Lying Media Bastards

July 31, 2003

Fuck Issa

Here in California, we have a shitty, mercenary governor named Gray Davis. Davis will face a "recall" vote in October, where Californians get to decide whether or not Davis remains governor, and if not, who gets to replace him.

The recall is 100% partisan. A huge amount of money was spent on this effort, especially by would-be Davis-replacement Darrell Issa. Issa is a scumbag who tries (and sometimes succeeds) in buying his way into public office.

Well, just to put Mr. Issa in his place, go check out this handy chart which compares many of Issa's claims about his past to what the historical record shows.

My favorite nugget in there is that Issa was arrested in 1973 for driving around with a loaded, unlicensed, semiautomatic pistol, and a tear gas gun.

Posted by Jake at 09:56 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

July 29, 2003

Nonviolence in Palestine

Garrick has a new report from the West Bank about a non-violent protest against the wall being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories. Go give it a read.

Posted by Jake at 07:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 28, 2003

Rules of Engagement

Skip down to paragraph 9 of this article about U.S. forces in Iraq:

Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.

[emphasis mine]

Okay, now re-read that.

Am I mistaken, or does that say that the U.S. military kidnapped a man's family and threatened to keep them indefinitely to scare a suspect into giving himself up? Taking innocent people prisoner to get to the (alleged) bad guys? That's fucking appalling!

Yes, this is how the U.S. will win the trust of the Iraqi people, by kidnapping their wives, mothers, sons and daughters.

Posted by Jake at 11:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

07-28-03

Mr. Lif, Esoteric, Virtuoso & DJ Vadim- Your Revolution
Tool- Disgustipated
System of a Down- War
Tom Waits- I'll Be Gone
Alice In Chains- Angry Chair
Love Spirals Downwards- Avincenna
Magnetic Fields- Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits
John Tesh w/ Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa- The Wizard
Interpol- PDA (live)
Suede- The Drowners
Flogging Molly- The Worst Day Since Yesterday
Worm- Fuckitallanyway (Revelation 9 mix)
The Vines- Get Free
Blur- It Could Be You
Siouxsie and the Banshees- Melt!
Richard Cheese- Crazy
Mojave 3- Love Songs on the Radio
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Bang
Reverend Horton Heat- Big Little Baby
Radiohead- Planet Telex
LL Cool J- Going Back to Cali
Suede- Dark Star
The White Stripes- Fell in Love with a Girl
Spooks- Things I've Seen
The Coup- Pimps
Deadbolt- You Don't Want to Know Me (live)

Posted by Jake at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

Coca-Cola: the Great Destroyer

About a year ago, I wrote a couple pieces about Coca-Cola in India. The short version: Coke's factories in India were sucking up all the groundwater for use in Coke production, water that the neighboring Indians needed for drinking.

And now, another story about Coke fucking up India.

Coca-Cola's 'toxic' India fertiliser

According to this BBC news piece, Indian Coca-Cola factories have been giving free "fertilizer" to Indian farmers. Except that it turns out that the "fertilizer":

- is industrial waste from the Coca-Cola factories
- does not fertilize crops
- contains cadmium, a carcinogen that can damage the kidneys
- contains lead, which can lead to childhood retardation, anemia, and death
- contains other toxic metals
- has contaminated the water supply

(according to scientists hired by the BBC to research the situation)

But don't worry, because

Vice-President of Coca-Cola in India, Sunil Gupta, denied the fertiliser posed any risk.

"We have scientific evidence to prove it is absolutely safe and we have never had any complaints," Mr Gupta said.

Which reminds me, that other activists have called for a boycott of Coca-Cola, alleging that the company hires Colobmian paramilitary militias to terrorize Colombian Coke employees who try to unionze their workplace.

Posted by Jake at 12:05 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 26, 2003

Words Words Words, Part III

The "zapatistas" are a rebel army in the Mexican state of Chiapas, who have been fighting against the Mexican government and would-be globalizers since 1994. But they differ significantly from most Latin American rebel armies in that they:

- are mostly indigenous Indians
- rarely make war
- are not trying to take over the government
- fight primarily through words

(for the best quick article I've seen on the zapatistas, read this piece by Naomi Klein)

The zapatistas are a group of Mexico's poorest, dozens of tribes of Indians with their own languages and cultures. They are treated with some of the same disdain and neglect that Indians face in the United States. But with the passage of "free trade" laws like NAFTA, these people felt that they unless they took action, they were destined for extinction, to be forgotten by history. Over and over they talk about this "oblivion," and it seems to be the thing they fear most. Their desire seems to be to end the Mexican government's corruption, increase democracy, and give more autonomy to the indigenous cities in Chiapas and elsewhere in Mexico.

