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, July 12, 2003

Bush lied, people died, he should be tried!

Cyndy at MouseMusings found some online petitions that you can "sign" to call for a thorough investigation into Bush's lies about Iraq's WMD's and ties to al Qaeda:

From the DNC:
From Dennis Kucinich:
From Howard Dean:
And from Tom DeLay:

Bush considers the matter closed. -- NY Times. No way, Jose! You lied, thousands died, you'll be fried!

And those sixteen words were just the tip of the iceberg. Regardless of how many of his lies Bush can blame on underlings, or the British, or Clinton, or FoxNews, the fact remains that almost none of what he said has been shown to be true. No weapons, no ties to al Qaeda. He said there were, he had people killed for it, he violated international law and the constitution, and he, horror of horrors, is the "man" in charge.

The matter is just finally getting opened. It won't be closed until we've had regime change in the US.

Jeez, I can't keep up with it all! But Atrios has an experienced team of bloggers chasing down all the ins and outs of the SOTU lies extravaganza. [Update: I decided my previous name was in bad taste.]

What a liar!
Q: When did you know that the reports about uranium coming out of Africa were bogus?

RUMSFELD: Well, within recent days, since the information started becoming available.

That the Niger uranium claims were fake was known publicly back on March 7, before the war started. Colin Powell acknowledged it. Ari Fleischer acknowledged it. That the Secretary of Defense was not aware of this at the time is simply not believable.

One other thing from that March 7 NY Times article that should be noted, since it relates directly to what I said in my previous post (below):

In addition to casting severe doubt on the reported Iraqi attempt to buy uranium in Niger, Dr. ElBaradei said that "there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment" of uranium into weapons-grade material. For months, American officials have cited Iraq's importation of these tubes as evidence that Mr. Hussein's scientists have been seeking to develop a nuclear capability.

The sentence immediately following the one about "uranium from Africa" in the State of the Union address is this:

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

As I said in that post, the SOTU would have been extremely short if every part of it had been subjected to the level of certainty that George Tenet says should be required for inclusion in a presidential speech.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Tenet takes the fall--sort of:
From a quick glance at the headlines on CNN, the NY Times and the Washington Post, you'd get the impression that CIA Director George Tenet has taken full responsibility for the false claims about Iraq getting uranium from Niger that were made in Bush's State of the Union address in January. This is based on the opening paragraph of Tenet's statement:

Legitimate questions have arisen about how remarks on alleged Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa made it into the President's State of the Union speech. Let me be clear about several things right up front. First, CIA approved the President's State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my Agency. And third, the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.

But if you read the whole statement, you'll see that the CIA is only to blame in a very minor way, and that at the obvious insistence of the White House:

Although the documents related to the alleged Niger-Iraqi uranium deal had not yet been determined to be forgeries, officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct – i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed.

If Bush thinks he's off the hook with this, I think he's wrong. So much of what was said in the State of the Union address and numerous other speeches was couched in similar CYA language, for example:

  • The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people.
  • The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.
  • From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.
  • Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.
How many of these claims rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches? If that standard were applied, it would have been a VERY short speech. I think it's possible that if Tenet is fired that he may make these points more clearly.

One other thing that Tenet makes quite clear without saying it directly: The CIA did not put those 16 words in the speech; they merely mistakenly signed off on them. Whoever wrote those words is at least as much to blame as the CIA. He points out several times in his statement that the evidence was considered dubious and that he never used it in any of his testimony to Congress or elsewhere.

From Daily Kos:

An adminstration so inept that is unable to live up to the duties of the Occupying Power in Iraq while now begging the Allies we so casually disdained in starting this war. Suddenly we now need old Europe to help us control the Iraqi beasties. They just won't have a nice, docile colony for us and seek to express themselves. It's time to bring back the days of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and disciplining the wog.

They were told this is what would happen. Only Ken Pollack, who people still, unaccountably cut slack for, said differently. Every other Iraq expert, every one, said this adventure would end badly. Anthony Cordesman, a former Army officer, said without planning for the peace, disaster would strike. Former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, a man who lost his leg in combat, was humiliated by Rummy and the PNAC gang for telling the truth.

Bush and his men are liars. Inept, bad liars. Men who told transparent lies. Who slandered others, from Scott Ritter to Hans Blix, because they did not share their world view and delivered what is apparently the truth.

