Category Archives: Progressive Blogosphere

Finis

“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”

-Colonel Nathan R. Jessep

This is the end, sorry it won’t be more eloquent but it is the end nonetheless. Ed Encho is now retiring from blogging, immediately and permanently. Times have changed and I have changed as well. After a pretty extended hiatus brought on primarily by health concerns led to my thinking a bit more and realizing that I was leaving the ‘left’ or what sad remnants of it. The left/progressive farce in this now fully functional corporate fascist society has done nothing but to enable the rot and I have gone on long enough now and have decided to leave this altogether. It was no one event, person, argument or relationship gone bad, it was just the whole accumulated weight of all of it. In ending a longtime collaboration with certain friends over the past week as well as disagreements over how to best move forward and reach new people using new technologies with others, I have just decided that this is just one big waste of fucking time. I have been involved in this for too long now and like the famous scene at the end of The Outlaw Josey Wales where Fletcher tells him that the war is over, well I reckon so.

Of course I am not the only one to decide this is basically no longer worth dealing with. There have been far more influential folks than my humble ass who have moved on out of frustration, notably the great Paul Craig Roberts who in his recent farewell to arms piece: Good-Bye: Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It summed it up perfectly:

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Roberts’ lament rings as true as any in this rotting nation of sheep, TV lobotomized zombies, snake mean racists, Jesus juicers and willfully ignorant lemmings. There is zero desire to hear the truth and with the reflating of the latest economic bubble that only benefits the Wall Street looters, the ongoing demagoguery over the latest idiotic would be terrorist allowing for more and more police state powers and the complete failure of the American public to stop the endless state of war that is bankrupting us both morally and financially what is the point?

The worst being of course the perpetuating of the myth of 9/11 that changed everything forever, and it’s never coming back. Whatever remains of the 9/11 Truth Movement has been thoroughly infiltrated by disinformation agents and profiteers and the ‘left’ has ZERO nerve to do anything but try to recycle Bush and Cheney’s talking points for political gain. We hear highly paid shills for American fascism like Glenn Beck getting rich while conning millions to buy his products and ghost-written tripe pontificate about his ridiculous 9/12 movement that has spawned misled faux patriot groups and a huge Astroturf political arm of the criminal Republican party in the co-opted Tea Party Movement. All this while there is an abysmal failure of any rational counter force from the left or from antiwar groups about a 9/10 movement and in restoring our civil liberties to the day prior to the American Reichstag Fire.. It has always been 9/11 and thereafter and it will always be used to justify more war, torture, detentions without trial and now the ability to strip dissenting Americans of their citizenship, I could never imaging even Bush and Cheney being able to get away with pissing away taxpayer money on naked body scanners in airports from which TSA goons can ogle the private partes of prepubescent teenage girls and boys. There is NO opposition to any of this either from the Teabaggers or the champaign socialists on the fake ‘left’, at least none that is more effictive than a mosquito on a rhino’s ass. The most abysmal failure comes from the ‘left’ in their collective failure to articulate or offer any sort of alternative vision to counter to the well funded, organized American Gladio on the right. They are so intent on waging their petty cultural jihads, distorting the words of cranks and conducting political correctness purity purges to bother with either pragmatism or reality. To see people who once screamed for George W. Bush to be strung up by his balls (which he truly deserved) now become total apologists for the Obama administration and the vile continuation of the same policies just because it is their team in the White House makes me want to vomit. If something was wrong under Bush then it sure as hell is wrong under Obama and by definition every U.S. President is a war criminal so in not recognizing this and speaking out then they are all hypocrites of the worst type. Perhaps even worse than the hypocrisy is the general lack of any sort of a spine when it comes down to engagement with the enemy. The left of old, the labor left would have showed up at fascist Tea Party rallies enmasse and there would have been blood, today’s social issue driven left is content to tote an occasional sign around, sign up for MoveOn.org or send money to the corrupt Democratic Party. A good argument could be made than when the backs of the old left was busted first by McCarthyism, then by Reaganism and finally what was left whipped into acquiesence by the corporate DLC and when that was allowed it opened the door to the ongoing slide into the abyss, both politically and economically. I cannot denounce the ‘left’ strongly enough for being woefully ineffective, delusional and no help in staunching the bleeding. When the definitive history of the fall of the United States is written there will be a serious analysis of the role of the enabling ‘left’ in the implosion.

The truth about 9/11 will never be seriously challenged, the establishment won’t allow it to happen because no matter what the truth is the resulting police state, the power of controlling it and the exponentially growing surveillance and control systems is just too seductive to ever be reigned in. The United States of America is a failed state, choked with corruption, pollution and poverty – the rest of the world is ahead of the curve as civil unrest grows as essential services are cut to bail out the criminal scum, the politicians and the casino banks for destroying their economies. It isn’t going to get any better here either but we as Americans are too easily made to accept the unacceptable, for those who are angry there are controlled pressure valves like the Tea Party and the progressive blogosphere. There is lots of noise and clamor but nothing changes does it? Again, I excerpt from Paul Craig Roberts farewell piece:

The American corporate media does not serve the truth. It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government.

America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.

These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after these protections for the elderly. Fed chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them as well. These protections are called “entitlements” as if they are some sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their working lives.

With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.

The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.

Yes, the worst is coming. I have read my history and know all too well the signs of the rising tide of totalitarianism, the parallels between the present day U.S. of A and Weimar era Germany are astonishing, only here it is much, much more subtle but the ongoing economic collapse is setting the stage just perfectly for the real new Hitler, he or she just hasn’t emerged yet to capitalize on the seething resentment and desperation that our failed political system and woefully ignorant citizens have created. A prophetic and favorite warning of mine came from Earling Carothers ‘Jim’ Garrison, the only man to attempt to bring about a serious legal action over the assassination of President Kennedy:

“In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can’t spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can’t look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won’t be there. We won’t build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line.”

It was roughly forty years ago that Garrison uttered those words. Today, May 12, 2010 how can any reasonable person even attempt to deny the truth in that statement? It is the lack of those reasonable people that have now driven me to leave this behind as well. Life is too short to continue to expend considerable energy and waste considerable time in trying to make any sort of a meaningful difference – there is no desire to hear the truth and no sense of shared duty to transcend the petty differences that control what passes for discourse in this diseased country.

So now I take my leave, I have better things to do than to tilt at windmills with the rest of you and would strongly advise you all to think very seriously about how you want to spend your remaining days. Don’t fail to take into consideration that today is the best day of the rest of your lives, each day will be incrementally worse because of the abject failure to do anything to stop the war machine and the fascist state that provides the lynchpin for it.

