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First Amendment Under Attack — Feds Shut Down 73,000 Blogs

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Since this article was written new developments in this story have rendered it rather outdated and inaccurate. Please see this update for the latest.

Under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act passed in 1998 the Obama administration has shut down 73,000 blogs this week which were hosted on the Blogetery.com WordPress based hosting service. Initially the target was a small group of sites which were incolved in illegal file sharing, but ultimately a request was issued to BurstNet, the Blogetery.com’s hosting provider, to shut down the entire network of 73,000 blogs, most of which were engaged in no illegal activity, including harmless sites like Science Experiments for Kids and political sites like Tea and Politics.

This is the first use of the DMCA on this scale and it has frightening implications for the future. Under the act no warrant or any kind of due process is required because the government makes its request directly of the ISP involved and can penalize it administratively if it fails to comply. There is no standard for proof of illegal activity and the target of the action has no protection under the act. Many on both the right and left are concerned that this could lay the groundwork for the shut down of political sites critical of the administration, either arbitrarily or as part of some future campaign finance or net neutrality legislation.

It would be virtually impossible to run a site hosting service with any large membership without having some users engaging in some sort of questionable activity and it is unrealistic to expect a hosting company to police thousands of individual users. Critics of this action believe that first amendment rights and due process should be respected and that the burden of proof should fall on the government to identify and punish only the actual wrongdoers rather than shutting down thousands of innocent sites to get a few malefactors.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Yes, fascism has come to America. I hope this doesn’t get us shut down.

  • Elspeth

    It’s called prior restraint. The United State’s Supreme Court has ruled time and again that it is illegal. It is actionable and all the effected bloggers should sue the site to obtain the information about which agency is involved so they can sue the government. Any federal judge worth his robe WILL order all but the criminal blogs restored and potentially large damages to the innocent.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Dave, thanks for bringing this story to our attention. It certainly deserves to be more widely known. CNET is now reporting that “a BurstNet spokesman declined to identify the law enforcement agency that ordered Blogetery shut down or provide the reason but did say that it had nothing to do with copyright violations.” So previous speculation that this shutdown relates to piracy or illegal file sharing seems disproved. It’s especially troubling that BurstNet refuses to identify the law enforcement agency behind all this. We are definitely edging into Kafkaesque territory here.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Hell, Obama has probably created some new office to police the internet. Seems inevitable. Doesn’t he have some sort of internet security czar?

    Dave

  • http://wp.blogcritics.org/writer/elvira-black/ Elvira Black

    Alarming, yes…surprising, not at all. Big Brother, big brutha, what-evah…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Dave, there are actually two separate White House offices tasked with policing the Internet. Victoria Espinel is the President’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, aka IP Czar. Howard Schmidt is his Cyber-Security Coordinator, aka Cyber Czar. Since BurstNet has confirmed that the Blogetery shutdown had nothing to do with copyright violations, it would seem to be outside the IP Czar’s aegis. As for the Cyber Czar, his bailiwick involves protecting U.S. networks from thieves, hackers and spies. Again, this doesn’t seem applicable. But of course that still leaves many other law enforcement agencies that might have an interest in shutting down Blogetery. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I think I saw Espinal connected with this action in one of the stories I read, but I’m not sure exactly what her role was. The genesis of it all is in intellectual property concerns because that was their pretext for shutting the whole thing down.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    the dmca has been doing this shit for months, but only now do you notice? first, it was individual posts, but they’d just repost. then it was individual blogs, but those blogs moved elsewhere or renamed themselves. now it’s the networks that allow them to exist. it’s a copyright issue, not political. i know it, you know it.

    in the case of those blogs that were breaking copyright, it’s fair, in the end. like any other cat and mouse game, the cat and the mouse will evolve their tactics. the mouse this time (or is it the cat?) was an entire provider. one side improved their tactics. the other side will come back smarter.

    you can try and frame this as something more than it is (“fascism?), but your bullshit is see-through. i’m no big fan of the dmca, but it’s doing what’s right for those it tries to protect. should it have gone after innocent blogs? no. but it didn’t. it went after those that allow those blogs to exist. allow law-breaking blogs to exist is reason to get shut down. but the network/provider will be back. and so will those blogs. do a search for your favorite blog on that website. i’d bet that by tomorrow, they’ll have a new home. their content might not be restored by then, but if you dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, etc, etc.

    still, they’re going after the wrong people/organizations. they should be attacking rapidshare, mediafire, megaupload and all those types of places, rather than the blogs. it’s a much easier target and it would be much more effective in fixing the problem. but it’s beyond control now. if those sites listed above were shut down, another would pop up in its place. it’s like terrorism. by trying to destroy it, you just make more.

  • Cannonshop

    Zing, they didn’t go after those, because those sites you list (megaupload, rapidshare, mediafire, etc.) aren’t involved in criticizing the Regime. If you control the language, information sources, even their distribution, you not only control the debate, but you have the potential to weaken ideas by eliminating the language used to describe them, or changing its meaning by limiting and marginalizing (or eliminating) dissent.

  • incognita

    This is no DCMA takedown. It’s an anti-fraud action. The parent company of Blogetery is Affiliatemix – a company that implements email marketing plugins and Facebook cloaking scripts. While some blogs might have been legitimate, a good many of them were auto-generated and designed to trick readers.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    @ Dave, Obama has two of them dealing with the internet and they are the most radical of all the Czars…the Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein and the Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd.

  • Ruvy

    I’ve been telling you for months you have been living under a fascist regime, and in several comments, have illustrated how Musollini’s regime started out as your (almost) standard parliamentary regime in 1922, and how slowly, over 3 years, it evolved to become a dictatorship. You are seeing a similar evolution in the States, whether you wish to believe it or not. The first place to look is how this administration has treated the thugs of the “new” Black Panthers like starving orphans and sweethearts. I believe it is called “Panthergate”.

    It appears, I will have to copy and paste, or import my articles here on this site, over to a site not based in any way in the United States, and therefore not under the jurisdiction of Il-Duce-in-Chief.

  • Ruvy

    Incognita,

    Any links to back this up?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t understand, zing, why you’re intent on minimizing the import of this action. It smells foul. I never took you for an apologist. Don’t change on me now.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    …shakes head…

  • incognita

    Ruvy,

    Let me first make two corrections. I wrote DCMA instead of DMCA. And the name of the company that owns Blogetery is Affiliateplex – not Affiliatemix.

    As for Affiliateplex owning Blogetery as well as promoting email marketing plugins and a Facebook cloaking script, that information comes straight from their website.

  • Ruvy

    Thank you, Incognita. I don’t have time to now, but I will look at the site, and then see how your story holds up in light of the information there.

  • incognita
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I’m inclined to agree that because of all the excessive secrecy, there’s likely to be some kind of national security reason behind this.

    In addition, I think that whatever the security issue is/was, the as yet unidentified agency responsible for investigating it didn’t know its precise location or extent: hence the shutdown of the entire hosting service.

    It’s troubling, but I’m not as ready as some to jump to conclusions just yet.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop: “Zing, they didn’t go after those, because those sites you list (megaupload, rapidshare, mediafire, etc.) aren’t involved in criticizing the Regime.”

    that’s bullshit and you know it. how exactly were a vast majority of those websites “criticizing the regime?”

    the ridiculous, paranoid nonsense like that which you just spouted isn’t cause for fear. it’s cause for laughter. the obama administration isn’t going to shut that shit down. it’s going to sit back and smile at the stupidity.

    roger: “I don’t understand, zing, why you’re intent on minimizing the import of this action. It smells foul. I never took you for an apologist. Don’t change on me now.”

    because, it’s just a copyright issue. it’s not a fascist takeover. to suggest so is a fundamental misunderstanding of what is going on in this situation. by trying to frame this as politics, and to blame obama for a dmca action, those who would do such things are just jumping to the same fucked up conclusions and manipulating the “evidence” until it fits their preconceived notions. it’s fucking stupid. i’m not an apologist for the dmca. but i’m also not an idiot willing to say whatever stupid shit i can spout in order to make a plainly and obviously false political point.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    zing, I’m siding with you, until evidence is presented to the contrary, that this isn’t a fascist takeover, but the CEO of Blogetery has gone on record stating specifically that this is not a copyright issue.

    Of course, he may have been advised by his lawyers to say that, as conceding that it was to do with copyright might be construed as an admission of guilt, but that just adds another layer of intrigue.

  • zingzing

    well, if it’s not a direct copyright issue, then it has to do with the thousands of ad-shuffling “blogs” that were housed on the network. if it was the dmca that shut it down, it has something to do with commerce.

    it’s incredibly silly (and totally transparent) to think that somehow the content of those blogs that were against the obama administration led to the shutdown of the entire network. first, they are a tiny percentage of that network. second, there are probably just as many pro-obama administration blogs on the network. third, there are many larger anti-obama administration blogs to go after, yet they remain.

    there are many reasons why the network could have been shut down. but the anti-obama content of a few blogs is CERTAINLY NOT the reason. you’d have to be incredibly dumb to believe it is.

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Scary stuff.

    I may not agree with some of the stuff out there, but to shut them down completely because I don’t? I’m surprised more of this isn’t made in the news.

    Like I said, quite scary stuff.

  • Ronald Acker

    The reach and control of the government is going to unimaginable lengths. One by one our personal liberties are being taken away. The next one is to have all individuals reporting a body mass index. Unbelievable.

  • John Wilson

    Google “top secret america”

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Just to be clear I never said this was a fascist takeover or that there weren’t legitimate issues here. My point in the brief article is that the problem is the indiscriminate nature of this action.

    And even if the hosting service was associated with email marketing or other schemes, unless those actions were actually illegal they should have been left along. And if they were illegal they should have been charged with a crime and taken to court to shut down the sites. That’s called due process of law.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Mark, the new article you link to actually makes this situation even worse.

    Last I checked it is NOT illegal to tell people how to make bombs, and if that one site was the focus for taking down 73,000 sites, that’s even more outrageous than the story which was originally circulated.

    Dave

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    it was a violation of the terms of service…and the fbi was involved. they should have done nothing??

  • Monty Burns

    Wow…teh crazy people with their nutty conspiracy theories are out in full force. Thanks to Zingzing for being one of the few here who isn’t drinking the crazy tea party juice.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Last I checked it is NOT illegal to tell people how to make bombs, and if that one site was the focus for taking down 73,000 sites, that’s even more outrageous than the story which was originally circulated.

    Then I suggest you direct your outrage to BurstNet, Dave. If CNet’s information is correct, it was they, not the FBI, who shut down Blogetery.

    BurstNet may have, and probably did, overreact, but as a private company they aren’t bound by the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Even more than bomb recipes, this may have raised the alarms at BurstNet:

    Sources close to the investigation say that included in those materials were the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda.

