Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Good riddance to 2007.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November

The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

This day marks the 402nd anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot, whose most famous of the conspirators Guy Fawkes serves as inspiration for the film (and earlier graphic novel) V for Vendetta. Great film by the way - quite a tonic for these increasingly dystopian times.

A couple V-related videos for your consideration, starting with the pirate televised speech V gives early on in the film:

Then, check this short video, "Remember":

What do you want the world to remember? How will you celebrate? Someone over at Political Fleshfeast has some words that I endorse:
Today, like every Guy Fawkes day, I celebrate the plot. The bravery of the plot, the tragedy of the martyr, and the beauty of people willing to do anything to stand by their beliefs. Without a doubt, qualities that are sorely missing in America today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Amiri Baraka sez

Who make money from war
Who make dough from fear and lies
Who want the world like it is
Who want the world to be ruled by imperialism and national oppression and terror
violence, and hunger and poverty.

Who is the ruler of Hell?
Who is the most powerful

Who you know ever
Seen God?

But everybody seen
The Devil

Like an Owl exploding
In your life in your brain in your self
Like an Owl who know the devil
All night, all day if you listen, Like an Owl
Exploding in fire. We hear the questions rise
In terrible flame like the whistle of a crazy dog

Like the acid vomit of the fire of Hell
Who and Who and WHO (+) who who ^
Whoooo and Whooooooooooooooooooooo!
nerdified link

Download Somebody Blew Up America here.

This marks the 100th post at Mo Betta META. Given that so many of our contributors over the last year or so dig on poetry, Baraka's words seemed fitting. Peace and love, y'all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

There's a new kid in town...

Political Fleshfeast

Flashback to Flesh Feast, the movie:

Flesh Feast (released in 1970, though shot in 1967) is an American horror film that features Veronica Lake in her final screen performance. Lake plays Dr. Elaine Frederick, a mad scientist working on developing maggots that prefer human flesh, while her services are used to make a clone of Adolf Hitler.

She cooperates with the plan to resurrect Hitler as a way of exacting revenge for the death of her parents, political prisoners executed in a concentration camp. While convincing everyone the flesh-eating maggots are for regeneration research, she simply wants to throw them in the resurrected Hitler's face, which she does.

That seems somewhat relevant.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Israel-Palestine Open Thread

The title should say it all, but just in case... Bring your highlights, lowlights, mementos, scars and anything else regarding the situation there and post away.

I have no idea what to expect of such a thread, but I have heard too many stories of the repressive atmosphere around this debate on DK. It's time for an alternative to that. So let's give it a go.

Friday, August 10, 2007

thereisnospoon - your problem is obvious

This guy is what passes for "progressive" these days. If he's going to be at the vanguard of the next "progressive revolution" (whatever the fuck that's supposed to be), that's one revolution I'll be avoiding like Ebola.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The cycle of netroots life

This cycle repeats every two years, and is even more reliable than Old Faithful.

This public service announcement brought to you by Democracy in Action and IOZ.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dickie Spoons, Great White Liberal Hope

Newly placed in the glass case today, may I present for your viewing pleasure phallus waggus megamouth (subspecies: prog), colloquially known as Rape Apologist, Liberal Male Version

Honestly, when will I learn not to click on Daily Kos when I'm eating, or digesting, for that matter ? Or hell, on an empty stomach but hoping to eat something today ?


The oh-so-charming poster thereisnospoon loftily explains to women that he understands so much more about what "real" rape is than we women do ourselves, silly overwrought booze-addled creatures that we are.

Sometimes cliche is the only reasonable response to purveyors of same: Dear Dickie Spoon, with "liberal/progressive allies" like you, who needs adversaries ?

By coincidence, I found the latest Carnival Against Sexual Violence newly available today. It happened en route to sharing Dickie Spoons' all-too-common-in-blogland (and IRL) bullshit with a feminist blogger who posts regularly about sexual violence and why fighting it in this culture is such an uphill battle.

You lose some, you win some.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Markos Story Continues to Circulate

The Angryindian sez:
The Outing of a Republican Mole

Establishment liberal blog DailyKos has been outed by a member of the AfroSpear as an operative of the republican party.

Is it true? If the information provided is accurate, it totally destroys the republican mythology of the liberal-dominated media. In other words, perhaps this is why Pelosi and the democrat crew the American public sent to the hill were able to be trusted by the progressive and anti-war public, the DailyKos reported them as the sole alternative to the Bush administration. The very same people who refuse to use their constitutional powers to stop the madness. The DailyKos also refuses to accept commentary concerning 911 that refutes the Bush administration's assertions. Go figure. - The Angryindian
The rest of the post is from one of Francis Holland's Kos posts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Quotable: Meta-Edition

Madman in the Marketplace over at Marisacat's blog:
Like Robert Neville, we are LEGEND, and while we stalk the virtual land no Donklephant, or their thralls, fanboys and blogmaids, are safe.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Orange Letter #163

An "Open Letter" To Daily Kos

Swiped more or less intact from this thread at Marisacat's blog. lucid wrote it. I repost it with A) minor snips and B) his permission.

"I’ve given pause to what I would say to this “community”, if I ever saw fit to comment again. What meta would I nitpick? Which posters would I call out and link to, showing them to be the asshole DP whips that they are? Which cult of personality is the worst? Which ideological cult is the most offensive?

"But why even do that? Most of you believe and defend with savage juvenility the idea that getting any Democrat elected will somehow cure all the ills of society. Most of you are young or naive enough in your ‘politically aware’ lives to forget about the fact that Clinton accomplished more for right wing politics than any Republican could ever have done before him. The gutting of welfare, hey, couldn’t be done under Reagan. Reinstatement of the federal death penalty… a no go there too, so long as a Republican was in office. The gutting of FCC ownership laws with respect to monopoly in specific localities? Hey, no Republican could achieve that either. First Amendment zones? Clinton. Pre-emptive war… Kosovo anyone?

"You bask in a fantastic memory that a Democrat in the White House somehow made the world a better place. It might have been better in this county for the upper middle class and marginally better for the poor, but it sucked just as equally for the rest of the world. We still fought cold and hot wars. We passed the most regressive trade legislation the world has ever seen that expropriated, exploited and killed more people than any of the shitty covert proxy wars we’d fought before.

The system is broken. There isn’t a democracy here.

The machine politicians to whom you contribute will do nothing to speak for the people.

"They only speak for those who show up at their $5,000/plate fundraising dinners. And they don’t give a shit about the “netroots” save the lip service of a staffer diary here and there & the buying of advertisements. That means they really care.

"I had jumped the ship. Then I gave it an ear again, for a time. But when I encountered more of the same, ‘shaming’, party whipping, rejection of anti-capitalist ideas, the complete disavowal of history, I jumped the ship again.

"You live in a fantasy. You haven’t the foresight to recognize the disintegration of everything you hold dear, though it drips away with every passing second."

(Find more from him at, Lucid Culture --what else ?!-- ;), regarding politics, local bands and other things.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Showdown by the Bay: Sheehan vs. Pelosi

You may have read that Cindy Sheehan is considering running against current House Speaker Nancy "Impeachment Is Off The Table" Pelosi in next year's election. First, a quick snip of the AssPress article - courtesy of Marisacat:
Sheehan Considers Challenge to Pelosi
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — Cindy Sheehan, the soldier’s mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to seek House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional seat unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.
Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That’s when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.
Not too surprisingly, since Ms. Sheehan has been known to frequent Daily Kos, she announced her intentions over there, with the predictable result: a lot of partisan Democrat whining, including the usual dross about her writing a "troll diary," and of course the usual effort by current and former DK front-pagers to show her the door.

