Lying Media Bastards

June 30, 2004


Our pals at the Ironic Times present the following:

Iraq Turnover Schedule, June 30, 2004

1:00 PM: Pre-Turnover Special hosted by Dennis Miller
2:00 PM: Donald Rumsfeld gives ceremonial prisoner leash to Iraqi Security Force
3:00 PM: U.S.-Iraqi Glee Club sings “Proud to Be an American”
4:00 PM: Iyad Allawi declares martial law
4:30 PM: Jerry Falwell leads the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in "Onward Christian Soldiers"
5:00 PM: Flag ceremony/Ann Coulter striptease, music by U.S. Marine Band
6:00 PM: Civil war officially begins

Posted by Jake at 01:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Liberated, Inside a Tiny Box

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!

Posted by Jake at 01:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2004


Asian Dub Foundation- Naxalite
Radiohead- Sail to the Moon
The Soviettes- Paranoia! Cha Cha Cha
Body Count- Copkiller
The Dropkick Murphys- Tenant Enemy #1
The Dresden Dolls- Coin-Operated Boy / Girl Anachronism
King Missile- The Commercial
Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA (live acoustic)
Eric B & Rakim- Let the Rhythm Hit Em
The Von Bondies- Cryin'
Lard- Can God Fill Teeth?
REM- World Leader Pretend (live acoustic)
DJ Dangermouse & Jemini- Bush Boys
Queens of the Stone Age- You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire
Harry Belafonte- Matilda
Ozomatli- Believe
Hillbilly Hellcats- Rockabilly Rebel
Nine Inch Nails- Sin
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Six Barrel Shotgun
Against Me!- Baby I'm an Anarchist

Posted by Jake at 11:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

Achilles Heel

I'm not that interested in the story of Cheney's use of the F-word last week (the man's an asshole. Why are we surprised that he cussed somebody out?)

But apparently, what set Cheney off was Senator Patrick Leahy's "criticism about alleged improprieties in Iraq military contracts awarded to Halliburton Co.", Cheney's former company (well, kinda former).

So... if pointing out the ties between Cheney and Halliburton and military contracts makes the vice president come unglued, I think y'all know what we have to do.

Dick Cheney: Soldier of Fortune
Cheney Continues to Have Financial Ties to Halliburton
Cheney's Close Ties to Brown and Root
(Halliburton subsidiary)
Cheney, Halliburton and the Spoils of War

Hee Hee.

[Cheney articles courtesy of]

Posted by Jake at 10:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cast Changes

Congratulations to my friends Cory and Jane Allen, who gave birth to a reddish, spikey-haired, and rather adorable little girl last week.

Welcome aboard, Emily Rose Allen.

Posted by Jake at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Uniter Not a Divider

10,000 Protest Bush in Ireland

40,000 Protest Bush in Turkey

Last week,

Thousands protest Bush in India

And if you read that article, you see Indian Muslims and Indian Hindus set aside their differences to scream at the US president.

[mostly via Bombs and Shields]

Posted by Jake at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Penninsula

I'm not an expert on North Korea, so I never said much about the wierdness of US-Korean relations. The little research that I've done on the subject says that: a) Kim Jong Il is a little nutty; b) South Korea and North Korea were starting to work out their problems until Bush and his pals fucked things up; c) North Korea seemed willing to give over their nuclear weapons so long as they got heavy fuel oil to run their electrical power plants and some sort of agreement with the US where the US agreed not to invade.

Then, there was pretty much a stalemate for three years.

Now, after lots of threats and bullying, Bush has North Korea right where he wants it. The US has proposed a plan where North Korea would disarm its nuclear weapons in a three-month time period, and in exchange, the US would allow other Asian nations to send North Korea heavy fuel oil, and to give North Korea "security assurances" that it won't invade. Quite different from North Korea's original desires.

This is a deal. For the price of a fairly worthless promise not to invade, and possibly some amount of foreign aid, the US can perhaps take a nuclear player off the board. Why didn't we make this agreement before? Presumably because George W. Bush wants to show the world that he has a big, long, hard cock. Ordering people around and refusing to even listen to what they want makes him feel like a big man, and if anyone says anything, he can just lean back and let them see the bulge in his pants, the crotch stuffed with a $400 billion military budget.

But I do see hope. While the US holds fast to its Threaten and Command doctrine, both North and South Korea seem to be quietly working together to unify their two nations. Again, I'm no expert on Korea, but it looks like the moves are tandem, with no one ordering around anyone else.

Maybe when Bush loses the election, we should have him deported to Korea, so he can learn a thing or two.

Posted by Jake at 09:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 25, 2004


Cursor is a fine news website. They recently posted some want ads for part-time work, so I applied. Part of the application was to provide a sort of real-time "be Cursor editor for a day" sample. I did mine for today. It was quite an effort, and rather than simply let the Cursor folks hog all that effort, I'll go ahead and post it here.

I guess my one regret with this is that Cursor's style and form don't jive with all of my instincts. For example, below I post some links to articles about a sudden, bizarre crackdown on latino immigrants by the Border Patrol in southern California. After the news part, I would've liked to have posted a link to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, an organization that is reaching out to these immigrants who are suddenly facing possible penalties and deportation, or mention that LA Spanish language talk radio station KWKW (1300 AM) is allegedly giving updates on locations where the Border Patrol is or may raid. But I know Cursor well enough to know that that would not be appropriate to their format. So you get it here.

