Bob's Links and Rants -- Fair and Balanced

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Be sure to check out my Post 9/11 website for links to lots of stuff I care about. I have put all of my 2002 rants into a single file.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Pissing for Peace! A famous Belgian "landmark" is truly pissed off about the war.

Support France! The nice people at have provided an extensive list of French-owned companies whose products you can purchase! Thanks also to the Washington Times for the banner ad which directed me to the list! Remember, friends try to keep friends from engaging in illegal and immoral wars of aggression. Thank France for their efforts by patronizing their companies.

Better read that fine print! Molly Ivins points out that our real enemies, foreign and especially domestic (Dick Cheney, Antonin Scalia et al) are using war as a cover for all sorts of other bad stuff.

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter predicts the US will lose the war in Iraq. Definitely worth reading. Excerpt:

And it's the Shia in the south who are fighting us. They're not doing it because Chemical Ali is down there with his death squads threatening to execute 'em. They're doing it because, the American Crusader Infidel has invaded and violated Holy Iraq, and they will resist us, and they will resist us strongly. And no matter how many Iraqi's we kill and slaughter, I predict that America will loose this war and ultimately the American military will leave Iraq with its tail between its legs.

Unfortunately, we're going to inflict a tremenduous amount of death and destruction on the people of Iraq; the American soldiers and Marines will also pay a price. And all those who sit outside of Iraq and courageously encourage Americans to go in and slaughter Iraqi's should be ashamed of themselves."

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Perle Resigns!!!

One down, about 50 to go. Special congratulations to Detroit Congressman John Conyers, who has been putting the heat on Perle for profiting from the war he did SO MUCH to cause.

Can you say "quagmire?" I knew that you could. One hundred thousand more troops to go into the war. It's deja nam all over again.

Body Doubles?
It has long been suspected that Mr Bush employs a string of lookalikes for difficult or dangerous speaking engagements, some of whom may have had their ears specially enlarged for the task. -- from a hilarious Tim Dowling article in the Guardian. The fact that this extremely easy target for ridicule was not laughed out of office long before he could do much harm (and boy has he) is the clearest indictment of our state-run media.

Well, I'm here in California, but my niece is at school, and my brother had to go back to work, so I'm left here alone with a computer...The good news is, I guess, that I'm not on any "no-fly" list.

So, for starters, Al Gore spoke out in favor of free speech, saying the corporate media is threatening the first amendment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

I'm leaving on vacation early tomorrow morning. I'll be flying to California (Palo Alto) where my brother lives. Saturday, I'll be flying to Chiapas, Mexico with my niece Beth's middle college class on a Global Exchange trip. We'll be learning about Chiapas and the struggle of the people there against the ravages of "globalization." I'll be back in Ann Arbor late on Monday April 7, and hopefully resume serious blogging then. I'll probably be able to post something occasionally between now and then, but I certainly won't have much time to browse for news and opinions. In the meantime, please browse the blogs listed on the right: there's lots of good material out there. I recommend MouseMusings highly, especially since Cyndy is a fellow Ann Arborite. I've also got a list of books that I highly recommend.

If you'd like an e-mail announcing my return, please send me an e-mail at Please include a note saying where you live: I'm curious to see how many readers I have and where they are. Keep calling, protesting, writing! I'd be really happy if y'all stopped the war while I'm gone!

Aussie pilot says "No!" to U.S. bombing order.

A truck driver was arrested near Cincinnati for driving onto the sidewalk and threatening to run over anti-war protesters. It's about time the BAD GUYS started getting arrested! This is one sick country.

You go, girl! Veep from the Deep Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary may be headed to Baghdad to be a human shield! The article from al Bawaba suggests that Useless Dick may fly to Jordan to try to talk Mary out of it. I hope he does so by going to Baghdad in her place as a subhuman shield.


The Washington Post has a good slide show which gives at least a hint of how horrible this war is. Bloody soldiers, grieving families, refugees--all because George Warmonger Bush couldn't wait for inspections. Absolute worst excuse for a human being EVER.

Conyers Goes After Perle. Richard Perle has not only convinced our idiot president to start World War III, he has positioned himself to profit from it. Perle is something scum would try to wipe off itself in disgust.

Meanwhile, the wusses are out in force:

Baghdad market bombed

From BBC. At least 14 were killed and 30 injured when bombs hit a busy market area in Baghdad. While this is major news on BBC, it is nowhere to be seen on the CNN or New York Times web sites, at least right now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The Forged Documents about Iraq's Supposed Nuclear Program:An Article from Seymour Hersh.

Action Alert! Call Congress NOW and tell them to vote against Daddy Warbush's $74.7 BILLION request to fund his illegal and unconstitutional war in Iraq. All members of Congress can be reached through the Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276. You can also send faxes through True Majority, or e-mails through FCNL.

