....LMB: "Extended Photo Op of the Union"....

January 30, 2003


This entry is really, really long. For those of you with short attention spans, here is a summary:

Bush sucks and is a liar.

Thank you.


I was really torn about whether or not I should analyze Bush's State of the Union address. It's just a bunch of words, words that could keep us all distracted from the actions. Maybe I shouldn't let myself be misdirected, ignore the speech and focus on the behind the scenes.

Then I remembered the name of this site.

What bigger bastard, what bigger lies could I be debunking?

Time to get to work.

Let's start with some links to some other articles examining Bush's speech:

Key Initiatives in the President's State of the Union Message

Evidence is scant and some policy nuances are lost in Bush speech

Lobby Groups' Wish Lists in Bush Speech

Fait Divers: The State of the Bush

Bush: Eager for Combat

The Sham on the Union

"[The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
- U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3.

And now it's just a media pageant, where president and legislators engage in this pantomime as one.


Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished citizens and fellow citizens: Every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union.

Funny, one sentence in and he's already screwed up. "Distinguished citizens and fellow citizens"? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that he didn't mean to repeat himself so soon.

And as for the second half, fun trivia fact: from 1801 to 1913, there were no State of the Union addresses. Thomas Jefferson thought it was the sort of thing that a king would do, so he just sent written copies of his address to both houses of Congress and let them read it themselves. 112 years went by, and the for some reason, Woodrow Wilson decided that he ought to give his address as a speech.

In a whirlwind of change and hope and peril, our faith is sure, our resolve is firm, and our union is strong.

This is really about all Bush says about the "state of the union." It's strong. Good to know.

To lift the standards of our public schools, we achieved historic education reform -- which must now be carried out in every school and in every classroom, so that every child in America can read and learn and succeed in life.

As I understand it, Bush's "No Child Left Behind Law" mainly has schools give kids lots and lots of tests to assess how well the schools are doing. Schools then are "rewarded" or "punished" with funding, depending upon how well they do. I wasn't in school that long ago, and I know that tests are a terrible way of finding out what a student learns (they mainly reveal how good the student is at taking tests). It also may lead to "teaching to the test"-- teachers focusing on teaching children the subjects, facts and strategies that will allow them to do well on the test instead of actually teaching them useful information.

I am not aware of any data which suggests that Bush's education reforms are resulting in better schooling.

To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation.

Pretty much everyone agrees that the Bush tax plan was a massive handout to the rich, and that the tax plan coupled with massively increased military spending turned an enormous national budget surplus into a massive budget deficit. It's also misleading to ever claim that a tax cut has fixed or harmed the economy. Economies change very slowly. It might be another year or two before Bush's 2001 tax cut affects the overall economy.

To insist on integrity in American business we passed tough reforms, and we are holding corporate criminals to account.


Our economy is recovering.

Really? This statement does pass my common sense test: for the past year or two, about half of my friends have been unemployed, but two or three of them have found jobs in the past couple months. The Federal Reserve Board is keeping interest rates neutral, implying that they think the economy could go either way, towards recovery or further into recession.

92 million Americans will keep, this year, an average of almost $1,000 more of their own money.

Lefties all over the place have been pointing out this repeated distortion.

To quote the Whitehouse.org SOTU parody: "If Dick Cheney and a dozen penniless crack whores are riding a merry-go-round together, that still means the average person on that rig is worth about fourteen gazillion dollars. And therein lies the glorious logic of my administration's strategy to positively influence economic indicators without actually helping the little people."

To quote Citizens for Tax Justice, "31 percent of taxpayers would get nothing from the Bush plan... and the median tax reduction is only $289."

A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year.

Am I doing something wrong? I pay like a quarter of my income in taxes every year. This mystery household above is only paying a fortieth of their income? I gotta get me a family.

If this tax relief is good for Americans three, or five, or seven years from now, it is even better for Americans today.

Gee, can't argue with that logic. If something is good at one time, it must be good all the time. I will now eat ice cream for every meal.

It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits.

Yeah, it must suck to be taxed twice.

to help the nearly 10 million senior who receive dividend income

About 75% of this dividend tax cut would not go to poor little old ladies, but to old folks making more than $75K a year.

We must work together to fund only our most important priorities. I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year -- about as much as the average family's income is expected to grow. And that is a good benchmark for us. Federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families.

Again, nice logic. If it's good for a family, it must be good for a government. As you might notice, families and national governments are a bit... different.

The American system of medicine is a model of skill and innovation, with a pace of discovery that is adding good years to our lives. Yet for many people, medical care costs too much -- and many have no coverage at all. These problems will not be solved with a nationalized health care system that dictates coverage and rations care.

