The End of the Trail

callout

A necessary announcement …

november 5

his-vorpal-sword-closed

Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty Words to Sum It All Up and bring his vorpal sword, the blog, to a fitting conclusion ….

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Never say ‘never’ of course, but in this case, all good things come to an end….

Today marks the end of his vorpal sword in all its incarnations: Skiing Uphill, Boregasm, Zug, The Commonwealth of Blogistan, and, of course, hvs.

I’m not whining. Things change.  Once this was EXACTLY the right and only thing to do. Now? Different ground rules.

I doubt I can completely STOP myself from blogging, but I need to refocus myself on non-current event long form. I’ve got a couple novels and some screenplays that have been screaming for attention, so I’ll get to do that. Soon, I begin my sixtieth year, and as St. Paul noted, it’s time to put away childish things.

​The main thing is that I have to make a living. I am sure you understand. The blog was a great vehicle, but didn’t bring work, and actively KEPT me from it.

You see, I’ve been doing this for free for ten years now, non-stop, average of 6 days a week. Did I mention “for free”?

1904 team Public Domain

Today, ironically, or aptly, yesterday’s post was featured on Crooks and Liars’ Mike’s Blog Roundup. I left this comment there:

Thank you, Blogenfreude.

As long-time readers may know, today (Guy Fawkes Day, aptly enough) is the last day of ‘his vorpal sword.’ After ten years (the day after the 2004 election) I am forced to shut down the blog in order to go back to making money at writing.

It’s nice to go out on top — albeit hideous to leave the rout of last night’s election results. As Mark Twain noted, we have the best congress that money can buy.

Many, many thanks to Crooks and Liars, to Mike Finnegan, and to the several custodians of Blog Roundup. Your many years of support kept the blog going through tough times more than once.

The obligatory Douglas Adams line goes here.

Thank you for your support across the years. Without it, I doubt I’d have made it to one anniversary.

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As you may have guessed, I simply can’t afford to write for free anymore. I had a chance to do something entirely new: words and pictures and music in an “article.”

For a while it was the Wild Wild West, but now the school marms and the church ladies and the preachers and prudes and all the trappings of cut-and-dried petit bourgeois  standardization and sanitization have set in. Most of the better bloggers have migrated to paid platforms, or monetized their blogs. And, while I can’t say much about the former (having been invited by none) the latter is not a road I care to go down.

I find that not pissing off one’s advertisers becomes a back-0f-the-mind inhibition that I don’t care to deal with, and the time needed to constantly promote the blog is not time I am willing to commit to.

Happily, I think the Howie Rich gang is about to meet IRS auditors, and the GOPs are as triumphal about polling as they were in 2012, so there is a very good chance that Tuesday will be a GREAT day.

Anyway, as noted: the blog started as an attempt to keep us from heading down the road to civil war. Then when I came back earlier this year, it was an attempt to prepare people for that civil war, and, now that even that has passed, it is foolish for me to let the enemy know what I’m thinking.

So, I will continue to write, and to release His Vorpal Sword ebooks, and I’ll still bl0g at The Moderate Voice and The Democratic Daily, but the blog is ended.

Never say ‘never’ of course, but in this case, all good things must come to an end.

i. The backstory

The great writers arrived by achieving the impossible. They did such blazing, glorious work as to burn to ashes those that opposed them. They arrived by course of miracle, by winning a thousand-to-one wager against them. They arrived because they were Carlyle’s battle-scarred giants who will not be kept down.

~Jack London

That quote has been somewhere close to my typewriter or computer every day since 1976. My “mission statement” you might say.

I’ve noted that for many years, I wanted to comment on political realities, having been, sort of, raised from earliest childhood on politics. I’ve met senators, governors, congressmen and even presidents from an early age, and have been involved in Western politics for my whole life.

But being a political “pundit” is as “in-groupey” as being a “film critic” is: it’s who you know, not WHAT you know. And by the time I could formulate a query (“Mother May I?), the event had passed, the reply was tardy or negative.

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And so, when I started the blog in 2004, I finally had license to write about what I knew from years in the political trenches, from being the Oregon DPO webmaster across two centuries, being a delegate to the national convention in 2000, State Publicity Chair, all the way back to being a page at the 1968 Wyoming Republican Convention in Laramie and before.

The results speak for themselves.*

[* see section iv.]

ii. Why do this for free?

Because, if I did a good job, I own all rights, and all copyrights. And, more importantly, when I started this, my profession — free-lance writing — was in the throes of a long meltdown and restructuring not seen since the switchover from scriptoria (scriptoriums) to Gutenberg’s almost magical moving-type press.

Newspapers and magazines (my bread and butter, literally) were shutting down, cutting back, cutting pay, becoming a province of the “in crowd” as the Titanic went down.

Book publishing had never been so degraded nor so commercialized in a manner antithetical to writing. The rise of the “authorless book” (e.g. the ghost-written celebrity “memoir”) had supplanted the carnival freak show as a cultural icon and civilized grotesquerie and had I continued to play “mother may I?” with the frightened and confused world of “book marketing” (as opposed to “book editors”), I’d have produced nothing save ulcers and the occasional dead tree smeared with ink indicating my aiding and abetting the vegetative murder.

As it stands, his vorpal sword in all incarnations comprises the equivalent of approximately 15 Lord of the Rings trilogies, and may well be responsible for vision difficulties for my heirs for the next couple of generations.

On this platform, this, my final post is the 2134th post.

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And, by post, I usually mean a complete article, of the length that I was used to in magazines and newspapers — between 900 and 5,000 words — fully researched, illustrated and maybe even proofread that I am intimately familiar with as an adjunct to my profession.

