Hanging Out In Rockford: Health issues, elections make for interesting times

May you live in interesting times. These times certainly have been interesting. For me personally, it seems as if the universe is swirling; my personal health issues, the state of the nation, and the presidential elections all have combined to make this an eventful time in my life. To quote John Fogerty, it seems like “Déjà Vu All Over Again.” I wonder if George Bush is even cognizant that this song is about him. I wonder.

I have made a personal pledge that this column is not to be about serious issues. I have made a pledge to myself to keep it about Rockford, and hanging out. In this respect, I make plans Friday night to go to The Blind Robins’ CD release party at Mary’s. I have known Becky, the owner of Mary’s, for years. She is the daughter of Lloyd Haddad, whom I worked with so many years ago at Rockford Nehi Royal Crown. Mike Whyte, who writes most of the songs for the Robins, made my video that ran so many times on the local Fox station WQRF when Greg Graber was general manager there. (He is now general manager over at 23.)

Then I am talking to Karen Elyea, and she says that Chris is having a special show at Kryptonite (Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise / Mark Willer & The Resistors) and that she plans to go there just to put in her $10. (I saw Chris having breakfast at Gerlinde’s this morning, and strangely, he said nothing about it.) As she puts it, “If we don’t support these things when they happen, there will be no incentive to keep them happening.” This same thing could also be said about the Bacchus kitchen, but that is for another time. There is a tendency in Rockford to ignore and then regret the passing. Too little, too late. It goes all the way back to Charlotte’s Web.

Friday night I am sitting in my apartment. I am sitting and thinking about these plans and feeling guilty. I am tired. I have had a hell of a week. I found out Tuesday that my second non-invasive procedure will not be possible and I will have to have a double by-pass operation. Doesn’t exactly make you feel like going out to party. Still, I sit here and have these feelings. But then I form a plan and a purpose. There is one thing about which I have been wanting to write: the reason for going to war in Iraq. This is sufficient reason to reject my self-imposed rules.

I have stated before that I could tell that the president was lying when he said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I didn’t have any special info or inside source, I could tell from his demeanor. I could tell from the way he looked up and to the right. I could tell from the little nervous laugh so strangely un-self-assured (for a president). He just looked like someone who was lying.

He was lying. Anyone who has residual doubt but still has an open mind can prove it to himself by reading The New York Times article of Oct. 3. This is the smoking gun. You can look it up online. The reason given for the war in Iraq was weapons of mass destruction, specifically, nuclear weapons. The basis for this assumption was high-strength aluminum tubes that were being purchased by Iraq. The supposed use for these tubes was in centrifuges to produce weapons grade uranium. They were in actuality tubes for small, short-range rockets.

The specifications were exactly the same as rocket tubes the Iraqis had ordered previously. They were coated when this would invalidate their use as centrifuge tubes. Both the State Department and the Energy Department pooh-poohed their use as centrifuge parts. The previous Iraqi centrifuges had used much more sophisticated materials. Why would they at this time step backward, it was asked. The comment was made that the tubes could be converted for centrifuge use but that you could also conceivably make a Cadillac out of a Yugo.

The administration, this bunch of neo-con jerks, purposely ignored what everybody was telling them. Purposely so they could go to war. Purposely so they could impose their world vision. Purposely so they could keep their oil-rich friends making money off oil. They continued to ignore even when the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the U.N. inspectors were readmitted to Iraq, and they found the tubes and they were rockets.

At this point, there was no doubt. There was no nuclear program. In spite of this, Colin Powell went to the U.N. and lied. (How can he live with himself?) George Bush then involved us in this unnecessary war. More than 1,000 of our young men and countless Iraqi men, women and children have died. For this reason and this reason alone, you should vote for John Kerry. George Bush is not fit to be the president of the United States.

The world will not come to an end if George is re-elected, but the image of the United States will continue to suffer. People will not come here to vacation or do business. They will continue to wonder about our sanity or lack thereof. But more young people who do not want war will continue to arrive on the scene, and in four years we will end this repressive administration for good. Then, perhaps, the United States can take its place again as leader of the free world. Let’s hope so.

Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. These columns are available on his Web site, IrishRoseRockford.com, and featured on WNTA talk radio AM 1330. Leifheit is owner of the Irish Rose restaurant in the downtown River District.

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