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.

A Sign of Opposition: Wear Red on Fridays
Saturday, June 05, 2004
I received this e-mail and given its historical resonance and originality, I felt I had to share it. Read on...

My name is Nadia Jensen and I have an idea for a quiet revolution. Please take a minute to read my email and then join me if you can:

Here's some history behind this idea: When Norway was occupied by Germany in 1940, Norwegian women began to knit RED caps for children as a way of letting everyone know that they did not like what was happening in their country, that they didn't like having their freedom taken away. My great aunt, Karin Knudson Myrstad, was one of the women who knit red caps for her children and others. Similarly, in Denmark, women knit red-white-and blue caps (colors of the Allies) for the very same reason.

The result was that whenever Norwegians and Danes left their homes -- to go to the store, to work, etc, they could see that THE MAJORITY opposed what was going on in their country. As you know, both countries organized effective Resistance efforts and changed history -- everything that happened began simply by wearing red!!!! (or the colors of the Allies, in Denmark).

1. BACKGROUND: I believe, as many of us do, that at the very heart of our democracy is our right to oppose the policies of our government. Increasingly, our Government is redefining "freedom" in ways that make too many Americans perceive that it is risky to oppose the policies-- and, in particular, current inroads about individual freedoms and family planning policies in the U.S. and abroad. However, many of us DO oppose what our government is doing to individual rights and family planning programs--and

I have an idea that will allow all of us to recognize each other very easily so we can see that WE ARE THE MAJORITY.

2. SO...I have been thinking that it's time to take action in a way that is effective and easy for all of us to do: Just wear red every Friday between now and election day.

Wear a little or a lot-- just be sure that when you leave your house to go about your day to work, to school, to the store, to the gas station, wherever you go in your daily routine -- that everyone who sees you will see that you are wearing red because you believe in freedom and you don't agree with our current administration's family planning policies at home and abroad. I'm really certain that we'll see that lots of us wearing red for freedom and access to family planning services -- because WE ARE THE MAJORITY. We just need a way to show each other who we are!!! Between now and election day, ask everyone you know to wear red for "Freedom Fridays".

3. I have already spread the word to friends and have had a very enthusiastic response. This email has been orwarded around the country by many who receive it - feel free to send in on to your friends and co-workers. Send this message around the country if you receive it - if enough of us do this, America's opposition to the regime and the priorities of George W. Bush will become clear.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:51 PM# (permalink)
(3) comments

Unintended consequences in fish
Mother Davis does her best impression of Mr. Grumpy Gills as she considers,

Word is that America's fish are the most doped up form of aquatic life on the planet.

When Americans take their prescription drugs, a good amount of them pass right through the body and out into the sewer. Americas sewers empty into America's rivers, lakes and seas, and so America's waterways are filled with constant low levels of prescription drugs.

Fish swim around in this stuff all their lives, and we may surmise that they are strongly affected. The good news is that with all the anti-depressants going down our gullets, America's fish are probably the happiest on Earth. More interesting is that Ritalin, a drug that helps kids with ADD extend their attention span, is also getting into the fish.

I can't help but wondering: What are unnaturally happy and focused fish likely to get up to?

Watching the drainpipe at night,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 8:53 PM# (permalink)
(1) comments

Dump DeLay - Support our Progressive Candidate of the Week
Sometimes Texas Republican Tom DeLay seems like a permanent installation of right-wing extremism in the United States Congress, but it doesn't have to be that way. America is still a democracy, and so there is an alternative to DeLay.

The name of the progressive alternative is Richard Morrison - and he needs your help. So, you probably don't live in the 22nd Congressional District of Texas. Never worry - you can still support Morrison in his effort to replace radical DeLay with a voice of reason. Wherever you live, please, visit his web site and get involved!

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 1:24 PM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

A Fairy Tale of Resignation
Friday, June 04, 2004
Once upon a time there was a band of 20 thieves who were surrounded by the police as they were robbing a bank.

One of the thieves, named George Ten, waved a white flag and declared, "I resign myself to going to prison, but I want to make it clear that it has nothing to do with being in a bank. I just want to go to prison so that I can spend more time with my family."

