Bob's Links and Rants

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Friday, February 28, 2003

The Rummy Speaks:
The number of U.S. troops that would be required to administer Iraq after a U.S.-led military campaign is "not knowable" because of the large number of variables in how a conflict might unfold, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.

He also said it "makes no sense to try" to come up with cost estimates for a war in Iraq because the variables "create a range that simply isn't useful."

Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm sick and tired of Mr. Donald Rumsfeld's games. He's had twelve long months to come up with an estimate, but I see no evidence that he's estimating. He's had chance after chance after chance, and if Congress won't step up to its responsibility to get him to estimate, I intend to lead a coalition of the billing to make him estimate. He's had his chance. It's a matter of weeks, not months.

(note--this post is basically a follow-up to the previous one below)

Silence of the Lambs (Congress, that is)
Naive optimist that I am, I was hoping that Congress would use Wednesday's virtual march as a basis to start speaking out in large numbers against Bush's relentless drive for war. Instead, the silence that Senator Byrd decried over two weeks ago continues, leaving the few brave souls like Byrd, Kennedy, Kucinich, Conyers, and Republican Ron Paul to twist in the wind. Every time I have called Senator Stabenow's office in the past few weeks, I have been told that she opposes the war. I called today and asked why I haven't seen any headlines in the papers about Stabenow's opposition to the war. The staffer reiterated that Stabenow is opposed and is doing everything she can to stop it. The staffer said "I'm not the press--I don't decide what the headlines are." I pressed, asking if Stabenow had held a press conference stating her opposition, and maybe the press was refusing to cover it? She replied something like "There are lots of things going on here right now; I'm not sure what has or hasn't happened."

Well, I just went to Stabenow's official web site and her list of press releases; there is not a word about opposing war. She issues press releases just about every day, sometimes more than one, but not a single one about opposing war in Iraq. Even her response to the State of the Union address carefully avoids the topic. This is doing everything she can? Do we have to leak her position to the press ourselves?

If you live in Michigan, please call Stabenow's office and ask why, if she is actually opposed to the war, she doesn't issue a press release to that effect? If the papers don't carry it, we have their phone numbers. But as far as I can tell, they're not carrying it because she's not saying it. If you live in another state, please check the web sites of your senators and representatives to see if they've taken any official stand on the war. If they haven't, call and encourage them to do so--anti-war, of course. If they have and the papers aren't covering it, call the papers and tell them to get on the ball!

All congressional offices can be reached through the Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276.

Where is the friggin' Congress? We've had our marches, real and virtual. Every day Bush shows that he wants to bomb Iraq more than anyone in the history of the world has ever wanted anything. The mere fact that Saddam Hussein is disarming is not enough to convince Bush that Saddam Hussein is disarming, if it means he can't have his war. But still, I don't see 40, or 50, or 90 senators holding a press conference on the Capitol steps saying that they are going to repeal the war authorization and that they will impeach Bush if he continues. The silence that Senator Byrd decried over two weeks ago remains. I want headlines in the Detroit Free Press: "Levin, Stabenow, Dingell Call for Stop to War, Threaten Impeachment." Stabenow's staffers have been telling me for weeks when I call that "The Senator agrees with you." Well how, exactly? Bush threatens to make the UN irrelevant. He apparently doesn't have to do this with Congress--they're doing it themselves.
Encore! Viva Ted Rall!
Short of opening a shooting range next door to a daycare center, buying an SUV is perhaps the single most antisocial act an ordinary American can commit. -- from a recent column .
Viva Ted Rall!
The fact is, France is a good friend and ally trying to make us see reason, and it doesn't deserve to be treated this shabbily. The United States, as led by Bush and his goons, is like a belligerent, out-of-control drunk trying to pick a fight and demanding the car keys at the same time. The French want to drive us home before we cause any more trouble, so we lash out at them, calling them rude names and impugning their loyalty. Sure, we'll be ashamed of our behavior in the morning, after the madness wears off. But will we have any friends left?
Nicholas Kristof on North Korea:
So if the military option is too scary to contemplate, and if allowing North Korea to proliferate is absolutely unacceptable, what's left? Precisely the option that every country in the region is pressing on us: negotiating with North Korea.

Ironically, the gravity of the situation isn't yet fully understood in either South Korea or Japan, partly because they do not think this administration would be crazy enough to consider a military strike against North Korea. They're wrong.

Bush's Poll Numbers Drop
Asked their choice for president, 47 percent of the registered voters polled said they would support Bush in 2004 -- compared with 51 percent in December. About 39 percent said they would support the Democratic candidate, compared with 37 percent in December. -- from CNN. And while destroying the Samoud missiles apparently doesn't matter to Bush or Blair, it is significant to lots of Americans: And support for an invasion drops significantly if Saddam destroys missiles cited by U.N. weapons inspectors, falling from 71 percent to 33 percent. Well, Iraq has agreed to destroy the missiles, starting as soon as tomorrow.
Why are the freepers so concerned about the little French poodle when there's a giant bear in the room?
"Russia does not support any resolution which could directly or indirectly open the way to an armed resolution of the Iraq problem," Mr. Ivanov told a news conference. -- from a NY Times article which focuses on Iraq's offer to destroy, "in principle," the supposedly forbidden missiles. The response from Big Brother was predictable: "The rockets are just the tip of the iceberg," President Bush reiterated today in an appearance with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. "The only question at hand is total, complete disarmament, which he is refusing to do," the president said, referring to Mr. Hussein. Notice how W doesn't even mention weapons of mass destruction anymore? Of course, the missiles would not actually fall under that classification unless they had chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, which they do not. But it sounds now as though Bush is demanding that every tank, helicopter, jeep and rifle in Iraq be destroyed. Probably so we can take over the oil fields by just driving onto them, and save our cruise missiles for Iran, North Korea, or Syria.

I think that many countries are now realizing how dangerous it is to oppose the will of Bush, and how it will be even more dangerous not to. The Bushies are a cancer on the earth. If we don't accomplish a little surgery now (impeachment), other nations and/or terrorists will start applying chemotherapy or radiation treatments to try to get rid of it. (Should I run another online poll as to whether that was the best or worst analogy you've ever seen?)

Thursday, February 27, 2003

"You see it all the time, especially now....The good will of the American people is being manipulated. It gives me the chills...I'm so going to go to jail this year!" -- Rene Zellweger, quoted by Howard Zinn in a good column about war and resistance.
US Diplomat Resigns, Protesting "Fervent Pursuit of War." Surely there are more in the diplomatic corps, and in the military, who are shocked and disgusted by Bush's clear preference for war.
FoxNews' Bill O'Reilly from last night's show:
Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up. Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me. Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let's just say you will be spotlighted. Talking points invites all points of view and believes vigorous debate strengthens the country, but once decisions have been made and lives are on the line, patriotism must be factored in. -- from Media Whore's Online via This Modern World.

MWO, and I, ask you to contact O'Reilly's sponsors and tell them that opposing a stupid war is patriotic, that bringing troops home instead of sending them to possible death or dismemberment is supporting them. Here is the sponsor list:

Protest in Egypt

A demonstrator stands on a wall waving the Iraqi flag as hundreds of others in the background join in during a demonstration held at Cairo Stadium. Some 140,000 Egyptians rallied to show support for Iraq and condemn US and Israeli policy in the Middle East, police said. The demonstrators packed the sports stadium with a total capacity of 100,000 while 40,000 more unable to get in. -- NY Times.

So, fellow Ann Arborites, does that give you any ideas? We've got one of the largest stadiums in the world right here. How about "Fill the Big House for Peace?" It would be hard for anyone to deny that we had over 100,000 people there if we filled a 110,000 seat stadium!
Bush's speech last night ties the whole imperialist conspiracy theory thing together. I could spend the rest of the afternoon trying to explain this, but Liberal Oasis has already done so. Thanks again to Cyndy at MouseMusings for the link. She's got some good links and comments on the speech on her site as well.
Bad move, Governor. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has called for routine monitoring of gasoline prices for "price gouging" in response to heightened international tension. A bill has been introduced in the state legislature to outlaw "gouging" in times of emergency, although the bill doesn't define the term.

Now, I hate to see people profit from war, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm all in favor of high gas prices. If they don't get to $10 a gallon on their own, we tax gasoline until it gets there. There are few other simple steps that could be taken that would contribute to solving so many problems. Less traffic. Fewer traffic fatalities. Less pollution. Less sprawl. Less road rage. Better mass transit, making it easier for the poor to find and get to work. And, of course, reducing the demand for more oil wars.

Even ignoring all of that, raising gas prices in times of uncertainty makes good sense from a security standpoint. If war in Iraq causes an oil embargo or terror attacks on refineries, storage tanks, or pipelines, artificially low prices will quickly result in huge shortages. Not only will soccer mom Betty be unable to drive the SUV to Krogers for some semi-toxic meat and genetically-modified potatoes, but policewoman Sue, fireman Fred and paramedic Elaine won't be able to get gas for their cars, trucks and ambulances so they can respond to all of the other terror attacks the war is likely to cause. Of course, they'll already be worn out from all of the overtime they have to work because so many of their colleagues have been called up by the military, so maybe they shouldn't be driving anyway. I'm no longer a big fan of free-market pricing, but not allowing gasoline prices to factor in (discount, in Wall Street terms) the uncertainty caused by world events is foolish in many ways. The American landscape, and the society as a whole, is badly misshapen largely due to artificially low prices of two liquids: oil and water. For governments to continue to protect these distortions only postpones the inevitable and will make it much worse when it finally arrives.

From Bill DeOre. What strikes me about this cartoon is that Jordan, Lebanon, ISRAEL, and of course the Palestinian state, all seem to have disappeared, apparently gobbled up by Saudi Arabia and Syria! Probably a (very) careless oversight, but what if he meant it that way? What is he trying to say here?

From Tony Auth.

Hope? I just received through the AAACP listserv a report from Stratfor saying that Saddam Hussein has made an offer through the Russians that might enable Bush to "save face" without invading Iraq. Armed UN peacekeeping troops would join the inspectors in Iraq to enforce whatever disarmament actually remains to be done, and US oil companies would be allowed to return to Iraq. I think Stratfor is fairly reputable, but I don't know for sure. Read the report and decide for yourself. It certainly wouldn't solve all of our problems. I want no war and for Bush to lose face--even lose head, if I weren't opposed to capitol punishment. I remember reading about the "mad dog" technique that Kissinger tried to use with the North Vietnamese: convince them that Nixon was so crazy, he'd do anything, including nuking Hanoi. The way out described here would certainly give credence to the "mad dog" technique: Bush is either crazy or doing an excellent job of pretending to be.
The ACLU has a good collection of cartoons related to Bushian restrictions of civil liberties.
Good Ted Rall cartoon today! (Does anybody know how "fair use" copyright law applies to comic strips? If I display one or two strips a week on average from Ted Rall, Boondocks, or others on my very non-profit blog, giving them proper credit and links, am I violating copyright law, or is it similar to copying a paragraph or two out of a column? Should I just write and ask for permission?)
From Naomi Klein in the Toronto Globe and Mail (thanks to Allan in Ottawa for the link):
At the Pentagon, they call it the Voilà Moment.

That's when Iraqi soldiers and civilians, with bombs raining down on Baghdad, suddenly scratch their heads and say to themselves: "These bombs aren't really meant to kill me and my family, they are meant to free us from an evil dictator!" At that point, they thank Uncle Sam, lower their weapons, abandon their posts, and rise up against Saddam Hussein. Voilà!

Or at least that's how it is supposed to work, according to the experts in "psychological operations" who are already waging a fierce information war in Iraq. The Voilà Moment made its first foray into the language of war last Monday, when a New York Times reporter quoted an unnamed senior U.S. military official using the term.
Of course, there should be more marches, but it should also be clear by now that there is no protest too big for our politicians to ignore. They know that public opinion in most of the world is against the war.

What our politicians are carefully assessing before the bombs start falling, is whether the antiwar sentiment is "hard" or "soft." The question is not "do people care about war?" but how much do they care? Is it a mild consumer preference against war, one that will evaporate by the next election? Or is it something deeper and more lasting -- a, shall we say, Voilà kind of care?

On one end of the caring spectrum, Levi's Europe has decided to cash in on the antiwar fad by releasing a limited-edition teddy bear with a peace symbol attached to its ear. You can clutch and hug it while watching the scary terror alerts on CNN.

Or you could turn off CNN, refuse to be a soft and cuddly peacenik, get out there and stop the war.
-- Read the rest.

