I have just read for the fourth time, Sara Robinson's important 2012 essay entitled, "Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America"

It's not long, and one of those reads which I think every 10th grader should be forced to consume, and then be quizzed on again and again until the foundational concepts are ingrained and at least partially understood.  Until such understandings are embedded in each generation's mindshare, each will too easily fall victim to the same forces of plantation economy, aristocracy, and other rank manifestations of predatory capitalism that have soiled the one before.  Free markets have done much for civilization. But only by making them a little less free are we going to be able to constrain their raging excesses and the humanistic failures that have resulted from them.

Below are the last few paragraphs of Sara's post. They make for a tidy list of some of the greater threats posed by this centuries old culture war of inbred and nouveau-greed lording over historically disadvantaged populations of compliant serfs. It's a war threatening not just America, but the entire planetary ecosystem of our delicate species.

 

It's not an overstatement to say that we're now living in Plantation America. As Lind points out: to the horror of his Yankee father, George W. Bush proceeded to run the country exactly like Woodard's description of a Barbadian slavelord. And Barack Obama has done almost nothing to roll this victory back.

We're now living in an America where rampant inequality is accepted, and even celebrated.

Torture and extrajudicial killing have been reinstated, with no due process required.

The wealthy and powerful are free to abuse employees, break laws, destroy the commons, and crash the economy — without ever being held to account.

The rich flaunt their ostentatious wealth without even the pretense of humility, modesty, generosity, or gratitude.

The military — always a Southern-dominated institution — sucks down 60% of our federal discretionary spending, and is undergoing a rapid evangelical takeover as well.

Our police are being given paramilitary training and powers that are completely out of line with their duty to serve and protect, but much more in keeping with a mission to subdue and suppress. Even liberal cities like Seattle are now home to the kind of local justice that used to be the hallmark of small-town Alabama sheriffs.

Segregation is increasing everywhere. The rights of women and people of color are under assault. Violence against leaders who agitate for progressive change is up. Racist organizations are undergoing a renaissance nationwide.

We are withdrawing government investments in public education, libraries, infrastructure, health care, and technological innovation — in many areas, to the point where we are falling behind the standards that prevail in every other developed country.

Elites who dare to argue for increased investment in the common good, and believe that we should lay the groundwork for a better future, are regarded as not just silly and soft-headed, but also inviting underclass revolt. The Yankees thought that government's job was to better the lot of the lower classes. The Southern aristocrats know that its real purpose is to deprive them of all possible means of rising up against their betters.

The rich are different now because the elites who spent four centuries sucking the South dry and turning it into an economic and political backwater have now vanquished the more forward-thinking, democratic Northern elites. Their attitudes towards freedom, authority, community, government, and the social contract aren't just confined to the country clubs of the Gulf Coast; they can now be found on the ground from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street. And because of that quiet coup, the entire US is now turning into the global equivalent of a Deep South state.

As long as America runs according to the rules of Southern politics, economics and culture, we're no longer free citizens exercising our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as we've always understood them. Instead, we're being treated like serfs on Massa's plantation — and increasingly, we're being granted our liberties only at Massa's pleasure. Welcome to Plantation America.

How do we even begin to unmask and redress these crises of a modernist empire spiraling out of control? Will it be fixed  by carping on the marginal excesses of it, as seen in the issues of drones, national detention controversies and bank bailouts? Or will it be by finding new leadership and policy precepts that replace the ones which are clearly failing to provide for the common good? Ones not motivated by wealth accumulation or careerist ambitions, but rather by a sincere desire to advance our species toward its collective survival and some kind of satisfying intellectual and cultural status quo that endures long enough to reward successive generations without falling victim to them.

I have my ideas for getting there. I am sure you have yours. It's time we started to share them together, and out loud, in hopes of finding a brighter future before we're denied access to one by a dark and aggressively resurgent past. 

Due to my recent cancer surgery, I have lost any natural chance of having my own biological children. But I hope I have at least a few good years left where I might be able to do something to help all the other children on this rotating sphere of cosmic debris we're all traveling on.  We all get only a very brief span of years to do whatever good it is that we're going to do with them. We should probably get started.