So they formed an army. They made uniforms and put on masks. On January 1, 1994 (the day NAFTA took effect) they captured several Mexican cities, and then let them go. While they still fight for survival, most of what the public sees of the zapatistas are the letters and essays by the exceptionally clever and poetic "Subcomandante Marcos." The zapatistas disdain leadership and try to be as democracy- and consensus-oriented as can be, but Marcos has become their spokesman. He is probably my favorite political writer, and maybe one of my favorite writers of any genre. He weaves legend with poem, policy with wit, proclamation with charm, and righteousness with self-mockery.

After several long silences, Marcos has sent another missive to the outside world. Imagine a world where this is politics:

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ************************** Translated by irlandesa

CHIAPAS: The Thirteenth Stele

Part One: A Conch


Dawn in the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Slowly, with an unhurried but continuous movement, the moon allows the dark sheet of night to slip off her body and to finally reveal the erotic nudity of her light. She then reclines across the length of the sky, desirous of looking and being looked at, that is, of touching and being touched. If light does anything, it delineates its opposite, and so, down below, a shadow offers the cloud its hand while murmuring:

"Come with me, look with your heart at what my eyes show you, walk in my steps and dream in my arms. Up above, the stars are making a shell, with the moon as origin and destiny. Look and listen. This is a dignified and rebel land. The men and women who live it are like many men and women in the world. Let us walk, then, in order to look at and listen to them now, while time hovers between night and day, when dawn is queen and lady in these lands.

Take care with that puddle and the mud. Better to follow the tracks which, like in so many other things, are the most knowing. Do you hear that laughter? It is from a couple who are repeating now the ancient rite of love. He murmurs something, and she laughs, she laughs as if she were singing. Then silence, then sighs and muted moans. Or perhaps the other way around, first sighs and moans, afterwards murmurs and laughter. But let's continue on ahead, because love needs no witnesses other than glances turned flesh, and, since it is sunlight regardless of the hour, it also undresses shadows.

Come. Let us sit for a bit and let me tell you things. We are in rebel lands. Here live and fight those who are called "zapatistas." And these zapatistas are very otherly...and they despair of more than one of them. Instead of weaving their history with executions, death and destruction, they insist on living. And the vanguards of the world tear at their hair, because, as for "victory or death," these zapatistas neither vanquish nor die, but nor do they surrender, and they despise martyrdom as much as capitulation. Very otherly, it's true. And then there is the one who is said to be their leader, one Sup Marcos, whose public image is closer to that of Cantinflas and Pedro Infante than to Emiliano Zapata's and Che' Guevara's. And it's a waste of time to say that no one will take them seriously that way, because they themselves are the first to joke about their being so otherly.

They are rebel indigenous. Breaking, thus, the traditional preconception, first from Europe and afterwards from all those who are clothed in the color of money, that was imposed on them for looking and being looked at.

And so they do not adapt to the "diabolical" image of those who sacrifice humans to appease the gods, nor to that of the needy indigenous, with his hand extended, expecting crumbs or charity from he who has everything. Nor that of the good savage who is perverted by modernity, nor that of the infant who entertains his elders with gibberish. Nor that of the submissive peon from all those haciendas which lacerated the history of Mexico. Nor that of the skillful craftsperson whose products will adorn the walls of he who despises him. Nor that of the ignorant fool who should not have an opinion about what is further than the limited horizon of his geography. Nor that of someone who is fearful of heavenly or earthly gods.

Because you must know, my blue repose, that these indigenous become angry even at those who sympathize with their cause. And the fact is that they do not obey. When they are expected to speak, they are silent. When silence is expected, they speak. When they are expected to move forward, they go back. When they are expected to keep going back, they're off on another side. When it's expected that they just speak, they break out talking of other things. When they're expected to be satisfied with their geography, they walk the world and its struggles.

Or it's that they're not content with anyone. And it doesn't seem to matter to them much. What does matter to them is for their heart to be content, and so they follow the paths shown by their heart. That's what they seem to be doing now. Everywhere there are people on paths. They are coming and going, barely exchanging the usual greetings. They are spending long hours in meetings or assemblies or whatever. They go in with frowning faces, and they leave, smiling in complicity.

Mmh...

Whatever it is, I am sure that many people will not like what they are going to do or say. In addition, as the Sup says, the zapatistas' specialty is in creating problems and then seeing later who is going to solve them. And so one shouldn't expect much from those meetings other than problems...

Perhaps we might guess what it is about if we look carefully. The zapatistas are very otherly - I don't know if I already told you that - and so they imagine things before those things exist, and they think that, by naming them, those things will begin to have life, to walk...and, yes, to create problems. And so I am sure they have already imagined something, and they are going to begin to act as if that something already exists, and no one is going to understand anything for some time, because, in effect, once named, things begin to take on body, life and a tomorrow.

