Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, September 30, 2002

"I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it," Rumsfeld said. -- from AP.
Rummy was "answering" charges from Senator Robert Byrd that Iraq got its bio-weapon starter kit from the US.

I've read about the US providing Iraq with lethal bacteria and viruses for at least months. If there was any doubt before, there is certainly no doubt now that Rummy is either a dispicable liar or a total ignoramus, both of which qualify him for immediate removal from being in charge of the world's most powerful military.

Do you think that maybe if we stopped trying to piss off the rest of the world that we could relax a little? Someone in the Hart Senate Office Building found a scrap of paper with the word "smallpox" on it, and the building was shut down for 40 minutes. I mean, smallpox vaccinations were a major topic of discussion last week: do you think maybe somebody took some notes? I'll bet you wouldn't have to look very hard to find papers there with "anthrax", "Iraq", "chemical weapons", "bombs", "al Qaeda", and a bunch of other scary words on them. (There's probably a few copies of the Washington Post in the trash cans, for example.) As a matter of fact, I encourage them to look! Shutting down the Senate for a while might keep them from approving Bush's war resolution, which would probably result in a lowering of any real terrorist threat, which would allow the Senate to stay open more in the future!
Uranium-shmanium! Apparenty Turkish officials included the weight of the lead container in the supposed 34.6 pounds of uranium seized from two guys in a taxi. It is now believed to be 3 ounces, and they're not really sure what it is. Thanks to CNN for once again reporting nothing as something. Makes me proud of my unflagging skepticism, although I apologize to my readers for bringing this non-issue to your attention.
Making a deal with the Russians: See this Jeff Danziger cartoon.
Speaking of the administration, [Rep. of Washington State Jim] McDermott said, "I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation." Then he added: "It would not surprise me if they came up with some information that is not provable, and they've shifted. First they said it was Al Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they're going back and saying it's Al Qaeda again." When pressed for evidence about whether President Bush had lied, Mr. McDermott said, "I think the president would mislead the American people." But he said he believed that inspections of Iraq's weapons programs could be worked out. -- from the NY Times.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

I was in downtown Ann Arbor this morning passing out anti-war fliers. The response was about 95% positive (that is, anti-war). Ann Arbor is known as a liberal town, but everyone should know that there are a lot of people out there not buying the Bush propaganda. Make your calls, take to the streets, put a stop to this! I don't know if we can pull it off, but we have to try! The cycle of violence is about to go into high gear, downhill, with the wind, and the brakes seem to be broken. Let's throw a stick in Bush's spokes before it's too late!
Can you say setup? World War II started after Hitler had a couple of Germans in a radio station killed and blamed it on Poland. Now two guys supposedly get busted in Turkey, supposedly smuggling uranium. So far it hasn't been officially alleged that they were headed for Iraq, although CNN is sure hinting at it. Our power to know what is really going on is so tiny compared to their power to deceive! Does anyone know where April Glaspie is right now?

Friday, September 27, 2002

Alternative History--How things might have been (a Bob original):