Read the entire post. Then tweet me your thoughts.

I said yesterday I was (mostly) staying out of this #Uniteblue crap from now on, but since this is an extension of something that I caused to happen, I need to comment. So I have.

Once again, the ever shape shifting UniteBlue project has taken my advice, and formed a Nonprofit. As usual, they have announced this with great fanfare, and also as usual, provided not a single really relevant detail. Since this "progressive" enterprise's website never publishes any comment but those which gush about it (but allow no criticisms whatever), I am forced to post my comment to them below:

Dear Greens,

Anyone can file a nonprofit corporation. What matters is the business relationship between @UniteBlue and your @140dev.@140elect companies.  

Obviously, you stated at the start you wanted to make money, so the Nonprofit will now serve as your marketing "front end" driving traffic and clients to your businesses. You can get away with that, but not without honestly and openly describing the relationships from the start so that "members" know what they are getting into.

Until you do, this is all fluff meant to make you look like a serious not-for-profit enterprise. Again, you've already stated elsewhere in your evolving history that you're not; you're in this to make money. 

Be honest with people, or they will eat you alive.

I know you are not likely to post this (as you haven't posted any others), so I will blog it on my own site, as I did with my last reply.

Few people under 50 can grasp what the last seven years of the Vietnam war was like.  It had cost over 21,000 American lives, far more than that in casualites and permanent disabilities, and generally tore America apart, socially, politcally, and spiritually. It was one of the most traumatic periods in our history, and in many respects, we are still reliving and resolving issues stemming from it.  Modern conservatives still hang much of their pro-military rhetoric on the canard that "we didn't fight to win in Vietnam."  Well now it seems that the conservative hero of that era, Richard Milhaus Nixon, on his way to the presidency, actually conspired to prolong the war to damage Democrats for their part in waging it, and allowing him to "win it." 

Days before the 1968 election, the nation had been greeted with the news that the end of the war might be nearer than anyone thought possible during the so very nasty presidential campaign between Nixon and Hubert Humphrey (President Johnson, so politically damaged by the war, had decided not to run for another term).  A deal had been struck between North and South Vietnam, a jubilant American people were told, and that peace was finally imminent.

But just days later, the nation's hopes were crushed as it was told that the deal had collapsed and the war would go on.  The  campaign momentum that had been shifting back toward Humphrey on the news of a peace deal, swung right back to Nixon. Tricky Dick went on to win the election, and the rest, was to become a very dark and ugly history that we are still paying for today. Rather than end the war, as Nixon promised during the campaign, he went on to expand it into Laos and Cambodia where still thousands more people died, while here at home, he set the tone and substance of the "imperial presidency" that many allege, not wrongly, we still endure today.

Old news for most of us; grim details of nearly a half-century gone by that many of those who prospered in the boom times that followed would probably rather forget. But others are far too damaged to ever forget.  Whether you agreed with the war or not, you had to have been affected by it. I was in high school at the time, and it pretty much defined me, my clothing, my friends, teachers, school work, family life, and my later views and philosophies as they evolved. I still so clearly remember my mother's anguish as she anticipated my brother's pending draft number as it was about to be announced in the selective service lottery.  My father, a WWII war hero who was awarded the Distiguished Flying Cross, sent his medals to Nixon to protest the war.   The Vietnam war was everything and everywhere throughout the American existence. If you didn't live through those times, you can just take the Iraq war fiasco, and multiply it by 100. That was Vietnam.

And it still won't go away. Vietnam is the war that will never die.  And now we learn that almost a third of it was prolonged because 1) Richard Nixon was a monumentally traitorous scumbag, and 2) Johnson lacked the courage to admit to the American people that his knowledge of just how big a scumbag Nixon had been was inhibited by the fact that the knowledge came via an illegal wiretap. How ironic that it would be Nixon's own wiretap efforts that would destroy him, but one still has to wonder how different the world might have been if Johnson could have admitted to one wrongdoing in order to reveal an even greater one. A wrongdoing that cost so many people their lives, ruined or reshaped their survivors, and probably permanently altered the trajectory and ultimate governability of the American experiment. 

