Behind the Swift Boat scene Local videographer Chris Fry’s recent encounter with one of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth left him feeling a little bit dirty and even more curious.
Fry worked a freelance job on the evening of Oct. 15, running a live satellite uplink for a television interview by the Fox News Network. Fry was only told the subject of the interview was somebody named “Odell” before accepting the job. He later determined that the visitor was outspoken Swift Boat Veteran Van Odell.
‘Hijacking Catastrophe’ Odell, who arrived at the television studio in a stretch limousine, was vacationing in the area when he was told he needed to speak to Fox News. “He said, ‘I told them I didn’t want to do this,’” Fry said. “He said, ‘They made me do this.’”
But Odell didn’t explain who “they” were. “I walked away feeling like there was a bigger force making this happen. Some kind of machine powering this and making it come to be,” Fry said. “He just seemed to sort of be on call. I can only imagine it being one of those conversations: ‘We’ve taken care of you, now take care of us.’”
Odell told Fry he only learned about the interview at 6 p.m. and had to be ready for camera by 8:30 p.m. At one point, he turned to Fry and another worker and said, “I’m a Democrat for Christ’s sake.”
“If I had known what I was getting myself into I wouldn’t have done it,” said Fry, who heard Odell accuse John Kerry on the air of committing “atrocities.”
“I’m feeling pretty guilty knowing that I helped bring this message out. The majority of people just get these kinds of quick sound bites and don’t hear the whole story.”
Green Party starts with grass roots According to Steve Fox, Marion County Green Party secretary, the Green Party has begun to offer an alternative voice in local politics. Some of the issues it is addressing here are I-69 as it affects Marion County, a bus system that utilizes the current infrastructure and making sure the Indianapolis Public School bond issue is supported.
The party has begun a grass-roots approach that includes two candidates running for local offices.
Maureen Barlock is the Green Party candidate for the District 2 Center Township board. She has lived in District 2 for 17 years, and has dealt directly with the township offices. Barlock, the co-chair for the Marion County Green Party, said, “I don’t think the referral system for poor relief has been very good in the past. I want a quality system that gives clients hope.”
According to Fox, Barlock is focusing on economic justice, one of the Green Party’s 10 Key Values.
Bethany Hayes is running as a write-in candidate for state representative in Indiana House District 100. Her major issue is health insurance. Hayes argues that we need state-run single payer health insurance. Other issues Hayes plans to emphasize are an improved bus system and clean money campaigns.
According to Fox, ballot access laws are restrictive in Indiana. Barlock’s addition to the ballot required only 122 signatures on a petition. But since the number of signatures required is a percentage of registered voters in a district, the amount required for Hayes to be on the ballot was not achieved in time for this election. Fox said, “The state election board throws out half of the ballot applications.”
The Green Party would like to see this changed. Fox added, “At this stage we are building up an organization. We are finding people to fill positions within that organization.”
‘Hijacking Catastrophe’ at Key Cinema 4 People who find Michael Moore’s sleeve-tugging style of advocacy filmmaking a little too pushy or glib should find Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire, a documentary produced by the Media Education Foundation, more to their taste. This is a straightforward piece of work that does an impressive — and sobering — job of assembling the video record regarding the Bush Administration’s policy regarding Iraq, from before the time Bush took office to the present. In the process, Bush and his cohorts are plainly caught in a series of flaming untruths. Whether these are lies or blunders is left to the viewer to decide. You don’t have to be a liberal or antiwar to find the administration’s early arrogance and subsequent refusal to face the consequences of its actions disturbing. The film methodically dismantles Bush’s war rationale, but it doesn’t stop there. It also shows how Bush has deployed fear of terrorism in the wake of Sept. 11 as cover for the enacting of a radical right-wing agenda affecting both foreign and domestic policy. It connects these actions with an imperial agenda that was established by right-wing policy wonks following the first Iraq war in 1991.
Hijacking Catastrophe will be shown at Key Cinemas Oct. 22-28. Robert Jensen, who teaches in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas in Austin, and who appears in the film, will be on hand to introduce the film at 7:30 p.m. and lead a Q&A. Earlier that day, Jensen will host a special screening of the film at Butler University. The Butler screening will take place at 3 p.m. in Gallahue Science Hall, Room GH 108. For more information, call Key Cinemas at 784-7454 or Butler College Democrats at 940-3918. Key Cinemas is located at 4044 S. Keystone.
Moore film at IUPUI 4Two screenings of Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 will be followed by open-forum discussions at IUPUI in the last two weeks before the presidential election. The first is tonight (Oct. 20) from 7-10 p.m. and second is Oct. 27 from 1-4 p.m. Both are free and take place at the University Library’s Lilly Auditorium.
Fighting Sinclair’s “attack ad” More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s plans to air a 40-minute anti-John Kerry “documentary” on its stations shortly before the election.
Historically conservative Sinclair, which has donated heavily to the Republican Party and could benefit from favorable changes in government media regulations, still plans to preempt other prime-time network programs to broadcast Stolen Honor. The movie, funded by an anti-Kerry veteran’s group, has been called an “attack ad.”
Sinclair owns 62 television stations that reach nearly a quarter of the nation’s television-owning households. Sinclair doesn’t own any stations in Indiana but has several in key swing states across the country.
While Sinclair isn’t backing down, activists have made headway with the group’s advertisers as 80 have pulled their commercials. Visit www.stopsinclair.org for more information.
U of I hosts state Senate debateDemocrat Terry Rice and Republican Brent Waltz, candidates for the Indiana Senate District 36 seat, will debate at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Good Hall at the University of Indianapolis.
District 36 includes southern Marion County and part of Johnson County and has traditionally supported Republicans. Waltz, a newcomer to state politics, narrowly defeated 36-year incumbent Larry Borst, powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, in the May primary.