But unlike blowjobs, or even Watergate, Bush's lies are far, far worse. Because he lied about war and 1250 families will live with that lie forever.

We need to have an investigation, find out who was responsible for it and fire them -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by Reuters today. Hey John! Read my post from earlier today to find out who's responsible.


Even more shocking than a Republican speaking out is this:

"These are troubling reports that need full and thorough investigation. We cannot and should not play fast and loose with our intelligence information, and however it happened we now know that the information in the State of the Union was false, and misled the American people," said Lieberman.

The information misled. It had help, Joe. But, that's a start! You can do it! Nine months too late, but better late than never.

Same old, same old...
U.S. Troops Wounded in Iraq, Bush Defends War.

From Dana Summers.

From R.J. Matson.

From Daryl Cagle.

Don't let them distract you!
The White House now claims that the CIA approved Bush's statement about uranium for Africa in the State of the Union address. CBS reports that since British intelligence reported the claim, and since Bush said "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" in the SOTU, that it was technically not a lie, even though the CIA had told him that the British intelligence was wrong. Rumsfeld contends that the uranium from Africa was just "one scrap" of a larger picture.

We should probably ignore the quibbling. Many of Bush's and others' speeches were laced with qualifiers to keep the statements from being out-and-out lies. But the message was clear, to Congress, the UN, and the world: The reason for going to war was that Iraq had WMD's that posed a significant and immediate threat to the US and other countries. This has now been proven to be false--no WMD's were used, none have been found. I doubt if the CIA gave Bush false information to the extent that Rumsfeld seems to imply, but even if they did, the CIA works for Bush. Two-hundred plus and counting US soldiers dead. Over 1000 wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded. $70 Billion spent so far, increasing at $4 billion per month. Bush is the guy in charge. It's his fault.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

I'm not sorry, Mr. Powell, but you have absolutely no credibility whatsoever:
"There was no effort or attempt on the part of the president or anyone else in the administration to mislead or deceive the American people," Powell said Thursday from South Africa. "The president was presenting what seemed to be a reasonable statement at that time." -- from CNN.

I'm sorry Mr. Kerry, but you have only a tiny bit more credibility than Bush:
Kerry and many other Democratic presidential contenders supported giving Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq. Kerry said Thursday that decision was "100 percent right" because it gave the United States additional leverage in the United Nations. -- CNN

The only plausible defense for Kerry, Edwards and Gephardt of their votes for the war resolution last October is to say that they were deceived by the administration. (Lieberman's defense is "I'm George Bush with a D-CT after my name.") Kerry certainly doesn't offer much hope for international cooperation if he thinks he needs to give a war-happy moron authorization to invade a largely defenseless country in order to gain "additional leverage" on an organization located in our country and in which we can veto any meaningful action (and where we were spying on other countries' representatives just a few months ago). Just stationing a few warships in the East River with their guns pointed at UN headquarters would have been a lot cheaper, and probably more legal. There were plenty of indications last year that the Bushies were, at the very least, stretching the truth to the breaking point to get their war. Kerry and the others should, at the very least, have insisted on a thorough investigation of all the claims of WMD's before their authorization led to thousands of Iraqis being killed, over 200 Americans being killed, and over 1000 being wounded.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Mrs. Bush and the other twin were torturing donkeys.

Bring It On!
The report will show that top Bush administration officials were warned in the summer of 2001 that the al Qaeda terrorist network had plans to hijack aircraft and launch a "spectacular attack.'' -- from the Miami Herald.

A long-awaited final report on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be released in the next two weeks, containing new information about U.S. government mistakes and Saudi financing of terrorists.

Former Rep. Tim Roemer, who served on the House Intelligence Committee and who has read the report, said it will be ''highly explosive'' when it becomes public.

Another reminder that W is just the latest in a long line of Bush criminals:
This article suggests that a spy chaser brought out of retirement at the Bushies' request "resigned" on Sunday because he was getting too close to evidence of connections between George H.W. Poppy Read My Lips Bush and boogeymen Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. I'd say this relates somehow to what I posted last week, which quotes an article which suggested that

George W. Bush expressed his concern to Blair who agreed that Saddam Hussein, if left in power, and alive, is in a position to blackmail the Bush Family.....

