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.
Got 24 Thousand Dollars to Spare?
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Have you got 24,000 dollars to spare? George W. Bush is counting on it.
You see, during his time in the White House, Bush has pumped the national debt up to the rate of $24,000 for every American.
What? You don't have $24,000 on hand to pay off Bush's big bills? Oh, that's okay. The Republicans won't demand that you pay up right away. They're more than willing to let your debt pile up while you pay interest.
These wonderful choices are brought to you by the Republican National Committee's big government spending task force. Be sure to say thank you when you meet them, folks. They're holding special constituent services dinners at $2,000 per plate.
Free Anti-Bush Bumper Stickers in Durham, NC
Friday, September 24, 2004
For those living in or near Durham, North Carolina, a fun and special announcement: we've made arrangements with the Food Conspiracy Co-Op and Ooh La Latte to offer "Vote Bush Off the Island" bumper stickers at each location, absolutely free. Get 'em while they last!
Digging that National Debt Deeper and Deeper!
Yesterday, with encouragement from the Bush Administration, Republicans in both houses of Congress passed legislation that will add 145,900,000,000 dollars to the national debt. Running the economy down into the depths of hell, all swaddled up in a handbasket, the Republicans just put an extra lead weight in the package. Burn, baby, burn! Yeeeehaw! Feel the flame!
Bush Administration sacrifices driver safety for corporate interests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), controlled by the Bush Administration, promised the American people that it would release information about which cars and trucks have the worst histories of involvement in the death or injury of passengers. Why? The NHTSA has decided to cave in to pressure from tire manufacturers.
George W. Bush refuses to lift a finger to get the information released, and so American drivers will continue to be in the dark about whether their own vehicles are unsafe. Sally Greenberg of the Consumers Union accuses the government of "opting for secrecy in the area of vehicle safety." Greenberg challenges the Bush Administration to open the records for public view, saying, "The more the government decides to keep data under lock and key, the more they put the public at risk."
Putting the public at risk for the sake of corporate lobbyists is the way that Bush prefers to have things run at the NHTSA, and for that, Bush deserves a big boot on Election Day.
They Got Him!
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Well, they finally got him!
No, not Osama bin Laden. Cat Stevens, now going by the name of Yusuf Islam. No kidding. Cat Stevens.
Seems Cat is on a blacklist--oh, 'scuse me, "watchlist"--of people who are not allowed to fly. But he somehow managed to slip through the net in London and get on a plane headed for Washington, D.C. Fortunately, our homeland security heroes found out in time, brought the plane down in Maine, and nabbed the notoriously dangerous man.
According to Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle, "Yusuf Islam has been placed on the watch lists because of activities that could potentially be related to terrorism. It's a serious matter."
You go Brian! If you let that Cat Stevens into this country, pretty soon he's going to have people humming suspiciously tranquil little '70's ditties. And you know what that leads to? Impeaching Republican presidents. We'll have none of that!
Undersecretary for homeland security Asa Hutchinson added, "someone on the watch list should not be on the airplane flying. The responsibility falls on the airline under our current system."
The last time we put people on lists that hurt their reputations and damaged their careers based on "activities that could potentially be related to" certain groups was during the anti-communist witch hunts of the '50's. During that last episode, paranoia over a threat to America got out of control and ruined thousands of innocent people's lives.
Denying someone the right to fly is serious business. Not being able to fly could hurt or even destroy many people's careers. And the bar for blacklisting someone, at least as public accountability goes, is pretty low: "activities that could potentially be related to terrorism." How likely? Related how? Apparently, they don't have to say. Just the kind of standard that was used in the McCarthy era: "possible ties" to communism.
Well, they didn't say exactly what information, if any, they actually had on ol' Cat Stevens. But they couldn't have had much. After bringing the plane down in Maine, a whole phalanx of FBI agents and security forces converged on him, questioned him, and, get this, let him go.
Bush supporter vandalizes vehicle in Texas
One of our readers wrote us the following note this morning. It seems like a pretty good indication of the kind of tactics Bush supporters are resorting to these days, and so we thought that it was worth passing on to you.