Keep the virtual march going! Use the "Contact Congress" form in the right frame (-->) to send faxes or e-mails to your representatives. They've got a wide array of letters to choose from, or you can write your own from scratch.
Hurray for Toni Smith! She plays for the Manhattanville College basketball team, and has been protesting W's Iraq policies by turning her back on the flag during the national anthem. You can read about it here, where there's also a link to video from the local TV news. Apparently, women's basketball is getting a lot more attention at Manhattanville College than it ever did before.
Have you ever tried to link lion bowel movements to the worldwide peace movement from a liberal perspective? (I'll bet you didn't expect to read THAT today!) Well, Politics in the Zeros does it quite nicely.
Hypocrisy as an art form:
We will provide security against those who try to spread chaos or settle scores or threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq. -- George W. Bush, February 26, 2003. He says this as he is preparing to launch a pre-emptive strike against the territorial integrity of Iraq, spreading chaos throughout the country and the world, all to settle an old score on behalf of his miserable excuse of a father. The whole Orwellian speech is here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Headlines in the news:

Blair suffers huge revolt on Iraq (CNN)

Labour MPs revolt over Iraq (Guardian (UK))

Iraq Debate in Britain's Parliament Reveals Rift in Labor (NY Times)

House of Commons Backs Blair on Iraq (Washington Post)

House of Commons Backs Blair on Iraq (FoxNews)

Blair Wins Parliamentary Vote on Iraq (LA Times)

All of these headlines, of course, refer to the same vote in London. Unfortunately, the latter headlines appear to be more accurate, although the large number of MP's from Blair's own labor party who voted against his position is seen as very significant. It's strange, too, since in recent weeks I have noticed that the Post seems to be rather anti-Bush, with the NY Times being quite pro-Bush. I noticed the same sort of discrepancy yesterday walking by some newspaper vending machines: One paper had a headline saying that the AIDS vaccine works; the next paper's headline said it doesn't. People who just get their news from headlines, radio and TV aren't really getting any information at all. That's what blogs are for!
Finally, a decent anti-war message from the Sierra Club!
Why is the Sierra Club involved?

As President Bush increased his pro-war rhetoric last fall, Sierra Club leaders from around the country urged the Board of Directors to take a stand for peace. Since war has dire environmental and social impacts, the Sierra Club urged the U.S. to let the United Nations inspectors do their job, so the parties can resolve the Iraq issue peacefully.

In addition, the Board called on the U.S. to reduce our dependency on oil. By doing so, we can increase our national security and reduce the threat of war, as well as clean up our air and curb global warming.

Our country has the know-how to cut our dependence on oil by increasing fuel efficiency, employing modern technology, and developing clean, renewable sources of power. It's time to get serious about our nation's energy future.
-- from the Sierra Club web site.

Virtual March gets NY Times Coverage!
Ari is definitely losing it. In yesterday's press briefing (video/transcript), he appeared nervous and defensive throughout (sort of like someone under orders to lie, I'd say), and then got laughed out of the room for this knee-slapper: You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition. Thanks to Cyndy at Mousemusings for the link.
My 17-year-old niece in California meets the forces of darkness:
So, I was filling up my gas tank - mourning the fact that I don't have an electric or hybrid vehicle - and this old guy pulls up. He gets out and is staring at me. I smile, thinking he must be overpowered by my youthful beauty. But then he says to me really angrily, "What, you just gonna sit there and let them come get us?!" I assume he was referring to the anti-war fliers my car windows are covered in. But still, it really freaked me out - I thought he was going to kill me or something he looked so angry.

But at the same time I wanted to ask the guy, "Who exactly are "they"? I mean, "they" could be Saddam (which in that case would mean that he needs to practice his conjugation), Bin Laden (which is stupid as we are invading Iraq) or maybe some other terrorist faction (the last parentheses covered that). Well, I didn't say anything because I didn't - obviously - want to get in a fight with an angry, overweight white man and so I finished and drove off as he stared malevolently at me.
-- from Beth Goodsell's Rant Page.

I was chatting online with Beth last night and she told me the story. I was trying to figure out what the guy could possibly be imagining when he says "they" will come get us. Perhaps the Iraqi navy, all ten or so rubber boats, each carrying five rifle-toting Iraqi soldiers, sails out of the Shaat-al-Arab past the thousands of US troops in Kuwait, past five carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters, around the Arabian peninsula, through the Suez Canal, across the Mediterranean teeming with US and British warships, past Gibraltar into the wintry Atlantic, 3000+ miles to the Panama Canal, up the coast of Mexico, past another carrier group or two in San Diego, into the Golden Gate, down the bay, all fresh and ready to storm the beaches of East Palo Alto. I'll tell you, I couldn't sleep just worrying about it.
Check this out today: I know it's a small percentage of the population, but this is cool!

Ten Years Ago Today:

I believe this was the first of several terror attacks which resulted from the 1991 Gulf War. Certainly the attacks linked to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda resulted from that war: the attacks on US embassies in Africa, the attack on the Cole in Yemen, and of course 9/11. The TWA 800 crash off of Long Island in July, 1996 has never been properly explained: over 100 eyewitnesses saw what appeared to be a missile heading upwards shortly before the plane exploded (see this website for all of the facts, innuendo and conspiracy theories about TWA 800). Timothy McVeigh went to the Gulf War as one of the best soldiers in the army, but returned home disillusioned and bitter after participating in the "turkey shoot," and four years later he and another Gulf War vet blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 158. DC sniper suspect John Muhammad is also a Gulf War vet. (Please note: I'm not trying to imply that Gulf War vets are dangerous in general, but that the war may well have been a contributing factor to the actions of McVeigh, Nichols and Muhammad.)

So, ten years of terror attacks from a war, which while not in any way justified, at least had better excuses and international support than the one W is proposing. If we don't stop this, life may well be nearly unbearable for the next 10 to 100 years, all thanks to a couple of genocidal idiots named George Bush.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Bush: Reviving the Cold War -- from Common Dreams. While right-wingers focus their mindless spite on France, two nuclear-equipped giants, Russia and China, are beginning to realize the true threat that W and his genociders pose to the whole world.
Fascism the natural state? from Norman Mailer:

The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature - I'm 80 years old now - suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state.

Indeed, democracy is the special condition - a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already.

Republican Jitters?
Even some members of Bush's own party are expressing concern about the need for more allied support. "Today, America stands nearly alone in proclaiming the urgency of the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein," Sen. Charles Hagel (R-Neb.) said in a speech Thursday at Kansas State University. "America must balance its determination with patience and not be seen as in a rush to war." -- from the LA Times via Common Dreams.

From Doonesbury, of course.

The Bushies are treating the UN just like they treat Afghanistan, Iraq, or the whole world, for that matter: We're willing to destroy it to save it. Here's an excerpt from a Washington Post article:

In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that "we're going ahead," whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said. "The council's unity is at stake here."

A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.

"You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. "That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."

This is America? Not in my name, it isn't.
Blix Says Iraq Signals New Cooperation -- Washington Post.

From Tom Tomorrow:
Unscientific poll watch, AOL edition
Haven't seen this one myself, but a reader on AOL reports that a poll question greeted him when he signed on this morning: "Is it unpatriotic to protest the war?"
On the bright side, the answer so far was overwhelmingly "no." But still. How about rephrasing it: "Is it unpatriotic to suppress dissent?" You don't see that question in online polls very often, do you?

Well, Tom, here it is!

Is it unpatriotic to suppress dissent?

View the results
Hosted by WebEnalysis

War hits the schools:
Plymouth-Canton (MI) school officials plan to pull the plug on television news reports if the United States goes to war against Iraq. Meanwhile, a high school student in Dearborn was asked to change his shirt or go home after wearing a T-shirt with W's picture between the words "International Terrorist." He chose to go home.
Join the Virtual March on Washington tomorrow! Click here to sign up for times to make your phone calls to Congress and the president. In addition, please go here to send faxes. What the heck--while you're at it, go here to send an e-mail.
Send e-mail to the UN Security Council! This web site makes it easy.
Unfortunately, the editorial board at the NY Times doesn't read the columns in their own paper.

First, Nicholas Kristof, in probably his best column in over a year, compares today's Bush-made Iraq crisis to a similar situation in 1956. Then, Israel, France and Britain wanted to invade Egypt to protect the Suez Canal from Egypt's leader, Gamel Abdel Nasser. U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, no chickenhawk he, stepped in, much as Chirac and Putin are trying to do now, to prevent an unjust and unnecessary war. Kristof writes:

European leaders were determined not to appease this "Hitler on the Nile." France, Israel and Britain conspired to invade Egypt and oust Nasser. "It was too risky to allow this adventurer, this miniature Hitler, to develop," Prime Minister Guy Mollet of France later told Nasser's biographer Jean Lacouture.

Ike was outraged and did to the Europeans what they are trying to do to us now: He forced the invaders to retreat and solve the crisis peacefully. "The United States is committed to a peaceful solution," he declared.

Thank God for Ike. If the hawks had been running the show then, we might still have troops in Egypt.

Next, Paul Krugman points out how the failure to keep promises, along with plenty of outright lying, has cost the Bush administration the trust of most of the world:

Consider the astonishing fact that Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, appears unwilling to cast his U.N. Security Council vote in America's favor. Given Mexico's close economic ties to the United States, and Mr. Fox's onetime personal relationship with Mr. Bush, Mexico should have been more or less automatically in America's column. But the Mexican president feels betrayed. He took the politically risky step of aligning himself closely with Mr. Bush — a boost to Republican efforts to woo Hispanic voters — in return for promised reforms that would legalize the status of undocumented immigrants. The administration never acted on those reforms, and Mr. Fox is in no mood to do Mr. Bush any more favors.

Mr. Fox is not alone. In fact, I can't think of anyone other than the hard right and corporate lobbyists who has done a deal with Mr. Bush and not come away feeling betrayed. New York's elected representatives stood side by side with him a few days after Sept. 11 in return for a promise of generous aid. A few months later, as they started to question the administration's commitment, the budget director, Mitch Daniels, accused them of "money-grubbing games." Firefighters and policemen applauded Mr. Bush's promise, more than a year ago, of $3.5 billion for "first responders"; so far, not a penny has been delivered.
Then there's the honesty thing.

Mr. Bush's mendacity on economic matters was obvious even during the 2000 election. But lately it has reached almost pathological levels. Last week Mr. Bush — who has been having a hard time getting reputable economists to endorse his economic plan — claimed an endorsement from the latest Blue Chip survey of business economists. "I don't know what he was citing," declared the puzzled author of that report, which said no such thing.

But, to put a damper on the whole thing, the Times main editorial ignores all of the belligerency and lies that Kristof and Krugman point out and supports the US-British resolution which is practically a declaration of war (funny, I thought Congress was supposed to declare war for the US, not Tony Blair). The editorial could have been written by Ari Fleischer or Karl Rove, and probably was.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Excerpts from Secretary of State John Quincy Adams speech to the House of Representatives, July 4, 1821. I stole this straight from Politics in the Zeros:

Would it be that what he said then was still true today.

"She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... "

Fortress America: A scary article from the NY Times Sunday magazine. It describes many of the obtrusive security measures we may have to put up with if our belligerent foreign policy continues. As far as I'm concerned, it is well worth risking an Oklahoma City or 9/11 every five years to preserve our civil liberties. (Remember that more people die in car accidents in America every month than died on 9/11/01.) If we stop trying to control the world by destroying it, that is probably the upper limit of the terrorist threat. If we continue with the Bush wars, much worse can be expected. Would you be happier living in Tel Aviv instead of Stockholm? Not me.

Israel Wants Iraq War

This is probably no surprise to those familiar with the architects of this nonsense, but here it is spelled out:
Other nations may cavil, but Israel is so certain of the rightness of a war on Iraq that it is already thinking past that conflict to urge a continued, assertive American role in the Middle East.

Shaul Mofaz, Israel's defense minister, told members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last week that after Iraq, the United States should generate "political, economic, diplomatic pressure" on Iran.

"We have great interest in shaping the Middle East the day after" a war, he said.
-- NY Times.

Interestingly, one of Israel's reasons for supporting war directly contradicts the main reasons for it:
Israel believes that Mr. Hussein seeks devastating weapons but has far less capacity for mayhem now than he did during the first Persian Gulf war, when he fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel.

Great Moment in TV Journalism

From here via Atrios. Ari Fleischer would probably refuse to concede that the experts are right on this one.

Keep the pressure on!

Evidence indicates that the war on Iraq has already begun--without UN approval, without congressional authorization. Congress must know that we want this stopped! Please use the "Contact Congress" form on the right to send faxes and e-mails to your congressional representatives. Call them through the Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276. Tell them to support our troops by bringing them home now!