Admittedly, neither source is guaranteed to have any more credibility than Capitol Hill Blue or the NY Times, but they hint at the possibility that the second Gulf War was not so much finishing what Poppy started as it was burying the evidence of Poppy's crimes. And it certainly can't be mentioned often enough that the first Gulf War was also based on fabricated evidence and lies (babies thrown from incubators and 250,000 Iraqi troops on the Saudi border being the best known lies). Between Prescott's funding of Hitler, Neil's theft of S&L money, Jeb's theft of the 2000 election, and of course the numerous crimes of the two Georges, the Bushes will eventually be remembered as America's premier crime family.

Why doesn't this get its own headline?
When the war began in March, Iraq posed no threat to the United States or to its neighbors, a former senior State Department intelligence official said Wednesday.

Its missiles could not reach Israel, Saudi Arabia or Iran, said Greg Thielmann, who held a high post in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

But Thielmann, one of four critics at a session held by the private Arms Control Association, said the Bush administration had formed a "faith-based'' policy on Iraq and took the approach that "we know the answers; give us the intelligence to support those answers.''

Thielmann said the administration had distorted intelligence to fit its policy purposes. He said Iraq had no active nuclear weapons program and that while CIA Director George Tenet told Congress Iraq had Scud missiles, the intelligence finding actually was that the missiles could not be accounted for.

These paragraphs were buried, along with a bunch of other stuff deserving of major headlines, in a NY Times article with the headline Bush Says US Must "Remain Tough".

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Capitol Hill Blue retracts the story I reported in my Smoking Gun post below, saying that the supposed CIA advisor Terrance Wilkinson is a fraud. The retraction article is here.

Tom Tomorrow says he thought the whole report smelled bad. Maybe, but I'd say the retraction smells a little fishy, too. But I'm willing to concede that maybe no one named Terrance Wilkinson was at the White House to report this:

"He said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country."

There's plenty of evidence for impeachment on the web site.

Kucinich speaks out in Congress

From the Kucinich campaign web site:
For the second day in a row, Rep. Kucinich took to the House Floor to call for cutting wasteful military spending to fund domestic programs.

Yesterday, in debate on the $368 billion Defense Department Appropriations Bill, he singled out the F22 fighter plane, the V22 Ospry and other unnecessary weapons systems. Today, in a debate on an education bill, he continued to critique Pentagon waste and misplaced priorities:

"We will pass this bill today, the Ready to Teach Act, and in doing so, we all agree that the country needs the federal government to spend $300 million on teacher preparation and retention. But in fact, we won't spend that much on teacher preparation and retention. The President has asked that we spend only $90 million, or 30 percent of what we today all agree is necessary. Why?

"Yesterday we passed a Defense spending bill that spends $8.9 billion on the National Missile Defense system that doesn't work, and today we will pass an education bill that, if fully funded, would work. But we won't fully fund it.

"There is money for education. We could re-allocate the $8.9 billion for missile defense and put it into education. We'd have money to hire and train thousands more qualified teachers. We'd have money to buy 9 million new computers for our children and schools. We'd have the money
to fully fund and expand the Head Start program, DEA, and The No Child Left Behind Act.

"National Missile Defense doesn't work. Teachers do. They work for our children, they work for America, and they work for our future."

Kucinich also spoke about the lies the administration used to go to war:

"More attention needs to be paid to false and misleading statements that preceded the vote on the Iraq Resolution in this House. Two days before the vote, on October 8, 2002, speaking in Cincinnati, the President spoke of his determination to attack Iraq: 'Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - - the smoking gun - - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud'.

"This chilling, apocalyptic statement was not based on clear evidence of peril, but was in fact based on falsehoods, hidden from public view by the office of the Vice President.

"Did the Vice President's office knowingly conceal information its own representative obtained that Iraq was in fact not attempting to purchase nuclear materials from Niger? Was the White House in possession of this same information prior to the President giving his shocking declaration in Cincinnati?

"There is no question that the President's statements we now know were false and misleading influenced the debate in this House and the decision to go to war. It is imperative we have open, public hearings to wash this stain from our national reputation."

Nice shot, there, DK! "Stain!" If one president can be impeached for staining a dress, surely another one can be impeached for staining our national reputation.

How's this for a theory. It may not be original, but I don't recall reading it anywhere, at least recently.

