Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Via Matt Drudge, I noted with some amusement that a supporter of Barack Obama, who had created a web site in support of his run for president, has had his site taken over without even nominal compensation by the Obama campaign!
... Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign has taken over control of the MySpace page listed under his name on the popular social networking site.Anthony, doing just that, recounts the long run-around the Obama campaign gave him, expresses indignation, and states that Obama has lost his vote as a result of this:
For the past two and a half years, the page has been run by an Obama supporter from Los Angeles named Joe Anthony. At first, that arrangement was fine with the Obama team, which worked with Anthony on the content and even had the password to make changes themselves.
But as the site exploded in popularity in recent months, the campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony they wanted him to turn it over.
In this new frontier of online campaigning, it's hard to determine the value of 160,000 MySpace friends -- about four times what any other official campaign MySpace page has amassed. But the Obama campaign decided they wouldn't pay $39,000, which is what Anthony said he proposed for his extensive work on the site, plus some additional fees up to $10,000.
MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobama as of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign. [links dropped]
Since January, as you may know, and as many in the Myspace community know, I've been working on the page around the clock. I started this profile in November of 2004 and it grew steadily since then. In January and February the media started to notice, and I began to work even harder because I reallized what an impact the Myspace could really have.Before I go on, I will note that the actual "takeover" was a decision on the part on the part of Myspace. But also recall that Barack Obama is in favor of socialized medicine -- the government takeover and monopolization of an entire industry! As unhappy as Anthony ought to be with Myspace, at least he can take his business to another social networking site, and make it known that he was cheated out of his hard work, possibly causing Myspace to lose lots of business. The campaign site, as far as I can tell, is the property of Myspace to do with as it sees fit. Stupid business decision or not, this is Myspace's right.
People were actually registering to vote, making contributions, asking questions, putting banners on their pages, etc. I know this because I constantly received emails about this, and I replied to every single one to thank them or point them in the right direction if they needed more information.
The campaign got involved in February and although at first it was very exciting, it quickly became clear that they just had no interest in me or my involvement. They only wanted to take control of the profile and get on with it. I bit the bullet for a while and kept working for the good of the campaign, but they quickly went from passive aggressive, to aggressive, and then eventually just rotten and dishonest.
For the past few weeks, the campaign decided it would be better if they just took control of the profile and we decided to try to come to some agreement. By this time, I didn't have quite as much respect for the campaign guys, and frankly felt like I was just being used. They knew about this profile the entire time, and really just waited until it got enough media coverage and friends request so they could step in and bully me out of it.
The last few weeks were just insane. They kept scheduling phone conferences with me, I would wake up early that day after barely sleeping the night before, I'd take time off work, etc. and each after another would be postponed at the last minute. This went on for weeks.
It got to the point where I didn't feel comfortable turning the profile over to the campaign unless they paid for it. This was largely symbolic. The same campaign that inspired me to work so hard to build this community, the same campaign whose underlying message stresses "the power of the individual to have an impact on politics", was constantly downplaying my role in this, bullying me, and a couple of other things that were just rotten and dishonest (specifically in connection with Myspace, and the campaign quashing a recent NPR interview about the profile).
Apparently the message here is, as an individual, if you have too big of an impact, you're just a liability.
This is how Obama lost my vote, and one of his strongest supporters. [bold added]
But the government is different from Myspace. The government is the only social institution that can legally wield force (i.e., threaten people with imprisonment or jail for not doing as it says). As such, if the government were to do to Anthony what Myspace helped Obama do, Anthony would have no recourse at all. Like the physicians whose work Obama hopes to expropriate, Anthony would face fines or imprisonment if he didn't simply go along with Obama's dictates; he could not simply set up shop under a different government; and he could potentially be muzzled from expressing his opinion about what was done to him -- as happens in Cuba all the time.
Presumably, one of the reasons Anthony supported Obama was because the Democrat promised to deliver "free" medical care to all by government decree. Well, Anthony just learned the easy way what this actually means: the expropriation of the hard work of countless individuals. Furthermore, the shoddy treatment he got at the hands of the Obama campaign even after helping them should show him that despite his lip-service to "the individual", Obama is all about only one thing when it comes to the individual: having power over him. Is it really a big surprise that someone who sees physicians as a means to an end -- rather than a group of hard-working individuals -- would see other human beings in the same way, and so be capable of treating even a supporter so shoddily?
It is not hard work that made you a liability, Mr. Anthony. It was your refusal to meekly take orders. Notice that they took the fruits of your labors and disposed of you as expeditiously as possible. At least with Obama not having the power of the government at his disposal, he needs accomplices. We might be better off keeping it this way.
Joe Anthony now knows what helping someone who promises to pass out stolen loot -- and anything stolen has to be stolen from someone -- will do for you. The question is, will anyone else figure this out before electing Obama and giving him the ability to do this to the rest of us at the point of a gun?