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After the nuclear compromise last night, there was an explosion of debate about what the deal meant, what its ramifications were, and which side won.  Some folks ventured over into the right-wing blogs to see what their reactions were, and reported back a lot of similar reactions to those that were happening here.  Out of morbid curiousity, I started making some of those rounds myself. It was a creepy and unsettling experience, but not for all the reasons I expected.

The creepiest part of the trudge through Wingnuttia was that it did not feel like a carnival freak show or Aryan rally. Even worse, it felt more like looking through a mirror - everything was familiar, but completely backwards.

More below...

Blogs like Kos and Eschaton are a great way for progressives to learn and spread information, and exchange ideas. However, partly as a result of their own success, they run the risk of defining their own reality; a left-wing echo chamber that essentially just reinforces its existing opinions.  

Hold your nose and spend 20 minutes at Free Republic or LGF and see if you don't recognize the style and pattern of discussions that you see here.  They demonize and dismiss Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid and Charles Schumer the same way it is taken for granted in these parts that Tom DeLay is a corrupt bully, Frist is a cat-killing fundamentalist ghoul, and Santorum is, well...Santorum.  

One thing that struck me, however, was the labels that stuck to their enemies. Whenever I saw Joe Biden mentioned, "plagiarism" was always mentioned in the same breath.  It seemed ridiculous to me; so what if 20 or 30 years ago Biden plagiarized something. It's irrelevant to the debate now, and it's a cop-out way of dismissing the message itself. But by the same token - we do it too. Frist, for example, is a cat-killing ghoul. We all know he's a Dobson sock-puppet crapweasel too.  

Well - those things may be true, but they don't help win debates. And once one of the "bad guys" has been deemed such, we dismiss them at our own risk.  If we simply write off Santorum as an unhinged religio-hypocrite with a thinly veiled fascist agenda, we'll keep having trouble selling our message to the rest of the country - not because we're wrong, but because they're just not starting with the same knowledge and assumptions. "Mainstream America" doesn't know who Rick Santorum is, doesn't know what his views are, doesn't know what his rhetorical and legislative history is, and won't see his support for a law or policy as inherently suspect.

This leads into the other "problem" with blog echo chambers.  Sites like Kos and Eschaton are not supposed to be news.  They have an avowed ideological slant, and their choice of posts and commentary are usually designed to inform and promote progressive policies.  This is fine, but one of the obvious side effects is that the Psych 101 "confirmation bias" starts churning into overdrive.  We are barraged with news and opinions that reinforce our existing notions.  We start not seeing information and opinions that contradict what we already believe, or we do see it but discount it.

This is something we have to fight.  Although it's comforting to read like-minded information and opinion, it's not quite honest.  If we really do pride ourselves on being in the reality-based community, we owe it to ourselves to keep looking outside our own echo chamber.  We need to be aware of what Freeperville thinks.  Go read through the last couple days of Freep or LGF "news."  You may, like me, find a couple news items you hadn't heard about. I didn't know how much truth there was to them, because I hadn't heard anything about them in the left-wing bubble.  But I wanted to.  If some facts or opinion are getting the wingers into a lather, we should know about it.  And we shouldn't just assume they're wrong, or spinning the facts. Although they probably are spinning, or just outright wrong, the best way to arm ourselves in a debate is to know what the other side is going to argue, before they argue it, and have a response prepared. And the response should be based on facts; we should not be spinning or ignoring inconvenient facts.  After all, it is the folks on the right who are supposed to tailor the facts to fit their policy - not us.

As creepy and loathsome as Right Blogistan can be, it's worth trudging through, and not just through the lens of snark. We need to be constantly challenging and re-assessing our own beliefs, and not falling into a lazy cycle of only seeing news that reinforces what we want to believe.  Keeping our policies and opinions tested and challenged will only make our positions and arguments stronger in the end.  It may not be fun, but we all need to wander through the Looking Glass from time to time.

Originally posted to Nim on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:14 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Remember (4.00)
    That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!
    •  Recommended (none)
      I noticed the same thing.
      •  Name-calling (4.00)
        I am as quick as anyone to get mad about Republican lies, crimes, and hypocrisy.  But one thing I mostly stay away from is petty name-calling.  Terms like "Rethuglicans", "Repugs", "Cat-Killer", "Chimpy", etc. frankly do nothing for me.  

        I understand the strong feelings of spontaneous loathing that the GOP's icons sometimes engender, believe me!  But when I see that kind of pettiness here, or on other sites' posts or comments, it gives me that feeling of being in an echo chamber that the diarist talks about above.  Playground taunts do not strengthen our arguments -- in fact, they weaken them.

        I don't see Kos, Eschaton, my blog, or other lefty sites as simply places for us to indulge in our "Two Minutes Hate" of the Other Side.  Rather, I see them as places for us to collectively debunk the opposition's BS, with righteous anger but clear heads -- and to network for constructive political efforts to improve the country.

        •  I disagree (3.94)
          Republicans spent 30 years equating "liberal" with "weakness" and now "terrorist" (mutually contradictory, but there it is).

          Guess what.  It worked.

          There is obviously a right way and a wrong way to go about this (and some of the silly monikers don't carry any weight outside this group), but creating subconscious negative associations with Republicans, in our advertising and our messaging, is absolutely necessary.

          •  But in some ways you make the name caalling point (4.00)
            Liberal = Weakling makes a liberal look like a bad thing.

            Asshole = Republican makes you look like a bad thing.

            •  Downside of Passion is Addiction to Outrage (4.00)
              Yes, focus our passion and commitment and frame it properly for mass consumption.

              Yes, resist opposing efforts to frame our party.

              But, don't ever forget that Republicans are people, not some Neanderthal race of evil-doers.

              And, don't tarnish our mission by so fanning the flames of outrage that we cloud our own thinking.

              We can't get so stuck in our own passion-cage that we lose the power of true persuasion.

              Fuzzy only works for pets.

              by NotFuzzy on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:58:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  since we're supposed to be reality-based out here. (none)
                But, don't ever forget that Republicans are people, not some Neanderthal race of evil-doers.

                Odd, "Neanderthal race of evil-doers" seems to be an exact and accurate, if unflattering characterization of the GOP leadership.

                Invasion of a country that did not threaten us, torture, murder, dismantling Social Security, attacking the environment, and attempting to hijacking the government in the service of a minority theocratic agenda are simply not things good and decent people do.

                I think what you're trying to say is that Republicans as a whole are not a "Neanderthal race of evil-doers". While I'm not sure that this is accurate, I do agree that selling the idea to the Republican rank and file that they are a "Neanderthal race of evil-doers" is probably politically impossible.

                Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

                by alizard on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:49:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  It's apples to oranges (4.00)
            Equating "liberal" to "weakness" is good framing - they took a word that we use to describe ourselves, and made it into a bad thing.  That's just good marketing.

            Calling someone names - Repug, rethuglican, etc...that's just childish and a waste of time and energy.  Nobody...NOBODY takes the Freepers seriously when they call us Rats.  It's just a juvenile little snotty thing they do.  But everyone hears the sneer in "liberal" when a Republican uses the word.  

            We need to grow up, face things as they are, and get on to winning rhetorical battles without a bunch of silliness.  If we successfully frame them as "borrow and spend" Republicans, or whatever finally sticks, then good for us.  But the name calling is really just goofy.

            •  But don't use "Republican" (4.00)
              It is not Democrat = weakling as this would make us have to defend ourselves even if we are Moderate or Conservative Democrats.

              I would also add that we have to nibble at "Conservative" at first. Big bites are hard for most people to swallow.

              So a good line is, "I cannot believe that conservatives would ally themselves with extremist religious factions." In a way you say that you are not anti-conservative, you can respect them, but when they cozy up to zealots...

              The benefit of that track is that it is true. You aren't "selling" anything.

              Of course when I say that the above is "true" you could argue what is meant by "respect" and "conservative."

              And we should never use modifiers with quotation marks. Example from above: "I cannot believe that 'true' conservatives would ally themselves with extremist religious factions."

              Again, when you add that little slam you expose your intent as anti-conservative as opposed to anti-zealot.

              I'll add the disclaimer: I am speaking about when you are discussing your viewpoints with the goal of awakening consciousness. If you wish to rant don't let me stop you.

              •  No argument here (none)
                I use Republican as a catch-all, but we can easily attack conservative in this way.  I have no problem with tying conservatives and/or Republicans to the words extreme, radical, out-of-touch, irrational, immoral, etc.  Examples abound to easily show these to be a fitting description of the right-wing crazies running the Republican Party today.
              •  Use "GOP" instead of Republican (4.00)
                Just as Frank Luntz tells his clients to use "Democrat Party" instead of "Democratic Party", because the former phrase polls about two percent worse, we should be using "GOP" in place of "Republicans".  Many of the people we'd like to see voting for us identify themselves as Republicans... but "GOP" is a label that only sticks to Washington insiders.

                Similarly, we should be using "radical" instead of conservative -- there is nothing "conservative" about destroying Social Security or breaking 217 years of Senate tradition.  We should identify supporters of these unpopular actions with a label that separates and isolates them, instead of lumping them in with fiscal conservatives and other potential allies.

                •  Radicals is good where appropriate (none)
                  Reactionaries is too.

                  GOP has possibilities, perhaps the "GOP insiders" when referring to those who really don't give a lick about Christ, faith, morality, responsibility.

                  I cannot believe how those GOP insiders sold out to the Democrats. They were all, "Give us your vote," and, "We love Jesus," but they're just Democrats with big, fat, red ties.

                  GOP Insiders: The Only Thing Conservative Is The Haircut.

                  •  Radical Republicans (none)
                    Consider "Radical Republicans."  It has a ring to it.  It distinguishes between the "radicals" and the sane ones (and yes, they do exist).

                    Plus, everybody has heard the term, albeit in a totally different context.  

                •  No-Absolutely Not (none)
                  I try to avoid using GOP as much as possible, even though it's a very convienent acronym.

                  The problem is what it stands for: Grand Old Party.  Grand is a good word-too good for these assholes.

            •  Meme: Conservatives don't pay their bills (4.00)
              Tom DeLay, George Bush and Hilary Clinton go out for lunch one day.  After they've eaten, the waiter brings the bill.  DeLay hands him an American Express and says  "Just put it on my lobbyist's card."

              The waiter replies that he's sorry, but that credit line has been maxed out.  So George Bush says, "That's all right.  Just charge it to Social Security."  But the waiter shakes his head and says, no, he's sorry, the restaurant doesn't take worthless IOUs.

              So Hilary Clinton pulls out her purse and says, "Look this is ridiculous.  There's no such thing as a free lunch.  Let's just pay cash."

              The two men glare at her and say, "What do you think we are?  Liberals?"

              Conservatives don't pay their bills.

            •  I largely agree with Switzerblog's comment (none)
              ...but consider this: we spend all of our time criticizing Republican policies and they spend all of their time demonizing us.  Which strategy has been more effective in winning elections?
              •  Yes. They attack us but... (none)
                I would counter that they didn't start with the entire party. They tried to peel away the farthest left with subtle attacks and shifted over the years.

                To move the connection in the mainstream we have to associate them with the Zealots in a way that makes it clear that zealots are the bad guy. Eventually One would wish that the mainstream would begin to see the connection and begin to associate the Republicans with the Zealots because they keep defending them, supporting them, serving them, being them.

                Liberal didn't become a mainstream smear till the Reagen years (though Republicans used it all the time as a smear amongst themselves) By then people were back peddling, "I'm a social liberal and a fiscal conservative."

                In other words, "I accept their definition of liberal = spender."

                We need to flip that around.
                Liberal = Investor

                Conservative = Horder, Greedy, Selfish

                And on other fronts work toward a subtle change that will bring us to:

                Liberal = Forward Looking

                Conservative = Backward Looking

                Liberal = Modern Army (based on Well-trained, Well-paid, Well-equipped Soldiers)

                Conservative = Mercenary Army and Big-money Contracts for their Buddies and not enough armor for the human on the ground.

          •  I disgree too. (4.00)
            The Right-Wing has won lately because they have defined the left as a bunch of latte-drinking, gay-loving, baby-killers. Whether you like it or not, the labels STICK. Our job is not to avoid the labels, but to recognize their power and use them.

            When people see Frist, our job is to make them think of the KKK.

            When people see DeLay, our job is to make them think of his dead father that was removed from life support about 10 years ago (a la Shiavo).

            When people see Giuliani, our job is to make them think of his mistress.

        •  Repug (none)
          It's just blogging shorthand. We don't really think of them as REPUGnant.

          A democracy can die of too many lies. - Bill Moyers

          by easong on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:56:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Mostly Agree ..... (none)
          ... but please, can't we keep "Chimpy"?
        •  not at all: (none)
          they just engage in "gotcha" name calling - how juvenile!  we have science on our side: after all, bush, cheney and rumsfeld really are slime-mold


          he that hath no stomach to this fight let him depart

          by 2nd balcony on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:32:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  name calling (none)
          Seems to have developed into a high-art form in blogs both left and right. It can be fun, it can be bewildering when you don't know the lingo but it seems to unite the community in some way. Often there are light-hearted diaries where it is appropriate, when we get really angry about something it rages for days; and can be theraputic for some.

          Personally, don't think it belongs in a diary and certainly not in a front page diary - comments are different. But I'd certainly like to see less of it. Especially name-calling of our own people, or cheap charater shots. And I've been guilty here. It helps when people call you on it. Makes you more careful and thoughtful.

          The rating system could help. I'm not suggesting that people give bad ratings - just stop giving 4's to comments that pander to prejudice. But not in posts meant to be rowdy!

        •  Exactly (none)
          Name-calling belongs in the nursery.  
          But we DO need to learn to effectively defend ourselves against more subtle forms of verbal attack--and we also need to learn how to attack Republicans effectively in the political arena.

          That's why I have started a series based on the work of Suzette Haden Elgin. (Links 1,2,2a,3,)

          Please take a look, and try out the ideas.  Suggestions for how to get future diaries on the recommended list will be appreciated.

          Hijack their frames! Cheap, easy, effective.

          by chriscol on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:03:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  P.S. (4.00)
        The fact that we are having this discussion (and that this is a recommended diary!) says something good about the principles of the Kossack community.
        •  Good points. (none)
          I can't claim innocence, so I'm talking to myself as much as anyone else when I say that we all should choose our words with care and avoid slipping into childish rhetoric and gratuitous profanity, in spite of how much fun it can be. (Note the emphasis on "gratuitous;" I'm not preaching here.)

          This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

          by Omar on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:18:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I noticed it, too. (none)
        And it was cringe-inducing.

