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, February 01, 2003

Deaths in the Last Two Days, selected highlights:
Auto Accidents: Approximately 228 in the US alone; many more worldwide.
Train Accidents: 40 in Zimbabwe, probably others elsewhere.
Helicopter Accidents: 4 US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bus Explosions: 16 people in Afghanistan.
Killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank: At least 2.
AIDS, starvation, preventable childhood diseases: Untold hundreds or thousands.
Space Accidents: 7 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.

My deepest sympathies to the families of all victims.

"Screw liberty, give me death!" -- John Ashcroft. The death penalty, that is. Our hateful AG won't let people who want to die do so in Oregon, he won't let the terminally ill ease their pain with marijuana, but he insists on the death penalty even in cases where prosecutors recommend against it. In the most recent case, a drug dealer accused of murder has offered to testify against others in exchange for a life sentence instead of death. Ashcroft nixed the deal, apparently intending to spread the joy of the death penalty far and wide. People like Ashcroft should be provided psychiatric care and not allowed to operate heavy machinery; they certainly shouldn't be in the frigging cabinet!

With the CIA and many others saying that war with Iraq will likely increase terrorist attacks in the US, many of the people who would prevent or respond to those attacks will be attacking Iraq instead. According to this NY Times article, police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and even the mayor of Glendale, Colorado have been called up by their reserve units to be sent to Kuwait or other Middle East destinations. George W. Bush is a very sick and evil man.

Friday, January 31, 2003

Despite marshaling powerful armed forces in the Persian Gulf region and a virtual declaration of war in the State of the Union message, our government has not made a case for a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq...Even if [Secretary of State Powell's] effort is successful and lies and trickery by Saddam Hussein are exposed, this will not indicate any real or proximate threat by Iraq to the United States or to our allies. -- Former President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Jimmy Carter .

Jimmy Carter. Nelson Mandela. Norman Schwarzkopf. Pat Buchanan. The Pope. The United Methodist Church. France. Germany. Russia. China. Jesse Jackson. Brent Scowcroft. Families of 9/11 victims (granted, not all). Veterans (ditto). Republicans (granted, not most). Ann Arbor. Detroit. San Francisco. Chicago. Kalamazoo. Madison. Berkeley. Some 40 other US cities. Antarcticans. Jesus Christ. You. Me.

If anyone finds a web site that provides a comprehensive list of prominent war opponents, including their degree of opposition (i.e. only with UN approval, only with a coalition, only with conclusive evidence of something, only if hell freezes over, etc.), please send me the link. Don't send me the whole article--I don't have that much room in my e-mail directory.

We've taught them well, it appears:
No one has taken responsibility for the attack, but [deputy police chief Ustad Nazir] Jan blamed Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives. "One hundred percent we are sure it was Taliban and al-Qaida,'' Jan said. "We will get the proof.'' -- from an AP article.

Yes, deputy police chief Jan has learned well from the U.S. military and the CIA: If anything bad happens, Taliban and al-Qaida did it. If you kill somebody, anybody, they were Taliban or al-Qaida. Cuts down on the collateral damage. If everyone is an enemy soldier, you don't have to worry about killing civilians.

Absolutely barbaric.

PayPal for Peace! I've added a donation button for the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace to my frame on the right. If you've already signed up for PayPal, it is now very easy to make a donation with a credit card. If you haven't, clicking on the button will get you started, and you'll be able to use it to make donations and purchases on other web sites as well.

Former CIA analyst Stephen C. Pelletiere writes in today's NY Times about the frequent assertion that Saddam Hussein "gassed his own people." He says (emphasis added):

But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.

And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

Pelletiere concludes:

Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja.

Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, why are we picking on Iraq on human rights grounds, particularly when there are so many other repressive regimes Washington supports?

