The People, United…

…can never be defeated.

I finally managed to join 2004 and start using a RSS-based blog reader (Bloglines, in my case), which has meant that instead of randomly popping out to read blogs when I’m on boring phone calls (or procrastinating to avoid making boring phone calls), I now tend to just, robot-like, click down an alphabetical list of 62 blogs and newsfeeds (I’ll append the list).

And it’s kind of depressing.

Most of the blogs I read are fully engaged in electoral politics, which is on one hand good because it’s an important election and it’s neat to see citizen’s media play an important role in it, and on the other hand bad because the level of partisan venom is just stupefying.

Here’s a quick shoutout to my fellow bloggers.
It’s going to be a damn important election, there’s no question. But guess what. As much as there are at least two dozen people I’d rather have as president than either George Bush or John Kerry, one of those two will be our president on January 20, 2005. He’ll have to lead the country through what will be one of the most challenging periods in our history as we try and fight a low-intensity war and keep it from becoming a high-intensity one.

The biggest threat they will face isn’t Islamist terrorism, European intransigence, Chinese economic power, or Iranian nukes. It will be a polity paralyzed by internal rage, distrust, and contempt. If we – as a nation and as citizens – can manage to engage each other in constructive ways, I am certain that we will beat whatever events throw at us.

Go read Josh Marshall or Wizbang. Or look at how Kevin Drum’s rhetoric has changed over the year. These aren’t semi-humorous blogs like Scrappleface or IMAO. They are serious commentators on the events of the day, people who I take seriously, and their rhetoric displays exactly what it is that I’m afraid of. I used to comment (as snark) that Matt Yglesias’ overheated partisan rhetoric meant he was trying out for the DNC. That’s less funny in light of Atrios’ and Oliver Willis’ employment, but I wonder why it is that the amateurs are working so hard to outdo the professionals at thuggery.

It would be nice if we could all – acknowledging that we have sides – work to make the professionals a little bit ashamed instead.

It’s interesting how Dean Esmay’s challenge has fallen off the radar.

For what it’s worth, here are the blogs in my reader:

American Digest
Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Dish
Asymmetrical Information
Belmont Club
BLACKFIVE
Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog
BuzzMachine
Calblog
California Insider
Crooked Timber
Daniel W. Drezner
Defamer
DRUDGE REPORT 2004
Dynamist Blog
EconoPundit
Eschaton
Guardian Unlimited
Hakmao
Harry’s Place
Healing Iraq
Hit & Run
Howard Lovy’s NanoBot
Instapundit.com
INTEL DUMP
IRAQ THE MODEL
L.A. Observed
LAist
Lessig Blog
Little Green Footballs
Los Angeles Times
Mark A. R. Kleiman
matthew
MY WAR
MyDD
One Hand Clapping
Outside The Beltway
OxBlog
Patterico’s Pontifications
Political Animal
Power Line
Priorities & Frivolities
Roger L. Simon
Slate Magazine
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall
TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
TAPPED
The Idea Shop
The Indepundit
The New Republic Weblogs
The New York Times > Home Page
The New York Times > Opinion
The Southern California Law Blog
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Washington Monthly
Tim Blair
War and Piece
washingtonpost.com
Wired News
Wizbang
Wonkette

27 thoughts on “The People, United…”

  1. Because I use a number of different computers during the day, I wanted a solution that was more portable than a blog reading program. So, I put up a web page of syndicated blog headlines in a special format. The most recent content “floats” to the top of the page. You can see it at http://www.punditdrome.com . (This isn’t really a plug, since I’m not making any money at it, and will probably never do so.)

  2. Go read Josh Marshall or Wizbang. Or look at how Kevin Drum’s rhetoric has changed over the year. These aren’t semi-humorous blogs like Scrappleface or IMAO. They are serious commentators on the events of the day, people who I take seriously, and their rhetoric displays exactly what it is that I’m afraid of. I used to comment (as snark) that Matt Yglesias’ overheated partisan rhetoric meant he was trying out for the DNC. That’s less funny in light of Atrios’ and Oliver Willis’ employment, but I wonder why it is that the amateurs are working so hard to outdo the professionals at thuggery.

    So why not simply boycott the aforementioned uber-partisan bloggers by refusing to read or link to them on your site?

    Winds of Change is a very well established site and it’s not as if any of you rely on them for major blog traffic nor do you accomplish much (beside validating their behavior) by responding to them or continuing to read them. It is doubtful that any of them will moderate their tones so long as (a) they can drive up their traffic by appealing to the base with overheated rhetoric and (b) more moderate readers refuse to boycott them.

  3. You could be wrong – What if Kerry is forced to withdraw from the election? There’s just enough time to do that… Or maybe he’s going to avoid the press for the next 3 months.

    I see the venom as coming from panicked, resentful Leftist partisans. I can’t bear to read them anymore because they’re not even *attempting* fact-finding. There’s venom on the right for sure, but I don’t read that sort of thing. I don’t listen to Rush because he crosses the line. The majority of conservative blogs are coldly analytical, and not afraid to face the facts square-on. The facts are not on Kerry’s side, and his response is equally telling. Is that venom? I don’t think so and don’t like the various sides lumped together.

  4. AL,

    What you observe in this post is one of the principal reasons I have slashed my blog reading to around 5 blogs from 20 or so, and slashed my commenting to every other week, and pretty much only here, rather than several times a day, all over the place.

    Also, I’ve decided I’m more useful as a doer than a talker, and I’m focusing on getting the skills necessary to do, rather than wasting my time talking.

  5. Alpha male fights are always ugly. At least we keep the killing to a minimum.

    BTW A.L. what were you expecting from a bunch of monkeys?

  6. Sorry for the rant but read this. It may give you something to think about.

    I’ve been mulling over the same thoughts for some time now. I tired of the political pundits trading barbs back and forth. I’m tired of the media sucking up every little tidbit and reporting it as a major news items. I’m tired of Scott Peterson. I’m tired of Kobe Bryant. I don’t need an hour-by-hour accounts. This is not news but social soap operas which pander to the sick side of human nature to draw readers and viewers.

    I’m tired off seeing each bomb crater up close and personal in Iraq. The reporting is sensationalized for ratings and circulation and has no perspective and proportion. If it wasn’t for the brave Iraqi citizens, the true foreign correspondents, like Zeyad, healing Iraq, I would think our efforts in Iraq were a total failure.

    But I do read these sites and know differently. I’m tired of the media “rooting” for the enemy when this Country is at war. They can root for the home team. As the global thinker and historian Victor Hansen has said many times, war is not a perfect science and mistakes will be made. The key is to learn from the mistakes and keep the pressure on the enemy and keep probing for the enemy’s missteps. Our battle commanders don’t need to be micro-managed. If we had the blow-by -blow accounts on D-Day, we would have never gotten off the beach and it would have been a total failure.

    If the campaigns want to debate something of substance in THIS CENTURY tell me what they are going to do about the Islamofascist theocracy in Iran that thinks it’s OK to hang 16-year-old girls!

    And further tell me what they are going to do with these murderers of innocents that either have or will achieve nuclear capability in the near future. The strategic consequences of this are unimaginable. These are the issues of the day our media needs to inform and educate us on and not re-fighting a war that was over thirty years ago.

    If you want to do something that matters, here’s a post I just put up on Roger Simon’s blog on the murder of this sixteen year old girl.

    If we continue the way we are going, it will be our own daughters who may be hanged!

    The media as we now know it is becoming irrelevant. Blessed be for the Internet and the Blogosphere for the free flow of information that transcends political boundaries and is not constrained by the editorial and corporate boardrooms of the conglomerates.

