Category Archives: blogs

I Just Can’t But I Will

When I started this little blog yea these many years ago it was in no small part because there didn’t seem to be (1) all that many liberal blogs in northern Nevada, and (2) a way to force myself to wander around the Internet LEARNING things to fill gaps in my understanding of important issues.  Oh, and by the way, in a former life I was a history and political science major so I liked the opportunity to dig back into these subjects and treat myself to historical references and such.   Until 2017 this was fun.  There have been a paucity of posts lately, because of the Trump Administration’s propensity for taking the fun out of just about every topic imaginable.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to peruse the economic data, seek trends, and find interesting analyses — because in Trumpland data, analysis, and rationality don’t matter.  In Trumpland our allies are peppered with trade threats which make absolutely no sense whatsoever, while our adversaries and competitors are left guessing what “policy” the administration might be advocating from one day to the next.  There is no plan.  There are only petulant, provocative, reactions — predicated, it appears, on an understanding of world trade premised upon the situation of at the very least 38 years ago.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to watch the development of social policy, and social progress.  Yes, there’s been Hate Radio since the 1980’s, but terms like “Femi-Nazis” and “Half-Ricans” were the language of the exterior, marginalized away from polite conversation and civic discourse. We did not refer to “sh*thole nations,” nor did we speak of people “infesting” us, or “invading” us. We did not refer to human beings as “vermin.”  We did not classify entire populations of adherents to a particular religion as “terrorists.” We did not deem people unfit for service because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.  Now, we have a President who says there were “good people” on both sides in Charlottesville — where one side chanted ‘Blood and Soil,” and “You Will Not Replace Us,” outside a synagogue. We have a President conflating asylum seekers with drug traffickers, with human traffickers, with ordinary families seeking a better life for their children.  And we ripped their children away from those asylum seekers and ordinary families.  We reclassified (?) the children as “unaccompanied minors” when we deported their parents. We lost track of where we hid those children in the dark of night. There was no plan. There never seems to be a plan.  It’s always more like the petulant provocative reactions to momentary political expediency.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to follow governmental approaches to common issues in American life.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?  Repurposed to serve the interests of the bankers who caused the problems in the first instance?  The EPA, corrupt leadership included, catering to the industries which find polluting and exploiting more profitable in the short term than caring for the viability of the planet they leave for their children.

So, the blog posts were few and far between of late.  The other notion which informed the initiation of this blog was that it would be “family friendly.”  The comments section would be monitored.  I would avoid invective and profanity in the posts.  Last week the only terms I could find to apply to the Trumpian policy of deliberate, incompetent, incomprehensible, family separation were invective and profoundly profane.

I’ve vented, alone and among friends, and I’ve calmed a bit.  So, the blog posts will continue and I will do so with the comments monitored and a curb on my tongue.  However, I will not be silenced.  I should have taken the words of one of my heroes in youth, the late great Ronnie Gilbert, to heart when someone ask her how the current situation compared to the bleak days of the McCarthy Era Black Lists — she said it was now worse.

So, I’ll pull myself together — pound out some more pixels, more often, and with as much enthusiasm as I can muster without breaking my two main rules — no unfiltered comments, no profanity.  But, I will applaud flight attendants with the courage to tell us that immigration officials lied to get migrant children on board the flight; cheer the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who would not serve a member of the Trump Administration as a measure of her conscience, and smile at the those ordinary Americans who, when they see migrant children being moved in the wee hours will call a local reporter — who will share the information with a national reporter — who will stick another pin the the map — who will try to answer the question: Where are the children and girls?

And, I’ll keep doing this until the Trump Administration hears Ronnie Gilbert’s bold contralto singing out the lyrics of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You.” (Not)

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Filed under banking, blogs, financial regulation, Human Rights, Immigration, Politics

>Holding Pattern

>Alas, it’s Woden’s Day in the northern Nevada outback, and D’Beacon isn’t expecting the Fix-It people from the ISP until tomorrow morning. Therefore, another day of enforced brevity on the Dial Up connection — the pale and slow shadow of the fancy-schmancy system that’s been steadily failing, and is now threatening to do its rendition of Titanic and Iceberg.

News around Crabapple Cove: The Minx makes a quick re-appearance in Reno and Its Discontents to announce no new mewlers. Nevada Today observes that there’s one form of government spending about which the Reno Gazette Journal and the Las Vegas Review Journal aren’t complaining. And, speaking of the Review Journal, columnist John Smith observes that Governor Gibbon’s recent poll numbers are up to a 49% favorable rating which may be a fair measurement of what happens when a governor doesn’t do anything to actually govern in Nevada, and lets the Legislature do all the heavy lifting during the biennial session?

The end of session reporting for the Lobbyists during that biennial gathering is now public — with most of the money going toward sponsoring “group events” as opposed to the wining and dining of individual members of the Assembled Wisdom. [LVRJ]

The American Medical Association is taking a dim view of the proposed merger of UnitedHealth Group and Sierra Health because UnitedHealth has a dismal track record of fines and violations in a string of other states: Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, New York, and Rhode Island. According to AMA executive director Dr. Michael Maves, “United’s conduct reflects a philosophy that it is more cost-effective to violate state law and possibly pay a state fine than to assure compliance with laws designed to protect both patients and physicians,” Maves wrote.” LV Sun Sicko

The right wing spin machine and echo chamber put out its latest talking point — a person might assume to be part of the new “learn to use the internet” advice imparted by Nevada Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and others. Left leaning blogs are “a pox, pungent, and profane,” as opposed to right wing blogs which are “more analytical and restrained.” [Think Progress] That would be “Drudge?” and “RedState?” Evidently, the right wing branding iron is getting heated up?

