Monthly Archives: October 2004

"We've lost accountability"

Those of you who checked out Jon Stewart destroying the folks on Crossfire (more) might also enjoy his recent (uncensored) appearance on C-SPAN, which you can watch online for free on their site. It's about an hour long segment.

Legal stuff

Let me tell you about William Rodriguez (more, more).

On September 11, 2001, William Rodriguez, a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, single-handedly rescued fifteen people. The only employee with the master key to the North Tower staircases, he led firefighters up the stairs, unlocking doors as he went, aiding in the evacuation of hundreds of additional people who, but for his efforts, might have perished. Although his job description did not include saving lives, Rodriguez re-entered the building three times after the first plane struck, and was the last person to exit the North Tower alive. He survived the collapse of the North Tower by diving beneath a fire truck to avoid the avalanche of concrete and steel. After onsite treatment for his injuries, Rodriguez plunged right back into rescue efforts at the site. At dawn the next morning, Rodriguez returned to Ground Zero from his home in Jersey City, to continue to aid in rescue efforts.

Since then Rodriguez has led the survivors' fight for justice and a proper investigation, and, having seen nothing happen via official channels, has just launched suit (pdf) against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and many more individuals alleging among other things, that the WTC was brought down using strategically placed explosives rather than just the impact and burning of the airliners. A massive conspiracy going back to before the 2000 election fraud is claimed, and with mountains of evidence. Should be an interesting trial, although I suspect it will be almost instantly dismissed.

Other than that, the US just misplaced 380 tons of high explosives in Iraq, which are now assumed to be in insurgent hands (more) to make bombs. Oil is now over $55 a barrel (the highest in history), in part because there's not enough oil to go around, and because of America's crumbling economy, China is able to buy some of the oil that America needs from underneath it (more). This problem is just going to get worse. Oh, and where's all this oil money going? Turns out our good buddies the Saudi's (well, Bush's good buddies anyway) are funneling it to the Iraqi insurgency (more).

Oh, and PayPal is now starting to terminate gay sites (more). Those of you who work outside the adult industry don't know how censorship really works in the modern world (more). While governments make things mostly legal in terms of “right to free speech” and so on, their allies in the credit card and banking industries force adult or socially “difficult” industries pay huge service charges or deny them accounts simply for their content (which is usually perfectly legal). While no law has been broken, and no right has been infringed, because of the monopolistic nature of these payment systems, terminating their support effectively terminates the business.

There's a lot more I'd like to write on this subject but can't post here. If you know me in person, ask me about it (in real life, not online) next time I talk to you.

Looking amazing!

I just got an update from the work that Xed has been doing on Lucky Diamond Rich (check out his site; the world's most tattooed person). The red you see in the picture below is the latest work. To be clear as to what it is, it's black ink with white ink on top of it, and now red ink on top of that.

While I'm posting my “postcards” here, I'll also pop up this suspension picture from Alienx in Natal, Brazil. There are many more very pretty suspension pictures on his page.

…and rumor has it the Brazil SusCon starts today. Hopefully Allen and others will keep us updated! Along those lines, everyone should pay attention to Ferg's comment/advice in this forum; it's very very true.


As you know from his statements in the recent Presidential debates, Bush has said that in his second term he will be (by his Supreme Court appointments) be overturning Roe v Wade, meaning that for the first time since 1973, states will be able to ban abortion — thirty states, affecting about 70 million US women, are set to ban abortion as soon as they can (more, more). Bush's anti-woman stance doesn't end there — Bush just pulled the US out of the UN women's rights pledge (which was supported by previous administrations), because it includes the statement that women should have equal “sexual rights” to men. Bush has said the US won't sign anything that alleges that sexuality is a right, let alone an equal right (more). Gotta love the “free-est” country in the world.

