Monthly Archives: December 2002

Not that it's interesting…

I just put the interview I did last night online. It's mostly business questions and stuff that doesn't totally apply to what I do, but maybe someone finds it interesting. I try and answer student interviews when I can — I think I probably even give them more priority than mainstream media interviews for some reason. Well, youth is the future, right? The media just reports on how they get there.

What's that up in the sky?

Hope he doesn't fall!

December 6, 2002

Today is writing day. I have an interview to do (with a grade 10 student who I think will probably be disappointed with my answers), and then I need to get a couple of articles put together (yes, you'll find out why I won't see any more Adam Sandler movies).

…Although the first thing I want to do is build a good automated code back-up utility. I deleted some important source-code a week ago and I want to make sure that never happens again. I'll release that publicly as well as I think it could be very useful to others here as well.

US to Iraq: Unless you let UN weapons inspectors in, we will invade!
Iraq: OK, OK, you can let them in.
Weapons inspectors: We haven't found any WMDs yet.
US to UN: Our intelligence shows WMDs in Iraq (but we can't tell you yet how we know). Time to invade!
Weapons inspectors to US: But we really haven't found any!
US to World: Weapons inspectors have found WMDs in Iraq, therefore we may invade.

As some of you may know, American Marines in Japan have a bad track record for raping Japanese women; it's shockingly common (remember in 1995 when three US military staff gang-raped a 12 year old?). The disturbing part of the story is that the US refuses to hand over these well-paid rapists to Japanese authorities. As Harry Browne points out in his essay “I want my country back“, the US has troops in over 100 countries, largely immune from prosecution for these crimes. How would you feel if German troops were walking American streets raping Catholic schoolgirls? I'd say if that happens, Berlin could expect waves of fire-bombing.

He also asks the disturbing question, “why has America ignored North Korea?” The answer is simple: Iraq can't hurt America, but North Korea can (who's missiles at this point could hit Alaska). America has never attacked a nation that could hurt America*. Never. While America has invaded many nations in the past 50 years, it has never fought with a nation that has the capability to strike back. I'll let you choose the words you'd like to use for a nation that only attacks countries that can't strike back.

Now, that's not to say that Iraq is harmless (although I think we can reasonably bet that the US will just roll over Iraq in a matter of weeks). The people of Vietnam eventually managed to get rid of the US invasion, but they had to make massive sacrifices to do so. Millions of lives that would have been lived out peacefully ended early because of that war. Iraq is now arming its population for bloody urban combat — is a little bit of oil really worth killing not just millions of Iraqi citizens over (it's not the bombing that kills; it's the bloody aftermath), but (to guess) also potentially thousands of young US troops?

And why not focus on al-Qaeda? Are they really that much smarter than the West? So far we've had almost zero luck tracking them down, mostly because they play by different rules. By moving the combat away from technology, they level the playing field, and as they've shown, in that arena, they are stronger than us.

The terrorists have won. America has been destroyed. It's become a police state where not only do the citizens have no right to privacy, but the police have the right to execute citizens on the street should they be considered enemies of the state. I told you a story below about some “wrong place, wrong time” police misconduct. Let me briefly tell you the story that's in that previous link (and I should say that the story I'm recounting is not disputed by the police):

Oliver Martinez was riding his bike down the street when he passed two officers questioning another man. They stopped Oliver, frisked him, and threw him to the ground -- all because he'd chosen the wrong time to bike down that path -- suddenly one of the officers found a knife on Oliver (he was a farm worker) and shot him five times, including once in the face, leaving him blinded and paralyzed.

Sargent Ben Chavez kept Oliver in custody -- even after the ambulence came, Sgt. Chavez climbed in with Oliver and continued to interrogate him. No charges have ever been filed against Oliver (he was considered a "potential witness" at the time, although now it's not disputed that he was simply a passerby), and the officers that shot him have never even received even a reprimand.

