Monthly Archives: March 2003

IVR system…

I think the flowchart below will be “version one” of the IAM voice tie-in… It's fairly basic, but it'll let you do the two things that I think are important “on the road” — you'll be able to send and receive messages (ie. IMs can be read to you, and you can send audio replies), as well as making audio updates to your page which people can hear as MP3 files.

Anyway, the contract to develop that will be solidified this week I hope (I'll do just the server-end, with most likely Derek tackling the client-end), meaning we'll have something up for BBQ season I hope. It'll probably start as a one line system, but will be designed to scale up should we need to.

Common quick questions:

  • Will this be on a 1-800 number? No… It'll most likely be on a 416 area-code number to start. If it becomes popular we'll probably place the server or a second server in the US as well. Putting it on a toll-free number would be very expensive — just buy a phone card.
  • Will I need a special internet cell phone? No… This isn't a WAP or wireless system. It's 100% voice and touch-tone driven and will work from any standard phone (even crappy payphones). There are some vague plans to add WAP features, but this is entirely unrelated.
  • Will this cost anything to use? The hope is that it will be free to use (for active members). Assuming people don't abuse it, the costs of maintaining it shouldn't be that high; realistic estimates put it at about $2000 a year I think.

Anyway, I will of course keep everyone updated.

A country boy will survive!

So my brother's girlfriend was visiting and made the mistake of parking a little too far back into the mud. Her car is a little front wheel drive import, so it managed to get totally buried. I think that the guys here probably could have pushed it out, but when we tried it was clear that we could dent up the car in the process. So…

Time to bring out the big guns. This'll pull her out. It's a 9,000 lb winch. I'm sure that'll unstick her. And so it does, with a click of the remote! (I look weird in this picture?) Ooops! Someone got a little mudddy in the process.

Anyway, it was fun, and it dragged her little car out of the mud without any problems at all… Sideways… So I hope it didn't do any damage, but I don't think it did.

Gigantic entry. Shock and awe.

Getting hatemail about anti-murder views has become a part of my life (and many of yours as well I'm sure)… When I mentioned that yesterday I got flooded with messages urging me to keep making news posts, so, thank you to all the wonderful compassionate people out there that wrote me about it, and I will do my best.

For all you folks that think I'm just some crazy Canadian, German, Belizian, whatever, that's making anti-American statements (which is total bunk), don't worry… The US is now threatening Canada as well (more). Whatever you do, don't click the “more” links — they'll just make it harder for you to pretend you're right.

I'd first like to point out a couple stories that are just getting back page mention but I believe may be very important. First of all, Kim Jong II is missing and has not been seen in public for 44 days now. There's nothing to suggest that he's dead, but his recent missing of parliament implies something very big is up… War preparations being the most likely (North Korea has been told by the US that it's “next”, among others).

The other story set that deserves attention is that the US has again confirmed that Russia will be cut out of the massive oil profits in post-war Iraq. That is, all the oil contracts will go to US firms, and any existing Russian contracts will be terminated and not honored (more), in effect putting the US in a position of committing international piracy. At a press conference two days ago, Bush refused to rule out nuclear strikes on Iraq, and not long after, Russia test-launched one of its ICBM's… A missile with no purpose other than a massive thermonuclear strike on the US (more). China is continuing work on its own similar programs, preparing offenses for what can only be used in the conversion of America into the world's largest gravel pit.

Still loving war?

Don't worry, at least you can still enjoy French's Mustard (more)… After all, “There's nothing French about French's Mustard… An American Icon.” I know it's been commented on to death, but why does no one notice the irony in naming “French” fries “freedom” fries? Why not “traitor” fries? You see, I thought “freedom” was a good thing, not an insult… But I guess if you're part of the Bush camp, you see freedom as an insult.

It goes along way to explain why “Iraqi freedom” comes in the form of JDAMs.

And as you know, in a few days, maybe more, maybe less, the big JDAM bombs start dropping on Baghdad. Baghdad is not a collection of troops hiding in mud huts in the desert. Baghdad is a civilian metropolis that looks pretty much just like Miami. Each B-2 bomber carries 16 of these bombs, and when they explode, they kill everyone within about 400 feet, and injure people up to 3500 feet away. (more)… And if the Iraqis really are using cheap GPS blockers, these bombs will not be dropping accurately (how-to). Even if you support this war, do you support it at this cost?

Syria, Iran, and North Korea have all been told they're next, especially since some of them may be at least mildly assisting Iraq (more). Now, as much as everyone is very impressed at just how much resistance Iraq is putting up, and while there's a great deal of debate as to how long it will take (and how costly and how bloody as well), there is not much doubt that Iraq will eventually be defeated by the US invaders.

