Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

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Protest

June 19, 2007

 

This was my Memorial Day protest – still flying outside my NH home.  Note the Betsy Ross flag.

I’m reading Paul Revere’s Ride, by David Hackett Fischer – a pretty good summary of the events of the outbreak of the Am. Rev.

A quote from his description of the battle at the North Bridge at Concord, April 19, 1775:

Below them [the New England militia], the British soldiers were ordered to fall back across the bridge.  Several began to pull up the wooden planking.  Major John Buttrick shouted a warning to leave the bridge alone.  This was their bridge!  Buttrick’s home was just behind him.  Standing on his own land that had belonged to his family since 1638, he turned to his minutemen and said, “if we were all of his mind he would drive them away from the bridge, they should not tear that up,” Amos Barrett remembered, “We all said we would go.”  The New England men were thus consulted – not commanded – on the great question before them.

[…]

The Regulars by the bridge turned and looked up the hill in amazement at the men coming toward them.  They never imagined that these “country people” would dare to march against the King’s troops in formation, and were astonished by their order and discipline.  One British soldier wrote that the Yankee militia “advanced with the greatest regularity”…. Slowly the British Regulars began to understand that this was no rural rabble confronting them.

Caught in a trap between two long files of militiamen who were relentlessly firing their muskets,

[T]he Regulars suddenly turned and ran for their lives.  It was a rare spectacle in military history.  A picked force of British infantry, famed for its indomitable courage on many a field of battle, was broken by a band of American militia.  British Ensign Lister wrote candidly, “The weight of their fire was such that we was obliged to give way, then run with the greatest precipitance.”

The British light infantry fled pell-mell back toward Concord center, defying their officers and abandoning their wounded, who were left to drag themselves painfully away.

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Tiny Shrieking Potatoes

February 14, 2007

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I do enjoy Marisacat.  Her trenchant analysis of the current political-blog wars is unsurpassed, as is her way with words: 

Let me make this brief… One reason for mega meta smegma smack arounds all over the place (sorry, I am hors de classe – and the Blahg boyz can pronounce that any way they wish) is money.  Over the years, Kos and his related, afllilated sites, baby Agony Aunt sites (they know shit about politics but they do skin rip in public, regularly), the tied together box car sites, etc., have proven – in the finance area – to be small, smaller, ever smaller, downright tiny (but shrieking!) potatoes. 

They have not raised the bucks.  Not really.  (MoveOn raised over 240 million in the ‘06 cycle, ran national ads.) 

And now Kos, and his online relatives, is a potatoe casserole, dropped on the floor in a public transit area.

About it.

Reminds me of that great song by the Austin Lounge Lizards, “Pizza on the Ground”:

There’s a pizza on the ground
Straight out of the oven
Lying face down in the dirt
Just like me without your lovin’

“Tiny shrieking potatoes” is a good description of the entire blogosphere, actually.  Also a great band name.

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You Say You Want a Revolution….

February 14, 2007

Chris Bowers of MyDD:

Throughout most of my life, I have been enamored by the idea of movements and revolutions. During the decade I spent studying literature, I was always most excited by experimental, avant-grade [sic] work that took place during times of political and social upheaval (you can never read enough early twentieth century artistic manifestoes–fortunately, there is no shortage of them). When I studied critical theory and philosophy, I was always most interested in work that challenged established norms of government, the self, perception and knowledge with radical, but rigorous, new ideas (I was obsessed with Michel Foucault at multiple times during my career in academia). History has always been a favorite hobby of mine, and my favorite topics are invariably revolutions: American, French, Russian, Irish, Indian, Cuban, Eastern European–you name it. Also, no matter how many presidential candidates, members of congress, Democratic Party leaders, or other national figures I meet and talk with, my favorite moments in political campaigns are always large rallies (preferably those organized by volunteers, or those convened to celebrate an electoral victory). I want to be there at the moment when history happens, when the world changes, when consciousness shifts, and when the people rise up and throw off the shackles of the elite, the status quo, and the comfortable. I have wanted that for a long time. Before that happens, I want to be an active member of the small clique, coterie or circle that identified the possibility for massive change and precipitated its manifestation. Whether it is a revolution of the sort Ben Franklin or Tristan Tzara would identify, I want in. As William Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude about witnessing the world change up close during the French Revolution “bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” Man, do I ever envy young Wordsworth. I want working for a candidate to give me a taste of the revolutionary feeling for which I long, and I want my regular job to do the same thing. For a long time, artistic and intellectual endeavors provided me with that spark, but when they ceased doing so I moved onto a career where that feeling was quickly re-establishing itself: online progressive activism. If I am willing to upend my entire life to search for that feeling, the least I should expect from the candidates I support most fervently is that working for them will allow me to sense it.

