Lying Media Bastards

August 31, 2005

The Color of Survival

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You’ve all probably seen this one already:

Black flood victim takes food out of a grocery store, the caption says he’s “looting”. White flood victims take food out of a grocery store, the caption tells you they “found it.”

And here’s another photo.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Bush strummed while Mississippi drowned.

Some more relevant photos:

Here are closeups of the New Orleans waterfront.

New Orleans before closeup

New Orleans after closeup

Click on any picture to see the full-size version of it.

Lee Siu Hin, the hardest working activist in Los Angeles, sent out this list of hurricane relief charities:

List of Hurricane Relief Agency Contacts
There are probably many more, but here’s a partial list:
Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW or
Episcopal Relief & Development: 1-800-334-7626 or
United Methodist Committee on Relief: 1-800-554-8583
Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or
Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338 or
FEMA Charity tips:
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster:
Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

And finally, the new emergency blog Katrina Aftermath is a mix of photos, news reports, charitable links, pleas for aid and offers to help. If you live in a safe place somewhere near the damaged areas, you might want to give it a look to see if you can help out in some way.

Posted by Jake on August 31, 2005 2:44 pm

Fucking Idiots

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U.S. Attorney’s Porn Fight Gets Bad Reviews

With all of the terror threats and corporate corruption and rape and drug abuse and domestic violence and such in this country, it only makes sense that the US Attorney and the US Attorney General would decide to launch their bold new “War on Nipples” campaign.

Yes, these two law enforcement powerhouses have decided to make the prosecution of obscene pornography a top concern. Not child pornography, mind you, adult pornography. For fuck’s sake, the article even points out that the FBI will have to take agents off of the child porn beat to cover this new directive to get adult pornography. It’s entirely possible that more children are going to be abused and exploited because someone wanted to score some points with the so-called “moral majority” crowd.

Y’know who’s NOT trying to kill me right now? A bunch of naked, sweaty actors and actresses in the San Fernando Valley. Y’know who IS trying to kill me? Islamic extremists.

Obviously, this is political payback to Christian Conservatives. Or the heads of American law enforcement are completely out of their fucking minds.

Y’know how American conservatives are always blaming all Muslims for the actions of the radical fringe? Saying that if they really cared, that Muslims would denounce all attacks by any Muslims, and try to spread a more moderate ideology? How about this one: hey, all you moderate Christians, will you try to rein in your crazy fucking bretheren?

Posted by Jake on August 31, 2005 2:28 pm

August 28, 2005

Who Will Whoremonger the Whoremongers?

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That damn liberal media, with their tricks and agendas, always trying to take down the president…

About 50 members of the White House press corps accepted President Bush’s invitation last night to come over to his house in Crawford, eat his food, drink his booze, hang around the pool and schmooze with him — while promising not to tell anyone what he said afterward… in spite of all the recent press demands for senior administration officials to stay on the record more often, the press corps can’t resist an offer of face time with the president, pretty much no matter what the conditions.

Watchdogs who can literally be brought to heel by throwing them tablescraps. Fried catfish and homemade cheese, in this case. Fucking pathetic.

I’m told that several reporters expressed squeamishness about last night’s event, particularly as the press-pool vans drove by antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan’s “Camp Casey” site. And later, a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved.

Oh no, the soccer moms might wave their “War is Bad” signs at the tinted windows of our air-conditioned vans! Viewing the peasants at such close distance might distract me as we drink the president’s beer poolside and lovingly nuzzle at his crotch!

Okay, here’s the deal. Real investigative journalism is dangerous. As the saying goes, its purpose is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” And the comfortable usually have a fair amount of power, and have few qualms about afflicting anyone who threatens that comfort. Meaning that if you’re a journalist with any kind of audience, you will constantly have powerful people angry at you, possibly even trying to get you discredited, fired, killed, destroyed, etc. You’re not “speaking truth to power”, but as Ward Churchill fittingly put it, you’re “speaking truth to people, while in the teeth of power.”

The press corps that cover the powerful, however, have been co-opted. They have negotiated cozy roles for themselves in which they can report news while ruffling a minimum of feathers. That way, the reporters keep their jobs, the powerful keep their comfort, and the public keep their afflictions.


