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 31, 2003

Support Our Troops--The Pentagon Doesn't
Many reservists have been issued Bank of America credit cards to cover their expenses, but the military doesn't reimburse them in time, so BOA has been hassling them and trashing their credit records. From the St. Petersburg Times via Daily Dystopian.

From Mike Smith.

From Nick Anderson.

It's got the Simpsons, it makes fun of Bush...does it get any better than this?

Osama attacked us to get us out of Saudi Arabia. And we attacked Iraq to get us out of Saudi Arabia, according to Paul Wolfowitz:

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is quoted as saying a “huge” reason for the war was to enable Washington to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia. “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” Wolfowitz was quoted as saying. “Almost unnoticed but huge” was the need to maintain U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia as long as Saddam was in power, he was quoted as saying. -- MSNBC.

Or, as MaxSpeak puts it: FOREIGN POLICY IS COMPLICATED. I should probably steer clear, since most of it is over my head. Stick to easy things, like particle physics. We now learn that after Al Queda attacked us for occupying Saudi Arabia, we invaded Iraq in order to withdraw from Saudi Arabia. And we invaded Iraq as part of our war on terrorism. So we wage war on Osama in order to accede to his principal demand. And people ask why I hate America. Because we are morons with JDAMs, that's why. I guess we'll have to let Josh Marshall sort this out.

BTW, here's a picture of one of Bush's WMD's:

My god, the non-existent Iraqi navy could have ferried those empty trailers across the Atlantic and parked them in Times Square!
President Bush, citing two trailers that U.S. intelligence agencies have said were probably used as mobile biological weapons labs, said U.S. forces in Iraq have "found the weapons of mass destruction" that were the United States' primary justification for going to war. -- Washington Post.

When Nixon and Clinton made stupid half-true statements which only highlighted their guilt, things got worse for them. Let's hope that happens with Bush. Of course, he's even madder at the French and Germans now that it looks like they were right--how dare they! How I miss the days when a US president could go to Poland and only embarrass himself by lusting after the Polish people! Bush's arrogance seems to know no bounds--the more wrong he is, the more obnoxious he gets. And no president has ever been THIS wrong before.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Breathe a sigh of relief! The terror alert level is back to yellow. The last time it was yellow, bombs killed dozens in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Buy your war planner now, get your post-war planner FREE! From Mark Fiore.

Genetically Modified Crops--A Dangerous Lie:
Using evidence from Asia, Africa and Latin America, the report concludes that rather than alleviating world hunger, GM is likely to lead to more hungry people, not fewer. -- The Independent.

Tell Wolf: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of international affairs? Vote!

In their own words: What the Bushies were saying about WMD's, then and now.

You can't spell "bunker" without "bunk:"
Remember in high school how, to get an A in American history, you had to know that the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breed's Hill, not Bunker Hill? Well, when the war on Iraq began with an attack on a bunker supposedly housing Saddam Hussein, not only wasn't Saddam there--there was no bunker either.

What's harder than finding non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Finding non-existent truth among the non-stop stream of lies that flows out of the Bush administration.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Let's get this straight: The government has been holding hundreds of people hostage at Guantanamo Bay who were captured in Afghanistan a year and a half ago, including some children, without charges or legal representation. Ann Arbor Islamic cleric Rabih Haddad has been held in jail for 18 months without charges. US citizen Jose Padilla has been held as an "enemy combatant" for over a year without charges or the right to see a lawyer. And now, the military admits that it had an Iraqi in custody who was implicated in the murder of thousands of Shiites in 1991 (those infamous skulls), and released him after three weeks.

More On Moron Blair:
While Bush continues to wear Reagan's teflon suit with effectiveness, his poodle is getting kicked around--
Alan Simpson, Labour MP for Nottingham South, said MPs "supported war based on a lie". He said: "If it's right Iraq destroyed the weapons prior to the war, then it means Iraq complied with the United Nations resolution 1441." -- The Independent. The article also presents a rundown of quotes from Bush, Blair and others about the existence of WMD's:

Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons. -- George Bush, Us President 18 March, 2003

We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd. -- Tony Blair, Prime Minister 18 March, 2003

Saddam's removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his weapons of mass destruction. -- Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2 April, 2003

Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a bit. -- Tony Blair 28 April, 2003

It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the conflict. -- Donald Rumsfeld, US Defense Secretary 28 May, 2003

Celebrate Bad Times, C'mon!
What the economy needs is a real stimulus that will create real jobs, not an irresponsible package of tax cuts that will inflate the portfolios of the very wealthy while starving the government of the money needed to pay for essential services and to maintain a safety net for the nation's most vulnerable citizens.

We are closing schools and libraries in America, and withholding lifesaving drugs and medical treatment from the poor. The middle class is struggling ever harder to make ends meet, and reshaping its dreams of the future.

In Washington, they're celebrating.
-- Bob Herbert

Another radical peacenik suggests there was no reason for the war:
It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict. -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, quoted on Tuesday.