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Brief reminder: All sorts of crap is going on in Colombia, Palestine, Africa, and pretty much everywhere else in the world. States are running out of money, western states are running out of water, homeless people are freezing to death in this country, and our president thinks that spending billions to bribe other countries to support his insane war which will cost hundreds of billions more is the best way to spend your tax dollars. "Compassionate Conservatism" is neither.
Newsweek's Howard Fineman has a nice report on "Dovish Democrats." Warmongers Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt heard scattered boos and little applause when they repeated their support for war at a Democratic national meeting in Washington last weekend. Meanwhile, anti-war candidate Howard Dean received the best applause of the event. As I've said, Kucinich is my favorite, but there are now FOUR anti-war Democratic candidates running--hopefully they'll drown out the pitiful voices of the Republicrats Lieberman, Edwards, Gephardt and Kerry.

It certainly would be wonderful to have a real choice for president, with finally a candidate having a substantially different viewpoint from what we've had the last 20 years. And I think an anti-war, anti-NAFTA candidate would bring out the millions of previous non-voters who are suffering the worst under Bushonomics, defeating W in a landslide that even the Supreme Court would be afraid to overturn.
Has the war already begun? Attacks on Iraqi air defenses and other military installations have been happening regularly over the past week or two, according to the British Independent. No authorization from the UN, no approval from Congress--just bomb.

Connecting the Dots, or Speculations on Speculations

I reported on Friday about the possibility that the Bushies are seeking an "exit strategy" from their insane "either war or war" Iraq policy. W's demented statements yesterday might actually be evidence that there is some truth in the "exit strategy" talk: W has had his heart set on another war for so long, and now even some of his advisors and supporters may be suggesting that he can't have it, so he is pushing into uncharted territories of incoherence as his dream fades.

The scary thing is what the exit strategy might be. It seems likely that it might be similar to the one used for Afghanistan--mass distraction. Osama was quickly replaced by Saddam; Iraq may be quickly replaced by Iran, North Korea, the Philippines, or, who knows, Osama? Today's NY Times has a big article on Iranian nuclear developments. The obvious comparison between North Korea's well-developed nuclear program and Iraq's non-existent one has drawn much attention, even from many who oppose war in Iraq, so it wouldn't take too much preparation for the Bushies to quickly make Kim public enemy number one (meanwhile, almost no attention goes to the nuclear weapons already in the possession of extremely dangerous men like Mushareff and Sharon, or Bush and Blair for that matter). And, for no apparent reason, troops are once again being sent to the Philippines. Finally, we had the orange alert, the Osama tape, and now the warning (below) about individual extremists, hinting that al Qaeda may be returning to center stage as our boogeyman.

So "Mr. Saddam Hussein" could drop out of the Bush dyslexicon as quickly as "Osama bin Laden" did, to be replaced by one or more of these candidates. Even if the war is prevented, we will have to keep working to push the public debate back to where it should be. People who two years ago would never have considered war against North Korea as a sensible option have been practically advocating it because it makes relatively good sense compared to attacking Iraq. We need debates about whether we should approve the Kyoto global warming accords as is or push for stronger ones. We need debates about disarming this country. We need debates about whether Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton, or Moseley Braun should be our next president, having rejected all of the other warmongering candidates. We need debates about whether suburban sprawl should be merely halted immediately, or maybe we should institute active sprawl-removal programs. When our debates focus on attacking country A instead of country B, or deciding between living with existing repression or extending it further, then, well, you guessed it, those darn terrorists have won.
Well, duh...
The possibility of war with Iraq could unleash acts of anti-American violence in the United States or overseas by individual extremists who do not belong to Al Qaeda or other Middle Eastern terrorist groups but sympathize with their grievances, intelligence and law enforcement officials say. -- NY Times.

The ridiculous notion behind the "war on terrorism" is that there is a finite number of terrorists (thousands, maybe tens of thousands) out there, and once they've all been killed or captured, it's done--no more "terrorism." This ignores at least two points that should be obvious to reasonably intelligent people, provided their minds haven't been incapacitated by a state run media.

The first point is that "terrorist" is an arbitrary and self-serving definition; countries like the US and Britain honor their soldiers who sacrifice their lives defending their people, while they label Palestinians who sacrifice their lives defending their people as terrorists worthy of scorn or worse. The US backing of the Nicaraugan Contras and the Mujahadeen of Afghanistan (proto-al Qaeda) in the 1980's shows that there is no consistency in applying the "terrorist" definition. If attacking civilians and governments to create fear and cause political change within a country is terrorism, then these two groups were every bit as much terrorist as any group on the State Department's list.

The second point is that "terrorists" are made, not born. People become "terrorists" when their brothers are killed, or their villages destroyed, or they are trapped in completely humiliating circumstances and there are no peaceful political means available to bring about change. They become "terrorists" when it appears that life offers no hope of becoming bearable without violence. There is little that would be more likely to spread "terrorism" further throughout the world than declaring and executing a worldwide "war on terrorism," with the possible exception of launching a pre-emptive strike on a largely defenseless Muslim nation.

Perhaps the scariest thought is that it seems almost certain that there are many in the Bush administration who know all this (probably not W, but probably Cheney, Powell, Wolfowitz), and are proceeding anyway because "terrorism" is a useful tool in their goal of world domination. As this country so shamefully demonstrated after 9/11, all it takes is a little fear to get people to support the supression of their own liberties and the indiscriminate bombing of other people. As long as a bus blows up or a skyscraper comes down occasionally, the neocons controlling our government believe that they will be able to continue their wars of repression and conquest. This may be the most important reason for opposing war in Iraq with all of our energy right now. Without the war, there will be less terrorism, and less excuse for the continuation of the neocon agenda. Saving the million or so lives likely to be lost in an Iraq war is extremely important, but many times that number are at stake if the agenda is allowed to proceed.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

CBS: US "Intelligence" sending inspectors on "wild goose chases."

U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another:

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.

Quel Moron!
The president, showing considerable impatience today, went beyond that argument and in essence said that at this point there was virtually nothing that Mr. Hussein could do to avoid action by the United States. "If Iraq decides to destroy the weapons that were long-range weapons, that's just the tip of the iceberg,'' he said, speaking in a helicopter hangar on the edge of his ranch.

Mr. Hussein, he said, "will say words that sound encouraging.''

"He's done so for 12 years,'' he added. "So the idea of destroying a rocket, or two rockets, or however many he's going to destroy, says to me he's got a lot more weapons to destroy, and why isn't he destroying them yet?''
-- NY Times.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I think a lot more people are beginning to see that war is his primary goal, not disarmament or regime change. Bush gets off on killing of people; the thrill of all that post 9/11 patriotic nonsense has left him wanting more.

Our despised president is quickly losing what little touch with reality he ever had. I do believe that if he doesn't get his war, he is actually going to cry. Maybe he'll even be born again again, and this time get it right?

Los Angeles passes anti-war resolution!

This makes a total of over 100 cities or other local governments! In addition, the State House in Hawaii and both houses of the Maine state legislature have passed resolutions.

Los Angeles, the second largest city in the US, is now the largest to have passed a resolution (c'mon, New York! You can do it!). Most other large cities have joined in: Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and, of course, Ann Arbor!
CNN asks: "Do you believe a war against Iraq could be justified on moral grounds?"
To vote go here. (scroll down about half way)
Currently: NO 51%, YES 49%.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Blog Synergy!

Cyndy of mousemusings liked my link to the The Friends Committee on National Legislation web site (which I got from Carolyn off the AAACP listserv) so much that she's now got a cool "enter zip and click" form on her web site. I liked that so much that I copied it. It now resides in the right frame along with other cool links to actions you can take! Use it!

A great parody of Homeland Inanity's "" web site!

From Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic.

From Slowpoke.

"Slutty Interns for Peace." Now that's a sign! Maybe we could also suggest that there's a cute little nine-year-old blond girl missing, or that it is rumored that the French are strongly opposed to our march and that we're doing it to spite them. We could turn a march into a reality show ("Bob thinks he's such a joe-cool peacenik, but I think he's just grandstanding trying to form an alliance with the older crowd--you know who I'm talking about--so I'm voting him out of the march.").

I don't want to get into trouble by posting too many Boondocks cartoons, so just go check out today's. It's okay--I'll wait for you to get back.
From the same NY Times article:
Powell told Russia's RTR Television before beginning a five-day trip to Asia, "the problem is he has shown no signs of leaving the country and he still shows no signs of complying. ...''

In Baghdad, meanwhile, Iraq allowed another flight by an American U-2 surveillance plane as Saddam's government sought to convince the world that it is cooperating with the weapons inspectors.

To say that Saddam is not cooperating fully is one thing; to say that he "shows no signs of complying" is a pitiful lie. Inspectors are in Iraq. They have been given quick access to many requested sites. The U2's are flying. Interviews are happening, albeit under strong mutual distrust.

The real Colin Powell. Similar to Henry Kissinger, an intelligent monster has charmed his way to be Secretary of State.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation has a wonderful web site which allows you to flood congress with your concerns about war and civil rights. It is much more comprehensive and up-to-date than either MoveOn or TrueMajority. So please, go here and get started jamming your representatives' fax machines and/or inboxes with your concerns about Iraq, Colombia, the Patriot II Act, and other Bushian abominations.

Great column from Paul Krugman!

Some excerpts:
Some observers also point out that the administration has turned the regular foreign aid budget into a tool of war diplomacy. Small countries that currently have seats on the U.N. Security Council have suddenly received favorable treatment for aid requests, in an obvious attempt to influence their votes. Cynics say that the "coalition of the willing" President Bush spoke of turns out to be a "coalition of the bought off" instead.
President Bush promised that our interest wouldn't end once the war was won; this time we wouldn't forget about Afghanistan, we would stay to help rebuild the country and secure the peace. So how much money for Afghan reconstruction did the administration put in its 2004 budget? None. The Bush team forgot about it.
So there you have it. This administration does martial plans, not Marshall Plans: billions for offense, not one cent for reconstruction.
Turkey has reportedly been offered the right to occupy much of Iraqi Kurdistan. Yes, that's right: as we move to liberate the Iraqis, our first step may be to deliver people who have been effectively independent since 1991 into the hands of a hated foreign overlord. Moral clarity!
If this all sounds incredibly callous and shortsighted, that's because it is. But then what did you expect? This administration doesn't worry about long-term consequences — just look at its fiscal policy. It wants its war; there's not the slightest indication that it's interested in the boring, expensive task of building a just and lasting peace.

White House Looking for Exit Strategy?

According to this article from Capitol Hill Blue, support for Bush's Iraq war is quickly eroding, even among Republicans in Congress and some advisors in the administration. I'm not sure how reliable Capitol Hill Blue is, but boy is that fun to read! Let's keep up the pressure and make it true!

Here's an excerpt:
"The President's war plans are in trouble, there's no doubt about that," says an advisor to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. "Some Republican members want a vote on military action and some of those say they would, at this point, vote against such action."
Once more, with feeling: Please call your congressional representatives, 800-839-5276, and ask them to support the Paul-DeFazio bill repealing October's authorization for use of force against Iraq. Time is running out.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Here's a blog that's new to me: See the Forest. Plenty of interesting articles on voting machines, Iraq, Scalia, and other crimes past, present and future. Thanks to mousemusings for the link.
How do they lie to us? This guy counts the ways.
Ready for yet another Bush war? The war in Afghanistan hasn't officially ended, the war in Iraq hasn't officially begun, and now we're sending troops back to the Philippines to help the government there crush Islamic resistance. After a long and vigorous debate in Congress, of course--NOT. It's really scary that Congress seems neither willing nor able to pull the reins in on the maniac in the White House and his genociders.

I've suggested several times over the past year that you read Orwell's "1984" if you haven't already. It's getting too late--what's going on now IS 1984: endless multiple wars, surveillance and repression, cheap stupid slogans (United we stand, Let's roll, coalition of the willing), misinformation and deception, insistence on conformity. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. Double-plus ungood! We've got the Ministry of Truth: the state-controlled media of FoxNews, CNN, NBC, ClearChannel, etc., lying to us endlessly to serve Big Brother. We've got the Ministry of Peace in the Pentagon, planning and executing wars around the globe. We've got the Ministry of Plenty, cutting off social services to the poor, hungry and homeless. And, of course, we have John Ashcroft's and Tom Ridge's Ministry of Love, locking people away indefinitely and jacking up the fear week by week. Those who don't know their dystopian novels are doomed to create them.
Some old Dubya quotes, again thanks to Carol (or was that Sharon?):
Self-fulfilling prophecies: "I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change." (5/22/98)

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history." (also as governor, no date given)
Heard around the cement pond:
Come and listen to my story 'bout a boy name Bush.
His IQ was zero and his head was up his tush.
He drank like a fish while he drove all about.
But that didn't matter 'cuz his daddy bailed him out.
DUI, that is. Criminal record. Cover-up.
-- the rest is here. Thanks to Sharon's twin sister Carol for that one. (Actually, I find them easy to tell apart--their e-mail addresses are different!)
Cracking Down: Eight people, including four US citizens, have been arrested for allegedly supporting an alleged Palestinian terrorist group.
By the way, today is my birthday, and I've only gotten a couple of e-mails so far...