    Doc is right: if this was a voluntary shutdown by a private company, it is decidedly less alarming than a heavyhanded government action.

  • Arch Conservative

    “And the one thing that I want to insist on is that, as I travel around the country, the American people are a decent people and they get confused sometimes. They listen to the wrong talk-radio shows, watch the wrong T.V. networks”

    Barack Obama wants to tell you what to think.

    I asked my magic eight ball this morning if Obama’s final destination is hell.

    The response………..

    “Most certainly”

  • Bill B

    Great – some more fodder for the chicken little anti democratically elected administration fashionista lunatics. How’s about we wait for some more facts? k?

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    as usual, a “news” flash that is nothing but opinion, including the title.

    maybe a “Developing…” should be added to the end for a little drudge juice.

  • Zedd

    Doc always the sobber mind.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Scary stuff.”

    Jumping to conclusions without having all the facts usually is

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Just wait until me have the flashing sirens, Mark

  • Zedd

    Sometimes I think we are bored with stability and democracy and feel as if we need something exciting to affirm our self image as rebels and libertarians. We get really worked up about stuff that may or may not be worthy of our attention, while the rich steal us blind and lull our senses by infusing the air with feel good notions of the market fixing it all and gumption and the stars and stripes.

    Let’s hold our horses. YES be aware, most certainly but the knee jerk reactions are useless. It all just ends up being noise and no one ends up minding the store.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you upset, Mark, that the anti-piracy take (the issue of intellectual rights) is being minimized by Dave’s presentation. In that case, I can understand your sentiment when applied to creative artists’ rights to their “product,” but aren’t you stretching it a bit?

    I;m not a Republican but I no longer trust this government, any government. Perhaps I’ve crossed the line, perhaps not, but too many promises have been broken. The Patriot Act is still in full force, and so is our engagement in Iraq and in Afghanistan, The War on Terror is still the predominant order of the day, and so is the practice of extraordinary rendition, bailing our Wall Street, and corruption at high places and low. The economy stinks, despite assurances to the contrary, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. So I really don’t see why some of you continue to see the world through rose-colored glasses. There is no reason to trust our government, none whatever, let alone sing hight praises, It stinks to high heaven and we have every right to expect the worst, not the best. The fact that it may be better than during the Bush era, a debatable point by now, just doesn’t cut it. So yes, I do blame this administration for this drastic action, whatever the reason. The idiots in charge should have anticipated a fallout and addressed the public before the damage was done. So my response is, screw ‘em.

    Notice, however, I’m not chasing your away from this site. Your opinion counts as much as anyone else’s.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Mark Saleski (#27), thanks for providing the link to CNET‘s story, which completely changes the complexion of this issue as framed by Dave. As I said in comment #6, besides the White House, “many other law enforcement agencies might have an interest in shutting down Blogetery. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

    Some waited, some did not. Before you posted the CNET link, commenters on this thread charged that fascism had come to America, blamed Big Brother, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ad-shuffling by Blogetery, TRAITORS and ENEMIES OF THE CONSTITUTION, Cass Sunstein & Mark Lloyd, and an anti-fraud action by the federal government. Even I, who’d counseled Let’s Wait and See, ignored my own advice and stupidly added, “We are definitely edging into Kafkaesque territory here.”

    Now, it turns out, the law enforcement agency involved was none of the above, but rather the FBI, which according to Burst.net’s chief technology officer, never ordered Burst.net to stop service to any site it hosts without a court order (which was not issued). The shutdown was entirely Burst.net’s business decision based on violations of its terms of service. As Dr Dreadful (#32) points out, “BurstNet may have, and probably did, overreact, but as a private company they aren’t bound by the First Amendment’s free speech protections.”

    What I’ve learned here is the folly of getting swept up in the agenda-advancing paranoia of BC’s commentariat. As the great P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Now I realize he was talking about me.

  • zingzing

    roger: “So I really don’t see why some of you continue to see the world through rose-colored glasses. There is no reason to trust our government, none whatever.”

    no, but there’s no reason to jump to nonsensical conspiracy theories either. it’s not that mark’s got rose-colored glasses on, it’s that you’ve become so cynical about this country/gov’t that you’ve put on a blindfold of prejudice. there’s absolutely no reason to jump to the idea that this is about the first amendment in any shape or form.

    “So yes, I do blame this administration for this drastic action, whatever the reason.”

    even though the “drastic action” was taken by the company and not the government? and that the reason behind it might have been a good one? why don’t you wait to find out what you’re “blaming” this administration for first?

    of course, now that stories such as this have come out, when the actual reasoning behind the shutdown comes out, we’ll have moved on to other things and won’t give a shit. the initial article got most of the pertinent facts wrong and jumped to wild conclusions about what those “facts” added up to. but that’s what we’re left with.

    it’s why blogs had better not ever replace actual, responsible journalism that has to be accountable for what it reports. actual journalism would have made sure the facts were correct and would have gotten some idea about the real reason behind the shutdown before publishing. “instant” information usually results in a lot of misinformation. and here we have a great example.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Zedd (#40), damn straight. It takes a lot of meat to satisfy those with raging ideological hormones.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The point still remains that an action of this kind and scope would certainly evoke negative reaction. And the last time I checked, FBI was still a government agency. Consequently, they fell asleep at the switch, come to think of it, their usual MO.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I ain’t Pablo, zing, so don’t accuse my of nonsensical proposition. My argument simply is on behalf of general incompetence, starting with Obama and ending with Timothy Geithner.

  • Jordan Richardson

    ???

    The CNET article says that the FBI informed the blogging platform site about links to al-Qaeada material on the servers, including names of Americans that were supposedly assassination targets.

    Burst.net shut down the servers on their own. The FBI did not tell them to do so, they never told them to block service. Nothing.

    So how, using the FACTS, did the FBI “fall asleep at the switch?”

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’ll accuse you of nonsensical proposition, Roger, because in this case it’s a shoe that fits. You’re completely disregarding the evidence to hoist your flag, which is very Pabloesque indeed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “t’s why blogs had better not ever replace actual, responsible journalism that has to be accountable for what it reports. actual journalism would have made sure the facts were correct and would have gotten some idea about the real reason behind the shutdown before publishing. “instant” information usually results in a lot of misinformation. and here we have a great example.”

    Just for the heck of it, zing. When was the last time you encountered “responsible journalism”? Can you point to some examples? Christ Mathews? George Will? They’re all paid-for whores. And now you’re going to put down blogging as though somehow inferior and below par? I really doun’t understand you. I may be opinionated, and the same goes for you, but I don’t surely have to pay the piper. In fact, I even risk being declared a terrorist for posting now and then. Our form of government sucks and it deserves to be overthrown.

    Would you rather listen to MSM? Be my guest.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Just for the heck of it, zing. When was the last time you encountered “responsible journalism”?

    uh, the cnet article i linked to? unlike this post, they actually got their facts straight.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Whatever. Obams’s administration is pathetic. Yet, you can’t stop salivating over how great they are.

    My policy is, anyone who fucks up more than once, dump on them. If not guilty on one count, they’re liable to be guilty on any number of scores. Call if profiling, I don’t give a fuck. So you maintain your cheerful attitude and I’ll maintain mine.

    Again, you’re welcome in the Politics section, however we may disagree!

  • zingzing

    christ (sic, har, har) mathews and george will are pundits, roger, not journalists. they can have their opinions, and that’s what they trade in. but if this “news flash” is actual news, not opinion, then it should have its facts straight. actual news, actual journalism, is accountable for getting its facts straight. it often doesn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that those responsible for getting the facts straight will face consequences when they don’t.

    bloggers don’t necessarily have to be held accountable for their mistakes. they usually aren’t paid, and even if they face criticism when they do fuck up, it doesn’t really matter. you think dave’s going to retract the article? you think he’s going to fire himself? you think he gives a shit if he got those facts straight or not? no, you don’t. he probably won’t update the article, or write an article that gets it right. yet here it remains, a hackjob of a bunch of misinformation and silly conclusions.

    bloggers don’t have to live up to the ethical standards of journalism, no matter how far those have fallen. they aren’t “inferior,” they’re just different. what is news-blogging good for? immediate impact. what is it bad at? knowing what it talks about before it talks. we need real journalism to survive or else this is all we’ll be left with.

    “In fact, I even risk being declared a terrorist for posting now and then.”

    no, you don’t. you’d actually have to threaten to do something concrete, and someone (including you) would have to take what you say seriously enough to call in the roving death squads our government keeps in bunkers under the staircase.

    “Our form of government sucks and it deserves to be overthrown.”

    actually it’s a good form of government. maybe not the best it could be, but if you know of another form you like better, please, do inform.

    “Would you rather listen to MSM? Be my guest.”

    in this situation, i’d rather wait for an informed piece that gets the facts straight, rather than one that fucks it up so completely, yes. doesn’t matter where it comes from. but this one got it wrong. no denying that.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Nowosielski on this particular topic as you Americans say, perhaps you should “Quit while you are ahead.”

    So to speak
    Mr. Forsythe

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, nobody’s been “salivating” over anything. It’s you who can’t overlook your venom to see the actual facts of this particular case and, what’s more, you even admit to not giving a rat’s ass about the specifics. It’s “whatever,” like you’re some college anarchist doing it for chicks and ego.

  • zingzing

    as far as my take on obama’s administration up to this point, i’m fairly happy with it. setting economics aside for the moment, i think what he’s done in the social sphere has pretty much been good for the nation. he’s working more slowly than i’d have him work, but he’s not the only person up there and he’s had to deal with a ridiculously obstructionist republican party. but he subscribes to many of the same ideas i do, and if he’s given the chance, i know he’ll make most of the decisions i would.

    on the foreign policy front, he’s doing pretty good. he’s more concerned with diplomacy than starting wars, which is a very good thing, and although the war on terror hasn’t ended, there’s no real way it really could at this point. hopefully, it does come to a slow, realistic end sometime during his presidency, and i believe he’s working on that. it was a vastly stupid idea perpetrated on the world by vastly stupid people, but it’s there now and it’s not the kind of thing that can just halt on a dime. give him time.

    as far as economics go, i’m a little more critical, but i don’t really have a mind for economics and the thing is that economies come and go on their own accord. a democratic government can’t really control the economy, no matter how hard it tries. it will do what it will do, and it runs in cycles, like the weather. there’s a balance to be kept, as the lack of gov’t interference is what led us to where we are now, but too much gov’t interference leads to communism, which doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to most of the time. and there’s ways to predict the short term, but there’s no real way to predict the long term, other than the fact that it will rise and fall again. it’s fallen right now, but it’ll come back. what obama does or doesn’t do won’t matter in 10 years.

    either way, i don’t really give a shit about what he does with the economy, because it’s basically meaningless in the long run. it’s the social policy here at home and the foreign policy that have real, long-lasting impacts, and on those fronts he’s done well.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    christ (sic, har, har) mathews and george will are pundits, roger, not journalists. they can have their opinions, and that’s what they trade in. but if this “news flash” is actual news, not opinion, then it should have its facts straight. actual news, actual journalism, is accountable for getting its facts straight. it often doesn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that those responsible for getting the facts straight will face consequences when they don’t.

