Category Archives: Online Activism
I don’t have a good feeling on what is yet to come which is why I am blogging, it is a way to not only keep my sanity but to in my own little way rage against the machine. I am also a military veteran who finds both the ubiquitous and alarming worship of the military that is now present in our society very troubling and I am utterly nauseated at the cynical “support the troops” bullshit that is being practiced by both political parties in order to prolong the military industrial monster that has made death our number one export.
As for the blogging thing it really came about as an outlet for my anger, frustration and a general sense of powerlessness over the creeping fascism that was all being implemented by the extreme right wing Republican party using 9/11 as justification much like a cult like leader used the Reichstag fire in that certain European country back in the 20th century. Those were very scary times because the right had pretty much achieved full spectrum dominance in regards to the media, they were having organized rallies to destroy Dixie Chicks cds aat the time for God’s sake.
In the beginning right after 9/11 I was pretty much like most others in that I had bought into all of that bullshit hook, line and sinker. Slowly though I began to realize that something was terribly wrong, my sister turned me on to NPR which in our local area has Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now and some other great programs on it and it was at that point that my education into just how much of the real news was being turned into nothing more than propaganda to further the interests of a power mad extremist element that had manifested itself in the Republican party.
Those were very scary days, down here in Florida there were suddenly billboards everywhere with the face of George W. Bush emblazoned upon them, every SUV had one of those silly assed yellow ribbon “support the troops” magnets on it, any dissenting views were labeled as treasonous and it was very horrifying to someone like me who had only recently become aware that something was amiss. All the flying flags, the shrieking nationalism, the cheerleading for war were all like Weimar era Germany and I am far from the only one who has made that comparison, I recommend a great book that I picked up during the early period of my reeducation entitled Homeland by Dale Maharidge that goes into a lot of what was going on at the time. Now keep in mind that criticism of any of this was really a big taboo and it took Hurricane Katrina to finally pull back the curtain on the myth of George W. Bush as the great warrior in the flight suit with the big codpiece to the mentally troubled, petulant, incompetent naked emperor that he truly always had been.
The one thing that really pushed me over the edge though was that hideous period when the Republicans were using poor brain dead Terri Schiavo as a political football and everybody from the Christian fascists on the Religious right to the Catholic church to Tom DeLay, Karl Rove and George W. Bush were running amok to essentially rape this poor shell of a woman for their own vile political ends.
I had this little mini cassette tape recorder that I had purchased several years back and I just took it with me every morning to work and ranted into it on the way to and from my place of employment. I had like a 45 minute commute each and since I have satellite radio (I was going insane listening to the Clear Channel crap) I would put on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and you know kind of make my comments into that little tape recorder. It was my intention to do something of an experiment and then try to do some transcripts on it all after a month or so and kind of build upon them and get some stuff down in actual writing. Well after a month of the circus with Schiavo (which incidentally was going on not very far from where I live) and all of it I actually sat down with these like 25 or 30 hours of taped commentary and my raging at anything that came to my mind on the way to work. There was some pretty wild stuff on those tapes as you might imagine.
When I tried to transcribe that first tape I wound up with something like 20,000 words and I was off to the races – I had the basis for most of my first several months off of that tape alone and I have never even gotten to the rest of them. It was total insanity man because I had never done anything like that other than posting stuff on sports websites largely inspired by sardonic humor along the lines of the Jim Rome Show or now the great sports blog that takes no prisoners, Deadspin. So I started writing the political stuff and I started educating myself. I have read hundreds of books over the last five years that I never would have been inclined to read before and I have a pretty good idea of just how much that we as a society have been lied to about nearly everything. I think that really the transformation of the mainstream media into nothing more than a propaganda arm of the government, big business and the military industrial (and now surveillance) complex in many ways has backfired in that millions of people have now truly begun to educate themselves and if there is ever going to be a course correction for this country back into something resembling a free country it will be those people who will be instrumental in bringing it about.
As for the actual blogging somebody that I had met online in a discussion encouraged me to do it although I was a bit shy and lacked self confidence but I started Station Charon in the summer of 2005. I started slowly and over a period of time I gradually built up the confidence to post on other larger blogs and websites. I had a brief fling with the Daily Kos which ended badly because while it was one of the first new weapons in the info war it soon was seduced by a Democratic party that is if not as outwardly fascist as their Republican counterparts it is certainly corrupt and complicit in America’s fall from grace and my blogging has now become more critical of the system itself rather than any political party as you can see if you take a look.
I had a regular gig over on Taylor Marsh’s blog which is very popular with establishment Democrats and she was a great help in assisting me with developing my writing and confidence but after the betrayal of the Democratic majority in 2006 in ending the wars and holding the criminals in the Bush administration accountable it just didn’t feel right to be putting my voice behind a party that had failed so miserably and continues to do so for political purposes so I stopped posting there although I will always be grateful for the forum that she gave me, it’s just a matter of conscience to me to play political games when we need to stop fascism first and foremost or nothing else is going to matter. I pretty much confine myself to my own blog and My Left Wing which is a great place for all those who truly value free speech and a free exchange of ideas and at Rob Kall’s Op Ed News.
I feel that bloggers are really the pamphleteers and essayists of the modern era and were it not for the blogosphere we as a society would be in far worse trouble than we already are. The exiting thing though is the future and the coming realignment that transcends the traditional right/left paradigm and the two party sham democracy. There is going to be a peeling away of the antiwar base from the Democratic party and a merging of sorts with antiwar libertarians and paleoconservatives into a pro Constitution, non interventionist coalition that will shake the system to its very foundations. I honestly believe that and whoever is out there right now trying to push this is on the cutting edge.
1) Do you see the PB as a social movement into itself? or is it just a publicity arm for a social movement?