I am a writer, and, rather than allow the inaction and chaos of the publishing world’s Bataan Death March to Digital stifle my work and silence my pen, I have written, on an average of six days a week, for damn near as long as I can comfortably remember.

And I am proud of that work, and the quality and unique accuracy of that output.

Now, publishing has returned to being a place that a writer can make a sort of living, and I return to my first calling: quality writing for quality cash.😉

And, I own it all. So, eventually, this blog will pay for itself.

There was always a plan; there was ever a purpose.

iii. So what?

I have to say “THANK YOU” to the Universe that I announced this retirement eleven days ago, before the election, so that it doesn’t look like this was “sour grapes.”

Normally, this post would be my analysis of the election, but that takes all of one line:

This was the electoral equivalent of a teenage girl ritually cutting herself.

There. All better.

[* I’m tempted to say that any body politic so stupid and easily manipulated as to reward the egregious behavior of the worst congress in US history and most treasonous political party since Secession does not deserve defense or even consideration, but that would seem churlish. Let’s just leave it as the ‘teenage girl’ simile. No grapes within my purview have gone sour.]

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Illustration: 1668. Fable: Aesop sometime in the B.C.

For ten solid years, this blog outpaced and outperformed the entire mainstream media, and obscure story after obscure story advanced from my ‘crazy’ blog to the front pages.

If what I was writing was ephemeral and wrong, I would have NOTHING to show for this decade of unrecompensed hard labor. So, it was always important to see the big picture and to be spot on.

Mission accomplished.

iv. Some of our greatest hits

Let’s see. I verified that George Putnam’s tirade against horrible pornography in the cult classic “Perversion for Profit” goes after a pseudonymous paperback that was, in fact, written by Robert Silverberg (as confirmed by Silverberg), and poor Putnam even manages to bungle his literary “critique.”

But let’s face it: this is also typical of the history of this blog. When it comes to crediting me, none is to be had. The Wikipedia entry contains this citation, with yours truly neatly excised:

In order to provide an example of corruptive literature, Putnam reads a lurid passage from a pulp fiction novel entitled Sex Jungle. Published in 1960, Sex Jungle was credited to Don Elliot, a pseudonym for Robert Silverberg, a prolific science fiction novelist.[3] In a 2000 interview, Silverberg explained that the erotic fiction that he published under the Don Elliot pseudonym…

“… was undertaken at a time when I was saddled with a huge debt, at the age of 26, for a splendid house that I had bought. There would have been no way to pay the house off by writing science fiction in that long-ago era, when $2500 was a lot to earn from a novel that might take months to write, so I turned out a slew of quick sex novels. I never concealed the fact that I was doing them; it made no difference at all to me whether people knew or not. It was just a job. And it was, incidentally, a job that I did very well. I think they were outstanding erotic novels.”[4]

Here’s what Silverberg wrote me:

perversion-for-profit-title-card

And here, I noticed something. I tracked down the book, and found the passage Putnam reads. Here is the letter and reply that I wrote to Robert Silverberg (short, irrelevant portions are removed. Silverberg’s words are in BLUE):

from Robert Silverberg ****
to ****
date Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 8:18 AM
subject Don Elliott

Dear Mr. Williams:

In response to your questions –

[…]

I’m tracking down the old “Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc.” and I presume that you know about the George Putnam film from 1963,4 or 5 (the scholarship isn’t very good, I’m afraid) entitled “Perversion for Profit” in which George reads from the old Nightstand Books “Don Elliott” novel Sex Jungle.

According to my research, Don Elliott, like Calvin M. Knox, was one of your pen names. But until I hear it from the horse’s mouth, I am loathe to accept it as hard fact. So, before I go to press, if I might ask you a couple of clarifying questions, just to nail it down.

1. Were you the Don Elliott that wrote that book? ( and not that somebody else’s name got stuck on it, or it was a house name like “Kenneth Robeson”)

***I wrote the Don Elliot books — it was not a house name.  I wrote SEX JUNGLE.  (Fifty years ago!)****

2. If so, then did you know about George Putnam reading your stuff  as the poster boy for sexual depravity in literature — at the time?

***I didn’t know about the Putnam thing until you called it to my attention yesterday.  But I was able to find it very easily on the Internet.***

c) And, if never, what is your reaction now? (I can supply you with references for the film, and I’ve bought the book. It’s on pages 112 and 113. I can send you a scan of the relevant portions.)

***I was amused.  It’s always interesting to watch the guardians of public morality sounding off.  (One of them, in the California legislature, got caught the other day after bragging about his adulterous escapades in front of a microphone that he thought was turned off.  He has now resigned.  I wonder what happened to George Putnam over the years.)

***His denunciation of my book was wrongheaded, of course, because my book (I looked at it yesterday afternoon) is a moral tract that preaches that crime does not pay.  The narrator is trapped by the police at the end of the story, run down in an alleyway and wounded, and then is sent away for a life sentence at the age of eighteen, and in the final paragraphs he reflects on how he messed up his life by opting for a life of crime.  If George Putnam had read that far in the book, he would see that Don Elliott felt only abhorrence for the terrible deeds of his book’s narrator and hoped to warn other young men against following his dark path.***

[…]

Best,

Bob Silverberg

As when I dug up FreedomWorks’ nearly $1 million contributions to Oregon politician Kevin Mannix, which, when reprinted without credit by the Oregonian, are credited with wrecking his congressional bid in the Republican primary. And so on and so forth.

