"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Smells Like College

Up at 6:50. Out by 7:20. Home around 9. Reminds me of the good old days. It's all a thing of beauty except I forgot to eat between 10am and getting home and arrived in the mother of all foul moods; Donner party on edge. These are shaping up to be some protean times.

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Thoughts on a Movement

My underwriter buddy Britt Blaser is continuing to pound out some righteous bits:

My concern this Presidential election cycle is that the free trade of ideas and their stakeholders may be as threatening to politicians as to entrenched commercial interests. That's why I've established the Free the Internet Contribution page at Dean for America. Dean is the only candidate with a vested interest in a free and open Internet, so he's the only candidate we can trust to defend it against the establishment.

That's what it is, friends. My man Howard Dean is set to raise more money this quarter than any other Democrat has ever done in the same period, and it's being done largely on the backs of small contributions; average size hovering around $100.

Imagine the implications here. I was taking the train today with some people on their way back from an anti-occupation protest, one fellow with a "tired of being fucked by politics?" button depicting hot Elephant on Donkey action. While I don't take that stance, I do see where this kind of frustration comes from. If we can maintain the momentum and growth of the Dean campaign, we'll be well on our way to making that particular brand of apathy obsolete.

There was one protester who had to borrow a couple bucks on the BART to pay his way out -- part of the eccentricity of that particular mass-transit system -- but most of the sign-carrying folk were well attired and had an air of material comfortability about them. So I wanted to ask them to get their hands dirty and buy a share of the process, but I didn't; too tired. But I wish I had. This time around everyone's a tycoon if they want to be.

And if you don't have the cash to spare that's allright too; you probably have time and friends and a spark of ingenuity. In spite of how easy it is to imagine a massive populist war chest -- just a million people giving a thousand each -- the likely reality is that Dubya will be able to outspend anyone. The difference is going to be made up by soul; by volunteer hours and word-of-mouth advertising; by human-centric processes happening over bi-directional networks, both personal and packet-switched. The difference is going to be individuals who've awakened to their agency in the process and who are exercising their right to be participants, to be producers of politics and not just consumers. The difference will be you and me.

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Good Goin'

People moving in blocks and waves across the Bay Area Rapid Transit; tough-looking Raiders fans, more mainstream Giants enthusiasts, marginalized Iraq occupation protesters, leathermen and assorted queers from the Folsom street fair. Through it all I swim with a giant 40-pound Schwinn, my San Francisco steel horse, trying my best not to bump into people, to smile in the sunshine.

Pending a credit check I have a place to live, a truly gorgeous apartment in the Southwest Mission. Nice wood floors, high celings, a patio out back in a part of town that's near the throb and hum, but just far enough off it to feel like a neighborhood. A little excited to have a place to call home.

I seem to be catching a lot of breaks, things really clicking and heating up. Can this continue? I hope so.

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Whistful Moment

It's hitting home that I'm starting something new out here, that New York is for now a thing of the past. Strange memories bubble up on a thursday night. The time I fooled around with that beautiful, tall, smart girl who'd stage managed for radio/active right before heading back to Oregon for a holiday; John Lennon popping on from her iMac in the middle of kissing, and everything going just swimmingly. She'd never had good head before, and I had to rush home and pack and leave and it wasn't a graceful exit. Never saw her that way again.

I remember a night in soho -- back when it wasn't quite the outlet mall that it is today -- being cold for only wearing my leather jacket and a wife beater. I remember freshman-year conversations with Frank, confessing my virginity on Astor place. I remember the glory days of Byamo, a Cuban/Chinese fusion place on Broadway across from Tisch where you could get killer rice and beans for $2, or a half chicken for $4. I remember biking into the city from Brooklyn the first time, the night after I stayed over with Yael. I remember the Tunnel and the MoMa and the three-dollar hot chocolate.