How many stories like this I have to recount before people open their eyes? America is doesn't exist any more. I don't know what the right word for that big country in the middle of this continent is, but it's certainly not the America that its founding fathers defined. Doug Thompson, publisher of Capitol Hill Blue, calls it The American Ghestapo.

* Before you bring up Pearl Harbor, realize that Hawaii was a sovereign nation seized by force by America. Ignoring the obvious preventability of the Pearl Harbor attack, by the time America got involved in WWII, neither Japan or Germany had the resources to attack mainland America.


First, thanks to Keldon for this link about a photographer getting arrested under “anti-terrorist” legislation. Click here for the full story, or here's my summary:

Photographer Mike Maginnis was walking through his hometown, Denver, when he saw piles of snipers on the roof of the Adams Mark Hotel and a bunch of other police action (since Dick Cheney was staying there). He took out his camera and snapped some photos -- like most people would do -- and as he was putting his camera away, he was told by police to hand over his camera. When he refused he was thrown to the ground, cuffed, and arrested.

He sat alone for two hours in an interrogation room and was then interrogated by secret service for about an hour. He was told that under the "USA-PATRIOT" act he was considered a terrorist that was trying to take photos to analyze for potential weaknesses. They called him a "raghead collaborator" and a "dirty pinko faggot".

When he got his phone call, instead of calling his lawyer, he called the Denver Post. The police immediately grabbed him, disconnected the call, and threw him in a holding cell. Three hours later they tossed him out on the street -- he was given no arrest report, and no receipt for his camera, film, and other possessions, which he was told were "evidence" and he wouldn't be getting back.

And the end's the real kicker — no evidence. No proof. No records. That's the new American police state for you. Not only that, but now that the FOIA has been largely overturned, he probably can't even proove that he was there.

Here are just a few of the rights the police have gained since September 11th 2001. When you're done reading the list, ask yourself if the terrorists really hate you for your freedom:

  • Police have the right to access to your phone records, voicemail, email, internet browsing records, google and other online searches you've made, your credit card records, what books you've checked out of the library, and so on, without the need for a warrant or probable cause.
  • Miranda laws are on the verge of being overturned, as well as the 5th amendment, albeit indirectly for now.
  • Lawyer-client communications are no longer considered privileged (that is, the government can monitor all communications you have with your lawyer).
  • “Material witnesses” can be held indefinitely without charge.
  • Enemies of the state (everything from legit terrorists to computer hackers to protest groups, including US citizens) are designated “enemy combatants” and are no longer protected by normal rights. The points below outline a few of the new police rights in those cases:
  • If you are considered an enemy of the state, you have no right to representation or due process.
  • If you are considered an enemy of the state, the CIA has been granted authority to EXECUTE you WITHOUT TRIAL if they deem it necessary. That's right. If you're a computer hacker, protestor, political dissident, or just general weirdo that finds themselves opposed to the state, now they can kill you. Hello Rainbow Farm.

I could go on and on, but if you want to get involved, groups like the EFF and the ACLU have many pending actions going on to try and stop the profoundly anti-American forces that have seized control (can you say coup?) of the government.

Oh, and while I appreciate the cultural diversity, I wish that PayPal would consider that when manning an international call center it might make sense not to have operators speaking super-thick lisp-enhanced ebonics. I'm sorry, but some of us simply aren't used to that and have some trouble working their way through the chain of nonsensical double negatives.

I don't care how people speak, and I don't mind accents — the guy who eventually helped me had a thick Indian accent but made sense — but come on! A certain level of professionalism is expected when you're dealing with your financial records!

BBQ shirts

The design for the BBQ shirts (for the Trembling in Tweed event, which currently has a shockingly large army of 62 brave potential attendees signing the list) is finalized and will go to the presses tomorrow. I'm printing sizes roughly as requested with a bunch of hoodies thrown in as well. Tomorrow I'll place the order for a buttload of fireworks.

The small red subtext on the back says “DECEMBER 31 2002 – TREMBLING IN TWEED / HOSTED BY BMEZINE.COM AND PROJECT DROP OUT TUNE IN” (cross-promotion is the way to go, right?)