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:10:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's called Manichaeanism (none)
        and I share Augustine's position that it is a disease of the spirit. Compromis is a great thing, lets have more!
    •  If you're going to go there (3.83)

      Free Republic is maybe not the equivalent site. It is more like DU, say. Lots of ranting. Real Clear Politics has more thoughtful analysis ... is modelled on dkos. Good diary; but in the main I don't think we're quite as far gone as all that ;)
      •  True (4.00)
        You're probably right. I don't mean to say that FR was stylistically identical, although there were parallels. They did have a lot more folks that tended to MAEK THEIR ARGUMENTS LIEK THIS?!?! WE'VE BEEN SOLED OUT!!!!

        They weren't -all- that way though :)

        •  What about the ones that went (3.71)

          When I shared my seething anger about Reid's stewardship on the fillibuster issue, which was diffuse anger, but pointed criticism, my intemperate words directed toward "our leader" (that's a direct quote) were met with a shower of 1 ratings.

          I was pretty taken aback by the cheerleading. I would say many folks could use a serious look inward. Including me, I guess.

          •  a ray of Hope (4.00)
            I'm pollinating this on a lot of different diaries because It's not enough to diary by itself but the word needs to get out.  If you are very diasppointed by the compromise, take heart, there may be a second unwritten part of the deal that amakes it a LOT better for us:

            On Stephanie Miller this morning, She took a Call from a DC native who claimed friendship with several Hill staffers.  What they reportedly told him was veeery interesting.  

            Apparently the unspoken part of the deal is that Yes those three will get that up-or-down vote they so desperately want but that 1 or possibly two of the three will be going down, as part of the agreement.  

            The idea is to send a warning back to the WH that the next time they nominate judges they'd damn sure better check with the Senators BEFORE sending up their names

            Its pretty Logical....I so hope its true

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:28:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspected something like this (none)
              ...just from the way the Senators spoke at the press conference about the deal.  Of course, it remains to be seen, but they were pretty clear about people voting their conscience, this is about "trust," etc.  (We can only hope.)

              I wasn't happy about the deal at all. But, given that it's done and over, perhaps something good will come of it.

              If anything, come 2006, the Dems can rightly claim that everything they said about the nuclear option was true--that it would obliterate 200+ years of process and precedent--while the Frist Fringe was out there lying through their teeth about their "fair" and "constitutional" option.


            •  Warner and Byrd's plan? (none)
              Is this the same thing as Warner and Byrd's craaaaazy plan to have centrist Senator's come up with a list of OK nominees to send to the president? The "advice" portion of the constitution. Would be good if it happened, I think...

              GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

              by Addison on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:34:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Listening to Lindsay Graham (4.00)
              this morning I suspect this may very well be true.  My prediction is that Owen and Pryor pass, but that Brown is defeated.  Lindsay Graham mentioned a "supermajority" would support Owen -- only explainable if there was a deal made under the table among the 14.  On the other hand, while he expressed confidence that Owen and Pryor would pass, he only said that he "looked forward" to voting for Janice Brown.  I think Brown is going down.

              We'll see.

              •  If the Gang of 14 (none)
                is intent on being more than a one-trick pony; wants to be a power in the Senate as the moderate middle (self-claimed), then displaying that power would be... clever.

                Polling 14 votes from them for Owen (ick, now I have to go wash my brain...) and 14 from them against Brown, and splitting up however the individuals feel about Pryor would display that.  

                Want to get things done?  Work with us, through us.  Consult us.

                Third party holding the balance of power, essentially.

                Which seems like something some of them might really get off on.  It's All About Me Arlen, for example.

                "Too many policemen, no liberty; Too many soldiers, no peace; Too many lawyers, no justice." Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

                by ogre on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:13:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I would love to see it happen. (none)

                  I am a self-proclaimed liberal, progressive, bleeding heart, far-lefty, so naturally I think a united Democrats would be far better for "me" and humanity in general. But for the rest of the "dicks" (Americans, it's from "Team America" don't take it seriously) I think a central party would be vital to American politics. There is a middle in this country and the middle should be represented. Democrats should be left, that's where the money and the people who really care about the party are, the heart of the party. But there is a handful of people, actually a large handful of people, who hate the "left" because we're "elite" (haha) and end up voting Republican for that reason.

                  Since Republican pretty much means right-wing extremist now, a central party would most likely hurt them, more then us. A senate of 100 split three ways seems for more pratical. I propose we light the fire, it's better for America, the patriotic thing to do.

                  E-mail all the anchors out there and have the talking heads blather about it for the next month. This will build momentum where maybe more centrist party candidate will announce they're running as part of the media blitz. They're a 100 million people (rough figure) who don't vote, those people could directly make the balance of power more equal.

                  I just think that a two-party system is  ridiculoous, a central party might just save America from going down the hill I've seen it going down for the past 4 years. We cannot let the extreme-right ruin our country with there regressie agenda and this may be a way quicker solution then a better executed 2006.

                  •  While I don't see them forming thier own party... (none)
                    ...although it is possible, I can see them deciding...well...everything.  If the 14 can stay together and vote as a block (a big if), they will have total power.  These 14 senators will then, all by themselves, decide yeah or nay on every piece of legislation or nominee that comes down the pike from now on.  That's big power-especially considering some of these people are being attacked by the base and leadership of thier respective parties, which means, prior to this, they lacked power.  Senators like to have power.
                  •  we were just talking about this at the ranch (none)
                    (not really ranch, really tenement, NYC ... lol) last night.

                    I think there ARE three parties in operation, although they arent quite obvious. Ben Nelson is more wingie than Chafee, Id say. Chafee would vote with the liberal wing on Iraq, etc.

                    But there does seem to be a need for a 'moderate' party.

                    I hate calling Ben Nelson moderate. A senator on Randi Rhodes today (Durbin, maybe?) responded to her question, will the Dems at least stick together on voting against the three who got thru, by saying there is ONE who looks likely to go with the GOP. Right away, as so many do, she blamed Lieberaman. But he said, no, not Joe.

                    How much you want to bet it's Ben Nelson? He is ... well ...  just a drop or two shy ... of a Freepers Wet Dream ... Really.

                    oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

                    by NYCee on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:56:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I think the term 'Gang of 14' belittles them (none)
                  These people are trying to do something useful. We need a more neutral or salutory term for them.
            •  Good pollinating, Magorn (none)
              Very much appreciated. (And I'm thinking at least two of those judges go down.)

              Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

              by Earl on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:13:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  This is exactly the message (4.00)
              I took away from the announcement.  It was crystal clear to me that the line was drawn in the sand between the Senate and the White House as well as Dobson, Frist and the like.  

              Am I happy that Owen, Pryor and Brown will get their judgeships?  No, but it's called c-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-i-n-g!  Neither side gets exactly what they want when they compromise.  I believe this deal is better for us than it is for the Evangelical Right.  

              I know many feel that the Dems should have fought this to their last breath and if they had won out, that would have been fantastic.  The truth is, however, that no one knows how the final vote would have come down.  We could have lost the filibuster for good.  Then the Dems would have slowed down business in the Senate.  While that would have been tremendous fun to watch, it doesn't serve the country or the constituents.  Who's to say it wouldn't have gone against us in '06 leaving the Senate with an even larger Repub. majority?

              I know there are still problems with this agreement.  What exactly is the definition of "Extraordinary Circumstances" and who is going to determine the justification for using the filibuster in the future, especially with Supreme Court nominees, are just two examples.  However, for now, I am willing to trust that the band of 14 are going to be the negotiators and that level heads will prevail.

              I know it's not popular, but I have to give credit to the 7 Republicans who decided to jump ship and work out a deal.  That slap in the face had to sting and maybe even left an invisible welt on the faces of Bush, Cheney, Frist and Dobson.  

            •  Ahhh, but there's the problem... (none)
              "Its pretty Logical"  What's logic got ta do wid it?

              9/11 was the Neocons' Reichstag fire. "Patriot Act" = Enabling Act.

              by Bulldawg on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:41:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  When you realize that the wingnut (none)
          propaganda and recruitment machine operates by "weaponizing ignorance" instead of spreading enlightenment, then all those spelling and grammatical errors are understandable.

          Defeat the sound-bite.

          by sbj on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  For a few years now (none)
          I've been part of a news group that has many conservative members, a couple of Canadians, some liberals, some libertarians, and some nutzo people who I can't quite put a name to. They seem almost the mirror image of a Middle Eastern terrorist, even to the usage of !!!! and stuff that I see on Al-Jazeera.

          This is a small group. That is the best way to really get to know what their issues are. Also,  I like some of them.  I cannot understand their lack of logic, but anyway. Here are a few of their issues:

          {Bush is a moderate, is that why the left hates him?
          So, the Army waited a few weeks to tell Tillman's family the facts about his death, why are you all up in arms about it? Anything to make the military look bad...
          Bush did not know about torture and doesn't condone it, and anyone who says he does is just indulging in a conspiracy theory.}  
          Etcetera.  It is getting really dispirating to go in there any more.  

          War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

          by Margot on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:30:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  i agree & good diary (4.00)
        freerepublic is not a fair comparison to dkos -- for either side.

        dkos has some pretty good moderates that temper some of the extremes -- this diary is an excellent example.

        & the conservatives have much better reps than freepers.

        i completely agree that we should listen to both sides (altho there knowledge & then there is a path that will lead us to the Dark Side, young Skywalker).

        if we really are right, then it stand up to their arguments.

        & it will also allow us to better argue our points.

        Galloway is a perfect example of what working in a challenging, well-debated chamber will do to your debating skills.

        •  God how true! (none)
          I do my best to not fear the DEBATING.
          •  I don't fear it. (4.00)
            Right after the 2000 election, I engaged the other side and listened to them alot more.  But I've really grown tired of all the talking points and lying.  I go to Drudge's site to see what they are saying, so I am prepared for it if need be, and to make sure that I haven't picked up any leftie talking points that are unsupported by fact, but I grow tired of listening to them.  They lie.  And I have no patience for it anymore.  Some on the left also spin and lie, but I do not.  I'm sure some on the right are honest, but I am familiar with their side of pretty much every policy issue, and I don't want to "debate" it anymore.
            •  reality check (none)
              can't say i can argue with you patience has been/is being tested....

              reality checks & preparation are fine enough for me....but gawd!  drudge?!?  yikes!  you are brave!

              •  Drudge (none)
                I think Drudge is sanctimonious bottom feeder, however I check to see what he's got going every day and evening, usually. If you see it on Drudge, chances are fair to good it will bubble up to the corporate media sooner or later. Sadly, they're reading it too, looking for scoops. I just wish he would lose the pop-up that evades my pop up blockers.
                •  Drudge today (4.00)
                  One thing he's NOT talking about today is the outcome of the fillibuster debate. The rule of compromise is that neither side walks away from the table entirely thrilled. Both sides, however, are supposed to be content with the outcome. My feeling--24 hours and several visits to Freepervilled later--is that we're feeling a lot more content than they are.

                  Next NYC Kossak Meetup: May 25 @ 7pm at KushBar. Email me for details!

                  by JaneKnowles on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:37:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Quite so, but (4.00)
                    - that will nearly always be the case whenever a compromise is struck, simply because Democrat activists are temperamentally more disposed for compromise than the other side.

                    I've been reading Freak Republic almost every day for the past eight months and made close to 350 posts there. (I know, I should probably seek help.) And they truly have the mindset of the schoolyard bully, complete with a stunning persecution complex: If the opposition isn't beaten to a pulp, a shameful Dolchstoss is the only explanation. So they are really too divorced from reality to be a useful barometer of anything but their own collective mood.

                    Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

                    by Sirocco on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:22:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Good point on compromise, (4.00)
                      but I think "they" feel especially betrayed because they are in the majority. It's as though the rug got pulled out from underneath them.

                      And congrats on 350 posts! I'm impressed. I've often thought about posting there, but I just don't think I have the temperament to lay low. Sooner rather than later, someone there would say something that would get me mad enough to post something that would reveal my true identity.

                      The funny thing is, even though me and the Freepers are polar opposite on almost every issue, on some level, I at least respect the fact that they give a damn. Too many of Americans are content to let someone else make all the decisions and have no clue as to what's going on with their government.

                      Next NYC Kossak Meetup: May 25 @ 7pm at KushBar. Email me for details!

                      by JaneKnowles on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:36:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Please Sirocco (none)
                      you know you've been reading fr too much when you use "democrat" as an adjective. It's *democratic! :-)"
                    •  Reading (none)
                      One of the points I was trying to articulate, but not doing a very good job of, is that it's not so much what they're saying that is important as how we read it.  One of the things that got me started on all of this was that when I started reading FR/LGF - when I'd come across some "fact" that they'd be pushing, that I hadn't heard before or wasn't sure of, my knee-jerk reaction was "Why is this wrong?"  

                      That's not good. And if I am reacting that way, I'm sure others are too. The better reaction would be "IS this wrong?"  Now there are plenty of good reasons to be suspicious of facts you find in Wingnuttia, but dismissing them out of hand is a cop-out. We shouldn't be afraid to accept that facts we may not want to be true...could be true. And we shouldn't assume that facts from "the enemy" echo chamber are necessarily going to be untrue. We're much better off being aware of them, questioning them, interpreting them...and if they don't reinforce what we already believe, reconcile them.

                      •  Completely agree with this. (none)
                        And in fact, I have learned a few things on Free Republic that I otherwise might have missed, such as that, say, there are indications that France peddled advanced SAM systems to Iraq as late as 18 months before the invasion. But others of their hobby horses I do feel life is too short to investigate. Check out their collection of files to the effect that Hillary is infinitely more crooked than Delay.

                        By the way, I haven't read LGF so much. What would you say the most salient differences are? It seems to me that LGF is (i) more of a blog; (ii) more focused on the 'war on terra'; and (iii) even more rabidly bigoted against Islam and Arabs, though perhaps that's just a function of (ii).

                        Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

                        by Sirocco on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:22:57 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Earlier he had "Deal" up there, but... (none)
                    I see it's been replaced by the latest diversionary topic, the Michael Jackson Trial. That's one topic which I'm happy to remain blissfully ignorant.
                •  Firefox stops pop-ups (none)
                  download Firefox & use it instead of IE.
      •  Just got back from Redstate before reading this... (4.00)
        I would have to say that their level of name-calling is on par with our own...I read the comments on a post on "The Deal" and I also recognized the phenomena described by Nim.  (btw, if you want a good read, check out Trevino's frontpage  post on "The Deal".  It's actually a level headed analysis!)  
        I also want to add to your comment:  if redstate is modelled after dkos, then our rhetoric and civility needs to have a higher standard!!  We need to model better behavior and debate skills!  We need to stop confusing name-calling with insightfulness!  By doing this, we become more attractive to those who haven't really formulated their thoughts on issues (aka fence-sitters).
        Thanks Nim for such a great diary!
      •  Not quite as far gone (none)
        We aren't quite that far gone, but whenever the echo chamber topic comes up I think back to October 2004, when we were completely convinced that Kerry could not lose.