I remember good times in Greenpoint; Monday-night football with free ziti and cheap mugs of Bud at the Palace. I remember underage sneaking into Panchitos. I remenber second-year projects at ETW, and feeling like it was too much to follow Peter Hale's act, for he was taller than be and had done a rock and roll performance. I remember discovering Inwood because of a Russian math girl, and building Opera sets on the Upper East Side. I remember helping out with an ERS benefit and being an ass when some older lady invited me out on the lower east side. I remember stealing a christmas decoration left up until march and delivering it to a one-night-stand that I wanted more from very late at night, drunken note attached.

I remember Shakespeare; in the park; in the home; on the stage; in the bathtub and in German on acid. I remember the first time I discovered Battery Park City, the quiet and the autumn mist and the sound of kayakers on the Hudson as I rode my bike by. I remember pulling off a girl's belt with my teeth for the first time in the floor of my dorm room. I remember being blind drunk and mighty high too on a dead man's pot on the Statin Island Ferry, fucking up a cardboard box and puking in both bathrooms when I finally made it home. I remember the magic that christmas would work on the whole place; the power of small lights to make any place seem humble and inviting. I remember cabs over bridges and trains underground, slicing through times square on a bicycle in traffic, the sheer urban beauty, dreams and desires, concrete and light.

In all these things I remember the unique thrill and amazing electricity of New York City; heaving, steaming, perpetually teaming bitch goddess that it is. It is hope and pain and anger and love forged together in the most dense human metal known to God, a testament to what is possible. As Douglas Macarthur said, I shall return, but my heart lurches and swoons as it seeps in that I don't quite know when or how that will be. I miss it all tonight as I listen to the silence of Berkeley. I love you, New York.

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Landed; Off and Running

I'm in California now. Working it full-time double plus. I live and breathe the revolution for a year now. Light updates for a while as ramp-up begins. If you can, give money to Howard Dean. The amount you spend on a night at the bar is enough to make a difference.

Also, on Dean and Clark and the Eisenhower precident, Britt's got some interesting analysis from a friend. I tend to think that this election cycle has no real precident, but if people are going to shuffle through history, they might as well get it right.

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Last night on earth

I'm very happy with the way my life is going, but the changes still engender sadness. I'm moving. To San Francisco. I'm leaving New York City, my home now for some six years, and for the first time I don't know when I will return. The wheels are spinning and life is ramping up for another big shift. Hoping for smooth transition -- avoiding a stall, minimizing the aroma of burning clutch.

In the odd early morning hours odd fantasies creep in. I've been up all night packing and goofing off and thinking about things. What will the conditions of my next trip to town be? What would it be like if I lived off in rugged New England, spent time verbally sparring and making out with country-musician lawyers. What dreams may come.

I hit the circuit of friends. The final rounds. I saw Sasha again, which was easier to do and harder to walk away from than I anticipated. Still a lot going on there, not that it's of much consequence at the moment. Then a long ride through the City and into Queens to have good Puerto Rican dinner with Sam and Andrew; keep the connections alive and flowing. Finally a couple drinks in a couple Brooklyn bars and staying up all night packing and posting in a fun thread on dKos.

I'm moving. I'm moving. I'm moving. I'll miss you New York.

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Negative Campaign Websites

Dick Gephardt's campaign is the first to launch a negative campaign website against another Dem candidate. See deanfacts.com for all the ugly business. There's also another site -- waffle powered howard -- which does about the same thing with less accuracy and without attributing its source, but a whois query tells us it's registered to Eric Huebner, who also runs this pro-kerry site so I think that mystery is solved.

Hopefully these are the last, but I fear that won't be the case. This is total bullshit for three reasions:

  • Going negative, especially this early, against another Dem is bad for the party -- it's free ammo for Bush
  • The quotes are circa 1995 -- if we wanted to dig through everything anyone said over the past 10 years, we'd probably find some things that conflict with his or her positions today
  • This tactic is intended to supress participation -- to keep people dispirited and out of the process

The last reason is the one that really gets me. This election is about whether or not we can break the cycle of fear and non-participation that has dominated politics for so long, and become intolerable over the past few years. Gephardt's campaign and at least one member of Kerry's grassroots are giving in to the dark side. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, and let's keep turning people on with participation.