Frist do some harm: Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist seems to have taken a Hypocritic oath instead of the Hippocratic oath most doctors take. He's doing everything in his power to immunize giant drug companies like Eli Lilly from having to pay for nasty illnesses like autism that their vaccines may cause to children. See Wampum for details.

Another State Department diplomat resigns: Mary Wright has served a long and distinguished (even decorated) career in the U.S. military and diplomatic corps. She recently resigned because "I disagree with the Administrationís policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea and curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. itself." Read her whole eloquent letter of resignation.

The Moron Majority
Now it's official: most Americans are idiots.

Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN's poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51 percent of the public believe that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
From Ted Rall. Read the rest!

From Steve Benson.

From Steve Sack.

From Doonesbury.

From Mike Thompson.

From Ted Rall.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Excellent anti-war video.

How could they possibly hate us? An American missile hit a bus carrying Syrian civilians on a bridge just inside Iraq near the Syrian border, killing five and wounding at least 10. A U.S. spokesman said the U.S. "regretted" the loss of life, but went on:

"The bus stopped on the bridge and was hit by munitions already released prior to the bus approaching the bridge," it said. However blame for the incident was ultimately placed on the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. "We regret the loss of innocent life brought on by this regime's non-compliance of UN resolutions," the statement added.

Okay, try to figure this one out. There's a bridge on the road from Iraq to Syria near the border, used by civilians. Iraq is being invaded from the other side of the country, as well as being mercilessly bombed. There are probably no Iraqi troops or weapons of any significance between the bridge and the border, since most will be in the eastern part of the country fighting against the invading forces, or waiting around Baghdad for the attack there. What would the bridge be used for in the next week or two? My guess is that almost all of the traffic would be refugees or others escaping the war by heading west to Syria, just as the people on the bus were doing. Still, without any warning or doing anything to prevent civilians from being on the bridge, our military launches a missile from far away to blow up the bridge. Unless they figure that Syria intends to join the war in support of Iraq, the bridge offers little to support the Iraqi military effort. Destroying it simply serves to trap refugees inside Iraq.

Even if there were some legitimate excuse for destroying the bridge (not that there is really any legitimate excuse in this war), given the air superiority that the U.S. and British forces enjoy, it would have been relatively simple to protect civilians who might be crossing the bridge when the missile arrived. A fighter-bomber could have bombed the approaches to the bridge when there was no traffic to prevent vehicles from getting on the bridge. Some sort of barracade could have been dropped or erected to block the approaches, or probably even soldiers parachuted or helicoptered in. This would have prevented anyone from being on the bridge when the missile hit, but apparently there is no real concern for civilian casualties sufficient to take these reasonable measures. And blaming it on Saddam just makes us look all the more pathetic.

Shooting War Reviving Cold War? -- from Financial Times.

Arab League Lines Up Against US. Except for Kuwait, that is, which had "reservations," probably due to having 100,000 U.S. troops in their country.

Whipping Up a Crisis -- from R.C. Longworth in the Chicago Tribune:
National hysterias come and go, leaving a great deal of damage and creating a sense of communal shame when the panic wears off: The McCarthyite era is an example. Invariably, the cause is fear--of foreigners, of nameless threats, of Reds under the bed.

The United States is going through such a hysteria now. We can only pray that not too many lives are sacrificed to it.
(Full article.)

(from our peace group's e-mail list)
just want someone to know what happened here today...seems like there is a media blackout on austin, texas...

today all day nearly 2000 people expressed their opposition to the war on iraq by blocking traffic on the main drag near the university of texas, then
beginning at rush hour, marched very slowly with die-ins in the intersections from the capitol to the main tourist bridge. dozens of riot police with no names, no badge numbers, (unaccountable and anonymous) waited for night to fall and then began "clearing" the street of protesters. about 20 or so people committed to sit in the street in an act of peaceful civil disobedience and be arrested and the rest of us stayed on the sidewalks as witnesses. with absolutely no cause a policeman approached those of us on the sidewalk and sprayed us in the face with pepper spray. when we complained that it was uncalled for and that the sidewalk is public property, we were told that "tonight it's not" and "we're about to spray you again if you don't leave." we began walking with the police walking behind us and they started to walk faster and hitting us in the back with their batons, screaming "move." we screamed that we WERE walking and they had no cause or right to hit us in the back but they kept doing it. as soon we were pushed far enough away so as to block our view of those who were sitting in the street, they began the arrests. the chants of "this is what democracy looks like", quickly turned to "this is what a police state looks like." as we were pushed along off the sidewalk and into an intersection, one of the riot police grabbed a young man (right in front of me) who was chanting peacefully, just like the hundreds of us who remained, and slammed him onto the concrete. at the same time another cop sprayed a woman at close range directly in the eyes with pepper spray. the rest started running toward us to push us far away so as not to see what was happening with the young man who was on the ground. all of this was completely, utterly, unprovoked. it actually seemed as if they were trying to provoke a riot so that they could become even more violent. it was clear that this group of riot police had a sense that it was accountable to no one and/or that they could do absolutely anything and that they would be protected/absolved at a higher (federal?) level.