What has happened is that the Dems couldn't "contain" Ms. Sheehan. Let's go back to two years ago, when Stan Goff said (circa August 2005):
The Democrats are already grooming a few 2008 candidates, including the execrable Hillary Rodham Clinton who has stated her desire to beef up the war against Southwest Asia. Let's not forget that her husband presided over an Iraqi holocaust that George W. Bush is still trying to match. The Republicans are secure for now with their white nationalist popular base. An active and increasingly militant left is a more immediate threat to the Democrats ­ who have prospered from Republican reaction for decades now by capturing social bases that feel they have nowhere else to go. That dilemma is real, but it is also predicated on the notion that to "go there" we need to contain ourselves in electoralism and pluralist policy fights that are engineered by corporations and NGOs.
That's why Sheehan and others who propose the radical option of simply leaving Iraq are now being surrounded by the friendly faces of "progressives" who will try and redirect this newfound mobilization along the acceptable policy-debate paths.
Something I said from around the same time:

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. And that, as I see it is the real problem with the Dems. The "base" that the party takes for granted has no clue as to what the Dem party actually stands for. Folks periodically ask me what the Dems believe, and I have to say in all honesty that God only knows, and I'm sure even He is a bit puzzled. What we do know is that the Dem party leadership falls hook, line, and sinker for whatever b.s. the White House demands for fear of being labeled "obstructionist," "unpatriotic," and possibly "losing next year's election." That isn't exactly an inspiring approach to representative governing.
Cindy Sheehan has done something that the Dems have largely failed to do with regard to Iraq: she asked the question "why are we there?" If the Dems want to capitalize on the increasing dissatisfaction with the war, they would be well advised to ride the wave of dissent rather than try to contain it. Adding more troops (impractical) and looking for ways to exit with "dignity" (a term that in this context smells of American machismo) aren't going to cut it. Besides, to take an a line or two from an old David Bowie tune, "dignity is valuable, but our lives are valuable too." Tell it straight up: it was the wrong war, at the wrong time, fought for the wrong reasons; and it's high time to get the hell out and stop making even more of a mess of things in the region. There are no good reasons for Americans or Iraqis to keep dying. The party might generate some cross words from the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters of the world as a result, but that would have happened any way. In the process, the Dems might even gain a bit of the respect and trust that they've lost over the last couple decades. Otherwise, folks like me (just one of the "base") will keep on eying the third party scene for a better deal.
I'm sure at some point at one of the various gated community blogs I predicted that Cindy Sheehan's days at Daily Kos would be numbered; once it became readily apparent that Ms. Sheehan was not going to toe a Democrat Party line, she'd become expendable. The rumblings that she'd worn out her welcome at Big Orange were there for a while - now it's out in the open. In truth, the anti-war movement was useful to Dems only to the extent that anti-war voters might help the party get Congressional majorities and perhaps successfully recapture the White House. Once we stop being ATM machines for the Dems and various affiliated groups (e.g., MoveOn), then that bunch of goons simply doesn't want to know us.

Certainly I don't delude myself to think that Sheehan has a snowball's chance in Death Valley of unseating Pelosi. One: it's not entirely clear what her campaign will be about (beyond the Iraq War). Two: even if Sheehan gets it together as far as a coherent candidacy goes, there are more than enough Vichy "progressives" willing to give Pelosi sufficient cover to win in 2008. If nothing else, a Sheehan candidacy against Pelosi would serve to highlight Pelosi's many embarrassing failures as a so-called leader - in and of itself that would be valuable.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Markos Family Jewels: Curiouser and Curiouser

A few days ago I highlighted Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga's fondness for the CIA (the dude - at bare minimum - interviewed for a position there, and is on record as holding a favorable attitude toward the organization notorious for its human rights record). Well, now we find that Markos' own family history is not quite as he would portray it. Francis Holland has a few points to ponder and some questions of his own. If nothing else, we get a more complete picture of one of the most prominent partisan Democrat bloggers and would-be power players, including perhaps some insight into why DailyKos operates in such an authoritarian manner and the positions that the blog appears to favor regarding the political direction of the US.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Poor Blogger's Foundation?

So, remember the other day when I wrote about [employable] bloggers complaining about their own poverty and what I thought about that? (Of course you do. You all read everything I write all the time and commit it to memory. I know. There will be a quiz later). Well, anyway, it appears Susie at Suburban Guerilla has been thinking about that issue too and has actually taken some steps to do something about it:

Jim’s death has made me realize that, despite the yes, millions of dollars and untold hours of volunteer support the left blogosphere has thrown the way of the Democratic party, they will never, ever, ever give us anything more than a pat on the back. “Isn’t that cute? They think they’re special.”

I don’t know what it is about liberal groups whose leaders assume you should live on air while you give your life to the cause. Has it even occurred to them how much harder it is to get a “regular” job when you’re publicly and politically active? I guess not. After all, they’re already employed.

I'm sorry. There were some Democratic bloggers who were actually expecting money from the party or "liberal groups"? Ummm, what?

They don’t really understand that the blogosphere is effective because it works like a swarm of bees. Yes, we have some queen bees, but you need the entire hive stinging from every direction in order to make it work. And to do that, you need to take care of the hive.

And they - the powers that be - Susie, have discovered that the worker bees are more than willing to do their stinging for free. So what else is there for them to understand?

Jim wasn’t unusual. I can name at least a dozen well-known bloggers off the top of my head that are in dire straits financially. I know several with health conditions that could become critical at any moment, and like me, they’re living without health insurance, the Sword of Damocles dangling over their heads.

And you know what? I'm all for donating to bloggers who are unable to work because they are sick. Note what I said in my previous post to the "I want sympathy because I blog and I'm a poor but employable" person, however. Although you noted above that your political activism may make it difficult for you in the real job world, that certainly depends on the type of job you're hoping to land, doesn't it? Not all employers care about your politics and, afaik, they're not even supposed to ask about your leanings. (That's how it works here in Canada anyway.)

So Susie has a plan:

And so I am talking to lawyers about putting together a non-profit to help progressive bloggers. Not, as some groups offer, to help them organize for the Democratic party - to help them personally. I plan to recruit every blogger I can for the effort. One local blogger is working right now to put together a concert benefit with a big name.

Ask the obvious question. I'll wait.

Exactly: whom will that concert benefit? Who will that non-profit group benefit? Which "progressive bloggers"? And why? What's the criteria to receive donations?

If you can't answer those questions now, you have a huge problem already.

In closing, let me leave you with a comment from that blog in response to Susie's post that makes another obvious point:

# frank costa Says:
July 5th, 2007 at 8:23 pm

Your assumption [is] that sitting at a keyboard and sharing your insights, opinions, and surfing discoveries is akin to some sort of hero status.

I was a politicial and social acttivist on the trail of the NWO decades before keyboard kommandos came into being. I’ve got a mouthful of bad teeth, I live in an RV and I am dissed by just about every yuppie “activist” I run into.

While I am in support of your passion you have to take a reality pilll…the easiest thing in the world regarding “activism” is to sit a keyboard and rant about stuff. The hardest is to get off one’s butt and take it to the source.

Only 100,000 of us nationwide marched against the war a while back, which is about one tenth of the bloggers on the web. We all know what’s wrong and what has to be done and daily doses of incremental info isn’t necessary and obviously not very effective.

Get a million activists to show up in DC demanding impeachment and not respect the “free speech” zones or get permits, or even say please…that’s activism, not web chat.

That’s my nickle.

What he said.

Sidebar: Wasn't Bowers talking about a similar foundation or PAC to help poor bloggers as well? What happened to that? Why is it that the PA bloggers seem to be the ones bringing this issue up all of the time? No jobs there? High cost of living? Something in the water?

Hey! Here's an idea: maybe the PA bloggers could just all rent one big house and share living expenses. On the other hand, maybe that's too much of a "hippie commune" type of idea for that bunch. They do seem fairly conservative. I can't really picture BooMan braiding Atrios' hair (thankfully).

Update: There's also a discussion about this at Crooks and Liars.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Armando vs Meteor Blades

And here, we come across that odd snarly beast known as Armando in his natural state: fur ruffled, claws out, teeth bared. Armando aka BTD - who often stalks his prey in the dark of nite (or broad daylight for that matter...) with the fury of a rabid lefty netroots crusader hot on the trail of the latest blasphemer.

An abdication of responsibility (3.00 / 1)

This comment from Meteor Baldes is outrageous:

It's up to us to create a groundswell ... (0 / 0)

...of support. And up to us who believe impeachment is the right move to persuade people who can actually vote to begin impeachment proceedings. When the proceedings started against Richard Nixon in October 1973, only 39% of Americans supported impeachment or resignation, even though only 27% approved of the job he was doing.

You may be right that impeachment proceedings will not happen. Without proceedings, no impeachment. They certainly won't happen without the Democratic votes on the Judiciary Committee. Discussing impeachment will continue whether you like it or not. Personally, I don't think we need to have any more philosophical discussion about whether it's a good idea or not, or whether it's possible. We're split on that and we've all pretty much had our say. No need for further flamewars.

So now, it's up to those of us who believe impeachment is possible, and the right thing, to see if we can make it happen. If we can't, then you can tell us all to shut up.

Can we hold out this long?

by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 07:13:19 AM PDT

Meteor Blades has used the Front Page of Daily Kos to forward as harmful a proposal as one could imagine at this time and he does not want to discuss the outrageousness of his actions.

His irresponsibility will forward and harmful discussion instead of moving forward on ending the Iraq Debacle. And he thinks we should not discuss his harmful actions.

Excuse me Meteor Blades. What you are doing is extremely wrong and extremely irresponsible. You have abused your trust as a FPer at daily kso by not considering these issues and instead have assuaged your vainglorious wishes.

Leaders do not behave in this way. Leaders weigh the consequences of their actions. You should be ashamed.

by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 10:26:24 AM EST

You have to give him points for using "vainglorious", at least. That's a mighty fancy-schmancy kind of word. (Not to mention the minimal number of typos - quite remarkable, that.)

Oh, but wait, Armando wasn't done yet and had to follow up his own comment with 2 more:

Here's what I am saying (3.00 / 1)

MEteor Blades should write DIARIES saying this if he believes it is meaningful.

But he shoulod not post it on the FP of daily kos.

He owes the Netroots to consider what the perception and result of his actions will be when he does so.

by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 10:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]


As a former FPer (3.00 / 1)

I can tell you that it was well understood what types of issues should merit careful consideration before writng a FP post taking a posiiton on them.

Of course there are a myriad of important issues where FPers would disagree. Those were open for debate and the outside world consequences were largely minimal.

Impeachment is not one of those issues. It is too hot and too potentially harmful for a FPer to just throw out outlandish ill thought out posts as Meteor Blades did.

He should express his opinion on THAt topic in the diaries, not on the FP.

by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 11:04:27 AM EST

Yes, know your place MB, damnit. Armando will have justice or thy punishment shall be swift! Off with your FP privileges, traitor! Send him to the tower.

MB fights back (and is offered some battle tactics to escape the tower by yours truly since BooMan has given up his dreams of conquest and strategerizing because he's an adult now.)

As you are quite well aware ... (none / 0)

...having been a former Front Pager, FPers have a free hand - except when it comes to raising money or violating the FAQs - to write what we want. We represent ourselves only when we write unless we sign onto a piece as a group, which has happened only once IIRC.

by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 11:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

There, MB tried the cautious, reasoned approach which we all know drives the beast Armando mad (especially the use of the word "former" - oooo, ouch - like a sword through an enlarged liver).

Re: As you are quite well aware ... (3.00 / 1)

there are and were certain issues where FPers RIGHTLY chose to express their views IN DIARIES understnaidng that the perception of a FP post is quite different from that of a diary.

by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 11:51:35 AM EST

Yes MB, what will the neighbours think?? My god man - think of the children! Think of the intertubes! Think of the donors! Think of the beer money! We may never be able to Drink Liberally™ again!!

Does MB end up back in the tower? Will Armando get his blood?

Want more?

This exciting sneak preview clip of Armando Gone Wild (Again) brought to you by Not Exactly Crashing the Gates While Banging Our Heads Against the Wall and Each Other.

Grab your popcorn! You won't want to miss a moment of this action-packed thriller.

Monday, July 02, 2007

That Super-Duper Secret Townhouse List

Via Daniel Schuman at Mother Jones:

Given that the first rule of Townhouse is that there is no Townhouse, it was quite a challenge to get even one person to talk about the list on record (though I spoke to several people about the list who did not want to be quoted, even anonymously). It's my understanding that any list member who speaks about it publicly, or even acknowledges that it exists, risks immediate expulsion from the list. Incidentally, that's precisely what happened to Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing, who was unceremoniously dumped from Townhouse after my article came out. O’Connor had this to say about Townhouse: “It's fucking Skull and Bones, man. The very secretive, behind-closed-doors nature of it is anathema to everything that blogging is supposed to be about: accountability. We are supposed to be showing the way, not skulking around behind closed doors, coming up with strategies. Those are the people who we're trying to fight. I know about 'the real world' and all that shit. But we're the idealists, aren't we?"

Yeah, well that's all fine and dandy MSOC, but the fact is that you still chose to stay on the "fucking Skull and Bones, man" list anyway. If this was about blogger ethics, you should have quit long ago. And exactly which ideals were you holding up while you were on that list if you were so damn opposed to it?

Now, onto this tidbit (which I found courtesy of OP&G):

(Fun fact: According to an email I obtained, sent out to Townhouse members by Stoller in March, the list is now a commercial enterprise. Subscriptions * run $60 per year for individual subscribers and up to $1000 for organizations, the proceeds of which will go to pay Stoller’s rent and health care costs, according to his message.)

About these boyz who cry poverty - I recall Bowers doing just that at dkos a while ago (poor him) - like we're supposed to care. If you can't make a living blogging, get another job or support yourself by flipping burgers while you blog in your spare time. It's as simple as that.

I recently had a private conversation with someone who felt I should have "sympathy" for the fact that they were a poor blogger. Yeah. I don't think so. You, poor blogger, are able to actually work out there in the real world (unlike me and others - who don't complain about not enhancing our bank accounts dramatically from blogging, btw). You choose poverty and expect "sympathy" as if you're Dog's gift to the blogging world? Get stuffed.

There's a glass ceiling in the American so-called left-wing blogosphere which you helped create. So if you keep banging your head on it, buy your own bandaids - or at least be extremely grateful to those who do pass on some cash to you to lower those costs instead of expecting "sympathy".

Anyway, if it's true that Stoller is begging for cash for "rent" and "health care costs" then how did he pay for his recent one week vacation in Hawaii? If that's poverty, sign me up.

And, once again, what is so secret about blogging and issues that an exclusive list like Townhouse needs to exist? Whatever talking points they're throwing out through that list make for a very monolithic and boring read throughout the BBBs because they all cover the same damn things. When was the last time you read a FP piece on any of these blogs that was so utterly compelling and unique that it left you in awe wanting more? Or when did you last see a true piece of investigative journalism on any of the big blogs that broke the BBB mold? If Townhouse acts as some sort of Democratic party newswire which its members then rely on for content, it is doing a huge disservice to blog readers who might as well just read the Democratic Party's web site instead.

Then again, for all I know, maybe they just exchange chess game tips and ring tones. Since no one wants to speak up about it - as if they'll be summarily hanged for treason - I guess we just don't know, do we?

As for this:

One of the questions O'Connor raised when we spoke, an interesting one I thought, is what will become of the once independent bloggers, the idealists, now that they’ve worked their way into the inner sanctum of the Democratic machine. Will they change it for the better from the inside, or simply become a new generation of win-at-any-cost political operatives. It’s a question worth asking, but I don’t think anyone has any answer just yet.

Wanna bet, Schulman?

Related: Schulman's prior piece about the blogosphere, Meet the New Bosses. (Note to Schulman: Daily Kos is not a "liberal" blog.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kos on the CIA:

I don’t think it’s a very partisan thing to want a stable world. And even if you’re protecting American interests, I mean that can get ugly at times, but generally speaking I think their hearts in the right place. As an organization their heart is in the right place. I’ve never had any problem with the CIA. I’d have no problem working for them . .
Found at Francis Holland's blog, with my emphasis added. Note that the title is a tad misleading - Kos spent six months interviewing for a CIA job (a bit of a difference between that and actually working for CIA). Yeah, their hearts are in the right place, all right! And this dude is the presumed mouthpiece of today's "progressive" Democrats.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Gentle Folly

This is a critical moment for all of us. (4+ / 0-)

And the work is gentle. Many people whom we will need as our allies have been heavily invested in resisting impeachment to this point.

I have found much more success on the front page with laying out the case and leaving the conclusion obvious but unstated -- or at least very gently stated.

There has been no shortage of blunter statements, and no shortage of people making them. But if you follow the tracks back, you will find that some of those voices making those statements were brought along both by circumstances on the ground, and by my having laid the case out in ways they ultimately could not overcome.

It hasn't worked for everyone. But it has been more successful among resisters than has blunt force, to date.

Waste more of your day at The Next Hurrah.

by Kagro X on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 09:21:47 AM PDT

He is, of course, talking about making the case for impeachment in his diary about the latest subpoenas announced by the Dems.