    I find myself agreeing with zingzing here. News should be news, news analysis should be news analysis, and opinions should be opinions.

    I am still of the opinion that the United States is under a fascist regime, and the overreaction of the company in question in canceling 73,000 blog-sites with respect to dealing with the FBI is a sign of the real fear of the government out there. That fear is growing, not lessening, and is accompanied by a huge swelling of anger against it. Many hope for November elections to change things. Elections rarely do change things, but that is not the issue here. The issue is “will America still be in an orderly condition in November that it can have elections?”

    It’s a long time from now till the snow flies after Halloween….

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Obama’s has made a very valid position when he laments that the Republicans drove the American economy into a trough in the first place prior to his assuming office and now through your Congress are refusing to not only present him the keys to the automobile, but are loudly complaining because he is not getting it out fast enough.

    I find it also a curiosity that the Republicans criticize that his administration is proposing an expansion of help for your unemployed without paying for it and yet backing allowing Mr. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich to continue without paying them either when they lapse.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Since my last post (#42), I’ve had the nagging thought, “Damnit, where did I hear this story before?” Now I remember.

    It’s in Jerry Heller’s Ruthless: A Memoir. In 1989, as CEO of Ruthless Records and as manager of the label’s star attraction, rappers N.W.A (“Niggaz With Attitude”), Heller received a letter from the FBI. When he first read it, his mouth grew parched.

    “You have to remember,” Heller explains, “that I am Jew, and for a Jew to receive a letter from the FBI brought up all sorts of terrifying history of knocks on the door from the Nazi Gestapo, the East German Stasi, the Russian NKVD. So fear was my first reaction.”

    In the mildly worded, unthreatening letter, Assistant FBI Director Milt Ahlerich, Office of Public Affairs, kvetches about a song on N.W.A’s album Straight Outta Compton that “encourages violence against and disrespect for the law enforcement officer. Advocating violence and assault is wrong, and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action. Music plays a significant role in society, and I wanted you to be aware of the FBI’s position relative to this song and its message. I believe my views reflect the opinion of the entire law enforcement community.”

    Jerry Heller’s initial fear at reading this terrifying modern-day Gestapo/Stasi/NKVD communiqué within the confines of his luxuriously appointed office in the virtual gulag of Hollywood, California, was “quickly followed by a crowing jubilation at the surreal, insane, totally unlikely absurdity of it all. Of course, I knew the letter would be pure gold for N.W.A. What better imprimatur could a rap group have than hate mail from the FBI?”

    At his refuge in Yemen, Samir Khan is probably jubilantly crowing for precisely the same reason. Burst.net’s ham-handed shutdown of Blogetery is pure gold for al-Qaeda. What better imprimatur could a terrorist group have than to get its website (and 70,000 others) banned from the Internet allegedly (but of course falsely) by the FBI? History doesn’t just repeat itself, it produces variations on the same theme, some of which can be amusing if you don’t take all this shit seriously.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Ruvy you poor poor man; still seeing fascists round every corner are you? The Germans were fascist towards European Jews. Poor Mr. Ruvy in the same way has turned fascist towards Americans.

    Pity really; the dog biting the hand that feeds it I think.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • zingzing

    that was a great story, mr. kurtz.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd @ #40:

    Well said.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Even I, who’d counseled Let’s Wait and See, ignored my own advice and stupidly added, ‘We are definitely edging into Kafkaesque territory here.'”

    Alan, the statement’s correct, just not in the way you intended

  • Bill B

    I heard it was the NBPP that shut ‘em down…wielding intimidating nightsticks…and Eric Holder just stood by and watched…while ignoring cases where blacks had committed crimes against whites…and, and ….

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    uh, the cnet article i linked to? unlike this post, they actually got their facts straight.

    Mark, don’t be a dick. At the time this article was written it was based on the facts which were available from the very limited number of sources covering the issue.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave, you got it really wrong. even if your facts had been right, the conclusions you came to were ludicrous. paranoid right wing fantasy bullshit. this article makes a mockery of “news.” so don’t call other people dicks. because it’s obvious what a hack you’ve become. if this wasn’t a blog, and you were getting paid to do what you do here, you’d be filling up a cardboard box. and if you’d been right, your blog would be gone, this blog would be gone and your house would be overrun with secret police by this point. but, you know what? you were wrong. time to get used to the idea. obama isn’t a fascist or a socialist or any of that other stuff. you’re just a right wing gutter, letting all the preconceived nonsense float downstream into your pit.

    either publish an update saying you were wrong or publish a new article stating what actually occurred, or you’re no better than a liar. there were no “facts which were available from the very limited number of sources covering the issues,” there was only bullshit you were only too willing to believe. you’ve been had. admit it.

  • Maddy Pumilia

    Great article. The government is absolutely ridiculous.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    How is this a great article?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The comment was for dramatic effect, and the language of overthrowing the government was defined by the context – the language game of politics. So the first thing I’d suggest to you, Jordan, is that you learn to distinguish between different modes of speech. Here are some examples for you in case you’re dumbstruck: rhetorical, inflammatory, purposely-provocative, descriptive, prescriptive, performative, and we can go on. And the same goes for you, Mr. Forsythe. I can provide you with ready-made, scholarly references upon request. So no, there was no venom, Jordan, only a re-enactment. As usual, you’re only reacting.

    That said, however, there is a perfect mechanism only a continent apart to deal with a conundrum such as this. It’s called “vote of no confidence.” I sure wish we had it in this country to get rid of ineptness in government and our elected officials on the general principle, without having to resort to charging them with high crimes and misdemeanor. Nuff said. (Sorry, zing, I don’t share your confidence.)

    And regardless of where the facts lie, and this still remains to be determined, since when have the issues of piracy or intellectual rights been deal with in such a preemptive manner or have become the top priority of the executive branch? To the best my knowledge, all important issues concerning copyright, patenting and intellectual infringement have been dealt with by the courts – one thinks here of Microsoft, Napster, etc. – rather than by the executive fiat or arm-twisting.

    So no, I don’t like these developments. It’s characteristic, however, of this administration’s summary kind of response to any trouble spot that keeps on developing of late, be it in the Gulf or in Arizona, or where else have you. After having fallen asleep at the switch, they shut down the entire operation. Sorry, zing, it’s not confidence inspiring.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “So how, using the FACTS, did the FBI “fall asleep at the switch?”

    As usual, Jordan, you twist other people’s words to make your silly little points. If you care to re-read the comment to which you respond, the reference isn’t to FBI but to the executive branch. Not to anticipate a fallout as a result of the ensuing action was a dereliction of duty (provided of course the administration cares about its image and credibility). So it’s your purported point that is nonsensical and inconsequential – because that was the main thrust of my address, regardless of where the facts lie. This administration does a piss poor job at communicating, which accounts for great deal of its incompetence and ineffectiveness. It ignores the principle that confidence in the government is perhaps the most important ingredient of good and effective governance.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Mr. Obama’s has made a very valid position when he laments that the Republicans drove the American economy into a trough in the first place …”

    An effective executive should never lament, Mr. Forsythe. He ought to be a doer, a fixer. And we’re going now into year three.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Anyway, we all needed a good stir because going by the last two weeks, the Politics section must have been on life support. So thanks, Dave, for administering the CPR; as for my part, I’m happy to have been of help. It was a good show while it lasted.

    Now, let me read the CNET article.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m about through with your bullshit “suggestions,” Roger. People around here make valid points and you dismiss them with labyrinths of “advice” and nonsense. You’re not impressing anyone anymore and you’re certainly no longer holding court, but you’re welcome to think you “help” all you like.

    “Regardless of where the facts lie?” Bull. The FACTS are the whole point of what people are talking about and don’t start telling us all about your desires to take things to a higher level. It’s a bullshit cover for the fact that you were dead ass wrong and refuse to admit it. You honestly think it’s better to sit around thinking up alternate meanings to your own words. That’s sad.

    I, for one, have had more than enough of the tweed jacket bourbon-swilling character you play here. And I’ve more than enough of your treating this site and everyone on it like you’re above it all. It’s nonsense, yet you have no problem telling everyone else how to behave, post, read, act, etc. Where’s the individuality then, Roger?

    I seriously suggest you invest in a mirror. I didn’t twist a damn thing.

  • Mark

    It’s not that Dave is a liar, exactly. He just needs a staff of fact checkers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Kiss off, Jordan. I don’t give a slightest whether you have had enough or not. For an intelligent fellar you are, sometimes you do come across like a jackass. But then, it’s not your intelligence that is a problem, is it? I think you’re just too damn serious, or take yourself too seriously, more likely.

    It’s not alternative meaning of words that’s in question here – another one of your typical mischaracterizations, again, not because you’re stupid but because you want to win a quick point – but your inability to take in the whole of conversation. That’s why you fly off your rocker as often as you do – calling me names, accusing me of simple logical contradiction, attributing venom to me, and so on.

    So yes, let me reiterate it to you because you desperately need it: not all communications are the same either on the level of seriousness or singularity of purpose. I’m not covering for anything. I don’t need to excuse myself for the likes of you. There are times I am serious; at other times, I’m less so. So don’t blame me if you responded to my pushing a few buttons. In retrospect, I’m glad I’ve done it. You may see parts of yourself you haven’t seen before.

    And don’t you worry about my identity. It’s sufficiently multi-layered not to entertain any hatred toward anyone, or to be infected with venom. The only venom thus far displayed is in your comments towards me. So yes, Jordan, perhaps your suggestion that I look at the mirror should be redirected to apply to the sender.

    “The tweed jacket bourbon swilling character”? Yes, I suppose I can play that one, and many more besides. I am glad you got me pegged though.

    Lastly: “And I’ve more than enough of your treating this site and everyone on it like you’re above it all. It’s nonsense, yet you have no problem telling everyone else how to behave, post, read, act, etc.”

    Sounds like a personal complaint to me, couched of course by vesting it with the royal “we” so as to dress it up with greater credibility. And you’re speaking to me of individuality, Jordan? Get a grip!

  • zingzing

    roger: “since when have the issues of piracy or intellectual rights been deal with in such a preemptive manner or have become the top priority of the executive branch?”

    roger, the executive branch had nothing to do with this…

    “Not to anticipate a fallout as a result of the ensuing action was a dereliction of duty.”

    what makes you so sure that the fbi communicates everything it’s doing to the executive branch? as far as i understand it has closer ties to the legislative branch than it does the executive. and they aren’t necessarily known for their openness.

