Monthly Archives: April 2003

Piece of CRAP

So this Systemax computer has a dual display… or so I thought — as did the fool that sold it to me who assured me it would do dual-monitor support out of the box. Take a look at the back of the machine (from the installation guide):

See… Two video ports. Both are labelled. One is called the “integrated video”, and the other is called the “AGP video”. Great! So they shipped it with two display cards! Oh wait, let's read the fine print:

Yes, that really does say “Video will be inoperable if you plug into the Integrated Video Port“. Other than the “quick start” guide, the integrated video is mentioned no where, and no other documentation whatsoever includes it. Thanks for nothing I guess.

I actually do need dual monitor support; without it I can't work effectively. So let's hope I have an old crapper of a PCI card (like the above) that'll work. I don't need it for anything but text editing, so it should be fine. I hope…

Long and painful

These numbers are important. Here's a sample (more):

  • Estimated number of U.S. troops over the age of 20 deemed to be overweight by federal obesity standards: 53.9%
  • During the first Gulf War, the reported “success rate” (or percentage of accurate strikes) by Tomahawk cruise missiles: 98%
  • Pentagon's estimated “success rate” after the war ended: 10%
  • Cost of a Tomahawk cruise missile: $750,000
  • Number of Tomahawk's launched as of last Thursday: 725 (aka $550,000,000)
  • Between Sept. 14, 2002 and Feb. 7, 2003, percentage of news stories airing on NBC, ABC and CBS that originated directly from White House, Pentagon or State Department: 92%
  • The number of times Osama bin Laden was mentioned in international media reports between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 11, 2002: 236,202
  • The number of times Osama bin Laden was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2002 and today: 57,667
  • The number of times Saddam Hussein was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 11, 2002: 66,648
  • The number of times Saddam Hussein was mentioned between Sept. 11, 2002 and today: 225,147


RED MENACE China accepts that war with the neo-imperialist nation America, currently being run by the brutal regime of the Bush/Cheney/McDonalds dictatorship is inevitable. Many Chinese politicians are beginning to advocate a directly “aggressive stance” against the US. (more)

“What a wonderful world…”

But it's all about protecting American values, right?

"In my humble opinion, the H2 is an American icon. It's a symbol of what we all hold so dearly above all else, the fact we have the freedom of choice, the freedom of happiness, the freedom of adventure and discovery, and the ultimate freedom of expression. Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed, deface the American flag and what it stands for."

- Rick Schmidt, Hummer owner

"When I turn on the TV, I see wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm proud. [Our troops] are not out there in Audi A4's. I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud to be driving a product that is making a significant contribution."

- Sam Bernstein, Hummer owner (more)

Nuclear Armageddon anyone? (more, more)


So we all know that Saddam is a “brutal dictator”… However, it's probably important to look at a few of the things that sets him apart from the other “brutal dictators” in the region, since he's the one that both Osama bin Laden and Junior have called for the death of. Anyway, a few interesting tidbits about what Saddam has done in Iraq (more).

Did you know that Saddam ended discrimination against women in Iraq, and that he was instrumental in making sure that women were well educated and held positions of power? Did you know that the people that Saddam abused were the feudalists and the religious extremists — “the terrorists”? Did you know that Saddam brought higher education into Iraq, and that as a low-income Iraqi you are more likely to be able to receive a university education than as a low-income American?

Am I saying he's a good guy? No, that's not what I'm saying. But what I am saying is that he may well be the most progressive and pro-Western leader that region has ever seen — and ever will if the US has any say in it. He's not getting hit by the US for hurting his people — he's getting hit because he's the best chance they have to become a first-world nation.

"I saw the heads of my two little girls come off... My girls - I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead. We had hope... But then you Americans came to bring us democracy and our hope ended."

The quote above (more) is from an Iraqi family killed by US soldiers… the US dropped leaflets on their homes showing a happy family with the caption “be safe”… While Iraqis claim that's what the pamphlet says, the US claims their translators wrote “to be safe, stay in your home”. The Iraqi family dressed up in their best clothes and tried to flee the danger zone. The US troops opened fire on them for doing so.