The internet model of organizing, activism and information gathering is already very successful though and you can see it in the large amount of individual donors that Barack Obama is receiving that has him in the heretofore unthinkable position of halting the Hillary Clinton express. This is a truly amazing thing because Obama is much better at using the blogosphere and internet than either the Clinton machine or the Republicans. The Ron Paul movement is also a great example of the raw power of the blogosphere and if it can stay together after Paul has been formally run out of the race there will be an immense and historical opportunity to siphon some of the ideas and energy. This is where progressives should really be looking because after the Vichy Democrats betraying the antiwar movement there is much common ground there that could create a synergy that could be the establishment’s worst nightmare if egos and differences can be set aside.
Regarding my comments on Daily Kos I can speak from personal experience that it is not exactly a forum where free speech is welcomed although it is often seized on by the lazy and unimaginative in the mainstream media as some sort of liberal cyber Mecca. It is however the most well known blog and has gotten to the point where prospective Democratic candidates feel that they must line up to kiss the ring of Markos-Moulitsas Zuniga but truthfully it is all a lot of hype. Sure Daily Kos is the biggest and most mentioned of the so-called progressive blogs but McDonalds is the largest restaurant chain in America it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for you to eat there.
First and foremost you have to realize that Daily Kos is about Kos himself and his ability to ingratiate himself with the establishment. Note that he has been frequently quoted in Howard Kurtz’s Media Notes column in the Washington Post and Kurtz is a notorious lackey for the status quo. He was instrumental in the destruction of Gary Webb who was the guy that wrote those stories for the San Jose Mercury News on the Dark Alliance and the Contra/CIA links to the explosion of crack cocaine into the Los Angeles area back in the 1990’s and any serious activist or progressive would know this and consort with the likes of Kurtz. You can do the research on the whole sordid tale of Gary Webb who ultimately ended up killing himself after his life was destroyed for what was a very accurate and hugely embarrassing story on how the intelligence apparatus in this country links up with the most reprehensible of types in carrying out their covert operations. That alone shows that Kos is not very principled and his work with Kurtz is far from the only thing that makes him a problematic figure in the progressive blogosphere. What it all comes down to is that you cannot really be an agent of real change if you are eager to be welcomed into the establishment and Mr. Markos Moulitsas-Zuniga has obviously found that crashing the gates is really not necessary to gain access to the master’s castle, it is just far easier in the end to have them install a doggy door. Kos doesn’t run an honest game and that is why you find so many bloggers who are critical of both him and his megablog.
When you do some research you will find a lot of negativity out there regarding Daily Kos which I feel is mainly attributable to the admins and hive mentality of the assorted sycophants who have been given free reign to police the forums, hide comments and to engage in some of the most vicious flaming that I have ever seen outside of the right-wing. It is really very juvenile and sophomoric and just plain mean spirited, total swarming, smearing, hiding of comments, troll ratings etc. I have personally been banned twice under completely different names and no longer bother even visiting, why drive up the hit count? Very important issues are totally taboo over there especially anything that questions the official story of 9/11, attempts to address the evidence that there was massive voter fraud in 2000 and 2004 that allowed the Republicans and George W. Bush to steal both elections and any sort of criticism of the actions of Israel that may tend to portray the Palestinians in a sympathetic light at the expense of millions of dollars spent by the Israel Lobby for public relations and perception management here in America.
But I digress….
I noticed the other day that Larry Johnson the outspoken former intelligence agent who is given a lot of play in the alternative media largely for the Valerie Plame outing ran afoul of the front pagers over at DK who labeled him a racist over some comments that he had made in a diary. Johnson of course has some clout and cred and didn’t take kindly to being treated like just another cyber schmuck by the smarmy little pricks at DK:
Okay Mr. Kos. Here’s a word for you: GO FUCK YOURSELF. (Actually, that’s three words. My bad.)
This wannabee poseur and his gang of Animal Farm pig imitators have lost touch with reality.
Well Markos and crowd. Orwell was right. Fuck you people. I won’t post and I won’t read. But most of all, I won’t apologize. I have nothing to apologize for other than making the false assumption that you clowns gave a shit about freedom of expression or liberty. You guys are John Bolton and Dick Cheney in drag. You are welcome to kiss my ass.
I found that rather amusing given my experiences there, the link to it all is on Brad Blog which is a site that I happen to like that is more interested in breaking news, focusing on election fraud and investigating mischief than in assimilating into the establishment.
Another internet based activist organization MoveOn was great when it came to organizing a counterforce to the right-wing think tank infrastructure but has since also become less of a change oriented organization outside of playing electoral politics. Now I belong to MoveOn and I just feel that in becoming less oriented on building local groups, real issues and the like has really damaged them and they are painted by the right-wing slime machine as though they are the second coming of Karl Marx when they really aren’t left at all but center left. The real left in this country was pretty much eradicated during the McCarthy years and the subsequent war on labor unions that really kicked into high gear with the Reagan administration after he fired the air traffic controllers. But not to wander too far from MoveOn I recently found out that they are part of this faux antiwar coalition that really exists for political reasons rather in stopping the flow of dead and mangled bodies that we import from Iraq cynically called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq that I first heard about through a Matt Taibbi piece in the latest Rolling Stone called The Chicken Doves and then in a response to a post I did last week from John Bruhns who actually worked with the group and wrote an op ed piece in the Philadelphia Daily News canned The anti-war phonies. Now to me this is morally repugnant that the Democrats play the same type of politics with this lousy war and it shows just how badly that the antiwar movement needs to break free from the politics as usual system altogether.