Bush Shocked by German Minister's Comparison to Hitler

President Bush admitted that he was shocked by German Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin's observation that his using talk of war with Iraq to distract the public's attention away from domestic issues was a technique once used by Adolf Hitler. "Really!" said Bush. "I had no idea! I am extremely embarrassed that I have been pursuing a path previously taken by that notorious dictator, and I promise that I will stop doing so immediately. I apologize to the American people, and the people of the world, for using such a tactic. I thank Minister Däubler-Gmelin for her observation which will surely help me to pursue a more honorable path. I wish her and Prime Minister Schroeder the best of luck in the upcoming election."
In Germany, Schroeder commended Däubler-Gmelin, saying she had made a significant contribution to world peace. "She will be promoted to foreign minister if I am re-elected," Schroeder said. "I am glad that we have been able to set President Bush on a path more conducive to the long-term welfare of America and the world."
Among Senate Democrats facing tough re-election battles, Wellstone, D-Minn., is alone in coming out strongly against the resolution. His GOP challenger, Norm Coleman, is using the issue to try to paint Wellstone as an extremist. ``This is one of those examples where you say, 'Hey, this guy is way outside the mainstream,''' said Coleman. -- from AP. As I ranted on before, Coleman is the guy that Veep from the Deep Cheney hand-picked to run against Wellstone. Well, Norm, if we don't get more senators out of the mainstream soon, we'll be up excrement creek without a paddle. For my readers, if you'd like to keep Coleman out of the Senate, you can donate to Wellstone's campaign by going to the Council for a Livable World's website. And if you just can't wait for 2004 to help Bush lose an election, go here!
And now for something completely different! Make your own Bush speech! Ah, the wonders of the Internet.
Members of Congress! Be faithful to your oaths of office and to the traditions of your branch of government. Think of the country, not of your re-election. Assert your power. Stand up for the prerogatives of Congress. Defend the Constitution. Reject the arrogance--and the ignorance--of power. Show respect for your constituents--they require your honest judgment, not capitulation to the executive. Say no to empire. Affirm the Republic. Preserve the peace. Vote against war in Iraq. from The Nation
"I have come here today to express my view that America should not go to war against Iraq unless and until other reasonable alternatives are exhausted," Kennedy said in a speech before the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies...."Resorting to war is not America's only or best course at this juncture," Kennedy said. "There are realistic alternatives between doing nothing and declaring unilateral or immediate war. War should be a last resort, not the first response."
-- from CNN. Apparently the Democrats have been Gored into speaking up a little--finally. I'm still disgusted that Kennedy and other Democrats seem to think that it is necessary to emphasize, and sometimes even to praise, the overblown and misguided "War on Terrorism" as a reason to question the Iraq Attaq. War on Iraq is wrong on its own merits, regardless of how many other stupid wars we are presently conducting. (Obligatory note: Bringing those responsible for 9/11 to justice is a fine idea. We blew our best chance at that last year by refusing to negotiate with the Taliban. Killing large numbers of Afghan civilians, and, yes, even Taliban soldiers was not a fine idea. Most of these now-dead people had nothing to do with 9/11 except for living in the same country as some of the people who planned it, a crime for which I and 280 million others are also guilty. An even worse idea was extending the "War on Terrorism" so that the Pakistanis, Filipinos, Russians, Chinese, Indonesians, etc. could use the it as cover for squelching domestic dissent, sometimes with US military help.)

Who really knows what the election laws are, anyway? Check out Tom Toles cartoon today!
A fellow blogger has an excellent, rather comprehensive rant against the Bushies. Check it out!

Thursday, September 26, 2002

What were Rummy's first thoughts after the 9/11 attacks?
With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." – meaning Saddam Hussein – "at same time. Not only UBL" – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
-- from CBS News.

Here's another from MaxSpeak!
(That's Lynne Cheney's book he's "reading.")
This cartoon says basically the same thing I said in "The Night Before Baghdad":
Thanks to MaxSpeak, who thanks TomPaine, etc.
Periodic Reminder Time: The proposed war on Iraq is only the latest outrage. Most of the others are being ignored, and many are nearly forgotten. So here's a reminder:

  • Civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
  • Brutal treatment and murder of POW's at Mazar-i-Sharif and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
  • Illegal indefinite detentions of hundreds after 9/11.
  • Unconstitutional USA Patriot Act.
  • Shadow government.
  • Enron, and the former Enron crooks in the Bush administration.
  • Halliburton.
  • Harken.
  • Cheney's energy plan.
  • Election 2000.
  • Unsolved anthrax investigation.
  • Prior knowledge of 9/11 attacks (okay, this is getting a little press now).
  • Support of coup attempt in Venezuela.
  • Osama bin Laden.
I'm sure I've forgotten some! Remind me and I'll add them to the list. Seems like enough outrages to keep Congress busy for a while. Why are new ones continually being added?
Not many heros, but lots of heroin: The "War on Terrorism" has been successful as a "War on the War on Drugs."
"The National Security Strategy of the United States -- 2002" is repellent, unnecessary and, above all, impractical. Americans are famous for pragmatism, and we need a good dose of common sense right now. This Will Not Work. from Molly Ivins.
Another gem from Halcyon Days: Simply put, without the Iraq war, George W. Bush is nothing. He is an electorally and ethically compromised no term president who squandered unprecedented national unity and international support in failed pursuit of aims that were venal and misguided, and achieved the unique trifecta of bankrupting his government politically, fiscally, and morally at the same time. If we invade Iraq, we will spend the next six years dealing with the consequences of George W. Bush’s recklessness, instead of bringing him to book politically and legally for his transgressions. No wonder this notoriously lazy and uninvolved politician pursues the invasion with such single-minded fanaticism.
What’s more important to Saddam Hussein? Getting the sanctions lifted so he can start making billions of dollars from his undeveloped oil reserves, or pissing around with some half-assed WMD program that gets him an Israeli nuke in his morning corn flakes? I think we know the answer. Saddam has been desperate to get the sanctions lifted so he can start making money. -- from Peter Lee on his Halcyon Days blog. Lee explains that Saddam was close to getting the sanctions lifted a year or two ago, which would have freed Iraq to do a lot of lucrative business with Russia, France, and others. The Bush war plan has largely scuttled that hope, and if it goes through will give ultimate control over Iraq's resources to Bush and Blair, not Saddam, Putin and Chirac. The stated reasons for war change daily; the real reason remains the same. Black gold, Texas tea--oil.
Media Scan: The Condi Rice story (ranted on below) about "detainees" describing Iraqi support for al Qaeda is the main story this morning on a big headline and a large picture of Rice. and give the story secondary headline status. It isn't mentioned at all on the front pages of or Apparently she made the remarks fairly early last evening, so this appears to be editorial differences rather than a matter of timing. Just a reminder as to how much we are at the mercy of the corporate media in our attempts to find out what's happening. At least it is somewhat reassuring that they are not in complete lockstep--yet.
"We know too that several of the detainees, in particular some high-ranking detainees, have said that Iraq provided some training to al Qaeda in chemical weapons development," Rice said. from - Rice: Iraq sheltered, trained al Qaeda - Sep. 25, 2002