But who cares about murder when Cheney et al are getting rich? (more, more)

Whatever you do, don't protest this war in America… Part of the reason for the “meaningless” Iraq war is to cover up the death of civil rights in America (more). The terrifying truth is that in America, in many areas people have less “rights” than those people living in non-democratic “axis of evil” countries… In Oregon, a new law would make anti-war protests punishable by 25 to life (more)… as if the death threats weren't enough (more)!


Remember Afghanistan? It's not over yet. They told you it was, didn't they? Bush himself declared it a victory as he vowed to similarly “free” the Iraqis, declaring both the Taliban and al Qaeda extinct. The US troops are still sustaining heavy losses there (more) and the Taliban still holds significant amounts of power and public support. Radical Islamic groups including terrorist groups like al Qaeda are making a come-back in Afghanistan and throughout the world thanks to US bungling of this horrid world war it seeks to bloody us all with (more).

But don't worry! The oil pipeline deal got signed!


The Red Cross — who's casualty numbers are far higher than anything the propaganda masters (more) in both the US and Iraq are spinning — say that the wounded and death toll is getting too high to count… Bodies are literally coming too fast to record (more, more).

Hospitals in Baghdad have run out of anesthetics and are doing amputations and other procedures without supplies (more), and US doctors helping treat injured US troops in Germany report on horrific injuries (more) and say that media coverage is only scraping the tip of the true horrors that are going on in Iraq.

I can give endless quotes and pictures of the horrors being committed in the name of the American people (more, more, more). Today I'm just not up to it though. One reporter struggles to make sense of it… and can't (more).

Maybe I should quote Geoff Hoon, the British defense minister… When presented with Iraqi mothers who's children had been ripped to shreds by their “cluster bombs” (more, more), Hoon was asked what he thought they'd think — “one day they'll thank us”, he said (more) — yeah… right…


I'll briefly mention Russia again. When the Russia convoy of diplomats was attacked (details a couple entries down), the US issued statements saying that it was impossible that they had anything to do with it since they claimed to no troops anywhere near the area (let me remind you that Iraq is only a few hundred miles across — it's a tiny nation; more)… Anyway, now they've changed the story to “the convoy must have been caught in a cross-fire”.

Problem is, the Russian diplomats and the journalists are denying that story, saying that the US forces opened fire on them without provocation (more). The other recent “friendly” fire incident is of course the one where a convoy of US special forces and Kurds as well as British media broadcasting it all live (video) called in an air strike on a nearby Iraqi tank… Apparently the F15 pilots could not tell the difference between an old Russian tank and a convoy of trucks, and bombed their own forces, killing killing killing killing…. (more)

As you know if you read my page, when the war first started, the US issued statements that any foreign media that were not specifically approved by and embedded with US military forces would have their satellite uplinks considered “legitimate military targets” and they'd be treated as POWs. That wasn't a bluff, and it has been happening — the first bunches are starting to be released to their governments now — two Portuguese journalists are telling a story about being beaten, caged, and starved by US forces (more). Journalists captured by Iraq describe horrific scenes in the prisons, but describe their own treatment as decent and humane (more).


I've mentioned military strategy a lot here… Because the private satellite feeds are not being censored during this war, everything the US does is available for public inspection, which reveals strategies used, strategies failed, and strategies corrected (more). As has been said over and over, Iraq is one of the smallest weakest targets the US could choose. North Korea is far more powerful, and conflict seems certain (more, more). The high level of media scrutiny during this war is “teaching” future combatants what works against the US and what doesn't. Every “public war” that goes on, the US puts itself at a greater disadvantage in the next.

In the double-talk department, the US decries Iraq for using plainclothes troops, while at the same time doing the exact same thing (more)… Along those lines, the US has also been occupying schools in Iraq as bases (more), and in the US regularly places military bases in civilian areas at home. Which means that when China and Russia bomb these targets, American civilians will be killed in massive numbers, just like America is killing massive numbers of Iraqi civilians.