    “This administration does a piss poor job at communicating, which accounts for great deal of its incompetence and ineffectiveness.”

    i think it communicates itself fine. it’s just that some people (read: republicans, tea partiers) hear something completely different because they want to.

    “An effective executive should never lament, Mr. Forsythe. He ought to be a doer, a fixer.”

    wait… which way do you want it now?

    “Now, let me read the CNET article.”

    really? you’ve spent the past 12 hours defending this without knowing what’s going on?

  • zingzing

    mark: “It’s not that Dave is a liar, exactly. He just needs a staff of fact checkers.”

    that’s why i said he’s “no better than a liar.” if he allows this very untrue article to continue to masquerade as “news,” then it’s just as bad as someone out-and-out lying. either update, retract or rewrite. besides, having something this blatantly wrong up on the site will just make it look likes blogcritics is run, written and edited by a bunch of morons.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think you’re just too damn serious, or take yourself too seriously, more likely.

    That’s pretty much the accusation you hurl at anyone who you drum up disagreement with. You accused El Bicho of it recently, for instance, while coupling it with the hilarious notion that “there’s life outside of BC” as if he was the guy holding virtual lectures with 2-3 others on his own thread while letting the comments run into the thousands.

    You sit around here and quibble with others on the most minute of details, telling them how they should post and what their words should aspire to. You complain that the politics section is on life support, yet where are your articles? Where’s your content to remedy the situation? Oh right, I forgot. We owe you one for your “contributions in the comments section.”

    I’ve lost count of the amount of times that you’ve told us that you’re only here because your “social situation” is in the dumps right now. Or that you’ve decided to post in other places because they “challenge” you more. And I try to “win points?” Really?

    I fully acknowledge that I can be a gigantic tool, but so can everyone else here – including you. The difference is that I’ve never shied away from admitting it and have no problem admitting wrong. I’m not so high on myself to forget where exactly it is I am and who exactly it is I am talking to. I don’t post comments here or try to participate for social-intellectual exercises, Roger. That’s your department.

    So when you talk about “taking myself too seriously” or accuse others of needing a “life” outside of BC, I consider the motives they (or I) have for being here versus the motives you admit to having for being here. And then I chuckle.

    I “fly off my rocker” as “often” as I do because I’m an emotional guy. I do lose my cool when somebody pisses me off and I do speak my mind. I’m not passive aggressive and I don’t hold little bullshit sessions with others behind closed doors. I don’t talk behind people’s backs and I’m more than willing to share my opinions with people. Everyone here does the same and this section is at its very best with a little emotion mixed in with the cold logic so many try to bring to the table.

    It IS your twisting of your own words to meet your own purposes that I’m talking about, Roger. Believe it or not, I am on to something and you yourself have admitted to discarding the facts and not even reading the damn CNET article. Come on. You accuse me of trying to win points, but you’ve ventured into this discussion taking a stance without even knowing the facts. And then you admit it! And I’m twisting your words? You’ve yet to outline how I’ve done so and I honestly doubt you’d deign to do so. It’s not your style to deal in specifics.

    It’s hilarious, too, that you tell me to not worry about your identity and then fill up your whole post with critiques of what you deem to be my identity. You can dish it out, sure, but if somebody fires back it becomes a problem of “taking things too seriously” or “needing a life?” Give me a break.

    I realize that what I’m saying here is pointless and even juvenile. I realize that this post is little more than a personal attack, Roger. But I mean every word of it. When you first showed up here, I respected the hell out of you. You struck me as an intelligent individual with a real passion for what he believed in. But now, the passion has been replaced with flat bitterness and this discussion is a clear example of that. You’ve judged the situation in this article and attacked other commenters for “salivating” over the administration without even considering the facts. And then when retorts are offered to your mindless critique, you fire back that your words are being twisted. What a joke.

    There’s no “royal we” in there either. I said “everyone else.” It’s an observation and of course it’s a damn personal complaint. I’m not speaking for anyone else. I’ve only reflected what I’ve seen lately.

    Call it venom. Call it a personal attack. Who knows. Maybe I’m just a little annoyed that somebody I used to respect turned out to be such a gutless jerk.

  • Ruvy

    ….since when have the issues of piracy or intellectual rights been deal with in such a preemptive manner or have become the top priority of the executive branch? To the best my knowledge, all important issues concerning copyright, patenting and intellectual infringement have been dealt with by the courts – one thinks here of Microsoft, Napster, etc. – rather than by the executive fiat or arm-twisting.

    Roger, you actually can be agreed with on occasion. It is this kind of response you describe on the part of the big Zero that makes it so easy to see the fascism already in place developing into a dictatorship in America. That, and the thugs of the Black Panthers (funny how nobody is commenting at that article, eh?), the SEIU, etc., etc.

    Let us assume that this shut-down of 73,000 blogs is merely the action of a private executive crapping in his pants with fear. The message sent to the other companies with host blogsites is perfectly clear – “you too, can be made to crap with fear.” And that is the point.

  • zingzing

    no, ruvy, that’s the point you’ve made up to fit your preconceived notions. and it seems like a very, very roundabout way of accomplishing what you think it’s trying to accomplish. you’d condemn on the flimsiest of evidence, and that’s what’s scary.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Lets part company, Jordan. I see no sense continuing this conversation. Have the last word.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I still want to know what I wanted to know to begin with before you started with the smoke and mirrors and I foolishly played into your hand: how exactly did the FBI drop the ball in this case?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing,

    I’m having problems responding to a multi-point post. If you want handle one issue at a time, I’m game. But no laundry list, please, unless you’re doing it for your own self-edification.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re being obtuse, Jordam. If you re-read the post, I never refered to FBI as “having dropped the ball,” only to the fact that it’s an governmental agency. It’s the administration that’s been dropping the ball and fumbling from almost day one.

    I know you’d rather stick to your side of the story instead of admitting you misread my comment. Sorry, I can’t help you with that. And I’m also sorry I’ve disappointed you. But then again, I’ll say it again that not all conversations are equally serious. That’s the case in real life and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be the case online as well.

    Finally, I don’t always have to speak “responsibly.” In fact, I reserve for myself the right not to do so as the occassion may merit – not being an editor or an official position holder within the BC community.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Let us assume that this shut-down of 73,000 blogs is merely the action of a private executive crapping in his pants with fear. The message sent to the other companies with host blogsites is perfectly clear – “you too, can be made to crap with fear.” And that is the point.

    glad to see that all of you take your ideas bounced off the funhouse mirror of the same shape.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger,

    This is what you said:

    “And the last time I checked, FBI was still a government agency. Consequently, they fell asleep at the switch…”

    How exactly have I misread the comment? Are you saying that the FBI didn’t “fall asleep at the switch?” I’m pretty sure, given the questions directed at you in this thread, that I’m not the only one “misreading” your comment.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And then you go on to mention that you’re essentially profiling and generalizing, which is where more of my concerns fell in to place and why I attacked you as I did.

    It seemed that it was a big problem for you for people to defend the administration on this issue specifically, even as the facts of this specific case reflect that the FBI didn’t “fall asleep” at any “switch.” The reason it was such a big problem was that you were overlooking the facts to continue to float your agenda of bitterness towards this administration.

    I’m not saying your agenda doesn’t have a place or even a true point to it. But why do the facts of specific cases cease to matter? Are you that ideologically hungry that you’ll swallow anything to maintain your mood?

    THAT’S my problem, dude. Your bitterness is clouding your judgment here.

  • zingzing

    roger: “I’m having problems responding to a multi-point post. If you want handle one issue at a time, I’m game. But no laundry list, please, unless you’re doing it for your own self-edification.”

    well, i did handle them one at a time… you can pretend like they’re different posts if you want. it’s would all add up to the same thing, wouldn’t it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No bitterness, Jordan. I just don’t expect anything of them. So yes, I was dumping on them, whether deservedly or not. Call it emotional release, verbal ejaculation, whatever. I don’t think BC is so sacred that we can’t be dumping on here. Many do, as you know. But as to my judgment getting clouded in the process – no chance of that, dude. I know where I is!

  • http://www.talktoyourself.com Gene Wilson

    When one observer commented that fascism has come to America he/she was correct. Unfortunately fascism has been in America for some considerable time and has been nurtured by all of the major political parties as they are the party in power. This latest blow to due process, constitutionality and the rule of law is just the latest step along the path to tyranny of the bureaucrats and politicians.

    I remember when this country was more free.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Nowosielski, I am flattered at the reference, however it would have been pleasant had you dealt with it in its sum. You left out the segment about Republicans childishly droning on and on because Mr. Obama is not extricating the vehicle out of the trough swiftly enough after Mr. Bush drove you into it; as you are hypocritically doing now.

    It took Mr. Bush and his minions a decade to create the financial disaster your nation now faces. Did you anticipate him repairing the economic carnage that was wrought at the snap of a finger?

    Mr. Jeff Forsythe

  • Jeff Forsythe

    Mr. Wilson must be referring to the days when Mr. Bush tapped telephones without warrants and jailed citizens without due process.

    Mr. Forsythe

  • zingzing

    off topic, i know, but the latest andrew breitbart fraud has been exposed. the man is shameless. it’s amazing how much of his gruel the right wing will lap up. fox news thought it had a coup. i’m beginning to become convinced that breitbart is actually a liberal trying to make conservatives look like fools.

  • STM

    Alan Kurtz: “Heller writes … that I am Jew, and for a Jew to receive a letter from the FBI brought up all sorts of terrifying history of knocks on the door from the Nazi Gestapo, the East German Stasi, the Russian NKVD. So fear was my first reaction”.

    Yeah, of course, ’cause an organisation operating according to the rule of law that underpins America’s democracy is always going to behave like the secret police organisation from a totalitarian state know for arresting people without trial and executing them or shoving them in the gulag without trial.

    That is not the only bizarre claim made in this story and/or its associated comment thread, but it’s worth replying to.

    Forgetting Guantanamo for a moment, which is something else again, can someone just tell me of one situation where a Jew or anyone else has been arrested by the FBI in the United States and executed or imprisoned without trial.

    Just one example will do, and with proof, thanks. No, thought not.

    The more contact I have with some Americans, the more I realise that the kinds of warped views you might expect to find on the fringes of other democratic nations have now become mainstream in the American political process.

    Political agendas like Dave’s are one thing, delusional beliefs are another. Scary stuff.

  • STM

    Sorry, make that warped AND hysterical views …

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Forgetting Guantanamo for a moment, which is something else again, can someone just tell me of one situation where a Jew or anyone else has been arrested by the FBI in the United States and executed or imprisoned without trial.

    Stan, unless you want to bring the Bush administration’s fun and games with extraordinary rendition under the Guantanamo umbrella, then Maher Arar qualifies, along with a number of others whose cases have been well enough documented for me not to need to furnish proof here.