The Bushies apparently intend to use hearsay evidence from people who despise both the US and Saddam Hussein as a reason for going to war. Except for George W. Bush and Tony Blair, no one in the world will be happier to see the US go to war with Iraq than Osama bin Laden and the rest of al Qaeda. One of their main goals in the 9/11 attacks was to start a war between Islam and the west! So there is little reason to doubt here that someone is lying: either the "detainees" in what they said, or Condi about them saying it.
And W adds his own personal brand of insanity:
Bush Wednesday warned that al Qaeda could become "an extension of Saddam's madness."
"Both of them need to be dealt with," Bush told reporters at the White House. "You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror."

Wrong, George. We can easily distinguish between al Qaeda and Sadaam: al Qaeda attacked us, Saddam did not. It is you who lacks the "moral clarity" to understand that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

The chief executive of American Airlines said Wednesday that a war in Iraq would be a devastating blow to the already-distressed industry, warning that more bankruptcies were likely without additional financial assistance from the federal government.

Don Carty, speaking at a breakfast with Wall Street analysts and reporters, said the potential dropoff in travel from a war in Iraq would be like an ``economic anvil dropped on the industry.''

``The whole industry in Chapter 11 isn't something the country would tolerate,'' said Carty, who had joined other airline executives in Washington a day earlier to lobby Congress for help.
-- from the
NY Times.
The article isn't particularly clear as to what Carty was suggesting with his comments.
I'd like to think that he is lobbying against war, but it seems more likely that he's lobbying for more handouts with war as an excuse.
Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest grocery corporation, imposed its “Preferred Customer” surveillance card on all 183 of its Northern California stores today. This region includes the heavily populated San Francisco Bay Area, meaning that millions of shoppers throughout San Francisco, San Jose, and Silicon Valley will now be forced to participate in the chain’s data collection scheme if they wish to “qualify” for affordable food.
-- Check out CASPIAN's web site for reasons why you should boycott Albertson's and other card-pushing grocery peddlers. Of course, I find it pretty easy to boycott Albertsons because they don't have any stores in Michigan, but I also don't shop at Krogers, Farmer Jack's or Hiller's because of their stupid cards.
A guide to US foreign policy sent to me by Lester Yesterday:
US press enlists for war on Iraq--Good article from the World Socialist Web Site showing the warmongering complicity of the so-called "liberal media" in the insane Bush war preparations.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Don't let them vote yes! Call your senators and representatives to tell them to vote against Bush's war resolution. For my readers in Michigan, here are the numbers:

Sen. Levin: 202-224-6221 (Most important, since he's chair of the Armed Services Committee)

Sen. Stabenow: 202-224-4822

Rep. Rivers (locally): 485-3741

For readers in California:

Sen. Boxer: (202) 224-3553

Sen. Feinstein: (202) 224-3841

Anyone else out there reading by rants? Send me an e-mail! And then contact your senators!