So as I ride off into the sunset I offer a tip of my hat to my good friends, I want to especially note Diane and Gottlieb, Elian, Woody, Ed and Bob as those who I will miss most, your hearts were always in the right place and may you continue to fight the good fight despite our differences. To all of the others who I have worked with and who are of varying political affiliations, intellectual backgrounds and long term goals I salute your efforts as well. There are too many of you to name here and for the sake of brevity I won’t . The one thing in common is that I am proud of the time that we were able to work together and honored to have done so. As Reggie Hammond once famously remarked…”Y’all Be Cool”.

This is Ed Encho signing out.

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"Hang The Robes" and Other Ruminations

As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends.

-Jeremy Bentham

An ominous trend is beginning to creep into the so-called progressive blogosphere, it is the now common censorship of more radical expression that at one time was acceptable in many areas yet has become taboo in the era of Obama. The recent swarm attack against Dennis Kucinich by phony liberal organizations like MoveOn.org for his holdout on the insurance industry windfall that is your new national healthcare ‘reform’ bill was evidence of the purge of heretics from the Rahm Emanuel corporate co-opted ‘left’. I am certain that everyone reading anything that I do has been subjected to some form of censorship, banning, troll-rating or comment hiding at what are cynically foisted off as free speech oriented liberal/progressive or for that matter inclusive independent blogs for being critical of our God chosen very special friends in Israel, that goes with the territory. It is pretty commonly understood that the genocidal Zionists have for years recruited operatives to blogswarm, bully and tar as anti-Semitic those who dare to shine the light on human rights abuses, war crimes and atrocities that should have the Israeli leaders in the dock at the Hague, that is just something that has to be dealt with when blogging. As my old southern buddy Mikey used to say “if you’re going to play in NASCAR you should expect to get more than a few dings” but the siege has often resulted in the even more chilling self-censorship in the fear that ANY conversation regarding Israel and the Palestinians is verboten. Take for example a place called Docudharma where I have occasionally posted, to venture into calling out Zionist aggression in any way, shape or form will nearly instantaneously have one ostracized. I single DD out because I have witnessed it there, it was a spinoff from Markos Moulitsas-Zuniga’s (who is as left wing as Stalin) Daily Kos which is notorious for the policing of cynics, skeptics, doubters and above all else – critics of Israel.

But I digress…

The creeping menace of liberal/progressive blog censorship has hit me again this week, I only bring this up because it was over at OpEd News, a forum that I have been a regular at for years, have contributed articles to and have commented on many. It was always an open forum albeit since it gets a good deal of exposure there needed to be a bit of discretion used in using certain terms which is an understandable tradeoff for the exposure that an article could get due to the crossover appeal of OEN – my series on Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government as well as some things that I did on 9/11 received attention elsewhere due to OEN.

This week though, I ran afoul of the censors for a comment that I had posted on a Rob Kall article entitled: Will Supreme Court Kill the Obama Health Care Reform Plan? which addressed the possibility that the fascist John Roberts and his Federalist Society and Opus Dei cronies would in activist fashion overturn Obamacare in much the way that they inistalled George W. Bush in the White House by oveturning a Gore victory in 2000. I posted a sardonic reply suggesting a bumper sticker slogan of “Hang The Robes” which turned into an extended flame war with a traveler who in his third reply or so admitted to being a Birther. The thing was ultimately flagged and deleted by one of OEN’s Daily Kos styled ‘editiors’ in charge of selecting what to flush down the memory hole. I certainly wasn’t advocating the murder of federal judges, just their impeachment but a scumbagger got his star-spangled panties in a bunch and enough of them cried when confronted with someone who didn’t roll over for their brownshirt bullying. I would have posted the entire thread but it’s been disappeared so I have to settle with the my final response:

So What Will You Scumbaggers Do Now?

After all of your embarrassing and disgusting rabble rousing you still went down in defeat to a bill that is horrible across the board and a giveaway to the parasitical insurance industry. Thanks to you schmucks we are ALL screwed but the big money boys are laughing all the way to the bank on your easily exploited gullibility AGAIN!

That is what you get for allowing yourselves to be used as human penis extensions for hard core Republican swine like Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey.

My advice to you is to forget about the Birther fantasies and get a life along with the rest of your moonbat buddies.

Now the whole thing was pretty mild, certainly not the high octane Encho rants that have been launched elswhere but the fascist bullies and the jelly-spined OEN editors succeeded in getting the comment and all subsequent comments removed. Again, this is but one example of what is going on right now and it’s alarming because it is occurring in forums where free speech had at one time been sanctified….and this isn’t the only time of late that I have been stomped on by administrators who decided that towing the line, not offending those who lack the intestinal fortitude to realize that we are at war, a cold civil war that could turn hot at any moment given the Republican Gladio droogs of the teabagger movement – which is becoming violent in a similar way that the Sturmabteilung did all those years ago. Maybe this is just a personal bug up my ass, it sure bothers me though because now is the time when we must become more vocal, more angry, more passionate in denouncing the fascist takeover of America.

Just my two cents over the morning cup o’ joe

EE

P.S.: I would like to post this from principled conservative Paul Craig Roberts, himself a regular contributor at OEN and a longtime critic who from this G.B.C.W. article looks to be hanging it up, it’s a shame when truthtellers like this become so revulsed that they simply withdraw and let us hope that he will reconsider.

Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.

Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth of “the New Economy.”

And not only economists sell their souls for filthy lucre. Recently we have had reports of medical doctors who, for money, have published in peer-reviewed journals concocted “studies” that hype this or that new medicine produced by pharmaceutical companies that paid for the “studies.”

The Council of Europe is investigating the drug companies’ role in hyping a false swine flu pandemic in order to gain billions of dollars in sales of the vaccine.

The media helped the US military hype its recent Marja offensive in Afghanistan, describing Marja as a city of 80,000 under Taliban control. It turns out that Marja is not urban but a collection of village farms.

And there is the global warming scandal, in which NGOs. the UN, and the nuclear industry colluded in concocting a doomsday scenario in order to create profit in pollution.

Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money.

Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and short memories finish the job.

I remember when, following CIA director William Colby’s testimony before the Church Committee in the mid-1970s, presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan issued executive orders preventing the CIA and U.S. black-op groups from assassinating foreign leaders. In 2010 the US Congress was told by Dennis Blair, head of national intelligence, that the US now assassinates its own citizens in addition to foreign leaders.

When Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that US citizens no longer needed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of a capital crime, just murdered on suspicion alone of being a “threat,” he wasn’t impeached. No investigation pursued. Nothing happened. There was no Church Committee. In the mid-1970s the CIA got into trouble for plots to kill Castro. Today it is American citizens who are on the hit list. Whatever objections there might be don’t carry any weight. No one in government is in any trouble over the assassination of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government.

As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO “performance bonuses,” have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.

Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages to top managers, who achieve these “performance awards” by replacing U.S. labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about “the Muslim threat,” Wall Street, U.S. corporations and “free market” shills destroy the U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans.

Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the police state.

Americans have bought into the government’s claim that security requires the suspension of civil liberties and accountable government. Astonishingly, Americans, or most of them, believe that civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and due process, protect “terrorists,” and not themselves. Many also believe that the Constitution is a tired old document that prevents government from exercising the kind of police state powers necessary to keep Americans safe and free.

Most Americans are unlikely to hear from anyone who would tell them any different.

I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American “mainstream media.”

For the last six years I have been banned from the “mainstream media.” My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.

For years I was a mainstay at the Washington Times, producing credibility for the Moony newspaper as a Business Week columnist, former Wall Street Journal editor, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. But when I began criticizing Bush’s wars of aggression, the order came down to Mary Lou Forbes to cancel my column.

The American corporate media does not serve the truth. It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government.

America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.

These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after these protections for the elderly. Fed chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them as well. These protections are called “entitlements” as if they are some sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their working lives.

With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.

The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.

Izzy Stone, Patron Saint of Bloggers

All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.

-I.F. Stone
Given the last several days of having to run the electronic gauntlet of slavering testimonials over the premature death of Tim Russert of the crown propaganda jewel of the G.E. branch of the military industrial media complex Meet The Press I have found the perfect antidote to the gag reflex. Via Common Dreams comes this nice little article by Jeff Cohen on a REAL journalist who spoke the truth to power in an era before the well-fed, finely coiffed millionaires and big titted, big haired vacuous bimbos whose only attribute (other than their obvious physical ones) is their ability to recite government/corporate talking points off of a teleprompter. Izzy Stone (better known as I.F. Stone came from an era when journalists were not celebrities first and understood their responsibility in holding state and corporate power accountable per the mandate enshrined in the Constitution about a free press being necessary for a free people to enjoy liberty. Today voices such as Stone’s are alive and raising cain in the blogosphere, to the extent that the corrupt establishment is even now scrambling to find some palatable way to lockdown the internet as it has become a serious threat to their big con game. We here at the Station are proud to present:
by Jeff Cohen
It was nineteen years ago this week that I.F. (Izzy) Stone died. The legendary blogger was 81.

Confused? You say he died years before web blogs were invented?

Well, yeah, but when I think of today’s blunt, fact-based online hell-raisers, my mind quickly flashes on Izzy Stone. You may think of Josh Marshall or Glenn Greenwald or Arianna Huffington. I think of Izzy.

Before there was an Internet, Izzy Stone was doing the work we associate with today’s best bloggers. Like them, he was obsessed with citing original documents and texts. But before search engines, Izzy had to consume ten newspapers per day — and physically visit government archives and press offices, and personally pore over thousands of words in the Congressional Record. That’s how he repeatedly scooped the gullible, faux-objective MSM of his day in exposing government deceit, like that propelling the Vietnam War.

Izzy was the ultimate un-embedded reporter. His journalism was motivated by a simple maxim that resonates loudly in our era of Cheneys and Rumsfelds and WMD hoaxes: “All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”

Month after month from 1953 to 1969 I.F. Stone’s Weekly (biweekly through 1971) exposed deceptions as fast as governments could spin them. His timely and timeless dispatches are gathered in an exceptional paperback, The Best of I.F. Stone.

In real time in August 1964, Izzy was virtually alone in challenging the Gulf of Tonkin hoax, an imaginary “unprovoked attack” on U.S. warships used by the Johnson administration to send several hundred thousand American troops into Vietnam. How did Izzy do it? By citing international law texts and finding nuggets of truth in the Congressional Record of the Senate debate (no C-SPAN then) and in contradictory reporting in mainstream publications.

Izzy’s expose began boldly: “The American government and the American press have kept the full truth about the Tonkin Bay incidents from the American public.” He fumed at the credulous MSM: “The process of brain-washing the public starts with off-the-record briefings for newspapermen.” Only two senators, Oregon’s Wayne Morse and Alaska’s Ernest Gruening, had voted against the Tonkin Resolution; Izzy noted that the press had “dropped an Iron Curtain weeks ago on the antiwar speeches of Morse and Gruening.”

Like today’s online journalistic entrepreneurs, being his own editor and boss allowed Izzy the freedom and space to parse out the distortions of government in detail. A year before the Tonkin hoax, he wrote: “In this age of corporation men, I am an independent capitalist, the owner of my own enterprise.” While most journalists “find their niche in some huge newspaper of magazine combine, I am a wholly independent newspaperman, standing alone.”

Bloggers battle today’s McCarthyites who smear Iraq War opponents as un-American abettors of our country’s enemies. Izzy battled the original Joe McCarthy, in issue after issue of his weekly. Indeed, he launched his publication the same month — January 1953 — McCarthy became chair of the Senate Operations Committee, enhancing his powers of intimidation. Izzy warned prophetically: “McCarthy is in a position to smear any government official who fails to do his bidding. With such daring and few scruples, McCarthy can make himself the most powerful single figure in Congress.”

Three months later, he wrote: “The most subversive force in America today is Joe McCarthy. No one is so effectively importing alien conceptions into American government. No one is doing so much to damage the country’s prestige abroad. . . .If ‘subversion’ is to be met by deportation, then it is time to deport McCarthy back to Wisconsin.”

Not until 11 months later did Edward R. Murrow air his first report on McCarthy.

Today, online media critics and bloggers expose the bigotry and fallacy gushing forth from Fox News and talk radio and the Rev. Moon-owned Washington Times, long-edited by Wes Pruden Jr. They blog about MSM being stenographers to rightwing extremists. When racists in Little Rock were obstructing court-ordered school desegregation in 1958, Izzy was on the scene reporting: “A staff correspondent in Little Rock quoted the Reverend Wesley Pruden the segregationist leader, as saying, ‘The South will not accept this outrage, which a Communist-dominated government is trying to lay on us.’ This was my introduction to a regional journalism which prints such statements matter-of-factly.”

The Communist-dominated regime referred to by Pruden Sr. was headed by Eisenhower.