Then we could look for some clue...No, I don't know where to look...I believe their way is looking with their ears and listening with their eyes. Yes, I know it sounds complicated, but nothing else occurs to me. Come, let's keep on walking.

Look, the stream is turning into a whirlpool there, and in its center the moon is shimmering its sinuous dance. A whirlpool...or a shell.

They say here that the most ancient say that other, earlier ones said that the most first of these lands held the figure of the shell in high esteem. They say that they say that they said that the conch represents entering into the heart, that is what the very first ones with knowledge said. And they say that they say that they said that the conch also represents leaving the heart in order to walk the world, which is how the first ones called life. And more, they say that they say that they said that they called the collective with the shell, so that the word would go from one to the other and agreement would be reached. And they also say that they say that they said that the conch was help so that the ear could hear even the most distant word. That is what they say that they say that they said. I don't know. I am walking hand in hand with you, and I am showing you what my ears see and my eyes hear. And I see and hear a shell, the "pu'y', as they say in their language here.

Ssh. Silence. The dawn has already yielded to day. Yes, I know it's still dark, but look how the huts are filling, little by little, with light from the fire in the stoves. Since now we are shadows in the shadow, no one sees us, but if they did see us, I am sure they would offer us a cup of coffee, which, with this cold, would be appreciated. As I appreciate the pressure of your hand in my hand.

Look, the moon is already slipping away to the west, concealing its pregnant light behind the mountain. It is time to leave, to shelter the journey in the shadow of a cave, there, where desire and weariness are soothed with another, more pleasant weariness. Come, here, I will murmur to you with flesh and words: "And, ay, how I would wish to be/a joy among all joys,/one alone, the joy you would take joy in!/A love, one single love:/the love you would fall in love with./But/I am nothing more than what I am"/ (Pedro Salinas. "La voz a ti debida"). We will no longer be looking at each other there, but, in the half-sleep of desire, moored in a safe harbour, we will be able to listen to that activity which is stirring these zapatistas now, those who insist on subverting even time, and who are once again raising, as if it were an external flag, another calendar...that of resistance."

Shadow and light go. They have not noticed that in a hut a faint light has been kept up all through the night. Now, inside, a group of men and women are sharing coffee and silence, as they shared the word previously.

For several hours these humans with their dusk-colored hearts have traced, with their ideas, a great shell. Starting from the international, their eyes and their thoughts have turned within, passing successively through the national, the regional and the local, until they reached what they call "El Votan. The guardian and heart of the people," the zapatista peoples. And so, from the shell's most external curve, they thought words like "globalization," "war of domination," "resistance," "economy," "city," "countryside," "political situation," and others which the eraser has been eliminating after the usual question: "Is it clear or are there questions?" At the end of the path from outside in, in the center of the shell, only some initials remain: "EZLN." Afterwards, there are proposals, and they paint, in thought and in heart, windows and doors which only they see (among other reasons, because they still don't exist). The disparate and scattered word begins to make common collective path. Someone asks: "Is there agreement? There is," the now collective voice responds affirmatively. The shell is traced again, but now in the opposite path, from inside out. The eraser also continues the reverse path until only one sentence remains, filling the old chalkboard, a sentence which is madness to many, but which is, to these men and women, a reason for struggle: "A world where many worlds fit." A little bit later, a decision is made.

Now is silence and waiting. A shadow goes out into the night rain. A spark of light barely illuminates the eye. Once again smoke rises from his lips in the darkness. With his hands behind his back, he begins a coming and going without destination. A few minutes ago, there, inside, a death has been decided...

(To be continued)

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, July of 2003.

Posted by Jake at 11:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Words Words Words, Part II

I was surprised to see this piece online as well. Democrat Dennis Kucinich actually reaching out to the Green Party and its supporters. What a fucking novel idea.

Open Letter to Nader Voters and the Greens by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich

When we marched against the WTO and the corporate trade regime in Seattle in 1999, we marched together.

When we stood together against the war with Iraq, half-a-million strong in New York City, and 15 million strong throughout the world, we stood together.

When we fought the badly-named "Patriot Act," we fought it together -- and I was the only one running who voted against it.

When we tried to stop this war from starting, we fought it together -- and I was able to pull together 126 of my colleagues to vote no to war last fall, working with my friend and ally Barbara Lee, as Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

We stand together in opposition to the death penalty; in support of living wages; in support of boosting alternative energy rather than wars for oil; in support of medicinal marijuana; in opposition to corporate hog farming; in support of organic farming; in opposition to nukes in space; in opposition to Star Wars; in support of cutting the military budget by 15% and applying those funds to public education.

We stand together for national health insurance, Canadian style. We stand together on public financing of campaigns, on same day voter registration, on instant runoff voting. We stand together on civil rights, and equal rights, and human rights. We stand together on voting reforms for ex-felons. We stand together on ending the trade and travel embargoes on Cuba. We stand together in opposition to the current war on drugs, which is all too often a war on the urban poor.