From Tom Tomorrow's blog: (This gets a little confusing as to who is talking, so I've added parenthetical notes to explain)
(Tom Tomorrow says:)A reader draws my attention to this report, titled Rebuilding America's Defenses (.pdf format), from a thinktank called the Project for a New American Century. I haven't looked through the whole thing yet, but here are a couple of sobering excerpts:
(The report says:)
"ESTABLISH FOUR CORE MISSIONS for U.S. military forces:
--defend the American homeland;
--fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
--perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions;
--transform U.S. forces to exploit the "revolution in military affairs"
* * *
... the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

* * *
Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
(End of excepts from the report. Tom Tomorrow says:)
Emphasis added.

Did I mention that this was written in September of 2000? Or that signatories to the original PNAC Statement of Principles included Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and Paul Wolfowitz?

(Bob says:) People accuse us of being looney conspiracy theorists and being too harsh in our judgment when we say that the Bush administration is bent on imperialism and world domination. It's all there in black and white, in their own words. This isn't about democracy or freedom; it is about ruling the world and killing as many people as it takes, probably millions more, to accomplish that goal. All the nonsense about weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda ties is just a front for this plan. And the "Pearl Harbor" comment should certainly be considered by the commission investigating 9/11 as evidence that many of the people currently in our government thought, a year ahead of 9/11, that such an event could be useful to their agenda. You don't have to be that much of a conspiracy theorist to connect those dots!

U.S. efforts against terrorism could affect the "survival of civilization itself." -- Dick Cheney, according to CNN.

There's no doubt about it, Useless Dick. U.S. efforts against terrorism are the greatest threat to the survival of civilization in over 50 years. I'm sure that's what you meant. Cheney continues: "We will not permit a brutal dictator with ties to terrorists and a record of reckless aggression to dominate the Middle East and to threaten the United States of America." Pretty bold stuff to say about President Bush, ol' Veep from the Deep you. Are you talking about a coup? No offense, but I hope you're not leading it, Dick.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

PLEASE DONATE to the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace!
Help us keep working for peace. Make your check payable to The Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace, and send it to:

P.O. Box 130074
Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0074

Tell 'em Bob's Blog sent ya!

Chickenhawks! Huh. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing! Excellent online animation.

Black Hawk Down. Your government has spent billions of dollars to send our youth to die on training missions in Afghanistan and Kuwait. What a waste.

Nelson Mandela Condemns Bush

"It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq,'' Mandela told an audience in Johannesburg. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust,'' he added, to loud applause. -- Full article.

Rarely seen photos from the Gulf War can be seen here. A sample:

Interview with Religious Leader

by Bob Goodsell

I have obtained a copy of an interview done this week with a famous religious leader by a daring reporter. I obtained it through an elaborate delivery scheme intended to protect the identity of both the reporter and the religious leader: I myself do not know who they are. Here is the interview.

Q. You insist on anonymity for this interview. Many people around the world would be delighted to hear from you. Why won't you identify yourself?

A. Those who truly know me will recognize me.

Q. George W. Bush is the president of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth. He gave what is known as the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, as I'm sure you are aware. In the speech, Mr. Bush outlined an economic plan which provides little help for the poor people in his country. Any comments?

A. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.1

Q. His plan also provides tremendous benefits for the rich. What are your thoughts on that?

A. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.2

Q. So you are saying that while his plan condemns the many to starvation, it condemns the few to damnation?

A. It is you who say so.

Q. Mr. Bush started a "war on terrorism" following the attacks on his country of September 11, 2001. Do you think this was a wise course to follow?

A. I say unto him, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.3

Q. How would you respond to the idea that it is foolishness not to respond to such a brutal attack? Shouldn't a country be strong and forceful in response?

A. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.4

Q. Wow. That's really radical thinking. You could never get elected to Congress in America.

A. Thank you.

Q. In his speech, Mr. Bush said, and I quote, "All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies....One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice." I don't think that I'm stretching the point to say the Mr. Bush is saying that these people who "met a different fate" were killed. None of those killed was tried or convicted by a court of law, yet they were killed by the U.S. military or the CIA on Mr. Bush's orders. Any comments?

A. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.5

Q. Mr. Bush insists that the leader of Iraq is a dangerous man with dangerous weapons. How would you respond to Mr. Bush?

A. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.6

Q. Still, Mr. Bush seems intent on attacking Iraq. Any further arguments you could make to him?

A. He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.7

Q. Stone? Excuse me, hold on a minute...Let's missiles, cluster bombs, fuel-air explosives, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons...sorry, stones appear to be about the only weapons that are not in the U.S. arsenal.

A. Okay: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a cruise missile. Whatever.

Q. It is reported that Mr. Bush is a follower of yours and prays to you daily. Is this true?

A. He talks to me, but he never listens.

Q. Many people around the world, including some in the United States, have begun to protest the clear intention of Mr. Bush to wage war against Iraq. Do you have anything to say to them?

A. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.8

Footnotes: 1: Matthew 5:19; 2: Mark 10:25; 3: Matthew 5:39; 4: Matthew 5:5; 5: Luke 6:37; 6: Matthew 7:5; 7: John 8:7; 8: Matthew 5:9.

But enough about my dad and me...

Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. -- from the State of the Union Address.

Are the Bushies totally unaware how aptly this rhetoric applies to themselves? Or do they do it secure in the knowledge that most Americans are too ignorant to catch it, while they know that it infuriates the rest of us, something they love to do? Whichever it is, it is very frightening. While George W. Bush may not be the most evil man in history (although he is close), he is without a doubt the most dangerous, given that he has the largest military in history at his disposal, and is unchecked by a figurehead Congress, a corporate media, or a mostly ignorant public.

Bushian Logic on the Neighborhood Level -- from Terry Jones.
I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I!

For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.

As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one.

Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

Another article from Terry Jones along similar lines from last year.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Labor Against War

Off of our listserv, from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Sorry, I couldn't find a story in a newspaper web site: wonder why. But this is so right on that I'm happy to post it even if it's a hoax:

Resolution Opposing the Bush Administration's War On Iraq

WHEREAS, union members and leaders have the responsibility to inform all working people about the issues that affect our lives, jobs, and families, and to be heard in the national debate on these issues; and

WHEREAS, the billions of dollars spent to stage and execute this war are being taken away from our schools, hospitals, housing, and Social Security and services for the poor in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in recent memory, even as the Bush Administration simultaneously plans even more giveaways and welfare for their rich supporters; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration has spearheaded a renewed assault on organized labor which includes use of Taft-Hartley against dockworkers, excluding over 50,000 federal airport screeners' right to organize, privatizing nearly 200,000 federal jobs covered by the American Federation of Government Employees(AFGE) and removing collective bargaining rights from these employees; and

WHEREAS, the war is a pretext for attacks on labor, civil, immigrant and human rights; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration's drive for war serves as a cover and distraction for the sinking economy, ongoing corporate corruption and layoffs; and

WHEREAS, the Bush Administration and Congress' US Patriot Act serves to undermine labor's right to organize and fight anti-immigrant attacks by expanding the government's ability to detain non-citizens, to conduct telephone and internet surveillance, and to carry out secret searches;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO stands firmly against the Bush Admininstration's drive to war and
calls for a re-ordering of our national priorities which must include allocation of resources to provide jobs, education, health care, a clean environment, and social justice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO will work so that organized labor, the national AFL-CIO, and the many allies of working men and women take a stand against the US Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO joins other labor organizations, and community allies to actively promote and participate in activities opposing the Bush Administration's drive to war.

Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why?

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or attack.

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.
-- from the State of the Union Address.

Replace "Saddam Hussein" and "he" with "the United States" and the statement becomes truer. Certainly Saddam may have sought weapons to dominate, intimidate or attack, but that is not the "only possible explanation." For over twelve years Iraq has been under brutal military and economic attack from the world's only superpower. Since Saddam's has few ways of delivering such weapons at any significant distance, using them for the defense of his country from that superpower is certainly a possible explanation, and a pretty likely one, if not the only one. And except for the Iran-Iraq war, in which the US supplied arms to both sides, almost all of the "deadly havoc in the region" has been at the hands of the US or its client state, Israel. As Ramsey Clark points out, more people were killed in the US invasion of Panama in 1989 than were killed in Iraq's invasion of Kuwait eight months later. But well over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers and civilians were killed in the Gulf War, and many more than that died from the destruction of infrastructure it caused and the draconian sanctions which were applied.