There is no outrage because outrage is now a tactic, not an emotion. 

Today is the 10th year anniversary of the Iraq war. Seems like a pretty good time for bloggers and the media to remind us that it wasn't the first unnecessary, or unnecessarily long war, by hammering on this Nixon story hard.. Yet if not for Rachel @maddow (again), and perhaps a few Twitterers like me, the U.S. media would scarcely give this incendiary story more than a passing glance. We've become so accustomed to outrage being a tactic in our politics, or for link-baiting a blog site, or for driving a hashtag campaign, that all the genuine emotion has been sapped from the word, as well as its utility in shaping our national discourse. Who has the time or emotion for one more outrage? Especially one that is now 45 years old.  

I do. And I really think that you should too.  

Now prepare yourself

Because this story may and should upset you on many levels.

First, the basic outine:

LBJ Tapes Show Richard Nixon May Have Committed Treason By Sabotaging Vietnam Peace Talks

Next, the larger context and relevance…

Once again, courtesy of Rachel @maddow, whose team is just so damn good at that:

Rachel Maddow: History shows war a tool for political opportunists

 

Related

 

A lot of noise is filling the Twittersphere about the "UniteBlue" idea.  I've posed some questions, as have others, and @eileenLeft has alleged some skulduggery about @SayethSimon.  

As usual, #p2 trolls, whacks and  just people not particularly fair minded have jumped on any new criticism of anything they have decided to like as if someone just shot their pony through the nutsack.  Such people don't serve progressive interests well, in my view, but others find them interesting and entertaining, so in the name of diversity, I ignore most of their incessant blithering and bleating.  I am sure this post will be like chum in the water for the hatriots and acrimony trolls. But then, almost anything I say, write or tweet usually is. So there's that.

Anyway, as he should have, UniteBlue's founder Zach Green responded to some of this dust-up with some much needed clarification about UniteBlue. This was all good. Unfortunately, he also went on to mischaracterize some valid criticism, questions, and observations about connections to his past clients as  "smears." They were not. At least none that I saw were. If discussing your lack of apparent lack transparency, or some of your past commercial clients is "smearing" you, you're just in the wrong line of work.  I sincerely hope he will update his post and soften some of that criticism of his critics. That tone may play well to his membership faithful, but it won't to too many others, nor to future commercial or nonprofit clients. They can be very senstive about appearances.

 

What follows is my reply to Zach Green's  post. I don't know if he'll post it, but from what I've seen of his character thus far, I think that he will.

Update:  He never published this, nor did he publish the comments of most other critics. So net net, his post was a puff piece meant to bullshit everyone and make excuses for an unethical launch using other people's work. I was disappointed. I expected more. 

Note: there are a few grammatical edits and typo edits made here that were not in the original comment.


Zach, thank you for finally making a public statement about this. And FAQ was long overdue, in my view. I don’t assume you are speaking directly to me in your post, but as you touch on many things I did in our tweet exchange, let me respond as if you had.

As I tweeted to you the other day, respectful responses to criticism and questions only make you and your projects stronger. I am adamant about fairness, and if things said about you and/or UniteBlue (UB) are untrue, I’ll be the first to help set the record straight. I have before, and I will again.

As it stands now, this statement from you serves as a public record, and you have made numerous assertions that can and will be checked out by people much smarter than me.  I assume they will check-out as you have represented them. In the meantime, permit me a few responses and comments to your words. 

To begin with, regardless of how this all pans out, your rather cavalier response to questions  like “Are you making money?" read as if such questions are of trivial  consequence, a tone which just does not serve you well. If you were building a better word processor for progressives, no one would much care.  But the buzz you are generating (and nurturing) about UB is much more aspirational in tone.  

