Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm

Keith Olbermann got me a new phone number

This has been a political week for me, with Netroots Nation in town. I wrote a bunch of diaries for, with local guides to various aspects of the Twin Cities, many audio interviews, and one video interview (below). I've made several of the interviews into KFAI News reports.

After the convention: Keith Olbermann's return to tv, on Al Gore's cannel, Current TV. I'd be happy to see what Gore & co. have to say, and the return of Countdown makes it even more attractive. But Comcast Xfinity Basic HD (or whatever they call it) doesn't include Current TV. I need their Preferred package. I had Preferred before, and some of the channels were nice, but eventually dropped the package in a money saving move.

This time, however, Comcast is getting very aggressive (read "cheaper"). They kept slinging me packages, and for the first time their Triple Play package (internet, Xfinity Preferred, phone) is a mere $7 more than I'm currently paying for internet/Xfinity Basic... and includes a phone line. Further, they proffered a special deal which makes it $30 cheaper... for a year. The phone lady found me a package to reduce the install charges (all of which were for the unneeded phone) and the installer was late, so the install was only $30 (I think).

Upshot: I have a new phone number. That's in addition to all my other numbers, and Carole actually has a spare phone.

A bit more than a year ago I had one phone number -- the same minimum land-line number I've had for 25 years -- and Skype for long distance. Then I acquired a cell phone for travel. I hardly ever use it; bought 400 minutes a year ago and have nearly 300 left. (A few weeks ago, I added $1, so my minutes are good for another year.) Carole has her cell phone.

So this new number is the tertiary (if not downright quaternary) contact for both of us. Feel free to ask in e-mail/message, but be aware of the pecking order.

Oh, and Countdown's return was great. And one of his guests was... Markos Moulitsas, of, sponsor of Netroots Nation. Markos hadn't been on MSNBC for over a year because Joe Scarborough blackballed him. So much for MSNBC being the liberal answer to Fox "News" nutjob conservatism.

And Shockwave Radio interviewed Markos before he returned to Olbermann. *heh heh*

Baron Dave interviews Markos Moulitsas at Netroots Nation 6/18/11

Meanwhile, a rant taken from my last NN11 Diary.

I had a good time at Netroots Nation 2011 and met many wonderful people and went to several good panels and participated in many fruitful talks.

Of course, I tend to have a good time at conventions. I enjoyed myself at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. As a reporter, I did forty interviews in four days (and many before and after) and put up hundreds of photos.

The people at the RNC, at least the ones I talked to, were good people. They were proud of the life they built and wore their military service with honor. They honestly felt that everyone could have the same success by following their path.

Not everyone talked to me, notably the hordes of armed security. (The uniformed cops spoke off the record, and seemed competent and alert.) Some I talked to accused me of being "liberal" because I my questions didn't slant to the right. I can live with that.

I didn't quite expect the flip side from "Progressives". To be fair, only one panel disappointed me. On the other hand, the disappointment occurred at a panel of fellow comedians.

The second-to-last panel was on Challenging Mainstream Media Narratives on Right-wing Extremism. An excellent panel and I'm glad intelligent people are on the ball. They were long on spotting media narratives but short on how to change them.

One of the media narratives identified was the reversal of "racism". If you, as a liberal/progressive, call someone "racist", they will call you a racist for raising the issue. "Can't we move beyond that?" The actual racism of the original speaker gets hardly a word, and the liberal is left looking sad.

And that's because no one goes further to challenge the media when they point fingers in the wrong direction.

Emboldened by this panel, I went to the next one on my list. I've been a comedian and conceptual artist for over thirty years. Shockwave Radio Theater is "science fiction humor". After Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota, I declared that "politics" is a subset of "science fiction humor". Had a great time interviewing our governor and other politicians.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby

Comedy, Video and Activism featured some of the funniest people on the planet; just ask 'em. They each presented a video making various political points. All were pretty funny, but some worked better than others, at least for me.

At the Q & A afterward, I asked about "humiliation" as a political tool. Too many on the right cannot be persuaded by a reasonable argument. They think with their sphincters and only by using the Karl Rove technique of attacking their strengths can we hope to marginalize the radicals and perhaps persuade a few on the edge.

I used, as an example, how we at NN11 had humiliated Andrew Breitbart the day before, driving him out of the conference with shouts of "COWARD COWARD". Which he was. (Moreso than it seemed at the time, as Convention Center security was on the ball and would have prevented him from entering the Exhibit Hall. I found this out talking to Security the next day.) Breitbart came to make a media event, and encountered heroes.

Of course he's going to make hay of this. He would have spun anything that happened his way. He's a liar, a bully... and a coward. The worse thing we could have done was... nothing. We can't let him use his right-wing pulpit as his playground. We have to humiliate him.

Which we did.

All the panelists disagreed, saying the video made him look sad and put upon. Of course that's what the right-wing media was going to say, since it's a complete lie. But we have to change the narrative, one humiliation at a time. I haven't seen the video. I was there. All I have to do is tell the truth. And spread the word.

Even liberal commentators follow the right-wing narrative. After Breitbart demanded and got an apology from Weiner, Stephen Colbert commented (quote from memory), "Breitbart is now 1 for 4, which is better than average for a Republican." Funny and to the point, but continues the narrative, "does he have credibility". Just asking the question gives him a certain degree of credibility. That's my inner Taoist speaking.

What we, as an ad hoc group did, was expose Breitbart as a coward. And that's the narrative we must drive. "Is Andrew Breitbart a coward?"

It will take a while, and only a continuing effort can change how the media treats him and the other liars. We have to come out swinging, and continue swinging.

The panelists were worried about a "backlash". Did the Swift Boat liars create a backlash for Kerry? In the beginning, a little. But the right wing hate machine was allowed to drive the narrative. Gullible fools were certain, people started to doubt. And an election was lost.

On the right, they have no illusions about the power of repetition. When Rick Perry says goppies should stop apologizing, he's trying to change the narrative. We, as people for whom truth is more important than lies, should give them something to apologize for.

Donald Trump and the "birthers" were humiliated, which was three-quarters of all Republicans. Then all the criticism went away. The right-wing media just stopped commenting on the issue... but it didn't go away. Trump still gets noticeable support despite humiliation (and going bankrupt 4 times). I say: Shovel it on! If people feel Trump is put upon, though nuggies. Call him a crybaby and humiliate him further.

I say we should humiliate people like Breitbart, but the comedians on the panel say that just gives the right some fodder. I couldn't believe how timid they were. The people who are brave enough about their own work, saying "Don't be afraid to turn off comments" when posting to YouTube just want to pussyfoot around real issues. God good people, everything is fodder to them. We have to come out swinging. We have to change the narrative.

The problem with Democrats in general is that they're too sensitive to what other people say about them. Heaven forbid that liberals might actually offend racist nutjobs who are sure that anyone to the left of Attila the Hun deserves a "Second Amendment solution".

I say to the panelists: You're not challenging hate speech, you're preaching to the choir.

I still think you guys and gals are funny, but I no longer have confidence that you can change the world.

Okay, end of rant.

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