Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 42 – March 2004

So it’s official then!
There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!
Oh good. I’m glad that’s clear!
Although a lot of us knew this 12 months ago when Saddam fought a war without them.

But apparently, and somewhat suddenly, we are now being told that weapons of mass destruction were not the reason British troops invaded Iraq!

George Foulkes, a Labour back bencher, recently told Sky News that “Weapons of mass destruction were simply a side issue.”

Apparently we attacked Iraq because Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator that the world needed rid of!

Now why didn’t I guess that was the reason?

So, I’m hearing the truth at last?

But I have to wonder how many of the wavering millions, who backed Tony B Liar when told about WMD’s being deliverable in 45 minutes, would have agreed to go to war if the truth had been made public 12 months ago.

So, whilst our governments might understand that Muslims are fanatics who blindly follow the Koran and visit Mecca to hurl stones at pillars of the devil whilst trampling to death hundreds beneath their feet in the excitement of it all and that they will happily blow themselves apart with bombs strapped to themselves because they are religious zealots living mostly in poverty, they do nothing new to persuade those of the Muslim religion that we actually want peace, freedom and equality within the world. (Not bad for one sentence).

Why? Because Bush does not want peace equality and freedom within the world. Let’s face it. He doesn’t even want that in Texas!

What was it old Georgie boy said the other day? “I want to get to the truth of the matter”. Well it’s a bit late now. The time to get to the truth of the matter was two years ago before this lunacy started.

How can we seriously allow Bush and Blair to continue leading our governments? Should we seriously consider arresting them as war criminals? Or even planet criminals? George happily ignores the menace of rising temperatures, sea levels and planet destruction to appease the oil magnets who keep him happily gorging himself in his own self indulgent megalomania. Enough is surely enough.

My only hope for this planet is that the Republicans lose the next election and that George Bush follows his father into inglorious ignominy.

I recall a letter I got a couple of years ago from Jennifer Pyron admonishing me for my attitude towards the leadership of America and my attitude towards both Blair and Bush. This is what Jennifer had to say two years ago … …………

Understand that I am not some close-minded, uneducated American who believes that ours is the right way and the only way. I am constantly listening to other people's opinions in order to form my own. My frustration lies in the fact that so many people outside of our country have this attitude that we, are isolationists and don't do for the rest of the world. When there is a need, the United States is the first one in line to help. Now, I don't necessarily agree with every move that our administration makes, but the only way that I can sleep at night is to trust that they have much more information than me and that they will make the right decisions, but unfortunately, there isn't one single thing that I can do about it.

We are lucky enough to live in a time when anyone can object to the government and rant and rave, but we also live in a time when our freedoms are being compromised by a handful of terrorists. Some of your readers are naive enough to think that this is just about America when in fact, it's about every free civilisation in the world. Thankfully, your leaders realise that this is freedom's fight, not just ours.

I believe it's very arrogant to criticise the men fighting this war (Bush, Blair, etc.). It's so easy to sit back, unaffected, and talk about what they've done wrong, what they should do, etc. Stop for a minute and think about the enormous pressure on these people knowing that every move they make directly affects our very existence. That's where my frustration comes from. Don't assume that I'm not informed or that I only hear what I want to hear. It's just that I'm not bold enough to assume that I could do a better job. Also, this is not a job that anyone wanted, but they're doing everything they can and to the best of their ability.

Now, I will concede that I should read your letters criticising our government for a different look at things and I will welcome them. You should just remember that you're vilifying the very men that are fighting for your freedom to do so.
Thanks for listening,
Jennifer Pyron

Whilst I obviously do not accept Jennifer’s viewpoint, it is nonetheless a well constructed letter from a well educated woman. Jennifer says “but the only way that I can sleep at night is to trust that they have much more information than me and that they will make the right decisions, but unfortunately, there isn't one single thing that I can do about it”.

Well Jennifer if you don’t agree with your leader there is something you can do about it. First of all don’t vote for him/her, secondly get together with like minded people and actively do something.