    *****

    Roger Simon’s Blog (http://www.rogerlsimon.com)

    http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/08/the_public_hang.php

    Moderator’s Commentary (See below): Roger Simon has an update on the recent public hanging of the 16 year old girl in Iran. Mr. Simon previously questioned, “What century is this?” See his posts for HTML links to further information.

    *****

    August 25, 2004: The Public Hanging of a Sixteen Year Old Girl in Iran

    More news is emerging of the sad public hanging of the 16-year old girl in Iran. To recap:

    On Sunday August 15, 2004, a 16 year old girl by the name of Atefe Rajabi, daughter of Ghassem Rajabi, was executed in the town of Neka, located in the province of Mazandaran, for “engaging in acts incompatible with chastity”. The execution was carried out by the order of Neka’s “judicial administrator” and was approved by both the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic and the chief of the nation’s “judiciary branch.”

    Although according to her birth certificate she was only 16 years old, the local court falsely claimed that she was 22.

    Three months ago, during her appearance before the local court, fiercely angry the young girl hurled insults at the local judge, Haji Reza, who is also the chief judicial administrator of the city, and it is said as another expression of protest took off some of her clothes in the courtroom. This act by the young girl made the administrator so furious that he evaluated her file personally and in less than three months received a go-ahead from the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Court for her execution. The animosity and anger of Haji Reza was so strong that he personally put the rope around the girl’s delicate neck and personally gave the signal to the crane operator, by raising his hand, to begin pulling the rope.

    There’s more at the link above, if you can stomach it. Meanwhile, an Iranian doctor named Ramin Etabar posted this plea to all of us:

    ____

    The murderous mullahs of Iran have executed another minor. The interviews of locals in the city of Neka conducted by Radio Farda revealed that this child was either mentally retarded or was suffering from a psychiatric illness.

    As a physician and human right’s activist I can not express my outrage enough.

    The terrorist regime in Iran has been killing children for the past twenty five years. The virgin girls are raped by these Islamic hooligans the night before their execution in order to “prevent them from going to heaven”.

    We the Iranian people hold the E.U. and corporate sponsors of the terror regime responsible for continuation of tyrannies in Iran.
    Please do your humanitarian share of responsibility and forward this content to the press, multinational corporations and government officials of your country of residence.

    May god bless the souls of the genocide victims of the I.R.I.

    It would be interesting if our media confronted the presidential candidates with questions about Iran. As most of us realize, the Islamic Republic which practices this barbarism is on the edge of nuclear weapons, if not already over it. What issue could be more important?

    By the way, those who are unaware of the public hangings sponsored by the Iranian mullahs, if you have the stomach for it, images can be found here.

    *****

    Comment I posted at this site:

    Mr. Simon,

    Here’s an except of a post I recently sent re this “enlightened” religion and culture that condones this barbaric treatment of women.

    I too question where are the women of the world who can force world governments to focus their attention on this Islamofascist theocracy stuck in the 12th century.

    I suggest we “spam” all the talkshows that focus on womens’ issues to get this message out. Obviously the media as we know it is ignoring these issues. Fortunately the Net and the Blogosphere are making the media irrelevant.

    Ron Wright, Moderator
    HSPIG forums site
    wwww.hspig.org

    *****

    Also see a piece from Free Iran now running on Roger Simon’s blog on the mullahs hanging a 16 year old female for essentially having sex with her boyfriend. Roger asks rightly so, “What century are we in?” The boy only got lashes. Go figure. No discrimination here!

    Also see a piece from Free Iran now running on Roger Simon’s blog on the mullahs hanging a 16 year old female for essentially having sex with her boyfriend. Roger asks rightly so, “What century are we in?” The boy only got lashes. Go figure. No discrimination here!

    http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/08/another_public.php

    Where’s the women libers when you need them? They have been awful quiet lately on something (Islamofascism) that should be shocking to the conscious of everyone. The Iranian ruling Islamofascist theocracy has got to go and other Islamic fascist regimes that support these 12th Century practices too.

    FREE IRAN! Bloggers of the world time to unite and bring the world’s attenton to this little corner of the world. These fascist regimes will implode under the light of the free world.

    I think it’s time to take this mainstream and bypass the media who are not reporting these atrocities. Let’s take it to Oprah.

    The women of the world have a very important role in winning this War On Terror aka War On Islamofascism.

    Let’ spam her in boxes and demand action!

    I think Oprah Winfrey should make this a special project:

    Email the show at:

    https://www.oprah.com/plugger/templates/BeOnTheShow.jhtml?action=respond&plugId=B2100004

    or need a Harpo Hookup:

    https://www.oprah.com/plugger/templates/BeOnTheShow.jhtml?action=respond&plugId=D55300002

    or her magazine:

    http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/omag_contrib.jhtml

    Here’s several boring pieces on our site on the dangers the world is now facing from Islamofascism. These could be the source of some real questions to challenge the candidates in this year’s presidential election instead of the usual grabage the media is reporting back and forth!

    THE WAR ON TERRORISM – A War of Ideas

    http://hspig.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1000

    GEO-POLITICAL STRATEGIC ANALYSIS ON WAR ON TERROR

    http://hspig.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1063

    FREEDOM – Thx to The Greatest Generation for Preserving It

    http://hspig.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1139

    Americans don?t often get the right picture out of Iraq.

    http://hspig.org/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1237

    This would be good for the world too. Various sources estimate that Iran will achieve nuclear capability next year either in the spring or later depending on who you believe. the strategic consequences of this are unimaginable. They just don’t have a delivery vehicle just yet but I’m sure they are working with the North Koreans to get one.

    Ron Wright, Moderator
    HSPIG Forums Site
    http://www.hspig.org

  7. As I was reading this the tune form War’s song “Why can’t we be friends?” started playing in my head.

    WHY can’t we be friends? Because everytime we reached out to set aside our differences in the best interests of the country (remember 9/12) we didn’t just get the hand slapped away. We got our nuts crushed by the boot of partisan hatred and loathing.

    Kerry’s going to win and they are going to go after him like they went after Clinton. Except this time we are fighting back.

    Period.

    P.S. As a child learning my history, I could never understand the deep hatred between the North and South. I understand it now.

  8. Still, you have to admit that Marshall, Yglesias and Drum are pretty moderate in tone, at least in comparison with the way some of the digital falangist sites have become obsessed with Kerry’s tour of duty in Southeast Asia.

  9. “I see the venom as coming from panicked, resentful Leftist partisans. I can’t bear to read them anymore because they’re not even attempting fact-finding. There’s venom on the right for sure, but I don’t read that sort of thing.”

    “Because everytime we reached out to set aside our differences in the best interests of the country (remember 9/12) we didn’t just get the hand slapped away. We got our nuts crushed by the boot of partisan hatred and loathing.”

    “Still, you have to admit that Marshall, Yglesias and Drum are pretty moderate in tone, at least in comparison with the way some of the digital falangist sites have become obsessed with Kerry’s tour of duty in Southeast Asia.”

    …it’s not my team’s faaaauuuulllltt!!

    Actually, yes it is. I’ll have some time tomorrow, and I’ll cull for some good quotes.

    From both sides.

    A.L.

  10. Dan,

    Wait until “tribal warfare” season is over. There really is more under our hairlines than just partisan politics. Right now, there are just so many blog hours in the day.

    Not a single “N” in your whole list!

    JG

  11. Armed Liberal,

    You said it ! I’m tired of all those blogs either plugging for Bush or Kerry. Whatever happened to independent thought?

    The blogosphere will be the poorer if electoral emotions cloud unbiased analysis.

  12. Give everyone who wants one a printing press.

    Wait till election time.

    Be surprised that rhetoric among the political-junkie crowd gets overheated?

    It’s still fun to read insightful commentary, here and elsewhere. Thanks for sharing your bloglist, A.L.

    If you want coverage of 527s and Swift Boats that’s pretty even-handed and comes with a civil comments section at no extra charge, try “Beldar’s Blog”:http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/

  13. It’s interesting that the more over-the-top venom spewing blogs are some of the most popular. There are plenty of civilized political blogs out there. I have noticed though, that many people on the Left tend to be hypersensitive. Merely disagreeing with them, no matter how reasonable and civil the manner in which you express your disagreement, is considered to be hatemongering.

    My blogroll is rather long and, although there are quite a few political blogs on it, in the last year I have been reading culture and specialty blogs more and more and political blogs less and less, not at all deliberately. With the election coming up though, I have been trying to get back to reading a few good political blogs just to keep up with what’s going on.

  14. It’s not all so bad:

    http://happycarpenter.blogs.com/the_happy_carpenter/2004/08/conversation_wi.html

    and

    http://happycarpenter.blogs.com/the_happy_carpenter/2004/08/an_email_from_t.html

    This VN Vet & I are having a nice conversation. We have big differences of opinion, sources, and priorities but it’s clear we’re together as Americans.

    One thing I’d like to see from all political bloggers and all citizens is a pledge to get behind whichever man is President come January 20, even if his margin of victory is less than the electoral margin of error.

  15. I agree with the sentiment. Bloggers are more and more partisan. I think though that it is a result of the fact that the Executive Branch is far too powerful. The Congress has not executed its oversight powers in a manner that is reflective of prudent scrutiny.

    I did support the Congress in investigating the Executive branch during the Clinton Administration, but they’ve pretty much only differed from the current White House on language of a bill rather than the language of oversight.

    Furthermore, politicos understand that congressional districts are hardly competitive in most of the country. One party has a firm grasp over various districts and that is unlikely to change for some time. The Texas redistricing conflict showed us how bad these kind of conflicts can get. MoveOn.org spent $25,000 to support the Texas Democrats by assisting in paying the costs to keep them in New Mexico. It wasn’t a large amount, it didn’t stop the struggle, but it was symbolic of what partisans will do to keep seats in the party’s control.

    As a result, MoveOn.org was able to raise more money. Other groups have raised significant amounts since the Texas story. The destination of this fundraising is to take the White House. Democratic Party loyalists have to win the White House. They can’t afford to lose the White House again.

  16. I guess I don’t see the problem – I mean, I see the arguing and the strong language and the strong emotions, but I don’t see any of that as a problem, for several reasons.

    First, the expression of strong emotions by some people tells us little about the state of society overall, in the same way that the existence of people who get the highest marks on the SAT and GRE tests tells us little about the people who live on your street or were at the baseball game last night. These angry voices stand out and may dominate our thoughts about the election because of something psychologists call “availability” – Daniel Kahneman won the Economics Nobel two years ago for his work on this and related topics. Basically, you remember things that are dramatic or graphic, so many people are afraid to fly because plane crashes get so much publicity and are easy to bring to mind, easier than they should be based on their frequency. Similarly, angry voices get lots of publicity and are easy to bring to mind when you think about the election campaigns. But there are many planes that land safely, and many non-angry, reasonable voices.

    Secondly, I don’t mind strong emotions – they’re part of life. People feel strongly and let us know that. That’s good. In totalitarian regimes, you may feel strongly but you better not express those feelings. What do you think the “public debate” might be like during an election in China – if they had elections in China?

    Are people engaged here? Does it matter to them whether the US survives? Does it matter to people on the right whether there is another 9/11 as bad or worse than the first one? Of course, and it should.

    Does it matter to people on the left whether a spirit of tolerance of those different from us that has been built up over decades is a victim of our fear? Of course, and it should.

    Does it matter to all of us whether cherished rights that have survived for more than two hundred years are lost either through enemy action or through our own flawed response to that action? Of course, and it should. The stakes are huge here, and lots of free agents with competing views reflect that fact in their vehemence. Sometimes they go over the line, but sometimes you can only tell where the line is after you go over it.

    This whole democracy thing is a work in progress. We find out what we think by speaking. We find out what builds freedom by doing. We have to make mistakes, make corrections, try one direction and then another. There is no guidebook. It would be extraordinary if people didn’t feel and express intense emotion.

    And it’s all information for the ordinary person. The ordinary reader or watcher of news has a world of options – more or less angry commentators, more or less thoughtful commentators, to choose from. Bismarck said that laws are like sausages – if you like them, you shouldn’t watch them being made. He said that over a hundred years ago. Plus ca change…

    I think we’re doing fine. We live in a free, rich, strong society. Though we don’t agree on all issues we come back to them over and over again because they matter to us – the morality of what we do matters to us all, left and right. We disagree on what to do, but we all want to get it right. That’s what all the strong voices say to me.

  17. Well, I’m crushed that I’m not on your list… but then neither is WoC or Regnum Crucis or Command Post or…

    You’ve discussed, a number of times, the rightness of a “war against bad philosophy,” and I submit that what you’re currently seeing through the selective group on your bloglines account is a manifestation of precisely that. And since the wishful-thinking assumptions that became manifest in the anti-Vietnam era were rewarded with legitimacy before the truce was declared and the wound cauterized, what we’re going through right now as a massive re-orientation that will ultimately clean out the wound. You don’t think this’ll be nasty? What sort of wishful thinking informs that attitude?

    I liked this comment from one of Roger L.’s bloggers. It seems fair dinkum:

    5. Kerry will lose.

    Why? This is a Vietnam war that America will win.

    When history judges the events of 2004, Vietnam veterans, Vietnam era veterans, all veterans will owe a tear-filled salute and heart-felt thanks to the Swiftboat vets. For a wrong will have been set right. A lie whose most visible perpetrators are John Kerry and Jane Fonda will have been rejected. The venomous, dishonorable, craven and hate-induced vitriolic bile of the America-is-evil crowd will have been discarded. The war was right. The war was good. And had Congress stuck by South Vietnam after Nixon got us out, millions of lives would have been saved. Had LBJ and Nixon let the Generals fight the war, thousands of Vietnam vets would still be with us.

    America is not perfect. But as Ben Stein wisely said on the Dennis Miller show the other night – America will not win the war on terror unless we perceive ourselves as good.

    We are good. We were then.

    You see, it’s not aoout the election. Not really. Get over it.

  18. Hi.

    On commenters here who can’t keep their hype below six lines or so, I take that as a sign of their inability to be succinct on their blogs, and thus an advertisement to never look at them. So I thank them for their warning. Most kind, given the excess of blither out there.

  19. Los Angeles Times
    Guardian Unlimited
    Los Angeles Times
    Slate Magazine
    The New York Times > Home Page
    The New York Times > Opinion
    washingtonpost.com
    Wired News

    Don’t seem to be blogs by any stretch of the imagination.

    I’d opine that neither is Drudge a blog, but I’m sure someone would debate that. I’d also opine that he’s not worth reading, but clearly many debate that.

  20. On commenters here who can’t keep their hype below six lines or so, I take that as a sign of their inability to be succinct on their blogs, and thus an advertisement to never look at them. So I thank them for their warning. Most kind, given the excess of blither out there.

    Hmmm. That seems like a pretty pointed (and nasty) comment. And odd, given that last time I posted several comments on a post here, you had several comments that far exceeded six lines. So did I, for that matter.

  21. On commenters here who can’t keep their hype below six lines or so, I take that as a sign of their inability to be succinct on their blogs, and thus an advertisement to never look at them. So I thank them for their warning. Most kind, given the excess of blither out there.

    Oh give us a break. There isn’t a single WoC blogger who stays under 6 lines in the comments section… like ever. Who the heck are you kidding? (28 words) (no, 30) (no, 32) (etc.)

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