Bob's Links and Rants -- Fair and Balanced

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Be sure to check out my Post 9/11 website for links to lots of stuff I care about. I have put all of my 2002 rants into a single file.

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.