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This world is very glad to steal my research and work (the SourceWatch pages on Foster Friess, and the Howie Rich gang managed to use my research and then expunge me from their citations. ALMOST …).

Am I complaining? No: I’m stating fact. I have behaved ethically and they have behaved like pigs. Not a lot editorializing needed. But that will soon change.

We returned to Laramie, Wyoming in the mid-sixties, when a Dick Cheney with hair screamed at my brother and me.

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We watched Sal Russo keep repainting his bus from 2005 on, from “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” to the current “Tea Party Express.”

I busted the Howie Rich Gang, who lost elections all over the USA in 2006 and watched as they rewrote the historical record to turn their clusterf**k into a MASSIVE VICTORY IN NINE STATES! PBS Interviewed me (via email, e.g. had me work for free) with this prologue:

This week’s show was inspired by a compelling blog series written by Hart Williams. Williams’ research revealed some extraordinary truths about efforts to take the “local” out of local ballot initiatives and create them from afar….

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Still goin’ strong.

Faux Nooz and WorldNutDaily spent a goodly chunk of July 2007 beating up on me pretending that I was the “Ann Coulter” of the Left.

Indeed,  it has always bothered me that the Right considers me a threat and an enemy to be taken down, while the Left, if they DO notice (and generally they don’t, as in the comment on one blog post tracking the Faux Nooz attack on me, “Who the F*** is Hart Williams?” I keeds you not*) either want to censor my language or thoughts, or ignore me as trivial and non-canonical.

[* Nothing insulting there (even though they claimed it wasn’t).]

Thanks, Progressives. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

Playing Paul Revere to a School for the Deaf with Terminal Ennui gets old — even if they could hear you or were paying attention, they wouldn’t much care even if they got the message.

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1999 CATO Institute tax return

I was among the first on the beat to warn you about the newly “Republican” Kochs, about the State Policy Network, and about SPN’s setup and use of international “think tanks” to deny climate change, as in the phony “Climategate” scandal.

And I was the first to warn you that the Republican Confederate party was fracturing into something new and unrecognizable in “Daddy Long Legs” on March 5, 2009. (It’s quoted below.)

I DID NOT ever get to ALEC, because the Kochtopus has many, many tentacles. But no one else ever seems to have covered Americans for Limited Government, the Sam Adams Alliance, the Health Care Compact, the Term Limits organizations, or any of the rest of the story, either. So, perhaps we’re even.

And I told you that the Koch Brothers were buying the “new” GOP . From 6 February 2011:

I wrote a blog on September 3, 2009, which I retitled at the last moment, so the URL still reads “https://hisvorpal.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/koch-machine-hostile-takeover-of-gop/

And this is some of what it said [emphasis added]:

So, all that air time was wasted in NOT understanding that Americans for Prosperity, the Independent Women’s Forum, FreedomWorks, the Sam Adams Alliance and Americans for Limited Government(and others, including the new American Liberty Alliance, founded by Tea Party founder and former Sam Adams staffer Eric Odom) are ALL intimately tied to the Koch astroturf machine. These foundations breed faster than paramecia in a petrie dish of agar. But the same suspects show up over and over again.

And, from this morning’s Los Angeles Times:

Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

[…]

In one week, every idiot talking head on the Left will be suddenly an “expert” on the Koch Machine in the same way that the bloviating heads of the Right suddenly became experts on Egypt last week. And if that happens, we will MISS THE POINT.

And miss the warnings. And, as with this, by ignoring Cassandra, act the part of Agamemmnon and ignore the warning that would have saved his life.

[…]

It’s not called the “Kochtopus” for nothing, pilgrims.

(And just because it was under your radar, doesn’t mean it was below everyone’s radar. Google “Kochtopus” and you’ll get about 1,580 hits.)

Don’t miss the forest for the trees: In fact, MOST of Koch’s money is spent in creating astroturf organizations through which millions channel. There’s George Mason University (whose death-rictus grinning alum, Nancy Pfotenhauer was Koch’s spokesperson after being groomed at GMU); there’s the whole Howie Rich crowd (including Americans for Limited Government, Citizens in Charge, US Term Limits, Parents in Charge and, most recently, the Sam Adams Alliance, featured on the Playboy blog — whose biggest task since 2006 has been to train right wing bloggers), there’s the Cato Institute, on whose board Charles Koch sits, there’s Dick Armey’s Freedomworks, Reason Magazine, etc. etc. etc.

This one is actually real.

Following “campaign contributions” is a blind alley: Most of Koch’s political money goes either through third party foundations or allegedly to the secret funding of initiative campaigns. See an example of Koch Kash at work HERE.

In a 60 Minutes piece in 2000, one of the Koch siblings (cut out of the business by the twin brothers Charles and David) called their operation “organized crime.”

And, here’s a weird peer into the ideological battles at the heart of the beast, from a TIME magazine blog in January.

This is a huge Ayn Rand/Libertarian operation (David literally BOUGHT his way onto the Libertarian ticket in 1980, and then stiffed on paying outstanding bills after the election) and the vast majority is under the surface going under a bewildering variety of names.

[….]

And that was my explication from the previous day’s post, which predicted what has transpired [“” 5 MARCH 2009 · 11:39 PM]:

No, these [snarky death rattles of the GOP after the disastrous 2008 election]  are the twitchings of a dead Daddy Long Legs.

