....LMB: "EU vs. U$"....

August 30, 2002

The European Union and the United States have been fighting a legal battle inside the courts of the WTO. The EU claims that a certain US tax break for American businesses is a violation of the spirit of free trade, and wants the right to retaliate with economic sanctions. And the WTO agrees, probably to the tune of about $4 billion. Thank Bill Clinton and George W. for that.

I wrote about this conflict about a year ago as part of a larger article on the US' relation to "free trade." For all its preaching about free trade, the US violates it on a pretty regular basis. I think the concluding paragraphs of my article sum it up pretty well:

The US does not care about free trade. Never has. The only thing the US has cared about is winning. And under the US-defined version of free trade, it usually does win. And when the US finds that it (or corporations within its borders) may lose out, they simply ignore the rules.

I'm not writing this to say "the US should stop the hypocrisy and follow its own rules." I'm writing this to say that the US does not have rules.

This nation sees rules as sets of restrictions that we can sometimes trick other countries into following. Nothing more, nothing less. All of the talk of "free trade" and globalization are just schemes, attempts to trick other nations into following rules that will deluge the coffers of US corporations with money.

Posted by Jake at 02:58 PM
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Sadly, the US have the view that all that matters is getting what they want - whether it be with steel, bannanas, telecoms or the Middle East.

America has to wake up and see that if it's to have friends in the world, then it has to stop acting like it's the only fish in the pond.

Posted by: Richard East at October 1, 2002 09:41 AM
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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.

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