Just Say No--Good article from Common Dreams warning about the dangers of war with Iraq.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Browsing the blogosphere, I came across Halcyon Days, which features cool rants like The Secret War Doctrine, which features cool quotes like these:
  • Recently, Perle was in London trying to shame Tony Blair into attaching himself as the fig leaf of multilateralism on the American colossus in its Iraq invasion, by stating that George Bush would lose credibility as the leader of the war on terrorism if he was not able to carry out his oft-stated promise to deal with Iraq. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Bush would actually enhance his standing by repudiating the Iraq invasion plans and presenting himself to the world as something other than the vicious, violent mental and moral dwarf that he really is, it is somewhat astounding that the pro-war clique has been reduced to such pathetic emotional appeals.
  • As you’ve probably guessed, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is Oil. Spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives in wars for oil is something that American public opinion, with its high self-regard, would have difficulty accepting as a national goal. The leaders of this administration, all oil men, understand this but also believe that their duty is to protect the American way of life, which Ari Fleischer so memorably described as “blessed” beyond the mundane need ever to be subjected to energy conservation, by controlling, by coercion and force if necessary, the world supply of oil. And as is typical of this administration, the policy, enshrined as gospel, is conducted without public debate and, if possible, without public knowledge.
  • It is difficult to think of a more ill-conceived policy than the war with Iraq; and it is difficult to imagine a time other than the aftermath of a catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil that could allow the war campaign to proceed as far as it already has. For the neo-con hawks, this is the year of living recklessly; if they can’t pull off the invasion now, maybe they never can. It’s time for desperate measures in the service of a cause they deeply believe in. Maybe only the collapse of the House of Saud could rally world opinion behind an invasion of Iraq; maybe one of the artificial provocations that have served military empires so well in the past must be manufactured. Maybe they have to destroy the Middle East in order to save it—and them. As long as George Bush is president, we’ll keep walking along the razor’s edge.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Another ping pong ball on another mousetrap: Israel Tells U.S. It Will Retaliate if It Comes Under Attack by Iraq. For those who never saw it in science class, there was a movie which explained nuclear reactions by showing a bunch of mousetraps set with pingpong balls on their springs. If there were enough traps close enough together (critical mass), then a single ball tossed in from outside would spring a trap, and its released ball would spring another, and soon all of the traps would be sprung (chain reaction).
The great conspiracy: I have recreated a Republican planning session from 1982 which may explain everything. Or not.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Time to act, dear readers! The Bushies are trying to rush Congress into war. We need to tell Congress that not only do we not want them rushed, we don't want war at all! Contact your Senators and Representative today: You can get their phone numbers and either e-mail addresses or online message forms from these websites: and I've already used some of my rarely used daytime minutes on my Sprint phone to call Levin, Stabenow and Rivers; now it's your turn! (By the way, I'm taking the day off from ranting at work to rant at home! Too many interruptions at work.)
Imperial recipe for disaster: The Bushies have released their National Security Strategy, which envisions a world of the US, by the US, and for the US. It solidifies the criminal pre-emptive strike policy, stating clearly that if the world doesn't act the way we think it should, we're going to kill some people to change that.

One interesting note is that the document actually has a definition of terrorism: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against innocents." Seems like a reasonable definition, and I'm glad to see it defined in writing so we can use it against Bush, since it seems to apply to much of what the rest of the document says the US is going to do.
Another point the document makes is that the US seems intent on being the world's policeman, and is willing to out-arms-race any potential challenger. Here's a key section:

It is time to reaffirm the essential role of American military strength. We must build and maintain our defenses beyond challenge. Our military's highest priority is to defend the United States. To do so effectively, our military must:

  • assure our allies and friends;
  • dissuade future military competition;
  • deter threats against U.S. interests, allies, and friends; and
  • decisively defeat any adversary if deterrence fails.

From Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Saddam Hussein insisted that Baghdad does not possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The White House called the statement disappointing. -- from BBC News.
That about says it all, don't you think? Apparently Bush is jogging on his treadmill waiting to hear Saddam say "I've got a bunch of nasty weapons, I'm making more as fast as possible, and I intend to start using them to attack American babies in incubators tomorrow morning." Or maybe W's just waiting for his publicity folks to finish that video (remember the Osama videos?). And now, the US is on record as being opposed to weapons inspections:
The American secretary of state, Colin Powell, has said the United States will find ways to stop weapons inspectors going back to Iraq unless there is a new United Nations Security Council resolution on the issue.
Apologies to readers whose financial welfare is riding on the stock market, but I myself am pulling for a further crash. Right now the Dow is teetering on the 8000 mark--if it makes it down to 7000 in the next few weeks it should start dominating the news again and maybe giving Congress the backbone to say "no time for war talk; let's fix this thing." If it makes it to 6000 by November there will be Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress (certainly not ideal, given the nature of Democrats these days, but certainly better than the alternative). Lower still and we might finally have serious talk about restructuring our economy away from growth, fossil fuels and mega-corporations. Maybe just dreaming, but it seems to me that a major economic crisis now might be the best hope for avoiding apocalypse later. It's how we got rid of the last Bush, it's probably the only way to get rid of this one.
What's in a name? The Republican candidate for governor in Illinois is Attorney General Jim Ryan, who hopes to replace retiring Republican George Ryan and his 69% disapproval rating. Apparently Jim Ryan doesn't have much going for him, and one of the things he has going against him is that many voters think he is actually George Ryan running for re-election. (from Roll Call.) Why didn't this work more effectively against George W. Bush? I mean, he lost the election by only a half-million votes when a man with almost the exact same name was one of our worst presidents ever only a few years ago!
Florida Seeks Federal Help in Its Voting -- NY Times. That's right, Jeb Bush has asked John Ashcroft to help Florida hold a fair election in November. Ah, this is too easy--make up your own rant for this one!
"There's no doubt in my mind that we should allow the world worst leaders to hold America hostage, to threaten our peace, to threaten our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons." -- George W. Bush, South Bend, Ind., Sept. 5, 2002 -- from The Complete Bushisms. I think W was talking about himself.
He strongly implied that the president had become all-consumed with events overseas. "As busy as we are, as important as the war on Iraq is," Mr. Daschle of South Dakota said, "I would hope that this administration could dedicate some of the time each week to economic security as well, to the declining numbers, to this atrocious record." -- from the NY Times.

I couldn't quickly find Daschle's voting record (it certainly wasn't on his own website), but I'm pretty sure he's voted for all of the increases in military spending and "homeland security" and for the huge and wasteful farm bill. Now he is talking about the $100 to $200 billion "war on Iraq" in the present tense! He provides as many facts proving Bush to be responsible for economic woes as Bush provides proving that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (zero, that is). Of course he can't, because he has been a willing partner in much of what Bush has done. Senator Daschle, when you are a huge part of the problem it is pretty difficult to come off as part of the solution!

Planning ahead. Sooner or later, the American public may realize that we still have troops in Afghanistan, doing basically nothing except adding a lot of fear to weddings. Distracting our attention from this is one of the driving forces behind the push for war in Iraq. But sooner or later, we'll have troops disrupting Iraqi weddings for no good reason, and it will be necessary to come up with other weapons of mass distraction. W already laid some groundwork with his "axis of evil" nonsense in his state of the union address, and now the Bushies are getting started on Cuba. Of course, picking on Fidel is to be expected now, with Jeb running for re-election in a few weeks. Got to make sure all of those Cuban-Americans in Miami get out and vote Republican!
If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force,'' Bush told reporters in the Oval Office. -- from the NY Times. Why is this man still allowed out in public?
The Bush speech at the UN was only multilateralist in an Orwellian sense. What he and the Right have been saying is, if the UN is to be relevant, it must do what we say. This is like asking someone politely for sex before raping her (or him). You can't honestly profess support for international law while also reserving the right to ignore it at will. Another source of U.S. pressure is the promise of oil concessions -- or the threat of being shut out of the game -- by a post-Saddam U.S. puppet Iraqi government. -- from MaxSpeak Weblog, yet another cool web log, pointed out by Tom Tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Marketing the war. The Bushies are launching an advertising campaign against Saddam. Like we never hear anything bad about him now.
Maybe good news for Rabih Haddad!Federal Judge Nancy G. Edmunds said that the Ann Arbor Muslim cleric "should be freed in 10 days or have a new hearing open to the news media and the public with a different immigration judge." Regular rant readers will recognize that Haddad is the man who was arrested back on December 14 in his Ann Arbor home and has been held, without charges, ever since.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile," [Condoleeza Rice] said.

