Monthly Archives: December 2002

The work never ends… but that's a good thing

My mentionable plan for today:

  • Complete another DVD master
  • Finish updating the image adder software to handle 2003 properly, and fix a few known problems affecting time-distributed updates
  • Start working on the update content itself

Even if Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction hidden under his bed, he's very quickly learned how to play the international politics game. Some recent statements from him include:

[The world is entering the new year] under unique circumstances ... which have been manufactured by forces of evil and darkness in order to create a situation of instability, chaos and tension. [The US seeks to wage war on Iraq as a first step to spread their authority] across the world and control fortunes and futures [of other countries]. We are confident that the outcome of the inspection operations will be a big shock to the United States and will expose all the American lies.

He's very cleverly echoing the statements that are being voiced by radikal voices around the world, and is repeating the fears of many other nations, including European nations. If the inspections turn out well for Iraq — and so far they are, including the interviews with the Iraqi scientists — it could flip everything against the US. I really wonder how history will record the US in the long run… Nations are remembered for their low points, not their high points, so in a millenium, will people look back and remember the US as the bad guy? Will history record the US not as the nation of freedom, but as an oppressive force that held it back?

As Al Jazeera's international power rockets up (it's only about seven years old), one has to ask oneself more pressingly — does it's North American English language debut represent the beginning of this age of the fall of the American Empire? The developing nations are coming of age. Forced in part by US pride and aggression they are becoming nuclear nations, and their citizens have long since overrun Western borders.

Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

We need to remember that cultural change is good. As long as individual freedoms are retained and have their sanctity protected, styles of dress, eating, and behaviour will change with time anyway — why worry if skin colours change as well? The more diversity the better. The world would be a boring place otherwise.

Via Keith PLEASE INCLUDE THE INTRO

The questionaire of Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922)
“At the age of fourteen, Proust was given an English album 'Confessions: An album to record thoughts, feelings'. Seven years later Marcel Proust published this questionaire. In the literary salons in nineteenth century paris, this parlour game was a popular amusement.”

The main traits of my character.
Passion, Faith.

A quality I desire in a man.
Intelligence.

A quality I desire in a woman.
Survivability.

What I appreciate most among my friends
Fraternity.

My principal defect.
Faith.

My favourite occupation.
Creation.

My dream of felicity.
Time.

What would be the biggest misfortune for me.
Not fulfilling my responsibilities.

Who I would like to be.
Me.

Were I would like to live.
Be Here Now.

The colour I prefer.
Truth.

The flower I love.
“I believe that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who know they are this [a daisy] yet let themselves be treated as that [a homogenous field of daisies].”

The bird I prefer.
Penguin.

My favourite authors.
Nearing, Thoreau, Nietzche.

My favourite poets.
Cioran, Bukowski, Bataille (well I think they're poets).

My heroes in fiction.
Dave Bowman.

My heroines in fiction.
(Sorry, drawing a blank).

My favourite composers.
Yauch, Diamond, Horowitz.

My favourite artists.
Gauguin, Grunewald, Bruegel the Elder.

My heroes in real life.
Jesus, the people of Gaviotas.

My heroines in history.
St. Joan of Arc.

My favourite names.
(For obvious suspense reasons I leave this blank).

What I dislike the most.
Sloth.

The historic characters I dislike most.
Lincoln et al.

The military enterprise I like the most.
Guerrilla-based homeland recovery.

The reformation I appreciate the most.
Reform is an illusion.

Natures gift I would like to have.
Clean water and fertile land.

How I would like to die.
We are immortals and do not die. I don't believe this is a relevant question.

My soul's present condition.
Universal.

The faults I can bear.
I don't believe in having faults. As long as I am the best I can be, nothing is a fault.

My motto.
“All the interesting roads are one way”


Sign here if you fill it out

Wuh-hoo!

So Rachel wanted some ginger ale, and I'm rendering some video so my computer is tied up so I volunteered. Now, in most small towns everything is closed on Christmas, but in Tweed — Praise Allah for Muslims — the gas stations are owned by an Islamic family and it stays open.

It's snowing heavily right now — no more dreaming — and I drove Rachel's summer racing tire clad Porsche over the unplowed roads. Now, the thing about driving nothing but high performance vehicles is that it's habit forming, so I found myself surfing along over ice and snow at well over a hundred clicks.

Should I be surprised that part of my journey involved sliding sideways down the highway at high speed? That said, all is unscratched, so I can say with safe confidence, “Adrenaline fix achieved for December 25, 2002.”

"Arrest update

Some of you have already seen it in the BME News Feed, but now that it's a prominent story in the LA Times, everyone is reporting it. Short story: Todd Bertrang was arrested last week by “Operation Safe Medicine” for performing heavy genital mods on women.