There are two distinct possibilities at this point, both leading to the same conclusion:

  1. That the GOP will arise from its own ashes as someone significantly reformulates philosophy and rebrands a “new” GOP that IS significantly different than the failed larceny of the party that’s been in charge of not one, but TWO bank meltdowns since the “Reagan Revolution.”
  2. That the GOP will die, like the Whigs, and reformulate around the Libertarian wing, as seems increasingly likely.*

[* see this Memeorandum headline and discussion]

And, in good Dialectic fashion, instead it turns out to be both: the subsuming of the old GOP by the new KOCHtopus, much as humans were subsumed by the alien pods in the original and first remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers(haven’t seen the second remake).

“Invasion of the Party Snatchers”?

Sure: It’s guaranteed box office at the invisible drive-ins that dot the landscape of our formerly non-feudal land.

Or, perhaps American media is a sad joke told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying almost nothing. Your call.

I was the one who told you on St. Patrick’s Day 2008 that a complete financial meltdown was not only inevitable, but that Federal Reserve documents SHOWED it.

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Too bad nobody listened.

I was among the first to warn you (in 2005!) about the resurgence of the Ayn Rand underground, about the hostile takeover of the GOP by the Kochs (2009) and the deep Koch ties to the Tea Party movement (2009). I pointed out the phony gravitas created by the fake news over the “Tea Party” narrative in 2010, and pointed out how CNN was giving Sal Russo’s bus a fake “legitimacy” that was not in any wise justified by the canons of responsible journalism. And I pointed out in 2010 …

… BEFORE THE ELECTION …

the future “issue” of wealth inequality, as Steven Candee’s students at Lane Community College can testify.

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from 17 APRIL 2010!

Hell, I told you about what would happen to the Obama Administration BEFORE the 2008 election:

I began this blog entry a month ago, but old sports superstition, you don’t queer the championship game with premature celebrations or speculations. (e.g. don’t plan the victory parade until AFTER the you’ve won the victory. cf. Dewey v. Truman, 1948).

[…]

By all indications, Democrats will control the Presidency and both houses of Congress this January.

Assuming that there’s anything left, and floating the hypothesis, my thought was rooted in the memory of the six years out of the last two score that Democrats controlled all three elective chambers. And it was important to remember those six years, because another such six could sink us — not merely the Democrats, but everyone. And that’s too important not to share this thought with you….

They thought that Democratic Nirvana in the congress would last forever, did nothing, and then watched power leech from them until 1994, when the Republicans took the House outright, and began to take control of the Senate.

By 2005, the Republicans finally had taken all three branches of government, and squandered their long rise from minority status (from since the Eisenhower years in the late 50s) on a series of insane, vicious and vindictive absurdities that ended their reign in congress by 2006, and further lost ground in the most recent election.

For two years, Bill Clinton had a Democratic congress, and they stymied him at every turn. Worse: Clinton actually managed to get more accomplished with a hostile, Republican congress (you know, the guys who impeached him) than he had with the purportedly “friendly” Democratic congress of his first two years.

No: the enemy here isn’t Republican mulishness, but, rather, Democratic intransigence, as the various factions peel off to “freelance” their own micro-concerns and petty grievances.

[…]

We accept that agreement to disagree without being disagreeable as the PRICE of liberty, the price of freedom. Nowhere is the concept of utter personal selfishness enshrined. Citizens must, ultimately, band together, or we go back to rule by a tyrant. Civility is the price of liberty, but, really, who is going to strenuously defend INcivility as the proper way to get things done?

This is every bit as true for Democrats as Republicans, but, as the song goes, let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. Democratic presidents have been in office for twelve years out of the past forty. Of those twelve years, SIX were squandered by Democratic congresses refusing, mulishly, to cooperate in the elephantine task of national governance.

We have squandered our peace and prosperity because we thought that in a time of ease, we should ignore the future problems and focus on trivial issues of dogma and ideology.

Whether we realize it or not (because the recession deepens by the day) the days of plenty have passed away for a time. And we sit in this limbo of war-that-is-not-war, dangerously extended and building up murderous hostility each day. Shouting names at one another, or throwing a hissy-fit because our priorities are not shared by all is a luxury we can ill afford.

John McCain met with Barack Obama today, (and Obama is reportedly offering the Secretary of State slot to Hillary Clinton) and it can either be a sad grace-note at the beginning of another vicious season of polly ticks, or it can be the harbinger of what we might become.

If we can remember the better angels of our nature.

There is more and much more.

And this year I had the intensely frustrating experience of listening to story after story read back to me by the mainstream press AS IF THEY HAD DISCOVERED IT ALL ON THEIR OWN years (literally) after I had reported on it (with links) here.

I covered more stuff than I know how to brag about here (I admit that not only do I not like braying about one’s grand achievements, but I am not very good at it, to boot.)

I have always presented my research with the original links — so that any journalist willing to opt into an “out of the mainstream” story would have a head start and NOT be beholden to me (like they would be, right?) to pursue the beast — and, as my late friend Mac McFadden used to love to point out, he would repost one of my blogs and the obligatory GOP troll would naturally attack with phony Über-skepticism. Mac would always say: he’s presented his facts and given you the links. Is there anything you can refute?

And, quoth Mac, no one ever did.

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So long Mac. Miss you, buddy.

You see, even though I’m a professional journalist on an amateur (or, “self-empowered”) platform, that didn’t lower my standards. If anything, writing under my own aegis formalized two facts of utter truth and veracity:

  1. As a writer NOT backed by a publication’s organization, policies, fact-checking and legal department, I have had to be even MORE rigorous in my sourcing. And,
  2. Without the false aegis of the fictitious business name (e.g. “TIME Magazine”) nearly all journalists and aggregators are incapable of adjudging my work on its own merits and as with Wikipedia and SourceWatch, will NOT cite me, since my fake name (‘his vorpal sword’) is somehow inferior to someone else’s fake name (e.g. Climate Wonderfacts or something equally authoritative sounding without actually being authoritative.) I call this the “stationery” fallacy. If you’ve got a business card, you’re legit, as you used to see on The Rockford Files week after week.