Izzy loved to tell the story of how he found — hiding in plain view in different editions of the New York Times — one-paragraph “shirrtail” wire stories indicating that our country’s first underground nuclear test in Nevada in 1957 was detected in Toronto, Rome and Tokyo. Months later, just as hawks in Washington were preparing to attack a test ban treaty with the Soviets on the basis that nuclear tests could not be detected more than 200 miles away, Izzy found a seismologist in the Commerce Department who told him the test had also been detected as far away as Alaska and Arkansas. Izzy’s reporting obstructed the government’s lie before it could get its shoes on.

Starting out in his teens, Izzy was a daily reporter, editor and columnist. After moving to D.C. in 1940 to become Washington editor of The Nation, he exposed U.S. corporations still doing business with Hitler’s Germany. He was one of the first to sound the alarm about the Nazi holocaust, referring in 1942 to “a murder of a people.” An anti-racist, he battled the all-white National Press Club over exclusion of black journalists.

Izzy’s cantankerousness and “hound-dog tenacity” — in the words of his biographer — would make even the most stubborn blogger blush. Although he was a lifelong progressive, his journalistic hallmark was independence: “I felt that party affiliation was incompatible with independent journalism.” His writings show deep admiration for Franklin Roosevelt, yet his article on FDR’s death criticized his “deplorable disrespect for the constitutional amenities” in resisting a reactionary Supreme Court that knocked down one New Deal bill after another.

He wrote books passionately supporting the birth of Israel, but strongly criticized it for mistreatment of Palestinians. He advocated peace and negotiations with the Soviet Union, while increasingly vocal in denouncing its rulers: “The worker [in Russia] is more exploited than in Western welfare states.”

He despised racists, but fought for their free speech rights, and everyone’s: “Once you put ifs and buts in the Bill of Rights, nobody’s civil liberties will be secure.” That he marched to his own drummer can be seen in his dispatch from the 1963 March on Washington for civil rights, in which he criticized “respectables” for muting “Negro militancy” into support of JFK’s inadequate program, and referred to Martin Luther King as “a little too saccharine for my taste.”

Born of immigrant parents, Izzy was an American patriot who worshipped the Bill of Rights: “You may think I am a red Jew son-of-a-bitch, but I’m keeping Thomas Jefferson alive.”

And he worshipped our country’s tradition of press freedom: “There are few countries in which you can spit in the eye of the government and get away with it. It’s not possible in Moscow.” But Izzy was never naïve about American traditions that threatened freedom, and he had a 5,000-page FBI spy file to prove it.

Today’s muckraking bloggers are often belittled for working from their homes, far removed from the corridors of power. Izzy worked out of his home. If he were alive, he’d be applauding the Josh Marshalls and other independents, urging: Keep your distance from power.

I made no claim to inside stuff. . . I tried to dig the truth out of hearings, official transcripts and government documents, and to be as accurate as possible. . . I felt like a guerilla warrior, swooping down in surprise attack on a stuffy bureaucracy where it least expected independent inquiry. The reporter assigned to specific beats like the State Department or the Pentagon for a wire service or a big daily newspaper soon finds himself a captive. State and Pentagon have large press relations forces whose job it is to herd the press and shape the news. There are many ways to punish a reporter who gets out of line. . . But a reporter covering the whole capitol on his own – particularly if he is his own employer — is immune from these pressures.

Imagine the obstacles Izzy faced — did I mention his impaired eyesight and hearing? — launching a weekly and finding an audience at the height of McCarthy’s witch hunts (even at $5 for an annual subscription).

Far fewer obstacles face today’s bloggers who seek to follow in Izzy’s footsteps — blessed as they are with relative freedom and this awesome research and outreach tool known as the Internet.

As these upstarts speak truth to power, I see Izzy Stone watching over them, from the heavens.

Year Of The Rat

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save Us!”…and I’ll look down, and whisper, “No”.:

-From the journal of Rorschach

The day when our shared journey has led us to that proverbial fork in the road has come and the choice that we all make will shape the collective destinies of millions including the children and grandchildren of people who read this. The masses of asses, the haters, the dumbed down, the sheeple and the television addicted drone inhabitants of this rotting empire of avarice and dumbness seek a savior to lead the world’s largest lemming colony to deliverance. They long for a modern day Moses to part the seas of slime, a Jesus to offer salvation and a miracle worker to heal the sores of the lepers and the festering open wounds of the casualties of the war on sanity.

That they are largely inflicted wounds though and it is far too late for any sort of a chance at reconciliation, healing or deliverance, this bitch is going and it is going to go big time, there really is no other way. Well let me clue you in on a little something, miracles are for suckers, rubes and fools of which there is no shortage in this wasted land, this empire of avarice where modern day pharaohs cavort, fornicating in piles of money in the temple of greed. There are no saviors, there is no hope, Superman is not going to fly in to save the day and in what is really the cruelest little joke of all every aspect our lives have been built on lies constructed to control, exploit and manipulate us like cattle to be fed on as vampires and then shipped off to the slaughterhouse when we have served our purpose. Just as the desperate and agonized pleas to the almighty went ignored in the Nazi death camps, in firebombed Japanese cities, in the Cambodian killing fields and in the torture cells of Latin America there will in the end be no salvation, there will only be suffering.

That much my friends is assured, our past inactions have dug the graves for our hopes, our aspirations and have already sold our unborn grandchildren as slaves to pay for those wonderful plasma screen televisions, those vacations and those McMansions that were oh so great until the day that the bill came due and the hidden charges were exacted. The only thing that is now imminent is that each current day will be better than the next one and each next day will be better than the next one after that. The future is darkness, slavery, torture and murder for the deal with the devil was long ago sealed with a slimy dripping French kiss and now the repo men are prowling our foreclosure ridden national neighborhoods to round up the souls.

The soul hunt will provide slim pickings though in this sordid and rotting post 9/11 wasteland for there is little left to be had as far as souls go, they have already been sucked out by the machine. We are a nation of fearful sheep, hateful lemmings, good Germans, TV lobotomized zombies and ‘me firsters’ seeking to consume, consume and then sprint to the vomitories so as to return to consume more. Husks of human beings shuffle about in huge air conditioned shopping malls trying to fill their god shaped holes with cheap sweatshop produced clothing and Chinese made consumer electronics, compact discs and those wonderful new Blu-ray movies that will have the trendy scrambling to replace their hundreds of DVDs with the newer and more expensive versions. As Mencken once said “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public” and every mall in this country should have that chiseled in stone on the façade an updated spin on “Arbeit macht frei” for the American Heimat. The shuffling, overweight throng a large percentage gibbering into cell phones about trivialities will shamble from chain store to food court to chain store shopping like the good little patriotic monkeys that they are. They will rack up all of this shit on their burgeoning ledgers of debt, purchased with plastic, the magnetic strips recording the usurious borrowing and ensuring that the passage to perdition has been booked. It is our national destiny.