    Mind you, if there’s one thing we furriners should have gleaned by now from our time participating in the BC comments melée, it’s that Americans do have a tendency to overreact – whether it’s to blokes with towels on their heads crashing planes into their buildings, or to their presidents’ policies diverging even slightly from their own political beliefs, or to a law enforcement officer Looking at them in a Funny Way.

  • zingzing

    dr. dreadful: “Mind you, if there’s one thing we furriners should have gleaned by now from our time participating in the BC comments melée, it’s that Americans do have a tendency to overreact.”

    watch yourself, doc. we have guns.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Which is exactly what I mean.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    You Merkins think guns are the solution to every problem, from There Is A Gopher Pissing On My Geraniums to Fermat’s Last Theorem.

    In Hollywood, this is true. In real life, this makes one heck of a mess.

  • doug m

    All these hollow cries of fascism sound like a bunch of drunken college kids reacting to the cops shutting down their keg party. Apparently I didn’t see the flier posted in the halls

  • Les Slater

    Doc,

    “You Merkins think guns are the solution to every problem, from There Is A Gopher Pissing On My Geraniums to Fermat’s Last Theorem.”

    Yup, I more than once loaded shotgun shells with fine sand to do away with a whole swarm of gnats at once.

  • Les Slater

    But, wasn’t Fermat’s Last Theorem solved without a shot being fired?

  • zingzing

    doc, so 2+2=just shoot the motherfucker? you know better than to lump all americans together. i doubt you could get all americans to agree on the color of the sky. you think we’re unnecessarily contrary towards ferners? you should see how we treat each other. positively retarded.

  • zingzing

    wait just a cotton-pickin minute… “merkins?” that’s real clever there doc. you can keep your merkins to yourself, i tell you what. we’re “mericans,” not “merkins.” that would be revolting.

  • STM

    Doc: “blokes with towels on their heads crashing planes into their buildings”.

    That’s a fair enough reason to overreact. Anything short of turning the middle-east into a giant plate-glass window is fair enough.

    I think you know exactly what I meant, though Doc.

    A bloke is likening the FBI to the Gestapo, Stasi and NKVD. Inow I commented but it’s almost too ridiculous to warrant a comment.

  • STM

    Merkins? Eeek. Ain’t they popular in Japan???

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ President Merkin Muffley

    During my administration, only red-blooded Merkins supported me. My opponents were, like those who frequent Blogcritics, dupes and agents of the International Communist Conspiracy. I should’ve just let General Ripper nuke ‘em, one and all.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    i doubt you could get all americans to agree on the color of the sky.

    Probably not, but they’d settle the question by means of a shootout.

  • Les Slater

    I’ve been considering getting a gun for some time, not for the revolution, but for recreational target practice. When I was a kid I used to play with my father’s Colt .22 Woodsman. The main thing holding me back is money. A good .22 LR target pistol ain’t too cheep for a toy I’d have to store at the club. Chicago area ranges require lead-free amo too. It’s not that high on my priority list either.

  • zingzing

    doc: “Probably not, but they’d settle the question by means of a shootout.”

    i have to disagree. pistols at dawn. hrm. make that noon.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    re: #77

    Dayum. I am surprised there was no mention on the news today about Canada dropping a nuclear bomb in the U.S. I imagine Roger’s silhouette burned into the wall opposite his monitor.

    Mooseheads on me, Jordan

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing, sorry but that obama stuff, I mean you really think that? have a look at this little condensed thingy-ma-jigger starting at 1:00 minute it gets good. Obama, summed up.

    This looks interesting:

    Reality gap: U.S. struggles, D.C. booms
    By: Jim VandeHei and Zachary Abrahamson
    July 18, 2010 10:16 PM EDT

    America is struggling with a sputtering economy and high unemployment — but times are booming for Washington’s governing class.

    The massive expansion of government under President Barack Obama has basically guaranteed a robust job market for policy professionals, regulators and contractors for years to come. The housing market, boosted by the large number of high-income earners in the area, many working in politics and government, is easily outpacing the markets in most of the country. And there are few signs of economic distress in hotels, restaurants or stores in the D.C. metro area.

    As a result, there is a yawning gap between the American people and D.C.’s powerful when it comes to their economic reality — and their economic perceptions.

  • STM

    Doc: Re Maher Arar,

    Well, yes, despite the constitutional protections at law applying to anyone whose feet are actually on US soil, as we know in the US at the moment, in what is a hangover from the Bush era, almost anything still goes if you’re not a citizen.

    Neverthless, there is no way the FBI is going to turn up at someone’s door at midnight, take them to a cell in the style of the KGB’s Lubyanka prison, or simply “disappear” them in the fashion of Nazi Germany’s “nacht und nebel”.

    To even make the comparison is bizarre.

    The one good thing about that story is that the Canadian government gave him 10 million bucks.

    Would’nt have happened in the Soviet Union, East Germany or Nazi Germany – the places to which the US is being compared.

    Also, there are plenty of cases of US citizens wrongly arrested and held in the US by their own people, who have subsequently been released and given hefty sums of compensation.

    This is the difference between our democratic experience and the totalitarian experience, and there is NO comparison, not even a flimsy one.

  • STM

    President Merkin Muffley: “During my administration, only red-blooded Merkins supported me. My opponents were, like those who frequent Blogcritics, dupes and agents of the International Communist Conspiracy. I should’ve just let General Ripper nuke ‘em, one and all.”

    Lol. Very clever. Is the real Alan coming out of the woodwork??

  • zingzing

    cindy: “zing, sorry but that obama stuff, I mean you really think that?”

    i see the article points to economic matters. where i said i was more critical, but that i cared (and understood) less. but you know, he’s in charge of the government, so yeah, it’s easiest to create government jobs. you go try creating a job in something you’re not in charge of. give it a shot. not trying to tell you off or anything, but hey, he created some jobs. the easy ones. but there they are. it’s not that he cares less about other jobs. it’s just the ones he was able to create easily are created easily and are therefore done being created. it’s the way reality works, don’t you think?

    as for the daily show thing, those are a few of the things i’m pissed off about with him for. there are more. denying habeas corpus and allowing wiretapping don’t really seem like the type of things he’d allow. but i’m hoping he will put an end to them. that he said he’d get rid of those two travesties and then failed to do so seems to suggest that he’s not the one in charge of that at the moment. that seems silly, but we all know that the president is, realistically, often not the “decider.” excuses, excuses, i know, but i doubt he likes those ideas any more than you do. do you doubt it?

    as for the hitjob on the muslim cleric, well, i’m surprised we heard about it. usually, stuff like that isn’t revealed til years after. but it happens all the time. i’m not really surprised. are you?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    but i’m hoping he will put an end to them

    that nicely sums up the reality of the ‘hope’ part of obama’s promise.

    (dare you to look further into those ‘few’ things, he is carrying them further than bush did…zing, i am disappointed in the left. the left used to stand against what was wrong. now the left are apologists for what is wrong..the left should challenge gov’t..i hope you will read this brief article to see what I mean: This Country Needs a Few Good Communists)

  • Les Slater

    I’ve read Dave’s article and all the comments. Been trying to figure out what to say. I’m not sure where Zing’s coming from; still trying to figure it out. I don’t think it can be totally attributed to naiveté.

    I think I got Dave pegged though. In general he doesn’t seem to have any concern for truth or accuracy. He’s just trying to impress a certain layer within a particular political fringe he happens to be traveling with at the moment.

  • Les Slater

    Zing seems to have it correct on pointing to the content of Dave’s article as being bunk and conspiracy laden. Where Zing goes wrong is the idylic defence of Obama, even to the point of defending his crimes like hitjobs.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Forsythe,

    “Lamenting” was the word I was objecting to, not the larger picture.

    It’s a lame word.

  • Les Slater

    Cindy,

    I followed your link in 115. Interesting, and yes the title you chose for the link is a good one except I think it starting with ‘The world needs…’ would have been even better.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In that case, Les, why don’t you jump in and contribute to the comment thread – especially as regards the hot topic of late – “socialized capitalism.” I’m in there already, and so is Mark, and so is Cindy.

    I’m not telling you our monikers though. It’s for you to figure out.

  • Les Slater

    Sorry, the title was Chris Hedges’ not yours. It’s one indication of the weekness of his perspective. There are quite a few more.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I agree Les! That would have been a better title. I will let Chris Hedges know. ;-)

    btw you know some people who are conversing on that thread at that article. (just thought you might like to know, you may recognize them)

    (p.s. saw a wonderful program on Myrna Loy last night…didn’t know what an amazing woman she was. hope you caught that or get a chance to see it. for example: she challenged the film industry with questions such as: why does a negro man always play a servant…why does he not play a businessman with a briefcase)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Les, we cross posted. To stick up for Chris…he still considered himself a radical Keynesian (or some such…I can’t remember the exact words he used) in this presentation–Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle which was only in late 2009 (I think.) Roger noted that he seemed past that.

    I believe that is because he is a work in progress. That is, he seems to be going through a growth spurt in his thinking. But he seems to be on the right track.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (oops, Myrna Loy was a couple nights ago–I will look around for the show online and send a link if I find it.)

  • http://www.heloise8@wordpress.com Heloise

    yup scary stuff. my blog is a wordpress one. i think this is only a small sample of the dems police state to come. bush had a hand in it too. i mean we have shut this country down for some idiots with a few box cutters? that’s my take. we bought the bush and fed lies now we are buying the obama lies. coffee anyone?

  • zingzing

    heloise, this article is very misleading and doesn’t have a lick of truth in it. go look up this information elsewhere for the real story. dave’s article is a nasty hit job of lies and distortion. don’t be sucked in. he needs to add an update saying that the “facts” he used weren’t facts at all and that as the truth has come out he put up another article.

  • zingzing

    les, cindy and roger… you’re all to the left of me, whether it be communism, anarchism or just plain wandering radicalism. does it surprise you that i’m not pleasing your various brands of leftism? really? i’m not sure whether you’re trying to recruit me (your message is muddled by your various political faiths, and it’s watered down by the muddling) or if you’re just trying to berate me. to that, i say, please do something else with your time. i’m willing to wait a bit longer. maybe, if my faith gets exhausted, i’ll join you guys on the darkside and we’ll make some bombs or something. alright? but i’m not there yet, and you’re not going to push me there either.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing, the left used to stand up for the working class, it used to protest war, it used to take a stand against oppression.

    it doesn’t do those things any more. it now embraces capitalism. you don’t have to be a communist or an anarchist or a postmodernist to be a part of the left i am talking about. ghandi, mlk, those who opposed the vietnam war, etc were they all farther to the left than you?

    not trying to push you or berate you–i have no illusions about changing people’s minds, and i have almost gotten through my angry phase and moved on toward a more productive attitude–maybe ;-)

    it’s you who are on the darkside zing. the left that is no longer for anything that matters and can overlook horrendous gov’t actions. the corrupted left–who thinks that the problem is democrats vs republicans–as if either of these sides is any more than a diversion–a way to get you actually on the same side fighting amongst each other whilst you both support the power that is the real problem.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I always take so many words to say a thing. Here Chris Hedges elegantly says what I mean, “Chris Hedges: (on live chat) There is no left in this country, that’s the problem.