        Unlike just about everyone else, here and abroad, who were fairly certain that George Bush would hold onto power.  I feel as though we spun ourselves into a bit of complacency.

        •  However (none)

          Is it a bad thing to have high morale in the crucial month of a campaign? & Kerry did come awfully close to winning.
        •  remember the "pieholing"? (none)
          Not everyone was so sure, but there seemed to be a real bias towards putting forward that appearance...  

          i had my doubts but i thought it might be "rude" to bring it up...  those who did were put in the round room and savaged. i also tended to avoid commenting on israel. Maybe that's why i quit commenting at all. everybody thinks they're a cop. where's the "progress" in that?

           Now More Than Ever:

          "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

          by binFranklin on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:31:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Remember (none)
      That which doesn't kill you just might maim you.
    •  Exactly (none)
      why I've spent a lot of time engaging people at Fark.  The site can be frivolous and puerile but it captures a wide swath of readers.
      •  I have several moderate Republican and (4.00)
        Democratic blogs that I visit.

        Well, I consider them moderate,

        For good old-fashioned Goldwater Republicanism, try  John Cole has some very good points most of the time, even when I disagree with his stance.  He really, really doesn't appreciate where his party has been dragged lately, btw.  I read for the same reason. Steve Clemons makes me think.  

        I enjoy reading well-reasoned posts that make me THINK about why I hold the stances that I do.  If I can't defend my premise to myself, then I have a problem.  I need to be able to logically debate my stances and if I can't, then I need to find out why.

        One-issue voters get what they deserve.

        by Heiuan on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:57:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This diary is the difference (4.00)
      Really, the biggest difference between dKos and the LGF/Freepers is the self-reflection that goes on here.  There is a definite echo-chamber effect going on here, and I get sucked into it too.  But we also self-evaluate.
      •  And we allow dissent (none)
        Sometimes such posters get troll rated (sometimes unfairly), but their comments aren't just baleeted on sight and sent down the memory hole, like what happens over at Free Republic and LGF.  For example, there's that "Running for the right" guy.  Can you imagine the leftie equilvalent of him over at Freeperville?
  •  Good post (none)
    Recommend....I'm new to this.... how do I recommend? Just by saying so?

    Very thoughtful diary.

    also known as Madhat

    by hr on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:16:31 AM PDT

    •  Thank you! (4.00)
      I appreciate it. I spent a lot of time thinking how to articulate the reactions to my little trip through Freeperville, and I'm still not sure if I've done it the way I wanted, but I hope the basic points are getting through.

      The Freepers are NOT all unhinged, mouth-breathing oafs. Some are, but like us, they are a heterogeneous group. They have some articulate and intelligent people. And I think we owe it to ourselves to know where they're coming from. We won't make our ideas stronger without testing them.

      As far as recommending goes...there should be a "Recommend this diary" button in the left-hand column. And thanks again :)

      •  Er (none)
        Oops...the Recommend button is on the right side of the page, not the left.

        Yes, I did graduate from Kindergarten. Honest =\

        •  That reminds me... (4.00)
          of a funny, but unrelated to the subject of this diary, story.

          When I was in kindergarten, my teacher tried to explain to us the difference between left and right.  She stood in front of the classroom and, holding up her right hand, said, "This is my right, but it's your left."  Then she repeated but with her left hand, "This is my left, but it's your right."

          It seemed pretty obvious to me that somehow left and right switched when you became a grownup.

          Congratulations on having grown up! 8^)

      •  Question (none)
        If one were to go on Free Republic, not just to read but to engage, would your comments survive or would they be removed? If thoughtful, respectful, intellectually honest challenges are censored out, I don't see any reason to frustrate myself reading a bunch of crap.

        As far as this site being a leftwing echo chamber, the echo chamber technique seems to work pretty well for the right. The left side's problem is that we haven't built up a substantial echo chamber infrastructure yet.

        Plus, progressives already get more "balance" than we need from the corporate media.

        •  Phony "balance" (4.00)
          I can't stand the phony "balance" that gives equal time to any viewpoint, as long as its opposed to another viewpoint that's being expressed.  

          Nor do I think we should even change any of our opinions, or the way that our echo chamber works.  I do think it's important that we keep our goals, policies and beliefs in perspective. I hadn't thought about Joe Biden's plagiarism "scandal" in probably 15 years - yet, to the Freepers, he was an amoral oaf who could be dismissed with the wave of a hand because of it.  That's the sort of reality check that is important imo - not only does it help to know what they're thinking, but it helps us see the worst of our own ideas too, and avoid making the same mistakes.

          I mean, all I have to do is say "box turtle," and most of the people here will think "Man, Cornyn is really a freak, isn't he."  Well...outside the bubble, that doesn't make any sense to anyone else. And it's important to know that's how the perception will be. Not that we're wrong, but we have to be conscious of the audience when we're discussing issues, outside of the liberal blogosphere.

        •  Freeper banishment (4.00)
          In the event you go to Free Republic and make an inciteful comment that challenges common assumptions, your banishment will occur with a speed inversely proportional to the number of facts you use to back up your assertions, i.e.: More facts=shorter period between initial post and banishment.
          •  Indeed insightful comments at FR (4.00)
            are considered "inciteful"--can cause mob-like behavior and riots, often resulting in head explosion, may also spark unwarranted demands that you retract your "left-leaning facts".
          •  Yes (none)
            - though it also depends on the subject matter. I was booted off recently after a run of some 340 comments. The reason I lasted so long is probably that I didn't do anything 'worse' than defending the UN and the theory of evolution. The moment I joined a Middle East thread, it was over; ironically in fact, I was banned for defending the crew of the USS Liberty from accusations of spying on Israel!

            For would-be FR trolls I'd suggest maybe posing as a classic fiscal conservative. They are tolerated to a point, and can create a certain degree of amusing cognitive dissonance.

            BTW, it's correct that not all freepers are stupid, but many are. Whereas maybe 4/5 Kossacks are what I would call smart people, the ratio on FR is more like 1/4, ideology aside.

            Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

            by Sirocco on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:43:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My life as an Anne Coulter troll (none)
              lasted a few weeks when I went on an Ann Coulter fan board and made entries claiming to be logging in from my local public library. Then I would lavishly praise the head honcho board moderators ("I never thought of that" "Good one!" etc.) and proceed to advance radical conservative concepts with a "who's with me?" approach. That was fun.

              I lasted longer than my first foray, when I logged on as Ann Cameltoe and identified myself as a liberal with the challenge to "convert me." There was a brief uproar until one poster summoned up all his indignation to post:

              Your name is a lewd reference!

              Well, du-uh!

              •  He he (none)
                Perceptive, aren't they...

                You know, I've signed up again on FR but not posted anything yet. I'm toying with the idea of pushing the envelope as a fulminating fascist to see just how deeply benighted posts they will condone. But I'm not sure it will be good for the soul to type all that drivel.

                Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

                by Sirocco on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:31:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent diary... (none)
        and you make some very valid points.
      •  Politics 101 (none)
        "the best way to arm ourselves in a debate is to know what the other side is going to argue, before they argue it, and have a response prepared."

        This is the most important "money-quote" of your diary.  Quite obvious... but let's all take heed.  

    •  There's a "recommend" button (none)
      in the left-hand column. Click on that. Voila, you've recommended a diary.

      It's worthwhile to check out the FAQ, too, because it explains how the recommend system works -- and other things, too...

  •  Well said. (none)
    I have been a lurker and occasional poster on for 6 years now, for just the reasons you describe.  ( is a more civilized and news-based right winger forum than Free Republic)
    •  I, too,... (none)
      ...was a lurker. At Talon "News"/GOPUSA, Bobby Eberle's little fiefdom during the presidential campaign. And, as you might expect, they can smell a troll from a mile away, just as we can here at DKos. The primary difference, however, is that we here do NOT threaten actual, specific, "I-can-find-out-where-you-live" violence against those who post and we are MUCH better spellers and grammarians (I am NOT kidding about this---even allowing for typos, being interrupted by urgent toddlers and/or the imminent destruction of Earth by Vogons). Also, they ban your secret computer ID from being able to comment on one of their message boards ever again, dang it.

      "I have come here to chew bubble gum and to kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum. Oh -- have you read the Downing Street Memo yet?"

      by Newton Snookers on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:58:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  HERE HERE! (none)
    This is an excellent diary.


    The GOP and the Elephant are both Introduced Species

    by roboton on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:23:57 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely (none)
    Part of being a faction is that you use the other side's unthinking prejudices against them and never think they have anything good to say. Instapundit is a good guide to anything that is good to say on the other side. I even sent him an email to tell him so.

    "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" (Hillel was a liberal)

    by 4jkb4ia on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:39:43 AM PDT

  •  extremely valid (4.00)
    Obviously, it is human nature to seek validation for one's viewpoints, and a lot of us receive that here and at other liberal/progressive blogs.

    At the same time, we can end up isolating ourselves into our own little world.

    Hypothetical case.

    Assume I put up a diary about all sorts of good things that were happening in Iraq, and there are.

    What would the response be?  My guess is that I am drinking the kool-aid, or telling lies, or buying into the right wing propaganda.

    Now this isn't because kossacks want Iraq to be a mess, but that its being a mess validates so much of our feelings about Bush and Company.

    But to combat the other side, we actually have to understand where they come from, what their bias' are, what their belief system is.

    Not that we should stop the name calling, we need that to serve as a venting technique.  But it is important, at times, to step back and look at how the other side perceives the world.

    That is why advisorjim's diaries have been so important.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:40:27 AM PDT

    •  Iraq (none)
      Iraq news was a large part of it, but I didn't get into in the diary. There was a barrage of commentary over there about how well things were going in Iraq. And I had basically heard none of those "facts" before. How much of it was true? I don't know.

      The truth remains...Iraq is NOT going well. We are not being showered with rose petals, and the government there is not standing on its own feet. Their delusion was obvious...they -wanted- to believe things were going so well, that's all they'd see. some extent, we are partially guilty of that as well. If we are aware of all the shiny happy little anecdotes about schools opening, we can get a better, more informed opinion of our own. We don't help make our own case that Iraq is a disaster by -ignoring- anything that might look good. We form a stronger opinion by not going what they were doing - listening outside of our bubble.

      •  That's my point (none)
        If we ignore the fact that there are some positives there, then we look like total pessimists and come across as the same as those on the right that don't even want the media reporting negative things.

        In fact, if we look at some of the positives, it helps put the negatives into context.  The fact that some good things happen does not mean that over-all it isn't a mess, but by acknowledging all that is involved, we actually give ourselves more credibility.

        Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

        by JAPA21 on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:56:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're discussing 'politics' (4.00)
          not reality.

          Meaning, you're concerned about how we appear if we are doom-sayers about Iraq. And I agree with you about the perception game.

          However, in the reality game, Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. There is no silver lining to speak of. we have squandered $200 billion on this hideous farce. $200 billion. I won't go into the true good such a sum could have done around the globe.

          As for the security consequences of Iraq - I believe they are incalculably awful. Our overall foreign policy is in utter disarray and a global nuclear arms races has been sparked. Almost a direct consequence of America's acting like a crazed bully toward Iraq.

          Sorry, but any other perspective on Iraq I find pathetic.

          George Bush prancing on the aircraft carrier: one of America's worst moments

          by grushka on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:21:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly, and hence lies the difference: (4.00)
            FACT.  The modern conservative movement relies on the dismissal of truth in order to retain power.  They have drawn us into the regressive argument of: "should fact or fantasy triumph" rather than legitimate arguments about interpretation of facts.  That's why the roses and candy perceptions of Iraq are so intolerable: they arise not from a difference in worldview, but from a stubborn determination to ignore facts.
            •  Agree with both of you (4.00)
              Iraq is a dismal failure, specially from a global perspective.

              And trying to point out some good things that have happened is not an attempt to change that reality.

              My point is that if all we mention are the negatives, we get perceived as people that are so focused on the bad that it appears we are rooting for bad to happen.  We can acknowledge that there have been instances of good things happening and at the same time point out that they do not outweigh the bad.

              In fact, we can point out that if the idiots in charge of this fiasco had actually been somewhat competent, there may have been more good than bad. (emphasis on the MAY).  Still wouldn't have justified our going into Iraq in the first place, because the ends do not justify the means.

              Let the right have the blinders on, not us.

              We can talk reality and facts all we want, the two are not equal.  Perception is part of reality, and at times supercedes facts.  

              The problem with Iraq is that most of the positive stories are in fact very localized types of things, not conforming to the country as a whole.  My son, for example, has developed a relationship with an Iraqi family and is providing books for the children to read.

              Not spectacular, but a positive story.  Does it impact the country as a whole?  No, of course not, but for that particular family it is important and valuable.  Does it justify our invasion or make the bad news less meaningful.  Of course not.

              But acknowledging that things like that happen while at the same time condeming the horrendous fiasco of the war at least gives the perception that we, the left, at least look at the whole picture, whereas the right focuses on a narrow band which the complete picture tends to negate.

              Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

              by JAPA21 on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:02:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Failures in Iraq (none)
                that even conservatives should agree with are:

                The failure in logistical planning. We don't have the best equipment for our troops and every American should be unhappy about that.

                The failure to properly forecast the resulting insurgency. Don't need to blame anyone, our intelligence sucked and every American should be unhappy about that.

                The failure to set up the forces available, the forces in readiness, the lack of a recruiting drive. In WWII we apparently sat on our hands for a few months after Pearl Harbor. It takes time to build up the force necessary for the job. Between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq we had MORE time than between Pearl Harbor and Midway and we don't have an adequate force and every American should be unhappy about that.

                I could go on and on and these are only problems with HOW we are fighting not with WHY.

                Attack the weak points. Hit them where they are thin and attack with overwhelming force. Once you break through then send everyone through the breech.

            •  a conservative fellow came into my (4.00)
              bookstore the other day asking for A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (a liberal favorite), which he said had been recommended to him by a Democrat friend and coworker.  