--from a May 17 news article

Well, a congressional committee investigating the attacks says there were plenty of warnings. Seems like this should be the main topic of the week, don't you think?
Saddam Hussein is slimy and deceptive, but then he's had lessons from the masters. He was supposedly a US ally in the 1980's, when we were supplying him with weapons and intelligence in Iraq's war with Iran, even after we knew about his use of chemical weapons on "his own people" (actually Kurds suspected of collaborating with the Iranians--doesn't justify it, but we're not very nice to supposed collaborators either: ask John Walker Lindh). One way we supported our "ally" was by secretly selling arms to his enemy, Iran, to support our illegal operations in Central America. Many Reagan administration officials were involved with this, including Elliott Abrams, who is now the National Security Council’s senior director for democracy(!), human rights(!!) and international operations; John Negroponte, who is now our Ambassador to the United Nations; and of course then Vice President George H. W. Bush (who pardoned both Abrams and Negroponte after they were convicted of Iran-Contra crimes). Then there was the green light to invade Kuwait given to Saddam by then Ambassador April Glaspie, relaying instructions from Secretary of State James Baker. Not to be outdone by the Republicans, Bill Clinton got into the act by using the UN weapons inspectors as spies (see this article and this Tom Tomorrow cartoon). So to hear all of this ridiculous bluster from the Bushies in response to Iraq's invitation to allow inspectors to return sets a new record in hypocrisy for an administration that has already set the bar very very very very high.
Off the frigging deep end! See this AP article. I was going to pick a quote or two from this article, but every part of it is disgusting. Rumsfeld, Bush, Gephardt, Daschle: All lying scoundrels making the whole United States look like a Florida election.
Oh Johnny, we thought you were different!"The intent would be to give the president of the United States approval to do what's necessary," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Iraq's decision to allow the return of inspectors shouldn't change U.S. strategy, said McCain, who supports military action against Iraq. "In their letter, they said they have no weapons of mass destruction. Everybody knows that's not true. So that questions the credibility of the entire commitment," said McCain. - Bush, lawmakers discuss action against Iraq - September 18, 2002
What is the matter with Congress? Why are they letting Bush pull them around on a leash? Here's a quote for you:
"We must now take effective steps to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime," Gephardt said. "We must start by putting the burden of proof on his government to disclose its weapons stockpiles and development programs, not on U.N. inspectors to seek them out as Saddam Hussein continues to hide them." What does Gephardt expect? A live TV show where Saddam tours Iraq saying "here they aren't, and there they aren't?" Not allowing weapons inspectors to inspect was a main arguing point for war a week ago, but now apparently inspectors, and the whole UN, are irrelevant to Congress because the Bushies say so. Talk about your wheedling and crawfishing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Meat Recalled Over E. Coli Concern A Pennsylvania beef-packing company owned by Smithfield Foods recalled 203,600 pounds of ground beef after some of its meat tested positive for E. coli bacteria.
Moyer Packing, based in Souderton, Pa., was told by the Department of Agriculture on Sept. 10 that a sample was contaminated. Late last week, Moyer determined that the beef was produced Aug. 31 and the company recalled beef made on that day.

I don't know about you, but back when I used to buy meat I tended to eat it within a week. Here it is 18 days after August 31 and the infected meat is being recalled. I'd say that the usefulness of DOA inspections is pretty much DOA.
Bush, addressing a Nashville, Tenn., fund raiser for Senate candidate Lamar Alexander, warned anew of "a barbaric regime teaming up with a terrorist network, providing weapons of mass destruction to hold the United States and our allies and our friends blackmail." -- from the NY Times
Amazing that someone so dim-witted can put so many lies, exaggerations and mixed metaphors ("hold...blackmail") into one so-called sentence. And tell me, George, what distinguishes our allies from our friends? And, just to make the whole thing completely infuriating, by babbling incoherently about Iraq W will be able to charge much of his Nashville trip to the government rather than the GOP.
Woohoo! A Perritt that says something original! Hank Perritt is a Democrat running for Congress in Illinois, and he says that Democrats should be speaking out against war.
The White House official said that if and when inspectors return, it will be at the demand of the United States and United Nations -- not at Iraq's invitation. -- from the Washington Post
You've got to be embarrassed! If that isn't the most childish, bullying...aaargh!
SUVocating: A review of "High and Mighty," an SUV-bashing book that I'm just going to have to read! Maybe even buy!
PS to last post: The Bushies didn't say those $300 and $500 checks were "nothing" when their tax giveaway passed!
President Bush returned today to collecting big checks for Republican candidates and warning Congress to hold the line on government spending, even as his chief economic policy adviser, Lawrence B. Lindsey, said the cost of a war with Iraq could be as high as $100 billion to $200 billion...As a one-time war cost over one year, the estimated expenditure, Mr. Lindsey said, was "nothing." -- from the NY Times

That's $350 to $700 for every man, woman and child in the US! If that's "nothing" then it is time for Mr. Bush to get a new economic policy adviser, and for Mr. Lindsey and the rest of us to get a new president.

