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.

416 Billion Dollars Goes Bang and Poof at the Same Time
Saturday, June 26, 2004
$416 Billion

To have to spend this much is bad enough. To spend it badly is worse.

The greatest scandal of the 416 billion dollars that George W. Bush and the Republican Congress are spending on the military this year is that it's money being spent to make America's problems worse.

The facts are now clear: George W. Bush's war on terrorism has actually made terrorism more common, and has provided international reputations to small-time thugs. Bush's military machine has ruined America's reputation in the world, and has made it dangerous for Americans to travel overseas.

What Bush doesn't seem to understand is that the harder he smacks the world around, the weaker the United States becomes.

I could say that my son will be paying off Bush's big spending on the military, but the truth is that I'm paying for it too.

The tax burden of ordinary Americans has increased under Bush and Cheney, not gotten smaller. As Bush's government shifts funding away from programs like Social Security and puts that money into the military, state and local governments are having to pick up Bush's burden for him. They're forced to make even more cuts, in schools and hospitals and libraries, and increase taxes at the same time.

Bush and his Republican aides call this sort of thing "efficiency". The only efficiency I see is that working Americans are paying more taxes in order to help make corporations and Bush's wealthy friends even richer.

$416 Billion makes that earlier $87 billion bill for Iraq look like pocket change.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:31 AM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

All the Way to the Top
Friday, June 25, 2004
"I accept the legal conclusion of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice that I have the authority to suspend Geneva (conventions) as between the United States and Afghanistan... I reserve the right to exercise this authority in this or future conflicts." -- George W. Bush, February 7, 2002

(Source: Associated Press June 23, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 1:07 PM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

The new American flag: Old Glory gets a peace symbol
Thursday, June 24, 2004
For two long years, Americans were stammering, in unison, "United We Stand... United We Stand" without bothering to say what they were being united for: a program of war, torture, and attacks on freedom.

Surely, Americans can stand united for something better than that. How about peace?

american peace flagWith this thought in mind we re-release this version of the American flag: Old Glory re-interpreted as Americans putting their differences aside to unite for peace.

They talked about it in the Sixties. Now is the time to do it for real. We can do better than the Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft program of blustering fear. A new program for peace is the only way that America can regain its standing in the world. Fly the peace flag this Fourth of July to signal a new, nonviolent American revolution.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:50 PM# (permalink)
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Dick Cheney, Voice of Civility
What does Dick Cheney, the man who promised to bring civility back to Washington, shout during his latest visit to the United States Senate?

Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:19 PM# (permalink)
(3) comments

A sign of hope
Mother Davis feels optimistic as she forwards the following message to you:

"Repent of your sins,†God loves you and heíll forgive you, or HELL will be your home., itís your choice." - These words are sent to us by someone who insists that we vote for Bush and signs her message, "An enlightened proud republican woman".

Well, I figure that the more that Republicans like this one threaten the rest of us with Hell if we don't vote for George W. Bush, the stronger the vote against Bush will be. So, proud Republican woman, keep on sending that email and brimstone around!

Going to Hell and voting for Kerry,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 9:59 AM# (permalink)
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Not Conservative -- Regressive
People who call themselves "conservative" today are not really conservative. "Conservatism" implies lots of nice things -- suggesting a desire to actually conserve things, be cautious in developing new policy, and so on. That is a significant aspect of traditional conservatism, but it's not what George W. Bush and his ilk represent.

So let's stop calling them "conservative."

George W. Bush and his ilk are Regressives.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 6:15 AM. # (permalink)
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Crazy Conservative in Florida
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Just how kooky is the Republican Party getting these days? Listen to the advice of Larry Klayman, a Republican who is running a campaign to take the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Senator Bob Graham.

Klayman says that if he becomes a senator, he'll push for a United States invasion of Cuba. He asks, "If we can do it for the Iraqis, if we can do it for the Afghans, why not the Cubans?"

Um, what exactly is it that we're doing for the Iraqis that you want to do for the Cubans, Larry? Do you mean the car bombs, the looting, the torture, or just the unprovoked invasion and theft of sovereignty?

