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The Mad Prophet is C Bryan Lavigne: writer, artist, musician and dedicated Anarcho-Syndicalist. He has written articles for YellowTimes.org and Open Source Politics, which can also be found in various other publications.

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Saturday, September 20, 2003

A Thousand Apologies...

To Hugh and anyone waiting to read my next post in the debate below: I'm sorry. I was unavoidably detained by personal responsibility yesterday. And today doesn't look like it'll be any better.

I have an Open Source Politics peice that I need to work on today too (and which I haven't even started, yeesh.) Argh! There's just not enough time in the day, damnit.

I should be back in full swing tomorrow though. Hopefully.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Comment Discussion Brought To The Top.

I kinda like having comments.

In response to my post on Syria being the next target, Hugh of Studied Authenticity writes:
I'd be interested to know what you think has happened in Iraq and why it's a bad thing.

I would suggest that Iraq had a repressive and authoritarian government (to say the least) that wasn't going to be leaving power any time soon. That regime has since been deposed.

This is a Bad Thing because?

And my reply:

I would inform you that things are not peachy-keen in the new American Colony. Iraq is in chaos. The murder rate in Baghdad has more than tripled. Iraqi children still suffer as they did before the war, under the sanctions. Terrorists are regularly bombing oil piplines, the UN, police stations and mosques (as well as American troops.) There have been no free elections. The US has recruited many of the same people who worked for the Ba'ath regime. Civilians countinue to be gunned downed by paranoid American troops. Sabotage is depriving the people of necessities. Some thirty thousand families have lost loved ones since the bombs started falling (a conservative estimate in my opinion, but the most popular one.) The people have been humiliated by their countries weakness in defending itself. The government is almost non-existent, it's buildings are blackened shells. And Shi'ites are calling for an Islamic State.

(And at this point, I would point out that after almost two year Afghanistan is doing just as bad, having made little to no progress under [mainly] American occupation -- or more aptly, lack thereof. It doesn't bode well for Iraq.)

I would remind you that Iraq had a repressive and authoritarian government for over twenty years and that that regime was supported for more than a decade by the United States. I would also remind you that given a choice between the promise of freedom and clean drinking water, most people would choose the water -- something that it appears Saddam Hussein was more able to supply than we are.

I would remind you that O.I.L. (Operation Iraqi Liberation,) was sold not on "freedom for the Iraqi people," but on the "fact" that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and was willing and able to use them against the US and its allies. A "fact" that has turned out to be blatantly fabricated.

And I suggest that had the aim of this war actually been about the liberation of an oppressed people, the UN -- as well as troops from other Arab countries -- should have been brought in to help deal with these problems. More thought should have been given to this occupation.

UPDATE! - Hugh has a response posted here. I'll try to get a response to this posted later today.

Public Service Announcement.

No Sweat Apparel.comI haven't plugged No Sweat Apparel in a while. I've been dissappointed with myself for not being able to get more bloggers to join the crusade. (A big thanks to Emma at Notes on the Atrocities and Max of MaxSpeak fame for taking up the call, most people didn't even bother to respond to my letter -- which, I might add, was not mass spammed, I composed each letter seperately.)

I originally thought it would be easy, for two big reasons: One, it's a good cause.... Sweatshops are evil and thanks to "free trade" they are becoming even more abundent. (And don't think a "Made in the USA" sticker guarantees your clothes are untainted. It doesn't.) Unions are the only proven successful way to fight sweatshops and supporting the unions as consumers is an important part of that fight. It's why we shouldn't cross a picket line to give our patronage to the business being picketed.

Now, who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

And then, on top of being a part of something this important, you can even make a little extra money through the Affiliate Program (something that -- in my experience -- any blogger can use.... Except maybe Andrew Sullivan, the fucking whore.)

It's been about six months since my initial letter writing campaign. Maybe I should try again. I have a lot more contacts now -- people who at least know who I am. (Maybe I should try to enlist the OSP gang.) I still feel that Bloggers could play an important part in e-activism like this. Our efforts in the FCC fiasco and the Vote To Impeach movement are a testiment to the power we could have if we just try to tap into it.

