Dear readers, exciting things are happening. Here’s a quick review of the past few months.
That Book I’m Always Talking About
For the last two years, I’ve been writing a non-fiction book—it’s what I’m doing when I’m not posting here. When people ask me what the book is about, I usualy say something like, “it’s about killer robots and globalization.” While this is true in some sense, the book is actually about a lot more than just those things, but when you work on something for two years (or longer) the ability to faithfully summarize it kind of falls away.
This book, entitled Why Can’t Money Grow On Trees?, is about the open-source movement, the global economy, and the connection between, for example, Adam Smith, Jean-Pierre Proudhon, Howard Scott, and the Unabomber. It is subtitled “A Practical Guide to Building Your Own Utopia.”
Now, because the book is about open source and contains a lengthy section about how lethal intellectual property rights can be, I decided to make the book into a wiki. This way, you can actually watch me write the thing in real time (at this stage it is a lengthy proposal and not too much more) in a format meant for your computer monitor, unlike the 50+ page PDF file I have been sending people.
If you are confused about all this, just go visit whycant.org and you will probably become slightly more or less clear about what I’m trying to say.
Catch me on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Indie Talk March 13th at 5pm EST
I’ve had this blog for almost five years now, and sometimes I wonder if anyone is even listening anymore. But occasionally, I will get some random confirmation that I have, in some small way, had an impact in the media universe. Sometimes, I’ll get questions from college students asking me to elucidate a point they’re writing a paper on; sometimes publishers offer to send me advance copies of suitably “progressive” books to review. Sadly, I no longer get hate mail, which I used to enjoy immensely.
But I found something even more fun than hate mail—free media ops! Sirius, which just launched their new “Indie Talk” channel, asked me to come down to “The Blog Bunker” this Thursday and chat about politics for half-an-hour, after which I will spend the rest of the week trying to figure out how I can leverage this appearance into one on the O’Reilly Factor.
But D. J., I hear you cry, “I don’t have Sirius Satellite Radio!” Don’t worry. You can sign up for a free 3-day Internet radio trial on their web site. It’ll be just like when the whole family used to gather around their gigantic vacuum-tube powered radio cabinet after dinner to listen to Fibber McGee & Molly or Suspense!, only without the family, or the radio.
Free Xenu! Shirts!
The other way I found out that people actually do read this blog is that someone ordered a “Free Xenu” T-shirt from my lonely and neglected T-shirt shop. So I actually had to make one, and now that I spent all the revenue on the first shirt, I implore you, dear readers, to buy one, too.
For those of you who don’t know the story, Xenu is the deposed alien overlord who is currently being held in intergalactic superjail by the Church of Scientology, according to court documents. As far as I can tell, Xenu is being held without bail or formal charges, with no method of redress or habeas corpus. I don’t even think there was a trial. If any of you give a damn about civil rights, I implore you to wear this shirt so that the CoS knows you will no longer abide by their illegal detainment of what, for all we know, is just a sweet, harmless, 75 million year-old man.
It’s Her Party, She’ll Cry If She Wants To
I’m less of a Barack Obama supporter than an ABC voter—anybody but Hillary. What’s my beef with Hillary, you ask?
Is it that she’s a carpetbagger? I do resent the fact that my state is apparently so welcoming we’ll let anybody in the President’s family who wants to run for the White House represent us. Tempting, but not sufficient.
Is it because she’s a hawk? Her stance on Iran is basically the same as McCain’s, which is that they would really rather prefer to go to war Iran than not. Both of them have been agitating for this for years, although Hillary’s anti-Iran record is long and storied and includes her potential running mate, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. As a matter of fact, Hillary’s foreign policy is remarkably similar to McCain’s in many respects. That’s getting closer to why I can’t stand her, but there’s more.
Perhaps it’s Hillary’s right-wing pandering like her clearly unconstitutional throw-flag-burners-in-Federal prison law, which was fortunately rejected; perhaps its her authoritarian top-down style, presaged by her Wellesely senior thesis dismissing the whole idea of bottom-up community organizing.
Yes, these were all fine reasons to dislike Hillary, and I have made full use of them in the past. But what burns me about Hillary the most right now is her gargantuan sense of entitlement, a thing so huge it was pretty much her platform—before that young upstart upstaged her “get-out-of-my-way” campaign style with—you guessed it—bottom up grassroots organizing.
