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, April 26, 2003
Army Secretary Thomas White Finally Forced Out
For Disagreeing with Rumsfeld, Not For Bilking Americans of their Retirement Funds!

Finally, Thomas White has agreed to leave his position as Secretary of the Army. This occurs well over a year after it was revealed that White played a central role in the corruption and fraud at Enron. White was vice president of Enron Energy Services, a job he had been given because he had been an administrator in the division of the Army that deals with buying services from Enron. Enron thought that they could buy government access by hiring him.

Unfortunately, under White's leadership, Enron Energy Services was at the center of the accounting fraud that ultimately ended in huge layoffs and the loss of vital investment funds for Americans all over the country. Apparently, the Bush Administration didn't have a problem with that, and they encouraged White to stay on and do the same in his position administering the U. S. Army.

So why has White finally left office? Apparently, Donald Rumsfeld is still miffed that White leaked information that an artillery system was unnecessary for the U.S. military. Rumsfeld was a supporter of that artillery system.

What does this brou-ha-ha tell us about the politicians in the Bush Administration? They're willing to put up with corruption and fraud. They're willing to put up with leaders who ruin the retirement plans of working Americans. They're willing to hire people from corporations that are seeking to influence the political process. What the Bush Administration is not willing to put up with is the exposure of problems with military systems that are unnecessary, yet highly expensive to taxpayers.

Does America really want another 4 years of these kinds of cock-eyed priorities?

Gosh, I hope not.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:23 AM. # (permalink)

Thursday, April 24, 2003
Oh, darn: is already taken.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:22 PM# (permalink)

Mother Davis reconsiders her need to send that package overnight as she reads in the New York Times:

If you don't want your mail to be read by government agents, better NOT send it Federal Express

Last September, an Associated Press reporter in the Philippines sent a package including newsworthy research to another Associated Press reporter in Washington D. C. When the package did not arrive, the reporter checked with Federal Express. Federal Express said that the package might have fallen off one of its delivery vans.

What really happened? The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now admits that its agents stole the package in order to prevent it from being delivered.

Neither the reporter who sent the package nor the reporter who the package was sent to were under investigation for any crime, yet their professional correspondence was intercepted, stolen, read, and kept by FBI agents.

The implication of this shocking news is this: FBI agents under the direction of Bush Administration Attorney General John Ashcroft are intercepting, examining, and stealing packages that law abiding citizens send to one another. Under John Ashcroft and the new Department of Homeland Security, Americans must now assume that every package they send will be scrutinized and possibly confiscated by government agents.

Says Lucy Daglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, "The F.B.I. does not have the right to seize material without a warrant, without even notifying anyone, and just making it vanish. That, in our minds, is completely illegal."

Now, all Americans must ask themselves:

Do Bush and Ashcroft really believe that the best way to protect Americans' freedoms is to read through their personal mail?

Has the Bush Administration targeted journalists for special surveillance and harassment by FBI agents?

Who's the next target for Ashcroft's special mail inspectors?

What about that package you sent last week to your mother, to your husband, to your friend? Is there anything in it that you don't want George W. Bush's intelligence agents to see?

Thinking hard about that last one,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 9:48 AM. # (permalink)

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Question: How Strong Are Bush's Censorship Goons?

Answer: As Strong as a Limp Straw in a Strong Wind

  • Censorship Goons' Call to Action: Rush Limbaugh says "Boycott Dixie Chicks!"
    Result: Dixie Chicks' Album Home is #1 on the Billboard Country Album Charts
  • Censorship Goons' Call to Action: says "Boycott Michael Moore!"
    Result: Michael Moore's Stupid White Men is #3 on the New York Times' NonFiction Bestseller List

Keep calling those boycotts -- it seems to do wonders for sales.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 1:11 PM# (permalink)


A tidbit: I regularly play at a site called NewsFutures, at which you compete against thousands of others to make pretend money by essentially betting that news events either will occur or won't occur. My fate on the site follows a sadly predictable trend. By sensibly betting on the outcome of world events, I slowly accumulate loads of pretend cash. Then, giddy with my success, I toss all my winnings into a questionable bet that has better odds. Double or nothing! Time after time, I either lose or, after winning, push my luck again and again until I do lose everything. Back to square one. "I won't make rash bets this time," I say to myself. But then, after weeks of sensible actions, I always do. I can't resist pushing my luck, even when I know it isn't entirely sensible. As a result, I betray my intellect and lose it all "big time" (as our Vice President Dick would put it). I'd never make a good gambler, because eventually I let my gut instincts overrule rational sense.