I covered (pre-blog) the fake Hopi con artists scamming money from credulous whities around the globe. Covered the skinheads of Oregon. The home-schooling phenomenon’s roots in neo-Confederate thought. The secret dominionist enclaves whose ring the Romneys, the Cheneys, the Santorums, the Bushes, and any other GOP hopeful must kiss.

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First national blog to notice the import of this.
Second blog to ID Friess (first was a local Jackson Hole WY blog)

I have covered the waterfront and confirmed something I had wondered about ever since the days of college debate, when we had to debate CIA cases, which were generally “disband the CIA, passive intelligence works just as well.”

I warned for years about the surveillance society, the spookocracy. No one seemed to notice until the traitor Snowden decided to blow holes in US foreign policy by dumping every secret he could.

I wanted to see if one man, with an internet connection and nothing more (no special LEXIS NEXIS or wire service subscriptions, no online libraries, nothing that is not freely available to all) except his own wits, could accurately assess American political reality. Could see history happening AS it was happening.*

[* Not as easy as it sounds. If you will go back and read newspaper archives for, say, World War II, the “TOP STORY” is almost invariably about a meaningless battle, while the REAL events of importance show up in small print on page 17, if at all. SEEING history as it is happening is NOT an easy nor trivial undertaking.]

As I reread pieces from almost any moment, they still hold up.

The results speak for themselves.

I have been consistently right while those with “special connections” and “insider knowledge” have been consistently wrong.

[* This is not to say that I haven’t been wrong. I was wrong about Twitter, thinking it a passing fad, but I ALSO covered the closing of the Rocky Mountain News USING their Twitter feed, which was unique at the time, but is now so ubiquitous as to seem unworthy of comment. I wrongly defended Shepard Fairey’s plagiarism of the AP Obama freelance photo for his iconic “HOPE” posters — although I believe it ought to have fallen into “fair use” categories.  Another poisonous “gift” from SCOTUS, severely limiting the ability of writers to quote and cite material in the public arena, ironically from a Scientology lawsuit about L.Ron Hubbard’s letters.]

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I started warning you about the Kochs in 2006.
SEVERAL years later, the rest of the world caught up.

My credo on this blog:

The world is the world is the world and will show the truth to anyone willing to look at it deeply and honestly.

That was the simple notion that this blog began with, and which it has, in the past decade, proven to be ineluctably true.

One man with a pen can make a difference.

That was the concept. his vorpal sword was my Proof of Concept.

As such, it has been entirely worthwhile and I don’t regret a moment.

And, it has been my pragmatic Proof of Concept that the epistemology of the Tibetan Buddhist operating system (non-theistic, please note) has given me accurate and dependable results in that dodgy world of political prediction and speculation. I have been ahead of history as it happened. Sometimes, we even joked that the blog’s tagline OUGHT to be “Tomorrow’s News Today!”®

But, if I live to be one hundred, I have tithed a tenth of my life to you, my fellow citizens. Whether you ever appreciate it or not, I did it out for my love of country, and for you, my countrymen.

And by “country” I mean the IDEA of the USA. We are not a nation, but a notion, from sea to shining sea.

And I believe that notion to still be the last, best hope of mankind. Otherwise I’d not have bothered.

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v. virtue is its own reward?

Which, I suppose,  brings me to the subject of rewards and “awards.”

My reward for this blog in the early days was to be a weekly radio “pundit” on Nancy Stapp’s show on the late KOPT-AM (Oregon’s Progressive Talk), another typical Leftie business model, owned by a Right Wing scam artist and real estate developer, which foredoomed it from the start, probably, as MSNBC is probably doomed right now.*

[* The COMCAST exec put in charge was a baby Bush bundler and now, with the bad ratings, etc. can claim with justification that MSNBC isn’t commercially viable and circular file it in  the dust bin of history. Note the almost complete turnover of broadcast personnel, with Joe Scarborough — no progressive — the only real survivor. As the Ayatollah signaled the arms deal he’d made with the treasonous Reagan campaign by releasing the hostages just as Reagan was inaugurated, so too Keith Olbermann (who built the brand, almost single-handed) was let go on the day of the announcement that COMCAST was taking over day-to-day management of NBC/Universal including MSNBC. Capisce? If so, you just did better than every journalist in America, who stared at the deal and the firing like dogs watching television. Didn’t understand it, but it entranced them.]

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Nope. Sorry.

Foolishly, in the first couple of years, I was taken in by the notion that what I was doing was valuable or even important, and was encouraged to enter the world of “awards.”

Which, as I learned, is a way to get you to nominate yourself, to pay some entry fee and then feel like a putz as the newspaper journalists would dominate professional awards with their newspaper “journalism” reprinted on their web sites and called “electronic journalism.”

I quickly realized that most of the modern “awards” culture is just a money-making scheme, and that no one with integrity would go around nominating themselves.

I have a very strong prohibition against blowing my own horn, tooting my own praises, bragging or otherwise telling the world just how awesomely great I am.

It is Old School, I realize, and I promise to try and get over it, but I have NOT engaged in the endless promotion that this blog’s success would have required because it’s simply wrong. The work should stand or fall on its own.

However, I am now inhabiting a world that demands you shout “LOOK AT ME!” or else be consigned to the scrap heap of history.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thus, forced to caterwaul about my incredible virtues, there is no point in continuing this blog.