So perplexing is the deep thought of such Republican strategists.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 9:28 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

Anonymous Spook Critique Credibility - Imperial Hubris?
A new book, entitled Imperial Hubris is coming out this summer, and it criticizes George W. Bush. So, you'd think that I'd jump on board and celebrate the book as a long-overdue expose of the truth.

Well, surprise, I'm not going to do that. This blog entry is offered as a warning for progressive readers to remain skeptical, even in the face of a book that fits with our beliefs.

I'm a certified citizen of the Anybody But Bush camp, but I choose not to set foot in the Boot Bush By Any Means Necessary tent. So, I have to say that I'm suspicious of an anonymous CIA agent who comes out with a book purporting to tell the real truth about Iraq and Al Quaida. I've had too many versions of what the real real real facts are from CIA official unofficial leaks about Iraq and terrorism and the need for war already, thank you. No more for me.

Besides, the author, who uses the pen name Anonymous, really doesn't tell us very much that's new. Publicizing his book through top secret interviews with major media outlets, the author gives us such unexpected revelations as "I think America is in trouble," letting us know that Bush's invasion of Iraq was "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat."


It doesn't take an insider to figure this stuff out. It's plain to anybody who actually, you know, reads the news. We've been writing the same stuff for years, actually, and we did so before the invasion of Iraq, you know, when it actually counted. There are plenty of other good Americans who have been writing about it too, but were derided by the Bush Administration and CIA leadership as "traitors" and out-of-touch, neo-Neville-Chamberlain-appeasers.

It's telling that in a few weeks another book with a very similar title is coming out. It's called: Imperial Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire. Note that: Imperial and Hubris are right there referring to George W. Bush, just like with Imperial Hubris. This sort of similarity is an indication of a camp of non-fiction books that are benefitting from the second wave of popular realization of a news story. There's not likely to be much real news in these books, except for those people who just haven't been paying attention. The authors of this second book, Roger†Burbach and Jim†Tarbell, are not CIA agents however, so at least they've got a little bit more credibility than Mr. Anonymous.

So, as much as I love to promote Bush-bashing books, I'll take a pass on the self-serving, too-late-to-do-any-good, zero-credibility piece of unoriginal pulp that is Imperial Hubris, thanks. If you must order a copy, you've got the link up at the top of the entry. Have at it. As for myself, I'll be scanning the shelves for books that deal with the problems to know, the kind of real threats that the posturing thugs at the CIA are supposed to warn us about and never do.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:30 PM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

Music Review: The New Republicans' "Terrorist"
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Just this week, the New Republicans have a new 3-CD set out entitled "Terrorist." Click here to read our review.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 4:07 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

Progressive Resources for California
California has often been like a time machine for the rest of the country: what Californians are doing now, the rest of America will be doing in years to come. This was true for organic food, it was true for alternative energy, and it has been true for fuel efficiency, too.

Will this pattern prove true in the arena of politics? One can only hope so; although California's strong democratic structures often lead to great debate amongst its citizens, the result tends to be a highly practical, highly productive progressivism.

To help keep the proud tradition of Californian progressivism going, we've inaugurated a web page of progressive California resources including information on progressive political candidates, alternative news sources, progressive political organizations in California, and a series of progressive messages for proud display.

If you know of any active and progressive California organizations that deserve to be featured on the page, please drop us a line.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:57 AM# (permalink)
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Obviously, This Guy Doesn't Travel Much
Ed Blank of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes of the movie The Terminal: "Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones and director Steven Spielberg all in one lineup could market umbrellas in Arizona in August."

Um, August in Arizona is the monsoon season, with daily torrential downpours.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:32 AM# (permalink)
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All Those Ayrab Names Sound The Same
In the wake of the 9/11 Commission's finding that there was no collaborative relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Bush mouthpiece John Lehman sprang to the rescue, proclaiming to as many media outlets as would listen that "there is at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda."

Now it turns out that Lehman's "evidence" was a matter of mistaken identity.

The Lieutenant Colonel's name: Hikmat Shakir Ahmad, resident of Iraq
The Al Qaeda Member's name: Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi, resident of Malaysia

Well, hey, you know all those Ayrab names sound alike, anyway: kind of like Bob Smith and Rob Smith, but with weird vowels and flailing tongues and oily hair and stuff.

