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    • The murder of two NY policemen in retaliation—
      at least ostensibly for the police murders of Garner and Brown has ignited a frenzy.   The murderer, Brinsley, was a violent man who had committed other crimes. I will simply note that such tragic events are the inevitable result of systemic injustice.  Those who wish less murders, should work for justice. That includes police.   [...]
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Monday: The Awakening is Very Rude

I lived with my grandmother for some short stretches of time when I was a kid.  I had a tiny little bedroom tucked under the eaves with a window that overlooked the woods adjacent to the house.  Every night, my gran would turn down my bed and send me comfortably off to sleep.  And then, some eight hours later, there would be a sharp THWAPP!, the shade on that window would fly up and flap, flap, flap and my gran, definitely a morning person, would sing in a loud voice:

“Lazy Mary, will you get up, will you get up, will you get up
Lazy Mary, will you get up, so early in the Morn-ning!”

Irritating?  You betcha.  But very effective.

Last night’s Virtually Speaking featured two bloggers who sounded like they got the Lazy Mary treatment.  After a week of outrages, the left blogosphere is waking up to the very real scenario that they picked the worng guy.  Very wrong.  Marcy Wheeler (aka emptywheel) and Stuart Zechman are finally outraged.  They have reached the stage of outrage and righteous indignation that we felt in 2008 when Obama and the DNC decided that votes for Hillary Clinton from the big states did not count (or if you were living in MI or FL, counted for half a person).  Doesn’t feel so good, does it guys?  And he doesn’t have to listen to you.  Nope.

What’s more disturbing is the number of somewhat reasonable bloggers who started to doubt Obama some time ago who are railing against Hillary now.  It’s like bombing Iraq for something Al Qaeda in Afghanistan did.  Some have even suggested that Hillary is some nefarious anti free speech authoritarian Josephine Stalin, chasing down Julian Assange, disconnecting Wikileaks from the Tubez and personally ending the free internet as we know it.  They overlook the fact that the long awaited State Department cables were released and circulated for days before any action was taken by Amazon to stop hosting Wikileaks.  They forget that Hillary has handled this crisis in a cool, level headed fashion with steely resolve and that this may have a stabilizing effect on diplomacy.  But what really seems to be incensing them is that the rest of the world isn’t incensed with that brazen hussy.  Give it a rest guys.  And I do mean guys.  Your pathology is showing.

What it it about Hillary that drives guys straight into crazyland anyway?  Do they secretly regret not voting for her now that she’s shown herself to be the real deal and Obama’s, um, not?  Now they must punish her for being who we always said she was?  Does she make them feel impotent that they can’t validate all of the crazy ass shit they threw at her?  That’s she’s not that bad, seems to know what she’s doing and that the cables haven’t uncovered any smoking guns against her, or at least nothing the general public isn’t perfectly willing to live with?

It’s not our problem if they made a monumentally huge mistake in 2008. They’re the ones who chose to overlook the fact that the party, with Obama’s blessing, trashed the fair reflection of 18,000,000 Democratic primary voters.  Yep, denied them a voice, stole their votes, stole whole states of delegates at the convention and these blogger activists raised nary a peep.  It’s a little ironic now to be accusing Hillary Clinton of authoritarianism after the fraudulent sham primary elections of 2008 where the rest of us were shut out of the democratic process and were told to surrender our votes to the Lightbringer.  You didn’t really think that you were exceptions to the rule and that Obama was going to give you a seat at the table and treat your concerns seriously after you just stabbed half of your party in the back for him?  Did you?

But the constant harping on Hillary, blaming her for everything they don’t like about the Obama administration is starting to verge on self parody.  Get over it, guys.  If you wanted less of a unified executive, less torture and no wars, you shouldn’t have voted for a man who was too greedy for power to wait his turn and too inexperienced a politician to deliver those things for you.  And in case you aren’t aware, acting on the things you care about is not Secretary of State’s job.  She doesn’t get to make those decisions.  Hillary Clinton is not the president.  Remember?  You had a hand in that.  Therefore, you can’t hang the albatrosses of this administration’s failures around her neck.  Obama is the guy who is perpetuating wars and torture.  Obama is screwing over the unemployed.  Obama is the guy who appointed the catfood commission.  Obama is the guy who is negotiating to give away whatever is left in the safe to the uber wealthy.  Obama is the guy who appointed the FCC regulators overseeing the Comcast dispute with Level Three.  Obama is the guy who is blowing you off.

