Ranting, Raving, and Rocking by Sal Canzonieri

This was my seventh column in AMP magazine. This one Rants on how Iragi war was planned long ago by Tony Blair, Raves on Circus Punks toys, and Rocks on about 3 best unsung heroes of rock: The Lee Harvey Oswald Band, Celebrity Skin, and The Neurotic Outsiders!

Loud Fast Rules magazine issue 1
AMP magazine
(October 2005 issue #38)
Column #7

Welcome to my seventh column for AMP magazine.

This month’s Rant:

Well, not much I can say right now about the whole Hurricane Katrina thing that hasn't been said over and over, except I really hope that the people that have been hurt by it will get the help they need and deserve.

Funny how the money that was supposed to be spent for updating the levees was cut back and used for the "war effort"; this magnanimous "war" that Bush is having against the Sunnies in Iraq.
What's really interesting to me though is there is one person that’s been rooting for this "war" since the 1990s, and that's good old UK PM Tony Blair. I like the way that he has covered his ass there in the UK by making it look like it was Bush's idea for this war, while all along he has been pining away for it since the 1990s!

I dare you to do the research, just go to google.com and type in Blair 1998 Gulf War and you will see so much stuff that you will say "Looks Like Deja Vu, all over again!" in the words of baseball coach Yogi Berra.

First of all on of the things you will see, if you visit this link: www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm is the ORIGINAL petition sent on January 26, 1998 to ex-president Clinton by a group of "concerned" citizens, with names that are now, 7 years later, very familiar when it comes to Iraq, such as: Elliot Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, and Robert B. Zoellick. Yep, these motherfuckers begged, pleaded, urged Pres. Clinton to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remove Saddam Hussein's regime from power. "We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor." they all said. BECAUSE: "Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished." and "As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons." If "Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, 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." So, according to them, "The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy. We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts."

Sound familiar to you? Hey, that was in 1998, now these guys are all part of Bush's administration and doing just what they were pushing Clinton to do. Furthermore: "We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."

How do you like that, a total blueprint of what was done once Bush was in the White House. It's like they followed a film script! Now back to noble Tony Blair. Long before Bush was in office, the Clinton administration was just as involved. The common person through the timeline is Tony Blair. Maybe it was Blair that started all this? He's been the longest known supporter of an invasion of Iraq. He pushed Clinton for years to invade Iraq with a massive show of on-the-ground troops. Clinton just wanted to bomb the shit out of Saddam and force him into submission without having to "own the place" (as even ex-pres Bush senior didn't want to do), and of which Clinton did so, effectively causing Saddam to let the UN inspectors look over everything and dismantle their WMD programs. Clinton's Operation DESERT THUNDER planned to have not one foot soldier in Iraq. Instead, Clinton's idea was to bomb the living crap out of Iraq until Saddam stepped down. But this wasn't good
Enough for Blair, Clinton and Blair were at odds over this plan of attack. He even bugged Gore to push Clinton into invading. And we know what happened soon after, right? Yeah, Gore distanced himself from Clinton and suddenly Clinton was impeached for having sex with some set up girl. Black mail or what?

So, what did Blair want to get out of this "war"? It's still a big mystery. January 1998 came the petition from our 'concerned' citizens, Feb 1998 came all the meetings between Blair and Clinton, as shown on TV, talking about what the plan was going to be. At that time, Clinton "rolled the red carpet" out for Mr. Blair, the only European leader to fully back "America's" stance that military action might have to be taken against Iraq. Speaking after a number of live television interviews in which he branded Saddam a "completely ruthless dictator", who "must be stopped", Mr. Blair again reaffirmed his stance on the used of force and warned there might be a need in the near future for the US and Britain to stand side-by-side again. Following Russian President Boris Yeltsin's warning that Clinton could provoke world war, and statements of opposition to US policy from France, Blair sought to silence the dissenting voices, placing urgent phone calls to both Yeltsin and French President Chirac. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook was dispatched to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to win support in the Middle East. Aware of the dangers of international isolation, the British Foreign Office has taken responsibility for drafting a resolution to the United Nations Security Council designed to send "a united and strong signal to Iraq of the international community's determination to enforce its will."

Remember now, I am talking about Feb 1998, even though it sounds like "Deja Vu, all over again". Back in 1998, Foreign Secretary Cook claimed that Iraq had the capacity to produce enough chemical weapons to "remove human life from the planet." Another example of the facile character of this disinformation campaign was Blair's remark that Hussein "is a nasty dictator, sitting on an awful lot of nasty stuff." In November 1998, Clinton is just about to attack Saddam and at the last minute Saddam backs down and allows the UN inspectors to come back in. So, Clinton calls off the air strike, etc. Big Mistake! This sure pisses off a lot of people that were rooting for this war to happen, including Blair. Soon enough, Clinton is all caught up in his sex scandals and kinda needs something like this to make him look needed and important as a president again, as a "world leader". By December, Clinton and Blair decide that Saddam is again not allowing enough inspections to happen and then, by December 1998, Iraq is finally bombed. Clinton gives a speech that night on TV that practically repeats the petition he was sent back in January of that year, finally making the point: "So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people." Yes indeed! That long-term strategy is here and now, like a big fat rotten egg.