Writing this post really should have reminded me of one of Jon’s that I’ve been meaning to talk about. Essentially, he tells of attending a fancy Yale event where a Washington Post columnist which confirms his idea that both the media and the country’s politicians share a point of view that a group of elite individuals are fit to run things, while everyone else should be kept in the dark. He quotes Thomas Jefferson to sum it up:

Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.

So by Jon’s reckoning, the DC press corps aren’t just people who have carved themselves cozy niches by leaving the rich in power. He seems to feel that the DC press corps are consciously in the business of making sure that the reins of power are in the hands of “their betters.” They truly are not small-d democrats, the ones who believe that people ought to have a say in their own lives. They are literally aristocrats, believing that the people should be ruled by a small elite class. You and I are a bunch of yokels who can’t be trusted to make our own decisions, only these Great Men deserve to, distinguished by their… damned if I know.

And I suppose that feeling grows. The more you trick, decieve and rob people, the more you think they deserve it. I mean, they must be awfully stupid to fall for it, which means that you’re smarter than them. Which means that it’s better for you to make their decisions for them than to let them make their own. And in exchange for this benevolent service, for keeping watch over the idiot masses–who’d surely drown in their own toilets without your guidance and wisdom otherwise– you’re allowed whatever you want. Anything.

I imagine the press corps feel that they belong to this class as well, that they do their part to help lead the sheep. Probably not in those harsh terms, of course.

Sigh. Any more and this’ll start reading like a manifesto. I’ll stop.


Posted by Jake on August 28, 2005 4:15 pm

August 26, 2005

Fuzzy Math

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At the library today, we received our shipment of the conservative book “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37)”. Near as I can figure, it is the latest in a series of rabid “liberals are nazi commie terrorists who are actually guilty of all the stuff they accuse conservatives of” texts that sell so well to right-wingers who like to feel persecuted and look down their nose at people and say “haw haw, you tell em, Rush!

I could give a fuck about this guy or his book. I don’t even have to put on my reading glasses* to know that this book sucks. But I was curious. If you flip to the back of the book, you see Bernard Goldberg’s list of 100, each with maybe 1-3 pages written about them. The list is really bizarre. I mean, if you’re really, really against liberal policies, maybe some of the liberal politicians listed (Howard Dean, Robert Byrd, etc.) could make sense. Or Michael Moore, because his left-wing movies are so popular. But most of the people on this list have barely any impact on anything. Ted Rall, Bill Moyers, Ward Churchill, and Courtney Love are “screwing up America?” I think they’d have a hard time “screwing up” a petting zoo. I would expect any real list of 100 would have serial killers and corrupt cops and incompetent doctors and exploitative CEOs and polluters and neo-nazis. But no, you get the elite members of the out-of-power political party and popular entertainers who use the F-word. What is this guy thinking?

So I bit. How exactly is the eponymous Al Franken destroying the country? I read Goldberg’s three pages on the topic.

And I still don’t know. Goldberg’s bit on Franken is a fake (”satirical”**) interview which portrays Franken as a liar, hypocrite, idiot, nasty, arrogant, nutcase. But nowhere does it actually explain how Franken is ruining America. Let’s say that all that’s true, that Franken is nasty and stupid and lies. How does that ruin America?

Then it hit me. The book is called “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America”, not “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America and How They’re Doing It“. Guess I’ll have to wait for a sequel.

*I don’t actually have reading glasses
** Sadly, Goldberg reminds us that “satirical” and “funny” are not the same thing

Posted by Jake on August 26, 2005 11:16 pm

August 25, 2005

Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-25-05

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Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-25-05

LMB Radio: news commentary, hot music, and technical difficulties.

I keep thinking that some day I’ll regularly do shows where nothing goes wrong: no glitches, no corrupt files, no broken equipment, no internet outages. Today was not that day. I think the heat of our little tin trailer might’ve had something to do with it.

In this episode, I discuss bees, killing bees, not killing bees, Pat Robertson, Hugo Chavez, the dangers of Fox News incompetence, the smell of technical breakdown, rifles vs ravers, the Iraqi constitutional fight, the pending Iraqi civil war, Bush’s betrayal of Iraqi feminists, Badr vs Sadr, and ultra-vacationing. I also demand national siestas, wish my Dad a Happy Birthday and give highly irresponsible advice to the suicidal.

