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.
What Turns the East into the South
Friday, February 13, 2004
The following are results from the February 10-11 nationally representative Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,003 adults (margin of error +/- 3 points):
I found this pattern to be especially interesting. Support for Bush is lowest in the East, but support for Kerry is tied for lowest in the East and South. Everyone talks about how the South is such an awful prospect for John Kerry, but even there he's leading in the polls, albeit by the smallest margin of all regions.
Why in both the East and the South do only 49% support Kerry? In the South, people who don't like Kerry go to Bush. In the East, a large number of them go to "Other" or "Neither." Together, that's six percent. Are these the Nader supporters, or something else? Could that six percent tip some Eastern states over to George W. Bush?
What do you think? Lemme know.
Now that's more like it.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has just announced that it will be broadening its investigation of the intelligence on Iraq.
Now on the table: 1) Whether or not the Bush administration exaggerated the evidence on Iraqi WMD, 2) Whether or not intelligence analysts were pressured to change their findings to agree with the administration, 3) What happened at that shady "Office of Special Plans" at the Pentagon, 4) The role of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.
Well, that's a little more like it. Oh, and the Senate Intelligence Committee is planning to issue a preliminary report in late March or early April. Not, you know, after the election. If they pursue these issues aggressively, things could get interesting.
Congratulations to the members of the committee for growing a backbone. And thank you for reminding all of us that our government has three branches that check and balance each other (hear that, George?).
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 2/13/04)
Anything to protect us, but not that!
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Well, Bush sure has emphasized lately just how important it is to protect us. And he's shown he's willing to do just about anything. He's sent over 500 young Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis to their deaths, compromised the Bill of Rights, and pissed off most of our former allies to protect us.
Think he's going too far? Don't worry. There are things he's not willing to do.
Government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for International Development used to provide detailed information about (yuck!) condoms. Well, yes, getting this information out undoubtedly would protect a lot of people from disease. But decent God-fearing people only have sex with one other person ever in their lives, right? So, see, if we're all good little boys and girls, then we don't need condoms.
Under Bush, detailed information on the effectiveness of condoms, along with instructions for their use, has been systematically suppressed. This information has been replaced by general statements focused on abstinence. (http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/example_condoms.htm)
Now what would protect more people? Waiting until we live in a Puritan Utopia where everybody just ever has one sexual partner their whole lives, or educating people about how they can protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the real world? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Finally, we see Bush back away from his radical commitment to protect us, no matter what it takes.
I must admit, Bush has crossed a lot of lines to protect us. He's invaded countries based on bogus excuses, used radioactive ammunition and cluster bombs, imprisoned people indefinitely without due process of law, and all that. I was beginning to think he'd stop at nothing. Now I know better. Yeah, he'll shred the constitution and violate international law. But he won't spread the word on disease prevention. After all, the man has principles!
Bombings just a Blip on "March to Freedom"?!?
Mother Davis cringes as she reports,
Yesterday, a bomb south of Baghdad killed at least 50 people, many of them American-trained policemen or new police recruits. This kind of event has been going on almost non-stop since the Bush Administration began its rule over Iraq.
No one expected an occupation of Iraq to be problem free. The plain truth, however, is that neither George W. Bush nor his advisors seemed to think that an ongoing rebellion killing hundreds of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans was a reasonable possibility. Bush aides even mocked those experts who predicted a difficult insurgency.
Now, the Bush Administration does not want to admit that there is a serious problem of out-of-control violence in Iraq. Over and over again, the people in the White House try to tell us that this sort of thing is to be expected. Bush goes so far as to suggest that yesterday's bombing is inconsequential to his "march to freedom" in Iraq.
When a new democracy is being formed, factional infighting is to be expected. Arguments about methods are to be expected. Power struggles over the construction of a constitution are to be expected.
Bombs that kill over 50 people at a time ripping a country apart? It's a sad sign of the poor leadership that Bush has brought to Iraq that people are beginning to see such violence as par for the course.
Update: There was another blip on the "march to freedom" today. A car bomb was set off at another recruiting station in Iraq, killing at least 36 people. 36 people killed at a pop, and again Bush suggests that everything is going according to his plan.
Hoping that Mr. Bush doesn't start a "march to freedom" here at home,
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
This Bush Haiku comes via e-mail from Alan:
Lost jobs, soldiers die.
Stay on course with losing horse?
Reagan he is not!
Read more Bush Haiku here.
Is Bush responsible for the economy?
This morning, I got an e-mail from a very thoughtful person by the name of Jamel. He asks:
"Is the President of the U.S. soley responsible for the economic situtation of this country? I mean doesn't the economy go in cyclical cycles which makes periods of depression inevitable at one time or the other?"
That's a good question, and it led me to a gut-check: what would I say if a Democrat were in office? Trying not to be partisan, my own take on Bush's responsibility can be expressed in three parts.
What do you think?
Signs we are near the end...
Presidential Meetup indications that we are near the end: yesterday, Howard Dean added only 23 people to his meetup, Wesley Clark lost 109 people from his meetup, and John Kerry added 1,044.
'Course, George W. Bush added only 16 people, and he's essentially alone on the Republican ticket. This tells you how popular the Bush candidacy is. Bush's meetup totals are only 7% of Kerry's, 5% of Clark's, and 2% of Dean's.
The Bush Scream?
According to The Associated Press, George W. Bush made a speech in which his voice was "rising to a shout."
Where's the Outrage?
How soon we forget.