Here's the theory: The Bushies, of course, wanted to invade Iraq. That was their given. But last summer they weren't sure if Iraq had WMD's or not and were afraid that those weapons, if they existed, might make invasion and taking over the oil wells too difficult and expensive. So they had to find a way to find out for sure if the weapons were actually there, and the easiest way to do that was through UN inspectors. But to get Saddam to let inspectors back in after they had spied on him in the '90's, it was necessary to threaten him in a big way. So the administration cranked up the WMD talk, sent lots of troops to Kuwait, and conned Congress into approving a pre-emptive war. This forced the hand of the UN, who passed 1441 (which BTW does not say what the Bushies always say it said). The Bushies made it look like they thought that Saddam would refuse to let inspectors back in, but were secretly relieved when he did (in this theory). Despite what they said about hiding stuff in the desert and mobile labs, they knew that any serious WMD's had to be in a limited number of places. They told the UN inspectors to look there; they did, found nothing, and the "coalition" invaded, secure in the knowledge that they wouldn't face any significant WMD threat.

I'm not sure I believe it myself, but I think it's a plausible theory given what we know now. I've read some articles that said that February or March was the earliest that the invasion force could be ready, so Bush/Powell played the UN game in order to get a "fig leaf" of international approval for their oil grab. But given their disdain for the UN and diplomacy in general, I think it is at least as likely that they played the UN game precisely for the purpose of getting inspectors on the ground to verify what they suspected--that Iraq DID NOT have WMD's. And remember, before the war Bush kept insisting on something that now appears to have been impossible: that Saddam disarm. Bush did not insist that inspectors be given even greater access to even more sites, and I think the complaints about Iraqi scientists not being free to tell the truth about weapons programs was just the Bushies pretending that they believed that WMD's existed, when they were more sure every day that they did not.

Senegalese herded to stadium before Bush's slavery speech:
"We were shut up like sheep," said 15-year-old Mamadou.

Many residents compared Bush's hour-long visit unfavorably to the island tour by former President Bill Clinton in 1998.

"When Clinton came, he shook hands, people danced," said former Mayor Urbain Alexandre Diagne.
-- Reuters.

Revisionist Historian:
"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit" of weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light -- through the prism of our experience on 9-11." -- Washington Post.

There's no doubt in his mind...
PRESIDENT BUSH: The first question is, look, there is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace. And there's no doubt in my mind that the United States, along with allies and friends, did the right thing in removing him from power. And there's no doubt in my mind, when it's all said and done, the facts will show the world the truth. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind. And so there's going to be a lot of attempts to try to rewrite history, and I can understand that. But I am absolutely confident in the decision I made.

Q Do you still believe they were trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa?


Q No, were they? The statement you made --

PRESIDENT BUSH: One thing is for certain, he's not trying to buy anything right now. If he's alive, he's on the run. And that's to the benefit of the Iraqi people. But, look, I am confident that Saddam Hussein had a weapons of mass destruction program. In 1991, I will remind you, we underestimated how close he was to having a nuclear weapon. Imagine a world in which this tyrant had a nuclear weapon. In 1998, my predecessor raided Iraq, based upon the very same intelligence. And in 2003, after the world had demanded he disarm, we decided to disarm him. And I'm convinced the world is a much more peaceful and secure place as a result of the actions.
from the White House web site.

There's no doubt in his mind--there never is. That's the problem.

And now Bush is using Clinton's actions to defend himself. I've been digging through Google trying to find a "wag the dog" comment from Governor George W. Bush, ca. 1998, without luck, so far (please send me a link if you find it--but don't fabricate anything; I am not Dick Cheney!). I did, however, find a very interesting article from July 2000. It has a lot to say about Scott Ritter, the former UN inspector (and former marine and Bush voter) who was saying a year ago that Iraq couldn't possibly have any WMD's:

Ritter, previously demonized by the Iraqis as American arrogance incarnate – a man who wanted to "kick down doors" to get the goods on Iraq's alleged weapons stockpile – has done a complete about-face since stepping down from his official duties. Here is a man who was at the very core of the American effort to disarm Saddam Hussein saying that it is time to not only lift the sanctions, but to rethink our entire policy toward Iraq's disarmament, and his recent article in Arms Control Today has caused a sensation. Ritter exposes how the US-British insistence on Iraq's complete and utter prostration has led, ironically, to a period of completely unmonitored Iraqi rearmament – setting up Saddam for another round of attacks. This is the self-perpetuating fraud at the very heart of the US-British policy: Iraq is a convenient punching bag, which is being pummeled more or less constantly, the punches coming faster and harder as Election Day 2000 approaches. As Ritter put it to the Independent:

"The ironic thing is that the longer the inspectors stay away from Iraq, the more time the hardliners there have to rebuild their weaponry. The intelligence services of the US, Britain and Israel realise, but there is nothing they can do while the US Administration wants to keep Iraq as the whipping boy they can
wheel out at times of domestic difficulties."
Ritter makes a convincing and technically detailed argument that Iraqi weapons facilities have not only been largely destroyed but are beyond the possibility of regeneration any time in the foreseeable future. In the face of Ritter's inside knowledge of the subject, combined with a heroic determination to get the truth out, the US State Department is stepping up its propaganda campaign, whipping up a war scare over renewed accusations of Iraqi rearmament. While not disputing the perfect legality of Iraq testing short-range missiles – allowed under the terms of the UN's disarmament mandate – Washington clouds the issue with murky accusations about possible military applications of ordinary materials that have civilian uses. As long as the Americans reserve the unilateral right to invade Iraqi territory at will, and insist on utterly destroying not only Saddam but a whole generation of Iraqis who are being devastated by the murderous sanctions, then no arms inspection regime is possible. Ritter and his Unscom colleagues succeeded in defusing the threat of another war in Iraq as long as they had access – but American and British arrogance has prevented any resumption of the process begun by Ritter. This enables the US to maintain a cloud of mystery and suspicion over Iraq as a potential repository of biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons. As a recent wire story put it: "The State Department . . . said that in the absence of United Nations inspectors on the ground in Iraq, uncertainties about the significance of these activities will persist," said the US State Department in a written response to a New York Times report about Iraqi rearmament. "As time passes our concerns will increase."
(interesting article">entire article; the author appears to be a Buchananite anti-war type.)

Remember, this is from July 2000. So Ritter was discrediting Clinton's "evidence" that was used to justify the Desert Fox bombings--and Bush, in desperation, is now grasping at Clinton's illegal bombing as justification for his illegal war.

Boy, I REALLY want to find a Governor G. W. Bush "wag the dog" quote from '98! Please send the link to if you find one!

Smoking Gun


Capitol Hill Blue has retracted the article quoted here, saying that there is no CIA analyst named Terrance J. Wilkinson, so I've posted my own retraction here and above. I've changed the font color of the now discredited material to red so you'll still know what it said, but know that it seems to be as dodgy as Tony Blair's dossier.

An intelligence consultant who was present at two White House briefings where the uranium report was discussed confirmed that the President was told the intelligence was questionable and that his national security advisors urged him not to include the claim in his State of the Union address.

"The report had already been discredited," said Terrance J. Wilkinson, a CIA advisor present at two White House briefings. "This point was clearly made when the President was in the room during at least two of the briefings."

Bush's response was anger, Wilkinson said.

"He said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country."
-- Capitol Hill Blue.

Meanwhile, the hammer continues to see everything as a nail:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) also defended Bush's approach, telling reporters that it is "very easy to pick one little flaw here and one little flaw there." He defended the U.S.-led war against Iraq as "morally sound, and it is not just because somebody forged or made a mistake. . . . The Democrats can try all they want to undermine that, but the American people understand it and they support it." -- Washington Post.

DeLay certainly should know how easy it is, having picked on a little flaw here and a little flaw there to impeach Clinton for a much lesser crime. Fortunately, a few Democrats are finally finding out how easy it is--especially when the Liar in Chief gives them so much to work with:

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) called it a "very important admission," adding, "This ought to be reviewed very carefully. It ought to be the subject of careful scrutiny as well as some hearings."