              At the behest of his friend he perused the book at Barnes and Noble, where he decided he was unimpressed with Zinn's ostensible lack of footnoting (which, if he had looked, is more than adequately explained and remedied by Zinn in the book's massive bibliography) but thought enough of the book to consider buying it used; hence his appearance in my secondhand bookstore. I give him absolute props for persisting BUT -

              This very congenial, surprisingly inquisitive, self-described arch conservative left me with some distressing remarks. With all his heart he believes that virtually all encyclopedias, history books (especially recent ones and/or those written by academics--Zinn's a history professor), "respected" newspapers and news broadcasts such as the NYT or The News Hour, Internet sites that purport to dispel myth and set the record straight (Wikipedia, Snopes) or any so-called authoritative source of historic and/or current records of fact are all so tainted with left-leaning bias, there's nowhere one can turn for truth anymore, except maybe Rush or Savage, Russert or Hannity--or perhaps Zell Miller. Because while these guys might not always be right, he said, at least they're TRYING to plough through the mountain of liberal distortion and lies and unearth something resembling truth for a woefully deceived American public (including John Q Democrat, if only s/he would listen).  

              In short, he said that you won't find truth in any obvious place, and as a general rule of thumb, the more authoritative or scholarly the source, the LESS faithful to fact it tends to be.

              I've heard variations on the theme from conservatives many times before. The truth has been completely and utterly and deliberately buried, but people, of whatever political stripe, just don't realize it, won't reckon with it. To find the truth, this man said to me, one has to "really dig, and look to unconventional sources." The situation is analogous to "establishment" medicine vs. alternative medicine: the former seeks only to enrich itself and advance its fraudulent agenda; naturally it will spread disinformation and lies to maintain its supposed authority. The latter, the unorthodox, alternative way, dismissed and mocked by the so-called experts, is the back-channel through which the savvy person will find the simple truth at last (e.g., homeopathy, herbal remedies, reflexology, acupuncture)--the sweet wisdom of the ages that "MDs and all the experts don't want you to know about" because it'll put them out of business, he said.

              I tell you this because I have noticed, time and time again, a whole lot of conservatives (especially Christians, as was this man) rejecting all scholarship, liberal or otherwise, in favor of hidden, "insider" info passed around by non-experts (e.g. unschooled persons with strong opinions). Like many conservatives I've talked to in my bookstore, this guy wasn't stupid by any stretch; his anti-intellectualism was emphatically NOT a reaction to his own mental insufficiency.

              The real psychology here (it seems to me) is the desire to be part of a privileged few who are "in the know" in a world of naifs who've blithely drunk the Koolaide. To have superior, esoteric knowledge; to possess ultimate superiority over not only the naifs, but the acknowledged experts. Appeals to the Bible function similarly: the religious conservative has trouble locating or believing points of fact recorded by his fellow humans (especially those that contravene his own account) because he is informed by esoteric, superior, no, SUPREME intelligence that obviously trumps lousy Howard Zinn and his worthless twenty years study. It's a serious problem, this need to claim superiority and the willingness to eschew actual fact for unorthodox, very special, and specially-arrived-at, "alternative" fact. How can a society deal with this madness?

              Is nothing secular?

              by aitchdee on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:43:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You make a good point (none)
                Interestingly enough, that same "secret knowledge" thought process also routinely  happens on the left: new-agers, DaVinci Code enthusiasts, people who embrace some really odd anti-Bush conspiracy theories.

                I'm really not sure if there are more right-wingers than left-wingers who live their lives in bizarro esoterica-world.

              •  Exactly. (none)
                It's as though all knowledge has come down to a statement of belief for them: "being a Christian, I believe that.... the foundig fathers intended this to be a christian nation." I heard someone on NPR all-in the other day saying that and I thought, what does lyour belief have to do with historical evidence?

                It comes down to the idea of falsifiability: one method of testing whether someone's assertions are based on logic is whether there can be some piece of evidence that falsifies the assertion. This is the main problem woth Creationism: if you ask a Creationist what bit of evidence, hypothetically, could be produced to completely blow apart the Creationist hypothesis, they will of course say, well, none, because I believe what I believe, and they'll quote that Bible passage about faith, not proof, or whatever. Their assetion is not falsifiable, it cannot, in their mind, be proven false.

                Same with news and history: no facts can be trusted because they are all suspect. Therefore my opinion, which is based on my belief, cannot be falsified by any of these facts. This, along with a healthy dose of conspiracy theories, is the new basis of "reasoning" on the far right (and I will agree that the Left does this as well, only the people on the Left that do this are at home baking Vegan brownies, not sitting in the Oval Office, so the amount of potential harm isn't nearly the same).

                This is where we need to be the champions of empiricism, reason, and the principles of the Enlightenment, things which can easily be framed as patriotic values of the founding fathers. Oddly, after years of Postmodernism in academia drummed the idea of empirical truth right out of my head, if its absence means that we need to put up with these assertons of faith standing in the way of any real examination of empirically verifiable facts, then I think I'd rather have it back...

    •  I don't think that's quite fair (none)
      For example, when the Iraqi elections took place, there were valid differences of opinion about their significance.  My belief, that the elections were a PR stunt designed to appease Americans, is probably in the real minority.  There's lots of tolerance for factual analyses; less tolerance for distortions of fact, which is how it should be.
  •  I browse freeperville regularly (4.00)
    Although I don't post.  It's similar to dKos, but also different. More hostile, for one thing.  There is a lot more anger.  If someone says something even remotely against the party line, they get accused of trolling very quickly.  They like to eat their own young. But I do sometimes find stories that aren't here.  Watch out, though, it's not all true. I read some unpleasant things about Paul Krugman the other day, and it led me to an internet search about his veracity. There are a LOT of right wing sites tearing him down, but most of what you read there is nonsense.  But now I'm wondering if Krugman isn't biased.  It works that way.  As a liberal, I am always willing to challenge my beliefs, so it's easy for the right to feed my doubts.  It's good to allow your belief's to be challenged, but the right uses a lot of logical fallacies and often outright lies to do it, so I have to be careful what I believe.  
    •  Exactly. (4.00)
      I lurk at Freeperville on a regular basis.  There are HUGE differences:

      1. Outright lies, consistent with the progressive viewpoint or not, are flamed here almost instantly.  There's not much of a chance that a diary posted here containing egregious lies coupled with progressive talking points would survive the comments section.  The same is definitely not true of freerepublic.  

      2. Opinions based on nothing more than inherent bigotry are similarly flamed.  I can't begin to count how many freeper entries and comments openly embrace bigoted sentiment, such as the natural illegitimacy of Islam or homosexuality.  Many times, these comments escape deletion by the moderator or disapproval by other commenters.

      3. There is much more party introspection here than at freerepublic.  This week, we've seen front page diaries about the Democratic tendency to score candidates based on wedge issues rather than overall embrasure of a progressive platform.  I have seen little attempt at real party introspection at freerepublic.  Party discussions seem to boil down to "the RINOs will pay," or "not another cent of my money if Terri dies."

      That said, the diarist is correct in pointing out that (1) it is beneficial to understand the viewpoints of the GOP, particularly determining their wedge issues (immigration, immigration, immigration); and (2) we need to understand that our dialogue and discourse is not mainstream, and thus, we need to contextualize things to others that we might not need to contextualize here, such as the unacceptability of Santorum and Frist.
      •  question (4.00)
        it is beneficial to understand the viewpoints of the GOP

        That is true. I just wonder if Freepie represent anything to the GOP apart from the shock troops they'll send in whenever they need to stage a rally in Florida to stop the votes from being counted.

        Freepie are the ones chanting "hey hey, ho ho, Social Security has got to go!" That only represents the GOP's heart of darkness.

        •  That's a really good point (4.00)
          But I've come to wonder whether freeperville represents the true conservative agenda without its fancy PC trappings: anger, selfishness, fear of modernity and loss of American dominance, heavy sprinklings of racism and misogyny, and the desire to see Christianity as the exclusive world religion.

          Other, more articulate and perhaps seemingly moderate sites seem to hint at the same things, yet in more palatable packaging.

          •  One Quibble (4.00)

             What those people espouse as "Christianity" is not in line with the teachings of Jesus.  As you noted, "anger, selfishness, [jingoism]. . . racism, misogyny," are NOT Christian values.

             The bumper sticker for '06 and '08 needs to be:

             Read the Beatitudes
                 before you vote.


            . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

            by BenGoshi on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:56:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What's Really Important to Understand... (4.00)
 tomorrow's GOP talkingpoints today. Never being surprised by the particular kind of feces they're planning to fling is a good starting point of a defense.

          I don't spend a lot of time on the right side of the blogosphere (my time and sanity is too precious), but my sense it that these websites are among the petrie dishes in which the right's future memes germinate. And that's definitely worth paying attention to (though I have no desire to wade through this muck myself).

          "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:35:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I spent a couple of hours (4.00)
        posting on FR last night.

        Yes I have an account there, and post regularly.

        I am absolutely positive they have no idea I am not one of them.

        I don't make obvious blunders like most of the trolls that come here attempting to pose as Dems.

        It is hard to resist blurting out the truth among the out and out lies that so frequently get accepted as truth over there--like last night some idiot kept saying that "all Clinton's judges got up or down votes" and I had to resist the temptation not to blow my cover.

        They were livid last night.  You could feel the blood vessels bursting through the monitor.  Many claim to be ready to abandon the Republican party, giving neither money nor volunteer time nor votes, even if means we win!  Some even said crazy things like they would vote for Hillary (known over there as Hitlery, among other pet names) over McCain or Frist!

        Needless to say if the extremists take their bat and ball and go home (or to a third party candidate) we win huge in '06 and '08.

        It is wonderful practice for being out in the world and talking with freepers F2F.  I am getting better at sounding like them and blending in my uses of language with theirs.

        diary whore: my interview skills diary about the nuclear option is quickly dropping off to bit heaven.  I hope some of you will give it a read.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:19:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK.. (none)
          I'm guessing from this comment that you attempt, very subtly, to do some good for progressives over there without getting noticed. How do you do it, and do you think you've accomplished anything?

          I've thought about this from time to time, but for one thing, I don't have the stomach for it, and for another, I don't post enough here or other sites I do agree with because I just don't feel like I've got much to add to the discussion, let alone places like that.

        •  Thats why (none)
          No offense, but that's why I don't buy Free Republic as a republican site. When I read the comments they seem so outlandish that it has to be dare I say it "democratic progaganda". I don't know for sure, but it just seems off that they would pledge no more money for every single little Republican dreamed up PR crisis. Seems there would be a little more loyalty there being as how the Republican party has adopted they fascist agenda?

          Maybe not, maybe they're just all idiots, it's completly plausible, but seems like it could just be a good bunch of us troopers trying to make a difference. I don't post there, but I thought about it and it seemed like a pretty good idea. If moderate republicans come to those sites as the leading Republican blogs, it may turn them off, because they're nimwits over there.

      •  I mostly agree, but ... (4.00)
        on your point that outright lies don't survive, I have to disagree. About 2 weeks ago, Kos made the utterly, demonstrably false claim that Kerry used to support gay marriage but then switched his position. I and a tiny handful of others posted comment after comment pointing out that this was false, but we were drowned out in the torrent of "spineless-flipflopper"-type comments that ensued.

        Kos also twice came to within a hair's breadth of claiming (falsely) that Kerry has labeled himself "an outsider." Each time, a handful of people screamed about the distortions, but mostly people seemed to buy it.

        I don't know if Kos's claims were lies or simply mistakes, but they were never corrected. They're clearly an example of a disturbing lack of concern for truth, and apparently that kind of shoddy disregard for the facts is acceptable to a certain segment of the people here so long as the target is Kerry.  

        I agree that the percentage of falsehoods and distortions on this blog seems to be much lower than in Freeperville, but the idea that this community will actively challenge all untruths  isn't quite true. Yes, a small number of us tried. But I didn't get the impression that very many people heard us.

        •  I think that we are as subject to the... (none)
          media machine as anybody else in America.  We are saturated in it, and sometimes we start to believe things that aren't true.  But at least you can point out the errors here without getting kicked off the site, even if people don't always embrace your correction.  That's a good thing.  
      •  this all rings very true (none)
        My impression is of a significant differential in higher-level thinking skills.
    •  Look again in the mirror (4.00)
      There is a lot more anger.  If someone says something even remotely against the party line, they get accused of trolling very quickly.  They like to eat their own young.

      Look at any front page stories on dKos where abortion is mentioned.  Try the posts that criticize NARAL for being a one-issue special interest and see who eats their young.

      Try criticizing Howard Dean and see your hard-won mojo melt away.  You can always post an elegy to Howard to win some back, but be sure to curse Bush and the Republicans and the cat-killer and the bug-man.  THe perfect correlation between Deanlove and mojo has weakened since the height of the frenzy in winter 03/04.

      On both dKos and freerepublic you regularly see the obligatory outrage: "That's it! I won't give one more dollar to __!" or "That's it! I am NOT [watching/reading] any more [CBS/Newsweek]!" Just makes me laugh.

      •  I see a lot of arguments (4.00)
        REAL arguments.  I myself engaged in a prolonged argument with several commenters about the significance of the Confederate flag.  

        I've pointed out elsewhere that there is not an informational symmetry between the progressive and conservative movements, as the last PIPA report stunningly illustrated.

        Sure, there's some knee-jerking here, threats of boycott, and common foes.

        But the very fact that there WERE diaries about NARAL, about pro-life Democrats, about the suitability of the Pope show that there is some introspection here and that the majority of posters won't toe what they perceive to be a party line if they personally disagree.  

        •  okay (4.00)
          I disagreed with you, posted, read your reply, and now I accept your arguments and agree that we're not just a screaming nasty echochamber.  Touche.

          Of course, I have not seen enough of free republic or lgf to know civilized they can be. What I've been able to stomach is not encouraging though.  Maybe they need a guest pass program!

      •  It really isn't the same (4.00)
        The closest I've seen dKos come to freeperville was a diary last week about a conservative leader's former wife accusing him of sodomizing her against her will.  That was pretty hateful, and I spoke out against it. The regular arguments that go on here, even the ones about gay marriage and abortion, are nothing compared to the typical arguments over there. For one thing, most people at dKos recognize that there are two sides to the argument. We try to convince others that our side is right.  Over there, there is some of that, but a lot of it degenerates into name-calling and liberal bashing early on.  

        But the real difference is that if someone over here says something hateful, others will jump all over them for doing so and not fear administrative retribution.  Markos pretty much lets us work out our differences.  At free republic, they have actie moderators and people who go too far are simply purged, quickly and cleanly, at the hands of an administrator who does not need to fear retribution. If I troll rate somebody wrongly, there is a good chance I'm going to be rated down in turn.  They have no such feedback.  

