Wesley Willis Takes Over for Ari Fleischer as Spokesman for Bush Administration

Play that rock lead guitar!
Rock it like a magikist!
Rock and roll is the joyride music!
Whip that snow leopard's ass!

Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!

Play that Westone guitar!
Rock it to the break of dawn!
Rock in on the mic in front of 50,000 people!
Rock the jam session on Saddam Hussein!

Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!

Play the rock solo as hard as you can!
Make the crowd roar like a tidal wave!
Rock the jam session on a good free will!
Whip the hell out of that snow leopard's ass!

Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!
Rock Saddam Hussein's ass!

Rock over London!
Rock on Chicago!
TCBY, it's The Country's Best Yogurt!



Among the many bloggers doing a magnificent job in these times:

Insightful commentery at Body and Soul
Breaking news from The Agonist

Myself, I'm all busy with Solitaire and sleep.
God Bless the Onion

U.S. Forms Own U.N.


Pardon My French Freedom

From this week's "Get Your War On":

Man on Phone: "Just promise me one thing. Promise me that when you hear Saddam is dead, you'll stop moaning about this war for a moment and think of all the people that odious motherfucker killed. Raise a glass to his victims."
Second Man: "You know what? Don't give me that shit. I know when to grieve and for whom. Our sanctions made Saddam stronger and his victims weaker. And somehow, mentioning this fact to people over the years made me a 'hippy?' I'm a middle manager who doesn't like the smell of marijuana! Meanwhile Donald Rumsfeld is about to be treated as a humanitarian liberator! You don't need to tell me who to 'raise a glass to,' you fucking idiot -- I raise six glasses every night, just to get drunk enough to love this country like I did as a kid: without feeling like it's using me.
First Man: "Come on, I was trying to have a moment!"


Mattbr reports from the front

over the past few weeks, i've visited the camps at doha and arifjan in kuwait, talked to the grunts, given them a few cigarettes.
they're good kids.
they're totally unaware of what they're going to be commiting here, but they're doing it sincerely.
they're doing it because they believe in their country.
they're doing it because it's paying for their education.
they're doing it because they've been told they were going to rid the world of a monster and free a population from poverty and slavery.
i admire their sincerity.
i admire their candor.
i admire their courage.
i despise their leaders.


Weasel words to watch for

'Inevitable revenge' - for the executions of Saddam's Baath party officials which no one actually said were inevitable.
'Stubborn' or 'suicidal' - to be used when Iraqi forces fight rather than retreat.
'Allegedly' - for all carnage caused by Western forces.
'At last, the damning evidence' - used when reporters enter old torture chambers.
'Officials here are not giving us much access' - a clear sign that reporters in Baghdad are confined to their hotels.
'Life goes on' - for any pictures of Iraq's poor making tea.
'Remnants' - allegedly 'diehard' Iraqi troops still shooting at the Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement dedicated to the 'liberation' of Iraq from its new western occupiers.
'Newly liberated' - for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans or British.
'What went wrong?' - to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy in Iraq as if it were not predicted.

by Robert Fisk of the Independent (found via Robot Wisdom)


Little Mouse

Little mouse has little feet.
And little mouse, he loves to eat.
He finds a snack and so to have it he;
Simply opts to defy gravity


To: bobney@bobney.org
Subject: freedom fries

Representative Ney,

I think the renaming of "french fries" in House eateries on behalf of your committee is ridiculous. President Chirac's position regarding UN Security Council resolutions is a principled stance reflecting the interests of the people he represents, both as President of France and as the leader of a UN Member Country. It is the United States that is threatening world security both directly, by pledging offensive attacks, and indirectly, by undermining the charter of the United Nations. In no objective way can the position of France be interpreted as treasonous to the friendship it has enjoyed with the United States (since the American Revolution, you will recall). It is, instead, clear that France's actions reflect a commitment to justice and peaceful means of coercion that are sadly lacking in the reigning administration in Washington.

If "French Fries" is offensive, it is only so because it gives short shrift to the contribution of the Belgians to our national cuisine.


John Morse


George H. W. Bush not so convinced we're doing the right thing...

The London Times has this story on a speech George Bush Sr. gave at Tufts University where he openly expresses concern that Bush Jr. is making big mistakes in his rush toward regime change in Iraq at all costs. Interesting stuff, and interesting that you haven't heard it anywhere else...

Full text from Tufts' website. (thanks to Gumbo Pages)
Conservative vs. Neoconservative

Old time right winger Pat Buchanan accuses Bush's foreign policy team of hijacking America for the sake of Ariel Sharon's Likud Party.

