It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.

Saturday, November 09, 2002
Irregular Action Alert!

What would you do if you found out that the Big Brother Patriot Act, which allowed government agents to spy on political and cultural dissenters at levels unseen since the days of J. Edgar Hoover, was about to be expanded? Would you panic? Would you call your Senators?

I hope so, because that's just what is about to happen, folks. It turns out that the Homeland Security Bill which the Republicans have been so hot to get passed contains a couple of sneaky little provisions which allow basically unlimited government spying on citizens' online activity!

I kid you not -- Senator Orin Hatch has added to the Homeland Security Bill tiny changes to the language of the Patriot Act that would allow ANY government agency, including the White House, John Ashcroft's office, or even your local municipal dog catcher, to gain access to any citizen's electronic records (including emails) without a search warrant, without threat of an imminent danger, and without proof of a reasonable belief that the electronic records are in any way connected to any danger at all!

The Homeland Security Bill is expected to be passed, along with the ammendments that allow these changes, either within the next week or early in the 2003 congressional session.

To read more about this expansion of the government's ability to spy on us all, check out The Nation's article, More Surveillance on the Way.

To take action now, write or call your senator, or visit the website of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, which is organizing a communications drive in opposition to the bill.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 6:10 PM. # (permalink)

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Mother Davis points her index finger into the air as she proposes:

The Discredited Political Strategy of the Day

Howsabout that idea that if the Democrats just give the President whatever he wants, they'll have more time to talk to the public and define the issues upon which the election will be decided?


It's much more likely, I think, that when people go out to vote, they want to vote for a candidate that clearly stands for something, not for a candidate who waffles and wavers and cowers in a corner, allowing other people to set the agenda. When people consider the Democratic Party, what do they see besides frightened rubber stamps for George W. Bush?

No wonder they lost control of all branches of the national government last night! Methinks it's time for the Democratic Party to stand up with its shoulders straight and finally give a strong, honest challenge to Bush.

Meknows that it's high time for the Democratic Party to replace mild-mannered Tom Daschle with a principled Democrat of the likes of Paul Wellstone.

Watching her clock tick down to the Presidential election,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 10:32 AM. # (permalink)

Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Note to radical idealists:

Are you holding yourself aloof from voting today? Are you an anarchist who believes that elections are charades? Are you a Green without a Green Party candidate to vote for? Are you an anti-globalizationist who believes that there is no real difference between the two political parties?

I've got one name and one place for you to keep in mind: George W. Bush. Florida.

I don't idealize Al Gore. He's pretty conservative for a Democrat. He's willing to exploit religious bigotry to gain votes. He's willing to partner himself with the likes of Joseph Leiberman.

I had to grit my teeth as I voted for Gore in 2000, but I'm glad I did it. Why?

I knew he'd be better as President than George W. Bush, and I believe that recent history has supported this judgment. Say what you will about Al Gore, but he wouldn't have killed the Kyoto Treaty. Gore wouldn't have opened up the National Forest system to loggers. Gore wouldn't have cut off family planning funds. Gore also wouldn't have pushed to wage a war against Iraq without provocation.

There are some pretty mean choices out there in some of the elections today. Many of the Democratic candidates are disappointing, frightened shadows of what they should be. That's the price liberals play for refusing to take part in Democratic Party politics.

Elections are not opportunities for voters to support candidates that perfectly represent their personal political opinions. Elections are opportunities to support the candidates that most closely represent their political opinions. If just two candidates are running for an office, one is an extremist conservative and the other is a mild moderate, why will you allow the extremist conservative to win? That's as dumb as allowing George W. Bush to grab the Presidency just because Al Gore isn't exactly what we want.

Remember, if you don't like the candidates, it's up to you get involved in party politics as soon as the election is over so that your opinion can influence which candidates run in the elections two years from now. Don't let some middle-of-the-road sycophant determine the direction of our country's political parties.

Don't help the agenda of George W. Bush by allowing his little Republican helpers to gain influencial elected positions across the country. Vote, leftist, vote! Heck, vote for a Green if you have to, but vote!

What's that? You've held yourself aloof from registering to vote? Well, then, find two leftist buddies and drive them to the polls to vote as penance!

I realize that this advice is in line with standard models of political theory. For someone who prides himself on irregular thinking, it's not easy to admit, but the fact is that sometimes, the standard model fits. In the case of participation in elections, it's the leftists, not the centrists in the political spectrum, that are thinking with stupifying regularity. Non-participation in elections isn't principled, it's just lazy.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:04 AM. # (permalink)

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