"I purchased 2 of the "P,E,L not W" stickers last month, thinking that it was a subtle, yet important way for my husband and I to express our feelings about the upcoming election. Mind you, we live in North Texas, right in the midst of a conservative Republican constituency, where the right-wing crowd is making waves, spreading gloom and doom, using the usual scare tactics of terrorism to keep "Dumbya" in office.
I placed the rectangular sticker in the front window of my fuel-efficient SUV, which is only a year old and in pristine condition. I felt that I was making a statement without being over the top. All was fine, until a couple of weeks ago.....I returned home from a trip to the grocery and local Sam's Club, only to find that someone had put either a fist or a knee in the right fender of my car, causing quite a dent. Guess someone in the local Dumbya corner was smart enough to figure out what the "no W" part of the sticker meant, but mean enough not to believe in free speech. At first I was really bothered, but you just have to feel sorry for someone so stupid. The sticker was removed from the car and placed in a more prominent position, on the front door of our home.
Please, please, please, keep mobilizing the vote so that GWB has to come back to Texas in January! We cannot endure another 4 years of this kind of administration. Believe me, whenever my husband and I retire, we will move as fast as we can to a community and state that is a bit more progressive. I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of incompetent, ill-informed Republicans, cloaking themselves in the flag and the Bible...this Christian Democrat has had about enough!"
Whose Sovereignty is it Anyway?
On September 23, 2004, the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq announced that in response to a hostage crisis in which two Americans had had their heads chopped off and a British man was being threatened with decapitation, a prisoner would be released in accordance with the kidnappers' demands. Then, the American military announced that on no account would the prisoner be released. Then, the Iraqi government announced that on no account would the prisoner be released.
Nice, nice puppet Iraqi government.
The basic definition of a sovereign government is that it gets to make decisions about what happens to people within its own territory. In a sovereign government, foreign nations do not have their own prison system where they get to torture people, hold them without trial and otherwise ignore the law of the land. In a sovereign government, foreign military officers do not get to tell political leaders which prisoners will be released and when.
When George W. Bush said that the Iraqis would have a "fully sovereign" government by the end of June 2004, we were skeptical and said that Bush didn't have a plan to accomplish a transfer of sovereign authority. Unfortunately, this latest incident proves that we were right. George W. Bush never planned on transferring sovereignty. He just planned on giving the appearance of sovereignty, while remaining the military dictator of Iraq himself.
Reason 1,698 to Boot Bush on Election Day
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Do you really need another reason to boot Bush out of office on Election Day in 2004? Okay, how about this one: Killing innocent people is wrong.
Oh, it's not just liberals who say that Bush's military is killing innocent Iraqis. Soldiers themselves talk quite a bit about all the killing of civilians that's going on. Take, for example, the word of the Marine infantryman stationed in Ramadi who told a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, "We shouldn't be here. There was no reason for invading this country in the first place. We just came here and killed a lot of innocent people. I don't enjoy killing women and children, it's not my thing."
Now, the only way you could hear this and still vote for Bush is if you decided that American soldiers are just a big bunch of liars. That wouldn't be very supportive of you, now would it? (Source: Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2004)
Memo to Indiana Voters
Mother Davis looks fondly at her travel atlas as she comments,
I've been to Indiana many times. It's a lovely state, especially at this time of year, when the sugar maples begin to turn colors in the winding hilly roads. So, it's with some sadness that I say: Wake up, Indiana!
This week, your own Republican Senator, Richard Lugar, accused the Bush Administration of "incompetence" in the war in Iraq. This is a Republican, not some Michael Moore fan!
What in the world is Indiana thinking even leaning towards giving Bush another 4 years in office? When the Republican leadership calls Bush incompetent, it's a good sign that things are going very badly in Washington.
