Bob's Links and Rants
Saturday, October 11, 2003
You go, Hugo!
Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez says that Columbus shouldn't be honored. If you've ever read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, you'll know he's right. CNN has an online poll on the issue.
Two Civilized Men Among the Barbarians

Measured by the most minimal standards of the modern, industrial world, only two of ten Democratic candidates for President passed civilized muster at the September 25 debate in New York City: Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rev. Al Sharpton. The rest of the field, to varying degrees, fail to even comprehend modern assumptions of what it is to be human, living among other humans.

Read the whole thing!

Friday, October 10, 2003
Arnold's Plan: Get the rest of us to pay
The Republican said he told Bush he needs the federal government "to come in and really help us straighten out California."

"Alone we can't do it," Schwarzenegger said. "We need the help of the federal government."

Fox News to cover next Democratic debate
on October 26 in Detroit, whose cable system doesn't carry Fox News. This will be the second debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and shown on Fox News. As Molly Ivins said, it's a season of irony.
Aren't there enough crazy ideas floating around these days that need to be shot down...
without bringing up the idea of immigrants being eligible to run for president? The Washington Post doesn't think so. In theory, some of the arguments make sense. But that Arnold Gropengrabber should be the reason for all this new interest in this 214-year-old topic is bizarre. Are they worried that if our candidate pool is restricted to natural US citizens that it will be impossible to come up with a worse president than the one we currently have?

Here's a deal I'll offer these nutcases: You convince Arnold to run against Bush for the Republican nomination in 2004, and I'll support your amendment. Because NOBODY is worse than Bush.
Fearmaster Cheney

From CNN, who has made Useless Dick, the Veep from the Deep, the main story on its web site for his "single day of horror" speech. And that's why I have bestowed on him a third nickname: Fearmaster Cheney.

I wonder if aWol has a nickname for Fearmaster Cheney. Dickey Boy? My angry little Dick? The lump in my undisclosed location? The sneer for my smirk?

But seriously, folks, this is real 1984 stuff. When things look bad politically, just ratchet up the fear. And I don't doubt that Cheney is afraid--if it ever really sinks in with the public that the whole Iraq war really was a fraud, FC's Halliburton profits may suffer. That's why he continues to babble about mushroom clouds and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Fearmaster Cheney, aka Useless Dick, aka the Veep from the Deep, is a VERY BAD MAN. He probably even resorts to childish namecalling from time to time.
Irony Abounds
A great column by Molly Ivins.


All those folks who had conniption fits over Bill Clinton's affair are now pooh-poohing Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual misconduct -- and vice versa. The right-wingers who are always griping about Hollywood stars who express political opinions -- "Shut Up and Sing" -- suddenly find an actor perfectly fit for high political office based on his experience as The Terminator.

Professional patriots who would have been screaming with horror had the Clinton White House ever leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent now struggle to justify or minimize such a thing.

President Bush has spent $300 million trying to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and come up with zip, so now he wants to spend $600 million more. And let's mention the president's interesting theory that NOT finding any weapons of mass destruction means the Iraq war was fully justified.

I've got to get out more!
Out of the limited view of the US media, that is. Check out some of the headlines from the BBC:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read these articles! You'll know I'm done if you see longer posts about them above this one.
NY Times Columnists Deliver a Good Double-Whammy to the Bushies
Bob Herbert: Selling a misguided war is a lot like selling cigarettes. You can never tell the tragic truth about your product.

Paul Krugman: Still, some would say that criticism should focus only on Mr. Bush's policies, not on his person. But no administration in memory has made paeans to the president's character his "honor and integrity" so central to its political strategy. Nor has any previous administration been so determined to portray the president as a hero, going so far as to pose him in line with the heads on Mount Rushmore, or arrange that landing on the aircraft carrier. Surely, then, Mr. Bush's critics have the right to point out that the life story of the man inside the flight suit isn't particularly heroic that he has never taken a risk or made a sacrifice for the sake of his country, and that his business career is a story of murky deals and insider privilege.

In the months after 9/11, a shocked nation wanted to believe the best of its leader, and Mr. Bush was treated with reverence. But he abused the trust placed in him, pushing a partisan agenda that has left the nation weakened and divided. Yes, I know that's a rude thing to say. But it's also the truth.