Kennedy seeks a new Iraq resolution requiring Bush to get new congressional approval before attacking Iraq:
"Much has changed in the many months since Congress has debated war with Iraq," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement released after President Bush's State of the Union address, in which Bush tried to rally the American people to the need to disarm Iraq. "U.N. inspectors are on the ground and making progress, and their work should continue," Kennedy said. "Osama bin Laden and the Korean nuclear crisis continue to pose far greater threats [than Iraq]."

Unfortunately, Republicans believe we live in a dictatorship:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said on CNN's "Larry King Live" that Bush made a "very powerful" case against Iraq in his speech and that another vote would be "absolutely unnecessary. At the end of the day, the president will decide what's in the best interest of the safety of the American people and lead a coalition to disarm Saddam Hussein," the Tennessee Republican said.

What a jerk! What is Congress for if it leaves the most important decisions up to a dim-witted loser (add your own adjectives here) clown like George Worthless Bush? At the end of the day, apparently nothing at all.

Worst President Ever, according to veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas.

Don't you hate getting spam from McAfee advertising SpamKiller? I wonder if there's something I can get to stop that.

from Mike Thompson.

I love Boondocks!

Oil is a Curse: According to this fine article from Fortune magazine, of all places, having lots of oil has been a bad thing for most countries, especially the average citizens. The article focuses on how an influx of oil money into an economy discourages broader development of agricultural, manufacturing and service industries. It discusses how the discovery of oil in Venezuela has turned it from one of the wealthiest and most stable countries in Latin America into an economic and political disaster. Unfortunately, the article studiously avoids the brutal attention a country gets from Bushes and other thieves that also results from having oil.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Tell Congress not to eliminate taxes on stock dividends. TrueMajority makes it easy.

Time to Hit the Streets: Bush Isn't Backing Down, and Congress is Standing for It
I've never been so ashamed to be an American. I'll admit that I was impressed that Bush could talk so calmly with his trousers ablaze. And to see Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton stand and cheer every lie made me ill. I was glad to see that many Democrats remained seated for some of the most outrageous statements. I saw Ted Kennedy sit without clapping while many around him stood.

Did you notice EPA Director Christie Whitman chuckling when Bush talked about the environment? She seemed to nudge the guy next to her to get him to clap: "Come on, pretend like you believe it!" And Nancy Pelosi shook her head in disbelief at some of the economic BS Bush was spouting.

Finally, after the hours coaching W on every nuance in his speech, making him appear almost not stupid to the uninitiated, why don't they tell the man with the finger on the button that the word is pronounced "NEW-CLEAR," not "NEW-CUE-LAR!"


US Guilty of "Shocking Double Standards" -- from Bush's favorite arms inspector, Richard Butler
"The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia and, if necessary, use its weapons of mass destruction to win that battle, is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it could set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret," [former U.N. arms inspector Richard] Butler said. -- from Reuters

This should be headline news on every paper. The Bushies and right-wing media have mercilessly attacked another former inspector, Scott Ritter, for his repeated statements that Iraq poses little threat because most of its weapons stockpiles were destroyed by 1998 and they have little chance to redevelop them since. But they have loudly repeated warnings from Butler, who has stated that he believes Iraq still has WMD's. Here is an example from Condoleeza Rice's op-ed piece in the NY Times last week:
Last week's finding by inspectors of 12 chemical warheads not included in Iraq's declaration was particularly troubling. In the past, Iraq has filled this type of warhead with sarin — a deadly nerve agent used by Japanese terrorists in 1995 to kill 12 Tokyo subway passengers and sicken thousands of others. Richard Butler, the former chief United Nations arms inspector, estimates that if a larger type of warhead that Iraq has made and used in the past were filled with VX (an even deadlier nerve agent) and launched at a major city, it could kill up to one million people. Iraq has also failed to provide United Nations inspectors with documentation of its claim to have destroyed its VX stockpiles.