The police hauled George Ten off into the paddy wagon, and then drove away. The rest of the thieves got into their getaway cars and drove home with big bags of cash. Outside the bank, the public cheered, because justice had been done.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:35 AM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

Conservative Love Mail
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Joe writes in:

"Hey Slimeball.You don't have the guts to try and get my guns by yourself so you use all kinds of Clinton bullshit, Al Gore smoke and John Kerry mirrors.Go back to Syria where you belong you raghead, dothead maggot queer."

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:30 PM# (permalink)
(3) comments

George W. Bush: "Visualize No Liberals"
Today, the official campaign website of George W. Bush features a campaign video with the following image prominently displayed -- indeed, with the camera zooming in on it over 2 seconds:

George W. Bush campaign says visualize no liberals

"Visualize No Liberals."

The words don't say "Visualize Liberals Losing," or "Visualize Liberals Being Outnumbered."

The words say "Visualize No Liberals."

It's not enough for the official campaign of George W. Bush that conservatives win politically. The campaign has endorsed a vision in which liberals are no longer present in America at all.

Given that in the current climate liberals have no intention of going away, it stands to reason that for this vision to pass liberals would have to be removed. How would this be accomplished? To date, the official campaign of George W. Bush is mum on details, but we can imagine.

For this message to be promoted by the official campaign of George W. Bush goes beyond the pale in suggesting the fate of a candidate's opponents. By choosing to endorse a vision of removing political opponents, George W. Bush's campaign subverts the ideals of reason, civility and democracy.

When will the official campaign of George W. Bush apologize for promoting this message? Or, more tellingly, does it feel that it has nothing to apologize for?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 10:29 AM# (permalink)
(4) comments

Reason #1174 to Boot Bush
When George W. Bush visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 21, 2004, citizens of that city who were pro-Bush were permitted to stand on the curb and wave their supportive signs as Bush passed in his motorcade. Citizens of Baton Rouge who carried anti-Bush signs were roped off 100 feet away from the street behind an oak tree.

Ward Reilly, a veteran who attended that day, pointed out that security doesn't explain this action; any assassin with an IQ above 75 would simply carry a pro-Bush sign to the rally to get closer. So what is the reasonable explanation in this land of liberty? I'm still waiting to hear it. (Source: Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel May 27, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:07 AM# (permalink)
(0) comments

The Truth About Jose Padilla...
right brain peopleMother Davis looks at her top secret files and reveals,

Now we can tell you the truth about Jose Padilla.

Jose Padilla was an amateur juggler who plotted with Osama Bin Laden to interbreed emus and parakeets, then set them loose on the streets of Washington D.C., armed with chemical weapons, to attack coffee shops that refuse to offer Splenda brand sweetener to their customers.

In partnership with John Ashcroft and George W. Bush, I'm declassifying this information which I had once said needed to remain secret for the sake of national security, because the American people have the right to know why Padilla is so dangerous that their government must lock him up without giving him any trial at all, or even charging him with a crime.

Of course, we won't allow Padilla to talk to any lawyers, so they couldn't tell you if I was making it all up. We will never allow a judge or jury to hear from Padilla either.

Everything I say about the emu-parakeet-chemical weapons conspiracy is true, though. I have secret documents that prove it.

Asking you to trust her to tell you what's true,
America's Secretary of the American Way,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 4:26 AM. # (permalink)
(1) comments

America, Land of the Free
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The furor began on May 16, when Guy Colwell, an East Bay artist, made an addition to his monthlong showing at Lori Haigh's gallery on Powell Street. Angered by the pictures he saw of Iraqi prisoners being abused, he created a black-and- white painting depicting three hooded and naked men undergoing electric shock torture by American soldiers.

Two days after the painting went up, Haigh arrived at her gallery to find broken glass, eggs and trash strewn outside her storefront. Haigh also began receiving the first of about 200 angry voice mails, e-mails and death threats.

A week ago, a man walked into the gallery and spat in Haigh's face. On Tuesday, Haigh decided to temporarily close the gallery and began to consider giving up on her dream of owning an art gallery. Just two days later, another man knocked on the door of the gallery and then punched Haigh in the face, knocking her out, breaking her nose and causing a concussion.