It started with Ronald Reagan, the great plastic president rolled out by the oligarchy to sell the great story of that shining city on the hill, of national rejuvenation, of the grand star spangled restoration. After all, Vietnam and Watergate, stagflation, corrupt and failed institutions and a long overdue inward look at what ails us as a people was so seventies and such a bummer. Hell, it was time to kick ass and be proud to be Americans again and to bomb the living fuck out of anyone who dared to beg to differ. Maybe that is a bit of an inaccuracy though, it really didn’t begin with Reagan but rather metastasized, our character flaws had always been there which can be expected of a nation with the dirty little secret of genocide of the indigenous population although such foul truths were bred out of us or sanitized to the point where it was truly American to cheer for The Duke to put down them injuns, yee fucking hah! Reaganism was just the demarcation point from reality, Hannah Arendt wrote of the tactic of totalitarian regimes slowly constructing an alternate or parallel ‘reality’ which could then slowly be swapped out. The Reagan era was when America’s channels were changed and the seeds were germinating for the bastard birth borne as the end result of avarice, authoritarianism and denial getting down for a good ménage à trios that set us all on the path to 2008 and a nation of the damned. The four horsemen of the apocalypse in Reagan, George W. Bush, John Wayne and the Marlboro Man have already passed through and have cracked the seals to release the poison that has polluted our souls and stamped our ticket with historical infamy.

The time has arrived to make that nasty little choice between freedom or slavery, revolt or submission, liberty or subservience, acceptance or denial and life as a truly free and empowered human being or a half-life as a fearful broken dog condemned to a existence of nothing more than a revenue source for a dying system that demands nothing other than more, more, more. Americans have become drooling simpletons who prostate themselves before their beloved televisions, taking in the illusion sustaining next hit of E Crack, they fear everything, love nothing of true value, wallow in their delusions and proudly wear their willful ignorance as some sort of a badge of honor on their sleeves. We as a people have been largely reduced to cattle waiting to be chipped for the final plug into the control grid, subhuman husks shuffling around in shopping malls to fill that inner void that never seems close with consumer junk purchased with plastic, those marvelously conceived little magnetic strips recording the usurious debts and booking the passage to perdition as well as building records in massive databases that will soon be able to predict the future by examining trends, here comes pre-crime but why bother to worry about it, there is American Idol, ballgames and checks and balances because we are a country of greatness and destiny so help us God.

Too many out there are looking for the quick and easy fix, the happy ending and the one great savior who will make it all right again so that they can go right back to sleep. They gather at the foot of the mount to herald the coming of the messiah, whether it be the scheming queen and her vicious court of ax wielding thugs and high rolling financiers or the black Jesus the Democrats offer nothing more but the same snake oil in a shinier bottle and the lines have been forming for a run on the sales counter. The most naïve and delusional are bopping around on the so-called progressive blogs many of which have already been commandeered by party hacks as unpaid surrogates desperate for change at least but willing to walk straight into hell with their eyes wide open. They have learned nothing after the betrayal of the November 2006 Judas goats and they are being played as dupes once again.

The Democrats have played everyone for suckers, having shanked organized labor in the back, set up a sham system of super delegates to prevent anyone who would dare advocate for a return to the New Deal ideals rather than the chosen agenda of globalism, neoliberalism and perpetual war for perpetual peace. Those who would dare to stand for a strong middle class, American manufacturing might and a quiet patriotism not based on flag sucking and Duke Nukem foreign policy would never be allowed anywhere near the White House. The ideal new Democrat was Bill Clinton who took a chainsaw to social programs, backed sanctions that starved hundreds of thousands (at least) of Iraqi children, used the military against his own citizens at Waco, sold out the American worker with NAFTA, bombed the shit out of Bosnia, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, deregulated the communications industry and still found the time to slowly suck on cigars that he had inserted into Monica Lewinsky’s cooze in the White House. A real fucking Renaissance man indeed.

But a well kept and corrupt illusion of a political system is the intent of course, always has been and always will be. I quote from William Jefferson Clinton’s mentor Professor Carroll Quigley:

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.

So there you have it, the feeble minded deniers with their standard knee jerk flinging of pejoratives like “tin foil hatter” and “misogynist” and “anti Semite” are only acting as guardians for this foul system while they bask in the glow of its malignancy for whatever personal reasons that they may have. Be they Republicans their hatreds are sanctioned and their fears of the brown people and the queers are assuaged by the great protectors of all that is good with Amerika and they will be goddamned thrilled to bust the skulls, torture and intern in concentration camps any who dare to disagree. They bathe themselves in the homilies of Rush Limbaugh and a myriad of radical clerics who defend the warfare state as though they were lepers frolicking through the fountains at Lourdes and they find comfort in their shared revulsion of all who are different. The Democrats also do their part in defending the big lie of democracy in that they are as equally devoid of substance and lacking of anything resembling true American ideals as their more bellicose cohorts. The Democrats have gone from FDR and Harry Truman’s party that championed the working classes and valued human dignity to today’s empty vessel that has long ago sold their souls to the company store.

JFK got his head blown off for daring to step out of line and to buck the “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” and LBJ was a flawed man, instituting sweeping social reforms while leading this country into the charnel house that was Vietnam which to this day dominates our political discourse although with much subtlety. The Democrats are able to get away with this simply because they pander to a loose coalition of identity based groups, many of which hold views that are deeply offensive to many Americans whose ass backwardness overcomes the fact that they are often good hearted and well intentioned people who are easily manipulated by political charlatans. A good description of today’s jackass party was given in Situation FUBAR from libertarian Lew Rockwell’s website:

Thus, at the very moment when America needs the Democratic Party most, it is devouring itself with shocking blood-lust.

How did it come to this?

The answer to this riddle lies in the make-up of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is not a coherent entity, but is actually a coalition of identity-based “groups” (feminists, blacks, gays, etc.) united by only two things: a deep-seated sense of victimization, and a burning desire for government largesse and/or preferential treatment.

Aside from these two things, the various groups have little in common and don’t even particularly like one another. Their marriage is strictly one of convenience.

