Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, February 28, 2003


NYTimes --
Bush is Starting to Scare Kristof Over North Korea

Some of the most secret and scariest work under way in the Pentagon these days is the planning for a possible military strike against nuclear sites in North Korea.

Officials say that so far these are no more than contingency plans. They cover a range of military options from surgical cruise missile strikes to sledgehammer bombing, and there is even talk of using tactical nuclear weapons to neutralize hardened artillery positions aimed at Seoul, the South Korean capital.

There's nothing wrong with planning, or with brandishing a stick to get Kim Jong Il's attention. But several factions in the administration are serious about a military strike if diplomacy fails, and since the White House is unwilling to try diplomacy in any meaningful way, it probably will fail. The upshot is a growing possibility that President Bush could reluctantly order such a strike this summer, risking another Korean war.

Ironically, the gravity of the situation isn't yet fully understood in either South Korea or Japan, partly because they do not think this administration would be crazy enough to consider a military strike against North Korea. They're wrong.





Oh My God --
Real News from an Unguarded Reporter

A reporter sent an email to a bunch of her friends about the World Economic Summit. She foolishly forget to tell them to keep it secret. Some startling revelations on what the world's rich and movers and shakers are thinking. She is very angry at finding these comments on the internet. Excerpts below:

The global economy is in very very very very bad shape. Last year
when WEF met here in New York all I heard was, "Yeah, it's bad, but
recovery is right around the corner". This year "recovery" was a word
never uttered. Fear was palpable -- fear of enormous fiscal hysteria.
The watchwords were "deflation", "long term stagnation" and "collapse of
the dollar". All of this is without war.

- If the U.S. unilaterally goes to war, and it is anything short of a
quick surgical strike (lasting less than 30 days), the economists were
all predicting extreme economic gloom: falling dollar value, rising spot
market oil prices, the Fed pushing interest rates down towards zero with
resulting increase in national debt, severe trouble in all countries
whose currency is guaranteed agains the dollar (which is just about
everybody except the EU), a near cessation of all development and
humanitarian programs for poor countries. Very few economists or
ministers of finance predicted the world getting out of that economic
funk for minimally five-10 years, once the downward spiral ensues.

-Except for diehard American Republicans, a few Brit
Tories and some Middle East folks the WEF was in a foul, angry
anti-American mood. Last year the WEF was a lovefest for America. This
year the mood was so ugly that it reminded me of what it felt like to be
an American overseas in the Reagan years. The rich -- whether they are
French or Chinese or just about anybody -- are livid about the Iraq
crisis primarily because they believe it will sink their financial
fortunes.

- US unilateralism is seen as arrogant, bullyish. If the U.S.
cannot behave in partnership with its allies -- especially the Europeans
-- it risks not only political alliance but BUSINESS, as well.

When Colin Powell gave the speech of his life, trying to win
over the nonAmerican delegates, the sharpest attack on his comments came
not from Amnesty International or some Islamic representative -- it came
from the head of the largest bank in the Netherlands!

I learned from American security and military speakers that, "We need
to attack Iraq not to punish it for what it might have, but
preemptively, as part of a global war. Iraq is just one piece of a
campaign that will last years, taking out states, cleansing the planet."


These WEF folks are freaked out. They see very bad economics ahead, war,
and more terrorism. About 10% of the sessions were about terrorism, and
it's heavy stuff. One session costed out what another 9/11-type attack
would do to global markets, predicting a far, far worse impact due to
the "second hit" effect -- a second hit that would prove all the world's
post-9/11 security efforts had failed. Another costed out in detail what
this, or that, war scenario would do to spot oil prices.

The world isn't run by a clever cabal. It's run by about 5,000
bickering, sometimes charming, usually arrogant, mostly male people who
are accustomed to living in either phenomenal wealth, or great personal
power. A few have both. Many of them turn out to be remarkably naive --
especially about science and technology. All of them are financially
wise, though their ranks have thinned due to unwise tech-stock
investing. They pay close heed to politics, though most would be happy
if the global political system behaved far more rationally -- better for
the bottom line. They work very hard, attending sessions from dawn to
nearly midnight, but expect the standards of intelligence and analysis
to be the best available in the entire world. They are impatient. They
have a hard time reconciling long term issues (global wearming, AIDS
pandemic, resource scarcity) with their daily bottomline foci. They are
comfortable working across languages, cultures and gender, though white
caucasian males still outnumber all other categories. They adore hi-tech
gadgets and are glued to their cell phones.

Welcome to Earth: meet the leaders.

Ciao,
Laurie (Garrett -- Newsday reporter)

A history of the email and its history is here. I found it from here after following this link.

Molly Ivins -- Bush is hitting your pensions, this now seems anticlimactic.





Jill Nelson on MSNBC thinks it is lust for empire, and oil, driving Bush.

I think Bush was getting close to the truth Wednesday night, wrapped up in fancy Orwellian words, of course, a Republican dream of Empire. This dream gets started with Iraq because of the oil which can finance the occupation.






NYTimes -- No Economic Relief in Sight
By PAUL KRUGMAN

I almost feel sorry for Mr. Mankiw, who I suspect has no idea what he's getting into; I'm sure he will soon feel frustrated over his inability to have any real influence on this disastrous policy. But on second thought I'll save my sympathy for the two million people who have lost their jobs over the past two years, and are not likely to find new ones any time soon.




Some Strange News from Venezuela --
Let's Do The Time Warp Again

Because of a drought the frequency of power transmission has been slightly lowered and all clocks are running a little slow.


In a bizarre mass-malfunction, Venezuela's clocks are ticking too slowly due to a power shortage weakening the electric current nationwide. By the end of each day, the sluggish time pieces still have another 150 seconds to tick before they catch up to midnight.

"Everything that has to do with time-keeping has slowed down. If it's an electric clock, it's running slow," said Miguel Lara, general manager of the national power grid.

The meltdown has taken a total 14 hours and 36 minutes from Venezuela's clocks over 12 of the past 13 months, he said.

The US has seemed in a kinda time-warp over Chavez with the neo-Reaganites wanting to find their own Latin America countries to save from comunism.

Chavez is establishing more control and the opposition seems very frustrated right now. Several judicial investigations are underway to either fine or shut down some of the media and to have more of the lockout leaders placed on trial. Venezuela officials say that here in the US we may be getting the oil flow returning to normal soon. Bush officials didn't seem particularly thrilled although I am tired of paying 50% more for gas with it all going to extremely large companies.




One Big Post

Blogger has been acting up and they changed the javascript for my "Blog This!" I am cutting and pasting interesting things in a different way and seeing how it works.

MSNBC fired Donahue despite improving ratings for being too liberal when we are going to war. He has been a frequent target of the usual crowd. He was clearly hamstrung by bad and confused producers and rarely hit his potential. They have replaced him with expanded war coverage and a new show by a radio host who believes anti-war protestors should be locked up to protect America's freedom. The right has a new MSNBC target - Chris Matthew's Hardball. Tonight one of his wacky guests accused him of sounding like a Democrat. He was a favorite of the right, until Bush got elected and he had a new target, for his disgust and disdain for Clinton. He and Buchanan are the only clear anti-war headliners on MSNBC.