That last sentence is the kicker, and is a tactic that Bush uses throughout the speech: making sentences true by combining concepts.

This is a compound sentence, comprised of a "these problems will not be solved with nationalized health care" part and a "these problems will not be solved by a system that dictates coverage and rations care" part. The second part is true, the first part is debatable.

But when you combine the two parts, you have a true statement. Any health care system, no matter what its structure, won't solve problems if it dictates and rations. So naturally a "nationalized" health care system that had those two defects would not solve any problems.

But Bush manages to make it sound like these defects are part of the definition of a nationalized health care system. And most Americans (including myself) know so little about what a nationalized health care system looks like, that we might just take his "definition" as truth.

Instead, we must work toward a system in which all Americans have a good insurance policy, choose their own doctors, and seniors and low-income Americans receive the help they need. (Applause.) Instead of bureaucrats and trial lawyers and HMOs, we must put doctors and nurses and patients back in charge of American medicine.

Note how the first word sets up a false dichotomy. Since nationalized health care systems are "inherently" flawed (rationed care and such), we must "instead" choose the opposite, obviously superior strategy.

The last sentence is another truth by combination. "Bureaucrats and trial lawyers and HMOs" control the practice of medicine, instead of doctors and patients.

There's been a lot of illness in my family, mainly among my older relatives. Heart problems, cancers, leukemias, kidney failures, arthritis, vision problems, and more. I've seen my mother spend hours on the phone dealing with doctors and insurance agents and whatnot. Lots of bargains and discussion with bureaucrats and HMOs. But in her medical wranglings, she has never had to deal with trial lawyers. Never. Never ever ever ever ever.

This is a rhetorical slight of hand. It is true that these three, taken as a whole, control the medical industry. But how much do trial lawyers contribute to that whole? In my experience, not much.

To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher cost, the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued.

Technically, its the threat that they be sued period, fairly or unfairly.

Because of excessive litigation, everybody pays more for health care, and many parts of America are losing fine doctors. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit. I urge the Congress to pass medical liability reform.

A lot of weird focus on frivolous lawsuits. No one in my family has sued a doctor, none of my friends have sued a doctor. Actually, I don't know a single person who's sued a doctor, frivolously or seriously. Do you?

This whole argument that medical malpractice lawsuits are the cause of a lack of medical care in the United States seems unlikely. Just a few facts from the Institute of Medicine:

- "The IOM estimates the annual costs to society for medical errors in hospitals at $17 billion to $29 billion" while "the total amount spent on medical malpractice insurance in 2000 was $6.4 billion."
- "for every 6 medical errors only 1 claim is filed."
- "Malpractice insurance costs amount to only 3.2 percent of the average physician's revenues"
- "While medical costs have increased by 113 percent since 1987, the total amount spent on medical malpractice insurance has increased by just 52 percent over that time."
- "Government data shows that medical malpractice awards have increased at a slower pace than health insurance premiums."

And many more.

I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home. I have sent you Clear Skies legislation that mandates a 70-percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years.

I'm gonna be a bit skeptical about these. Remember the last energy policy that Cheney wrote with the help of the energy industry? Yeah.

I have sent you a Healthy Forests Initiative, to help prevent the catastrophic fires that devastate communities, kill wildlife, and burn away millions of acres of treasured forest.

Yes, something must be done about those dangerous trees. If only some helpful corporate entity would lend a hand, someone from the logging industry...

Tonight I'm proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles... With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.

The fine print tells us that this huge-sounding grant actually amounts to $144 million a year for 5 years "to develop the technologies and infrastructure needed to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen fuel for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation". And the goal is to have a hydrogen fuel cell car by 2020. However, the downside is that it will probably be a huge corporate handout at the same time.

Interesting Times points out that Al Gore, who was derided by the Right as an tree-hugging loony, predicted non-gas powered cars by 2017. Now the Republicans pat Bush on the back for calling for the same thing by 2020. What a difference 3 years makes.

Yet there's power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people.

Uh oh. I see where this is going.

I urge you to pass both my faith-based initiative and the Citizen Service Act, to encourage acts of compassion that can transform America, one heart and one soul at a time.

"I urge you to demolish the wall between church and state, while allowing the government to evade its long-standing duty to help the poor and needy."

tonight I propose a new $600-million program to help an additional 300,000 Americans receive treatment over the next three years.

This program will be $200 million a year for the next three years."by providing vouchers to individuals identified in their communities as needing treatment." I have no idea what that means.