We stand together in demanding that publicly-owned clean water is a human right. We stand together in demanding that the developing world's debt be forgiven, as if it were still the Jubilee Year; and that we act seriously to build a world in which arms sales decline, hunger declines, poverty declines, and human rights increase.

We stand together on rejoining the rest of the world, and signing the Kyoto Treaty, the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Land Mines Ban Treaty, and all the rest of the treaties and agreements and working relationships that the current Administration has so cavalierly tossed aside.

We stand together in opposition to excessive CEO salaries; in opposition to offshore tax havens for corporations; in support of real pension reforms, real SEC enforcement, real crackdowns on corporate scofflaws. And we stand together in opposition to sweetheart deals for corporate friends of this Administration, whether it's Enron wrecking California for profit, the drug companies ripping off seniors and HIV patients and poor people for profit, or Halliburton ripping off Iraqi oil revenues for profit.

I am a Democrat, but I understand that Greens and Nader voters are not just liberal Democrats. Still, I note that in Europe, even when political parties disagree on issues, they are often able to work together with each other in coalition. I'd like to raise that possibility again today. And I note that Ralph Nader has suggested that my candidacy is worth supporting.

We all know we will do better if we work together. Perhaps we can find common ground on issues and principles. I would like to open up that possibility. And I would like to ask that you give serious consideration to my candidacy for President. Because a better world is still possible.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the Democrats are going to make attacking the Greens part of their campaign strategy. It will make them look strong, because they will speak powerful and harshly, in a way that they almost never do. It will tap into the anger that many Democrats and liberals feel towards the Greens because they blame the Greens and Nader for giving us George W. Bush. And it allows them to do all this without having to "unpatriotically" use that same forcefulness in attacking their Republican opponents. And I think this will be a very successful strategy.

Which is depressing.

Posted by Jake at 10:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Words Words Words, Part I

I don't know a damn thing about Merle Haggard except that he's a country western singer who's been around a long time. Well, apparently his newest single bashes the media for its coverage of the Iraq war. But I'm more impressed with this statement on his website:

I don't even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing.... As a country we need to look inward for the answers to the energy of the future. We need to bring down our demands for oil, rebuild some bridges and highways and allow the farmers to grow something that replenishes the soil. Those who don't know what that is, should do some research. The problem is not in Iraq and the answers are not in Iran. I hope were not buried alive beneath this pending financial collapse if the pipeline doesn't get through. Surely everything doesn't depend on oil!

Amen, Merle. All Americans who actually want this country to be a better place should be thinking real hard about how to get there from here. Going along with the president's plan is bullshit. Voting between two partisan plans handed down from on high is bullshit. The solutions, if indeed there are any, are complicated and far-reaching. And you should be thinking about that.

Posted by Jake at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 24, 2003

And Your Little Dog, Too

Wow. The RIAA has lost its mind.

Music-Sharing Subpoenas Target Parents

Yes, in order to stop illegal mp3-trading on the internet, the recording industry is now threatening to sue the parents of file-traders.

If this tactic fails to end file-sharing, I hear the RIAA plans to push old women down the stairs, block out the sun, and steal Christmas.

Posted by Jake at 07:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2003

Bizarro Congress Votes for Public Interest

US House approves bill rolling back FCC TV cap

I'm not speechless, but I'm very surprised!

Lawmakers voted 400-21 for a spending bill for the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies that includes language blocking the FCC from spending money to approve deals in which networks would own stations that collectively reach more than 35 percent of the national audience.

The agency last month raised the limit to 45 percent from 35 percent -- sparking a firestorm of criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress who argue it could reduce local reporting and the diversity of viewpoints.

The summary is that half of the Congress, the House, voted pretty overwhelmingly to keep TV oligopoly at it's pre-June 2003 levels, but did not roll back more general media consolidation (cross-ownership of newspapers, TV and radio stations). When the budget bills hit the Senate, there will certainly be a fight over this, but there is a surprising level of bipartisan support for this rollback. As I noted earlier today, Bush had pre-emptively threatened to veto a spending bill that had rollback in it, so the results of this struggle are pretty uncertain.

Now that I see that there is actually a chance of defeating the FCC's policy, I'll keep you posted about ways you can get involved (mainly fax and call-in opportunities sponsored by groups like MediaReform.net).

Even if we win this battle, things aren't happy in medialand. This can only be one step towards wresting control of the media from our corporate masters. As I've said before, I heartily support pirate TV and radio, and encourage everyone to give it a try. They're our airwaves, not theirs.

Posted by Jake at 03:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, at the Ministry of Truth...

Remember last week, when the Bush administration told us that January's Niger-uranium-speech gaffe was all the fault of George Tenet?