And, speaking of subpoenas and their "power":

WASHINGTON - President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers' demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Bush's attorney told Congress the White House would not turn over subpoenaed documents for former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. Congressional panels want the documents for their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department, including complaints of undue political influence.

The Democratic chairmen of the two committees seeking the documents accused Bush of stonewalling and disdain for the law, and said they would press forward with enforcing the subpoenas.
Thursday was the deadline for surrendering the documents. The White House also made clear that Miers and Taylor would not testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas, which were issued June 13. The stalemate could end up with House and Senate contempt citations and a battle in federal court over separation of powers.

All fine and good but how long will that take? Bush and Cheney could be history by the time a federal court case is decided - if one is even brought forward by the Dems.

But, go gently with the talk of impeachment.

As one commenter said over at dkos, he has "all the time in the world."

The thing is, America doesn't.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

June 26th was Torture Awareness Day: Where were the Big Box Blogs?

One wonders. Finding front-page content (even diaries for that matter) of relevance regarding one of the major human rights crises of our times would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Let's see. MyDD? Silence. Just polls, polls, and more polls.

My Left Wing? One can hear the sound of crickets chirping.

Daily Kos? Barely a peep. The closest we get to anything from the front-pagers is a brief mention of one of Valtin's diaries (hell, might as well go to his blog which should be a must-read to begin with).

Booman Tribune? Be thankful for Steven D., who does at least cover some anti-torture news; and a slightly belated post from Larry Johnson.

I might quote something from a blogger called Death and the Maiden - a new (as of this month) anti-torture blog - that pretty well sums things up:
What? You didn't know? You haven't heard?
Yeah. How 'bout that, huh?
Today's the tenth "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture." It was designated by the UN General Assembly as an annual commemoration of the ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture (20 years ago today). But apparently not too many, including the United Nations, give a rat's ass. You won't hear about it from the mainstream media, and the UN didn't even bother to put it on this year's calendar.
Disappeared. The International Day in Support of Desaparecidos is now itself a desaparecido.
Almost disappeared, that is. The good folks at Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition have events scheduled in Washington DC. Take a look at their web page and sign on to their petition to repeal the 2006 Military Commissions Act.
And after you do that, start making every day Torture Awareness Day in your local community. Check the links in the sidebar of this blog. They have lots of good ideas to help you get started. Don't let torture awareness slide down the chupadero.
Just sayin'.


As one who's name in on the list of contributers to this blog, who remembers well what it once was, and who considered it's founder, Ductape, a personal friend, I am not ok with letting this blog die a long, lingering, messy death.

This was never intended to be some online back alley where individuals drag each other to beat each other up. It once had the purpose of bringing all of us who didn't "fit well " on the mainstream blogs together, so we could discuss and learn from meta issues and how things are out there for all of us who are not easily accepted elsewhere..(us "others") I followed friends here who had been kicked out of other places, because I valued them so much, (whether I always agreed with them or not) and did not want to lose them, ever.

Thats not what this blog is anymore and it hasn't been that for a long time now. To see it deteriorate as it has feels very disrespectful (in my eyes) to it's absent founder, and to it's original worthy purpose. For me, it's just plain painful to watch this.

James and others have tried to keep it going, but it seems to me Mo Betta has completed the purpose for which it was conceived and it's time to let it go now with some dignity, and maybe even the honor of sharing of some of the good memories of what it's meant to those of us who were here in it's good days, when Ductape was still with us.

I hope those still on the masthead will respond to this, and others who once cared about this blog will share their feelings also, so we can make some kind of shared decision together. To perfectly frank, I have very little hope that we, as a group are likely to be able to work closely enough together to make this blog a viable useful place of discourse at this point.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More Donkle Cluelessness

Starting with this news blurb:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new Democratic-led Congress is drawing the ire of voters upset with its failure to quickly deliver on a promise to end the Iraq war.

This is reflected in polls that show Congress -- plagued by partisan bickering mostly about the war -- at one of its lowest approval ratings in a decade. Surveys find only about one in four Americans approves of it.

"I understand their disappointment," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "We raised the bar too high."


"If Democrats fail to reverse course, the dynamics in the 2008 elections may shift significantly, allowing Republicans to run as the party of change ... only two years after Democrats successfully campaigned on that same theme," Senate Republican leaders told their ranks in a letter last week.
My emphasis added. Now of course, there are some Donkle partisans who indeed seem shocked (shocked, I tell ya) that the Dems could be swept into majorities in the House and Senate (the former with a solid majority, the latter with a much more tenuous grip on power) and then sit on their arses rather than do something substantive to end the Iraq debacle, etc. A lot of it amounts to many of the Dems being on the same page as the Rethugs when it comes to the maintenance of empire, but I digress. Get past the shock and outrage that a number of disappointed voters are expressing via the internet tubes and we can find a number of die-hard partisans to tell us that everything will be just peachy-keen.

Example 1:
67. I say this is BS

The approval rating of Congress is down because the Republic [sic] senators are standing in the way of ending the war and real progress. Republic [sic] legislators act as if they are not involved in this support of the Iraq occupation, as if they hadn't been involved in rubber stamping all things bush for years. Rove managed to rig just enough senate seats to split the senate and keep the "Do Nothing Congress" as a shield.

If we got all these republic [sic] politicians out of the way, we could make some progress. Republic politicians are standing in the way of progress and are trying to blame Democratic leaders for their rubber stamp of all things bush.
Yeah, it's all the Rethugs' fault for the Dimocrat cave-in on the supplemental war funding bill, the failure to get a no-confidence vote on AG Gonzo, the failure to impeach the Lush/Zany regime, etc.

Example 2:
54. I thought I'd heard everything in the twilight zone of disillusionment...

"If Democrats fail to reverse course, the dynamics in the 2008 elections may shift significantly, allowing Republicans to run as the party of change ... only two years after Democrats successfully campaigned on that same theme," Senate Republican leaders told their ranks in a letter last week.

Give those "Senate Republican leaders" a big dose of reality.

I'm disgusted as anyone that the boy king of corruption has been given a free ride, but the wrath should be also be directed at these "Senate Republican leaders" and their rubber-stamping yes-men for the boy king. Get real.

(Please, Al Gore & Wes Clark: step up to the plate; I've got lots of enthusiasm bottled up with nowhere to go.)
This commenter is slightly more sane, but still all blame on the GOP, and then some wishful thinking that Al Gore and war criminal Wes Clark will "step up to the plate"?

Example 3:
8. bullshit

the rubber stamp republicans are blocking everything.
Keep telling yourself that, kiddo.

Example 4:
2. I'm withholding judgment until September

when Stupid has to come begging for his WAH again. If the Democrats don't point to the unmet benchmarks from May as proof that the war is an unwinnable fiasco and insist on a timetable for withdrawal, they will be finished. They will lose in 2008.

It doesn't matter how many times Stupid vetoes those timetables.

They have to be sent and the Democrats have to insist upon them.

If they don't, people will stay home in 2008 and the fundies will control another election.
At least this one gets that disillusioned voters will sit out 2008. Whether enough sit out to actually cost a Donkle victory at the polls is another matter, as I suspect a substantial number of the currently "disappointed" will go on believing that if only their party has larger majorities that suddenly we'll get a more "progressive" domestic and foreign policy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Part of the problem

This diary led to this exchange (among many others). Among the Manichean Donkle mindguards is Elise, who sez:
There are rules at this site. If you can't support Democrats getting elected- find a site that will agree with your silliness and go there.
The thing of it is, as several commentors noted, there is a strong undercurrent of frustration with the Donkle status quo. Sweeping that frustration under the rug, preventing an honest discussion of that frustration, will not make it go away. Rather it will lead to some very surprised Big Orange denizens come November 2008 when election results don't quite break their way.

Just sayin'.

Hat tip to outofwater at Marisacat's blog.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Inane commentary of the week award

John Arivosis of Americablog deserves the honor:
Dennis Kucinich and Gravel are just annoying.
Sez you. Any thoughts about what either one of them had to say? Didn't think so.
Yeah, I get it, some of you like Kucinich. And that's nice. Joe likes his dog Boomer too.
Patronize much? Again, any thoughts on the content of Kucinich's remarks at the debate?
It doesn't mean he should be on stage with the real candidates. Kucinich has zero chance of winning, as does Gravel - they shouldn't be on the stage taking time from the serious candidates.
On the contrary - Kucinich and Gravel are arguably the only serious candidates there (in terms of saying something). Oh wait - John means "serious" in terms of raising gobs of corporate cash and playing "emperor" should any of those goons actually get "elected." My bad.
Though, oddly, and disturbingly, a number of us at our debate party last night found ourselves agreeing with Gravel repeatedly. It was creepy.
Like, oh my gawd! Like, the next thing you know, we might be agreeing with the person who called orange the new pink (and whoever said that was like totally deranged). Ewww.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

kos: You broke it, you own it

Wednesday: The "mayor" was upset.

