January 1, 2011


Filed under: Freedom, Internet Democracy — Tags: — Russ @ 5:42 am


Throughout history cowards and criminals always told the commenters of the time, “You’re wasting your time. That can’t change anything.” Often the aspiration didn’t happen at all. Other times it was tried and failed. And other times the great change succeeded.
So we can’t know whether everything we’re doing in the blogosphere will count for anything in the end. I know it’s worth trying. The evidence of history proves that. I get up every day and go online, conscious that I’m entering the fray and participating in the democracy, the only one we have left so far as I’m aware.
Perhaps a hundred years from now, and for the rest of history, people will say the blogosphere was the place of ferment for the great change. Or one of the places.
Or maybe there will be no change, Gated Community 2.0, the end of net neutrality, and the intensification of direct censorship will lead to the death of Internet democracy, and it will all have been for nothing except the experience lived now, but not remembered in the future, since under those circumstances there will no longer be “history”, but only totalitarian stagnation. There will still be hominids, but humanity will be extinct.
We cannot know today. Maybe it’s sometimes hard to even believe today. All we can do is live as if we believed there was a fighting chance. It’s the living and the pretending which always generate the true belief. And that belief in turn makes what was impossible possible. And once things are possible and fought for, they are sometimes achieved. 


  1. Well, I think the blogosphere is an effective means of communication. The fact that the government is increasingly trying to control web speech is significant. Today, I came across a very disturbing link. It confirms my view that the system is so irreparably broken that it cannot be repaired. I am sure that readers of this blog can point to other areas, i.e., safety of the food chain, airline safety, new home construction, toy safety, etc etc which all lead to the same conclusion: the corporate state has totally dominated and corrupted the political process. Under our current system, everything has a price and can be bought–that’s what happened to our political process.


    Comment by Bryan — January 1, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  2. There is always hope, my friend. Always. As long as there are humans, there will be those that will not bend, will not break, will not give in. You and others are making a difference, Russ. Happy New Year!

    Comment by Johnny D. — January 1, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    • You definitely are making a difference, Russ. Perhaps if you had a tip jar, some of the effusively grateful followers would be able to more tangibly express our thanks. One thing that would also be nice is a way for commenters to be able to publicise an email address if they wanted (perhaps in the wesite field–would that work?).
      Internet censorship is a growing menace. Here’s an excerpt from the following link: http://www.suite101.com/content/the-threat-to-free-speech-on-the-internet-a257236

      “On June 19 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat, Connecticut) introduced the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA). According to Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, education foundation, the bill contains a “kill switch” allowing the president to seize control over the internet and shut it down. The bill will create the National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications, who will have authority to monitor the “security status” of private websites, as well as that of broadband providers and other internet components, who will be forced to comply with any emergency action developed by the Department of Homeland Security. Filmmaker and radio host Alex Jones claims that the bill will require internet users to have government mandated ID “Tokens” without which no-one will be allowed to visit websites.

      Although many people may believe such government control over the internet would be necessary for the purpose of internet security, much evidence sugests that the real agenda behind such legislation is to enable the government to control the content of the internet and control free speech, allowing the government to silence many of its critics.”

      Comment by RT — January 1, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

      • Thanks, RT. I think sometimes about ads, tip jars and such.

        I don’t know if putting your e-mail in the web site field would work. You can try it, or else just write it in the comment field.

        Comment by Russ — January 2, 2011 @ 5:50 am

  3. “All we can do is live as if we believed there was a fighting chance.”

    Another way to put it is “all we can do is live as we believe.” Being true to yourself is the necessary starting point of any meaningful change.

    And our narcissistic culture needs to see people being true to themselves again, to see examples of people not just giving in and going along with the normalization of evil that continues unabated.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — January 1, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    • I googled “Tao Jonesing” and spent a few hours reading some of your many comments and conversations with other bloggers. Well worthwhile. I plan to follow your blog and comments/conversations on a regular basis. Thanks and happy new year to you.

      Comment by Will — January 2, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  4. Russ,

    You’re already making a difference, and many of us are grateful for this blog as well as your comments at Naked Capitalism.

    In situations of oppression and tyranny such as we face today in the United States, I believe that the only outcome left for man is to become revolutionary, and to think of resistance to corporate tyranny as an end in itself, whether it leads to victory or defeat.

    I don’t know if we can ultimately win or not, no one does, but as Chris Hedges put it so well: “We must jam as many wrenches into the corporate system as we can. We must not make it easy for them….And if we fight, even with this tragic vision, we will lead lives worth living and keep alive another way of being.”

    Comment by Frank — January 1, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  5. Thanks, everyone. 🙂 I’m resting for a day or two, but I’ll be back on the case later this week.

    Comment by Russ — January 2, 2011 @ 5:48 am

  6. When Teddy Roosevelt showed up the Gilded Age [I] was at full throttle. The economic policies were EXACTLY the same as they are now with EXACTLY the same results. The situation seemed hopeless, but Teddy [flaws noted] passed ant-trust legislation which broke up the rent extracting monopolies. Teddy reformed the food industry, a Herculean task by itself. Teddy created the park system which institutionalized the concept of “the greatest good”.

    All of which created a name, a brand, Roosevelt. That brand was used by his nephew FDR, to create the basis for the best years US workers ever saw.

    Before Teddy, the situation was the same as now. Hopeless, hell no, go back to what was working and improve from there. It only looks hopeless if you have Utopian visions of grandeur…which many commentators have, while trashing those who have a realizable plan.

    Comment by S Brennan — January 2, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    • Thanks S Brennan. I suppose the Roosevelts were among the better of the trickle-down usurpers, and were sincere “reformers” in various ways.

      One advantage we ought to have today is to understand that trickle-down doesn’t work, that reform doesn’t work but only succeeds in dodging responsibility and at best dragging out the criminal process, and that no hero is going to descend from on high to save us.

      We now understand once and for all that we either take full responsibility for ourselves, and that means full, direct economic and political democracy, or else we submit to terminal slavery, since we really were incapable of assuming adult responsibilities, and the elitists throughout history were right all along.

      Comment by Russ — January 3, 2011 @ 5:36 am

      • For another, deeply enlightening, view of TR, read this review of The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley.

        From the review:

        Teddy Roosevelt encouraged [the Japanese] to become the dominant race of Asia, to implement their own Monroe Doctrine for the Pacific.

        Bradley reveals what we today would consider incredibly racist illustrations and then-mainstream editorial cartoons about the “Pacific Negroes,” such as Filipinos and Hawaiians who dared to defy American hegemony.

        It’s worth browsing Bradley’s comments too: “The New York Times said there are no “secrets” in my book, which is true, just facts that Teddy biographers have chosen to ignore. The question: Why have so many ignored these truths up to now? I’d like to know!”

        “My biggest surprise is that the president of the US was making and explaining foreign policy with racial theory and I had never been taught that fact in school. It’s just whitewashed out of our history”

        “TR singled out the Japanese military as a force for Americanizing Asia.”

        “….the problem that FDR faced in WWII in the Pacific–Japanese expansionism–was cheerleaded by Theodore Roosevelt in the summer of 1905…”

        “…the techniques used in the Philippines [widespread use of waterboarding, torture, rape, outright massacres] were the same the US army had used to “win” the American west. That’s the way it was.”


        Another view of TR & FDR:

        Popular myth has it that the trusts were broken up in the first decade of the twentieth century thanks to the crusade of Theodore Roosevelt on behalf of the middle class. Roosevelt certainly used his public stance against “big business” to successfully bid for campaign money from the very businessmen whom he was attacking. This perhaps explains why he subsequently signed legislation repealing criminal penalties for those same businessmen. This is a common trait of “liberal” or “progressive” presidents. The second Roosevelt, Franklin, is remembered as the champion of the downtrodden, who put an end to the Great Depression. It was he who established the nation’s social security system which in reality was (and is) funded by a highly regressive tax on its beneficiaries. Matching contributions from business were allowed to be deducted as a business expense before tax which simply extended the regressive nature of the program by financing business’ share out of foregone tax revenue. Roosevelt, a superb politician, won a landslide victory on a platform of reform which he adroitly sidestepped fulfilling. Instead, he declared a national economic emergency, short-circuiting any constitutional challenge to his power in the court. He promptly defaulted on the gold clause in the government’s bond contracts, and established the Exchange Stabilisation Fund (ESF) in 1934. Ostensibly meant to promote dollar stability in the foreign exchanges, the Fund in practice was and is something quite different. It is exempt from reporting to Congress and is answerable only to the President and Secretary of the Treasury. It is, in short, an undisclosed fund that can tap federal credit.

        Comment by AR — January 3, 2011 @ 10:39 am

      • That’s true, although I wouldn’t want to get sidetracked from the fact that even if by accident someone’s record were unblemished (but I doubt that’s true of any of them), still trickle-down pseudo-democracy has proven to be a failure, and we musn’t dream of the Warrens or Graysons (or Ron Pauls) to become our trickle-down saviors.

        The New York Times said there are no “secrets” in my book, which is true, just facts that Teddy biographers have chosen to ignore.

        That’s funny. It’s true, there are no “secrets” to the NYT, only things it tries to turn into secrets.

        That’s another aspect of trickle-down we must reject completely. All system information is public property, and only the directly democratic people are qualified to assess it.

        Comment by Russ — January 3, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  7. We will never surrender. The 1 percent solution may have delusions of grandeur but they can’t even wipe their own asses let alone grow their own food.

    Comment by tawal — January 2, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

    • You’re right about that. I wonder how many of these Galtian supermen can even dress themselves.

      Comment by Russ — January 3, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  8. I just viewed Charlie Rose’s amazing 1994 interview of the prophetic Sir James Goldsmith, who was campaigning against passage of GATT. He wrote The Trap which lays out how globalization would result in destruction of our society, as the poor in the developed nations would wind up subsidizing the rich in the poor countries.

    He pointed out that the Brazilian favelas did not exist prior to the green revolution, and he left a chunk of his estate to fighting GMOs.

    His Wikipedia entry fails to mention his book, but points out that he made billions by spotting trends before anyone else.

    I highly recommend watching the interview at http://solari.com/blog/?p=3309. Some good comments too. (Notice Rose’s facial contortions.)

    Here’s a review of The Trap: http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0504/article_480.shtml

    Comment by AR — January 2, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

    • Thanks AR.

      Comment by Russ — January 3, 2011 @ 5:42 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: