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, October 19, 2002

Back for its second consecutive day, our popular new feature: The Carlyle Director of the Day! Yesterday, we featured Clintonista Willam Kennard, who as chairman of the FCC allowed and encouraged the continuing monopolization of broadcast, cable and internet media. Today's Director of the Day is a true power broker whose connections with big oil and energy companies, including Enron, are truly impressive. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present a man who needs no introduction, but probably an alibi and several dozen good lawyers--David Leuschen! (resume is from the Carlyle Group's website.)

David M. Leuschen
Managing Director – Riverstone Holdings
New York, New York

Mr. Leuschen is a founder and Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings. He has extensive M&A, financing and investing experience in the energy and power sector.

Prior to founding Riverstone, Mr. Leuschen was a Partner and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and founder and head of the Goldman Sachs Global Energy & Power Group. Mr. Leuschen joined Goldman Sachs in 1977, became head of the Global Energy & Power Group in 1985, became a Partner of the firm in 1986 and remained with the firm until leaving to found Riverstone.

Mr. Leuschen was responsible for building the Goldman Sachs energy and power investment banking practice into one of the leading franchises in the global energy and power industry. Mr. Leuschen served as Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Energy Investment Committee, where he was responsible for screening potential private equity capital commitments by Goldman Sachs in the energy and power industry. Further, Mr. Leuschen was responsible for establishing and managing the firm’s relationships with senior executives from leading companies in all segments of the energy and power industry including Amerada Hess, Anadarko, Apache, BP Amoco, Chevron, Cross Timers, ENI, Enron Oil and Gas, Kinder Morgan, Koch Industries, Kuwait Petroleum, Lasmo, Mobil, Phillips, PDVSA, Union Pacific Resources, Santa Fe International, Transocean Sedco Forex, Unocal, and many others.

Mr. Leuschen received his A.B. degree from Dartmouth and his M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business.

The Carlyle Group: the ruling elite's answer to democracy!

Friday, October 18, 2002

I'm going on vacation from Monday October 28 through Tuesday November 5 (election day). My original plan was to go to Minnesota to help the Wellstone for Senate campaign, but I've e-mailed and called them (left a message) and they haven't gotten back to me. Either they don't need my help, or else they need help so desperately that they don't have time to answer e-mails and phone calls. While I really want Wellstone to win, I'm a bit concerned about taking a bus or train to St. Paul and showing up at campaign headquarters only to be told that they've got more volunteers than they know what to do with. A more appealing alternative, temperature-wise, would be to go to Florida to help McBride beat Jeb, with maybe a side trip to Arkansas or North Carolina to work a day or two for the Democratic candidates there. I've been getting e-mails from the MoveOn PAC about volunteering for various campaigns, although some of them are for candidates who voted for the war resolution, like Tom Harkin in Iowa. I'm thinking of getting a Greyhound Discover pass so I can do some sightseeing and reading along the way (maybe some ranting, too!).

So, in another desperate attempt to elicit feedback from my audience, I ask you for your advice: Where do you think I should go?

Lock him up, if you can find him! Repeatedly ignoring court orders, the Veep from the Deep won't let us know with whom he met to come up with the assault on planet Earth known as the Bush Energy Policy. Since he won't tell us, let's assume that it was Ken Lay, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Congress should then burn any remaining copies of the policy document to heat the capitol this winter, and throw a lock on the undisclosed location, not letting Cheney out until he's voted out of office in 2004.

After my off-hand reference to the Carlyle Group (below), I decided to check out their web site again. Many of the names of Carlyle partners and directors are very familiar: James Baker, John Major, Arthur Levitt, Frank Carlucci. Other names didn't jump out at me (I've only been a voracious news reader for the past year or so), so I decided to check out the bios of some of them. So, starting today and going until at least today, I present a new feature: The Carlyle Director of the Day! Today's director is William E. Kennard:

William E. Kennard
Managing Director
US Buyouts – Global Telecommunications and Media Group
Washington, DC

William E. Kennard joined The Carlyle Group in May 2001 as a Managing Director in the Global Telecommunications and Media Group. He is based in Washington, DC.

Before joining The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard served as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from November 1997 to January 2001. During his tenure, he implemented the Telecommunications Act of 1996, designing policies that created an explosion of new wireless phones, brought the Internet to a majority of American households, and resulted in billions of dollars of investment in new broadband technologies. He also shaped the outcome of the most significant communications mergers in history, such as AOL-Time Warner, Worldcom-MCI, CBS-Viacom, Verizon-GTE and SBC-Ameritech.

Mr. Kennard served as the FCC’s general counsel from December 1993 to November 1997. Before serving in government, Mr. Kennard was a partner and member of the board of directors of the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand.

Mr. Kennard graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and received his law degree from Yale Law School.

Media consolidation is one of the major obstacles to real democracy in this country today, and not only does Carlyle mention Kennard's involvement in making it a reality, they brag about it. When you realize the connections that Carlyle's other directors have (most major governments, oil, weapons, finance, and communications), you get the idea that if they are not currently the real world government, they intend to be. And while their web site doesn't have a "future directors" page, you can bet it would include George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, John Ashcroft, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and, if they last that long, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. And you can bet that the current directors who previously "served" in the Reagan, Bush I or Clinton regimes were well aware of their opportunities to become fabulously rich directors of the Carlyle Group if they, like Mr. Kennard, steer policy in the direction Carlyle prefers. The piddling six-figure incomes we taxpayers pay them while in government pale by comparison. And don't forget that George Bush Senior and Osama bin Laden's father are (or at least were) major investors in Carlyle.

Florida touchscreen voting system demonstrated:

In case you're not scared enough already. I'll confess that I've read most of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan thrillers, from Hunt for Red October through The Bear and the Dragon. I won't claim that they are great literature, and they are too jingoistic for my current tastes, but the themes of several of them are enough to scare the bejeebers (sp?) out of anyone. (If you are planning on reading one of his novels soon and don't want me to ruin the ending for you, close your eyes and scroll down a bit.)

On September 11, one of the first things I recalled was the ending of Clancy's Debt of Honor where a Japanese 747 pilot crashed his plane into the US Capitol during a presidential address to congress. After that, it boggled my mind when Condi Rice claimed that no one could have imagined that the terrorists would crash planes into buildings. Then when the anthrax scare came along, I remembered Clancy's Executive Orders, in which either Iran or Iraq (I don't recall which right now) used terrorists to disperse weaponized Ebola virus at car and boat shows around the US.

And now, as there is talk of widespread smallpox vaccinations (against a disease for which there have been no reported cases in 25 years), I recall the plot of Rainbow Six. In that book, a group of superevil dudes, including some high-placed US government officials, plan the ultimate bio-terror attack. Recognizing the fundamental limitations of bio-weapons (if they are too lethal, victims die before having much chance to spread the disease; if they are not lethal enough, well, then they're not lethal enough), these guys plot a two-stage attack. Introducing the weaponized virus in a way to ensure an initial rapid disbursement (at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics), they are prepared to provide large doses of the vaccine throughout the world to deal with the resulting panic. But they have made the vaccine itself lethal, so many millions more are killed by the vaccine than would have died directly from the virus. (In the book, they intend to wipe out most of the planet's population.) And while a world-wide conspiracy of that order is probably far-fetched (with the possible exception of the Carlyle Group), a bio-terrorist would probably be able to do much more damage by infiltrating a rushed, wholesale vaccination program than through most other possible methods of biological attack. I doubt if there is any more effective method of applying a bio-weapon than direct injection. And don't forget, our president killed hundreds by lethal injection while he was governor of Texas. So I guess I'm saying that I won't be anywhere near the front of the line for smallpox vaccination.

Ever want to check out one of those exotic locales described in the New York Times travel section? That's where I'll be this weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2002

In what I guess is good news, there are hints that our "government" may be willing to accept a UN Security Council resolution which calls only for the return of inspectors to Iraq (to which Iraq has already agreed) without including the consequences provision that the Bushies have been insisting on for the last month or so. This could mean that the French, Russians and Chinese have actually gotten Bush to agree to what he has said he wanted (Iraqi disarmament) instead of what we all know he really wants (kaboom!). The bad news is that this may be because of what has happened and/or been revealed to us in the last week: the bombing in Indonesia, the disclosure of the North Korean nuclear program, and now the claim that Pakistan supplied NK with nuclear technology. And these things mean that the Bushies may want to start at least three other wars before Iraq. They have been making threatening noises about Indonesia's failure to root out terrorism, recalling Bush's threat from last year: "If you don't do it, we will." And after all they have been saying about Saddam's alleged weapons program, you have to expect a bellicose reaction to the NK situation and the Pakistani assistance. So Iraq may be W's fifth war instead of his second.