In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people

Anyone who's looked into this at all knows it's not true. Once the Taliban fled, most of Afghanistan was ruled by the warlord thugs of the Northern Alliance. Most women are still too afraid to go outside without their burqas. And the Taliban and members of Al Qaeda are reportedly working to take the country back. Go liberation!

I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.

Strangely, it appears that none of this money will go out until 2004. Don't know why. It "will begin with $2 billion in FY 04 and ramp up thereafter." Over those 5 years, $1 billion will go to the "Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria" which is generally seen as the most effective funding agency. The Fund frequently purchases "goods and services and generic drugs that may be obtained more cheaply and efficiently from somewhere else." The fear is that the other 93% of the money may have to be used to buy the more expensive, made-in-America AIDS drugs.

This fear is very real. Until 2000, it was official US policy to prevent African countries from gaining access to cheap, generic AIDS drugs because it might violate the patent rights of American pharmacuetical companies. The extension of that, forcing Africans to use US aid to buy high-priced American AIDS drugs is not very far-fetched.

There are days when our fellow citizens do not hear news about the war on terror... The war goes on, and we are winning.


To date, we've arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of al Qaeda. They include a man who directed logistics and funding for the September the 11th attacks; the chief of al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf, who planned the bombings of our embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole; an al Qaeda operations chief from Southeast Asia; a former director of al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan; a key al Qaeda operative in Europe; a major al Qaeda leader in Yemen. All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries.

Wow, two directors, two chiefs, a key operative, and a major leader. I have no way of verifying any of this. I also wonder how many of the 3000 arrested suspects are actually involved in terrorism.

Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

Huh huh. Huh. Dude, we like, totally killed em. America rules.

We have the terrorists on the run. We're keeping them on the run.

Again, I don't know. Are we really making any headway in defeating anti-American terrorist networks? I'd really like to know.

One by one, the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.

* Jake's Irony Meter breaks.

We must assume that our enemies would use these diseases as weapons, and we must act before the dangers are upon us.

Um, why must we assume this? It's entirely possibly that Islamic militants are going to break down my front door and shoot me in the face with a shotgun, but that doesn't mean I must start wearing a bullet-proof catcher's mask around my apartment.

I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location.

Part of me wonders if this is Total Information Awareness part 2, after the Senate killed the funding for the first one.

Whatever the duration of this struggle, and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men -- free people will set the course of history.

Yes, we'll bomb and bomb and bomb until there is no more violence.

Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder.

* Jake hands George W. a mirror.

They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

This is probably the most terrifying and most irrefutible argument for attacking Iraq.

It is incredibly unlikely that Saddam Hussein would give weapons of mass destruction to anti-American Islamic fundamentalists because Saddam and the fundamentalists are enemies. They want to kill him and replace him with a religious government. He wants them dead because they are a threat to his rule.

Not a lot of love going on there.

But I can't prove that this won't happen, so people (like my barber) feel that we have "no choice" and have to go bomb Iraq "in self-defense."

Again, see my bulletproof catcher's mask comment above. It is literally impossible to prepare for all potential outcomes. Therefore you must spend your resources preparing only for those that are likely to occur. Which ain't this scenario.

This threat is new; America's duty is familiar. Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism, and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances, and by the might of the United States of America.


While the United States did a good job stopping European fascism and Japanese imperialism in the 1940s, and opposing Soviet conquest during the Cold War, the U.S. is as guilty of domination as anyone. We've supported dictators in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We supported terrorist death squads in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Indonesia, Guatemala and Colombia. We have a huge army. We have nuclear weapons. We bully other countries into doing what we want them to do.

Just because Saddam Hussein is a bad guy does not make us the good guys !!!

If you want to read about nefarious U.S. doings worldwide, I can't recommend the book Killing Hope highly enough. Go buy it now, and finish reading whatever book you're on now, later.

And I'm especially curious, when exactly did the U.S. fight against "militarism"? Cuz I think we lost that one.

In all these efforts, however, America's purpose is more than to follow a process -- it is to achieve a result: the end of terrible threats to the civilized world.

Ah, very clever. Bush appeals to the American culture's core of pragmatism. The UN inspections are "following a process" not focusing on "results." This is the very opposite of pragmatic, and will disgust Americans nationwide.

In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny -- and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.

I'd just like to remind the audience that in 1953, the U.S. overthrew the democratically-elected Iranian President Mossadegh and replaced him with a dictator known as the Shah, and helped keep him in power till 1979. Good to know that the U.S. has changed its pro-Iranian-oppression stance.