Excellent satire – a perfect depiction of the naive, self-obsessed young poseur who thinks that revolution is “way kewl”, a big rush, kind of like extreme snowboarding, except with power so you can boss people around (being in a “small clique” in charge of everything – how kewl is that??), and he’s qualified – nay, entitled – to take some of the fun and games for his ownself.  Grab that brass ring, dude!  To the barricades!  But first let’s stop at a Starbucks and pick up a couple Double Shot Espressos – we need the buzz, man, it’s all about the feelings, the sensation….

The style is right on target, too – all the leaden narcissism of a college application essay.  A brilliant stroke by the author.

And this is a scream:

(I was obsessed with Michel Foucault at multiple times during my career in academia)

A little overboard with the stereotype here, but it’s so hilarious, it’s OK.

Too bad this piece is for real.

As the fabulous IOZ writes, accompanied by an aptly chosen historical photo:

The dork wants power, and he wants to ride a wave of popular whoop-dee-doo into a office with a view, a satellite feed, and two secretaries. Fuck the revolution, kiddo; work on your resume.

Yes, the dork wants power, but he also wants thrills.  He’s clear about the fact that he doesn’t really care what the principles are behind “movements and revolutions” – he just likes ’em!  Loves ’em, in fact! 

I find it dismaying that snools like this are in the vanguard of the “netroots” and so-called “people-powered politics”.

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Excellent article by “irishwitch”

January 9, 2007

up on DKos: 

Contraceptive Mentality: Dispatches from the War on Women and Sexuality

Read it.  And the comments.  The tone of some of the male commenters is interesting.

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“Snools” and “Daddy’s Little Titterers”

January 9, 2007

marydaly.jpg

Mary Daly, with her labrys

One of the best writers I’ve encountered -both  in feminist philosophy, and in the world outside that “ghetto” – is Mary Daly, radical lesbian feminist theologian and activist.  She hits the nail on the head on so many issues, and does it with fiery eloquence.  She’s a true Supervixen.  I’ll provide a couple of quotes from her works today.   The passages in bold are my emphasis.

The first quote introduces the word “snool”, a marvelously useful word:

As Wanderlusty/Wonderlusty women weave our way Weirdward into the Realms of Pure Lust we find we must fight off the Fixers/Tricksters, those poisonous presences whose program is to freeze/frustrate our Movement.  These are the sovereigns of the sadostate, which can also be called the State of Boredom.  For it is infinitely boring to be blocked from the movement of/toward one’s innately ordained happiness.[…]

The compulsion to bore everywhere bores Lusty women.  The institutions of Boredom – its media, its schools, its industries, its amusements, its religion, its governments, its culture – are programmed to control Viragos, to keep us within the confines of bore-ocracy, using bore-ocratic details and mazes.  Weird women snore at the brothers’ Bored Meetings, seeing through the lecherous leaders as Chairmen of the Bored. […]

Given these conditions of Stag-Nation, Elemental Shrews and Furies urgently experience the need for Re-Naming/Re-Claiming our stolen Flames, undoing the promethean theft of Fire, retrieving our ravaged desire.

The would-be preventers of this retrieval of gynergy, the ghosts/ghouls that want our movement dead, are snools.  The noun snool (Scottish) means “a cringing person”.  It means also “a tame, abject, or mean-spirited person” (OED).  In sadosociety, snools rule, and snools are the rule.  The dual personalities of these personae – the cast of characters governing and legitimizing bore-ocracy – are unmasked by definitions of the verb snool.  This means, on the one hand, “to reduce to submission: COW, BULLY,” and on the other hand, “CRINGE, COWER.”  Snools are sadism and masochism combined, the stereotypic saints and heroes of the sadostate.

[…]

Snools appear and re-appear in various forms. […] Among the henchmen required for the smooth operation of fixocracy are the cocks, danglers, pricks, and flashers who keep girls and women intimidated.  Necessary also are the fakes, framers, frauds and hucksters whose job is to manufacture and spread delusions.  Heavier work is assumed by rakes, hacks, rippers and plug-uglies.  Plug-uglies are among the grosser snoolish incarnations.  Plug-ugly is defined as “a member of a gang of disorderly ruffians often active in political pressure and intimidation.” […] Plug-uglies, while creating the illusion that they are always giving something, are in fact drainers of energy whose plugged-in fittings close women’s circuits, sapping the flow of gynergetic currents so that these cannot circulate within/among women.