During the the virtual protest Wednesday, there were a lot of democratic reps speaking on the floor of the House. getting their chance on CSPAN, but very few spoke on Iraq. Nearly all spoke on what a disaster Bush's budget and tax plan are. I suppose we should feel lucky they still aren't kissing up to him on everything.

Kucinich goes pro-choice
, proves he is serious about running and has hired an advisor. I agree with the position but am worried he may be going against his personal convictions. Florida Senator Bob Graham also steps up for a swing.

Bush interrupted Wheel of Fortune to give his grand vision of the future of the Middle East if we occupy Iraq with 200,000+ troops under a military dictatorship - democracy. What, you don't think that is what he said? In the last week the post-war plans have come out and it doesn't involve any of those squabbling tribes of Iraqi opposition leaders - it is US "governing" all the way - military and civilian. Yes, this time the military ruler is our own General Frank instead of some third-world indigenous geek. A military general running the country is what a military dictatorship is and is also what Republicans love. They especially like this one where they don't have to deal with some foreigner and all the lucrative contracts are going to go to American companies because we run the country. Hurray for Democracy and Peace! Don't look at what we are doing, watch the parade and listen to the pretty soundbites.

Another economic advisor leaves and Bush is furious at Greenspan. Robert Novak, a conservative writer regarded as close to the Bush administration, wrote in The Washington Post this week: "It's difficult to exaggerate the irritation at the White House over Alan Greenspan's gratuitous shot at President Bush's tax cuts."

As expected, we screw the Kurds again. They had managed to establish a little democratic state but Turkish troops will be coming down to assist in democracy.

More USA Today, did the media screw up by listening to Bush about a coalition?

New York Times - U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'

Asked if his views were widely shared among his diplomatic colleagues, Mr. Kiesling said: "No one of my colleagues is comfortable with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as good and loyal. The State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game — we have a very strong premium on loyalty."

"We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners."

Christian Science Monitor -- Bush lays out costly new global role. They also have another about the striking differences between real democracy in London and the pseudo-democracy in Washington.

In Your Bedroom

You're making love. Suddenly the police burst into your apartment, arrest you for engaging in "deviate sexual intercourse" and haul you off to jail in your underpants. Are you in: a) Afghanistan; b) Saudi Arabia; c) Cuba; or d) Texas? This time - Texas

It is likely to be overturned because "the Court said in its 1996 Romer v. Evans decision, a state may not "single out" lesbians and gay men in a way that makes them "unequal to everyone else." Which is precisely what Texas's sodomy law does, banning only lesbians and gay men from oral and anal sex."

Canada will not send troops to Iraq. Troops in Afghanistan has strained its resources. Like most nations with the Cold War over, Canada has been disarming, cutting taxes, taking a peace dividend - when did the Republican Party slip into the control of those who don't think that is a good thing?

Read to end - William Saletan nails Tom DeLay. By his own words he is unfit for national politics.

A photo chronology of Bush saying one thing then doing another. The Bush Credibility Gap: Real Life Examples. This was produced by the Democratic minority staff of the House Appropriations Committee

USA Today's "how to" guide on building a nuke Your library or the internet can tell you about chemical and biological weapons. I recommend binary systems - safer all around.

There are several science fiction stories and a couple of fact articles that large squabbling civilizations don't have long lifetimes, science and technology starts giving too much knowledge and power to disgruntled, reckless, or insane individuals. As Lexx stated, we are on a type 13 planet, but they were more concerned about us experimenting with Higgs Boson particle reactions.

Bush is showing us one vision for the future with America triumphant and imposing it's vision of a Republican planet, what is yours?

Thursday, February 27, 2003


More on Pax Americana

For Six Years, Right-Wing Think Tank Has Been Hell-Bent For War

Only through a coordinated effort of injecting fear into the minds of Americans has PNAC and the Bush Administration been able to win the little support it has to start a war.




Australian Experts Conclude initiation of this War "Fundamental Violation of International Law"

In a statement aimed at the limited military support Australia is giving the US, 43 experts on international law published a strong warning on February 26.

A pre-emptive strike on Iraq would constitute a crime against humanity, write 43 experts on international law and human rights.

The initiation of a war against Iraq by the self-styled "coalition of the willing" would be a fundamental violation of international law. International law recognizes two bases for the use of force.

The first, enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, allows force to be used in self-defense. The attack must be actual or imminent.

The second basis is when the UN Security Council authorizes the use of force as a collective response to the use or threat of force. However, the Security Council is bound by the terms of the UN Charter and can authorize the use of force only if there is evidence that there is an actual threat to the peace (in this case, by Iraq) and that this threat cannot be averted by any means short of force

I have changed some original spelling to American English - the s to z type of thing. Of course, I also had to correct all of my bad spelling in the headline and opener first.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003





Dean

Salon. On the campaign trail with the un-Bush

He gets a deluge of phone calls from reporters asking him to clarify his position. Which is -- "as I've said about eight times today," he says, annoyed -- that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

"Dean is stirring up antiwar people," a senior advisor to one of his Democratic opponents says. "They are against all war, not just against war without U.N. support. When we do go to war, and Dean says he's with our troops and president in time of national crisis, the antiwar activists he's cultivated will turn on him quickly."

Dean says that's fine, and denies that there's any inconsistency. "I think people are madly trying to find one," he says. "It's part of the game."

I like Dean.




Canada's Compromise Resolution

Toronto Star -- Canada backs Mar. 28 deadline for Iraq

The US and UK resolution says Iraq is in "material breach," code language for war, the French, German and Russian proposal puts UN troops in Iraq in a much heavier search pattern with a 3-month deadline, Canada proposes steps that must be taken by the 28th or Iraq will face consequences.

The tentative date for a vote is March 7th for any resolution or resolutions.



Army Chief of Staff - "Hundreds of Thousands of Troops Needed To Occupy Iraq"

UK Independent News and other sources reported that:

General Eric Shinseki, the army's Chief of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iraq was "a piece of geography that's fairly significant" and that a post-war force would have to be big enough to maintain safety in a country with "ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems".

The military force required to occupy a post-Saddam Iraq could comprise several hundred thousand troops, far higher than any estimate so far, the US Army's most senior general said.

So much for hunting terrorists.




Reuters --- Labour "rebels" to embarrass UK's Blair over Iraq

Up to 100 of Labour's total 410 legislators (MPs) in the British parliament's lower chamber are backing an amendment -- for what is bound to be a fiery debate -- stating that "the case for military action against Iraq is yet unproven".

No chance of no-confidence vote with Blair backed by Conservative Part.




Salon.com | From the White House to the jailhouse

In June 2001, it turns out, Al-Arian paid a visit to the Bush White House -- apparently as the specially invited guest of Bush's political guru, Rove, who was meeting with a Muslim-American group as part of a strategy to line up Islamic support.