I am disgusted by the process, but commerce demands that I put my foolish ethics away and blare the hymn to him, How Great I Am at the top of my lungs.

[Ain’t I just the bee’s knees?]

What I could accomplish in a decade has been accomplished. What cannot be accomplished is best left unsaid as the new Secession moves into a new phase.

I like to think that I pioneered using Google Maps to locate “charity” headquarters, using tax returns to chart political groups, using internet tools and tropes to help create an entirely new approach to journalism, and THAT was worth the decade-long detour.

It is very rare that you get the chance to create an entirely new form, using an explosion of new technology to utilize opportunities that once only existed in the fantasies of writers. Remember: I started my writing career in the age of typewriters and was present at the start and the evolution of computer typesetting, from the Compugraphic IV to today’s PCs.

When history offers such an opportunity, one would be a fool not to take advantage. And I am content. However …

I no longer believe the prognosis of our representative democracy to be salubrious. I believe that I will see an emperor in my lifetime, and that this election was more a staged event than a free and fair election.*

[* Indeed, given Karl Rove’s history, I find it EXTREMELY questionable that every “tossup” race suddenly went GOP last night. When something seems ‘too good to be true‘ it usually is. But that is no longer an issue for this blog, which ends here.]

The world in which his vorpal sword swam no longer exists. Blogging has become professionalized, monetized and, most importantly, monetized.

And, I am sick to fucking death of being the only progressive out there (save for rare exceptions like NO MORE MISTER NICE BLOG and Libby Spencer) with an actual spine.

The Democrats just lost another election by being invertebrates, and I am tired of the company of the spineless. The last blog, yesterday, is a case in point. I took it to them. Right in their faces:

memeorandum-3-00-pm-et-4-november-2014

As usual, it’s me against the barbarians. Help from other
leftie bloggers? Hah! This grows old after a decade.

And here’s how it rode all the way to the bottom (and it didn’t work. Shaheen was reelected. Sorry you pathetic MotherTucker):

memeorandum-1-10-am-et-5-november-2014

Just before this story fell off of Memeorandum: the pre-emptive strike
stayed on top all the way down the page. Alone again, naturally.

 What I’m showing you with my last post that showed up on Memeorandum is that I’ve been able to fight back, successfully, even though “progressives” are curled up in a fetal position whimpering as usual.

Just by the by, the fake scandal dropped at the last minute didn’t work. Shaheen was reelected, and Tucker’s gang continues to be incapable of shooting straight.

This is a metaphor for yesterday’s election.

When you attack them, often you win, even when outnumbered.

(One man with courage is a majority, quoth Thomas Jefferson, apocryphally. Or, if you are lost in the thicket of misattribution of this phrase, Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one. ~ Henry David Thoreau.)

fight-back

Just remember how crazy George Custer* wrecked Lee’s plan for Pickett’s Charge by attacking JEB Stuart’s cavalry, even though he was outnumbered something like ten to one.

[* “Come on, you Wolverines!“]

When you piss your pants in fear of losing, don’t be surprised that you lost. Nancy Pelosi’s header on one of her last fundraising emails?

from: Missy **@pelosiforcongress.org
reply-to: **@pelosiforcongress.org
to: Hart Williams
date: Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 5:39 PM
subject: D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R

Hart — did you see Nancy’s email earlier?

She’s right — waking up Wednesday morning to the largest GOP majority in 80 years would be a D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for middle class families.

We need to work to the very last second to stop that from happening. If you can, help us raise the $5O,OOO we need to keep our GOTV efforts running. Give five bucks now.

‘ D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R’?!??

Well, they got their wish. I’ve fought alone for ten years and then another ten inside a party more interested with fighting each other and correcting one another’s language than in fighting the neofascist “Republican” (Confederate) Party.

You, Nancy Pelosi are a FUCKING IDIOT.

And a GOP enabler.

It is symptomatic that TWICE in the 24 hours prior to the election, I had to lock horns with Lost Cause assholes DEFENDING the Confederacy and the Confederate flag … out of NOWHERE — not on a Lost Cause site, a GOP site or anything like that. Just Republican Confederate trolls, unwilling to allow anyone to diss the Confederacy for any reason whatsoever.

kkk0

Which OUGHT to tell us something important: the party of Lincoln is now in the hands of the secessionists, who have taken it over in all but spelling. The Confederate ideology now rules, and suppression of the colored vote is a priority. Fortunately, the spelling alone keeps morons and fools loyal to a Party whose very soul has been corrupted and perverted into the opposite of its founding principles.

And, it is typical that the “progressive” response was NOT to back me up for ATTACKING HISTORIC TREASON, but was, rather, to chide me for being rude to traitors.

As is P.C. typical.

Fuck you progressives. Until you grow a spine, you will never win.*

[* And I have nothing more to say to you, for free. You get to literally pay for your sins, hereinafter. That which was not valued for free is often appreciated when dearly paid for. Your very own karma, kids.]

endangered species

My blog punched well above its weight class for ten years, without hardly any help whatsoever.  And kicked ass and took names. I am well content with my part, and disgusted by the rest of it.

Many would be very surprised to see my final readership statistics.

freeper

Worse, we now live in two entirely separate realities, Don Juan notwithstanding. Listen to this discussion from yesterday’s To The Point from KCRW in Santa Monica:

News Media, Social Networks and Political Opinion Bubbles

Americans have access to more news sources than ever before, but they read, watch or listen most to the ones they trust. Liberals and conservatives make very different choices — reinforced by the influence of social media.