Musically we’ve got Mars Volta, Camper Van Beethoven, The Smiths, Immortal Technique, Candypants, Astrid Oto, Primus, Busdriver, Tori Amos, Hot Karl & MC Serch, Ladytron, Suzanne Vega, Arcade Fire, Lard, Rage Against the Machine, and more.

Bee Update: although the exterminator assured us on Monday that he’d done the job, the bees have apparently opened up a second front in the war on us DJs. The number of bees seemed to dwindle, until this evening, when apparently the bees breached the studio en masse. I was told that you could see a swarm inside through the windows. If my show had been just a few hours later…

Posted by Jake on August 25, 2005 11:29 pm

August 23, 2005

Efficient Guzzling

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Do I even have to mention that the new Bush fuel efficiency standards are a joke?

At present, auto makers are legally forced to build cars that get 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg), and “light trucks” (SUVs) that get 21 mpg, up to 22.2 mpg for the 2007 models, and 23.5 mpg by 2010.

The new proposal has two parts. The first allows auto makers to stick to the old standards mentioned above. The second is more complicated, and likely is easier to manipulate for auto company profit and environmental damage. The new method breaks SUVs into 6 different categories, with the smallest variety needing greater mpg numbers, and the largest variety needing less. Light trucks have to get 26.8 mpg and heavy trucks only have to get 20.8 mpg.

Should we pretend for even a moment that auto makers aren’t going to try to alter the classifications of their cars?

Oh, and the new fuel standards don’t deal with regular cars at all. It makes some sense, as SUVs use up 40% of the nation’s gas, but that also means that the new fuel standards ignore 60% of the nation’s cars.

So this new policy will:

- not do much to improve fuel efficiency
- not do much to prevent pollution
- not decrease American oil dependence

And you know what? These new standards would not even have to be complied with till 2010. By then it’s likely that the auto lobby will have watered it down so that if you car has brakes you only need to get 4 mpg.

Okay, first of all, I’d like to ask any of you in engineering or with engineer friends to ask how hard it would be to make an actual fuel efficient car. The auto industry spokesmen are acting like squeezing another mile out of a gallon of gas is like putting a man on Mars. I don’t believe that for a second. But I’d like an honest opinion from someone with knowledge how efficient and clean we could expect a gas-powered (or hybrid for that matter) car could be.

Second of all, as Americans die tiny deaths at the gas pumps this summer, I’d like to remind y’all of a hidden cost to our auto addiction: the US military budget.

Seriously, would the US be in the Middle East at all if not for our oil dependencency? Support for Israel, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan. Hell, would the US be a target for Islamic militant terrorism if we weren’t so oil hungry? Well the US military budget for 2006 is $441.6 billion, plus another $49.1 billion just for Afghanistan and Iraq, plus $41.1 billion for homeland security…

And this is just looking at the selfish American angle. What about all the people who’ve been killed, tortured or oppressed to maintain the flow of cheap gasoline? The US government and western oil companies have been great pals with the Saudis, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and the like.

What if we took one tiny portion of that money and used it to actually build efficient gas engines, alternative power cars, public transit, or cutting down on suburban sprawl?

Yeah, I know. Mankind is doomed.

Posted by Jake on August 23, 2005 9:43 pm

The Most Patriotic Corpses You Ever Seen

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I’m tired of writing about crazy shit. But, to quote a demented cartoon character, when life gives you poop, make poop juice.

Troops’ Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans

When you’re in the US military and you die, the government kindly springs for your tombstone. In all previous wars, your tombstone would have your name, rank, military branch, date of death and the war/country where you died, and you also get the option of being buried in a national cemetery with other soldiers. But now, if you died in Afghanistan or Iraq, the military is offering to also tattoo your stone with “Operation Iraqi Freedom” or “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Although not the most direct, this does seem a method to tie the dead of the current war to the soldiers of past wars, generally seen as more noble and epic.

I suppose putting the operation name on a tombstone wouldn’t be that big a deal, if that’s what the family wanted. But that’s not always the case:

Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said “Operation Iraqi Freedom” ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval.