I've got to say, of all the things that get me down about this job, there's nothing worse than the people who want to quit the game and take their ball home every time we face a setback. It's as if every word I've ever written about this being a long-term battle means zero. As if it's instant gratification or nothing.
The conservative movement spent three decades building up their machine and completing the takeover of their party. And some of you want to quit after one setback?

That's embarrassing.

Buck up. We still haven't completely lost this Iraq supplemental battle. And if we do, instead of crying and taking your ball home, resolve to fight even harder. We owe it to our troops in Iraq, to our families, to our neighbors, to ourselves.

Shorter kos: My party, right or wrong.

Shaming is such a handy tool. Who cares about the Dems caving, backing down, capitulating, surrendering, abandoning what they were elected to do? How dare anyone stand on principle and refuse to support them. "Buck up." kos has feelings and you're embarassing him.

Thursday: After realizing that his party really is full of a bunch of sellouts and spineless Bush appeasers - many of which his glorified ATM machine helped elect.

So who's fault is it we have this turkey on our hands?

The most obvious culprit are the Republicans, who'd rather keep seeing our troops die in the Iraqi desert than admit their Dear Leader has made a blunder of epic proportion. But that's too easy. We won control of Congress last year. Congressional Republicans should be irrelevant.

So it's on to the Democrats, who appear to have learned nothing from the last few elections, and continue to cling to outdated CW like, "Voters think Democrats are weak because we don't want to bomb the shit out of other countries."

Voters think Democrats are weak -- and I'm in this camp -- because if Democrats don't fight for what they believe in, then what will they fight for? How can we trust them to do what's right when they'll jump at shadows?

I guess that's what happens when you get out of that pity party you were having in your head the day before when you decided to take it out on everybody else except the elected Democrats and finally smell the fucking coffee.

Oh, but wait...

So yeah, it's the Democrats fault. But do we blame the whole caucus, or do we blame the Blue Dog/DLC/Third Way Dems who held this supplemental hostage? From simple deduction (looking at the votes on the Warner and Feingold-Red [sic] amendments), the culprits are:


Conspicuously absent: Webb, Tester, Sherrod Brown... kos-approved (tm) Blue Dogs.

There are many individual Democrats who are heroically fighting against this war, and will vote against this blank check Capitulation Bill. But they've been let down by their leadership. I don't pretend to understand the legislative process, but last time I checked, the leadership has broad powers to control what legislation reaches the floor for a vote.

Gee. You'd think that after having a political blog for a few years, he'd actually take some time to learn about the legislative process? And those heroic Dems are those you continue to marginalize, kos. Does the name Kucinich ring a bell? The most you could bring yourself to say about him was "ugh".

kos: finally jumping on the obvious bandwagon, a day late and a dollar short after realizing that people aren't buying his "it's just about winning" game anymore.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

So 80% of blogs contain "offensive" content

As an editorial response, Mo Betta META points our readers to the following audio presentation: The Fucking Moon, by The Evolution Control Committee.

Or, if you prefer, here's a video via YouTube:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New features at Mo Betta META

We're now using Haloscan for comments. It has some features that make it better than the old Blogger comment feature. We've also effectively frozen the ability to comment via Blogger, although anything that's already been posted will remain displayed for posterity (and there was much rejoicing!). For shits and giggles, we've also got a trackback link for each post just in case you feel like you can't live without us knowing what you're saying on your blogs.

Otherwise, it's your dime. Spill it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

kos v Feminism

kos's original post about Kathy Sierra

"progressive" blogosphere outrage ensues

kos's non-apology

"progressive" blogosphere response ensues

one bloggers sums the scenario up quite succinctly

kos apologists fall in line and defend their man


(Mysogynists not welcome. We've heard your crap 1000 times over. It's old, stale, pointless and comes from a place of fear. Go hang out with this guy instead or just do us all a favour and seek intensive therapy.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Alternative to What, Exactly ?

[This here's a post from an online feminist pal of long-standing: Nelsolidarida. She hails from England, is an Anarchist, a vegan, and also keeps an avenging army of magical ducks. So don't cross her. She also likes to knit garments and household goods featuring skulls and Deadly Nightshade. I am re-posting this with a few tiny edits and with her express permission, because I love it. A lot of it relates well to online discussion though her main focus in the piece is on IRL events and interactions. Her home page can be found at Solidarida, of course. Enjoy !-- ms_xeno ]

Ok, so i'm out of the 'no blogging while supposed to be working' phase and into a 'maybe this will give me some writing practice and wake my brain up' phase. Don't know how long it will last...

Anyway, 'alternative'. What does it mean? (feel free to contribute here) I don't know what my 'alternative' credentials are, or if i have any. I certainly don't look alternative most of the time. But i'm not convinced i fit the evil, capitalist, tory, tankist, stalinist pig-dog mould that seems to be, if you like, the alternative to alternative.

Know what? I don't hate activists. If you're reading this and i speak to you, bother to engage with you at any level, ever agree with you on anything, etc, then chances are i don't hate you. I don't hate most individual activists, or most of the movements/campaigns i have any common ground with. I don't even hate animal rights activists. I just happen to be around them more and have more scope to be annoyed. Plus, my feelings about particular people or groups don't have a lot of bearing on how I see the issues they represent. I don't stop being a feminist because I'm pissed off with the endless blog wars and general vindictive behaviour, neither are my views on porn changed because certain anti-porn bloggers have behaved obnoxiously at any point. (again, if you're bothering to read this, I probably don't mean you.)

Genuine political convictions, especially ones i agree with, I have no problem with. Unless we're talking BNP-type stuff, natch. [British National Party aka Far Right-Wingers -- ms_xeno] What I do have a huge problem with is the 'scene' that emerges around these, and the policing that goes with that. Yeah, not everyone can go on every demo. Live with it. Stick your guilt trip where the sun doesn't shine. (Seriously, it doesn't shine from there.) Sorry if that sounds bitter. Unless you're one of the people who does this, all. the. time. In which case I'm not remotely sorry.

Also, policing of this sort is unnecessary unless someone's job is totally contradictory to the campaign with which they're getting involved. Or unless it is at odds with having any kind of social conscience. For example, if someone makes electroshock batons, they deserve to be ostracized by everyone except the out-and-out Neo-Nazis who get turned on by such things. Otherwise, maybe excluding somebody from "the movement" because of the job that provides their food and shelter isn't a good thing.

Conversely, geting all single-issue, this is all that matters, everyone else is shit including other activists, is also not a way to get people around to your point of view. No, being a vegan and going to demos doesn't excuse the fact that your mate likes to beat the crap out of his girlfriend. And the person who misses demos because the guy who abused her is there? Maybe not the one you need to crap on.

But the really annoying thing is the people who get all suspicious because you don't 'look' alternative. Newsflash, folks - police informers generally try to blend in. Fake nose studs and all. They have been known to provide a nice little comedy turn at demos when they are really obvious. So maybe, if this is your real reason for looking askance at the person who comes in straight from work in clothes that they wear for a relatively straight job, you could be looking the wrong way. But maybe that isn't why? Guess what. I did look alternative for a long time. I did a long, long, stint of being bullied for it, as well as for having the ideas that went with it. I've had meat waved in my face and attempts made to cut my dreads off from behind. And guess what else? My basic principles haven't changed. The only caving-in was in my own perception of myself - from worth something to worth pretty much nothing. Happy? I hope so, because i've experienced nearly as much grief over being the odd one out in an activist community where i agree with most people on most points as i did in the same position in a group of rather shallow teenagers.

I'm not going to turn into one of those boring people who tells activists that they'll never get their message across if they don't smarten up. Long as i don't see you wearing fur, which is a whole other thing, i seriously don't have a problem. But, please, don't turn being alternative into yet another form of conformity. Closed communities don't change the world. -- Nelsolidarida, April 9th, 2007.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Weekend Open Thread-- Now With Song Break !!