But still, over 50% of Americans are behind Bush on all this. I know people get angry when I ask this, but are these Americans uninformed about what Bush is doing, or do they genuinely support such evil (evil)? Or is the problem that those polls are fraudulent, and then selectively chosen by conservative-bias media like CNN (more)? The whole thing just seems to become a battle of lies (more), and you never know in the end who's voice gets to be part of “democracy” and who's does not (more).

While you're mulling that over in your head, let me quote what Bill Clinton said to George Bush in his security briefing in December 2000 (so ten months before the 9/11 attacks; more):

I think you will find that by far your biggest threat is Bin Ladin and the al Qaeda. One of the great regrets of my presidency is that I didn't get him [Bin Ladin] for you, because I tried to.

Immediately upon taking office, Bush proposed cutting a half billion dollars from the Justice Department's anti-terrorism budget. It's interesting what players in this big game are stepping out and opposing this Bush Cabal. Burger King has stepped up and said it won't have its ads played alongside Sinclair's propaganda (more), and of course many of you are hearing the Marshall Mathers Plan (more) as well.

Following up on yesterday's post, the US Army is now recalling — drafting — seniors as old as seventy (more), and the punchline is that we're not talking about clerical errors — these people really are being forced to serve in Iraq (alongside the disabled I suppose). Also following up I'd like to link to Is Suicide Part Of The Job?, which I think is a very fair question when you're talking about back-door drafted troops being ordered on missions that are almost guaranteed to kill a number of people in the unit. Would you die for this war? You are after all asking your countrymen to do so.

While you read this, remember as well that the death toll is skewed in this war. Modern medicine, combined with modern body armor, means that actual death toll is quite low for the US. What is much higher are injury numbers — with full armor and medical support, you're going to have your extremities blown off, but the core survives. Unfortunately because of the way the definitions have been written, most of these injuries get hidden. The “official” number is about 7,000 casualties, but when you talk to the folks at the medical hospitals, they'll tell you the airlifted number is closer to 30,000 US casualties (more).

In addition, Tenet admits that the CIA made huge mistakes in what it presented and that Iraq was a massive error (more), and according to Douglas Feith (US Undersecretary of Defense), as recently as January of this year, the Pentagon was providing fraudulent data to Congress (more) in order to support the Bush-Cheney stance on the Iraq war… The Iraq War… Hows that going again? Oh yeah, the insurgent forces are growing not just in number, but in funding (more), and Iraq is starting to look a lot like the US politically — deeply divided but leaning toward theocracy (more).

What? The US is becoming a theocracy? Perhaps you've never heard of the widely supported bipartisan Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, which would declare all liberty and freedom as sourcing from God, and permit — without the opportunity for legal challenge — the police and judiciary of the United States to “rewrite” the law as dictated by God (more). I kid you not. Everyone is afraid to be the person “voting against God”, so don't be surprised when it passes (more).

All this looks fabulously evil in its corruption when you look and see stuff like this: the CIA's latest 9/11 report — which names names in the administration — has been vetoed by Bush and can not be released now until after his re-appointing as President (more).

PS. And to my Christian friends on IAM, happy 6000th birthday (more) to the Universe.

Neverending election stuff

Reading about Saddam's trial (more), you really start to see what a colossal screwup the Iraq war was. Let's look at Iraq in the late 70s and 80s. At that point it was the most liberal of the Arab nations. Women could move freely, get a good education, and held positions of power in government and commerce. Human rights, while poor by our standards, were some of the best in the region (and a lot better than they are now). Saddam loved America, and wanted his nation to become a Western nation. Walking down the streets of Baghdad didn't look that different from a Western city — people listening to music on their walkmans, soda pop ads on bus shelters, and so on.

Unfortunately Saddam was fighting an uphill battle. He had Kurdish separatist groups to deal with, as well as a majority of the population who wanted an Islamic government. Not only that, but his next door neighbor — Iran — was a fascistic and controlling Islamic state. He repressed (and sometimes appeased) these groups (and Iran), often brutally, in the interests of furthering Westernization in his country, with the support of the West who supplied him with weaponry and financing. At some point though the relationship turned sour and the US briefly invaded.