The senior Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), said the administration's admission was not a revelation. "The whole world knew it was a fraud," Rockefeller said, adding that the current intelligence committee inquiry should determine how it got into the Bush speech. "Who decided this was something they could work with?" Rockefeller asked.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, yesterday questioned why, as late as the president's Jan. 28 speech, "policymakers were still using information which the intelligence community knew was almost certainly false."
Several candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination spoke out yesterday. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said Bush's "factual lapse" cannot be easily dismissed "as an intelligence failure." He said the president "has a pattern of using excessive language in his speeches and off-the-cuff remarks" which "represents a failure of presidential leadership."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said the administration "doesn't get honesty points for belatedly admitting what has been apparent to the world for some time -- that emphatic statements made on Iraq were inaccurate."

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), former chairman of the intelligence panel, said, "George Bush's credibility is increasingly in doubt."

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) expanded the credibility problem to the administration: "The White House's admission that it cited false information to set this country on the path toward war erodes the credibility of the administration."

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean said, "The credibility of the U.S. is a precious commodity. We should all be deeply dismayed that our nation was taken to war and our reputation in the world forever tainted by what appears to be the deliberate effort of this administration to mislead the American people, Congress and the United Nations."

What did he know? That he had no evidence of WMD's. When did he know it? Before the state of the union address to Congress and the American public in which he knowingly cited false information. Before the war started. Case Closed. Impeach Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld now!

(I'd love to include Ashcroft, too, but I can't see an easy way to link him to the lying-about-WMD's issue. We'll let Bush's successor replace Ashcroft.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Man-on-dog Logic:
"Obviously, when you use foreign intelligence, you — we don't have necessarily as much confidence or as much reliability as you do your own," said Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate.

"It has since turned out to be, at least according to the reports that have been just released, not true," he added. "The president stepped forward and said so. I think that's all you can expect."
-- NY Times.

Okay, follow along with me, Senator Sanitarium, if you can (a big if): The foreign intelligence said that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium from Niger. Our own CIA and DIA intelligence indicated that this was likely false. The CIA said that Iraq was highly unlikely to use WMD's, if it had them, unless attacked. The CIA also said there was no evidence of Iraq-al Qaeda ties. So, if it is obvious to you that foreign intelligence is more suspect than our own, it should also be obvious that we should expect the president to believe it over the foreign crap. And since the domestic intelligence said that Iraq posed little threat and was not tied to 9-11, it should be obvious that Bush lied to go to war. It should be obvious that he should not only be impeached, but tried for murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Obviously.

Amazing! Does this sound familiar?

The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks said today that its work was being hampered by the failure of executive branch agencies, especially the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to respond quickly to requests for documents and testimony.

The panel also said the failure of the Bush administration to allow officials to be interviewed without the presence of government colleagues could impede its investigation, with the commission's chairman suggesting today that the situation amounted to "intimidation" of the witnesses.
At a news conference, Mr. Kean described the presence of "minders" at the interviews as a form of intimidation. "I think the commission feels unanimously that it's some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency," he said. "You might get less testimony than you would."

"We would rather interview these people without minders or without agency people there," he said.
-- NY Times.

This is what the Bushies were accusing Saddam Hussein of when they were claiming that Iraqi scientists couldn't tell the UN inspectors where the supposed WMD's were--Iraqi minders intimidated them into silence.

"The inspectors are there to verify whether or not he is disarming. You hear these reports about Iraqi scientists being interviewed, but there's a minder in the room," Bush told reporters during a tour of his Texas ranch. -- Reuters, January 3, 2003.

AP report on Ann Arbor's anti-Patriot Act resolution passed last night.

Does this seem really stupid to you?

The United States offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who kills a coalition soldier or Iraqi policeman.

You've got a country filled with angry people without any money, and you start offering $2500 rewards. And what has to happen before anyone gets a reward? A soldier or cop has to get killed. If more soldiers get killed, more reward money gets paid. Maybe some of it will go to innocent witnesses who actually saw it happen, but most of it will probably go to people who framed their enemies, or in some other way be a reward for getting the soldier killed. The only way to prevent abuse of such a system would be through careful, detailed police work to verify that the accused was actually the killer and that the witness was not involved in any way. How are US soldiers, most of whom are not even trained as MP's, much less homicide detectives, supposed to do this in a hostile city where they don't speak the language and no one likes them?

If it weren't for insane, ridiculous stuff, the Bushies wouldn't be doing anything.

Bush may be finished, and that may not be good news?

A very interesting article from From the Wilderness suggests that the neocons are just pawns in a larger chess game, and their incompetence will soon lead to their replacement.