    •  Used to ... (none)
      browse frequently.  Especially during the campaign season.

      Unlike you, I found it of value to post.  I have a large number of user names -- for example, I use B3 only here and Washington Monthly.  

      In Freeperville, I use more 'acceptable' user names and attempt to post in somewhat neutral terms when I see opportunities to call something into question, offer a (slightly) alternative voice to try to moderate or shift (ever so slightly) the discussion.  My user names are 'honest' as are my postings -- don't try to hide myself as a Bush supporter but don't go out of my way to state that I am more comfortable on dKos.  Sometimes -- once in a long while -- seems like I help someone think at least a little in a reality-based frame ...

  •  The echo chambers work. (4.00)
    They work for their side and they work for our side.  The echo chamber concept is not something to be feared, but embraced.  The talking points they've been distributing in lockstep to the media for more than a decade now?  Guess what -- that's part of the right-wing echo chamber.  

    We're just starting to develop our own answers to that.  Want to know what the general consensus among the progressive movement might be on a given issue?  Want the progressive talking points of the day to work from in your water-cooler conversations?  Well, here it is.  

    It doesn't mean we can't think and act for ourselves, it just means that we now have a simple and effective method for disseminating OUR message.

    Also, this blog (as well as Eschaton/Atrios and many others) serves as a GREAT source of news, thusly:  Thousands of political geeks like us are combing the net and the wires for the little stories that either get ignored or intentionally buried.  Those stories end up posted (almost always with legitimizing links) here for our edification.  That means a casual look over DKos a couple of times a day keeps me about a half a day ahead of the MSM on political news.  I value that as a service (which is why I pay for the service as a subscriber).

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:44:56 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (4.00)
      One of the reasons why I am here is to help create the echo chamber.  Sometimes I disparagingly refer to the Daily Kos community as a "Greek Chorus."  But this is one of the things that we do extraordinarily well.  We've got to keep doing it!

      People like Louise Slaughter come here for a reason.

      (Well, I suspect that one reason is that the House Leadership has "assigned" her and John Conyers to this beat, because their seats are secure and their is little risk for them in being liaisons to a community as sharply partisan as this one.)

      And that reason is that they can put the message out ... and it gets amplified a thousand times by us.  We're like a giant megaphone.  And I'm here, in part, to help carry those vibrations.

    •  They may work, but... (4.00)
      The echo chamber makes it difficult to thoughtfully debate the other side; I have trouble sometimes even understanding why the Right thinks the way it does, when they do have a rationale to their arguments (which usually progress quite logically from point A to C, although point B is often a moral/theological facet that I do not accept as fact.) They, just like we do, then extrapolate point D, which is the point where one side looks absolutely nuts to the other side.

      Example (from a conversation with my Dad and brother-in-law):

      • Point A- There are dangerous terrorists in our prison camps.
      • Point B- If we captured the Number Two in Al Qaeda, the benefits gained by torturing him to admit what he knows could provide immense benefits to the safety of civilians globally.
      • Point C- Therefore, it is wrong to say that we should never ever torture any prisoner whatsoever; it is a grey area.
      • Point D- (Extrapolated from B and C) Those who condemn the torture of prisoners are supporting terrorists and are a danger to America.

      The problem with echo chambers is we never end up hearing and debating the points B and C from either side- each side takes their point B on faith, and never hears the other side's take on it. By the time we hear point D, we say, "What?!" and assume the other side is completely irrational and insane.

      "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson

      by EsnRedshirt on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:08:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  While I'd like to agree with you (4.00)
        I can't.  The existence of the established GOP echo-chamber structure (far more advanced than ours -- Limbaugh reaches millions more than Kos & Franken together) means that we are faced with two choices:  build our own structure to advance our message or continue trying to engage a discussion with people who aren't interested in politics most of the time.

        See, the problem isn't the Freepers.  They're not the ones we need to reach.  We need to reach the people in the middle the way they've been doing for years.  They've been doing that by pounding simple and concise messages into the gound 24/7 with their echo chambers.  

        Most people do not have politics as a hobby (as most of us here do) and they really only want to hear about it every two years.  That doesn't make them stupid, it just means they have other things on their minds.  To get through to them we need to be pounding our talking points, not asking them to engage in debate.

        There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

        by ThirstyGator on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:15:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that the difficulty with debating (4.00)
        wingers stems less from our unfamiliarity with their vernacular and more from their unfamiliarity with the facts.

        There is NOT a perfect informational symmetry between the present day progressive and conservative movements.  The pre-elections PIPA report illustrated that fact.  Our differences do not merely lie in our worldviews; our differences also lie in our exposure to and acceptance of the truth and their relative weaknesses in this regard.

        If someone hasn't bothered to learn and absorb the FACT that torture does not yield reliable intelligence, how can one argue with them about the US' torture policy?  You wouldn't be arguing worldview and ideology; you would be arguing whether facts should trump fantasy, and that is a foolish argument to be having with an adult.

        •  In "discussions" (4.00)
          with my Red sibling, I notice that much of their arguement consists of opinion.  They tend to view their opinion as proven fact.  Recently he wrote an e-mail railing against the "liberal" supreme court and  gloating over the possibility of Dubya getting multiple appointment opportunities.  After I pointed out that only 2 of the 9 justices were appointed by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republican administrations...he was reduced to hemmin' and hawin'.  They seem to find facts malleable, and you can't argue logic when the arguement consists of opinion masquerading as fact.

          It's still upsetting for some people to know that the hippies were the ones telling the truth about Vietnam and trying to help America. - Anonymous

          by eunichorn on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Precisely. (none)
            I think there is a tendency to conflate progressives with conservatives and just label us all the "two extremes" as if these movements are perfectly symmetrical.  They're not.  One movement, at least for now, relies on fact.  The other, on conjecture, propaganda, native biases and prejudices.

            It's nearly impossible to reason with someone who truly sees no value in truth and fact.  That's what the GOP is banking on and riding to power.

          •  Useful terms: pre-reflective, quasi-reflective (none)
            Renee, in a diary last week, referred to the very helpful terms "pre-reflective" and "quasi-reflective".

            She gave this link.

            "What I tell you three times is true." - the Bellman, The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll

            by AlanF on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:01:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Why you can't really argue with people (4.00)
        You will never win this argument because they didn't start with A, go on to B, then C and come up with D.

        They started with D and worked backward.

        That is why you will never win this argument. You could demonstrate that A is factually incorrect -- there are no dangerous terrorists in our prison camps. You could demonstrate that B is bogus because torture doesn't work to uncover truth.  

        (And it doesn't. Torture is a great way to get people to confess to things they didn't really do. Torture is an INTIMIDATION tactic against the population as a whole, not a working strategy to get information out of people.)

        But if you argued them into a corner on that, they would instantly shift the argument to some other area which would still lead them to D.

        •  Put them in a corner (4.00)
          I'm a "liberal-tarian" or also know as an "alpha geek" Democrat (after a dKos user).

          It means I love gun rights but would slash the military budget, and also lean left on many issues.

          For example, look at this exchange between a "God boy" (theocon) and a "libertarian".  

          Theocon writes in response:

          Knock it off and take your Haldol. Your assume a person who disagrees with you "dont give a flying @$%@ about a kid that starves to death or is put to death like Sun Hudson?"

          You clearly ignored my previous post to you. It is rare for me to run into a person who is for abortion who is not for starving babies like Sun. Since you are FOR abortion I bet your position on cutting the feeding tube is okay but regrettable. I am against BOTH.

          A few notes about your erratic and illiterate posts. They would be better received at the DU. Go away troll

          So that's what they do, tell you to take prescription meds and go away.  Because they can't handle reality.  No one would address Sun Hudson.

          So in response, this poster wrote:

          Cute. I like that round about attack telling me to do drugs. Hey the thing is, Ill fight for you to use anything you want if you could handle it.

          I dont do prescription meds, I prefer beer and skoal, especially when Im wrenching.

          I think your ignoring the fact that I asked for solutions to kids in need but you have none and your just mad because I called you on what I see is hypocracy.

          Dont worry Ill go away soon. Ill be riding, you be you.

          The beauty is, when backed into a corner, pressed for solutions, they fold like a matchbook.  Tell you to take anti-psychotics.  Ad hominem attacks.  That's when you can go chop, chop and again press for a solution.  They'll just go ballistic!

          "You can't awaken a man who pretends to be asleep."-Navajo saying.

          by quartzite on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:56:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We are the liberal think tank (4.00)
      I don't mind people with a stronger stomach than I have going over and seeing what freepers are saying. I confess to a mild, somewhat perverse curiosity about it. It might even be useful.

      But I don't think the right got the political power they have now by caring what we think. They didn't win elections by attempting to engage us in reasoned debate and persuade us to consider their point of view.

      They got political power by shouting their viewpoint loudly and consistently. By having highly paid right wing think tanks where machiavellian marketing geniuses figured out what the talking points were going to be and then disseminated them along well-established channels -- out of the minds of the Heritage Foundation to the lips of Rush Limbaugh to the ears of Joe Pickup who lives out in the county because he likes guns and not a lot of people around.

      Sure, we're an echo chamber over here. But I think we're also the closest thing that exists to a truly liberal answer to the Heritage Foundation.

  •  Good diary. (none)
    If all we do is read like-minded blogs, we will be shocked when we do get exposed to other views. And many people switch their views on getting exposed to other views on a regular basis after being exposed only to like-minded views for years on end. This is what happens when all you do is read the echo chamber.


  •  Politicians Do Tend To Be Schmucks (none)
    And the tendency of proletariat-level partisans to fixate on personality over issues distracts greatly.
    •  My philosophy on Politicians: (4.00)
      Anyone in Advertising can sell you a shit sandwich.
      It takes a Politician to make you ask for a second one.

      "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson

      by EsnRedshirt on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:10:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's unfortunate (4.00)
        Most politicians work their asses off, and most of what they do nobody ever pays any attention to.  

        Nobody can sell you a shit sandwich if you don't have a taste for shit.

        There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

        by ThirstyGator on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:17:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sort of agree (none)
          Politicians do happen to work their asses off, by and large, but for whom? For whose interest? That's the real question.

          Nobody can sell you a shit sandwich if you don't have a taste for shit.

          Case in point: the continuing support of the working classes for Republican's constant barrage of issues contrary to their longterm interest (Social Security attacks, bankruptcy, Estate taxes, Labour laws, Environment,... the list is endless really).

  •  You know what might be fun. (4.00)
    A kind of "Exchange" program.  If we could find a resourceful, well-informed rightie from one of those blogs to occasionally post their point of view here for debate and analysis.  Of course, it would be with the understanding that they are not a troll, but an invited guest, here to open our minds and break the echo chamber open once in a while.

    It would have to be thoughtful, and polite discussion (sometimes a stretch when it comes to dealing with righties), but it would definitely be an interesting discussion.

    •  HAHAHAHA (4.00)
      Man this is a hilarious but actually really clever idea. I'd like to see this take place as a regulated and well-aware social experiment.
      •  Oh, it would also be fun (none)
        To go over there and see Georgia10 or AdvisorJim work their magic on some freepers :)

        (sorry to volunteer anyone, but I think it would be hilarious to watch either of them blow up their "chips".  I'm sure the conversation would decend into name calling on their part very quickly as their precious talking points fell apart.)

        •  You can do it, too! (none)
          Power to you, friend.  Mire in there and get your hands dirty.  It's interesting to see the logical fallacies and bizarre comments they'll make when they are backed into a corner.

          "You can't awaken a man who pretends to be asleep."-Navajo saying.

          by quartzite on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:58:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't have the stomach (none)
            Nor the elequence of some of our more capable authors.

            Do they have "diaries" of sorts?  Or is it just comments?

            I'm sure if any of us went over there without an understanding of an "exchange" program, we would quickly be banned and our comments erased.

            •  Re. Freeperville "diaries" (none)
              Their standard diary-like units are posts of news articles (typically an excerpt and a link), followed by a comment thread. Freepers also post essays, which are more like dKos diaries. These are called "vanities", which gives some idea of their status.

              I want a social medium that will present controversy as well as Wikipedia presents consensus.

              by technopolitical on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:49:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, good idea (4.00)
      I was about to suggest the same thing.  Instead of picking people, leave it open source. That is, you make a special guest id that people can log in with and they should be treated as guests with respect.

      So let's say Bob in VA is a freeper and he wants to talk some sense into the libruls.  He logs in to dKos and opens a userid, but does so as a visitor and he get assigned a userid with a flag.  So instead of BobinVA he is V_BobinVA. DKos people will recognize him as a visitor.

      He can post in the comments, make diaries, have lengthy debates with regulars, but nobody will troll rate him unless he is really rude.

      Imagine if hundreds of guests came here and challenged us.  3/4 of the time we'd be able to out-argue the person, but a few ideas/criticisms would stick and everyone would be forced to make their case in more sophisticated ways.  The competition of the marketplace of ideas would elevate everyone.

      •  We already have that... (none)
        They're called Trolls.

        No, what we would need is someone who can enlighten us to their perspective without the rancor brought on by your average, run of the mill, freeper.  Someone we could disagree with, but still respect.

        AdvisorJim has done a spectacular job of showing us how the conservative mind works, but he's on our side now.

        We need a hand-picked, guest poster to enlighten us on their point of view, and try to poke holes in our arguements.

        •  "Resourceful, well-informed Rightie" (4.00)
 an oxyMoron.

          "Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is always dangerous." --Alan Barth

          by PerfectStormer on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:51:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it's not (4.00)
            THat's the thinking that gets us in trouble in the first place.  Numerous policy positions can be argued intelligently from the right (or from any place along the spectrum) regardless of who is "correct".  Andrew Sullivan is a reality-based righty who would make any of us work hard in a debate.  Karl Rove and Frank Luntz, as evil as we think they are, must know something we don't.
        •  do we dare ask for an (none)

          "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." ~ George Washington

          by guyermo on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:09:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Something like this being done (4.00)
      The mighty mighty Liberal Avenger, and Dadmanly, a conservative soldier serving in Iraq, have  a website up dedicated to a left-right discussion on the war. It is called Debate Space.

      The goal:
      A conservative Born-Again Christian stationed in Iraq and an unabashed Berkeley-educated liberal atheist in Massachusetts agree to discuss the issues at hand with civility.

      It is worth a look.

      •  Thanks, I will. (none)
        That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

        But we should have different guest posters, can talk about all kinds of things.