Just a bit of self-imposed nostalgia. I penned this ages ago in net-time. Every once in awhile I feel an uncontrollable urge to post it again. (To the tune of "I Love Trash," as sung by Oscar the Grouch.) Enjoy !

Oh, I love trolls
Anyone sexist, rude and patronizing
Anyone spamming porn or advertising
Yes, I love trolls !!

I have here a troll with a rank song and dance
Its brains are located way down in its pants
I’ve read better prose in a Cartland romance
I love it ’cause it’s a troll !!

Oh, I love trolls
Anyone fighting the war from his armchair
Anyone clueless on choice or on childcare
Yes, I love trolls !

Now trolls are diverse
They have rich, varied lives
Be they gun-nuts or Rand freaks or “surrendered wives”
Any feminist thought makes ‘em drop dead from hives
I love ‘em because they’re trolls !

Oh, I love trolls
Any triathlete of hate, greed and misquotes
Any ass blaming the world’s ills on my votes
Yes, I love trolls !!

So it’s evil to feed ‘em and pointless to vent
Sure, it drags down our discourse 100%
Still, if you can’t shell out for both cable AND rent
You’ll love ‘em because they’re trolls !!

(last chorus same as the first)

Monday, April 02, 2007


The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert Humphrey

The problem with communication ... is the illusion that it has been accomplished.
-George Bernard Shaw

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
- Edward R Murrow

Speak when you are angry - and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.
- Dr Laurence J Peter

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
- Epictetus

Communication works for those who work at it.
- John Powell

Examine what is said, not who speaks.
-Arabian Proverb

Sunday, April 01, 2007

"Nag Nag Nag"

A Cabaret Voltaire video from their 1979 single. Just to whet the appetite, here's a bit from Methodology: 74/78 Attic Tapes -
I remember the 70s as a time of austerity, a crackdown after the so-called liberal times of the 60s. Racism, repressive policing, hijackings, Baader Meinhof, The Angry Brigade, Operation Julie, cheap sulphate, boredom, industrial unrest, but a feeling that something was on the boil within an alienated and disaffected "youth culture."


I suppose we took our cue (and also our name) from the Dada movement and maybe in retrospect from the situationist movement. The bottom line is, it was never just about music, but about confrontation, challenging peoples conceptions on everything from sound and image to reality itself. Trying to be a thorn in the side of authority. From run of the mill war obsessed jobsworths, constables, in fact anybody who wore a badge, to politicians. All considered fair game for baiting and satirization. In some ways though it was just an innocent reflection of the times, not different from the Beach Boys singing about surfing and the good times in California. But there was no surf to ride in Sheffield, just postwar desolation, unemployment and ugly urban landscapes.
My emphasis added.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Message to the Messengers

First an allegory in DK lyrics:

We ain’t goin’ to the party / We ain’t goin’ to the game / We ain’t goin’ to the disco / Ain’t gonna cruise down Main / We’re stealing people’s mail / Stealing people’s mail / Stealing people’s mail / On a Friday night / Drivin’ in the mountains / Winding ‘round and ‘round / Rummage through your mailboxes / Take your mail back to town / We got license plates, wedding gifts, tax return / Checks to politicians from real estate firms / Money, bills and canceled checks / Pretty funny pictures of your kids / We’re stealing people’s mail / On a Friday night / We’re stealing people’s mail / By the pale moonlight / We got grocery sackful after grocery sackful / After grocery sackful after grocery sackful / After grocery sackful after grocery sackful / Of the private lives of you / Ha Ha / People say that we’re crazy / Sick and all alone / But when we read your letters / We’re rolling on the floor / We got more license plates, wedding gifts, tax returns / Checks to politicians from real estate firms / Money, bills and canceled checks / We cut relationships with your friends / We’re gonna steal your mail / On a Friday night / We’re gonna steal your mail / By the pale moonlight / We better not get caught / We’ll be dumped in institutions / Where we’ll be drugged and shocked / ‘Til we come out born-again Christians…
Punk’s not dead / It just deserves to die / When it becomes another stale cartoon / A closed-minded, self centered social club / Ideas don’t matter, it’s who you know / If the music’s gotten boring / It’s because of the people / Who want everyone to sound the same / Who drive bright people out / Of our so-called scene / ‘Til all that’s left / Is just a meaningless fad / Hardcore formulas are dogshit / Change and caring are what’s real / Is this a state of mind / Or just another label? / The joy and hope of an alternative / Has become its own cliché / A hairstyle’s not a lifestyle / Imagine Sid Vicious at 35 / Who needs a scene / Scared to love and to feel / Judging everything / By loud fast rules appeal / Who played last night? / “I don’t know, I forgot. / But diving off the stage / Was a lot of fun” / Chorus: So eager to please / Peer pressure decrees / So eager to please / Peer pressure decrees / Make the same old mistakes / Again and again / Chickenshit conformist / Like your parents / What’s ripped us apart even more than drugs / Are the thieves and the goddamn liars / Ripping people off when they share their stuff / When someone falls are there any friends? / Harder core than thou for a year or two / Then it’s time to get a real job / Others stay home, it’s no fun to go out / When the gigs are wrecked by gangs and thugs / When the thugs form bands, look who gets record deals / From New York metal labels looking to scam / Who sign the most racist queerbashing bands they can / To make a buck revving kids up for war / Walk tall, act small / Only as tough as gang approval / Unity is bullshit / When it’s under someone’s fat boot / Where’s the common cause / Too many factions / Safely sulk in their shells / Agree with us on everything / Or we won’t help with anything / That kind of attitude / Just makes a split grow wider / Guess who’s laughing while the world explodes / When we’re all crybabies / Who fight best among ourselves / (Chorus) / That farty old rock and roll attitude’s back / “It’s competition, man, we wanna break big.” / Who needs friends when the money’s good? / That’s right, the ‘70’s are back. / Cock-rock metal’s like a bad laxative / It just don’t move me, ya know? / The music’s OK when there’s more ideas that solos / De we really need the attitude too? / Shedding thin skin too quickly / As a fan it disappoints me. / Same old stupid sexist lyrics / Or is Satan all you can think of? / Crossover is just another word / For lack of ideas / Maybe what we need / Are more trolls under the bridge / Will the metalheads finally learn something- / Or will the punks throw away their education? / No one’s ever the best / Once they believe their own press / “Maturing” don’t mean rehashing / Mistakes of the past / (Chorus) / The more thing change / The more they stay the same / We can’t grow / When we won’t criticize ourselves / The ‘60’s weren’t all failure / It’s the ‘70’s that stunk / As the clock ticks we dig the same hole / Music scenes ain’t real life / They won’t get rid of the bomb / Won’t eliminate rape / Or bring down the banks / Any kind of real change / Takes more time and work / Than changing channels on a TV set / (Chorus)
Have you heard about the latest craze / That’s sweepin’ across the nation? / All the punks from coast to coast / Have discovered an old invention: / “Your hair’s too long / Man, you’re a queer / You’re too new wave / Put down that beer” / And / Do the Slag - Look at ‘em run / Do the Slag - Hey you scum / Do the Slag - Ain’t it fun / Do the Slag - Let’s all be dumb / Badmouth people we don’t know / Make sure it’s behind their backs / Don’t let new people in our scene / It’s more fun than having a friend / We’ll slag everyone each and every night / So we can pretend that we’re all right / Make those pricks feel just so small / We’ll show the world that we’re three feet tall / Slander their integrity / Doubt their humanity / Talk about their haircuts / Are their politics correct? / Do the Slag! / Don’t let those sissies on the floor / They’re unhip, man, they bought the wrong clothes / Let’s all do the latest craze / ‘Cause having allies never pays / We’ll slag everyone each and every night / So we can pretend that we’re all right / Make those pricks feel just so small / We’ll show the world that we’re three feet tall
Now, it's story time. Just sit right back, while your uncle James tells y'all about a party long ago in a place far, far away:

Back in the day, I was digging on the punk scene. If you don't know what that was, just ask your Uncle Wikipedia. Well, one Friday night, I was invited to a party at a friend's apartment. Just a gathering of punks - hangin' out, having a few beers, checking out some tunes. Now I came along with a close friend of mine at the time (we'll call him J), and knowing the cats who were hosting the evening's festivities, we were expecting a good time. But, as the evening wore on, we just never got that vibe. The crowd was a bit younger - that's cool and all, but somehow I got the feeling that how we weren't quite digging the same scene, see. The epiphany for both me and J came when an old DK tune (Stealing People's Mail) started blaring through the stereo speakers. J and I had an idea of what that song was getting at (hint: don't take the lyrics literally), so we were shocked by what this girl said as the song ended - "oh yeah! that's cool. I love stealing mail!" - as if that's what the song was about. Her young friends were nodding and grinning with agreement. J and I left not long afterwards, bored out of our skulls. We talked a bit as I drove him back to his pad about the state of the punk scene, and pretty much came to the conclusion that punk was indeed dead (or at least comatose), and that for that girl and her friends, punk had been reduced to stealing people's mail for kicks. No questioning of the culture. No questioning of the economic and political situation. Just fucking with people for the sake of fucking with people. We didn't quiz these kids about their understanding of anarchy (they had made sure to wear the requisite circle-A black buttons and t-shirts that night), but I'm guessing that it was different from the sort of anarchy that J and I had grooved on. Of course the signs that the scene was decaying had been around for a while - but that night there was no question and no turning back.