A three-hour spectacle of huge men in tight little pants jumping all over each other was desecrated by a second-long glimpse of most of a woman's breast.
I, for one, am outraged. If I live to be 100, I will carry my fury with me to the grave!
Monday, February 09, 2004
While most progressive- and moderate-minded Americans are clamoring to remove George W. Bush from office through the upcoming election in November 2004, a growing minority is organizing to remove Mr. Bush by the alternative means of impeachment. Focused on a series of high crimes and misdemeanors associated with the Bush Administration, the Impeach Bush movement is working electronically and on the ground to mount a legal challenge.
To learn more about the Impeach Bush movement, visit Impeach Central and read our recent interview with Sophie Grossman-Devries, one of the leaders of the movement.
How Far Would it Unravel?
Is is just me, or does something about the Bush administration smell fishier than Whitewater?
If we had a real investigation that was aggressively out to find the truth, once they started issuing subpoenas and putting the fear of jail time into people left and right, what would they find?
A lot of loose ends have frayed out of this tangle of Middle East-oil-Iraq-power company shenanigans:
What energy people did Cheney meet with in 2001, and what did they tell him?
What's up with the administration covering Saudi Arabia's ass?
Was there pressure on intelligence agents to modify threat assessments? (Subpoena the agents, swear them in, then ask them.)
What kind of backroom dealings has this administration had with Ahmad Chalabi, and other Iraqi exiles? Who offered whom what, and how did that affect administration policy?
Who leaked the identity of a CIA agent to the press? (Subpoena members of the administration, swear them in, then ask them.)
What's up with Halliburton continuing to pay Cheney while he's vice president? Does this have to do with Cheney pushing hard for a war that has landed Halliburton huge no-bid contracts? (Subpoena reams of Halliburton memos that were never supposed to see the light of day, and get a staff going over them with a fine-tooth comb.)
The list goes on and on...
We need an investigation that will tug at these loose threads until they start to unravel. Is it a cleverly-spun web of deceit, or just a tangle of petty corruption and conflict of interest? I don't know, but I smell a rat.
How much do you want to bet Bush's hand-picked team of "investigators" won't dig into any of this stuff?
Anybody notice the swift little propaganda waltz the Bush administration, Kay, McCain, Tenet and the press have pulled off in the last few days?
After David Kay's recent statements, it's become clear that Iraq didn't have much in the way of weapons of mass destruction. Evidence has also been out for a while out that the CIA repeatedly warned the White House that it was on shaky ground as it over-hyped the case for war.
So, objectively, the CIA is on pretty solid ground and has its ass covered, and the administration is in trouble, right?
What happens next is some maneuvering that would make Sun Zi proud as pie:
1) Kay says Iraq doesn't have significant quantities of WMD, that "we were all wrong" (i.e. not just Bush and the other radicals pushing for war), and that the problem lies with the intelligence (implying the CIA, etc.).
2) McCain and some other "maverick" Republicans join the Democrats in calling for an investigation;
3) Bush decides that he will hand-pick a team of investigators to look into what went wrong with intelligence. They'll need some time to do a really good job, so we'll hear from them, oh, after the election.
4) Tenet starts going on the defensive. He says quite honestly that the CIA never called Saddam an "imminent threat." What he neglects to mention is that the White House did repeatedly refer to Saddam as a threat that had to be dealt with right away ("imminent" in so many words), despite repeated CIA warnings to the contrary.
5) George Bush grants an interview, and the headlines the next day focus on how he emphasized that Tenet's job is safe. (Note the implication here, Bush is not in trouble, but Tenet might be.)
Now, there's no question that this is a Kafkaesque series of events. Bush, who was the one making powerful assertions based on bogus evidence, is taking up an aggressive stance against Tenet, who was always more cautious. Based on the facts of the matter alone, Tenet would be in a strong position to say "I told you so," but he's the one going on the defensive. This is Bizarro world.
From a purely strategic point of view, it's beautiful. A supposed inquiry into the truth is set up to spare the weakest link (Bush), while the strongest link (Tenet) is braced to take the blow.
The question is, how much of a conspiracy is this? Was this little dance all choreographed by some Machiavellian Republican puppet master behind the scenes (Karl Rove, perhaps)? Is it all a series of coincidences that just fell beautifully into place? Is it the kind of thing that comes together spontaneously when you have a certain configuration of power in government? I don't know.
For the record, I don't believe there's a supreme arch-villain behind the scenes pulling all the strings. My hunch is that professional politicians develop keen survival instincts, and end up working in concert in ways nobody planned when the winds blow a certain direction. But the question about this odd little dance remains--how did it happen?
Anybody care to speculate?
Bush's Politics and the Injury of Science
This morning, we found a great website, created by the staff of Representative Henry Waxman of California: PoliticsAndScience.com. Politics and Science is created in order to report on the ongoing investigations of Congress into the state of science under the Bush Administration.
What have these investigations found? The policies of George W. Bush are eroding the integrity of science by introducing conservative political agendas into what used to be pure scientific processes. In research into areas such as the environment, health risks, sexual behavior, drug use, military defense, workplace safety and energy, the Bush Administration has replaced the methods of science with the fervor of fundamentalist politics.
No other story about the Bush Administration is more important than this one, because it gets to the heart of how George W. Bush perceives truth: as a political tool to advance his conservative evangelical cultural agenda. Please, go read these reports for yourself at Politics and Science
Return to the Irregular Times Main Page
Read our Blog Archives