I would consider donations to AAACP to be wonderful presents! (Button in the right frame -->)

Other February 20 birthdays: Ansel Adams, 101; Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob!), 48; Cindy Crawford 37; Jennifer Love Hewitt, 24. If no one is throwing you a party, Cindy and Jennifer, you are welcome to come to mine! You too, Kelsey, but you must come dressed as Sideshow Bob. One more and we'll have a party of five!
Canada Trying to Bridge the Gap:
"It is obvious to him [Mr. Chrétien] that the UN is pretty damned divided and the consequences of this division, if it persists, is going to be very, very serious," a senior Canadian official said. "The only way we can bridge this 'bomb now or inspect forever' mentality is to say, 'Let's pick a date far enough in the future so we will know if the Iraqis are following through.' " -- from the Toronto Globe & Mail. As Michael Klare suggested, it is becoming obvious to those whose heads are not stuck in the sand that military considerations are driving the Bush timetable, not the degree of Iraqi cooperation or lack of it. This Canadian proposal should make this even clearer, although how far it will penetrate the sand is hard to tell.

Guest Rant!
The fear I felt of impending doom after 9/11 is materializing in a way I could never have imagined.....fear of the American government itself and its despicable, heinous, immoral, corrupt manipulating of the American people's emotions. And I simply could not live with myself if I sat idly by and let it happen. It's confusing to me that so many Americans are allowing themselves to be duped by the lies put forth in support of this war. I know a large percentage of people are brain-defficient, but the sheer numbers that are ignoring the cold, hard facts of the consequences of a war stagger me. I really can't believe this is happening. -- Blog reader Sharon from Nevada.
Colin Cancer:
It cannot be a satisfactory solution for inspections just to continue forever because some nations are afraid of stepping up to the responsibility of imposing the will of the international community. -- Secretary of State Colin Powell, quoted by Reuters. Some nations? Lots of nations! France, Germany, Russia! They certainly form a major part of the "international community," and by blocking a US war on Iraq they are attempting to express the will of the international community. Imposing the will of George W. Bush and Tony Blair is a responsibility? Opposing this is cowardice? Powell has gone completely off the deep end, through the looking glass, down the memory hole. He's in Cheney's basement now.
Arianna Huffington on Cheney's profiting from the wars he starts:
No one in the administration embodies this bottom line mentality more than Dick Cheney. The vice president is one of those ideological purists who never let little things like logic, morality, or mass murder interfere with the single-minded pursuit of profitability.

His on-again, off-again relationship with the Butcher of Baghdad is a textbook example of what modern moralists condemn as "situational ethics," an extremely convenient code that allows you to do what you want when you want and still feel good about it in the morning. In the Cheney White House (let's call it what it is), anything that can be rationalized is right.

The two were clearly on the outs back during the Gulf War, when Cheney was Secretary of Defense, and the first President Bush dubbed Saddam "Hitler revisited."

Then Cheney moved to the private sector and suddenly things between him and Saddam warmed up considerably. With Cheney in the CEO's seat, Halliburton helped Iraq reconstruct its war-torn oil industry with $73 million worth of equipment and services -- becoming Baghdad's biggest such supplier. Kinda nice how that worked out for the vice-president, really: oversee the destruction of an industry that you then profit from by rebuilding.
So his former cronies at Halliburton are now at the head of the line of companies expected to reap the estimated $2 billion it will take to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure following Saddam's ouster. This burn-and-build approach to business guarantees that there will be a market for Halliburton's services as long as it has a friend in high places to periodically carpet bomb a country for it.
Here's my bottom line: at a time of war, at what point does subverting our national security in the name of profitability turn from ugly business into high treason?

Just Getting Started:

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards. Bolton, who is undersecretary for arms control and international security, is in Israel for meetings about preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In a meeting with Bolton on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel is concerned about the security threat posed by Iran. It's important to deal with Iran even while American attention is turned toward Iraq, Sharon said. -- from Haaretz.

And it appears as though Iran may be being dealt with: 302 Killed in Crash of Iranian Military Plane. After Carnahan and Wellstone, it appears that our covert Predator controllers are after bigger planes now.

The crash today was the latest in a series of air disasters mostly involving Russian- and Ukrainian-built aircraft. A Ukrainian Antonov-140 crashed into the mountains last December near the central city of Isfahan. Forty-six people were killed. As I recall, those killed in that crash included Ukrainian aerospace experts.

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So Depressing. I attended a meeting of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace tonight. We spent much of the time planning a "day the war starts" march, because every indication is that Bush intends to start bombing the crap out of Iraq within the next two weeks. I've been so excited recently, going to Washington for the big march on January 18, helping to organize our February 8 march, and then going to Lansing last Saturday. I've also been calling Congress, doing leafletting and "honk for peace," and, of course, blogging. But I sat through most of tonight's meeting without making any suggestions or volunteering for much (I finally volunteered to be media liason at the march, because that doesn't involve advance planning). I just kept thinking--we can't let this happen--this can't happen--must stop this!

Hundreds of thousands of people will die if this war happens. And that's an optimistic estimate, assuming that it doesn't start World War III. Repression at home and abroad will increase. There will be terrorist attacks here; it will be unsafe for Americans to travel abroad. We can't let this happen!

So, I'm not giving up, and I hope you are with me. Call Congress: 800-839-5276, and ask for Senator so-and-so or Representative such-and-such. Tell the staffer that you oppose the war. If there's a march, be in it. If not, organize it. Do leafletting ( has a leafletting campaign going). Do "honk for peace!" Get others to do these things. Make it politically impossible for Bush to continue on the road to destruction.

Because I really don't want to have a "day the war starts" march.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Price for Turkey Rises
If somebody offered you a ton of money to help him kill your neighbors, what would you say? "No", "okay", or "we want more"? The government of Turkey has apparently chosen door number three. But don't condemn them too harshly--it is the US government that is offering this sick deal. Having already been offered $26 billion, Turkey is looking for still more stuffing: $32 billion. That works out to about $115 from every man, woman, and child in the United States for the privilege of using Turkish bases to kill Iraqis by the thousands. Or, say, $16,000 for each of the 2 million or so homeless Americans, which could certainly pay for housing them through what's left of this brutal winter, and maybe the next one as well. But no, our government thinks that bribing foreign governments for the privilege of killing Iraqis is more important.

And don't forget, the vast majority of Turks are opposed to war, while control of the $26 or $32 billion will be in the hands of the few at the top and will be used, at least in part, to increase repression of Kurds and others within Turkey.

So, are you willing to pull $115 out of your pocket so your government can bribe another to destroy a country? Doesn't matter. George W. Bush has already picked your pocket.
Lots of cool protest pictures here.
Sample from Prague:

Terrorism forces us to make a choice. Don't be ready.

-- from YOUR Department of Homeland Security (GESTAPO)
That's right. Probably fullfilling some campaign pledge to the duct tape and plastic sheet manufacturers of America (headquarters: Bermuda), Gestapo Chief Tom Ridge's first accomplishment as a cabinet member is something called the "Ready Campaign," giving us the information needed to live another 25 minutes in case of nuclear, chemical, or biological attacks. It features this Orwellian web site, and an 800 number to call for a free brochure.

So while Bush has failed to deliver on promises to state and local governments to provide additional funding for police, fire, and other emergency services, and Rummy is sending many of our existing police, firefighters, doctors, nurses and other first providers to the Middle East to take part in an exercise in destruction sure to increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, the best ol' Tom can come up with is "Don't be ready." Don't worry, be happy. How do you tell when your government is lying to you? Its lips are moving.

-- from Boondocks.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Police Brutality at the New York Rally: A sad story.
Lil' Johnny speaks Truth to poWer:
President George W Bush is visiting an elementary school. The 4th grade class is in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.

The teacher asks the President if he would like to lead the class in the discussion of the word, "tragedy." So our illustrious leader asks the class for an example of a "tragedy."

One little boy stands up and offers, "If my best friend, who lives next door, is playing in the street and a car comes along and runs him over, that would be a tragedy."

"No," says Bush, "that would be an accident."

A little girl raises her hand: "If a school bus carrying 50 children drove off a cliff, killing everyone involved, that would be a tragedy."

"I'm afraid not," explains the President. "That's what we would call a GREAT LOSS."

The room goes silent. No other children volunteer. President Bush searches the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally, way in the back of the room, Lil' Johnny raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says, "If Air Force One, carrying President Bush and Vice President Cheney, was struck by a missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.

"Fantastic," exclaims Bush, "that's right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?"

"Well," Lil' Johnny said, "because it wouldn't be an accident and it sure as hell wouldn't be a GREAT LOSS."
-- From Carolyn on our Listserv.
Let's hope President Bush learns from liberal mistakes and worries less about ideals and more about practical results. The world may not be able to afford much more of his idealism. -- from Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times. Excellent conclusion to a typically mediocre op-ed from Kristof--he gives W way too much credit (actually, any credit is too much to give W).

Rummy is prepared to blame Iraq for anything that happens there:
His list includes a "concern about Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction against his own people and blaming it on us, which would fit a pattern," Mr. Rumsfeld said. He said the document also noted "that he could do what he did to the Kuwaiti oil fields and explode them, detonate, in a way that lost that important revenue for the Iraqi people." -- from the NY Times.

Blaming the victim: standard Republican ideology. The Bushies have been lying all along about war or peace being up to Saddam. If there is war in Iraq, it is solely because of George W. Bush and his group of "genociders." If hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans die, it is the fault of Bush and the genociders. Simple as that. Options abound--they aren't interested. Inspections are working--they don't care. The world is terrified of them, and they love it. The brutality of 9/11 and the senseless mostly unrelated brutality in Afghanistan were just a prelude--war in Iraq will kick off the 21st Century in its quest to surpass the 20th as the bloodiest ever.

Don't give up! Even though W sees himself as some unstoppable running back heading for a touchdown, many in Congress have seen the millions in the streets of this country and others and are starting to take notice. Keep calling your representatives: Members of both the House and the Senate can be reached toll-free through the Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276. Ask them to stop Bush and to support our troops by bringing them home now. How often have you had the chance to take part in saving thousands, maybe millions of lives? Are you going to pass it up now?
Your tax dollars at work:

Recognizing that ignorance is the only basis for supporting Bush's war, MoveOn is organizing leafletting around the country this weekend. Go here to join in with others in your area.
Excellent slide show of Saturday's march from the Lansing State Journal.
I'm forming a new organization: The Organization of Repetitively Redundant Peaceniks for Peace Association (ORRPPA). To join, just laugh. Twice.

PS: Meetings are everyday at a minute past noon and 12:01 PM, wherever you happen to be. Or just stay where you are.


After considering several options, that was the most accurate headline I could come up with for this:
Despite heavy opposition at the United Nations and protests around the world, the Bush administration appeared ready to push ahead this week for a new Security Council resolution that could open the way for war. Bush said that the size of the protests against a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq was irrelevant. "Size of protest, it's like deciding, 'Well I'm going to decide policy based up on a focus group.' The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security — in this case — security of the people." -- from the Washington Post.

Aside from the obvious duct-tape-lined fact that an Iraq war will clearly decrease our security, my focus group suggests that the "leader" IN A FRIGGIN' DEMOCRACY should decide policy based on the will of the people, ESPECIALLY if they didn't elect the STUPID MORON in the first place! What meager support the INSANE COWBOY has is based entirely on the LIES that his warmongering administration and the state-run media have been feeding the mentally-challenged population of this country.

Decent article about the Kucinich announcement on Just a small link under "Politics" on their main page, but still something. An announcement by the best candidate by far apparently doesn't rate at all at the NY Times, while the Washington Post's treatment is similar to CNN's. So far, the best coverage I've seen is RIGHT HERE!!!
A good anti-war song is available here, public domain. If you know anyone in radio, try to get them to play it!

Monday, February 17, 2003

Kucinich for President!!!!!

A real hope for the future, Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland has announced that he will run for president in 2004! He is far better than the warmongering pretender Democrats who have announced so far (with the possible exception of Dean, whom Kucinich may be only substantially better than). He voted against the USA Patriot Act; he voted against the Iraq war resolution last October.

Here's the speech Kucinich gave to the crowd in New York on Saturday. This guy is our hope for the future--please go to his web site and make a contribution and sign up as a volunteer. We don't need any more phoneys like Gephardt, Edwards, or, heaven forbid, Lieberman. We need a real progressive Democrat, and that is Dennis Kucinich.