That visit followed Al-Arian's dedicated campaigning for Bush in the 2000 election. Given Bush's much disputed, micron-thin margin of a few hundred votes in Florida, the professor's efforts to get out the Muslim vote for Bush could well have tipped the national election's scales (as Al-Arian himself has boasted, Newsweek reports).

The controversial Al-Arian arrest has right-wing pundits jumping for joy but is confusing and not a simple case of "good vs. evil."




Public Backs U.N. Assent on Iraq (washingtonpost.com)

The survey found that 56 percent of the public is willing to wait in order to win U.N. endorsement of U.S.-led military strikes against Iraq. Another 39 percent said the United States should "move quickly," even without the Security Council's backing.

A majority -- 57 percent -- would favor taking action without the approval of the United Nations if this country had the support of key allies such as Britain, Australia and Italy.

President Bush's overall job approval rating, which rose after his State of the Union address last month, has returned to its pre-speech level. Currently, 60 percent favorably view Bush's performance as president, down from 64 percent in a Post-ABC poll conducted two weeks ago.





Salon -- Big Oil fears war, too

While "No blood for oil!" echoes in the streets, analysts say oil companies actually dread war in Iraq.

Support Salon.





Powell's U.N. report apparently contains false information -- heraldtribune.com

Slowly, some reporters are looking at Bush and Powell statements and checking the lies.




Krugman

NYTimes -- Threats, Promises and Lies

Whatever the real merits of the case against Iraq, again and again the administration has cited evidence that turns out to be misleading or worthless — "garbage after garbage after garbage," according to one U.N. official.

Can we run a foreign policy in the absence of trust? The administration apparently thinks it can use threats as a substitute.

Some people here in Texas have learned never to trust Bush. However, he also has more support here than in other states. Which is a puzzle, why does anyone who makes less than $100,000 support him except for some kind of macho thing?




Some smart thinking on why Iraq from Christopher Allbritton in
Back to Iraq 2.0: Why Iraq?

It is a new imperialism that believes a number of benefits would follow if the United States occupied Iraq. I foresee very bad things and few if any benefits to the U.S

In his current post he make the observation that "The Christian Right, neocons and other hawks who have taken a hard-line on Iraq believe they are doing God’s work, more or less, and if you’ve got God on your side, you don’t dicker with the devil."

There is no deal, nothing that Bush 2 will accept except for the United States occupying the country. This was also the situation in the last Gulf War when Saddam finally reallized it was serious, he was going to be invaded but too late and Bush 1 rejected all peace overtures.



Resolved - The odds of war has now hit 98%.

It had hit 90% the 4th.










U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote (washingtonpost.com)

Quietly the US has told Security Council members it is going to war and if they vote against it they will destroy the UN.

Monday, February 24, 2003


ABCNEWS.com : Political News Summary: The Best Jobs They Ever Had

The Note has a summary of the interesting political news today, I have to meet my brother for lunch.




Scoop: With Liberals Like These, Who Needs Conservatives!

Note that the links to the British site with point by point rebuttals to Powell UN claims about Iraq has disappeared. But a archive of the 44 claims and the rebuttals is here on Google.




Sunday, February 23, 2003


SFChron -- Venezuelan judge orders house arrest for anti-Chavez strike leader; Police officers ambushed by civilian gunmen

Another very slanted AP story from Ixer. A somewhat less slanted BBC article restates the main facts that the leaders of the countries business lockdown have been charged by a judge with rebellion and inciting criminal acts.

VHeadlines has an editorial on how media within Venezuela manipulates the news, AP and Reuter, the only sources for much US news media, slants the news for outside the country. For more details from VHeadlines:

Although Fernandez insists that he is innocent and that he has done nothing wrong, he was the very visible leader of a two-month opposition stoppage which has caused considerable damage to Venezuela's already fragile economy and his co-conspirator, Confederation of Venezuelan Trade Unions (CTV) boss has gone into hiding to avoid capture after he called on Venezuelans to assassinate the Venezuelan Head of State.

[President] Chavez Frias has also highlighted the fact that there was an absence of international diplomatic concern when his own democratically-elected government had been overthrown last April and that before he was returned to power 48 hours later, the governments of the United States and Spain had already applauded the coup d'etat and welcomed Dictator Carmona Estanga as a friend and ally. "It's worth remembering that the Spanish ambassador was here applauding the coup ... so the Spanish government is going to keep commenting?"

While Chavez Frias still enjoys enormous support from Venezuela's millions of poor, he and his government are routinely insulted on Venezuela's privately-owned television stations and in the opposition-controlled print media which claims that he is attempting to impose a Communist-style dictatorship in his efforts to establish political and economic recognition for the 89% of Venezuela's 23.4 million population that has been driven into abject poverty through more than 40 years of unbridled corruption by political parties now in opposition.

The opposition is pledged to ruin Chavez while Chavez Frias says he will force them to pay taxes and accept the rule of law they have ignored through decades of privilege.

The timing of the strike was an attempt by the rich to avoid paying taxes, which forty years of property owners rulership had not prepared them for.

The stoppage was abandoned at the end of last month as union boss Carlos Ortega went into a frenzy of abuse that would have seen him quickly behind bars in the United States or any other western democracy. Chavez Frias has faced strong criticism for not acting immediately to imprison the anti-constitutional conspirators, but reasoned that it was more equitable to let them run out of their own steam first.



The Nation -- The Will of the World

We--that is, we, the peoples of the earth--have examined the case for war against Iraq and rejected it. -- Jonathan Schell


Never before--not during the Vietnam War, not during the antinuclear demonstrations of the early 1980s--had they made known their will so forcefully by all the means at their disposal. On that day, history may one day record, global democracy was born



More confusion

While Newsweek is running with the story of the highest ranking defector saying in 1995 that Iraq destroyed all of it's WMD's and delivery systems after the Gulf War, Newsday releases the stories of two informants that Iraq is still acquiring biological stocks for bioweapons and developing binary chemical delivery systems.

I think it takes continued inspections to find out the truth.



Newsday.com: Bush Cited Report That Doesn't Exist

Bush Thursday cited an economic report that says the nation's top economists forecast 3.3% economic growth if Congress passed his tax plan.

Another Big Lie, the report doesn't say that. I would have said another Big Oops but this is too consistent with Bush's previous citations of non-existent reports.

The report, a survey of economists, doesn't talk about the tax plan. It does forecast 3.3% growth, the same growth they forecast before the tax plan was introduced. So if anything the reports together say the $1.5 trillion dollar boondoggle has zero effect this year.

Thanks to BuzzFlash for the link.





Newsweek Gets an Exclusive "After the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them" and still misleads.

They have the most highly placed defector saying that Iraq destroyed all of it's weapons of mass destruction, something that other scientists have comfirmed repeatedly to the silence of the media, but instead concentrate on Iraq not destroying "plans" for the weapons in case they ever decided they might need them again. Are we now going to declare war on everyone with reference material for WMD's? Will Bush try to shut down all the libraries and colleges in the the world?
.