Well, that was last week. This week, history is different.

This week, we learn that the CIA was not to blame for the gaffe, it was all the fault of deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley. He'd read the reports about the forged Niger documents back in October 2002, but somehow failed to recall them when the State of the Union was being finalized. "I should have recalled ... that there was controversy associated with the uranium issue... it is now clear to me that I failed... The high standards that the president set with his speeches were not met... We had opportunities here to avoid this problem. We didn't take them."

So last week the CIA was to blame, and now the CIA is not to blame and a deputy security adviser is the one who screwed up. How do we reconcile that with last week's story? We forget it ever happened, like good citizens.

Hadley may have been Condoleeza Rice's assistant, but to suggest that maybe she knew the Niger claims were false and allowed them to be put into the State of the Union anyway would be quite irresponsible.

Quite.

Cough cough.

Posted by Jake at 11:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sons of Bitches Strike Back

Back in June, the FCC continued its pattern of ignoring the public interest by allowing media conglomerates to own even larger percentages of the media market. Some members of Congress have actually started fighting against these new changes, which I was quite happy to hear about.

Now,

White House Threatens Veto on Media-Ownership Cap

The Bush administration is threatening to veto a big spending bill if Congress continues fighting the FCC's pro-media consolidation policies.

Fucking assholes, man.

Fun quote from the article:

"The four major networks, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, Viacom Inc.'s CBS, News Corp. Ltd.'s Fox and General Electric Co.'s NBC oppose any attempt to roll back the new, higher ownership cap."

I'd imagine they do.

Posted by Jake at 08:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2003

Divine Intervention

McDonald's yesterday insisted it was not the work of Satan

Yeah, they say that, but...

Posted by Jake at 05:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hate to Say I Told You So

Back in April of 2002, I wrote some of my very first LMB pieces about a fellow named Jose Bustani, then-head of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons:

The short version is that the US government is trying to get Jose Bustani, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fired from his job. The OPCW is one of the most successful disarmament agencies in history and has done great things under Bustani's leadership ... So why does the US want to get him fired?

...Bustani's agency is so well-known for its impartiality and fairness, it looks as though Iraq may agree to allow OPCW inspectors into the country to search for chemical weapons. If the inspectors can verify that there are no chemical weapons in Iraq, the US rationale for invading Iraq crumbles. For some reason, George W. seems hell-bent on invading Iraq and has trotted out the flimsy excuse that Iraq has "weapons of mass destruction." If Bustani and the OPCW can disprove that excuse, George W's evil schemes are foiled.

Of course, that's not how the US tells it. They accuse Bustani of a poor "management style," "financial mismanagement," "bias," and "ill-considered initiatives." The US seems to be the only country that feels this way though. The US asked Brazil to recall him; they refused. They proposed a vote of no confidence; they lost. In May 2000, Bustani was elected unanimously to continue his work of the OPCW. And yet the US may get its wish just the same.

Apparently, the US holds many of the purse-strings for the OPCW, and will force another vote on Bustani this coming Sunday. The US seems poised to demand that Bustani resign or it will allow the OPCW to wither and die.

On April 22, 2002, the U.S. was successful in its efforts, and Bustani was ousted from the position. As I stated above, the entire thing was fishy, and seemed to most probably be a tactic to facilitate war on Iraq.

Now, more than a year later:

U.N. labor agency says chemical weapons chief was wrongly dismissed at U.S. insistence

The International Labor Organization, a U.N. body charged with arbitrating labor disputes at the United Nations and other international institutions, said that Bustani was improperly dismissed and awarded him $56,700 in damages to be paid by the organization.

It said that while the United States had followed procedures, Bustani should have had a chance to defend himself in a court free of political pressures.

The OPCW is charged with ridding the world of chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities. It has 153 member countries, including the world's two largest possessors of chemical weapons, the United States and Russia. Member countries are subject to inspections of weapons and chemicals banned under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

If OPCW chemical weapons inspectors had gone to Iraq and, like U.N. weapons inspectors, failed to find banned chemical weapons, it could have hurt the Bush Administration's case for war...

In February 2002, The U.S. government began lobbying to have Bustani removed, saying he had not performed his job properly. However, government representatives declined to detail allegations of mismanagement, abuse of power and "destruction of staff morale." Bustani always denied wrongdoing.

Bustani called the ruling a "great relief," telling The Associated Press that he would donate the damages he won to an international cooperation program at the OPCW, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

And he's going to just give his money away? What a class act. I like this guy.

It's too late, but it's still nice to hear about justice being served, even in small portions.