Certainly my friends nothing that you have seen here and throughout the blogosphere recently does anything but reinforce that theory. Meanwhile the wars go on and Iraqi
violence is up again.

The only certainty is that there will be more fear, war and oppression and quite possibly a system already strained to the breaking point will fracture completely. The global financial system is on the ropes due to the greed of the rapacious looters of Wall Street who are in the process of being bailed out by a Federal Reserve that is largely responsible for a large share of this nation’s fiscal woes and a propaganda campaign that is every bit the equivalent of the dog and pony show of General Petraeus’s “SURGE” is now being rolled out by Goldman Sachs lackey Henry Paulson to restore faith in our house of cards stock markets and get the suckers buying again. From all indications it is working with a massive rise of 400+ points in yesterday’s Dow Jones Industrial Average but don’t be fooled, the system is clogged with trillions of dollars in bad mortgage backed paper and the housing market is nowhere near bottom yet. Food prices are soaring largely due to the cash cow and political winner in the heartland great big pie in the sky that is ETHANOL which will contribute more to global starvation and a further erosion of household spending, this craze is like just another of those Ralph Kramden get rich quick schemes that always blows up but the candidates are milking it for all that they can get as they whore themselves across the plains and dine at feasts sponsored by Cargill and other agribusiness giants. We still have millions of uninsured, a decaying infrastructure, a mass exodus of American jobs and the roads built by American tax dollars are being leased to foreign corporations who can set their prices on tolls. And there is more of course but the cheap political games go on so why the fuck bother to go into a litany of all that has so obviously gone bad.

And all that far too many people on the current political left can talk about is who is being insufficiently politically correct, ideologically pure or whose minister happens to preach fire and brimstone against the sins of America. Hell, this is so self-destructive and fucked up and desperate that before long all of us rebels and naysayers may even start being denounced as anti-Americans and Al Qaeda operatives by those who are proud to declare themselves members of Team Democrat whose only desire other than to win that bag of baubles and jewels made of paste of political bragging rights is to keep the system that enables their ignorance and disingenuousness in place.

The sad and ugly truth is that none of the electoral politics matter anymore, it is our national destiny to be crucified upon a cross of ignorance for our own sins. For this there will be no absolution.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight is fixed
The poor stay poor and the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is sinking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybodys got this broken feeling
Like their momma or there dog just died
Everybodys hands are in their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

-Leonard Cohen

By Ed Encho

Interview With An Iconoclast: Part Two

Recently I agreed to participate in a study being done on the progressive blogosphere and it’s potential for social change, here is part two of this series of questions and answers.

Question: Are you an activist outside of the blog world? Or are the risks tied to being an activist and working in corporate America too great?

Ed Encho: Now I have actually served in the military and I will tell you that it has nothing on oppression and humiliation and the crushing of the human spirit that even comes close to corporate America. I have been burned very badly by the corporate world in the past and am very wary of it as well as and I hate to use this word respectful of the way that it can destroy lives of those who aren’t lining up at the Kool Aid trough behind whatever bullshit H.R. initiative happens to be the flavor of the week. One thing that I have learned during my time in Corporate America is the utter uselessness of anybody who practices the dark arts of Human Resources, a term that is about as dehumanizing as you could possibly imagine for a corporation’s internal intelligence department.

I totally hate the corporate system in all of it’s life sucking vileness so naturally since I do have a mortgage to pay I feel that it is a great risk to write about anything of substance under my real name other than pseudonyms, it is my guess that you will find a lot of this out there with the other people that you survey. The majority of my screeds even the ones that are not expressly critical of the looter capitalist gulag system contain something that could be used as an example of something that I could be hauled into an office and made to face disciplinary procedures for potentially offending anyone. I certainly don’t share my blog postings with coworkers out of a simple matter of survival, I understand that it is a predatory environment in which in order to survive (other than being a completely broken subservient blob of easily controlled protoplasm) that one has to understand the basic laws of the jungle and number one is to maintain a low profile.

The only sort of activism that would really matter in one of these protected by law monstrosities and the bullshit of being an “artificial person” would be to work to organize the employees into a union and that is never going to happen given the multi million dollar union busting cottage industry in modern anti-labor America. Corporations are very authoritarian institutions where free thinking is forbidden and nonconformity is what gets somebody labeled as “weird” and shunned by fellow employees and management. In most corporations, obedience is pretty much browbeaten into an employee from day one and in the larger ones there are reinforcing systems of propaganda that one is constantly subjected to. Obedience and conformity are not only not accepted but management cultivates networks of snitches and spies to ensure that any unity against the toxic corporate environment can be nipped in the bud immediately and any potential bad seeds can be purged from the organism itself.

Anyway, I have been in the belly of the beast for far too long now and if I chose to do so could write exclusively about the corporate gulag system and never be lacking for material. I have had some thoughts of going into a few different corporations under false pretenses like Barbara Ehrenreich did with her great “Nickle and Dimed” but given my current situation that really couldn’t happen unless I was cut loose in some sort of restructuring plot but if and when that happens I very well may do that and start a blog (or maybe a larger organization) about the general fucking over that workers get these days by these unaccountable behemoths. I suppose that I would be more into actual activism if not for the fear of losing my job and therefore my primary source of income. While the particular corporation that I work for is pretty out front that they don’t seek to influence political views I just can’t possibly think that they would dig some of the things that I have written over the years or be too understanding if my picture happens to appear in the local paper in connection with say anti-globalization protests, especially not when they are offshoring jobs by the thousands to keep their stock price up. For the time being it would probably be in my best interests to keep my activities confined to the blogosphere and to continue to do so under a pseudonym because no matter what the shills for the “ownership society” might say about the general health of the economy I read the foreign news and fully understand the instability of the entire financial system so why push my luck right?

I have in the past tried working with some of the local activist groups but there is such a lack of focus on any particular issue that it’s really to me just a waste of time. Take for example our antiwar group, well they end up getting hijacked to start appearing as counter protestors to offset the haters that some radical local church sends out to harass the crowds at our annual gay pride day parade. Now while I really do not feel that any sort of discrimination should be tolerated and brownshirts bearing false Christian messages of hate and persecution are despicable my point is that the antiwar group showing up at the gay pride parade distracts from what they really need to be doing and that is protesting the illegal wars of aggression. And really, you just have to acknowledge that gay rights isn’t exactly something that is widely accepted by large segments of the population who could otherwise be allies. These phony cultural sideshow issues are meant to divide and I feel that it is idiotic for any serious activist group to get sucked into these sort of things but that is what you find out there in the liberal/progressive community that is so different from the right – organization and cohesiveness.