Barack Obama may be well-spoken (somebody check Lexis-Nexis to see if Hillary’s camp has ever slipped up and said it in those terms), but he clearly hasn’t suffered enough to win the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Medal for overcoming adversity. As Aristotle said in Poetics, tragedy works best when the sufferers fall from privilege and fortune, and Hillary’s story is characterized by the most fortunate of circumstances.
As I’ve said before (maybe not in these exact words), when you challenge white people’s privilege, watch the fuck out. Hillary’s whiteness isn’t her sole privilege, but it’s clearly working to her advantage. For example—let’s look at Ohio, the “firewall” which helped Clinton turn her campaign around:
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International— respected polling firms — surveyed 1,612 Democratic primary voters in 40 precincts across Ohio on Tuesday. Among other things, the pollsters asked if the race of the candidate was important to them. Twenty percent of those surveyed said yes, and three out of five of those voters said they cast ballots for Clinton.
As a pundit once said on CNN a while ago, this is the first time identity politics-based attacks have been trained on the identity groups themselves as opposed to, shall we say, hegemonic power. And it’s threatening to rend the Democratic party.
It is in this light that we must examine the comments of Geraldine Ferraro, Clinton supporter and former VP candidate:
When the subject turned to Obama, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic Party nomination, Ferraro’s comments took on a decidedly bitter edge. “I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama’s campaign – to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against,” she said. “For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It’s been a very sexist media. Some just don’t like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.
“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” she continued. “And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.” Ferraro does not buy the notion of Obama as the great reconciler.
How refreshingly reprehensible! It always strikes me, whenever this meme is floated, that the name “Carol Moseley-Braun” seldom crosses the lips of these Clinton supporters. Moseley-Braun, whose Senate seat was won by Obama when she stepped down, ran for president in 2004, the second black woman to do so after my old Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
While Moseley-Braun did receive a modicum of support from NOW and some other feminist groups, I guess it wasn’t too important, because seldom did you see a Gloria Steinem-penned op-ed calling women gender traitors if they didn’t support a female candidate based purely on chauvinism.
The forgotten campaign of Moseley-Braun, who dropped out just before the Iowa caucuses, is an embarrassment to the Clinton campaign, and that’s why she never talks about it.
When I meet people who hand me that ‘if Barack was a woman line,” I always counter with, “If Barack Obama was a woman, he’d be Carol Moseley-Braun. And do you know who she was married to?” I ask.
“No…” they say.
“Who the fuck cares?” I reply. (Of course, the answer is “Mr. Braun.” They are now divorced, and she founded Ambassador Organics) And that’s really the crux of the issue—the only reason Barack Obama is black is because the laws in this country won’t let him marry Bill Clinton. Hillary’s only doing this well because she is now the most corrupt woman in America. Don’t think for a minute that her experience as intern to a few Senate subcommittees was what propelled her to the Senate seat of a state she in which had never resided. It was because she was so inside the Democratic machine, she was married to the president, and so the DLC told all other Dem Senate contenders to get out of her way.
And yet, if this is anyone’s party, it’s Hillary’s party. She is the most invested in the machine, the backroom deals, the money-fueled corruption, the chickenhawk foreign policy. Not only does the Democratic party owe her the nomination, but the audacity of Obama’s candidacy is inappropriately inopportune. That’s why she’s intent on destroying the party.
Take a look at CNN’s delegate counter. After one of the dirtiest primary challenege the party has seen in decades, she managed to work her way up to ‘spoiler’ in the delegate count, but there is no way she will be able to catch up with her opponent without a significant helping hand from the superdelegates. But now, neither will Obama, unless the party spends even more of their war chest redoing the Michigan and Florida primaries.
Is it because, as she has implied on the campaign trail, she’d rather have McCain in office than Obama? The scorched earth, kitchen sink approach Hillary has adopted constitutes a pyrrhic victory, but what does she care? It’s this supreme arrogance, the way she offers Obama a VP slot shen she’s trailing in delegates, the way she pretends that sleeping in the White House is a qualification for being commander-in-chief, the indignance at being challenged for what she seems to believe is some kind of birthright—that’s why I’m an anybody but Clinton voter. Because a victory for Clinton has become, through her machinations and speechifying, a victory for corruption and against hope.
More on this in a few days.