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If you’ve been watching Glenn Beck much lately – something I generally try to avoid, but I inevitably see clips on Countdown, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and/or just about every blog on the liberal side of the blogosphere – you know that the man has been bandying about terms like “Nazi” and “fascist” and “Hitler” pretty freely in connection with progressives generally and President Obama in particular.

Not that President Obama is particularly progressive, but that’s another rant for another time.

Anyway, Beck has been engaged in a lot of ranting and raving and name calling, including some odd combos like “communist fascists,” which apparently is what happens when someone moves so far to the left end of the political spectrum that they end up back around at the extreme end of the right side of the spectrum.

Apparently no one’s ever explained Godwin’s Law to Mr. Beck.

Now, just yesterday, I ran across the following photo from the Washington Post (h/t @chrislhayes, link takes you to the original photo in context):

Glen Beck addressing the crowd at CPAC in February 2010

THIS guy likes to bandy about Hitler comparisons?

I ask you, who does this photo remind you of?

Here’s a hint. Change the flag behind him with another historical flag. One from, say, Germany. Late 1930s – mid 1940s era.

Seriously, dude. Glass houses. Pot. Kettle.

Mind, I’m not calling Glenn Beck a Nazi. Because, hey, I am familiar with Godwin’s Law.*

I’m just saying that, well, if there was a photo of me looking like this floating around on teh internets, I’d really want to avoid mentioning the H-word. Or the F-word. Um, fascist, that is, not the other F-word (which I manifestly have no problem with using when the occasion seems to call for it).

Just a thought.

jane doe

* I will concede that there comes a point where the comparison to fascism as a system of government may be appropriate, despite the emotional valence of the term. I drafted a couple of posts for this blog during the Bush administration where I speculated about where we as a nation were along the slippery slope leading to fascism, though I don’t remember if I actually posted any of them. I was not alone in speculating about this – see for instance Joe Conason’s It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush.


The New York Times reports today on the verdict in a rather high-profile cyberbullying case in which an alleged adult (okay, she’s 49, but her behavior was unbelievably immature) was bullying a young teenage girl to such an extreme that she eventually killed herself.

The case is an interesting example of the old legal truism that bad facts can make for bad law.

There is no question that the woman’s behavior was appalling. She set up a MySpace page posing as a teenage boy and positively hounded the poor girl, saying all sorts of horrible things about her. Classic cyberbullying behavior unusual only in that it was an adult bullying a teenager, rather than the far more common peer-level bullying.

And there seems to be no doubt that there was a direct connection between this bullying behavior and the teenage girl’s suicide.

So it is by no means a stretch to think that there ought to be some sort of legal consequences for the girl’s adult tormenter.

What is unusual and somewhat disturbing (for yours truly who, let’s face it, is blogging under the most blatant pseudonym possible) is that apparently the guilty verdict in the court case turned on the fact that the adult violated MySpace terms of service by failing to provide accurate information about herself when establishing the profile. The defendant was not convicted for bullying, but for computer fraud. According to the New York Times:

Ms. Drew’s creation of a phony profile amounted to “unauthorized access” to the [MySpace] site, prosecutors said, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which until now has been used almost exclusively to prosecute hacker crimes.

Let me say that again: criminal liability not for the bullying behavior itself but for the provision of false biographical information on a MySpace page in violation NOT of the law itself but of MySpace terms of service.

For those who have never explored the links running down the left column of this blog, let me point one out to you: the link to my MySpace page.

Like my blog, it is under the name “jane doe” – and that is the name I gave to MySpace when I created the profile. I also used a fake birthdate – April 1, 1968. The April 1 was because April Fool’s Day seemed like an amusing birthday for a fake identity, and the 1968 was because that was a much more interesting year from a political and social perspective than 1966, which is the year I was actually born.

So fake name and fake birthdate. Oh, and at the time I created the profile, I was still living in Redstatesville, which is not in Colorado, so I gave fake geographic information as well.

Now, arguably one could say that since I blog under the jane doe pseudonym and may ultimately retain that pseudonym for non-blog related creative projects (art and writing) that I am presently working on, my use of that name for the MySpace profile has some legitimacy.

There is also the fact that I am not using my MySpace page to hound some poor teenager to suicide working in my favor. So one might think the greatest risk to me would be the deletion of the MySpace profile if the MySpace people ever get around to noticing it – though blogger Jon Swift faced a similar problem with Facebook and got the company to reinstate the pseudonynmous profile.