I'm starting to see blogging turn into pure commentary, when it could -- and should -- be so much more. Blogs, in their truest form, are about participation and community and activism. And I think as they are becoming more mainstream we're losing those things.

I'd hate to see the blogosphere turned into Corporate Media Lite (like the "alternative press.")

A Bad Equation.

What happens when you put trigger-happy, nervous kids -- mind-fucked by Nintendo and Au-nuld movies* -- into a foreign country with customs far removed from any they have ever experienced? Mucho bad shit:

Guerrillas ambushed two U.S. military convoys with remote-controlled bombs in separate attacks Thursday, wounding two Americans and sparking a heavy gunbattle in which a 20-year-old man was shot in the chest and two trucks were destroyed.

In the nearby town of Fallujah, witnesses said an American patrol opened fire on guests at a wedding, killing a 14-year-old boy and wounding six people, after mistaking celebratory gunfire for an attack.


I don't blame the troops, in their situation I'd probably be just as nervous and trigger-happy. I blame the evil, murdering scumbags who put them there for their own greedy, imperialistic aims.

*And I should know, I'm still one of those kids.

Censorship Sucks!

Via Thousand Yard Glare, the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2002-2003:

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty
#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear
#6: Closing Access to Information Technology
#7: Treaty Busting by the United States
#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects
#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights, and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever
#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism
#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre
#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela
#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged
#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem
#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth
#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA
#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism
#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands
#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq
#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts
#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You
#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net
#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth
#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine
#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment

So, how many did you know about?

Heil Bush.

Any more doubts that Bush is a Nazi? Hahaha.

Democrats Are Assholes.

Natasha at Pacific Views:
So again the media follows the political storyline they're most comfortable with. Democrats get to be out of touch college professors, vapid actors, hippies, poor single mothers, atheists, and hypocritical rich people. Republicans can always be assumed to be honest, salt-of-the-earth types, because even the screaming rich ones never believably promise to do a blasted thing to help the working class.

So, here are some one-liners we never heard about the Bush-Cheney ticket during the 2000 election:
  • The two former energy company executives promise to respect the environment.

  • The ticket, with three drunk driving arrests between them, promises to encourage a culture of personal responsibility.

  • The veteran of several failed companies promises to bring the best traditions of the business world into the Oval Office.

  • The man who called a reporter an asshole on mic promises to end the climate of bipartisan rancor in our nation's capital.

  • The former governor who mocked a woman on her way to be executed promises to serve as a compassionate conservative.

  • This wealthy son of a wealthy family claims direct knowledge of the concerns of those who have a hard time feeding their children.
Hahaha. So true.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Slavery Is Alive And Well.

Steve Lathe writes in Open Source Politics:
Free the Slaves estimates that there are at least 27 million slaves today. There are some substantial differences between the slave market of today and 200 years ago: today slaves are cheap (average cost $90 versus $40,000 in adjusted 1850 dollars), in plentiful supply, disposable (remember that low cost) and very profitable.

And America is not immune, with an estimated 100,000 slaves within our borders, mostly Latin American and mostly working on farms (looks like our slaves have just changed color after all these years.)

Link and Link.

And while I'm linking to a post at OSP, go read the whole issue, it's full of great content.

New Kid On The Blog.

Say hello to Citizen Lehew.

Action Alert.

Courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance, write your Senators and tell them not to co-sponsor the Orwellian named VICTORY Act.

The DPA is getting involved because, among other things, the VICTO (they couldn't actually get the "RY" in there) Act will turn non-violent drug offenders into terrorists.

I guess this is the only way they can justify those idiotic commercials accusing pot smokers of supporting terrorists -- by turning the dealers into terrorists.


Chainsaw Massacre In Colombia.

While the media's attention is focused on the eight foreigners allegedly kidnapped by FARC soldiers, the bodies of three peasant farmers -- members of the agricultural union FENSUAGRO -- were found in a mass grave. The men were chopped up with chainsaws. They were kidnapped on Sept 2nd by paramilitaries (who have close ties to the Colombian government and the military.) Authorities have refused to investigate.

In a seperate incident the 15-year-old son of Limberto Carranza was kidnapped on the 10th. Carranza is an activist of the food and beverage union SINALTRAINAL, which is struggling against Coca-Cola. The Coke Corp. is accused of allowing the paramilitaries to intimidate and assasinate workers.

