Blogs are a familiar feature on the internet - where users post content in an accumulating manner, with comments, and search options, etc. They facilitate expression and exploration, and via attached comments, also debate and synthesis.
Reading and Navigating Blogs
Our blogs are quite powerful. Each writer can post, as is typically the case. Sustainers who have the option can also post, however. All Blogs appear in the blog system, and sometimes also in content boxes the top page of ZNet - and always via the left menu of the top page - and can be found via searches, etc.
Commenting on blogs follows the blogs, attached at the bottom, and blog comments, like all others, are also visible in many places that show comments including in the forum system. In addition, the entire blog system gathers content for everyone - but one can look at the accumulating content in many ways.
For example one can look at one writer's efforts - so one is seeing what is effectively a blog system for that one writer, or Sustainer.
One can also look at the content by topic, seeing blogs that are tagged as being about a certain topic - or place, as well. Thus, when doing that, it is a blog system about a topic, or a place, with many contributors.
One can look at only writer blogs, or only sustainer blogs, as well.
One can look at blogs for particular Groups, too.
All this is easily done using the left menu. Searches allow even more variables and refinements.
Creating Blog Posts
If you are a Sustainer with permission, and are logged in, you will see a link in the left menu for you to post a blog - and you can use that to post one, and then tag it various ways (such as with a topic or place, or a group tag), and once you do, it is in the system with you as the author.
You can also use the console button to the left to post a blog - anytime and from anywhere in the site, as long as you are logged in.
Meanwhile, enjoy the blogs - and, by the way, if you are a Free Member or a Sustainer with a ZSpace page, of course you can put one or more content boxes on it, pulling blog links of any sort you may want to filter for, for example, by you or by your friends or by others - and by topic, about places, for groups, etc.
The following speech was delivered in the "Martin Luther Kings Jr. Commons" at Northern Illinois University. It's a small part of the November 2nd national day of action against the Bush-Cheney administration (see http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1). There were 50-60 folks in the audience. Very few academics --- maybe 2 or 3 (plus me, a wandering 1-year professor) --- attended.
One of the other speakers is gearing up to run against Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in the 14th Congressional District. He's a former military intelligence officer who thinks that Bush should be impeached for treason and wants America to invest in an energy policy that moves the nation off fossil fuels.
My short oration:
"Sick and Tired"
I want to applaud the people who put this event together.
It's one thing to tell a pollster privately from your home that you don't approve of Bush and Cheney's policies. It's another thing, much more significant and threatening to power, to leave that private space to join with others in making public resistance to the unjust and criminal policies of your government.
I could stand up here for hours talking about the crimes of the Bush administration and the various ways politcians in both of the dominant war parties have encouraged and enabled those transgressions. But we don't have time and I don't have the vocal chords for that.
The main thing I want to say in this space named after the great peace and justice activist Martine Luther King Junior is that I'm sick and tired of being lied to by my own government.
I'm sick of being told that our government lacks the money for quality publc education, for college tuition assistance, for health care (for all), for ending child poverty, for affordable housing, for job-training, for environmental protection, for flood control, and so on. I tired of being told we can't really afford all that when we know damn well that federal officials have granted hundreds of billions of dollars of deficit-generating tax relief primarily to the super-rich here in the most unequal and wealth-top-heavy nation in the industrialized world.
I'm tired of hearing that we can't provide basic social services when we know that "our" government spends $500 billion each year on an exorbitant armed forces budget that accounts for nearly half the military spending in the world and which transfers enormous taxpayer resources to rich and powerful corporations like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed-Martin.
I'm sick of that armed forces budget being called "defense" when we know that it pays for a remarkable and aggressive empire project that includes more than 700 overseas US military bases spread across nearly every country on the planet.
I got tired real fast of being told that the $300 (or more) billion invasion of Iraq was about defending America from 9/11 terror atacks and Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) when we know damn well that Iraq had no serious WMD capacity and no connection to Al Qaeda or 9/11.
I'm tired of the subsequent and equally deceptive Buch line that the invasion is really about exporting democracy when we know that democracy is the last thing US policymakers want to see in Iraq and when we observe that the administration has been using 9/11 and the subsequent so-called "war on terror" as an excse to roll back our own cherished democratic liberties here at home.
I'm sick of hearing about the prisoner-abuse crimes of low-level soldiers like Lynndie England when we know that the decision to ignore human rights law and conduct Gestapo-like torture operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay (and elsewhere) came by explicit order from the top --- from the real war criminals in the White House and the Pentagon.
I'm tired of being told that it's un- or even anti-American to exercise my quintessentially American right to oppose an illegal war of aggression being conducted by my government.
And I'm sick of being told that I can "support the troops" only by backing an immoral and bungled invasion that has so far killed more than 2000 American soliders along with tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
I'm sick of being told that we can't militarily disengange because "all Hell will break loose" in Iraq. American Empire is the Hell that broke loose on Iraq and that bloody conflict will continue until the U.S. renounces its imperial military ambitions in that nation.
I'm tired of being told that war opponents were given their chance during the 2004 election when we know that Kerry and other leading Democrats defied their own voting base by refusing to oppose the occupation.
I don't know what sort of candidate the Democrats are going to put up next time and I really don't care right now. The policies of the messianically militarist Bush-Cheney cabal are simply too dangerous and too evil to be tolerated fr 3 more years or 3 more months.
The first Tuesday in November 2008 is too late for our voices to (only possibly) be heard.
It's fun to have big staged national corporate election extravaganzas every four years, but democracy is a daily affair and its battles are fought in workplaces, local communities, schools, and on the streets. It's up to us, the people in whose name this government serves, to do everything we can at various levels and in different settings to stop the imperial war pigs who have hijacked our government in the name of protecting us from evil.
It's up to us to force withdrawal from Iraq NOW and not 3 or 5 or 10 years down the road when maybe 10 or 20 thousand GIs will have died for nothing along with God knows how many Iraqi children.