....LMB: "Liberated, Inside a Tiny Box"....

June 30, 2004

I love that the US did that whole unexpected early power transfer in Iraq this week. I only hope someone jumped out of a cake and yelled "surprise!"

So Iraqis now have "sovereignty". Well, some Iraqis have sovereignty anyway. Several Iraqis appointed by the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), who were appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), who were appointed by the US military. So some Iraqis indirectly appointed by the US have sovereignty.

Okay, they don't really have sovereignty either. According to our friend Juan Cole, "sovereignty" apparently means "controls the government's income." Cole points out that the Iraqi government takes in about $20 billion a year (a high estimate), although he calculates that the Iraqi government needs about $30 billion a year to run properly (and an Iraqi reconstruction expert I heard on the radio this morning claimed that Iraq will need $100 billion a year for several years to rebuild itself).

The US has another $18 billion in aid waiting in the wings, controlled by the new US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. This power of the purse will give the US quite a bit of influence over the new government. Negroponte's appointment is eerie in and of itself; in the 80s, he was the US ambassador to Honduras, and helped cover up the human rights abuses of that country's death squads. Makes you wonder if the White House is expecting him to do the same in Iraq...

Before leaving Iraq, the CPA also managed to tie the hands of future Iraqi government by issuing 97 edicts that the new government is obliged to obey, as well as appointing a number of Iraqis to influential posts within the government. Even though the new government is supposed to be temporary (to be replaced in national elections in January 2005), the CPA's appointees were given 5 year terms, meaning that no matter who is elected next year, CPA-friendly folks will be running part of the show through 2009.

And, as you may recall, the United States has over 100,000 heavily armed soldiers inside the country. That's bound to cramp the style of the new government, especially as the new regime has no real army or police force of its own.

Oh yeah, and the new Iraqi prime minister is pondering imposing martial law to try to defeat the Iraqi militants. As Iraq has no martial of its own, I presume the US military would be the ones doing the martialing. Which is pretty much how things have been in Iraq for months.

Smells like liberation to me!

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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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