ANNCOL News (Link fixed.)
Coke Boycott

Big Money wins out again in Texas.

Texas voters, mind-fucked by the conservative propaganda machine, have approved a consitutional amendment limiting medical malpractice awards. Confined Space has the whole story (and all the links.)

A few points I'd like to highlight -- According to the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America:
Premiums paid by doctors "do not correspond to increases or decreases in payouts," but "rise and fall in concert with the state of the economy.... Insurance companies raise rates when they are seeking ways to make up for declining interest rates and market-based investment losses."

That conclusion is similar to one reached by the GAO in a report released last June. Among the causes of the latest round of malpractice premium increases, the congressional investigators found, were insurers' losses in their investment portfolios, inadequate reserves to pay claims and artificially low rates set during the 1990s when many companies vied to attract policyholders.

Which makes sense. Insurance companies -- who don't give one goddamn shit if there are enough doctors to take care of everyone -- are raising rates to recoup losses brought on by the Bush economy. How about that, a corporation only cares about it's profits. Holy Shit!!! I didn't know capitalism worked like that!

Then there's the fact that the number of lawsuites and the payouts for such lawsuites have been declining. And when forced to tell the truth, insurance companies have admitted that "frivolous lawsuites" are not a problem.

Oh, and the Texas Amendment doesn't stop at medical malpractice, it:
extends the limits on malpractice awards across the board for lawsuits that could cover polluters, toxic dumpers, unsafe apartment buildings, hazardous workplaces or dangerous products.

Molly Ivins points out that:
Prop. 12 limits the right to sue makers of dangerous supplements like Fen-fen, makers of unsafe tires and exploding gas tanks, polluters, drunk drivers, manufacturers of unsafe medical devices like the Dalkon Shield and corporate crooks. People like Ken Lay and Jeff Skillings of Enron, who destroyed the life savings of thousands of people, get legal protection under Prop. 12. This is the Polluters and Predators Protection Act.

So, it ain't just the insurance companies getting their campaign donations back; it's every fucking corporate criminal in the state of Texas. The people of Texas are really taking a shot in both ends on this one.

A Good One To E-Mail To Your Friends.

George Bush's Presidential Confession.

Now we should throw him in jail and take away his puddin'. (And by "puddin'" I mean "anal virginity.")

If only we believed in Justice in this country.

Syria Has Weapons Of Mass Destruction!

I can't believe they're throwing down this bullshit again:
The Bush administration named Syria and Libya yesterday as "rogue states" whose weapons of mass destruction must not just be controlled but must be eliminated by whatever means necessary. [Link]

Don't these stupid bastards know the story about the boy who cried wolf?

And, of course, there's that little episode concerning the UN Resolution proposed by Syria a few months ago. Remember that one? After that shit I don't think we have any right whatsoever to go after anyone for "weapons of mass destruction."

I wonder what public opinion is on this. Would anyone support this after what's happened in Iraq?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Bush/Cheney 2004 Bumper Stickers.

Just my favorites:
Bush/Cheney '04: Compassionate Colonialism
Bush/Cheney '04: Because the truth just isn't good enough.
Bush/Cheney '04: Four More Wars!
Bush/Cheney '04: Putting the "con" in conservatism
Bush/Cheney '04: Apocalypse Now!
George W. Bush: The buck stops Over There
Bush/Cheney '04: Leave no billionaire behind
Bush/Cheney '04: The economy's stupid!
Bush/Cheney: 1984 Now
George W. Bush: It takes a village idiot
Peace & Prosperity Suck -- Big-Time
Vote Bush in '04: Because dictatorship is easier.
WWJB: Who would Jesus Bomb?


Sounds like an idea to me. Guerrilla anti-Bush campaign.

Talk To Me!

Upon request I've added a comments feature.

UPDATE! - Already have a problem. Something with the database, so I don't think it's on my end. UPDATE 2 - Seems to be working now.

Gerogie Boy Is Probably Pissing His Pants Right Now.

Britain, US postpone WMD report for lack of evidence.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: It is a sad state of affairs when between an American President and a brutal Dictatotor it was the Dictator that was telling the truth. How can anyone be proud of this shit? How can anyone still stand behind this fraud?