War-makers, Bribees, And Poodles Versus Democracy

This peace movement could stop the war if it had any kind of support from the mass media in focusing on the illegality of the Bush plan, the serial lies used by the war party, its compromised position in prior support of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the hidden agenda (oil, support of Sharon , coverup for Bush's internal policies), and the recklessness and human and material cost of this forthcoming aggression.

Four-fifths of the U.S. public believe Saddam was involved in acts of terrorism against the United States (according to a December 2002 Tribune/WGN-TV poll), and a majority today fear him and think that this regional bully, who has been almost entirely disarmed and who the Bush gang is toying with like a Bengal tiger might play with a malnourished mouse, actually poses a military threat to the pitiful giant. This is the ultimate propaganda system at work.

But despite these irrational and manipulated fears, almost a third of the public (29 percent) remains opposed to the war and a solid majority (59 to 37 percent in a recent NYT/CBS poll) favors giving the UN and inspections more time.


Saturday, February 22, 2003


NY Daily News -Grammy stars free to sing out on war

Sheryl Crow -'I don't believe in your war, Mr. Bush' The Drudge Report, an Internet news site, quoted an anonymous CBS chieftain as saying the network would cut the microphone of any rocker who engaged in antiwar rhetoric.

But CBS quickly moved to squelch the story.













Who Marches In A Pro-War Rally?
Why Iraq?


A member of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist 'Bratstvo' brotherhood marches at a pro-war rally in Kiev Saturday. Protesters waved crosses and carried placards reading “Christianity is the religion of the strong.”





Guardian --- Anti-War Groups Planning Phone Campaign

A coalition of groups opposed to a U.S.-led war in Iraq will have supporters call, fax and e-mail the White House and Congress next week in an effort to overwhelm switchboards and catch the attention of political leaders.

``Last weekend, we marched in the streets,'' former Rep. Tom Andrews, D-Maine, national director of Win Without War, told a news conference Wednesday. ``Next week, we're taking it to the suites of official Washington.''

Organizers of the ``virtual march'' on Washington are calling on supporters to call, fax or e-mail their two U.S. senators and the White House during business hours on Feb. 26.



Worst Book Review Ever

washingtonpost.com: Below the Beltway

I am on the phone with Robert Burrows, author of the recently published political novel Great American

Parade. This book has sold only 400 copies nationwide, and Burrows seems flabbergasted to be hearing from me. The most prestigious newspaper to have shown any interest so far is the Daily Student at Indiana University.

I tell Burrows that if he is willing to submit to an interview, I am willing to review his book at length in The Washington Post. The only catch, I said, is that I am going to say that it is, in my professional judgment, the worst novel ever published in the English language.

Silence.

"My review will reach 2 million people," I said.

"Okay," he said.

I have said this before, and I'll say it again. I really love my job.

I actually agree with the premise of this book but it sounds pretty awful. I don't remember exactly what links brought me to this.


Unrelated: Music I am listening to: Screw Her Gently and others by Tenacious D and Lucky Stars and Math Suks and others by Buffett. Screw me Gently is the alternate title, check out my Poetry link for more info. I think Jack Black is hilarious.








AlterNet: Defending the Bill of Rights

The administration's assault on civil liberties and basic rights became apparent shortly after the institution of the USA PATRIOT Act (an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) on Oct. 21, 2001.

The Associated Press published a list of fundamental changes in Americans' legal rights resulting from the PATRIOT Act. Freedom of information, freedom of association, freedom of speech, right to legal representation, freedom from unreasonable searches, right to a speedy and public trial and right to liberty have all been abridged since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the A.P. Among other things, the government has urged bureaucrats to resist requests for public records, has threatened to prosecute librarians who don't turn over information about people's reading habits, and has monitored religious and political organizations without suspecting any criminal activity.

But the second PATRIOT Act, officially titled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, will dwarf the civil liberties incursions of the first one.

See the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union for more information on what is going on and actions you can take.






The Globe and Mail Stick to oral sex, British kids urged

Request to schoolkids: consider oral sex instead

Teen Oral Sex in Moral Row

Sex Lessons "Go too Far"

Remember nicer, more interesting, controversies like this instead of how much our leaders are lying to us to send troops into an illegal war?





Bush Uses Exemption On Colombia Forces (washingtonpost.com)

President Bush this week used his authority to exceed congressional limits on the number of U.S. military personnel allowed to be in Colombia, sending as many as 150 additional specialized troops to assist in the rescue of three American civilians believed to be in the hands of guerrillas since their plane crashed in a rebel-held area last week, senior administration officials said.

The most recent reporting period ended in mid-January, and Bush reported to Congress on Thursday that there were 208 military personnel and 279 contract workers in Colombia as of that date.

By my count there appears to be now 411 military troops and over 300 CIA, DEA, etc. in Columbia; some of whom will be searching for the 3 CIA agents held hostage.

I was surprised to learn there is a group organizing protests against the US companies that benefit from the billions of dollars in military related aid that has been pouring into Columbia.




UPI: Samoa manufacturer guilty of 'slavery'

The owner of a garment factory in American Samoa faces sentencing in June after being convicted of holding scores of Asian immigrants in virtual "modern-day slavery" in the largest human trafficking case ever prosecuted by the federal government.

Justice Department officials alleged the workers were confined to the factory compound where they were fed meager amounts of food and forced to patronize a company store that kept them in a state of debt.

Testimony during the trial that began last October alleged that the immigrants were also physically abused and threatened with deportation by their supervisors.

The Republican leader of the House, Tom Delay, has been the leading defender of sweatshops located on Samoa. US fashion retailers including The Gap, and JC Penny use clothing manufacturers in American Samoa to pay third world wages while still having clothes with a "Made in USA" label.

As this and other cases make clear, the conditions are often even less healthy then other third world shops. Tom Delay has received many contributions from and even trips to this tropical paradise, unless you have to slave there, from US companies using the slave shop products. He has blocked legislation to improve conditions for the workers. The New York Times in an editorial last year singled out Tom Delay for blocking legislation to relieve conditions.


Friday, February 21, 2003


The "Dead Zone" scenario

Another SF reference to current politics. How do you stop someone intent on remaking the world when he is the most powerful person on earth?

Dead Zone was my favorite Stephen King book as I am not a great fan of his later themes. The Stand to me seems anti-technology and science.




50 Questions and Answers on Iraq

This is going around and I don't agree with all of it. Still a handy little list.

Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

1. Q: What percentage of the world's population does the U.S. have?

A: 6%

2. Q: What percentage of the world's wealth does the U.S. have?

A: 50%

3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?

A: Saudi Arabia

4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?

A: Iraq

5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?

A: $900+ billion

6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?

A: 50%

7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?

A: 10% (that's about$40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).

8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?

A: 86 million

9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?

A: Since the early 1980's.

10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?

A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government, along with Britain and private corporations.

11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against Iran?

A: No

12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?

A: 5,000

13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?

A: 0

14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?

A: 17 million.

15. Q: Are there any links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?

A: No

16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?

A: 35,000

17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western forces during the Gulf War ?

