Tag: blogging

On Looking Deeper, Or, Things About Iran You Might Not Know

It has been an amazing week in Iran, and you are no doubt seeing images that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago.

For most of us, Iran has been a country about which we know very little…which, obviously, makes it tough to put the limited news we’re getting into a proper context.

The goal of today’s conversation is to give you a bit more of an “insider look” at today’s news; and to do that we’ll describe some of the risks Iranian bloggers face as they go about their business, we’ll meet a blogging Iranian cleric, we’ll address the issue of what tools the Iranians use for Internet censorship and the companies that could potentially be helping it along, and then we’ll examine Internet traffic patterns into and out of Iran.

Finally, a few words about, of all things, how certain computer games might be useful as tools of revolution.

The Revolution will not be Televised

It will be twittered and blogged.

(I am leaving reporting on Iran’s Revolution itself for worthier minds, and less busy minds, but wanted to briefly address this one angle. I woke myself at 5am to do so.)

Iran has grabbed control of radio and TV communication, predictably, as would our own nation should we ever try to regain control of our own Corporatocracy.

The frightening thing is, this is a template, if you will, of how a Nation must be ready to technologically block information. Every despot and intelligence agency in the World is taking notes and making plans, including our own Internet Czar.

Sure they can shut down phone service, but how to block all the satellite uplinks that drive the internet and cell phones? The images and reports go viral instantaneously across the globe; especially with a young and savvy population. Standing in a crowd, it is easy to get off a one line twitter, so that all concerned can follow the tag and have warning. or hear of new protest plans. Texting will only go to your circle, so the hashmark tag allows anyone who uses it to connect with all Iranians of a like mine.

People don’t talk about it in terms of “the hive mind” for nothing.

The Strange Currency of Violence

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins”
Soren Kierkegaard

The United States has never been more powerful than it was on September 12th, 2001. On that day, with the sympathy of the world, we had more true power than all the armies in on Earth combined. Strange to think that as we lay smoldering, bleeding in the ruins of our collective self image as the most powerful nation on Earth, we had in fact grown in power by exponent. This is the strange currency of violence. The wealth of martyrs. And this currency is as tangible as a bar of gold.

Rarely discussed, and little understood, this principle is essential to understanding why the war on terror, and the aspirations of global American hegemony, will fail. It is why all empires fail. It is why terrorism fails.

I have been aware of this idea for years. I’ve been trying to distill it down into a fundamental law. But it is not an easy idea. There are nasty lose ends and apparent exceptions to the rule. But as best as I’ve figured it out, the rule is this:

Whenever you cause harm to another, you empower them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an individual or a country, bombs or words. The moment you strike, or even strike back, you hand your opponent a gift. The people who attacked us on 911 didn’t weaken the American beast. The unleashed it. And when we responded with bombs in Afghanistan, we didn’t weaken radical Islam, we empowered it, justified it.

Unlike real currency, where every exchange is a tit for tat, the currency of violence creates a new specie on every transaction. It’s as though I hand you a $20 bill, and in exchange you hand me another, different $20 bill that had not previously existed. Except also, unlike real currency, it is not wealth that is created in the exchange, it is more hatred and more violence.

While it may seem that this idea should be resigned to the concerns of some dusty philosophy course somewhere, make no mistake, it’s political implications are as practical as they are profound.

How did Mahatma Gandhi defeat the most powerful Empire in the world without firing a single bullet? The currency of violence.

As I’ve watched the discussion on Guantanamo and torture and Dick Cheney’s speech and Obama’s speech and the advertisement for the arms industry that Memorial Day has become, it hit me that none of our leaders understand the nature of true power.

They speak of America’s strength in the world as something that comes from might. But might used, more often than not, is power spent. Just as the mighty British learned.

We are a militant nation. Our national symbol, the eagle, is a predatory animal. We like to pride ourselves on being able to kick some foreign butt, at least we did until Iraq demonstrated the limits of our prowess.