Now kiddos, I know you're wondering what the moral of the story is. I'll leave that for you to figure out. Sleep on it. Just remember, some day down the road, you'll have to decide where to draw the line. Sweet dreams.

For those unclear on the concept

I thought I'd repost Ductape Fatwa's inaugural post at MoBetta META as a friendly reminder regarding this blog's purpose:
Welcome to Mo Betta META!

Has that annoyingly transparent DLC/CIA/Mosaad operative just chewed your last nerve?

Are you absolutely positive that your head will explode if HappyDem08 over on Progressives for Advertising Revenue replies to one more news post about atrocities in Lebanon telling you that if you will only send Russ Feingold money that at least maybe some of them will be exterminated in a more humane manner, and that's a pretty good and progressive start, and he's a DEM?

Would you be rich if you had a dime for every time you have wanted to type HELL NO I DO NOT SUPORT THE DAMN TROOPS, when in the wake of this or that new atrocity that has somehow made it into US corporate media, you are treated to responses about a few bad apples and most of them are really helping grateful Iraqis?

Have you despaired and stopped posting at one or more places because whether you post your actual opinion or a page from the Jakarta phone book, the replies will be the same?

Do you have something you really need to say about blog behavior but you are sick and tired of threads about people dying and the fate of nations turning into METAPaLoozas?

Well, this is your place! Have at it!

Name names, post links, but remember, they can read it too.. .
It's about as close to a mission statement as I can find here. Hell, that's pretty much what I signed on for. Just sayin'.


I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I discovered the liberal/progressive blogs. I spent many wonderful hours reading and conversing with intelligent adults. I ate up so much wonderfully astute political commentary that taught me so much. I reveled in the in depth discussions on so many topics I was hungry to discuss with civil, reasonable folks.

How I admired those who had the tech skills and fortitude to set up and take on running the "Community" blogs, and yes, grateful for them too, as one who is mobility limited and can no longer move so easily around the outside world. The internet is a literally blessing to people like me: it widens horizans endlessly. I had this long list of blogs I visited daily. You get familiar with folks who write on regularly visited blogs: many you come to respect over time.

You can get very attached to online "communities", to the point where they seem almost more real that the life one lives in the face to face world. As a recovering alcoholic, I can clearly identify the periods in my own blogging history, where "addiction" was the only accurate term to describe my own behaviors.

In fact some of those memories now make me cringe a bit. (Ok, ok, a lot! ) Like actually having physical withdrawal symptoms like sweaty hands and increased anxiety, when my dial up connection went down or my computer fell ill. Or the days and days I didn't eat right, exercise enough, or get anything else done, because I couldn't tear myself away from the latest flame war or blog drama. Even if I wasn't participating in them, I HAD to read those threads all the way through to the bitter end, ever one of them, AND follow all the links to whatever "evidence" people were presenting of someone else's bad behaviors!

Far far into the night I'd sit, glued to the screen until some bodily pain or function would penetrate my brain enough to get my attention! (Uh oh! I seem to be frozen in place AM I going to get off this chair?! ) Then fall into bed, only to awaken with the obsessive need to get back ONLINE to see what I'd missed while I slept, which, more often than I care to admit, meant most of another day hunched over this keyboard, especially when I WAS involved in whatever current conflict was happening. Oh, the "high" of besting someone with a really snarky insult! Or coming up with an winning point that clearly scored points!

During those internet binges of mine, the cat was lucky to even get dinner and I ate , when I remembered to eat, whatever I could hold in one hand while working the mouse with the other! Wasn't all that different than the old days, when drinking was more important to me than paying attention to my kids.

There were many uncomfortable, bleary eyed moments, when realizing another five hours, six hours, seven hours at a time had"disappeared" somehow, another whole day was gone..and I'd not done one thing BUT sit in front of this screen, I knew this was out of control. I'd vow to not DO this anymore! How stupid is it to spend ones life living out soap opera type dramas over and over and over?! Yet, invariably, in my worst of times, guess what? Yep. Just one more mouse click, check just once more to see if X or Y or Z has responded to my last clever jab, and.... oops..there goes some more life hours down the crapper.

And oh, the internal emotional misery all of this caused me at times! Over and over, (I see now, but couldn't see then!), old emotional triggers within would get tripped, and my reactions to whoever was online became all tangled up in unresolved reactions to real people or trauma, in my past..and I suffered the same old hurts over and over. Now I can see it wasn't much different than some forms of self continue to subject myself to those who seemed to be mirror images of real people I had long ago detatched myself from, in order to get healthier!
Like picking open healed wounds, over and over again. Old patterns like this can get reactivated, I find, if I don't pay good enough attention to my own behaviors. And they did, big time, through the internet "bingeing" I was doing then.

Now that I have some distance from those days, I honestly can't see a whole lot of difference between the effects of my addictive internet behavior, and the effects of the genuine relapses back to active alcoholism I suffered for so many years before finally staying sober. The people in my face to face word got nothing of me. I didn't take decent care of my body or my mind. Nothing got done. Everything went south, except my driving need to read read read, type type type some more.

I'm better now, thank goodness. But just as with my a1coho1 addiction, I wi11 have to remain vigi1ent about not getting hooked back in. Because I am sort of 1ike this keyboard, on which the 1etter that comes before "m", has just quit working, having succumbed, apparent1y to one too many coffee spewings, forcing me to use the sma11 number "1" instead in order to finish this. I too, am not perfect, nor am I power1ess. I am vunerab1e to a11 sorts of human frai1ties 1ike everyone e1se is and I just need to remember this, and assume responsibi1ity for my own choices.

Now I sha11 view the 1oss of one of my 1etters as a "sign" it is now time for me to get up and go c1ean the 1itter box, so I can fee1 good about getting that done before I go out for 1unch with a friend, who actua11y has a face I can see!! :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

the Masturbatorium - a primer

The cast:

- the nararrator, a 12 year old boy named Augusten
- Augusten's mother, Deirdre
- Deirdre's shrink, Dr. Finch (sometimes shortened to Dr. F)
- Dr. Finch's receptionist & daughter, Hope

from Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's, 2002, pp. 33-36)

(Note: this is a work of fiction & any resemblance to real meat is sheer serendipity.)

Dr F offers mother & son a tour of his backroom, to which, he explains he often retires . . .

"Between patients. After patients. Sometimes if a patient is particularly tedious, I will excuse myself to the Masturbatorium."

Our allegorical curtain now rises:
But opening the door to the Masturbatorium revealed a surprise. Hope had left her post as receptionist and was napping on the seedy couch.

"What is this?" Finch bellowed. "Hope!" he boomed.

Hope startled awake. "Jesus, Dad. You scared the shit out of me." She blinked against the light. "Oh my God, what's the matter with you?"

Finch was furious. "Hope, you have no business being in here. This is my masturbatorium and you're using my blanket." He pointed at the colorful crocheted throw Hope had wrapped around herself.

The tassels along the edge were stuck together.

"Dad, I was just taking a nap."

"This is not the place for naps," he bellowed.

My mother turned around to leave. "I think I'll get a fresh cup of Sanka."

"Wait a minute, Deirdre," Finch said.

My mother froze. "Yes?"

"Do you see how Hope's behavior is wrong?" he asked.