I would also add that I can’t agree that the leadership of America is a job that the lunatic Bush didn’t want and it is simply because I do fear for our very existence that I deeply believe the war was wrong. I don’t think attacking Iraq has helped my children and grandchildren look forward to a better future, I firmly believe we have put them all into deep peril. I would like to know what you think too Jennifer, I see you still get the Ramblings. What do you think now that you know that the weapons of mass destruction, which your leader used as THE excuse for war, actually never existed? Have you changed your mind, or do you still believe that our leaders are people you can trust?

I was delighted to see Kate Rusby in concert on BBC 4 the other evening. I have to say straight away that I’m not really a keen fan of Kate’s, and I appreciate here that I’m in the minority. I’ve seen her a few times over the years and to her credit the material she is performing now is considerably improved from the time when I first saw her at The Topic Folk Club in Bradford some seven maybe eight or more years ago. I thought she was so poor that evening I left at half time, unlike the rest of the audience who were fawning to her every move. Gone thankfully is the pretentious fan and the hair blowing in the wind, or at least it wasn’t evident in the TV programme. Kate chose a very interesting set of songs, most of them traditional, the majority of which I’ve not heard before. She has a huge following now and I hope that she will continue to encourage more young people to investigate the genre further. As you probably know I like a bit of controversy, not only in my writings but also in live performances. Kate follows the simplistic ‘Spinners’ style, leaving politics to others more prepared to put their careers on the line. Well I guess there is no harm in that especially if you want to get on. The BBC don’t like controversy at the best of times. Judging by the response from the audience, who were all happy, relaxed and singing along with the choruses she did a grand job. Not my cup of tea, but I’m the first to admit to having a strange taste. I would like to salute John Lennard too, I’m sue his ‘folk influence’ had a lot to do with the screening. Perhaps the BBC would consider following this show up with something by Paul Downes, or Jeremy Taylor, or Mick Harris, or Shep Woolley or even Dangerous Curves. Let’s have something with a bit of balls, preferably by artistes who have been the rock and foundation of the British folk scene for donkey’s years who still find themselves scrabbling around eking out a living as best they can. If the BBC are looking for a young sexy male performer they would do well to consider Adrian Nation. But in the meantime I’ll salute Kate Rusby for a thoroughly professional job and the BBC for actually promoting folk music on the television – even if it was Channel 4 at midnight!

Meanwhile Stead is eking out a living at the following venues ……

Mar 5th (KM) Bacca Pipes Folk Club, Keighley – Special Peter Bellamy CD release
Mar 27th (KM) Recording second CD
Mar 28th (KM) Recording second CD
Apr 19th (Joe) The Green Dragon, St Helens, Lancashire.
May 1st (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester.
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester.
May 12th (KM) The Cross Keys, Uppermill.
May 14th (KM) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds
May 15th (Joe) Bradford Day/Dance – Life and Times of Paul Robeson (Lunchtime)
Jun 2nd (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Concert Hall - Life and Times of Paul Robeson 10am!
Jun 9th (Joe) Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford - Life and Times of Paul Robeson
Aug 20th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Aug 21st (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Aug 22nd (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Nov 11th (KM) Topic Folk Club, Bradford
Nov 24th (Joe) Sandholme Fold Res Home, Hipperholme – Life+Times P Robeson
Dec 14th (Joe) Barwick in Elmet Probus Club- Valparaiso Round the Horn 10am!


Dear Joe,
I have been enjoying your ramblings for some time but have never replied before, I would like to say 'thank you' and please keep up the good work.
One point I would like to make, you imply that the lunatic Bush is actually running his country, but you surely know that it is the people with money that run America any president (or Prime Minister) is just a mouth piece.
I look forward to seeing you at the Hull Sea Festival this year!

I love your Ramblings and agree with every word! This latest government Hutton 'stich-up' is about the last straw and it's interesting to see what happens when New Labour rogues fall out as indeed the BBC and NL have done!!
Seems the public judging by the polls is not fooled and judge it to be a ‘whitewash'! That's why that cocky little sod Tony was so confident before it was published - he knew what was going to be in it! They really are a bunch of shisters (is that how you spell it?!).