So Condi says, using Butler to support her argument, that if Iraq used larger shells than were found and filled them with a gas they don't seem to have and put them on rockets they haven't got, they could kill a million people. Butler basically replies that the US is perfectly capable of killing many times that number with existing weapons that could be targeted to any city in the world, and for it to engage in a devastating attack with either "conventional" or "mass destruction" weapons against a much weaker country, to enforce UN resolutions but without UN approval, is the height of hypocrisy. It is truly scary how easily our government was taken over by these maniacs and that no one seems to think that there is much of a chance of stopping them.

In Michigan, more people are driving farther to work than ever before. And hundreds of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are about to die so that this nonsense can continue. I think I'm turning into a nut--as I walk from the bus stop to work in the morning, I find myself mouthing "Stop Driving!" at all of the vehicles going by. As Douglas Kelbaugh, Dean of the School of Architecture here at the University of Michigan, said: "All of the traffic is evidence of a massive failure in planning. Nobody is where they want to be, so they're out driving to someplace else." (I'm paraphrasing, since he said it about a year ago in a colloquium and I'm quoting from memory.)
I've been considering designing some non-bumper stickers:

  • Stop Driving!
  • Friends Don't Let Friends Drive
  • Stay Alive: Don't Drive
  • You're Suvocating Me!

Or maybe rewriting some songs:
  • Well she got onto the BART and rode on out to the tofu stand now (oh you shouldn't drive, no you shouldn't drive),
    not driving for some burgers at McDonalds like she told her old man now (you shouldn't drive, no you shouldn't drive),
    then she rode into the city and she didn't have to park a car now (you shouldn't drive, no you shouldn't drive),
    and she'll have fun fun fun 'til her Daddy takes her BART pass away...
  • Bye, bye Miss American Pie, rode my ten-speed to the levy but the levy was dry...
  • It goes from Chicago to LA, over 2000 miles on the way, get your kicks on bus 66
  • Oh, I remember when rock was young, me and Suzie had so much fun, holdin' hands and skimmin' stones, had an old Schwinn tandem and a fez of my own...

Chemical Warfare: This is old news, but it needs to be repeated while W is beating the war drums about weapons of mass destruction: The "war on drugs" is a war of terror using chemical weapons. As the article states, the spraying of defoliants on Colombia began during the Clinton administration and continued under W. (I wonder if Roundup Ultra works on shrubs?) I'm not defending Clinton, any more than I'm defending drug dealers or Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, there are very few world leaders from the present or recent past whose actions are defensible. Bush is just being illegal and immoral at a faster rate than has been attempted since the time of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. And he's better armed than any of them.

Bush to focus on peace and prosperity in his State of the Union speech, according to the Washington Post. He is the world's greatest threat to both, so why not?

I'm not ashamed to link to this; soldiers may soon have anti-guilt pills so they won't lose sleep over killing enemy soldiers, defenseless civilians, and me.

Kurt Vonnegut on the PP's running this country:
Q: Based on what you’ve read and seen in the media, what is not being said in the mainstream press about President Bush’s policies and the impending war in Iraq?

Vonnegut: That they are nonsense.

Q: My feeling from talking to readers and friends is that many people are beginning to despair. Do you think that we’ve lost reason to hope?

Vonnegut: I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

Read the whole interview here.

Now that we've got Afghanistan under control...

Cleveland Unanimously Passes Anti-War Resolution!

