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 30, 2003
95 Dead in Terrorist Bombing

Oh yeah, I forgot to put in that headline that the bombing happened in Iraq.

Does it make a difference?

Well, those people in Iraq were living under an American government. They have been for months now, without a single sign of any move toward democratic self-rule. So, when are we going to start calling them Americans?

I'm reminded of another American crusade for the "liberation" of another country.

Think back a few generations, and you might have heard about the American colony of The Philippines. You see, America grabbed the Philippines back when we were fighting with the Spanish. We promised the native Filipino leaders that we would hand the country over to them for home-rule. It was 50 years until we bothered to keep that promise.

George W. Bush has told the Iraqis that he's going give them a democratic government, as if such a thing can be simply bestowed. Ask yourself (then ask your representatives in Congress) when the first national election for Iraq is scheduled.

That's a trick question, of course. There are no national elections scheduled for Iraq, and elections will be stalled for as long as the Bush Administration allows chaos to dominate Iraq.

Let's call Iraq what it is, shall we? Paul Bremer is not the "ambassador" to Iraq. There is still no internationally-recognized government of Iraq. Iraq is being ruled by a despot, and his name is George W. Bush.

If the Bushes keep up their family tradition, they may soon be recognized as the royal family of Iraq.

Of course, it didn't have to be this way. George W. Bush could have allowed the more capable, more experienced, and more respected United Nations to govern Iraq. He still could make a switch to such a system, and save American and Iraqi lives. For some reason, though, Bush does not want to surrender his despotic rule of Iraq. He won't allow United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq either. Remind you of someone else? Maybe it's time for King George to grow a little mustache and start wearing military uniforms more often.

If we had people killed in this country every day by terrorists, we'd be up in arms and demand a change. Well, as it stands, Iraq is a part of the United States. People under our national authority are being killed by terrorists every day.

Bush says everything's going just "fine".

I'd like to know what definition of "fine" he's using.

The people of Iraq cannot vote to overthrow George W. Bush as their dictator. We here in the 50 states can. As the post to this blogger mentions yesterday, the attention of the American people is not really on choosing a candidate to challenge the right of George W. Bush to rule the rapidly expanding, imploding, eroding American Empire. Our focus is on supporting ANYONE but Bush.

I'll reiterate the need to avoid insurgent squabbling, and support solid progressive organizations like America Coming Together that see what the goal must be:
- an end to the lies and broken promises
- an end to American Empire
- an end to daily bombings and shootings
- an end to the Ribald Reign of King George the Second

Let's use our heads, our hearts and our votes, to protect the fine tradition of American democracy, while we still can.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 3:08 PM. # (permalink)

Friday, August 29, 2003

America Coming Together:
An Alternative to the Primary Rigamaroll

Over at our progressive Election 2004 bumper sticker shop, we've noticed two consistent trends:

1. Of all the Democratic contenders, Howard Dean is the candidate whose stickers are flying off the shelves most quickly.

2. However, none of the candidates's stickers (Dean's included) sell in any number even close to the best-sellers: anti-Bush stickers.

This confirms what we've suspected for a while: that although there is some minor jockeying going on between the Democratic candidates, the major political force right now is opposition to the policies and person of George W. Bush. Most folks are like me, I think: while we might have our preferences for candidates, we really would vote for just about anybody but Bush.

Until now, however, there hasn't been a clear way to contribute monetarily to the anti-Bush effort. Contributing to the Democratic National Committee is of dubious value, considering their leaders' allegiance with the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council. Contributing to any particular Democratic contender only siphons valuable resources off into the squabble over who will be the one to go head-to-head with Bush.

If you are in the camp of those who'd take Anybody But Bush, if you'd rather donate money to getting Bush out of office than to turf wars between Democrats, now there is an option. America Coming Together is a new organization, organized by some of the best, brightest and most experienced progressive grassroots organizers out there, dedicated to the principle that getting Bush out is the first priority. America Coming Together (or ACT -- get it?) will use donations not to advocate for any particular Democratic candidate, but rather to engage in education and voter-registration projects to mobilize anti-Bush sentiment, to change hearts and minds, and to get progressively-inclined to the polls to do the deed of deep-sixing Dubya.

To find out more about ACT, click here. It's a great idea at the perfect moment. Check 'em out.

Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 10:18 PM. # (permalink)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Over at Howard Dean's website, they heard that George W. Bush had gathered another million dollars for his campaign by hosting a dinner for 500 people who each gave the maximum legally allowed: $2,000. 500 people *$2,000 = $1,000,000.

So, following their "in Bush's face" approach, the Dean camp decided to try and match that $1,000,000. That they did is impressive. What's really notable, however, is how the Dean campaign went about doing it. In order to raise $1,003,620.00 (as of 10 pm this Tuesday) 17,115 people put in their donations. Doing the math, that means that the average donation was $58.64.

On the positive side of things, Dean motivated thirty-four times as many people into contributing as Bush did. This indicates that Dean's base of strong supporters is significantly wider than Bush's. And the sort of folks who are supporting Dean are middle-class folks: those who can spare a few bucks, but not those with money to burn. Had the 17,115 Dean donors been able to give their maximum of $2,000, Dean would have raised a whopping $34,230,000.

But that's where the negative side of things comes in. The thing is that Dean's supporters, like a huge super-majority of Americans, just can't afford to cough up $2,000. Only the richest of the rich can afford to do that sort of thing. Because they can afford much less, a Dean supporter has one-thirtyfourth the monetary influence in the primary campaigns as a Bush supporter. Put another way, Dean has to work thirty-four times harder than Bush in campaigning just to stay even.

