RI Rep Dan Gordon Tinychats with Anonymous, Others; Promises More Chats, #J17 Participation

Rhode Island Representative Daniel P. Gordon, Jr. (Twitter), also known as Rep. Dan Gordon and DiverDan, has drawn interest in the last week for using slogans adopted by the decentralized hacker collective Anonymous (see Quinn Norton‘s series on Anonymous at Wired to catch up on them: Parts 1 2 and more forthcoming). His tweet that initially brought him to the attention of the hivemind was this one against NDAA (the legislation, signed by Obama in the last week, that permits endless US military detention of anyone anywhere without trial based on secret evidence; more from the ACLU):

AnonyOps, one of the most influential Anonymous Twitter accounts, appreciated the representative’s remarks:

Rep. Gordon was sworn in to the Rhode Island state legislature about a year ago, and it’s his first political position, where, among other things, he’s on a committee to study the possible use of ebooks in schools. He’s had three stints in jail and faced 18 charges, including a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was evicted from the Republican Caucus in 2011 and angered supporters of a Rhode Island high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance by telling them sexuality shouldn’t be promoted in schools.

He’s taken backroom politics public and taunted at least one fellow Congressperson.

Rep. Gordon opened up a tinychat this evening and, over Twitter, invited people in. The chat session was planned a little earlier by Rep. Gordon and Anon1781.

I managed to jump into the chat and log it; below I’ve pasted two versions of the log: first, an excerpted version edited a little for readability, and second, the whole thing unaltered. The chat mostly took the form of a conversation between Guy Fawkes mask-clad Anon1781 and Rep. Dan Gordon, who played DJ, selecting, among other songs, Rage Against the Machine’s “Bombtrack” and Corrosion of Conformity’s “Vote with a Bullet.”

Highlights from the chat:

  • Rep. Gordon said he planned to participate in #Jan17, which is Occupy Wall Street’s date to Occupy Congress; when I pressed him on his plans, he didn’t give details, citing “many enemies” and the need for “OpSec” (operational security).
  • He said “Political campaigns should be publically funded at a set amount”; I asked him what he thought of @USDOR’s 1 vote, 1 campaign donation dollar per citizen idea. He found it “interesting” and said he’d research it.
  • He called Lincoln “the worst President ever.”
  • His ultimate political goal, he said, is to raise awareness for the people.
  • He promised future chats with Anonymous and other netizens, perhaps over Ustream.

The positive part of this, I think, is that it might be the beginning of public officials, particularly local- or state-level ones, engaging or even collaborating with hardcore netizens, Occupiers, and hackers in an open way. That’s a big maybe, but who knows? Life isn’t going to get any less weird.

Here’s a screenshot to give you a feel for the chat’s vibe. Yes, those are Free Topiary graphics. Rep. Gordon didn’t appear on video.

Excerpted log, edited a little for readability (complete log farther down):

[6:53 PM] douglaslucas: Hi Rep Dan, this is @douglaslucas from Twitter.
[6:53 PM] repdan: Hi Doug!
[6:54 PM] douglaslucas: When did you first begin to use Anonymous & net-culture slogans as a public official?
[6:55 PM] repdan: Just this past week, or so. Outstanding network of social media freedom lovers.
[6:55 PM] moose_mario: hey repdan
[6:55 PM] moose_mario: what the hell is wrong with the ri gop
[6:56 PM] moose_mario: and whats with all this movement to close all the voting
[6:56 PM] repdan: Hiya Moose. The RIGOP is apparently a disfunctional group of ‘climbers’ that care not abou
[6:56 PM] repdan: You in RI, Moose?
[6:57 PM] moose_mario: yes
[6:57 PM] repdan: Who is ur Rep. Moose?
[6:58 PM] moose_mario: providence so i guess ciciline
[6:58 PM] repdan: State Rep, Moose. Cicilline is US Congressman, sir.
[7:00 PM] moose_mario: well then i have no idea
[7:01 PM] repdan: NP. Stand by and I’ll show u where to go to find out, k?
[7:05 PM] repdan: Garbage govt web sites…still looking. Hold on…
[7:05 PM] douglaslucas: Which things about net culture & Anonymous make ya identify them as freedom lovers?
[7:07 PM] repdan: Hello anon1781!
[7:09 PM] repdan: Here you go, Moose. https://sos.ri.gov/vic/
[7:09 PM] anon1781: diverdan you there?
[7:09 PM] repdan: Right here, 1781.
[7:12 PM] repdan: 1st time hosting. Tips welcome.
[7:12 PM] anon1781: pretty easy shit, nothing to it really
[7:12 PM] anon1781: alrighty my question before
[7:12 PM] anon1781: money freespeech
[7:12 PM] anon1781: bastardizing what lobbying is supposed to be
[7:12 PM] anon1781: opinion
[7:13 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:15 PM] repdan: Political campaigns should be publically funded at a set amount, in my opinion.
[7:15 PM] anon1781: difine set amount
[7:15 PM] anon1781: define*
[7:16 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What do you think of @USDOR’s 1 vote, 1 campaign donation dollar per citizen idea?
[7:16 PM] anon1781: repdan = diverdan = Rep RI Dan Gordon
[7:16 PM] repdan: @douglaslucas Interesting idea. Will research!
[7:17 PM] anon1781: you mentioned before you distaste for the reactions you got of idgaf when talking about
[7:17 PM] anon1781: ndaa with other reps and such, mind describing more?
[7:17 PM] repdan: what do you guys want to listen to for tunes?
[7:17 PM] repdan: @1781..typing…
[7:18 PM] douglaslucas: Rage Against the Machine works for me!
[7:18 PM] repdan: @1781…Apathy, not even aware at the state level of #NDAA….
[7:19 PM] moose_mario: ohh gordon fox
[7:19 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:19 PM] anon1781: dan, if you can, turn on cam, so they stop thinking i’m you lol
[7:19 PM] repdan: CoC, then Black Flag
[7:19 PM] moose_mario: rep dan gordon fox.
[7:20 PM] repdan: @1781. No cam 2nite, bro! But you are a good rep for ANON!
[7:21 PM] repdan: CoC…”Vote with a Bullet”
[7:21 PM] repdan: The People are so apethetic in this state.
[7:22 PM] anon1781: Have you gotten any beef yet for even talking to us?
[7:22 PM] repdan: One Party rule for 74 years….
[7:22 PM] repdan: @1781. No, but I’m sure that folks are watching. No worries here.
[7:23 PM] anon1781: my state, every fucking senator and congressman voted yes on ndaa -.-
[7:23 PM] anon1781: cept one, which shocked me
[7:23 PM] anon1781: the only demo in either lol, again shocked me
[7:23 PM] repdan: One party rule has rusulted in disaster…RI is bottom of barrel in most aspects.
[7:23 PM] diabloanon: pretty much the same here, even people I never thought would support it, voted for it
[7:24 PM] anon1781: i’m scheming my schemes :P
[7:24 PM] repdan: Roger that, 1781. MMN feeling better?
[7:24 PM] anon1781: he was sick?
[7:24 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan do you know MMN?
[7:25 PM] repdan: @Moose. Roger that. He is also Speaker of the House. Send him email or call him.
[7:25 PM] cruzaders1: 1781 you know what i like about the south
[7:25 PM] cruzaders1: all the gun vaults you see everywhere.lolz
[7:25 PM] anon1781: MMN = MotorMouthNews :P
[7:25 PM] anon1781: who’s the other MMN you were talking about? lol
[7:26 PM] anon1781: guns are crucial here, so many rednecks, love them, they gonna be on front line
[7:26 PM] anon1781: if civil war breaks out lol
[7:26 PM] anon1781: mad respect for the rednecks now
[7:26 PM] repdan: @1781 Flu, I believe. Was in hospital the other day.
[7:26 PM] cruzaders1: i dont think the war ever ended. the north sought strong fed govern and still do
[7:27 PM] cruzaders1: both lincoln and obmama were illinios sentors, comeing from chicgo ” organized gang/crime”
[7:27 PM] anon1781: my governor is one of the top 5 lobbyists in the US -.-
[7:27 PM] repdan: Lincoln was the worst President ever..false that it was about slavery…
[7:27 PM] anon1781: i dunno about worst, but i do believe history is MUCH more interesting, when you don’t
[7:27 PM] anon1781: learn it from a text book
[7:28 PM] anon1781: it’s like a fucking soap opera
[7:28 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:29 PM] diabloanon: ooh is that Black Flag?
[7:29 PM] cruzaders1: look, rob bovoghis got cault selling senate seats. east st louis always has voter fraud
[7:29 PM] repdan: Alright, what do yo uall want to losten too. This particular BF vid is lame.
[7:29 PM] repdan: @diablanon. Yepper.
[7:30 PM] diabloanon: I’m fine with whatever everybody else wants to listen to
[7:30 PM] anon1781: how has your first few experiences in house been? boring? do you feel like your doing
[7:30 PM] anon1781: something useful?
[7:31 PM] chichibonga: some tool?
[7:31 PM] repdan: Good Q’s. 1781..stand by. @Chichi Tool, YES!
[7:31 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:32 PM] chichibonga: anyone heading to dc on the 17th
[7:32 PM] anon1781: :: raises hand ::
[7:32 PM] anon1781: pitched in with about 80 peeps to get a bus
[7:32 PM] anon1781: we’re packing that bitch full
[7:32 PM] repdan: @1781 1st Experiences in the House…awful.
[7:32 PM] anon1781: how so diver?
[7:33 PM] repdan: TThought that good ideas would prevail..reason…not so.
[7:34 PM] anon1781: dan is old fart
[7:34 PM] anon1781: he types epic slow
[7:34 PM] anon1781: so if you ask questions, wait for reply :D
[7:34 PM] repdan: Fiscally sound ideas do not translate to good politics, I’ve found.
[7:34 PM] abc: لا تكن المغــرور فتنـدم ، ولا تكن الواثق فتُـصـدم . .
[7:35 PM] anon1781: sound ideas do not translate to politics lol
[7:35 PM] repdan: 1781 spends too much time typing, lol!
[7:35 PM] chichibonga: i find santorum offensive to the point i wanna kick him in the face ya hear
[7:35 PM] anon1781: santorum, looks like he’s been kicked in the face quite a bit lol
[7:36 PM] repdan: Political Q’s peeps? (Santorum=junk)
[7:36 PM] touchedbypriest: thats a dreary green wall behind you
[7:36 PM] anon1781: greenscreen :)
[7:36 PM] anon1781: useful :
[7:37 PM] anon1781: what are your overall goals for your term in office diverdan?
[7:38 PM] repdan: @1781. Raise awareness is the ultimate goal.
[7:38 PM] anon1781: with people or government lool
[7:39 PM] repdan: @1781. Both. People take priority, though
[7:39 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:40 PM] anon1781: what actions do you have planned in the near future to raise awareness?
[7:41 PM] repdan: @1781 Trying to spread word thru media to the People…it’s a challange.
[7:41 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: You’re on commission to study use of eBooks in RI schools, yes? How’s that going?
[7:41 PM] repdan: @doug. Yep on Text books.
[7:41 PM] anon1781: unless you do something, umm.. highly questionable, you won’t get much word out that way
[7:42 PM] repdan: @1781. Roger that. I think that is in work, lulz!
[7:42 PM] anon1781: :P true
[7:43 PM] cruzaders1: me and peeps are actually gonna clean trash up in towns and talk to people. we care
[7:43 PM] cruzaders1: also planning a peoples library based by donations and not taxes
[7:43 PM] repdan: Tunes,,,what next?
[7:43 PM] anon1781: if citizens wanted to put to trial government officials for treason, what route do wetake?
[7:44 PM] repdan: @1781. GREAT Q!
[7:44 PM] cruzaders1: we get signature and expect the law,courts to up hold the peoples request
[7:44 PM] cryoanon: If you want to prosecute them in the nextfew years i think your options are limited to
[7:44 PM] cryoanon: revolution
[7:44 PM] cruzaders1: if majority of americans feel that way we need to do more then speak but act
[7:44 PM] anon1781: I’m sick of fucking playing around with these asshats, shit’s gotta get serious asap
[7:45 PM] cruzaders1: no revolution, the only solution and conclusion is a resolution
[7:45 PM] repdan: Stand by….we need to do a Skype some time…so much 2 talk about.
[7:45 PM] anon1781: lol
[7:45 PM] repdan: LOL…hold on,..1787 what u want to hear?
[7:45 PM] cruzaders1: ussr was a revolution and lead to 20years economic depression, with still promblems
[7:46 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: For yr textbook commission, might RI use Creative Commons or other open materials?
[7:46 PM] cryoanon: Well i wouldn’t exactly call Russia democratic today
[7:46 PM] anon1781: Rock some FooFighters :P
[7:47 PM] repdan: fOO IT IS…STAND BY
[7:47 PM] cruzaders1: me either. thats why revolution is not the solution
[7:47 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:47 PM] anonrep: Do what do you make of recent artical’s claming the pentagon has sold infomation to
[7:47 PM] anonrep: hollywood for films that they will not release to the public
[7:48 PM] anonrep: basically selling exclusivitey right’s on infomation to hollywood
[7:47 PM] cruzaders1: but back in the 90’s the black panthers walk into congress with ak’s and none was arrest
[7:48 PM] cruzaders1: we need not to gather is groups of hundred but in hundred thousands and storm OUR building
[7:48 PM] anon1781: black panther’s get away with alot of shit lol
[7:48 PM] repdan: It’s estimated that only 3% of the pop, actively participated in American Rev. Trivia…
[7:48 PM] anon1781: i see J17 being a milestone
[7:49 PM] anon1781: or a complete dud, hope it’s the better of the two
[7:49 PM] cryoanon: It’s certainly going to get interesting
[7:49 PM] repdan: #J17 is a day to look FWD too. Also watch for #OpMindCrime.
[7:50 PM] chichibonga: i hope so i hope no one acts like a tool and ruins it or drowns out the causeu know FOX ne
[7:50 PM] anon1781: you going to be there on J17 dan?
[7:50 PM] repdan: Yepper.
[7:50 PM] anon1781: good
[7:50 PM] anon1781: and i’ve got a plan in the works for fox lol
[7:51 PM] douglaslucas: Yes to #J17, Dan?
[7:51 PM] anon1781: pretty much almost all the major news networks actually
[7:51 PM] repdan: @ Doug…Y
[7:51 PM] chichibonga: yes i hope so i hate those haters
[7:51 PM] anon1781: the plan is to have censorship bar carrying activists
[7:51 PM] anon1781: and block the view of their cameras
[7:51 PM] anon1781: and let it be covered by the people instead
[7:52 PM] anon1781: got a team of 30 so far on that, but gonna need more
[7:52 PM] repdan: Do U folks actually realize how bad it is? W/ respect….
[7:52 PM] repdan: @1781. Word
[7:52 PM] anon1781: I’d say some of us are aware, some are close, and most are far away
[7:52 PM] chichibonga: people are so apathetic –lotta dumb folks out ther
[7:53 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What do you plan to do for #J17 ?
[7:53 PM] anon1781: it’s bad enough for me to have already bought a plane ticket to argentina, and have a
[7:53 PM] anon1781: place to stay
[7:53 PM] anon1781: if shit gets too hairy
[7:53 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:54 PM] star_gazer: i have a home in the philippines and my passport ready
[7:54 PM] anon1781: but, do tell us how bad it is from your own words
[7:54 PM] anon1781: will be interesting to hear
[7:55 PM] moose_mario: RI is pretty messed up
[7:55 PM] moose_mario: its like..decay
[7:55 PM] anon1781: MS is fucked up
[7:55 PM] anon1781: think about this, when do you ever hear anything about MS?
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: neva
[7:56 PM] anon1781: exactly lol
[7:56 PM] anon1781: so much insane shit happens
[7:56 PM] anon1781: but they have it so on lock
[7:56 PM] anon1781: nothing gets out
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: but i dont hear anything about dakota either
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: n or s
[7:56 PM] star_gazer: Oklahoma is not messed up …..yet
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: I don’t hear anything but what is going on in Oklahoma
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: unless i jump on twitter and help spread the news
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: dont hear about any states
[7:57 PM] moose_mario: well repdan in ri politics. here its a total one party stranglehold we dont even get 2 lol
[7:57 PM] moose_mario: would like to hear his experience
[7:58 PM] anon1781: tell us “how bad it is” diverdan
[7:58 PM] repdan: REAL bad… zero regard 4 the 10th Amendment…People’s apathy…
[7:59 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What are your plans for #J17 ?
[8:00 PM] repdan: Ok….regroup…we need to do a Ustream soon for talkie
[8:00 PM] repdan: Many important Q’s…2 much typing
[8:00 PM] anon1781: ustreams is cool, just one sided
[8:01 PM] repdan: @1781. Recommendations?
[8:01 PM] anon1781: on here up to 16 people can cam and talk at once
[8:01 PM] anon1781: (maybe more, i’ve only seen up to 16
[8:01 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[8:01 PM] anon1781: but it allows for quick dialogue
[8:01 PM] repdan: Rgr that, 1781.
[8:02 PM] anon1781: next time, i’d like to make it a bit more formal
[8:02 PM] anon1781: i’ll send you a list of questions before we do it
[8:02 PM] anon1781: that i’ll be asking
[8:02 PM] anon1781: so you can prepare your answers mentally structured
[8:03 PM] repdan: Good idea 1781. I’m down. Did an interview 2day on similiar stuff.
[8:03 PM] anon1781: we plan on recording it, and posting it
[8:03 PM] anon1781: and a challenge to any other governmentals
[8:03 PM] anon1781: to do the s
[8:03 PM] anon1781: same
[8:03 PM] repdan: I welcome it, sir!
[8:04 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: who was the interview with?
[8:04 PM] repdan: Station in Nashville…stand by . I;ll get the link
[8:05 PM] repdan: They r anons from Tn…Great interview.
[8:06 PM] anon1781: cool, it’s a date, sometime next week
[8:07 PM] datoneanon: its a date?
[8:07 PM] repdan: Yepper! Date, Umadbro?
[8:07 PM] anon1781: go find ethersec lol, they
[8:07 PM] anon1781: will give ya hugs or some shit
[8:07 PM] repdan: Lulz..
[8:08 PM] repdan: Yay!
[8:08 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[8:09 PM] anon1781: alright, i’m out, tnx for this diver, will set up something better next week
[8:09 PM] anon1781: got some Ops to work on
[8:09 PM] anon1781: peace folks
[8:09 PM] repdan: Rgr that..Ty. Best
[8:10 PM] datoneanon: repdan howd you get elected as a libertarian, isnt that impossible
[8:10 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: Can you tell us any about your #J17 plans?
[8:11 PM] repdan: @Daton….ran as as an (R) w/ Libertarian leanings.
[8:12 PM] repdan: @doug. Not at the moment..many enemies…OpSec
[8:12 PM] douglaslucas: Okay.
[8:13 PM] repdan: Any other Q’s B4 I call it a night for TinyChat, peeps?
[8:13 PM] douglaslucas: Is your eBook commission considering open curriculum possibilities like creative commons?
[8:15 PM] repdan: Thank you all for participating, and giving ur input.
[8:15 PM] repdan: More formal and structured chat soon.
[8:15 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: Thanks for doing this tinychat!
[8:16 PM] repdan: My pleasure, sir.
[8:17 PM] repdan: @repdangordon on the Twitter
[8:17 PM] diabloanon: Sorry I didnt say much, I appreciate you really trying to reach out and represent your
[8:17 PM] diabloanon: constituents
[8:17 PM] repdan left the room.

