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This is a summary diary. Here you will find a list of the actions we suggested yesterday in the Caucus Diary on Syria.  I have tried to organize them in a helpful way. Time is very short, both for us in the lead-up to this vote and for me this morning as I have to run to a rally at Chris Van Hollen’s District Office. Things are heating up here!

So please don’t mind it that I’m not giving each Kossack credit for his/her idea. I’m throwing these together as quickly as I can. No lack of appreciation for your ideas is intended!

What We Came Up With Yesterday:

Traditional tactics (not to be despised!)

Since time is very very short, we may need to rely on the traditional ways of lobbying our legislators more than I’d like. But these tactics are not to be despised, though there are more effective ones, I think (the more effective ones often take more time, unfortunately).

1) Go in person and lobby. Especially veterans.

2) Use MB’s whip count diary, and focus on undecideds, especially those outside MIC interest. In other words pick the easiest ones first then dig in on the tough ones towards vote time.

3) Focus on the House; we have a better chance there.

4) But people with high-profile Senators can use them to generate publicity.

5) When they get to the floor we should flood c- span phones. People will be watching.

Follow the money

1) Boycott donors, and be loud about it. Either do it simultaneously with all of them or do a rolling boycott.

2)This may take a lot of time, and thus perhaps all we could do right now is call for a boycott with an online web page/petition—signers will be committing to boycott; funders of the Aye vote Reps would be listed, and phone numbers of their corporate offices included. In order to do this, necessary to go to MB’s whip count page and looking up the donors of the Aye vote representatives on Open Secret or Maplight. Could also be publicized on Twitter and elsewhere, once page was up.

Follow me below the orange squiggle for messaging ideas, PR, and legislative tricks we could use to stop this march to war.

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This is a Caucus diary, created by The Caucus Project group at DailyKos.

The goal of this diary is not to debate the policy position of the diarist; it is for people who support the position statement to discuss and debate proposed ideas for action, and to organize.  The diarist will post a position statement, which will include a solicitation for possible courses of action or a proposal for action, tactics and strategy.

Please read this diary, Caucus Diary Mark II, before commenting here if you are not already familiar with the new Caucus community diaries.

After a week of discussion, many of us on Daily Kos are opposed to military intervention in Syria. My personal opinion is that, at the very least, any military action by the President should 1) have Congressional approval, and 2)follow the Powell Doctrine.

For those not familiar with the Powell Doctrine, here it is:

The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
1) Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2) Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3) Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4) Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5) Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6) Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7) Is the action supported by the American people?
8) Do we have genuine broad international support?
The position of this diarist is that the requirements of the Powell Doctrine have not been met, and that, at the very least, questions #2,#3,#5, and #6 must be answered in the affirmative, with reasonable specific proofs of why the answer is yes provided to the American people and to Congress, before military action is contemplated.

This is even more true if engaging in Syria is merely one more step toward engaging Iran (there are some indications that may be true:  Possible implications for future relations with Iran; Original source article in NYT)

Since the President is going to go to Congress for authorization, one obvious and important course to take is influencing our representatives and senators to vote `no.' I would like to focus on that next step.

Follow me below the orange squiggle for initial ideas and resources.

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We are about to move ahead with the Caucus Project, and look forward to having some focused, lively, productive discussions that hopefully will lead to actions both online and off. Many thanks to all those who have participated in the conversation thus far, and for all of your good ideas (many of which I have incorporated below).  So, this is the Next-to-Last Meta Caucus diary.

It was going to be the Last, but it seemed to me that the discussion of finding/creating an offsite working space is not part of the discussion of how Caucus diaries are going to work, but more a discussion of how we’re going to continue to organize as a community if they don’t work (by getting an offsite place to do the work and then publishing it here). So there will be one more diary after this, to discuss Plan B:  Offsite Options..

Summary of how we got here

Many of us on Daily Kos were getting very tired of the constant flame wars, which we felt were actively impeding our ability to have any other kind of productive conversation on the site.  To address this, I proposed a new kind of diary:  the Caucus Diary. First Caucus Diary

My belief was that there’s a place in political activism both for fierce debate with opposition, and for meetings of like-minded people to plan action. In other words, if a group of people want to repeal the Patriot Act, they should be able to write a diary entitled Let’s Figure Out How to Repeal the Patriot Act, and strategize and plan actions in that diary, without having to debate in that diary whether the Patriot Act was good or bad. (Of course, anyone who disagreed with the premise of a Caucus diary was free to publish their own diary disagreeing with it).