Anyhow, onto the Jake/Cursor sample. I hope it's good, some of it was done on very little sleep.

25 June 2004

Two inside looks at the Iraqi resistance: Asia Times interviews a group of ex-Ba’athist generals who claim that the insurgency was planned long before the war began, and a Guardian reporter talks to resistance fighters on the frontlines in Kerbala, Falluja and Sadr City.

The United States is reportedly taking a softer stance in its disarmament negotiations with North Korea. The proposal would provide North Korea with security assurances and heavy fuel oil, but may have been jeopardized by North Korea’s threat to proceed with nuclear testing.

Colin Powell will visit Sudan next week to pressure the government to end the seemingly genocidal violence taking place in the western part of the country. Also: aid workers in the Sudanese capital accuse the government of blocking food supplies to the region to starve the people there.

Although the Supreme Court has ruled that Vice President Dick Cheney does not need to turn over secretive documents about his 2001 Energy Task Force, he still seems to be feeling some strain.

In other White House legal news, George W. Bush was interviewed as part of the Valerie Plame leak investigation, and Ted Olson resigns as Solicitor General.

A Los Angeles Times editorial discusses a recent, surprising crackdown on illegal immigrants, mostly latinos, by the Border Patrol. Several hundred have been arrested, and thousands are keeping to their homes in fear. Local organizations claim that these new tactics are nothing more than racial profiling.

A federal appeals court repealed the FCC’s 2003 media ownership rule changes, which allowed single companies to own significantly more media outlets in a single market.

Media Matters reports on the first broadcast of, a new conservative talk radio program produced by the National Rifle Association, which featured call-ins from Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy; the NRA claims that this makes that they are a "media organization", not an "advocacy organization" and therefore are not subject to many campaign finance restrictions.

Latest article by muckraker Greg Palast finds that one million African-American votes went uncounted in the 2000 election. He blames this the "spoilage game," where some voters are given the chance to correct errors in the "spoiled" ballots, and others are not…

The Blogging of the President examines more than half a dozen single-factor methods of predicting the outcome of the 2004 election

Al Gore gave a speech yesterday accusing the Bush administration of "intentionally misleading" the American people about terrorism and Iraq. Republicans respond by announcing the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed", releasing a montage of video footage suggesting that John Kerry and his fellow Democrats are crazed, irrational and angry.

After the release of his new book, the right-wing bashes Bill Clinton’s immorality all over again. But at the same time, liberal bloggers are now seizing on the revelations about Republican senator Jack Ryan, who tried to convince his wife to have sex with him in front of strangers at sex clubs, and are doing some bashing of their own.

President Bush gives an interview to Irish TV station RTE in which he argues that the war on Iraq has not inspired any acts of terrorism, that the world is "becoming a safer place", and that the torture at Abu Ghraib prison was the work of "a few soldiers."

Although still stressing abstinence and morality above all, Bush admits that condom use can help prevent the spread of AIDS.

Fahrenheit 9/11 breaks records in New York, wins over critics, and inspires a conservative counter-film festival in Dallas.

Posted by Jake at 09:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Read a fun review of reviews of the new Clinton book. I got a good chuckle when the blogger referred to a popular blow-dried Fox News host as "Sean 'I Have No Soul' Hannity". But that can be shortened into a better nickname. "Hannity the Soulless." Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I admit, the nickname doesn't really fit his personality. Hannity is, more than anything else, smug. He's arrogant too, but more smug. So smug that if you touched him with a tree branch, the power of his smugness would set it ablaze.

So Hannity is smug, arrogant, and not overly bright. But perhaps his most profitable trait is his ability to live in the now. Is what he's saying different from what he said yesterday? Is he ignoring important historical facts? Did he forget what his opponent said just ten seconds ago? Is what he's saying now going to bite him in the ass in a few days? None of that matters to Sean "In the Now" Hannity. As long as he can stay firmly, myopically, eerily in the present, none of that can touch him.

All the same, I still like the name "Hannity the Soulless." I might spend the rest of the day trying to think up fun nicknames for our conservative friends.

Or, hopefully, I might not.

Posted by Jake at 08:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Don't know how much longer I can stand this jackhammer shit. YO!! JACKHAMMER GUY!! GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!

Posted by Jake at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

Little Non-Losses

About a year ago, the FCC voted to relax ownership rules for mass media outlets, making it easier for a large media conglomerate to become a huge media conglomerate.

The rule change faced a surprising backlash. The public was actually angry about this, and some legislators actually took notice.

This week, the relaxed ownership rules have taken a double hit.

First, the Senate voted to overturn the deregulation (on the downside, the Senate then voted yes on two pro-censorship bills, one increasing fines on broadcast stations that air "indecent" material, and another looking to study the V-chip and possibly ban violent TV during times when children watch a lot). I presume that the House needs to vote on a similar bill before this would become law.

Then, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals sent the FCC packing. It blocked the implementation of the new FCC rules, and told the FCC to take its new regulations back for revision.

Granted, this just takes us back to the fairly shoddy ownership rules that we had last year.

Which is why I'm in favor of broadcast piracy. Big corporations used the government to hijack our airwaves. Hijack em back.

Posted by Jake at 02:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 23, 2004


The New Blue Gold- interview with makers of "Thirst", a new documentary about corporate attempts to privatize the world's water supply.