Worried that her little memo will fall on limestone ears,
Republican Senator Says No to Bush
Short of being President of the United States, the highest office that a politician can aspire to is a seat in the United States Senate. It takes a lot of hard work to become a US Senator, and a lot of political connections as well. Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee is a veteran Republican who has earned the loyalty and respect of Republicans throughout his home state of Rhode Island and across America. It's a sure sign of George W. Bush's extremism, then, when even a prominent Republican like Senator Lincoln Chafee decides that he cannot in good conscience vote for George W. Bush.
Earlier in the year, Chafee openly criticized Bush's lack of humility. Now, Chafee is in open revolt. Not only has Senator Chafee decided that he will refuse the invitation to become the co-chairman of the Bush campaign in Rhode Island, Chafee has declared that he will not even vote for Bush. Instead, Chafee says that he'll write in the name of another Republican when he fills in a ballot on election day. That's right - even Republicans are joining the Anybody But Bush camp.
Today's Love Mail
Today's Love Mail comes from firstname.lastname@example.org:
fuck you you stupid ass hoes you and kerry can rot in hell we will win!!!!!Just thinking about what an "ass hoe" might be makes me all a-twitter.
Ward and June Bush?
Lately, it seems I can't pass a newsstand without a magazine cover featuring George W. and Laura Bush. You've seen them: George W. is consistently dressed in a casual blue-collared shirt without a tie, and Laura's got a cotton outfit that covers her ankles and wrists with a nice set of pearls. They're sitting in a moderate-sized living room with nice but not expensive furniture, or they're standing in front of
a split-rail fence with a red barn in the background and a field of lush green grass. Regular folks. Why, it looks like they might invite you over for a pot-luck or ask to borrow your waffle iron. And I sure bet that Laura's handy in the kitchen!
Of course, George W. and Laura Bush live lives nothing like this. They spend their days in pressed suits, with servants fixing their clothes, preparing their hair, making their food and changing their linens. They don't invite regular people over for pot-lucks; they go to high-rolling fundraising luncheons with America's
wealthiest at exclusive clubs. And, hon, I've got to be frank: as much as the nice magazine picture makes it look as if it were so, they aren't going to ring your doorbell to ask to borrow your waffle iron. They've got trust funds for that sort of thing.
But let's be honest: they look so comfortable and at home in those photographs, not out of their league like when they're playing the part of president and first lady. So let's help them out by sending them from the White House so they can use their multi-million dollar funds to play down-home dress-up in retirement.
Another Reason to Boot Bush
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Another Reason to Boot Bush:
When we say the Bush Administration doesn't have an exit strategy for their war of choice in Iraq, we need to clarify. What we really mean is that the Bush Administration doesn't have a non-idiotic exit strategy for their war of choice in Iraq.
What's the Bush Administration plan? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld articulated it on September 14, 2004: "At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed".
Hmmm. They'll get tired of getting killed. Is that it? Well, if we pull our heads out of our navels and look around the word for hope of people getting tired of being killed as a way of ending a conflict, what do we see? Northern Ireland (time frame: decades). Israel and the Palestinians (time frame: decades and ongoing). The French and the English (time frame: centuries). The Europeans and the Muslims (time frame: centuries and unhappily now recurring).
If Donald Rumsfeld really believes that the conflict in Iraq will end at any time in the near future because "at some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed," then he's an ignorant student of history, a blithering idiot, or both. (Source: Remarks of Donald Rumsfeld at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri September 14, 2004)
Zen Koan: What is the sound of one candidate debating?
George W. Bush's avoidance of direct contact with voters and reporters sets a very bad example for Republican politicians. Unfortunately, all across America, Republican politicians are following Bush's bad example. For example, on September 20, 2004, a debate that had been scheduled for over a month was quickly undermined when the two Republicans running to represent Central New York's 49th Senate district decided that they could not face their Democratic Challenger, Democrat Dave Valesky. The two Republicans, Thomas Dadey and Nancy Larraine Hoffman, just never showed up to the debate. Spokespeople for Hoffman, the Republican incumbent, said that she was unable to attend because she was attending the opera.