Robot Wisdom)


Hyperlinked Manhattan (An Exercise in Educated Site Navigation)

New York Songlines generates slightly abstracted maps of New York City streets and tells you everything interesting about particular addresses, such as who wrote their classic novel on the upper floor, or who got murdered by whom in the basement. It's like a museum guide for real life. An early implementation of an augmented reality system. I love it. I want to go.

(via Kottke.org)


Just War - or a Just War? a New York Times Editorial by Jimmy Carter

The former U.S. President and holder of a Nobel Prize for Peace outlines the Christian doctrine of a "just war" (a.k.a. jihad):

"Profound changes have been taking place in American foreign policy, reversing consistent bipartisan commitments that for more than two centuries have earned our nation greatness. These commitments have been predicated on basic religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise decisions and mutual restraint. Our apparent determination to launch a war against Iraq, without international support, is a violation of these premises.

As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology.

For a war to be just, it must meet several clearly defined criteria.

The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted. In the case of Iraq, it is obvious that clear alternatives to war exist. These options - previously proposed by our own leaders and approved by the United Nations - were outlined again by the Security Council on Friday. But now, with our own national security not directly threatened and despite the overwhelming opposition of most people and governments in the world, the United States seems determined to carry out military and diplomatic action that is almost unprecedented in the history of civilized nations. The first stage of our widely publicized war plan is to launch 3,000 bombs and missiles on a relatively defenseless Iraqi population within the first few hours of an invasion, with the purpose of so damaging and demoralizing the people that they will change their obnoxious leader, who will most likely be hidden and safe during the bombardment.

The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. Extensive aerial bombardment, even with precise accuracy, inevitably results in "collateral damage." Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf, has expressed concern about many of the military targets being near hospitals, schools, mosques and private homes.

Its violence must be proportional to the injury we have suffered. Despite Saddam Hussein's other serious crimes, American efforts to tie Iraq to the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been unconvincing.

The attackers must have legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to represent. The unanimous vote of approval in the Security Council to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction can still be honored, but our announced goals are now to achieve regime change and to establish a Pax Americana in the region, perhaps occupying the ethnically divided country for as long as a decade. For these objectives, we do not have international authority. Other members of the Security Council have so far resisted the enormous economic and political influence that is being exerted from Washington, and we are faced with the possibility of either a failure to get the necessary votes or else a veto from Russia, France and China. Although Turkey may still be enticed into helping us by enormous financial rewards and partial future control of the Kurds and oil in northern Iraq, its democratic Parliament has at least added its voice to the worldwide expressions of concern.

The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists. Although there are visions of peace and democracy in Iraq, it is quite possible that the aftermath of a military invasion will destabilize the region and prompt terrorists to further jeopardize our security at home. Also, by defying overwhelming world opposition, the United States will undermine the United Nations as a viable institution for world peace.

What about America's world standing if we don't go to war after such a great deployment of military forces in the region? The heartfelt sympathy and friendship offered to America after the 9/11 attacks, even from formerly antagonistic regimes, has been largely dissipated; increasingly unilateral and domineering policies have brought international trust in our country to its lowest level in memory. American stature will surely decline further if we launch a war in clear defiance of the United Nations. But to use the presence and threat of our military power to force Iraq's compliance with all United Nations resolutions - with war as a final option - will enhance our status as a champion of peace and justice.


U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation [from the New York Times]

The following is the text of John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kiesling is a career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.

It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America?s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. 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. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has ?oderint dum metuant? really become our motto?

I urge you to listen to America?s friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America?s ability to defend its interests.

I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.


Offensive Speech Barred from Albany Mall

A 61 year old lawyer had a t-shirt made that said "Give Peace a Chance". He put it on over his regular shirt and walked to the food court. Mall security asked him to either remove the t-shirt or leave. He refused. He was arrested. If convicted he could spend a year in prison for trespassing. This is America. [Newsday story]

Meanwhile, good citizens who don't express opinions on matters of global significance while engaged in the shopping experience were offered 10% off their entire purchase at Bath and Body Works when applying for a new credit account.
Cartoon Recycling

The New Yorker published the same gag twice. Also it's not really funny.

(Search inspired by and URL hacking modeled after Robot Wisdom)
Mardi-Gras for Rent

If you missed the party, pass around the hat and put together your own parade with floats and props from Blaine Kern Studios. You'll also want to plunk down a chunk of change at Accent Annex for the loot you'll need to get shirts flapping. (It might also help to load up a few kegs from the Dixie Brewery.

Laissez les bon temps rouler, mon chere!