....LMB: "Destroying the Rules to Save Them"....

November 20, 2003

A couple of weird, slightly related news items.

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal- the hawk in question is Richard Perle, of the U.S. Defense Policy Board. For quite some time, the White House has been trying to argue that the invasion of Iraq was justified by international law, which it clearly was not. This story is being spun as a confession, as though the Bush administration is now begrudgingly admitting that they were naughty. But no, Perle used the invasion of Iraq as a moral exemplar to denounce the wickedness of international law.

As our beloved Bill Hicks once said, "that man must carry his balls in a wheelbarrow."

(In related news, Perle was just "found innocent" of ethics violations by the Pentagon. Apparently it's okay to use your defense department connections to make money for your business clients)

Perle's quote was "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing."

Following the script that the invasion was solely about Saddam Hussein, Perle's argument is that international law says it's illegal to go invade a country to liberate its people from dictatorial hellspawn. Therefore international law clearly is bad, eats live babies, and listens to Slayer.

I don't have an international lawbook handy, but I'm pretty sure that international law regarding invasion pretty much goes like this.

It's illegal to attack another country unless:

a) that country attacked you first;
b) that country is going to attack you any minute
c) the UN gives you approval to do so.

So actually, as long as you can muster up the UN votes, it's never illegal to invade.

And speaking of the UN...

Iraq war saved the UN, says president- as long as Bush is president, the spinning of George Orwell's corpse in its grave could be used to power turbines, and form a source of limitless energy, bringing electricity to billions.

We now have a third fictional rationale for the war:

1) Stop Saddam Hussein's immense arsenal of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons
2) Free the Iraqi people from tyranny
3) preserve the legitmacy of a bunch of jabbering diplomats

Okay, that last insult isn't really deserved. The UN does a lot of great humanitarian work, and does occasionally resolve international disputes. But most of its resolutions go unheeded, and no one cares. Just ask Israel. The UN's legitimacy was not really at stake.

Actually, Bush didn't claim that this was why we went to war, but that it's salvation was a wonderful outcome of the invasion. I just used his statement for humorous effect. I do that sometimes. If I ever do so without making clear that a bit of kidding is involved, call me on it, citizen.

And you gotta love this Bush quote:

"And who will say that Iraq was better off when Saddam Hussein was strutting and killing, or that the world was safer when he held power? Who doubts that Afghanistan is a more just society and less dangerous without Mullah Omar playing host to terrorists from around the world? And Europe, too, is plainly better off with Milosevic answering for his crimes, instead of committing more."

Hmm. The Saddam Hussein bit is possibly true, although I have seen polls in which Iraqis overwhelmingly say that Baghdad is more dangerous now than it was before the war. The Afghanistan bit is ridiculous. I don't have numbers to back it up, but I'm pretty sure that Afghanistan is much more dangerous now. Warlords and thugs rule, people starve, and fundamentalist factions still treat women like the Taliban did. In addition, the Taliban are sneaking back into the country, as are members of Al Qaeda. We brutalized the nation, left its people to the wolves, and don't even get to wear our lousy "We Destroyed International Terror in Afghanistan" t-shirts.

As for Milosevic (an odd example to bring up since his overthrow happened on Clinton's watch), he was overthrown by an uprising of the Serbian people, not an UN action. At best, you could possibly thank NATO for (not the UN) bombing the hell out the country back in 1999, which might have helped bring the overthrow around.

I get quite tired of this. The invasion of Iraq was about boosting US political power, period. Everything else is perfumed rhetoric, trying to hide the stench of conquest.

Posted by Jake at 05:02 PM | TrackBack (0)
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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

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply don’t know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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