Complete, unedited log:

[6:53 PM] guest-944707 changed nickname to douglaslucas
[6:53 PM] guest-944719 entered the room.
[6:53 PM] guest-944719 left the room.
[6:53 PM] douglaslucas: Hi Rep Dan, this is @douglaslucas from Twitter.
[6:53 PM] repdan: Hi Doug!
[6:54 PM] douglaslucas: When did you first begin to use Anonymous & net-culture slogans as a public official?
[6:54 PM] guest-944755 entered the room.
[6:54 PM] guest-944755 left the room.
[6:55 PM] guest-944776 entered the room.
[6:55 PM] repdan: Just this past week, or so. Outstanding network of social media freedom lovers.
[6:55 PM] guest-944776 changed nickname to moose_mario
[6:55 PM] moose_mario: hey repdan
[6:55 PM] moose_mario: what the hell is wrong with the ri gop
[6:56 PM] moose_mario: and whats with all this movement to close all the voting
[6:56 PM] repdan: Hiya Moose. The RIGOP is apparently a disfunctional group of ‘climbers’ that care not abou
[6:56 PM] repdan: You in RI, Moose?
[6:57 PM] moose_mario: yes
[6:57 PM] guest-944815 entered the room.
[6:57 PM] guest-944815 left the room.
[6:57 PM] repdan: Who is ur Rep. Moose?
[6:58 PM] moose_mario: providence so i guess ciciline
[6:58 PM] repdan: State Rep, Moose. Cicilline is US Congressman, sir.
[7:00 PM] moose_mario: well then i have no idea
[7:01 PM] repdan: NP. Stand by and I’ll show u where to go to find out, k?
[7:05 PM] repdan: Garbage govt web sites…still looking. Hold on…
[7:05 PM] douglaslucas: Which things about net culture & Anonymous make ya identify them as freedom lovers?
[7:05 PM] guest-945064 entered the room.
[7:06 PM] guest-945064 changed nickname to anon1781
[7:06 PM] anon1781: hello there
[7:06 PM] anon1781: one moment
[7:06 PM] guest-945082 entered the room.
[7:06 PM] guest-945082 changed nickname to s0usanon
[7:07 PM] moose_mario: hold on i think i found it
[7:07 PM] s0usanon left the room.
[7:07 PM] repdan: Hello anon1781!
[7:08 PM] guest-945148 entered the room.
[7:08 PM] guest-945148 left the room.
[7:08 PM] guest-945166 entered the room.
[7:08 PM] guest-945166 changed nickname to cruzaders1
[7:09 PM] repdan: Here you go, Moose. https://sos.ri.gov/vic/
[7:09 PM] cruzaders1: 1781 you still on
[7:09 PM] anon1781: yes
[7:09 PM] guest-945187 entered the room.
[7:09 PM] anon1781: diverdan you there?
[7:09 PM] cruzaders1: how you been?
[7:09 PM] repdan: Right here, 1781.
[7:10 PM] anon1781: good good, OpSpend50bucksOnCarShitCuzItsApieceOfShit successful
[7:10 PM] cruzaders1: know where mc comb use to live there
[7:10 PM] guest-945211 entered the room.
[7:10 PM] guest-945211 changed nickname to diabloanon
[7:10 PM] cruzaders1: moved away. but damnit south is something elese.lolz
[7:10 PM] anon1781: no doubt
[7:11 PM] anon1781: alrighty, i think i’m set up now
[7:11 PM] cruzaders1: so whos hosting, wheres the music?
[7:11 PM] guest-945232 entered the room.
[7:12 PM] repdan: 1st time hosting. Tips welcome.
[7:12 PM] anon1781: pretty easy shit, nothing to it really
[7:12 PM] anon1781: alrighty my question before
[7:12 PM] guest-945232 changed nickname to billrappleye
[7:12 PM] anon1781: money freespeech
[7:12 PM] anon1781: bastardizing what lobbying is supposed to be
[7:12 PM] anon1781: opinion
[7:13 PM] guest-945187 changed nickname to chichibonga
[7:13 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:13 PM] moose_mario: apparently my rep is.. 4
[7:13 PM] anon1781: lol
[7:13 PM] moose_mario: all hail 4!
[7:13 PM] anon1781: 4!
[7:13 PM] cruzaders1: sweet
[7:14 PM] cruzaders1: so whats up tonight? wonder what can do with our time?
[7:14 PM] repdan: Hiya billrappleye
[7:14 PM] billrappleye: nice mask yiou should wear that at the state house
[7:14 PM] anon1781: diverdan here promised some dialogue
[7:14 PM] anon1781: i have
[7:14 PM] anon1781: got pics
[7:15 PM] anon1781: funny shit, got kicked out of walmart with it on
[7:15 PM] cruzaders1: i need mask…thought of makeing a flour plaster one
[7:15 PM] repdan: Political campaigns should be publically funded at a set amount, in my opinion.
[7:15 PM] anon1781: but went to supreme court, senate, and house of reps with it on
[7:15 PM] anon1781: even got to sit in chairman’s chair with it
[7:15 PM] anon1781: difine set amount
[7:15 PM] anon1781: define*
[7:15 PM] repdan: Not my mask, billrappleye.
[7:16 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What do you think of @USDOR’s 1 vote, 1 campaign donation dollar per citizen idea?
[7:16 PM] guest-945343 entered the room.
[7:16 PM] anon1781: repdan = diverdan = Rep RI Dan Gordon
[7:16 PM] guest-945343 changed nickname to kg
[7:16 PM] guest-945355 entered the room.
[7:16 PM] repdan: @douglaslucas Interesting idea. Will research!
[7:17 PM] guest-945355 left the room.
[7:17 PM] anon1781: you mentioned before you distaste for the reactions you got of idgaf when talking about
[7:17 PM] anon1781: ndaa with other reps and such, mind describing more?
[7:17 PM] repdan: what do you guys want to listen to for tunes?
[7:17 PM] repdan: @1781..typing…
[7:18 PM] anon1781: :P
[7:18 PM] douglaslucas: Rage Against the Machine works for me!
[7:18 PM] kg: Yes!
[7:18 PM] repdan: @1781…Apathy, not even aware at the state level of #NDAA….
[7:19 PM] moose_mario: ohh gordon fox
[7:19 PM] anon1781: @cruz, bug MMN to get his ass in here lol
[7:19 PM] cruzaders1: you got any black flag- my war
[7:19 PM] guest-945451 entered the room.
[7:19 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:19 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:19 PM] anon1781: dan, if you can, turn on cam, so they stop thinking i’m you lol
[7:19 PM] cruzaders1: r even online right now?
[7:19 PM] repdan: CoC, then Black Flag
[7:19 PM] moose_mario: rep dan gordon fox.
[7:19 PM] anon1781: MMN is always online
[7:20 PM] cruzaders1: lolz. i shout at him
[7:20 PM] anon1781: kilgoar wanted to witness this too he said last night
[7:20 PM] guest-945451 changed nickname to 6042
[7:20 PM] anon1781: but, i was too lazy to get contacts from him lol
[7:20 PM] repdan: @1781. No cam 2nite, bro! But you are a good rep for ANON!
[7:21 PM] repdan: CoC…”Vote with a Bullet”
[7:21 PM] kg left the room.
[7:21 PM] repdan: The People are so apethetic in this state.
[7:21 PM] guest-945577 entered the room.
[7:22 PM] anon1781: Have you gotten any beef yet for even talking to us?
[7:22 PM] repdan: One Party rule for 74 years….
[7:22 PM] repdan: @1781. No, but I’m sure that folks are watching. No worries here.
[7:23 PM] anon1781: my state, every fucking senator and congressman voted yes on ndaa -.-
[7:23 PM] repdan: One party rule has rusulted in disaster…RI is bottom of barrel in most aspects.
[7:23 PM] anon1781: cept one, which shocked me
[7:23 PM] anon1781: the only demo in either lol, again shocked me
[7:23 PM] diabloanon: pretty much the same here, even people I never thought would support it, voted for it
[7:24 PM] anon1781: i’m scheming my schemes :P
[7:24 PM] repdan: Roger that, 1781. MMN feeling better?
[7:24 PM] anon1781: he was sick?
[7:24 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan do you know MMN?
[7:25 PM] cruzaders1: 1781 you know what i like about the south
[7:25 PM] repdan: @Moose. Roger that. He is also Speaker of the House. Send him email or call him.
[7:25 PM] anon1781: >.>
[7:25 PM] anon1781: lolol
[7:25 PM] cruzaders1: all the gun vaults you see everywhere.lolz
[7:25 PM] anon1781: MMN = MotorMouthNews :P
[7:25 PM] anon1781: who’s the other MMN you were talking about? lol
[7:25 PM] guest-945694 entered the room.
[7:26 PM] anon1781: guns are crucial here, so many rednecks, love them, they gonna be on front line
[7:26 PM] anon1781: if civil war breaks out lol
[7:26 PM] repdan: @1781 Flu, I believe. Was in hospital the other day.
[7:26 PM] anon1781: mad respect for the rednecks now
[7:26 PM] cruzaders1: i dont think the war ever ended. the north sought strong fed govern and still do
[7:27 PM] guest-945694 left the room.
[7:27 PM] anon1781: my governor is one of the top 5 lobbyists in the US -.-
[7:27 PM] repdan: Lincoln was the worst President ever..false that it was about slavery…
[7:27 PM] cruzaders1: both lincoln and obmama were illinios sentors, comeing from chicgo ” organized gang/crime”
[7:27 PM] anon1781: i dunno about worst, but i do believe history is MUCH more interesting, when you don’t
[7:27 PM] anon1781: learn it from a text book
[7:28 PM] anon1781: it’s like a fucking soap opera
[7:28 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:28 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:28 PM] moose_mario left the room.
[7:28 PM] cruzaders1: I personally think chicgo is controlling the countrie
[7:29 PM] diabloanon: ooh is that Black Flag?
[7:29 PM] cruzaders1: look, rob bovoghis got cault selling senate seats. east st louis always has voter fraud
[7:29 PM] repdan: Alright, what do yo uall want to losten too. This particular BF vid is lame.
[7:29 PM] repdan: @diablanon. Yepper.
[7:30 PM] diabloanon: I’m fine with whatever everybody else wants to listen to
[7:30 PM] guest-945790 entered the room.
[7:30 PM] cruzaders1: play some smashing pumkins
[7:30 PM] guest-945790 left the room.
[7:30 PM] anon1781: how has your first few experiences in house been? boring? do you feel like your doing
[7:30 PM] anon1781: something useful?
[7:31 PM] diabloanon left the room.
[7:31 PM] chichibonga: some tool?
[7:31 PM] repdan: Good Q’s. 1781..stand by. @Chichi Tool, YES!
[7:31 PM] cruzaders1: anyone like to read
[7:31 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:31 PM] guest-945829 entered the room.
[7:32 PM] guest-945829 changed nickname to motormouthnews
[7:32 PM] chichibonga: anyone heading to dc on the 17th
[7:32 PM] anon1781: :: raises hand ::
[7:32 PM] guest-945838 entered the room.
[7:32 PM] anon1781: pitched in with about 80 peeps to get a bus
[7:32 PM] repdan: @1781 1st Experiences in the House…awful.
[7:32 PM] cruzaders1: got a good collection of the poor james bond
[7:32 PM] anon1781: we’re packing that bitch full
[7:32 PM] anon1781: how so diver?
[7:32 PM] chichibonga: very nice a bus-debating drive or train
[7:33 PM] guest-945853 entered the room.
[7:33 PM] repdan: TThought that good ideas would prevail..reason…not so.
[7:33 PM] motormouthnews: sup sup
[7:33 PM] guest-945853 changed nickname to abc
[7:33 PM] repdan: Hey MMN!
[7:33 PM] guest-945868 entered the room.
[7:33 PM] guest-945868 changed nickname to diabloanon
[7:33 PM] motormouthnews: hows all
[7:33 PM] anon1781: hey bro
[7:33 PM] diabloanon: hey MMN
[7:33 PM] motormouthnews: sup
[7:33 PM] chichibonga: i love the guy fawkes mask its my pic on FB
[7:33 PM] guest-945877 entered the room.
[7:34 PM] guest-945889 entered the room.
[7:34 PM] anon1781: dan is old fart
[7:34 PM] guest-945889 changed nickname to touchedbypriest
[7:34 PM] anon1781: he types epic slow
[7:34 PM] chichibonga: hahah
[7:34 PM] guest-945895 entered the room.
[7:34 PM] repdan: Fiscally sound ideas do not translate to good politics, I’ve found.
[7:34 PM] abc: لا تكن المغــرور فتنـدم ، ولا تكن الواثق فتُـصـدم . .
anon1781: so if you ask questions, wait for reply :D
[7:34 PM] guest-945898 entered the room.
[7:34 PM] 6042 left the room.
[7:35 PM] touchedbypriest: this place is bumpin’
[7:35 PM] anon1781: sound ideas do not translate to politics lol
[7:35 PM] guest-945895 changed nickname to dallison281
[7:35 PM] repdan: 1781 spends too much time typing, lol!
[7:35 PM] guest-945877 changed nickname to protocol
[7:35 PM] chichibonga: i find santorum offensive to the point i wanna kick him in the face ya hear
[7:35 PM] protocol: supppppppppppp
[7:35 PM] guest-945898 left the room.
[7:35 PM] guest-945919 entered the room.
[7:35 PM] touchedbypriest: joined the group whiteboard.
[7:35 PM] motormouthnews: sup
[7:35 PM] guest-945931 entered the room.
[7:35 PM] abc left the room.
[7:35 PM] guest-945919 changed nickname to motormouth
[7:35 PM] anon1781: santorum, looks like he’s been kicked in the face quite a bit lol
[7:35 PM] motormouth: how is everyone
[7:35 PM] guest-945943 entered the room.
[7:35 PM] motormouthnews: lol
[7:36 PM] guest-945943 changed nickname to anonrep
[7:36 PM] motormouthnews: you cant be meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
[7:36 PM] anon1781: i was wondering how long it would take for a troll :D yay!
[7:36 PM] chichibonga: with those thin lips– and that whiny nasal voice
[7:36 PM] motormouth: I’m not, you must me my news arm.
[7:36 PM] repdan: Political Q’s peeps? (Santorum=junk)
[7:36 PM] protocol left the room.
[7:36 PM] anonrep: hello
[7:36 PM] guest-945931 left the room.
[7:36 PM] anon1781: lol
[7:36 PM] chichibonga: santorum frothy
[7:36 PM] touchedbypriest: thats a dreary green wall behind you
[7:36 PM] anon1781: greenscreen :)
[7:36 PM] anon1781: useful :
[7:36 PM] touchedbypriest: ahhh
[7:36 PM] anon1781: ^_^
[7:36 PM] motormouthnews: i was touchedbyapriest once
[7:37 PM] motormouthnews: then i became atheist
[7:37 PM] touchedbypriest: lol
[7:37 PM] guest-945973 entered the room.
[7:37 PM] guest-945973 changed nickname to cryoanon
[7:37 PM] guest-945838 changed nickname to kazeno_p
[7:37 PM] touchedbypriest: you know kids .. cant keep their mouths shut
[7:37 PM] chichibonga: musta been a bad touch
[7:37 PM] kazeno_p: I can haz destroy planet earth?
[7:37 PM] anon1781: what are your overall goals for your term in office diverdan?
[7:37 PM] motormouth: Follow me on twitter @motormouthnews
[7:37 PM] guest-945976 entered the room.
[7:38 PM] guest-945976 changed nickname to k
[7:38 PM] kazeno_p: Hi there DanGordon Sama! D:
[7:38 PM] kazeno_p: /me licks Rep Dan Gordon
[7:38 PM] touchedbypriest: need some tunes or boobs
[7:38 PM] anon1781: tits/tunes rock it
[7:38 PM] repdan: @1781. Raise awareness is the ultimate goal.
[7:38 PM] kazeno_p: Y u no asian? :(
[7:38 PM] anon1781: with people or government lool
[7:39 PM] kazeno_p: SHOW ME UR EYES? D:
[7:39 PM] k: anything new?
[7:39 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:39 PM] kazeno_p: omg.. my net are slow
[7:39 PM] repdan: @1781. Both. People take priority, though
[7:39 PM] anon1781: learn2net kaz
[7:40 PM] chichibonga: fucking traveler ad keeps cumin up
[7:40 PM] anon1781: what actions do you have planned in the near future to raise awareness?
[7:40 PM] cruzaders1: who knows how to telnet?
[7:40 PM] chichibonga: love sublime
[7:40 PM] kazeno_p: i dunno how to net trollolol
[7:40 PM] cryoanon: And now 4 some boobs
[7:40 PM] repdan: @billrappleye What r u up 2 2nite?
[7:40 PM] cruzaders1: fun anyone later?
[7:40 PM] anon1781: ty cryo
[7:40 PM] anon1781: marry me
[7:40 PM] guest-946051 entered the room.
[7:41 PM] guest-946051 changed nickname to moose_mario
[7:41 PM] anon1781: tits + tunes
[7:41 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: You’re on commission to study use of eBooks in RI schools, yes? How’s that going?
[7:41 PM] repdan: @1781 Trying to spread word thru media to the People…it’s a challange.
[7:41 PM] k left the room.
[7:41 PM] kazeno_p: cruzaders1: i know. is that like some epic game that goes with netcat?
[7:41 PM] cryoanon: What color shall we go with?
[7:41 PM] cruzaders1: you know be great idea. set this video chat up but with doodle like yahoo
[7:41 PM] cruzaders1: could interact and share things
[7:41 PM] repdan: @doug. Yep on Text books.
[7:41 PM] kazeno_p: i’m not from the us. HALP.
[7:41 PM] anon1781: unless you do something, umm.. highly questionable, you won’t get much word out that way
[7:42 PM] guest-946090 entered the room.
[7:42 PM] cruzaders1: telnet, its dos… research and educate
[7:42 PM] repdan: @1781. Roger that. I think that is in work, lulz!
[7:42 PM] anon1781: :P true
[7:42 PM] chichibonga: whos trollinhg
[7:43 PM] cruzaders1: me and peeps are actually gonna clean trash up in towns and talk to people. we care
[7:43 PM] kazeno_p left the room.
[7:43 PM] anon1781: if citizens wanted to put to trial government officials for treason, what route do wetake?
[7:43 PM] anon1781: ^_^
[7:43 PM] repdan: Tunes,,,what next?
[7:43 PM] cruzaders1: also planning a peoples library based by donations and not taxes
[7:43 PM] anonrep: good question anon
[7:44 PM] repdan: @1781. GREAT Q!
[7:44 PM] chichibonga: halesto
[7:44 PM] cruzaders1: we get signature and expect the law,courts to up hold the peoples request
[7:44 PM] cryoanon: If you want to prosecute them in the nextfew years i think your options are limited to
[7:44 PM] cryoanon: revolution
[7:44 PM] billrappleye: joined the group whiteboard.
[7:44 PM] cruzaders1: if majority of americans feel that way we need to do more then speak but act
[7:44 PM] anon1781: I’m sick of fucking playing around with these asshats, shit’s gotta get serious asap
[7:45 PM] cruzaders1: no revolution, the only solution and conclusion is a resolution
[7:45 PM] repdan: Stand by….we need to do a Skype some time…so much 2 talk about.
[7:45 PM] anon1781: lol
[7:45 PM] repdan: LOL…hold on,..1787 what u want to hear?
[7:45 PM] cruzaders1: ussr was a revolution and lead to 20years economic depression, with still promblems
[7:45 PM] motormouthnews: 1787?
[7:46 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: For yr textbook commission, might RI use Creative Commons or other open materials?
[7:46 PM] cryoanon: Well i wouldn’t exactly call Russia democratic today
[7:46 PM] motormouth left the room.
[7:46 PM] guest-946204 entered the room.
[7:46 PM] guest-946090 changed nickname to eman
[7:46 PM] anon1781: Rock some FooFighters :P
[7:46 PM] guest-946204 changed nickname to youranonnews
[7:47 PM] repdan: fOO IT IS…STAND BY
[7:47 PM] youranonnews: please vote for us: http://shortyawards.com/?category=activism&screen_name=youranonnews
[7:47 PM] cruzaders1: me either. thats why revolution is not the solution
[7:47 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:47 PM] anonrep: Do what do you make of recent artical’s claming the pentagon has sold infomation to
[7:47 PM] cruzaders1: but back in the 90’s the black panthers walk into congress with ak’s and none was arrest
[7:47 PM] anonrep: hollywood for films that they will not release to the public
[7:48 PM] cruzaders1: we need not to gather is groups of hundred but in hundred thousands and storm OUR building
[7:48 PM] anon1781: black panther’s get away with alot of shit lol
[7:48 PM] chichibonga: foo fighters always works
[7:48 PM] anonrep: basically selling exclusivitey right’s on infomation to hollywood
[7:48 PM] repdan: It’s estimated that only 3% of the pop, actively participated in American Rev. Trivia…
[7:48 PM] guest-945577 left the room.
[7:48 PM] chichibonga: i love dave grohl
[7:48 PM] anon1781: i see J17 being a milestone
[7:49 PM] anon1781: or a complete dud, hope it’s the better of the two
[7:49 PM] eman left the room.
[7:49 PM] cryoanon: It’s certainly going to get interesting
[7:49 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: For yr textbook commission, might RI use Creative Commons or other open materials?
[7:49 PM] guest-946285 entered the room.
[7:49 PM] repdan: #J17 is a day to look FWD too. Also watch for #OpMindCrime.
[7:49 PM] guest-946285 changed nickname to thaliecat
[7:49 PM] thaliecat left the room.
[7:49 PM] guest-946300 entered the room.
[7:50 PM] guest-946300 changed nickname to star_gazer
[7:50 PM] chichibonga: i hope so i hope no one acts like a tool and ruins it or drowns out the causeu know FOX ne
[7:50 PM] anon1781: you going to be there on J17 dan?
[7:50 PM] repdan: Yepper.
[7:50 PM] anon1781: good
[7:50 PM] anon1781: and i’ve got a plan in the works for fox lol
[7:51 PM] douglaslucas: Yes to #J17, Dan?
[7:51 PM] anon1781: pretty much almost all the major news networks actually
[7:51 PM] repdan: @ Doug…Y
[7:51 PM] chichibonga: yes i hope so i hate those haters
[7:51 PM] anon1781: the plan is to have censorship bar carrying activists
[7:51 PM] anon1781: and block the view of their cameras
[7:51 PM] anon1781: and let it be covered by the people instead
[7:52 PM] anon1781: got a team of 30 so far on that, but gonna need more
[7:52 PM] repdan: Do U folks actually realize how bad it is? W/ respect….
[7:52 PM] chichibonga: hahaha cool
[7:52 PM] chichibonga: i dont thinks so–
[7:52 PM] repdan: @1781. Word
[7:52 PM] anon1781: I’d say some of us are aware, some are close, and most are far away
[7:52 PM] chichibonga: people are so apathetic –lotta dumb folks out ther
[7:53 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What do you plan to do for #J17 ?
[7:53 PM] anon1781: it’s bad enough for me to have already bought a plane ticket to argentina, and have a
[7:53 PM] anon1781: place to stay
[7:53 PM] chichibonga: I love in philly –they are so bad here no one has a clue
[7:53 PM] anon1781: if shit gets too hairy
[7:53 PM] chichibonga: live in philly
[7:53 PM] motormouthnews left the room.
[7:53 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:53 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[7:54 PM] repdan: brb.
[7:54 PM] star_gazer: i have a home in the philippines and my passport ready
[7:54 PM] anon1781: but, do tell us how bad it is from your own words
[7:54 PM] anon1781: will be interesting to hear
[7:54 PM] touchedbypriest: yanahmean
[7:54 PM] chichibonga: i like big butts and i camnot lie u other fellas can deny!!
[7:55 PM] chichibonga: haaha some mix here
[7:55 PM] moose_mario: RI is pretty messed up
[7:55 PM] anon1781: MS is fucked up
[7:55 PM] moose_mario: its like..decay
[7:55 PM] anon1781: think about this, when do you ever hear anything about MS?
[7:55 PM] touchedbypriest left the room.
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: neva
[7:56 PM] anon1781: exactly lol
[7:56 PM] anon1781: so much insane shit happens
[7:56 PM] anon1781: but they have it so on lock
[7:56 PM] anon1781: nothing gets out
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: but i dont hear anything about dakota either
[7:56 PM] star_gazer: Oklahoma is not messed up …..yet
[7:56 PM] chichibonga: n or s
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: I don’t hear anything but what is going on in Oklahoma
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: unless i jump on twitter and help spread the news
[7:57 PM] star_gazer: dont hear about any states
[7:57 PM] moose_mario: well repdan in ri politics. here its a total one party stranglehold we dont even get 2 lol
[7:57 PM] repdan: ok…BACK NOW
[7:57 PM] moose_mario: would like to hear his experience
[7:58 PM] anon1781: tell us “how bad it is” diverdan
[7:58 PM] moose_mario: ^^
[7:58 PM] anonrep: Anonymous: American Treason Alert
[7:58 PM] anonrep: http://ilegionnet.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/anonymous-american-treason-alert/
[7:58 PM] diabloanon: sexyfawkes lmfao
[7:58 PM] repdan: REAL bad… zero regard 4 the 10th Amendment…People’s apathy…
[7:58 PM] chichibonga: hahaha
[7:59 PM] repdan: We’ll have to do a …whoa…..boobs!
[7:59 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: What are your plans for #J17 ?
[7:59 PM] star_gazer: yall boys are easiliy distracted
[7:59 PM] chichibonga: haah
[7:59 PM] anon1781: welcome to legion?
[7:59 PM] anon1781: lol
[7:59 PM] star_gazer: lol
[7:59 PM] anon1781: cryo lol
[7:59 PM] chichibonga: ooh theres titties i got my own set so im good
[8:00 PM] star_gazer: me too
[8:00 PM] repdan: Ok….regroup…we need to do a Ustream soon for talkie
[8:00 PM] repdan: Many important Q’s…2 much typing
[8:00 PM] anon1781: ustreams is cool, just one sided
[8:00 PM] star_gazer: I need a mast stat so I can take some pics
[8:01 PM] repdan: @1781. Recommendations?
[8:01 PM] star_gazer: jokes
[8:01 PM] anon1781: on here up to 16 people can cam and talk at once
[8:01 PM] anon1781: (maybe more, i’ve only seen up to 16
[8:01 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[8:01 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[8:01 PM] anon1781: but it allows for quick dialogue
[8:01 PM] anonrep left the room.
[8:01 PM] repdan: Rgr that, 1781.
[8:02 PM] chichibonga: nice pic
[8:02 PM] anon1781: next time, i’d like to make it a bit more formal
[8:02 PM] anon1781: i’ll send you a list of questions before we do it
[8:02 PM] anon1781: that i’ll be asking
[8:02 PM] anon1781: so you can prepare your answers mentally structured
[8:03 PM] chichibonga: we neeed some prodigy–to get all radical!!!
[8:03 PM] repdan: Good idea 1781. I’m down. Did an interview 2day on similiar stuff.
[8:03 PM] anon1781: we plan on recording it, and posting it
[8:03 PM] anon1781: and a challenge to any other governmentals
[8:03 PM] anon1781: to do the s
[8:03 PM] repdan: I welcome it, sir!
[8:03 PM] anon1781: same
[8:04 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: who was the interview with?
[8:04 PM] moose_mario left the room.
[8:04 PM] guest-946666 entered the room.
[8:04 PM] repdan: Station in Nashville…stand by . I;ll get the link
n
[8:04 PM] cryoanon left the room.
[8:05 PM] repdan: They r anons from Tn…Great interview.
[8:06 PM] anon1781: cool, it’s a date, sometime next week
[8:07 PM] datoneanon: its a date?
[8:07 PM] datoneanon: :P
[8:07 PM] anon1781: jelly?
[8:07 PM] anon1781: lol
[8:07 PM] datoneanon: a lil
[8:07 PM] repdan: Yepper! Date, Umadbro?
[8:07 PM] anon1781: go find ethersec lol, they
[8:07 PM] repdan: Lulz..
[8:07 PM] anon1781: will give ya hugs or some shit
[8:08 PM] repdan: Yay!
[8:08 PM] repdan: started a YouTube-video.
[8:09 PM] anon1781: alright, i’m out, tnx for this diver, will set up something better next week
[8:09 PM] anon1781: got some Ops to work on
[8:09 PM] anon1781: peace folks
[8:09 PM] repdan: Rgr that..Ty. Best
[8:09 PM] billrappleye left the room.
[8:09 PM] star_gazer: joined the group whiteboard.
[8:10 PM] dallison281: joined the group whiteboard.
[8:10 PM] star_gazer: joined the group whiteboard.
[8:10 PM] datoneanon: repdan howd you get elected as a libertarian, isnt that impossible
[8:10 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: Can you tell us any about your #J17 plans?
[8:11 PM] datoneanon: and that
[8:11 PM] repdan: @Daton….ran as as an (R) w/ Libertarian leanings.
[8:11 PM] chichibonga left the room.
[8:12 PM] guest-946930 entered the room.
[8:12 PM] guest-946930 changed nickname to chichibonga
[8:12 PM] repdan: @doug. Not at the moment..many enemies…OpSec
[8:12 PM] douglaslucas: Okay.
[8:13 PM] chichibonga: great song o neg
[8:13 PM] repdan: Any other Q’s B4 I call it a night for TinyChat, peeps?
[8:13 PM] douglaslucas: Is your eBook commission considering open curriculum possibilities like creative commons?
[8:14 PM] chichibonga left the room.
[8:14 PM] star_gazer left the room.
[8:14 PM] datoneanon left the room.
[8:15 PM] repdan: Thank you all for participating, and giving ur input.
[8:15 PM] repdan: More formal and structured chat soon.
[8:15 PM] douglaslucas: RepDan: Thanks for doing this tinychat!
[8:15 PM] dallison281 left the room.
[8:16 PM] repdan: My pleasure, sir.
[8:17 PM] repdan: @repdangordon on the Twitter
[8:17 PM] diabloanon: Sorry I didnt say much, I appreciate you really trying to reach out and represent your
[8:17 PM] diabloanon: constituents
[8:17 PM] repdan left the room.
[8:17 PM] diabloanon left the room.
[8:17 PM] anon1781 left the room.