America is working with the countries of the region -- South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia -- to find a peaceful solution, and to show the North Korean government that nuclear weapons will bring only isolation, economic stagnation, and continued hardship.

If only the U.S. had learned this lesson sooner, and not had to face the isolation, economic supremacy and continued world dominance... wait a minute.

Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world.

Everyone shows contempt for the United Nations and the opinion of the world. All countries regularly ignore UN resolutions they don't like. All countries do what they damn please-- within the constraints of their own power. If you're the U.S., that gives you lots of options. If you're Bangladesh, you lay low and hope nobody hurts you.

The 108 U.N. inspectors were sent to conduct -- were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.

Did anyone really think that Saddam Hussein was suddenly going to have a change of heart and help disarm himself? I want those inspectors there for the exact reason Bush says they're not there: to search Iraq top to bottom in an attempt to find hidden weapons of mass destruction. If they fail in this task, and we see something resembling a real threat from Iraq, we can take action then. But if we can avoid dropping high-powered explosives on the heads of innocent people, I'd like to do so.

[claims about chemical and biological weapons that Saddam Hussein has not accounted for]

Don't know what to make of this. It varies quite a bit from the Hans Blix report given Monday. Does US intelligence know more than the inspectors? Are they lying? I have no idea.

From three Iraqi defectors we know...

Most Iraqi defectors that come forth with knowledge of Iraq's weapons have been smuggled out of Iraq by the Iraqi National Congress, a group that wants to take power from Saddam Hussein. It is in their best interests that Saddam look like a monstrous threat. Anyone who is involved with the INC is suspect.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

"The 1990s"? Which part? 1990, 13 years ago, before we bombed the hell out of Iraq? Or 1999, just four years back, after the weapons inspectors left the country.

[visits IAEA website]

Hmm, says here that the IAEA dismantled pretty much all of Iraq's nuclear program back in 1998.

Funny, why would Bush mention an Iraqi nuclear plan that was eliminated?

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

Ah yes, those damned aluminum tubes.

The tubes that the inspector's said were likely to be used for conventional weapons, but could theoretically be altered for use in a uranium enrichment process.

That clever bastard! Intentionally importing the wrong kind of tubes to throw us off the scent!

From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.
Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations. Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say. Intelligence sources indicate that Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with U.N. inspectors in disarming Iraq will be killed, along with their families.

If this is true, then it does seem unlikely that the weapons inspectors will be very effective. But again, I trust the White House about as far as I can throw it.

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

Most countries that possess nuclear weapons use them as to bolster their diplomatic position, and as deterrence. Sure, if Saddam had nuclear weapons (and I don't think he does), he could use them for the purposes Bush mentions, but pretending that this outcome is inevitable is just plain dumb.

And it's always a bit ironic when the president takes a self-righteous tone about nuclear attack, when the US is the only country that has ever actually used nuclear weapons to attack another country.

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.

I dunno. I think if Iraq makes the slightest move, they'll be cruise missiled back to the Stone Age.

Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.

Funny, that's not what intelligence analysts are saying.

Again, another misleading statement. Iraq is indeed involved with terrorists; Saddam Hussein gives money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. But in the minds of most Americans, "terrorist" means "terrorist who wants to kill Americans." So Bush can say something technically true, and know that his audience will take it to mean something different.

Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

See my "bulletproof catcher's mask" comment again. Possible, highly unlikely, should use our resources on more likely threats.

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation

False dichotomy. Enemies of the Iraqi people are both ruling the country AND surrounding the country. Saddam Hussein oppresses them and U.S. bombs will kill them. They're supposed to pretend that one of those forces is an ally?

And I certainly hope that Iraqi liberation doesn't look like Afghani liberation.

The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraqi's legal -- Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups.

That will be an interesting day indeed. I'm looking forward to reading that report. I am skeptical that the U.S. has such evidence. And if it does, I'll be pissed that they didn't bother sharing some of it before (yeah, yeah, national security. But if Iraq was really a threat, and they knew that they couldn't attack without the support of the American people, then it would have been in the interest of national security to release the info).

If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

This just in: Bush says the same thing he has said every day for the past six months.

Killing for safety, bombing for peace, leading a coalition of nobody.

Tonight I have a message for the men and women who will keep the peace, members of the American Armed Forces: Many of you are assembling in or near the Middle East, and some crucial hours may lay ahead. In those hours, the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will guide you. You believe in America, and America believes in you. (Applause that goes on forever

Flag-waving motherfucker. This is just despicable, trying to boost his own popularity by praising American soldiers. This asshole, the one who's going to send them off to die for empire and profit, he is using their image for poll numbers so that he can, well, send them off to die for empire and profit.