We also see just how much that antiwar messages from MoveOn really mean after the Vichy Congress shanked them in the back over the “General Betrayus” ad campaign by basically calling them out as traitors on the Senate floor back when “the surge” product rollout was in full swing. The surge has always been total bullshit and is nothing more than slick marketing but the Dems of the Pelosi,Reid,Hoyer triad allowed this to even come to a vote is unconscionable. This really shows that the blogosphere is really resented by the war party (Justin Raimondo’s term for the entire ruling political establishment) and while they are all too eager to harvest the votes are only going to do the usual and stab them in the back when it comes down to it.
And when you really think about the Democrats as an antiwar party, what sort of horseshit is that? Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson had the four bloodiest wars of the 20th century during their terms in office so it is really the system itself that needs to be changed and just changing management of the Washington whorehouse isn’t going to cut it. As Randolph Bourne once wrote “war is the health of the state” and if we are unable to control the war making powers of what is now rapidly becoming a police state by taking all of that money spent on munitions and spending it here at home were we really need it then we have a very, very bleak future. The necessary change is only going to come about by working to inform and work on changing perceptions of more people who are outside the party and who then can work to bring the rogue politicians to heel because they aren’t going to change just by being put into office, there has to be an external threat to their ability to exploit the system and stay there indefinitely.
Ed Encho: Probably this was put best by Maryscott O’Connor of My Left Wing (where I am a regular contributor and a front pager) in a long article from Mother Jones magazine entitled Meet The New Bosses in which she talked about the “schism” in the blogosphere and that:
“I think that certain bloggers, the big ones, think politics is sexy,” she said. “They want in, and they’re getting in. They’ll do anything to get in, almost. They want a seat at the table. They want to be in the inner circle of the Democratic Party.”
Maryscott who is very talented and passionate and who respects free speech has also run afoul of Cyber Stalin and has been banned unceremoniously from Daily Kos for her outspoken posts and refusal to just fall in line with the other lemmings.
In my opinion the PB is much more impressive as a sum of its parts rather than as a whole and to a large degree has been subverted for political purposes rather than a force for real social and economic change. Take Daily Kos for example, at one time it was a legitimate counterforce against the right wing machine but has now been turned into a website that is all about electoral politics and landing the consulting gigs for the best shills in an upcoming Democratic administration and that is not where the change is going to come from. It is going to be the netroots working with on the ground grassroots forces that have no party loyalty but are loyal to American ideals and fresh ideas on how to once again become the proverbial shining city on the hill. Look at history with any large group that has been successful, it is infiltrated, key individuals are seduced with promises of more influence and perhaps positions as shills or consultants or in the worst case if they don’t play ball are destroyed from with, this is activism 101.
You need to look no farther than COINTELPRO to see the usefulness of this sort of thing to those who have power and influence and want to retain it. There has been in my opinion a good deal of this going on in the last few years with mainstream media forums, cocktail parties, television appearances etc but when you really think about the real results all that Daily Kos has done is make that duplicitous little rat Joe Lieberman far more powerful after the much touted support of tomato can Ned Lamont in 2006 went up like a flaming bag of dogshit when Lieberman ran as an independent and cleaned Ned’s clock. Another potential fiasco was the great idea to have Democrats vote for Mitt Romney in Michigan instead of throwing support behind someone like Dennis Kucinich or even John Edwards, this is not going to look very good if it plays any part in overturning the will of the voters and helping to throw the nomination to Clinton.
I feel that at one time there was a lot more unity especially in the earlier days but the territorial squabbles and pissing contests that are especially evident now with the split between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that has become so acrimonious regarding the Clinton diehards is causing more fragmentation into opposing camps. This is something that is going to have to just work itself out and it mirrors what is going on in society itself and the battle between the establishment and more progressive elements.
The wild card though is the Ron Paul movement because I have had some contact with these people and they are very energized, this would seem to be an unprecedented chance to unify in a broad based social movement that transcends the traditional left-right paradigm and with a rallying cause of restoring the Constitution after it was shredded by the Bush administration, ending the wars and holding the corporate and Wall Street looters accountable could unite millions in an organized movement with serious clout in that it is not a part of either of our dueling national political cults of the elephant and the jackass.
Now my disdain for electoral politics is obvious, the system as it currently exists has rotted and been corrupted to the point where nothing less than a total flushing of the toilet is going to be sufficient. This is a bipartisan thing because the money spigots from lobbyists, big pharma, defense contractors and now all those seeking to grab a ride on the global warming cash cow are the ones who really control this country. We sadly are a democracy in name only, we are really an oligarchy and an empire and one that if you pay attention to the real financial news is going broke very quickly.
It is really my hope that cooler heads in the progressive and antiwar movements can merge into a true social movement in the very near future and abandon electoral politics altogether. From many polls nearly three quarters of Americans are against this fucking war and no matter how much lipstick is slathered on the pig in the way of spin that ‘things are getting better’ removes it from the public consciousness the sad fact is that Iraq is still a charnel house and the empire is going bankrupt. Ending the illegal wars should be the top priority of all activists, bloggers and other Americans concerned about our future and the future of the coming generations because it must be stopped and the keys to the war machine need to be taken away from the two-party sham democracy and their pocket media kingmakers.
The conclusion of my participation in a study on the progressive blogosphere, I have posted this over the past several weeks to give readers an idea of where I am coming from as well as to ensure that if it is published my comments will not be taken out of context.
Question: So what is your opinion on things like “friday cat blogging” or music threads? Why are they so pervasive? what purpose do their serve?