But Americans desperately need to begin to understand what real strength means and where it comes from. And we have to rise above the reptilian impulse to take the easiest path. The voice for strength through peace should be the Left. But the Left, following the lead of Bill Clinton, has long abandoned enlightenment for political expediency. But such primal expediency at home is anything but expedient abroad.

Obama, at least, pays heed to the idea of strength through peace. But it is an empty gesture as he escalates one war while failing to end another. Empty as bombs kill hundreds of women and children and unmanned drones swoop down on peasant villages.

The idea of strength through peace is not new and did not originate with Gandhi. He just demonstrated a mastery of it that was unprecedented in the modern world.

I’ve been trying to pound into my brain this wisdom as I navigate through my own battles. The currency of violence is fully redeemable in all wars, big and small. It is hard for me to remember that when I lash out at my political foes, when I launch ad hominem attacks and call people names, I am actually giving them something – a gift. The gift of martyrdom.

I think this is why Bill Moyers is far more dangerous and persuasive than say, Keith Olbermann or other attack dogs of the Left. And why he is rarely, if ever, invited into the corporate media sphere.

Attack is not Moyers style. He induces the scoop from his guest and allows the user to feel their own outrage. This is the opposite of an Olbermann special comment where he is so busy expressing outrage that we aren’t much allowed room for our own.

I’ve been in attack mode for so long that I almost feel like I’ve lost my voice, my claws to say this. But I’m tired of empowering my opponents with hate and hostility.

I do hate. I hate what has been done to my country. I hate the greed and brutality of corporatism. And I hate the actions of man.

But hate is just the bank in which the currency of violence is deposited. I am going to try -try- to stop trying to harm my enemies with vitriol and invective. They already have too much power as it is.

P.S., I also have a new blog. Check it out if you want. Visit often if you like it.

Blogging the Future

Blogging is conducted through cyberspace here in the 21st Century, we type on keyboards, we read each other’s words on computer screens.  The technology enabling us to engage in this form of communication is new, but what we’re doing when we blog isn’t new, it’s as old as civilization–we’re talking to one another just as people did thousands of years ago, we’re sharing our thoughts, communicating about what matters, reaching for the kind of future we hope to see.  We don’t want history to keep repeating itself, there’s been too much war, too much killing, too much misery.  

As global war and genocide took the lives of 50 million people only three generations ago, a young girl expressed her hopes for the future in a diary.  Anne Frank didn’t know her words would be ultimately be read by millions of people, but they have been and will be for as long as human civilization exists.  The most brutal and inhuman regime ever to darken the pages of history killed her in Bergen-Belsen, but it could not silence her.  

What was Anne Frank doing?


She was blogging the future.

Chatting with a former blogger: Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist for the Vice President

Just a little while ago, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcivey/923285816/the White House held a ‘progressive media and bloggers teleconference’ with Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist for the Vice President.  As a quick reminder, Jared is one of the bloggers that have become “former bloggers” by transitioning into the Obama Administration.

Not surprisingly, Bernstein’s call focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which has just passed through the Conference Committee as a $789 billion package, incorporating some of the good ideas from the White House and the House, and the bad ideas from the Senate.

NOTE:  The Bernstein photo is from a Drinking Liberally event …

Lower 49 Meet Wasilla Alaska

A Photo Safari of Wasilla, Alaska – Home of Sarah Palin.

Docudharma at the Convention…Thanks ctrenta!

From the Las Vegas Sun:


Christian Avard works on a Web posting Monday for www.docudharma.com inside “The Big Tent,” where Web writers ply their trade near the Democratic National Conven-tion. “This is a long way from the gold lame of the Riv,” says a Democratic strategist, referring to the Riviera, which hosted a convention two years ago for liberal bloggers.

Our intrepid reporter Christian Avard and Docudharma are featured prominently above a nice article about New Media/blogging by J. Patrick Coolican. I like his first paragraph!

