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, August 02, 2003
Irregular Tidbit of the Late Afternoon:
According to this month's issue of Scientific American, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in sympathy with orders from John Ashcroft to restrict information about government activities whenever possible, has declared that a report on a meeting of microbiologists about the need for scientific openness would be classified as secret.
Is your laundry classified yet?
In the news,
* Three American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in explosions yesterday. Four American soldiers were wounded.
* George W. Bush visited his doctor for a full-body checkup before travelling to Crawford for a month-long vacation.
Mother Davis runs her thumb over a picture of her children as she asks,
Why haven't we heard about the killing of Saddam Hussein's grandson?
Along with the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons, the body of Saddam Hussein's teenage grandson was buried today.
That teenage grandson was killed, blown to bits by multiple American missiles, in the same attack that killed his father and uncle.
Why didn't we hear about this teenage grandson being killed? Why did we only hear about Uday and Qusay?
We were told all about how his father and uncle were brutal oppressors who had committed many atrocities against Iraqi civilians.
But what about the teenage grandson? Are we really supposed to believe that this boy had a long history of savage brutality against the Iraqi populace and deserved to die too? A teenage boy?
The killing of this boy wouldn't make such great propaganda for the Bush Administration's chest-pounding swagger campaign, would it? Is that why the mainstream media never mentioned the boy's death?
Reports say that there was never any concerted attempt to capture the boy, his father and his uncle. The decision was made to kill them outright.
The more this war goes on, the more it looks like some kind of stupid range war that has developed into a back-country blood feud like the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.
Saddam Hussein threatens to kill George W. Bush's father, and so George W. Bush sends a 300,000 strong posse out over the sunset to kill the Hussein boys -- all of them, even the children. Even Saddam Hussein's daughters have had to flee the country in order to escape Bush's assasination squads.
What was this boy's crime? Being descended from Saddam Hussein?
What's particularly cowardly about Bush's family feud with the Husseins is that he doesn't even have the guts to send his own family into battle to do his dirtywork, much less go himself. No, during this war, all of the Bush family has been sitting home in their family mansions, going out to bars and restaurants, having a fine time in perfect safety. They send out other people's sons and daughters to fight and die for them.
Before this war began, Saddam Hussein offered to settle the entire matter through a one-on-one duel, just George W. versus Saddam in physical combat. That fight could have spared hundreds of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, if George W. had had the guts to take Saddam up on his offer. Instead, Bush played the chickenhawk, acting all brave as he sent other American families off to die, not offering up even one of his own children to take part in the war.
George W. said he wouldn't duel with Hussein because he didn't want to make it personal.
Now, as Bush's assasination squads kill Hussein's grandson, this excuse looks like just another one in a long string of the lies of George W. Bush.
Sick of the dude-ranch cowboy who would be President,
And over the next hour:
10 more for Dean, to a total of 69,141
1 more for Kerry, to a total of 8,222
21 more for Kucinich, to a total of 5,367
0 more for Edwards, for a total of 1,109
0 more for Lieberman, for a total of 170, and
0 more for Bush, with only 851 members.
The Mo still goes to Dean and Kucinich, with Dean having a huge head start.
Now I suppose I should get some sleep...
Same trend over the next hour:
22 people signed up for Dean,
0 people signed up for Kerry,
13 people signed up for Kucinich,
0 people signed up for Edwards,
0 people signed up for Lieberman, and
0 people signed up for Bush.
The big grassroots Mo is still going to Dean and Kucinich.
In the hour and a half since I posted the note below,
49 people have signed up for the Dean Meetups, bringing the total to 69,109;
4 people have signed up for the Kerry Meetups, bringing the total to 8,221;
60 people have signed up for the Kucinich Meetups, bringing the total to 5,333;
Nobody has signed up for the Edwards Meetups, keeping the total at 1,109;
3 people have signed up for the Lieberman meetups, bringing the total to 170;
Nobody has signed up for an Anarchy meetup, and only One additional person has signed up for a Bush meetup.
This is just one change over time, but it seems to suggest that Dean and Kucinich have the greatest Meetup momentum, with Kerry and Lieberman lagging far behind and Edwards, Bush and the anarchists sitting in rubber dinghies. I'll check back periodically to give you a richer idea of the trends. When I've got enough datapoints, we'll turn it into a full-fledged page on Irregular Times.
Looking back at the archives, it seems another meetup was planned for Sunday, July 6 to commemorate George W. Bush's birthday. Only 12 people worldwide signed up.