Hillary is only the secretary of state who is diligently doing her job, which is limited to diplomacy.

I think we know how the next couple of days will go.  The Marcys and the Stuarts will continue to fume indignantly about how Obama betrayed them but the CDS trolls will infiltrate their blog comment threads and the trigger words will come out, “NAFTA”, “Welfare Reform”, “triangulation”, will be repeated ad nauseum to the vulnerable to get them back in line.  Nothing is scarier than the prospect of having another Clinton in the White House.  Let’s not even go there.

Well, if that’s what they want.  I guess they’re stuck with Obama then, because the other proposed candidates for primarying Obama are non-starters. They are still living in crazytown if they think that they can appoint the next candidate to run for president and that the other uncouth, dirty working class side of the party is just going to go along with it.  The rest of the party doesn’t much care for their way of getting presidents.  Denying people a real choice is a sure fired way to reduce the size of your party.

So, they can continue to knock themselves unconscious bashing themselves on Hillary Clinton’s image, a lot of pointless sound and fury, signifying nothing.  If they want to complain about Obama and make an impact, beating up on his secretary of state whipping boy is about as ineffective a strategy as they’re going to get.  Direct your ire at the man in charge or continue to be rudely awakened.

For the record, here’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on internet freedom, about as close as she’s going to get to influencing domestic policy on the issue:

Saturday Morning Musings on Corporate Control and Internet Freedom

Good Morning Conflucians!!

It’s so nice to wake up to sun pouring in my windows after the horrible rains of the past couple of weeks. I guess I should consider myself fortunate that all I had to deal with was some water in the basement. And since my ex-husband liked to buy every kind of tool and gadget, I happened to have a sump pump and a shop vac down there.

Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in the northwestern Boston area, and it looks like the nice, warm weather is going to stick around for the next week.

Ah…Spring! The forsythia is coming out and lots of green stuff is appearing in the yard. Soon the cherry trees will be blooming all over the place. Somehow it’s a little easier to be optimistic at this time of year than in the dead of winter.

In my Saturday morning ramble around the blogosphere, I came across an interesting piece by Cory Doctorow: Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either) I found it thought-provoking, not because I was agonizing about whether to buy an iPad–I’m not even slightly interested in it–but because the arguments Doctorow makes are relevant to innovation in every area of life, including politics. Doctorow’s main point is that “incumbents make bad revolutionaries.”

I’ve spent ten years now on Boing Boing, finding cool things that people have done and made and writing about them. Most of the really exciting stuff hasn’t come from big corporations with enormous budgets, it’s come from experimentalist amateurs. These people were able to make stuff and put it in the public’s eye and even sell it without having to submit to the whims of a single company that had declared itself gatekeeper for your phone and other personal technology.

Doctorow argues that once any entrepreneur, no matter how visionary and innovative, gets enough power and control over a market, that entrepreneur/corporation/politician/journalist will try to corner the market and become a “gatekeeper” for what the rest of us are allowed to do, see, read, and buy.

We become nothing to them but anonymous “consumers” who will fork over our money and time and take whatever the controllers want to dole out to us. He says these gatekeepers have contempt for us as consumers–they want to “infantilize” us, keep us dependent on them, and prevent us from sharing the products we buy with others and modifying those products in ways that work for us as individuals.

Doctorow uses the example of a new iPad app offered by Marvel Comics. Not being a “comics person,” I don’t quite understand what it is, but here is Doctorow’s explanation:

I was a comic-book kid, and I’m a comic-book grownup, and the thing that made comics for me was sharing them. If there was ever a medium that relied on kids swapping their purchases around to build an audience, it was comics. And the used market for comics! It was — and is — huge, and vital. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone spelunking in the used comic-bins at a great and musty store to find back issues that I’d missed, or sample new titles on the cheap. (It’s part of a multigenerational tradition in my family — my mom’s father used to take her and her sibs down to Dragon Lady Comics on Queen Street in Toronto every weekend to swap their old comics for credit and get new ones).