Thank you for including my song in your last issue.
Please feel no compunction to read the long and detailed section below regarding the three hitmen from France. I distilled this information from several sites I found on the internet. I am suspicious of most of what I read, but this chunk of information appeared in similar form on several sites, and has the ring of credibility. The phrase below "the U.S. mob was reluctant to actually pull a trigger on Kennedy themselves" can be understood in the context of two pieces of information that appear to be true. 1) No information has been revealed during investigations and trials of mob figures in the 40 years since Dallas that a mob hitman actually pulled a trigger in Dallas... the mob actually emerges as more "patriotic" than one would surmise. And 2) JFK was the first Roman Catholic to win the White House.
The French Connection CIA, Mafia, and military-industrial fingerprints are all over the Kennedy assassination. The dominant forces driving the hit appear to be based in the U.S., but some of the triggermen appear to have come from outside the U.S. Foreign hitmen would have provided an additional insulating layer for any U.S. citizens who hired them, and also tends to support the supposition that the U.S. mob was reluctant to actually pull a trigger on Kennedy themselves, but that Meyer Lansky, the international crime boss, probably was not.
An investigative journalist named Stephen Rivele became interested in the assassination and launched his own investigation into the CIA's collaboration with organized crime and narcotics trafficking. This led him to a heavy underworld figure named Christian David who had been a member of the French Connection narcotics network in France and subsequently became head of the Corsican narcotics network in South America known as the Latin Connection. When journalist Rivele first interviewed Latin Connection kingpin Christian David, David was awaiting extradition to France to stand trial for murdering a policeman there. David told Rivele that he had information on the Kennedy assassination, in return for which he wanted the U.S. government to block his extradition to France. If his extradition could be blocked, David said he would tell all he knew to a grand jury.
Through Rivele's efforts, a federal judge temporarily halted David's extradition, but when the federal government found out, the judge was forced to lift the stay of extradition. Rivele followed David to France and through repeated interviews was able to get at least some of David's story.
What follows is Christian David's story.
In May or June of 1963, David was offered a contract to kill Kennedy by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles. The president was to be killed on U.S. territory. David told Rivele that he refused the contract because it was simply too dangerous. After David turned down the hit, he said it was accepted by another Corsican drug trafficker and hitman named Lucien Sarti and two other members of the Marseilles mob, whom Sarti would not identify. David said he learned what happened roughly two years after the assassination in a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during which Sarti, another drug trafficker named Michele Nicoli, David, and two others were present. During the meeting, the assassination of President Kennedy was discussed. This is how the assassination was carried out as David told it to Rivele:
About two weeks before the assassination, Sarti flew from France to Mexico City. From there he drove or was driven to the U.S. border at Brownsville, Texas. Sarti entered Texas at Brownsville where he was picked up by someone from the Chicago mob. This person drove him to a private house in Dallas. Sarti did not stay at a hotel so as not to leave a paper trail. David believes Sarti was traveling on an Italian passport. Sarti did not reveal, or did not know, how the other two assassins arrived in Dallas or where they stayed after they arrived there. David said all three assassins looked Dealey Plaza over carefully, took photographs, and worked out how they'd set up a crossfire. Sarti wanted to fire from the triple overpass, but when he arrived in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination there were people there, so he fired from a little hill next to the overpass. There was a wooden fence on that hill, and Sarti fired from behind this wooden fence. He said Sarti used an explosive bullet and only fired once. He said Kennedy was shot in a crossfire, two shots from behind, and Sarti's one shot from the front. Of the two assassins behind, one was high and the other was low. He said you can't understand the wounds if you don't realize that one gun was low, "almost on the horizontal." The first shot was fired from behind and hit Kennedy in the back. The second shot was fired from behind, and hit "the other person in the car" (one supposes he means Texas Governor Connally). The third shot was fired from in front, and hit Kennedy in the head. A fourth shot, apparently from a fourth shooter unknown to Sarti or his accomplices, was fired from behind and missed "because the car was too far away." He said that two shots were almost simultaneous, and perhaps he means the last two shots. David said that Kennedy was killed for revenge and money. He said the CIA was incapable of killing Kennedy, but that they did cover it up. He said the gunmen stayed at the private house in Dallas for approximately two weeks following the assassination, then believes they went to Canada, that there were people in Canada who had the means to fly them out of North America.
Rivele wanted to verify David's story, so he went in search of Michele Nicoli, one of the men who had been with the group in Buenos Aires when the assassination was discussed. A high-level Drug Enforcement Agency official aided him in his search, and Rivele eventually found Nicoli after a lengthy search in both North and South America. Nicoli, who had testified against French Connection members in 1972, was living under the Witness Protection Program, so in order to protect David's life, Rivele does not say where he found David. The DEA official vouched for Nicoli's truthfulness in the strongest terms, saying that he had proven himself over the years to be one of the most reliable witnesses the DEA had dealt with, saying that if he told you something, "you could take it to the bank." Nicoli told Rivele and the DEA official essentially the same story that David had told them. Nicoli said that the U.S. Mafia had hired Sarti. The DEA official turned the information over to the FBI, but nothing has been done to date. Rivele has received death threats, and has lived incognito in California for several years. Lucien Sarti was killed by Mexican police in 1972. The identity of his two accomplices remains unknown. Christian David is still alive and in prison in France, and has also received death threats.
Geoff Barley