Here’s the thing that troubles me, though. As previoiusly noted, we are seeing legal liability – apparently misdemeanor-level criminal liability – that is hinging not on the law but on MySpace terms of service.

Which kind of has me wondering what would happen if one of the politicians I have criticized over the past two years were to take issue with my opinions? Could he or she make the case that I should face criminal charges for exercising my first amendment right to criticize government officials, simply because I used my pseudonym to create a MySpace profile which I link to from the blog that I also write under said pseudonym? Hell, for all I know, I’m in violation of WordPress’s terms of service, too – I honestly don’t even remember what information I had to give when I established the blog. I think I just had to provide an e-mail address. But of course, my e-mail address for both the blog and the MySpace page is also – you guessed it – under the name jane doe. So I may be in violation of Inbox.com’s and Gmail’s terms of service, too. I could be looking at a life sentence here.

Does this seem improbable? I hope so. Certainly it seems less likely to happen or be tolerated under an Obama presidency than under the current alleged president.

But as I said at the outset, bad facts make for bad law. Here, what the woman in the cyberbullying case did was so clearly inappropriate, and the outcome so drastic given the girl’s eventual suicide, that prosecutors and jurors alike would want to impose some sort of punishment. And they likely would not be considering the potential ramifications for the way they got that punishment imposed.

And now we all have to live with their decision.

According to the Times, the defendant will be appealing the lower court’s decision. But appellate judges, and Supreme Court judges, for that matter, are nearly as likely to fall victim to the “bad facts make bad law” truism as the lay people serving on a jury would be – and some would say they are even more likely to.

There are a lot of reasons why people create fake identities for online use. Some, like me, create a pseudonym in order to avoid problems at their place of employment. Some merely want to reduce the risk of identity theft. And sometimes, a fake identity can literally mean the difference between life and imprisonment or death – ask the bloggers in Burma who wrote about the protests by Buddhist monks and the government’s efforts to stifle same. Assuming you can find any of those bloggers, that is. Assuming the Burmese government didn’t get to them first.

Oh, but that can’t happen here, I hear you say.

And to that I say – consider how many different ways the Bush administration has violated the laws and constitution over the past eight years. Consider the various tactics they used against political opponents – we’re talking about an administration that outed one of its own covert CIA agents, endangering not only her but her entire intelligence network in foreign countries. Consider the fact that they ordered individuals tortured, and authorized the program of “extraordinary rendition” in which they essentially kidnapped individuals and sent them to other countries for “interrogation” – interrogation that included torture.

Can’t happen here? Hell, I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t already happened here.

At least as far as we know.

jane doe


Ever since the Senate vote on the FISA POS yesterday, I’ve been trying to puzzle it out, and I still don’t get it.

Why did Barack Obama vote for the bill?

What could possibly have motivated him to vote the way he did?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m plenty ticked off at all the other Democrats who caved to pressure from either the White House or (more likely) campaign contributors associated with the telecoms. They’re all on my shit list at the moment, and the Day of Retribution shall come, when they shall be Mocked Most Thoroughly for their total lack of backbone, intestinal fortitude, and/or principles.

I write a mean poison pen letter.*

But Obama’s decision to vote in favor of the bill completely mystifies me. I really cannot come up with a single rational explanation for his decision to support this bill.

It was a foregone conclusion that, no matter how he voted on the matter, McCain (who managed not to vote on the bill) will criticize his vote during the campaign. If he voted against it, he was soft on terrorism. If he voted for it, he was flip-flopping. (And by the way, McCain: Hello? Pot? Kettle? Glass houses?) So I’m not seeing much gain there.

Some have theorized that this is part of his effort to move a bit toward the center, since he is currently being portrayed by some on the right as being the senator who is furthest to the left on the political spectrum. But aside from those of us on the left who are active in these matters, my sense is that this issue hasn’t drawn a huge amount attention from the middle-of-the-road crowd. So the way I see it, he alienated his base on the left for very little potential gain in the middle.

And boy, has he ever alienated his base. From today’s Wall Street Journal, we have this little tidbit:

Obama’s own campaign Web site has become a hotbed of debate over his support for the compromise bill, spawning four groups in which opponents of Obama’s position vastly outnumber supporters—22,957 to 38. The “Get FISA Right” group blog on MyBarackObama.com was flooded with disappointed supporters after Wednesday’s vote, with more than 60 writing in within 90 minutes of the vote.

“Christopher from Cleveland” wrote, “All those people saying that we should relax, and take it easy, since it’s only one issue, are wrong because Barack is breaking his promise to us!”