Such, then, are the rulers/snoolers of snooldom, the place/time where the air is filled with the crowing of cocks, the joking of jocks, the droning of clones, the sniveling of snookers and snudges, the noisy parades and processions of prickers.  Such is cockocracy/jockocracy, the State of supranational, supernatural erections.  This is a world made to the image of its makers, a chip off the old blocks/cocks, who are worshipped by the fraternal faithless as god the flasher, god the stud, and god the wholly hoax.

Wayward, wanton women, having been warned of the snoolish snares, proceed forthwith on our Wonderlusting/Wisdomweaving Quest.

From Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy.

She also addresses the problem of all those women in society who are programmed to obey and cater to men, and to attack any women who challenge the Snoolish Status Quo.  I call them the “Little Sisters in the Frat House”.  Daly writes about this problem at length in her books, but here’s a brief quote that gives the gist:

Hag-ographers perceive the hilarious hypocrisy of “his” history.  At first this may be difficult, for when the whole is hypocrisy, the parts may not initially appear untrue.  To put it another way, when everything is bizarre, nothing seems bizarre.  Hags are women who struggle to see connections.  Hags risk a great deal – if necessary, everything – knowing that there is only Nothing to lose.  Hags may rage and roar, but they do not titter.

Webster’s defines titter as follows: “to give vent to laughter one is seeking to suppress: laugh lightly or in a subdued manner: laugh in a nervous, affected, or restrained manner, especially at a high pitch and with short catches of the voice [emphasis Daly’s].”  Self-loathing ladies titter; Hags and Harpies roar.  Fembots titter at themselves when Daddy turns the switch.  They totter when he pulls the string.  They titter especially at the spinning of Spinsters, whom they have been trained to see as dizzy dames.  Daddy’s Little Titterers try to intimidate women struggling for greatness.  This is what they are made for and paid for.  There is only one taboo for titterers: they must never laugh seriously at Father – only at his jokes.

from Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism.

The aware Supervixen will learn to recognize these Snools and Titterers in her life.  She will stay away from them as much as possible.  She will fend them off and build up her shields against them.  They are “psychic vampires” intent on sucking her energies and destroying her.  And they are all over – especially on the Internet. 

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Be careful out there.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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“Shitting on the Rules” at Daily Kos

January 7, 2007

I can’t say I’m surprised.  “Amazed” is more like it – stunned by the extraordinary lack of character and ethics on the part of the Daily Kos higher-ups.

I’ve discovered that Daily Kos is an environment in which you can be banned for making a rude remark to an admin, but if someone posts quotes from a private email message without the author’s permission, NOTHING HAPPENS.  Because as long as you’re in the good graces of the Ministry of Kos, and are trying to attack someone who isn’t, it’s OK to do whatever the fuck you want – even if it violates one of the most basic rules of netiquette.

See here, the commenter “Land of Enchantment” has posted a quote from an email of mine to him.  I was strenuously objecting to his baldfaced lie that I “outed” someone.

I’ve notified several of the admins, but as yet, nothing has happened.

This is a clear violation of the Daily Kos FAQ:

5.1 NEVER EVER POST PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE IN PUBLIC
This is a very old rule of “netiquette.” If someone sends you a private email, then it is considered the height of discourtesy to post it in public. This can be exacerbated by the fact that it is usually done out of context, cherry-picked or even deliberately altered.
In some cases, you may post something that you, yourself have written, but care should be taken that it does not reflect what was written to you (such as a reply that either includes or references a private correspondence sent to you).

My goodness, what happened to the roving packs of bimbo Troll Police who were browbeating people for such trivial offenses as mentioning other users’ names in the titles of diaries?  Or using “bad words” in the titles?

TU’s are supposed to monitor this site. (2+ / 1-)

Recommended by:
clonecone, cowgirl
Trollrated by:
leftilicious

That’s what I do. I care about this community and I want it to function well. Frankly…if you want to ignore your responsibilities…fine, go ahead. But I’m tired of people shitting on the rules and bringing the level of discourse here to garbage.

by Elise on Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 09:01:08 AM PST

How can it have escaped their notice that a basic rule of their own FAQ has been broken (note: NOT a “guideline”, allowing for use of one’s own judgment, but a hard-and-fast rule), fundamental principles of netiquette and privacy are being breached, and possibly even copyright infringement taking place?  Private emails are covered by copyright laws.