That's unfair in a nation based on the principle that everyone should have the same say in politics. Thankfully, Dean (it would be nice --but factually inaccurate-- to add other Democratic candidates' names in here. Step up to the plate, Al Bob Carol Dennis Dick John and John) and those who believe in his vision for America are working that much harder.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 11:26 AM. # (permalink)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Mother Davis exclaims an uncharacteristic "Oi!" as she reads the morning news.

Oi! Yet another lie from George W. Bush has been revealed this morning. How is it possible for one man to engage in so much deception? Is he taking stimulants again?

This time, we find out that those squadrons of nasty drones that Bush, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld warned us could fly across the Atlantic Ocean from Iraq and dump chemical, biological or nuclear weapons on American cities were never capable of carrying weaponry of any sort.

What's more, we find out that the Bush Administration was told so by Air Force intelligence experts in a report in October. Yet, Bush & Company kept on telling the American people that they were under an imminent threat of the Attack of the Drones!

Perhaps you don't believe me as I report this information. Lots of people think I'm full of it, I know. But, I'll point you over to an article at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that describes the story. This article was published across the world, in newspapers such as The Hindu in India and The Day in England.

Didn't see it in your local newspaper? Yes, there's a lot of information that some news editors aren't passing on to the American people. Write them a letter to let them know you're paying attention.

So, chalk up another lie for Bush. You've got to admire the ambition with which Dubya tells these fibs. At this rate, he'll overtake Richard Nixon as the most manipulative President in American history.

Posted by Katherine Davis at 9:13 AM# (permalink)

War is the cocaine of politics, providing its advocates with a powerful boost that cannot be sustained. Taste it once, and weak politicians become hooked, knowing no other way to get those high ratings. They become desperate for another hit. They will do anything to score another war - spending huge amounts of money to sustain their habit, lying, stealing from programs that they no longer deem necessary.

These politicians need our compassion, but before we can reintegrate them into our society, they need treatment. That's why we're opening up a special treatment center for war-addicted politicians. The groundbreaking will take place during primary season early next year, and we hope to open it up for admissions in November, 2004.

What do you say we put it in Texas?

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 6:42 AM. # (permalink)

Monday, August 25, 2003
An appreciative reader of Irregular Times who only leaves us with the name lckohler asks us the following deep and probing question:

Are you all really that duped by the liberals or is it just
the fact that you don't THINK for yourselves??

That's the entire message.

It's interesting to us that the question suggests that if we are "duped" by "the liberals" we could be thinking for ourselves, although the essence of being duped is to be deceived into following along with someone else's thoughts. Given this non-dual duality in the question, are we to interpret it as poetry or as a Zen koan?

Of course, this message is really meant as a statement to register displeasure with the existence of Irregular Times, without going through the work of actually grappling with any of the ideas and information published here.

Lest we fall into the same folly, we'll provide a thorough answer to this question.

1st: It would be difficult for us to be duped by "the liberals" because we are liberals ourselves. But really, your phrasing suggests that you believe that "the liberals" are all alike, and all together, acting as a single force to twist public opinion. If you actually knew any liberals very well, you'd learn that liberals are certainly not a homogenous group. As a small number of the large group of "the liberals" you refer to, let me say that we're not interested in duping anyone. Our purpose is to publish for free and public consumption a few articles that offer a perspective that runs counter to what you might find from extreme conservative sources such as Fox News. If some people are persuaded, that's great, but we only seek to persuade on the foundation of our rational arguments, not upon the basis of emotional manipulation and deception.

2nd: We do think for ourselves. That's why all of our content is original. Everything you see on Irregular Times has been written by the Irregular Times staff, or by a reader in the case of a guest column. We don't republish articles from other politically progressive sites. Writing these articles requires that we not only think for ourselves, but also think critically about what we read from mainstream news sources. We don't even take our inspiration from any consistent sources. No ditto-heading here.

In short, our answer to your question is: Neither.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:50 AM. # (permalink)

Sunday, August 24, 2003
Another day, another poll...

The latest Newsweek poll (August 21-22), with a margin of error of +/- 4 points:

Question: "In general, would you like to see George W. Bush reelected to another term as president, or not?"

Answering "Yes": 44% (49% said yes 7/24/03; 52% said yes 5/1/03)
Answering "No": 49% (43% said no 7/24/03; 38% said no 5/1/03)

Now, if you report this to a crowd, some Bush apologist is going to say to you that Newsweek is just another left-wing media organization that is asking biased questions to get the result they want. Thing is, though, that even if the question is biased, if you ask the exact same question a number of times, changes do have meaning. And the fact is that in responses to the exact same question over time, support for Bush's re-election effort has dropped 8 percentage points in 3 months, and opposition to his re-election has risen 11 percentage points.

Yes, it's just like the pundits say: Bush's re-election is really inevitable. No, really!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 10:37 PM# (permalink)

Mother Davis calculates the interest as she reads in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The war in Iraq is now running up costs of one billion dollars every week.

  • as Bush refuses to push funding for his No Child Left Behind Act through Congress
  • as states reeling from the costs of No Child Left Behind Act close down public schools, cut off preschool education programs, and shut library doors
  • as Bush's budgets cut funding for children's hospitals
  • as Bush runs up the highest budget deficits in history, all to be paid off by future generations of children

    When George W. Bush promised to "leave no child behind" we didn't think this was what he meant.

    calculating the interest that will be paid by her grandchildren for Bush's war,
    Mother Davis

    Posted by Katherine Davis at 7:38 AM. # (permalink)

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