....LMB: "War, Doom, Nausea"....

February 25, 2003

The War Behind Closed Doors- PBS documentary that looks behind the "WMD" and "oil" reasons for the war on Iraq to what I feel is the core: the desire to reshape Middle Eastern politics to favor the U.S. I missed it on TV, but the entire broadcast is on this site in streaming video. If you can't handle that kind of bandwidth, I'd at least recommend reading this analysis, keeping in mind that the U.S. frequent defines "democracy" as "any pro-U.S. government, no matter how corrupt or repressive, that has elections."

Bush Set to Be Pivot in Diplomacy- "The president is scheduled to give a major speech Wednesday laying out his vision of a new Middle East, beginning with the disarmament of Iraq ... The goal is to portray Iraq as only a piece in the broader U.S. plan to reconfigure the Middle East political map and make it conform to democratic changes that have swept much of the rest of the world over the past 15 years." See my comment above about the U.S. definition of "democracy."

Iraqis will not be pawns in Bush and Blair's war game- "An American attack on my country would bring disaster, not liberation," says Iraqi intellectual in exile Kamil Mahdi.

Disquiet on the Northern Front- this should be one of the more disturbing stories you read about the pending Iraq war. The Iraqi Kurds of northern Iraq want their own autonomous state. The Turks don't want them to have one, because it may incite Turkish Kurds to try to fight for their own independence. So as part of their deal to cooperate with the U.S. on the war, Turkey wants to send 80,000 of its own troops into northern Iraq. It is unclear whether or not these troops are intended to get between the two forces, preventing the Iraqi and Turkish Kurds from joining forces, or if it is an actual plan by Turkey to crush the Iraqi Kurds and prevent their independence. The Iraqi Kurds have announced that any Turkish troops sent into Iraq's Kurdish regions will be seen as invaders. Meaning that the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein could easily blossom into a Turkey-Kurdistan war within weeks or months.

The other part of the article is also a bit disturbing. Iran has sent a proxy army (5000 Iraqis who are loyal to Iran) into Iraq. No idea how that will play out. Not surprisingly, with Iraq about to be rent asunder, Iran wants to have some forces there to nab some of the pieces.

U.S. on Diplomatic Warpath- could it have been any more blatant that America was buying Turkey's cooperation for the war? I also found it intriguing that Turkey demanded that the deal be spelled out in writing because they were promised aid in 1991, but did not receive it.

The Bush administration's actions are ridiculous from a reasonable, objective point of view. What incentive does any country in the world have to join the U.S. in a seemingly pointless war? Why should any world leader risk their political position by taking an incredibly unpopular stand on the issue? For example, 94% of the Turkish population is against the war. In a democratic regime, that could mean losing an election. In a non-democratic regime, that risks the possibility of a coup. The common sense reaction for most world leaders is to "respectfully disagree," to steal a recent Bush quote, and not join in the war effort.

The U.S. knows this, and has now jumped into both the bribery and intimidation games (hmm, kinda like the mafia). Not only is the U.S. paying huge amounts in aid and loans to get regional cooperation and Security Council votes, the U.S. is now threatening to withhold or end aid to countries that don't support the war. Motherfuckers.

U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote- "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the [senior Russian] diplomat said U.S. officials told him. "That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not." That's a little shaky due to the quasi-anonymous sourcing, but it's pretty much what I've felt since August. The U.S. has always intended to invade Iraq, and everything else was just a sideshow.

Missile Defense Waiver Sought- "The Bush administration is proposing to exempt the Pentagon's controversial missile defense system from operational testing legally required of every new weapons system in order to deploy it by 2004." That's right. The Bush administration wants its missile defense system so badly that they don't even care if it works. And evidence from previous tests shows that it doesn't. And in the few tests where the missile defense system does work, it is usually rigged.

Posted by Jake at 08:39 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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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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