Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Operation: Oooh, Sarracuda

Maybe this is a news flash, but Barack Obama is a Muslim. He also hates America, isn't a patriot, and wants to kill us all in our sleep.

If you didn't know all this, it's okay. Just open up your e-mail inbox and it's all right there.

I say that in jest, of course, but the fact remains: the right-wing uses e-mail like a pro. They've used it against the Clintons and against John Kerry, and now it's being used against Obama. Probably because it only involves hitting the "Forward" button, and it doesn't involve much creativity. Why pay for ads when you can just type up some bullshit and hit "send" to your family members?

The left-wing has its own form of propaganda, but it involves a little more work. Liberals get off their asses and does some on-the-street reporting, in blogs and in commenting forums and in Twitter feeds, like journalists used to do (and should be doing today).

The Twitter feeds I read are alive with protests and linking. John Gruber, who authors my favorite blog Daring Fireball, has made it his goal to uncover everything evil about Sarah Palin. And Andrew Sullivan, over at The Atlantic, has hit the governor everyday. But who actually reads this stuff? Do average Americans really jump on The Atlantic's site for their political news? How much influence do they have?

There's a great new blog that has surfaced since the Palin VP announcement, called Mudflats, and its written by a guy up in Alaska that reports as an Alaskan on the whole ordeal. It's great stuff, like when he attends an anti-Palin rally that's actually larger than her "welcome home" rally.

But then I watch the Sunday morning political shows, like "This Week," and all of them were gushing over Sarah Palin and her "dramatic invigoration" of the Republican base. No truth-telling, no in-depth questioning - just idol worship. How can blogs compete with ABC? My good friend Andrea has had some great posts about the awfulness of the Governor, but even her and me combined don't get the audience that major media outlets do. Not even close.

So we need an e-mail campaign of our own.

We need to take what these go-getters, these guardians of the public interest (most of which are underpaid or not paid at all - just passionate investigators of the truth) are finding and spread them like a virus. We can finally test whether the truth will set America free, and whether lies fall under the weight of their own hypocrisy (though are are some exceptions).

Take what you find, copy the link or the text, and send them to your relatives. You know the ones: the same aunts and uncles who send you those "send this or die in five days" kinds of e-mails. Send them all the shit that's been dug up about Palin. If that's the only way we can reach people about this lady, then so be it. Because I'll tell you, McCain's cronies are working hard to assault Obama through e-mail (by calling him a Muslim, anti-American, a socialist, and so on). We can fight back.

The key will be not to send them to people who think the same way you do. That's preaching to the choir. Instead, send it to people who you know are either undecided or are so pro-Palin they're going to get their Sarah beehave hairdo. Set your sights on folks who don't pay attention, in any sort of detail, to news from the political front. The fact is, these folks aren't going to find out the truth unless it's shoved in front of their face. So let's do the shoving.

To get things started, however, spread the good word amongst your friends. They can then take what we've found and spread it to their non-believers. It has to start somewhere.

Is this back-handed? Is it the cheap way of doing things? Is it even right? Yes, maybe, and probably not - but listen, we're on the losing side of a fight that's been raging for years. We can hope that people will suddenly care about what goes on in the world, and we can hope that people will read blogs and watch the news and do some research. But hope only goes so far, and eventually we need to do the work ourselves. Part of it is the good people who are researching the candidates and putting the information out there. But that's only half the battle. The other half is making sure people see the stuff. And friends, that's where you and I come in.

You know what the great part is? Most of the stuff being spread about Barack Obama are lies. Shit-storm, muddy, dirty lies. But the information about Sarah Palin? That's all true. The difficult part is already done, because we don't have to make anything up. Her husband really did want Alaska to secede from the Union. She really did say the Iraq war was "God's will." She look into banning books at her town's library. All this makes the entire job easier.

This begins "Operation: Oooh, Sarracuda." But what should our hub be? Should we have a blog? A website? Some kind of resource people can go and find all the ammunition they need? Let me know, and we can build a hot-and-heavy coalition of people who really care about who is going to govern their country. Nothing is out of bounds, but there is one limitation: we're only going to spread stuff that's true. No lies. Nothing that might be true. Just truth, fair and square.

The moral high ground is a good place to start, and as the Jedi say - the truth hurts. Let's make it hurt really bad. While we may feel a bit dirty and slimy at the end - anything that deals with spreading e-mail propaganda is always a bit messy - our hard work will be worth it. A side benefit? Maybe your neighbor, the one who sends you all those lottery offers and racist jokes, will leave you the hell alone.

The war will not be televised. It will be forwarded and spread and will catch fire in the inboxes of the unbelievers. We have nothing to lose but our dignity - we have a country to gain.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why I wish '' wasn't taken.

Joe Klein from, on John McCain's new war on the media:
There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.