        Today, we could have someone posting on what the right thinks about the filibuster deal (except in a more coherent way than most of the snippets we get from LGF).

    •  This is a good idea. (4.00)
      Perhaps, as in the military and in marketing, the approach could be to get together a group for a right wing diary. Kossaks who are willing to focus on an issue and present the right wing view point with the facts to back it up. And once a week or every two weeks drop the challenge on the community.

      GASP! Could their be facts thet SUPPORT a right wing idea? Well, I suppose if they were 100% wrong on every issue they would be easy to beat.

      In the military there are groups who study the leaders of the oppostion, how they think and how they react. Study their available resources and how they might be used. They use that information for exercizes. So the opponent can function as a teaching tool.

      In marketing, you always want a hard critical analysis of your product's weaknesses. You need to know how the competition might use those to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about your product and your company. The closer your product is to a commodity the more important FUD is.

      A great example, which kills us, is FUD over national defense. The Rebublicans cannot actually demonstrate that they have kept the Nation safer. But they have created the impression that we cannot keep the Nation safer.

      A final bit of blather. If you want to get Joe and Jane America to vote for you you have to attack the message. If I believe George Bush was elected President and you say, "George Bush hates you." I will have to defend the President. I am an American. If however you mention that the Administration is making a mistake by not up-armouring the troops, I will probably agree.

    •  Good idea (4.00)
      Powerline (or LGF) links to a segment called "What's going right in Iraq" that's actually pretty good. I may start posting some of the items here -- both present and past -- so we can get a fuller picture of the Iraq situation and see where past "good" things have or haven't panned out.

      Anyway, with various issues, though especially the Iraq War and Iraqi progress, this would be a really great idea. The problem is that Kos would have to trust a rightie to not sabotage the page -- and trust his users if comments were allowed -- to let this happen, and vice versa. That might be difficult.

      GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

      by Addison on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:41:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We'd have to police our comments. (none)
        We'd have to be sure not to tolerate any comments that are just divisive or insulting.  To a certain degree, we already do.  But in the case of a freeper guest poster, things could get heated pretty quickly.  We just have to make sure that everyone understands that the point is not to "win" the argument.
        •  Not a pinata (none)
          I'm pretty sure we'd stay away from a Freeper, though. Like I said it'd have to be someone Kos trusted to some extent, so maybe a guy or gal from or another rightie blog which is working with us on the FCC regulation legislation. I agree we'd have to sort of make it clear that we're not hauling in a scapegoat pinata to bash for the fun of it.

          GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

          by Addison on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:55:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  A few rightwingnuts (none)
      Like Tacitus used to hang out here in the early days of DKOS in 2002-2003. As more progressives joined the site, they went off to rightwingnut blogs or got pummelled as trolls. Many don't want reasoned discussion; they want to win at all costs. Which they have been doing since the stolen election of 2000.

      Governor Brian Schweitzer: "He's sort of our Howard Dean on the ranch."

      by Ed in Montana on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:48:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reccomended (4.00)
    I cringe any time someone mentions that they won't ever read right-wing blogs, and won't watch mainstream news except for Olberman and The Daily Show.  Walling off yourself from opposing views just gives you a distorted preception of the world.  Putting a big wall in front of a garbage dump doesn't help make it go away.  Hiding something from view doesn't mean it's not there!

    Also, the word you're looking for is "ramifications", not "ratifications."

    •  whoops (none)
      Corrected, thank you :o
    •  Listen to Limbaugh (none)
      It's a more pure and direct version of the talking points.  Then tune in to CNN in the evening to see how those same talking points have been distilled for the "moderate" viewer.

      There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

      by ThirstyGator on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:20:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why cringe? (none)
      I cringe any time someone mentions that they won't ever read right-wing blogs, and won't watch mainstream news...

      I read right wing blogs when they are referenced here... I don't need to go looking for sources of hate on a more frequent basis.

      I stopped watching "mainstream" (corporate) news about two years ago after I watched a controversial speech (live streaming) by Al Gore in NY and went to see how the news would cover it... only to find that they chose not to cover it at all.  Even in print... about all you would find is "Al Gore's gone crazy".

      You have a choice with how to spend your time in your life.  I have concluded that for now, watching a TV does more to inhibit ones ability to stay informed than to enhance it.  I'm not hiding from the garbage, I'm choosing to use my time in a pursuit I find more efficient at getting the information I feel is relevant.

      That means no Peterson, no Jacko, no Kobe, no runaway brides, etc, etc, etc.

  •  Great Diary and advice (none)
    Funny enough i just finished a Diary where I had to explain why we didn't use words like impeach when we designed the site.....I was curious to you think we appear to left wing on that site?
  •  Here's a difference, though: (4.00)
    they're wrong, and we're not.

    It's that simple.

    We have our divisions, we make our mistakes, we have our failings, our fits and starts.  We're human, just as they are.

    But we are on the side of good, goddamnit.  What we stand for, on so many issues, are things like peace, justice, care of one's neighbor, and stewardship of god's green planet.

    And they simply don't stand for those things.  

    •  and we are reality based (4.00)
      look at the diary from last week over the  unreported war deaths.  look at the uproar and attack against what ultimately was shown to be inaccurate information.

      will you find that sort of attack on a supportive story in freeperville?  no way.  they keep their vince foster myths alive.  It's like frist being unable to tell george stephanopolous that you could not get aids from tears.  

      The limbaugh myths are at the center of their belief system and cannot be attacked.

    •  Yeah.... (4.00)
      They say the exact same thing.
    •  Better To Keep Your Eyes on Where ... (4.00)
      ... we're both wrong.

      The diarist rants true. While we're not just a big, happy agreeable family here, we tend to have a warped view of politics, if the average voter's view is the norm. The average Jane/Joe doesn't watch CSPAN. Hell, they don't watch cable news, the sunday morning broadcast talkers. They tend to get their news from the front page of a newspaper, occasional glimpses of teaser news on broadcast television, the car radio, or chatting (live) with friends and co-workers.

      •  politics is at its root a practice (4.00)
        of involvement and continuous learning/updating of information, taking place in small, and by extension and implication, larger communities.

        The "average voter's view" is not "normal" at all if one wishes to think about "political" views.  If "the average Jane/Joe doesn't watch CSPAN...cable news, the sunday morning broadcast talkers" and if they don't really read newspapers, then they are missing a big part of what it takes to be truly political.  

        A related problem develops when that average Joe or Jane recycles uninformed opinion around the water cooler or at church, without seeking independently to understand events and adjust/moderate his/her own thinking.

        It's not we who have a "warped view" of politics.  It's those who content themselves with air, and don't want to think.

        •  understanding (none)
          we need to remain aware (almost typed mindful ... bushspeak is pervaisive) that our votes are buried under an avalanche of theirs ... real success in politics involves more than just being aware of issues ... it involves affecting the message that the mass of the voting public receives ...

          kos is an echo chamber ... it's hard for me to reconcile the difference in awareness, and takes great effort, in discussing issues with those who are not immersed as we are, with moving forward at a pace the average person will accept ... it's like trying to discuss sub-atomic physics with a fifth grader ...

          •  I guess I subscribe to the belief that (none)
            we won't be able to influence that avalanche of votes and get to be better spreaders of mass education about subatomic physics, unless and until we own the corporate media, newspapers, television stations, radio stations, etc., and decide the agenda we want to set through those media organs.

            But that would be, in any event, the equivalent of buying up shelf space in the grocery store so that your product is featured instead of someone else's.  Which is exactly what is going on with that mass disinformation among so many voters who just buy into opinions that are not theirs, that are just there, floating around to be had and available through the shelf space of their favorite tv channel or radio talk show.

            That wouldn't be politics, then, the way I understand it.

            Politics is far more complicated than buying up the blank shelf space of uninformed consumers' minds, and stocking that shelf space with prepackaged soundbites.

    •  mohammed atta also believed (none)
      ...that he was "on the side of good."

      just saying that doesn't amount to much. republican believe exactly the same thing.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:20:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary, Recommended (4.00)
    I have a lot of respect for anyone who's willing to engage in self criticism, even if they're being a little too hard on themselves...

    But that's why I've always been reluctant to pursue the "Bush is Hitler" meme. Not because I don't think there's a ring of truth, but because I just don't think it's constructive. It doesn't follow from the same basic knowledge that the average person has. And repeating it over and over, even supported by facts, doesn't seem to earn us any supporters.

    Quite the contrary, it seems to make US look like the extremists.

    "Oh, right, Hitler... (roll eyes)"

    •  basic knowledge (4.00)
      It doesn't follow from the same basic knowledge that the average person has.

      Well, the average person needs to learn more.  We shouldn't dumb things down just because the average person is ignorant.

      *Springsteen for President*

      by hrh on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:10:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We tried talking down to people (none)
        We tried telling people that we're smarter than them.

        That didn't work.

      •  "dumb things down" (4.00)
        Well, the average person needs to learn more.  We shouldn't dumb things down just because the average person is ignorant.

        There's a difference between dumbing things down and tailoring your presentation to your audience.  It's possible, for example, to point out the rightly disturbing actions of the Bush Admin without invoking a comparison that prevents many people from paying attention to the real issues.

        I happen to agree that comparing some of the actions and evident attitudes of the Bush Admin to facist regimes is sufficiently valid to make me sweat.  But that's because (1) I've read a little more about such regimes than most people, (2) I've paid a little closer attention to the actions of the Bush Admin than most people, and (3) I happen to know someone who grew up in Nazi Germany and is disturbed by the similarities.  If not for those three things, I'd be very dubious about the comparison even though I'd be very unlikely to be a Bush supporter anyway.  I would quite naturally assume that the people making the comparison were engaged in hyperbole.

        Hell, most people making the comparison are engaged in hyperbole -- they're right, but only by accident.  If and when they're called on it, they aren't informed enough to intelligently defend the comparison, so they end up doing more harm than good.

        I'm not a teacher, but I am sometimes in contexts where I need to teach things.  People can be pretty sensitive to being talked down to, so I don't.  I do, however, try to teach at a level that they can learn at.  Otherwise, it's a waste of time for both of us.

        Proud member of the reality-based minority

        by Bearpaw on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:33:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  basic knowledge (none)
          I happen to know someone who grew up in Nazi Germany and is disturbed by the similarities.

          So do I.  It's very, very scary.

          I don't think it's necessary to "talk down" to people.  But I do expect the average American to have sufficient knowledge of world history to detect creeping fascism.

          Maybe I expect too much.  

          *Springsteen for President*

          by hrh on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:19:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was thinking about this *VERY* issue last (4.00)

    But Ihave a different take.

    I'm fascinated by how utterly and completely WRONG they are. About everything. And how they create a bizaro universe where they take our legitimate issues and pretend it afflicts them.

    For example, the media. They say the media is liberal, endlessly hostile to their side. Come on. We know the media is corporate run. half the anchors have American flags on their lapels, and for the world's proudest democracy, the level of media scrutiny of the republican agenda is pathetic.

    Now, this corporate media probably does throw a tiny "liberal" bone to us as a compromise. They tend to rpesent a fuzzy message that racism is wrong, that AIDS is bad and that "hate" (eg extreme homophobia) is bad. Which infuriates the Freeper types.

    All American politics is the pseudo spectacle of the conservatives fighting rear-guard actions against tiny liberal flare-ups.

    Look, their side is wrong wrong wrong. Wrong about Iraq. Wrong about our defense policy. Wrong about the environment, worker protections, taxes, health care, abortion, stem cells, evolution, the Bill of Rights, the drug war, and on and on and on.

    I have rarely learned anything from a conservative, nor have I heard more than a sliver of reasonable policies enunciated by their side.

    George Bush prancing on the aircraft carrier: one of America's worst moments

    by grushka on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:04:54 AM PDT

    •  Are you sure we... (none)
      don't wind up creating our own little universe too?

      I noticed it when I was in grad school. Everyone else in the town seemed to be living an alien existence from me. I concluded that it's part of living your life. But don't expect your dentist to know who Joe Biden is. And don't expect him to care. The same could be said for many of the information bits that are out there.

      •  But if my dentist reserves for her/himself (none)
        the right to VOTE for Joe Biden, or for George Bush, or for anyone who is going to make laws that concern me and my family, then you'd better believe that I expect him/her to be informed!

        How DARE they vote on matters of life, death, bread and butter, justice and security, without understanding or caring about the people who will be making those decisions?

        •  So if I'm living in Texas... (none)
          my dentist needs to know who the senator from Delaware is?

          Yes, he needs to know about the president and who is running for that. But do you really expect him to know about the 98 senators from other states?

          •  It's an illusion that only our senators/congress (none)
            people from our own states represent us.

            What I mean is, it's true that technically their jobs are to represent us.  To speak, so to speak, for us on the floor of the congress or senate.  To vote as proxy for the will of the people of their state, or at least to represent their views.

            However, senators and congresspeople introduce legislation and support their fellows' legislation not only within state confines, but also with regard to national or even international contexts, events and group concerns.  Lobbyists, for example, are not always only state-based and don't only try to lobby senators from x or y state with regard to  their interests.

            So do I think your or my dentist, if he/she lives in Texas, should know about Joe Biden?  Well, if he/she is concerned about issues at a national level, he/she should indeed try to find something out about a variety of senators.  Because they're the ones working together and influencing each other across state lines on national legislation that affects all of us.

    •  A perfect example (none)
      Of what this diary is about!
      •  No, I assessed the diary and (none)
        responded to it.

        I have an overarching political philosophy that will not change. It is firmly anchored in the liberal tradition, and I have formulated over the years after much thought, soul-searching and reading.

        Am I to change this based on the quasi-fascistic sophistry (quasi-fascistic because it avoids real debate and denies the very nature of truth, whenever necessary) of Freepers or their more intelligent masters, the conservative 'thinkers?'

        Have you tried to nail a conservative down on their Iraq position? They'll go from saying Clinton wanted war, to Clinton was weak to we thought there were WMDs to the UN had resolutions to we had to do something to we're bringing freedom to the middle east to Saddam was bad to better over there than here to quit hating America.

        Am I to "learn" from such utter bullshit?

        On nearly every issue of consequence, I find the same idiotic "reasoning" on their side.

        Feel free to bring up a conservative philosophical tenet or take on a key issue that you think is correct, and let's examine it with sensibly. I'll be willing to bet the conservative vantage point loses badly.

        George Bush prancing on the aircraft carrier: one of America's worst moments

        by grushka on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:42:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have no qualms with your beliefs (none)
          Only with your certainty with regard to fact. The simple reality is that the world is complex. Everyone picks and chooses among the facts to support their belief system. This is only human nature. On liberal sites everyone agrees with each other as to which facts are true and which are "bullshit". On conservative sites, the same happens, just with different facts.