DENVER – This is the headquarters of the vast left-wing conspiracy. They’re all here: MoveOn.org, Media Matters and Markos Moulitsas, and if a bomb went off, Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t be disappointed.

There is also a nice comment from John Podesta, President Clinton’s ex chief of staff on how blogging has changed the relationships in politics and journalism. Go read the article, though of course, the picture is worth a thousand words!

More blogging on blogging below the fold, as we bloggers say!

The Big Green Tent

In the coming days, for those not actively on the Democratic National Convention (DNC) floor, The Big Tent will be one of (if not the) places to be.  And, much of the Tent will be colored Green.  Much of The Big Tent’s agenda will focus on Green initiatives, energy efficiency, and Global Warming.  

Looking at this schedule makes this blogger envious of those able to attend.

And, a few tinges of off-green makes this same blogger concerned.

DNC Blogging: Congrats to LiA & Other Great Progressive Blogs!

 For all my (myriad) frustrations with the Democratic Party, sometimes they get it right correct:  my home state’s premier progressive blog, Left in Alabama, will be live blogging from this year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.  

Here’s “mooncat’s” announcement (hot off the presses) of getting word of LiA’s being credentialed to live blog from Denver.

Well, Left in Alabama and about 120 other blogs from around the country.  Things got a bit sticky a few weeks ago.  I don’t know, and frankly don’t care to know, all the inside story on this (several stories here and orange covered that, I think) when some very worthy blogs were frozen-out passed-over  (through inadvertent neglect, I think, not through intentional sinisterness – thus my point about “frozen out” not being the correct term for what happened),  but that’s all been fixed and word’s just come down from on high that LiA and many other great, state-based blogs are now credentialed and going to Denver.

Thanks are in order to many state party leaders, both here in Alabama and around the country — who listened to, and worked with, the people “in the trenches”, their progressive, hard-working, blogging constituents.  They went into action and worked with the blogosphere and the DNC to get this whole kerfuffle worked out, amicably and righteously.  

The moral of the story:  that screw-ups or oversights happen is not the issue; how decision-makers handle, and react to, and fix screw-ups is the issue.  Here, they did well.  Again, thanks are in order to state and national Democratic Party leaders.

Please feel free to give shout-outs to your favorite state-based progressive, Democratic blog.  We’re all in this together.

Mu . . .

Informed Comment: Call for Essays

Want to write a Guest op-ed for Juan Cole’s blog, Informed Comment?

I just received an email from him which he sent to the LBAN (Liberal Blog Ad Network) group list.

He makes a generous offer to help drive more traffic to LBAN blogs.

I’d like to help out other members of this group, and it occurred to me that one way to do it would be to print guest op-eds with link backs.

He’s looking for 750-word essays – particularly critiques of the McCain campaign.

I originally thought I might just link to some stories at other Lban blogs, but finding ones appropriate to what I usually talk about is not easy.

Since we’re in the presidential campaign season, though, and since I post on general politics in addition to foreign policy, actually the appropriateness issue is less salient right now.  Most of us are probably commenting on the campaign in one way or another.  I’m especially interested in a range of critiques of the McCain campaign.


Those of you who have books are welcome to suggest a short essay related to the book, and if I like it for my site we can put in the Amazon link.

Two Years at DailyKos (warning – heavy graphics)

What follows is a bit of a recap of my two years here…er, there.  I’m going to drop in some of my favorite illustrations and collages from the past 2 years and they won’t necessarily relate to the text.  I beg your indulgence.

On April 30, 2006 I posted my first diary at DailyKos, The Curse of Big Money and The Pledge.  (Wasn’t a big hit.)


The Death of a Blogger: Coins for the Ferryman

Down in New Orleans, they are burying the noted blogger, rabid Saints fan and local bon vivant ashley morris today. He leaves behind a wife and three young kids, and they need your help.


Ashley Morris

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