That's about how Republicans, from the local level way on up to state politics, work, isn't it? They're more than happy to attend special events with their friends in the economic elite, but they scuttle away scared when it's time to actually deal with the people they're supposed to represent.
Dave Valesky did his part at the debate, taking questions directly from audience members. Good for you, Mr. Valesky, for getting out to meet the people when the Republicans in your area have better things to do.
The World Turns Away
Thanks to Yo.Be for directing us to this resource:
When Americans were asked, "If more people around the world say they have been feeling worse about the United States, how much is this a problem for the US?" 70% said it was "a lot" or "somewhat" of a problem. And this 70% is right: when the rest of the world consider the United States in unfavorable terms, it will be much more difficult for the United States to get by.
So what's the score? How have citizens of other countries been feeling about the United States since George W. Bush took charge? Well, in thirty countries polled, more citizens say that Bush's policies have made them feel worse about the United States than say his policies have made them feel better about us. In only three countries did more of citizens say that Bush's policies have made them feel better about the United States. (Source: University of Maryland Program on International Policy Attitudes September 8, 2004)
Republican Heavyweight Caught Speaking Truth!
Here's a howler especially for our readers from Ohio:
Grover Norquist, one of the most powerful of this generation's extremist conservative activists, did not know that his voice was being recorded when he made the following comments about Republican governor of Ohio Bob Taft: "We have to hold Ohio. Okay, we have an idiot, stupid, corrupt, dumb, rotten, Republican governor in the state, who has been busy looting the state and raising taxes... and his state is the only state in the nation that's lost jobs and isn't recovering because he's been beating the economy to death in the state. But he is not on the ballot. George Bush is on the ballot... It's not helpful. He should be taken out and horsewhipped."
Gosh. When even a loyal Republican activist like Grover Norquist thinks that Ohio Governor Robert Taft is so worthless and corrupt, what are the rest of us to think?
It does not speak well of Bush's national Republican Party that the best Republican they can find to lead the state of Ohio is someone they admit to be a "rotten" "idiot".
This is no time for optimism!
Monday, September 20, 2004
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with someone who works as an aide to John Kerry, travelling with the Kerry campaign all across the country. This aide told me that the main message that John Kerry wants to get out to Democrats and other progressives is that in spite of all the bad news about his campaign in the mainstream press, he remains optimistic, and the campaign is in a very positive mood.
This message was intended to put my mind at ease. It did not.
I don't want to hear that the Kerry-Edwards campaign is feeling confident. They do not have good reason to be confident at this point.
The Kerry-Edwards people have every reason to feel deeply concerned about the way that this election is going. I want to hear that everyone on the Kerry-Edwards campaign is worried, and is doing everything they can to dig their campaign, and America, out of the deep hole that Bush has shoved us into.
This is no time for optimistic confidence. America is on the brink of another four years of control by Bush's Republican elite. There's a disaster coming - if every single one of us does not pull hard to make a difference.
Don't get me wrong - Chicken Little can wait until after the election. However, a sense of urgency has never been more appropriate. John Kerry and his team appear not to understand that the rest of us can worry a little bit less when they start worrying a little bit more.
Reason #1627 to boot Bush: Undepleted Uranium Weapons
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Yet another reason to boot Bush out of office on Election Day:
The problem of George W. Bush's use of depleted uranium ammunition in his wars is bad enough, but what's less known is that under Bush, the American military is using the even more radioactive non-depleted uranium in its weaponry. This was the finding of the Uranium Medical Research Center, and independent group of scientists from the United States and Canada. Such weaponry keeps on killing long after it has hit its initial target, killing over years and years through nuclear radiation. (Source: Syracuse New Times, September 15-22, 2004)
Bush supporters are such classy people
Bush supporters are such classy, informed morally upright, admirable people. Take, for instance, Sean Feeney in his letter to us:
Fucking democrats you suck. with your anti-gun laws it will be us, the assult wepon holders that save your ass if kerry gets elected and he invites every god damned sand nigger to come over here, but ill let them kill your sorry asses.
Clearly, Bush must be a great man to attract the likes of Sean Feeney to his camp.
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