It's more than Haigh ever imagined. She opened the studio 1 1/2 years ago, hoping to display the works of important and possibly controversial modern artists.

"I enjoyed listening to people's different opinions on what they saw," said Haigh, a mother of two. "That was part of the joy of having a gallery."

"When this can happen in the middle of North Beach in San Francisco, where people always expressed themselves, it means Iraq is not the only place being occupied," said Daniel Macchiarini.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 4:45 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

March against War (and Cruelty to Animals and Halitosis)
In 2001, some friends and I attended an anti-war protest in Durham, North Carolina. At least we thought it was an anti-war protest. It turned out to be an anti-war, free Mumia, farm workers', Senate candidacy, school issues, prison reform rally, as cause after cause took five-minute segments on stage to push its cookie. The highlight (or perhaps it would be better to say the low point) arrived as a man walked toward the stage carrying a sign that declared in large red letters "Fire Bad."

I wasn't sure whether to laugh off this smorgasbord approach to protest or to be offended. Although we gathered to protest a war, our numbers were being exploited to create the appearance of support for a wider variety of causes.

This weekend, June 5, International A.N.S.W.E.R. seems to be taking a similar approach, calling for people to gather in Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. At least International A.N.S.W.E.R. is being upfront, making explicit the following statements and demands:

* Bush and Rumsfeld Are Guilty of War Crimes
* All foreign troops out of Iraq
* End the Colonial Occupation of Palestine
* Support the Right of Return
* U.S. Hands Off Haiti
* U.S. Hands Off Korea
* U.S. Hands Off Afghanistan
* U.S. Hands Off Saudi Arabia
* U.S. Hands Off the Philippines
* U.S. Hands Off Colombia
* U.S. Hands Off Cuba
* U.S. Hands Off Venezuela
* Money for Jobs, Education, Housing & Healthcare - Not for War
* Defend Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

Well, then: don't be modest, now!

Seriously, all power to International A.N.S.W.E.R., but I won't be making the trip. When a rainbow of causes is advertised as the reason for a march, attendance at the march can be reasonably portrayed as support for those causes, and I resist being stuffed into the role of a supporter for U.S. withdrawal from Korea and the Philippines just because I show up to protest a particular war in Iraq. For the I.A. people, it's all part of the same struggle, and that's fine for them. But you're never going to find a majority of Americans agreeing with I.A.'s gazillion-point plan. If I.A. were interested in accomplishing the most achievable political aim -- rallying a broad (meaning including people who disagree with I.A.) coalition against the Bush administration's pursuit of war in Iraq -- then it wouldn't introduce these multiple other hurdles of purity for all of us to have to jump over. The really big, attention-grabbing marches have almost always been focused around a few broad, practical political aims.

The bottom line is that with this kind of line-up of demands, I.A. won't get but a few thousand of the regulars out to protest. With nothing but a few thousand of the regulars, the rally won't get but a smidge of press coverage. With nothing but a smidge of press coverage, I.A. will be able to go home complaining about being censored by the synarcho-capitalist-racist-sexist-homophobic-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich media-warmaking complex, but won't have appreciably moved either the general public or institutionalized political interests in the direction of an actual solution.

If that makes a racist-sexist-homophobic-imperialist-elitist-synarchocapitalist running dog of me, well, then, woof.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 2:23 PM# (permalink)
(2) comments

Update: Iraqi prime minister appointed in spite of Bush's wishes
An update on last night's post: In spite of the Bush Administration's attempts to stop the Iraqi Governing Council from appointing someone other than Bush's choice to lead Iraq's interim government, the Council has appointed its own choice.

This is good news, because it shows that there is at least some attempt at independence of the Iraqi puppet authorities from their American strings. However, it's still important to note that the interim prime minister has called for American troops to remain in Iraq as long as necessary.

The Bush Administration appears to not be very upset about this choice after all...

