....LMB: "We're From the Federal Government and We're Here to Help"....

September 30, 2004

Bob Morris is a blogger and progressive activist here in Los Angeles. At a recent meeting he attended, Ban Al-Wardi of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination League described to him how FBI agents are meeting with local Arab and Muslim leaders to teach them to Stop Worrying and Love the PATRIOT Act. Here's Bob summarizing Al-Wardi:

After heaping praise on the PATRIOT Act, the FBI then attacks pamphlets that Arab groups have distributed. As an example, one pamphlet said "If an FBI agent wants to question you, you have the right to have a lawyer present." Well, this got the FBI's panties in a twist. No no no they said, this is wrong. We need to get information fast, so if someone wants to have a lawyer present, this might slow us. So even if what you are saying is true, don't say it. We can move faster without all that bothersome lawyer stuff - so this helps us help you! Aw, how thoughtful of them.

But wait, there's more. Do you fear your mosque might be attacked, they asked. Then give us blueprints to the buildings, including home residences of staff, locations of alarms, and the unlock codes. Are they requesting the same information from synagogues, much less from churches? What do you think?

Ban did skip the 6 hour mock training sessions where you pretend to be an FBI agent breaking into immigrant homes. This is so you can feel their pain (The FBI's pain, not the immigrant's pain.) Sometimes we accidentally shoot someone and this makes us feel bad, the FBI said. No, I am not making this up.

As a lazy person, I can certainly understand the desire to get people to cooperate or collaborate to get things done more easily. But as a non-idiot, I also see that telling someone that night is day and asking them to help me put their friends and neighbors in jail is not only a waste of everyone's time, but absurd and insulting as well.

Posted by Jake at 12:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Yeah, you should feel totally safe about talking to the FBI without a lawyer. I mean, it's not as if you are under oath and under arrest or anything. What could possibly happen?

Posted by: marthastewart at September 30, 2004 08:24 AM

The National Lawyers Guild advises if the FBI says, can we ask you some questions, your answer should be No.

Posted by: Bob Morris at September 30, 2004 02:18 PM

It was a real pleasure reading your mindless blathering. It is good to know that communism did not die with the Soviet Union.

Posted by: james at October 10, 2004 10:01 PM
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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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