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.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Of course, you knew this, but finally now the mainstream press is reporting it:
The scene in which a crowd of Iraqis pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein? Army Psychological Operations were actually the ones who did it, gathering together a handful of Iraqi citizens to provide local color.
So, finally, reports the Los Angeles Times.
George W. Bush: Spammer!
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Another reason to boot Bush in 2004:
George W. Bush can now add "Spammer" to his list of titles. Yes, George W. Bush has asked his followers to go to their churches, obtain church membership lists and turn them over to his campaign for political use. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam. Did I mention spam? (Source: Reuters July 1, 2004)
Rock the Vote?
Oh-so corporately cool MTV has had an image-enhancing program for a while now called "Rock The Vote."
The "Rock" in "Rock The Vote" comes from the phrase "Rock and Roll."
Either you know what "Rock and Roll" refers to, or you will if you think about it for a minute longer.
So if we deal in synonyms, MTV's program boils down to Fuck the Vote.
Well, isn't that nice.
Judge Not, Lest Ye Get a Democracy
A fair-minded reader taught me about the limits of my tolerance today.
He wrote in, admitting that George W. Bush has a long history of poor education, illiteracy, substance abuse, and an awful economic record, but then comments, "Whether I voted for him or not is irrelevant. I do not have the attitude that I can sit in personal judgment of anyone. I believe it is God's job to do that."
This is the kind of non-judgmental blind tolerance that Bush is counting on. You know, I'm tolerant of diverse opinions. In fact, I celebrate them, and I believe that it's important to recognize that people with different opinions base those opinions on experiences that I have not had. But, should I really follow the advice of this reader and give up all my attempts to judge whether George W. Bush is fit to be President of the United States of America?
Heck no! Maybe you believe that it's God's place to judge - a lot of people do, but God is not a citizen of the United States of America. I am, and so while God sits on his throne and has dispassionate judgment, it's my job to get down to the nitty gritty and vote. And how will I vote? I'm going to judge. I'm going to make decisions about who has the wisdom and experience to dig America out of the hole that we've fallen into over the last four years.
In my Earthly judgment, George W. Bush isn't qualified to babysit my son, much less care for the nation. John Kerry, on the other hand, has shown decades of good, reliable integrity. I judge that Kerry is the better candidate.
What's more, because God does not have an Internet connection, but you do, I'm going to provide you with this link to John Kerry's web site. I do not have the attitude that God is going to visit the Kerry campaign web site and volunteer. I believe that it is your job to do that. So, get going!
War is driving us crazy
Mother Davis begs pardon from the psychologists who would prefer for me to use the term "mentally ill" instead of "crazy", but...
It's official now. The war in Iraq is driving America crazy.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that one in six soldiers who were in Iraq in the first few months of the war are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In layman's terms, fighting in Iraq seriously messed them up in the head.
It's important to keep in mind that these are the soldiers who were fighting while most things were still "going according to plan", at least according to the Bush Administration. Data has yet to come out about the rate of serious psychological disorders among those soldiers who have been in Iraq during the occupation, after the going got really tough. We'd expect the rate to be even higher.
Let's learn this lesson this time around so that we do not have to repeat it: Going to war messes people up. It is not good for them. If you want to support those human beings that the Republicans crudely refer to as "the troops", don't send them off to war!
Now, those same Republicans who are responsible for sending these people into war will try to twist the logic around. They'll try to say that the mental anguish of the soldiers is the fault of people who tried to prevent the government from sending the soldiers into harm's way. The facts clearly contradict this conservative psychological revisionism. While these solidiers were in Iraq, the war got overwhelming support from the mainstream media, and "Support Our Troops" displays were found everywhere.
