Bob's Links and Rants -- Fair and Balanced

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

Saturday, February 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.