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.
Bush Doesn't Understand Government
Saturday, April 17, 2004
"Our government's first duty is to protect the American people." - George W. Bush, April 17, 2004
No, no, no. The duty enumerated in the oath of office of the president is to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The duty enumerated in the oath of office of the Senate is that "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."
The duty enumerated in the oath of office of the House is that "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."
The duty enumerated in the oath of office of the Supreme Court is that "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."
The first job of government is to protect the Constitution. The Constitution. Not the people.
In none of the oaths of office is a "duty to protect the American people" ever mentioned.
Bush Lies Again
On December 28, 2001, George W. Bush stood in front of a gaggle of reporters and told the American people that he had called together his top aides and generals -- Major General Gene Renuart, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and CIA Director George Tenet -- to talk about the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Now it has come out that the actual focus of the meeting was a briefing on plans for a war against Iraq.
Why won't George W. Bush tell the American people the truth? (Source: Associated Press April 17, 2004)
Laws, Schmaws. Legal, Schmeagal. A Day in the Life of "Whatever It Takes" America
An April 9, 2004 press release from the United States Department of the Treasury includes the following assertion in boldface type: "America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation."
Citizens around the country complained that this kind of partisan campaign statement should not be released using taxpayer dollars. And they were right: it is in fact against the law for taxpayer dollars and government employees to be used for such a purpose. The Hatch Act forbids such activities.
When it was suggested to Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols that making such a statement was an improperly partisan action, Nichols responded, "That is nonsense, baseless and groundless."
Then a visitor to pandagon.net turned up a press release from the Republican National Committee, dated April 2, 2004. The press release includes the following assertion in boldface type: "America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's polices are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation."
So not only is the Bush Administration breaking the law to get their guy re-elected, they're lying to cover it up, too. We've seen this sort of "whatever it takes" ethics before. Come November 2004, we need not see it again. (Sources: U.S. Department of the Treasury April 9, 2004 press release; Republican National Committee April 2, 2004 press release; Associated Press April 10, 2004)
Borrow and Spend Republicans
A phrase came to me this morning that captures a good deal of what bothers me about George W. Bush's economic policies (as well as the economic policies of the Republican Congress).
George W. Bush is a borrow-and-spend Republican.
One Thousand Bake Sales for Peace
Friday, April 16, 2004
I came across news of an event that's happening tomorrow that's so fantastic, I had to drop everything and share it with all of you. I'll clean up the mess later - this is really neat!
In a combination of an old-fashioned community event and a state-of-the-art Internet grassroots effort, MoveOn has organized a country-wide kind of picnic tomorrow. In over one thousand communities across America, there will be bake sales to raise funds for the MoveOn Political Action Committee, a group that funds progressive political campaigns.
From the Beat Bush Bake Bash in Los Angeles, California to the Mountaineer Bake Sale for Democracy in Charleston, West Virginia, folks will be buying, selling and eating goodies all day tomorrow, and helping to fund a really sweet cause.
Click on this here link to Find a Bake Sale for Democracy Near You!
I'm salivating just at the thought of it.
The war in Iraq was supposed to make the Middle East safe for Americans.
The Bush Administration is telling all Americans to leave Saudi Arabia for their own safety.
Lying about Logging - Where Will Bush's Lies End?
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Mother Davis puts down her toothpick in shock as she reads,
Apparently not content to restrict his lying to matters of war and peace, George W. Bush has extended his repertoire of deception to trees. Yes, that's right - Mr. Bush is using the bully pulpit of the White House to lie to the American people about the woods, which he says we can't see for the trees.
Actually, Bush is using taxpayer money to hire a public relations firm to tell this lie. The PR firm created a brochure with photographs purporting to show how much the forests of the Sierra Nevada range have become unnaturally overcrowded and dangerous. The brochure argues that in order for a forest area to be natural, it needs to have a lot of its trees cut down.
To support this point, there is a photograph from 1909, showing a relatively sparse and open forest. Then, other photographs show how, over the decades, the forest becomes more and more clogged.
Oh, but there are problems. (Here's where Bush's lies come in.) First of all, the area pictured in the 1909 photograph is not in the Sierra Nevada. It's in Montana, far to the north.
The second lie: The 1909 photograph shows an area just after it's been logged and most of its trees have been removed! Huge stumps and piles of logging waste can be seen in the background. It's not natural at all.
This isn't just dishonesty. It's eerie. The Bush Administration is actually using your money to create the impression that the massive logging in America's West that took place during the 20th Century is part of the natural ecosystem there.
Wondering what kind of weirdo could believe such a thing, then looking at the Republican elite in Washington D.C.,
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
You know, one of the great things about Irregular Times is that our writers are free to disagree with each other, in plain sight. Even though we share a general progressive perspective, there are some things that we just don't agree on.
