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.

Spacecraft Spirit's Mars Landing Cancelled by Homeland Security
Saturday, January 03, 2004
Minutes before the Mars lander Spirit was scheduled to begin its descent towards the surface of the Red Planet, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge held a joint press conference to announce that the mission had been canceled for reasons of Homeland Security.

Ashcroft and Ridge acknowledged that they had no specific information to indicate that the spacecraft was part of any terrorist plot, but explained the decision by stating, "Hey, you never know."

An anonymous NASA scientist has informed Irregular Times that the reason for the cancellation is that Homeland Security officials mistook the Mars lander for a rocket propelled grenade. Such problems have plagued the Department of Homeland Security, which cancelled an Air France flight in December because its agents suspected a five year old boy of being a terrorist.

All over America, people are breathing a sigh of relief. "Beats me what that Mars lander has to do with terrorism," commented Lars Ebones, a convenience store worker in Poughkeepsie, New York, "I'm sure that the government knows what it's doing though, and I feel a whole lot safer knowing that they're doing stuff to keep me safe. I mean, just imagine what would have happened if they had sat around just doing nothing!"

Asked when another mission to investigate the possibility of life on Mars might take place, Bush Administration officials suggested that the project had been permanently put on hold. "We've got other funding priorities," one official said, on condition of anonymity and a package of Twinkies. "It takes a lot of money to fight evildoers."

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 11:20 PM. # (permalink)

Republican Health Care Plan
Friday, January 02, 2004
Some people, like Ralph Nader and his former compadres in the Green Party complain that there's no real difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. They're all the same, these outraged self-outcasts insist.

Do these folks read the news?

While the Democratic presidential candidates are proposing national health care plans that will provide more complete medical coverage for working Americans, the Republicans are promoting a different kind of health care plan across the United States.

What is the Republican health care plan? Slash Medicaid funding.

Step 1 in the Republican health care plan: Give the richest 1% of Americans a huge tax giveaway. Billions of dollars go to the wealthy. Ain't we got fun?

Step 2 in the Republican health care plan: Justify huge cuts in the health care safety net at the state level by saying that there just isn't enough money to go around to make sure that old folks and low-income workers have adequate medical care. Why here in New York State alone, the Republicans are proposing hacking 2.5 BILLION dollars from Medicaid.

No difference between Republicans and Democrats? Riddle me this, Ralph Nader: What the difference between health care and no health care?

Republican propose allowing more disease and death in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

Democrats propose reducing disease and death by asking wealthy Americans to stop receiving billions of dollars in special gifts from American taxpayers.

Anyone else see a difference?

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:13 AM. # (permalink)

Washington Post Reports on the Other Republican Presidential Candidates...
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Thanks to the Washington Post, which reports today on the Republican candidates who are challenging George W. Bush for the G.O.P. endorsement for the 2004 presidential election.

From the Bush propaganda, you'd think that everyone in the Republican Party is just wild for the policies of the Bush Administration. Well, it ain't so, and these candidates demonstrate that some Republicans are just plain pissed at the poor leadership that George W. Bush is giving America.

Sure they're zany, and not all very brainy, but these Republicans show that there's a real difference between the Republican rank-and-file and the Republican elite. Let's not confuse the one with the other...

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 4:24 PM# (permalink)

John Ashcroft Recusal Hints at White House betrayal of CIA
Mother Davis watches the pieces come together as she notes,

Today, months after the beginning of an internal Bush Administration investigation into the leaking of a CIA agent's identity to a conservative commentator, Attorney General John Ashcroft has recused himself from any involvement in the investigation.

The CIA agent, Valerie Plame, is the wife of Joseph Wilson, the envoy sent to Africa to investigate the plausibility of intelligence claims of an Iraqi attempt to obtain yellowcake uranium from the government of Niger. Plame's life was endangered by the leak of her name, which appears to have come directly from within the Bush Administration. Wilson claims that the leak was revenge upon his public revelation that he told the Bush Administration about the fraudulent nature of the weapons allegations, months before George W. Bush repeated the allegations during the State of the Union Address.

The fact that John Ashcroft has now recused himself from the investigation of the Bush Administration suggests that the leak of Plame's identity was indeed politically motivated, and occurred with the approval of top officials, such as John Ashcroft and perhaps Bush himself.

We thank Mr. Ashcroft for having the decency to recuse himself, even if the recusal is months late. However, when the top official of the Department of Justice admits that he has a conflict of interest in the case, how can the American public trust the results of any internal investigation into the betrayal of Valerie Plame? It is long past time for a truly independent investigation to take place. The Bush Administration cannot be trusted to keep these matters free of political influence, especially at the dawn of the 2004 presidential election year.

Crossing her fingers, but not holding her breath,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 3:09 PM. # (permalink)

What's Your Threat Level?
Sunday, December 28, 2003
I took one of those fun online quizzes. Here are my results.

Threat rating: High. The Bush administration is
concerned that it may not get a second term.
Therefore, we are going to change the rules so
that each Democrat vote only counts as 0.2
votes because Democrat is a shorter word than

What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Bob S-K at 11:36 PM# (permalink)

Ralph Nader gets Gangrene
What a wacky guy that Ralph Nader is! After heading up the Green Party's national efforts as presidential candidate two cycles in a row, all the while talking about how his campaigns were building the credibility of the Green Party, Ralph Nader now says that he's considering another run for President of the United States, but it won't be with the Green Party any more.

Apparently, Nader now thinks that it's not just the Democrats and the Republicans who are all alike. The Greens are in on it too, I guess. Oh, yeah, man. Those Green Party corporate stooges are all bought and paid for, dude. They're just the same as Republicans!

What a principled guy Nader is. In principle, he figures that Americans should want to vote for him, so he keeps on running in spite of the clear evidence that almost nobody votes for him in practice. In principle, he figures that he helps make America a better place just by running for president. Why, I shudder to think of all the advances in American society that might never have taken place if Nader hadn't already run for president twice. Like, uh, people wouldn't have had the chance to tell so many great dumb president jokes.

Nader '04: An Old New Voice for Uh, Something!

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 4:17 PM. # (permalink)

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