“I was a little taken aback,” Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick’s tombstone. “They certainly didn’t ask my wife; they didn’t ask me.” He said Patrick’s widow told him she had not been asked either.

“In one way, I feel it’s taking advantage to a small degree,” McCaffrey said. “Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact.”

Yeah, everyone makes mistakes. But if you’re carving the final words to recognize a dead man and comfort his family, maybe you go the extra mile to not add unwanted words. Or maybe the carvers are just told to put those phrases there no matter what.

Hell, even the tombstone manufacturers find this a bit propagandistic:

The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too.

“It just seems a little brazen that that’s put on stones,” said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. “It seems like it might be connected to politics.”

The way this seems to work is that when your loved one dies, the mortuary shows you a mock-up of the tombstone with the military operation name on it, and the family can say yes or no. But let me tell you from experience, when a loved one has just died and you’re at the funeral home making arrangements, part of you wants to say yes to everything so you can run back home and continue crying. Hell, most of you wants that. I imagine many folks just take one look and say okay, because anything else is just too hard. So when the mortuary says “how about this?” instead of “tell us what you’d like us to do”, they probably get a lot more operation names than they would otherwise.

And the punchline for all this comes from Steve Muro, in charge of national cemeteries for the Department of Veterans Affairs:

“The headstone is not a PR purpose. It is to let the country know and the people that visit the cemetery know who served this country and made the country free for us.”

Um, Steve, that’s kind of the definition of PR. A tombstone is supposed to be for the friends and family of the bereaved, not a public service announcement for the American military. But maybe when you get buried in a veterans’ cemetery you stop being a deceased loved one and start becoming a piece of a monument.

Posted by Jake on August 23, 2005 7:53 pm

Panhandling Terror

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In the wake of 9/11, many folks with political agendas tried their best to tie their particular issue to terrorism. Drug agencies tried to play up the possibility that South American drug lords were funding Islamic militants, Bush tried to tie it to his proposed Iraq war, we were told that political protest were dangerous because terrorists could infiltrate them, and there was even an attempt to clothing manufacturers to push for stronger anti-bootlegging laws, because bootleg t-shirts could possibly be funding terrorism.

Well here’s a new one:

U.S. Says Terrorists May Pose As Homeless

Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

More specifically, this warning was released by the US Attorney’s office, and is allegedly based on “a State Department report that was issued last week”.

Part of me feels that this is a ploy to give law enforcement and local governments another tool to take on their homeless population. But another part of me figures that this warning is just typical, unrelated paranoia. I mean, the cops already abuse the homeless with impunity; how much more power would they need?

It is certainly paranoid, though, the base logic being: “London subways blew up. America has subways. Homeless people often loiter in American subways. Therefore, the homeless are a threat.”

But we have to at least look at the “incident” that set this thinking off

in Somerville, Mass., in which a police officer became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person. The officer questioned the man, discovered he had a passport from a “country of interest” — typically a Middle Eastern or South Asian nation — and a checkbook with a questionable address, the e-mail said. The investigation is continuing, it said.

The incident happened in early July, Somerville city spokesman Mark Horan said, when the man walked back and forth in front of the Social Security office in Somerville’s Davis Square and kept looking in the windows.

“This was right after one of the London bombings,” Horan said. “There was an even higher degree of sensitivity.”

The man was evasive about what he was doing but wasn’t arrested. Somerville police didn’t investigate further but passed the information on to the FBI, Horan said. There haven’t been any similar incidents in Somerville, he said.

Okay. A homeless guy originally from a country that someone has deemed scary. Maybe it’s somewhere in central or south Asia. Or maybe not, the article doesn’t say. And while I’m surprised to find that a homeless guy had a passport on him, I guess it is an important thing to have when in another country.

“Checkbook with a questionable address”, are you shitting me? Lord lord, the homeless man has a checkbook with an address that he doesn’t live at. Doesn’t that whole “homeless” thing make that inevitable?

Let’s face it. An awful lot of the “war on terror” has nothing to do with actually protecting Americans from terrorist attacks. A lot of it is about making white middle class people feel safer. “Oh good, they’re taking that dark-skinned foreign man off the plane for questioning, he could’ve been a terrorist.” “Yes, we’d better attack those Arab countries because all Arabs are surely the same and want to kill us.” “I’m glad the cops arrested that homeless man over there, he could’ve been an Al Qaeda operative looking for security flaws in our sporting goods store.”