More on strategy, the US for some reason seems to be trying to cause more guerrilla warfare (more) by its bungling of city sieges, the “on to Baghdad bungle” (more), leaving looting and anarchy in its wake (more, more). And what is becoming clear is that the different Iraqi forces are not entirely in unison, and may not even be under the same command — so by attacking one, by weakening one, the other may even become stronger (more).

British troops who have witnessed the Americans at close quarters in this war are baffled at their approach to Iraqi civilians. One captain in the Royal Marines, watching a US unit monitor a checkpoint, said: "The Americans are still behaving like invaders, not liberators. They behave as if they hate these people."

The rift between the British forces and the US forces is growing, and among other things, British troops have been told that they may not hand over Iraqi POWs to the Americans, since under British and International law the way the US treats POWs is a war crime — since the US claims the right to execute them if they choose (more)… All the time claiming that Iraq is executing its POWs, a claim which was of course shown to be false.

I read someone say a while back that the new US propaganda game (more) is “tell a lot of lies with a short half-life” (more). That is, constantly give new reasons for invading Iraq. Constantly present new evidence. Every time it's disproved, make up a new one. On and on. Sound familiar? How many “we found WMDs… oh, I guess not…. we found more WMDs!” stories have you heard so far? (more, more)

Remember 9/11? Osama was target #1. Then it was the Taliban. Then it was Saddam. Now it's become a strange nebulous “freedom through bombing” theory… That's right up there with “Arbeit Macht Frei” (more), isn't it? Does no one even notice when America first drops the WMD story, and now drops the Saddam story, saying that “it's not important if we don't get Saddam” (more)?

Maybe you think I'm not to be trusted. What does Edward Peck, the former US ambassador to Iraq have to say about all this (more)?

The notion that Islamists hate us because of our freedom or "because Britney Spears has a bellybutton" is "terribly stupid," Peck believes.

Most Americans don't want to face the fact that we've been killing Iraqis for 12 years, through sanctions and bombing, and that we're constantly in the world's face.

But if we don't stop to consider honestly what really drives the terrorists of the world we'll have to deal with them for a long time to come.

The idea that attacking Iraq will end terrorism is a little hard to square with the fact that we've called up 25,000 reservists to protect the homeland, and Colin Powell has asked for $6 billion to turn every American embassy into a fortress, all to coincide with the beginning of the war.

"I hope to the depths of my being I am wrong," Peck said. "But I'm afraid we will pay a terrible, bloody price for this miscalculation in Iraq."


Did you know that the Iraqis have figured out how to take out US tanks? It's almost David-and-Goliath (more), and it makes one wonder how a nation that spends approximately four hundred times more on its military every year can even get a scratch from little dirty dudes with old Russian rockets fired from the back of rusty pickup trucks.

PS. The economy is screwed, is getting worse, and is expected to keep on getting worse. America is running out of money. Do you really think it's a good idea to spend the last of it bombing a bunch of people who you don't even know and haven't done anything to you? (more, more)

Success…

OK, I've got the new box up and running. I haven't transferred over anything except Eudora so far, but I've got it downloading the thousands of emails from the last day or however long it's been… I've got a pair of 120 gig drives that aren't doing much so as soon as that download is done I'll install those as a mirrored pair so there's an additional layer of safety for my sourcecode and BME content.


That's the dead machine.

Copying files to the new machine using a USB drive (case scrapped).

Oohh… How pretty? Ha.

What a nice clean desk this has resulted in.

PS. One of my many theories is that if you cover all your expensive stuff with stickers, thieves are less likely to bother. So every piece of electronics I have here is just covered in stuff…

Why…

It's all very exciting when you see it on CNN, right?

The last time I managed to speak to my eldest brother, Salam, was two days before the invasion of Iraq. He told me that his daughter Rana had just given birth to a baby boy.