And today, “progressives,” “liberals” and “democrats” leave their very own President to twist, twist slowly in the wind. To which I responded:

And the fact that his own party doesn’t have his back doesn’t factor in? What self-centered toad wrote this drivel? Does Obama have to spend eight years as Horatius at the bridge, or will the “good Romans” ever get off their pimpled asses and join the fight? The question rather answers itself, don’t you think?

horatiusbridge1

Which summarizes my political frustration in a nutshell. When I have spent a decade fighting this toxic madness and we still cower like whipped dogs, the fault does not lie with me.

Perhaps they will be aroused, or, more likely, they will meekly emerge from the boxcars, check their pathetic personal effects, accept towel and soap and meekly enter the “showers” without having ever ONCE stood up for themselves.

It’s happened before.

Either way, I’m out of the freebie business.

Oh, and the obligatory Santayana quote goes here, I think.

springtime-on-europa

Rinse. Blather. Repeat.

vi. Finally: THANKS!

Acknowledgements go to my high school friend Dave H., to my friend and most faithful reader Jim B. who’s been here since the very beginning; to Rocky Missouri, Dianne Wing and Wild Bill (and the late Mac McFadden) for their long support of this blog and their comments.

And to Samuel John K., to Gary G., to Tengrain, Batocchio and blogenfreude. To syrbal-labrys, magii, and to Bollinger, Xulonjam and Courtney. Thanks all!

And Tommy C. for being the only guest blogger (I think) here at his vorpal sword.

chickamauga-monument

(I fear I am forgetting someone, but mayhap I will remember and emend this at a later date.)

To Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice and Pamela Leavey of The Democratic Daily, both of which will still publish my occasional SHORT posts. For their long patronage, and for the national platforms.

And a very special thanks to Mike Finnegan, founder of Mike’s Blog Roundup and funding founder of Crooks and Liars, who began featuring my blogs in 2006, and began a tradition that continues to this very day*.

[* Yesterday’s post is featured, for the last time, on Crooks and Liars this morning. If I’m going out, I’m going out on top and not as some afterthought to a vital effort that has been leeched of its vitality and raison d’être. The raisins remain VERY etre.**]

[** And I have always tried to present a link and the mouseover  definition to any unfamiliar words or concepts for my readers, an endless — and perhaps herculean — task that no one has seen fit to acknowledge in any wise during the past decade. Nonetheless, you’re welcome.]

And for the Bonnie Raitt tix. THANK you, Mike, and happy anniversary to you and Candy.

And to Steve Benin (now of the Rachel Maddow blog) for including me regularly on the old SALON blog roundups.

And to Ken Vogel of Politico, who actually (and, seemingly, uniquely) took my research seriously.

And to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey Sinclair for featuring me on Counterpunch in the early days.

And to Bruce Anderson, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, for moving to Oregon and creating the short-lived  AVA OREGON! which really jump-started the independent nature of this blog. This blog is, in a sense, the continuation of AVA OREGON! from the last issue until the present day.

To Art Kunkin for publishing me in the Los Angeles Free Press, and to all the other underground (and overground) newspapers I’ve been publishing in since college.

To Harlan Ellison, whose “Glass Teat” books convinced me, foolishly, that you could cause trouble AND get paid for it. (Which has never proven true: one or the other but never both have been the hallmarks of my career since 1973).

And a special thanks to my great and dear friend Bill Eagle, who has, since the beginning, remailed this blog to Democrats and Progressives in Eastern Oregon and giant volcano country. Thank you, Bill, for your long friendship and support  — going back to when we were two county Democratic webmasters, fending off the bullying of those who suddenly realized that the internet wasn’t going away, after all, and that webpages were IMPORTANT.

eagle-008

But MOST of all, I offer my thanks, my praise, my warmth and my love to my wife, Jayne Tannehill Sturgeon Williams, an author in her own right, who has been infinitely supportive during this decade-long run.

Words do not suffice — but chocolate MAY.

Finally, thanks to Dan Rather, whose fallen standard (‘Courage’) I found on the battlefield and made the trademark tag-line of this blog. I firmly believe that history will justify you, Mr. Rather.

(and forgive the very UN-PC notions of the remainder of the Guy Fawkes Day Verse, especially about the Pope, and if you don’t understand why, this is a great time to look it up!)

jaccuse

Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England’s overthrow.
    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James’s sake!
    If you won’t give me one,
    I’ll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Naw. Screw all kings. I’m a democrat. Little ‘d.’

blogger

And, finally, if any online magazine needs a blogger, and has a budget. I never said “never.” I just said, “NO MORE FOR FREE.”

Never say “never,” of  course, but this is my intention. If some incipient Rolling Stone needs an elder statesman Ralph Gleason-type, I’m available.

For a price.

If some budding Eliot Rosewater would like to stake me to a merit sinecure, I won’t turn you down.

But free?

To paraphrase Chief Joseph, I am weary. My heart is sick and from where the sun now stands, I will blog for free no more, forever. Pretty much.

That’s fair, I think.

The obligatory Douglas Adams line (from the dolphins) goes here, I think.

And this little token is for you …

silver-bullet

Courage.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The End of the Trail

  1. Pingback: His Vorpal Sword Comes to an End – The Moderate Voice

  2. These are the “ghosts in the machine” — the comments lost when the ten year archive of this blog was taken down.

    17 responses to “The End of the Trail”

    Mike
    5 November 2014 at 11:24 am
    Fare thee well – you will be missed

    Hart Williams
    30 February, 1066 at 13:61 am
    Thank you Mike, and I always miss Santa Fe.

