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Interesting site. I didn't know the Republicans had blog technology that postdated 1995. This guy you mention is the "founder and director" of RedState.org

Their posting guildelines section reminds me of several feminist boards I used to post on. Initially there's a piece saying everyone is welcome to post even if they are Democrats or whatever. Then they were forced to change it to say,

"A little clarification is in order. Pursuant to the mission statement, this site is explicitly meant to serve as a conservative and Republican community. Postings, comments, etc., contrary to this purpose fall under the rubric of "disruptive behavior" and will result in banning."

In my case I'd be banned even without the "clarification" for my various fundamentally anti-American beliefs like justice (supporting international and national law), democracy, freedom and so on.

OTOH the same thing happens on liberal boards prompting someone to after a recent banning, "I thought the odd thing was how much he freaked some people out. I hated the way the group reacted. I'm sorry the stuff is gone forever as it was really fascinating group dynamics."

Well there you have it: I freak the left out and I make the right froth at the mouth.

Well now I'm really wandering off topic.... but do you muse much about the meta stuff Robin? The blogosphere or particular site dynamics and what the heck the whole point of all this is or whether we are achieving anything?

It seems like there's so much potential to change the world just by talking to people. So much of the world is the result of just talking to people. To take a specific example the power of the corporate media in the US to change elections and push certain ideologies is potentially challenged by the blogs as they become increasingly popular with people outside the core group.

Rob: Thanks for this. I've been working on a long series about the martial law thing so I haven't been tracking WM lately and missed this completely. I must say, tho, it's hardly surprising. Using blogs for political purposes has been going on for a while and corporations started doing it at least 6 months ago that I know of. It figures that WM--who don't miss a trick when it comes to propaganda--would want in at a fairly early date.

I'm not sure I'm going to worry about it much. In fact, it might even be a way to identify or track some of their tricks.

David: Rob doesn't post much on 'meta stuff' and neither do I; even Nick Lewis has laid off it for awhile now. But I imagine we all think about it. Diana at democracyforcalifornia.com posted some thoughtful stuff awhile back, and BOP takes a look at it fairly regularly, but it isn't common.

I think it's just too early even to get a decent idea about what we may be able to accomplish, if anything. The signs are heading both ways. In a nutshell: the potential is enormous and has been felt in the general culture from time to time, no question; otoh, there are millions of us and most of us get lost in the shuffle, weakening to the point of anemia any possible influence those of us below the Top Ten bloggers could have.

The new Google blog-finder may turn out to be the flash-point that determines whether we can legitimately hope to play the kind of role you're talking about. If the blog-finder helps to create blog 'neighborhoods' by making blogs easier for ordinary people to find, we could make an enormous difference. The vast majority of people online barely know what blogs are much less read them. Of the people who do, the vast majority never move beyond Atrios, dKos, Josh, and Kevin. Google's blog-finder could change all that, and dramatically, almost overnight, depending on what it does and how it's presented.

I think we just have to wait and see how things shake out. It's all too new even to have enough information for an informed guess.

I edit the opinions page at my newspaper, but my responsibility is limited. We usually run a column by freakshow nutjob Kathryn Jean Lopez every week, but my conservative EIC had me pull her column in which she publicly fallated Wal-Mart and their Katrina response. Funny.

O Canada, O Canada! Although I would bet a beer and a dawg that they will destroy that store to save the whole. They'll talk 'till they're blue in the face about how much they've given to Nawlins, but they will take the role of benevolent dictator every time.

David: I agree. Talking to people to get out the word at our every chance is a good thing. I do that in real life and I have a rep as an eccentric in my social circle. So that behaviour doesn't come without a cost.

And Mick's right. I'm not very meta. Too much thinking about blogging depresses me because the odds of effecting positive change are so long. Plus, I have so little time to spend on things I think I know about and so little time to learn about things I don't that I can't spend too much time and energy considering philosphical implications of the blogging act.

When I do think about the roll of blogging and wonder why I do it, I come back to two touchstones:

1. The diary of Samuel Pepys taught me that it's a good idea to write stuff down.

2. There is no failure here sweetheart,
just when you quit.

Hey Pepper :) You're so right. That benevolent dictator concept is the hallmark of the neocons' creed. BushCo gave the game away on that one a few times but nobody in the corporate media paid any attention, of course.

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