Posted by Jake at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2003

07-21-03

Quarashi- Stick Em Up
Ricanstruction- Abu Jamal
Victims Family- Anti-Satan Song for Mom
The Von Bondies- Going Down
The Cure- Blood
Nirvana- Come As You Are
mcclusky- What We've Learned
International Noise Conspiracy- Capitalism Stole My Virginity
Nas- Get Down
The Faint- Your Retro Career Melted (Ursula 1000 mix)
Sleater-Kinney- Youth Decay
Panjabi MC- Soundz of the Des
Mr. Lif & Edan- Get Wise '91
Muddy Waters- Nineteen Years Old
Against Me!- Y'all Don't Wanna Step to Dis
Nine Inch Nails- Into the Void
Hot Hot Heat- Talk to Me, Dance with Me
Radiohead- Backdrifts
Roni Size & Zack de la Rocha- Center of the Storm
Outkast- The Whole World
Fishbone- Party at Ground Zero

Posted by Jake at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Compassionate Smoke & Mirrors

When I first heard about Bush's plans to help with the African AIDS crisis, I knew there would be exaggerations and loopholes. But the situation is so much worse I can scarcely believe it.

First, Bush promises to send $15 billion in aid to Africa over the next five years, $3 billion of it 2004.

Then, Congress votes to only allocate funds for $2 billion in 2004, a billion short of what was promised (watch for more of this "Bush loudly promises, Congress quietly denies" in the future).

Then, Congress votes (with White House support) to devote one-third of the money to abstinence-only education as the means to fight AIDS.

Then, Congress votes (with White House support) to allow religious organizations receiving this funding to "reject strategies they consider objectionable." Why the hell are religious organizations getting this money? And I wonder which religious organizations W is going to choose to give money to...

Let's call all that terrible shit above Part One.

Part Two is a "follow the money" game.

Of the $3 billion that Bush wanted to send to Africa next year, only $200 million will go to the highly effective UN Global AIDS fund. Where will the rest go?

Our first clue: to run this $15 billion plan, Bush selected Randall L. Tobias. He has no experience working with AIDS, and no experience with Third World countries. His primary "qualification" to run this plan is that he used to be-- wait for it-- CEO of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

Yeah.

To put it bluntly, the largest obstacles to effective measures to curb the African AIDS epidemic are pharmaceutical giants like Eli Lilly. The big drug companies hold the patents on AIDS medications, and sell them at hugely inflated prices relative to the actual cost of their manufacture (the article above says that the full-price cost of a year's worth of AIDS treatment is $12,000, but you can get the generic version for $300). Obviously, the largely impoverished population of Africa-- the ones most likely to be infected, of course-- can't afford these drugs, so they suffer and die. When governments of some of these stricken nations try to use their internationally-sanctioned right to import or produce generic versions of these drugs to treat their people, the big drug companies lean on them. Hard. Lawsuits, pulled loans, economic sanctions, that sort of thing.

Cuz, y'know, if countries started manufacturing their own drugs, it would weaken the drug companies' copyright control and profits.

(Actually, two key players who helped pressure the African continent to die for Big Pharma were Bill Clinton and Al Gore. I want all you liberals to remember that. Clinton and Gore were better than W., but they were still scum).

So, to sum up:

- Bush AIDS aid is a smaller amount than expected
- Bush AIDS aid will server as a reward to his religious supporters and as a bribe to solicit their future support
- Bush AIDS aid will largely go back into the pockets of large pharmaceutical corporations, who will likely in turn support Bush and his fellow Republicans' upcoming election campaigns
- Bush, Congress, and all major drug company execs should be savagely beaten and left to die, just outside of a hospital they can't afford

In a slightly related story, pro-lifers and Congressional Republicans are looking to cut funding to the UN Population Fund because they think it supports abortions in China. Blogger/cartoonist Ampersand demolishes these claims and shows how attacking this Fund actually hurts the anti-abortion movement.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.
- William Somerset, Seven

Posted by Jake at 12:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 18, 2003

Show Big Brother a Little Crimethink

Minister of Justice John Ashcroft will be visiting Portland, Oregon Friday, 6/18, at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse at 11:30am. Apparently this was a last minute announcement:

A Portland Police Bureau spokesman said officials learned about the visit Tuesday, so he was not certain whether activists would have time to plan a large protest.

"This is a very short notice event," said Sgt. Brian Schmautz. "To my knowledge, the public is just now learning of it. We are monitoring the situation, and we will be working with the federal government to provide the appropriate security and crowd control."

Any LMB Portland readers that are able, do us a favor and go prove Sgt. Schamautz wrong, and show Ashcroft a little love on our behalf, would ya?

[Thanks to Emma]

Posted by Jake at 12:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2003

New Garrick in Palestine

For those of you who are long-time LMB readers, you'll remember my site "Reports from Palestine". My friend Garrick and his friend Tamara went to the Occupied Territories in the summer of 2002, and emailed back stories of their experiences. I simply turned em into html and posted them to my website so that more people could read them.