Just as with Watergate, every time the administration wiggles now, it will only be drawing the noose tighter. And this is what the "Board of Directors" intends. The Bush administration will be controlled as it is being eased out. Business and finance cannot afford any more militarism and this is all that the Neocons know.

The biggest challenge for those who run the country---who select, remove and replace presidents---will be to oust the Bush administration and yet keep the darkest secrets of 9/11 from being publicly acknowledged.

Thanks to Cyndy for the link.

[Sorry--Slate seems to be having trouble, and the cartoons below have disappeared, hopefully only temporarily. They are really good cartoons, so please check back!]

All Aboard! You too can run a state that's broker than any state's ever been before!
According to Polizeros, it only takes $3500 and 65 signatures to get on the ballot for governor of California if Gray Davis gets recalled. Maybe my brother or niece wants to run--I'll help finance them!

From Drew Sheneman.

From John Trever.

From Jeff Danziger.

From Pat Bagley.

Overturn the FCC ruling! While the Senate Commerce Committee overwhelmingly voted to overturn the FCC's terrible June 2 ruling which would allow for even further media consolidation, it still has to be overturned by the whole Senate and the House. This means that we all need to contact our Congressional representatives right away! This web site tells you who to call and what to say (I'll tell you that you can save long-distance charges by calling the Capitol switchboard at 800-839-5276 and asking for your senator/rep by name). Thanks to Lisa at Ruminate This for staying on top of this issue.

The White House admitted yesterday that Bush's statement in his state of the union address about Iraq trying to obtain uranium from Africa was based on incomplete and inaccurate information. According to the NY Times, the White House issued a statement in addition to Ari's incomprehensible triple talk.

CNN mentions this story, but considers it less important than the unsuccessful surgery to separate Iranian twins. A lot more Iranians, and Americans, are in danger if the media doesn't start making Bush's lies the main issue.

Ann Arbor is SOOOO cool!

The photo was taken during the Fourth of July parade by Thomas Kaeding, who has lots of good pictures here.

Ari Admits Bush Lied! Well, I think that's what he did. You read it! If it weren't about the president lying to start a war which is killing thousands (no past tense needed, unfortunately), it would be hilarious. I can certainly understand why Ari the Liar is quitting. Of course, since Ari is a liar, this may be the best evidence so far that Bush told the truth about something.

Ann Arbor does it again!
On a 9-2 vote, Ann Arbor City Council passed, without changes, the Resolution to Protest the Eroding of Civil Liberties Under the USA PATRIOT Act and Related Federal Orders Since 9/11/01.

With the passage of this resolution, Ann Arbor becomes the 137th city in the U.S. to go on record against the post 9/11 civil liberties assault.
-- from the ACLU of Washtenaw County.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I Won't Leave You Behind...Keeping You Down is Another Story

Actually, I get nervous every time W visits a school.

A tasteless tribute to Buddy Ebsen, who died on Sunday:

Now let me tell a story ‘bout a man named Jeb
A rich family guv’ner couldn’t keep his girl off meds
But then one day while disenfranchising blacks
He got an urgent call from Republican hacks

Karl that is…bad man…Dubya’s brain

Well the first thing you know old Jeb is on the phone
Calling Katherine Harris (whom we think he used to bone)
He says “Hey Kathy, can you do this thing for me?
See brother must have Florida to get the pres’dency!"

Hanging chads…no recounts

So Katherine did her best to muddle up the way
Told all the recounters that "the deadline's yesterday"
So Bush the usurper triumphed from insanity
And posed a mortal threat to all humanity.

Thanks Jeb...Thanks a lot.

[Sorry, Buddy. Hope you've got a nice seat by the great ceeement pond in the sky.]

Nukes as a way of destroying chemical and biological weapons: In their own words--
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says nuclear weapons could be crucial tools for destroying chemical and biological weapons stocks without causing wider harm.

"In terms of anthrax, it's said that gamma rays can ... destroy the anthrax spores, which is something we need to look at," Myers told reporters at the Pentagon on May 20. "And in chemical weapons, of course, the heat (of a nuclear blast) can destroy the chemical compounds and make them not develop that plume that conventional weapons might do, that would then drift and perhaps bring others in harm's way."
-- from a USA Today article on the Bushies' fascination with noocular weapons.