And, to top it all over, the Republicans back in 1998, who pushed Clinton to attack Iraq, do an about face: Prominent among the skeptics: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas). "I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," Lott said in a statement. "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question." "The suspicion some people have about the president's motives in this attack is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement. "After months of lies, the president has given millions of people around the world reason to doubt that he has sent Americans into battle for the right reasons." REASONS? Clinton gave the EXACT same reasons that Bush did, you can match their speeches about it almost word for word! How come back in 1998 Clinton gave the wrong reasons and when Bush gets in there years later, these same reasons are the right reasons?

So, again, what does Blair or the UK for that matter get out of this 'war' that they were pushing for? Well, they benefit from this in several ways, see: www.wsws.org/news/1998/feb1998/blair.shtml. In that 1998 article they state: "Britain benefits from this relationship in several ways. Ever since the formation of the European Economic Community, Britain has sought to play the role of America's continental ally-so much so that former French President Charles DeGaulle opposed British entry into the EEC for years and succeeded in delaying it until 1971. Like Thatcher before him, Blair continues to rely on American backing as an economic and political counterweight to Britain's main European rivals, Germany and France. Britain also has substantial investments in the US market, which remains its largest single investment location. American corporations in turn invest heavily in Britain because it provides a cheap labor platform for the European market. Finally, Blair hopes to piggyback growing American economic influence in the gulf." So, ha, ha, the USA does all the dirty work and gets the hate from the rest of the world and the UK gets to profit!

This Month’s Rave:

Seems like what's all the rave are Toys! But these toys are for grown ups, cause they sure cost some money! Check out cool sites like www.toytokyo.com/ and you will see loads of monsters and funny animal figures that aren't just for kids anymore! These toys are much cooler and are designed by a load of guest "lowbrow" artists like Frank Kozik, Tim Biskup, Gary Basman, Eric Pigors, James Jarvis, Jim Woodring, Dave Burk, Dirty Donny, and lots more.

There's Kubricks, Bearbricks, Bobble heads, American toys, Japanese toys, action figures, dolls, mini-toys, gigantic toys, toys for boys, toys for girls, die-cast metal, tin toys, wind-up toys, plastic toys, plush toys, and on and on. There's something for everyone! Match them to your tastes or match them to your room decor! All there for you.
Also check out the cool toys at www.kidrobot.com/, www.monsterfetish.com/, and www.toxictoons.com/.

This Month’s Rocking:

Well, this month I wanted to point out three unsung modern heroes of REAL ROCK & ROLL that have been overlooked somehow.

1. One of the very best bands to ever rock out were the Lee Harvey Oswald Band! Fronted by former Digits and Supersuckers guitar ace, before he started The Gazastrippers, none other than Rick Sims (who calls himself Zowie Fenderblast here). Their greatest album out of three records they released is Blastonaut, which came out in 1996 on Touch and Go Records. It is one of the best Rocking records around, like souped-up Glam Rock meets Detroit Rock - David Bowie meets The Stooges, the best of both worlds. The song "Rocket 69" is totally great non-stop driving rock & roll that was way ahead of its time, harkening to bands of today like Turbonegro, Gluecifer, Backyard Babies, and so on. I know that they inspired me with Electric Frankenstein for sure!
LHOB recalls all the best moments of Raw Power, Electric Warrior and Aladdin Sane, bringing back heavy proto-punk power chords and spacey glam rock lyrics.
Their first album "A Taste of Prison" rock out just as much, though the production is a little less than on "Blastonaut".
GO to Amazon.com or Ebay.com and BUY their two albums and an EP before they are impossible to find!!!! You will not be disappointed if you are a fan of power chords, guitar madness and wild rock n roll antics!

2. Celebrity Skin! No not the stupid Hole song, THE BAND. Celebrity Skin were around in 1990, on Triple X records, and they released two Cds: "Celebrity Skin" and "Good Clean Fun". Another powerful Glam Rock meets Detroit Rock sounding power chord band, their first record featured Don Bolles, former member of such great bands as The Germs and 45 Grave! These guys were all 6 footers that dressed like transvestite drag queens, again ahead of their time, but they totally wrote great ROCK anthem songs. I think this stuff was called Flash Metal back then? They were like the NY Dolls meets the Dickies, if you can imagine that! Funny but instantly likeable Glam-Pop with punk power chords. You can see them at: www.hipmagazine.com/celebskin.htm and read all about them at: www.sleazegrinder.com/flashmetalCelebritySkingood.htm
Man, you can get their first record at Amazon.com for 47 cents! And their second for 1.98! Run and get it!!!

3. Featuring the guitar greatness of Steve Jones, there was the one time only Neurotic Outsiders in 1996! This is another must have for hard rockers with a punk influence. This LA based band was an all-star band. This super group featured Matt Sorum along with his onetime Guns N' Roses bandmate Duff McKagan, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) and John Taylor (Duran Duran). Their self titled CD is hard to find sometimes but well worth it! Just straight ahead fun, though they got bad reviews by pompous asses that don't know how to relax or even get laid. They just wanted to have a good time enjoying themselves while playing some good rock n roll and that's the feeling you get when you hear there only record (they had some singles though). It's full of high energy and grit, which makes for an exciting live show, when they played regularly at the Viper Room doing a lot of cool cover songs too.

That's it for this issue! Click here to read column #8

Sal Canzonieri - www.electricfrankenstein.com / www.myspace.com/electricfrankenstein

(c) 2005 BGT ENT / Sal Canzonieri