The end of violence?- possible good news about the ongoing and ignored genocide in western Sudan. The Sudanese government has finally agreed to crack down on the militias doing the killing. Sadly, this sentence sums up where we stand: "It remains to be seen whether the Sudanese government can effectively curb the killing, or even whether it is sincere."

1 million black votes didn't count in the 2000 presidential election- according to Greg Palast, 1.9 million ballots were not counted in the 2000 election, and over half of those 1.9 million were ballots cast by African-Americans. He describes a system in which many ballots are "spoiled", when voters make extra marks on the voting paper; in predominantly white counties, voters are often given a chance to redo their messed up ballots, while in predominantly black counties, they aren't.


I should mention that in the SF Chronicle, where I found the article, printed this article on page E-3 of the Sunday edition. I have only seen the online version, but that seems to fit the definition of "burying a story".


Left Behind- for some reason, American Christianity largely allies itself with the right wing. But this article argues that there might be a shift, that the National Association of Evangelicals, a religious organization representing tens of millions, wants to take a step back and analyze their political decisions instead of automatically throwing in with the Republicans.

A Marketer's Dream: Your Cell Phone- advertisers will soon ruin your life by sending spam text messages to your cell phone.

Microsoft Research DRM talk- transcribed talk with humor and plain English, explaining to Microsoft why the company's copyright protection efforts are not only doomed to failure, but is a terrible idea in and of itself.

Posted by Jake at 10:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Celebrity Poker

Ah, sweet satire.

Fictional poker game with Dick Cheney yields comical results. A veritable who's who of politicians and pundits are skwered.

I think my favorite bit was the line from Alan Colmes.

Go read, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Posted by Jake at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


All roads lead to desperate.

[via Xoverboard, who remarks "You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."]

Posted by Jake at 01:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2004

Speed Reading

So Bill Clinton's book of memoirs has just been released, and I'm sure it will be all the rage on the talk TV and talk radio circuit. But the thing's 900 freakin pages long! How many of these pundits do you think will make sure to read the book before giving their opinion of it? How many will say "I haven't read the book yet, but it seems that..." to preface their comments?

And how many will just read the snippets from a one-page press release and their party's talking points for the day and figure that that's all they need?


I'm baffled by this book anyway. I don't want to read it, and I can't think of any reason that anyone else would want to.

Posted by Jake at 09:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Seems like now might be a good time for us all to re-pass around Ugga Bugga's Quotes on Al Qaeda, what with all the "we never said that" stuff coming from Cheney & co.

Ugga Bugga's list is a small database of quotes from Bush administration officials asserting links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Unfortunatley, the list is limited almost entirely to quotes of 2002, but it's a good start.

If someone's got a more complete list, let's get that passed around. We know that when something's popular in the blogosphere, it sometimes breaks into the liberal areas of the mainstream media, to the TV debate shows, and then sometimes into mainstream news coverage. Let's make some ripples.


David D reminds me of a much richer database, Iraq on the Record, commissioned by Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman


Posted by Jake at 09:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Sorry for abandoning the LMB radio show yesterday. I was busy coping with a fairly nasty case of food poisoning, and figured that perhaps y'all wouldn't appreciate your sarcastic political commentary with a side of audio dry heaves. Well, that, and I completely felt like shit and just wanted to stay curled up in a little ball in bed.

But some tips on coping with food poisoning:

1) Keep hydrated, but drinking Gatorade and sports drinks is probably not the best way. From what I've read, those drinks have so much sugar in them that they could actually prolong the food poisoning symptoms.

2) Instead, you should go for spefically made for rehydration, like Pedialyte. The cherry flavor of which is pretty nasty, I've discovered.

3) A dietician friend of mind also recommended taking charcoal pills, as they are good at absorbing toxins in the digestive system.

Today I feel great. Not really, but I feel normal, and compared to how I felt most of this weekend, I may as well be high.

Posted by Jake at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies

It began Monday. Dick Cheney was giving a speech at the conservative Florida think tank The James Madison Institute. As part of his speech, he announced that Saddam Hussein "had long-established ties with Al-Qaida." I can't say for sure if Cheney was telling the truth, because I don't know what exactly he means by "ties". If he means "insinutations and wisps of unsupported fact," then yes, there are long established "ties" between the two. But, I'm pretty sure he meant for his audience to interpret his words to mean "Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida are a bunch of dirty Arabs who are working together to kills us all, destroy our freedom, and grope our white virginal daughters." In which case, he was throwing monster fibs.

On Wednesday, the 9/11 investigation commission announced that there was no credible evidence that Iraq and Al-Qaida worked together to plan the 9/11 attack, and said that it looked like Al-Qaida had tried to form a relationship with Iraq, but that Iraq had turned them down. So while there may be a history of "ties" and "contacts" between the groups, the commission confirms what many of us skeptics had been fairly certain of for quite some time: that the Saddam [heart] Osama stuff is and always was, bullshit.

At this point, one would expect the Bush administration to engage in some fancy misdirection and backpedaling to avoid looking like fools. To my surprise, they didn't.

Quoth President Dumbass:

The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida.

Bush's logic will come as joyous news to stalkers worldwide: when you ask a girl out and she says no, that's okay, because now you have a "relationship."