This was originally an ‘Irish’ joke – but I try to not be racist so I’ve changed the origin to Texas! (As Texans actually encourage one of their clan to make a fool of their country I’ve assumed they must be game for anything!)

After having their 11th child, a Texan couple decided that enough was enough, as they could not afford a larger bed.
So the husband went to his doctor and told him that he and his wife didn't want to have any more children.
The doctor told him there was a procedure called a vasectomy that would fix the problem but it was expensive. A less costly alternative was to go home, get a firework, light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to his ear and count to 10.
The husband said to the doctor, "B'Jayzus, I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I don't see how putting a firework in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me."
"Trust me, it will do the job", said the doctor.
So the man went home, lit a banger and put it in a beer can.
He held the can up to his ear and began to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5," at which point he paused, placed the beer can between his legs so he could continue counting on his other hand.

This procedure also works in Australia.

(Whether it¹s true or not I still found it amusing).

This is from a radio program, a report of an incident in Wisconsin:

A guy buys a brand new Lincoln Navigator truck for $42,500 and has $560 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting in winter, and of course all the lakes are frozen. These two guys go out on the lake with their guns, a dog, and of course the new Vehicle.

They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready. Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it's going to take a little more effort than an ice hole drill.

So, out of the back of the new Navigator truck comes a stick of dynamite with a short, 40-second fuse. Now these two Rocket Scientists do take into consideration that they want to place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they are standing (and the new Navigator truck), because they don't want to take the risk of slipping on the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast.

They light the 40-second fuse and throw the dynamite. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the guns, and the dog??

Let's talk about the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for RETRIEVING. Especially things thrown by the owner. You guessed it, the dog takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and captures the stick of dynamite with the burning 40-second fuse about the time it hits the ice. The two men yell, scream, wave their arms and wonder what to do now. The dog, cheered on, keeps coming. One of the guys grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 buckshot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab.

The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused, but continues on. Another shot and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinking these two geniuses have gone insane. The dog takes off to find cover, under the brand new Navigator truck.

The men continue to yell as they run. The exhaust pipe under the truck is still hot, so the dog yelps and drops the dynamite under the truck, and takes off after his master. Then --BOOM-- the truck is blown to bits and sinks to the bottom of the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two idiots standing there with this "I can't believe this happened" look on their faces. The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is NOT COVERED. He still had yet to make even the first of those $560.00 a month payments!!!

Oh and Yes. The two guys came from Texas.

And you thought your day was not going well....

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was visiting an elementary school. After speaking for 15 minutes, he said, "I will now answer any questions you have."

Bobby stood up and said: "I have four questions:
1. How did Bush win the election with fewer votes than Gore?
2. Why haven't you caught Osama bin Laden?
3. Why are you using the American Patriot Act to destroy civil liberties?
4. Where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?"

Just then the bell went off and the kids were sent out to play. Upon returning, Mr. Ashcroft said: "I am sorry we were interrupted. I will now answer any questions you have."

A little girl called Julie stood up and said: "I have six questions.
1. How did Bush win the election with fewer votes than Gore?
2. Why haven't you caught Osama bin Laden?
3. Why are you using the American Patriot Act to destroy civil liberties?
4. Where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
5. Why did the bell ring 20 minutes early?
6. Where is Bobby?"

This is stupid but true... and it's going to drive you crazy!

While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it!

Keep smiling, keep singing.