Get back in your hole, Useless Dick!
The Veep from the Deep spoke to the Heritage Foundation today. Like Rice and Bush, he seems also not to have paid any attention to David Kay's report that Iraq had NOTHING with which to threaten us.

"We could not accept the grave danger of Saddam Hussein and his allies turning weapons of mass destruction against us or our friends and allies," Cheney told the conservative Heritage Foundation on Friday.

Cheney struck back at criticism of the Iraq war that has built over the months since Bush declared major combat over on May 1. His speech picked up where President Bush left off a day earlier, when the president told listeners in Portsmouth, N.H., "The challenges we face today cannot be met with timid actions or bitter words."

The vice president said, "The ultimate nightmare could bring devastation to our country on as scale we have never experienced."

"Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands in a single day of war," Cheney said.

"Remember what we saw on the morning of 9-11. And knowing the nature of these enemies, we have as clear a responsibility as could ever fall to government," Cheney said. "We must do everything in our power to keep terrorists from ever acquiring weapons of mass destruction."

Attacking a country which doesn't have any WMD's does this how? We've got to do everything in our power to get these maniacs out of office.
Two more soldiers dead, four more wounded
Debate Review
I missed last night's Democratic debate, but I'm digging through the transcript now. The official spin seems to be that the other eight candidates ganged up on Clark, especially over his supposed statement that he would have voted for the Iraq war resolution last year. Clark answered this, as best as I can read it, by saying he was asked a hypothetical question: "Would you have voted for a resolution asking Bush to go to the UN?" Here's Clark's line from the debate:

CLARK: I had a discussion with a newspaper reporter that -- when I said what I was trying to say, I took an answer. The answer is very clear. The answer is, I would have voted for a resolution that took the problem to the United Nations. I would not have voted for a resolution that would have taken us to war. It's that simple.

I'll try to track that down. Surely he deserves a pass on this one if his supposed support was for a different hypothetical resolution than the one that actually passed in Congress.

Meanwhile, Kerry seems to be trying to run against Democrats who didn't take a strong stance against Bush. Like himself, for instance:

I think there has been a problem in the last election certainly. And part of it was not of the making of the party. It was the cleverness of the Republican administration and Karl Rove in exploiting national security. They brought the Iraq issue in September for a purpose. Andrew Card said you don't introduce a new product in August. And they introduced their product, and they wiped other choices off the stage. But that's one of the reasons why it's so important to have a nominee of our party who will have the ability to stand toe to toe with them.

Kerry is truly despicable. Those choices were wiped off the stage because wimpy Democrats like Kerry and Tom Daschle refused to take a stand against Bush's new product. I'm not a Dean fan, but if it comes down to Dean versus Kerry, the doctor will definitely be in with me.

Okay, Edwards is losing me, too. I"ve really liked him in the other debates, but here's his response to criticism from Kucinich and Dean of those, including Edwards, who voted for the war:

I disagree so strongly with what he just said. I have stood up to this president over and over and over, including back in 2001 when some on this stage had hope for President Bush. I did not have hope for President Bush.

How did you vote on the war, Senator? The Patriot Act? Get out of here.

Well, I finished reading the transcript. It seems as though Clark, Kerry and Lieberman got the most time to talk, while Kucinich, Sharpton and Gephardt got the least. CNN seems to have done a much worse job of balancing the candidates' time than did previous debate hosts. The debate didn't seem to be nearly as delightful a Bush-bash as the one last month.

From Ted Rall.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Movin' On...
I was one of maybe 40 people who showed up at Senator Carl Levin's office in Detroit today to protest aWol's insane request for four-score-and-seven BILLION dollars to flush down the Iraqi toilet, aka Halliburton and friends. We had a good chat with the staff woman who welcomed us. Some there complained about the $20 billion supposed going to rebuild Iraq; I said that I had a lot bigger problem with the $67 billion for maintaining the occupation. If your kid broke into a bank and was caught in a shootout with the guards, would you send in more ammunition? If you are decent and honest, you'd say that he has no right to be there and do everything you could to get him out before he got killed.