A: 0 (Wrong, but I don't have a figure. )

18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?

A: 6,000

19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?

A: 40 tons

20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?

A: 700%

21. Q: How much of Iraq's military capacity did America claim it had destroyed in 1991?

A: 80%

22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything other than deterrence and self defense?

A: No

23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago?

A: No

24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?

A: 10,000

25. Q: What percentage of these will be children?

A: Over 50%

26. Q: How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq?

A: 11years

27. Q: Was the U.S and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?

A: No

28. Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?

A: 20 million

29. Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing strict sanctions on Iraq's imports and exports?

A: 12 years

30. Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?

A: 38

31. Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000 births)?

A: 131 (that's an increase of 345%)

32. Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a result of UN sanctions?

A: 1.5 million

33. Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions since 1997?

A: 750,000

34. Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?

A:No

35. Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?

A: 300

36. Q: How many of these inspections had problems?

A: 5

37. Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba'ath Party HQ?

A: Yes

38. Q: Who said that by December 1998, "Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history."

A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief.

39. Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq's post 1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have discovered and dismantled?

A: 90%

40. Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in ?

A:Yes

41. Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?

A: Over 65

42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?

A: 30+

44. Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?

A: 8

45. Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?

A: 0

46. Q: How many nuclear warheads has US got?

A: over 10,000

47. Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?

A: the US

48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?

A: Over 400

50. Q: Who said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?

A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

If I get the time I will correct this list, make up new Q&A's, and footnote it.

Update: the more I look up this the more problems it has.




FT.com / World / Americas has a lot of interesting news today.

While it is right for the leaders of the damaging shutdown of Venezuala's lockdown be taken to trial, what is this about rightwing bodies starting to show up?

That comes on the same day as an anti-violence agreement is signed.

At least opposition to the Iraq war is growing in Latin America so that Mexico and Chile may not support Bush in the Security Council.



'04 Hopefuls Lambaste Bush on Economy, Iraq (washingtonpost.com)

Democratic hopefuls appear to be unifying on themes, Saddam bad but Bush is mistakenly pursueing unilateralism, Bush is terrible on the economy, etc. Is it because of who really runs the Democratic party as TNR writes, the small circle of pollsters and consultants?





Salon.com | "A splendid little war"

The last major "imperialist" war the United States fought was with Spain. There are many comparisions not least of which is that this will be an easy war.



Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq (washingtonpost.com)

By rejecting a federal system, see end of article, the US loses the internal support it should be building. Really looks like a plan to screw the Kurds again. A lot of the hold-up on Turkey basing approval is Turkey wanting to get more formal approval to clear out the Kurds from near it's borders. The other is the traditional Turkish bazaar nature of politics, I had fun buying a leather jacket in Turkey but most Westerners don't like haggling over prices.




The Latest Krugman

The Martial Plan - NYTimes

This administration doesn't worry about long-term consequences — just look at its fiscal policy. It wants its war; there's not the slightest indication that it's interested in the boring, expensive task of building a just and lasting peace.





CBS News | Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'

All of this secret intel the US has pointing to weapon's of mass destruction is "garbage, garbage, garbage."




Roll Call - Who's for war, who's against it, and why. Compiled by Julia Turner

Nice short summaries of many people's positions.

My position: Saddam is a bad guy but this is not how you remove him. By the UN Charter and the US Constitution, only the Security Council can decide what happens next in Iraq. The more you examine the "facts" that Bush and Powell have marshalled for war the weaker they seem and it is apparent they have stepped up their presentation from disputed controversial "facts" to outright lies. There is no nuclear weapons program. There is no support by Iraq of al-Queda terrorists threatening the US. Iraq poses no threat to the US or its neighbors. There is no evidence that Iraq posseses an active chemical and biological weapons program. At least 95% and perhaps all of his old weapons of mass destruction that Iraq had built under US sponsership have been destroyed. I have heard no good reasons why we should go to war now.


Only Phase 2?

PBS Frontline had a good introduction to the history of Bush's foreign policy and major players in the anti-Iraqi movement last night. I disagreed with their slant on a few parts and thought that many things were left out that should have been in it so it should probably be called "balanced."

An important final thought to carry away from the report is that Iraq is only Phase 2. The Bush doctrine calls for more phases of US intervention in the world to reshape it toward American interests.

Interesting from the letters to Frontline which follows I pulled this quote: "Prior to his nomination as vice-presidnet, Cheney had even been arguing publically that the United Nations should stop imposing sanctions against Iraq. Go figure!"

Manifest Destiny?

The final letter on Frontline has me thinking of the American belief in "manifest destiny" and how this may be behind some of Bush's foreign policy.



Anti-War Demonstrators Overwhelm NYC Rally

I was talking to Pat and she couldn't see why the anti-war rally couldn't stay on the sidewalks. I thought this was a good account of the rally overflowing New York.


Thursday, February 20, 2003



Anti-war groups planning phone campaign to overwhelm White House, Congress

I was thinking yesterday that the next step after last weekend was to e-mail, fax, and phone my Senators and Representatives again to rescind the resolution authorizing Bush to take any action.

I know the resolution actually says he has to notify Congress and get approval before any military action but he is ignoring the exact wording of the UN resolutions so I don't expect him to respect the exact wording of Congressional resolutions.

In the House, DiFazio and Paul have a strong anti-war resolution with 30 co-sponsers HR2 and Kennedy and Byrd have introduced a resolution in the Senate, SR32.

A problem is that many Democrats do not see either passing right now and a defeat would be seen as a show of support for Bush.

Still, I am going to start a fax and email campaign urging more inspections and going through the Security Council as the only legal and moral strategy.




Bush's war timetable unravelling

The Guardian agrees with me that the war time table is becoming completely unstuck.




The Unlikely Rise of Howard Dean

A long article so I'll digest what I liked.


He’s a strict fiscal conservative (he consistently balanced Vermont’s budget); he’s a staunch health-care advocate (he made sure the state provided health insurance for all children); he’s a dedicated environmentalist (he protected thousands of acres of open lands); and he’s a social liberal (he signed the controversial legislation permitting same-sex civil unions). In political style, he’s notably candid, and he’s got executive experience-he just stepped down as Vermont’s governor after eleven years in office-no small thing given that four of our last five presidents have been governors. All of this has suddenly vaulted Dean to the political forefront.

Howard Dean is still loudly proclaiming, at candidate forums in New York and Iowa and New Hampshire, that attacking Iraq is a mistake. “I’m not a dove,” he hastens to add; he just doesn’t believe this particular battle is one that America should take on alone. “I don’t think the president has made his case. He’s got to show Saddam possesses nuclear weapons, and I don’t think there’s a shred of evidence for that.” Dean says he sees biological and chemical weapons as insufficient grounds for a unilateral attack, and he favors the French proposal to triple the inspectors and further pressure Iraq rather than launching missiles in March, adding that he would back an invasion if authorized by the United Nations. “Nobody can run for president without being willing to use the full and maximum power of the United States,” Dean says. “But I’m one president who would be very careful if I had the opportunity.”

