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, June 07, 2003

And a One and a Two and a...

Thanks to the Washington Post for pointing out this juicy dichotomy:

"The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more biological and chemical weapons."

George W. Bush, September 26, 2002

"There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing or stockpiling chemical weapons or whether Iraq has or will establish its chemical agent production facilities."

- Defense Intelligence Agency report to Bush administration, September 2002.

Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 9:36 PM# (permalink)

Mother Davis shakes her finger as she pronounces,

Shame on the journalists who are now reporting on the complete lack of evidence behind George W. Bush's claims about supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction! Have they no loyalty?

Today, journalists are reporting the critique of a team of professional analysts hired by the American rulers of Iraq to examine some trailers that George W. Bush says are proof of that Iraqi was making biological weapons before the U.S. invasion. These analysts say that there is evidence that the trailers could not have been used for creating biological weapons without significant modification, and say that Bush's claims are without foundation. Describing one of the trailers, one analyst explained, "It's not built and designed as a standard fermenter. Certainly, if you modify it enough you could use it. But that's true of any tin can."

Well, it just galls my guts to think that American journalists have the gall to cite professional experts who contradict the bold claims of their President, George W. Bush! Don't they realize that everything has changed? If they watched Fox News, they'd realize that the job of every America journalists is to support the new crusade against Evil, not to snipe and nitpick about the facts!

I've just HAD IT with lily-livered reporters who let little details like evidence and proof get in the way of President Bush's plans! Don't they realize that America is now standing united? Thanks to these journalists, there are more and more Americans who are starting to think that they can just go and do their own thing and come up with their own ideas about whether we ought to go to war. It just makes me so sick that there are so many Americans who are willing to contradict the information that comes out of the White House. If they won't be united standing with the rest of us, they ought to be shipped off to some other country where people have the poor taste to criticize the great American freedom agenda -- most of the world is like that, nowadays. Don't worry, we'll get to them all, the disloyal traitors!

Bush's America is too GREAT to be hindered with little things like accurate, up-to-date information. Heck, if we wait around for real evidence before we send our troops to invade countries we don't like, then we'd never get to use all the bombs that we pay so much for with our tax money! These journalists who dare to challege Bush to back up his claims with proof ought to have their citizenship revoked! They're getting in the way of military efficiency.

Who cares if there aren't actually any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Who cares if there's no evidence that the weapons weren't destroyed before the American invasion? So what if Bush's arguments in favor of war have all proved to be completely unfounded in reality?

I know for sure that the Iraqis are evil, so I say kill them all! Kill! Kill their children too, because they'd just grow up to be evil too. It's the American right to have a pre-emptive strike against the next generation of evildoers! Wipe those kids out before they bomb our shopping malls, I say!

Don't fall for the old, weak-kneed liberal idea that we ought to just sit back and wait until there are imminent threats before we bomb the heck out of foreign countries. I say that the real problem is that there are foreign countries! America needs to put an end to this pernicious foreignism which plagues our planet. Be warned, evildoers! Those of you who dare to set up your own shadow governments that rival the authority of the United States, we will hunt you down wherever you hide! God Bless America!

To American journalists: leave the evidence for murder mysteries! I'm speaking from a position of moral clarity, here.

God Bless America! United We Stand! Support Our Troops! American Pride! These Colors Don't Run!

Letting her alter-ego out for a breath of fresh air,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 12:57 PM. # (permalink)

Thursday, June 05, 2003
Measuring Bush By the Reagan Standard

You know, one of the principles that they teach in the disciplines of social studies is that it's unfair and unrealistic to judge people and organizations by standards other than those that they themselves ascribe to. It doesn't make much sense to judge the cannibalism of Stone Age Britons according to the moral codes of Queen Victoria, for example. The two social systems originated in different worlds.

Well, we know for sure that George W. Bush and his Republican advisors are living in a different world than most Americans. They're super rich, and so it makes sense to them when Bush calls a $350 BILLION dollar giveaway to other super rich people "itty bitty". Billions of dollars to Republican leaders is spare change. To most Americans, who are struggling to work for a living, such extravagant welfare programs for the wealthy are not "itty bitty". But, like I said, the Republicans are living in a different world. How dare we judge them?

Let's evaluate the Republicans by their own standards, then. George W. Bush and his corporate class supporters like to talk about the standards of Ronald Reagan, whose praises they sing at any given fundraising occasion.