Anyway, I hope people showed up at the offices of all 100 senators, especially those of war hawks like Trent Lott, Orrin Hatch, Tom Daschle, and Hillary Clinton. These people were accessories to the crime because they voted to give Bush the go ahead on the war one year ago. Levin and our other senator, Debbie Stabenow, voted against that, and we are grateful. We told Levin's staffer that we were there to support and encourage, not complain.
What are the odds?
President's bid to rally public happens to fall on a day of intense violence. -- Washington Post (actually from a teaser for that article on the main web page).

Quote du jour
Why do they hate us so much? Why do they hate us so much? Dennis Miller. -- Elton John, responding to the obnoxious former comedian's tasteless tirade at Andre Agassi's benefit for children.

Miller ranted at the Democratic presidential candidates, those who didn't support the war in Iraq and the French. "I would call the French scumbags but that would be a disservice to bags filled with scum," he said.

The first lady obviously disagrees with you, Denny, you unfunny twit:

Ted Rall writes the speech aWol should give
On behalf of my Administration and the people of the United States, I am truly sorry. If I could go back to March of this year, I would. I wish I could bring back the 300 American servicemen and the thousands of Iraqis who died as the result of our horrible mistake. But what's done is done. No one can change history.
Finally, those who wage war before attempting to resolve conflicts through diplomatic means must face personal responsibility for their actions. Therefore, I will immediately turn myself, my vice president, the officials of my cabinet and certain members of Congress over to the international tribunal at The Hague (news - web sites) for prosecution for war crimes in connection with our illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites). In accordance with this decision, I hereby resign the office of President of the United States, and respectfully await instructions from Secretary Annan as to where to present myself for surrender.

Read the whole thing!
Spin This, Scott
"If you looked at some of the media here, you wouldn't know about some of the great progress that we are making in Iraq," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday. "There's some important progress that we are making, and it's the responsibility of this administration to keep the American people informed about those successes." -- AP

Spanish Diplomat shot, suicide bomb kills eight, another US soldier killed.
"It is undeniable that Saddam was a deceiver and a danger," Bush said. "The Security Council was right to demand that Saddam disarm and America was right to enforce that demand." -- AP

"I was not about to leave the security of the American people in the hands of a madman. I was not going to stand by and wait and trust the sanity and restraint of Mr. Saddam Hussein," he said. "America did the right thing."

Repeatedly denying the obvious is one sign of insanity. The security of the American people IS in the hands of a madman, and has been since January 20, 2001.
The new Governator, groping in the dark for a way to balance the state's budget, calls for a tax cut.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
The Australian senate has censured Prime Minister John Howard for misleading the people of Australia over the reasons for going to war with Iraq.

Senator Brown said Mr Howard was involved in an unprecedented deceit of the nation and deserved censure.

He said Mr Howard had declared that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and support of international terrorism threatened Australia and its people.

"It was under those those circumstances of imminent, direct, undeniable and lethal threat to the Australian people that Prime Minister Howard asked our defence forces to take part in the invasion of Iraq," he said.

"It has become abundantly clear that the prime minister was not just a bit wrong. He was totally wrong."

You're not supposed to be allowed to lie this brazenly!
Condoleezza Rice told a foreign policy forum in Chicago that the team led by chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay "is finding proof that Iraq never disarmed and never complied with U.N. inspectors." -- AP

Of course, we already know that Condi doesn't read reports. It's a very scary thought that someone this stupid and this dishonest is in charge of national security. Maybe she's just W in drag.
Bush brags about the economy, so why not...
White House to Tout Successes in Iraq -- Washington Post.

As Billmon pointed out yesterday, in 1984 you can brag about anything. Doesn't have to be true.
My condolences to California
I guess you'll be groping in the dark just to survive the next few years. I understand that Gray Davis is going to make a movie now. (Hey, it's no more ridiculous than Arnold being governor!)

What's really scary is the Arnold apparently got 48% of the vote. That means the "Recall Arnold" people probably will have to wait for him to really screw up as governor before that recall will have a decent chance. On the bright(?) side, they probably won't have to wait long. Keep those Doonesbury recall forms handy!
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
LA Times readers are on Bush
like Arnold on breasts. Here's one of several comments on their "Medieval Presidency" op-ed from Sunday:

How can anyone continue to use the word "intelligence" and Bush in the same sentence? Bush's information on weapons of mass destruction was way off. His information on "yellowcake" in Niger was fantasy. His information from British Prime Minister Tony Blair regarding Iraq's nuclear capacity was wildly off target. The estimates regarding the Iraqi oil industry were seriously in error. Bush's intelligence quotient is somewhere around zero. As it turns out, you can't possibly misunderestimate this guy.

