Below is the first post, "Why This Site," that I published. Most of the links are dead. (Also, above is a screen cap--click to enlarge--of the top potion of the blog's first page's worth of posts. It's in my digital archives, not online. Back then I used Fat Cow's hosting services.)
Okay, I admit that I'm a tad impressed that a decade ago I was blogging about wealth disparity and the top 1%. Frankly, they're topics I moved away from over time though they're certainly on my mind again a lot nowadays.
I launched Isebrand.com on January 7, 2004. It was entirely focused on U.S. politics and done in HTML. If TypePad or WordPress existed back then, I didn't know about them. What's annoying is that I went from several hundred daily unique visitors on average (getting more than 5,000 daily during the week of the 2004 General Election and the day after) to 100s fewer once I switched to TypePad in 2006. All of a sudden many followers couldn't find my blog as easily and it seemed lost to search engines.
Now, "Isebrand.com 2.0," as it were, is just a sort of scrapbook of Web snippets, more likely to be about the UK or British history or a good cocktail recipe as it is to be about U.S. politics. On an extremely good day, I might get 200-300 visitors but that's rare; merely 50-80 is more common.
If my initial post's tone seems angry, it's because I was. I'd been a big Al Gore fan and his tone-deaf, stiff-as-a-board, and ill-advised campaign style infuriated me to no end. I'd met him in person and he was droll, quick, clever, and likable. (Okay, and a little stiff.) I didn't welcome but didn't thoroughly dread a Bush administration after Gore conceded. Remember, "compassionate conservative" was a motto in the air then, and Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, was relatively centrist even by the standards of the GOP then. By the standards of the Tea Party-era GOP, the George H. W. Bush of the late 1980s couldn't today win a primary race for county dog catcher.
But, 9/11 and its aftermath showed G. W. Bush's true colors. I found the GOP's demagogic lies of the 2002 midterms to be utterly unconscionable. To successfully insinuate that the likes of Max Cleland and other Congressional Democrats were potentially traitorous or dangerous of opposing a rush into a war of choice against Iraq, a nation not involved in 9/11, almost literally sickened me. It sickened me that the GOP dared to do such knavish things and that so many voters bought into it.
By late 2003, I was part of the Draft Clark movement and agreed with Gore Vidal--now the late Gore Vidal (and I still agree with him on this)--that George W. Bush's administration was one of the worst to ever befall the republic, largely a calculating and grotesquely cynical cabal bent on warmongering globally for personal profit and glory, stirring up the religious right domestically, and deliberately spending while cutting taxes in order to cause a crisis of debt that could be used as an excuse to undo the New Deal.
My late and beloved Aunt Ardith Buffington was among the sweetest and least judgmental people I've ever had the privilege to know. She was not very political. I remember being taken aback when she somewhat sharply declared once to me and my uncle when President George W. Bush appeared on the television screen, maybe in 2005 or 2006, "Oo, when I see his face, I just want to slap him." There was something about that man. Not just the policies but the swagger, the smirk, the seeming lack of serious-mindedness, that could cause strong antipathy. In general, I think it was often warranted, and while I am very good about avoiding the ad hominem these days (guideline: "attack the idea, the message, not the person or messenger") and think it is an important principle, back then on Isebrand.com, I often referred to the President as a "frat punk."
Why this site?
by IseFire - Wed. 01/07/04; 8:51 pm EST
BECAUSE the wealthiest 1% of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95% combined;
BECAUSE the president threw away a $237 billion government surplus, leaving America no emergency funds;
BECAUSE his imprudence has given us a $400 billion deficit;
BECAUSE he feeds wealth disparity with tax give-aways that help the rich, force service cuts for the rest of us, and drive state and community taxes up;
BECAUSE on January 28, 2003 the president lied to America before Congress assembled;
BECAUSE he exploited the 9/11 tragedy to start an unrelated war, and deceived Americans to gain their support.
BECAUSE his war is diverting money and immeasurable resources from the fight against terrorism;
BECAUSE his warmongering showed contempt for our allies and squandered their goodwill;
BECAUSE he protects officials who treasonously betrayed an American intelligent agent;
BECAUSE he and his staff censor information and withhold from the American public even basic facts about their secret governance;
BECAUSE his environmental record is the worst of any president in American history.
BECAUSE savvy conservatives overwhelmed our insipid and lazy media (while Democratic Party leaders sat idly by) with well-funded think tank data, right-wing commentary, and partisan spin;
BECAUSE the grassroots campaigns of Howard Dean and Wesley Clark offer the hope of a resurgent Democratic Party;
BECAUSE Democrats are finally recognizing the need for better political communication;
BECAUSE grassroots organizations like MoveOn.org show that the Internet can help defend the republic and its constitution;
that's why this site.