Then Cheney went kinda ballistic, blaming the E-vil press corps for "fuzzing up" the distinction between "Iraq-Al-Qaida links" and "Iraq-9/11 links." Hey, you started this "fuzzing up" game, asshole, don't start bitching to us when it turns on you. Jesus, what a waste of a pacemaker battery.

My favorite is the defensive lie of Condoleezza Rice:

"What I believe the 9-11 commission was opining on was operational control, an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq which we never alleged," Rice said in an interview with National Public Radio...

"Operational control to me would mean that he (Saddam) was, perhaps, directing what al Qaeda would do"...

Vice Chairman [of the commission] Lee Hamilton said he was unaware of anyone ever claiming that Saddam had directed al Qaeda.

So Rice tries to cleverly redefine what the 9/11 commission meant, and is corrected by a member of the commission. That's fun.

And finally, let's get to Vladimir Putin:

President Vladimir V. Putin said Friday that Russia gave intelligence reports to the Bush administration suggesting that Saddam Hussein's government was preparing terrorist attacks in the United States or against American targets overseas.

If true, that would certainly bolster the Bush administration's credibility.


But officials at the State Department expressed surprise, saying they knew of no such information from Russia.

Could Putin have made this up to support Bush, a man who supports Putin's own war on the Chechen insurgents? Nah.

Posted by Jake at 03:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 17, 2004

Skeletor Revealed


Rumsfeld ordered prisoner held off the books:

Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held "off the books" — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross and anyone else — in possible violation of international law.

It’s the first direct link between Rumsfeld and questionable though not violent treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

The Iraqi prisoner was captured last July as deadly attacks on U.S. troops began to rise. He was identified as a member of the terrorist group Ansar al Islam, suspected in the attacks on coalition forces.

Shortly after the suspect’s capture, the CIA flew him to an undisclosed location outside Iraq for interrogation. But four months later the Justice Department suggested that holding him outside Iraq might be illegal, and the prisoner was returned to Iraq at the end of October.

That’s when Rumsfeld passed the order on to Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, to keep the prisoner locked up, but off the books.

So the US took this guy prisoner, made no record of it, sent him to be interrogated in the US, but got scared that doing that was a violation of international law. Then they sent him back to Iraq, hid him from the Red Cross, and then, um, lost him.

If there was no "violent treatment", why was the military so keen on hiding this guy from the Red Cross? The most reasonable and benign explanation would be that the military was trying to cover up their prisoner's trip to the US by hiding him from legal monitors like the IRC.

Or, the military beat the fuck out of him and didn't want to get caught. Either way.

But if these "Pentagon officials" are for real, violations of the Geneva Convention and possibly orders about torture itself go all the way to the White House, to Bush's Secretary of Defense.

Honestly, this almost sounds made up. How could the head of the US military, with its hundreds of bases and millions of personnel, be such a micro-manager? "After you hide the prisoner, take care of that machine gun cache in that ditch next to Imam al-Mehdi Street. And then fill up the all soap dispensers in the bathrooms at Camp X-Ray."

But if it's true, and Rumsfeld was directly involved with authorizing torture, or at least ordering violations of the Geneva Convention...

And since you've read this whole article so patiently, you deserve the kicker:

Pentagon officials still insist Rumsfeld acted legally, but admit it all depends on how you interpret the law.



A commenter has pointed out that I misread the article a bit and that the prisoner was just taken "outside Iraq", not necessarily to the United States.



Rumsfeld now seems to be blaming the whole thing on George Tenet.


Posted by Jake at 12:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

That Explains His Obession with Oil

Shocking CIA Leak Reveals DICK CHENEY IS A ROBOT!

This is good news. I haven't read the Constitution in a while, but I'm pretty sure it specifies that the Vice President has to be a human. Which means we can ditch this Cheney chump. Then, all we have to do is prove that the President is some sort of squash or turnip creature, then we're set.

[via Politics in the Zeros]

Posted by Jake at 12:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

Touching Evil

One of the hallmarks of the LMB site is my tradition of announcing that I'm going to do something, and then not doing it.

I announced that last week was going to be "pop culture week" on the site, where I would write about various films and books and whatnot, politically and otherwise. Didn't happen.

So only a week late, I'm getting started. This one ain't so political.

Touching Evil is a newish cop drama on the USA Network. I like to say that it takes place in an "alternate reality San Francisco", because their version of the city is like 80% serial killers. And every week, the members of a special serial killer-catching police force get inside the head of a different serial killer and catch them. That sounds a bit common, of course, but it has several differences from the average cop drama.

The first difference is the show's gimmick. The main character was a brilliant detective who was shot in the head, put into a coma, and has only recently returned to work. He's come back with brain damage, which has ruined many of his social skills and have set his emotions to Intense mode most of the time. We see the extremity of his life and job, and watch him express the grief, fury, and joy it creates. He's a passionate, pained, goofy, loving, unpredictable fellow. Which again, sounds generic, but it works.

The second enjoyable aspect of the show is its tone and atmosphere. The show's music is muffled, melancholy and dreamy, all kinda stolen from the Nine Inch Nails song "A Warm Place" (which in itself was pretty much a theft of David Bowie's song "Crystal Japan"). This music matches nicely with the sequences that go between the main story. These scenes are beautiful time lapse images of San Francisco: glaciers of fog storming the bay with a quickness; city streets streaked with speeding tail lights; sunlight rising and falling on the Golden Gate. In my opinion, all this serves to emphasize the show's inherent sadness, and makes the viewer a bit more introspective and susceptible to the show's moodiness.