[crossposted at New Noise]

Posted by Jake on August 23, 2005 9:07 am

August 22, 2005

Some Definition of \”Other Cheek\” I’m Not Aware Of

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On The 700 Club this morning, televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

His reasoning seems to be… well, maybe “reasoning” is too strong a word here… His nutty stream-of-consciousness goes something like “Chavez is a leftist… he hates America… he’ll let in all the communists– wait, communism was the 80s, who’re the scary guys now? The Muslims! He’ll let in all the scary Muslims! So we’ll have to go to war with him… but war is so expensive… maybe we can just put a bullet through his brain and save some money…”

The punchlines just write themselves.

Posted by Jake on August 22, 2005 3:36 pm

August 18, 2005

Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-18-05

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Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-18-05

I had to cut this show short because of the bees.

Hundreds and hundreds of bees.

Before my show, I noticed around 20 bees flying around RASD studios (ie an ancient beat-up trailer) and saw several flying into an electrical duct on the outside. “Oh jeez, I hope they’re not building a hive in there,” I said, sitcom-style foreshadowing in full effect.

An hour later the swarm showed up, surrounding the trailer on all sides, like a buzzing dust storm. Probably drawn to my mad DJ skillz. I tried to get an interview but they said that the queen was unavailable for comment. About 20 minutes later the air cleared somewhat and I decided to quickly slink the hell outta Dodge.

So that was exciting.

I didn’t get to say all I wanted to, but I did discuss this weekend’s RASD benefit show, losing the Iraq war, the pharmacology of teen erections, and reference Iceland too many times for it to be coincidence. Unfortunately, some of the Iraq talk is glitched up, which I’ll blame on those honeycomb-building bastards, even though it was likely a software problem. I’d planned to say a bit about Cindy Sheehan as well, but I guess I’ll have to type those words instead of speak em.

Musically, we’ve got Mos Def, Against Me, Dresden Dolls, Soundgarden, Bikini Kill, Attrition, Anti-Flag, Japanther, Magnapop, Living Colour, Molotov & Dub Pistols, International Noise Conspiracy, Quarashi, Bright Eyes, the Kleptones, and more.

Anyhow. Go to the benefit show, sucka. It’s Saturday.

Posted by Jake on August 18, 2005 10:58 pm

August 17, 2005


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Paul has uploaded the interview he did with me on his Mediageek radio show last week. He asks me questions about myself and my various websites and radio shows. Might be an interesting listen if you’re not familiar with them/me. If you know me or are me, it might not.

As a sidenote, I’ve met Paul, and he looks like a 5th, nerdy member of System of a Down.

Posted by Jake on August 17, 2005 2:29 pm

Help Don’t Help

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Here’s a funny story.

Last month, CBS News, the least popular network news choice, got around 100 college student interns to come up with ideas on how their news shows could attract a younger audience, and present those ideas to top dogs in the news division. But this wasn’t an act of openness by a despearate network, heavens no. The head of the CBS News internship program tells us:

“The purpose was so they could see how the business works… This was for them to learn. It was not for us. Frankly, we weren’t looking for ideas for the evening news. We have a whole group of people working on that right now.”

Right. The third-ranked network asked a bunch of young people to tell them how to sell the show to young people, but they’re not looking for ideas. That’s crazy talk.

Some of these young folks’ ideas weren’t bad. They included:

- a younger co-anchor for the aged Bob Schieffer
- more international news
- extending the show from 30 to 60 minutes
- adding weather and sports
- cutting after-report chatter between the anchor and the correspondents in the field
- an “increase in ‘MTV-style’ national reporting”, whatever the hell that means
- more coverage of ethnic minorities and issues important to them
- less emphasis on correspondents in general

But the response by the execs is depressing and predictable. They disliked the sports, weather, 60 minute, and de-emphasis of correspondents ideas. But the MTV and expanded minority coverage were. The execs also seemed really into podcasting, although the interns weren’t. Which sounds like typical out-of-touch white elderthink to me (”kids love the MTV and the rap music! And I read about these ‘pod-casts’ in Business Week, they’re supposed to be the next big thing! Let’s do one of them”).

I’ll add my own suggestion:

“Maybe you guys shouldn’t suck.”

Posted by Jake on August 17, 2005 12:07 pm

You Can See His Mouth Moving

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Yesterday, the Boston Globe published a pro-Wal-Mart op-ed piece by Michael Reitz of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

As it turns out, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation has received huge donations from the Walton family (the folks who own Wal-Mart).

This shocking discovery required seven weeks of diligent work by a crack research team… I’m just kidding, it took a Google search and a visit to

Posted by Jake on August 17, 2005 11:45 am

Ribbon Cutting

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Somehow, I saw very few of the “God Bless America/Support Our Troops” faux-ribbon car magnets when I lived up in LA, but saw an explosion of them when I moved down to San Diego (understandable, as there are many military bases in this county).

They’re mostly based on the identification that so many Americans feel with their nationality, and with the brilliant and insidious “Support Our Troops” phrase that Washington spin doctors invented during the Gulf War. “Support Our Troops” literally means “make efforts to help US soldiers who are currently at war”, but usually translates into “I support the current war and you should to”. And “Support Our Troops” people usually interpret any disagreement with the phrase as “I hope we lose this war”, “I hate our soldiers” or “I hate America”. Most of this takes place at a gut level, of course.

Due to the fact that this symbolism and rhetoric is a trap, I heartily endorse mocking the fuck out of it.

I feel that this one nails the situation pretty well:

And this one does a good job of skewering those with more superficial motives:

And now of course, there are websites that let you make your own parodies. I feel you could get a nice jolt with some creative juxtaposition. Like this one I created:

Feel free to email me or post in comments with ideas for some nice counter-ribbons.

Posted by Jake on August 17, 2005 11:03 am

August 14, 2005

Mas Punk de Ti

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Gotta give a quick plug for a new show on RadioActive San Diego, Personal Hygiene is for Conformist Bastards. And I don’t just plug it because our shows share the word “bastards” in the title. Every week, PHIFCB focuses on politics and punk music from a different country on the globe. So far, host “Miss Heidi Lorraine” has done shows on Belarus, Iceland, Indonesia, and Peru. Next week is Estonia. While I love that the show talks about radical politics in these countries, I am more blown away by the music. I don’t think I’d even know how to go about finding punk music from Belarus, let alone playing blocks of such obscure tunes on a weekly basis.

The show airs (well, streams) 9:30-11am PST on Saturdays. But Heidi uploads and links to all his past shows on his blog. Check it out.

Posted by Jake on August 14, 2005 11:46 am

August 12, 2005

Death to Narnia!

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A random title for a random grouping of news articles.

Four Amendments & a Funeral- a bleak and biting look at the corrupt and surreal inner workings of the US Congress, by our pal Matt Taibbi. Long, but very worthwhile.

Big Brother Nixes Happy Hour- I’m almost afraid to mention this one, cuz I don’t want word to get out to employers. Apparently a recent legal ruling says that employers have the right to tell employees that they can’t hang out together. More specifically, it was a ruling that a security company’s policy that their employees cannot “fraternize on duty or off duty, date, or become overly friendly with the client’s employees or with co-employees.” You could maybe see “don’t date our clients” as a somewhat reasonable rule, but one of the variants of that long-winded rule is “can’t fraternize with co-employees”, even when off duty. Apparently the judges thought this was legal because they think that employers will only enforce the dating part. Upholding an unjust rule cuz you don’t think anyone’s going to use the unjust part. Great.

The article I link to is concerned about the labor organization aspect; if you can’t “fraternize” with your co-workers, you’re not likely to come together to form or join a union, are you?

Shiites Call for Own State in South- one of the reasons that the Iraq war seemed like a bad idea, long before it was underway, was that the tensions between the major ethnic groups– Arab Shiite Muslims in the south, Arab Sunni Muslims in the center, and Kurds in the north– could easily lead to a civil war once the dictator was deposed. While we’ve heard a lot of noise from the Kurds about autonomy and a separate state/province, this is the first public mention I’ve seen from the Shiites wanting their own state. I hope this isn’t the grim warnings of the past coming true.