I don’t happen to care about the copyright, in this case, because I’m more than happy to have my statements published publicly on Daily Kos for everyone to read.  I would have said them to Land of Enchantment in public if my voice on that blog had not been silenced.  (Is there any doubt that the only reason he brings up the “outing” accusation now is because I’m prevented from responding with the truth?)

What I care about is the principle.

Now, imagine if I had posted on Daily Kos a private email message from someone – say, for example, the email I received from Hunter assuring me that he knew I was honest and not a “troll”.  What would have happened?  Would that have been ignored, or would it have been grounds for the Enforcers to run me off the site?

Take a wild guess.

It’s amusing to see their site descend ever further into mendacious mindlessness.  As Marisacat called it yesterday: “A Superbowl of nothingness”.  An excellent description.

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The Inconvenient Truth

January 6, 2007

It’s been interesting observing the roiling soup over at Daily Kos, the accusations and character assassinations flying back and forth, and all the different brawls.  There are the brawls instigated by small-fry bullies trying to “make their bones” and impress the admins, and there are the long-standing grudge matches between Major Playahs who, like Japanese movie monsters, occasionally take a break from terrorizing the general population to spend some quality time breathing fire at each other.

It’s a very similar feeling to that I once experienced while sitting in the upper deck at a home opener at Yankee Stadium.  Not being a Yankees fan, I didn’t realize until that day that it was a tradition to get insanely drunk at the home opener and start fights with fellow fans.  The preferred method appeared to be to throw popcorn and/or beer down on people a few rows below you, and then scream obscenities at them when they turned around to see what the hell was happening.  If you did this right, you could engineer quite a considerable free-for-all.

As I looked down from my lofty perch, I saw knots of combatants coalescing all throughout the stadium, the knots growing larger and finally spinning out of control while blue-suited security guards slowly waded towards them.  There was a game taking place on the diamond, but nobody seemed to care about it – they were too engrossed in their own personal fights. 

Leaving the stadium afterwards, walking down the long ramp toward the street, I was crushed in a mass with thousands of drunken, belligerent men, some of whom were so trashed they could hardly walk, and all of them uttering garbled cries that sounded like the bellowing of cattle going to the slaughter. 

I resolved then and there never to go to Yankee Stadium again, under any circumstances.

Watching Daily Kos from afar, I see many similarities to that day at the stadium.  It’s truly a toxic environment, wrapped up in its own narcissistic brutality and unsuited to any positive interaction at all, much less achieving a positive change in the world.  I was planning to write a detailed account of the events leading up to my banning, with a description of the double standards and favoritism, the ways the “rules” are selectively enforced by a small band of thuggish semi-morons, and the way that lying, deception and manipulation permeate the entire site down from the very top of the hierarchy.  This is an excellent example, from the Wizard of Kos himself:

One of the problems we’ve had in the past when people step out of bounds on the site, behavior-wise, is that our choice of responses was limited. We could ban, which was extreme, we could give a public warning, but being publicly called out sometimes elicits the exact opposite kind of response. And as for sending emails, we don’t demand current and working email addresses from our users for privacy reasons.

Now, we have a warning system in place. If someone steps out of bounds (being an asshole in the comments, copyright violation, etc.), an admin can lock down the user’s account. A warning shows up at the top of the page explaining the transgression. The user has to click a button acknowledging he or she has read the warning before being given access to the site.

That sounds good, but the inconvenient truth is that the admins don’t give a rat’s ass about this, at least where it affects people they dislike.  When I was banned, I received no such warning.  Neither did two other recently-banned Kossacks, whose only offense appeared to be that they said a few things critical of DKos Sacred Cows.  On the other hand, two other posters who made a puerile sexist remark about a female front pager were quickly banned, and then, later on, quietly reinstated.  These posters must have kissed the proper asses in the proper way.

As I said, I planned to write in detail about all this, but the longer I’ve been out of the Daily Kos environment, the less I give a shit about it.  Like the day at Yankee Stadium, the immediate horror and disgust of living through it is past, leaving it a merely trivial episode, good for a laugh.

I only hope that none of the Big Swinging Snools at Daily Kos ever get any real-life power in our government, because if they do, we’re all fucked.

And now, on to bigger, better Supervixenish things.  Happy Kosless New Year!