Quote of the day: He would probably be a better Democrat than I am. -- Democratic Sen. John Breaux (La.), quoted in Roll Call. Breaux was talking about Senator Lincoln Chafee, the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq war resolution. No doubt Breaux is right--he voted for the resolution. Chafee hints that there is a slight possibility that he will leave the Republican party if it slides farther to the right (unfortunately, I think this is still possible), joining Sen. Jeffords of Vermont in the Republicans Anonymous Caucus and twelve-step program. (Step 1: Recognize that there is a higher power than Dick Cheney.)

Tiny shred of common sense invading the insanity at the White House?

An Address at the University of Michigan by
Anti-War Leader of the Progressive Caucus
Anderson Room D, Michigan Union (first floor)
US Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democrat of Ohio, is a dynamic,
visionary leader of the Progressive Caucus of the congressional Democrats.
He leads opposition to war in Iraq and promotes an alternative vision to
increase our national security and well-being. He prioritizes public
service, peace, human rights, workers' rights, and the environment. His
advocacy of a Department of Peace seeks not only to make nonviolence an
organizing principle in our society, but also to make war archaic.

Sponsored by U of M College Democrats, Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace,
Meggido Peace Project, and Correlates of War research project in the U of M
Political Science Department.

Please distribute widely!

(from the Peace Events mailing list)

Looking for a growth industry to invest in? Look here.

At least somebody is happy with Bush:

Mr. Sharon heartily praised Mr. Bush. "We never had such relations with any president of United States as we have with you," Mr. Sharon said as he and Mr. Bush met reporters briefly in the Oval Office. "And we never had such a cooperation in everything as we have with the current administration."

Warning or Threat? In Washington, President Bush warned European and Arab nations that are resisting a confrontation with President Saddam Hussein that "those who choose to live in denial may eventually be forced to live in fear." (from the NY Times.) W continues: "If Iraq gains even greater destructive power, nations in the Middle East would face blackmail, intimidation or attack," he said in the East Room, flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. They are already facing blackmail and intimidation from the Bush administration. And Bush should go talk to some of his neighbors in the DC area about living in fear.

Saddam in a Landslide! Florida Ballots Not Yet Counted. (from The Washington Post) Saddam demonstrates that his election-rigging capabilities are superior to W's.

Smart Growth America has published a report on sprawl in America. I've just started looking at it...maybe some comments to follow.

If you've been watching closely, you'll notice that I added a link to Politics in the Zeros recently in my blog link section (over there -->). Highly recommended if you live in California and/or are interested in water issues, or are just looking for a(nother) good blog to read.

War Protest Marches in DC and San Francisco October 26. I think I'll get on a bus for DC.

From Slate's Cartoon Page.

North Korea. I'll start out by saying that I have no real idea what is going on here. To summarize what's in the newspaper articles: The US has suspected the North Koreans of developing nukes for years. Then, about two weeks ago, the US presented NK with evidence showing that they do have a nuke program. NK initially denied it, but then admitted to having the program the next day. Then last night the Bushies decide to tell us about it. Here are my speculations:

  • The twelve day delay was due to the Iraq war resolution. The Bushies didn't want Congress to consider that we might be picking the wrong fight.
  • The North Koreans, already a charter member of the axis of evil, saw that lack of evidence didn't stop Congress from approving the war resolution. Once the Iraq war is over, a lack of evidence clearly wouldn't be enough to stop Bush from repeating the process against NK.
  • In light of the last point, NK may well be bluffing. Noting that Bush has focused on Saddam and Iraq, rather than the much more dangerous (and much more involved with terrorism) Musharraf and Pakistan, may well have convinced them that having nukes is an effective deterrent to the might of the American empire. So whether they've actually got nukes or not, they've decided that they're better off if we think they do.
  • This could all just be dog-wagging from the Bushies, pushing the envelope farther out there. Make war with Iraq seem more mainstream as war with North Korea is debated.