Ed Encho: These are not things that have any interest for me personally but the internet is a lot like television in some respects. Take the electronic crackpipe for instance, there are some worthwhile things on but hardly anybody ever watches them choosing instead to surf through a tsunami of trivial bullshit like cooking shows, reality shows, end times crap, sports, courtroom shows and anything on FOX but they bypass community television, educational programming, history, CSPAN, BBC News and anything of even remotely socially redemptive quality. The internet is quite like this too because of the things that you mention and of course the porn which is hugely popular. You know the saying of casting pearls before swine…
Not everybody is a political firebrand, an iconoclast or an activist and even some who are need diversions once in awhile, such things serve their purpose but the vastness of the internet as a place where nearly everything that could possibly be wanted to be known is largely responsible for the backlash against the tyranny of the Bush administration. Without the internet we would all be in that bizarre period leading up to and directly the attack on Iraq where Bush’s face was on billboards, yellow ribbon magnets were on three quarters of the SUV’s, all dissent was treated as treasonous and the PNAC boys were riding tall in the saddle. The internet is a real threat to the powers that be and the system that they serve and you are going to start working at closing it down – at least from elements that are exposing the bastards and organizing.
I predict that in the next year at the most you will see an increasing focus on trumped up charges of domestic terrorism and anarchism being used to justify a crackdown. It is already in the works with that demon love children of Jane Harman and Joe Lieberman (they have interesting histories of loyalties to those that seek to remain unthreatened by exposure because there is a lot of money riding on it) H.R. 1955 and S. 1959 which are bills that will allow for committees to determine what constitutes thought crimes and potential domestic terrorists. Look at that Ricin thing in Nevada last week, that is going to be used big time as justification and when they search the guy’s library I am willing to bet money on it that they are going to find a lot of things that are very critical of the establishment including books and materials questioning the official story of 9/11. Now this may sound overly paranoid to some but trust me, by now I know the tactics and the internet and blogosphere are regarded as threats. The military even has some exercise, I believe it is called CYBERSTORM or something that particularly focuses on muting the blogosphere.
But they won’t be trying to close down the Friday cat blogging or Brittney Spears stuff, that you can count on.
Question: But why then do so many political blogs, feminist blogs, and progressive blogs take part in those types of things? What purpose might they serve for a blog like Feministing for example?
Ed Encho: I am unfamiliar with that one blog in particular but I do see these things on other blogs on a fairly regular basis so I understand what you are talking about. A lot of people really are into these things as areas where they have their little cyber communities and put up their personal stories, pet pictures, the music stuff that you mentioned, movie reviews yada, yada, yada. These are the sort of things that you have to deal with if anyone is kind enough to offer a forum although I largely feel that it is self-defeating to a large degree because it takes the focus away from the issues and the politics which are really the purpose for any of the blogs to begin with but my opinion is that it diminishes the power of a blog rather than enhances it and allows for it to not be more taken seriously. The real political junkies and diehards just don’t really give a damn about pet stories etc so they are not going to end up being repeat posters on blogs that devote too much space to that sort of thing they will seek out something where there are others that are more issue focused. Anyway, a lot of that stuff more fittingly belongs on MySpace, Facebook or some of those networking sites that are so popular right now. I post on a number of different sites and there is a real eclectic mix with some of them and things are put out there that I personally would never feel comfortable with doing.
One thing that I really would like to advise progressive bloggers to be cautious about is that I feel that it is potentially dangerous is for people to post personal videos of themselves, their families and their pets on blogs where there are often contentions political opinions being thrown around. Now you call me paranoid but I fully respect and understand just the sort of vicious psychopathic rat bastards that are out there in cyberspace and I sure as hell wouldn’t want them knowing what myself or my kids looked like –especially since the reports of child molestation and sexual predators more often than not involve right wing, authoritarian oriented type personalities. I read about too many of these things where some whacko gets pissed off and gives out a home address, phone number or other information on a blogger who is then stalked or threatened and I would strongly advise people to use extreme care when posting this sort of thing. The sort of people who are drawn to the Republican side of things – like FREEP and some of the other more fascistic sites are not people who should be taken lightly. One thing that liberals and progressives have a problem with is that they are often too trusting and too inclusive and you never know what sort of snakes might slither into the tent if you aren’t careful.
Now of course this is all just my opinion and I don’t intend to somehow demean people from posting what they want but the sharing of things better suits a smaller and more intimate online community than really serious advocates of social change and the reigning in of the warfare state which should be the first and foremost priority of anyone who is really serious about this stuff. I guess that I am a bit guilty myself because I have a guy who primarily does a sports take once a week or so although it is mixed with political and social commentary to make it a bit more in line with the regular content but I really try to stick with social and political stuff because that is what is really important. I also do not have any personal pictures of myself out there that would serve to make me a potential target although I do have a security system, dogs and several firearms so there would be easier prey if one were so inclined as to engage in any sort of illegal stalking or other threatening activities over postings that they may not dig. You would be amazed at just how hostile that some of those out there on the rabid right get over some things and they are easily manipulated by ass clowns like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and their ilk who have no qualms about using their own little brand of terrorism to quash dissent- look at that kid that Michelle Malkin was stalking over S Chip and that is really pretty minor compared to some of the organized thuggery that I have heard about. There was a series on this that ran on Buzzflash awhile back by Pamela Troy called Dangerous Clowns that you need to read at least the part about FREEP grassroots activism that sends a chill up my spine.
There are a lot of very frustrated and angry people out there who are unable to channel that into more productive things but are always looking for scapegoats and given the nature of the blogosphere it really only takes that one great posting where everything falls into place and it goes viral resulting in massive denunciations from extremists and threats. I did one a few years back, a vicious rant on the red states called “Peckerwood Nation” that not only got me the threats from the usual right wing scum and southern racist separatists but also was denounced by that colossal asshole Jonah Goldberg who is a pretty big player when it comes to right wing propagandists, the foul product of the vile womb of Lucianne Goldberg who along with Linda Tripp colluded to tape those calls from Monica Lewinsky during the great blowjob inquisition. I believe that he was actually the worst person in the world on Olberman last night. You never really know when you are going to smack that one great post out of the park that will take you from obscurity to infamy overnight and having a bunch of family pictures out there is only an invitation for trouble.