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 1:30 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

Two up, None down!
Good news... our collection of about 1,500 anti-Bush Bumper Stickers is up again and in fine form. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 11:18 AM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

George W. Bush stands up for Democracy Lite
Monday, May 31, 2004
George W. Bush insists that he will hand over "full sovereignty" to the Iraqis by the end of this month. Yet, Bush is starting June off with a transparent backslap to those Iraqis who are actually preparing to organize their own country for themselves.

In a scary reminder of the Bush's campaign's efforts in 2000 to prevent American votes from being counted, George W. Bush has ordered the Iraqi Governing Council to stop its process to vote on who the interim Iraqi President should be because Bush does not approve of their choice.

Blundering Bush does it again: By showing Iraq that he has no real intention of letting Iraqis have any say in the future of their own country, George W. Bush is making more and more enemies for America every single day.

Memo to Bush: In a democracy, a vote counts even if you don't like the results. In a sovereign country, foreign occupying military juntas don't get to handpick political leaders.

Mr. Bush, is this the sort of thing that you're planning for the American national elections this year?

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

One Down, One Up
Unfortunately, for the next day or so it looks like our big big shop of bumper stickers is out of commission, because the CafePress server on which ordering happens is out of commission and everyone's out of the office. We'll let you know right away when everything's back in commission.

But hey, let's look on the bright side: Our shop featuring
is wide open and ready to supply you with anti-Bush, pro-Kerry, environmentalist, heretical, gay/lesbian/transgendered, peace, anti-war, and generally progressive messages.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 2:35 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

Pitching the Party Line with Stephanie Herseth
Mother Davis pinches her nose shut as she watches what's going on in South Dakota, and comments,

Free To Be You and Me famously sang, "Some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without." This line stays in my head the more I read about Stephanie Herseth.

Herseth is a Democrat running in South Dakota to occupy the seat formerly held by Rep. Janklow, a Republican who couldn't keep his car on the road and was disgraced at a criminal trial related to the death of someone who had the audacity to get in the way of his bumper. Herseth's opponent is Republican Larry Dietrich, a nasty man who seems quite willing to take whatever positions his corporate funders ask for.

So you'd think that we'd be writing an endorsement of Herseth's run in the special Congressional election. We're not.

As important as it is for the Democrats to regain control of the United States Congress, it is also essential that the Democrats retain control of the Democratic Party. Candidates like Stephanie Herseth threaten the Democratic agenda by dilluting the Democratic identity.

Stephanie Herseth was for the Iraq war. She supports the Patriot Act. She wants to make Bush's special tax favors for the rich permanent.

Does Herseth sound like a Democrat to you? It seems that Herseth's association with the Democratic Party is one motivated by opportunism, not idealism.

If South Dakotans elect Stephanie Herseth to Congress, the clear fact is that she will vote with the Republicans more often than she will vote with the Democrats. She'll be a Democrat in name only.

Of course, with the special election date almost here, it's too late for South Dakotans to make sure that they have a real choice. The sham candidacy of Stephanie Herseth shows just how important it is that progressive Democrats stop holding the process of party politics at arms length, as if by getting involved they make themselves dirty.

The truth is that the process only gets more dirty the more progressives refuse to bother with it. Next time around, South Dakota (and the rest of America) needs progressives to get off their pedastals of principle and start attending Democratic Party meetings, get on their state Democratic Committees, support truly Democratic candidates to challenge the Republicans in donkeys' clothing, and actually vote in the primaries that ultimately select who will stand in the name of the Democrats.

Complaining over coffee about how the Democrats have sold out doesn't change anything. Getting involved and voting against the sellout is the only way to prevent creeps like Herseth from ripping off the good progressive work of generations of dedicated Democrats.

Getting ready to put on her own Donkey suit and investigate the progressive Democratic caucus in her own state,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 6:15 AM. # (permalink)
(4) comments

How donating to the Bush campaign can be a good thing
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Idea of the day:

Donate $10 to the Bush campaign. Then chuckle as they spend more than $10 in slick mailings to you soliciting more contributions. Guffaw as Republican 527 organizations spend even more on campaign literature trying to squeeze money from you.

$10 to Bush. $$Hundreds from Bush and his shadow campaign.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:32 AM. # (permalink)
(2) comments

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