“Dan in Holland,” said he was a Michigan voter who would no longer vote for Obama, adding “I just lost an enormous amount of respect for Mr. Obama and his vote on the FISA bill and the amendment to strip telecom immunity.”

Certainly, the blogosphere is up in arms about how he voted. Promises of no further campaign contributions and refusal to vote in November abound. (But really, are these people likely not to vote? Hell, no. When it comes down to it, I think we can all agree that what we do not need is for the next four years to look like the last eight years.)

Perhaps he fears a terrorist attack will take place on US soil between now and November. If there is one, a “no” vote on this measure really could hurt him in the polls. (See my previous posts on terror management theory for why.) So that might explain it.

There’s another possibility, and it’s a disturbing one. Maybe he actually wanted the measure to pass. Maybe he wanted to have that warrantless wiretapping ability should he win the election in November.

For the record, I think that the last option is pretty unlikely. I don’t believe we’ve all misread him that badly. I don’t want to believe that.

Still, with his vote on this issue, I think he’s changed the dynamic in the race a bit. It was nice having a candidate we could get excited about, instead of feeling like we were voting for the lesser of two evils. And now, I think a lot of us are going to be asking the question, “What else is he going to change his position on?”

Hopefully, by this November, he’ll have reassured us all a bit in that regard. There’s plenty of time between now and then to convince us that he’s still the leader we saw in the primaries.

But we’re not going to forget about this. He voted to betray the constitution, just like everyone else who voted yes on that goddamn bill. He sold us out like the rest of them.

jane doe

* Hey, I’m a graduate student of limited means, living in Redstatesville, which is a drive of approximately thirteen and two-thirds cassette tapes** from Washington, D.C. (if you allow for traffic). My response options are somewhat limited. Sometimes a Strongly Worded Letter is the best I can manage.

** Some people measure travel distance in miles. I measure it in music. Though that’s becoming more difficult, because lately, on long drives, I listen to my iPod instead of cassette tapes, and that’s just not very convenient as a measure of distance, because you have to count actual songs which is kind of a pain. On the other hand, with gas prices going up the way they have, long roadtrips will soon become a thing of the past, so the methodology for calculating distances becomes kind of moot.


…and entertaining if untrue: At least three web sites are reporting (in identical language) that:

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France [Saturday] fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint againsgt the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

Major disclaimer: I have absolutely no way of knowing whether any of this is true.

Of the three places I found this story, the only one I have any prior experience with is AlterNet. They seem to be attributing the story to IPS News (Inter Press Service News Agency), which I have never even heard of before. I cannot find the story on the IPS web site, and therefore am uncertain whether AlterNet’s attribution is correct.

One of the three sites reporting the story seems to be based in Iran, although it is an English-language site. Given the current state of relations between Iran and the US, I am likely to be skeptical about anything one of those country’s media report about government officials (or ex-officials) from the other country. (And yes, that works in both directions, given all the untrue things the US mainstream media reported about Iraq back in 2002 and early 2003.)

The third site is something called world news, which looks like a blog and seems to include stories from a variety of reputable sources, including the New York Times, Reuters, and BBC News. However, it does not list any source for this story, either.

None of the stories include an author’s name, though the Iranian site does have some initials at the end of the story (“RZS/BGH”), which might signify a staff author or authors — other stories on the site include similar strings of initials at the ends of the stories. The end result is that we have zero accountability on this story. (Yes, I realize that sounds ironic coming from someone who blogs under the moniker jane doe. But I’m all about irony. Plus, I usually cite sources for any factual assertions I make, unless they are being widely reported already by multiple mainstream sources.)

On the assumption that this might have actually happened but been ignored by our beloved corporate mainstream media here in the US, I did a little searching on some European news sites. Guardian (UK) and the BBC are both silent on this story, and the former of those, at least, would probably mention it if they had heard about it.

All-in-all, I have a lot of doubts about the truth of the story, but I thought it deserved a mention, if only in the hopes that someone who has the ability to investigate whether any of it is true picks up on it.

So my question to you, my dear non-existent readers, is this: has anyone else heard anything about this? Is this story true? A distortion of a true story? An outright hoax?

I don’t know. If you do, please post a reply in the comments.

And by the way, whether this story is true or not, it does not change my position that Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.

jane doe

 


In my previous post, I outlined some of the principles of terror management theory, and described the theory’s implications for American politics. But despite the length of my post, I left out one very important point that I really wanted to emphasize.