Israel’s Exit Strategy- there has been surprisingly little talk these days about Israel’s pullout of the Gaza strip (and some of the West Bank), and I’m no expert on the subject, so I don’t know what exactly to think or expect from it all. I get the impression that Israel isn’t really sacrificing, just pulling out of areas it didn’t want anyway in a way that looks like a concession. The “protection fence” that Israel is building along the West Bank, along any path it chooses, is effectively drawing the border between the two regions with any sort of agreement or negotiation.

Anyhow, the above article is a bit of a warning, pointing out that many Israeli settlers in the de-occupied territories have plans to resist moving out of their homes, and that many Israeli soldiers side with those settlers. Don’t know how this is going to turn out.

Colombia Unearthing Plight of Its ‘Disappeared’- Colombians are starting to find the bodies of people kidnapped and murdered by pro-government paramilitaries in the 1990s. Apparently the leaders of some of these paramilitaries are seeking amnesty under a new Colombian law, and despite ordering the deaths of (at least) several hundred people, they might only face 2 years in prison for their butchery.

Posted by Jake on August 12, 2005 9:45 am

August 11, 2005

Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-11-05

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Lying Media Bastards 8-11-05

After a couple of crazy interview + music shows, LMB radio returns to its more common format of jokes + muttering + technical difficulties + music.

I am sad to say that I forgot to mention this week’s most important news: RadioActive SanDiego defeated Free Radio San Diego at this weekend’s kickball game. I am also sad to say that I forgot to mention these kids, trying to stick it to The Man (aka Clear Channel) up in the Bay Area. Vaya con dios, amigos.

With all that forgetting to mention stuff, what do I actually talk about on the show? I muse pointedly about Cindy Sheehan, Banksy vs. the West Bank, the America Supports You “Freedom Walk”, DC media propaganda, Peter Jennings, and the new anti-Mexican movement anti-illegal immigration movement.

Musically, I play some Beck, Jah Division, De La Soul, Autolux, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bright Eyes, Cantankerous, Panjabi MC, Strike Anywhere, Prince, MC5, Mr. Bungle, The People Who Do That, and more.

Also, I have tossed a bunch of my musical faves into RadioActive’s daily rotation, so even when I’m not DJing, you might hear plenty of songs to enjoy. Remember, if you don’t listen to RadioActive, all the other kids will laugh at you.

And finally, 1to remind y’all for the first time, if you live in the SD area, you should come to RadioActive’s 2-Year Anniversary Party and Benefit Concert on August 20.

Posted by Jake on August 11, 2005 11:55 pm

August 10, 2005

The Last Throes Regime

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Baghdad Mayor Is Ousted by a Shiite Group and Replaced

Hussein al-Tahaan, affiliated with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) waltzed into the Baghdad mayor’s office with a group of militia men on Monday, and declared himself the new mayor. The previous mayor is now in hiding, fearing for his life.

There was a fucking coup, inside of the capital city, of a country under military occupation.

But the insurgency is drying up, the new government is under control, and the country will soon be a democratic utopia. Just you wait.


Hmm, that angle might not be accurate. Juan Cole reminds us that SCIRI won the Baghdad provincial elections back in January, and that the newly deposed mayor was actually elected by nobody, appointed by the Americans months and months ago. I am a little fuzzy on how the mayoral transition is supposed to work, but I think that SCIRI might have the legitimate right to pick the new mayor. Whether or not they were allowed to install him now, and at the point of a gunbarrel… I dunno.


Posted by Jake on August 10, 2005 9:43 am

August 8, 2005

World News Yesterday

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As a response to the death of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, I decided to link to the song “Rocked By Rape”, a song that uses samples of Jennings’ more bizarre news phrases over the years.

Until I realized that “Rocked By Rape” does not have samples from Peter Jennings, it has samples from Dan Rather.

Which reminded me that I’ve always gotten the three network news anchors confused–three serious-looking white guys with brown/gray hair–, until I realized that Dan Rather was the one with the speech impediment.

Did I say Dan Rather? I meant Tom Brokaw.


Peter Jennings, he will be missed by all.

Posted by Jake on August 8, 2005 5:48 pm


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For long stretches of time this weekend, I was unable to think of anything but atomic bombs.