As I said, this is all speculation on my part. Please send me your ideas and comments on what is going on here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

The war resolution that Bush just signed requires him to report to Congress within 48 hours of any military action. Now what good does that do? If I'm in Congress, the last thing I'm going to want to do after two long days of avoiding protesters and ducking phone calls from constituents irate about our illegal war is to go into the house chambers to listen to W repeat the same old lies about Iraq and add some new ones about how well the war is going. And then to have to kill what little is left of my soul by caving in to peer pressure to stand and applaud the moron thirty times! What sadist/masochist added that provision to the resolution?

Results of Informal White Van Survey: While riding the bus and walking today, I was on the lookout for white vans of the type being talked about in the DC-area sniper case.

Official results:

  • There are a lot of white vans, and quite a few with ladder racks.
  • There are also lots of white Mitsubishi-style small commercial trucks like the composite photo shown in the press last week.
  • Margin of error: +/- quite a few.

So while the cops say they have more eyewitnesses to Monday's shooting in Falls Church, I'd have to say that seeing a white van in the area is not much to hang your hat on. In a place with lots of traffic like the DC area, there's almost always a white van in the area. And as Lester Yesterday pointed out to me, the sniper could just wait until a white van drove into view before shooting.

Surprise! Bush to Sign Iraq Force Resolution.


The American ambassador, Ralph C. Boyce, delivered the latest warning to President Megawati Sukarnoputri and her top advisers just a day before the bombing and gave her a deadline of Oct. 24 to act, the officials said. -- from one NY Times article today.

But U.S. Ambassador Ralph C. Boyce said a Wednesday report in The New York Times that he warned Megawati of an imminent attack the day before the bombing was ``imprecise, to say the least.'' He did not elaborate. -- from the other NY Times article on the Bali bombing.

So the Times has two articles on today's website about the Bali bombing, one of which sort of contradicts the other. And just like Boyce, the Times does not elaborate. But even if the Times report was completely imprecise, to say the most, the statements from Bush, Fleischer and Powell all make it clear that the administration blames Megawati and her government for not acting on information that they had in advance of the bombing. Sounds vaguely familiar to me, somehow.

Maybe one of the scariest things about the Bushies (there are so many scary things it's hard to choose) is how oblivious they seem to how much their criticism of others applies so directly to themselves. It may be that they just don't realize it, since their knowledge of history is limited and they are blinded by their own self-righteousness from seeing the planks in their own eyes. ("How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." -- Jesus Christ, someone Bush supposedly listens to, quoted in Luke 6:42.) Or it may be that they are fully aware of it, and just don't care. My guess is that it's both. For Bush and Ashcroft it's the first: they just don't see it. For Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove and most of the rest of them the second explanation applies: They just don't care. It's like the old joke: "Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care." Whaddya know, we've got a government loaded with both.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

REMINDER: A fool and his money are soon elected. (From the Ironic Times)

"Our economy has been hit from all directions including 9-11, scandals on Wall Street, job losses on Main Street and the threat of future conflict in Iraq,'' Gephardt said in the latest of what is likely to be a steady stream of economic proposals from possible Democratic candidates for president. "Yet the administration proceeds along serenely as if everything is fine -- playing politics with the economy and denying the disastrous consequences of their actions,'' the Missouri Democrat said.

Well, y'know, DICK, that if you didn't vote for every insane war and police-state bill the "president" asks for, we'd have a little money left over. You have zero credibility with me, Mr. Wannabe Speaker.

The Empire Strikes Out: Good op-ed piece from Utah, of all places.

A day late and a dollar short, but this cartoon deserves posting:


See the Lying Media Bastards blog for a good Columbus Day rant.

Is this CNN? As you can probably tell from the links, I read more articles from the New York Times than from any other source. But I occasionally check out, and frequently find interesting and important stories that the Times seems to have missed entirely. An example is this article on Illinois' review of death penalty cases. Too bad the CNN that's on TV is usually just the martial fodder you would expect to see on Winston Smith's telescreen. (That's yet another 1984 reference; if you haven't read it, read it! It's a fairly short book, and so applicable to what's going on today.)

An innovative response to the obesity problem: Fried Twinkies. I kid you not.

W is "sick to his stomach" about the sniper attacks, but not sick enough to do anything about it. With "gun fingerprinting," it seems almost sure that the sniper would have been tracked down by now. Trust Bush to be on the wrong side of everything.