please let the rest of the world know that austin is overwhelmingly against war and the only reason you don't hear about it is because it is not being

annette d'armata

From a Russian Blogger:
I guess, my point is that what we see today happening in Iraq - all these atrocities that are just starting, is the result of world being dominated by US. This couldn't happen if USSR was around. See? And Iraq is only a beginning, North Korea is next. North Koreans are like zombies, they WILL FIGHT for their lider. Plus they have nukes. Then, we have Iran, Syria and others opposed to US. Will US bomb the hell out of them? It looks like they will. And this will continue forever if there will be no strong enemy of US. I mean, face it - Bush really is Hitler of our days. And btw - I hope Bush will face a war crimes tribunal in Hague as this institution is still around. Milosevich faced that tribunal, why not Bush and his clique? (Misspellings left intentionally; still, the spelling is better than you'll see at

A black Washington Post reporter gets harrassed for asking questions. Being curious is suspicious, apparently.

Belated all clear: I just got an e-mail saying "I hope your e-mail is working," causing me to realize that I forgot to announce that my e-mail ( is in fact working again. I have been checking my hotmail on occasion for anyone who sent something there.

Michael Moore's Acceptance Speech at the Oscars:
Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to ó they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.

Shameless Tugging at the Heart Strings (by me that is):
As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey's father, Michael said: "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son." He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him. Kenneth, the Marine's only son, was with the family.

Marine Kendall Waters-Bey,
killed in a helicopter crash
in Kuwait on Thursday.
Kendall's father.Kendall's ten-year-old son.

If that's not enough, read the report or watch the video. If you watch the video, note especially the Baltimore anchor woman's excitement, dare I say glee, in describing the "spectacular pictures this afternoon," before introducing the story of Michael Waters-Bey's death.

Sierra Club Update:
Yesterday, I posted a copy of an e-mail that I sent to candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors, asking them to state their positions on war on Iraq. I have received six replies, all stating their fervent opposition to the war and vowing to support a much stronger anti-war position for Sierra Club in the future. If you are a member and haven't voted yet, here are the six (update: ten):

  • Emma McCauley
  • Betsy Gaines
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Dick Schneider
  • Robbie Cox
  • Paul Watson
  • Update: Lisa Renstrom
  • Update: Adam Werbach
  • Update: Doug La Follette
  • Update: Lisa Force
Their e-mail addresses, and those of the candidates I haven't heard from, are listed in my previous post. If you're a member, you should have gotten a mailing from the Club with a ballot and statements from the candidates. Please dig it up and vote for five of these six(10) candidates! (Five is the limit; unfortunately, no preferential balloting.)

Please use the FCNL web site to let Congress know that just because people are dying by the thousands now and some morons on TV want you to shut up, you are not going to shut up. The war was a stupid idea last week; it's a stupid idea this week. FCNL has a very fine letter that you can send to Congress, either as is or after your editing.

See, I was right! Atrios agrees with me when I ask how can Rummy complain about Iraq showing pictures of POW's when we're busy showing pictures of POW's. According to Atrios, ABC accomplished that long-desired goal of contemplating two contradictory thoughts at the same time and continuing to function--through the miracle of split screen. Lots of good comments on it at Atrios as well, including this gem: "God, please save us from your followers!!"

Bin Laden's Victory
From Richard Dawkins in the Guardian:
When a company seeks a new chief executive officer, or a university a new vice-chancellor, enormous trouble is taken to find the best person. Professional headhunting firms are engaged, written references are taken up, exhaustive rounds of interviews are conducted, psychological aptitude tests are administered, confidential positive vetting undertaken. Mistakes are still made, but it is not for want of strenuous efforts to avoid them. Maybe such methods would be undemocratic for choosing the most powerful person on earth, but just think about it. Would you do business with a company that devoted an entire year to little else than the process of choosing its new CEO, from the strongest field in the world, and ended up with Bush?

Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for Iraq, but he never posed a threat outside his immediate neighbourhood. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. And a dream for Bin Laden.

Michael Moore blasts Bush

From Daily Kos:
Michael Moore just won the Oscar for best documentary. The audience gave him a standing ovation, though the speech itself was booed by some. Saying he preferred non-fiction, he said we now live in "fictitous times":

We have fictious election results ... We have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!
Given the response he received -- wild applause and a standing ovation and heckling and boos, things are truly starting to look more and more like 1968.