Friday, August 01, 2003
Now that's some kinda Moxie. Howard Dean, using a surplus of money from his head-to-head fundraising competition last week with Dick Cheney (in which Cheney managed to raise only $250,000 but Dean managed to raise over $500,000), is airing campaign ads -- in TEXAS, during George W. Bush's self-issued month off. I wonder if Mr. Bush will be eating any pretzels when the ad hits his TV set.
For more info, visit the Dean Blog.
A related tidbit: as of today, 69,060 people have registered with Meetup.com for Howard Dean gatherings, a number of which have occurred already and the next of which will be a series of ground-up strategy meetings at hundreds of locations across the country on Wednesday, August 6 at 7 pm local time.
John Kerry is trying to get some traction with this grassroots strategy of people-first politics. He is well behind Dean at 8,217 people signed up for an inaugural Meetup for Kerry on August 7.
Next behind Kerry is Dennis Kucinich, with 5,273 people signed up. After him is John Edwards with 1,109 members. None of the other Democratic candidates have a sizeable Meetup.com presence at all.
Where's George W. Bush -- you know, that guy who's running as the unbeatable Republican? The one with the big budget and big donors? Well, if you take Meetup.com support as an indication of excitement coming from the base, Bush is well behind these four at only 850 people from all over the country signed up. Not a big groundswell from outside the beltway. To put this in perspective, Bush's Meetup venture is even behind the Anarchy Meetup (which has 907 members -- and you just know the Anarchists aren't known for their organizational skills).
George W. Bush isn't last, mind you. Joseph Lieberman chimes in with a mere 167 members -- TWO TENTHS OF ONE PERCENT of the mass of people self-organizing for Dean. Gee, maybe that insult-the-Democrats-to-win-their-nomination strategy ain't working out so well.
Then there's Ralph Nader with 118 signed up. Cry me a river.
Today in the News:
In Iraq, widespread attacks against American soldiers continued. Two soldiers were killed today, and many others were gravely wounded.
Also in the today's news:
George W. Bush started a month-long vacation on his dude ranch back in Texas.
Thursday, July 31, 2003
One of the most astounding things about the growing scandal surrounding the lies that Bush used to justify his war of private vengeance against Iraq is that most major media sources are describing the revelations about the falsity of Bush's claims as new developments.
New developments? Well, for those of you who were paying attention before the war ever began, a lot of these supposedly new developments will look familiar. You see, much of Bush's so-called evidence was already debunked before the war ever started.
For a good example, of this, read our article Britain's Fraudulent Evidence Against Iraq, which we wrote weeks before Bush's invasion of Iraq.
So why does this information appear to be made available only now? It has a lot to do with the fact that someone by the name of Howard Dean has finally put the backbone back into the Democratic Party.
If only the Democratic Party had found its spine before hundreds of Americans went off to die...
Mother Davis tosses her holy water down the drain as she reports,
The Roman Catholic Church announced today that it is beginning a worldwide campaign to restrict the legal status of marriage to include only partnerships with two members of opposite sexes. The Pope took the opportunity to lecture politicians who happen to belong to Catholic churches in America, Europe and other parts of the world that they were obligated to create legislation that would abolish any other sort of marriage for anyone, whether they are Catholic or not.
What the hell?!?!
Let's put aside for right now arguments about whether marriage ought to be legally restricted to opposite sex couples.
Let's talk about where the Roman Catholic Church gets off mounting an international political campaign designed to create laws that are designed according to Catholic theology but would be foisted upon Catholics and non-Catholics alike. What is it about this undemocratically selected European theocrat (commonly referred to as the Pope) that makes him think that he has the right to dictate laws that would force its narrow religious beliefs on Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Secular and Protestant Christian Americans?
What the hell is going on with George W. Bush, that he's cooperating with this religious dictator in his efforts to push a foreign legislative agenda through the United States Congress?
Listen, I have no problem if the leaders of this church want to go around practicing their religion on their own turf, but let's be clear: the floor of the United States Congress is the turf of no church, foreign or domestic. It's the turf of the American people, and its members owe their allegiance to the American people, not to any autocratic foreigner, whether he wears a funny pointed hat or not.
Let me firmly suggest that the Catholic Church get its own house in legal order before it goes around giving orders to the legislatures of sovereign nations. I don't believe that any church that has spent the last seventy-five years helping its priests molest thousands of American children has any right lecturing American politicians about the immorality of non-Catholic adults who want to get married because they love each other.