And finally, you have the show's characters and their interactions. As the episodes progress, you realize that this is not a crack unit of hard-boiled cops: these are a group of walking wounded. Slowly and carefully, you learn that each of these people is suffering a terrible loss, and has no clue how to cope. So they try to bury it all with cold exteriors, emotional distance and obsessions with their job. With the edition of they hyper-sensitive new detective, these icy barriers soften and fracture, and you catch glimpses of the pain and raw anguish, but also of tenderness, and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, these damaged souls could help each other start to heal.

I might be reading a lot into this, but that's just where I am right now.

Of course, the show has plenty of flaws: plots that sometimes don't quite work, abrupt conflicts or breakthroughs, twists and misdirections that are a tad transparent. And there's no guarantee just yet that it'll even be renewed for a second season. All I know is that as it stands, the show clicks with me, and maybe it'll keep on clicking.

Posted by Jake at 11:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Contractor Immunity a Divisive Issue- the US government wants the new Iraqi government to make all American contractors in Iraq above the law. Happily, it seems like the Iraqi government is resisting this idea.

LA 'on the road to Falluja'?- unfortunately, this article is 80% allegations from a single source-- LA civil rights attorney named Connie Rice-- so I don't know how reliable it all is. But if even half of what she says is true, the situation in the poorer parts of LA are in a terrible state. It sounds as though the police officers patrollng these areas have little training or resources, and therefore respond to the community with violence and repression. Accompanying that, Rice claims that young gang members in the area are actually going out of their way to try to kill cops. Sounds like occupation and insurgency, hence the Falluja reference in the title.

FBI warns of possible ecoterrorism- the term "ecoterrorism" is one of my pet peeves. Frankly, every act called "ecoterrorism" would be more accurately described as "ecovandalism" or "ecosabotage". Terrorists kill; "ecoterrorists" don't. They usually just smash and burn inanimate objects. And yet environmental and animal rights radicals seem to be the main "terrorist" concern in the minds of US law enforcement.

I've got mixed feelings on the issue. Yes, ecovandals are destroying the property of other human beings. But what if they are destroying property that is itself destructive? What if you blew up a factory which was causing massive pollution and damaging people's health? I dunno.

This article is also funny because it shows how police are completely clueless when dealing with activists. The article refers to a "International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers". "Free" was an ecovandal who set fire to three SUVs. I haven't researched him much, but if the short bit I read on his site is to be believed, his jail sentence does sound a bit on the shady side (he was originally charged with a crime that would carry a one-year sentence, which then ballooned into 23 years. For fires that caused about $40,000 in damage...). Anyhow, it appears that exactly zero acts of violence took place on this day of action, and I can't even find any reports of related vandalism. And one activist message board I checked out brought up the point, that if they had been going to take some kind of illegal action, why would they do it on a day that they knew the cops were on alert? Why not wait till another time?.

Anyhow, it looks like this FBI warning did much more to publicize Free's case and promote the various actions/benefits for him than it did to "stop the violence."

City Braces for Grand Old Party- another article about the chaos that will be accompanying the Republican National Convention in a few months. The same cops who are so clueless about environmental activists are going to have to deal with hundreds of activist organizations and hundreds of thousands of activist individuals. The police will likely respond as they usually do, attempting to derail the protests with light violence, civil rights violations, and unsubstantiated pre-emptive arrests. I feel like I should attend the protests, but I'm honestly scared to. I think that NYC during the RNC is as close to a police state as this middle-class white American is likely to see in his lifetime.

Limbaugh: AIDS "hasn't made that jump to the heterosexual community"- yes, the human filth cannon is now claiming that AIDS is only a problem among American gays and "promiscuous" heterosexual Africans. Last I'd heard, AIDS was the number one cause of death among young African-American men. I guess all young African-American men must be gay, because surely Rush would never talk out of his ass like that.

Travesty of Justice- nice Ashcroft bashing piece by Paul Krugman.

When Ignorance Isn't Bliss- "Straight from the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up file, the five congressional votes that everyone in America should know about."

Garfield: Why we hate the Mouse but not the cartoon copycat- apparently, Garfield was never a comic strip, but an carefully-plotted marketing strategy planned by the cartoonist himself. Oh, and the movie sucks.

Last Comic Scandalous- interesting rumor-heavy story that looks behind the reality TV show "Last Comic Standing." Looks like the thing was unbelievably rigged. The article is white text on a white background, so to read it, you'll have to highlight the text with your mouse.

Posted by Jake at 10:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

Cheney Claims al-Qaida Linked to Saddam

Jesus fucking Christ. How many times has this been debunked? And how many times has Cheney made the same fucking claim even though it's been debunked?

Apparently, reporters brought this up to White House spokesman Scott McClellan at today's press briefing. Watch McClellan dodge the questions with the grace of a sleepy walrus.

Reporter: "What about the VP saying Saddam Hussein had long established ties with Al Qaeda?"

McClellan: "Well, um... we know that Saddam gave some money to Palestinian suicide bombers a few times, so to answer your question, yes, Saddam had extensive ties to terrorism. Next ques--"

R: "Sir, that's not what I asked."

M: "Yes it is."

R: "No it isn't."

M: "No?"

R: "No."