Peace on the Beach

Santa Monica's Picasso-designed peace image:

Click here for larger image.
From Sunday's Simpsons Episode: Kent Brockman: In business news, 3M and M&M have merged to become, get this, Ultradyne Systems!
Author Michael Klare says that all of the UN resolutions, inspections, and debates have been a sham--the timetable for attacking Iraq has been solely based on military considerations. An excerpt:
The Pentagon's schedule for war will likely mean that the UN inspection process in Iraq is nearing its conclusion. As planned, the United States appears to moving steadily toward an invasion of that country aimed at removing Saddam Hussein and installing a new, more pliant government. The Bush administration argues that the timing of this move is a response to the imminent exhaustion of the inspection process. In fact, it is the other way around: The inspections were allowed to move forward by Washington only so long as they did not interfere with the pace of U.S. military preparations. Now that U.S. forces are ready to strike, the inspections can be dispensed with entirely.

Stay in touch with peace events in the Ann Arbor area! Subscribe to the AAACP's events list. Send a blank e-mail to with "subscribe" in the subject line (no quotes).
It was just Friday that I posted the "Big Brother" warning about Google on my Blogger-powered blog, and now I read that Google has purchased Blogger. Pretty scary, I'd say! Just as blogs are becoming more common and recognized as a valid alternative news source, somebody is out there grabbing up access to them. I've been thinking about buying one of the commercial blogging software packages like MoveableType or User Radioland--this might just push me over the edge. I'll know for sure if this post won't post!
Robert Fisk on the real agenda:
In the end, I think we are just tired of being lied to. Tired of being talked down to, of being bombarded with Second World War jingoism and scare stories and false information and student essays dressed up as "intelligence". We are sick of being insulted by little men, by Tony Blair and Jack Straw and the likes of George Bush and his cabal of neo-conservative henchmen who have plotted for years to change the map of the Middle East to their advantage. -- Read the whole article.

A Forum on Civil Rights
Monday, February 17 (tonight): Michigan Union, Ballroom, 7 PM
Learn About Your Civil Rights, Activist Rights, Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, Immigration Issues, Labor Rights

7:00 Update on PATRIOT Act, detentions, and registration
7:40 Civil and Immigration Rights ? E.g., If the FBI approaches you, Activists' rights
8:20 Labor Rights ? For citizen and non-citizen labor union members
9:00 Open Discussion and Opportunity for Individual Consultation with
21 Die in Night Club Stampede in Chicago. A woman apparently sprayed mace or pepper spray at another, causing a rush towards doors that wouldn't open, causing many to be crushed and/or suffocated. I wonder if all the terror alert hype contributed to the panic. First casualties of Homeland Security?

And, for all of you out there putting plastic and duct tape on your windows, remember that you are putting yourselves at greater risk of gassing yourselves from a natural gas leak (or unlit pilot light) or other common household chemicals which can be lethal in sufficient amounts. If you are that scared of terrorist attacks, kindly ask our president to knock off all of the war talk!

From David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

From Steve Greenberg, Ventura County Star, CA.

I just called the White House Comment Line (202)-456-1111, hoping to give W a piece (peace) of my mind, but I got a recording saying the comment line was closed due to the Martin Luther King Holiday. It said the president encourages everyone to honor this day in an appropriate fashion.

Perhaps by recognizing that it's President's Day, and that the MLK holiday was LAST MONTH?

From Mike Keefe of the Denver Post.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Ms. Rice warned that the rift between the United States and its Council allies was "playing into the hands" of Mr. Hussein and coming across as similar to the "appeasement" of Hitler in the 1930's. -- from the NY Times. Once again, I'm amazed that the Bushies continue to say things that reflect so clearly back on themselves, and are either totally oblivious, or worse, realize that it infuriates the informed, thinking people in the world. If anybody is being appeased, it is George W. Bush and his merry band of genociders (that's a pre-emptive use of a word W is sure to use at some point). The Bushies continue to threaten the world, and the world tries to make them happy without allowing them to destroy the world in the process. This is the same thing that happened at Munich in 1938. UN resolution 1441 and the fact that anyone in the world is still listening to the nonsense coming out of the White House is the evidence of appeasement. No matter how evil Saddam is, and I'm willing to grant that that's plenty evil, he and his ruined country pose no threat at all compared to our insane cowboy president and the world's largest ever military. Is it too late for a recount in the Supreme Court?
Condi's at it again: She says Bush won't back down in the face of worldwide opposition to his insane plans. Okay, I'm paraphrasing slightly. IMHO, the Bush administration is the most despicable and dangerous group of people since at least the Nazis. Meanwhile, those mean-faced middle-aged women and smug frat boys carrying pictures of W yesterday to protest our protest are probably the most pitiful group of people I've personally ever seen.

If you wonder what sort of people these "freepers" are, read this intro to their list of celebrities to boycott, with emphasis added by me:

We the undersigned American Citizens stand against Wealthy Hollywood Celebrities abusing their status to speak for us. We do not believe that they have a clear understanding of how we live, what we fear, and what we support. We believe that celebrities Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Tim Robbins, Rob Reiner, Barbara Streisand, and others with them are using their celebrity to interfere with the defense of our country. We believe that Hollywood Celebrities use their wealth to make their own personal issues known while Americans would never have the resources to speak out in this manner. We support President Bush in his efforts to defend our homeland, to defend democracy, and to take any measures to end the threat of terrorism. We do not claim to know more than anyone, especially President Bush. We elect a President who we can trust to make proper decisions based on facts available to him and not available to the rest of us. This is one reason trustworthiness and character is important in the people we elect into office. War is not easy, there are many before us who sacrificed their lives for freedom and if supporting citizens in other countries who cry out for democracy and freedom aids in the war against terrorism we support it.

In other words, we revel in our stupidity, we love our stupid leader (who by the way has more resources than anyone to speak out in any fool way he pleases--and does), we like it when he frightens us because it gives us cause to hate. And while we think the previous president, even though he actually got more votes than his opponents, wasn't trustworthy because of some sexual indiscretions (okay, the freepers probably don't know that word, since they don't know more than anyone), it doesn't bother us at all that the current president went AWOL from the national guard for a year, was an alcoholic for most of his life, and lied and cheated his way to wealth, since those things don't affect one's opinions of trustworthiness when one isn't smarter than anyone.
Another good quote from the Lansing State Journal article on yesterday's march:
Kim Thompson attended the march in support of her brother, a U.S. Marine helicopter pilot. "He doesn't want to be there and I don't want him to be there," said Thompson, a 37-year-old accountant from Manchester. "We agree this war is wrong."

Her brother, Cory DeKraai, was sent last month to a ship off the Ivory Coast. "He always dreamed of being a pilot so he joined the Marines," Thompson said. "He never wanted to kill anybody."

Good Old US Hospitality
A Canadian woman of Indian heritage was not allowed to finish her trip back to Toronto because she was harassed by INS officials at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Instead, she was put on a plane back to India (from where she had just returned after visiting her family) without being allowed to contact a Canadian consular office in Chicago. INS officials were overly suspicious and rude--read the whole article for all of the outrageous details. Our whole government is just plain sick.
Good Lansing State Journal article about yesterday's march in Lansing. they downplayed the numbers a bit, but had lots of excellent quotes from marchers. I especially liked this part:

Lisa Brewer marched with her three children. "I'm always telling them, 'If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," she said. "So if I'm going to say that I'd better get out here and be heard."

Her daughter, 11-year-old E'lan, agreed. "Since I don't want a war, it's good for me to be out here."

World's Largest Peace Sign T-shirts Available!

Send an e-mail to if you are interested in ordering one (or more).
Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom on slowing the rush to war:
When good, smart Americans call for patience and UN support in this war, they are not being cowardly, weak or ultraliberal. On the contrary. They know the problem doesn't end the day Saddam Hussein goes away -- that, in fact, a bigger problem will then begin. By calling for caution, they are not being dovish. They are being militant: They are watching out for the long-term safety of America, this land, this people. You know what they call that? Patriotism.

Concluding paragraph from Mitch Albom's column today.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Warming up! I just got back from Lansing a short while ago. It was an excellent march, all the way from Michigan State University in East Lansing to the state capitol building, a distance of 3 1/2 miles. It was the first time I had seen significant numbers of counter-protesters, although their numbers were tiny compared to ours (maybe 30 compared to maybe 4000). We shouted them down with "Peace is Patriotic" as we marched by. It's still scary that there are any people at all left who believe the giant web of lies constructed by the Bushies.

The rally was too long for the cold weather, but it featured a fine speech from a Republican state legislator (more details on who he is when I can find out!). I spent much of the time trying to sell "World's Largest Human Peace Sign" T-shirts, with quite a bit of success, since many of the people in Lansing had been in Ann Arbor the week before, and therefore were in the photo of the peace sign.

It looks like things were impressive all over the world, and at least the Washington Post had a fine headline: "Several Million Anti-War Activists Rally Worldwide." As seems to have become standard for the supposedly liberal NY Times, they downplayed the events and ran a disgusting editorial that could have been written in Dick Cheney's basement.

So, keep up the pressure: protest, call, write, e-mail. Bush is becoming more and more isolated. Let's keep going until he's all by his little ol' stupid lonesome.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Say it ain't so, Google! Google has been nominated for "Big Brother of the Year," and this page explains why. I was starting to wonder how google was able to do those amazing searches without any apparent advertising. Could it be that someone else is paying them to gather information, under the guise of distributing it?
Ari's getting cute, now...
(Excepts from today's White House press briefing--remember, items in italics are quotes from the press conference; items in normal type are my comments.)
Ari: I think the report from Hans Blix this morning was very diplomatic with its bottom line being that the world has no confidence that Saddam Hussein has disarmed. And that's what this is about. As Secretary Powell just indicated, this is not about whether U-2s fly. This is not about whether Mirages fly. This is about whether Saddam Hussein's claim that he has disarmed is itself a mirage.

Did I miss something? I know that "Mirage" is the name of a French fighter jet, but has there been any talk of Mirages flying over Iraq? I wonder how long it took Ari to come up with that one.

Question: The specific reply to something the French Foreign Minister said, no one can assert today the path of war will be shorter than the path of inspections. Are you persuaded that the path of war would lead to quicker disarmament of Iraq than further inspections?

Ari: Given the fact that it's taken more than 12 years for Saddam Hussein to disarm, there's no question that if force is used, it will achieve the objective of preserving the peace far faster than the current path that we're on.

There it is--Ari says that war is the quickest path to peace. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Bush is president.

Ari is next questioned about the missiles that can apparently go 114 miles instead of the 90 allowed. Even though Iraq disclosed this in their document, Ari says this is serious evidence that Iraq has not disarmed. He is pressed by the reporter--if Iraq destroys these missiles, wouldn't this be evidence of compliance? Ari refuses to answer this, and quickly changes the subject to the supposed missing chemical and biological weapons. There's no evidence they exist, but there's no evidence they were destroyed either. It's like that woman who's in prison in Alabama for killing the baby she never had. And it's obvious from the administration approach that even if all of Iraq were excavated to 200 feet and everything remotely suspicious were destroyed, they would still say that Saddam has failed to disarm and that his destroyed country must be destroyed in the name of peace.

And, while the administration has been doing everything possible to confuse the issue and imply an Iraq-al Qaeda link, when pressed on the issue, Ari says this:

Q: There's no link between September 11th and Saddam Hussein and Iraq -- that's still the administration's position?

MR. FLEISCHER: Sure, the President has said that.

AND, It's still administration policy to attack Iraq, no matter what the UN does:

MR. FLEISCHER: No, it just -- we've seen this before, where people try to guess what nations are going to do at the United Nations. Typically, it's American reporters trying to guess what foreign nations will do with a vote, which is something that is very important to them. And I would urge you to be very cautious and judicious in your predictions on how other nations will vote. The President has been engaged in consultations and will continue. And, as you've seen in the past, these typically have led to very fruitful results in terms of the world supporting the United States position, or at least not objecting to it.

Q But is he still holding back the -- the willing coalition if the Security Council does not act?

MR. FLEISCHER: There's no question at all that the President has said either the United Nations will disarm Saddam Hussein or a coalition of the willing -- which I think you've seen how substantial and sizeable it is, and is growing to even increasingly be -- will take that action.

Funny. I didn't know that Russian President Putin was an American reporter. He clearly said today that Russia would veto.

That's about it for today's excerpts from Ari's Lies. Tune in next week for more provocation and prevarication in pursuit of the destruction of the world, and don't forget: the letters in "Ari Fleischer" can be rearranged to form "FEAR RICH LIES" and "I RELISH FARCE," and that Ari denies it.

My sign for tomorrow's peace march in Lansing: BUSH: THE REAL Y2K BUG!

Get out the popcorn!
A list of movies recommended for youth and adults by the Peace Center of San Antonio, Texas. Thanks to Lisa Klopfer for the link!

Bush Loses; World Wins!