Both you and your more engaged members speak almost reverentially of  UB as a nascent "movement" with clear political goals, objectives, and implications for Progressives. Goals and objectives which you admitted to me are not all that clearly articulated, nor yet presented anywhere coherently. A marketing-oriented “About” document on your site is not the best way to describe a serious idea aimed at social change. In fact, this FAQ, written as a defensive instrument, is the clearest discussion of the questions and issues that your project presents which I, or anyone else I have spoken with has yet seen. 

When any commercial business aspires to be an instrument of social change, it gets into territory that it often didn’t initially prepare for. Only the naive or delusional would suggest that motives, money, credibility,  and veracity are unimportant to a fledgling political project of the sort that UB purports to become.  Not being prepared, nor having good answers for obvious questions can and has been a fatal mistake for many efforts of this sort.  Change.org and other success stories were armed and ready for such questions from their very first press release and yet even they still run afoul of many people who feel deceived by the shifting ground on which their business model was based. UB does not have their backstory, players, or resources. It has to be even more careful. 

Had it been me, I would have formed a non-profit, built a solid board of advisors, and fully disclosed that it had a favored-nations agreement with 140dev.com to use its technology. That’s just how it’s done in the major leagues, these days. Your project would then be at least partially accountable to people outside your immediate business interests.

So yes, UB should have been more careful about its launch posture, in my opinion, but what’s done is done—at least thus far. Even so, I think more discussion of what I see as unforced errors may be instructive here.  

You repeat again in your FAQ that your boilerplate “privacy” document has some particular illuminative value that shines some light on your veracity and credibility with respect to your downstream ambitions. It does not. You admit it was acquired from the web, yet when I showed you what was in it, you didn’t even know it permitted precisely the use of email addresses which  you implied that it did not. I asked you directly, not if you would ‘rent’ your email lists to anyone, but rather, whether you would send product or service mailings that were of interest to your clients (a very big distinction). 

As I noted in my tweets to you, your privacy  document clearly said you reserve the right to do just that. You have yet to clarify explicitly what you will and won’t do with your access to your members, either via the twitter API, or the emails and other information you are acquiring.  You need to do that, and be much less evasive about such questions in the future or they can come back to haunt you.

As for your overall operational model, I wish you had reached out to more of the Twitter community 8 months ago. As a long standing member of the #p2 community,  I have watched many ideas for community sites, filters and directories come and go. I have seen almost your exact model in several forms proposed, and expressed the same qualms about them that Karoli has in her blog post which I will cite here:

http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/2013/02/26/this-uniteblue-scuffle-is-twitters-fault-and-they-could-fix-it-if-they-felt-like-it/

Who is UniteBlue,  many have a right to ask, to rule on who is and isn’t a “top progressive?” By itself, the idea is offensive to many, but as Karoli implicitly suggests, you also take on the role of arbiter of who is not one, and even who is not a progressive at all.  It would probably take me about one day to embed a dozen or more conservative trolls into your “validated progressives list, and you would have absolutely no way to prevent it.  You’ve already found many already, but they were just fails in your software, and not the work of professional false flag operatives,or other kinds of black-op thugs, goons, spies and trolls.

Since you provide absolutely no insight into your magical process for verification, I can only assume you would be fully prepared to explain why it failed so miserably once I—or someone else—proved that it did. 

And what about your liability? What if one of your validated progressives turns out to be one of the many paid political operatives on the right that I, and my many Progressive friends have been battling with for years?  They would skillfully plant disinformation or outright lies into your streams and it would be a daily struggle to discover, stop, or counteract  them.  As it stands now, they still have to work pretty hard to run such propaganda operations.  Your “validated lists” would make it so simple, they’d take turns doing it daily. I haven’t checked, but I’d bet they already are. 

The @uniteblueLOL account shows they are already well aware of you, and I will bet real money that a lot of them are already busy creating clever ways to game you and your membership. It’s what they do, and it’s why such focused identity groups (and avatar campaigns) like UB have been rejected time and time again by many others.  It’s also why you will have a very hard time getting notable Progressives and celebrities to join you. They aren’t going to risk their cred by taking a flyer on yours, or your super-duper, deluxe progressive identification algorithms.

Now, as to your statements about @ConnectTheLeft and  @SayethSimon, they  are just not supported by any evidence, and are directly contradicted by her version of events; by several witnesses to CTL conference calls; by CTL team members, and by the massive public record called Topsy.com seaches.  

Clearly, someone is lying, and I don’t think it is EileenLeft—or you.  Eileen's well known passion, efforts, and trademarks for CTL would certainly seem to put the burden of evidence on Simon to show that it is she who is lying.  There are virtually no meaningful facts to be found in his “statement of truth”.  There are unsubstantiated claims; claims that seem to project everything Eileen’s team knew to be true about Simon, onto her.  The record indicates otherwise, as far as I’ve been able to tell.

Other people are at work debunking his missive (which I assume will soon be posted here), so I won’t steal their thunder, but when all the smoke dissipates, Simon says  little beyond providing a connnecttheleft.com receipt, which no one contests was his, a @connecttheleft Twitter account  receipt  and some assertions that team members will defend him (but he doesn’t name them). Perhaps he and Eileen should hash this out in a Google hangout to clear the air for good.We can all watch.

Simon’s posturing is not helped by the fact that I asked him several times in private if he did what Eileen had alleged. He took hours to not respond.   A simple "no" would have sufficed. Instead,  we got him claiming credit for something that thousands watched @eileenleft doing every day. His name has rarely if ever publicly came up in connection with CTL, beyond someone enthusiastically supporting it, as many did.

Eileen’s  story is that his only involvement was to rapidly squat on the connecttheleft.com URL, a fact he confirms in his letter, some fervent tweets, and a few drunken conference call rants about his legendary music industry accomplishments. I found this amusing, as to me, he claimed to have been an aspiring web designer. Music never came up. Ever. I don't know him well enough to know what is true and what isn't. But perhaps you do. 

Regardless, whatever Simon said to you about CTL’s origins is in no way an indictment of you or UB. What he allegedly did, if true, as I believe it is based on evidence I have seen is simply disgusting. But you may have felt everything he represented was true, and bear no blame for believing what he claimed was true. Does admitting that  muss UB’s hair a bit? Sure. But so what?  A worthy  project can overcome that. Just say you didn’t know, apologize for lending any credence to his smear, thank her for her contributions, and everyone moves on. 

Finally, having seen many posts and postures, I don’t think either I, nor anyone else has been engaged in “smearing” you or your efforts. They have asked questions, discussed issues, questioned assumptions, and reacted to your tweets and various revelations about a very popular progressive alleging harm to her. That’s just the price anyone pays for conducting their business in the social sphere. It can all be resolved civily and in good faith through public exchanges like these.

As I have said, I don’t agree that UB, as currently constructed, is a very good idea. But progressives often disagree with each other and I am certainly not going to expend any time or bullets attacking you or UB over a difference of opinion. It may well morph into something I could enthusiastically embrace. I’d welcome that. 

Regards,
Matt(a.k.a. Shoq)

Related

You have probably heard by now, that the Republicans, under the leadership of the ethically-challenged Reince Priebus, are actively "investigating" a plan to subvert our democracy by rigging the Electoral College in their favor. In a nutshell, the idea is to allocate electoral votes in key battleground states by congressional district. This means that all those little rural red districts, which outnumber the far fewer blue districts (with all the big cities and people in them), would get far more votes.

Thus, had this rigged system been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have just been sworn in as our president. And if it's put in place for the 2016 election, there is no almost no way a Democrat could ever garner enough electoral votes to win the White House. It would be game over for Democrats, and likely the same for the progressive agenda that Barack Obamas has finally advanced after decades of inaction. 

Unfortunately, Article II of the U.S, Constitution would let the Republicans do this, and get away with it, if they chose to do it. While legal challenges would surely result, the constitutional foundation of the ploy would probably be upheld by the Supreme Court. 

