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, May 03, 2003

More on Waron/Satire:
I saw another letter to the editor where a woman was all upset because she saw a sign that said "Ashamed to be an American." She offered to help pay for a one-way ticket out of here for anyone who felt that way. Maybe I'll keep her name and take her up on it if I decide to move to Mexico. Of course, maybe it was satire, too. What if the whole Bush administration is satire, but the whole country is too dense to get it? Any day now, Al Gore and the Supreme Court and Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein step out from behind a curtain. With a stiff little chuckle Al says, "Boy, did we have you going! Did you actually learn that supporting right-wing fear-mongerers is seriously dangerous?"

But we knew that already...

It appears that Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Rehnquist may be criminals. Their poker games with morality maven William Bennett apparently violate DC law. Now if the DC cops arrest them, and Bush pardons them, can the pardon be ignored if it is shown that the poker games were going on before the 2000 election, thereby invalidating their decision, thus invalidating Bush's right to pardon them? Probably not, but let's give it a try!

"The wars of the next century will be about water" -- The World Bank

Lots of water links from Polizeros. I don't have a link right now, but don't be surprised if five years from now more of the water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers ends up in Tel Aviv, with less showing up in Baghdad and Basra.

This much is certain...
What does Bush have to say about the absence of evidence on these two points (WMD's in Iraq and Iraq's ties to al Qaeda)? "This much is certain," he observed in his victory address. "No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more."

Well, that's true. No terrorist network will get weapons from Pat Moynihan, either. That doesn't make his death essential to the war on terror.

--William Saletan, via Tom Tomorrow.

Why do they hate America?
Going into his meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Powell said clearing destructive weapons from the region is a long-standing U.S. goal, but now is not the time to address that matter. -- AP.

The US, the country with by far the largest stocks of weapons of mass destruction, just attacked a country in clear violation of international law and the UN charter, supposedly to rid that country of WMD's, which it looks more and more like they didn't have. The US claimed that the threat was so serious that it couldn't wait for UN inspectors to verify it (we now know why). But when Arab states suggest that the US drop its hypocrisy and admit that Israel has more WMD's, including approximately 200 nuclear weapons, that should be destroyed to clear the region of WMD's, Powell says "now is not the time."

Friday, May 02, 2003

The correct answer is: SATIRE! (Referring to my online poll from yesterday.) I fell for it too, at least initially. Once someone pointed out to me that that letter to the editor might be satire, I started to wonder. The sentences were too complete and well composed; most warons seem to be semi-literate at best (W being the prime example). Thanks to Cynthia in our peace group for actually calling the gentleman who wrote it and asking him. He said he thought the part about Iraqis flying more planes into buildings should have given it away, but Cynthia replied that no, plenty of warons believe that.

Dang. Can it be THIS bad?
From Willam Rivers Pitt:
In George W. Bush’s America, being even moderately liberal these days is like being a Red Sox fan. You know what needs to happen, you know what is right, and yet some cosmic force akin to the lingering shade of Babe Ruth always manages to ascend from purgatory and batter you into dust right at the moment when something good and great is within your grasp. If you do manage to get your lineup together - home run issues, grand slam arguments, All Star players - you will get completely outspent by the damned Yankees who are sitting in your division with more money than God and the will to use it. Baseball, like politics, has no spending limits.

And then, of course, there are the umpires. In baseball they wear blue and there is no appealing their decisions, even when a call is clearly wrong. I remember with writhing specificity the 1999 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox. A Sox player was charging for second base and Chuck Knoblauch swung a tag at him midway down the line. Knoblaugh missed the tag by a full three feet - there was a barnload of visible daylight between his glove and the Sox player - and the umpire called the Sox player out. No recourse, no appeal, and the Sox lost the series. The Yankees went on to annihilate the Atlanta Braves for their 216,339,102nd World Series title.

In George W. Bush’s America, the umpires sit in front of television cameras and work for major news networks. They look and speak like fashion models instead of journalists. They draw their paychecks from General Electric, Viacom, Disney, AOL/TimeWarner and Rupert Murdoch. There is no appealing the calls they make day after day and night after night, even when there is a barnload of visible daylight between their interpretation and the actual facts at hand. The people running this administration miss the tag with dreary regularity, and yet the media umpires seldom fail to pump their fists and yell, “You’re out!” They hide behind their masks, and all the shouting and dirt-kicking accomplishes exactly nothing.

Being a liberal is like being a Red Sox fan. Man, is that depressing.

See here for more.

Jake at Lying Media Bastards has a rundown of yesterday's Bushian media event, including a photo comparison of the deserter-in-chief with two other fictional heroes.

Ruminate This has a good rant about the continuing media consolidation in this country, which continues unabated under the watchful eye of SecState's son Michael Powell. The five corporations which currently control almost all of US television, and much of the rest of the media, are General Electric (NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, etc.), Disney (ABC, ESPN, etc.), AOL Time Warner (CNN, Time magazine, etc.), Fox (FoxNews, Fox TV, FoxSportsNet, etc.), and Viacom (CBS and others). These are the companies that have been complicit in helping Bush convince the majority of Americans that Iraq was somehow involved with 9/11, based on zero evidence. They should be broken up into tiny little pieces, returning the air and cable waves to the American public.

Hey! I found something in smirky's speech I can agree with!

Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world... -- George W. Bush

And while much of the "war on terrorism" could properly be considered terrorism in its own right (what is "shock and awe" if not terrorism?), the U.S. government now has ties to a group listed as a terrorist group by the US government. See Tom Tomorrow for details.

And outlaw regime? You betcha! Pre-emptive strikes on sovereign nations is as outlaw as a regime can get.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Fried Rice: Condi's "just-in-time" justification for there being no WMD's:
She has no doubt that the US-led coalition, assisted by experts from Britain and Australia, will find Iraq's WMD programs. But for the first time, Dr Rice is saying publicly that it is less likely many actual weapons will be found. Rather, she described the programs as being hidden in so-called "dual use" infrastructure. In other words, chemicals and biological agents could be in plants, factories and laboratories capable of being used for legal and prohibited purposes.
According to Dr Rice, the weapons programs are "in bits and pieces" rather than assembled weapons. "You may find assembly lines, you may find pieces hidden here and there," she said. Ingredients or precursors, many non-lethal by themselves, could be embedded in dual-use facilities.
She had a new explanation too for Iraq's ability to launch these weapons that were not assembled. "Just-in-time assembly" and "just-in-time" inventory, as she put it.
-- Sydney Morning Herald, via Bob Harris.

So, was it manufacturing and management methods that Saddam was going to sell to the terrorists? Couldn't they just order books on the subjects from Amazon?

We hate them for their freedoms: U.S. says Canada cares too much about liberties

(That's the actual headline...sigh.)

Is it real, or is it satire?

The following letter to the editor was published in the Ann Arbor News:

I am a patient man, but it makes me furious that anyone can be an American and not support our military operation in Iraq. What I cannot understand is how anyone can protest against the government over something as important as war. Don't you realize that nothing is more important, or more American, than war? Don't you realize that Americans have fought and died for your very freedom to protest? At the very least, you could show appreciation for that freedom by having the good sense not to exercise it. Just ask yourself where we would be right now if 56,000 Americans had not died in Vietnam. What do you want, another Sept. 11th? Do you want Iraqis to fly their planes into more of our buildings? And please don't make an appeal to emotion by crying about innocent Iraqis being killed. War isn't about killing people, it's about making the world a safer place. Go ahead and protest, we'll permit it for now, but remember that real Americans will support our troops no matter where they decide to go.

I was furious when I read it, and immediately posted it to our peace group's listserv. Somebody responded quickly, suggesting that it might be tongue-in-cheek. Someone else said he at first thought it was satire, but then decided it was genuine warmonger. What do you think?

