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The diary in question, by Democrats Ramshield has been deleted. This is a common tactic by diarists who are unwilling to take responsibility for what they have written, or how they have behaved. Given the context of this deletion, that's almost definitely the case here, imho. I feel that this kind of behavior is disrespectful to the DK community, and in particular to those who commented in good faith in this diary. These commenters provide useful, relevant and accurate information, and stayed civil and respectful even when Democrats Ramshield was insulting and disrespectful in response.

All that Democrats Ramshield had to do was participate in a respectful, good-faith discussion with those who questioned the video that he included in his diary. It would have been easy to acknowledge the concerns raised, apologize for his inappropriate behavior, and remove the video from the diary. Instead, Democrats Ramshield is trying to hide the evidence of his problematic behavior. The most egregious behavior was in the comments, a example slice of which can be found here: the rest of which can be found here, in his comments on 12/2/2014, in his diary, "My diary needs your help to go viral it provides info on what gov't agency is spying on your phone!".

Here's a cached diary copy that shows DR's behavior in the comments:

and direct links to the comments that drew HR's:
cybersaur - you are just an outright liar aren't u (2+ / 18-)

cybersaur... (10+ / 6-)

Continued half-troll alert on Fall line (10+ / 5-)

(End Update)

A few points before we get started:

-I believe that government monitoring and collection of our online data is a serious issue and fully support open, informed discussion of this topic.

-The diary in question contains useful and relevant information and videos, and is only marred by the video in question, and the diarist's defense of that video.

-I do not believe that the worth of a DK contributor is determined by how many diaries they have written, nor how many have been recommended.

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I just finished reading Dorian Johnson's testimony to the Grand Jury concerning the Ferguson Police Shooting, and found myself moved by his account of the day. Dorian comes across as a decent young man, trying to do the right thing, raising his daughter with his girlfriend, and being something of a mentor to a younger Michael Brown:

Q were basically being kind of a mentor to Mike; is that correct?

A ...That's correct. It wasn't just like that with Big Mike, it was other kids his age that would see me and they see how I look and they see me walking up and down the street.

I have a dog, so me and my dog, I walk my dog a lot. I just live a peaceful lifestyle and they see me with my tattoos and my dreadlocks asking questions every day. They see me how did you, what happened, how did you get your job or anything like that. wasn't random that a person his age would come to me asking me how and the ways to get to work, to be the life to where you be comfortable a little.

Dorian sounds like the kind of person I'd appreciate as a neighbor, someone who takes the time to watch out for the people around him, someone who's trying to live right. After reading his testimony, I believe that Dorian Johnson is the kind of person who is willing to speak truth to power, even if that puts him and his family at risk. I have a lot of respect for that.
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Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:59 PM PDT

On Suicide

by erratic

This is a slightly edited repost of a diary I posted a few years back - The comments in the previous diary are worth going back to read. Robin Williams' suicide is of course on my mind, I spent part of today going back and watching his work. And after struggling with depression and addiction for years, I'm finally on a better path, and six months sober, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, dual diagnosis group therapy, medication, and the support of friends and family. It's a long story, and one that I'm planning to share on DK, but not tonight...

Someone close to me killed himself with a gun, a few years back. It was horrible to lose him, and it affected everyone around him. Although I do think that it's possible to rationally decide to kill oneself, I believe that his  choice was a mistake, a bad night, a combination of circumstances that put him into that situation. I believe that had things gone slightly otherwise, he could have woken up the next day, and still be with us. The world was a bit better with him in it, and I still miss him.

So, in the hope that this might help others, here are some things that might help someone who's feeling suicidal get through it.

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A DK commenter reminded me of a diary I wrote a while back, suggested I repost it. These are just suggestions and guidelines that I try to follow, things that I've found are helpful when I get involved in conflicts on DK. There are always ongoing conflicts on DK, so this seems like as good a time as any to discuss more constructive engagement. FWIW, I agree that there is some deliberately disruptive behavior on DK, but I believe that most of the conflict is based on well-intentioned individuals who are committed to the DK community, responding protectively.

Unfortunately, it's very easy for well-intentioned behavior to escalate conflict. A careless comment, a well-crafted jab, a casual insult can all be very satisfying for the giver, and easily justified as "just part of the game". However, being on the receiving end is not as pleasant. No-one like being a victim, and most people will respond in kind, or escalate. Humans are very good at conflict - it's been a core component of the human experience for a very long time. When someone crosses our boundaries, when someone attacks an ally, or something we care about, we respond. This is how conflicts escalate.

At the same time, there are some DK participants who are deliberate disrupters, or trolls. They're not well-intentioned participants, their goal is to disrupt constructive discussion. Identifying and neutralizing these individuals is important in protecting the DK community, but engaging them directly risks
1-Collateral damage, by incorrectly targeting perceived disrupters who are well-intentioned members of the community.
2-Escalating conflict, by feeding the fire - providing skilled disrupters opportunities for increased disruption.

So what's a good Kossack to do? Here are some approaches that I've found constructive - please share yours!

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I've been following the events in the Ukraine with interest, but no particular expertise. I'm half-European, and have decent knowledge of the history and current socio-political dynamics. I've been impressed by the Maidan protests - sustaining an action like that for months, through a Ukrainian winter, with minimal violence, takes determination, solidarity, and organization.

The events of the last few days have been fascinating, as well as the discussions on DK and elsewhere. There's a complex interplay of dynamics, a variety of perspectives, and it's hard to get perspective on what's actually happening, and who's doing what. That's unsurprising, because Popular Uprisings/Revolutions are Messy - there are unintended consequences, alliances develop and disintegrate, actions and events create opportunities and setbacks, and groups and individuals act without full knowledge of the current circumstances, nor the possible outcomes.