Markos ruled that Caucus as a space where debate was limited was not allowable on his site. However, enough people still wanted to do Caucus that I wrote another diary with a proposal for how to effectively have Caucus diaries within Markos’ rules. Second Caucus Diary

Follow me below the orange squiggly for Caucus Mark II.

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For those of you who don't know, Markos recently published his draft of the new Community Guidelines for Daily Kos.  There are two sections that have particular impact on the Caucus Project.  Here's the most important of the two:


1. Debate-free zones.

Some users have asked about the ability to declare their diary off-limits to their detractors, so that they can discuss a topic without having opponents intrude. This would apply to internally contentious issues like Israel-Palestine, Snowden-NSA, and guns. Or primaries where the community is divided among the contenders.
While I find some validity in the request, and considered it deeply, fact is it conflicts with the debate-centric focus of the site. We're not an echo chamber, nor do I want it to become one. So if you want to be spared dissent, Daily Kos just won't be the place for you. If you can't handle dissent, then maybe political activism is not the thing for you.
There is one exception to this rule (the I Got The News Today diary highlighting those who lost their lives in our wars). There might be cause for additional exceptions in the future, but permission to do so can only come from site administration.

Markos rules diary

When I conceived the Caucus Project, my idea was to create a space on Daily Kos that was not a mosh pit, not because I don't like mosh pits--as most of you can attest, I wade into most flamewars around here--but because I don't want to be in a mosh pit all the time, not even in my capacity as activist. Why? Because it's very hard to get anything done in a mosh pit. And you sure as hell can't make plans in there.

Here's my original diary on the subject of Caucus.

While Daily Kos does plenty of work around campaigns, especially in the generals, and also does some very praiseworthy charity and solidarity work, I felt there was a lot of energy around here that could be put toward asking "What can we do about x?" instead of just hurling flaming pies at each other nonstop.

Some others agreed, and the Caucus Project came to be. The idea was essentially that the diarist would establish the baseline premise of the diary-- for instance, I want to repeal the Patriot Act--and people would not be able to fight against repealing the Patriot Act in that particular diary, because the diary would not be for the purpose of debate, but for the purpose of like-minded people coming together and figuring out what to do. Instead of the diary's basic question being "Should the Patriot Act be repealed?" the basic question was "How should we, who want to repeal the Patriot Act, best act to get that done?" My argument was that people can, of course, oppose the premise of any Caucus diary in their own diary and have a rousing debate. There was plenty of room on the site to debate, in my view--it's not like the old days when you got only one diary per day. And as I said repeatedly, any diary critiquing a Caucus diary would get far more eyes than the Caucus diary itself, because vigorous debates and flamewars get far more eyes than dry diaries about strategy and tactics and action planning.

Well, Markos has said no to that, as you see above. We can't prevent people from coming into Caucus diaries and doing everything from debating to trolling.  People have remarked that we can use the rules against threadjacking to keep trolling to a minimum in Caucus diaries, but here are the threadjacking rules:

7. Threadjacking.
This is a fun one, because it truly is subjective on a variety of levels. Threadjacking is diverting a comment thread from its original focus. Based on this definition, it's actually hard to find any comment thread with more than 10 comments that doesn't have some threadjacking involved. Our diaries are less of a dictate on what to discuss, and more of a starting point for a free-wheeling discussion. So 99 percent of threadjacking is fine, and actually is what makes our comment threads so much fun.

The actual problem is with malicious threadjacking — the kind of threadjacking designed to derail a productive conversation, whether because the 'jacker hates the diarist, or because s/he is unhappy with the topic of discussion. This is obviously a problem in areas in which the community is internally divided. And it's one of those things that can't be easily defined.

The best way to call out an explicit threadjack is when it occurs together with a violation of one of the other rules — usually the one against personal insults.