There is so much insanity going on, it's hard to know where to start. Here's a question: Can anyone explain how Rumsfeld can complain about Iraq showing American POW's on TV, claiming it violates the Geneva Conventions, when we've been seeing footage of Iraqi POW's captured by Americans on CNN for several days now? Oh right: the rules don't apply to us.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I was quoted in the Ann Arbor News again. That's at least three times this year: I was interviewed by cell phone both times I went to Washington (Jan. 18 and March 15). For the record, my question to Dingell was less concise and less hysterical-sounding than the quote, but the gist was pretty close. But don't believe every quote you see in a paper; they paraphrase and simplify at will, and you don't have any chance to review what they're going to say you said.

My Letter to candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors:

Dear Candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors:

I was preparing to vote in the 2003 Sierra Club election, reading your statements. Pardon me if I missed something, but I don't see that any of you has made a clear statement of opposition to the Bush administration's war on Iraq, continued "war on terrorism," and well-documented plans to continue with wars of aggression against other countries. While I strongly support Club efforts to protect our environment here at home, to ignore the horrendous impact of war on the environment is unconscionable.

The current massive bombing campaign against Iraq is causing immense environmental damage to that country through air and water pollution, the use of depleted uranium and other hazardous weaponry, and the enormous use of energy required to get U.S. forces to the Gulf and to keep them fighting. In addition, the "we're at war" excuse is used to run roughshod over the environment here at home, with the Pentagon pushing for the elimination of restictions on their activities that harm the environment. The restrictions on free speech which are already suggested also will make it extremely difficult for the Sierra Club to pursue its agenda.

I was appalled last fall when the national Sierra Club was threatening local leaders or groups with expulsion for taking anti-war stances. I believe that you cannot support these Bush wars and still claim to protect the environment. I was somewhat relieved that the Club finally signed on to the "Win Without War" coalition, although a much stronger position would have been preferable.

I am sending this e-mail to state that I will not vote for any of you who support the war in Iraq. I ask that you reply to me with a statement of your position, knowing that I intend to share it widely among my many friends in the peace movement, many of whom are also Sierra Club members. My feeling is that we can recycle for decades and not protect the environment as effectively as if we stopped just one war. If I don't hear from you, I will not vote for you, and will tell others not to as well. I despise ultimatums, but the Bush wars are the critical issue of our time and are the biggest threat not only to our environment but to our entire society and the world at large.

I look forward to your replies.


Bob Goodsell

If you're a Sierra Club member, please send a similar letter to the candidates. Here's the e-mail list:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Winston Smith is working overtime: (If you don't know who Winston Smith is, you're not going to understand a lot of my rants: read "1984!") Yesterday morning, CNN reported on their web site a flash bulletin that a U.S. missile had landed in Iran. CNN promised details to come. Shortly thereafter, the bulletin banner disappeared, with no details anywhere to be found. Down the memory hole. Later in the day, a U.S. official issued an apology to Iran, according to a Reuters report. Now, that report has been altered to say that the apology has been retracted, since the U.S. now says it doesn't know whose missile(s) landed in Iran. (I guess I'm going to have to start saving articles as I find them if the news web sites are going to modify them without changing the URL.) Now, Reuters reports that Iran is saying the missile probably was Iraqi. At least, that is what that link says now. Here's a verbatim copy of the link as it exists now (9 am EST Sunday), so when the story changes later today we'll have something for comparison.

IMHO, news web sites should not alter reports under the same URL without specifically noting the change and when it was made. I sometimes add on to my rants with new information, but I try to indicate that this is an update (except for simple spelling or grammar mistakes). Other times, I simply make a newer post which corrects or clarifies the earlier one. Major news stories from CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, or the wire services are frequently stories in themselves. If it turns out that no missiles at all landed in Iran, the very existence of these stories was still news in that it caused concerns and reactions. For the links to simply disappear down the memory hole, or to say something completely different without explanation, is 1984's "Ministry of Truth" hard at work. And every day there is less doubt that the corporate media is the Ministry of Truth, just as Homeland Security is the Ministry of Love, the Pentagon is the Ministry of Peace, and the tax cuts for the wealthy and elimination of the economic safety net are clearly the work of the Ministry of Plenty. Our government is locking people up indefinitely, it is encouraging people to spy on each other, it is pursuing perpetual war while keeping people terrified on the home front. It may be 19 years behind schedule, but 1984 is here.

Bob's Bon Mots du Jour:
They're calling it Operation Iraqi Freedom: I say it's the "Iraqi Horror Picture Show."

Q: Why didn't all the protests and appeals from around the world have any effect on Bush's decision to blast the crap out of Iraq?
A: Some minds are too small to change.