First of all, my advice to practitioners — especially those in California — (I've sent this to most already, but please do pass this on), since there is the potential that this investigation expands (they're currently seeking other “victims”):

  • Maintain a low profile over the next month.
  • If your webpage advertises gray-area services, take that notice down for now.
  • Barring total incompetence, this will track back to BME. If you have experiences about you on the site regarding female genital cutting or castration that is identifyable, feel free to write me to have the details altered.
  • Do not keep questionable supplies in your studio.
  • Do not keep questionable photos in your studio.
  • You may even want to keep anything particularly questionable at a friend's house, just for a little while.
  • My records should be totally secure, so there's minimal risk there.

That said, I don't anticipate this will expand past an investigation into Todd, but “better safe than sorry” is always a good rule.

Second of all, I'd like to point out my “first impression” of these arrests. Some of you may remember this being discussed point-blank in Todd's BMEradio interview (I'll try and post it later today somewhere), but the fact is that Todd's mod interest is sexual, and the mods are often done in a sexual context.

I do not believe he is “practicing medicine”. I believe he is offering advanced sexual services, not medicine, and I believe that it's utterly inappropriate for him to be persecuted for this. Yes, Todd's a character that many find distasteful, but that's not what the issue is here. Assuming there's nothing behind the story that I don't know about, I will do what I can to support Todd through this, and I hope you will too.

I like long entries

BME News Feed
Dec 24: NY: Tattoos help rebels with a c…
Dec 24: OH: Murdered schoolbus driver…
Dec 23: UK: Police ID body by tattoo
Dec 23: CA: Hep C: the silent epidemic
Dec 22: NY: Over-40 Rebels With a Caus…
Dec 22: CA: Some athletes marked for life
Dec 22: ON: Where the pastor has a tatto…
Dec 20: MI: Man pleads guilty in kitchen…
Dec 19: FL: Scratcher gets scratched
Dec 18: CA: Fontana sets tattoo regulati…

Well, first of all, Christmas is cancelled for Americans (remember, Santa lives at the North Pole and will be a foreigner passing into the US via loose Canadian immigrant-loving borders). Santa has been barred from entering the US. For the past 18 years, John Fulton has done a charity surf across the Niagara river as a fundraiser for the homeless — I'm sure some of you reading it must recall seeing it on the news. It's not a guerrilla event or anything. In any case, this year Homeland Security, identifying him as a potential threat, was the end of his mission.

Yeah, some freezing wet 42-year-old white guy surfing for charity is really a threat to the USA. Give me a break. Also, make sure you don't give toys to any Iraqi children — you could go to prison for a long time or be fined.

Read this article which starts by describing how the “Ring Around Washington“, a nuclear detection shield project, absolutely failed:

Under some conditions the neutron and gamma ray detectors failed to identify dangerous radiation signatures. In other conditions they raised false alarms over low-grade medical waste and the ordinary background emissions of stone monuments.

It's a simple fact: getting high power weaponry into place isn't hard. Manufacturing high power weaponry isn't hard — nor is stealing it. The fact is that if terrorists decide to blow something up, if they're willing to sacrifice a few of their loyalists in the process, the attack will happen, and it will happen successfully. So address the root of the problem, not the symptoms.

I'm going to give some excerpts in a second, but I highly recommend Counterpunch's When the War Hits Home: U.S. Plans for Martial Law, Tele-Governance, and the Suspension of Elections.

[After 9/11] Dick Cheney was hustled into a bunker and ultimately ended up in a cave running the Shadow Government... As F-16s patrolled the skies, government officials lauded the protection they were providing despite the fact that the fighters were there to shoot down commercial passenger planes.

The American public fell for this act from a "government" whose inserted president and appointees are the wealthiest Americans ever to oversee a US populace.

The Bush family has managed to involve the United States in two wars; two invasions in Latin America; ...[lots snipped]... and making the wealthiest Americans and U.S. corporations richer while at the same cutting federal health, education, and welfare budgets and offloading those tasks to the overburdened states.

One incident, one aircraft hijacked, a "dirty nuke" set off in a small town, may well prompt the Bush regime, let's say during the election campaign of 2003-2004, to suspend national elections for a year while his government ensures stability.

Well, at least I'm not the only kook out there pointing out there's a good chance that there won't be another election in America.

I have enormous respect for soldiers that fight for their nations to protect their homes, and I also feel, as a pacifist, that a person absolutely has the right to raise arms to protect their own (although I strongly disagree with standing armies; I feel a nation needs a well-armed populace, coupled with a small number of elite strike forces). But what I can't say I think highly of is people who join the military because it's a job with good perks. First, people going in with that thinking make poor soldiers when the shit hits the fan (as we've seen), and second, because it's morally wrong. It's no better than becoming a hit man for the mafia “because the pay is good”.

Killing is an extreme act, and should only be sanctioned in the most dire of circumstances. That should be obvious to any decent person.