M: "...shit."

Posted by Jake at 05:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I'm not sure what happened exactly, but the back end of the blog has been acting funny today. I think I've got things under control now. I think.

Posted by Jake at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The PR firm Russo, Marsh, & Rogers has started a campaign urging people to contact movie theater companies to tell them not to screen Michael Moore's new movie Fahrenheit 9/11. I've got no problem with people trying to use boycotts and letters and whatnot as a means of political action, but there are already claims that crazed conservatives are using the anti-Moore website's info to contact theater owners and intimidate them with death threats. That kind of shit ventures into pre-fascism territory.

But, you can use this PR company's site against them. Their page lists dozens of email addresses for top dogs at most of the major theater chains in the United States. You can easily use that info to write letters of support to the theater chains saying, "please show Fahrenheit 9/11, I want to see it and give you money."

Go to it!

Posted by Jake at 03:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Want Fries with That?

I saw the movie Super Size Me last week, but haven't had the time or energy to review it till now.

I think you all know the premise: guy says "what would happen if I ate nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days?", proceeds to eat only McDonald's food for 30 days, and then finds that it's a lot more harmful than anyone would have predicted.

First off, I have to say that it is a good movie. Most of the time when you see a documentary, you have to put yourself in PBS mode, accepting that you're going to learn something, maybe be intrigued, but you don't really expect to be entertained much. But I actually enjoyed myself watching Super Size Me. It flowed well, and remained interesting and funny through nearly all of its screentime. I'll make the bold claim that director Morgan Spurlock is a better director than the popular Michael Moore.

The movie is much more than advertised; ninety minutes of Man Eating Burger would be a good time for no one. About half the film is Spurlock eating McD's, traveling across the country, and dealing with the consequences of his binge eating. The other half is interviews, facts, and investigative journalism. Spurlock talks to nutritionists, fast food lobbyists, elementary school gym teachers, Big Mac addicts, etc. Spurlock paints a larger picture about American eating habits, health, and corporate exploitation.

The eating habit issue is quite important. We all hear about America's obesity epidemic, which is fucking obscene, given the number of people in this world who die young and malnourished. We all know the cause: a combination of cheap, unhealthy food and a lack of exercise. But there are other factors: ever-decreasing amounts of free time; lack of nutritional education for kids; lack of physical education for kids; lobbying efforts by junk food corporations to confuse the public; and huge, huge, huge advertising efforts by the fast food industry. All of this helps alter American culture and norms towards one in which eating large amounts of unhealthy food and participating in minimal amounts of healthy exercise are quite common, and those who take a more healthful path are seen as unique and exemplary.

Apart from the book Fast Food Nation, I'm not aware of any American cultural product that has managed to spark discussion and thought about these issues among average Americans the way Super Size Me has (although this is somewhat due to defensive corporate PR, which has helped raise the film's visibility). I've been slowly trying to change my own life, eat healthier, eat out less, and exercise more. I've made a bit of progress, and this movie did give me an extra kick in the ass.

Sadly, even eating food that most Americans would consider "healthy" has problems. Meat produced in factory farms with hormones and excess antibiotics; genetically modified vegetables; meals all processed to hell with mysterious chemical additives. I'm not an expert on the subject, so I won't speak much about it, but the more you learn, the more appalled you become.

Anyhow. Super Size Me is good, and you should see it.

Posted by Jake at 03:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004


Against Me!- Jordan's First Choice / Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
Bad Religion- Automatic Man
RJD2- The Horror
The Liars- Mr Your On Fire Mr
Nas- Made You Look
Skinny Puppy- Optimissed
The Catheters- Teenage Trash
Damon Albarn- 4AM at Toumanis
Cuzz Band- I Just Wanna Dance
The Magnetic Fields- Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits
Dangermouse & Jemini- Ghetto Pop Life
Anti-Flag- Captain Anarchy
Bjork- Joga
Madvillain- All Caps
Paris- Ave Bushani / Field Nigga Boogie
The Rezillos- Sombody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight
Richard Cheese- Insane in the Membrane
Non-Prophets- That Ain't Right
Morrissey- Everyday is Like Sunday (live)
Tiger Army- Moonlite Dreams
Portishead- Roads
System of a Down- Sugar (live)
Refused- Life Support Addiction
The Von Bondies- Broken Man

Posted by Jake at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2004

Protest Pics

Two major protests this week. The first was the "Reclaim the Commons" protest, taking place in San Francisco, in response to a meeting of major players in the biotech industry.

San Francisco: Pics from Reclaim the Commons- pics from the first day of this week's anti-biotech protests.

SFIMC Kids Squad- cute yet optimistic photos of very junior members of the San Francisco Independent Media Center

BIO Business Forum- someone got inside the meeting and took some pics...

The other major protest was against the G8 summit meeting on an isolated island off of the Georgia coast. Amazingly, the governor of Georgia declared a pre-emptive State of Emergency in that region before the summit or protests took place.

G8: Pictures from first day of protests

Shock and Awe- protestors try to get to Sea Island. And are... stopped.

G8: Black bloc marches despite use of military to terrorize dissent- pro-Palestinian rally near the G8 summit. Note the scary police/military presence.

Success in Brunswick- let's end on a positive note. I think my favorite pic in that set is the breakdancing guy in the hazmat suit.

You can find plenty more photos at and the Atlanta Independent Media Center.