We can be sure that some pundits will acclaim the speech as bold and brilliant; they would do that if he read from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." -- Paul Krugman.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Priorities: Spend money to start fires in Iraq, or put out fires at home? While I was passing out leaflets this weekend, I had a guy ask me if I was concerned about the welfare of Iraqi civilians, and of course I said I was. He asked what I thought about Saddam Hussein's priorities when he builds expensive palaces instead of feeding his people; I responded by asking him about our priorities, paying $200 billion to bomb Iraq's people instead of feeding ours. Made him think a little, I think. Well, Britain is facing a similar discussion about priorities, accusing firefighters of depleting military funding at a critical time, because military firefighters will have to put out fires during the planned 48-hour strike by the nation's civilian firefighters:

Britain's firefighters announced Monday they would go ahead with a 48-hour nationwide strike over pay. The walkout by the country's 55,000 firefighters, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, means almost 20,000 soldiers and their aging ``Green Goddess'' engines will again be left to provide emergency cover.

Firefighters have staged three strikes in recent months and the dispute over pay has become increasingly bitter, with the government accusing workers of draining military resources at a critical time. The last walkout, for 24 hours last Wednesday, came just days after the government announced 35,000 troops were being sent to the Persian Gulf to prepare for a possible war with Iraq.
-- from AP.

And here in the US, much of the increase in federal funding for local police and fire departments promised after 9/11 has failed to materialize as more federal revenue goes to the military and to reward the rich for being rich. (Sorry, I don't have time to find a link for that right now, but I've seen several articles about how the administration has failed to deliver on those promises after using exploiting the FDNY and NYPD for political gain.)

Look who's providing funds to Saddam now!

Confessions of a Sane Mind: Actor and Director George Clooney compares the Bush administration to HBO's Sopranos. Now I haven't watched the Sopranos, but it sounds like a good insult, and the article makes it clear that it is. Richard Gere and Rene Zellwiger are also quoted in the article accusing radio host Charlie Rose of buddying up to Henry Kissinger and censoring criticism of the real Dr. Death.

There will be time to sleep, eat and work after we've stopped this war! This week, every possible minute needs to be devoted to peace: Help organize a rally or march (e-mail me,, if you want to help with the February 8 rally in Ann Arbor); call Congress (800-839-5276); write letters to the editor; call radio talk shows; or stand on your porch and scream "No War!" for ten minutes.

Big Anti-War Protest in Pittsburgh yesterday. I recall meeting one of the organizers for that rally at the march in Washington on January 18. Go Pittsburgh!

Sunday, January 26, 2003

My apologies: This is truly scary:

-- from a NY Times magazine article comparing Reagan and W. (Note: the morphing animation only plays three times. If you dare see it again, hit the refresh button on your browser.)

Rush Limbaugh called anti-war demonstrators "un-American." This web site gives the details and tells you how to contact Rush's sponsors and ask them to pull their ads or face a boycott. Amtrak and Radio Shack have already pulled their ads thanks to this campaign. Ann Arbor residents should be especially upset with Pfizer's sponsorship.

Powell: U.S. prepared to act alone

"We will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its wepaons of mass destruction. We continue to reserve our sovereign right to take military action against Iraq alone or in a coalition of the willing," Powell added. -- from CNN.

There you have it. The supposedly dovish Powell claims a "sovereign right" to unilateral war crimes. I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I hope these guys (including Condi) hang for this someday.

Pre-meditated war crime

From a CBS report:
They're calling it "A-Day," A as in airstrikes so devastating they would leave Saddam's soldiers unable or unwilling to fight.

If the Pentagon sticks to its current war plan, one day in March the Air Force and Navy will launch between 300 and 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. As CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports, this is more than number that were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War.

On the second day, the plan calls for launching another 300 to 400 cruise missiles.

"There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," said one Pentagon official who has been briefed on the plan.

"The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before," the official said.

The battle plan is based on a concept developed at the National Defense University. It's called "Shock and Awe" and it focuses on the psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight rather than the physical destruction of his military forces.

"We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," says Harlan Ullman, one of the authors of the Shock and Awe concept which relies on large numbers of precision guided weapons.

"So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes," says Ullman.

Nazi and Japanese military leaders were hanged for war crimes of a much smaller scale than this. NOT IN OUR NAME!!!!