12 months hard labor.

4 - Prosecutors could drop the case entirely and remove the controversy from “McDade the Merciless,” and spare Mazon more suffering and punishment. They could save the taxpayers from wasting more money.

There is no reason to believe that after two deadlocked juries, a third, costly trial will not come to the same result.

But Judge McDade’s actions raise another option that must be considered. Maybe it’s time the merciless Texan retire to allow justice to finally prevail in his courtroom.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and Chicago radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Watching crisis in Honduras covered live not by Western media but by Aljazeera English

Ousted honduran President Manuel Zelaya is on a plane that will soon land in Honduras, where he was thrown out in his pajamas in a military coup. The "interim" government has engaged in the killing of civilians and undermining Democracy. The Interim Government has threatened to block the landing of Zelaya's plane.

It is fascinating that Aljazeera English is broadcasting the best coverage of the confrontation. I subscribe to Aljazeera English (and a dozen more Arab language Satellite channels) through a cable box system that is linked to the Internet through Talfazat.com of Neulion Video. Very inexpensive and affordable and comprehensive.

I used to subscribe online to watch Aljazeera English and other stations off my computer but as much as I love the computer and the Internet, I prefer to watch the news on my 50 inch TV screen in my family room or in the office where I can concentrate on the news as it happens.

Check it out.

-- Ray Hanania