“The only people who call civil unions ‘gay marriage’ are poorly informed reporters and the right wing of the Republican Party,” Dean replies. “Civil unions mean gay people get to have the same rights I do. Such as if I get sick, my wife can visit me in the hospital; if I die, my wife gets the estate without probate.”

More outspoken than front-runner Kerry, more liberal than the charming Edwards or the well-known Lieberman, a fresher face than Gephardt, and without the baggage of Sharpton, Howard Dean, at least for the moment, has the attention of the chattering classes. “You can’t move people unless you stand for something,” he said that night in his mother’s living room. “When I get done with this campaign, I don’t know if I’m going to win or lose, but everybody in America will know what I stood for.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


GOP threats halted GAO Cheney suit =TheHill.com=

Curious as to why the public won't hear about Cheney's meetings with Enron?




More on Tar-Baby

FT.com -- Iranian-backed forces cross into Iraq


e-mails, TruthOut and Pure as...

I occasionally link to TruthOut. You should be aware that on any emails they receive all addresses are placed on their e-mail newsletter list. You can get yourself off the list only by following the below instructions exactly:

Send the ENTIRE newsletter back to them -- Do Not Delete Anything --
put the word "REMOVE" in the subject line. And they will do it for you.
Any variation and you are still on the list.

It works, but it is strictly not a recommended policy to be signed up for emails without any request and to not have a better opt-out policy. I will still link to them in the future, they catch things I miss, but will try to attach a warning.

In another recent emails from Heather Corinna, of Pure as the Driven Slush blog, she writes " I don't have permalinks because none of my entries remain permanently public, as they are part of the membership area of my site when archived, generally within 3-6 months.

So, it may not seem "smart" but it's how I pay my rent, love. Thanks for the mention."

Well, this came about because I didn't explore the rest of her site immediately. She is a great erotic photographer as well as a blogger and much of it is membership required. Heather is more articulate and interesting so it seems more like a good blog than a typical pay site diary like is on Amandacam.

So, I do recommend TruthOut but beware of their newsletter policy and also check out smart female erotic photographers like Heather Corinna.



Quotes

I saw this on
Tara Sue: Abstain for Peace -- duct tape.

Peace on earth is possible. Ladies, We must stop raising assholes, or at least stop having sex with them.

And I decided I should start putting some quotes I collect on this blog.

I always collect quotes and oddly, I put them in e-mail drafts.

I have lost more quotes that way, I mean hundreds alone in my great e-mail disaster leaving Garts. Technically, I don't trust Windows enough to leave another huge Microsoft program like Word on all the time to jot down notes and, considering the troubles I am always having with it, I minimize my use of everything except e-mail and browser. There are some occasions I will open something else up but only briefly.

So this is a good opportunity to get rid of, er, I mean "post for posterity", recent quotes I liked.


"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you
want to test a man's character, give him power."
--Abraham Lincoln

The most important thing to remember is that the penis was specially designed by God to make your vagina feel good. Unfortunately, God did a shitty design job and he attached the penis to a man - so the chances of a penis making you feel good are infinitesimal.

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."
--President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953,
upon being presented with plans to wage
preventive war to disarm Stalin's Soviet Union

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,
the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials,
in his opening statement to the tribunal

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight David Eisenhower
April 16, 1953


See, that wasn't so bad.




USATODAY.com - Internet-propelled liberal aims for White House

A year ago, Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich gave an emotional speech championing civil liberties and protesting the war in Afghanistan. Circulated widely on the Internet, it made him a liberal hero and spawned a Draft Kucinich movement. Monday, at an AFL-CIO forum in Iowa, he accepted the challenge with a fiery vow to create "a workers' White House." Wednesday he planned to announce formation of a committee to raise money for a presidential bid.

Well, my ex-wife Pat isn't impressed. She is from Cleveland. But he can write good speeches. He can also write mediocre ones I noticed later.

I should get more feedback from Pat's Republican leaning family from outside Cleveland. Heh, I like him even if he will be painted more liberal than Dukakis and so unelectable unless the economy really goes in the toilet, very possible, and Bush succeeds in getting us in the "tar-baby" that is Iraq..




Kurds Are Enraged At Being Abandoned By US Again

UK Independent -- has another story on Kurdish reaction to the recently announced post-Saddam plans of US military government.

The Kurdish leaders are enraged by an American plan to occupy Iraq but largely retain the government in Baghdad. The only changes would be the replacement of President Saddam and his lieutenants with senior US military officers.

It undercuts the argument by George Bush and Tony Blair that war is justified by the evil nature of the regime in Baghdad.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said the US had reneged on earlier promises to promote democratic change in Iraq. "It is very disappointing," he said. "In every Iraqi ministry they are just going to remove one or two officials and replace them with American military officers."

In Iraq, free elections would lead to revolutionary change because although the Shia Muslims and Kurds constitute three-quarters of the population, they are excluded from power in Baghdad by the Sunni Muslim establishment.

The Kurds fear that a US-led war against President Saddam might be the occasion for a Turkish effort to end the de facto independence enjoyed by Iraqi Kurds for more than a decade. One Kurdish leader said: "Turkey has made up its mind that it will intervene in northern Iraq in order to destroy us.

This is the beginning of a "tar-baby scenario", do you really want US troops being stationed in an artificial country with several major factions supporting a repressive minority, which is somewhat like what has happened in Afghanistan?



114 nations to say 'No' to Iraq war

The Non-Aligned Nations meeting is expected to issue declarations against a military invasion of Iraq.


Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Yahoo! News - Fox News Steals CNN Feed

A Fox News Channel spokesman did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Earlier, a station representative told Broadcasting & Cable magazine that its request to explain the apparent piracy was "a waste of time."

Fox ripped off a Reuters/NBC and a CNN video feed without permission and accreditation during the shuttle disaster.



Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors?

History News Network shows the right wing media machine in action, this time in the attacks on liberal professors. Tracing back, it is the same few wealthy inter-linked people.








Pax Americana

Newsday.com - Helen Thomas rails against Bush's `imperial presidency'

Rumsfeld & Bush's Iraq War Plan Was Formulated In 1998

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz [and Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol] undertook a full-fledged lobbying campaign in 1998 to get former President Bill Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein’s regime claiming that the country posed a threat to the United States. They later tried with New Gingrich and Trnet Lott. They were rightfully ignored. They claimed "the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard" if Saddam remained in power. Four years later, after 9/11, they had their excuse for the war they had been wanting.




For Bush Tax Plan, A Little Inner Dissent (washingtonpost.com)

Dana Milbank on more Bush contradictions - this time on his tax plan. Why do I get the feeling this was toned down?



CIA - North Korea Worst Nuclear Threat

NYTimes -- A Tale of Two Crises

Bush administration officials have been arguing that ousting the Saddam Hussein regime will serve as an object lesson of what can happen to a rogue nation that seeks weapons of mass destruction. But the North Korean nuclear breakout is sending the opposite signal to the W.M.D wannabees: if a regime does not want to be pressured by the sole remaining superpower or pushed around by a powerful neighbor, it should go nuclear as secretly and quickly as it can.