          To take your challenge, President Clinton and the congress called for regime change. He, and pretty much everyone else, did believe there were WMD -- I've seen him say so in interviews even after it was found there were none. Even the much remarked upon British 'fix the intelligence' memo goes on to discuss the possibility that Sadam would use his WMD's at the beginning of the war or against Isreal. As to the UN imperative forcing us to go in, well, I'm not going to try to defend that. Will it be better as a result of the War? It will be many years before that can truly be assessed.

          •  So are you saying.. (none)
            that the war in Iraq is a good thing? I think that the war in Iraq can truly be assessed now. There is now a growing tidal wave of muslim extremism about to hit us for the next 25 to 50 years all because of the war in Iraq. The world will not be better with 1/5 of the population at war with lone superpower of the world. That's why we DIDN'T go to war under Clinton. That is why we didn't stay and take over Iraq under GHWB. Because we knew there was more bad then good to come of it.
            •  Too soon to tell. (none)
              The assessment of the result of the war in Iraq can only be made when we see what type government emerges and what affect that has on the region. The extreamism against us that brought down the towers on 9/11 (and bombed them earlier in the decade) had more to do with our interactions with Saudi Arabia and the governments oppression of it's people than with anything involved with Iraq.

              We didn't go to war with Iraq under Clinton because there wasn't a triggering event, we only lobbed some cruise missles. I'm not saying Iraq was involved in 9/11 but much like we declared war on Germany when Japan attacked us, it was something that had been on our mind for some time.

              We didn't conquer Iraq in Gulf War because we built a coalition for a purpose that did not include that which would have fallen apart on the battlefield if we had exceeded the goal. We also had no plans for capturing the cities and estimated many thousands of American casualties if we did. We also hoped the Iraqis would overthrow Saddam.

              If a reasonable democracy emerges in Iraq and provides an example to the youth of Iran as well as other oppressed people in the region then it may well work out well.

              •  well.. (none)
                I would argue that while the staunch fundamentalism was most definatly a direct result of American foreign policy. The rest of the muslim world just loved to hate us, like the head jock at school. Maybe there where a few head-cases who decided that things where so fucked up they would go into the school shooting (Bin Laden), the whole school yard wasn't yet about to join them. Now the head jock gets his ass beat every day and everybody hates him and I believe that is a direct result of Iraq.

                It could have worked out, we could have built a "McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner of Baghdad" in the middle east, had we gone about it the right way at the right time.

                And I think the whole in response to 9/11 thing is bullshit aswell. It was a individual act, we should have doubled our intelligence efforts and increased there funding 10 fold and then went after them with special ops, SWAT, like teams. Second we had already invaded another country because of 9/11, we should have waited to see how that turned out before setting such huge goals as a America in the middle east.

                You could argue that Clinton was already doing that in the Middle East and it wasn't working, but I would argue that it was working. As a result of Clintons aproach Iraq didn't have WMD (even if he thought they did) and Al-Quida had only managed to hit military targets.

                Not to say we should've taken 9/11 lightly, that would of been a political disaster for Bush, but we shouldn't have formed an imperial foreign policy in response to it either.  

                •  I pretty much agree with you (none)
                  I'm not sure if American foreign policy is so much the source or we just make a good excuse to distract the oppressed people (Orwell's 1984), still our cold war choices have left us with some strange bedfellows.

                  The 9/11 attack was planned during the Clinton administration, so I don't think we can lay that completely at Bush's feet. I suspect there was a certain level of panic involved in the decision to go into Iraq.  I will admit to still being concerned someone is going to float a nuclear weapon into a port on a container ship. Obviously there were many screw-ups and the people who had been agitating for attacking Iraq got the upper hand.

                  None of this is to say that it can't work out for the good in the end if the Iraqi people can put together a reasonable government. They have the incentive, it's their country, their lives, their children. And if it does, perhaps the example will inspire others in the region.

  •  Along the same lines... (4.00)
    I have often wondered how much of my own bullsit to believe; and unlike other folks' bullshit, I am completely familiar with how much of it reflects actual experience. Problem is, there are clear limits to one's ability to self-analyze. I suppose the best that can be said is that it's better to be reflective than not, though it doesn't guarantee any clarity or truth.

    And truth, like it or not, is as unprovable as God. So whether "their truth" or "our truth" is closer to "THE TRUTH" is perhaps a moot question. But to quote a great philosopher, "a party's what you make it."

    And that's where I see the most profound difference: call it "style" if you like, but I see a greater diversity here, a greater sense of tolerance (in fact, tolerance is built into the system), and a greater sense (in general) of the need to not only respect one another's views, but to be "helpful" and compassionate. Let's be clear: this is just a generalization, but there is more compassion here, less doctrine as far as I can tell.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:06:56 AM PDT

  •  I agree but... (none)
    I only get my news from lefty sources, because I feel that places like this are the only ones who HAVE any news. Since the corporate media has turned into asshat diarrhea merchants who only repeat talking points (mostly from the administration, occasionally from a democrat) and do no analysis whatsoever, I feel that I can only read actual thinking here and in lefty sites like and

    I just can't take it, and I bow to those of you who can, I've had enough. However, I have a question for those of you who read the "conservative" blogs: are they saying anything that CNN isn't?

  •  Right Blogistan (none)
    I adore it, am using it and thanks!

    The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

    by nika7k on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:12:55 AM PDT

  •  This is not my only source for news or opinion (none)
    One should always seek out multiple sources, and that's what this site is to me, one source of information and commentary. It's also a place where I can chime in, which is nice. But I get my news and opinion from dozens of sources, and I suspect most here do as well. I also occasionally browse the freeper sites, when I feel I can deal with the rise in blood pressure.
  •  I don't have the stomach to do it myself... (4.00)
    But it would be nice if there were regular postings on Kos telling us what the other side is saying. I know there are often posts along the lines of "here's what those idiot mouth breathers are saying," but there's never anything as reasonable as this diary.

    I often worry about living in an echo chamber, and I even hesitated to subscribe to The Nation because of that very thing. And then they had that scoop about Dr. David Hager this week, and my reservations flew out the window.

    Nevertheless, I hate to get all my info from "the left." I try to go out of my way to read the NYT's conservative columnists, and since I live in Dallas, my only daily newspaper is the conservative Dallas Morning News.

    I try to walk that fine line between living in an echo chamber--i.e. getting all my news from Kos, the NYT, Air America, and The Daily Show--and making my blood pressure shoot sky high by listening to right wing talk radio and trolling the right wing blogs.

    As far as I'm concerned, I think the much-maligned mainstream media does a fairly good job of giving me both sides of the story. True, as Bill Moyers observed, their idea of giving both sides of the story doesn't necessarily equate to "the truth," but it's better than just hearing straight opinion all the time.

    Right now, I'm reading Matt Miller's "2 Percent Solution," which (and I'm just at the beginning) purports to solve our country's problems in ways that both liberals and conservatives can love.

    Frankly, I'm all about problem-solving. I want my kids to have good schools, not have sex until they're mature enough to handle it, I want poor people to have access to affordable insurance and good jobs, and I want people to just generally stop being knuckleheads. There are smart, reasonable, solution-oriented conservatives out there, and I want to learn from them as much as I want to learn from liberals.

    I do, however, draw the line at turning America over to the Christian mullahs.

    Anyway, do I hear any volunteers out there who want to give us regular news from the conservative front? Sans snark?

    •  We could ask them to send someone over... (none)
      We could do a sort of "ambassador exchange" program, have them pick someone who's capable of telling us what they're thinking without it degenerating into a shouting match.

      Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:58:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I'll do the dirty work (none)
      I occasionally post a meltdown from Freepland or lgf on open threads.

      I may diary on provacateurs on Savage I heard last week.  I'll link it on an open thread.

      Lets just say there's not much "regular" news over there.......;?

      "You can't awaken a man who pretends to be asleep."-Navajo saying.

      by quartzite on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:03:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've noticed that we rant about the same things (none)
    We both rant about the media, although freeperville hasn't noticed that it isn't liberal it is corporate, something we've belated noticed here on kos.  And we've both felt betrayed by the compromise for much the same reasons.  Both groups felt that we lost too much in the compromising.
  •  Great Topic (4.00)
    But I wonder about the idea of "balancing' dKos echo chamber effect with wingnuttia. Lately there has been some sniping here about the Downing St. Minutes, and what they do or don't say. Armando and others are acting as an aggressive truth squad about jumping to conclusions based on what is actually in that evidence. Parsing words, etc. Somebody also recently got creamed for using Nazi analogies to descibe Gitmo abuses.
        When I've had something hit me kind of odd, or a comment disagrees with a diarist's conclusions, I go to Google, or Merriam Webster, or foreign newspapers, or Usually more than one reference source to check on information. That way I get clarity, and sometimes context. I don't think it's very often useful to 'balance" the opinions and assumptions here with those from RW blogosphere. My spin vs Your spin does not equal truth. Try this instead.
    Read something.
    Think about it.
    Relate it to other items you understand.
    Check it out.
    Remember it.

    Rightwing blogs do nothing for the logic circuits in our brains.

    They do, however, energize us into action. Me, at least.

  •  With all due respect... (4.00)
    We can read those sites all day and never see what the middle sees.  As a general rule, two extremes are much closer to eachother than to the middle... after all, opinions are much more a circle than a line (as in, "I came full-circle on that"), and 1 degree and 359 degrees are much closer to eachother than either is to 180.

    If you want to see what normal people see, go to CNN or MSNBC and get your news there, because that's where your non-political friends are getting theirs.

    The time you spend on freeper sites is not wasted because it is a good source of information to counter what the right wing (and therefore the media) are filling the minds of our compatriots with...

    But it is no more reality than kos is and, while it will make you rounded and informed as to the ways of the dark side, it is not what the average American experiences any more than kos is either.

    Of course, the average American keeps talk shows and soap operas and reality television alive, so, you might not want to hang out there either.  :)

    Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

    by ultrageek on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:18:24 AM PDT

  •  I go over to FR a lot and I disagree (4.00)
    I see much more intelligent discussion and thought here, and much less knee-jerk reaction and anger.  Yes, people here get angry, but the percentage is much, much less than the reactionary lunatics over there.  I have not done a study with numbers, BUT I can guarantee that I would be right if you looked at thoughtful responses versus lunatic responses.

    Even on DU there is much less anger, hatred and calling for the end/harm to the opposition than there is in Freeperville. I don't see anything even approaching the "get your guns and get ready" mentality that many of the lunatics on the right regularly exhibit.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:20:11 AM PDT

    •  We self-correct more, also. (none)
      I think we are more open to discussing the facts about something or someone if it is backed up. But then, we aspire to be a reality-based community. Yes there's a very nice echo in here, thank you very much. But we don't automatically shoot every messenger who breaks the meme (although we can overreact with the best of them sometimes).

      On the whole, I agree--we seem to be more thoughtful and open to considering the facts. Plus we have recipes!

      "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand." --Linus/Peanuts

      by homogenius on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Nim (none)
    Thsi is definitely recommended. I've been saying this same thing for some time, and I'm glad someone else has become aware of it...

    "The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them." - Tom DeLay

    by OxyLiberal on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:21:08 AM PDT

  •  I must say about DKos (4.00)
    One of the things that has happened specifically for me and that really lights up my life right now is how we fearlessly debate the feelings we all have about what is happening in Iraq.  We all see the U.N. reports and we all know horror is taking place, and sadly we know that our troops are involved in much of this.  We truly debate it all out though so that the innocent will remain the innocent.  If we have our say, and I really believe that we will have our day, we will not allow any sadistic soldier to go untended but we will hold the leadership responsible for what they have done to our troops and our military in Iraq.
  •  it's useful to read *books*, too (none)
    Right now I am reading "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America" by the US editor for the Economist John Micklethwait and Economist correspondent Adrian Wooldridge.  It provides an excellent outsider's view of the history and nature of the Right in the US.  
  •  Totally agree (none)
    I read the conservative sites last night and got tired of the shrill vituperation so I came back here and found threads with the same thing. Got tired of that and went and read a book.

    I think it's more personality type than anything else. We have people who want to start a fight, who argue about every little thing. So do they.

    We have peacemakers. Oh yes, so do they--rare but there.

    We have some really interesting and thoughtful people here who write diaries that I download and keep for reference. They take their time and check their facts and are Daily Kos treasures.

    We have people who post rather than read. They ignore links, comments, don't read the whole diary. So do the rabid right sites.

    I'm glad you wrote this diary.

  •  Agreed (4.00)
    and Recommended.

    This morning I listened to Morning Sedition and read Kos.  Later I'll catch some Franken, read more Kos and before I go to bed I'll guffaw at Jon Stewart.  Some days I am keenly aware that there is a danger in all this Progressive Masturbation.

    The echo chamber is useful as long as your brain doesn't become one.

  •  name calling - badges of identity (4.00)
    Why the constant need for epithets like cat killer etc.? Here's why (I think): these are really emblems that point back to whoever is using them. It's a way of clarifying your attitude - a badge of identity, if you want. I confess that I use these a lot, especially when making points critical of some aspect of behavior of what I would call the progressive mainstream here at dKos (of which I consider myself a member). A lot of people who feel targeted by this criticism have the reflex to flame you as a troll or freeper or whatever. So I would sprinkle my comment with cuss words and snark, just to signal Hey, it's me, brainwave, I'm one of us, can't you see I'm calling Frist a cat killer? I.o.w. the reason why political blogs on both sides are brimming with this kind of rhetoric is because of the anonymity of the internets. There is a great deal of need for these kinds of badges of identity, since we're fighting an incessant ideological battle and so few people on either side know where you come from and what your attitude is.

    If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

    by brainwave on Tue May 24, 2005 at 08:37:43 AM PDT

  •  I read the Right Wing Think Tanks (none)
    for similar reasons. It is important to know what else is out there.

    In fact, I think it is important enough that I have been posting diaries on the RWTTs on dkos the last couple weeks. The diary I put up yesterday has a small piece about RWTTs in it, though the subject is really jobs and the Latino vote.

    More will be coming, but I have to get my students' grades in this Friday.

    So good on you for bringing this information into the mix.

    •  love your diaries (none)
      labor law and other corporate power issues get such short thrift here (to say nothing of minority-specific issues), so i appreicate your diaries.
      •  Aw, gee, thanks (none)
        The noninterest in yesterday's and the ones on RWTT is discouraging. I put some of it down to the intense focus on the filibuster issue. But I still think these issues that are out of the limelight also matter.