Mostly the unnatural effects of it: being able to see the blast with your eyes closed, to see your bones through your skin with your eyes open; humans being instantly oblierated; radiation burns; fused digits.

One image just kept running through my head again and again, part real, part surely ripped off from bad sci-fi. A man with his skin melting off of him, ribbons of blood and liquid flesh running down his ruined hands, snaking between protruding bone and sinew, drizzling off of his fingertips. He struggls to walk, and one leg simply snaps off below the knee. Poisoned with radiation, contaminated to the core, the irridated cells deep inside him changing, dying, or turning into cancer, or something else. I wondered if this nuclear victim, someone who’d lost body parts and might have his very center transforming, would still be considered human. And if he wasn’t, then what the hell was he?

And while submerged in these thoughts, seeing folks like Steve Gilliard arguing that, counter to common lefty thought, that the US did have to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end WWII…

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here.

If modern warfare requires that we actually debate whether or not incinerating a hundred thousand people counts as “the greater good”, it’s probably something that humankind ought to back away from.

Posted by Jake on August 8, 2005 5:16 pm

August 7, 2005

Dr. Feelgood

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Pharmaceutical companies are cutting deals with pharmacies and hospitals that buy large quantities of their drugs, saying that they will give those institutions price discounts– if they just sign this eensy-weensy contract. And it turns out that parts of the contract would restrict what doctors could and couldn’t say about that company’s drugs.

For example, if the Minnesota Multi-State Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy bought huge amounts of anti-depressant Cymbalta from the Eli Lily company, they would receive a 5% discount, so long as their physicians agreed not to:

- point out when doctors were prescribing Cymbalta inappropriately
- point out that their institution seemed to be overprescribing Cymbalta
- describe side effects caused by Cymbalta without also mentioning the benefits of Cymbalta
- point out that other drugs might be cheaper than Cymbalta
- poke holes in Eli Lily’s claims about Cymbalta

(That example is non-hypothetical)

Most of this communication would be done within the institution, not from doctor to patient, which makes it slightly less egregious than it could be. But the bottom line is that drug companies want your money and could give a fuck about free speech, honest opinions, or your health, for that matter.

Posted by Jake on August 7, 2005 9:33 pm

Good Show, Banksy!

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Graffitti artist Banksy spends some time in the West Bank, spreading a little artistic liberation onto the Apartheid Wall.

Fucking dope. Check em all out.


In related outdoor political art:

[via Freeway Blogger]


Posted by Jake on August 7, 2005 11:10 am

August 5, 2005

Geek Bastards

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Just recorded an interview for the mediageek radio show. It’ll air tonight on WEFT 90.1FM at 5:3oPM in “east central Illinois.”

The host tells me that the show will be uploaded to the archives on Monday or so, if y’all want to listen. I don’t know how interesting it is to hear me yapping about me, but then, I know me pretty well.

Posted by Jake on August 5, 2005 9:52 am

August 4, 2005

Lying Media Bastards Radio 8-04-05

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with guest Tim Wise, anti-racist author and activist.

Lying Media Bastards 8-04-05

Tim Wise is a pretty brilliant guy. He’s a white guy who talks about white racism to white people. He manages to do it in a way that challenges his audience, but doesn’t push them so hard that they turn on him. We talk about white privilege, media impact on racial perceptions, the Minutemen, immigration, and scapegoating.

Musically, we’ve got Billy Bragg, Stereo Total, Public Enemy, Bjork, Ghostface, Bob Dylan, Mindless Self Indulgence, Propagandhi, Fishbone, Cat Power, Japanther, Rage Against the Machine, Finley Quay, AC/DC and more.

I’m glad to say that the interview sound is greatly improved (we halfway installed some phone-enhancing tech), and it should only get better.

Next few shows will just be music and me yappin’ solo. This interview stuff is fun and enriching, but kinda stressful.

Thanks again to Tim Wise.

Posted by Jake on August 4, 2005 11:27 pm

Misogyny For Sale! Cheap!

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Y’all should go check out the Most Disturbing Product Poll over at Feministing. It’ll make you feel dirty, or cry, or both.

Personally, I vote for the keychain.

Posted by Jake on August 4, 2005 11:11 pm

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