Now if you want to read something that identifies this to some degree and that is extremely worthwhile I would recommend Scott Ritter’s “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement” that has some very good suggestions on what the activist community should really be doing rather than wandering right into the traps that have been set for them. I also would recommend “Rules For Radicals” by Saul Alinsky as well as this wonderful 1972 Playboy interview with Alinsky that I ran across because some of this stuff that he talks about is hilarious and classic, like the great O’Hare Airport “Shit In” which you will have to read the interview to get the gist of it. Saul Alinsky is a great role model for activists and it is a shame that he is not given more credit in regards to our history but that is the point isn’t it? Just do the revisionist thing to erase the contributions of the entire labor and progressive movements that laid it all on the line so that the ignorant sheep milling about their cubicle stockyards can enjoy their 40 hour work weeks. I don’t have the exact date but Amy Goodman just recently aired an interview with the legendary Studs Terkel where he told a story of how he berated two yuppies for their ignorance on those who fought to ensure that they could be smug and not made to work 80-100 hours a week, it was beautiful. I am sure that the transcript is on the Democracy Now website. Americans are so damned ignorant of history, that is the great shame of our times.

Question: How do you see yourself fitting into the PB movement/netroots? What role do you play?

Ed Encho: What I really would like to start to do would be to work at trying to not only write more pieces that have crossover appeal but to actively work to the best of my ability to bridge the gap between progressives/liberals and libertarians, independents and principled conservatives who are all getting screwed by the same system but have yet to realize that we are really all on the same side. In the beginning of my internet experience I really went after Bush and the Republicans tooth, fang and nail which was justified considering the damage that they were doing to this country with their flag wrapped, cross carrying brand of fascism. Now that is ok but sooner or later you really limit yourself to preaching to the choir and not really changing any minds or bringing in new people to a larger movement. Now with the betrayal of the Democrats after November 2006 I have been bringing a good deal of heat down on them that don’t seem to be quite so funny to some of the people who used to love attacking the right but now there is quite obviously a double standard. Actually I think that anybody who is doing this now and there a lot of people out there who really understand the true foulness of the entire system is much more honest than those who still cling to the traditional paradigm which really exists only to divide us all along lines other than class which is the true issue here especially now that the damage to the mythical American Dream is being realized due to massive exportation of jobs, an economy based only on debt, soulless consumerism and the need to have all of those things on television that never quite fill the emptiness in the souls of consumers (god I hate that word it is so fucking inhuman) whose money is needed to be sucked out to ensure that the system has grist for the mill.

I do want to add that television is in my opinion the worst possible thing for the American mind as well as the best possible tool for the system in that it creates passivity, false sense of reality, the sort of insecurity and lack of self esteem that is essential for the consumer society and the application of control. I am not going to go into this here because I am telling you, some of the research that I have seen into television and mind control (aka advertising) just blows me away, the effects on the mind by the electronic crackpipe right down to the proper flicker patterns that would make a viewer more susceptible to persuasion is analyzed by some very brilliant people who make a hell of lot of money and it is very frightening. Maybe I’ll try to get involved in spreading awareness on that at some point but there really are so many aspects of this society that really need to be exposed for what they are.

I think that as far as PB activism goes the best thing for me to do is to try to teach and create awareness that is able to reach a much wider audience than just progressives. I do see a sort of an unwillingness in a lot of places to take a look at any aspect of say the libertarian point of view because to many of the politically correct liberals and progressives anything short of acceptance of certain ideas at least to the point where a common ground can be found is treated as heresy and elicits very nasty responses. For example I wrote some favorable things about Ron Paul while I personally disagree with much of what he stands for and the intensity of the responses in the form of pure vitriol was pretty amazing, and this was from people who pride themselves on being open minded and like to brag about it. I now realize that whether someone identifies themselves as a liberal or a die hard conservative there are certain areas that are just treated as though those who have a particular belief as the earthly personification of Satan.

Now I haven’t always been like this but have gradually evolved to the point where I just don’t unequivocally hate anymore but that is because I read and listen to views from both the traditional left, right and center, of course I eliminate the obvious party shills like the Rush Limbaugh’s and Randi Rhodes’s of the world along with others like them because they are just like cheerleaders for their team and everyone else can go fuck themselves as far as they are concerned. I make it a habit to read many magazines in addition to the mainstream propaganda rags like Newsweek and Time that are really only parroting and spinning the talking points of the establishment. I also read on a regular bais Harpers, Mother Jones, The Nation, Pat Buchanan’s The American Conservative among others and even on occasion The New American which is the official magazine of the fucking John Birch Society for Christ’s sake so you can’t possibly tell me that I am not open to a diverse range of ideas. That being said I do have to say one thing for the JBS in that they have pretty much been much more outspoken and defensive over the erosion of our civil liberties and the lousy trade pacts that have beggared this country than the Democrats have over the course of the last few years. I read all of this and I listen to probably 6-8 hours a day of talk radio including lectures from the far left to the far right and to clue everybody in on a little secret there is a hell of a lot of truth out there on the fringes for both sides because it is where those who dare to call it like it is are marginalized. I just take all of this stuff and kind of synthesize it and then mix it into whatever I happen to feel like writing about which really varies from day to day and is wholly based on how I happen to feel at the time.

So to sum it up I see myself in the future acting more as a bit of a critic of the system itself as well as the wars, the worsening financial situation and the true atrocities in how this society very cleverly uses the American brand name to dupe people into doing things that are against their own self interests and result in a lot of death, sorrow and human misery both here in The Homeland (there is that word again) and abroad in the lands that we spread our murderous form of disaster capitalism and plundering.

Question: You stated “I have in the past tried working with some of the local activist groups but there is such a lack of focus on any particular issue that it’s really to me just a waste of time. Take for example our antiwar group, well they end up getting hijacked to start appearing as counter protestors to offset the haters that some radical local church sends out to harass the crowds at our annual gay pride day parade. Now while I really do not feel that any sort of discrimination should be tolerated and brownshirts bearing false Christian messages of hate and persecution are despicable my point is that the antiwar group showing up at the gay pride parade distracts from what they really need to be doing and that is protesting the illegal wars of aggression. And really, you just have to acknowledge that gay rights isn’t exactly something that is widely accepted by large segments of the population who could otherwise be allies. These phony cultural sideshow issues are meant to divide and I feel that it is idiotic for any serious activist group to get sucked into these sort of things but that is what you find out there in the liberal/progressive community that is so different from the right – organization and cohesiveness.”