  • zingzing

    cindy, name someone who is for oppression, war or against the working class. to i come to mind? i embrace certain portions of capitalism, just as i do certain portions of socialism.

    i’ve done my time being the radicalized, angry young man. i protested wars, i was in a riot, i graffitied the chancellor’s house. you know what it got me? a few fines, and none of the things i wanted changed in the ways i’d hoped they would. maybe i lost a bit of zeal for the individual action. maybe i just realized the futility of it.

    i’m hoping that obama will lead this country into a better place. in certain ways, he’s doing that. in other ways, he’s not, at least not yet. i’m not ready to call him a failure, and you know what, he’s the best fucking hope we’ve had in a long time. if he doesn’t get it done, i don’t see anyone else out there who can work within the system to get it done, so i’m going to give him his 4 years. if, at that time, he no longer seems to be doing enough, i’ll vote for someone else.

    that, unfortunately, is how democracy works.

  • zingzing

    “DO” i come to mind, not “to”…

  • Les Slater

    Hey Zing,

    I’m just trying to understand your perspective. Your 133 helped much on that account. I don’t really expect to change anyone’s mind here. It’s just a forum where I can articulate my views.

    Les

  • zingzing

    les, i’ve been politically aware for the last dozen years or so. in that time, there’s been nothing but one republican-led disaster after another. this is the first time in my adult life that the team i’m rooting for has a chance to do ANYTHING at all. so, if i seem a bit less critical than those of you who have a little more experience in the matter, please excuse that, whether it be naive or whether it be a lack of cynicism. maybe obama’s administration will be a learning experience, but i’m going to let those learning experiences teach me what i let them.

    i can’t subscribe to anarchism, because it’s not what i want. i can’t subscribe to communism either, as it doesn’t seem to work out quite right (although it is a beautiful idea). my political philosophy takes bits from here and there, and is a big old mess, but it’s mine, and i understand it, even if i don’t already know how that philosophy will answer the various new questions that come up. it’s not that solid. but it’s the fluidity of it that appeals to me, i suppose.

    as i get older, that philosophy might neatly slide into one category or another. who knows. for now, politics is a very small part of my life, because culture interests me so much more. if i see a headline that says “us drones attack innocent afghani wedding, killing dozens,” but over there on the sidebar is a link to listen to the latest radiohead album, i’m listening to the latest radiohead album in two heartbeats.

    i do love politics, and the surrealism of it all, the comedy of it all, the ridiculous nature of it all, really appeal to me. but, for now, i see it mostly as a game that rich, old white men play poorly. it’s just not something i see myself as having any major affect on.

  • Les Slater

    “…politics is a very small part of my life…”

    And it should be. I pay more attention to culture than politics. I’d rather read a poem than Marx.

    “i do love politics, and the surrealism of it all, the comedy of it all, the ridiculous nature of it all, really appeal to me.”

    Somehow this reminded me of a recorded Hip Hop / Jazz / Spoken Word / Poem called “Flutes” by The Locksmiths. There’s an MP3 available for $0.99.

    I don’t want to have to be political. It’s just culture that I love in so many forms is being supressed into such narrow channels by such a pervasive oppression that all points to the rule of the market.

    By whatever route, it will take the breaking of the chains of capital before we can not only be joyous human beings but be human beings in any real sense.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    okay zing, i’ll be quiet now. i think i made all the points i wanted to. and i just wanted to say i did read your last post to me.

    (i just lost a poker hand to a pro in a classic stupid move of having Q10 to his AQ–yet staying in like a dumbo–so, now i am off to sulk and hope he forgets my nickname. have a good one.)

  • zingzing

    les, i guarantee you there’s an mp3 available for free. and, yep, there it is. breaking the chains of capital indeed.

    cindy, i think we’re all valuable parts of the left. those that want to work within the system are driven further to the left by those who see no further use for the system. but without those willing to use/abuse the system, those further to the left would find themselves without any real significance within that dominant system. so you keep doing what you’re doing, i’ll keep voting for our best real hope, and hopefully, it’ll all work out.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, I wouldn’t dream of recruiting you. You ain’t ready, and I don’t believe in wasting my time.

  • zingzing

    i’m quite happy where i stand, roger, and plan on taking my own course, wherever it leads me. so, yes, it would be a total waste of time to even try. in some ways, i’ve already been where you are. maybe i’ll make it back there again. but that’s up to no one but me.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I think Zing is far from naive. He has a more realistic, wide-ranging view of the world than most commenters on here: both the idealistic anarchists and the tunnel-vision libertarians. Both live in their own fantasy-lands. Zing tells it like it is and calls ‘em like he sees ‘em. And is very funny besides.

    Obama is far from perfect. But suggest someone better. The list is distressingly short, almost non-existent.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    By the way, since there’s no other article to place this comment on:

    Will the Sherrod fracas finally bring Andrew Breitbart the discredit he so richly deserves? He got off way too easy in deliberately distorting the Acorn ‘sting’ and in sliming John Lewis.

    Shirley Sherrod is a wonderful, beautiful, deeply eloquent woman. She should not only be rehired, but promoted.

    If you haven’t watched the full tape, do yourself a favor immediately. It’s a fantastically moving speech.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m glad you’re in his corner, Handy, and he in yours. .

    Besides, how else could you cheerlead for one another and this great country of ours, including our glorous future, if left to your own devices.

    Misery loves company. Enjoy while you can!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There is a wide range of attitudes and expressions between “cheerleading” and reflexively attacking everything the government does [or, for that matter, attacking everyone who disagrees with you].

    I’m a centrist, just about always have been, proud of it. People who take an extreme point of view, even a consistent one, are very often wrong.

  • zingzing

    roger, you say you can’t see where i’m coming from anymore, but it’s you that has changed, not me. you used to see quite clearly.

    and remember, i’m quite aware of the hypocrisies of politics. when the party in charge changes, the attacker becomes the defender, and vice versa. my politics haven’t changed, but my point of view on what goes on most certainly has. it’s not quite as extreme as everything that bush did was wrong and everything the obama does is right, but i am quite a bit more lenient and understanding of what obama does. i’ll admit it. i have many times before. it’s why politics is a big load of bullshit.

    if that surprises you, you haven’t been keeping up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I never said that, zing. All I said, “don’t change on me.”

  • zingzing

    to further my point a little, this “leniency and understanding” is something i recognize as a fault. it doesn’t change how i feel, but i do recognize it as such. it’s a lesson i’ll take into account next time the republicans are in office. if my “leniency and understanding” sours, that’ll be something i’ll learn from as well.

  • zingzing

    i’ll change, roger. of that, you can be sure. but i doubt i’ll move towards the right, at least not for a very long time. the right disgusts me. the center has its appeal, but i don’t see it as the place for me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nor have I really attacked you or Handy for your political views. What we did have disagreement about was the effectiveness of the Obama administration (including the legislative acts) and what I views as questionable policies in the aresa of foreign and financial/domestic policy.

    There wasn’t much nastiness to the best of my recollection.

  • zingzing

    never accused you of such.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I know you haven’t, just wanted to the record straight. I also appreciate that you haven’t included me on the list of all those who presumably believe we’re descending on the road to fascism.

    If anything, zing, our disagreement has to do with the administration not going far enough (IMO). Which is why disagreements within the Left are always more heated up and full of thunder. We care!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Believe you me, the Reps will be in office, including the White House, come 2012. Then we’ll all have good reasons to bitch about and perhaps form a lasting coalition. The Obama presidency – I’m speaking in past tense – was the first step, a necessary one but still only the first.

    I do look to some meaningful changes by the time 2020 rolls in.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, that’s good to know. We can just skip the next 28 months and go directly to the results. After all, everything always goes exactly as expected and predicted in politics. Wasn’t it assumed to be Hillary vs Giuliani [or Romney] at about the equivalent point ahead of the 2008 elections?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    i see it [politics] as a game that rich, old white men play poorly.

    That’s quite a gem, zing. Glad I spotted it. :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thank heavens for ‘idealists’, if that is what they are, handy (and I personally dispute that being for justice is idealist–it’s just right) or we’d still have slavery, child labor and 16 hour work days the 8 hour workday is courtesy of your friendly neighborhood anarchists).

    What is an idealist–someone who sees that the system needs to be completely changed is an idealist? I call that a realist.

    Destruction of the environment, wars, poverty, on and on and on…Those who remain asleep and dreaming through it all are the idealists. Those who protest and want social revolution are the realists. They always have been throughout history. name me any time in history when this was not so. When justice came courtesy of ‘centrists’.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh and btw handy we still do have a great deal of injustice in this world and it is in large part courtesy of US and other imperialist and colonizing nations.

    The children working in the maquiladora factories, the child slaves in Africa that make your cocoa and other victims of the system in place thank you for not being idealistic.

  • Zedd

    I’ve come to believe that those who expect revolution at times when there is no extreme adversity may find that they have lived waisted lives pursuing an impossible (and perhaps an unnecessary) dream. I also think that they have a naive understanding of human nature. We are fickle and are swayed by the inconsequential – for innumerable reasons. We are really difficult to manage.

    What we can hope for is an intelligent leadership that understands the current landscape; that tweaks matters towards the best outcomes for the masses and responds with urgency on matters that require immediate attention.

    Is that a moderate?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Cindy, I assume that you don’t really believe that I am in favor of injustice? It’s not either/or. There is room for more than one approach/attitude/worldview.

    [Shirley Sherrod, for example, suffered quite a bit of injustice, early in her life when her father was murdered and her family terrorized by the Klan — and not so violently, but very publicly, the last couple of days.]

    If you set impossible standards and then get furious when people fail to meet them, what exactly has been accomplished? I think your characterization of the president is as false as the one promoted by the Tea Partiers, with a vision just as devoid as theirs of any alternative solution that might actually occur in the real world.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Fighting injustice wasn’t an either/or proposition for Gandhi. There was no room for compromise.

  • Les Slater

    “I’ve come to believe that those who expect revolution at times when there is no…”

    It’s not a question enjoying the fruit but being part of the preparation for the harvest. Being a citizen of time beats self defeating despondency any day in my book.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Les,

    Ruvy would be proud of your #158. And so would Irene (I think).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I’ve come to believe that those who expect revolution at times when there is no extreme adversity may find that they have lived waisted lives pursuing an impossible (and perhaps an unnecessary) dream.

    There is a sign that says, “if you are not outraged then you are not paying attention.” If I am snuggled and comfy in my warm bed, then the whole world is just dandy? No children are being murdered in wars? The homeless fade into fantasy? No one is starving? The environment isn’t being destroyed? People aren’t being diverted to watching Jerry Springer whilst this all goes on around them?