I know that it is far from over, that W and Colin still have some lies of mass destruction up their sleeves, but both the headline "Blix: No Weapons of Mass Destruction Found; ElBaradei: No Evidence of Iraq Resuming Nuclear Weapons Program" and the body of this Washington Post article are clear: the UN and most of the world didn't buy Powell's lies last week. If it's up to the UN, inspections will continue. I'm sure FoxNews is putting some other spin on this to keep the braindead warmongers riled up, but polls for a long time have shown a majority of Americans oppose going to war without UN approval. Bush isn't going to get UN approval, so he'll have to decide if he's willing to throw away any chance of re-election, and possibly face impeachment, if he continues this madness. We need to keep the pressure up--protests, e-mails, phone calls, etc. to make it politically impossible for W to continue.
Paul Krugman to Alan Greenspan:
Why are you still giving these people [Bushies] political cover?

No doubt you're under intense pressure to be a team player. But these guys are users: they persuade other people to squander their hard-won credibility on behalf of bad policies, then discard those people once they are no longer useful. Think of John DiIulio, or your friend Paul O'Neill. It's happening to Colin Powell right now. (A digression: The U.S. media are soft-pedaling it as usual, but the business of the Osama tape has destroyed Mr. Powell's credibility in much of the world. The tape calls Saddam Hussein an "infidel" whose "jurisdiction . . . has fallen," but says that it's still O.K. to fight the "Crusaders" — and Mr. Powell claims that it ties Saddam to Al Qaeda. Huh? All it shows is that Al Qaeda views a U.S. invasion of Iraq as an excellent recruiting opportunity.)
-- from today's Krugman column.

Russia will veto!

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was quoted in the French press on Thursday as saying that his country would veto any war resolution by the Security Council.

"If it is necessary, we will use our veto, but I do not think it is helpful to get into debate about this at the moment,'' Mr. Putin said.
-- from the NY Times article on Blix's report. I had read rumors that Russia and China might abstain rather than veto a new war resolution, leaving the French unprotected against US-British diplomatic, economic, and maybe even military might. It's good to see this!
Viacom won't run MoveOn billboards. Deja Vu strip clubs, sure; "United We Stand" propaganda, of course; but "Inspections Work, War Won't"? Not a chance, apparently. Viacom owns CBS, Blockbuster Video, MTV and VH1 (in case you thought they were actually competing), Paramount Pictures, and lots of other media outlets. Now that the boycott wars have started, it's time to do our share! I feel a little left out, because I've been boycotting almost everything except the Food Coop and Kiwanis sale for about a year now.

Senator Levin accuses the CIA of undermining the inspections:

Mr Levin said later he believed the CIA had, in effect, taken the decision to undermine the inspections. "When they've taken the position that inspections are useless, they are bound to fail," he told The Washington Post. "We have undermined the inspectors." Mr Levin has raised his concerns with the White House. In a letter to President Bush, the senator asked that America provide the inspectors with as much information as available. He wrote: "The American people want the inspections to proceed, want the United States to share the information we have with the UN inspectors and want us to obtain United Nations support before military action is used against Iraq." -- from the Independent (UK).

Bless you, Senator Levin! And thanks to Cyndy at Mousemusings for the link to the Independent article. Of course there is nothing about this on the NY Times.

The Veterans for Peace organization has written a strongly-worded letter to US military commanders reminding them of principles of international law and precedents established by the Nuremburg trials which will be violated by a pre-emptive US invasion of Iraq. Please read it! It's excellent.

Oh Canada!

You're not trusted, Canadian Prime Minister Chretien tells U.S.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, speaking in Chicago, tries to explain to Bush how his belligerency looks to the rest of the world, and why they might not like it.
"The price of being the world's only superpower is that its motives are sometimes questioned by others," Mr. Chrétien told his audience. "Great strength is not always perceived by others as benign. Not everyone around the world is prepared to take the word of the United States on faith."

The Prime Minister spoke just hours after U.S. President George W. Bush urged U.S. allies to "show backbone and courage in the face of true threats to peace and freedom."

You know what, Chretien just did!

PS: I see no mention whatsoever of Chretien's speech in either the New York Times or Washington Post web sites.
PPS: If you really dig for it, the Chicago Tribune has an article about Chretien's speech, but they don't mention the part quoted above, leaving the vague impression that Chretien is pretty much with Bush all the way.
PPPS: Thanks to Allan in Ottawa for sending me the link to the Globe & Mail article!

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Police carrying semiautomatic rifles patrolled the grounds of the Capitol today, and the government warned key industries and utilities to beware of employees who might have been planted by al-Qaida or other terrorist groups. -- from the NY Times. I'm afraid, not of al-Qaida or imagined Iraqi terrorists, but of the terrorists running this country.
Even W's main constituency isn't impressed. Here's what the Dow Jones Industrial Average has done over the past five years:

William Safire on Privacy: While former Nixon speechwriter Safire has been banging the drums of war louder than anyone outside of the administration and FoxNews, he remains a fine civil libertarian. I wish he would just make the obvious Orwellian connection between endless war and the assault on civil liberties. Here's a small quote from the column:
Even as the nation braces for more terrorist murders, a Republican-led Congress absolutely refuses to give carte blanche to a Republican war president to treat all citizens as suspects. These legislators are attuned to the views of their voters; this means that a courageous constituency exists to defend personal freedom. (Sorry! While it's overall a good column, it's a bit short on good quotes.)

It's just as I suspected: If the Iraqis don't cooperate, it's an excuse for war. If they do cooperate, it's an excuse for war. For weeks, Bush, Rumsfeld and Powell have been saying that the issue is Iraq's willingness to disarm, or lack thereof. Now there is clear evidence of cooperation, willingness if you will, and it is being used to support war. In the 12,000 page document Iraq submitted to the UN, it declared that it had some missiles that exceeded the permitted range under UN resolutions: 114 miles compared to the allowed 90 miles. But Powell is now claiming these are signs of Iraqi deceit, or something. I've believed this all along, at least for the last few months: if Iraq is still hiding so-called weapons of mass destruction, it is more because they know that their discovery, even with Iraqi cooperation, would be used as an excuse for war. For the Bushies, war is a given. If Iraq is discovered to have WMD's, with their help or not, it is an excuse for war. If WMD's are not discovered, it is a sign of Iraqi deception, also an excuse for war. It is a classic bullying tactic, and it is extremely embarrassing to have national leaders behaving like Mafia dons or junior-high bullies. (Based on this NY Times article.)
We don't want anybody becoming jobless because peace has broken out. If we can pay farmers not to grow crops, we can pay engineers and machinists not to build weapons. -- excerpt from a brilliant alternative State of the Union Address by Dr. Robert M. Bowman. I've thought about trying to compose a "position paper" outlining my points of view on important issues. Dr. Bowman appears to have done it for me! Highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Senator Byrd comes through, loud and clear!
This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.

In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.

In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.
-- from Common Dreams. Read the whole thing! Another 50 senators talking like this, and who knows? Peace might break out!

This is Bush's America:

If they're agin 'em, I'm fer 'em!
A right-wing web site,, has compiled a list of Hollywood celebrities to boycott because of their anti-war stances. Thank you,, for making the task of preparing my list of celebrity heroes for me! And maybe I'm wrong, but I think you'll tire of Arnold movies after a while...

The list: 1. Martin Sheen 2. Alec Baldwin 3. Jessica Lange 4. Sean Penn 5. Susan Sarandon 6. Ed Harris 7. Woody Harrelson 8. John Cusak 9. Mike Farrell 10. Robert Altman 11. George Clooney 12. Barbara Streisand 13. Tyne Daley 14. Ed Asner 15. Bradley Whitford 16. Danny Glover 17. Casey Kasem 18. Sally Kirkland 19. Oliver Stone 20. Sheryl Crowe 21. Michael Moore 22. Harry Belafonte 23. Jane Fonda 24. Tim Robbins 25. Kevin Spacey 26. Steven Earle 27. Gillian Anderson 28. Kim Basinger 29. Ed Begley, Jr. 30. Jackson Browne 31. (REM)Peter Buck and Michael Stipe 32. Diahann Carroll 33. Don Cheadle 34. Jill Clayburgh 35. Peter Coyote 36. Lindsay Crouse 37. Matt Damon 38. Vincent D’Onofrio 39. David Duchovny 40. Olympia Dukakis 41. Charles S. Dutton 42. Hector Elizondo 43. Cary Elwes 44. Mia Farrow 45. Laurence Fishburne 46. Sean Patrick Flanery 47 Bonnie Franklin 48. Jeananne Garafalo 49. Melissa Gilbert 50. Elliott Gould 51. Robert Guillaume 52. Ethan Hawke 53. Ken Howard 54. Helen Hunt 55. Anjelica Huston 56. Samuel L. Jackson 57. Jane Kaczmarek 58. Melina Kanakaredes 59. Tea Leoni 60. Wendie Malick 61. Camryn Manheim 62. Marsha Mason 63. Richard Masur 64. Dave Matthews 65. Esai Morales 66. Ed O'’Neill 67. Chris Noth 68. Alexandra Paul 69. CCH Pounder 70. Bonnie Raitt 71. Carl Reiner 72. Tony Shalhoub 73. Gloria Steinem 74. Marcia Strassman 75. Loretta Swit 76. Studs Terkel 77. Lily Tomlin 78. Blair Underwood 79. Dennis Weaver 80. Bradley Whitford 81. James Whitmore 82. Alfre Woodard 83. Noah Wyle 84. Moby 85. Robert Redford 86. Kathleen Turner 87. Joan Cusak 88. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream 89. Dustin Hoffman

Print that list out and take it with you the next time you go to the video store! From the movies I've seen, I'd recommend "Three Kings" (George Clooney and very topical), "As Good As It Gets" (Helen Hunt), "The Big One" (Michael Moore--I actually liked it better than "Bowling for Columbine"), "Thelma and Louise" (Susan Sarandon), "Blue Sky" (Jessica Lange), "Enemy at the Gates" (Ed Harris), "JFK" (Oliver Stone). If you are in a really good mood and just can't stand it anymore, rent "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (Jane Fonda) which is about the most depressing movie I've ever seen. Or stay at home and watch M*A*S*H reruns (Mike Farrell and Loretta Swit, while Elliott Gould was in the original movie directed by Robert Altman).

Hey America! The Pentagon has ordered 77,000 body bags for Gulf War II? Whose son or daughter do you want coming home in one of those?

Help get billboards like this up around the country! Make a donation to MoveOn.

Karl applies the whip:
"I think I should have kept my mouth shut back in January," Mr. Grassley told reporters at the White House after a half-hour meeting with the president, other Republican senators and Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser. -- from the NY Times. Senator Grassley (R-IA) had suggested in January that eliminating taxes on dividends would be a tough sell.

This highlights one of the core problems with our so-called democracy. Members of Congress, especially Republicans but also too many Democrats, recognize the Bush Administration as their most important constituency, followed by their corporate donors, then, maybe, the citizens of their states or districts. Almost none of them are representing the good of the country, or, perish the thought, the world. When someone like Grassley forgets his role and tries to change the priorities, Karl Rove and the other goons in the White House quickly beat him into submission.

From Red Meat.

Must read: An American Blogger in Baghdad

It is compelling reading as he discusses staying through "Shock and Awe," hoping to survive and document the horror. He wonders if he will actually have a choice, or be either forced out or prevented from leaving. Our government is planning the crime of the century, far surpassing the horrors of September 11, and this guy has the courage to even consider staying in Baghdad while the cruise missiles hit. He's got a PayPal button on his site; please join me in helping him out!

Update: Pardon my sexism above; looking all over the blog, I can come up with no clue as to the sex of the blogger "Sarin." Feel free to mentally replace the pronouns as you see fit.

The real Colin Powell:

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Colin Powell: Phoney Dove?
After reading Ramsey Clark's "The Fire This Time" about the many war crimes committed during the Gulf War, and seeing the video "The Panama Deception" (both highly recommended), I think Powell is every bit as hawkish as anyone else in the administration. His comment when asked about Iraqi casualty numbers after the Gulf War is revealing: "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in." Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people killed on his orders, and he's not interested. The fact that he speaks intelligently and calmly with apparent reason is an excellent cover for his true Rumsfeld-like nature, and I think his race probably adds to the illusion. If you are willing to believe at least a little conspiracy theory (I certainly am!), his whole dovelike image may have been part of the plan all along. "Bush may not know much about foreign policy, but with Powell at State things won't go too far wrong," seduced many, including me, at least partially (not enough to vote for the twit, mind you). Powell was trotted out as future Secretary of State before the election controversy was "resolved," in a blatant and fairly successful ploy to gain public support for calling off recounts. In the buildup to war with Iraq, Powell may have just been playing good cop to W, Rummy and Cheney's bad cops with the UN stuff: get people to trust him so when he really starts to lie (the last few weeks) a lot of people still believe him.