Take that big I-beam out your own eye, Pappy, before you dare come over the Atlantic and start lecturing our Senators and Congressional Representatives about the tiny motes of dust that besmirch their eyeglasses.
Remembering the reason that the Vatican City is the smallest nation on Earth,
P.S. - It's because even the Italians couldn't stand having a corrupt church order them around any more.
Mother Davis slaps herself on the cheek to stop the giggling as she notes,
Yesterday, I heard the comments of Bush's cabinet members as they prepared for a photo-opportunity meeting about the economy with hand-picked Americans who vote Republican. The thing that stood out most in their comments is that they kept on referring to George W. Bush's "plan for the economy".
George W. Bush's plan for the economy? What plan?!?
Here is, in eleven short words, George W. Bush's great plan for the economy:
Give a bunch of money to a bunch of rich people.
Yup, that's it. Bush's great plan to save your job and mine is to give a whole lot of money to a group of people who already have a whole lot of money. That is all that Bush has done for our economy.
He says they'll spend it, and boost the economy that way, but you know something, rich people aren't known for spending all their money. They're known for hoarding it.
Now me, I know how to spend money. So, Mr. Bush, here's my plan for the economy: Take all those billions of dollars that you've said you'll give to America's richest of the rich, and give it to me instead. I promise that I'll spend it all in just six months.
Now, to some of you, the federal government giving little old me billions of dollars will not seem like a sound plan to reconstruct the devastated American economy. You might point out that it was George W. Bush's huge tax cuts that devastated the economy in the first place, taking a mild recession and turning it into a permanent slowdown. You might point out that since George W. Bush made his first round of tax cuts for the rich, three million American jobs have been cut to pieces by those same super-rich Americans, the top executives of big business that Bush loves so dearly.
So why should I get those billions of dollars from Bush?
Hey, I'm no fool. It's time to join George W. Bush's culture of gimme gimme gimme! It's socialism for the rich, you fools, and all you have to do is promise to give Bush something back, in the form of a campaign donation... It's not a bribe, you understand... It's just the cost of doing business with the Bush Administration... Give in to the Dark Side, Luke...
Plummetting off the deep end,
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Bush Cuts Air Marshal Security - To Pay for Tax Cuts for the Rich!
This week brings news that Al-Quaida is planning to attempt more hijackings of airplanes within the United States this summer.
How has George W. Bush reacted to this news?
Today, he announced that he's cutting funds for the air marshals that protect American flights from terrorist attack. The reason? He says there's just not enough money to pay for them, so a large number of air marshals will be fired.
Where did all the money go? That's right, the money went into Bush's gigantic tax giveaway to the top richest one percent of Americans.
Well, let's be honest. Billions also went to fund the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of almost 200 Americans and the severe wounding of hundreds of additional Americans. Bush said that the war was to prevent Saddam Hussein from producing nuclear weapons. Of course, now Bush has admitted that he lied to us about the so-called "evidence" for those weapons. It turns out that Bush can't a single itty, little bitty weapon of mass destruction in all of Iraq. Heck, he can't even find a single lousy scud missile.
At the same time that he's cutting the jobs of the people who actually keep the nation secure, Bush has directed his henchman John Ashcroft to erode Americans' civil liberties even further. In the last week alone, the Bush Administration has declared that its willing to:
But, is Bush willing to ask the richest of the rich to sacrifice a tiny percentage of their huge income so that our country can afford to hire the people it needs to protect flights from hijackers?
No, no. Clearly, that would be going too far.
Keeping promises can be costly.
A few months ago, we set out to offer one new Election 2004 bumper sticker every day until November 2004. We've done more than that, creating 326 designs to date. At this rate, we'll have over 1500 designs by November 2004 for you to choose from.
Unfortunately, it takes a long time (326 * 10K = 3.26 Megabytes) to display 326 thumbnail previews, and the burden will only grow over time. To continue offering our goods to members of the dial-up universe, we've created a new text-only shop with links to each and every design we have available, all on one page. This includes not only our Election 2004 stuff, but also our anti-war, heretical, Earthophilic and humorous (yes, we have a funny bone) goodies. Click on only the links that catch your eye to get a preview picture and order one for your very own.
My personal favorite of the day is a response to all those silly bumper stickers in New York that read: "Hillary: Not here. Not now. Not ever." Some people STILL have those on their bumpers. They need our reminder: Hillary: Here. Now. Again in 2006.