Warmonger or Satire?

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I now know the answer--I'll post it tomorrow.

Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich on the war:
Regardless of the outcome, the war in Iraq was wrong. While the United States has won a military victory in Iraq, the Administration never justified the war, rendering it a diplomatic and foreign policy failure.

The Administration led America into a war based on false pretenses. Even today, as the President declares an end to combat, there is no credible evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. These weapons, they said, posed an immediate and imminent threat to our nation and our allies, and could not be eliminated through international weapons inspectors.

The Administration, with its policy in Iraq, has isolated the United States from the international community and threatens to make our country less safe, not more safe.

Bringing the troops home, and bringing in the international community to assist with humanitarian reconstruction and security, must happen immediately. Rhetoric alone will not convince the world that the United States is not occupying Iraq, especially since the U.S. has prioritized the rebuilding oil infrastructures instead of providing humanitarian assistance.
-- copied from MouseMusings.

Attack Injures 7 US Soldiers in Angry Iraqi City. What do you bet this becomes daily news, and then daily non-news?

You've probably seen this quote before, but it bears repeating:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive [Branch of Government] is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war...and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
-- James Madison (quoted by Thom Hartmann).

Tell 'em you're not going to tell them, then don't tell them, then don't tell them some more. Or something like that. Anyway, Rummy told us back in January that he wasn't going to tell us where the WMD's are.

"Top al Qaeda operative" arrested in Pakistan. According to the article, "U.S. officials also believe Attash was the mastermind of the Cole bombing, which killed 17 U.S. sailors October 12, 2000."

Help me out here--maybe I'll find it myself later on, but if you know, please e-mail me--doesn't this make about the sixth or eighth "mastermind" of the Cole bombing who has been captured or killed in the "war on terrorism?" There was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was either captured, or maybe killed in Pakistan last year, or who knows, escaped or never existed. There were those guys killed by a missile fired from a CIA Predator drone in the Yemeni desert. And I thought that Osama guy was to blame! How many masterminds does it take to fill a boat with explosives?

W claims this capture is significant:
"He's a killer. He was one of the top al Qaeda operatives," Bush said at the White House. "He was right below Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on the organizational chart of al Qaeda. He is one less person that people who love freedom have to worry about."

So why wasn't he on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists? I don't see anyone on that list with a name anything like Whalid ba Attash, or Tawfiq bin Attash or Khallad (names listed in the CNN article). I just made a local copy of that FBI page, just in case Winston Smith is on the ball at the Ministry of Truth, and the fact that Attash was not on the list disappears down the memory hole.

People who love freedom know who they really have to worry about.

In His Own Words:
Rummy, Jan 19, 2003:
"...Saddam Hussein is a liar. He lies every single day. He's putting weapons systems right next to mosques, next to schools, next to hospitals, next to orphanages."
Rummy, Mar 30, 2003:
"The area in the south and the west and the north (of Iraq) that coalition forces control is substantial. It ... happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday on ABC's This Week. "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
Rummy, Apr 18, 2003:
"I don't think we'll discover anything, myself," Rumsfeld said..."I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it. It is not like a treasure hunt where you just run around looking everywhere, hoping you find something."

Chain of Evidence: Those quotes are part of a good summary of before-and-after Rummy and Bush quotes from the Hammerdown blog, which was linked to by Hegemoney, which I found through MouseMusings.

Bottom Line: They sold war in Iraq because of an "imminent threat" from weapons of mass destruction. They lied.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Three strikes for corporations--I like it! The LA Times reports that the state of California is likely to pass a "three strikes" bill against corporations. Any corporation convicted of three crimes--consumer fraud, environmental, labor, etc.--would not be allowed to continue to do business in California. (Link from Bob Harris subbing for Tom Tomorrow.)

Imagine their disappointment. They already had targets picked out and everything.

Okay, I've read the whole Ashleigh Banfield piece, and it is wonderful. I'd say put her in charge of MSNBC right now, although she is already being verbally attacked by her bosses and others.
This TV show that we just gave you was extraordinarily entertaining, and I really hope that the legacy that it leaves behind is not one that shows war as glorious, because there's nothing more dangerous than a democracy that thinks this is a glorious thing to do.

War is ugly and it's dangerous, and in this world the way we are discussed on the Arab street, it feeds and fuels their hatred and their desire to kill themselves to take out Americans. It's a dangerous thing to propagate.
I'm hoping that I will have a future in news in cable, but not the way some cable news operators wrap themselves in the American flag and patriotism and go after a certain target demographic, which is very lucrative. You can already see the effects, you can already see the big hires on other networks, right wing hires to chase after this effect, and you can already see that flag waving in the corners of those cable news stations where they have exciting American music to go along with their war coverage.

Ashleigh Banfield on war coverage--appears to be excellent! (I don't have time to finish reading it now, so I'm posting it partially so I'll be able to find it when I get home.)

Public Service Reminder:
The airwaves do not belong to the broadcasters. They do not belong to the advertisers. The owners of the broadcast airwaves, by law, are the people of the United States. -- Nancy Snow.

Did Our Leaders Lie to Us? Do We Even Care?

Doesn't this take you back?
The White House made a number of recess appointments last week as Congress fled for spring break. One was April H. Foley, a "homemaker," according to campaign contribution disclosure documents, from South Salem, N.Y. She was named to the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank. The appointment is good until Congress adjourns next year.

So why a homemaker for this job? Well, "early in her career," the White House announcement says, she was director of business planning for corporate strategy with PepsiCo Inc. and director of strategy for Reader's Digest Association. More recently, she was president of the United Way of Northern Westchester County, N.Y. Not all of it, just the northern part.

Still not locked in on the merits? Did we mention she used to date George W. Bush when both were at Harvard Business School and has remained friends with him?
-- Washington Post

Of course, if it were four years ago and it was Bill Clinton's former girlfriend who got the cushy job, it would have been in the lead paragraph of the lead article on the front page of the Washington Post--not the last paragraph on page A21.

US Trade Rep. Zoellick pushes for more "free trade." This stuff is evil. Zoellick is evil. The WTO talks in Cancun in September may be my excuse to go back to Mexico. Probably a little warmer protesting than it was in Washington in January or Michigan in February! Just as important, though. The WTO is the front for the economic war being waged by the filthy rich on the dirt poor, and people are dying from it just as much as they are from the shooting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two are actually closely tied together, and they both need to be stopped.

Gag me with a spoon!
"We ought to be beating our chests every day. We ought to look in a mirror and get proud and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say: 'Damn, we're Americans!'," Jay Garner told reporters, saying that Iraq's oil fields and other infrastructure survived the war almost intact. -- from Reuters .

Police raid on Indian restaurant in New York. Scary stuff. Link from Tom Tomorrow.

You can offend some of the people (like me) all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but eventually, if you're George W. Bush, you may just succeed in offending all of the people all of the time. Andrew Sullivan has been one of the most insistent and (unfortunately) popular "warbloggers," that is bloggers who support W's endless war policies. Andrew, however, is gay, and he lives in Senator Santorum's state of Pennsylvania. So he was deeply offended by Santorum's recent gay-bashing, and especially by Bush's expression of support. You might find his agonizing over the issue very interesting, as well as his followup, in which he says:

I've learned a lot this past week - especially about elite conservative indifference to limited government, if it means offending the religious right. One factual note: I don't consider myself a Republican. Never have. Given what some of the party base represent, I'm relieved not to carry that burden. It may be necessary to support Republicans at times - in the war on terror, for example, we have precious little choice right now. But no-one should ignore the dark thread of big-government intolerance that exists in the G.O.P. It's still there; and it threatens you and me.