Why Bush used Taft-Hartley to keep the ports open: so kids would find these toys under the tree on Christmas. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men? Not hardly.

I serve as the Senior Senator from California, representing 35 million people. That is a formidable task. People have weighed in by the tens of thousands. If I were just to cast a representative vote based on those who have voiced their opinions with my office - and with no other factors - I would have to vote against this resolution. -- Senator Diane Feinstein, attempting to defend her indefensible support of the Iraq war resolution.

NAFTAcide: Eleven bodies found in a train car in Iowa. The car crossed the border from Mexico in June, sat in Oklahoma for four months, and was just opened for cleaning in Iowa when the bodies were found. I shudder just thinking about it. I mean, we're all going to die and would like to postpone it as long as possible. But when my time comes, I certainly hope it's a plane crash or sniper's bullet instead of being trapped in a boiling train car with the bodies of friends and family members decaying around me. That Mexicans are willing to risk their lives this way just for the hope of getting some miserable low-wage job in the fields or the slaughterhouses speaks volumes about the benefits of "free trade" for Mexico. And still, many Americans feel more contempt than compassion for "illegal" immigrants, and press for the government to make the barriers ever higher. Free trade, free movement of capital, captive labor.

The war continues.

``We need to think about Saddam Hussein using al-Qaida to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind,'' Bush said Monday at a rally for Michigan's GOP candidates. ``This is a man who we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army,'' Bush said later at a Dearborn, Mich. fund-raiser." from the NY Times.

W continues to push the envelope. Lies build upon lies. I think the plan is to get the lies so far out there that his critics (like me) will be tricked into actually accepting his previous lies, at least rhetorically, to counter his newer, more outrageous ones. He is looking for "criticism" of his policies that sounds like this: "Well, we know Saddam is pure evil, that he has zillions of weapons of mass destruction, that his nuke will be ready by Thursday and in Manhattan by Saturday, that he is the greatest threat to world peace ever, but we really aren't sure that he was directly responsible for the bombs in Bali." Sorry, W. No dice from me. I think that the only time W has told the truth since he was appointed president is when he has misspoken (about half of the Bushisms). The New York Times, that supposed bastion of liberalism, comments on W's baseless claim of a Saddam-al-Qaida link with just one sentence: "Bush has not provided concrete evidence of a link between al-Qaida and Saddam." They then continue to print his lies.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Things aren't necessarily as they appear: Check this out!

Bush Admits "War on Terror" is a Complete and Utter Failure

Well, that would be my headline for this AP story. A couple of choice Bushisms from the article:

  • I think the free world must realize that no one is safe -- that if you embrace freedom, you're not free from terrorism.
  • Those of us who love freedom must work together to do everything we can to disrupt, deny and bring to justice these people who have no soul.

President George W. Bush and Indonesia's defense minister blamed al Qaeda and its extremist allies on Monday for the massive bomb attack that killed more than 180 people at a nightclub on the resort island of Bali. In Washington, President Bush said, "I think we have to assume it's al Qaeda. They are trying to intimidate us, and we won't be intimidated." Bush offered U.S. help in finding the perpetrators. -- from the Washington Post.

I wonder if George knows what happens when you assume. Of course, he's already there. He's ready to spread some more death and destruction around before anyone knows what really happened in Bali. To paraphrase the comic store guy from the Simpsons: "Worst president ever!"

Junior Bush league: ''Why do young people read newspapers? Two words: not Britney Spears.'' -- from an eighth-grader's critique of a Dave Barry column.

Anti-war movement gets a little press, although it seems to imply that it's a California thing. Well, both of Michigan's senators voted against the war resolution, something California can't claim.

Kuwait said 15 men have confessed to helping plan the Oct. 8 shooting. -- from the NY Times.

Fifteen? Fifteen men to "plan" two guys with rifles in a jeep? They probably also confessed to the World Trade Center attacks, shooting Lincoln, and betraying Christ. Those Kuwait interogators are good.

Here's a copy of an e-mail I just sent to Senators Lieberman, Daschle, Kerry, Clinton and Edwards, and Representative Gephardt:

Senator/Congressman ___:
You are frequently mentioned as a candidate for the presidency in 2004. I just want you to know that your vote giving our current President the authority to start a pre-emptive war has convinced me that you are not fit to be president, and I will never vote for you. Last week's vote was probably the most important vote of your Senate career, and you could not have gotten it more wrong. The blood of thousands from the upcoming war will be on your hands.