Mother Davis unfolds her map of Manhattan as she considers,
Sometimes, it's the hate mail we receive that lets us know that we're on the right track. Over the last few days, a fellow who calls himself "sysop" has been sending us emails calling us "commies" and accusing us of telling "Marxist lies". The latest one, my personal favorite has the subject line: "There is a new all gay high school in new york: go enroll" and then tells us to perform fellatio on Vladmir Lenin in hell.
Why is it that conservatives who are so eager to lecture people about sexual immorality then turn around and use insults that come in the form of instructions to go out and have lots of sex?
My concern is that loving, compassionate conservative messages like these will help George W. Bush get re-elected in 2004. Is this Karl Rove's next brilliant strategy?
Regretting that she has long since passed the maximum age for high school enrollment,
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
In response to an article of ours entitled "25 Things to Keep America Free", one of our readers writes:
Most of what you write is, as they say, right in the 10 ring. There is
one part which is utter horse crap and splinters. It's the part that
goes "War does not create freedom, and it cannot defend freedom".
War is certainly a time when freedom is in jeopardy. But those who are
unwilling or unable to defend themselves have freedom only so long as
their neighbors allow them to keep it. Most of Europe lost its freedom
to the Nazis and only regained it through war. Similarly with most of
Asia. If it hadn't been for the Mau Mau the British would never have
left Kenya. Tanzania kept out Idi Amin. Indonesia got rid of the Dutch
imperialists. Whether you love or hate the Israelis (I confess to a
mixture of both) the few survivors would still be third class subjects
in Arab countries if they had lost any of the wars between 1948 and
today. Black people in America are undeniably freer than they were
before 1865. The freedom of the Czechs, Croats, Slovaks, Bulgarians and
more is a direct result of the First World War.
I could go on. But there is no need.
War is a tremendous danger to freedom. But it is sometimes the only
thing that makes it possible.
In reply, we have written:
The points you make here are certainly not "utter horse crap and splinters".
I''d like for you to consider that what we have written is not "utter horse crap and splinters" either. I'm not asking for you to whole-heartedly agree, but merely to consider that we might have a point, from a certain perspective.
That perspective is this: War itself does not get rid of dictators or oppression or other forms of un-freedom. It's the political solutions that happen AFTER war has ended that does so. Just as often as liberation occurs after a war, a new oppression begins. Take the example of the Philippines, which the United States "liberated" from Spain only to rule the islands undemocratically as a colony for almost half a century.
War sometimes plays a part in creating conditions which LATER lead to freedom, but war does not in itself create or defend freedom. Only political solutions do so. Certainly, war is never the "only thing" that makes freedom possible.
Right now, George W. Bush is waging wars that he claims are defending American freedoms. At the same time, in the name of these wars' necessity, he's eroding civil liberties. It's worth considering that if it hadn't been for a long history of European wars, the Nazis never would have gained power in the first place.
That's the perspective that we're coming from when we write that "War does not create freedom, and it cannot defend freedom".
If that idea is simply "utter horse crap and splinters", then the future of our world will continue to be as miserable as its past.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Mother Davis looks over her shoulder as she reports:
Self-Declared "Patriots" Tell Military Families to Shut Up
The families of the soldiers in Iraq have a lot to put up with, what with bullets, grenades and other missiles being hurled at American troops every day. Now they have even more to deal trouble with: Zealots threatening them with government spies investigating their personal communications.
The Washington Post reports that Lisa Torey, who runs the email family support group for the 220th Military Police Brigade, informed the email support group that from now on, their emails will be sent to the Pentagon, and that participants. "will be closely monitored."
Torey warned that she was willing to "play hardball" with people who attempted to get to the bottom of what is really happening to American soldiers in Iraq.
What triggered this witch hunt against the families of soldiers in Iraq? A mother of one soldier started trying to find out about reports of an huge explosion near where her son is stationed in Iraq. This mother went through official channels, asking the officers at Fort Meade to help her make sure that her son was all right. After three days of being denied any answers by the military, this mother started asking questions of the other people at an online support group for families with members in the military.
Are we to understand that asking questions about the war in Iraq is now a crime? Should we all expect these kinds of threats of investigation when we start to talk about the sons and daughters that come home to our own towns in bodybags?
Is this the kind of America we're supposed to be fighting for?
This mother believes that it's high time that Bush and his goons stop playing "hardball" with our freedoms.
Still looking over her shoulder,
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