As I remember it, Ronald Reagan set out a very clear standard for evaluating the success of an American president. He asked the simple question, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

This is the Republican standard of success, so let's be fair and use that as our criterion for judging the worthiness of the rule of George W. Bush. So, fellow Americans, are you better off than you were four years ago?

Didn't think so.

Even by Republican standards, the clear moral imperative is to vote against George W. Bush in 2004.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:27 PM. # (permalink)

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

"There are a lot of other things that are more important than that,"

writes Republican Tom Delay, referring to a Democratic proposal to include working families earning up to $26,625 in the $400 child tax credit given to better-off families. At the last minute, Republican Party operatives removed children of the working poor from the tax credit plan.

What, empirically speaking, is "more important" in the Republican Party tax package than including children of the working poor in a child tax credit plan? Dividend benefits for millionaires.

Yet another reminder for us about where the Republican Party's priorities lie.

Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 9:39 AM. # (permalink)

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Anti-Bush Bumperstickers: Over the Century Mark!

Over at Excessively Progressive, we've committed ourselves to offering a new bumper sticker each day relating to Election 2004: either in opposition to Bush and the Republicans or in support of an alternative candidate or party.

I'm thrilled to report that we've just leapfrogged the century mark, bounding to 110 unique anti-bush and other election bumper sticker designs. With Election Day on November 2, 2004, there are 517 days remaining until the election. This means, folks, that we're going to have at least 627 bumper sticker designs by the time we're through.

Friends ask me if we'll be able to keep it up. They wonder if there are actually 500 possible Election 2004 bumper sticker designs out there waiting to be designed. My response: there are 281 million reasons to vote against George W. Bush -- we'll have no problem reaching our quota. Given what Bush has done to this country in less than three short years, we'll do our best to spread the message and keep the man from reaching his own quota.

Check us out, buy a bumper sticker if you're so inclined, and by all means send us your ideas. We're in this together, friends. We can do it!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 10:54 PM# (permalink)

I just canceled my short-lived subscription to Time Magazine. As detailed here, on May 26 Time published a letter signed by one Thomas J. Stokes of Fredonia but actually penned by the Republican National Committee.

Time was not only not alert enough to catch this bit of "Astroturf" (days after alert bloggers posted warnings about it), and not only has it refused to notify its readers of this sabotage against truth even after hundreds of individuals (including myself) notified the magazine, but it meanwhile publishes loads of letters to the editor and news stories about the ethical problems at the New York Times. I suppose ethical problems at Time Magazine would be too uncomfortable to consider.

Time's private responses to those who have written in complaint are telling. First, Time has mostly refused to answer. Indeed, my first letter dropped into a big black hole of nothingness.

Second, after enough people respond, Time wrote to a few correspondents (still not me) that they published the letter to "bring balance" to the positions held on the letters page. Well, HELLO! If Time had to resort to publishing an astroturfed plagiarized piece of copy written by the Republican National Committee in order to "bring balance" to the letters to editor, then that says two things. First, Bush's tax proposal can't have been too popular among letter writers. Second, reading the letters to the editor in Time magazine isn't going to give you an accurate picture of popular mood, with actual imbalances of opinion washed over in the interest of representing "balance."

Third, after I cancelled my subscription, Time finally wrote back to me (looks like money is their bottom line), saying "We are sorry indeed to hear of your disenchantment with TIME. But of
course we understand that our efforts can't hope to live up to
everyone's idea of what a newsmagazine should be..."

And here's the rub, as I sent my final e-mail to the folks at Time, not knowing whether it would actually be read. In this case, Time's efforts COULD have hoped to live up to everyone's idea of what a newsmagazine should be. There's a simple standard in journalism called the publication of corrections when a misrepresentation takes place. Thomas J. Stokes, acting at the request of the Republican National Committee, misrepresented the authorship of the letter he submitted. He did this because he and the Republican National Committee both know that people will listen with less skepticism to "Thomas J. Stokes" than to the "Republican National Committee." When notified of this misrepresentation, Time Magazine could have corrected the error in two short lines.

Simple. Easy. It CAN be done. But it won't be. And this is the real rub: if Time Magazine won't take the simple and easy steps to ensure their journalistic integrity, how can we trust them to take the challenging and difficult steps when they are needed?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 10:53 PM. # (permalink)

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