President Bush on Tuesday decried the ``large and disturbing'' gaps in children's knowledge of history... -- from the NY Times
Is that the pot calling the kettle black, or what? Bush probably thinks World War I came after World War II. But this is scary, too. The Bushies' version of history is sure to be much farther from the truth than what children are (or aren't) learning now.
Once again, Krug's the Man! Paul Krugman exposes further misdeeds by Secretary of the Army Thomas White while he was an Enron crook. Perhaps the administration wouldn't behave so criminally if it wasn't so full of criminals.
Worst war money can buy. Read the WSWS article about how our government is bribing and threatening key UN members to get support for the Iraq attaq, even after Iraq's agreement to allow the return of weapons inspectors.
Whining for war. Apparently the Bushies are not excited about taking "yes" for an answer.

"This is a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong U.N. Security Council action," said Scott McClellan, the deputy White House spokesman. "As such, it is a tactic that will fail." He added: "It is time for the Security Council to act." A senior State Department official said Iraq's letter was "not a promise to disarm, not a promise to allow unfettered inspections, not a promise to disclose the state of its weapons program." --from the NY Times

The Bushies are obviously willing to work tirelessly to get war, no matter what. It is so completely outrageous and wrong that I am having trouble coming up with a nasty enough rant for them! While I have a multitude of complaints about the Reagan and Clinton presidencies, I think both of those presidents would have been wise enough at this point to declare victory and move on. But George W. Bush is intent on the seemingly impossible: making those two clowns, and even his own father, seem like good presidents by comparison.

Monday, September 16, 2002

So Iraq is going to allow UN weapons inspectors to return unconditionally! Will the Bushies take "yes" for an answer? Let's hope so. But be on the lookout for reports of a US plane being shot down, or maybe some kidnapping or murder of Americans in Iraq in the next week or two as a pretext for going ahead with the war. Do I trust our government? Not even a little.
How do we know Iraq has developed chemical and biological weapons? We've got copies of the receipts! Iraq got much of its supply from US and British suppliers during the Reagan and Bush I eras. The article also mentions salmonella and e. coli, but of course those are available at the meat counter of any American supermarket. Of course, most of this stuff was destroyed in the Gulf War or by the UN inspectors, but it certainly brings into question who should be punished for it. I'm saying that the poor, hungry, sick people of Iraq are not the best choice.
Arresting Developments: Probably a response to the Congressional critics of the Iraq attaq who think the "War on Terrorism" should have first priority, there have been a string of reports of arrests of people supposedly affiliated with al Qaeda. The FBI has arrested six Yemeni-Americans in western New York State. Singapore arrested 21 in August, but for some reason
announced it today. And Pakistan has arrested a supposedly top al Qaeda muckety-muck. Frankly, I believe very little of it. Arrests are being made for political purposes around the world, all in the name of the frigging "War on Terrorism." Has a better tool for the suppression of liberty and democracy ever been invented?
Only two prisoners who have been brought to Guantánamo have left. One is Mr. Hamdi, who was discovered to have been born in the United States; he is now in the Navy brig in Norfolk, Va. The other was an Afghan prisoner who received a diagnosis of schizophrenia and returned to Afghanistan, where he is reportedly in a state mental hospital. -- from the NY Times

There are 598 "detainees" at Guantanamo Bay. Many have been there since January. The military isn't even sure who they are, and hasn't given any of them a hearing or charged them with crimes. And the only way out, at least so far, is to go to a Navy brig or a mental hospital in Afghanistan. I was always appalled and saddened when reading Solzhenitsyn and other stories of people locked away for months or years with little or no hope of freedom. While some of these "detainees" may have been bad dudes intent on killing and destroying, many were likely just Taliban foot soldiers, an "honor" you could get just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many Taliban soldiers were basically draftees, with death as their only alternative to enlistment. In any case, they were simply soldiers fighting in what was basically a civil war. Well, the civil war is over and these people are under the control of a country that supposedly believes in freedom. Let's let them go and go back to living up to our ideals.
I just updated my poem, "The Night Before Baghdad," below. Still a few awkward rhymes and rhythms, but I fixed a few and added two new stanzas at the end.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Still doing some test fixes because of Netscape problems...