Bush is a disaster on foreign policy



America's Age of Empire: The Liberal Challenge

For liberals who oppose Bush's imperial strategy, it's time to come up with a foreign policy vision of their own. - A good reason to subscribe to Mother Jones.



MotherJones -- Washington wasn't listening but Blair was

Nice discusion of the Washington disconnect, war-blogger hysterics, and the New Republic's support for war as atonement. I had that argument pulled on me two days ago, we should take care of Saddam because we created him - after time to think about it I decided it didn't wash. I might start to buy into it if Bush and company was making it, not before.

Mother Jones also has the a couple of the provisions snuck into the new spending bill, organic meat will no longer mean organic and the protection of crooked gun shops.








Krugman -- Behind the Great Divide

The difference between the US and Europe is the media. NYTimes.





Nations Speak At U.N. Against Rush to War

Austin American-Statesman.com reports from the AP that there is almost no support for the US and Britain's rush to war. Kuwait and Iran urged Iraq to cooperate fully to avoid war and warned against foreign focres destabilizing the region. Iran warned "the prospect of appointing a foreign military commander to run an Islamic and Arab country is all the more destabilizing and only indicative of prevailing delusions.''


.




Growing Opposition in Turkey is Causing Higher Demands

UK Times reports that Bush is losing patience as Turkey tried to increase the $26 Billion he offered.






BBC News -- Saudis warn US over Unilateral Iraq war

Prince Saud added that if an attack on Iraq was sanctioned by the UN Security Council, it would not be considered an aggression.

"So we are ardently... urging the United States to continue to work with the United Nations... and not to create an act of individual aggression, of individually taking charge of the duties of the Security Council."

"There has never been in the history of the world a country in which a regime change happened at the bayonets of guns that has led to stability."

The worry is rising fundamentalism in America and the West - not in the Middle East, he said.

"Our worry is the new emerging fundamentalism in the United States and in the West. Fundamentalism in our region is on the wane. There, it's in the ascendancy. That's the threat."

When a Saudi prince has to warn us about our rising fundamentalism...




Jimmy Carter Opposes the Rush to War

The UK's Mirror has a major article with ex-President Jimmy Carter backing the Mirror's position to work through the UN.

"Obviously Saddam Hussein will have to comply with the revelation and destruction of all weapons of mass destruction.

"But there is a growing consensus, among other countries at least, that we should let the UN inspectors do their thing first before we start a pre-emptive war against Iraq."

I couldn't have said it better.




Iraq Has No Nukes, No Delivery Systems For Any WMD

FOXNews spins this as much as possible but can't hide the fact the former Iraqi scientists says there is no nuclear program and Iraq has no delivery system for biological or chemical weapons.


Monday, February 17, 2003


Rumours of War, Peace and Candidates

Antiwar movement awakens over Iraq | csmonitor.com

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean - Iraq is "Wrong War"

US Troops arrive in Turkey; War Moves Gain Momentum

Former NATO General Clark Mulling Presidential Bid

N. Korea Threatens to Abandon Armistice

North Korea threatened Tuesday to abandon the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, accusing the United States of plotting an attack on the communist state.

A spokesman of the North's Korean people's Army said that the United States was building up reinforcements around the Korean Peninsula in preparations to attack the North, said the North's official news agency KCNA.



Was London's Million Plus Rally Only the Beginning?

Daily Kos linked to plans for a complete shutdown in Great Britian if Blair commits troops as also a good hope of preventing the war by forcing new US war plans.






Cuba's Granma International Is Republishing LeCarre


I find it ironic on many levels that LeCarre's article "The United States of America has gone mad" from the
The Times of London January 15th, is finding a new home in Cuba.

GRANMA INTERNAtIONAL DIGITAL, CUBA ENGLISH

Good writing from the master spy novelist and it is worth republishing even if from an ironic source.





Nader Speaks Out Against Bush and War

BETWEEN THE LINES Nader audio interview

I have the text from their email. Here are some bits:

Between The Lines: You've been in Washington many decades. You've been through a lot of administrations. How does this administration stack up compared to, say, what went on during the Nixon administration or the Reagan administration in terms on a whole range of things you'd like to comment on -- civil rights, civil liberties certainly, but also our willingness to go it alone in the world?

Ralph Nader: This is the most radical extremist administration. George W. Bush is not his father's son. In fact, his father was counseling, through his older security advisors, to go very careful on this Iraq situation. And in the process, the Bush administration has transforming America for the worst. They're starving the necessities of our country in terms of budgets that are now being allocated to the war against Iraq and the military buildup. They are undermining our civil liberties -- the critical pillar of our democracy, chilling political dissent, privacy and created a nation of suspects, and above all, they're endangering this country by a reckless invasion of Iraq, that many retired generals and admirals think pose no threat to the United States, however brutal he is to his own people.

Ralph Nader: Keep up the opposition. You know, if stopping the war is important, if the war starts, it's even more important to stop the war. This isn't a war where there is any firepower on the other side, so to speak. They don't have an air force; they don't have a navy, their military is obsolete -- the only danger comes from chemical and biological material release. The American people who are not participating in this great debate on the war should realize that if they don't have a say, they're very likely to pay in many ways for themselves, their children, in terms of the state of the economy and the safety of our country.



"The Whole World is Against This War"

At a Sunday campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the Democratic nominating process will begin with caucuses next Saturday, Kucinich declared, "Yes, I am a candidate for peace." The 75 Democratic activists present responded by giving the new candidate a standing ovation.





McCain on Iraq

Salon.com | "A moral failure"

I greatly disagree with McCain but I am glad I could find this on Salon. Support Salon today, A great journalistic usually liberal voice.







More on Columbia Kidnapping and Deaths

U.S. Sees Kidnapping of 3 as Shift by Colombia Rebels

Note this is a very misleading article - "US defense contractors" equals CIA or American mercenaries. From the information presented and what the US is doing to search for the men, this is the beginning of much more US involvement.



The Nation --The Case Against the War


By any measure, totalitarian North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons is more dangerous than the mere possibility that Iraq is trying to develop them. The North Korean state, which is hard to distinguish from a cult, is also more repressive and disciplined than the Iraqi state, and has caused the death of more of its own people--through starvation.

Yet in the weeks that followed the North Korean disclosure, the Administration, in a radical reversal of the President's earlier assessments, sought to argue that the opposite was true.


From a long article which argues for world-wide eleimination of weapons of mass destruction and against unilateral preemptive wars.

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."
--President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953,
upon being presented with plans to wage
preventive war to disarm Stalin's Soviet Union

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,
the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials,
in his opening statement to the tribunal



The Powell Lies

Cogent Provocateur has been writing on Powell statements since the UN speech and is a good place to start on all the Powell lies.

Thanks to natasha of the watch for the link.



Stand Up for Masturbation

heather corinna: pure as the driven slush is writing in favor of teenage masturbation which is a good thing. As you can see, I am checking out the links from the nude blog awards, who knew, big surprise.