ROCK THE CASBAH
A pile of people have been messaging me saying I should be putting Joe Strummer of The Clash on the cover of BME or making a posting of some kind on his recent passing. While I appreciate he did some remarkable things, changed many lives, and wrote some great music, due to the recent corporate sellout it would not be appropriate. My condolences to any touched by this loss.

Goodbye gun sales in Jersey!

As the Heineken ad points out, we've already forgotten about Enron (the giant financial scam the administration was recently caught up in, remember?). Most corporate executives seem to be predicting hard times… Unless of course you're in the arms business. If you're up to it, here's a giant report on The Role of the Arms Lobby In the Bush Administration's Radical Reversal of Two Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy. Some excerpts (it's really long and rather dry):

Critics [of the current nuclear policy] have been particularly concerned about three elements: Expanding the Nuclear Hit List, Lowering the Nuclear Threshold, and Creating 'Usable Nukes'... The Bush approach would replace the "previous doctrine of deterrence" with "unilateral-assured destruction, American-style," resulting in "a runaway nuclear arms race."

More than any administration in recent memory, the Bush administration has relied on corporate officials to staff key policymaking positions in the White House and major federal agencies. The administration has even more extensive ties to the arms industry [than to the oil and energy industry]. A World Policy Institute review of major Bush appointees found that 32 major policy makers had significant financial ties to the arms industry prior to joining the administration, as compared with 21 appointees with ties to the energy industry.

The companies that will benefit from the Bush nuclear policy are particularly well-connected within the administration, with numerous former executives, consultants, and shareholders in key positions involved in the implementation of nuclear weapons and missile defense policies.

Defense contractor contributions of $13.5 million in the last election cycle favored Republican candidates by a margin of almost 2 to 1 (65% to 35%), and by more than 2 to 1 for the 2001/2002 cycle, when 68% of the industrys $6.1 million in contributions has gone to Republican candidates or committees.

The report is very long, but if you think you're up to it, do bookmark it for later reading. It's absolutely exhaustive and rather damning of (through being revealing into) everything that's going on right now. Remember — Forbes just named murdering bastards Northrop Grumman “Company of the Year”. If you're not sure who they are, they builld the B2, the F-18, the X-47, the JSF, and so on. They also (publicly) handed nearly ten million dollars to politicians to make things happen. Not only that, but they're totally tied in with the government; the secretary of the Air Force is a former NG president.

When you cast your vote in elections, are you just deciding who's gonna get the bribes? Because that sure is what it seems like from up here…

Now let's point out why the above is particularly scary: Rumsfield is already planning the next war, saying the US is “perfectly capable” of launching military action against North Korea, clearly the greater threat, at the same time as Iraq. North Korea continues to enhance its nuclear weapons program, all the while making threats to “vaporize” cities like Los Angeles and Anchorage. Pat Buchanan's prediction for 2003: a year of wars:

Though 60 percent of the American people do not believe the president has made the case for war, nine in 10 believe war is coming. They are almost surely right.

Afghanistan is far from pacified. Al-Qaida elements are back in the country. Iran plans to build two new nuclear power plants that produce weapons-grade uranium or plutonium. Its missile-building program is far ahead of that of Saddam Hussein's. In Pakistan, anti-Americanism is pandemic, and Islamists have taken over two of four provinces. This disintegrating nation is but one assassin's bullet away from being a rogue state with nuclear weapons.

Buchanan goes on to quote retired US General Barry McCaffery:

The North Koreans are a huge, immediate and unpredictable threat to the security of South Korea, Japan and U.S. military forces in the region. A million-man army, which has in uniform 20 percent of the military-age male population, consumes 31 percent of the GDP in this land of misery and starvation. The 10 million innocent people of Seoul live within the potential range of 11,000-plus North Korean artillery weapons.

North Korea already has hundreds of missiles that could spew biological toxins, nerve gases, deadly chemicals and a few atom bombs across South Korea, Japan and every U.S. base in the Western Pacific. The North Koreans are going to use this coming year to rush nuclear weapons into production and operational deployment. We must attempt to forestall this WMD proliferation through direct diplomacy or else we may be forced into pre-emptive military action within the next five years.

And don't forget about China, that overpowerful giant that grows stronger every day, and has the sense to keep its mouth shut and mind its own business. What happens when the US eventually butts heads with China? It's only a matter of time.

Missile defence: it's all about speed. If you are going to build a missile that shoots down another missile, your missile has to dramatically outperform (speed and maneuverability) your enemy's. Which, by definition, means that any nation that has a functioning missile defence shield also has weapons that can penetrate any other nation. Which in turn means that they will be forced to develop similar weapons, which in turn means that shortly after deploying the missile defence shield, it becomes useless and the spiral into madness repeats.

Lasers would work, but realistically it would mean massive space-based lasers and insane targeting systems. But lasers would work — so the end result of “missile defence” is a world where the terrible eye above can instantly convert anyone walking the surface of the earth into a small pile of ash. Do you trust your leaders enough to give them this power?

PS. Am I writing these entries for my health?