....LMB: "Man Behind Curtain Staples Curtain Shut"....

May 10, 2002

Finally, the US has a KGB of its very own.*

The Office of Homeland Security is a newly created "agency" (more on that term later) which is dedicated to protecting the US from foreign/terrorist attacks. On one hand, if you are trying to stop enemies from successful attacks, the highly secrective nature of the OHS makes sense. On the other hand, I do not trust these motherfuckers one bit. People have to earn my trust, and conducting your activity in the shadows, hidden from sight while shrouded in scraps of Constitution will not endear you to my heart.

Even the title of the office puts me off, sets terms like gulag and lebensraum running through my head like a horde of writhing insects.

The Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC), sort of a computer-oriented version of the ACLU, recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting information about the Office of Homeland Security's plans for a national identification system. EPIC then filed a lawsuit against the OHS, seeking "expedited release" of the documents in question.

The Justice Department (apparently on intimate terms with the works of Franz Kafka) is arguing that the OHS is not subject to FOIA requests because it is not an "agency". What is it then? No one seems to know, or if they do, they're keeping quiet about it.

The DOJ is also arguing that the OHS is like the National Security Council (top secret advisors to the president on "security issues"). The NSC has been found legally exempt from FOIA requests in the past, and therefore the OHS is too, goes the argument. EPIC plans to continue its fight, claiming that freeing this information is important because "every aspect of daily life is going to be influenced in some way by the policies emanating from that office."

Well, I know I'm going to bed feeling safer tonight because a top-secret group of super-powerful patriots are around to "protect" the "homeland."

* Now I must respond to those of you who cynically answered the question that began this entry with replies of "what about the FBI?" or "what about the CIA?"
1) The FBI is just not as efficient as the KGB. Once the FBI has more of those secret wiretaps in place and has the laws on "coerced confessions" relaxed, then they can give those Rooskies a run for their money.
2) The CIA is (technically) not allowed to act on American soil. The USA PATRIOT Act untied their hands a bit, and now they are allowed to share information and plans with the FBI. But it still seems that the CIA is too busy forging alliances with dictators, military strongmen, and drug lords in Third World countries to focus its attentions on the American people.
3) The police vary from location to location, running the gamut from somewhat helpful to corrupt bastards to oppressive motherfuckers. But I don't think they have the national unity to challenge the KGB.
4) If you said something about FEMA, the ATF or black helicopters, nothing that I say or do is going to frighten you. Just hunker down in your mud-encrusted wilderness shack and clench that hunting rifle tight.

Posted by Jake at 12:25 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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