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Sunday Sun

I'm savagely hung-over and I lost a credit card, but the suspicion is that the plastic wandered off somewhere in Vermont; Winooski, those tricky fucks. I think I said goodbye to a lot of people last night. I also think I might have been somewhat of an intoxicated ass. I don't quite know for sure.

Everything is flexing now; the past month like an extended acid trip, or something equally ineffable. I can't summarize, and I don't want to other than to say "I'm moving." It works on a lot of levels -- thinking now of Britt's core principle that the best response to trouble is acceleration, about my own little self-mantra, "Trust in the divinity of your forward momentum." It's a remix of Kerouac -- believe in the holy contour of life -- like a lot of my axioms of living.

I rode around the city yesterday, sorry to leave it. Fall has always been my favorite season here. I'm heading out just as the good stuff gets started; feel like crying a little bit.

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Days Four and Five: Eye of the Revolver

There's a lot of positivity around here, a happy kind of soldering spirit. It's light in the house of Dean, even as the campaign endures a storm of attacks from all quarters. I imagine this must be what it's like to really do something revolutionary.

And make no mistake, this campaign is revolutionary. Howard's a pretty moderate candidate -- a moderate and a pragmatic and one who speaks his mind -- but the underlying promise of the campaign, the driving force behind it, is the outlaw promise of returning agency to individual citizens and communities. The movement is much bigger and wider than Dean; but it's a real thing. People are dying for lack of meaning, and the powers that be don't have a solution because this dearth of purpose is the basis for their xanadu. There's a lot of money riding on top of all this anomie.

Don't believe me? Look at how a line forms between people who "get it" and people who don't. The comments on Dean's blog sound like Bob Dylan circa "Don't Look Back."

dylan: you can't understand me, and you probably never will
reporter: why is that, bob?
dylan: because you work for time magazine man!

At least that's how I remember it. My historical reading says Dylan's insistence on a communication breakdown was about one generation being remarkably more free than another. What we're dealing with here is its own animal, but the underlying rubric is the same. The times, they are a-changing. Wake up and smell the coffee. The revolution will not be televised.

We're at a watershed. I think we've been at a watershed for the past ten years and just haven't wanted to deal with it. The question on the table is whether we (like you and me and all the other people with social security numbers, and all the other people who have governments) are going to be clients or producers of the national community we call the state. Consumers or participants, that's the choice. Are we going to take responsibility for our own lives, our friends, our neighborhoods and our country upon ourselves, or are we going to go to sleep?

Agency, accountability and consent are the underpinnings of good community. Individuals who have control over their lives, are aware of this control can make a conscious choice to be a part of something, to participate. When more than two people do this, you have the potential for good community.

But when people are deprived of this, negative things happen. That's what the lumpy atomized, anomic TV-fed bourgeois represent: people who don't recognize their own power, who can't think of anything better to do. Ahh look at all the lonely people. That's also what a ghetto is by the way; it's a bad community, one that no one chooses to be a part of, but which ends up affecting their lives anyway. Both these phenomena are tough nuts to crack.

This is what the movement is about; autonomy and community and transparency and trust, all key source ingredients for peace and love if you ask me.

Something big is going to happen. Ten years from now things are either going to be much better in the world, or much worse, and the tipping point is about whether or not enough of us decide to unplug themselves from the matrix and start reclaiming the dignity of their own experience. Whether we start dancing. Whether we find our voice, and learn to listen at the same time.

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Krugman For Dean!

In an interview with the Guardain, Paul Krugman -- my own American Idol -- appears to give a non-endorsement endorsement of Howard Dean:

. "One of the Democratic candidates - who I'm not endorsing, because I'm not allowed to endorse - has as his slogan, 'I want my country back'," Krugman says, referring to the campaigning motto of Howard Dean. "I think that's about right."

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