Maybe napalm could be used to put out fires, too? Sulfuric acid makes a wonderful bath soap.

Read the post and comments at Atrios on this.

Nixon Supports Bush. William Safire has a chat with his still-dead former boss. Bizarre, to say the least. Safire's one of the few right-wing columnists that I read, in part because of his great anti-Ashcroft, pro-civil-rights columns, and in part because he can write stuff that is so bizarre. Today's column fits in the bizarre category.


The pictures are from a NY Times article about THREE MORE US SOLDIERS being killed in Iraq.

Screw the past tense: Bush is lying, people are dying.

[Update] Can you imagine what that soldier frisking the seven-year-old is thinking? Maybe "Is this all I can be?" I don't blame the soldier, he's following orders, and some of his comrades have just been killed. But frisking kids in 115-degree heat to protect yourself because you're in a place you have no business being--it doesn't get much worse than that. Remember those Army ads: "We frisk more kids before 9 am than most people do all day?" Me either.

Hey! George W. Bush turned 57 yesterday, and I forgot to wish him a happy birthday.

As it should be. Have a pretzel, George.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Troop Morale Hits Rock Bottom -- Christian Science Monitor.

The open-ended deployments in Iraq are lowering morale among some ground troops, who say constantly shifting time tables are reducing confidence in their leadership. "The way we have been treated and the continuous lies told to our families back home has devastated us all," a soldier in Iraq wrote in a letter to Congress.

Get those cars off the road! Stupid motorist injures 14 cyclists. Aargh!

Bush may be called to testify by 9/11 commission. -- It's about Time!

Pick your ideal president! This online poll allows you to give your opinions on various issues, and then tell you which candidate best represents those positions. I picked the more inclusive option which allowed for people who haven't entered the race to be included. No surprise to me that Dennis Kucinich came out on top, although I am surprised that Lieberman scored higher than Gephardt or Edwards, or that George W. Bush scored higher than John McCain (or anyone at all, for that matter). Here are my results:

1. Kucinich, Cong. Dennis, OH - Democrat (100%)

2. Green Party Candidate (92%)

3. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (70%)

4. Leahy, Patrick Senator, Vermont - Democrat (65%)

5. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (65%)

6. Jackson, Cong. Jesse Jr., IL - Democrat (63%)

7. Socialist Candidate (63%)

8. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (61%)

9. Lieberman Senator Joe CT - Democrat (58%)

10. Feingold, Senator Russ, WI - Democrat (58%)

11. Gephardt, Cong. Dick, MO - Democrat (58%)

12. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (57%)

13. Biden, Senator Joe, DE - Democrat (54%)

14. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol IL - Democrat (53%)

15. Graham, Senator Bob, FL - Democrat (43%)

16. Clark, Retired Army General Wesley K "Wes" Arkansas - Democrat (42%)

17. Feinstein, Senator Dianne, CA - Democrat (42%)

18. Kaptur, Cong. Marcy, OH - Democrat (42%)

19. Libertarian Candidate (23%)

20. Bradley, Former Senator Bill NJ - Democrat (23%)

21. Bush, George W. - US President (13%)

22. Hagelin, John - Natural Law (10%)

23. Buchanan, Patrick J. - Reform/Republican (8%)

24. McCain, Senator John, AZ- Republican (7%)

25. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (2%)

26. Vilsack, Governor. Tom IA - Democrat (-4%)

27. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (-9%)

Bushies Lied, and They Knew It:
Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. -- Joseph C. Wilson 4th, career US diplomat, from an op-ed in this morning's NY Times. More...

The next morning, I met with Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick at the embassy. For reasons that are understandable, the embassy staff has always kept a close eye on Niger's uranium business. I was not surprised, then, when the ambassador told me that she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq — and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington. Nevertheless, she and I agreed that my time would be best spent interviewing people who had been in government when the deal supposedly took place, which was before her arrival.

I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.

Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
The question now is how that answer was or was not used by our political leadership. If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why). If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses. (It's worth remembering that in his March "Meet the Press" appearance, Mr. Cheney said that Saddam Hussein was "trying once again to produce nuclear weapons.") At a minimum, Congress, which authorized the use of military force at the president's behest, should want to know if the assertions about Iraq were warranted.
America's foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor "revisionist history," as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security. More than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already. We have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons.