....LMB: "Bush Administration Descends Into Madness"....

May 22, 2002

Man, the "Bush Knew" controversy has really rattled the White House.

FBI chief Robert Mueller says that "there will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it."

Dick Cheney says that another terror attack on the US is "not a matter of if, but when" (while taking a break from voting down a bill to offer low-interest loans to displaced workers trying to make their mortgage payments. Way to go, Dick!).

Donald Rumsfeld says that it is inevitable that terrorists are going to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

It's inevitable? We can't stop it? Well fuck it! If there's nothing we can do, I say we liquidate the whole US military budget and buy cookies! Let's buy cookies for all 6 billion human beings on this planet. If we're going out, we're going out with the taste of chocolate chips fading on our tongues!

And how is George W. responding to this crisis? By calling North Korea's Kim Jong Il a "pygmy" at a closed-door session of Republican senators.

So what's with all the craziness? We can buy into the explanation of former Secretary of State Madeliene Albright, who claims that Bush's foreign policy team suffers from "untreated bipolar disorder". Or we can read the explanation from Ari Fleischer buried deep into a few of the articles that the warnings are simply to "avert complacency" on the part of the public. Which explains the situation much better. Except for that "pygmy" comment.

But I don't even buy Ari's complacency explanation. Seems to me that this is just the cheap version of the "wag the dog" phenomenon. Back when Clinton faced scrutiny for his affair with his intern, he launched a few dozen cruise missiles at Afghanistan and the Sudan. Many people thought that he did so solely to draw attention away from his own political controversy. Is it so hard to believe that the Bush administration would try to scare Americans with fictional terrorist threats to accomplish the same goal?

But what's even crazier is the way that the US has chosen to fight against terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic explicitly designed to strike blows at enemies that you couldn't defeat in a typical army vs. army battle. Tradicional military systems are vulnerable to terrorism because of the ways that both armies and terrorist actions are structured. Terrorism is like attacking a man wearing a bullet-proof vest by hitting him in the head. The vest doesn't protect the head.

So how does the US choose to fight a battle in which traditional militaries are vulnerable and ineffective? By spending billions of dollars on the traditional military.

Posted by Jake at 10:29 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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