Monthly Archives: December 2002

The morning news

Well, I just killed off a bit too much of the morning reading Bobby Fisher's increasingly bizarre biography. I think there's definitely a lot of his story I can relate to, although luckily I kept my mouth shut at least a little better than his truly brutal statement on 9/11: “I applaud the act. The U.S. and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians, just slaughtering them for years. Robbing them and slaughtering them. Nobody gave a shit. Now it's coming back to the U.S. Fuck the U.S. I want to see the U.S. wiped out.” (ack!)

But here's an interesting thing — everyone who made statements like that back then got skewered. Strip away the obvious hatred from Fisher's statement and you see “the attacks were a retaliatory strike”. That is, they were a response to US foreign policy (not “they hated us for our freedom” as was said so often). I wonder, will everyone who lost their job for saying it back then be re-hired now that it's getting to be “OK” to admit that the attacks were due to US foreign policy?

I'd like to start off by reminding you of the PNAC, founded in 1997 by folks such as Cheney, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, Libby, Abrams, Bennett, Khalilzad, and other key Bush administration figures. I'd like to quote from a report they issued in 2000 (that is, before 9/11) titled “Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century”, based on an earlier Pentagon draft:

[The US must continue to] discourage 85 advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership... [To achieve this the US] must retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends.

That is, the US military build up has the specific purpose of keeping other nations, including allies, from developing their own military forces. As far as Iraq,

The US has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

That is, Iraq's “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and so on is just an excuse. However, there wasn't enough “threat” to proceed, so here's where it gets disturbing. In 2000, obviously before 9/11/01, the report recommended the following to the warmongers:

[The transformation would go more quickly if we had] some catastrophic and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.

Many writers have pointed out the connection between this document and the statements of these key politicians about 9/11. What do they call it? “A great opportunity for America”. That said, at this point I'm pretty sure that they could just come out and admit that they helped it happen, and no one would even care.

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.

- David Brin

Brief interlude: I shot some funny video last night of Jason's drunk friends (yes, I'll post it when I get a chance, but not for a while). One of them climbed up a tree and then jumped onto the barn roof, and then slid down the roof from the apex on a crazy carpet sled! Surprisingly he wasn't hurt… Then I shot them a few dozen times in the balls with paint balls. Don't ask me why, it was their idea and they seemed to like it (except the one cowardly guy who hid in the woods across the street for half an hour when he thought he might be next).

The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.

- Genghis Khan (and Conan)

Oh, and for my pilot friends, especially those in Oceania, you beat North America (maybe, and maybe a German pilot crossed the sound barrier during WWII… maybe)… Looks like the first airplane may actually be from New Zealand, care of New Zealander “Mad Pearse” (also known as “Bamboo Dick”).

Anyway, as you know the Iraq Weapons document (the 12,000 pager) is being released in a censored form. Part of what's being censored is the US firms that helped supply Iraq with chemical and bio-weapons precursors and supplies.

I was reading this article on how Bush keeps appointing criminals from the Iran-Contra scandal to his team, but what struck me is the following stat: 31% of the black voting-age population is barred from voting (due to being convicted of a felony). Anyway, the point the article makes is that if “normal people” with felonies can't even vote, why are these guys — Abrams, Poindexter, Reich, Negroponte, etc. — being put into power?

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

- Isaiah 10:1-2

I mentioned this story yesterday as well, but the surveillance drones thing is really something that people ought to pay attention to. I can't believe the American public is going to allow potentially armed spy-kill-bots to fly over their neighbourhoods. It's pretty messed up to have the ever watchful eye — and missile — of Big Brother hovering over you at all times.

And here's the kicker: not only is Joe Sixpack expected to believe that this is about “war on terror”, but now the taxes for the rich are getting slashed again, and taxes for the poor are going way up to pay for all this war. Not just weapons, but also “aid” to Israel. Even though Israel is dramatically better off financially than the US is, with a stronger economy and a stronger military, Israel is now demanding another $14 billion.

The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or to impede their efforts to obtain it.

- John Stuart Mill

As a number of sources have been saying lately, OSI is back. Basically, this is a plan to covertly push pro-US propaganda into foreign media, in order to swing public opinion toward warmongering and other US government values. The American media is shockingly powerful — why not just have them do it? Why do American values — which presumably have universal truth and beauty — need to be covertly placed? If an idea is just, it doesn't have to be forced on people; it just has to be shown to them. Propaganda is about convincing people that lies are truths.

When the mass media in some foreign countries serve as megaphones for the rhetoric of their government, the result is ludicrous propaganda. When the mass media in our country serve as megaphones for the rhetoric of the U.S. government, the result is responsible journalism.

- Norman Solomon

…And I'm off!

Vrroooom

I've uploaded a 15-second sound clip of the Vette (MP3: click here). I haven't broken it in yet, so the Teflon seals will still make that whiny noise for the next couple hours of running.

Here's some day-time pictures:

Clouds

Next time I see some really cool clouds I'm going to try and make a point of filming them. I wrote a nice PhotoShop filter (it's really simple, just an unsharp mask, a sharpen mask, a hue change, a difference undo, and then another hue change) that I think does a nice job on clouds (which I wanted to use time-lapse style in the new BME FILMS intro for the DVDs that are produced inhouse).

By the way, I think that Al Gore did an excellent job on SNL last night; he's definitely the most relaxed and comedically aware politician that I've seen on TV (a surprise to many I'm sure, but the reviews are so far universally positive). I was thinking though — how freaky must this make the US political system seem to people from other parts of the world? It's kind of weird when you think about it in light of what the purpose of government is.

But everything's weird when you look at it's root truths and meanings; look at money. What is it? What does it really mean? Rewind farther and ask “what has value”. It all comes from natural resources and the ability to exploit them. Land, food, oil, power (even solar power comes from the sun), and so on. Yes, labor has value too, but ultimately it's all just traded for the products of the earth and the sun.

Let's look at three technologies that will become available over the next hundred years:

  • Small cold-fusion/zero-point/etc. power generation. That is, a small box in your closet that can generate reasonably unlimited amounts of power for essentially zero cost. So energy is free.
  • Small automated manufacturing devices. That is, a small box in your closet, that given a certain amount of raw materials can build you anything you ask it to. So all products are free.
  • Small automated recycling devices. That is, a small box in your closet that breaks apart anything you give it into its component raw materials (which could then be fed back into the second device).

The world will get very weird then — and don't think the current powerpeople don't know all of this. They know that when this occurs, money won't keep them in power in the same way, so they'll need to exercise control more directly. Which is why the US — clearly the world's leader in pushing blindly toward the future — administration seeks to put into place civilian control mechanisms via the Homeland Security bill and so on.

You'd think those three devices would put an end to greed… But greed isn't just about having more than your neighbor. It's also about your neighbor having less than you. Which means that if everything is effectively “free”, the only solution for those who want power is to take things away from others.

Blue skies to the east

No big news update this morning; I have to write this week's (with a “BME week” being about 11 or 12 days long) article, and prep the news-reel software for 2003. But first, it's meeeee! I'm always a bit nervous doing telephone interviews because you never quite know how you're going to be quoted, but I think the paper did a good job with this article.

Although if the snow gets heavier, maybe the satellite will cut out and I can just take it easy instead… Yeah, I'm back to a world with “snow days” even though I'm a home-office guy.


Other than that, I see the US is going to try and buy loyalty in Iraq. After all, remember how well it worked in Afghanistan, when a bunch of drug warlords tricked the West into bombing their competition, and we did little but kill the wrong people and let the terrorists escape…

You probably know about the “Predator” drone plane that the CIA recently used (along with a “Hellfire” missile) to carry out assassinations. Anyway, while “they have no plans to arm them”, the US is planning on deploying these drones domestically, up and down the east coast. Hello sci-fi police state! Do you really want to live in a world where sentinel robots patrol the country seeking out “potential threats” to American corporations?

I really wonder sometimes — what are the warmongers trying to achieve? What are they trying to protect? The actions don't make sense. Maybe I'm a simpleton and I'm not seeing the big picture, maybe I'm a part of post-Vietnam utopian pacifism, but I really believe the answers are simple. Be nice to your neighbours. Don't go where you're not welcome. Help when asked, but not until. Offer sanctuary when you can. And so on.

Al Gore will be on SNL tonight.

At least three fine folk are fiddling with the CSS (thank you!). I'll have more “jobs” soon as well, thank you to those who are helping, I definitely need it and appreciate it.

As for the War on Terror, we have to fight it. As for the war on Iraq, why is this our war? Saddam Hussein has not attacked us, he does not threaten us, he is desperately trying to avoid war with us. He is going to be dethroned and killed and his country is going to be smashed and defeated if he can't avoid war. But why do we want this war? The Turks do not fear Saddam, nor do the Saudis, nor do the Iranians, nor do the Syrians. As for the Israelis, they have the power to destroy him ten times over. Let them deal with him.

- Pat Buchanan

Why is it that I find I agree with almost (with an empasis on the “not everything” part of “almost”) Pat Buchanan says? Seriously, if he wasn't a misguided Christian (it's tainting some of his world view, and it seeds his racism) he'd be my idol across-the-board.

I sure enjoyed watching him kick neo-con ass in this interview. The answer above was in response to “where does anti-war sentiment come from” — the other fools replied with hollow lies like “sympathy for terrorists” and “hatred of America”.

Even if one disagrees with every conclusion he comes to, his core analysis of events, history, and demographic numbers are dead on and should be listened to. Obviously we choose different strategies, but the core conclusions should be roughly the same.

Terrorism is the price of empire. The Irgun used terror to drive the Brits out of Palestine, the Algerians used it to drive the French out of Algeria, Hezbollah used terror to drive Israelis out of Lebanon. Chechens are using terror to drive out the Russians out of Chechnya. When imperialists go home where they belong, they find that the terrorism diminishes in almost every case, and in many it disappears.

- Pat Buchanan

It's funny watching the other people in the interview make asses of themselves and accuse Buchanan of ignorance when they themselves are pretty much entirely constructed of it.