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January 24, 2008



You have got to be kidding me. I used your Google facility to search your sight to see previous mentions of George Bush and you know how many I came up with? Two.

This blog that continues to focus on Asia and its obstacles to human rights is particularly quiet when it comes to American abuses.

Where was all your coverage on the abuses of Iraq? Of media organisations getting, quite literally, targeted?

What about Patriot?

What about Bush standing by while American companies boosted dictators' efforts to clamp down on their own people?

Now, with all the focus on who is next and in particular the Obama/Clinton fight you turn your attention to boost.

Having a shot at a lame duck president who no one cares about at all now.

Vote the Bastards Out? Ha. Why didn't you say that when Bush could actually have been voted out?

I've seen this a lot with American bloggers as they become more bold about the future - but so few dared to speak out about the attrocities perpetuated by your Country (and shamefully mine).

This blog is supposed to be about human rights and Guantanamo is mentioned more by your commenters than yourself.

Way too little. Way too late.

Rebecca MacKinnon

Hi there ourman. You make some good points. I get emails and comments from time to time criticizing the focus of my blog, and telling me the focus is supposed to be one way or another and isn't living up to its focus and the particular reader's expectations.

What this blog mainly is, is an open notebook on the things I'm following and researching as part of my work: which currently encompasses online free speech issues in China; new media and the future of journalism; corporate responsibility and internet censorship; creative commons, copyright and free culture , Global Voices and citizen media, and some Hong Kong media issues. Since I've got a full time university job and am badly over-committed, I only manage to post a couple times per week on average, and the rest of the time it's del.icio.us links. I tend to figure that my blog is more useful to people if I write about things which I have some unique insight or perspective on - or first-hand experience with. If I used my blogging time to talk about stuff that I don't have particular expertise on, I wouldn't have time to write about the things I actually do have expertise on. So no, I don't talk about U.S. politics much here because I figure people can get more useful and original insight elsewhere. My discussion of human rights issues in China or elsewhere in Asia is also very narrow - I have not attempted to be comprehensive at all and there's much I "miss," but then it's also stuff that others are catching.

So, here's the problem. The result of my decision to focus on things that I think I can say something original about, or have firsthand experience with, is that no, I haven't talked much about many of the things going on in the U.S. over the past 8 years, which I have found upsetting but about which my knowledge and opinions are frankly not terribly original. This means that some people think I'm being one-sided and unbalanced, or unfair to China, or mis-interpret my point and think that I don't see problems in the U.S. But the question is: is it reasonable to expect that the blog of one person who has more than a full-time job outside of blogging will give fully balanced coverage of the entire world? This is, frankly, why I am not one of those people who argue that news organizations ought to be replaced by bloggers.

This post was indeed off-topic from what I usually talk about. Maybe the flip side of your argument is that I have no right to start talking about U.S. politics and policy now because I have not done so much in the past. Well, I guess it's my blog and I'll do what I want during this election season, especially since I'm starting to get involved with efforts to mobilize expatriate Americans to vote - because from everything I'm hearing, the expat vote could really make a difference this year. The post was a heartfelt expression of my desire to replace these shit-heads in the White House with some people who are as different as possible. That's all.

As they say, if you don't like this blog, you are welcome not to read it. I am not trying to make money with it anyway, and I don't pay attention to my traffic. The whole point of its existence is to share my ideas and observations with a small number of people who might be interested. I don't want to waste their time regurgitating stuff they'll find elsewhere with no added value.


All fair enough - but like you said - it seems very odd at this point to be suddenly reading about Bush on this site.

I remember arguing with a formerly pro-Bush blogger against the invasion of Iraq - I checked recently only to find she's now supporting Obama.

It appears that those people who, post 9/11, kept their contrary opinions very quiet, or went along with the Bush revenge missions, are now slowly coming out of the woodwork or quietly desserting their sinking ship.

Now I am sure your anti-Bush sentiments are consistent but there has been a global anti-Bush effort. People have marched, written letters, stopped the traffic and demonstrated in so many ways against the horrific evils of the Bush regime.

And bloggers have blogged and blogged about the evils. It's fair to say that without bloggers the Murdoch dominated media would have given a very different world-spin to the events in Iraq.

Arguably blogging came of age with the background of the war in Iraq.

Now I know your focus is different but there is nothing on this blog to say "China Only". There is a great deal about human rights and freedom of speech. Both have been hugely curtailed by Bush.

And let's face it you are American. Did it never strike you as hypocritical to be repeatedly criticising the part of the world you lived in while ignoring the larger sins of your own?

Bush has been frankly startingly conspicuous by his absence here. I am glad that you are now trying to mobilise the expat voice, but let's face it, if RConversation was their chief source of news on the evils on the world then it's number one superpower is strangely absent.

There's nothing here to tell them why they might consider to vote against Bush and his cronies.

It's your blog and you'll do what you want with it. Fair enough but you enjoy a position, an education and a resume that means people listen to you.

I really can't believe that your blood didn't boil with anger so many times during the Bush regime.

Shock and awe, Guantanamo, Abu Gharib etc etc, the killing of journalists? Tens of thousands of dead civillians? What does it take to move you?

Were you really so unmoved by world events that you never bashed out an angry rant? Or maybe you did but self-censored?


To kick Bush now, when he's down and very nearly out appears to be the very very least you could do within the context of the global struggle.

Sorry, I would have thought you would have taken it upon yourself to do more.

Rebecca MacKinnon

"if RConversation was their chief source of news on the evils on the world then it's number one superpower is strangely absent."

God forbid anybody would depend on this blog or any single blog as their chief source of news.

Look, as I said, I've chosen not to use my blog for ranting if I don't have anything original to contribute. Clearly you find this approach disappointing. I'm not going to endlessly defend myself at this point because you and I'm sure many others will never be satisfied anyway. It's not the blog you think it should be. I'm obviously not the person you'd like me to be either. That's just life.


Isn't this an irrelevant point for both of you? George Bush is gone no matter how you vote in the upcoming election.


..which was kind of my point.

To start campaigning now is absolutely irrelevant and way way too late.


and no blogger including rebecca mackinnon has yet been able to get their names on the Presidential ballot. Its time to question American democracy. Is it really a democracy or a 2 party system?

In Iran, they had over 50 candidates for the Presidential election from various political parties. It almost appears like any one who wishes to run for the Presidential office can sign up.

What happened to democratic America???

Besides, if America is really a democracy and not a 2 party system, then the Presidential candidates for the Republicans or Democrats should be decided amongst registered party members ONLY. Not through some state government sanctioned elections. These primaries are legitimizing the 2 party system giving Democratic and Republican parties special political treatments compared to other political parties.

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