"But she isn't due for another month," I said.

"The doctor tried to induce labour but failed, so he had to perform a caesarean," he explained. "We had to take the risk because we hear that war is starting in few days and then there'll be no hospital to take her to." Trying to ease my horror he continued: "She isn't the only one. Hundreds of women in Baghdad are doing the same thing."

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? I can ask forever; will there ever be an answer, and more importantly, when will it stop? How can the people of America look at images like these and in overwhelming majority salute their flag with pride as they get fat drinking the blood of the world?

It's very easy to say “but I don't support my government” when you're reaping the benefits of their war crimes. Americans must stand up and stop this. Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, and the rest will walk away safe and rich… But who will be left to answer for the crimes? Every day that goes by the punishment will be more severe.

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

- Donovan, Universal Soldier

And that's true. The governments and the megacorps may be making these brutal choices, but it's us — the people of the world — that are acting them out because of our greed and selfishness. Have friends in the military? Tell them to quit. Paying your taxes in a few days? Subtract a thousand dollars and include a note saying that your faith does not allow you to support murder. Let those butchers try and take millions of people to court.

They can't do these things without your support.

Russia

My computer is still totally messed up… So… I may go in to town today and pick up a tower. It'll give me an excuse to finally separate the video editing machine from my main BME updater box. They really should be in distinct boxes anyway.

Anyway, computer failure means a pessimistic morning entry.


I want to talk about what's going on between the US and Russia for a moment. As some of you know, Russia has already issued diplomatic complaints that US bombing is potentially targetting the Russian embassy in Iraq (more), and now a fleet of Russian diplomats has come under direct military fire, quite possibly by US forces (more) — although we'll never know with certainty who it was. I've explained in previous updates how the outcome of this war has the potential to shift hundreds of billions of dollars (if not more) of profits from China and Russia to US companies, and the US has just now again confirmed that those countries will be specifically blocked from any of that money (more).

The US has issued increasingly stern warnings to Russia and other countries providing military aid to Iraq… Russia is said not only to be supplying the Iraqis, but also to have assisted in preparing them for war with the US (more)… and the constant demonstrations of “low end” Russian weaponry destroying top-of-the-line US military equipment is doing wonders for their weapons sales (more) and hurting US sales in return.

Russia, China, and other countries have now banded together to form a new coalition designed to “keep the US in check” — or, to put it more bluntly, a military alliance with the potential of killing everyone in America (more). After all, with the US acting with unilateral aggression, they really have no choice. If I was an American, I'd be pretty wary about continued threats against a pile of nations that hate America (more), are sitting on a lot of deadly weapons designed to kill Americans at home (more), not to mention a functional space program (more).

Don't think Russia and China are backing down or just posturing — Russia just sent a pile of nuclear subs to the Gulf (more), and by April 11th, an entire sqadron of ships carrying nuclear weaponry will be there conducting “peaceful naval wargames” (more). Russia and China are pulling India, another nuclear power that's deeply anti-American, into its alliance to destroy the US. And why should India care about America? Pakistan, a nation that publicly sponsors international terrorism, became US ally number one during Afghanistan, while continuing to sponsor terrorist attacks on the US the whole time.

And who is going to pay for all this? The people of the United States… Will Bush's legacy be millions of smouldering corpses? Yeah, I know no one cares when America murders thousands of people overseas… but how will you feel when it's California that's being nuked?

Ask yourselves this: Before WWII, Germans legally elected Hitler. He did some good for the country. But then things went bad… When do you think the German people realized that they were on the losing team? When do you think they realized that they were the bad guys?

America may win the Battle of Iraq, but this is not a war that will be won by anyone.

PS. And don't think the Russian people aren't pissed that America takes the credit for winning WWII when everyone with any knowledge of history knows that it was Russian blood that eventually won that war… The Russians paid a terrible, terrible price for that victory, and have not forgotten the insult of Americans taking the credit for it — how could they forget? It's been on TV every day for the past two years.