Posted by Jake at 09:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Link Mob

A Little-Noticed Supreme Court Case Represents A Huge Injustice: The Court Refuses to Free A Man Serving Six Years on a Two-Year Sentence- this is pretty nuts. Fellow gets sentenced to two years in jail for stealing a calculator from Wal-Mart, AND 14 years for being a "habitual felony offender." Except it turns out that he doesn't fit the legal definition of habitual felony offender. So the guy's been in jail for 6 years, guilty of a crime with a maximum sentence of two years. The prosecutors admit that this is true, but are trying to keep him locked up anyway.

More Enron Tapes, More Gloating- those wacky Enronians, so wrapped up in their evil schemes, they joked about how they would destroy the state of California. A lot.

The End of Oil- talk with an author about oil, energy, and geopolitics. Probably the most interesting point (but most obvious, if you actually thought it out) is that "running out of oil" is not an issue; at a certain point, there will be plenty of oil left, but it will be too expensive to find it and extract it.

Senators Back Low-Power Radio- wow. Senators John McCain and Patrick Leahy have proposed a new bill to make it easier to legally broadcast on the radio. "'I look forward to hearing more local artists, local news, local public-affairs programming and community-based programming on low-power FM radio stations throughout the country,' McCain said." Wouldn't have seen that coming.

The Gaza Trip- author argues that Ariel Sharon's current "Get Israel Out of the Gaza Strip" plan is a ruse, and that the Israeli government will never follow through on it. There's a good chance he's right.

Posted by Jake at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

The Kids Are Alright

Had an interesting experience yesterday. I was invited to speak at Ms. Bush's (no relation) journalism class at Josh Marshall High School (apparently the set for several John Hughes movies over the years). I'd like to say that they wanted me as a guest speaker for my expertise in news and media, but I wasn't. I was there so the students could get in some journalistic interview target practice. The teacher likes having folks from all walks of life come in for these sessions, hopefully I didn't bore anybody.

The kids had researched me, so there were a lot of references to stuff I've written on the site, and some of my other projects, which was a bit of a trip. The first question was about what impact I thought George Tenet's resignation would have on the presidential election ("none"), and veered around from writing to protest to media to civil rights. A number of kids were very interested in immigration issues, but I confess to ignorance in that area, so my answers probably let them down. But overall, I think I did pretty well, even synthesizing a few new concepts on the fly, and managing to insert a few subversive ideas here and there. And the students either appreciated me coming in, or were super courteous. I apologize to the fellow who tried to talk to me at the end but was interrupted repeatedly by like 15 people who wanted to shake my hand and say goodbye.

But the main reason I'm writing this is that there is something I wish I'd said while there, and some of those students might come back here and see it:

Student folks: if any of you want to be DJs or news reporters for Kill Radio, you are welcome to join us. The studio's not that far from your school, over by Beverly and Vermont. And sometimes, we're rebroadcast in LA at 104.7FM. Write me if you're interested in KR.

And to finish off my high school subversion, I'll have to recommend that y'all read Days of War, Nights of Love as an rough, elegant little work on dissent, free thinking and free living, with lots of art, heart and anger.

Posted by Jake at 01:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 09, 2004

Basic Training


Okay, an Army officer named Sean Baker was released from service on a medical discharge back in April.

According to Baker, during a training session in Guantanamo Bay, he "posed as an uncooperative prisoner and was beaten so badly by four U.S. soldiers that he suffered a traumatic brain injury, requiring a medical discharge" (if I understand properly, the beating has caused Baker to suffer frequent seizures). He said that one of the soldiers "slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me." "The soldiers only stopped beating him when they realized he might be American."

But the abuse and beatings and torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, that was just a few bad apples. Nothing widespread or systematic.

The army admits that the beating was part of the reason for Baker's discharge (after initially denying the two things were related).

[via This Modern World]

Posted by Jake at 06:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2004


Afghan children fall prey to killers who trade human organs- too awful for comment.

Civil liberties and the MBTA- "Reports that the MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, in Boston] is implementing a first-in-the-nation plan to stop subway passengers for random identification checks and to question them about their activities at T-stops should alarm anyone who worries about civil liberties."

Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror"The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists -- whom he termed 'zealots and despots' bent on destroying the global system of nation-states -- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them. 'It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this,' Rumsfeld said at an international security conference." Someone slipped Rummy a Red Pill.


Kevin Drum points out that if you look at the full transcript that Rumsfeld is not talking about the US not having a coherent strategy, but the whole world.


Kurds Threaten to Pull Out of Iraqi Government- hmm, that could lead to the feared "Iraqi civil war" and the "Turkish invasion of Kurdistan" we've all been hearing about.

Women are players, too- interesting article about how the video game industry is responding to increasing numbers of female players: it isn't.

Move to Stiffen Decency Rules Is Losing Steam in Washington- without any new nipple outbreaks in the past 6 months, Congress is no longer quite so keen to continue their censorship crusade. Best news I heard all day.

Portland's time to be a village- anarchy in action. Bunch of neighbors throw a 10-day series of workshops on all kinds of subjects, taught by self-made experts from the neighborhood. These events build relationships, the relationships lead to a community, and the community leads to projects to make the community an even better place to live. Just people working with people.