    If I am not personally experiencing the adversity then no one is?

    Pay no attention to the people pounding on the doors to the ballroom. Just keep dancing, the music is fine. You know the Jews say that the Holocaust happened because no one did anything. You are a Christian, right Zedd? Not paying attention to the adversity of others, is that what Jesus would do?

    Cindy, I assume that you don’t really believe that I am in favor of injustice? It’s not either/or. There is room for more than one approach/attitude/worldview.

    I have no doubt of your good intentions. None at all. But I’ll say a couple things. My world view is that it is precisely such worldviews (the moderate ones) that hold things back. Consider this in regard to any kind of change. How does slavery change? When enough people take a different worldview. It stays the same when enough people are moderate about it.

    For proof allow me to point to the world and say, behold the world…most people are moderate…look at what it is.

    Second, to charge the far left with extremism as regards criticism of the gov’t, we’d have to be wrong about what would be predictable, wouldn’t we? My position says there is a problem with the system and Obama won’t be able to change much. Have a look at the link I posted for zing (the Daily show one summing up what Obama wanted to do and what is doing and has done).

    It seems to me the evidence falls on the side of those who are being accused of extremism. The moderate is the one saying, ‘Oh well, be realistic, you can’t really change anything much.’ And that is exactly how nothing changes.

  • Zedd

    Cindy,

    But what if there is no one pounding the door?

    If you are talking about the global social maladjustments, I hear you loud and clear. However, even with those concerns, there is a way to address them.

    But in the US of A???? The biggest problem is vast ignorance. Yes the powerful class manipulates the masses, however the manipulation is more so a compliance. The system of governance is built to protect a populous that is engaged. Because the population feels content, they don’t choose to participate in any way that requires much effort (unless you count listening to talk radio).

    Perhaps we have embarked upon a new enemy… The Public.

    Cindy I think you are being too simplistic in your defining (or understanding) the moderate.

    “My position says there is a problem with the system and Obama won’t be able to change much”. He already has. Are you keeping up with the type of dialogue that is taking place in Washington and the military vs a couple of years ago? People are discussing SOLUTIONS that go beyond the knee jerk, politically expedient, blow them all up, proposals that soiled the landscape not too long ago. The use of online media to involve the public (THE MASSES) came with Obama. More practically, he pushed for insurance reform (the public pushed back so the legislators caused havoc and destroyed it). Come on, you were here, did you forget? He’s pushed for changes in “Don’t Ask….”. However, a person who thinks also KNOWS that in this economic climate, HE IS BUSY with other stuff.

    Revolutionaries CANT succeed without cooler heads. Gandhi was a moderate, MLK was a moderate, Mandela…. You forget the anarchists that existed during the time of their struggle. Without their awareness of the big picture and the fragility of the social fabric, things in all situations could have gone the way of all of the rest of the regimes that came out of revolution who plague society today.

    WWJD – As a moderate, I gave up my pursuits in the corporate sector and work in non profit with at risk youth. I advocate for this population in various types of institutions. Weekends I volunteer in distressed communities. Had a sleep over at my home just last weekend of youth from the projects with a purpose to effect change. I provide a loving home of balance/logic (MODERATION), push kindness,compassion, volunteerism, introspection and academic excellence to my kiddos. I keep myself informed about my world (politically and socially.. but everything is politics isn’t it), I read history and philosophy and engage in
    public discussions and of course, I engage with all sorts of individuals including far lefties and bubble heads. I vote, blog and donate to charitable organizations both here and abroad. I must confess that I don’t have much occasion to discuss with the extreme right for too long. I get bored. What about you? What do you do.

  • Zedd

    gosh I loath long posts… oopsie. do forgive.

  • Les Slater

    “Because the population feels content…”

    You jest?

  • Mark

    WWJD? Tear up the town this time ’round, according to The Book. Probably best to leave Him out of this. In the fantasy world that is religion it behooves us to take care of business before He gets here!

    Zedd, have you considered how your ‘good works’ serve to reproduce the forms of an unjust dominant power structure? (I ask this as one who worked to deliver social services for 20+ years.)

  • Zedd

    Mark, I have and no my work does not perpetuate the status quo.

  • Doug Hunter

    I work and pay a shitload of taxes so you two will have something to redistribute and can continue to feel superior. Does that count as a ‘social service’?

  • Mark

    Zedd, good and good…and good

    Doug, your payment of taxes for redistribution certainly is a service to our capitalist society. Of course, it would more clearly be a service at, say, double the present fat cat tax rate.

  • John Wilson

    Most of that ‘redistribution’ goes directly to fat cat corporations, starting with the 50-60% to DOD parasites.

  • Mark

    Well, naturally, John. This is a capitalist society.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Doug would argue we’re quickly becoming a socialist society.

  • Doug Hunter

    John, you blame the corporations for taking the handouts, I blame the government for giving them. Same difference, except the corporations are upfront about their goals, politicians are supposed to represent the people.

    Mark, I would never wish to compel double servitude on you, but now we’re getting into a fundamental ideological thing. I hear alot of moaning from the BCR’s (Blogcritics Comment Revolutionaries) about domination and manipulation, etc, etc. It has become apparent to me that the problem lies not so much with domination itself, but in the idea that some of those doing the dominating don’t share your philosophy.

    Roger, I’d certainly argue that government is growing and has been for quite some time. At the same time we’ve lost a bit of our leadership position and much of our industry. As a consolation, the Chinese will lend us the money so you can receive benefits for up to 2 years when your job moves to their country (so I guess it’s not a total loss).

  • Les Slater

    “…politicians are supposed to represent the people.”

    And you know they don’t, don’t you? They actually, directly or indirectly, represent the corporations, or more precicely the class that owns them.

  • John Wilson

    Doug: “…you blame the corporations for taking the handouts, I blame the government for giving them.”

    The corporations OWN the government. They have successfully privatized the feds (perhaps the only real success in ‘privatization’).

    What we have now is a sovietized capitalistic system. Of course it will intrude on our private lives and drive us into slavery in order to produce the wherewithall to wage wars, that is the modus of feudalism.

  • Mark

    I would never wish to compel double servitude on you…

    Of course you would if cutting pay were needed to keep your business afloat in the face of competition and if it were politically feasible.

    It has become apparent to me that the problem lies not so much with domination itself, but in the idea that some of those doing the dominating don’t share your philosophy.

    I certainly don’t want Bolsheviks dominating.

  • Mark

    No nibble? How about:

    I doubt that you would have much problem with increasing worker productivity without increasing pay.

  • Doug Hunter

    #172/173
    Yes, I believe that is what I said but thanks for expounding on it. Not everyone who believes in freedom from government and property rights supports corruption, war, cronyism, and gay=evil. (now please pick your jaws up off the floor)

    #174
    Sorry, I don’t have time to properly answer that. In short, yes. It matters not whether we work for pennies, dollars, or millions it’s the ratio of profits, prices, and wages that matters. If I’m not pocketing the profits then your loss of standard of living is being offset by lower product price improving the life of those who consume it. Said another way, if workers worked for half then products should cost half then half your wages would maintain your standard of living. Also, your analogy is does not involve compelling and gives you a choice between working for half or being out of a job/business.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “At the same time we’ve lost a bit of our leadership position and much of our industry.”

    It’s not OUR industry we’ve lost. What we we have lost is the illusion that it was our industry.

  • Doug Hunter

    #177

    True. I thought you were all into redistribution though… it’s not so funny when the capitalists do it wholescale redistributing your money and job to India/China/Mexico.

    Note to self: Redistribution only fun when I’m the distributee, not the distributor.

  • Mark

    …products should cost half…

    That’s a rather liberal use of ‘should.’

    Also, your analogy is does not involve compelling and gives you a choice between working for half or being out of a job/business.

    …a compelling forced choice. Marx said something about this freedom to starve.

    Note to self: Redistribution only fun when I’m the distributee, not the distributor.

    Geeze, what about all that christmas propaganda — the joy of giving, etc, etc

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    133 –

    zing…sorry, slow brain…this just occurred to me…

    i can’t subscribe to anarchism, because it’s not what i want. i can’t subscribe to communism either, as it doesn’t seem to work out quite right (although it is a beautiful idea).

    what does that mean IT is not what i want? what do you imagine when you say that ‘it’?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    161 –

    Zedd,

    Gonna think on my reply half the day. BBL

  • Doug Hunter

    “Marx said something about this freedom to starve.”

    That’s the natural state of things. Houses don’t build themselves, food doesn’t pick itself, fish and animals don’t mysteriously appear in the freezer section, poop doesn’t magically dissappear down the drainhole, and a dimensional warp doesn’t open up and swallow your trash… people must work hard to maintain our modern standard of living. You can either work yourself and exchange your labor on the open market, rely on charity, or force someone else into servitude to provide for you. The third option is the only one I have a problem with.

    And just so you might ratchet down the rhetoric a bit, no one in the US is starving and our ‘poverty’ is worlds above what most of the planet’s population could ever hope to experience. Poverty is a mental state more than a physical condition here. Living in a disease infested cardboard shantytown earning $2/day from mother’s prostitution and son’s begging (who had his leg removed for extra sympathy) is poverty. What we have here are single mother’s that’d rather survive with mom’s help, food stamps, and section 8 until the kids starts school. Sure, it’d be great to just give her $40K per year for nothing just to ensure she didn’t fit the ‘poverty’ definition but for the most part there’s not alot of physical suffering.

  • Doug Hunter

    Some US ‘Poverty’ stats for you from 2001 HUD survey:

    People in poverty who…

    Own home: 46%
    Own car: 73%
    2 or more cars: 30%
    Cable or Satellite TV: 63%
    Own a TV: 97%
    2 or more TV’s: 55%

    Those are facts. The US is not as bad as those who recruited you to the revolution would have you believe. I feel bad too about the poor, but once they have their own home, cars, food, healthcare, and cable TV I believe there are more pressing needs (like making sure the people who’s taxes pay for the former benefits have an opportunity and a job) Maybe that makes me ‘heartless’ I don’t know.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “what do you imagine when you say that ‘it’?”

    not the utopia you do.

  • Mark

    Two points Doug:

    First, where have you been? What those people and many more own is debt.

    Second, Nationalism kills. Any analysis that fails to describe the link between your wealth and the ‘foreign’ poverty that you point to falls short.

  • Doug Hunter

    #185

    The absurdity is that you’re foolish enough to believe a link exists. They may not have been living in poverty in shantytowns back in the day, but it’s because there weren’t enough of them because they were fucking dead without our advances in food production and medicine. Our only responsibility is in the idea that we gave them the tools to live which has led to population boom and overcrowding. Perhaps you’re sorry we did.