It isn't criticism of war that messes soldiers up. It's war that messes soldiers up. Take this selection from the article in the New England Journal of Medicine:
For all groups responding after deployment, there was a strong reported relation between combat experiences, such as being shot at, handling dead bodies, knowing someone who was killed, or killing enemy combatants, and the prevalence of PTSD. For example, among soldiers and Marines who had been deployed to Iraq, the prevalence of PTSD (according to the strict definition) increased in a linear manner with the number of firefights during deployment…"
Translation: The more these soldiers were involved in the dirty tasks of war, the more severe their psychological suffering. Don't blame the people who tried to stop the war. Blame the people who sent these soldiers off to a war that didn't need to be fought. Blame Bush.
Thinking that this kind of information ought to go in those military recruiting stations,
No. Really. Bush is telling the truth this time.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Kissing Hank's Ass
Bob recommends, and I commend, this short comic movie from InfidelGuy: Kissing Hank's Ass. It pretty much sums up the problems with... oh, I don't want to spoil it.
Unfortunately, they aren't streaming this puppy and it's a whopping 17.2 Megabytes, so be prepared for a downloadathon.
Giving Strength to the Enemy
Mother Davis looks at the long list and sees that this would be reason #1251 to boot Bush out of office this November:
When Bush said that the attacks of September 11, 2001 "changed everything", he acknowledged bin Laden's power to destroy our way of life. No president should ever allow a terrorist to have so much power of America. We could have stood firm and refused to change our way of life. We could have refused to comply with bin Laden's plan. Instead, Bush "changed everything" and gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted.
Thinking of the long years of work ahead to clean up after this mistake,
Well, that clears things up
In a press conference at the Pentagon today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sought to dispel the notion that the Bush Administration in any way condoned torture as an instrument of American foreign policy.
"Gee, might it look to some people as though the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were being tortured? Yes. Would such a conclusion be completely wrong-headed? You bet it would be," Rumsfeld remarked. Continuing in his soliloquy, Rumsfeld raised his eyebrows and said, "It appears to me that some members of the media have come to faulty conclusions based on some kind of worst-case interpretation of those prison photos. I am disappointed if not surprised. So please allow me to disabuse you, if you will, of some of your sillier notions."
"You see, far from being the documentation of torture, these are vacation snaps taken as mementos for our visitors by the Abu Ghraib activities director. We're sure that our visitors would want to remember their visit to the first American-financed spa in the entire Middle East. That's right, spa. Those hoods you see on detainees' heads? Aromatherapy sacks. We put in some jimson, rosemary and frankincense along with some essential oils and voila! A portable relaxation kit. The pyramid of naked men? Well, that's just Greco-Roman wrestling -- in the old style, if you know what I mean. The gentleman standing on a box with wires is working on balancing his desires in a sweatlodge session, with electrodes attached for monitoring purposes to help him achieve his optimal heartrate. And the dogs? As I'm sure you're all aware, numerous studies have shown the benefit of special time with pets. We tried to arrange for dolphin encounters, but I'm sure you understand that would be rather difficult to accomplish in the desert."
With that, Secretary Rumsfeld turned on his heels to leave the room. As he stepped out the door, he turned his head to remark over his shoulder, "Four hours of the Extended Triangle Standing Yoga Pose? I've done that pose for ten hours at a time! What's the problem?"
Literalists for Bush!
Monday, June 28, 2004
York, Pennsylvania -
A resident awoke this morning to find that the Dump Bush lawn sign that he had put out in his front yard had been obscured - by someone who dumped a bush next to it in the middle of the night.
The resident reports that he is undeterred. We hope that this activity is merely a practice run for the dumping that counts, on Election Day.
Watch out, Irving Republicans!
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Think that Texas is sitting back and letting George W. Bush coast to victory? Think again.
Texas now has a booming progressive community that has been shaken awake by the embarrassing rule of their King George the Second.
Prime among our progressive hotspots: Irving, Texas. Orders are streaming in from Irving for pro-Kerry, anti-Bush stuff from our Irregular Goods shop. Buttons, bumper stickers, decals and more, items with a solid progressive message are headed in the mail toward Irving as we speak.
Watch out, Irving Republicans! The sleeping progressive majority of Texas is on to you!
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