As I recall, Bush, Rummy, Powell and Fleischer said repeatedly that if Saddam were disarming, we would know it. Now Rummy suggests that he disarmed without our knowing it. WMD's were never the issue--Empire was and is the issue. These Nazis should be arrested and tried for war crimes, and now!

Government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations:
Let's be very clear about this: People who want to privatize prisons and schools and social services are in it for the money. The real questions of government are always: Who benefits, and who pays? And the answer given this session with jaw-dropping regularity is private corporations profit, while people pay the price in worse services.
They don't want to make government better. They don't want it to work well. They don't want it to help people.
-- Molly Ivins

Blair in trouble at home:
Saying that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, should have been allowed to carry on with his work, Mr Cook mocked Mr Blair's claims about the Iraqi threat. "We were told Saddam had weapons ready for use within 45 minutes. It's now 45 days since the war finished and we still have not found anything ... We could have avoided this war."

Leftwing Labour MPs will step up the pressure on the prime minister when the commons reconvenes next Tuesday. Peter Kilfoyle, the leftwing MP who has tabled a motion demanding evidence of the existence of banned weapons, was scathing. "This is absolutely dangerous for Tony Blair," he said. "The potential charge is that the House of Commons has been misled."
-- The Guardian.

Sorry, my back is still in bad shape--hard to sit at the computer for long.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The U.S.-led "war on terror" has made the world more dangerous and left people feeling less secure, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Hmm...Can't figure out how to blame Bush for this one...
Yesterday, I did something to my back while leaning over to pick up something. It caused me to walk very slowly with some pain all day. Today, that sounds good--I can barely move. So once I'm out of reach of the keyboard, I probably won't be back within reach for a while. In the meantime, y'all can send me suggestions for how I can blame this on Bush! (BTW, this has happened before, and usually gets better in a day or two.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

(from an e-mail I got from the campaign)

As he tours Northern California reaching big audiences of new voters and raising much-needed funds, Dennis J. Kucinich continues to raise his voice on issues that distinguish him from the other presidential candidates. Today, he continued his antiwar leadership in Congress by challenging the Bush administration on its dangerous rhetoric and stance toward Iran. Last week, he stood up against the surrender of public property -- the broadcast airwaves -- to giant media corporations.

As ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, Kucinich issued the following statement today:

"The rhetoric and posturing by this Administration over Iran serves only to validate impressions in the region that the United States is empire building. It is disturbing that as our nation is just beginning to learn that it was misled in the build-up to war in Iraq, that this Administration is seeking to continue its dangerous policy in the region with an aggressive posture towards Iran. Now more than ever, it is critical that the United States work with our friends and allies in the Middle East to root out terrorists cells and implement a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Last week, Kucinich blasted the federally-assisted corporate takeover of U.S. media in formal comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
Kucinich's protest comes as the FCC seems prepared to announce new, even more deregulatory rules on media ownership.

"Walking further down the path of deregulation skews the national discourse and is directly contrary to the welfare of the public. It is adamantly not in the public interest to grant a few corporations the privilege to broadcast their views and augment their voice to the American people at the expense of the many."

Kucinich focused attention on Clear Channel, a company with ties to the Bush Administration that now owns 1200 stations nationwide: "Clear Channel's national and dominant presence, a direct result of deregulation, threatens an imbalance in the public discourse -- an imbalance caused by the government granting one corporation the power to dominate the public airwaves, and the privilege to amplify its voice on public property. It is well documented that Clear Channel has removed on-air personalities from stations that it has bought, and replaced those local announcers with more centralized voices."

Please spread the word about the Kucinich campaign for peace, justice, national health insurance, sustainable development, equal rights and diverse, de-monopolized mass media. Despite the media mantra of 'longshot' and 'darkhorse,' the campaign is gaining ground as people learn that Kucinich has a history of winning longshot races.

What's the difference between Iraq and Uzbekistan? About 20 years, more or less.

Some 6,000 suspected extremists are incarcerated, and some are believed to have died over the past several years from prison disease and abuse. With few options for religious instruction, some young Muslims have turn to underground extremist Islamic movements. The police force and the intelligence service use torture as a routine investigation technique. -- from the US State Department web site's background note on Uzbekistan.

Who would possibly support such a government?

The US condemned this repression for many years. But since September 11 rewrote America's strategic interests in central Asia, the government of President Islam Karimov has become Washington's new best friend in the region.

The US is funding those it once condemned. Last year Washington gave Uzbekistan $500m (£300m) in aid. The police and intelligence services - which the state department's website says use "torture as a routine investigation technique" received $79m of this sum.

Mr Karimov was President Bush's guest in Washington in March last year. They signed a "declaration" which gave Uzbekistan security guarantees and promised to strengthen "the material and technical base of [their] law enforcement agencies".
-- from the Guardian.