Another tidbit: When I was growing up, my brothers and I had a plan: if there was going to be a nuclear war, we'd stockpile supplies and head north to the woods, where we'd build a cabin, live off the land, and wait everything out.

I just woke from a dream. The dream started where we are now, with the United States having pursued war in the Middle East to achieve its political ends. I dreamed one brother, J. Clifford, was consulting with a construction firm in Boston when he walked into a demonstration in which police forces were firing rubber bullets and wooden dowels at protesters. He got hit between the eyes by a rubber bullet and ended up lingering in a coma for months before dying. I flew into a rage. I found the people responsible and cornered them in a room, promising them I'd rip their heads off. No such luck, however: at that moment, the city block of Boston I was raging in was incinerated by a bomb blast, set off by the parents of an Iraqi killed in this past war. Now I was dead, too. But, dreams being what they are, I was able to keep my disembodied self in the world by force of will. I visited my wife and child to kiss them goodbye, but I couldn't touch them without a body. I visited my mother and asked her to tell me the latest news. My sister-in-law and nephew, along with my own wife and child, had moved to another state. I asked her if my dead brother ever came to ask questions. Yes, she said. But he only asks whether the sun is shining. She said they dropped a nuke on Bagdad in retaliation for Boston, and someone fired a nuke back: who knew how this was going to end? Finally, I visited my other brother, T. Andrew. I told him it was time for us to head north into the woods. That's a good idea, he said, but you can't go. You're dead, after all. No second chance for you.

I just woke from this dream. It felt real -- but with a difference. I was still alive. In my gut, it felt like a warning. But I'm not superstitious, and I know that when I follow my gut feelings despite my rational misgivings on NewsFutures, I end up losing everything. So what does that mean here? Is it that I should ignore my gut feelings and continue to live my daily life, rationally confident that world events will not lead themselves to my doorstep? Should I just calm myself down? Or is the shit starting to hit the fan? So many things have already happened that I thought never would: arrests without charges and without trial, Orwellian information agencies, calls of "treason" for dissent, pre-emptive war, plans for the tactical use of nuclear weapons in future battle. It doesn't feel like we've passed a tipping point, a point from which there is no return and the momentum of events becomes overwhelming. But three years ago, if you'd asked me whether these things would come to pass I would have said that you were crazy, that we'd never veer so far so fast. Our ship of state is being steered by a man with his own inscrutable, divinely inspired, drunkenly weaving direction. Recovered from a dream, my gut tells me that at least in the United States, we're still all safe from the aftermath of the Bush Wars -- but my gut has failed me before. I don't think it's time to head for those woods yet. But one of these days, it might be a good idea to figure out what to pack.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:04 AM. # (permalink)

Monday, April 21, 2003
Bush Administration Takes Another American Citizen Captive Without Charges

Last Month, Mike Hawash, who has been a citizen of the United States of America for 15 years, was taken prisoner by the FBI. Mr. Hawash has not been charged with a crime, and neither the FBI nor the Department of Homeland Security have suggested that he has committed any crime. The Justice Department, headed by John Ashcroft, says that Mr. Hawash is a witness. However, Ashcroft refuses to tell anyone what he supposes Mr. Hawash has been a witness to. For a month, Mr. Hawash has been held in solitary confinement, but the Bush Administration won't tell anyone, even Mr. Hawash's family, why.

When will this American citizen be freed?
When will the American people get an explanation for his abduction by the government?
When will the Bush Administration recognize the basic rights of American citizens, rights like the protection of habeas corpus?

When will pigs fly?

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:32 AM. # (permalink)

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