He also has an interesting rant about free speech and Bush's aversion to hearing it which is worth reading.

So with Gingrich attacking the Bushies for being too liberal, while Gerald Ford, Mary Cheney and Andrew Sullivan attack them for being too intolerant, the whole right-wing house of cards may yet blow over. Let's hope so.

(Chain of evidence: I found out about Sullivan's rants through the Hamster, which was a random link I clicked from MouseMusing's blogroll.)

So why did Congress authorize Bush to attack Iraq? Let's ask them. From the text of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, passed (unconstitutionally, IMHO) last October:

Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;

Whereas Iraq , in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations';

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

The evidence of the "advanced nuclear weapons" program was shown to be false well before the war started. Neither UN inspectors for four months, nor US troops, in Iraq for over one month now, have found any evidence of chemical or biological weapons. Several Iraqi scientists, supposedly now free from fear of retribution from Saddam's regime, are now in US custody. Still nothing. Congress passed an unconstitutional bill based on lies fed it by the Bush administration, which then used it to violate international law and break treaties (like the UN Charter) which, according to the Constitution, are the highest law of the land. Some 123 US soldiers are dead, some 500 wounded, along with tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens and soldiers (and the killing continues). This is about as "high" as crime gets--IMPEACH BUSH NOW (and Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell as well).

Putin Kicks Bush's Poodle.
From a press conference in Moscow given by Russian President Putin and British PM Tony Blair:
Mr Putin said Russia and its partners "believe until clarity is achieved over whether weapons of mass destruction exist in Iraq, sanctions should be kept in place". Almost mocking Mr Blair, he went on: "Where is Saddam? Where are those arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, if indeed they ever existed? Perhaps Saddam is still hiding somewhere in a bunker underground, sitting on cases of weapons of mass destruction and is preparing to blow the whole thing up and bring down the lives of thousands of Iraqi people."

He added that sanctions could not be lifted since they had been introduced because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."It is only the security council that is in a position to lift those sanctions, after all they introduced them."

He also derided Mr Blair's talk of a new world order, saying: "If the decision-making process in such a framework is democratic then that is something we could agree with, but if decisions are being made by just one member of the international community and all the others are required to support them that is something we could not find acceptable."

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Molly Ivins on the incredible disappearing weapons.

Iraqi Scientist Says U.S. Unlikely to Find Biological Weapons. But of course, he's probably got a Marine Corps "minder," so we have to take what he says with a grain of salt.

Feeling safe yet? Fire shuts down nuclear plant.

U.S. Military Pulls Out of Saudi Arabia -- NY Times
Alternate headlines for this article:

  • Not a Minute Longer Than Necessary (based on what then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney told the Saudis in 1990 about how long US troops would be there)
  • Shorter Flying Times for US Bombers to Syria and Iran from Iraq than from old Saudi Bases
  • The Terrorists Have Won! (US bases in Saudi Arabia were Osama bin Laden's main complaint against the US)

Ad in an e-zine called Escape From America (link thanks to Gloria):
Skiptracing - Ahearn Industries is the world leader in skiptracing and international asset locating. If you are looking to to find some one who escaped, we can find them. If you are looking to escape, we can show you if you did it right. Our service is used by over 3000 investigators world wide. (212) 937-3565 or (416) 352-5503.

Now, if you were looking to escape, would you want help from a company that helps people find someone who has escaped? If so, you probably believe the war in Iraq was about weapons of mass destruction.

Sierra Club Election: I tried to exert some influence of the Sierra Club by sending an e-mail to all sixteen candidates for the board of directors last month. I was concerned by the Sierra Club's reluctance last fall to take an anti-war position. I got responses from 12 of the 16 candidates; all 12 said they supported an anti-war position. The Sierra Club has announced the election results. Four of the five winners were among the 12 who said they were anti-war; two of the five were among the five I voted for. Next fight: Let's get some instant runoff voting going in the Sierra Club! With all 16 candidates getting between 10,000 and 28,000 votes, it seems as though some preferential voting would be in order. How are Greens (and greens) going to succeed in getting IRV into our public elections when it isn't being used in supposedly green organizations? I guess it's time for me to write another e-mail!

Lisa English writes a great blog: RuminateThis. She's got plenty of suggestions today for links you should chase down, so I'll just summarize them for you:

Again, see RuminateThis for the details!

There is a school of thought that says that terrorists are insufficiently afraid of the United States, and that they will leave us alone only if we shock and awe them enough. But the terrorists are already terrified. There is no human being on earth who doubts our power. But the more aggressively we use our power to intimidate our foes, the more foes we create and the more we validate terrorism as the only effective weapon of the powerless against the powerful. -- John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat who quit his job at the US Embassy in Athens because he could not defend the war in Iraq and a foreign policy that he sees as dangerous to America. Read the whole article; it's pretty good.

Hostage Crisis? What hostage crisis?
W apparently learned from his father's presidency that when you invade Iraq, you go all the way. Hopefully, history will show him that the true lesson was, if you want to get re-elected and your name is George Bush, you shouldn't invade Iraq at all.

W appears to have learned a lesson from Jimmy Carter's presidency, which is when Americans are taken hostage, you ignore it (if you want to get re-elected). Well, 21 American oil workers, along with 76 of other nationalities, are currently being held hostage in Nigeria, and have been for eleven days, according to FoxNews.

It's reader feedback time!

What do you like to see most on my blog?
Brief links to articles
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On-topic stuff: Why war sucks, why Bush sucks, etc.
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What do you like to see least on my blog?
Brief links to articles
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On-topic stuff: Why war sucks, why Bush sucks, etc.
Off-topic stuff: Water, bikes, sports, silliness

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Fifteen dead, 75 wounded: US Troops fire on Iraqi protesters.

French? Italian? Raspberry Vinaigrette? Or perhaps you'd like the house dressing, a bold-yet-subtle perchlorate? Perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel, has been found in substantial quantities on produce in Northern California supermarkets. The water used to irrigate most of the crops comes from the Colorado River, which according to the article is from five to eight parts per billion perchlorate. The source of the perchlorate is the numerous defense contractors and military bases along the Colorado, as well as other industries.

I'm buying Michigan lettuce from now on (Yes, there is Michigan lettuce, and it's very good! Not much available in the winter, however.).

Monday, April 28, 2003

Some good audio-edited Bush speeches!

Molly Ivins rants about Republitron plans to further trash labor rights, including the 40-hour week and paid overtime.

This fits right in with what Senator Stevens (R-AK) said back when the war started:
I would only add one comment, I keep hearing people talk about overtime and getting money to pay for people here who are working so long and working overtime in our cities and in various functions. Those men and women over there are not getting paid overtime. I think it's time we started thinking about volunteering in the United States right here at home – volunteers to help this country come through this period when our men and women are over there. They're volunteers. They're not getting any extra pay for what they're doing. I think we should recognize the concept that every one of us should volunteer more of our time to help our country in this period.

So rather than "support our troops" by paying them for overtime worked (and they'll need it, since veterans benefits are being cut), Stevens suggested that cops and firefighters "volunteer" to fight crime and fires after their 40-hour weeks are done. I'd suggest that Republitrons stop working overtime to screw everybody else--and not get paid until they do!

A blog called Shock and Awe has a great post about a Marine named Jesus Angel Gonzalez, who was born in Mexico but had lived in southern California since he was seven years old. He was not a US citizen. He opposed the war, but did not desert, unlike his commander-in-chief did during Vietnam. Jesus Angel Gonzalez was killed in Iraq. an excerpt:

How ironic, but not unexpected, that this brave young man without even the ability to vote in his adopted homeland showed more patriotism and loyalty to this country than the coward who is supposedly the leader of the free world.

