....LMB: "Oddz N Enz"....

February 24, 2004

First of all, thanks for all the compliments on the new site design. To those of you having trouble with viewing it, it seems that most of you are using older versions of Internet Explorer (below v6.0). Web guru Mark recommends the following:

A quick fix for now is to go to http://www.favelets.com and follow the instructions to use the "Toggle CSS style sheets" favelet.

Using that will toggle the stylesheets off (which causes those issues on smaller screen), and make the site more readable for those having trouble.

And personally, I recommend that everyone simply drop whatever browser they're using and download Firefox. It's fast, blocks most pop-up ad windows, and I'm just now learning the joys of of tab-browsing. Also, Firefox views the new LMB just fine.

I posted a short piece about Haiti recently, and due to my own ignorance on the subject, invited others to do a bit of research and share their findings. A couple folks did, but posted their findings over at the old site. I'm reposting them here for better visibility.

From Eric:

From what I gather, it's no black-and-white issue. Aristide is a "left" nationalist with all the baggage that implies. He came to power as a so-called "man of the people." It seems to be a classic story of a leftist nationalist selling his country out by turning to U.S. imperialist intervention when his social reforms (contained within the Haitian power structure) failed miserably (Haitian Gray Davis?). Aristide became a junior partner of the U.S. in looting the Haitian population of its wealth.

There is no doubt popular discontent with Aristide and his government, but the opposition seems to be a gang of rival right-wing thugs seeking to replace one tyranny for another, given that an infamous sweatshop owner and black-market gangsters are at the forefront of this "opposition." It's all too typical that popular outrage is channeled away from any progressive solutions and through backwards, reactionary lines. This seems to be the case here as well.

The U.S. elites would be on the fence about this, no doubt. Do they support precarious ally Aristide or deal with the right-wing opposition, which may benefit them economically, but politcally, may cast them in a bad light?

Unless there is a progressive solution inititated by the Haitian population itself, there doesn't seem to be any good that will come out of this.

And from James R MacLean, rebutting Eric somewhat:

"It seems to be a classic story of a leftist nationalist selling his country out by turning to U.S. imperialist intervention when his social reforms (contained within the Haitian power structure) failed miserably (Haitian Gray Davis?). Aristide became a junior partner of the U.S. in looting the Haitian population of its wealth."

No it wouldn't, actually. (The Gray Davis analogy is so bizarre I can't imagine what was meant by that.)

I've spent rather a while tracking down the gist of the complaints agianst Aristide and they boil down to this: after 20,000 US Marines occupied the country between 1994 and 1997, then handed it over to the civilian government and demanded that he impose order and cleanliness they could not.

I seldom agree with Zmag because I've seen too many cases where they showed no discrimination in the causes they embrace, but this excerpt you have is quite good. The Famnie Lavalas (FL) had been elected with 67% of the vote and it inherited a terrorized, brutalized, and massively armed vigilante constituency. Reining them in was to prove beyond the agency of Aristie, and of course he can't just order a country to disarm when 20,000 marines couldn't and the FRAPH junta didn't. Your humble poster has observed several far-right web sites accusing FL/Aristide of creating armed gangs, which is absurd--Haiti's been heavily armed and dominated by vigilantes for decades.

The "political opposition" to Aristide was dominated by ex-FRAPH people or collaborators. For completeness, the old OPL--the original Lavalas Party--also represents a rival party which contested the electoral victories of 10 senators in 2002. The right-left split involves the "leftist" Aristide calling for civil services like water, drains, and so on; the "right" are demanding that Haitian fortunes be tax-free (income is extremely highly concentrated; the neoliberal model of economic development has manifestly failed since all rents and profits made in Haiti are repatriated outside of the country).

This is the first I've heard of Aristide looting the nation of its wealth.

Again, I don't know enough to verify any of that. I think I'm going to interview my friend JG about the issues next week on my radio show. JG is of Hatian decent, very politically-minded, and part of the Florida hip-hop duo Over the Counter Intelligence. Or barring an actual interview, he promises to send me some links to more info.

In response to my post about the recent race riots in the Redfern district of Sydney, Stuart Graham sent me this link from the Sydney Morning Herald, a collection of black and white photographs of Redfern and its residents. At once vibrant and bleak.

Thanks, everybody.

And finally, some folks have been criticizing my "get Bush out of the White House, even if it means voting Democrat" stance, taking the "both parties are pretty much the same" point of view. While I largely agree, I do think that the Bush administration's foreign policy under the necons is a significant change. Both parties seek American dominance over all other nations, but with a slight difference in tactics. The Democratic stance is "American supremacy, by any means necessary." The necon Republican stance is "American supremacy, by force." The Democrats are willing to entertain other means of persuasion, while the Bushies have dropped all their gear 'cept their shootin' irons.

Posted by Jake at 01:41 PM | TrackBack (0)

First, I should have included this disclaimer: I'm not an expert Haitian politics. My comments were based on a variety of sources and interpretations based on historical patterns. Perhaps someone who has experienced it firsthand should be the one to offer insight. Neither my nor James's opinions amount to anything in the grand scheme of things.

Secondly, I can't read most of what James had written. But a couple of things:

The Gray Davis thing was just an offhand comment about the situation ("recalling" the elected Aristide). Obviously, James didn't get it. Sorry I mentioned it. But what exactly does Mr. McLean mean by "No, it wouldn't actually."? He doesn't address the limitations of left nationalism.

And I was talking about the U.S. looting the Haitian wealth, which Aristide became a junior partner by imposing IMF demands. In his defense, much of this was U.S. pressure, though it still makes him somewhat complicit.

But Aristide's limitations doesn't give legitimacy to the opposition either. And it was here where I referred to armed gangs and right-wing thugs, not Aristide. Or were you referring to another poster I'm not aware of?

I'm not sure from which political perspective James writes. I wish I could read more of what he wrote.

And Jake, I wasn't criticizing you personally on the whole election thing. You can do what you want. It's just that in such a process, we keep running in circles without actually accomplishing anything progressive.

Posted by: Eric at February 25, 2004 12:42 AM

I agree w/ Jake's view on the 2004 election. Obviously the only difference between Dem's and Republicans are that the Dem's pretend to be friendly and lie about screwing you over. But how many presidents have passed anything remotely similar to the PATRIOT act, had as many corporate ties, or challenged the constitution/bill of rights as he has?

Posted by: Brian at February 25, 2004 07:08 AM

Did Kerry not vote for the PATRIOT act too?

Posted by: Eric at February 25, 2004 10:17 AM

sadly yes, only one person voted against it. I'd hate to use the "we were all freaked" excuse, but besides trying to convince more people that both parties are corrupt we should unite against Bush. It's a small step in a long war but it has to be taken.

Posted by: Brian at February 25, 2004 05:44 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.

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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.

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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