The technologies of war have changed; the risks and suffering of war have not.

Um, that's not true. Advances in technology greatly decrease the risks and suffering of the victors. Jesus, we have remote-controlled robo-assassin planes! How can anyone say that the risks of war haven't changed?

We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended. A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all.

* Irony Meter breaks again

If war is forced upon us...

Forced upon us by who? You, motherfucker! Who decided this asshole should be our leader?

... we will fight in a just cause and by just means -- sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military -- and we will prevail.

We will spare the innocent... by using the full force and might of the US military? That don't sound good.

Those 800 cruise missiles that will hit the city of Baghdad in days 1 and 2 of the war, those won't hit the millions of innocents there, will they?

But yeah, I think we'll prevail pretty easily. Saddam Hussein will be thrown from power. Iraq will be carved into spheres of influence for the U.S. and its allies.

Blah blah blah blah blah

The end.

Posted by Jake at 02:17 AM

Holy Shit. There is much to absorb here and it will take me a while to do so. Thanks for puting this all together.
Here are two additional sites that I find helpful:

Behing the Homefront: http://www.rcfp.org/behindthehomefront/

The Black Commentator:

Now I'll get back to digesting your post.

Posted by: jim at January 30, 2003 05:32 AM

That took some major time man. Well done.

You nailed the al Qaeda-Iraq connection as being "the most terrifying and most irrefutible argument for attacking Iraq." Since last Sunday's talk shows it's obvious the administration is hanging their hat on this one. Of course, it's bullshit. A couple of articles from today's papers on the subject:



Posted by: dack at January 30, 2003 09:07 AM

too fucking long. i'm sure it was funny and stuff, jake, but i fell asleep. i guess that there was no way around that, though. fucking bush!

Posted by: jeremy at January 30, 2003 09:45 AM

> Yes, we'll bomb and bomb and bomb until there is no more violence.

whoa, you're in the guy's head. :) oh, man. i can't stop laughing. i can't stop crying.

incredibly concise. sources to back up your statements. wow, if only the US Government could be so clear. most excellent work, as always.

Posted by: eric at January 30, 2003 09:58 AM

i KNEW you'd say it ever so much better than i could and therefore i commend myself for taking the lazy way out and just linking you.

so uhm, yeah. what he said!
xoxo, jared

Posted by: the evil queen at January 30, 2003 11:04 AM

> Who decided this asshole should be our leader?

Antonin Scalia, silly.

Posted by: Patience at January 30, 2003 12:20 PM

"As I understand it, Bush's "No Child Left Behind Law" mainly has schools give kids lots and lots of tests to assess how well the schools are doing. Schools then are "rewarded" or "punished" with funding, depending upon how well they do. I wasn't in school that long ago, and I know that tests are a terrible way of finding out what a student learns (they mainly reveal how good the student is at taking tests). It also may lead to "teaching to the test"-- teachers focusing on teaching children the subjects, facts and strategies that will allow them to do well on the test instead of actually teaching them useful information."

Not to mention, since government agencies or governmentally appointed organizations will be creating the tests, we can expect to see content slanted towards certain ideas, philosophies, etc. Educational institutions often end up the defacto writers of history, as they transmit what's been determined to be the "truth" to new generations, committing it to the national memory. What happens to history when it is written only by the "winners" of the political system (and, by extension, the major American political and corporate interests, who already have their tentacles into the classroom and the college textbook?)?

Howard Zinn has addressed this, and we've only just begun to chip away at the tip of the iceberg in American education. For example, when I was in school I learned that Christopher Columbus was a kind and good dude who never hurt anybody and who went looking for the New World. Yeow. At least kids these days get a unit or two on Native Americans and a [slightly] less whitewashed version of history. Attempts are made to learn about alternate readings of historical events and the point of view of minority groups.

When governments (or gov't contractees) write the tests, the curriculum can't help but morph into a more sinister form of political sloganeering and propaganda.


Posted by: at January 30, 2003 02:43 PM

"The technologies of war have changed; the risks and suffering of war have not."

Bullshit. It's a lot less risky than ever before for US generals to wage war from their golf courses in northern Virginia. And talk about new technology -- those titanium shaft drivers are a wonder!

Posted by: bakerkm45 at January 30, 2003 02:45 PM

wat the?

Posted by: sarah at May 31, 2003 10:27 PM
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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.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

All brought to you by Jake Sexton, The Most Beloved Man in America ģ.

contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

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:


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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