    Now, capitalism and industrialization are transforming these countries as fast as they can, bringing them into the modern age. I’ll take the odds for the future of a sweatshop country any day over those of a UN handout and fundrasing posterchild. In twenty years my sweatshop country will be Tiawan, or Singapore, of Hong Kong, while the handout country will still be running feed the children telethons.

  • zingzing

    doug: “They may not have been living in poverty in shantytowns back in the day, but it’s because there weren’t enough of them because they were fucking dead without our advances in food production and medicine.”

    you do see the problem in that logic, right?

  • Mark

    Doug, you capitalists have shown that it is possible to organize production to create surpluses to ‘feed the world’. That this hasn’t quite happened and that it was a learning process with a horrendous cost to indigenous populations, the poor, the earth, each other, workers are other stories.

    To continue reaping the benefits of saving the world, you — meaning the capitalist class — will have to survive the social unrest that your bust periods generate as a class, that is, physically/managerially in control of the means of production. The muscle to do this (governments) doesn’t come cheap, and the process involves big payola…so, I’m inclined to say stop your bitching about your tax burden.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    There’s something disconnected about applauding US society for achieving some of the highest standards of living in human history, and then acting surprised when a sector of the population struggles to live up to those standards without help.

    Poverty is relative. A family living in the US on welfare might well have a higher income than somebody living in, say, Bangkok who is regarded as pretty well off by Thai standards.

    Unfortunately, income and cost of living are tied together. I work with the Section 8 program and people do struggle to pay for rent, food, power and other utilities and expenses even with incomes of $1000 a month and up.

  • Doug Hunter

    #187

    No, you’ll need to spell it out for me. I think the ideas are fairly well established. Here’s a quote from the World Revolution: Socialist Youth Movement website giving a critique of capitalism:

    “The enclosures laid the basis for large scale, capitalist agriculture that ultimately, through its efficiency and use of machines, freed the majority of humanity from the endless, repetitive drudgery of farming and the narrow horizons of village life, with its superstition, ignorance and oppression of women and children. Whether such a thing could have occurred through a voluntary, just process is debatable, but what emerged was progressive compared to all previous societies. It provided the possibility of developing a society where we have many different things we can do and buy, and many different opportunities open to us: not the single option of a lifetime of backbreaking labour to make just enough food to eat and remain vulnerable to famine, disease and plague.”

    Even the enemies of capitalism have enough sense to give it credit for enabling people to avoid starvation and to have access to mass produced medicine and the tools to access clean water. So indirectly yes, capitalism has ’caused’ the problems there are in the third world by lowering the death rate. I won’t apologize for that.

    #188

    That is all part of the cycle. After capitalism provides affordable food, clothing, and shelter to the population builds them a factory and gets them a job requiring an education and and utility infrastructure throughout the country then the Marxist agitators will move in. “Forget about the millenia where your forefathers struggled and 2/3 of the children died before maturity here in a permanent bust. Look what these dirty capitalists have done to you! Why, half you you can barely afford the premium channels on cable anymore. It’s horrible I say!”

    Then the workers will take over the factory and have a big party… for awhile. Then the factory will fall apart and since they didn’t set aside any profits they can’t build a new one and no one will lend them the money since the stole the last one. In the end they’ll come back around to a pro business way of thinking. It’s all a cycle in our mixed systems, boom-bust, capital-social. That’s what a mature economy is today.

  • Doug Hunter

    #189

    I come from a very low cost of living area. There are good brick 3bedroom single family homes for $40-60K (payments including taxes under $500/month). Everyone’s experience is different but most of the poverty I see is either of the transitory nature (i.e. the single mother type I mentioned above, who, once the kids are in school will reenter the job force or continue her education) or the chronically poor who, because of the low cost of living don’t have it that bad off and by virtue of their being raised in that environment are sort of content with the lifestyle.

    Now, when the nice liberal gives them the questionairre to fill out they may talk about what they wish they had but the proof is in the pudding. Time and again I’ve seen people of this class making no effort to improve or seek education, seeing opportunities turned down, or having spouses (with no kids) that have never worked and don’t plan on it. That tells me that while they might not enjoy poverty, they don’t really like the things that might get them out of poverty either, i.e. moving, education, etc. To me, that is their choice and frankly, if you’ve got a roof over your head, a family that cares, and a beer you’re life ain’t that bad even if it does draw the ‘poverty’ label.

    I hear more complaints from rich liberals about the plight of the poor than from the poor themselves. I have heard that different areas have different experience though, high cost of living could really hurt the poor, so could being cut off in a slum with no opportunity. That’s probably why those people vote, act, and think differently than I do.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #188

    That is all part of the cycle.

    Yes indeed, that is part of the cycle. Now the bust cycle part means you had better pay the police and the military well.

    To keep you safe. Get it, Doug? ;-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    grrrrrr

    (guess I am not entirely over my angry phase)

    The point is, stop complaining about paying the gov’t. It’s the only thing around that is making sure your ideas stay in power. If it wasn’t there to protect you, believe me, I (a 49 yo woman) would start taking you down.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    192 is to 190, the part where you reply to 188

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    I think the idea of poverty is relative but living poor is not. Can I eat today? Not relative.

    Having volunteered in “poor” communities in the US most of my life, I think what is missing more than anything is awareness. There are generations of precontemplation.

    I think the biggest issue is culture which NEEDS to have an underclass. In the US the biggest problem is a lack of reconciliation with its past and having the wrong people to attempt to resolve those issues (radicals or the people with the biggest mouths and not necessary the best minds).

    The specific underclass in the ghettos exists because of slavery (we know) and the damages that it of course rendered. However, at some level, we need for “them” to remain where they are because it makes us not so wrong (or evil) for enslaving them. I mean if they are stupid, loud, dirty and seemingly vacuous, its sorta understandable and nearly humane to have put them to work to keep them from harming society. So we distort everything they do and they start to do the same and it becomes this ridiculous mess and we all feel not so evil and hypocritical for claiming that our fore fathers stood for freedom and justice. When they merely stood for the idea of it as long as they remained comfy.

  • Zedd

    So in the US with some exceptions those that are labled poor, can only be labled so if we calculate the income that they generate and not the income and support that they have.

    In 2007, in Texas, a family of 4 that qualified for food stamps rcvd $518.

    Is that poverty?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting comment, Zedd. There is something else to be added to your analysis. Keeping a whole bunch of people – “underclass” if you like – marginalized serves a far deeper and sinister purpose (beyond us feeling “comfy”). It splits the plebs and rids it of the most revolutionary element. (The same goes for our so-called criminals and all sorts of troublemakers.) And it serves the bourgeoisie just fine.

    Foucault 101

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “In 2007, in Texas, a family of 4 that qualified for food stamps rcvd $518.”

    Hence a double whammy. We don’t only keep them marginalized in the eyes of the stiff working-poor (lest they join hands in open revolt). We also keep ‘em relatively content.

    A double safety valve, if you like.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd,

    Your #195 is rather profound, although the ghettos are only indirectly a result of slavery, which was mostly rural.

    When blacks started to migrate to the northern cities to escape the Depression, the city-dwellers who’d previously thought freedom from slavery was a fine thing suddenly realised that it was only a fine thing if they exercised that freedom where they couldn’t be seen.

    Kind of what you were saying, I guess, but just to straighten the record a bit.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    $518 for a family of 4 works out at about $29 per person per week. Doable? Certainly – but remember that food stamps can only be spent on food, and even the foods bought have to be from an approved list.

    A lot of the families on my caseload right now have no other income.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    Are we talking about a new class of poor or the generation-ally poor.

    If we are talking about the later, do they not receive Section 8 allowance? What about a welfare check?

    Just curious.

    As for the migration…. yep. Organizations like the Urban League came about because of the challenges that those groups faced.

  • Zedd

    roger,

    @198, Yes. OR They choose to be content.

    So we go back to what I said earlier in 161.

    However another factor that is largely ignored because it’s not PC and may smack of a form of Social Darwinism, but should be looked at. Individuals who don’t attach to a parental figure tend to have severe issues that prevent them from integrating into society. Slavery in America often separated children from their parents and destroyed the family structure. For many, this is the foundation from whence these communities are built. You then brainwash them and tell them that everything about you is menacing, inferior or inconsequential. Create legislation which over criminalizes activities that are specific to that group. Give them enough to survive and watch what happens.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    If we are talking about the later, do they not receive Section 8 allowance? What about a welfare check?

    Not always, and not always. There is a long wait for Section 8 almost everywhere – we have over 15,000 families on our waiting list here in Fresno. And you can’t qualify for TANF (aka “welfare”, formerly known as AFDC) unless you have dependent children, and even then there are heavy restrictions.

  • Zedd

    roger,

    I don’t give the wealthy that much credit either. I think they also for the most part are precontemplative. While there are those in power who intentionally move the pieces on the chess board, I don’t think that the rich are so intelligent that they orchestrate as much as you believe.

    I believe that they are driven by their own social pressures and create myths to support their world view, in order to keep from being so moved to where they sell all of their worldly goods and giving everything to the poor.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    This is not an elitist question it is a sincere one.

    Why would one be chronically poor if they have their mental faculties and without children?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Got to think about parts of #202 (and in conjunction with #161), for indeed, in America the “inner-city” problem is a unique one. I’ll respond tomorrow (I’m re-watching The China Syndrome right now).

  • Zedd

    Those that are generation-ally poor (for lack of a more suitable term) are generally on section 8. Someone that they live with is on it. They may not declare their residence in that household but they are receiving benefits through the person that they reside with. Yes the waiting list is super long but they are typically not the people who are homeless.

    I’ve been in housing projects where there are three generations of individuals who are housed for $8/month or so. The little girls a few years later get pregnant, in some cases AGAIN then when they come of age, get on the waiting list. What is even more perplexing is that some spend the day walking around, visiting each other some in short shorts and fully made up; flirting with jobless men who cant get work because of a record.

    Is that poverty?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd, it depends how you define ‘mental faculties’. Someone can be poorly educated and thereby intellectually unequipped to escape from the poverty cycle.

    There’s also a cultural factor: a subliminal acceptance that ‘this is how things have always been’.

    Or, for example, if someone gets caught up in criminality or the gang lifestyle, that can hold them back even if they make sincere attempts to reform.

    There are also those whose mental faculties are unimpaired, but who are trapped by one or more physical disabilities.

    A number of social programs do target these groups, including Section 8.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    Thanks. I’ve come to the same conclusions about that population.

    Excluding the physically disabled, do you believe that we should pay to sustain those whose only ailment is misinformation?

  • Amber

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  • http://www.hcso.hctx.net/inmateInfo.asp Frank Roach

    False Alarm! MediaFire goes down for maintenance, and millions of gullible people are scammed by some Twitter freak that it’s been killed by RIAA. Ridiculous.

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  • gsetano

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  • Ken Vail Jr.

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