Question: I feel that a lot of those types of blogging allows for the creation of authenticity, by sharing life stories etc it creates a connection with the writer that one cannot get with the heads of large movements, or main stream media types. People seem to care about that.
Ed Encho: Yeah I see your point on the connection thing but how far does that really go offline, I mean are we really substituting our authenticity and ability to interact with others by doing so via the computer only? This is a question that has been asked by people who are far smarter (and better paid) than I am. But let’s put that thought aside and deal with your comment on authenticity. This is a unique new medium and the mainstream can’t really get a good handle on it because it really offers empowerment to people despite the lack of organization. I really attribute a lot of credit on the successes of the blogs to the total arrogance, corruption and lack of integrity of the mainstream media that has done nothing but carry water for a system that is thoroughly compromised, is being discredited by the day and acts as nothing but water carriers for the elite who really run things.
Using myself as an example (and I am far from the only one), I would never have been able to write the things that I do and expect to have any sort of a forum in the mainstream media, such things are only obtainable by an ability to survive a filtering process that serves the interests of the corporatists and certainly never encourages originality – at least not anymore. The blogs offer an opportunity for those who have a bit of talent and are passionate about bringing about change and propagating ideas to do so without having to go through the process of having every decent intention leeched out of them by a journalistic educational institution that is increasingly looking for flacks, hacks and shills rather than real muckrakers in the finest traditions of American journalism. I challenge you to show me any decent story that has originated in the lapdog press that the alternative media/bloggers haven’t been way out ahead of.
I will guarantee you one thing though and that the next Hunter S. Thompson, H.L. Mencken, I.F. Stone or any one of a long list of great American writers will come from the blogosphere and not the corrupt mainstream corporate media. The secret is that the best of us do this because we are passionate and we really care about the truth and American ideals and are doing this for nothing rather than playing careerist games. It’s almost like we have gone back in time where journalism and writing is done by the REAL people instead of those whose paychecks and lifestyles depend on their ongoing and continued ignorance whether it be real or a compromise by folks with mortgages to pay, social status to be maintained and kids to put through school. American journalism is a sad state and every great writer is likely spinning in his or her grave at the mind numbing lemming food that passes for honest reportage and opinion in this sorry land of fear and Idiocracy. I could probably name you at the bare minimum FIFTY bloggers and columnists who are not mainstream that just shame the corporate media that is more intent on trying to pass off phonies like Katie Couric and every big haired bimbo with nice tits who is able to read off of a teleprompter as legitimate journalists. And as far as the other bloggers go you could find thousands of them who have more credibility than Couric and the rest of the MSM shithacks – I mean look at the ‘experts’ who were trotted out for last night’s latest dog and pony show in this sham democracy, Bill Bennett? Give me a fucking break. This stuff is cutting edge and more and more people are renouncing the corporate media by the day, it is a dinosaur wailing away and sucking in it’s last breath as it is mired in a tar pit and the hunters and predators are closing in.
Question: That kind of leads to my next question, do blogs lead to more chances for agent provocateurs to infiltrate? How much success can one have in changing a system when most of the planning/postings etc are public?
Ed Encho: As for the agent provocateurs if you have any knowledge at all of history as well as the way that the big boys really play they are out there and they are doing everything that they can to fragment, discredit or otherwise seduce, this sadly is the nature of our modern society and the empire and the blogs really make such tactics much easier as there is a lack of face to face contact. The military regularly trains cyber warriors to go out and influence public opinion on blogs, political parties do it all of the time, there is the Israeli online tool Megaphone that was made available specifically for perception management and the ever present “TROLLS” who disrupt the conversations on blogs with rudeness and thread hijackings. To answer the second part of your question there is a chance to actually change the system through the blogosphere but I maintain that the first part of any such change must come through education simply because of the corruption of the mainstream media, that is one hell of a rock to roll up a hill by itself because the damage has been so massive to the American mind but I have a lot of hope on this one because of the availability of the information to the public.
As for planning for events, protests etc in my opinion this part is going to have to be done by those partaking in it to come up with some sort of hybrid communication system utilizing both blogging, online participation but keeping some of the key details compartmentalized and offline. This especially applies to anything that could potentially resuscitate the failed labor movement which the oligarchy absolutely will do everything in it’s power to stop, they have spent too much money in destroying it and enabling the corporate goliaths but there is hope because a lot of good things are happening as awareness of this malignant system grows and the inability to change things using the existing political framework continues to be eroded. As for the future who knows, I am just a blogger and like to howl at the moon, spread awareness and work at building that precious coming alliance between progressives and antiwar libertarians and conservatives through postings and essays. I am not an organizer but if I were I would start to give some very serious thought to adapting to a future where limitations will be slapped on the internet by studying communication methods utilized by past resistance movements and then being able to use both modern and historical tactics for grass roots organizing and agitation. The big boys are already making plans for such things in the British Ministry Of Defense report that this story Revolution, Flashmobs and Brainchips references that is warning of social unrest due to the dismantling of the middle classes to fully globalize – they are already winning the propaganda war by slapping the old Marxist devil horns on them. This is very interesting stuff and it gives a peek into what the power structures are planning for.
Question: So if blogs to be successful as a movement have to go somewhat offline or behind the scenes (to protect from infiltration), is the concept of a fully blog movement even possible?