Saddam didn't really understand why, since the US had already told him that recapturing territory lost to Kuwait was a domestic issue and his business to deal with as he saw fit. The first Gulf War ended quickly, and, confused by sanctions that he thought were an attempt by the West to demean him, Saddam continued doing what he did best — keeping the country out of the hands of the terror and extremist groups, while slowly Westernizing the region. He destroyed his WMD programs as requested, but kept making noise about them so as not to appear “weak” to the Islamic states around him.

Al Qaeda and other terror groups targeted Iraq, as Saddam was genuinely threatening what they saw as their traditional way of life. Iran became more hostile, and supported resistance movements inside Iraq. Saddam, assuming that the US knew perfectly well that he had no weapons, continued to boast about his non-existent chemical, biological, and nuclear programs in order to keep Iran at bay.

Unfortunately the US neo-cons seized 9/11 as an opportunity to go after Iraq — the most US-positive of possible targets — and destroyed all hope for Westernization of the Middle East with the most recent war on Iraq, and now we're in the mess we're in now — Americans dying daily, Iraqis being killed constantly, terror bases, growing insurgency, and a hydra that will continue to sprout more heads as long as we're there chopping them off. So is the world better off with Saddam out of power? Absolutely not.

Unless of course you're a defense or military construction contractor (which these neo-cons all are), in which case you're now fabulously wealthy and can expect a visit from Robin Leach any day now to tour your Baroque decorated bomb shelter.

Anyway, it's interesting to watch the traditional Bush and Republican supporters drop away — it's fascinating seeing them writhe as they try and figure out how to shout out “I hate everything about Bush and where he's taking this country, but I still support Bush.” I don't know how McCain and the rest of them stay so loyal to the party while being so obviously distraught by Bush's actions. This latest tiff with Pat Robertson (more) is interesting as well.

"He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties,' " Robertson said.

"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties," Robertson quoted Bush as saying.

"'Well,' I said, 'it's the way it's going to be. . . . The Lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy.'"

What's most fascinating though is that after all this, Robertson still says Bush is blessed by God and will win the election. That said, if current trends (more) continue, there's a very real possibility that Kerry wins by a dramatic margin. At times the polls predict him winning with something like 320 electoral votes (with 218 to Bush)… and I sort of think a lot of people who tell the telephone pollsters they're voting Bush will secretly check off Kerry's name once their honor is actually tested.

On top of the massive betrayal of America by Bush, this swing is happening for one reason: voter turnout. I've lived in America (Philadelphia), I've traveled all over America, I'm married to an American, and I have many American friends. I know that on the whole Americans are “good people” and have very similar attitudes to my friends here in Canada — and my friends around the world when it comes down to it.

I believe that if most Americans vote, Americans will put good people into the White House. All it takes (assuming the election isn't rigged) is people going out there and voting. I had this “what if” paradise moment yesterday where I realized that if all Americans actually went out and voted, America would swing to politics similar to Canada and Europe. What an incredible, wonderful world that could be — can you imagine if a nation with America's clout actually started to stand for freedom and justice and social responsibility? Can you imagine if all the money America poured into fueling wars around the world started to fuel positive change instead?

The world could transform into something really wonderful.
America, you can be that shining beacon!

On that note, I thought the “voting” lottery (proposed recently in Fortune magazine; more) was brilliant, and a uniquely “American” solution to the problem of low voter turnout. I hope the idea gets enacted, maybe in Arizona first. When it comes to democracy, there aren't many US states that can compare to the liberty and resistance to corruption that Arizona has.

Turn the election into a lottery. The stub that's proof you voted would be your ticket. Prizes could range from $10 million for the winner to dozens of $1 million runners-up. Does anyone doubt this would lift turnout from today's pathetic 50% in presidential years (and one-third of eligible voters in off-years) toward 100%?

Anyway, I've got a whack of work to do. If you want more election stuff, check out derelection 2004, the best news blog about the election that I've found, done by the folks at CURSOR.