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In Ondaatje's Running in the Family (an amazing book - highly recommended), the father at one point describes a persistent delusion where his family is surrounded by a cloud of poison gas, but he's the only one that can see it, and if he tells the others, they'll become aware and be poisoned by it. It's a tragic and remarkable image for a man whose toxic alcoholism has seriously compromised his ability to be a good father to his family. Sometimes, I feel similarly about climate change, that there's a gathering poisonous cloud that we're really not taking seriously.

When I do env ed programs with students on stormwater runoff and habitat, part of me feels they'd be better served if we were teaching wilderness survival skills - how to build shelter and stay warm. When I plant native plants and create habitat, I wonder how likely they are to survive the coming climate instability which is apparently locked in.

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Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:28 PM PDT

Last Most Beautiful Moment in Nature

by erratic

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, partly because there haven't been many for me recently, but a few days back I stopped on the way back from the dentist for a run along the Potomac River, and had an amazing one. Before I get into it, for those who are new to the series, what was your last most beautiful moment? It's easy to get caught up in all the Things That Are Going Wrong, And Are Not As They Should Be. I still hope that one day all the headlines will read "Everything's fixed! Things are great!", but that seems statistically unlikely. Which it's why it's important to sometimes celebrate the moments of beauty that we experience.

I love trail running in nature. I don't like running on roads or sidewalks or paved trails. Give me a curving trail of hard-packed dirt through nature, jumping fallen logs and weaving through trees, along stream banks, and I'm in bliss. I don't have that near me right now, and have not been exercising much the last few months, but a few days back everything came together and dropped me on a trail from Carderock, along the Potomac, downstream of Mather Gorge

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Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM PDT

So how does this all play out?

by erratic

Resolved within a week, both the debt limit and the shutdown. And the main reason is the polls. Reid and probably Lew deserve full credit for holding the line, and Obama gets lots of points for having their backs, despite his communicated willingness to negotiate. The early 2014 deadlines set up a window for a grand bargain negotiation this winter, which is going to get both the right and the left ruffled up. The media gets their conciliation narrative, then moves to a splintering right narrative, and then as budget negotiations start up, a splintering left narrative, mingled with a lame duck president narrative, interspersed with periodic unscheduled dramatic narratives.

Having successfully touched the stove and experienced a 2nd-degree burn of the lowest polls ever and strong establishment backlash, Republicans make noise but do not pose a serious threat on the next deadline go-around. The grand bargain alleviates but does not eliminate the sequester, various tax reforms increase revenue but do not cross the symbolic line of raising or creating taxes, defense funding is improved in strategically beneficial ways, and social benefits are trimmed over the long term.

Republicans are offered an opportunity to realign their position on immigration and after brief turmoil reject it, and then everyone settles in for the next campaign cycle and status quo management by crisis. Not the prettiest of pictures, but it consolidates the centrist democrat position as the demographic tide continues to rise.

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This started as just a riff on Harry Reid's reference to the Iraq War, but this did get me thinking about how we could start tying the current gov't shutdown/debt limit crises to overarching narrative arcs of Republican/Conservative/Tea Party/Libertarian/Right Wing complete f'd upedness. And what better disastrous narrative arc to link to than the Iraq War?

But then I actually started mulling on it, and it's a pretty good match! I'll see you below the squirl.

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I've been following Al Jazeera since it's recent US launch, and they've been doing good coverage. My main news site now is the Guardian - I used to follow the Washington Post and NYT, until they put up paywalls, and now I ration my visits.

Today, Al Jazeera posted a commentary by Dan Froomkin, "Shutdown coverage fails Americans". I've read similar stories on Slate and Politico, and I'm sure there are plenty of others out there, but I do appreciate Al Jazeera putting a story like this up front and center.

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Turns out to my surprise that I'm getting old and grizzled, and while the current government shutdown threat is an interesting development, it's nothing I haven't seen before. Which is why I'm not particularly worried about this time - if Obama and Dems hold the line (which I expect they will), Republicans will end up owning an increasingly unpopular shutdown. I remember it from the Clinton era, back when Newt was the Craziest of the Crazy. I don't zactly remember what it was about at the time, but I remember a lot of people being mad about that for a long time.

Which brings us to now. I'm not sure what the demographics here on DK are, but I was curious about how our younger members (twenty-somethings and under) are experiencing this. The same thing that's drawing Cruz et al to this like a moth to flame is also likely capturing the attention of the younger members of this community, and I wanted to hear their thoughts.

But that got me thinking back to my last gov't shutdown experience, and I realized by then I was already an entrenched Democrat. That got me thinking about how I ended up where I am, and wondering about how you all ended up where you are. So after the jump, you tell me your story, and I'll tell you mine!

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Update - various commenters who are federal employees have informed me that the federal agencies are making preparations for a shutdown. This undermines my core thesis, but I figured I'd leave the diary in place, on the chance that it contributes to the discussion.

I know, it's been spectacularly fun to watch the Republican acts of self-immolation, and wax righteously against their irresponsibility - no need to stop! But for those who are actually concerned that the government shutdown might happen on Monday, there's a pretty obvious indication why it won't. The last time this was a credible threat, official notifications went out to government employees, informing them who was considered essential, and would be required to continue coming to work in the event of a shutdown.

To my knowledge, there's been no such notification this time. This isn't like announcing a snow day school closing - it's a complicated process that requires formal notification (granted, so are snow days, but on a relatively much simpler scale). So the simple, boring answer to the question that the media is buzzing so crazily about, which could be resolved by any journalist with a similarly half-assed commitment to logical analysis as to mine, with bonus points for looking up some links on wikipedia (

But the drama's way more interesting and important than a logical analysis, right? Cause of all that media responsibility stuff...

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