Posted by Jake at 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2004


Ronald Reagan- We Begin Bombing in 5 Minutes
Bill Hicks- Reagan
Reagan Youth- Reagan Youth
Public Enemy- Welcome to the Terrordome
Bad Religion- I Wanna Conquer the World
Dead Kennedys- Forward to Death
Fear- Let's Have a War
Marilyn Manson- The Man You Fear
Sleater-Kinney- Youth Decay
Pop Rocks- Super Size Me
The Black Keys- Busted
The International Noise Conspiracy- Ready Steady Go!
Flogging Molly- Devil's Dance Floor
J-Live- Satisfied?
Glenn Tipton- Paint It Black
Marilyn Manson- The Speed of Pain
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Brother, My Cup Is Empty
The Smiths- Bigmouth Strikes Again

Posted by Jake at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2004

Blogroll Call

I keep adding new blog titles to the "Obligatory Blog Links" section of the site, but I'm not sure that anyone is noticing. Some of these folks are quite good, so maybe I should highlight some of the new recruits here.

[Note- my criteria for blog links is as follows: at some point in time, the blog in question must have made me feel ashamed of my own, either because they are covering topics or themes that I really feel I should be covering, or because the writing and analysis is so much better than my own.]

Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity- sort of a split-level blog, each half focusing on either the positive or negative "developments in transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas." Very good collection of real, tangible environmental news.

Bombs and Shields- anarchist news blog with links to important, neglected news stories, with a focus on radical resistance.

Feministing- "Young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures. Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyze and influence. " Frankly, my blog is frequently deficient of feminist analyses; I think I have to concede that I write best when sticking to my areas of expertise: media, military intervention, and quoting the Simpsons. To rectify this a little, I've linked to several other sites to carry the gender analysis torch.

Mouse Words- another good political blog that frequently delves into feminist analysis, although I think it first caught my eye because the author demonstrated good taste in music; sadly, a rarity among bloggers.

A Tiny Revolution- current events and politics, with an emphasis on being funny about it. First success: writing a satirical fake resume for ex-spook George Tenet, and then posting it on

Posted by Jake at 05:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

[ ]

Dong Resin wins for best blog entry title about Reagan's death:

Ronald Reagan Dead at 93. Gorbachev Rips Off Latex Mask to Reveal the Head of a Locust, Bellows 'GAME ON' at the Sky as Warheads Crank Around on Their Launchers to Once Again Point Towards Washington While Sickle and Hammer Banners Unfurl Europe-Wide

You can't beat that, so don't even try.

Posted by Jake at 05:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

For No Apparent Reason


Posted by Jake at 09:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 05, 2004

Watching "VH1's 100 Most Metal Moments", I was reminded of one important truth: Def Leppard really sucks.

Posted by Jake at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ronnie's Last Ride

Big news of the weekend is the death of former president Ronald Reagan. Following American media tradition, Reagan's life will be presented as one long heroic voyage. I'll bet that Reagan treated his family and friends with love and care, and that they'll miss him to the end of their days. But that was on a personal level. On a political level, I think he did tremendous damage to this country and to people in other countries.

I was born in 1975. I was young during Reagan's reign. Because I grew up with him in office, he is what I've come to expect a president to be, image-wise: kinda old, kinda handsome, kinda rugged, kinda kindly, and kinda stupid.

But overall, when I think Reagan, I think (the sham of) trickle-down economics. I think busting the air traffic controllers union. I think demonizing the poor as "welfare queens." I think the Iran-contra. I think Latin American death squads.

I imagine in the coming days I'll find a nice comprehensive article that sums up the Reagan years, but in the meantime, you get this nice piece by Steve Gilliard.

Posted by Jake at 06:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


Christ-rock band Creed finally heeds the word of God and calls it quits. For those of you not up to date on your popular music, this is good news, because Creed was really, really, really not good.

[via Mouse Words]

Posted by Jake at 10:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

Just.. a little... farther

Sorry folks, I'm back from vacation, but I've come back to a heaping plateful of work. I'm currently working on an article for publication (which is actually turning out much better than I expected. Maybe because I expected it to kinda suck) and then I have to write up the June edition of the Axis of Justice newsletter. So I probably won't be back in the blogging swing of things till tonight or tomorrow.

Also, I'm thinking of making next week "Pop Culture Week", where most of the posts will be analyses/reviews of movies, TV shows, books video games, etc. Should be a nice change of pace.

See ya in a few.

Posted by Jake at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on, 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 ®.


Media News

June 24, 2004

Little Non-Losses

About a year ago, the FCC voted to relax ownership rules for mass media outlets, making it easier for a large media conglomerate to become a huge media conglomerate.

The rule change faced a surprising backlash. The public was actually angry about this, and some legislators actually took notice.

This week, the relaxed ownership rules have taken a double hit.

First, the Senate voted to overturn the deregulation (on the downside, the Senate then voted yes on two pro-censorship bills, one increasing fines on broadcast stations that air "indecent" material, and another looking to study the V-chip and possibly ban violent TV during times when children watch a lot). I presume that the House needs to vote on a similar bill before this would become law.

Then, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals sent the FCC packing. It blocked the implementation of the new FCC rules, and told the FCC to take its new regulations back for revision.

Granted, this just takes us back to the fairly shoddy ownership rules that we had last year.

Which is why I'm in favor of broadcast piracy. Big corporations used the government to hijack our airwaves. Hijack em back.

Posted by Jake at 02:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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