Saturday, September 14, 2002

The Night Before Baghdad, by Bob Goodsell

'Twas the night before Baghdad, and through the White House

Not a Bushie was thinking, not even his spouse

The war maps were hung by the table with care

In hopes that Dick Cheney soon would be there.

The prez he was nestled all snug in his bed

While visions of 2004 danced in his head

With Condi on keyboard and Colin on bass

Rummy on vocals sang "Bush won't lose face!"

When out in the Rose Garden came such a noise

It had to be Rummy's destructive war toys

But what to our wondering noses we smelled

But a six-foot-six driver on one giant camel.

"Tell me," said Condi, "is that a llama?"

"No, token black woman! That is Osama!"

He hopped off his camel and gathered his rifle

Clearly this was someone with whom we won't trifle.

He walked to the door and went in front of us

He asked to be taken to the Oval Office

The Senate had some of its members in there

And when he arrived he gave them a scare.

"Out Daschle! Out Boxer! Out Smiling Joe Lieberman!

Out Lott! Out Hatch! Out Levin! Out Clinton!

You're self-serving pawns of the corporate swine

Selling your souls to the Bush-Cheney line.

"I wanted a war 'twixt Islam and West

You've given me everything! Thanks, you're the best!

Thanks Condi, thanks Rummy, and thanks Colin, too!

And when he wakes up, please thank W!"

He went to the warroom and smiled at the plans

"The hated Saddam is soon a dead man!

The world in turmoil will be fertile ground

For radical Islam to be spread around!"

And flipping a finger toward one and all

He laughed so hard that it shook down the wall

It made so much noise that the prez left his sack

And came down to ask "Is it time to attack?"

And back to the garden Osama did go

No chicken hawk stopped him as he walked out the do'

Not Rummy, not Condi, not one of the staff

Stopped Osama bin Laden or his terrible laugh.

Then George Bush the Senior entered the room

By reading his lips we all sensed the gloom

"You've tried your best, George, I'll give you that, son

But make no mistake: the terrorists have won."

Chemical Weapon Threat? Absolutely! The Army is about to begin incinerating huge stockpiles of mustard and nerve gas in Anniston, Alabama. And get this:

The Army says it is not its duty to protect residents in an accidental release. "I firmly believe that the incinerator should not be burdened with the safety of the community, when we don't present a realistic threat to the community," Michael B. Abrams, a spokesman for the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, said.

So the Army is willing to spend thousands of lives and billions of dollars to go after Saddam Hussein because he might have some chemical weapons, even though they are not sure he has them and even though he has no good means of using them against us (unless we invade). Meanwhile, there is a huge stockpile of chemical weapons down in Dixie, and the Army says it is not responsible for protecting Alabama residents in case of an accident. Incredible. Of course, with Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and Enron alum Thomas White as Secretary of the Army, we couldn't expect anything more.

Comments on my new Blogger rants page are welcome! I can go back to the old way if anyone cares much.
Welcome to my new rants page! I've been reading Tom Tomorrow's rants and others produced using Blogger, so I decided to give it a try. I have been using Front Page until now, but I get so tired of the way it keeps wanting to make my inserted pictures local, which means they won't work. We'll see if Blogger is less frustrating.
The trap is set: We ask, "Why Iraq?" Certainly if it is terrorism we are concerned about, then Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have clearly been far more involved in supporting terrorists, especially al Qaeda, than Iraq has. If it is weapons of mass destruction, Iraq might have a few, along with some primitive delivery systems, but Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, France, England and maybe some others have fully developed nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. Invaded other countries? Certainly Iraq is not alone in this--the US invaded Afghanistan just last year. Killed, abused, tortured, imprisoned its own citizens? Big club there. We mention all of this hoping to point out the simple-mindedness and incoherence of Bush's push for war. Why this particular dictator at this particular time? Our hope is that others will see that it doesn't make sense and that war can be averted. But now I'm afraid that the Bushies are just setting a trap. A year or so after a muddled, bloody and inconclusive attack on Iraq, W will be making the case for attacking Iran, or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, and he will have all of these quotes from us liberals to support his case. The Bushies are using 1984 as their guidebook for world domination, and an endless series of wars is very much part of the plan. While our arguments about the Saudis, Pakistanis and others are valid, we must be clear that we present them only to debunk the Iraq war plan, not as implied support for any future wars.