You see, I am aware of anecdotal evidence that awareness of terror management theory can actually change individuals’ reactions to those lovely death primes the research relies on. Certainly, I have found that my own awareness of the theory has changed the way I watch the news, and in particular it has changed the weight I give to various political assertions by members of the current administration.

But I am not drawing solely on my own experience in making this assertion, even though I am unaware of any published study that would support it. Rather, I am relying in part on unpublished whisperings among the graduate students at one of the academic institutions where much of the research into terror management theory has been conducted.

First, you must understand that much of the research in this field (as is the case with nearly all psychological research) is performed on undergraduate college students, usually those enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses. There is a very good reason for this, of course: undergraduates are a convenient research population, and they will usually participate without pay in exchange for a few extra credit points in their psych classes.

On at least one of the campuses where much of the research into terror management theory takes place, the graduate students who collected the data complained that they had gotten reputations among the current crop undergraduate psychology majors for always working on terror management studies, and the students participating in the studies would be looking for the death primes as soon as they saw the graduate students conducting the research. Suddenly, the researchers had trouble getting statistically significant results, even in cases where all previous research suggested that the present study should produce such results. In other words, awareness of terror management theory at least partially nullified the effect of the death prime. As a result of this, the grad students had to start going to other college campuses in the area to seek research participants.

It is for this reason that I have devoted so much time researching and writing my post on the politics of terror management. (Though the post ostensibly responds to Olbermann’s recent piece on the nexus of politics and terror, I have actually been working on it for some time and only made the changes that address his piece in the last two days.) I hope that my post on the subject, and a few others I have planned, will spark a discussion of terror management theory in the blogosphere, and that that discussion will eventually reach the mainstream media. It is my hope that, by increasing voter awareness of terror management theory and its implications, the ability of politicians to manipulate those voters with fear will be reduced.

Please note that I am not claiming there is no reason for us to be concerned about future terrorist attacks. The events of 9/11 made it plain that we are vulnerable to attacks on American soil, and it is appropriate for our government to devote significant resources to preventing future attacks. My point (and hope) is that voters should be able to make their decisions about which candidate(s) would be best to lead our country into a post-Bush future and undo the damage he has done to our country and our standing in the world arena free of the sort of emotional manipulation that we have been subject to in the recent past. Knowledge is power, and in the present instant, knowledge of terror management theory confers the power to resist manipulation by those who hope to use the theory to manipulate us with fear tactics.

And furthermore, I believe that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

-jane doe


Yes, I have been gone for a while now. I apologize to you, my non-existent readers, for my absence. I could blame it on end-of-the-semester overload, but that really wouldn’t cover what’s been going on in my mind. The simple truth of the matter is that I have felt a bit overwhelmed by all the various revelations over the past few months about the depth of the malfeasance, corruption, and perversion of political processes that we are seeing in Washington right now. There were, quite simple, too many things to be writing about, and I felt like I was drowning in a rising tide of scandals. Talk about a target-rich environment!

So I have been delaying work on the blog till I could focus a bit. Expect to see more over the next couple of days, as I get caught up on Gonzogate, the looming presidential election (it really is looming, you know, like a monster in a gothic horror story), the whole Iraq catastrofuck, privacy intrusions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.


I am in despair tonight, and I should apologize upfront because this is going to be rambling and far less focused than my posts usually are, but I feel a need to vent.

Our country is in a sorry state, and most people seem to feel like it is someone else’s problem to fix. Perhaps it is beyond fixing. I don’t know. It just seems that everywhere I look, I see mounting problems, with more problems lining up behind them. I find myself laughing in that nervous, slightly insane way that is nevertheless preferable to screaming at the existential horror of it all. I literally pull my hair and bang my head against the wall, and I lie awake at night wondering whether our country will survive another 686 days with George W. Bush in the White House.

Why do I feel such despair, you may ask? I hardly know where to begin.

First, above everything, we have the war in Iraq. The war we shouldn’t be in. The war our alleged president manipulated intelligence, manipulated public opinion, and flat-out lied to get us into. It will be George Bush’s legacy to our country, to his and our everlasting shame. Support our troops by sending more of them over there to die, that makes sense.

From this problem stem so many others. Our executive branch’s apparent abrogation of the Geneva Convention (and large portions of the Constitution), the effective elimination of habeas corpus, the torturing of prisoners of war — sorry, unlawful enemy combatants — these are not steps the president should be taking in our names. Once America stood as the bastion of freedom, honor, and human dignity. It was supposed to be a place where all men and women stood equal before the law, where all were treated with respect and one was innocent until proven guilty. That no longer is the case. Instead our officials are resorting to the means and methods of petty dictators, while still trying to claim the moral authority we once had.

Remember those civil liberties that we were always told set our country apart from other, less worthy nations? The liberties politicians say they are protecting when they send our military men and women off to war — in Iraq, in Afghanistan? Gone now, many of them. Fourth amendment right to be “secure in [your] persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”? Gone. Gotta fight them terrorists. Feel like exercising your first amendment right to speak up about that? You’re emboldening the terrorists, you traitor. We must fight the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to fight them here, and the only way to save our democracy is apparently by turning it into an authoritarian dictatorship.

And don’t get me started on the growing intolerance in this country. I want to cry when I hear Christians claiming there is some sort of war against Christianity in this country, just because some people think the ten commandments don’t belong in government buildings. The reason I want to cry is because I am a practitioner of a non-Christian religion, and I feel like I am regularly hit in the face with Christianity everywhere I look these days. Don’t get me wrong — I think people should be able to practice whatever religion they want. And I am cool with the fact that the majority religion in this country is Christianity so they get their holidays as official days off work, even though the rest of us don’t. But I am terrified by people who think they should legislatively impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. And yes, if you think that stem cell research is immoral, that Intelligent Design should be taught as science, and that park rangers at the Grand Canyon shouldn’t be able to talk about how long it took for the river to carve the geological formations there because it contradicts the biblical timeline for creation, I am talking about you.

Of course, with the war, and all the money that is going straight from the IRS to Halliburton’s coffers (with a little bit trickling out the other end to rebuild Iraq and, oh yeah, New Orleans, remember them?), the economy is now going into the shitter. Market correction, my ass. If China is getting nervous, we all should be putting aside some danger money right now. The corporations have been having their way with our economy for years now, and particularly the past few years with Incurious George in the White House, and we are all screwed.

And the mainstream media, well, now, that’s just another bunch of big corporations, right? And not a very big bunch, either, getting smaller by the year, as mega-corporation merges with mega-corporation. Certain right-wing blowhards like to talk about the alleged liberal media, but it’s mostly a myth. With a few notable exceptions. what you have is the centrist media, which genuinely tries to just report the facts, and the right-wing media like Faux News and talking heads. Yes, there are a few liberals, and thank the deity of your choice for people like Olbermann, Stewart, and Colbert, but for the most part the mainstream media is as conservative as the large corporations that control it. Fair and balanced? Ha!

Our education system is falling apart, teachers are paid a pittance, and yet right-wing pundits act like the education lobby is some scary, fascist organization. You want to know how to fix education? Here’s a start: pay teachers enough money that all the brilliant people who would love to teach but want to earn enough money to own a house and send their children to college can actually do so by becoming teachers instead of going to law school. This country needs more teachers and fewer lawyers.

How about healthcare? Our country is facing a major crisis, in part due to the fact that we have so many people without access to health care. We are going to have a major influenza epidemic (bird flu, anyone?), and millions of people are going to die because when you have large numbers of people without access to healthcare the conditions for an epidemic flourish. Creating tax incentives for people to buy their own health insurance isn’t going to do the trick, because the people who are most likely to be uninsured through their employer are also the least likely to benefit from tax deductions, or even tax credits, because they have the lowest incomes.

Ooh, and speaking of healthcare, and getting back to the supporting our troops meme, how about supporting our troops after they come home? Giving them real healthcare and psychological services, and not make them wade through some sort of managed care phone tree to get treatment approved? These men and women are literally putting their lives on the line for this government’s policies. The very least the bastards in the White House can do is give them the red carpet treatment when they get back stateside and need care. That is how you support troops, Republican Party — by giving them the services they need, not by putting some magnetic American flag on your gas-guzzling SUV.

Which, of course, brings me to the environment. Sure, in the Midwest, in mid-February, global warming seems like a great idea. But come August, not so much. And I don’t imagine the polar bears are very happy about it, either.

And now we have our president, the one who lied to get us into Iraq, making a lot of scary noises about Iran. Pardon my French, but what the fuck? We don’t have the troops, we don’t have the money, and, hey, by the way, we don’t trust anything you’re saying anymore, Georgie-Boy. So just knock it off. We’re not going there. Got it? Let me repeat. We. Are. Not. Going. There.

Of course, he probably realizes we don’t have the forces to do that. That’s why he keeps making all the scary talk about nuclear — sorry, nucular — weapons. How low have my expectations for our government gotten if I say that I will be ecstatic if we can just get through the remainder of the Shrub’s term in office without him exploding a nuclear weapon somewhere in the world?

But really, all of this is only part of the cause of my despair. My real reason for being in despair is because it seems like the reaction of the vast majority of Americans to all of this angst-producing stuff is “Meh. Yeah, it sucks, someone should do something about that.”

Yes, I know, there are demonstrably lots of people out there trying to do something about all that. The blogosphere is full of people who have not for one second turned a blind eye to all the nonsense that is happening (and may the deity of their choice bless them all for that), and there are loads of people all over the country writing letters, sending e-mails, calling their congressional representatives, marching in the streets, what have you. But there are far, far more who aren’t doing a thing, who figure that it is someone else’s problem. ‘

In other countries, if the governments did some of the stuff our alleged president and his minions have done over the past few years, people would be rioting in the streets. Entire governments have been brought down for less. Hell, Bill Clinton got impeached over a blowjob, yet Nancy Pelosi says that’s not on the table right now in spite of all of Bush’s documented crimes against the Constitution, the American people, and — dare I say it — humanity. And we are all going about our business, saying “Yeah, someone should do something about that.”

And tomorrow morning, I will get up, and brush my teeth, and head to my office, before I go to classes in the afternoon. And I will think to myself, I should be doing something more. And I will come home in the evening, and watch Countdown, and The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report, and get my righteous indignation on, and then I will do my homework, and lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, and worry about all of this some more. And I will fall asleep, only to wake and repeat the whole cycle again. Maybe I will send an e-mail urging my senators to take some urgent action, to be logged and dutifully ignored by some senate staffer. I toy with the idea of starting a guerrilla political theater group on campus — maybe in the fall…

I know that I have broken no new ground with this post. Everything I’ve said here, has been said elsewhere, probably better than I could, already. But I needed to get it out of my system. If only so I can sleep a little better tonight.

So what’s the deal with the title of this entry? It’s from a recurring nightmare I had when I was younger. I was trapped in my house, which was full of spiders. Thousands of the eight-legged menaces, everywhere you looked — they spun their webs across the doors and on chairs, so you had to cut a web if you wanted to sit down, or go into another room, or do anything. And I would, understandably, be freaking out about the spiders in the dream, but I would be the only person who was. Everyone else just took them as a given. “Well, of COURSE there are spiders. Why are you letting it get to you?” And I wonder, is this — everything I’ve written about in this post, everything that’s troubling me about our country right now — the same sort of thing?

Questions? Comment?

jane doe


You may have seen this already, but in case you missed it, Tom DeLay has started a blog – it apparently went up on Sunday, and was initially up for about 75 minutes with unmoderated comments, resulting in lots of posts of the “You crook!” and “F— you!” variety, and a few more thoughtful comments, whereupon it was taken down by Tommy Boy or one of his minions until they could figure out how to set it up with moderated comments. The posts are back up now, but it looks like it’s being heavily moderated. Some critical posts are getting through, but there already appear to be complaints from some commenters that previously-submitted comments haven’t been posted.

 

But wait, I hear my nonexistent readers say, don’t you reserve the right to cancel comments? Yes, indeed I do – abusive or threatening comments. Though at this point I’d be grateful for any comments at all, and would probably limit myself to mocking the grammatical and factual errors of those who flame me. And I welcome any kind of thoughtful criticism or reasoned disagreement – the whole point of free speech is that ultimately through intelligent discussion bad ideas will be discredited and good ideas will gain wider circulation. While I believe that the ideas and ideals I espouse are good ones, I freely admit to being human and therefore capable of making mistakes, so I like to hear opposing viewpoints. They may change my mind, or they may ultimately strengthen my resolve in my original views, but it is better to hear all sides of an issue (even the moronic ones) than to pick a viewpoint – particularly because that viewpoint is trumpeted by certain individuals or political parties – and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

 

But back to Tommy Boy. It looks like one attentive blogger kept a copy of one of the original posts plus comments before they were yanked from circulation – you can find it here. Entertaining reading, and something you’re not likely to see again anytime soon.

 

jane doe

Comment Policy

Thoughtful comments from all viewpoints along the political spectrum are welcome. Abuse and ad hominem attacks are not, and may be deleted. Got a problem with that? Start your own damn blog.

Contact

janedoe.tcm [at] gmail.com or follow me on Twitter: @janedoe_tcm
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