And where the fuck is the mainstream media on this?

Monday, September 15, 2003

Save Our Overtime!

The battle goes one:
In the most recent action, the House-passed version of the bill does not include a similar amendment to block the overtime rule changes. However, before the conference to meld the two versions into a final product begins, it is likely worker-friendly lawmakers will offer what is called a “motion to instruct� that would require House members who are part of the conference delegation to accept the Senate’s overtime provision. In July, the House narrowly defeated (213-210) an amendment to block the overtime changes.

As always, Take Action:

Sign the Petition.
Write Your Representative.
Write Shrub.

Sometimes I Love Teddy Kennedy.

Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy hopes to put his Republican colleagues in the Senate in an awkward spot. Any day now he intends to attach a raise in the national minimum wage to a must-pass appropriations bill.

If it reaches the floor, senators will have to register their vote on a measure popular with a large majority of Americans - but opposed by groups representing restaurants, hotels, retail stores, health services, and other major employers of low-wage workers.


The raise will be a buck fifty over two years (75 cents at a time,) if they can get the Repugs to go against their cheap-labor conservatism and support the raise.

Fight, Fight, Fight.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

O Say Can You Seeeee!

What the Fuck is wrong with those fucking assholes in washington:
[...] The subpoenas obtained by the RIAA are issued by a federal court automatically, without any lawsuit being filed or even review by a judge. This, thanks to an obscure provision included in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which allows copyright owners to obtain federal subpoenas by merely making allegations of infringement. Several Internet service providers are in court challenging the constitutionality of this special subpoena power, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., has expressed interest in repealing it. But until the special subpoena power is overturned or repealed, it is the law of the land.

So, for the time being, in the RIAA's war on file sharing, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Universities and colleges, like other ISPs, have to hand over the names and addresses of the faculty, staff or students whom the RIAA has accused.

[Link] (You should read the rest of this article.)

I didn't know about that (I should have though, I've probably read about it before -- damn marijuana's killing my memory.)

Our laws are really starting to look like they're taken from an illiberal Dictatorship. Seriously.

20 Square Miles.

So, we can maybe narrow Bin Laden's whereabouts down to a 20-square-mile area of Pakistan and still not be able to catch him! All I can think is that maybe if some people hadn't turned the post-911 situation into a complete clusterfuck, this wouldn't even be an issue.

I seem to remember back when the US Murder Machine was gearing up for the Afghan War some of us anti-revenge folks pointed out that, among other things, bombing Afghanistan probably wouldn't do much to bring that shitfuck to justice -- and, in fact, it would most likely make it even harder. And now, look where we are: 20 sq miles of Pakistan is beyond our reach.

Art, Art, Art.

I put up six new pieces on my Fotoblog. Check 'em out, tell me what you think. I do flyers and album art -- though, only if I have complete creative freedom -- if anyone's interested. (Hmmm, maybe I should put some of that stuff up.... Hum... Yeah, I'll do that sometime in the near future.)

9-11's Unknown Soldier.

During the Vietnam War, my friend and colleague Nick Ut took a photograph of a girl who'd been napalmed, running down the road in flames. The picture became an instant icon and won the Pulitzer Prize. But no one in the States worried about getting napalmed. The photo evoked sympathy, not empathy.

In the World Trade Center photo, it's about personal identification. We felt we knew Bobby Kennedy, but we didn't identify with him. We weren't wealthy scions of a political dynasty or presidential candidates. We were just ordinary people who had to show up for work day after day, more often than not in tall office buildings.

Just like the guy at the World Trade Center.

That's what unsettles people about the picture. We look at it and we put ourselves in the jumper's place. And we ask, "Which option would I choose? Would I wait and pray for help as the flames licked at me, or jump through fresh air and sunlight, to certain death?"

You see, the girl in Nick Ut's picture was on fire. You can see the agony on her face. It's horrifying, but it is not the face of America. The man in my picture is uninjured. He does not look like he's in pain. But you know he is moments from death. And you can't help but think, "That could have been me."

Link (via Cursor.)

Remember What?

Mark Fiore remembers September the 11th.