Daily Kos has an excellent article about Powell and the newest supposed Osama tape. Be sure to read the comments--apparently many people feel the same way about Powell playing the good cop while being just as brutal as any of the Bushies.
I've got to remember that Ari Fleischer's briefings are a blogger's gold mine! Here's another amazing exchange between Ari and Russell Mokhiber:

Mokhiber: Ari, two things.

A group of bishops and pastors from the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, among others -- sent a letter to the President last week. They said they want a meeting face-to-face with him because they're "uneasy about the moral justification for war on Iraq." Will the President meet with these church leaders?

Ari Fleischer: As always, we'll fill you in on the President's schedule. But I want to emphasize again the President is a deeply religious man, and there are many people in a variety of religions who are going to have different thoughts about how to keep the peace and whether or not to go to war with Saddam Hussein. The President will respect their thoughts, and he will act as he sees fit as Commander-in-Chief to protect the country.

Mokhiber: One question on that.

You just said the President is a deeply religious man. Jesus Christ was an absolute pacifist. How does the President square his militarism with Jesus' pacifism?

[At this point, other reporters in the room challenge Russell's assertion that Jesus Christ was an absolute pacifist. One says "no he wasn't." Another says "How about the -- at the temple with a whip, where he beat the hell out of those money-changers? Does that sound like he's an absolute pacifist, Ari?"]

Ari Fleischer: I think there may be a debate in the press corps about your question, Russell.

[Press conference ends, with reporters shouting. Ari walks out without answering the question.]

-- from Common Dreams.

Asked whether an invasion of Iraq might create more Al Qaeda terrorists, Mr. Powell replied indirectly, with a reference to the Al Qaeda network that already exists. "I would not like to see Al Qaeda going into the subways of New York or some other crowded facility in our nation," he said. -- from the New York Times.

Am I reading too much into this if I suggest that the terror-alert hype is going to build until Saturday, when the Bush administration and Mayor Bloomberg close down New York's subways because of a supposed threat, thereby stranding hundreds of thousands of would-be anti-war protesters in parking lots at Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, and elsewhere?

Fellow Ann Arbor blogger Cyndy has a post about a Salon article on American ignorance. Here's a quote:

Of those surveyed, only 17 percent knew the correct answer: that none of the hijackers were Iraqi. Forty-four percent of Americans believe that most or some of the hijackers were Iraqi; another 6 percent believe that one of the hijackers was a citizen of that most notorious node in the axis of evil. That leaves 33 percent who did not know enough to offer an answer.

Ignorance is very dangerous.
Ever see a cartoon you didn't get, but thought it was hilarious anyhow?

Lots of other good cartoons about W's warmongering from around the world can be found on Slate.

Relief! Mike Thompson seems to have escaped from the dark side of the force!

Please go to a peace march this Saturday! New York, Detroit, Lansing, Berlin, Crawford--wherever! Be there and show your opposition to Bushian genocide. I'll be at the march in Lansing, which will start at Michigan State University (my alma mater) and proceed down Michigan Avenue to the State Capitol. Mayor Bloomberg and others in New York are trying to restrict marchers' rights by not issuing a permit. We need to all be out to express our support for democracy, freedom and justice, all of which are on the Bushies' target list.

Monday, February 10, 2003

An Expert Explains What is Happening:
Why of course the people don't want war. . . . That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. -- Hermann Goering, Nazi officer, during his Nuremberg war crimes trial

While we try to stop the war, and the Bushies try to start it, the war continues.
Another critic of John Ashcroft speaks up:
The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state's interest in effective crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens' Bill of Rights.

So who is this staunch defender of our civil liberties? Why it's former Missouri Senator and current Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft in an article he wrote in 1997. I'd like to see Ashcroft testify before a Senate committee and have a Senator say that to him, without citing the source, and see what his response would be. (Of course, it would have to be either Russ Feingold or a rookie senator, because everyone else in the Senate is guilty of having voted for the USA Patriot Act in October 2001.)

Why is this grumpy old man running the most powerful military ever?

I mean, people of his ilk should be allowed to mutter whatever violent nonsense they want, but they should not have generals and admirals taking action on it!

NATO: No American Take-Over? Unilateral US action against Iraq threatens to put Turkey at risk, and our insane administration is blaming NATO countries for not rushing to Turkey's defense. Stop the war, you morons, and Turkey will be as safe as on the day after Thanksgiving!
In the end, it’s a humbling experience--or at least, it should be--to remember that every bomb we drop on Iraq is going to be a World Trade Center. That children who witness terror and death are changed by them forever. And that to those doing the dying, the mechanism, motives and circumstances of their deaths are irrelevant. They’re still human beings. And they’re still dead.

It’s a humbling experience.

Or at least, it should be.
-- David Potorti, of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

World aligning against Bush. Does he care? Make him care! Protest, protest, protest. Keep the phones ringing on Capitol Hill. Give money to MoveOn, TrueMajority, CommonDreams, or ... the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace! (PayPal button to your right.)
United for Peace & Justice has an excellent web site with lots of the latest news and information about rallies and protests.

If you're not scared, you're not paying attention!

From Minimum Security.
Ted Rall, straight and to the point:

At the most, however, Bush and Co. are embarked on a three-channel process.

Channel one: Turn back the clock a hundred and fifty years to a time of international relations that was based solely on brute force so that the U.S. can then exploit our ability to win any violent battle anywhere, anytime.

Channel two: Redistribute upwards, even more than in the past, wealth and power within the U.S. Destroy long-standing social programs that ameliorate some of the pain endemic to capitalism. Aggravate racial and gender differences and antagonisms. Enhance options at the top, narrow them for everyone else.

Channel three: Curtail the only serious impediment to pursuing channels one and two, public and powerful dissent, by enlarging media manipulation and escalating repression around the world and especially here in the U.S.

Antiwar opposition in the U.S. and around the world is already at unprecedented levels - even before a war. Now our movements have to grab the remote and turn to channel four wherein widespread growing peace and justice activism roots itself deeply in the moral and social fabric of society and then grows gigantic all around the world.
-- from an excellent, and very scary, article by Michael Albert.

Let them march! Jimmy Breslin on the fascism taking place in New York to prevent Saturday's march.
An answer to the "support our troops" argument from Clay Evans in the Boulder Daily Camera. The letters I have gotten from Senator Debbie Stabenow in response to my concerns about war in Iraq have followed these lines: there should be no rush to war, the case hasn't been made, any action taken should be through the UN, but of course if we do go to war I (Stabenow) fully support our troops. Fully support our troops in the killing of tens or hundreds of thousands of innocents in an immoral, unjust, unnecessary war? The way to support the troops is to stop the war before it starts, bring them home after a nice boring vacation in Kuwait, and before they face the dangers of US chemical or nuclear weapons--or anything Iraq might have.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

This is a repeat of a rant I made last November--just a reminder of how those UN resolutions Saddam is supposedly violating came into being in the first place: with extortion and taxpayers' money:
Thirteen members of the Security Council were opposed to this resolution or deeply skeptical, but Washington used intense pressure and eventually bent them to its will. The U.S. used hardball diplomacy of the type deployed to gain the first Gulf War resolution in 1990. The Secretary of State at that time, James Baker, later described in his autobiography how he lined up votes for resolution 678: 'I met personally with all my Security Council counterparts in an intricate process of cajoling, extracting, threatening, and occasionally buying votes. Such are the politics of diplomacy." -- a quote within a quote within a quote: James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum quoted in the Institute for Public Accuracy's critique of the latest UN resolution. Thus we have threatened and bought the votes of the Security Council to enforce the resolutions that we threatened and bought the votes for twelve years ago.

And the same tactics are being used by the current Bush administration.
Really scary. One of my favorite cartoonists is Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press. He has run some cartoons that brilliantly point out the hypocrisy of Bush and his minions, like this one:

But Thompson's last two cartoons (here and here), have been just like all of the right-winger crap showing Saddam as a giant ogre while the inspectors and the French are mindless dupes. And Steve Sack from Minnesota just ran one along those lines too, completely at odds with what he has done for the last year. How deep have the claws of our fascist government reached into the media? This is a very scary suggestion that it is almost all the way. It seems as though these cartoonists are operating with less freedom than Iraqi scientists talking to the inspectors. Are they facing being fired, or something worse?

All aerial photos taken by the peace plane yesterday are now online.
I've been so busy with the peace parade that my ranting has slacked off. Well, if this is your number one source for news, make sure you are aware of the following:
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft and his brownshirts are preparing a sequel to the odious USA Patriot Act. Attempting to walk that fine line between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, this pogrom calls for lots of new ways to lock you and your neighbors up indefinitely, or to expel you from the country. One Patriot Act is one too many; one Ashcroft in the cabinet is one too many.
  • Another neanderthal cabinet member, Donald "Kill Them All! Kill! Kill! Kill!" Rumsfeld is busy rebuking the UN because he thinks Saddam Hussein has been rebuking the UN.
  • Not to be left out, Colin Powell was busy attacking Germany and France for proposing that a UN-directed force enter Iraq to enforce disarmament. Powell called the plan an ineffective ploy by Berlin and Paris to delay military action. He said it was "a diversion, not a solution." Planet Earth to Colin: Delaying military action is a good thing! Postponing it forever is the best thing! Some people in the world truly want peace; unfortunately, the Bushies aren't listening to any of them.
  • Finally, the US is pulling diplomats out of the Middle East, a clear indication that war is planned.

These people supposedly draw their power from the consent of the people, but there aren't many people out there supporting this sort of insane, genocidal, maniacal warmongering. All I can say is that if there's a protest march in your area, be in it; if not, start one. If there's a phone on your desk, call Congress (800-839-5276) and tell them to put a stop to this now. If your city hasn't passed an anti-war resolution, get it to do so. Write letters, call friends, sign on to TrueMajority, MoveOn, Common Dreams, ACLU, and other websites that help you oppose the Fourth Reich at the click of a mouse and maybe a few numbers from your credit card. I'm serious. If the Bushies get their way, America is dead.
Peace Parade Coverage Links
I'm getting plenty of links to press coverage, photos, and personal accounts of the Peace Parade yesterday. Rather than keep adding them into the blog, I'm putting them on a separate page. It is linked to at the top of the frame on the right, so you won't have to go digging through my upcoming torrent of rants to find it.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Peace Parade Photos!
  • The World's Largest Human Peace Sign!

    Click on picture for larger version.
  • This link has lots of good photos.
  • A short video showing some of the action on the diag. Parts of the peace sign are visible.
  • Our local Fox News was impressed: Just wanted you to know that the Ann Arbor protest march was on FOX 2 six oclock news this evening. They said that 5000 people attended and that the march was a mile long. -- from an e-mail.
  • Lots of pictures!

Friday, February 07, 2003

Sorry, no blogging today! I've been finalizing stuff for our peace march tomorrow, including the peace feeder marches, the peace plane, and the world's largest human peace sign. I'm going to take the world's largest nap after this is over, then back to blogging!

PS: Check back tomorrow evening, though. Should have photos from the peace plane online!

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Cool new domain name for my blog:! Should I change the name of the blog as well? I'm open to suggestions.

By the way, your old bookmarks and links should still work, but you might want to consider changing them to the "" url. I may at some point move the blog off of my personal UM web space, but would keep the address. No change needed now, but stay tuned!
Our peace march gets some local coverage.

Excess of Evil

This is really a bad dream. George W. Bush is armed with the most potent military in history. George W. Bush is the most dangerous and wreckless leader in history. He appears willing to go ahead with his insane plans regardless...of anything. We all need to be out in the streets, insisting to Congress that they stop him, arrest him, try him, convict him.

There is nothing more important right now than to stop him. If he has his way, there is no future, only death, destruction and hatred. This is supposed to be our government. Don't let it be used to start World War III. Impeach Bush!
Australian Senate gives Howard a "no confidence vote" over his sending troops for war in Iraq.
The Nation of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich
Bob Herbert's excellent op-ed today about the hopelessness among unemployed youth deserves a good rant. Fortunately, Brother Jim in California has provided one:

This editorial from NT Times kind of hit me in the gut. After listening to Colin Powell yesterday and today, and struggling to figure out what I really think is best for the World -- after all, based on all the news I've heard, Saddam is a bad guy, North Korea bad news, why not scorch a little more Earth? -- I read this, and it reminded me that our government is presiding over the rapid destruction of our country's social contract.

