Good old-fashioned coverup story for a winter night (free reg required): Bush recently spoke in front of a pile of cardboard boxes stamped “Made in China.” Since this image didn’t square with the image his staff wanted to project that day, aides taped over the labels, then:

Bush spoke in front of a printed canvas backdrop of faux cardboard boxes, which featured “Made in America” in large black letters.

‘Twas ever thus.

Music: Pere Ubu :: Sad.Txt

Protest Images

Amy, Miles and I went Saturday morning to SF to march on City Hall in protest of the United States’ almost certain imminent invasion of Iraq – a country that presents (as far as anyone can tell) no immediate threat to us, and that has nothing but oil to interest us. As British author John Le Carre has said about the present build-up, “… the administration’s policies are madness on a scale surpassing McCarthyism and the Vietnam War.” Speaking of LeCarre, The United States of America has gone mad is a must-read.

I suspect that one day we’ll look back on this period and be amazed that Bush was able to convince so much of the country that he was even competent to lead the country (“Anyone can drop bombs – it takes leadership to find actual solutions to actual problems.: –Barbara Lee). There are few things that we as a family (well, Amy and I) feel as sure about as the fact that this war plan is morally wrong. Evil is about to be committed in our name. Our love for America and for freedom is challenged by Bush’s warped vision of what America stands for.

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Amazing variety of people at the SF march, expressing themselves in an amazing variety of ways – some of them sober and logical, others completely out there, some borderline looney. But all joined behind the common conviction that a war plan this wrong must not be committed in our name. Here are some of my pictures of the event. See also IndyMedia’s Helicopter shots – how we looked from the air.

Sentences Commuted

Amazed at this turn of events in Illinois, where Republican Governor George Ryan has decided to commute the sentences of all death-row inmates in his state. His speech on the subject, delivered to Northwestern University, is long but articulate and impassioned. No matter one’s stance on the matter, it would be impossible to read his words without having their convictions challenged. Glimpses of civilization. Thanks Benjamin.

Music: Shuggie Otis :: Rainy Day


Frank Boosman’s take on the conflicted personal political climate mirrors my own. Don’t like to pay taxes, must be a rightist. Do like helping my brother, must be a leftist. Do believe in personal responsibility, must be a libertarian. Do believe in some degree of enforced fairness, must be a socialist. Do believe environmental degradation will whittle us all down to nubs, must be a green. I suppose some wise-acre would say this makes me an independent.

Music: The Clash :: Death Is a Star

Green Party

In some combination of protest and support, I cast my gubernatorial vote for Green Party candidate Peter Camejo. Turns out he received more of the vote (15.79%) than Republican Bill Simon (15.12%) in San Francisco. Makes me realize how completely distorted my vision of the political landscape is – this area is so off-skew with the rest of the country. I sometimes wonder exactly where all these so-called Republicans actually live, then I realize, “Oh yeah, everywhere but here.”

Music: Toots and the Maytals :: Sailin’ On

Synthetic Utopia

What do you do when you get so frustrated with the middling, leveling side-effects of democracy – the averaging out that makes it impossible for more dramatic philosophical/political ideas ever to take hold? You get together with throngs of like-minded people and take over a state, swing the vote, and create your own legal utopia, that’s what you do.

A group of largely techno-libertarians are gathering forces right now to do just that, and it looks like they’re honing in on Delaware, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Alaska.

The Free State Project is a plan in which 20,000 or more liberty-oriented people will move to a single state of the U.S. to secure there a free society. We will accomplish this by first reforming state law, opting out of federal mandates, and finally negotiating directly with the federal government for appropriate political autonomy. We will be a community of freedom-loving individuals and families, and create a shining example of liberty for the rest of the nation and the world.

The FAQ is a good read, and is revealing of some of the types of readers a project like this attracts, e.g. “Q. Why don’t we make common cause with white separatists?” and “Q. Why don’t we start shooting government agents?”

Trying to imagine spin-off organizations…. I wonder which state will get to host the bleeding heart liberal utopia? The Jerry Falwell utopia? The Camejo-Green utopia? The skate punk utopia… ?

But I should be careful throwing the utopia word around:

Q. Is the Free State Project some utopian power trip?

A. By no means. The Free State Project is ameliorative, not utopian. We’re not trying to create heaven on earth, just a sphere of liberty, a framework for individuals and families to make of their lives what they will.

Music: Ozric Tentacles :: Cat DNA

Where’s Osama?

At the risk of stating the obvious, how long has it been since you saw the name Osama bin Laden in the news? When did we cancel the manhunt? Is it still going on? Funny how you don’t hear about it anymore. Oh, that’s right – finding Osama is much less important than assassinating the dictator of an irrelevant country that poses no threat to us.

Music: Barry White :: Love’s Theme

Bad American

Woody Harrelson: I’m an American tired of American lies . Nice parallax with this piece on being a “Bad American” by Ted Nugent, although it turns out that Nugent did not actually write the piece ascribed to him. I part company where “he” (and others) resist the notion that the Constitution is a living document. The same “rigid” Consitution once called a black man 3/5 of a man. We got rid of that bit when our culture and our minds changed, didn’t we? The Constitution is not immutable. Somehow I don’t think The Framers had the likes of the Beltway Sniper in mind when they guaranteed us our right to own Personal Laser Cannons.

Reverse Lens

Absolutely insane – one super-condensed portrait of how parts of the Middle East view America, Christians, Jews, and the conglomeration of multinational corporations. In essence, “Every McDonald’s burger you buy goes to support the globalizing economy that buys the bombs that come back and kill us.” The centerpiece is a mutilated baby on a hot dog bun. Surreal, crazed, and frightening. Full-size image here.