When a man or woman joins the U.S. military, they are making a commitment to the people of this country -- they are willing to put their lives on the line, to kill and be killed, in order to keep us safe.

As American citizens, we have a sacred responsibility which must be our response to the commitment of our soldiers: We must ensure that they do not give their lives in vain.

The decision to engage in military activity, risking the lives of our troops, is one of the gravest choices a democracy can make. For this reason, the Founders granted that ability to Congress alone, as the representatives of the people.

With this war, we have failed our duties to our troops.
-- More.

I keep thinking I should update my list of activist web sites and my blogroll, but for now I'll take the easy way out: Mousemusings has an excellent blogroll, and LiberalOasis has an excellent list of links to many types of activist sites. Check them out!

Ari the Liar "answering" reporters questions aboard Air Force One this morning en route to W's meeting with Iraqis in Dearborn, MI:
Q Coverage on the meeting with the Iraqi exiles is closed. Will we get any readout, or why no coverage for us?

MR. FLEISCHER: It is closed. I should advise you that there are many reporters from Arab media outlets who are on this trip, who flew out on the press charter. There are some eight who don't typically travel with the White House press corps, who asked to go. They were accommodated. And we are going to accommodate a couple of them into the meeting. So they will be there for their own reporting purposes.

Q Are there going to be American reporters there?


Q Why not allow --

MR. FLEISCHER: Because we cannot open up the whole thing up.

Q Are they pooling for us?

MR. FLEISCHER: They're given an exclusive.

Q We have to object to that, we just have to object to that. You're going to allow Arab reporters in because you want to get that message out, but you're afraid of American reporters?

MR. FLEISCHER: The reason I put it on the record here and told you is so you could go to them and talk to them about it afterwards.

Q That's not good enough. That's not good enough.

Q We can't rely on people that we don't know or that are not part of the regular White House pool to report to the American media on something this sensitive.

General Franks said the most well-known Iraqi prisoner, Tariq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister, was answering interrogators' questions, but it was too soon to tell if he was being truthful or helpful. -- NY Times.

<Heavy Cynicism>I assume General "Ballpark" Franks would prefer Aziz being helpful to Aziz being truthful. I'm sure the interrogators will help him out with that.</Heavy Cynicism>

This is sad--and I hope it was just the recession:

Kirk Anderson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has drawn some great political cartoons. Sadly, it appears he has lost his job.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Dangerous viruses looted in Iraq:
As escaped laboratory animals roamed the compound, a new sign was posted in Arabic reading: "Stay away, extremely dangerous. Lab is polluted with viruses."

There have been no reports of illness yet and the greatest danger may be to the looter who took the viruses. In the wrong hands, however, the viruses could be considered a potent weapon.
-- ABC

Bush may not be on the ballot in several states! Alabama, West Virginia, California and the District of Columbia all have filing deadlines prior to the scheduled end of the Republitron convention (Sept. 2, 2004). The Republitrons moved their New York convention date so late so they could link it to the third anniversary of 9/11, the source of all their power. While this would likely only have an impact on the presidential race in West Virginia, with Alabama likely to change their filing date for Bush and likely to vote for him anyway, and California and DC likely to vote against him anyway, it might have a nice effect on congressional and other races by keeping Republitrons from voting a straight party ticket. Many might just go into the booth and write in Bush's name, ignoring the rest of the ballot. I suspect, however, that Bush may move the convention earlier and then officially change the date of 9/11 to 8/28 or something. (Heck, they changed Lincoln's birthday--they can change 9/11!)

Okay, what happened to DailyKos? One of the most popular blogs, DailyKos focuses on Democratic Party politics. Yesterday, I came across two or three posts on other blogs about the WMD issue which said DailyKos had a great article about it. I was unable to get to it at all yesterday, and I can't today. If anyone does get through ( please let me know! I think I'll go check Atrios--he probably knows what's happening!