So what does Marvel do to “enhance” its comics? They take away the right to give, sell or loan your comics. What an improvement. Way to take the joyous, marvellous sharing and bonding experience of comic reading and turn it into a passive, lonely undertaking that isolates, rather than unites.

Isn’t this what is happening in every area of our lives these days? The internet has changed how we get our information and form our opinions; and the mainstream media, politicians, corporations, and the entertainment industry don’t like that one bit. They are going to fight to death to maintain control over the populace–making every effort to keep us passive and willing to settle for less than what we really need and want. As Doctorow says,

I think that the press has been all over the iPad because Apple puts on a good show, and because everyone in journalism-land is looking for a daddy figure who’ll promise them that their audience will go back to paying for their stuff. The reason people have stopped paying for a lot of “content” isn’t just that they can get it for free, though: it’s that they can get lots of competing stuff for free, too. The open platform has allowed for an explosion of new material, some of it rough-hewn, some of it slick as the pros, most of it targetted more narrowly than the old media ever managed. Rupert Murdoch can rattle his saber all he likes about taking his content out of Google, but I say do it, Rupert. We’ll miss your fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the Web so little that we’ll hardly notice it, and we’ll have no trouble finding material to fill the void.

Politicians are in the same boat as corporations–no wonder they have joined forces with big business in their joint efforts to control us and keep us consuming all the crap they want us to buy from them! The health care reform debacle is certainly a case in point. Most Americans want a single payer health plan–just expand Medicare to everyone and be done with it. Medicare already covers 40% of Americans, why not all of us? Medicare has very low overhead, so why should we have to buy insurance from corporations with 30% overhead?

It makes no sense, but the politicians tell us not to believe the obvious evidence that Medicare for all would be the best plan for the American people. They are going to do their best to try to convince us that we want to be forced to buy crap insurance from whomever they tell us to buy it from and that it was a fair trade-off for women to lose their reproductive freedom so that approximately 25 million more people can have crap health insurance that probably won’t provide the health care they actually need.

In 2008, the Democratic Party, along with the giant corporations who control the mainstream media, decided to force voters to sit back and just be consumers of whatever crap they decided to force down our throats. They selected a candidate for us instead of listening to what we wanted in a President. They weren’t interested in listening to us, and the President they chose for us isn’t interested in listening to what we think either.

Clearly Barack Obama and his corporate backers saw the danger of a vital, rough-and-tumble liberal blogosphere, and they realized they would have to deal with the big liberal blogs in order to win the Democratic nomination.

David Axelrod had a long history of running astroturf campaigns, and he knew just what to do. First, he needed to get young people involved. They would be attracted to a candidate who offered hope of “transformative change.” He introduced him to the product, Barack Obama, as a “transformative leader” and “inspirational speaker,” a “messiah” would would save the country from the Bush/Cheney gang.

Younger people wouldn’t know the difference. They wouldn’t really remember John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, or even Bill Clinton, all of whom were better speakers and who implemented much more transformative policies than Barack Obama was offering–even the campaign before he reverse himself on nearly every issue.

Axelrod organized Obama camps where these enthusiastic young liberals could be trained to be “ruthless for Obama,” doing whatever was necessary to sell the new product on the internet and in person.

Then he sent these young people out to infiltrate the prog blogs, especially the biggest ones–Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. What the Obama crowd didn’t bank on was people like us who were a little older and/or wiser and just weren’t all that impressed with the packaging of the product. We wanted blueprints, details and specifics. We wanted to know what the guy really thought and believed. We looked past the packaging, and we decided not to buy the product.

Since, as Marcos Moulitsas likes to say, “it’s a big internet,” we headed out into the wilderness and started our own liberal blogs. No wonder they tried so hard to kill us off during the primaries. We weren’t interested in just being consumers of a product. We wanted to have a say in our own futures. We saw the government and the Democratic party as our employees, not our masters. We wanted freedom of choice.

Now that the banks, corporations and media have won the battle, now that they have their chosen front man and they have turned the “progressive blogs” into “access bloggers,” they are still doing everything possible to limit our choices so they can stay in control of the political system and keep us from gaining any real power over our lives. They are going to fight to the death to limit our control over our own internet experience, our choices of what media to consume.

We must be eternally vigilant in preventing the government and corporations from completely neutering the internet. Interacting with each other–with more and more people around the country and the world, freely exchanging ideas and information, is our best hope for saving what is left of democracy in America. They may have won this battle, but they have not yet won the war.

I’d love to get your take on this, but as always, please post links to what you are reading in the comments. Here are a few other stories that caught my eye this morning to get you started. Have a great Saturday everyone!!

Apple’s iPad hits store shelves


The Militia Man Next Door


Urologist Posts His Politics on His Florida Office Door


Terrifying Sea Critter Hauled from the Ocean’s Depths

Finally! Scientific proof that greasy breakfasts are good for us!

Hillary Clinton Channels FDR in Internet Freedom Speech

Some people call us Hillary Die Hards like that’s a *bad* thing.  But there’s a reason we supported her for president of the US.  She leads from her principles.

That’s it.  The whole shebang.  We didn’t think she was perfect or transformative or a magical change agent.  We figured that she’d piss us off occasionally.  But in general, there’s a bedrock foundation of belief and commitment to her values and we can pretty much predict what side she’s going to come down on an issue.

That’s why the speech she gave yesterday at the Newseum in Washington came as no surprise to me.  The earthquake in Haiti has obscured the seismic activity in China that occurred last week when Google refused to continue censoring its search engine for the Chinese audience at their government’s demands.  It is also alleged that government sanctioned hackers have accessed 40 0r more companies, including Google, in order to look for information on Chinese dissidents and to steal source code and intellectual property.  These are very serious allegations.  Censorship and persecution of dissidence  are abhorrent and anyone who works with proprietary information in large databases knows how valuable that information is.

Yesterday, Hillary threw down the gauntlet and committed the State Department to preserving and extending the ability of all countries to use the internet as a means of expression, commerce, education and connection with each other.  Here’s a small sample of that speech:

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. The words of the First Amendment to our Constitution are carved in 50 tons of Tennessee marble on the front of this building. And every generation of Americans has worked to protect the values etched in that stone.

Franklin Roosevelt built on these ideas when he delivered his Four Freedoms speech in 1941. Now, at the time, Americans faced a cavalcade of crises and a crisis of confidence. But the vision of a world in which all people enjoyed freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear transcended the troubles of his day. And years later, one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, worked to have these principles adopted as a cornerstone of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They have provided a lodestar to every succeeding generation, guiding us, galvanizing us, and enabling us to move forward in the face of uncertainty.

So as technology hurtles forward, we must think back to that legacy. We need to synchronize our technological progress with our principles. In accepting the Nobel Prize, President Obama spoke about the need to build a world in which peace rests on the inherent rights and dignities of every individual. And in my speech on human rights at Georgetown a few days later, I talked about how we must find ways to make human rights a reality. Today, we find an urgent need to protect these freedoms on the digital frontiers of the 21st century.

There are many other networks in the world. Some aid in the movement of people or resources, and some facilitate exchanges between individuals with the same work or interests. But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that’s why we believe it’s critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms. Freedom of expression is first among them. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, emails, social networks, and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas, and created new targets for censorship.

As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. Two months ago, I was in Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The leaders gathered at that ceremony paid tribute to the courageous men and women on the far side of that barrier who made the case against oppression by circulating small pamphlets called samizdat. Now, these leaflets questioned the claims and intentions of dictatorships in the Eastern Bloc and many people paid dearly for distributing them. But their words helped pierce the concrete and concertina wire of the Iron Curtain.

There was a reason why Hillary voted no on retroactive immunity for telecomms in the FISA legislation.  It wasn’t to make Obama look bad.  He did that all on his own.  No, she wanted to protect our privacy so that we could call our president on his boneheaded moves without fear of retribution.

The full text of the speech and a video of the event is available at 21st Century Statecraft at State.gov.

Democrats who fear yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling on corporate campaign donations should get crackin’.  The internet provides a wealth of low cost or free methods of spreading the word, like blogtalkradio, blogging, facebook.  Some candidates have made use of these tools but online media is still in its infancy and has the potential to reach a lot of people who might otherwise get their information from TV.  If you’d thrown your weight behind Hillary, you’d have a friend in the WH right now who would help you protect your precious access.  Looks like you’ll have to do this on your own now.  Get to work!

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