(Source: Washington Post)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:18 AM. # (permalink)
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Democracy's Decay Distilled
Monday, June 21, 2004
Mother Davis shakes her head after taking a whiff of America's still, then stammers,

I have found the distillation of America's problems. His name is Mr. Eliot.

Mr. Eliot called us on the telephone last night, saying that he had been referred to us by the chair of our county's Democratic Committee. Mr. Eliot said that he had enough of the Republicans, and would do whatever was necessary to get the democrats organized for victory in 2004. Mr. Eliot said that he was retired, but used to work as a manager for a big corporation, so he was good at organizing things.

Mr. Eliot had some specific complaints. He complained that a farmer had built an onion packing plant across from his house, and that no one in the local government had done anything. He complained that the Republicans were running the government unchallenged, and so could do whatever they wanted. He complained that he knew some Democrats who complained a lot about the Republicans, but never actually got off their behinds to do anything.

Mr. Eliot explained that he wouldn't really be interested in running for political office, but other than that, he'd love to do anything he could to help out. When he was asked to help out a local candidate's campaign, Mr. Eliot explained that he didn't think he could help out any candidates, but that he would be very willing to give them some good advice once they got into office.

Mr. Eliot said that he didn't have a lot of political experience, but that he was very enthusiastic to get the lazy bums in government out of office. Mr. Eliot explained that he registered to vote for the first time last year, but that he didn't actually vote last year. Mr. Eliot talked about how excited he was to be voting for the first time.

Mr. Eliot is 65 years old.

Almost half of eligible voters are like Mr. Eliot. They wave the flag, and demand that we support the troops, and complain about politicians and government... and then they spend their evenings watching cable television and drinking beer.

Perhaps you yourself are like Mr. Eliot. Don't worry: It's never too late to change. Here's how:

Step 1: Take your web browser NOW, and get on over to Google, where you'll search for the name of your county and the word "Democrats". Oh, what's that? You think that the Democratic Party is just an old-boy network of rich people who don't let ordinary people have any say in the political process? Um, if you've never actually tried to have a say in the Democratic Party, then you have no way of knowing, do you? It might not work. They might not return your call. Heck, they might not even have a web site with contact information. If you never give it a shot, you'll never know.
Step 2: Whether or not you can get in touch with your local Democrats, move on over to MoveOn is an independent grassroots political organization, and they'll be happy to tell you many, many things that you can do to get involved.
Step 3: Register to vote.
Step 4: Vote.

Knowing that it sounds like work, but remembering that real democracy takes real work,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 5:26 PM# (permalink)
(2) comments

Greens for Kerry
A new and important website for wavering progressives has come to our attention, and we'd like to share it with you.

Greens for Kerry serves two purposes. For the politically principled progressive who feels uncertain about the candidacy of John Kerry, Greens for Kerry has gathered together a number of informational resources for the stiffening of the spine, including quantitative measures of Kerry's progressivism and comparisons between Kerry and Bush on specific policy matters.

For those who are already convinced of the importance of "Green Green Lima Beans" (George W. Bush's derogatory term) supporting the Kerry ticket in 2004, Greens for Kerry offers an array of posters, lawn signs and bumper stickers to help spread the word.

The folks at this website really have their act together; I strongly recommend a visit.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:57 PM# (permalink)
(0) comments

Reason #1,212 to Boot Bush
Reason #1,212 to Boot Bush:

In order to feed George W. Bush's appetite for war, American soldiers are being siphoned away from places like Europe and the Korean Peninsula where they play an important and largely non-violent role as a deterrent force against invasion or destabilization.

On top of that, soldiers who were promised that they would be able to go home from Iraq after six months had that promise revoked and replaced with a pledge to send them home after a year. But even that wasn't enough to fill George W. Bush's appetite for war, so that new pledge was revoked, too. Now soldiers are facing indefinite tours of duty, making continued sacrifice for an increasingly questionable foreign policy.

And so it is with America's military forces stretched thin like never before, with America's soldiers overdeployed, undersupplied and exhausted, that the Bush Administration has kicked 2,882 servicemembers out of the military for the offense of...being gay.

Well, that'll fix things! (Source: Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:47 PM. # (permalink)
(0) comments

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