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May 22, 2003

Indonesia will intern civilians in war against Aceh rebels- the Indonesian government is saying that it will put up to 200,000 innocent citizens into internment camps as part of its war on the Free Aceh Movement in the Aceh province. Sounds pretty fucked up to me.

Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in Iraq- sigh. The gathering of evidence is still a work in progress, but researchers are claiming that between 5000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the latest war.

State monitored war protesters- the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (brought to you by the Department of Justice) has been spying on/gathering information on the anti-war movement, and apparently using tiny tidbits and distortions of this info to scare police into cracking down on them. CATIC gave warning to the Oakland Police Department that activists might try to use violent behavior to shut down the port. Police responded by shooting wooden bullets at the protesters. To my knowledge, there was never a call to shut down the port, or to use violence.

Lots of problems here. The first is that a government agency is spying on people because of their political ideology. The second is that this agency might be using its information (or alleged information) to infringe on the civil rights of these people. Third (and fairly trivially), the agency is not doing its job. I want to be safe from terrorism. Every moment and tax dollar this agency is spending on peace activists is a moment and dollar they are not spending on catching members of Al Qaeda and any new militant groups that might arise.

But most frightening was this quote from CATIC spokesman Mike Van Winkle:

"You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest). You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act."

Israel/Palestine: Why the Wall isn't about peace- good one to visit just for the visuals. A picture of what the border of Palestine will look like if Israel keeps building its "Separation Wall."

- probably today's stupidest "news" story. Professional rumormonger Matt Drudge claims that an unnamed "top executive" form a TV network is calling for an audit in the votes for the "American Idol" TV show. Who cares? At best, this is a smear by said TV exec (who works for a "rival network" to Idol's Fox), at worst the man's an idiot with no sense of priorities.

Media Monopoly vs. Democracy- an issue I really should have been talking up more here on the site. The FCC will vote June 2 on new rules of media ownership, likely increasing the amount of marketshare one company can have from 35% of the nation to 45% of the nation, and altogether removing limits on owning a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same town. Not quite the terror it's being described as in the lefty press (they aren't looking at the specific plan, simply describing the removal of all regulations on media ownership. Which isn't too far off, as it seems to be FCC chair Michael Powell's ultimate goal), but it's still not good. I think we all know how a handful of massive conglomerates control most of the nation's media outlets, but do we want to shrink that number any further? At present, it looks like the vote will go 3-2 in favor of the deregulation. The only hope of stopping it seems to be to lobby Congress to get involved. And you can easily send such a message to your Congresspeople by clicking here.

Well Connected- related to the article above, here is an easily searchable database of who owns every local radio station, TV station, cable company and telephone company in America.

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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.

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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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