You would think the rich and powerful would be content with enjoying the benefits of a system in which they don't have to struggle, can be on permanent vacation, and pass on most of their wealth to their children. You would think they might even be leery of calling attention to this status quo. But I think two factors encourage many wealthy to pursue still more concentration of wealth. One is, many got wealthy simply because that was, is, and will be their true love in life -- and as they gather wealth, their power and influence increases, and they use it to increase their wealth still further. The second is about denial, about fear turning to anger, human emotions relating back to the animal "fight or flee" response. The poor threaten the self-satisfaction of the secure, well-heeled Americans; it is an annoyance that religions preach about the last among us, etc. The poor are the uninvited wedding guests, intruding on the festivities. And of course, the poor might not be friendly if the car breaks down somewhere and the cell-phone system is being flaky. So damn them, why can't those poor folks just pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like (soft cough) we people did. And of course politicians love to pander -- don't feel any concern, let alone shame: get pissed! Fewer schools and jobs; more prisons. Hit 'em while they are down -- it's become an industry.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. Listening to Colin Powell, I was thinking: with real progress on energy efficiency, and real attempts to work with the World on environmental issues, our government could show that America is trying to help make the World a better place -- not for business, but for people. Europe would be charmed. Domestically, if our administration acknowledged the social contract, and moved to redistribute wealth and provide quality public education, and in a host of ways provided hope and opportunity rather than despair and repression, we would have real patriotism. Someday we will need "World Patriotism" -- some loyalty to all the peoples and devotion to a better future. That is what I call pursuing peace. There will be conflict, but we should pursue peace, not just with words, or tokens, but as the main agenda.

Thanks, Jim!
World's Largest Human Peace Sign? At the end of our peace march here in Ann Arbor, we're going to funnel people into a giant peace sign on the diag at the University of Michigan. Searches through the Guinness Book of World Records site, google, and a call to the Ann Arbor Library reference desk turned up no sign bigger than "a few hundred" next to the Washington Monument last October. Since we'll have a banner-towing, picture-taking airplane flying overhead, we should have some great pictures!
Correction: The Women's rights in Kuwait story was apparently a hoax.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Speaking Truth to Power
Tom Tomorrow has a transcript from last night's "O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News (we distort, you recite). O'Reilly is talking with Jeremy Glick, whose father died in the 9/11 attack on the WTC. Jeremy signed a "Not In Our Name" ad, and O'Reilly is NOT happy about this, accusing Glick of dishonoring his father because he opposes war in Iraq and questioned the war in Afghanistan. After Glick gets in a few facts which are seldom heard on network news (and probably never on FoxNews), O'Reilly is reduced to yelling "Shut up! Shut up!" at Glick and asking his director to turn off Glick's microphone. Along with Rush Limbaugh and William Safire, O'Reilly is one of those most responsible for there still being a double-digit percentage of Americans who believe the blatant lies and deceptions coming out of the Bush administration. But when faced with the truth, well, Bill, you can't handle the truth!
Another Nuclear Threat
"North Dakota, still in its cultural infancy, cannot be trusted to responsibly handle weapons of mass destruction," French President Jacques Chirac said. "We are talking about a place that doesn't even have a Thai restaurant or movie theater that shows foreign films, but still they have the resources to build thousands of warheads. Do not believe their claims of being 'The Peace Garden State.'"

According to Chirac, North Dakota's development of nuclear arms "represents a grave threat to peaceful states the world over, none more so than its longtime neighbor and rival across the 45th Parallel, South Dakota."
-- from the Onion.

From Politics in the Zeros:
"A heart-warming story of the advances of women in achieving equality throughout the world ...

Barbara Walters did a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf War. She noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind their husbands.

She returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives.

Ms. Walters approached one of the women and said, "This is marvellous. Can you tell the free world just what enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?"

"Land mines," said the Kuwaiti woman.

From CommonDreams:
Mokhiber: Ari, last week the President said, on Iraq, "you are either with us or you are with the enemy." France and Germany are clearly not with us. Why aren't they with the enemy?

Ari Fleischer:: That's not true Russell. France and Germany are with us. They just -- in the case of Germany, they have made the decision not to use military force. And in the case of France -- France is still exploring what their ultimate position will be. Clearly, they are both with us. The question is the use of military force. So, I don't think that is quite doing justice to what the President said.

As I have noted before, the letters in "Ari Fleischer" can be rearranged to spell "Fear rich lies" and "I relish farce." Fleischer denies it.

Bush-bot addresses a skeptical public:

from Red Meat. Go there if you like seriously warped humor and have a few hours to waste.
A Nation that has Lost its Way
In Pittsburgh, 109 people were recently jammed into one emergency shelter that normally holds 50 to 80 people. One homeless provider reported that he is running out of cots because his supplier, the military, needs them for a possible war against Iraq. -- from the WSWS.

So we are dragging military reservists, many of them police, firefighters, nurses, out of their comfortable beds here in the US and sending them to Kuwait and other countries surrounding Iraq, sleeping in cots that are no longer available to refugees in this country, all in order to create tens of thousands of refugees in Iraq in Bush's oil war. The ultimate aim seems to be that no one with a net worth under $1 million gets a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Coverup at the UN. Not wanting to offend warmonger Colin Powell when he speaks at the UN tomorrow, UN officials have covered up a reproduction of Picasso's "Guernica," a painting which depicts the horrors of war.

The only thing that keeps the Bushies from pursuing some of their evil goals is their devotion to other evil goals: According to the NY Times, the administration will delay suing Europe for banning genetically-modified food in hopes of gaining their acquiesence in the further destruction of Iraq.

Robert B. Zoellick, the United States trade representative, had warned that the administration would decide by this week whether to sue the Europeans for what he called their "immoral" opposition to genetically modified food that was leading to starvation in the developing world.

GM food, along with Zoellick, are the really immoral things here. GM crops are a serious threat to the entire world's food supply, and even if they were safe (which they aren't), they are an attempt by Monsanto and other evil agribusinesses to privatize living organisms. In case you've missed it, the Bush administration is attempting, on every front and in every way, to destroy most of the world and control the rest of it. It's up to us to stop them.

The Night Before Baghdad, take three

I first wrote this in September, then changed some of the senators mentioned after the war resolution in October. Here I've improved some of the rhymes and added another verse at the end. I hope you like it!

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 on the south lawn there rose such a noise
It had to be Rummy's destructive war toys
But astonished we were as our startled eyes fell
On a tall bearded man riding high on a camel.

"Tell me," asked 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 passed 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 Feinstein! Out Smiling Joe Lieberman!
Out Lott! Out Hatch! Out Schumer! 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."

Meanwhile in Iraq Saddam slipped away
He’d be nowhere around on the bloody next day
He’d go into hiding and show up no more
’Til another dumb Bush sought another dumb war.

Monday, February 03, 2003

My friend Mike, with whom I marched in Washington on January 18, sent me the pictures he took. He's done some cool color highlighting on them, too! They're pretty big (about 600K each), but I don't have time right now to resample them down to size, so here are the links:
Ari, are you an android? How can you possibly live with yourself?

If this was a war for oil, the United States would be the one saying -- lift the sanctions -- and that way Iraq could pump oil. -- White House Liar Ari Fleischer.

Update: I should have pointed this out earlier: Iraq is pumping oil, and the US is buying it. Ari is such a liar.

George W. Bush is an absolutely horrible, corrupt, evil excuse for a human being!

Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

Idiot Don't Tax and Spend A Lot to Destroy the World Republicans!

President Bush sent Congress a $2.23 trillion spending plan Monday that would accelerate tax cuts to bolster the weak economy, overhaul some of the government's biggest social programs, give NASA a modest increase and shower billions of additional dollars on defense and homeland security. ``We have moved to secure the nation's safety,'' Bush proclaimed.

Even though hundreds of other government programs would be squeezed, the president projects the deficit will still hit record highs of $304 billion this year and $307 billion in 2004. Over the next five years, deficits would total $1.08 trillion.
-- from AP.

Colin Powell's son Michael and the rest of the FCC are working hard to make sure that you only have one source of information, allowing the media to concentrate down to a single giant corporation, Nazi/Soviet style. MSNBC-Disney-AOL Time Warner-Viacom-ClearChannel Corporation. The end of freedom.

Honk for Peace! I mentioned this briefly in yesterday's rant: the "honk for peace" movement is sweeping the country! Here's a picture from Boone, North Carolina:
Apparently, we were very lucky for a second time. The Columbia disintegration is a tragedy, but it could have been so much larger. The Challenger mission in 1986 was one mission away from one containing a nuclear payload which might have caused extensive radiation poisoning had it been on board. This time, it appears that no nuclear payload was onboard Columbia, but NASA and the Pentagon have plans for many such missions in the near future. Go to the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space web site for more.
Gen. Omar Bradley, a hero of World War II, delivered a speech in Boston in 1948 that is remarkably appropriate for the violent and chaotic world of 2003. "The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom," he said, "power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical midgets. We know more about war than we know of peace, more about killing than we know about living." -- from Bob Herbert's NY Times column today. Interesting that 1948 was the year that George Orwell wrote 1984. How is it that they could see so clearly then where we were headed, when so few now can see where we are?

Military Academies Use Affirmative Action in Admissions
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point uses racial quotas in admitting cadets, while the Naval and Air Force academies use other affirmative action schemes similar to the ones used here at the University of Michigan, according to this NY Times article.

I support full racial equality, but I'm not a big fan of affirmative action because of the resentment it causes. I frequently talk to white people who don't seem to be overtly racist but who are upset that they or their children were denied admission to a college because of affirmative action. I also think that it addresses the issue much too late: the real problem is that so many minority students reach college age very poorly prepared due to the absurdly unequal funding of public schools. De facto racial segregation caused by white flight and sprawl has left many schools in minority areas woefully unable to afford quality teachers, materials and facilities to provide a decent education. Providing all children with a good education makes more sense than allowing unprepared students of any color in to college.

Which leads, of course, to my "on the other hand..." segment.

On the other hand, it is extremely hypocritical for the president to complain about people being admitted to college for reasons other than academic qualifications. From prep school to Yale to the Texas Air National Guard (and not being arrested for being AWOL for a year) to the board of several oil companies to owning part of the Texas Rangers to the governor's mansion in Austin to the White House, George W. Bush has gotten in solely because of his color, his wealth, and especially who his father is. He has never been even remotely qualified for any of this. You've got to have a powerful daddy to get high-paying jobs like these when the main qualification on your resume is "ignorant drunk."

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Some FBI and CIA analysts upset at Bush's claims of Iraq-al Qaeda ties: NY Times.
Report from the Front: I've been organizing publicity for our February 8 peace march here in Ann Arbor. We've got some really cool things going on, and I think it will be an exceptionally large, visible and fun march. We are formally organizing four "feeder marches" of 1/4 to 1/2 mile that will converge on the official starting point of the march. In addition, several neighborhoods are planning on walking to downtown along busy streets to get to these feeder marches, greatly increasing the visibility. We have hired an airplane for two hours before and during the march which will tow a banner AND take aerial photos! We won't have everyone in town involved in the march, but we're going to do our best to make it look that way!

Last Friday, a few of us stood at a busy intersection near campus (Packard and State) holding signs and passing out flyers. One of the signs said "Honk for Peace!", and we got lots of drivers to honk as they went by, even bus and taxi drivers! This is a really cool way to increase your visibility, and I think that's important. With so many famous people like Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, the National Council of Churches, and even Norman Schwarzkopf speaking out against the war, and the press starting to cover it, it really helps for people to know that there are lots of others out there who oppose the war. We even had several drivers of gigantic SUV's honk for peace! After 9/11, anyone who questioned Bush's tactics in Afghanistan felt like an outcast when surrounded by all of the flags and "United We Stand" signs. At least here in Ann Arbor, we're getting to the point where anyone who supports Bush is starting to feel like an outcast. I try not to be a petty person, but dang, it feels good!!!

An update on Nelson Mandela's condemnation of Bush: I watched the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather on Thursday night, and large parts of Mandela's speech, including the great "a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly" line, were played as the second story of the show. They even played the applause from the crowd! I think Dan Rather vowed after CBS' pandering support of the Afghanistan war that he wouldn't again be such a tool of the administration, and I think this is a sign of that. Let's keep building our movement so that Dan can keep his job!
Boondocks addresses the raging groundhog day controversy:
National Council of Churches Opposes War
United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert is featured in a new anti-war ad sponsored by the National Council of Churches. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney are members of the United Methodist Church. The National Council of Churches consists of 36 denominations which collectively have over 140,000 local congregations and 50 million members. In addition to United Methodists, it includes the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Churcn, several Baptist and Lutheran denominations, Quakers, United Church of Christ, and many others. Not included are Catholics, but the Pope has already expressed opposition to the war. So the next time you get into a discussion about war with Iraq with a Christian who says he supports it, chances are he is disagreeing with his own church. These two web pages, the National Council of Churches home page and their list of member churches would make an excellent two-sided flyer to give to Christians who say they are supporting Bush.

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.