Maren Henderson

Los Angeles

Star-Tribune Outs the PNAC
The conclusion of another excellent editorial from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

As is clear now, Clinton's policy of containment had worked pretty well.

As is clear now, the American people were sold a bill of goods by a small cadre of PNAC ideologues, bent on attacking Iraq, who latched onto the opportunity provided by Osama bin Laden and his crew of suicidal, airplane-hijacking terrorists. The price? Scores of billions of dollars, hundreds of young American lives, the standing of the United States in the world, plus the credibility of President Bush and his neocon cronies.


From Ed Stein.

From Rob Rogers.

From Jeff Danziger.
Giant sucking sound
Hasta la vista, jobs.
Ford Motor Co. plans to invest $1 billion to develop its next generation of midsize vehicles and to start building them at its Hermosillo, Mexico, complex, the company announced Monday.

Production of up to 300,000 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models based on the Mazda6 midsize sedan will begin in 2005 with the 2006 Ford Futura in Mexico.
-- Detroit Free Press.

Analysts are terribly worried about the job losses--not:

For an efficient, high-quality plant -- in a low-wage country -- that is a lost opportunity that Ford aims to fix in a hurry, said Michael Schnall, a managing partner at the Planning Edge. "Nothing is worse than wasting capacity at Hermosillo," he said.

Hey Michael: Go stand in a Michigan unemployment line and say that!

Full disclosure: I drive (when I drive) a 1994 Ford Escort, which I bought used (with 267,000 miles on it) from my nephew. I don't think making cars is a solution to any problem. But sending production to Mexico to take advantage of low wages, low benefits, and weak environmental regulations is criminal.
Detroit's Republican newspaper...
is the Detroit News. While the Free Press has the brilliant Mike Thompson, the News has two atrocious cartoonists. Here is Henry Payne's latest offering:

That one is so bad that I sent him an e-mail:

You've got to be kidding. From Harken to the election to Enron to 9/11 to the lies that got us into the Iraq war and the sweetheart deals for Halliburton and Bechtel, the Bush administration is nothing but scandals. The real scandal is that it took so long for the press to notice. Your cartoon is so far out in la-la land, you ought to be in the administration.

Novak: Serial Leakee
Dating back to at least 1975.
Billmon does a brilliant job comparing recent job news with some passages from 1984.
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

Three more US soldiers dead, huge demonstrations in Baghdad.
It was about the oil
But they've even screwed that up. Robert Fisk reports that sabotage of pipelines in northern Iraq has slowed the flow of oil out of the country to about a fourth of what it was before the war.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator here, is "sexing up" the figures to a point where even the oilmen are shaking their heads. Take Kirkuk. Only when the television cameras capture a blown pipe, flames billowing from its wounds, do the occupation powers report sabotage.

This they did, for example, on Aug. 18. But the same Turkish pipeline has been hit before and since. It was blown up again on Sept. 17 and four times again the following day. U.S. patrols and helicopters now move along the pipeline but, in the huge ravines and tribal areas through which it passes, long sections are indefensible.

Pentagon selling bioweapon equipment
Cheap! Well, they were, over the Internet, until the GAO caught them.

"Many items needed to establish a laboratory for making biological warfare agents were being sold on the Internet to the public from DoD's excess property inventory for pennies on the dollar, making them both easy and economical to obtain," the GAO draft report said.

"As requested, GAO established a fictitious company and purchased over the Internet key excess DoD biological equipment items and related protective clothing necessary to produce and disseminate biological warfare agents."