Language like "can't be easily defined" "easiest to call it out when it occurs together with violation of other rules" and "subjective on a variety of levels," does not lead me to place much reliance on this rule as a way of keeping the discussion troll-free, even while I acknowledge that Markos' points in this regard are well-taken. I see the problems in site administration making a definitive judgement for all time about threadjacks, but the fact remains that this rule is unlikely to help us much in practice.

I have two ideas as to how we can proceed. Follow me below the Escher orange squiggle of meta for a caucus on how we might successfully have caucuses. :-)

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Reposted from Celtic Merlin's Cauldron by Celtic Merlin Editor's Note: This is such a great diary I wanted to republish it for Caucus even though Caucus is in a bit of a gray area right now as regards site guidelines. -- Celtic Merlin

I needed a break from a home-improvement project and sat on the top step of my front porch in order to take it.  I pulled out my cell phone and started scrolling through the names listed there on the off chance that I'd find somebody I hadn't had a chat with in a while.

Expecting to reach the end of the list - where the customer service number is located - before I found somebody to call, I did happen upon the name of a Kossack that I hadn't spoken with in about a year.  Mostly because she NEVER calls me (hint-hint) but also because I should call her more often than I do.

So we have this conversation about all sorts of different things.  What was supposed to be a 10-minute break turned into an hour-long-plus chat about this site, some of you (all good, I swear it!), and because we are Kossacks . . . current events.

When it was over, I had promised a diary.  This is it.  I was supposed to publish it on Tuesday, but Life has other plans for us sometimes.  So while late, here it is.  It was also supposed to be titled, "What Now?"  After some thought, I decided to use the current title.

I shall now attempt to nudge you, dear reader, into taking just a little bit of action for your own good, that of your neighbors, and the nation as a whole.  You won't have to go door-to-door!  You won't have to do anything illegal!  You'll probably have a terrific time and I guarantee that you will feel really, REALLY good about yourself at the end.

Sound good so far?  Good.  Now join me below the Kospaghetti for the details.

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Caucus Diary
This is a Caucus diary, a community diary created by The Caucus Project group at DailyKos.

The goal of this diary is not to debate the policy position of the diarist; it is for people who support the position statement to discuss and debate proposed ideas for action, and to organize.  The diarist will post a position statement, which will include a solicitation for possible courses of action or a proposal for action, tactics and strategy.

Comments that attempt to derail the discussion will be moderated by the diarist and members of the Caucus group.

Please read this diary, "The Caucus Project at Daily Kos", before commenting here if you are not already familiar with the new Caucus community diaries.

Position Statement:

The Grayson hearing (Guardian article on the Grayson hearing on NSA programs)

should be available to the widest possible audience.  Right now, the C-SPAN TV schedule does not list this hearing in Wednesday's programming.  This doesn't mean that they don't plan to televise the hearing, but there are some other things scheduled for that day and yet this one is not.  If C-SPAN receives a lot of requests for coverage of this event, we might be able to influence the decision of their editorial board.

Other media organizations might also be influenced by our organized contacts to them.

Proposal for Action:
1) Right now, we should gather information and brainstorm ideas to urge the media to cover this hearing widely and make it available to the largest possible audience.  After we come up with some good ideas, we should follow up with Caucus/Action diaries to organize the actions that we decide upon.

2) We should also discuss whether or not we want to organize liveblog coverage here at DailyKos. There are a couple of different methods of doing this, one of which involves using Twitter.  (More information on this below).


What will you do for this effort?

55%10 votes
11%2 votes
27%5 votes
5%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from noise of rain by noise of rain

The police come in swarms today, in predator waves, jackals culling antelope, scanning the room not for the easy efficient takedowns, but for the ones they most begrudge. They lope into the large room, four, eight, ten of them, and surround specific singers. The energy of the room immediately changes, intensifies, feels jagged, anticipatory, fragile. There are way more than twenty singers gathered here, and the singing echoes off the marbled and filagreed surfaces of the capitol rotunda, loud enough to need earplugs. Three hundred or more people stand in close proximity, half of them with cameras, most of them singing. It feels like two years ago, when the Uprisings began. I'm not prepared for the emotional and physical intensity. On the drive from Milwaukee to Madison, we talked about the police;  their duplicity, their motivations, and their own entrapment within a dehumanizing system. Would they be making arrests? I want to believe in the goodness down in their heart of hearts, but today I look into their eyes as they scan the crowd, and I can't see much beyond cold calculation and grim authoritarian determination. We represent freedom and they are there to discipline and punish. It is a cold calculus. People singing without permission are threats to the State. Discipline. Punish.