However… The side effect of the resistance is that Saddam has been successfully rebranded from moderate dictator to genuine Arab hero (more), and sympathies are so high in the other Arab nations that guerrilla troops have been flowing across the border to fight to defend Iraq (more). While Syria and Iraq got only a very watered down pledge of support from the League of Arab Nations (more), support is growing quickly. Pretend this is all just a game for a moment. If you were those nations, next in line for attack, what would your strategy be? Let the US pick you off one-by-one, or stand together and defend the region? What happens if those nations do decide to stand together?

One of the strangest things about this war, that I've seen pretty much no one in the mainstream media mention is “where is Saddam's air force?” (more). There are US claims that the pilots have simply refused to fly, but given that every other US claim along those lines have turned out to be false (and are based on thirty year out of date intelligence), I wouldn't consider that a “done deal”. It's very hard to guess exactly what Saddam has, but the best estimate is that he has at least a half dozen bombers, about three hundred fighters and ground attack jets, along with assorted recon planes, choppers, transports, and training jets (more). They're likely too old (twenty year old Migs, etc.) to provide serious resistance to American jets (twenty year old F-series jets, although with modern electronics), but they will be able to massacre US troops with them given the right kind of surprise.

Anyway, will Baghdad be easy? We were told on day one that Basra fell without resistance and was almost immediately under US control, and on the whole the US media has continued to toe that line. But according to the British media, “Basra is 'clearly nowhere near' under Allied forces' control” (more), nor are the other “small” targets. It's becoming clear that because of the nature of the fighting going on that these targets aren't getting taken without massive civilian casualties. I realize that warmongers will claim that it's “Saddam's fault” because he's using dirty tactics, but the fact is the the US is an invading force with at least thousands of times the military assets of Iraq, leaving Saddam with little other options.

Getting back to Baghdad, Iraq has promised the “mother of all battles” and Bush is threatening an attack that will “kill the very Iraqis [they] hope to liberate” (more). Reuters reports that the UK believes that the US simply does not have the strength to launch a street-level fight in Baghdad (more), meaning that air attacks will be needed. I understand that sometimes a “precision bomb” will kill innocent people, such as the 50 people killed yesterday in a Baghdad market (more), causing grieving parents who formerly had no problems with the US to curse America and pledge themselves to its downfall (more), but….

…like I said, I understand when a precision bomb is off by a hundred meters. You could probably even convince me it was “normal” if it was off by a half-mile… But realize that these “precision” strikes are missing their targets by hundreds of miles, often landing in the wrong country. Recent strikes on Iraq have “accidentally” blown up a mall in Kuwait (more) and now a second missile has fallen into Turkey (more). These nations are all powder-kegs — dropping cruise missiles on them is going to make the US long-game in the area almost impossible. Also, it's not just the missiles that aren't getting to their targets — critical supplies needed by the troops aren't getting to them either (more). Remember, if you're a guerrilla force, you don't attack the main fronts. You attack the supply lines, starving the fronts, and supplying yourselves in the process.

Anyway, on reading stories like these, you need to ask yourself about the quality of the media coming out of Iraq since we keep getting told about victories that never happened… I understand that the “victor writes the history” but I'm pretty sure you do that after the war, not before (how many times has Umm Qasr been taken and un-taken now? Ten?). The BBC has issued a warning to its staff because of the misinformation being given to them by the US military (more) and seem to be getting tired of being played as pawns in a propaganda game. One senior BBC official said,

"We're absolutely sick and tired of putting things out and finding they're not true. The misinformation in this war is far and away worse than any conflict I've covered, including the first Gulf war and Kosovo," said a senior BBC news source. On Saturday we were told they'd taken Basra and Nassiriya and then subsequently found out neither were true. We're getting more truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment. Not because Baghdad is putting out pure and morally correct information but because they're less savvy about it, I think."

The BBC has gone on to say that they're not sure whether the US is trying to intentionally mislead them, or if they genuinely have no idea what's going on either… I'm not sure which is worse? A few of the lies we've all been told so far (more, more):

  • Saddam was killed
  • Iraqi control was “decapitated”
  • Umm Qasr, Basra, Nassiriya are taken (repeat a few times)
  • Iraqi citizens are greeting US troops
  • Iraqi troops are surrendering en masse
  • The Fedayeen are limited in number and not a threat
  • Scud missiles are being fired
  • A WMD chemical plant was discovered
  • A major rebellion of “anti-Saddam” civilians is underway
  • Thousands of Iraqi troops are heading south to engage the US
  • Iraq has been executing POWs

All of the above is admitted to be false. But still, how often do you hear people using those things are arguing points? I mean, Tony Blair and George Bush even used the “executed POWs” lie two days ago when it was already shown to likely be false… While the deathlovers were using these lies to justify more bloodshed, the UK government was quietly apologising to the families of those POWs for making it up (more).

Add another MIA to the US roster — Takoma the Dolphin (more). As you probably know, the US is using dolphins to detect and disarm mines… Well, Takoma decided a life of slavery eventually ending in his death wasn't best for him and has gone AWOL! Who says dolphins are just dumb fish?