Now, in July 2003, Garrick has returned to Palestine for more humanitarian and peace work, and he's again sending his email reports. I realized that it would be easier to do the posting by putting it in blog form, so here it is:

Reports from Palestine

The url, if you want to pass it around, is www.straybulletins.com/palestine

I've also included all of Garrick's reports from 2002 on the blog. And if I can figure out a way to integrate it without confusing the readers, I'll try to add Tamara's reports as well.

Not too much news from Garrick yet, he had just gotten into Jerusalem in his last update. Stay tuned.

Posted by Jake at 07:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 16, 2003

Meet the New Asshole, Same as the Last Asshole

Everyone say hello to new White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan:

Q Two quick questions, one on Iraq. When the President said of Saddam Hussein, we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in and he wouldn't let them in, why didn't he say that, when the inspectors went into Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: What he was referring to was the fact that Saddam Hussein was not complying with 1441, that he continued his past pattern and refused to comply with Resolution 1441 of the United Nations Security Council, which was his final opportunity to comply. And the fact that he was trying to thwart the inspectors every step of the way, and keep them from doing their job. So that's what he's referring to in that statement.

Q But that isn't what he said...

Welcome aboard, Scott!

Posted by Jake at 07:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 15, 2003

Big Picture

I can understand why all the bloggers and pundits and journalists and some Democrats are leaping on this Bush-Niger-Uranium story. It's a chink in the presidential armor, the first scandal that might actually stick to the Teflon Idiot. And aiding the effort to exploit this weakness is certainly a noble cause.

If you want to work with that hit squad and argue the nuances of what Tenet or Condi or Georgie knew and when, feel free. I just don't want us to get sidetracked or red herringed. So to keep us focused:

The bottom line is that the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq as early as December 2001, and everything else was a PR exercise to win domestic and foreign support. I have examined every bit of public pre-war WMD evidence, and none of it added up to "Iraq is a threat." The force with which the Bush administration tried to push this war showed that they had a reason to want to invade, but the faulty public reason they gave could not possibly be their true reason. Which meant that their had to be another, secret, publicly unacceptable reason that they wanted to invade Iraq. And to date, the best reason I've seen that explains Bush's actions is the "we want to reshape the political landscape in the entire Middle East" scenario. Which made me uncomfortable, because it sounded so conspiracy theory, but truly, it was the best explanation among many.

So the issue of whether or not Bush knew that the Niger-Iraq-uranium documents were forged at the time of his speech is pretty insignificant in contrast. Bush and his team of soulless set out to trick the nation (and create a "coalition of the willing") into supporting a war to enhance U.S. global dominance. If this scandal can take the motherfucker down, so be it, but let's not lose the forest for the trees.

Posted by Jake at 11:49 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Fine Print

If I understand this and this correctly, the Food and Drug Administration is going to make it easier for the grocery industry to lie to you.

Allegedly, this is to get consumers more scientific information about the claims made on food packaging. Any claim made on the package will have to be "rated" by the amount of existing scientific evidence to back up that claim. But the "ratings" just have to be a number or letter off of this FDA Report Card. So you could go to the supermarket and see a bag of chips that says "CURES CANCER - D" and "INCREASES PENIS SIZE - D" and still be in compliance with the law.

If you didn't now about these new scientific ratings (and if I hadn't randomly run across these articles, I know I wouldn't have), you might be fooled by the claims made by some food labels. Which is exactly what the FDA's rule is supposed to be preventing. Good work, fellas.

Posted by Jake at 08:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Short Term Memory

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

- President George W. Bush, July 14, 2003 [emphasis added]

Um...

So I guess Hans Blix and his pals in UNMOVIC were just in Iraq for vacation from 11/27/02 03/18/03?

While Bush complains about "revisionist historians," he's going for his PHd in the subject.

Posted by Jake at 08:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 14, 2003

Bullshit at the Grassroots

Counterspin Central does a little digging about the suspicious-sounding Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America organization. The SUVOA has started an ad campaign to counter a slew of anti-SUV messages that have spread throughout the nation.

It should take you all of about 4 seconds to deduce that this is a corporate-sponsored front group that gives the illusion of popular support to a corporate-friendly position.

Took me a couple of minutes, but after googling the SUVOA's mailing address, I found the info I was looking for. The SUVOA office was shared by several other front-group-sounding orgs: the American Highway Users Alliance, the Heartland Institute, the Global Environmental Management Initiative, and completely coincidently, PR firm Stratacomm Inc..

And if we had any lingering doubts, we could look at the list of Stratacomm's client list:


  • DaimlerChrysler
  • American Automobile Manufacturers Association
  • Ford Motor Company

Posted by Jake at 05:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time Dilation

When testifying before the Senate last week, Donald Rumsfeld claimed that he'd only learned "in recent days" about the forged documents claiming Iraq was buying enriched uranium from Niger.