We've got two years. We've either got to take the Democratic Party away from the Republicrats listed above or get a viable third party going. I haven't researched it thoroughly, but it seems as though Senators Feingold and Wellstone and Representatives Lee and Kucinich could form a core on which to build. We'll be fighting the Republicrat control of government and media, but the declining economy and rising body counts may contribute to a Peace party, or at least a peace takeover of the Democratic party.

The turkey's out of the bag: Since May, actually, and the listeria that goes with it. Good luck to all you meat eaters out there: you're going to need it. That turkey sub you have for lunch today may be recalled in January: Maybe your heirs can win a suit against the meat packer.

If there are two involved, I would have to lean towards a conspiracy. -- A quote from the brilliant Jim Kallstrom, who headed the FBI's investigation of the TWA 800 explosion off Long Island in 1996. Unfortunately, in that investigation he repeatedly denied that 1+1=2 and concluded that the fuel tank blew up on its own, no matter how many (100-200) eyewitnesses saw a missile heading towards the plane. Quoted in a NY Post Op-Ed piece (of #$%@) about the shootings in the DC area.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Excerpts from the NY Times article on the bombings in Indonesia:

In Washington, President Bush condemned the attack as ``a cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos'' and offered U.S. help in finding the perpetrators. ``The world must confront this global menace, terrorism,'' he said.

U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce told The Associated Press that it was not possible yet to pin the Bali attack on al-Qaida, but noted that increasing evidence in recent weeks has confirmed al-Qaida's presence in Indonesia and reaching out to local extremists...``In recent weeks, we have been able to put an end to a year of speculation as to whether al-Qaida might be in Indonesia, or relocating to Indonesia, or using Indonesia as a base of operations, after the fall of Afghanistan,'' Boyce said.

Bush said the United States has offered Indonesia assistance ``to help bring these murderers to justice,'' and a senior White House official said U.S. investigators already were at the scene.

I guess I should give our government officials the benefit of the doubt. The Times article may not have reported everything that Bush and Ambassador Boyce had to say. But it is striking that nowhere in the article is there any hint of an expression of sympathy for the victims or a mention of offers of humanitarian aid. It is all "we told you so, we know who did it even before the investigation has begun, and if you don't get them, we will." I certainly hope our government didn't have anything to do with the bombing (including foreknowledge without warning the Indonesians), but this immediate harsh response certainly makes me wonder. It is similar to the Bushies immediate glee when the short-lived coup happened in Venezuela in April.

I went to hear Rita Lasar of Peaceful Tomorrows speak last night. Her brother died in the WTC on 9/11/01 as he stayed with a paraplegic friend waiting for help to arrive. Rita was aghast when President Bush started using her brother's heroism as a reason for bombing Afghanistan, and more recently Iraq. She and several other relatives of 9/11 victims traveled to Afghanistan last winter and met with relatives of victims of the US bombing campaign. She and the other members of Peaceful Tomorrows have been lobbying Congress and the President to pursue peace as the surest way to avoid more 9/11's. They get positive responses from audiences around the country, but are mostly ignored by the major media. The Ann Arbor News, however, did cover Lasar's talk at Pioneer High School (my alma mater).

I have updated my books page, adding a few new books that I have read recently and one old book, 1984, which is required reading for anyone trying to understand the Bushies or my complaints about them.

The Bush administration's frustration with the Indonesian government's reluctance to recognize the extent of terrorism in the country boiled over with last night's carnage.
"We hope this sends a message to the Indonesians that terrorism is not just an American problem, but an Indonesian one as well," a senior administration official said.
-- from the NY Times. Is that the type of message that Bush received from Ariel Sharon and Tony Blair after 9/11? Instead of sympathy, shock or outrage, our government is saying "See? We warned you. Now you've got it too." Sounds more like the messages Osama sent us in his video tapes. Makes you wonder who is really behind the Indonesia bombing. (Can you spell "CIA?") The point being, apparently, that the brutal regime in Indonesia, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Timorese (using American weapons), has not been brutal enough for the likings of the Bush administration. If they are not careful, the Bushies are thinking, real democracy might break out and prove a hindrance to "free trade."