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Reposted from Toking Points Memo by Horace Boothroyd III Editor's Note: Not in the official format but the writer makes intent known in the tip jar. -- Horace Boothroyd III

The Story that is Raw

This story examines some reaction to George Zimmerman's murder of Trayvon Martin while acting as a "neighborhood watch volunteer".

It focuses on a guy named Kent Holder in Tacoma, Washington, about as far from Florida as you can get without going to Canada.

Holder feels Zman "really screwed up"...Yeah, profound understatement, but it could be a lot worse....

In Holder’s view, Zimmerman violated two basic tenets of the watch program: Never confront a person you perceive to be suspicious, and never carry a weapon while on duty.
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Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 01:00 PM PDT

Defund the NSA - ACTION (Now!)

by joanneleon

Caucus Diary
This is a Caucus diary, a community diary created by The Caucus Project group at DailyKos.

The goal of this diary is not to debate the policy position of the diarist; it is for people who support the position statement to discuss and debate proposed ideas for action, and to organize.  The diarist will post a position statement, which will include a solicitation for possible courses of action or a proposal for action, tactics and strategy.

The position statement is the topic for discussion.  Comments that attempt to derail the discussion will be moderated by the diarist and members of the Caucus group.

Please read this diary, "The Caucus Project at Daily Kos", before commenting here if you are not already familiar with the new Caucus community diaries.

Position Statement:

Bipartisanship we can believe in -- Democrats should support the Amash/Conyers amendment, and call Congress now.

This amendment is sponsored by a Republican, but it is co-sponsored by a Democrat, John Conyers, and others.  At least two coalition web sites have been created:
Demand Progress (Aaron Swartz organization) Action page

The amendment is an important amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill and it is going to come up for a vote quickly, either Weds. night or Thurs. morning.  The NSA is already organizing against it, which means it is likely that the administration is against it.  This is a situation where we should side with the bipartisan coalition proposing this amendment because it's the only power that the people's representatives in Congress have over the executive branch agencies -- the power of the pocketbook.

Proposal for Action: We should join the and Demand Progress coalitions and organize as many people as we can to call our representatives in the House to tell them to vote for the Amash/Conyers amendment and we should do it immediately.

Update: DailyKos Actions is also supporting this amendment.  Here is their campaign.

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Reposted from SouthernLiberalinMD by joanneleon

Welcome to the launch diary of the new Caucus Project at Daily Kos.  For all those who wish to participate, this diary provides the general outline of the idea and some basic ground rules for how the Project will work.

Many of us on Daily Kos are getting very tired of the constant flame wars, which are at this point actively impeding our ability to have any other kind of productive conversation on this website.  To address this, I would like to propose a new kind of diary:  the Community Caucus Diary.

Premise: When the Progressive Caucus meets, the Blue Dog Caucus is not permitted to keep opening the door every 5 minutes and yelling insults into the room. Nor are they allowed to bring a polka band into the room and sing and play so loudly that discussion is impossible. This is also true, obviously, in reverse:  when the Blue Dog Caucus is meeting, I am not allowed to enter their meeting room in the Longworth Building in a purple tutu and do an interpretive dance/performance art piece representing the percentage of GDP that goes toward wages.

There is a place in politics for mosh-pit style debates, but there is also a place in politics for discussion amongst like-minded people. Such discussions are generally focused on setting goals, discussing strategies and tactics, and planning actions rather than on debating ideology, values, and the characters of individual politicians.

The Problem on Daily Kos:
We don’t have a way to have these sorts of discussions amongst like-minded people without being swarmed constantly by those who don’t agree. It is, practically speaking, very difficult to have strategy or tactics discussions, or goal-setting sessions, on Daily Kos at this point.

Follow me below the orange squiggle for our proposal on how to deal with this.


How do you like the idea?

69%53 votes
2%2 votes
22%17 votes
3%3 votes

| 76 votes | Vote | Results

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