For example, I'm extremely disappointed at the previous blog entry, which strongly mischaracterizes George W. Bush's response last night to the question about whether he is willing to admit to having made any mistakes when it comes to Iraq.
For the record, Mr. Bush's response is not as quoted below, but also includes the following phrase, which I think you'll see completely changes the impact of the quotation. Mr. Bush also added: "Um.... Ah... Well... Um..."
I hope that sets the record straight.
When asked to describe his biggest mistake as president since September 11, 2001, George W. Bush paused for a number of moments, stammered, looked at the ceiling, looked at the floor, and then said "I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer. But it hasn't yet." And then it didn't. Everybody knew George W. Bush was going to be asked this sort of question. And yet Mr. Bush didn't have an answer ready. At the very least, to come to such an important news conference unprepared shows a shocking lack of diligence that the nation cannot afford.
Worse, George W. Bush's inability to describe a single failing in a nearly three-year period of his presidency betrays a profound lack of self-reflection. Surely any president who was not profoundly shallow would have long, dark nights of the soul in which he reviewed his actions to date, tallied his mistakes and considered how to rectify them in the future. Most people report losing sleep in contemplation of a single hard day at their office jobs, yet George W. Bush has not been able to identify a single mistake of a two-war, job-loss presidency over the course of years? Inconceivable! A president who does not consider his mistakes cannot learn from them. George W. Bush has a lot to learn, but it doesn't look like he's doing the hard work necessary to even begin that process.
Help Bush identify his mistakes
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
The nation watched with jaws agape as George W. Bush failed again, and again, and again, and again, to identify a single mistake he has made as president.
"I'm sure something will pop into my head here," he grinned at one point. But no, even then George W. Bush couldn't identify a single mistake he has made as president.
Can you help the president identify his mistakes? Post them here.
Better yet, call the White House at 202-456-1111.
Better yet, write a letter to the editor of your local paper and let him know in public.
Quick! The president needs your help.
George W. Bush: "Gosh, I don't know!"
"Gosh, I don't know!"
- George W. Bush, April 13, 2004
George W. Bush: "We unraveled"
- George W. Bush, April 13, 2004
George W. Bush: "I'm open for suggestions!"
"I'm open for suggestions!"
- George W. Bush, April 13, 2004
Get this. 2,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed outside the Shiite holy city of Najaf. Their mission? To "capture or kill" Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Looks like we've got another seige in the works. But here's the catch: Najaf's holy status makes it roughly equivalent to "the Shiite Vatican." (Source: AP, 4/13/04)
If we start a fight that kills hundreds of civilians and destroys mosques in the city, like we have in Fallujah, we risk enraging the Shiite majority in Iraq. And not just Iraq. Plenty of Shiites across the border in Iran would no doubt be furious. And our boys and girls over there would catch the firestorm.
Earth to General Sanchez: this could end really bad. If we go into Najaf, and we let our soldiers defend themselves, we could mess things up so badly in Iraq that stability and democracy are delayed for years. If we go into Najaf and don't let our soldiers defend themselves, we could be sending them into a slaughterhouse.
Are Americans so arrogant that we can't see when we're marching right into an impossible situation?
United We Stand (If WE'RE in control, that is...)
Patriot, in a recent blog, brings up a good point that I haven't heard addressed much in print:
Wouldn't President Clinton have been able to pay more attention to Al Qaeda and act more effectively against them if he hadn't been forced to spend a huge amount of time and effort fighting Republican efforts to impeach him during the late '90's?!
The Republicans put partisan bickering ahead of national security back in the late '90's. Then after 9/11 happened, it suddenly wasn't time for partisan bickering anymore! What gives?
Love Them Waffles
The new operational definition of waffle. Sticky, syrupy sweet, but not good for you at all. I like my waffles with blueberries, not bullshit, on top.
An Irregular Quiz
Monday, April 12, 2004
Okay, news fans, guess which Iraqi dictator is responsible for the following:
An entire city in Iraq is surrounded by troops, and beseiged with bombs and bullets for days before women and children are allowed to leave. Civilian men are ordered to stay while the seige continues.
The seige is so bloody that entire segments of the Iraqi military refuse to take part. People hide inside to try to avoid the violence, but they cannot. Soldiers enter private homes and take people away without explanation. "The terrorize the houses," one resident says. Other houses are bombed. A man who escaped the city describes one such instance, saying, "an aircraft came and bombed their house and 28 members of the same family were killed". Another survivor states, "they are firing randomly. They don't distinguish us between women and children."
In just one week, 600 civilians have been killed in the seige, which was begun in retaliation for the killing of four of the dictatorship's soldiers.
Which Iraqi dictator is responsible?
You guessed it: George W. Bush, who insists that the Iraqi people regard him as a "liberator".
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