I will note that Pure as the Driven Slush doesn't have permalinks engaged on her blog for current entries which is not smart or friendly but I forgive her.





First Annual Nude Blog Awards***


Is it too late for me to say I often blog nude? And that even when I go out, underneath my clothes I am frequently naked?





Countering Rush

NYTimes -- Liberal Radio Is Planned by Rich Group of Democrats

I am wondering if what is needed is an expanded Pacifica Radio Network - particularly as it was under the old more businesslike management.



Canada TheStar - U.S. lies shouldn't be leading us into battle again

For much of the last half of the 20th century, American presidents and their chief advisers and military leaders were directly involved in elaborate schemes of drug-running, manipulating public opinion through planted editorials and news stories, and illicit campaigns of what they themselves called "White propaganda," like the now-notorious episode of the hoked-up Iraqi atrocities against incubator babies in Kuwait, a crime invented by a powerful public relations firm and used to sway Congress to support the Gulf War.

The history of US lies for military intervention urges skepticism on Iraq.





A New Power in the Streets

The New York Times notes that the millions of protesters have reminded governments that there may be a political price to pay for support for war.

They are also one of the few papers to note that foreign ministers for 22 Arab nations, called on all Arab countries to "refrain from offering any kind of assistance or facilities for any military action that leads to the threat of Iraq's security, safety and territorial integrity."



Protests While the War has Already Begun

Marchers bring 'arms inspectors' to Pearl Harbor

London - One million. And still they came


ABCNews: The War Is Under Way - U.S. Teams Starting Small Operations

U.S. warplanes are bombing Iraqi air defenses almost every day. Other aircraft are dropping millions of leaflets all over Iraq warning people things are about to change.

Small numbers of CIA and U.S. military operatives are secretly working inside Iraq.

American commando teams have been operating in Iraq's western desert, where the United States believes Saddam Hussein has hidden Scud missiles capable of hitting Israel or Jordan with nerve gas, sources told ABCNEWS. (This last sounds like a justification.)

Other teams, operating more openly, have set up small bases in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

The United States is also conducting a major psychological operation. The most secret part is aimed at Iraq's top military commanders.

I thought that by the end of this weak we should see major operations but events the last few days may slow this.




For President's Day - The Religion of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln

ABCNEWS: Presidents: Bible-Cutters, Mystics, Masons

Though historians dispute the details, Washington was probably a "deist" — a believer that nature, not revelation or church doctrine, was the proof of God.

Deism was the intellectual theology of Washington's day, best expressed in Thomas Paine's 1794 book, The Age of Reason, which argued that clerics were spewing mumbo-jumbo, and no one can be sure if the Bible is historically accurate, but we can be absolutely certain nature is so grand and intricate it must be the work of a Creator.

A favorite volume of many founders, The Age of Reason was seen by the Anglican, Catholic, Congregational and Episcopal hierarchies of the day as a direct attack, since the book asserted that the rational person could ignore organized religion and come to his or her own conclusions about God. It would be as if, today, an American president were to declare that priests, rabbis, and ministers were mainly bureaucrats, scripture was a muddle, and each individual should arrive at his or her own spiritual beliefs through private meditation.

This is more or less what George Washington thought, and a reason he preferred vespers in rustic Mount Vernon to that Alexandria pew.

And since the topic is Presidents' Day, why not throw in Jefferson? He also was a deist, his famous declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident," meaning that the principles of freedom could be proclaimed from nature, not from either human or divine law. And though Jefferson revered Jesus, saying Christ's teachings were "the sublimest system of morality that has ever been taught," he rejected the miracle accounts of the gospels.

Jefferson wrote a short book, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, that anticipated modern revisionism by presenting Christ as a beautiful mortal sage about whom supernatural talk was invented mythology. The normally daring Virginian declined to publish this work during his lifetime, showing it to friends but leaving instructions that the volume not be printed until after his death.

In fact, Jefferson did most of his work on The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (which remains in press under the title The Jefferson Bible) while sitting in the old White House. Late into the night, he sat pouring over the gospels with a razor and glue pot, physically splicing out miracle references and pasting together a non-supernatural account of Christ.

Suffice it to say, an American president today might not venture to write a book rejecting the divinity of Jesus.

When he first ran for Congress in 1840, Lincoln was derided by opponents for not belonging to a church. Indeed, Abe was not a member of any church, and was sufficiently skeptical of organized religion that on his drinking nights, he entertained friends by doing a stand-up parody routine about a pompous, hypercritical minister.

Even after his election as president in 1860, he told friends he remained an agnostic, quoting scripture mainly because it was so powerful. His initial view of the Civil War was not religious, either. Though many northern churches from the outset called the war God's vengeance against slavery, Lincoln would tell Horace Greeley early on, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union," not abolish slavery.

All this changed in winter of 1862, when Lincoln's adored little son Willie died of typhoid fever in the White House, father weeping uncontrollably in the next room. Mary Lincoln was driven to mysticism by the loss; soon she would be consulting mediums, trying to communicate with Willie on the other side.

Lincoln began to adopt the radical religious view that the conflict was not meant to end quickly because the Civil War was God's retribution against the United States for holding slaves. That is, God actually wanted huge numbers of Americans to die, paying for the nation's sins.

As his views became more religious, increasingly Lincoln focused on the centrality of ending slavery, which today is seen as a civil rights issue but then was seen by most abolitionists first as a spiritual issue, because slave-holding was an abomination before God.

I would also like to mention Lincoln's Universalist leanings and his being another admirer of Thomas Paine, who has been denounced as an atheist by ignorant people supporting structured revealed religion.




Thousands in San Francisco join protests against war in Iraq

SFGate: A day after millions of people around the world took to the streets to protest a possible U.S. war with Iraq, San Francisco provided an encore demonstration when some 150,000 people crowded the downtown to demand peace.

Streets were packed with chanting, sign-waving protesters that stretched for blocks, from the waterfront to the ornate and historic City Hall. Police estimated the crowd at 150,000 people. Organizers claimed 250,000.

"We are the vocal majority," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, told the crowd.

"We know that we have not been shown enough evidence for a preemptive strike," Raitt said. "There are a million people around the globe who have shown they feel the same way."

Marchers said President Bush has yet to make his case that the United States and its allies should disarm Iraq by force if necessary.

"It is so clearly really on the edge of madness what Bush is doing so you have to be out on the streets," Hoffmann said.

I seem to be digesting instead of commenting more today This happens now when I think the news speaks for itself and is important.



The Observer -- US to punish German 'treachery'

Rumsfeld loses control, horifies State Department in vow to make an example of Germany

America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries - moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros.

The plan - discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - is designed 'to harm' the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's 'treachery'.

'We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy,' one source told The Observer last week.

The Pentagon plan - and the language expressed by officials close to Rumsfeld - has horrified State Department officials, who believe that bullying other countries to follow the US line will further exacerbate anti-Americanism and alienate those European countries that might support a United Nations resolution authorising a war.




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