Somehow, I'm sure that Bush will say that this justified the war. Here, I'll write the speech for him:

"We know, and the previous administration knew, that the Iraqi dictator had obtained equipment, information, and even 'starter germs' from a large country in North America over the past twenty years. This country has a long history of supplying weapons of terror to countries all over the globe. And now we find out that this same country has continued to sell equipment, at bargain prices, which can be used to make mushroom clouds of bioweapons. Over the Internet. And we have hinted all along that Iraq had ties to terrorists. Some of our friends in Europe, and even in Congress, think we should have waited for the Iraqi dictator to forward the URL of this "shopping mall of death" to these terrorists. But 9/11 changed everything. In the light of 9/11, and the brutal attacks upon this great nation of ours, I could not stand by. The Iraqi regime, which gassed its own people, will never again forward the URL's of arms merchants to terrorists. God bless America."
Monday, October 06, 2003
Bush's Bed to get a Lumpectomy
According to Opinions You Should Have.

(Note: Please come back! I know those stories are hilarious! Just remember who told you! -- Bob)
Don't mess with Texas...
They're making enough of a mess on their own. The Democrats returned from New Mexico a while back, but the Republicans can't decide on which illegal redistricting plan to go with. A deadline is approaching fast, and they may come up with nothing. Some Republitrons are now hoping the Democrats will help them out of an embarrassing situation:

Republican infighting had Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, longing for a fresh exodus. "We're just praying the Democrats will leave again, to take the heat off of us," Smithee said.

The midieval presidency
Incuriosity seems characteristic of the entire Bush administration. More, it seems central to its very operation. The administration seems indifferent to data, impervious to competing viewpoints and ideas. Policy is not adjusted to facts; facts are adjusted to policy. The result is what may be the nation's first medieval presidency one in which reality is ignored for the administration's own prevailing vision. And just as in medieval days, this willful ignorance can lead to terrible consequences. -- From an LA Times op-ed.

I was flabbergasted that aWol could claim that David Kay's WMD report actually justified his criminal war. Even the press didn't buy it! But this is somebody who has cultivated ignorance, who revels in it. No wonder he likes Condi so much!

Read the whole op-ed; it's excellent!
George W. Bush is Kim Jong II with better hair.
Paul Begala, via BartCop.

The whole quote:

The Bush operation reminds me of North Korea. You have a group of insanely loyal, fiercely committed lunatics, devoting their lives to slavish devotion of a moron whose only claim to power is that his father used to run the country. George W. Bush is Kim Jong II with better hair.
"They're turning into a banana republic just like we are."
Argentines are experts on changing their leaders, and they suspect that California's recall election is a mistake:

"Do they really think they can solve their problems just by changing leaders? We tried that. Believe me, it didn't work," said Carlos Goleri, an insurance salesman, as he read the newspaper in a downtown Buenos Aires cafe. -- Reuters, via Polizeros.

Of course, if you get a really bad leader, things can get much worse very quickly. We know all about that.
Rice in charge? But she doesn't know anything!
Just ask her!

President Bush asserted more direct White House control over the Pentagon-run reconstruction of Iraq today, announcing that he has put national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in charge of a new authority designed to alleviate mounting criticism of the administration's postwar progress. -- Washington Post.

Judging by her public statements, Condi Rice is the stupidest of the Bushies, outside of the moron in chief himself. So this is good news and bad news. It's bad news because it reduces the already tiny probability of real success (by any reasonable standard) in Iraq. It's good news because it increases the already high probability that Bush will be tossed out of the White House next year, if not sooner.

A Kay-O Punch Delivered
to David Kay's innuendo-filled but fact-vacant WMD report by Billmon.
Congressman Conyers Calls for Special Prosecutor
Sorely missing in the myriad of public debate concerning the need for a special counsel to investigate the leaked name of a CIA operative is one simple fact: It's required by the law.

Although the independent counsel law expired in 1999, the Justice Department promulgated regulations that require the appointment of a special counsel under specified circumstances. Under the regulations, the attorney general is required to appoint a special counsel when (1) a "criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted," (2) the investigation "would present a conflict of interest for the Department" and (3) "it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside special counsel to assume responsibility."

All three factors are present here.
-- Read the rest!

Sunday, October 05, 2003
Excrement is hitting the air circulator...
with the latest suicide bombing and Israel's attack on Syria.
Charging Ashcroft with contempt...
... is like charging Jeff Gordon with speeding. But Ashcroft may actually be charged! Couldn't happen to a meaner guy. Bring 'em on!

From Jeff Stahler.

From Kevin Siers.

From Mike Thompson.

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