For John, BLUF: If the Internet is to do for us what needs to be done, helping to ensure our Democracy, it has to be a free and open place. While some may be offended, that is a price that even the offended should be willing to pay for freedom.
I am not trying to be Gerry Nutter, Lynne Lupien or Dick Howe, or any of their incorporated bloggers. I have tended not to dive two deeply into local political personalities. But, that doesn’t mean those opportunities don’t seek me out. I wrote a blog post on 5 December of this year, “The Raucous Internet”.
In that Blog Post I mentioned an unnamed friend who wished to “control” the internet. I also mentioned City Councilor Bill Martin,♠ who was on City Life, and in response to an assertion by Host George Anthes, “compared Blogs unfavorably with the newspapers”. And, since Mr Anthes had mentioned the criminalization of political speech, local community activist Deb Forgiene called in to say there was a distinction in speech and that some things were not as threatening as others.
Frankly, in the back of my mind was the 11 September Benghazi Incident, in which the Current Administration threw a videographer and the First Amendment under the bus in an effort to concoct a cover story for whatever was going on there. Not only was it wrong, it was somewhat foolish, in that while some Administration drones kept up the story for weeks, by and large the American Public realized it was a false story fairly early on. Even CNN Reporter Candy Crowley realized it, as she tried to show that the Administration knew all along that it was a terrorist event and not the reaction to a video put together to contrast the persecution of Copts with the errors of Islam.♥
My other concern was the on-going World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), sponsored by the United Nations. Our Ambassador to the Conference, Terry Kramer, understands the importance of a free and unfettered Internet:
There have been proposals that have suggested that the ITU should enter the internet governance business.So, along comes local Blogger Jack Mitchell, to add to the discussion. He explains why he thinks Councilor Bill Martin is wrong. And he does the same regarding Ms Forgione. In fact, he goes a little over the top and uses a common (as in coarse) term to show his distain for her comments, in contrast to his “a decent guy, like Bill Martin” comment.
There have been active recommendations that there be an invasive approach of governments in managing the internet, in managing the content that goes via the internet, what people are looking at, what they're saying.
These fundamentally violate everything that we believe in in terms of democracy and opportunities for individuals, and we're going to vigorously oppose any proposals of that nature.
On a subsequent day Ms Forgione calls back into City Life, when Host George Anthes again brings up the criminalization of political speech. Amongst other things she says that this humble blogger will never get elected to the School Committee♦ if he allows Jack Mitchell’s comments to stand.
This evening Mr John McDonough showed me an EMail from Ms Deb Forgione to me at my World Account,♣ asking me to take down my blog post of 5 December. She says that it is her third request, and copies a number of local political personalities. I am thinking that she doesn't really want the blog post itself taken down, but really wants Jack Mitchell's offending comment removed. So, as to what Jack Mitchell said as a comment on the blog post on 5 December 2012, at 11:29 AM, I have deleted it from its position. However, I repost it here, but with what I believe to be the offending phrase snipped out:
I think "speech" is somewhat like music. We tend to gravitate to what we find stimulating and palatable. I grew up listening mostly to Rock music. As a young adult, I branched out listening to funk, country, hip-hop & raggae.There you have Jack’s comments, with the offending phrase removed. Will I, in the future, shun Mr Mitchell? Not likely. He is, along with a number of bloggers I know, like Dick Howe and Marie Sweeney and Lynne Lupien, a member of, and supporter of, Massachusetts’ majority party. I find that sad, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have good ideas or that they are not capable of intelligent interaction and dialogue. Or that they are not interesting people to be around.
So often the human themes in the lyrics are the same. They are just expressed in different 'vernacular.'
Political speech speaks to an intended audience. Well-heeled, softened speech aims at a broader audience. Speech with sharpened edges narrows itself to an audience that enjoys (or tolerates) such things.
For me, the equation is quite simple. If you want to see what we dole out on Left in Lowell, you can click THIS LINK. Please note the conspicuous absence of a soldier holding a gun to your head in this moment. Also, note there may be a trillion something OTHER places to go, other than Left in Lowell, Trust me when I say, the internet is a big place.
It unfortunate when a decent guy, like Bill Martin, has to deal with the hassles of pests nipping at his heels. Does it make him a better Councilor? There's no way to tell. But, his point that there is no anonymity in the main stream media is without merit. Sorry, Bill. You're wrong. Are there standards in "The Press?" Less so, everyday. It can't be any worse than in the late 19th Century.
So, Deb Forgione can try to parse a position based on her politically motivated bigotries, all she wants. She called into the show and used her name. Did she read from a script, prepared by others? I dunno? Consider the source, is the theme here.
[SNIP of overly disdainful and coarse material.] The self anointed "Princess of Pawtucketville" can cast aspersions upon the countless foes she has conjured in her delusions until her tongue stops wagging, for all I care. She is the "proverbial tree in the forest," even to those that nod, pleasantly, as she lobbies inanely.
That said, I wish her good health and a Merry Christmas.
Will I, at some point, encourage Producer John McDonough or Host George Anthes to shun or send to Coventry Mr Mitchell. Not likely. Mr Mitchell is a Democratic Party operative and has worked hard to defeat candidates I support, but that is his right and I see no reason to try and shut him down. My responsibility is to better articulate the ideas and ideals of the Republican Party so that the voters of Lowell know the truth and that truth will make them free. I also have to recruit candidates and work on a ground game, but that is under my job description as Chairman of the Lowell Republican City Committee.★
Regards — Cliff
♠ I like the City Councilor, and find him alert and insightful, unlike the 23 December “Column” in The [Lowell] Sun. I voted for him in 2011 and expect to vote for him in 2013.
♥ Yes, I have seen the cited video, Innocence of Muslims, and while it isn’t the quality of the musical The Book of Mormon, it is also not “vile” as we, as Americans, would understand the term. On my scale of offensive, it is along the lines of, but not as offensive as, the “Piss Christ”.
♦ Was that a threat or a promise by Ms Forgione? The fact is, I am considering a run for Lowell School Committee, as are a number of challengers. I see the possibility of the People getting a wide choice. Why would I run? Because I think the current paradigm is exhausted and we need to look for new ways to empower our young men and women as students. It isn’t that the current Administration and Teacher Force is not doing their best, but that we need to think of ways to further empower the process. If Lowell is going to continue to prosper, we have to graduate young men and women who can take up the cause and make it happen. We are not just in competition with Lawrence and Worcester, or even Cambridge. We are in competition with Mexico City and Angeles City and with some obscure small city in China or India.
♣ Frankly, I have only been visiting that EMail Account from time to time and the last time I found I had over 2,000 EMails there, mostly SPAM, which I reduced to under a thousand, without finding one by Ms Forgione, but I have some 1,000 sitting there to review. As my Blogger profile points out, I am using, currently, "mbaring" at "mac" dot "com".
★ If you would like to help, call me at home or send me an EMail at crkrieger at me dot com.