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.
Another link in the chain... going up to Bush
Saturday, June 12, 2004
This morning, we learn that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez gave an order to allow American soldiers to abuse prisoners at Abu Ghraib whenever they wanted, using a list of techniques, even when prisoners were not suspected of any crime.
Where, oh where, did Sanchez get this list? Why, he got it from the prison at Guantanamo. Where, oh where, did the people in charge of prisoners at Guantanamo get the list? Why, they got it from the Bush Administration.
Few bad apples, my orchard! The decision to use torture came from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all the rest of that rotten crew.
Breaking News: Reagan Still Dead!
Friday, June 11, 2004
Mother Davis stands amazed as she relates the following breaking news:
We have just learned from sources within the White House that Ronald Reagan is still dead!
More to come...
Web site on Government Reform
This morning I want to direct readers to an excellent resource for checking out the facts on what's really going on in government, as opposed to what the Bush Administration tells us is going on. It's the Committee on Government Reform Minority Office, run by Representative Henry Waxman from California.
On this site you'll find information about Bush's claims before the invasion of Iraq, health care manipulations, data manipulations by the Bush Administration to minimize the acceleration of terrorism that result from Bush's so-called "war on terror", the boom in non-competitive contracts for the government, and a whole lot more. For the progressive who wants to be well-informed, this is a great place to go.
New: Organic Cotton, Sweatshop-Free Progressive T-shirts
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Although we at Irregular Times love wearing punchy progressive t-shirts out in public to annoy the regressive elements of our society into submission, we've always felt a twinge as we've done so. The problem has been twofold. First, most t-shirts are made in sweatshops where workers aren't paid enough to live on. Second, t-shirts use cotton that is farmed using environmentally-insensitive techniques. Sad, but true. And how odd, we thought, that one might wear a progressive garment that was not produced progressively. Perhaps you've been thinking this too.
Cognitive dissonance is not fun. So we are incredibly happy to report that we've found a way to offer progressive t-shirts from a no-sweatshop operation (American Apparel) that are made of organic cotton. You can wear these shirts knowing that you are a progressive in deed as well as word, helping socially-responsible garment outfits to thrive.
These are stylish shirts, which in non-coded language means they tend toward the small. If you're worried about that sort of thing, we recommend you order a size up.
Check out our new and now happily-growing collection of ethical t-shirts here.
These Colors Never Run: Oh, Really?
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Spotted today on the street:
A car sporting a bumper sticker with an American flag and the phrase "These Colors Never Run!"
The red ripples on the American flag had faded to a very light pink.
Mother Daivs rolls her eyes as she tells you,
I got an email this morning informing me of the real reason that George Tenet resigned. According to the email, Tenet resigned because the CIA is starting a coup d'etat against the Bush Administration because George W. Bush has been such an incompetent president.
Hm. Well, maybe it's true and maybe it isn't, but I don't care. Personally, I think that the people at the CIA are a lot smarter than to throw a coup against an unpopular president less than five months before a presidential election in which he'll probably be thrown out of office anyway.
The main thing on my mind as I read this conspiracy theory is that it really doesn't matter. I mean, what has already been documented about George W. Bush is bad enough, isn't it? He's lied to us, tried to poison our water supply with arsenic, mercury, and raw sewage, started an unnecessary war that ended up killing hundreds of Americans, turned our friends into enemies and destabilized an entire area of the world, and he's tanked the economy, giving our children record deficits to fund special payoffs to his wealthy supporters.
What conspiracy theory can top that?
Waiting for the new stories about Nostradamus predictions,
Bush Haiku from Maryland
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
This latest Bush Haiku comes from Mira Madans in Maryland:
weapons of mass destruction--
We might still find some!
Ashcroft Stonewalls on White House Torture Plots
Ack Fushcroft indeed.
Today on Capitol Hill, Attorney General John Ashcroft fumbled and tripped his way around the truth in defiance of the authority of members of Congress. Asked about recently revealed memos that indicate that lawyers in the employ of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were assembled within the Bush White House in order to concoct legal defenses for a White House decision to allow torture of prisoners by American soldiers, Ashcroft responded that George W. Bush had "made no order that would require or direct the violation" of American and international laws that outlaw the use of any torture.
Well, that may be technically correct. George W. Bush never required anyone in particular to commit acts of torture, and he never personally directed the torture himself, but it now appears that George W. Bush did approve a program of torture, and oversaw efforts to ensure that the torture plot would evade detection and prosecution under American and international law.
