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.

Republicans: Always the Violent Touch
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Why is it that Republicans feel the need to get violent when their politicians aren't doing well?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:20 PM# (permalink)
(1) comments

Compassionate? George W. Bush cuts off food for poor kids
George W. Bush likes to call himself "compassionate." How is it that a compassionate man would go about trying to cut the funding for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program? That's just what his 2006 budget proposal calls for. WIC, as it's popularly called, helps make sure that nursing mothers and growing kids have enough food so that the next generation doesn't grow up stunted.

Heck, you don't even have to be compassionate to support this program; any fool can realize that every dollar invested in helping children grow up without developmental delays from improper nutrition will lead to hundreds if not thousands of dollars in increased adult productivity, and will prevent hundreds if not thousands of dollars from being spent on taking care of sick and stunted adults. Even George W. Bush must know this. Cutting the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program? That's not "compassionate," and it's not smart. It's stupid and mean. Let George W. Bush go be stupid and mean to waiters in Kennebunkport, but it's just not called for in our White House.

(Source: Washington Post, May 27 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:35 PM# (permalink)
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Under-reported story of the week: Pentagon lied to Congress in cover-up
Call it an error of omission: Members of the U.S. Congress discovered earlier this week that the report given to them by the Pentagon about the scope and nature of American military torture programs in Iraq and elsewhere around the world was missing two thousand pages. The military told the Congress that they were receiving the full report, when in fact, it appears that the military ripped thousands of pages out in order to prevent members of Congress from reading them.

Now, what those two thousand pages are, no one outside of the Pentagon, or perhaps the Bush White House, knows. No one in the Pentagon has offered a plausible explanation for how and why the missing secret pages were withheld from Congress.

A simple mistake seems out of the question, even though the Pentagon called it a "glitch". Even the military bureaucracy does not make two thousand oopses in a row. If it looks like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up...

Read more about the story as reported by The Associated Press and The Borneo Bulletin, then ask yourself why you haven't heard more about this story.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 11:46 AM. # (permalink)
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George W. Bush: Picking on Animals Again
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
They say that people who mistreat animals as children grow up to become sadists as adults. Well, what about people who torment animals as adults?

It turns out that George W. Bush is one of those sadistic adults who derive pleasure from picking on animals. It's not just any animals that Bush bothers either. Bush gets his jollies from picking on endangered species.

In just the latest in a series of attacks against endangered species, George W. Bush is taking pot shots at the gray wolf, which once roamed almost the entire continental United States, but now is restricted to a few tiny scraps of land where small packs barely hang on. Now, after decades of decline, a tiny number of gray wolves might be returning from Canada to the great Northern Forest of New England.

Just as this small bit of progress is taking place, George W. Bush has introduced an administrative act called the Wolf Rule, which would remove protections from the endangered gray wolf. Under Bush's plan, gray wolves could be slaughtered all over again, and their habitat could be destroyed with impunity.

Picking on an endangered species of animal is like picking on the smallest kid in your class at school. It's just plain mean. I don't want someone this mean to be my president any longer.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 6:11 AM. # (permalink)
(1) comments

Anti-Terrorist Common Sense? Too Much Hassle!
Monday, May 24, 2004
Well I never. Remember in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, when investigators found out that the bomb was made of ammonium nitrate fertilizer? And everybody was like, well, we should keep a tighter lid on ammonium nitrate and/or modify it chemically so it's harder to make a bomb out of. Surely after 9/11, this became an even more urgent priority. Right?

Bzzzz! Wrong, thanks for playing. While they've moved quickly to establish systems to usher me behind a curtain, feel me up and peek in my shoes every time I want to fly somewhere (and presumably no longer say "hey, you two known Al Qaeda associates and your friends have fun on that plane with your box cutters. Sorry there's no air marshal on board--be good!"), they have done absolutely nothing to prevent a few nuts from mixing up tons of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel (which yields an explosive half as strong as dynamite) in a barn someplace, trucking it into a city, and blowing it up.

Why has Bush's so-called "war on terror" not involved taking any steps whatsoever to prevent a repeat of the second worst terrorist attack in American history? Well, partly because Bush and his Keystone Cop administration are, collectively, dumber than bricks. But that's not the whole story. Seems farmers and fertilizer industry lobbyists are against controlling ammonium nitrate, because limitations would be too much of a hassle. (Source: USA Today Online, 5/10/04.)

So let's get this straight: the same administration that has sent 800 Americans to die on a wild goose chase after weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has done nothing to prevent someone from easily creating a massive bomb right here in the United States, because some lobbyist for the super-powerful fertilizer industry thinks it would be a hassle? Um, bullshit. How's about we elect ourselves a government that's more willing to hassle a lobbyist to prevent another major terrorist attack on American soil, and less willing to pour hundreds of young American lives into a quagmire that protects us from fabricated threats?

Posted by Doctor Theopolis at 1:45 PM. # (permalink)
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Senator Clinton Eats Pork Like a Pro
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Mother Davis groans with nausea as she reads about Hillary Clinton's latest appearance:

United States Senator Hillary Clinton is now making appearances on ultra-conservative talk show Fox News Sunday, getting chummy with Republicans from South Carolina in order to call for the increased expansion of what is already the largest military budget in American history.

You got that right: At a time when we're being asked to pay 25 billion dollars on top of 87 billion dollars on top of the hugest military budget in the history of the universe (no, that's not an exaggeration).

I cannot deny that making such a proposal is a brilliant re-election maneuver, appealing to conservatives at the same time as ensuring the financial support of big businesses and corporate executives that will benefit from an increased bloat in military spending. The thing that Senator Clinton does not remember is that it's the job of a United States Senator to govern, not to run for re-election. That's why senators are given six-year terms.

Senator Clinton's militaristic swerve also weakens the position of the Democratic Party, confirming the suspicion of many average people that there is no real difference between a Democrat and a Republican. Whether Clinton's sudden support for pork barrel for Pentagon defense contractors is really based upon Clinton's own personal interest, it gives off the smell of corruption. Thus, by swerving so far to the right, Senator Clinton threatens to singlehandedly revive the New York State Green Party.

We at Irregular Times have no intention of serving as a servile mouthpiece of the Democratic Party. We may criticize the Republicans more than the Democrats, but that's just because the Republicans have made such an art of wrongheadedness. When the Democrats are wrong, we'll call them on it as fast as we'll criticize the Republicans. When it comes to Senator Clinton's new militarism, she's as wrong as wrong can be.

I have enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton in the past, because she has done much to promote progressive political values. Recently, however, Clinton has been seen too much in the company of the likes of Joseph Lieberman. New York State can do better than that, and if Senator Clinton is not careful, New York State will do better.

Looking with more interest at the activities of the New York State Democratic Reform Caucus,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 6:04 PM. # (permalink)
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