Monday, August 25, 2008

Musings: Democracy 2008

It’s with a bit of twinge — of longing, not envy — that I’ve been following Ian Lind’s account of his journey to Denver to blog the Democratic convention. He had kindly procured blogging credentials for me as part of his staff, and I was keen to go. I attended college in Denver, and have family living nearby.

But while it would have been fun to cover the spectacle, and work with a consummate journalist like Ian, my former colleague at the Star-Bulletin, ill health waylaid my plans to join him.

In true blogger style, however, Ian promises to capture the flavor of the event and cover the interesting side stuff that the MSM passes over.

You can follow his accounts on his blog, where you’ll find both detailed posts and twitter updates, as well as photos.

I’m interested in the protests, not that I think they’ll have any impact on the delegates. But I find it fascinating that America’s so-called liberal party continues to tolerate the repressive treatment of those who wish to exercise free speech.

In following the example set by numerous other cities, Denver has limited demonstrations to a “designated protest area” — a 47,000-square-foot fenced area that has been dubbed the “freedom cage” — and engaged plenty of fire power to exert control.

To quote Ian: ”Authorities clearly decided to rely on overwhelming force here in Denver during the convention.”

If you have a couple of minutes to spare, listen to this commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal, who compares the situation today to the tumultuous Democratic convention of 1968.

As he so astutely observes: “Now, as in LA 2000, you can get your ass whipped — in a cage. That is what democracy looks like in 2008.”

33 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Andy Parx said...

Here’s some pics of the demonstrations from a friend in Denver

http://www.tabblo.com/studio/stories/view/1585516/

And here’s Green Part Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s speech to Recreate68

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxgcjOjUEc
Link

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Joan said...

It's quite remarkable the tantrums one person will throw when he is told his racist, stupid, negative comments aren't wanted. So now we have comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

We need comment moderation. Otherwise, it's a total bummer to read comments. Thanks for that.

Joan said...

You're welcome. I've tried to be as open as possible, but so many of the comments are just worthless. So we'll try this and see how it goes.

Katy Rose said...

I think people will find that Joan is still open to strongly dissenting opinions, but that she upholds a standard of decorum for comments.

I think that's reasonable.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I liked the free-wheeling "coffee house debate" atmosphere where everything goes except vulgarity and personal attacks. The cyber graffiti comment approach with very limited censoring.

Joan said...

Free-wheeling debates are fine, so long as the contributions are intelligent and relevant. Unfortunately, too often they are the opposite. As for the guilty parties now whining about repression and censorship, tough. I put a lot of time and thought into my blog, and I'm tired of the parasites use it as a forum for their inanities.

Anonymous said...

I like a natural garden, pretties, pricklies and all. But not when the strangle-vines creep in -- they can choke the life from a place.

Which is to say, nice pruning, Joan.

Ed Coll said...

Joan said...

Free-wheeling debates are fine, so long as the contributions are intelligent and relevant. Unfortunately, too often they are the opposite. As for the guilty parties now whining about repression and censorship, tough. I put a lot of time and thought into my blog, and I'm tired of the parasites use it as a forum for their inanities.

Joan is correct. It is her blog not a public forum. She has an absolute right to censor whatever she wants, including not permitting anon comments at all, or even not allowing comments period. Those that object can simple create their own blog. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

"Joan is correct. It is her blog not a public forum. She has an absolute right to censor whatever she wants, including not permitting anon comments at all, or even not allowing comments period."

Aaah yes, when it comes to one's own property rights things change don't they? But you are right "freedom of speech" is always tempered by the individual's
rights to his or her property. If only some of you would dare to embrace consistent principles instead of the pervasive situational relativism.

RS Weir

Andy Parx said...

Thank you Joan. It’s time for this.

I may do the same if and when these trolls realize they can’t abuse you and Katy anymore and so try to return to my columns despite my current apparent partial successful use of the “whip and the chair”.

I may try just not allowing anonymous comments at first because that’s what I object to more than anything when they are of an abusive, non-contributory and often false nature.

Don’t act like a six year old and light a bag of pooh on our doorsteps and run away. If there’s something you wouldn’t say or do if your name is attached don’t expect us to provide you that platform for you juvenile behavior

And don’t give us this disingenuous “free speech” and ”censorship” nonsense. The answer to a “pamphleteer” you don’t like is not to burn, steal or deface his or her pamphlet but to print your own. It takes about 30 seconds to start your own blog.

“Free speech” is not the right to abuse others. Commenters who want to engage in discussion of the topics presented on-line deserve a safe place to do so. Way too many people write me personally to discuss matters I write about because they are reluctant to expose themselves to immature attacks by nameless and faceless offensive commenters in response to their comments and questions.

Posting a comment on a blog is a privilege, not a right. Don’t abuse that privilege and no one will object to your comment.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats are as willing to accept big $$$ from multi-national corporations with no sense of patriotism but they have huge, fundamental differences with the Republicans. Hold your noses when you vote but consider the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

If you agree with Randy Weir's views on property rights (property owners should not be restricted by government and zoning laws are bad), then vote for McCain.

Anonymous said...

"....then vote for McCain."

Actually, McCain is as much a disaster for property rights as any of the others. Mark Twain aptly put it: "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

And lest you forget what the anti-property rights type represent: "...In this sense, the theory of communists may be summed up in one sentence: Abolition of private property." -- The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Property rights may not be at the point of complete abolition yet but the wind is certainly blowing in that direction. I'll take my chances with the freedom route rather than face the thugery of the state rulers...no matter what side of the isle they occupy.

RS Weir

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between the regulation of the use of property and the abolition of property rights. Hyperbole, whether from the right or the left, serves no useful purpose. If you are so concerned about freedom, why the narrow focus on property when so many of our basic rights have been and are being curtailed?

Anonymous said...

Blogs are public forums. That's the whole point. You are laying your thoughts out for everyone to read and comment on without restriction because it's public. Just like shouting from your soapbox on the corner and getting the ocassional applause and the ocassional rotten tomato.

If you want private, use a password blog engine where people ask for and you grant passwords to read/write. Then it would not be public.

Joan said...

Yes, blogs are public in terms of anyone being able to read them. But nothing says the author has to allow unrestricted comments. That's why Blogger has a comment moderation function, to screen out the crap.

Anonymous said...

I suppose, but I did like the free-wheeling nature before. It made me laugh and think.

Now, I hope it doesn't become a dull "Meet the Press" kind of back and forth.

I like the "stick a mic in front of the random person who's been drinking in a bar" kind of thing. You never know what you're going to get. Some may be great, some just for laughs.

Even the "worst" of what I've read here never distressed me. I guess I just don't take too much seriously.

Anonymous said...

I follow numerous blogs just for fun and diversion. I, too, have noticed that those with moderation have far fewer comments which, in whole, appear to convey a feel like a mix of a church ice cream socal and Meet the Press. In other words, boring.

I've seen letters to the editor sections in HI newspapers more entertaining and engaging then that.

Please don't let the comments section become "bland food". Kick it up a notch. Let people add some BLAM! (as Emeril loves to say).

Maybe disallow anon posts so people would have some "responsibility", but let it all hang out except vulgarity and personal flames.

Katy Rose said...

I agree with the last comment that about the desire for a vibrant and exciting discussion.

Comment moderation impedes that simply because the blogger has to take the time to sift through comments. So people don't get the satisfaction of posting instantaneous comments in a back-and forth. It can be hours before one's comment is posted.

This is why I haven't chosen moderation, but I have found myself deleting some comments.

It's a balancing act because I think there are some people who light the fuse and run, not sincerely adding to a debate but just venting a lot of vileness in the form of racist diatribes and personal attacks. I still can't quite understand why they don't choose to make arguments on the merits of the ideas in question, because to me that would be so welcome. One can do that with biting humor - it doesn't have to be dry. (Hey, Andy does it!)

I support Joan's experiment here, though I don't plan to try it myself - at least as things stand. My hope is that we get closer to the goal of fostering intelligent and interesting discusssions about matters important to our community .

Joan said...

Yes, many of us share the desire for "a vibrant and exciting discussion." Unfortunately, they've been few and far between, even with no comment moderation or deletion.

Anonymous said...

Lobbing verbal bombs over the chasm of ideological no-mans-land is vibrant and exciting. Shouting like opposing armies in William Wallace's Scotland is vibrand and exciting. Even the clash of rhetorical steel can be so.

Bread and circuses, like the food critics say. Bread for the heart of the discussion. Circuses for the surrounding entertainment.

It's all good.

Anonymous said...

No.
It's NOT all good!

(unless you are a lawyer of attraction)