Yesterday, on This Week, George Stephanopoulos got Rumsfeld to admit that he'd learned about the forgeries on March 8.

Personally, I wouldn't count something that happened four months ago as "recent days." Not only that, but March 8 was before the war began! So it's not like Rumsfeld learned after the fact about these lies, he learned about them in a pre-war context. Well, that's if you believe Rumsfeld at all. And I don't.

Sadly, this is usually as good as our news media gets. They don't try to get to the truth or dig for exposes, at their most helpful, they simply try to catch public figures lying. That's it. If you don't talk to the press, or refuse to utter that sentence that will contradict one of your previous sentences, you're pretty much untouchable.

Okay, that's hopefully my only concession to the Uraniumgate coverage.

Posted by Jake at 07:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2003

Gimme My Radio

And I will be resuming my radio show this Monday (7/14) as usual.

Posted by Jake at 09:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Non-News

Nice quote I found on a random blog:

Look motherfucker, you don't need a Humvee. Not at all. Not even the pretty yellow one.

You're a dentist, not the right leg of Voltron.

And here's an unusual surreal photo-comic strip (the latest one [July 11] isn't that great, skip back a few). I'm not sure why, but this one strikes me as particularly genuine.

And for the broadband-inclined, here's a video clip that answers the age old question, "what would it look like to do a live-action parody of The Matrix about Japanese ping-pong?"

Sorry folks, that's just how my brain's working today.

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

July 12, 2003

Homecoming

I'm back. I'll tell you the story when I get a chance.

Posted by Jake at 09:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 10, 2003

"Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others."
-Emma Goldman

Posted by Jake at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2003

Missouri Says Hello

Hello folks.

A brief note from a hotel room in Kansas City, the one not actually in Kansas, but in a state next to Kansas.

One show down in my brief three-show jaunt with the Lollapalooza tour. I made it through show #1 in Nobleville, Indiana alive, despite torrential rains and doing clever things like running through an epic thunderstorm carrying a 15-foot metal ladder. Apparently weather around the Midwest can turn on a dime, going from oppressive sun and heat to downpours and back one or more times a day. All I know for sure is that the Lollapalooza crowd seemed unfazed by their drenching and skies run amuck with lightning.

Our Axis of Justice booth is not going as planned, but is going quite well just the same (speaks highly of the powers of chaos and flexibility, I'd say). At the Indiana show, we had help from Boxcar Books, the Center for Sustainable Living, and Amnesty International. We also showed some nice documentaries from IndyMedia, Big Noise Films, Educating for Justice, and the Cascadia Media Collective (check out some of that last one, that shit was hardcore) on massive TV screens donated to us by Sony-- which ironically puts us into opposition with Lollapalooza sponsor Xbox (incidentally, I have it on good authority that Xbox consoles are made in sweatshops in the Czech Republic and Hungary. I'm thinking of putting a sign with this information in our tent).

I know I can and should tell y'all a vivid tale of my adventures, but I am a really, really lazy human being (someday I'll figure out how my lazy ass became a workaholic). Short version: Lollapalooza = retail hell, Midwest lightningstorms will blow your mind, and Jake's shoes are unlikely to survive their long soaking in the Indiana mud.

Posted by Jake at 08:33 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 03, 2003

Mini-palooza

Well today's the day. I fly out to oversee the first week of our Axis of Justice political activism tent for the Lollapalooza concert tour. First stop Indianapolis, then Kansas City, then St. Louis, then I get flown back to Los Angeles to oversee from afar. Should be an interesting adventure, travelling with a rock tour, visiting parts of the country I haven't yet seen, meeting activists from far away, etc. (and fighting the forces of Clear Channel, who's machinations could possibly make our tent suck, despite our best efforts. Well, we'll see what happens).

Either there will be no posts from me for about a week, or sporadic "Jake on the Road" entries during the next 8 days, we'll see how energetic and internet-adjacent I am. In the meantime, y'all behave yourselves.

Posted by Jake at 03:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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.

All brought to you by Jake Sexton, The Most Beloved Man in America ģ.


contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

Media News

July 24, 2003

And Your Little Dog, Too

Wow. The RIAA has lost its mind.

Music-Sharing Subpoenas Target Parents

Yes, in order to stop illegal mp3-trading on the internet, the recording industry is now threatening to sue the parents of file-traders.

If this tactic fails to end file-sharing, I hear the RIAA plans to push old women down the stairs, block out the sun, and steal Christmas.

Posted by Jake at 07:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
More Media News

Quotes

"Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others."
-Emma Goldman

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Design and Layout by Mark McLaughlin and Quang Tang
LMB Logo by Quang Tang

Alt "One Hell of a Leader" logo largely stolen from Obey Giant.
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