Ed Encho: Given current conditions I would say that it is a mixture of what the blog and the owner of the blog are trying to accomplish. If it is a blog that is based largely on putting out information and educating then no because at this point we are not quite at the point where that in and of itself represents enough of a danger to the existing establishment to merit them totally cracking down. There are so many blogs right now that the ones with the real serious information are pretty much appealing to a fairly limited audience but one day that may change and the system will address that when that time comes. Never for one minute think that the sole purpose of everything is in maintaining the illusion of true freedom and a wholesale crackdown on bloggers would be bad P.R. Not to say that there aren’t efforts being made to actively engage and suppress certain information but right now most of the efforts are focused on anything that really represents a threat to the war machine. Look at that thing with the Marine throwing that puppy off of a cliff the other day, now that resonates with people and there was mass outrage (strange that more empathy is felt for pets than Iraqi babies) cooking but a counter offensive was launched to beat it back. The military does have actual information warfare specialists (as well as the giant surveillance industrial complex records our every activity for profit and control) that track such things but don’t believe me, just do the research.
So now we get to the big question about the blog movement and actual social change and my opinion is that in and of itself the progressive blogs are not going to be capable of bringing about such changes without somehow translating that into grass roots activism. Don’t get me wrong, it is a huge influence on public opinion though and just the myriad of groups that are capable of mounting mass email campaigns, doing research and the like are largely a reason why we have not slid even deeper into fascism during this sad period in American history. The blogs are limited in that they can only go so far and ultimately that action is going to have get to the streets, it took years of massive protests to bring about the end of the Vietnam war or for that matter to make the civil rights and women’s rights movements into reality, a lot of good people laid it all on the line and suffered for the grossest of injustices to be not only recognized but rolled back and it took a hell of a lot more courage than sitting in front of a computer and writing screeds, manifestos and rants.
So when do I or anybody else finally reach that point? Who knows, that is yet to be seen and largely depends on uncontrollable circumstances but the blogs are a hugely important part of whatever change will be coming primarily because they provide the seeds for ideas and then once the ideas sprout the blogs can nurture them and eventually spread them into other camps who will also adapt the best parts of those ideas and incorporate them into their particular messages. I look at the best of the bloggers as the pamphleteers and essayists of the modern age and it took a lot of time for those early Americans of hearty souls who loved freedom and despised tyranny who they have descended from to gather enough support and courage in order to get the revolution up and running.
Recently I was asked to participate in a Q and A exchange for a project on the effects of the progressive blogosphere, here is part three.
How do you feel you can address those bigger things? Is creating a collective identity for your readers an important part of that? It seems to me that it could be similar to Marx’s false consciousness, and that part of a blogs role then is to foster a group identity to try to break down that wall? If this is the case, what tools do you use to forge that identity?
EE: Actually the group identity thing is not what I am getting at, that is just another system with slightly different drones. The larger thing that I believe needs to be instilled is an appreciation for American ideals, liberty and a renunciation of the torture state and what Gore Vidal calls perpetual war for perpetual peace. The collective identy is a big thing over at Daily Kos and if you hang out for awhile you will find out that it really is not something that encourages free thinking so I really don’t think that false consciousness or a cult of personality is a very good thing to strive for.
What I want to emphasize is the importance of educating people because let’s face it, Michael Moore was really onto something when he called Americans the dumbest people on the planet and let’s face it, when you look at a recent study that says that something around 20 percent of Americans couldn’t find the country on a map that kind of speaks volumes and that kind of utterly futile stupidity combined with fear and a sheeplike ability to comply with authority the future isn’t exactly looking very bright. I don’t know if you have ever heard of Mike Judge’s brilliant satire Idiocracy but it is spot on and a dystopian vision far more terrifying than Soylent Green or Blade Runner and guess what, we are already halfway there! I mean you have to admit as an American that it is pretty fucking embarassing when our two most recognized figures to the world are George W. Bush and Michael Jackson.
I really feel that a lot of us bloggers need to really be a bit more focused on providing that education that Americans in this most bizarre and dangerous of historical periods have been been deprived of. I mean what do most people know about civics? Two words: American Idol. We as a society have been detached from our history and of those who fought and sacrificed all so that we could manage to enjoy the freedoms that we have so easily pissed away for a little bit of security in the post 9/11 era.
That is a really good question though because while I really don’t think that a collective identity is the way to go it presents and interesting paradox in that we do need to achieve that common identity as Americans and revel in our ideals rather than in the abomination of the Bush years and the feared and despised torture state. I think that we all need to work at taking back our revised and sanitized history and looking at it despite all of the warts while setting aside the rose colored glasses of exceptionalism, upon introspection we will find that while we have really become a loathsome collection of misfits that will one day serve as an example to future historians of what NOT to be like that we can salvage what remains of our dignity and work towards actually becoming something that is admired.
But we have to clean our own house first and that means an uncompromising push to restore our lost civil liberties and reign in the empire while there is still time. Again, I stress that ideas need to be cross pollinated between the PB and the libertarians and other conservatives, it is the only way to transcend the well placed obstacles that have been deliberately put in our way and all coming together separately to whatever little piece that we each can, according to our abilities slow down this onrushing juggernaut.
First again I want to thank you for your timely and great replies. They is alot of really great data here. So how does blogging and the PB take steps to educate? To reclaim the American identity? It seems to me that one of the things you feel most passionate about is the idea (false idea?) that Kos and other sites like that put forward of a decentralized grassroots, when in fact it is an overly centralized leadership process that has been co-opted by the mainstream system.
EE: Exactly, Kos is a fraud, a charlatan and an opportunist but it is unfair in singling him out alone. He is however the biggest and therefore deserving most of the criticism precisely because he is a con artist but he is far from the only one who has now put personal ambitions before what is moral, right and good for America. There is a problem with the “A list” blogs being co-opted by the Democratic party in anticipation of future favors or of consulting gigs for the founders. I don’t think that you can go to any of these blogs and not notice that sort of cheerleading, I commend Maryscott O’Connor of My Left Wing for yesterday drawing a line in the sand on this by stating that here blog was definitely NOT a Democratic party blog when posters were using the dreaded “TROLL” pejorative against non-lockstep posters. I mean some of these people would shill for Osama Bin Laden if he were running as a Democrat and that’s not hyperbole. The system always seeks to assimilate what were once vocal critics and organizers.
The real passion, the ideas and the desire to be outspoken on issues rather than on just putting party loyalty before country is with the bloggers who are pretty much shunned by the “A list” blogs because they are loose cannons that could be a threat to the electoral hopes of the new group of pigs who will feed at the Washington trough. I mentioned that I had a regular gig over at Taylor Marsh’s blog who while wearing her Democratic party status on her sleeve is at least honest about it. Well I started posting there with a special “Late Night” edition where I was given the freedom to do my profanity laced rants but right before the 2006 election I was reigned in because somebody in the establishment didn’t dig my criticism of Rahm Emanuel as a shit eyed little bagman, John Kerry as a foofy haired elitist doofus who ran up the flag in Ohio before all the black votes were counted and Harry Reid as a neutered little runt in charge of Hillary’s Temple of Eunuchs in the Senate. It was my bringing up of the voter fraud thing rather than the amount of “fucks” in my postings that really put a bug up the establishment’s asses so I was told to cut the profanity. Now I still continued to post but when I started bringing up issues rather than just dishing out vitriol against Republicans I started to get suggestions of what not to write on, Iran-Contra was ancient history, the DLC stuff was boring, stop taking so many shots at the Christian fascists etc. So rather than be free to write what I wanted I felt pushed to be some sort of attack dog, which I do enjoy at times but I want to choose the target and when to hit it.
There apparently was this secretive group called Townhouse that really dictates what is said in the PB with the more well known blogs and Maryscott O’Connor states this in the Mother Jones piece that I referenced earlier which I excerpt here:
“It’s fucking Skull and Bones, man,” she said. “The very secretive, behind-closed-doors nature of it is anathema to everything that blogging is supposed to be about: accountability. We are supposed to be showing the way, not skulking around behind closed doors, coming up with strategies. Those are the people who we’re trying to fight. I know about ‘the real world’ and all that shit. But we’re the idealists, aren’t we?”
So you see this idea of the blogosphere as a decentralized grass roots system only applies to those who have not been identified by the political machine as having clout and influence and those people are then turned into the gatekeepers. There are a lot of good writers and activists out there though who while they toil in relative obscurity are the ones really putting forth the great ideas and doing the best work but since the entire political system is rotten to the core once that line is crossed and the criticism is no longer confined to the Republican party then the blogger becomes toxic to the “A list” that curries favor with the Howard Kurtz’s of the world. They are really not outsiders at all but actually seeking a seat at the table and will be willing to pander to the worst elements of the mainstream media and the political and corporate establishments to get it.
Those of us who are nuisances to the establishment have to just keep laying it on the line and continuing to put out the real stuff, we have this wonderful window of opportunity with an internet that has yet to be censored entirely although they are seriously trying to suppress this threat with bullshit like net neutrality, trying to blame it for homegrown terrorism and the most insidious threat of all using the menace of child pornography which is a very real, immoral and disgusting thing as an excuse for further snooping and censorship. We all have to just keep pouring it on and getting every dirty bit of information possible on the crimes of the oligarchy and their political whores out there so that everyone can see it and as I recommend – back everything up to cd, dvd or other format so that if the day does come when the information crackdown occurs the information can be disseminated through more primitive methods. Just pour it on and keep pouring it on, my hope is that at some point there will be one event or incident that is so completely out of line that it will ignite a chain reaction but it is imperative to get the information out there first so that people are aware of the truly horrible and amoral nature of this rogue government, the blood barters who start wars and then profit from arming both sides and the looters in their Wall Street ivory towers who suck the blood from our bodies for the almighty profits. The truth to these bastards is what sunlight is to a vampire and only when it is fully exposed will there be an opportunity to drive a stake through it’s black heart.
As for your last comment about cross-pollination (interestly my wife is a staunch libertarian/Ron Paul supporter, where I myself have libertarian streaks, but fall more in line with socialist/progressive ideals), how do you build those coalitions? Both philosophically (making others realize the common causes), and mechanically (what tools do you use to reach out? what tools can blogs use? cross posting? comments sections? advertisers?)
EE: I have had Ron Paul on my radar for quite awhile now because he is a guy that really just speaks the truth and damn the consequences. The movement that coalesced around him has been phenomenal in that it transcends the traditional paradigm and these people are hungry for change. Hell, down here in the Tampa Bay area there is a very strong Ron Paul network and his are the ONLY signs that you really see and there are meetup groups that will actually go out and gather for small rallies to wave signs at passing cars at a given time. This to me is an indication that Americans are hungry, no make that starving for the truth and someone who stands up against the system.
You know the very ironic and hilarious thing is that that indignant fascist shit head Rudy Giuliani went after Paul so savagely in that now infamous FOX debate in South Carolina over 9/11 and Paul not only stood his ground but then offered the American Il Duce a reading list the next day….this alone transformed Paul from nobody into a national item of curiosity….of course the establishment couldn’t have that and eventually took him down with the old trustworthy “ANTI SEMITIC NAZI” slur that is so often used and abused to quash anyone that doesn’t parrot the official line of militarism and never ending war that makes a lot of people very, very rich. Ron Paul had to be cut off at the knees and that is what happened with that New Republic piece, the national media interest in him just dropped off completely after that and Dennis Kucinich was taken down with that ridiculous question from beltway toady Tim Russert about UFO’s during one of those ludicrous dog and pony show ‘debates’.
Paul really hooked me when I heard this remarkable speech that he gave on the neocons and he named names, singling out in specific Michael Ledeen who is a very dangerous ideologue and has a fondness for fascism that does not belong anywhere in the American power structure and yet he is a man of great influence. Paul also mentioned Rupert Murdoch, Irving Kristol and Richard Perle’s manifesto prepared for Israeli extremist Benjamin Netenyahu called “A Clean Break” that stresses regional domination in the Middle East. This the single most devastating critique of the neocons and their insanity and it was given in 2003! It was absolutely stunning in it’s accuracy and never did I ever hear a peep about any of this by the phonies like John Kerry, Hillary Clinton or anybody in the mainstream media, you just have to check this out in order to get a real grasp of what I refer to. I did a post entitled “A Sham Democracy and it’s Pocket Media Kingmakers” what excerpted a good deal of that particular speech and you can just go to the post itself rather than me make this answer overly long due to excerpting the most relevant parts.
As for my personal ideology I would have to say that I am probably much in line with your “libertarian streaks, but fall more in line with socialist/progressive ideals” but I also have a lot of anarchism in me as well. As for how to best get these ideas cross pollinated I really don’t have an answer yet, it is a fairly new thought to me and I am really trying to get my mind wrapped around the whole thing as of yet. Focus is really the word and with the alarming rise of police brutality and violence towards civilians being the first really visible manifestation of the authoritarianism that risen post 9/11 that is something that should have wide appeal. The method would at first be cross posting to more libertarian and rational conservative blogs or to progressive blogs that have a tolerance for diversity. Rob Kall of Op Ed News runs a pretty good place where a wide variety of ideas are not only allowed but encouraged and it is an up and comer in the PB. We need to make common cause but it will never happen with the “A list” bloggers because they have a vested interest in keeping the system as it is in all of it’s my team vs. your team, black and white, good and evil simplicity because it benefits them personally. This is definitely an area where I would be very interested in finding some like minded bloggers and activists who really get it and throwing around some ideas on how to expand into an actual movement.
Do you think its important for your message, or to the blogosphere as a whole that readers identify with you? Do you have any tactics you use to help readers get a feel for who you are?
EE: Obviously if I am going to start getting more attention to the ideas themselves I am going to have to change my style somewhat to get away from bombastic rants and obscenity laced tirades to appeal to a broader audience. The trick is being noticed though because there are a lot of bloggers out there and sometimes in order to be read and develop some sort of a following you have to get attention and being controversial is a certain way to do that, unfortunately it also alienates some people. Now some people have really been able to master this particular schtick like for instance The Rude Pundit who is right up there with the worst when it comes to profanity and vulgarity. I have been at times compared to him but really the more that I come to think about it it is really just kind of limiting the appeal. Mind you it is fun and I really do talk like that being an ex-sailor but it is a mixed bag and kind of self defeating in the end I guess.
For example I caught a tremendous amount of heat last week over a post that I did on Hillary Clinton that had the sub headline “All Cunt, No Cattle” which is obviously a play on her smear against Barack Obama of being “All Hat, No Cattle” during a speech in Texas. I also in a mean spirited and taunting way referred to Clinton as rapidly becoming nothing more than “The Joan of Arc of the dry pussy demographic” which was a cheap shot (althought I have said far,far worse things about Republicans) but it was just a continuation of a pushing of boundaries over a series of anti-Clinton posts that I have done recently. Now that was a nasty thing to say but it was really a great line that just came to me and I hated to waste it even if it pissed off a lot of people for the wrong reasons.
Hillary Clinton does deserve nothing but contempt though not only for her sense of entitlement but also for her total lack of a stand on anything that even remotely resembled American principles when the constitution was being shredded and the bodies were being piled up. I have absolutely no respect for her and the tactics that she is using to this day are not only insidious but are only going to result in further polarization and a splitting of the Democratic party which will really be a good thing in the end though. Clinton however is very apparently willing to roll out the B-52’s and send them on a mission to totally destroy anything that stands in her way, not that I use the word cunt as a pejorative as a habit but this sort of vengeful, maniacal and really completely unhinged national tantrum certainly qualifies for language of the most vile and contemptuous that we have available with the big caveat that it is used not in a misogynist context but a context of personality. I mean this sort of vendetta really is shameful and ultimately dangerous to America and if you pay attention it is getting worse with each news cycle, we just have to move beyond this bullshit war on terror frame that we have been beaten over the head with since 9/11.
I also caught holy hell for daring to suggest that the sainted John McCain was more of a war criminal than a war hero for his dropping of bombs on civilians, I really don’t see what is more cowardly than that and while I abhor war as the lucrative atrocity that it is I can at least have some respect for a soldier who kills for his country and actually has to see the carnage. This is just all a part of the nasty polarization right now and it is not only a Democrat v. Republican thing but it is taking place within the parties themselves which shows that there is a battle for the nation’s soul going on. Now I just love this quote by Charles Bukowski “If you are losing your soul and know it it means that you still have a soul to use” (and I hope that I got that right but I don’t happen to have it in front of me) but this is really a good thing isn’t it?
But I digress…
While being outrageous is enough to get noticed if you really want to be taken seriously you can’t be saying things like fuck, cunt or cocksucker and expect to appeal to the audience that is intellectual enough to really get it. I see myself starting to get away from some of that stuff in the future and doing a lot more issue oriented stuff, I have forums that are available to me with a good potential audience and when I really write straight stuff it could be pretty damned good and in the past has been good. I have a lot of knowledge that I gather from disparate sources and need to synthesize it for a larger audience and start working towards those greater purposes that will as I predict be the next phase of all of this blogging stuff that will be crossover appeal. I am right now going through a period of being conflicted and trying to reconcile ideologies to work towards what is a greater purpose.
I hope that answers it, sorry about the language but if it’s in the posts themselves it is on record, all that I can do is give you my perspective. The blogs are one of the last vestiges of free speech and I can’t hardly blame people for pushing the envelope at extending the boundaries, with the exception of obvious hate speech that is.
To Be Continued…