    Gary Gambino
    5 November 2014 at 7:06 pm
    Good luck, my friend. You are, as always, welcome to participate in Forum on Facebook.

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 5:54 pm
    Thank you, Gary.

    I’m not going away. Just the free blog.

    Dianne Wing
    5 November 2014 at 8:27 pm
    And just like that – a glaring hole where reason and light used to live. You will be missed. Perhaps a guest blog now and then to lessen the void? I wish you wealth and happiness in your new endeavor.

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 7:27 pm
    Thank you for your faithful readership, Dianne.

    I will leave word on the blog as to where things show up.

    I’m not out of the fight. Just out of the fighting for free business.🙂

    M Davis
    5 November 2014 at 10:03 pm
    Thank you for letting me visit occasionally.

    I confess, I was most entranced by your personal posts. I actually studied some of them, hoping to learn how to grow or stiffen my own spine from them.

    I also have, at times, used your tagline. I didn’t realize it was Rather’s. That man was railroaded! Don’t get me going, you surely know more than I about it.

    So… Remember your towel, Don’t panic, and enjoy your long dark teatime of the soul – or is this the end of that?

    And to you, as well:

    Courage,

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 7:29 pm
    Thank you. I have received a lot of email on the personal stories, and I intend to put out a collection of them fairly soon.

    They are more popular than I ever would have expected.

    Towel in tow.

    Batocchio
    5 November 2014 at 11:02 pm
    Happy trails and best of luck.

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 7:30 pm
    And to you, my friend. I am off to the noosphere of the new economy.

    Many thanks for the many mentions.

    jim
    6 November 2014 at 1:42 am
    Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

    And then what? I wonder if Roy ever thought of the until part? Hey, Hey, Recreational pot in Oregon, Washington, D.C. , and Alaska!

    What’s next? A chicken or two for every pot grower, trimmer, seller and transporter. And money for the state. What could go wrong? Well, we buys our ticket and takes our ride!

    It’s been no waste of time buying the ticket to “his vorpal sword”

    And of course, Thanks for all the dead fish, Jim

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 7:32 pm
    Thank you, Jim. You have been there from day one to day omega and only one other person I know of in the world can say that.

    Happy trails, or, in the case of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and the District of Columbia, just … trails.

    stevektoo
    6 November 2014 at 7:30 am
    But, if I live to be one hundred, I have tithed a tenth of my life to you, my fellow citizens. Whether you ever appreciate it or not, I did it out for my love of country, and for you, my countrymen.

    Noted from the start and appreciated to the end.

    Thank you Hart… Now go get ‘em.

    Hart Williams
    8 November 2014 at 7:33 pm
    Thank you Steve.

    I will not vanish from The Moderate Voice, I suspect.

    And thank you for your many wise and perceptive comments.

    MandoMadMan
    6 November 2014 at 8:24 am
    Bravo, Mr. Williams. Bravo! I’ve learned more interesting, how things work ‘behind the scenes,’ information reading your blog than from any other one source on the Internet. Your posts are serious, require actual time and consideration in their reading and have always managed to avoid the indignant click bait headlines that plague so many other sites.

    On a personal note: We are very close to the same age and although I grew up in a different situation in a different area of the country, we’ve both experienced almost the exact same slice of American’s history – It’s something that I think started out very beautiful but turned very ugly over my lifetime. But, that could just be my memories of the past being improved by age. It’s been interesting to read your take on it all.

    Good luck going forward – we all have to make a living (unless, of course you’re a wing nut writer on wing nut welfare)

    Give them hell!

    Hart Williams
    10 November 2014 at 11:38 am
    Thank you so much, MMM.

    My blog’s secret motto has always been “I write to delight.”

    And yes, I look back at the arc of my life and the arc of our nation’s life, and wonder how we both got here. My life is easy for me to explain to me. But the country with a space program, with excellent public schools with music, art and sports, the country with affordable college, and unlimited upward mobility, the “can do” America?

    I can’t find where we lost it on the timeline, but there is no doubt that we lost it somewhere along the trail.

    I’m not giving up the fight. Just moving it to another arena.

    Again, many thanks for your loyal readership.

    Wild Bill
    6 November 2014 at 11:31 am
    You’ll leave a void in the “tubes” when this site is shut down. Is there a possibility of leaving your archives available? All of the incredible work you’ve done could be important to others who would like to take up the fight, but, maybe don’t have the research skills that you have. I’ll certainly have less “ammunition” to use with my GOP friends, and relatives.

    Hart, you will be missed, and I hope that others who weren’t regular readers of yours, but did on occasion, will lament the end of your blog. Of course a man needs to make a living, and I applaud you for always maintaining such high standards of ethics and honesty, they are a rarity these days. So long my friend, write a great book, I read many books each month, maybe soon I’ll see “by Hart Williams” on one of them, and I don’t much care what it’s about, I’ll buy it.

    Hart Williams
    10 November 2014 at 11:47 am
    As Dorothy said to the ScareCrow, I think I’ll miss you most of all, Bill.

    Thank you for your loyal readership, and I am glad that it was valuable to you.

    As for “ammunition” I fear that the day of discussion is at an end. (Another reason for bringing the blog to a close). We live in our two separate realities (and unreality, in the GOP case) and We, the People are just as much a house divided as when Abraham Lincoln characterized us on June 16, 1858 in his famous speech.

    Hunker down. I fear it will get worse before it gets better. Tuesday’s result guarantees that.

    Thank you again, Bill, and happy trails!

    Like

  3. Comments have been reopened for December 2014 and January 2015.

    Like

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