But for all the problems D’Beacon has had for the last month or so with the ISP — t’aint nothing like the Department of Homeland Security (the lead agency for fighting internet threats) which has “suffered more than 800 hacker break-ins, virus outbreaks, and other computer security problems over two years.” [AP]

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Filed under blogs, Ensign, Health Care, Nevada news

>Ask John Ensign: The NRSC Guide to Blogs and Bloggers

>
A Wide Beacon Beam to Nevada Up North for the link to Nevada Senator John Ensign’s NRSC “Guidebook” for Senate candidates using the Big Bad Web.

It’s evident from the Politico article that the GOP is haunted by the “Macaca Moment” and the more effective use of Internet based information systems by Democratic candidates in the 2006 election. It’s also clear that building a production studio in the basement and hiring two press secretaries probably isn’t going to make up much ground if the GOP doesn’t allow greater latitude in its sources and philosophy.

Ensign’s advice and a few comments there-upon:

“Don’t be anti-social” — Yes, MySpace and Facebook are good places to get some recognition — but remember that as quickly as some sites become wildly popular they can also become passe and declasse just as easily. What Democratic candidates learned is that the web content is important, and the better candidates adjusted to popular sites accordingly.

“Open the campaign checkbook” — “Hire at least one staff member to lasso the web..” Good luck, especially with the part about monitoring the “chattering bloggers.” Dear GOP, Here’s a hint — don’t start off by denigrating the bloggers by associating them with magpies. The Republican Party has a problem herein. After developing their narrative of the “hostile” blogs, the “vicious” blogs, and the “hateful” blogs to describe opposing publications — especially those critical of the Bush Administration, the GOP now finds itself trying to establish credibility for that self-same format.

“Remember the top blog dogs.” Here’s the part where the conservatives “don’t get it.” Ensign and Co. advise the candidates to contact Instapundit, Malkin, Captain’s Quarters, Power Line, and Hugh Hewitt. A word to the wise Republican: You are known by the company you keep. When a commenter on Townhall proudly proclaims his nativism, you will be associated with that. Another word: A blog is more effective if it encourages participation. Only two of the blogs mentioned in the GOP “Big” category allow comments, Captain’s Quarters and Townhall. Blogs like Redstate and Little Green Footballs got a really bad reputation last year for banning commenters who digressed, even tentatively, from the “party line.” It’s perfectly OK for a blog to be a bull horn, but for fund-raising and messaging purposes having a sense of community is far more effective in the long run. However, to do that the GOP has to make a fundamental change in its Top-Down message management style. Frankly, nothing in Ensign’s directions offers the impression the Republicans are contemplating such a profound change.

“Make blogs your first point of contact.” Noting that, “the non-friendly blogs, i.e. ‘hostile, liberal blogs,’ should never be engaged directly by campaigns. Doing so only legitimizes them..” “Monitor (them) for mistakes or inaccuracies that can be “useful down the road to delegitimize these blogs as a source for reliable information.” This is simply the electronic version of “Kill the Messenger.” A person could wonder if the Drudge Report isn’t the Great Unmentioned at this point. The Drudge to Radical Right talk radio link is fairly obvious. Senator Ensign might want to remember that he’s advising his audience to legitimize the blog format, and “delegitimizing” the opposition can backfire when the readers assume that “all blogs” aren’t purveyors of useful information and discussion, whereupon the intended voting audience is reduced to those who already get their news from Fox and their opinions from Powerline.

“Blog yourself.” As the article notes, the GOP tried that with the Immigration issue. The troops got out of line and the blog site was “never fully launched.” Translation — zapped. Here again, the Republicans miss the point. By seeking to manipulate the media, impose the Top-Down template for messaging, and restricting rather than generating conversation, they apparently perceive the blogs as nothing more than electronic versions of the local paper’s editorial board — just faster. This sounds like a person standing by the ailing family sedan with a tool in hand — that’s just like the tool in the neighbor’s tool box — but with no idea of either the fundamental use or the range of uses to which that tool can be put.

“Don’t get sued.” Ah, yes, the Fair Use Doctrine and limits on using copyrighted material. It may take the neophytes some time to catch on to the techniques of using online media. But the advice is solid.

“Blogs are your canary.” No, blogs are not a canary in the coal mine. The George Allen example really doesn’t apply. Allen got into trouble not because conservative blogs were put off by his shifting explanations for the Great Macaca Moment; but, because the voters were put off by the Great Macaca Moment. Blogs might be useful indicators of the strength of an argument, the veracity of allegations, and the popularity of a narrative, but they aren’t much of a public opinion thermometer — and they weren’t meant to be.

Meanwhile it will be interesting to see if conservative blogs can really open up discussion, and support candidates with diverging views; or, if the Republican Senate candidates merely try to “lasso” those bloggers into candidate promotion and fundraising pleas. At which point they’d have done just as well to send out post cards.

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Filed under blogs, Ensign, NRSC