And we've got this picture all ready for the media to ignore when the time comes for the "Battle of Uzbekistan:"

Rumsfeld and Uzbekistan's brutal dictator Karamov.

It's Baby Animal Day! Since I had been down to one cat since Goofy, my 16-year-old calico, died last October, I had been considering getting another cat. So yesterday I am at my sister's house playing cards when one of my nephew's friends stopped by with a kitten. Voila! Two cats again! Cute little grey kitten with a little white around the nose and eyes. My other cat wasn't very happy, but I think they'll eventually get along.

Then today as I was walking to lunch I saw two deer fawns resting in the lawn of the building where I work. They just watched me, didn't try to run at all, even though I walked within a few feet of them. Maybe I'll have pictures of the kitten and the fawns soon.

If only...

Auschwitz, the Gulag, Guantanamo Bay, Kunduz, Baghdad Airport. While trumpeting mass graves in Basra as a post-invasion excuse, the Bushies are busy filling mass graves of their own.

Deserter pays tribute to soldiers he got killed.
Notice that he now refers to it as the "Battle of Iraq:"
"Beyond the Tomb of the Unknowns, in Section 60 of Arlington Cemetery," Mr. Bush said, "we have laid to rest Americans who fell in the battle of Iraq."

Meanwhile, it's really ironic that the people who couldn't wait for UN inspectors to do their jobs are now asking for patience:

On "Good Morning America" on ABC-TV, General Myers said it was "just a matter of time" before weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq. The weapons were a stated reason that the United States invaded Iraq. None have been found.

General Myers said he knew that it would be "very, very, very tough" to find them, but that the United States was still gathering information from the leaders of the old government.

"We just need a little patience," he said.

The war may be "over," but the dying continues.

Sunday, May 25, 2003


The Bushies are considering "destabilizing" Iran's government based on the same sort of flimsy non-evidence they used against Iraq. There's an online poll at that link asking your opinion--tell them that two quagmires in the region is more than enough for now.

Activist Alert!

I write this blog for several reasons: to blow off steam, to provide focus for my newsreading, to inform, infuriate, and entertain. One reason I have is to try to amplify my voice. I can have some impact if I call Congress or write a letter to the editor. I can have a larger impact if I can get five or ten or fifty people to do the same. And right now there are two issues that require immediate action:
  1. FCC to rule on relaxing media ownership rules, meaning that the huge corporations which already own most of our media outlets (GE, AOL Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, Disney, Clear Channel) could buy up even more (possibly one another). This needs to be stopped! Go here to file public comments; you can also call the FCC, and it wouldn't hurt to call Congress either (800-839-5276).
  2. IRV-capable voting machines. This issue probably applies to most states, but it is critical in Michigan right now. The "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA) provides money for states to upgrade voting machines and other election equipment. New electronic voting machines can easily be made so they can handle instant runoff voting (IRV) and other voting methods which are more democratic than the simple winner-take-all method used in most US elections. Michigan's committee in charge of buying new machines is about to make critical decisions about their specifications. We need to make sure that the new machines are IRV-capable. Cyndy at MouseMusings has lots of details on the issue and what you can do to help. Go now! May 27 (Tuesday) is the cutoff day for public comment!

There goes the neighborhood: Dick Cheney's weblog.

(Yes, I know it's satire! I think.)

Meddling with Iran: The Bushies are apparently trying to figure out a way to foment another Iranian revolution. Rummy is trying to tie Tehran to al Qaeda. Iran is, of course, reviewing the lesson that Bush has provided through the other two members of his "axis of evil:" Iraq said it had no "weapons of mass destruction", and didn't, and had the crap bombed out of it; North Korea loudly proclaims its nuclear program, real or imagined, and nothing happens. Iran has learned that Bush, like any bully, won't take on anyone who has the slightest chance of fighting back.

Iran poses a dilemma for the Bushies: no single autocratic leader to demonize. The country is run by a combination of democratically-elected secular leaders and Islamic clerics. I get the feeling that Bush is hoping for a revolution to overthrow the existing government not because it is so bad, but because it isn't bad enough. Another Iranian revolution might generate a Saddam-type figure on whom the Bushies could focus hatred, eventually leading to Bush's next fix for his war addiction.

Other interesting points from the article. The bombings in Saudi Arabia, by all reports, indicated that al Qaeda is alive and well in that country. But, just as with 9/11, the Bushies are quick to try to deflect attention onto other countries, in this case Iran. Another point is that the Americans attacked in the Saudi bombings were people who trained the Saudi National Guard, a key element of repression in that highly repressive regime. Members of Saddam Hussein's regime who taught his security forces were targets for bombs during the war and are targets for arrest now. Why are people who kill Iraq's trainers called "liberators" while those who kill Saudi trainers are "terrorists?"

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday: I decided it was a good day to present the opposite viewpoint and write about all of the good things George W. Bush is doing. Mission Accomplished.