My mother brought her cigarette to her mouth. "Well, I really don't know."

Hope sat up on the couch.

"Deirdre, answer me," Finch demanded. "Do you see how Hope's sneaking in here and invading my private space is wrong?"

After a moment of thinking about it, my mother said, "Well, I can understand not liking one's space invaded. I can understand how it would be upsetting to have somebody messing with your things without asking."

"Then confront her!" Finch directed.

I stood back, not wanting to get sucked in.

"Well, I . . ."

"Deirdre, speak up! Tell Hope what you feel."

My mother looked at Hope as if to say, What can I do? Then she said, "Hope, I don't think it's right for you to disturb your father's space without asking."

"This is none of your business, Deirdre," Hope said. Her eyes were squinty with anger.

My mother took another long drag from her cigarette and tried to leave again. "I really think I'll just get another cup of Sanka."

Finch grabbed her arm. "Just a minute there, Deirdre. Are you going to let Hope walk all over you like that? Jesus Christ, Deirdre. Are you going to be Hope's doormat?"

My mother turned sharply to Finch. "I'm not Hope's goddamned doormat, Finch. This just isn't any of my business; she's right. It's between you and your daughter."

"Bullshit!" Finch shouted. "That's just pure evasive bullshit."

"It most certainly is not," my mother said. She tossed her cigarette on the floor and mashed it out with the toe of her sandal. "I am not getting in the middle of this." She brushed imaginary lint off the front of her black turtleneck.

Hope said, "Dad, you're overreacting. Leave Deirdre out of this. It is between you and me."

"You," he said, pointing at her, "Stay the hell out of this."

Hope shrunk against the back of the sofa.

"What do you think, young man?" he said, looking to me.

"I think you're all crazy," I said.

. . . The office was stuffy, hot. There was a fan in the window that was blowing out. I wanted to turn it so it blew into the room, but Hope insisted that it was better to blow the hot air out of the room, as opposed to sucking the warm air in. "I hate my life," I said.
George Oppen, in section 20 (the half-way point) of the highly pertinent poem from the late 60's, "Of Being Numerous":

—They await

War, and the news
Is war

As always
That the juices may flow in them
Tho the juices lie.

Great things have happpened
On the earth and given it history, armies
And the ragged hordes moving and the passions
Of that death. But who escapes

Among these riders
Of the subway.

They know
By now as I know

Failure and the guilt
Of failure.
As in Hardy's poem of Christmas

We might half-hope to find the animals
In the sheds of a nation
Kneeling at midnight,

Farm animals,
Draft animals, beasts for slaughter
Because it would mean they have forgiven us,

Or which is the same thing,
That we do not altogether matter.

The Blogosphere Experiment

These thoughts come solely from personal observations of, and experience with groups of all kinds, in many different venues, over many years, rather than on any academic basis, so as such, are totally subjective. However, studying human behaviors has been a lifetime fascination for me, and one I have delved deeply into, online especially, over this past ten years.

When people "group themselves up" in any setting, they all bring baggage with them. Every single one of us have bags full of unresolved issues of one sort or another, some we know about, some we don't. So, there we are, in the midst of a group, and as we interact on more and more intense levels, some of those suitcases will pop open, and stuff will spill is inevitable. Conflicts arise. Misunderstandings, mis-perceptions, over reactions, projection super defensiveness, attack/counter name it, it is GOING to happen, in any group, sooner or later, no matter how "cohesive" it seemed to be at the start.

This has gotten labeled as "dysfunctional" in this label loving, disease oriented culture. I don't think it is, although I used to. Now I see this as a "process" through which we learn HOW to get along: what works and what doesn't, to learn more about who we are..and how we are..through the feedback and reactions of others. To learn more about others. Messy and sometimes painful as hell? Certainly. So is childbirth. So are all developmental growing pains, to some degree.

Anyway, the likelihood of this kind of process getting kicked off in any grouping, go up astronomically in a limited medium like this, where all we have of each other to work with, is written communication and NO non verbal cues at all!

Non verbal communication is by far and away more impactful than spoken or written words, and here are trying to make do with only about 30 to 40 percent of the info we need to fully communicate with each other. It's a wonder we get as much decent communication accomplished as we do!

Ok. Back to what is considered "dysfunctionality" in groups, (that I see more as a learning process.) No two of us are ever at the same place in terms of being "ready to learn" things. Or to take in new info. Some are ready to hear honest mirroring and feedback from others, and many are certainly are NOT at that stage of their lives yet, and will perceive it as an "attack" instead.

And many have no CLUE as to how to offer objective feedback in non threatening or non-judgemental manner. Thus they are almost guaranteed to trip trigger points right and left and engender immediate "defensive counter-attack."

And to make it almost inevitable that things will deteriorate if all of this goes on too long is this simple fact: most of us cannot make the simple differentiation between a persons "behaviors" and a persons 'intrinsic worth" as a human being. So we end up attacking each others basic character and/or integrity as a human being, based on written words said on a screen.

That's it. That's all we are reacting to. Words on a screen. A persons visible behavior of the moment, that may or may not reflect who that person truly is at all, if we were to come to actually know them. It took me a long time to "get" that simple reality.

My behaviors are one thing: my worth as a human being is another thing. They do not always match. There were many times in my life when my behaviors were rotten and hurtful to others, because I had no insight into myself at all at the time and my baggage was in charge of me, not my essential core self. I know now my core self was never really "rotten," Just misguided. Ignorant of truths I had yet to learn. Affected by an addiction I was not ready to own and traumatic issues still stuck where I couldn't see them yet. That made me a fallible human, not a "rotten" one. A" fixable" human being, once I was ready to do it.

Ok. So one way or another, we find ourselves in these groups that feel and seem to be falling apart at the freaking seams. all around our ears. Some of us panic, not wanting to lose whatever measure of belonging we had found..and attack the hell out of any visible outsiders that might be "causing" this fracturing. Or we may turn on each other. Or we may decide to walk away altogether. All of these are understandable human behaviors given wherever we each are at in our own lives.

But sometimes, this dynamic seems to escalate and takes on a life of it's own. It begins to spread, like a virus, from place to place. Once it gets inside of us, we can end up carry it like any contagious viri, wherever else we go outside our own "group"..and infect others along the way. Until it can reach an epidemic stage.

I believe this is what we're seeing now, in the liberal blogosphere. Not only did we all bring our own personal "baggage" to these blogs, which in itself is a hell of a growth challenge, we also were all facing head on, the visible proof of the internal demolition of our entire country unfolding before our wide open eyes.

Now THAT one hell of a load to place on humans who are only connected via 30 -40 percent of our ability to communicate with each other, folks. Maybe an impossible load to expect fallible human beings to handle. I will posit that it is an impossible load at this time in our evolution.

Blog owners, whether big or small, are first and foremost, imperfect human beings at various stages of maturing. Yet somehow, the expectation seems to exist that they ought to be some kind of highly advanced species, suddenly able to do what has never been done successfully in any group of humans: please everyone and never make a single mistake! Good luck with that.

Community members who loyally align themselves with these "community" type blogs, also seem to expect something that has never yet been perfected in human history: a peaceful, collaborative, community with little to no serious conflict or disruption! Good luck with that too..especially when communication with just written words that are often interpreted differently by nearly everyone reading them! And with public doorways wide open to whoever wishes to wander in!

So my conclusions are that "community political blogs" have been a necessary, valuable and fascinating " step ahead" using new technology, in the overall human search for better ways to come together and relate effectively.

I think this "step" has served pretty much served it's purpose quite well, and is now in process of ending itself naturally so people can pick up whatever they have earned from it, and use it for the next step ahead, whatever that will turns out to be.

I am pretty darned sure what it will take online, is a separation between "political blogs" and "community blogs". I do not see the two goals as compatible at all. You add politics, or religion for that matter, as a focus point in any "communal gathering" and stand back..fireworks are inevitable.

Politics is only one of many ties that can bind us together in some sense of "community".
"Debate" is not the only satisfying from of human interaction. But those who love these things most, would still have them everywhere, on political discussion boards.

Those who, for whatever reasons, desire the sense of having online "community" with others they wish to maintain connection with, can also choose to build those kinds of sites on line, in whatever format works for them.

But as far as I can see, mixing politics and "community" is an experiment that has proven impossible to maintain, due to the levels of toxicity and pollution that they have produced, and it's time to pack up and move on to the next experiment. :)