We now know that once again, the pure evil  @Alec_states is the organization behind the curtain that has been promoting  this really bad idea, and have been slowly cultivating it for a long time. I am not exactly surprised. 

As I see it, about the only way to stop them is a massive public outcry that rattles House members to their core, and makes them think the perception of election rigging would cost them their seats. Thus, they would pressure key votes in their respective state legislatures to back away from this vulgar manipulation of the process. Hopefully, Democrats will regain the House in the 2014 midterms, and some kind of legistlative action, short of a constitutional amendment, could create future obstacles to this national-level gerrymandering. But I don't have much hope of that. The best course is to make Republicans feel the pain, pre-emptively, and encourage them to seek the White House the old fashioned way: by winning elections fairly.

I won't waste more words trying to summarize this mess any further. It's best to read those bloggers and journalists following the matter day-by-day. Start here, with Maddow's first "wake up call" broadcast. Then read the key details of this plot from @crooksandliars/@Karoli, and a larger analysis by The Nation's John Nichols. Then proceed down the list of of all the other links below to fully understand the danger, and how few options we seem to have to prevent it. I will be updating this post as more information becomes available.

Please pass this post to friends so they'll have an easier time time grasping this pending crisis. If you have new references you think should be included, please use my contact link at the top of this blog.

The most important thing you can do is make noise about it. Let Republicans know there will be hell to pay for attempting this, beyond their first phase in Virginia, which is already poised to go foward (as discussed below). This is not the sort of thing we can easily undo later. We cannot wait until it's a forgone conclusion. We must act—and soon.

Explainers

The Early Wake Up Calls

Overviews

Detailed Analysis

Obstacles to Their Plan

Other Media About the Issue

Take Action

See Also

Yesterday afternoon, some #StopRush/#FlushRush folks got a fund raising drive going to help out Richard C. Myer's family, who were threatened with eviction after his tragically sudden passing last month from a massive heart attack. I asked my Twitter stream to get on board with the effort. The goal was $1200, so they'd have enough money to pay two months and keep the nasty landlord at bay until Richard's death benefits arrived. The response was just fantastic. 

From Cowoman's update:

So far we have raised $3125.84; I am so happy I could cry. I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to do something small that made my year start off with such fulfillment and joy. Seeing Candy's face when I hand her your generous gifts will be more reward than I can express.


From Richard's wife to #Stoprush volunteers

To Stoprush: 
You all wonderful people. Thank you from the bottom of me and Randy's hearts. I would love to join you all and keep Richard's web sites going.  I want to keep Richard's dreams alive. If you all need any help at all please contact me. I have a facebook page. 

Thank you all for saving me and my son's home. Richard was more then an activist. He was a wonderful husband, a great father, and my bestfriend. I will never in my life meet such a special man like him again, so please help me keep the the very thing he loved in life: the people he helped and loved—and his activist's work.

Thank you all so much. I will never forget such heros who saved me and my son's life.

Much love,

Candy myers

To all of you who responded, thank you so much for your generosity. Richard was a gift. He will be missed by so many.

-Shoq

Who Broke America’s Jobs Machine? – Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman

Every thinking American, and certainly every progressive should read this.  Hell, even some of you vapid wingnuts should read it. You might even realize that things aren’t quite what you were told they were.

Barry Lynn is the author of “Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction,” and much of this article is a simplified glimpse of just some of what he covers in it.  It gets to the heart of what his larger work does: that monopolies are a gruesome monster under our national bed, and we’re doing nothing to slay the beast.

Get your friends and family to read it too.  Perhaps if enough of us grasp just what a beast has taken hold of us, perhaps we can figure out how to break free of it and reverse some of the damage it’s done.

Some excerpts:

But while the mystery of what killed the great American jobs machine has yielded no shortage of debatable answers, one of the more compelling potential explanations has been conspicuously absent from the national conversation: monopolization.

But at least the plethora of different brands vying for your attention on the store shelves suggests a healthy, competitive marketplace, right? Well, let’s take a closer look.

In the health aisle, the vast array of toothpaste options on display is mostly the work of two companies: Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble, which split nearly 70 percent of the U.S. market and control even such seemingly independent brands as Tom’s of Maine. And in many stores the competition between most brands is mostly choreographed anyway. Under a system known as “category management,” retailers like Wal-Mart and their largest suppliers openly cooperate in determining everything from price to product placement.

Over in the cold case we find an even greater array of beer options, designed to satisfy almost any taste. We can choose among the old standbys like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller Lite. Or from a cornucopia of smaller brands, imports and specialty brews like Stella Artois, Redbridge, Rolling Rock, Beck’s, Blue Moon, and Stone Mill Pale Ale. But all these brands—indeed more than 80 percent of all beers in America—are controlled by two companies, Anheuser-Busch Inbev and MillerCoors.

Another way that monopolization can inhibit the creation of new jobs is the practice of entrenched corporations using their power to buy up, and sometimes stash away, new technologies, rather than building them themselves.

Beginning in Reagan’s first term, antitrust enforcement all but ended. Throughout the 1980s, the opponents of antitrust sometimes buttressed their arguments by stoking fears about the supposed dangers posed to American manufacturers by their Japanese rivals. But for the most part such arguments proved unnecessary, as the government had already largely retired from the field, leaving corporations largely to their own devices. By the time Reagan left office, laissez faire had become conventional wisdom.

There is so much more in this brief work. You will come away knowing a lot more than you knew going in about just how successful radical conservatism has been at changing all of our rules, and breaking most of what had been working in America for rather well. Then the Chicago school and Ronald Reagan broke it.

Read the article

Jo-Ann Shain is my first cousin. She and her partner Mary Jo Kennedy have played a historic role for the past 7 years. This @CNN re-run memorizalizes their long journey. Their fight has been part of an epic battle that will change the lives of so many.  Congratulations to them both. Thank you for your service, ladies. 

 

 

Source: Same-sex couple Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy won the lottery to wed Sunday in New York.

Backstory

Related

 

 

A Cautionary Tale of Infiltration, Betrayal, and the Activist Community

by Melissa Brewer

I've been busy with worky stuff, so I didn't have time to blog Melissa's moving, informative, and maddening essay when it was first posted. I apologize to her for that. She wrote an important introduction and overview of the noisy Twitter conflagration that made her life a living hell, and has embroiled me and hundreds of other people for months. It is best read together with Matt Osborne's tidy little synopsis of this Ratfucking* of the stopRush effort and me.

Although they'd like everyone to think that what they did was just about me, what Heather E. Chase (@heatherEchase) and Imani Gandy (@angryblacklady) did had an impact on many people. Particularly affected by their selfish machinations were about 3000 #StopRush volunteers, but also several other women who have spent their lives fighting for women's rights. And their fight was much greater than building a small wiki project that died only a few months later when it's founder was able to leverage the attention she received into a paying contractor's job with a bona fide and well respected women's rights organization. Evidently, they made this acqui-hire before Chase and Gandy had admitted what they'd done to us. It might have made a difference in their decision.

Of course, many other people—even well branded bloggers—who never bothered to research any of the story before "defending their friends," were lured into that embarrassing trap based on their modest acquaintances, and these women’s shrieks of "conspiracy theory! conspiracy theory!"  They have been quiet lately, probably due to the fact that their friends, the  purported "victims," Chase and Gandy admitted doing exactly what we said they had done.

Melissa's story will explain a lot of things to you. I urge you to read it. Some highlights:

I’m writing this post today to tell you a story. It’s the story of a man who wanted to “infiltrate” a movement and manipulated many people so that he could “make his way” as the next Breitbart or James O’Keefe.

I felt good about my involvement in StopRush. I was true to the boycott, too. In fact, because of StopRush, I’ve learned how to vote with my wallet in a number of ways. I’m a conscientious consumer. I have StopRush to thank for that.

As depressing as it’s going to sound, this story is also about hypocrisy in its very core form. While #TeamUterati “worked” to further “women’s rights” and decry slutshaming on a public level, none of the “TeamUterati women seemed to think twice about aiding and abetting Jason Wade Taylor in his “war”. The women targeted in his ruse included… (emphasis mine).

If this story doesn't open your eyes to the dangers of bloggers acting as careerists, using any means necessary to promote themselves at the expense of other progressive causes and the broader public interest, nothing will.   

I'd like to be able to say Melissa's post has led to better relationships between like-minded people on Twitter, particularly those who are more than sick of the drama these people continue to flog every day. Unfortunately, all it's done is bring her more strident and vitriolic attacks from those who are now so thoroughly invested in all these manifestations of Internet Disinhibition run amok.

*A Note About The Term “Ratfucking.”

Chase and Gandy and their supporters lamely try to deflect from the selfishness of their deed by saying that Matt Osborne and I have claimed that what they did was "political."  Why? Because Osborne used the term "Ratfucker."  This is a typical Breitbartian trick where you try to obfuscate the guts of a story by picking off tiny tangents that you hope the gullible will be distracted by.  It was just more of the spinning and manipulation that these two cunning women have used since they first started denying that they did anything at all (most stridently argued to friends in private). They had been slowly backing away from their denials before finally admitting what they did—but only after we published hard evidence that proved it.  They excused it all with still more cover-ups, unsupported assertions about my "bullying and abusing women," and of course, their ongoing use of other people to mask their duplicity. Along the way, they shamelessly encouraged their vicious supporters to attack mine (ironically, often women themselves).  

But back to their tangent:  Not only did the term "Ratfucker" long ago escape its Watergate-era boundaries and come to mean any dirty trick done for any kind of gain, but even at face value, it was appropriate  Chase and Gandy were played by Jason Wade Taylor,  a con-man who absolutely had a political agenda and used their greed and epic ethical fails to assist him.  Their motives were never political, and no one ever said they were.

Rather, their motive was to raise funds to pay their salaries in a quick-and-dirty advocacy effort that designed to do just that. I know. I was there when it was formed. In those days, I spoke to Gandy nearly every day. Out of work, and out of money, her constant refrain (very closely paraphrased) was "I have just enough cushion to last until maybe October. I need to make this work or I will need to find a job."

Ratfucking me and StopRush, apparently, was part of "making this work."

Please read Melissa's story in its entirety. It's an important one with many lessons for social media activists.

Update No. 1 

The always dishonest and complicit @MiltShook (a blogger of such stature, he writes his own reviews on Amazon), who continues to deny—and conceal—his major role in this drama, has been spouting off on Twitter about how "Shoq wrote Melissa's piece." This is typical of Shook, who makes straw assertions like these about me almost every day since I eviscerated a truly ridiculous undocumented hit piece he wrote about me on behalf of Chase, Gandy, Jessica, Padilla, and Himself.. Shook postures that he wants all this to stop, while tweeting almost hourly about me. A few examples.  Had I written Melissa's essay (replete with tales of her rape and abuse), I would hardly have been as fuzzy about the perp's motives as she was. She gives them wiggle room. I don't. We already know and proved exactly what their motives were.

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Read this:

  • When Feminists Turn "Mean Girls"  — A series of tweets from just a few of the more obsessive beasts who have trolled my Twitter stream since last August, blathering baseless allegations that I "abuse women."  

    Each of them are frequently encouraged and retweeted by  @angryblacklady, @honeybadgerLA, @vdaze, @semishark, @dvnix, and many others actively engaged in harassing me on Twitter, even having contests to see who can drive down my follower count the fastest. Seriously.  Their goal has been to cover-up their own malfeasance and contrived scandals meant to mask it and they have literally shat on thousands of twitter relationships to do it. Fortunately, as the chirpstory shows, they are now revealing themselves to be incredibly manipulative and vicious, further discrediting their phony narratives. And people are finally starting to  get it and push back.

And then this to explain the horror that you just read: 

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