Creative Commons License

RI Rep Dan Gordon Tinychats with Anonymous, Others; Promises More Chats, #J17 Participation by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Attribute to “Douglas Lucas” or “www.DouglasLucas.com” or preferably both. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me.

About Stories About Things

Through my interest in and use of the social micropayment service Flattr I came across Aelius Blythe (Website: cheapassfiction.com; Twitter: @CheapassFiction) who also writes free fiction you can Flattr some cash toward. She curates a list of fiction writers who use Flattr, too. After a guilty two months or three of just reading her blog & Twitter feed, I finally downloaded her short story collection Stories About Things. I’ve been reluctant to read fiction on a screen, but given her (and my) support for piracy, it seemed the proper way to read hers. I was also reluctant to read her fiction because even if writers are cool people, their fiction usually sucks — and then I’m all disappointed.

But I’m really glad to have read Stories About Things. That’s my standard: “Was reading this a worthwhile expenditure of my time?” And it was. (Who needs fancier criteria?) Aelius seems really at ease writing fiction, happy doing it and if you don’t like it you can go read something else.

I don’t like Amy Hempel. Hempel writes these “miniaturist” stories where nothing happens and you’re supposed to feel awakened by the beautiful comma placement (and other sentence-level things). One of her fans, a friend of mine, wrote in the course of praising Hempel that “style becomes the writer’s morality.” Really? Your ethical theory is predicated on the placement of commas? The fan meant something more like voice or authenticity. All the same I like Aelius’s perspective better:

If [WebFiction] gets in the way of enjoyment, put the book down and go enjoy something else.

But before you judge to harshly, remember one thing: You are reading the literary version of graffiti art You may not want to stand in line for $20 tickets to a gallery opening for it. But somewhere in the scrawled mess of spray paint there may be a picture that sticks with you. And it gives you something better than a brick wall to stare at while you’re waiting for the gallery to open.

Stories About Things put Hempel in mind because Aelius’s stories are similarly short. Except I enjoy Stories About Things. And in the same way I enjoy The Police. Really talented and thankfully more interested in being enjoyable and rewarding than in being aesthetically elite. Here’s a good excerpt from Aelius’s collection:

Sal’s grandmother always warned him like this when she caught him looking. His mother said this was silly, and he was old enough not to be scared by fairy stories. If he looked into the sun, she told him, he would go blind, and that was that.

He never understood how someone could say that — “Don’t look at it.” People looked. If they could, they did. Sometimes, Sal thought, if he wasn’t paying attention he could turn off his hearing so when the lawnmower was going while he was reading he wouldn’t even notice. He could turn off his nose too by breathing through his mouth. Touch was a sense that everyone ignored unless it was too bad or too good. Taste was the same. But he could only turn off his sight by closing his eyes, and he couldn’t go around like that. He had to look. He didn’t know how not to. If he could see something, he would.

Another:

The flower has brown eyes, a bright brown, almost-red. They smile. They don’t shine in the sun. They shine at the sun.

In describing webfiction, (something distinct from fanfiction), Aelius lists a bunch of fiction “errors” — starting a story with weather descriptions, or the white rooms the characters are in, or making tpyos, etc. — and considers them all good, because who’s counting?

She says:

Part of the reason why I turned to web fiction was because of a sort of disillusionment with regular fiction in which I find many distractions (repetitive plot patterns, dull characters, predictable everything) that just happen to be dressed up better. I wondered for several years why I couldn’t find books that I liked, even though I read so many. But then when I started writing seriously myself and studying writing, I realized that there are certain styles that are institutionalized in writing — it’s how people are taught and styles change slowly so you get so much of the same thing. I think that’s why I can ignore the flaws in web fiction. Because I needed something DIFFERENT, and web fiction is different.

Charles Darwin’s quote (also paraphrased by Bradley Manning) describes webfiction well: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

As for setting some stories on the Internet, Aelius writes that her collection Brave New World (which I haven’t read yet) is

a collection of stories about the natural world. Not the natural world that Whitman or Thoreau wrote about, but the world that comes just as naturally to my generation as sky and woods did to theirs. Our world is made of more than that. It’s made of computer screens and wifi and endless libraries of information all at the tip of our fingers. This is our Nature, or part of it anyway.

I think she has more courage to do what comes naturally to her than I do. Following her on Twitter, where she often remarks about her fiction-writing, inspires me to write more.

(Perhaps I should cut myself more slack. My life right now primarily consists of divorcing, moving in to a new place, a knee injury, and figuring out my budget + wacky streams of income. But I haven’t ever particularly believed in cutting myself slack.)

One of the really interesting things Aelius is doing is writing authors letters to ask if they know about, if they approve of, their publishers suing their fans over piracy. (I like this exchange she got into.)

So webfiction is the opposite of National Endowment for the Arts writers who want to write comma-perfect books at taxpayer expense, and then charge taxpayers to read them, too! Sharing culture freely is better and artists need to deal with changing technological mediums instead of whining about it and suing people over it.

I feel as if I should say something critical in a token effort at Neutral Point of View. Aelius, don’t start so many sentences with conjunctions, especially “But” and “Yet” — conjunctions kick in readers’ logic modules and thereby reduce emotion. It’s fiction, not Boolean! (Unless you want it to be more logic-y.) Really in a way I don’t want to post any of this, because talking about good things sometimes interferes with them, and she certainly should just continue what she’s doing and not listen to anyone.

You on the other hand should go read her fiction.

Creative Commons License

About Stories About Things by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: dal@douglaslucas.com.

Call to Stop SOPA before Thursday

Please ███████ this bipartisan anti-censorship request! Our earlier activism ███████ stopped legislators from co-sponsoring this ███████!

SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) might pass the House Judiciary Committee this Thursday. Piracy of intellectual property is, if a problem at all, a negligible problem (and in fact, some studies show piracy ███████ increases consumer entertainment purchases). ███████ problem is ███████ this legislation can be used by ███████ US to censor ███████ Internet (more than DHS/ICE is already doing using flimsy reasoning). ███████ under SOPA, websites (such as mine) that merely link to controversial content can be held liable for that content. (And what if I link to a site that later becomes controversial without my knowledge!) ███████ Wikipedia is considering temporarily blacking out their site in order to raise awareness of SOPA’s danger.

So call your US House Representative’s local and DC offices against SOPA before Thursday! ███████ politely give them a three-sentence statement: 1) Your name, your occupation (if relevant), and that you’re a constituent (give your state or ZIP code); 2) Two or so reasons explaining why you want your Representative to oppose SOPA (hurts job creation ███████ the reliable technology sector, institutes American Internet censorship not unlike China’s); 3) Say thanks ███████ re-state your point: “I want Representative So-and-so to OPPOSE the Stop Online Piracy Act.” The worker who answers will be polite to you, ███████ don’t have to worry about that.

It’s ███████ a bipartisan issue: currently, among others, notable Democrat Barbara Boxer ███████ notable Republicans Scott Brown and Eric Cantor receive lots of money from organizations opposing SOPA, and notable Republican John Boehner and notable Democrat Harry Reid receive ███████ money from organizations supporting it. So ███████ now there’s a good opening for you to contact your US House Representative as the issue’s still in play.

More resources ███████

(This post has been mildly edited/improved/added to today since its original posting a few hours ago.)

Creative Commons License

Call to Stop SOPA before Thursday by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: dal@douglaslucas.com.

In which my Taco Benefactor Turns Out to Be a Former Communications Analyst for JSOC

While working on a freelance infotainment assignment during the small hours of Thursday night, er, Friday morning, a friend alerted me to the presence of free tacos nearby. After engulfing a few, I happily tweeted:

This started innocently enough.

I asked who my taco benefactor was. Friend points him out: that guy over there talking philosophy. One of my BA majors was in philosophy, so I go over and talk up my taco benefactor on the subject, which we quickly hone in on Hobbes.

In 1651 Hobbes wrote in Leviathan:

I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.

The conversation gets mildly heated and a bit more interesting when he says he voluntarily chose to fight for the US military in Iraq. I asked him how he reconciled his philosophy studies with, you know, invading another country that didn’t do anything to the United States. My taco benefactor tells me that, metaphysically speaking, he thinks of reality as permeated and constituted by violence.

Kill them before they kill us, he says, because otherwise they will kill us — that sort of thing. I bring up nonviolence, Martin Luther King Jr., Zen Buddhism, etc. and win temporary favor with him by acknowledging the US MIL culture is at its best educated, sophisticated, etc., not easily rendered by broad brushstrokes (speaking of rendering things, the CIA renditions innocent civilians extra-legally, knowingly; then there’s the torture). My taco benefactor is assuaged enough by my token respect for military culture to carry on the conversation outside over a cigarette, but I carefully bum one (rare & for social purposes only) from my friend, not from him.

He (Chad Wood) tells me he worked as a communications analyst for the Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC, you know, black ops. Said he was integral to missions that led to the capture of AAM (Abu Ayyub al-Masri), for example. Said, a few times, “I don’t know if I should trust you” — I’d made my activism supporting WikiLeaks clear from the outset and that I was adversarial to his beliefs. In fact, I let him know that a few hours prior I’d been calculating bus fare to attend a protest at Fort Meade to support Bradley Manning, who was, like Chad, a military intelligence analyst. (It turns out the bus fare cost is prohibitive; the USA really needs some high-speed public transit.)

Chad philosophically justifies US aggression and treating people as expendable by reference to the grand historical project of democracy. Look, I like Madison-Jeffersonian democracy, too, but the approx 120,000 dead civilians in Iraq (due to the War since 2003) aren’t the price for that. It seemed to me Chad argued for the goodness of US foreign policy by an attempt at inference to the best explanation: Look around, he argued, things are fine, aren’t they? Don’t you think there are some really smart people making sure you and I can have this conversation, and that we should let them have their secrets? I’ll let Howard Beale reply to that one:

Well, if there’s anybody out there that can look around this demented slaughterhouse of a world we live in and tell me that man is a noble creature, believe me: That man is full of bullshit.

He pointed to a truck at a stoplight. He said if he saw such a truck overseas, a computer could give him the last 8 months on that truck in seconds. Exact maps of its past movements, actually. I asked him if they do that on domestic soil. He shook his head No.

He told me the NSA (No Such Agency National Security Agency) has a guy called “Crypto ******” — Crypto something; I didn’t catch the second part of the NSA man’s name, and when I asked Chad to repeat it, he wouldn’t. I do recall that the other, second part of the name was a dactyl (metrical foot: three syllables, stressed on the first syllable) and alliterative (starts with the same sound) — I think it was “Crypto Codekeeper” or “Crypto Keykeeper” or “Crypto Keymaster” or “Crypto Codemaster” or something like that. This guy, Chad said, arrives at top-secret meetings with a briefcase containing physical tape — like cassette tape — that’s used to communicate one-time cryptographic keys and is burned as soon as possible. This guy, Chad said, will be watched for the remainder of his life.

Chad also said he worked with CIA black sites. I’m not sure if he meant worked at them geographically or worked with them remotely (or both).

He posited a “hypothetical”: Why not a submarine vampire-tapping the communication cables that cross the oceans?

Another “hypothetical”: Why not a building here in Fort Worth — or any other major US city — with 6 elevator shafts and only 4 elevators, the other 2 used as antimissile silos or for other interesting purposes? I asked which building. He said I should have asked which buildings, plural. He didn’t specify any.

He said Obama personally authorizes dronekills (or at least the significantly controversial ones) and in general, the extrajudicial assassinations (my phrase). Said it’s public record that the Commander-in-Chief authorizes them, but that he has the experiential knowledge that it’s so.

Said AES-256 OTR properly done cannot be brute-forced yet and contains no backdoors.

Really, he asked me, if I’m so interested in this stuff, why don’t I join up? “The ultimate Assange is already working for the NSA,” he said. Get involved, he said, and get better health insurance than hippies currently have. I’d have access to all sorts of cool technology, he said, and since I’m an ace humanities guy, they’d even have stuff about metaphors and narratives for me and all that kind of stuff!

To which as a proper reply I offer:

Creative Commons License

In which my Taco Benefactor Turns out to Be a Former Communications Analyst for JSOC by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: dal@douglaslucas.com.

Book Donation to Occupy Dallas

On November 10 I rounded up a bunch of stuff, inspiring and relevant literary material mostly, and donated it to Occupy Dallas (Twitter; Facebook).

Books (and bookcase and bag) I donated to Occupy Dallas

Here’s a list of the books I gave, and why I thought them pertinent. All are fiction except for the Robert Reich.

I wanted to include More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, but I couldn’t find a copy.

Occupy Dallas Education Tent

The books went into the tent above; the guy who received the donations told me they’d probably use the bookcase elsewhere. I wonder who read the books and what they thought and if it made a difference.

Occupy Sesame Street comment, in the voice of Cookie Monster:

Yes, there always going to be rich and poor. But we used to live in country where rich owned factory and make 30 times what factory worker make. Now we live in country where rich make money by lying about value of derivative bonds and make 3000 times what factory worker would make if factories hadn’t all moved to China.

Capitalism great system. We won Cold War because people behind Iron Curtain look over wall, and see how much more plentiful and delicious cookies are in West, and how we have choice of different bakeries, not just state-owned one. It great system. It got us out of Depression, won WWII, built middle class, built country’s infrastructure from highways to Hoover Dam to Oreo factory to electrifying rural South. It system that reward hard work and fair play, and everyone do fair share and everyone benefit. Rich get richer, poor get richer, everyone happy. It great system.

Then after Reagan, Republicans decide to make number one priority destroying that system. Now we have system where richest Americans ones who find ways to game system — your friends on Wall Street — and poorest Americans ones who thought working hard would get them American dream, when in fact it get them pink slip when job outsourced to 10-year-old in Mumbai slum. And corporations have more influence over government than people (or monsters).

It not about rich people having more money. It about how they got money. It about how they take opportunity away from rest of us, for sake of having more money. It how they willing to take risks that destroy economy — knowing full well what could and would happen — putting millions out of work, while creating nothing of value, and all the while crowing that they John Galt, creating wealth for everyone.

That what the soul-searching about. When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not “there always going to be rich people”. That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.

2010 article from Business Insider: 22 Statistics That Prove the Middle Class is Being Systematically Wiped out of Existence in America.

2011 article from Business Insider: Charts: Here’s What Wall Street Protestors Are So Angry About.

2011 article from Rolling Stone: Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? Bankers commit economy-destroying crimes — actual crimes — and remain on the loose; meanwhile, many anti-Occupy folks (especially cozy liberals) are interested in nitpicking park regulations … WTF?

Occupy Dallas footage uploaded to YouTube (by someone else) on Nov 19, 2011:

Creative Commons License

Book Donation to Occupy Dallas by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: dal@douglaslucas.com.

Report after Bringing Donated Water to Occupy Dallas

On October 11 2011, with the help of a friend’s warehouse club card, I purchased 392 20-oz bottles of water (and elsewhere, some gas) using donated money entirely, for the purpose of bringing bottled water to the Occupy Dallas (Twitter) group. I was going to make a table of the ten donation amounts, complete with mean, median, and mode, but my other friend who’s a whiz at statistics told me that with such a sample size, I’d be making a complete fool of myself to post anything other than gross and net. Here you go: $100, $100.

Even the Honda Fit groaned under this water’s weight

Occupy Dallas is part of the larger Occupy Wall Street (Twitter) movement protesting genuine grievances, primarily income inequality and the unethical merger of governments, mega corporations, and big banks. I’ll throw the surveillance shadow state in there as well. If you’re so cozy within your white picket fence that you don’t see a problem, gander at these graphs from Business Insider.

This isn’t fair.

What Warren Buffett said.

The 99% aren’t asking for equality of opportunity or results.

Still voting Republican? No? Okay, good. Because the right-wing works by convincing enough people who have the resources to take off work and go vote that they, these voters, are the 1%. You too will own yachts! Actually, no, you won’t. Most you might be able to pull off is maintaining your white picket fence (if you have one), or rather, maintaining the bank’s white picket fence — banks own more home equity in the US than individuals do. Meanwhile the Democratic left, that is to say, more or less, everyone else taking traditional politics seriously, gets divided and disorganized arguing over how to best compromise with the 1% to achieve minor reforms — until populism such as Occupy Wall Street gains a loud enough nonviolent voice to bring about real change.

Hi y’all! You are also the 99%!

I stopped at Pioneer Plaza (the Dallas Occupation is now moving to City Hall Park) and, as a cop watched, hastily deposited my quarters into the parking meter. Activists at the Occupation then ferried water from my Fit to the supply base faster than I could pull my camera out. Peeps were thirsty. :-(

I had a minute to chat with the woman I understood to be Whytney (pictured left?), a leader there who is, I think I overheard, the chief operator of the OccupyDallas Twitter account. (Also: thanks to OccupyDallasCOS, OccupyDallasEMS, and CinnabarSweets for helping me out with some logistics.) I asked for, and quickly received, a list of other items — chairs, C-size batteries, walkie-talkies, shelving, ice, and more — that the 500-or-so people of Occupy Dallas desperately need. Working on that list now, y’all; I’m gathering donors.

Speaking of donations: hopefully, you’re now asking yourself how you can pitch in. There are plenty of ways.

The people united (in Dallas!) will never be defeated!

Creative Commons License

Report after Bringing Donated Water to Occupy Dallas by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.douglaslucas.com.

Concerns about WikiLeaks Cablegate2 Ameliorated

Clark Stoeckly‘s Wikileaks Truck Gets Pulled Over (Flickr; Twitter)

Hopefully you’ve read my prior post about searching WikiLeaks cables for literary topics, which WikiLeaks linked to on Twitter. If not, go read it real quick; I’ll wait.

Okay. At the time of that post, WikiLeaks was still redacting the US State Department cables they’d published, in conjunction with other media partners. A redaction is a removal of sensitive information from a document — in this case, mostly the names of informants (sometimes whistle-blowing informants, sometimes ill-intentioned informants). The worry motivating redactions was that bad guys (for lack of a better word) would retaliate against informants for their interaction(s) with the State Department. Just a few days after my post, WikiLeaks published all 250k+ of the State Department cables, raw, without redactions. Whoa, what happened?

When WikiLeaks was originally working with media partners on Cablegate, editor-in-chief Julian Assange gave an encrypted file of the cables to Guardian journalist (and confessed phone hacker) David Leigh, who later printed its password in his book (which prompted x7o to remark “#idliketothink that if JA had given me the password for cablegate, it wouldn’t now be the title of a chapter in an international bestseller”). The Guardian denies wrongdoing, claiming WikiLeaks told Leigh the password was temporary, which is technically impossible and not the sort of thing an elite cypherpunk such as Assange would mistakenly say. Other disasters, some not nearly as flagrant, combined and led to the file’s decryption by the dark sub-floor of the Internet.

Pretty soon all of the unredacted cables were springing up on websites (including at least one with a customized search engine), and taking up residence on popular file-sharing services. Therefore anyone motivated enough could locate them; some debate just how easily non-technical people could locate the unredacted cables, but really, it’s not that hard — especially for foreign intelligence agencies, computer-adept terrorists, etc.

In a surprising response to the rise of unredacted cables, WikiLeaks published the entire set of unredacted cables themselves, now known as Cablegate2. They also published a press statement:

PJ Crowley, State Department spokesman on the cables issue earlier this year, told AP on the 30th of August, 2011 that “any autocratic security service worth its salt” would probably already have the complete unredacted archive.

Two weeks ago, when it was discovered that information about the Leigh book had spread so much that it was about to be published in the German weekly Freitag, WikiLeaks took emergency action, asking the editor not allude to the Leigh book […]

WikiLeaks advanced its regular publication schedule, to get as much of the material as possible into the hands of journalists and human rights lawyers who need it. WikiLeaks and its partners were scheduled to have published most of the Cablegate material by November 29, 2011 – one year since the first publication. Over the past week, we have published over 130,000 cables, mostly unclassified. The cables have lead to hundreds of important news stories around the world. All were unclassified with the exception of the Australian, Swedish collections, and a few others, which were scheduled by our partners.

WikiLeaks has also been in contact with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty at a senior level. We contacted the US embassy in London and then the State Department in Washington on 25 August to see if their informant notification program, instituted last year, was complete, and if not, to take such steps as would be helpful. Only after repeated attempts through high level channels and 36 hours after our first contact, did the State Department, although it had been made aware of the issue, respond. Cliff Johnson (a legal advisor at the Department of State) spoke to Julian Assange for 75 minutes, but the State Department decided not to meet in person to receive further information, which could not, at that stage, be safely transmitted over the telephone.

This is getting intense

Though these comments seem clear enough at first glance, they left some things unknown. Did WikiLeaks publish Cablegate2 to protect sources, as Glenn Greenwald stated? If so, how does the publication protect sources? What does Human Rights Watch and what does Amnesty International make of Cablegate2, and what did they advise WikiLeaks? Inquiring minds who have been supportive of WikiLeaks (a risky, though legal, thing in the US) deserve to know the full reasoning behind the Cablegate2 publication, I think, without any big steps in the argumentation left for educated guesses.

Some answers arrived today in a New Scientist interview with Assange. He specified three independent justifications for publishing Cablegate2.

  • To protect at-risk people. Assange said: “for harm minimisation, there are people who need to know that they are mentioned in the material before intelligence agencies know they are mentioned — or at least as soon after as possible.”

  • To establish an authentic version of Cablegate2. Assange “point[ed] to stories published in Tajikistan and Pakistan that have been based on fake cables.” [He said:] “WikiLeaks is a way for journalists and the public to check whether a claimed story based on a cable is actually true. They can come to our site to check. We have a 100 per cent accuracy record.”

  • To help reformers racing against the corrupt’s clamping down. Assange: “a race commenced between the governments who need to be reformed and the people who can reform them using the material.”

When WikiLeaks first published Cablegate2, I, like WikiLeaks Crowd-Sourceress Asher_Wolf, had (and have) several concerns. Here are mine:

  • WikiLeaks didn’t call for amnesty for at-risk, whistle-blowing informants.

  • WikiLeaks didn’t apologize to at-risk, whistle-blowing informants.

  • WikiLeaks apparently didn’t request public comment from Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International.

  • WikiLeaks had only given a truncated remark about Cablegate2 protecting sources. With the New Scientist Assange interview this concern is now redressed.

You might respond that the first three concerns above can’t be redressed given WikiLeaks’ limited resources and the quantity of the cables, or maybe that redressing the three concerns isn’t WikiLeaks’ proper role as a conduit for whistle-blowing leakers, or maybe that addressing them would cause legal problems or PR problems for their brand (their reputation affects whether whistle-blowers trust them). I can understand those responses, though I’m not sure how to fully evaluate them. I do think WikiLeaks needs to do more for the named, whistle-blowing informants.

But after today’s New Scientist interview, I do feel that on balance, WikiLeaks did the right thing by publishing Cablegate2. I hope, however, that people and organizations of sufficient importance work toward protecting the named, whistle-blowing informants, and that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International weigh in publicly on WikiLeaks’ Cablegate2 publication (in which case I’ll consider their reasoning). After all, WikiLeaks followed the computer security community’s practice of widely publishing threats (viruses, etc.) that are already out in the wild since doing so, despite risk, solves problems more quickly; yet, assuming the same strategy extends to protecting people offline might be a problematic example of what Evgeny Morozov calls Internet-centrism: relying too much on technical knowledge when addressing problems not adequately described in technological terms.

Actually read this

As Clay Shirky says, in the United States, publishing leaked documents is basically legal (see New York Times v. United States as well as the First Amendment); it’s leaking them that’s often illegal (and risky). Today the Internet has lowered the costs associated with publishing. We with Internet connections are all now publishers, though not all journalists. While instituting legal licensing to determine who gets to be a publisher would be ridiculously bad for freedom, our larger bullhorns — especially those of the more prominent netizens among us — come with more serious responsibility than might be first imagined.

Older generations, I think, see publication itself as some measure of approval of the published content; in this view, WikiLeaks publishing the unredacted cables amounts to the organization approving of the lack of redactions. This view makes a degree of sense in the past world where the process of publication was expensive, time-consuming, and relatively uncommon.

But now, to use two metaphors each from a different science fiction writer (William Gibson, then Cory Doctorow), with the Internet the human race has sprouted an information exoskeleton, an outboard brain. If the principle “non-secure, online info available anywhere is available everywhere” isn’t completely true yet, it will be more or less true within a decade or, at most, two. This is the ideology of radical transparency. WikiLeaks is helping to usher in a world where not writing down secrets (or typing them out) will be the only way to keep them. That world, I think, will be one of reduced secrets and, accordingly, a better, more just one.

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Concerns about WikiLeaks Cablegate2 Ameliorated by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.douglaslucas.com.

Searching Wikileaks Cables for Literary Topics, First of Many

Clark Stoeckly‘s Wikileaks Truck on Flickr, Twitter

This week WikiLeaks published thousands more US diplomatic cables as part of its Cablegate operation. Among many other items, Cablegate has confirmed or revealed the following:

  • Referring to the United States’ secret air strikes in Yemen, Yemen’s president promised US general David Petraeus that “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.” (Original Cable, Salon, BBC.)

  • Though Canada publicly claimed opposition to the Iraq war “for domestic political reasons and out of a deep-seated Canadian commitment to multilateralism,” it secretly told the United States it was “prepared to be as helpful as possible in the military margins,” using Canadian naval and air forces “discreetly” on behalf of the US. (Original Cable, CBC News.)

  • The United States ordered American diplomats to secretly and illegally collect top United Nations officials and others’ credit card numbers, biometric data (fingerprints, iris scans, DNA), passwords, and more. (Original Cable, NYT, Guardian.)

  • In 2009 U.S. Senator John McCain promised Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi some American military hardware. (Original Cable, Politico.)

  • Texas security contractor DynCorp pimped little boys to be raped by Afghan policemen at a DynCorp-organized party. (Original Cable, Houston Press, Guardian.)

Whoops

WikiLeaks initiated a crowdsourcing effort, #wlfind on Twitter, ensuring its latest cable releases would be looked through. Inspired by Furry Girl (Twitter), who put together a post about the latest cables in her area of expertise (sex work), I decided to do something similar for literary topics. If you’re eager to dig through some cables yourself, try this cablegate search engine, and then share your findings online.

(Also! Watch Glenn Greenwald defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange on CNN with this embed.)

I restricted my work to this most recent batch of cables. Here are the search results, and the total number of hits when I first searched, for: literature (665); literary (334); … wow! This is going to take more than one post.

Reading the below, one should bear in mind Evgeny Morozov‘s astute critique of Internet-centrism, a lazy perspective that ignores the importance of local cultures when interpreting material and instead focuses faith on technology. I’m not at all an expert on foreign countries, etc. I can only fish out cables with some literary significance in the hope others might benefit from them.

  • In April 2006, a few months after gun-firing Chinese police in Dongzhou subdued villagers protesting land confiscations (WaPo), the American consulate in Guangzhou invoked a metaphor of Lu Xun‘s (“China’s most prominent modern author”): the Chinese sense, in the area, of rapid economic growth is that it “eats people.” From the cable (my link):

    in his “Diary of a Madman” short story […] the supposedly mentally deranged narrator has looked at the whole of Chinese history and found its grandeur and power to be founded on the eating of people

    The cable claims

    there is a conscious attempt led in part by Guangzhou’s most progressive and highly influential magazine, the “Nanfengchuang” (the “South Wind Window”), to revive the spirit of the New Culture Movement of the 1920s of which Lu was a key figure

    The cable goes on to advocate for increased injections of humanities programs to teach core American democratic values. These, the cable argues, will make rapid economic growth in the area more humane. After all, the cable says,

    there is a very large audience for American literature and thought. American literature specialist Ernesto Suarez, our Fulbright Scholar at Guangzhou’s Zhongshan University, is in demand not only at Zhongshan but also at other institutions every weekend throughout China. Recently, the Shantou University English Language Department approached the Consulate about strengthening the American literature component of its program in line with the desire of students to learn not merely the language but also the values of the American people speaking that language.

    (Original Cable.)

    The Cold War-style argument that humanities talks and courses (apparently) alone can sufficiently soften the steamroll of global economics makes one worry (especially in light of other cables).

  • A 2007 cable from the Beijing Embassy summarizes a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference that included China’s suggestion that the US State Department study up on its Confucius.

    Spokesperson Qin Gang said at the March 8 regular press briefing that the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006 issued today by China’s State Council Information Office serves as “a mirror for United States to view its own human rights condition” and “understand why it has no right to use double standards in criticizing other countries.” Qin continued, saying the MFA would give the State Department copies of the “Four Books and Five Classics” of Chinese literature as a guide to good governance. Asked if the report constituted a double standard on China’s part by interfering in the domestic affairs of the United States, Qin referred the reporter to his previous statement.

    (Original Cable.)

    The Confucian work “Four Books and Five Classics” praises feudal values.

  • A 2008 cable from Taiwan noted growth in the market for simplified-character Chinese books as government restrictions on the products loosened and more translations of foreign books into Chinese were imported from mainland China.

    A survey done by local book dealers in 2006 showed that 50 percent of simplified-character Chinese books sold in Taiwan are on literature, history, and philosophy; 10 percent on social science, law, politics, and the military; 10 percent on Chinese medicine and art; 10 percent on education, finance and engineering; with the remainder on tourism and other topics. As for the consumers, Chu Fu-ming, head of the Eslite flagship bookstore’s simplified-character Chinese book section, told AIT, “those who buy simplified-character Chinese books are mostly intellectuals and academics. Only 20 percent of the buyers are in their twenties, while 40 percent are in their thirties and forties, and the remaining 40 percent are over 50 years old. Older people are especially noticeable because they come in the mornings and spend a long time poring carefully over selections,” Wu observed, with “history books being the most popular.”

    The cable worries about simplified-character textbooks supplanting US textbooks more and more, since Chinese college professors were finding the former less expensive and easier to assign.

    (Original Cable.)

  • In the Chinese city of Zhenjiang, readers of Nobel Prize-winning American novelist Pearl Buck (Mike Wallace interview; Nobel write-up), who spent much of her time in China, worried, according to a 2008 cable, that Buck wasn’t getting enough attention in the United States.

    Comment: Zhenjiang’s fervor for its long-ago American “daughter” points to possibilities for the upcoming celebrations of the 30th anniversary of U.S.-China relations.

    (Original Cable.)

  • A 2003 cable cited “the latest Human Development Report on the Arab states” as noting

    The economic, political, artistic, and literary creativity of the Arab states are being stifled by the exclusion of women, among other factors. As an example, the report notes that Turkey alone published more works of creative literature over the past year than the entire Arab world combined.

    (Original Cable.)

    Female Turkish novelist Elif Shafak spoke at a 2010 TED conference on the ability of fiction to overcome identity politics.

  • A 2003 cable said although “European public opinion may be skeptical about the politics of GOT joining the European Union, […] civil society has shown that sharing space with Turkey in the
    cultural realm is as natural as can be.” The cable cited the European popularity of Istanbul-born novelist Orhan Pamuk as evidence of Turkey’s “de facto integration into European cultural life.”

    His recent novel “My Name is Red” won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2003; this award was the latest in a series of European honors dating back to his 1991 Prix de la Decouverte Europeenne for the French translation of his second novel, “Sessiz_Ev” (“The Quiet House”).

    (Original Cable.)

  • With a 2005 cable, the American embassy in Tel Aviv took note of an editorial referencing Egyptian playwright Ali Salem:

    “We have already seen that both Israel and Egypt generally obey when there is an American scolding…. Why not initiate, for example, the award of an honorary doctorate by an American university to Ali Salem for his contribution to peace between the peoples?”

    (Original Cable.)

    The original op-ed can be found here.

  • According to a 2006 cable, staff from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Director-General’s office “held misperceptions” about the World Digital Library, “a project to put rare and remote items on the web.” The staff worried over Google’s involvement, saying it troubled European nations, and that the countries might be more receptive to a UNESCO label.

    (Original Cable.)

Thus far I’ve come away with the impression that the United States strongly believes spreading American culture is an effective way to spread its core democratic values, but other countries often see this as hypocritical given the States’ frequent disregard of those values. If you’re interested in reading more about that, I recommend Evgeny Morozov’s book The Net Delusion. Another observation: writers and their work do make more of an impact in international politics than you might suspect.

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Searching Wikileaks Cables for Literary Topics, First of Many by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.douglaslucas.com.

Glenn Greenwald at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls on Reforming US Foreign Policy

Answering audience question

Last month on a Thursday evening (10 March 2011), Glenn Greenwald (his Salon.com column; Twitter; Wikipedia; recent Awl interview) gave a talk at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls titled “Reforming U.S. Foreign Policy” (MWSU’s philosophy program and a few other people/groups you can see on the flyer sponsored the event). His mere appearance was notable since Wichita Falls and MWSU are small places (city population about 100k, university students about 6500) in the Republic of Texas, roughly 3 hours away from the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. These days the Republic is about as right-wing a state as it gets (2010 Texas Republican Party Platform in PDF), and Greenwald is by no means a minor commentator. A traditional way to show his prominence: he has two NYT bestselling books to his name, in 2009 Forbes ranked him the 18th Most Influential Liberal in US Media, and he’s appeared on TV news programs ranging from Democracy Now! to Rachel Maddow to Brit Hume to Colbert. Watch him defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange on CNN with this embed:

An alternate way to show Greenwald’s prominence? The law firm Hunton & Williams requested three data intelligence firms — HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies (all connected with the US national security industry) — develop a proposal on behalf of Bank of America, which apparently fears a Wikileaks mega-leak exposing mis-doings. Part of the leaked proposal targeted Greenwald:

(The Anonymous hack leaking emails (searchable!) showing the HBGary et al. plan against Greenwald & Wikileaks also revealed HBGary has worked on “persona management” software to help the US create fake netizens as astroturf to manufacture “the illusion of consent” and “gang up” on bloggers.)

The drive from Fort Worth to MWSU was long, especially as I’d never visited the campus before, and I was teaching that day. So unfortunately I entered the auditorium about 45(?) minutes late.

From my seat near the back of the auditorium, I placed the crowd size at about 150; Greenwald later said the sponsor(s) guessed around 150-200. Many were students, taking notes like mad. Greenwald speaks very quickly, very well, and in long, complex, grammatically correct sentences — I gave up my attempt to live-tweet the event. He didn’t appear to use any notes, either, though maybe he had a bullet-point outline page on the podium or something.

Two days prior, Greenwald spoke in Santa Fe on the current political climate, so with the two Santa Fe embeds below — I haven’t found any for the MWSU Wichita Falls event — you can hear some of the same content and also get a sense of his speaking style. There’s a transcript of the Santa Fe talk here and a transcript of its Q&A here.

Much of what Greenwald said in Wichita Falls about foreign policy matches his article “The crux of our endless War on Terror.” From the article:

not only is our policy of endless war wildly disproprionate and counter-productive, but it provides the pretext for endless civil liberties abuses. Here is what [Obama’s Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael] Leiter boasts after being asked about the Obama administration’s targeting of U.S. citizens for assassination who have been charged with nothing: “Just to be clear, the U.S. government through the Department of Defense goes out and attempts to target and kill people, a lot of people, who haven’t been indicted.” […]

[All this] despite the fact that we have been continuously wrong in our accusations of Terrorism and have even knowingly imprisoned innocent people. […]

Leiter concedes (as has been recognized by the U.S. Government for years) that [US counter-terrorism] actions have the opposite effect of what is supposedly intended: namely, these actions are what motivate so much of the very Terrorism (especially the recent Terrorism) that is cited to justify those policies. […]

All because there are a few hundred people hiding in caves in remote tribal areas who are really, really Scary: who will get you if don’t acquiesce to endless war, the transfer of enormous amounts of money to fight those wars, and the most unlimited and unchecked government powers imaginable. And even when they come right out and say that this is all about nothing more than a few hundred people — many of whom are motivated by the very violence we’re perpetrating — it changes very little. Fear is an extremely potent motivating force, overwhelming all reason and skepticism of power. That’s why political leaders — in all eras and all places — like it and use it so much.

In this connection, note USA (combined) military spending since 2001 has been a bailout-per-year (approx $700 billion). If you froth about the bailout’s size, remember: total USA military spending, now: a bailout per year. (Progressive Libertarians, there’s your mantra!)

Since I wasn’t able to take many notes during the (high-speed!) talk, and since much of the content matched the embeds and the article above, I’ll simply bullet-point some of the notes I did manage to take. These are comments from Greenwald, paraphrased by me; any mistakes mine.

  • He referred approvingly to the Washington Post’s Top Secret America investigation. The investigation shows the national security industry in America has grown so large, has become such a huge portion of the government, that no one has really been able to successfully keep track of it and its spending.

  • Our civil rights we’re told about from childhood (due process, free speech, free press, &tc.) do make us better (in that regard) than other countries, make us free; war is the great enemy of those freedoms. The greatest violations of civil liberties pretty much occur during war. The Espionage Act, the Japanese internments, Senator McCarthy, the current NSA.

  • Some secrecy is necessary for governments, but that’s supposed to be the exception, not the rule.

  • War creates constant fear. The way to get a citizenry to agree to wage a war is to get them to fear something. FDR had a difficult time convincing Americans to enter World War Two; after the senseless World War One, there was a broad sense in America that wars should not be entered unless we’re directly under attack. What finally convinced Americans was the fear the Japanese brought about through Pearl Harbor. Fear is the pre-requisite for war. Overall, fear is an important, valuable, and important emotion. But oftentimes, fear becomes its own addiction. No matter what, whether the war in question is just or not, it puts the citizenry in fear.

  • Here’s one of his anecdotes about the current climate of fear in America. He wrote an article about Wikileaks before they’d released the Collateral Murder video — before Wikileaks was known well in the States. He initially learned of them by reading the Pentagon had in 2002 prepared a secret report declaring Wikileaks an enemy to be destroyed — ironically enough, the report was leaked to Wikileaks [This line got much laughter]. Greenwald began to suggest his readers donate to the organization. But people told him they were afraid — though Wikileaks had never been charged with or convicted of a crime. They were afraid they’d end up on “some list.” The War on Terror has made people afraid of our government, has made people believe there’s very little the government can’t do to you.

  • It’s not as if we’re going to be able to round up a finite number of terrorists with T‘s stamped on their foreheads, kill them, and then we’ll be free of fear and terror, ready to resume our civil liberties. No, now we’re in a period of perpetual war.

  • Terrorism works because terrorists decide for whatever reasons that they’re willing to blow themselves up to kill as many other people as possible, to sacrifice their lives in other ways, in order to inflict damage and send messages … What is it that leads people to this point? Well, every day the Muslim world broadcasts the damage the USA inflicts there; imagine some group / country / government striking your weddings, parties, homes, and you hear about it day and day out — that’s what makes a terrorist want to attack the USA. Yet if as an American citizen you say the solution to terrorism might be to stop bombing people, you’re often considered a terrorist yourself!

And, from the Question and Answer period, audience questions:

  • Q: What do you say when people tell you you’re Anti-American for talking in your reasonable, critical way?

    A: The ultimate patriotic duty, your obligation, is to critique the policies you think are hurting your own citizens. I don’t think there’s something inherently evil about the USA; but, the actions we’re engaging in are extremely destructive.

  • Q: Could you say something about the plight of Bradley Manning, alleged leaker to Wikileaks?

  • A: When people ask me how I manage to say things some people take as anti-American, I think about people such as Manning who are undergoing much worse than I am, and I get courage from that.

  • Q: What should an everyday citizen do to promote the kind of positions you’re advocating?

  • De-fund the wars. Talk to people about the issues. Also, the nascent grassroots alliances between Progressives and Libertarians might further the de-funding of the wars.

  • Q [by me]: Can you talk about tensions between transparency and privacy, not so much with groups such as Wikileaks where power disparities are clear-cut, but with other groups such as UniLeaks, who publishes leaks about universities … or, leaks about small businesses, medium-size businesses … [Here I wanted to mention a quote attributed to Assange in a Mother Jones article: Wikileaks “want[s] every person who’s having a dispute with their kindergarten to feel confident about sending us material.”]

  • A: This question has come up recently with people accusing Assange of hypocrisy. Public citizens with political power should be subject to transparency; ordinary private citizens should be allowed privacy. Right now our culture has completely reversed that .. that’s the dichotomy that has to be kept in line.

After the Q&A, I spoke with Greenwald briefly to thank him for making Texas something other than a right-wing state for a few hours. He seemed a fairly normal guy, and I mean that in a good way; partly it’s a superficial comment to make, but after run-ins with more than one odd political group or wiseman or …, I tend to take a moment to measure such things as body language and whatnot. (Not that I’m any sort of sartorial genius or smooth operator myself; I bumble.)

I asked Greenwald for further comment on my question — for instance, I asked, is the dichotomy between transparency and privacy something to be hashed out over time via common law and the like? He suggested it’s more of a cultural thing, that culture is more of the prime mover in this regard. Unfortunately he and I had all of twenty seconds to talk about it, but that’s how these events go. =) As a follow-up I’d have asked about Žižek’s take on Wikileaks. Žižek says the predominant leftist model of Wikileaks sees it merely as a “radical case of ‘investigative journalism'” and sees power as “held by the bad guys at the top” rather than as “something that permeates the entire social body, determining how we work, think and consume.” I don’t agree with Žižek’s downplaying of investigative journalism, but I think he raises interesting questions, especially in light of Assange’s comment in Mother Jones indicating an interest in publishing material on more everyday organizations. In Santa Fe Greenwald said:

to me, when people raise concerns, ‘well, isn’t Wikileaks going a little too far in disclosing some things that should be secret?’ We’re so far over towards the pole of excessive secrecy that I can’t even envision the day when I’m going to start worrying about excessive disclosure. I’d like to be in that position, but we’re so far from that day. So, yes, some things should be kept secret, but that is so far away from the problem that we have, that things that should be kept secret aren’t being kept secret, when everything is being kept secret, and that’s a real threat to democracy.

I basically agree with Greenwald here (and Clay Shirky), but I believe we’d benefit from experts such as Greenwald pondering aloud the far-off day of excessive disclosure, and the current time of a wildly changing public space, even if that’s not their exact realm of expertise. (See, for instance, David Brin‘s book The Transparent Society.) Then again, as a writer who often writes science fiction, I sometimes reason from the future backwards, which isn’t always the best thing to do.

Moral philosophers should consider this: are white lies, those social niceties, justified, and does social networking and the current change in the public space change the issue? Political science people should go after Obama’s statement “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source.” And one way for someone with a law background to look at it might be: what happens to libel and slander laws as we, through social networking, all become more public citizens? Wikileaks is a radical and good case of investigative journalism, but it is something more also, something we’re all having trouble putting our finger on.

On Meeting the National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party at an Event Somehow Related to Wikileaks

When I’m really excited about a book or movie, I make a point of ignoring the reviews, the jacket copy, the trailers, etc. — I prefer to experience the full-length artwork cold. Then afterward I go back and check out the peripheral stuff.

So as some sort of ‘cautious supporter at a distance’ (or whatever) of Wikileaks — and especially of journos and fiction-writers bravely discussing radical transparency, technology, civil liberties — I got excited about what at first appeared, on the Wikileaks Central website here, to be a vague “Global WikiLeaks support rally.” Anyone apparently can claim one of these things, not unlike this or that tea party or this or that libertation front meeting. I put the date, time, and place (16 Feb, 7pm, the University of Houston Main Campus University Center Room 242) on my calendar and waited a good month or so for the day to arrive. I didn’t even research the event, really, let alone its periphery.

Though it was hard to miss this headline on the event(s) webpage at the World Socialist Web Site:

Imperialist diplomacy exposed: Behind the witch-hunt of WikiLeaks.

Really? Some dudes in Houston (and elsewhere!) have discerned the one and only witch-hunt and they’re going to expose it? Ah, but being charitable as I am, and being forewarned as I am about the loose nature of de-centralized rallies/discussions, I decided just to show up, see who’d be there, what’d happen there, benefit of the doubt and all.

A day or two before driving down to Houston, I double-checked the event’s meager webpage at the World Socialist Web Site (not Wikileaks Central) and noticed a name had been slotted in as a “Speaker”: Joe Kishore. (I think I have the timeline of these webpage changes accurate from memory, but if you find any cache or archive discrepancies, please tell in the comments.)

I ripped this image of Joe Kishore off the World Socialist Web Site since they don’t believe in property

I found his Twitter username and included it in a public tweet spanning Wikileaks-related hashtags in search of other people who might be attending. Kishore responded:

I SEE YOU TOO

Not long after this exchange, the World Socialist Web Site added an additional sentence describing the Houston event: “The topic of this meeting has been changed to The Revolution in Egypt.” Maybe I’m imagining things, but it is relevant to point out that anyone can find out with two clicks on Twitter that my wife works as a television producer, and this event started as a political rally seeking attention. As for the Wikileaks Central page, they continued (and still continue) to describe the Houston meeting as a “support rally” and a “discuss[ion]”.

The day of the event, I used one of my school’s faculty restrooms to change out of my Clark Kent button-down & slacks and into a comfortable pair of blue jeans, my trusty O9 F9 T-shirt, and a hoodie-like thing with a “BLAME IT ON THE MEDIA” button in place of a flag pin. (Blame everything on the mediated nature of higher-order human consciousness!) And I got into my little hatchback and off through the Republic of Texas I went.

At about 8:00pm — missing all of the event except the last few Q&As! — I entered the room with my camera around my neck and my briefcase and, as quietly as possible so as not to distract anyone, made my way to the back of the room and took a chair. I decided photography would be rude, since I was such a late arrival, so unfortunately, no pictures here. But from memory, the demographics of the audience: about 15 students of the typical college age, late teens to early to mid-twenties, mostly non-white, males and females equally visible. I don’t think there were any professors in the room, as there sometimes are at talks. There were, however, two middle-aged white guys accompanying the National Secretary, Houston locals I think. Kishore told me later he was thirty.

I really only heard two or three audience questions. With one, a young woman asked about similar events elsewhere in the Middle East, and I was thinking, that’s what Twitter’s for, not really paying attention, as I was jacking-in to Twitter myself, tethering with my iPhone. Also I seem to remember a young man sitting across the aisle from me rising, shaking his head as if thinking this National Socialist Secretary Dude is kind of legit but also kind of wack, and then hastening out of the room, despite Kishore’s call for him to buy a pamphlet or sign up for an email list or something. But again, I don’t remember this all too clearly. I’d just driven about 5 hours and sat down and jacked-in, surrounded by an in-progress discussion.

Kishore asked if there were any more questions, and I asked what his Socialist Equality Party’s take was on the Pirate Party that has had some success in Sweden and is (sorta) beginning to appear in the USA, as well as for his party’s take on reform-minded alliances between progressive groups and libertarian groups, which is drawing the attention of some Wikileaks supporters &tc.?

Well, Kishore replied, incremental reform is window-dressing, coalition-building is white-washing, because we the people need revolution, one undergirded by a no-compromise socialist cultural movement; pamphlets on sale in the back would explain further.

Meeting adjourned, he said.

The American Student Loan Racket“; at least this image is aligned left

I didn’t quite believe my ears. Revolution? Huh? Seriously, you think you are going to sell that in the ballot box to Americans with food in their stomachs and roofs over their heads, today, right now? That’s your political platform? If you’re really working in politics, you’re not a revolutionary, you’re a reformer. No wonder the Socialist Equality Party achieves only 0.000000000001% of the vote (if that) with their contradictions.

I stayed for a while as the ~15 students trickled out, talking with National Secretary Kishore and his two friends, er, comrades. (So at this point everyone in the room is male and thoroughly bourgeois.) I gave the Socialist Equality Party $2 in cash to get a pamphlet (pictured left) that attacks the student loan industry, as a dark-humor gag gift for Wifely Kate; hopefully that $2 doesn’t count as material support for anything illegal. (It did strike me as goofy that the pamphlets weren’t free, but I decided not to ask.)

I questioned the three guys on their Trostsky-ite philosophy, and they “refudiated” my points each in their own way. Kishore spoke in quotes, often picking up pamphlets to find them, and sometimes ducked aside enigmatically for cell phone communiques. One of the other two just stared at me silently with those all-seeing/sightless eyes I know too well from having interacted with Scientologists (a tiny bit) and with Ayn Rand-ers (way too much). The third seemed very, very nervous, fidgeting, trying to figure out which world he belonged to. Eventually — I forget on whose suggestion — we decided to go to a nearby sports bar to continue talking. Again, I try to be charitable and support everyone’s right to be weird, you know? And, having mentioned this event to so many others beforehand, I felt a writer’s duty to plumb its depths.

Leaving the main of the campus, I started asking the 5 W’s and 1 H: Who What When Where Why and How. That was when the bad vibes I was getting began crescendo-ing; like I said, I can be overly generous and charitable when interpreting others’ behavior. I asked how they got ahold of the room. The very, very nervous man said this was their second time at the University of Houston, and so far, the school hadn’t been ruffled by their Socialist Equality Party name — he seemed to imply, darkly, that such problems were not uncommon in the capitalist United States. (I saw Steve Best, a self-appointed spokesperson for the Animal Liberation Front, give a talk at Texas Christian University; I don’t think the Socialist Equality Party has much to worry about on this room issue besides paying any pertinent bills.) These three guys only mentioned their first names when they introduced themselves. You know, creepy stuff like that. But I pushed forward in the conversation, circling in on the logical flaws of, you know, burning the entire world to the ground and starting from zero.

Like, “You support democratic decision-making, but since as you say that requires an educated populace, how are you going to teach a bunch of people with infrastructure in collapse?” Kishore: “You can educate people in a hurry.” And I should have said, “Yeah, when you have all the bananas and education means agreeing with you.” This was the place where we parted ways.

When I returned home, I finally got to googling some of the event’s periphery:

Not a good sign.

Joe Kishore of the Socialist Equality Party apparently shares the chairperson title with David North, and plenty of stops on the Intertubes, such as this LJ post, this Usenet thread, and this blog post allege David North = David W. Green, rich CEO of a capitalist publishing operation, Grand River Printing & Imaging. They assert David W. Green is making money of these pamphlets and expected donations from members, using Joe Kishore as his (un?)witting mouthpiece. Maybe those posts are wrong. Like the XFiles TV show says, “The Truth Is Out There” — but I’m too disgusted to look for it.

Three things remain. One, when I was deeply involved in the most hardcore of the Ayn Rand groups as a teenager, somebody else inadvertently sparked my getting out of it by means of pranking one of our online meetings with humor, and then, when I messaged him directly to say “Help,” he talked with me — selflessly — for hours, assuring me I’d still find friends once I got out of that twisted group, to which he too used to belong. So I feel an obligation to post this in case any of those three guys (or their associates) are looking for some words to help them find their way out. (Though I do not wish to communicate with the three I met personally.)

And second, it’s all so easy to assume your in-groups are normal, and your out-groups are somehow wrongly weird. You don’t need Foucault or Wittgenstein to see the problem here, you just need courage. Pick your most cherished affiliation — religious, political, whatever. Question yourself about it, in writing maybe. Eventually you’ll learn that human beings fashion narratives to survive; they need story-lines to manage their surroundings. Narratives edit out other possibilities (“this is the story, not that”); they provide absolutes for a while, even for centuries, and you must use them to function. But everything in reality is in flux, so narratives are always deficient. Flexibility with narratives is a life skill essential to writers, and to anyone who doesn’t want to remain locked on their own island, surrounded by a wall, screaming at the world and its groups to get off their lawn as the number of people who will stay beside them declines and declines.

And third: this, I think, is why so few Americans actually participate in local politics, where their actions can make an enormous difference, and escape to national or global politics, where it’s easy to point fingers at situations you *actually* know very little about. It’s so easy to refuse the challenge of interacting with compassion and empathy to understand one another in person, learn from one another’s partisan divides, … and to instead riff on stereotypes about how so many of “those people” over on the other side of the world are, you know, weird. That’s the easy way out, the easy way to become anchored to a nice safe island that has nothing on it.

So on Feb 16 2011, did the Socialist Equality Party take over a de-centralized pro-Wikileaks rally in order to gain followers and money? Yes, just like we all go to de-centralized places in order to profit in various ways. The difference is that, from what I can tell, people in the Socialist Equality Party are interested in cold hard private-property cash, and they’re lying about it. Even down to David North’s very name. Then again, I wasn’t there for the whole thing. None of us ever are.