Tom Paine is running a story (more) that debunks the “war support” poll numbers (more)… According to a recent Knight Ridder/Princeton Research pll (and others), only 17% of Americans are aware that none of the 9-11 hijackers were Iraqi (and the kicker is that they DID know this not long after 9-11… Americans are actually selectively forgetting!). 41% also stated that Iraq already possessed nuclear (aka “nuke-you-lar”) weapons, and 57% believe that Saddam personally helped the 9-11 terrorists. Anyway, when you break down where the war support comes from, the rising support is coming from people who believe flat-out lies… So I'm sorry, but I must continue to stand by “support of this war is stupid and/or evil“.

That statement comes from fact and evidence, not from emotion.

But who cares about fact and evidence: America is not about freedom any more (more). It appears to be about following dictators in blind slavery, ignorantly attacking anyone who offers anything but an unquestioning Bush idolising pro-war parroting (more; that link goes to a ludicrous Boycott Hollywood site that calls for boycotts on actors not just for anti-war statements, but even for anti-poverty statements).

A lot of people have directed me to “Practise to Deceive” (more), currently running in the Washington Monthly. You can click the link of course to read the whole thing, but I'll quote some of it briefly:

[Imagine the war has ended]. The people of Iraq are waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence -- talk that is further inflaming the region.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.

To most Americans, this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. But to the Bush administration hawks who are guiding American foreign policy, this isn't the nightmare scenario. It's everything going as anticipated.

Concerns about civil rights and government expansion have been very quiet for the past month; I can only assume that it's not “safe” to criticise the US government at times like this… At best people can resign — and it is happening. A few days ago, another senior US diplomat resigned, unwilling to associate with this government that betrays America (more). I realize that people are saying, “who cares if Greek and Mongolian ambassadors resign, it's just Greece and Mongolia!“… But… these are the same people willing to trumpet a “coalition force” made up of nations like Micronesia and the Solomon Islands, although the Solomon Islands have no idea why the US added them to the list and claim it's a lie (more, more).

Sorry — got side-tracked there, I know everyone knows this “coalition” nonsense is a lie — anyway, Bush has already illegally seized power from Congress that he has no right to (more). Let me make it clear to people in simple point form:

  1. Constitutionally, only Congress may declare war.
  2. All members of Congress are sworn to uphold the Constitution.
  3. September 19, 2002, President Bush requested Congress to support the enforcement of UN resolutions. At the time it did not include the ability for the US to declare war on Iraq.
  4. On October 3, 2002, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) sought to amend the proclamation to include clear Congressional support of war declaration. This ammendment was tossed out.
  5. The head of the House International Relations Committee said about the Constitution, “There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one…. These things are no longer relevant to a modern society”, and said that any call to follow the Constitution was both “inappropriate” and “anachronistic.”
  6. Bush declared war without Congressional approval.

I don't know why Patriots can't see that America has been seized by traitors. These people are spitting on the Constitution and continually defile everything that America should stand for… Maybe you're saying you don't care — it doesn't affect you — but realize that if they're willing to toss out the Constitution in one place, they're willing to do it in another. Goodbye freedom (more).

Remember 9-11? Wasn't there supposed to be an independent commission into that? I'd like to hear the warmonger explanation as to why the Bush administration continues to try and block any investigation into 9-11 (more). What is there to hide? It's already public knowledge that there were massive cover-ups and blocks placed against agents that tried to investigate… So you tell me: what's worse than that? What is being hidden?

Of course, according to Bush, the war is “on track” and “complete victory” is a certainty (more)… Will you pledge your life to him? Will you pledge your friends lives? Your children? Your parents? Will you kill a thousand innocent strangers for his goals? And remember, they're not your goals, and they're not America's goals. will not profit from this. He will.

PS. War is real (more).

Good news…

Got email back from the sticker place… The stickers I ordered shipped to me on the 20th of March, so I'll be mailing those out to folks who've made PayPal donations shortly (you thought I forgot?). I expect to have them some time next week… No, you can not buy them. They are gifts for supporters only.

As promised…

In the “do you know enough” list released by OCPP (below), the claim is made that it would take only $40 billion to cure the world's core problems… Of all the “stats” they list this is the one that's very much up for debate. Personally I think they really low-balled it… but… let's look at what Bucky's World Game Institute says could be done with only 25-30% of the world's military budget. That is, if military spending was scaled down to 70-75% of current levels, could we “save the world” with the rest?

I originally saw these charts in a a book published in 1996 that I bought while living in Philadelphia, but on visiting the website, I see far more up to date charts of what could be done with murder money. For those of you who are teachers, and I know there are a number on IAM, there are many fine (and free) resources on the osEarth website. The worldometers are pretty neat too.