Do you feel that the PB has this focus? Or is it just broad enough that it can spread itself out to many of these issues?

Ed Encho: It is big and can address many issues simultaneously but it is not to this point yet organized enough to hone in on the one or two major issues of great importance, dare I say existential importance with a laser like precision and bring enough heat on a consistent basis to push for change. The thing with liberals and progressives is that by nature they are really more open and free thinking so of course they largely all have their own issues which while important are really meaningless unless the creeping fascism can be stopped. If we are unable to restore the civil liberties that have been stolen away from us during the Bush years then nothing else really matters. The organization and focus of the right (at least in areas not in the blogosphere) is what is going to be needed to undo the damage that has already been done let alone stop the slide into the abyss.

Right now you can legally be disappeared and held in a secret prison indefinitely without anybody even knowing what happened to you, you have no right of habeas corpus, you can be tortured and then you can be labeled as a ‘terrorist’ under some vague definition that is deliberately that way in order for a wide net to be cast for dissidents and critics of the state. Now you also have this incredibly anti-American piece of legislation that was initiated by Rep. Jane Harman who is somebody who has shall I say questionable priorities and associations called H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed overwhelmingly last year which really makes every one who dissents potential terrorists subject to those wonderful things that were legitimized at Gitmo. The Senate version (S.1955) is in front of none other than Joe Lieberman’s committee so what do you think is going to happen there? This legislation also sets up a committee to determine what sort of literature would be considered to be ‘terrorist propaganda’. This is very scary stuff and it really proves that the entire phony war on terror is total bullshit, it is a war against the American people. At the same time you have Michael Chertoff out there saying that regular household chemicals can be used by potential ‘terrorists’ to produce IED’s.

What do you have under your sink? What is in your bookcase?

So what I am trying to get at is that there are far bigger fish to fry than electoral politics, divisive social issues and the myriad of minutiae that passes for discourse. We are in very serious trouble right now because this entire infrastructure for a police state is being slowly erected right in front of use bit by bit, it’s like the saying that “if you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water the frog will immediately jump out but if you put that same frog in a pot of warm water and very incrementally increase the temperature the frog will sit there until it cooks to death” that frog is us. The damage to this country undertaken by this rogue administration, it’s neocon policy makers and the with the totally feckless acquiescence of the Democratic party is nothing short of stunning. Every day you will see more and more police brutality over minor infractions, it’s like the role model for law enforcement is Jack Bauer. You also have this huge paramilitary force of mercenaries for hire called Blackwater that is unaccountable to anybody and has already been used on our domestic streets in New Orleans. You also have the recent tweaks to Continuity of Government consolidating all power in the executive office in the event that a declaration of martial law becomes necessary, the legalization of spying, the essential voiding of the Posse Comitatus (that prohibits the use of the military against civilians that has been in effect since right after the Civil War) in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, the construction of detention facilities by Halliburton subsidiary KBR for undefined “special programs” and any other number of very serious steps to construct a fascist system of control. Naomi Wolf wrote a good piece on this Fascist America In 10 Easy Steps that I would recommend.

So no, I don’t feel that the PB has much focus on things that are imperative for our very survival as a free society and I am not even getting into the wars and the economy in my response to this question. The only way that this all can be stopped if it can be or at least slowed down is to draw in libertarians, paleocons and other concerned Americans into a unified movement. All of the rest of it just isn’t going to matter unless the police state infrastructure can be dismantled (at best) or brought under some very tough laws that once again restore our Constitutional protections.

To Be Continued…

Interview With An Iconoclast: Part One

Recently I agreed to participate in sociological study on the progressive blogosphere being conducted by a representative from a University of higher learning. I appreciate the interest in my input and just for the hell of it all I am going to post it here in segments so that readers can get an idea on where I personally am coming from.
Question: Tell me a little about yourself and how/why you got involved with blogging?
Ed Encho: Sure here we go, I am a forty something year old white male with a college degree in business and a meaningless and ultimately futile job in the soul sucking sea of despair and ennui that is America’s corporate gulag system. I would say that I am lower middle class for what that’s worth now that that particular group has been on the losing end of Reagan’s war on America for so long now and any illusions that I ever had of getting ahead have now just become a certain desperation to hold onto what I do have and to keep from losing it all, a distinct possibility that could occur with a sudden job loss, accident or illness. There are millions of people just like me out there in America today at least in reference to demographics. Now with the country having been totally fucked up by nearly eight years of the insane and incompetent Bush regime and not much in the way of help on the way due to the thorough corruption of every institution in this land I am just trying to keep my head above water in what is increasingly becoming something similar to a third world country, a poverty ridden police state only with a much more ignorant and I mean willfully ignorant population.

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.

Question: You bring up what I see as a very interesting an important topic in your comments on Daily Kos. When a lot of progressive blogs speak they refer to the progressive blogosphere (PB) as a unified force for good, but before your comments I have seen obvious splits and internal debate (often aimed at Kos). With that in mind, my next question is really 2 parts.

1) Do you see the PB as a social movement into itself? or is it just a publicity arm for a social movement?

Ed Encho: That is really a difficult question to answer because in my opinion it is both right now and it needs to move from public relations functions to a real results driven movement that can actually accomplish real social change. In the early days I thought that the PB was really scaring the hell out of the establishment because it leveled the playing field somewhat with the corporatists and their pocket media. The whole Howard Dean thing where he just blew the living shit out of everybody with his ability to raise money and appeal to a massive amount of support online served to send a serious message to the establishment which is exactly why he had to be destroyed by that farcical over sampled scream thing that was played 24/7 and still to this day is invoked by his enemies. You see in modern America assassinations are no longer done with bullets but through the media, it’s a lot more sophisticated and ultimately serves the purpose of propping up the system as there are no martyrs. Dean has always been an enemy of the status quo since he harnessed the power of the internet and the Clintonistas and the corporate hacks of the DLC are already sharpening their knives over the Florida and Michigan fiascos. He is certainly to be skinned alive and scapegoated for the whole sordid primary mess when it was actually the Clinton’s bagman Terry McAuliffe that had tried to frontload it all to favor Hillary Clinton. Dean has always been about reforming the system and he should receive more credit for the 2006 Democratic wins and I must say the margin would have been even larger were it not for Rahm Emanuel deliberately keeping funding from more progressive candidates. Dean’s is the scalp that will be taken when the time comes though which is a shame.

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.

Question: 2) How unified is the PB as a movement?

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.

To Be Continued