John Ashcroft also refused to turn over memos that he and his staff had prepared for George W. Bush, briefing him on the legal loopholes for torture. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why Ashcroft won't turn the memos over. If he did turn them over, he might have to go to prison, and now we know what happens to prisoners...
With his partial truths, John Ashcroft unintentionally reveals that the idea for torture by American soldiers goes all the way to the top of the Bush Administration (that's to George W. Bush himself, tots).
Republican Lawyers in White House Twist Meaning of Torture
Mother Davis tries out a tongue twister as she relates,
Republicans used to tease President Bill Clinton for his precise use of language. Now, it appears that the Republicans in the White House directed their lawyers to find ways to twist definitions of ordinary, unambiguous words.
For example, most people understand that torture is defined as the use of pain as a form of coercion.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld didn't think that this simple definition should apply to their own actions. So, they ordered lawyers, including one lawyer reporting directly to Dick Cheney, to create a report for Donald Rumsfeld, that would invent new definitions for the word "torture", thus allowing American soldiers to conduct torture of prisoners without having to actually call it "torture".
As documented by the New York Times, these lawyers wrote in their report that the Bush Administration would not call America's torture "torture" if a soldier states that he or she "knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective". So, if American soldiers electrocuted a prisoner, knowing that they would cause severe pain to the prisoner, but claimed that the electrocution was not conducted for the purpose of inflicting pain, presto chango, - the Bush Administration would not call it torture, and would call it perfectly legal.
Bill Clinton twisted language to describe an act of private consensual sex. George W. Bush ran operations of lawyers to twist the language used to describe government-sanctioned torture. To me, that summarizes the difference between the Clinton White House and the Bush White House quite nicely.
Wondering if it's torture when soldiers says that they're sorry,
Monday, June 07, 2004
Because sometimes, vulgarity is called for.
Reason #1190 to Boot Bush: No President is Above the Law
Reason #1190 to Boot Bush:
In a report drafted for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the final days before the invasion of Iraq, Bush Administration lawyers were tasked with developing justifications of the use of torture. The report rings with enabling passages such as "In order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign . . . (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in chief authority." The parenthetical comment is in the original report.
Another bon mot in the Bush Administration document: "Sometimes the greater good for society will be accomplished by violating the literal language of the criminal law.... Without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority." In other words, it's OK for the President to break the law.
Donald Rumsfeld classified the resulting document, which provided a specific list of defensible techniques, making the final version of the report off-limits to the American public until 2013.
Justify torture. Put the president above the law. Hide it from the public. Haven't we had enough of this sort of amoral leadership? (Source: Wall Street Journal June 7, 2004)
Reason #1189 to Boot Bush: Letting the National Parks Crumble
Reason #1189 to Boot Bush:
In 2000, George W. Bush promised to completely eliminate the $4.9 Billion backlog of maintenance orders at the National Park Service. In a declaration of National Park Week in April 2004, he still tauted that campaign promise. But in a report to Congress on September 27, 2003, the General Accounting Office estimates that the backlog of maintenance orders at the National Park Service has surpassed $5 Billion. (Sources: Presidential Proclamation of National Park Week, April 16, 2004; Statement of Barry T. Hill, Director Natural Resources and Environment, before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands, September 27, 2003)
Localize Your Opposition - Think Legislative
A quick reminder to all our readers that this year's election is not just about George W. Bush: It's about democracy all across America. It's about a return to balanced, reasonable values from the ground up.
The President and Congress are very important, but just as vital to the those of us with progressive values are our state legislatures. They're not very sexy, but it's from the state legislatures that our representatives in Congress often come. By supporting good progressive candidates at the state level, we can ensure that there will be good progressive candidates for Congress ten years from now, and we can weed out the right-wing extremists at the same time.
Here in my home district, a guy named Doug Malone is running for the New York State Legislature against the Republican incumbent, Robert Oaks. Assemblyman Oaks has supported Governor George Pataki's efforts to slash funding for schools, hospitals, libraries, and even Medicaid. Doug Malone is definitely the underdog, but he's fighting hard to advance an uphill charge against Oaks, because he knows how important it is to get the conservative idealogues out of government.
So, you don't live in New York State's 128th Assembly District. That's not the point. Where you live, there is, or ought to be, an alternative to the conservative Republicans in your state legislature. Although these races don't have the dramatic national sweep of the Presidential race, they are just as vital to our nationwide effort to take back America.
Visit Congress.org to find out what statewide and local races are happening in your territory, and get involved today.
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