        Now I'll stop wallowing in self-pity - though it's easy to feel self-pity while marking exams. But the students are doing great so far. Makes me feel the term meant something. So it's happy, self-congratulatory self-pity.

        •  i know (none)
          that's the problem with the elite-interest, socially liberal secular groups that drive the Dem party right now (and i mean everyone from Emily's List to NARAL to MoveOn to DailyKos/Atrios). they have the money, they're largely upper middle class educated white secular folks, they'd much rather focus on filibusters than something fundamental like jobs and Latinos or labor rights. working class latinos and whites have different priorities and worldviews than the folks here, so that's probably why diaries like yours and the one on prison privatization in Memphis (one of MY top issues) get few comments vs. the ones bashing the religious right...  
  •  One of my treks to Free Republic (none)
    I posted the following some time ago. My seemingly harmless questions were immediately remmoved.  The questions had actual information about filibuster votes.  They didn't even bother to dispute the votes.  They just removed my messages.  

    In the following thread from Free Republic, I'm Frotto.  
    Not only did I have my posts removed, but my screen name was banned and I wasn't allowed to post under it anymore.  

    That's just chickenshit.  That wouldn't happen on Kos.  A well reasoned argument from a Republican doesn't get that sort of welcome here.
    To: NutCrackerBoy
    "The Constitution does not, in our view, require it to choose one way or the other."

    I suppose it could be argued either way from the National Review's POV.

    It's my recollection that Cheney has to actually declare the Filibuster unconstitutional.

    Regardless of whether Cheney thinks it is unconstitional or not, the NR doesn't appear to feel it is unconstitutional. Naturally, he does, but the National Review doesn't actually say it is unconstitutional, it just says that they need to make it so judges can be voted on.

    Regardless of Cheney's, or the Republican POV, do you think that the article makes the case for the unconstitutional nature of the filibuster?

    3 posted on 05/13/2005 6:11:38 PM PDT by frotto
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]


    To: NutCrackerBoy
    Just do it and move on.

    4 posted on 05/13/2005 6:14:49 PM PDT by Archidamus (We are wise because we are not so highly educated as to look down on our laws and customs)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]


    To: Archidamus
    I'm not sure I understand your answer. Was it to the question about whether or not it's a constitutional issue?

    5 posted on 05/13/2005 6:21:55 PM PDT by frotto
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]


    To: NutCrackerBoy
    The risk that a minority of senators will be able to keep the courts in the business of imposing the Left's agenda cannot be accepted. It is time to vote to end the judicial filibuster.
    I am greatful to NR for the magazine's roll in my political developement. I cut my political teeth reading NR.

    But I must say that they seem a little late on the trigger with this article--and often on the wrong side of many issues. Better late than never, though.

    I'm not always sure if NR is drifting toward the center, or if it's just me becoming more conservative idealogically. I think it's a combination of both.

    6 posted on 05/13/2005 6:22:12 PM PDT by tame (Are you willing to do for the truth what leftists are willing to do for a lie?)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]


    To: tame
    How does this look when compared to recent filibusters by Republican lawmakers? n=1&vote=00280 n=1&vote=00280

    This is confusing for me.

    7 posted on 05/13/2005 6:29:22 PM PDT by frotto
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]


    To: NutCrackerBoy
    its about damned time.

    8 posted on 05/13/2005 7:08:12 PM PDT by King Prout (blast and char it among fetid buzzard guts!)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies | Report Abuse ]

    •  FR fault (4.00)
      The Freepers' total clampdown on dissent is a weakness, and it will come back to haunt them eventually. And that's why it's particularly important to keep ourselves exposed to the other communities and ideas out there.  

      I was honestly shocked when I saw how many Freepers claimed that the wheels were starting to come off of the GOP machine...because it wasn't socially conservative enough. They honestly believed that Bush's poll numbers were dropping because he was being too soft on gays, the middle east, and social security, and was being "punished" for his capitulation to the left.

      That is precisely the sort of point we should never reach.  While the left-wing "echo chamber" serves an incredibly valuable purpose in disseminating information within and without of the progressive commnunity, we have to keep it from defining our own reality.  It is not so obvious when you're seeing it from inside. It's pretty stark when you see it on the right, though.

      We're not immune from it, and we will be stronger in the long run for keeping ourselves grounded in reality, not just what we want reality to be.

      •  "own reality" (none)
        Kos posted photos of gay couples marrying in SF and while everyone cheered in jubilation, i knew most AMericans would be upset and/or disturbed by those images. only in the extreme left blogosphere would those photos generate such a reaction different from mainstream America, particularly in normally Democratic minority communities.
        •  I can always count on you (none)
          to talk about gays. Do you have any other topic?
          •  yup (none)
            go see my diaries on free trade and CAFTA and fundamental corporate power issues that i wish the Dems and liberals would talk about instead of getting hung up on culture war stuff as the GOP wants us to do...
            •  yeah the solution is to change the subject (none)
              because the american public is smart enough not to get caught up in the social hot button issues- oh wait- maybe they are not that smart? see again, i was making a bigger point about you- you want a cure-all. you no more an idea of who americans are than i do. the difference is that i now admit it now that the heat of last years election is over. i see my so-called liberal friends- they aren't anymore interested in most of the issues you mention than the conservatives are. and the truth is even worse- they are more interested in american idol or being cool.  there aren't any cure-alls for what ails democrats or america in general. it took 30 years (and some would arge 200) to happen- and some quick solution isn't going to change things. incidentatlly good luck on changing the subject- tell me does it work any better for you than it did for kerry who kept trying to change the subject and yet oddly he still lose
              •  I don't get it. (none)
                He gives you a direct answer to your question and you accuse him of changing the subject.

                Hijack their frames! Cheap, easy, effective.

                by chriscol on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:19:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  to whom am I refering (none)
                  for you- it's his subject matter de jour- to me- it's this whole idea of the American people- that neither conservatives or liberal have a clue what "the American people" want or think. Firstly, I don't pretend to know. Secondly, I point out they seem according to ratings to care more about American Idol. Thirdly, I would add that on issues of politics they offer up contradictory things. Your friend focuses on single hot button issues (that are important to HIM), and then changes the SUBJECT of those issues- it's not gays- it's free trade, it's not abortion, it's something else. that's how he is changing the subject. If in your mind this is a clear answer, then explain that to Kerry because he tried that last year, and how well did it work out?
  •  extremes (none)
    exist on both sides, and it's tiring. most Americans don't toe the extreme pro-choice, pro-gay rights line as most everyone here does. most Americans don't have a problem with Bush's invoking of God and the Almighty or the Pledge of ALlegiance that causes the seculars to go crazy. most Kossacks think evangelicals are all dobson-loving gay bashing puritans who hate sex. simply not true. talk to one evangelical and you can see they are way more complicated than the one-sided stereotypes put out here. meanwhile, the other side labels all liberals as godless, heathen, feminazis. most Americans are tiring of the labels being thrown at each other and the relentless partisan sniping. and most have no idea what a filibuster it. talk about a subject that only galvanized the extreme right and left while most of middle America scratched their heads...  
    •  We have to stand for something! (4.00)
      What's so "extreme" about being pro-choice or for gay rights? The overwhelming majority of Americans are pro-choice, and the trend is towards a similar degree of support for gay rights, especially among the younger voters who are going to be key to winning back the U.S.

      But beyond those facts, even if 51% of Americans wanted to force women to have children they don't want and not allow gay couples the basic rights they're entitled to as human beings, what good would it do us to cater to these people? They've already made their beds with the Republicans.

      Howard Dean has it right: We need to reframe our message to make it one of support for individual freedom and protection against religious extremists and their corporatist allies. This is a simple, powerful message that ultimately, I believe, most Americans will support. It would be hypocritical and self-defeating if we muddle this message with compromises, selling women and gay people down the river in the process.  

      •  extreme (none)
        because it has what has made the Democratic brand toxic in parts of the midwest, South and increasingly among people of color. the GOP has gay rights and abortion rights supporters in their coalition. i'm not a Democrat because i think women should have the right to kill innocent fetuses or that gay people can marry. i really could care less about those issues. for most people of color who are Democrats, it's because Dems supposedly stand up for the little guy, are against corporate power trampliing on the lives, and believe in a social safety net that cares for the poor and defenseless and ordinary Americans and an activist government that defends equality of opportunity. however, if the message is simply that we are for legal abortion and gay marriage, that won't win you many elections outside of NYC or SF.
        •  You're missing the point (none)
          Is the "little guy" by definition straight and male?  

          We have to become the party that stands up for everyone's rights to individual freedom and economic justice. Discounting "poor and defenseless" gay people and women in trouble isn't going to gain us any converts. The Republicans already have a lock on people who believe that their religious beliefs trump the rights of others.

          •  you're missing the point (none)
            focus on the common issues people can agree on to win, and then everyone will come out happy. i'm not saying run on pro-life values, i'm saying run on corporate power or health care issues that can gain the votes of nominally pro-life, anti-gay voters.
        •  You have no more idea what the (none)
          so called average American thinks than anyone else- in today's terms- Average american is an oxymoron that has about as much value as military intelligence. Rather than saying something is the product of what "Americans" think- say that it is the product of what you think. That's a more honest position to take. The only think I can tell you about most Americans is that they like American Idol in large numbers. The rest- is just guess work.
        •  asdf (4.00)
          if the message is simply that we are for legal abortion and gay marriage, that won't win you many elections

          but that isn't the message, so stop repeating it.  
          we stand for so much more.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:47:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (none)
    What you write is so true. Groupthink is prevalent no matter which online community you visit. Which is only natural, after a fashion. We gravitate towards those who are similar to ourselves. But it is important to seek out other viewpoints. Go visit the Libertarians, for instance. That'll rattle your brain good!

    So again, thanks for posting this.

  •  Please (none)
    All of you, please, keep careful track of Freeperville and FauxReality. And report back here. Because I've got other priorities than wallowing in their filth. It's great that others are doing it; somebody has to; we'll all be better off for it. Hats off to our brave volunteers. But sheesh, I'm not gonna go there.

    Further, this is not an echo chamber. Many of my posts are dissenting opinions - and I'm not the only dissenter here on a number of issues when discussion threatens to harden into politically-correct positions. The way to tell a true liberal is, it's someone who likes substantive discussion and appreciates devils' advocacy. But this doesn't mean we actually have to sup with them (outside of family reunions). Our own counter-arguments are often better crafted than theirs, anyway. The right is largely redundant.

    Nonetheless, to those hauling their garbage, thanks!

  •  Small Sites (none)
    I find that I can actually engage in an honest discussion on smaller conservative blogs where I am one of a very small number of liberals.  

    I started going there after the election at some point.  I guess I started feeling that dKos was a little too limited.

    Of course, I had some delusions about converting conservatives to our side.   I don't know if that's ever occurred but I often end up with the last post on a thread which either means I convinced them or bored them to death.

    I will say that I have seen the conservative perspective to a greater degree on a few topics than I had to when I was a fulltime Kossack.  Not to say that I've gone to the dark side but diving in there adds a greater complexity to issues(as well as facts that I hadn't picked up here or on AAR)

  •  I always thought (none)
    a blog called something like "Left, Right & Center", that involved all viewpoints would be the best debate you could find on sensitive issues, especially if comments are being rated the way they are here. In a left or right blog, we're mostly preaching to the choir. Blogging/writing forces the thought to surface above all the emotion. Geez... there have to be many Republicans that are disappointed that the Neocons highjacked their party...  
    •  there was! (none)
      well, a compilation of blogs left right and center is the Daou Report, once free, but now a wage-earner at

      I read Daou's site with relish every day to get a quick sampling of politics from all sides. I found myself clicking through quite a bit on the right side just to follow their arguments.

      But alas, Daou now resides behind Sure, you can get it with a free day pass, but somehow it just ain't the same.

      Daou Report

  •  I'm always asked why (none)
    I listen to right-wing punditry on am (mostly Ingraham, some Limbaugh, Savage, etc). Thanks for providing me with an intelligent answer.

    I will say that I do use this site as a clearinghouse. I simply do not have the time to skim through the NYT, WaPo, and the hundreds of state and small local papers and other media outlets from which articles are culled and linked here. But I also try to sit down with at least one paper a day to get a broader spectrum.

    •  Draft Chris Heinz? (none)
      Blogging is so much better than radio- the radio doesn't hear me when I scream at it.  The bloggers do.
    •  I used to (none)
      listen to Laura almost every day because she was often on during my drive home from work.  If there was a hot issue I would try a little Michael Savage too but he is harder to take.  There is a local hate and bait host in Boston named Jay Severin (the show is out of Boston but he doesn't live here) who has national ambitions of being the next Rush.  He's actually pretty listenable and every now and then he even ends up on the right side of an argument.

      But now that I can get Air America I spend a lot less time listening to the wingnut echo chamber.

      I can't wait to hear how Rush spins last night's events.  If he says he hates it, he will make the wingnuts even more angry and more likely to abandon Frist, which is good.  If he says it's not so bad or tries to call it a win for the GOP, it will create serious cognitive dissonance in some of his listeners who spent all night bitching and moaning on the wingnut blogs.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:26:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary (none)
    I had the same thought myself when I visited Free Republic last night, but you said it so well. On the other hand, if I can be honest, the folks on Kos are vastly more witty and articulate.  I will have to figure out where smart conservatives hang out--regrettably, I have to admit there are some.  They are not on Free Republic.  
  •  Great Post (none)
    I'll throw this up as an idea that is equal in value to the post someone had a while back about embracing popular culture instead of pooh-poohing it.

    Look at them. Look at how they think. Look at how they talk. Put them under the microscope.

    Ah. The dailyKos Center for Disease Control. If we securely analyze the anthrax we may begin to understand enough about it to find an antidote.

  •  couple comments (none)
    Obviously going to be lost in the noise, but whatever.

    • You are correct... there are great similarities in style and substance.

    • I honestly can't figure out how anybody can read freerepublic.  The site is just so poorly laid out.

    • Dailykos and Eschaton MISS a lot of pro-leftwing news.  I mean a LOT.  There are so many things which have been going on at state levels that just don't get picked up here.  What's interesting is that I do see them picked up by the *Establishment.  So you see a tactic deployed in Montana suddenly appear in Washington, and I'm puzzled that nobody mentions it here.

    • Did I mention freerepublic's site design sucks?
    •  asdf (none)
      Did I mention freerepublic's site design sucks?

      We got all of the designers and artists.

      Seriously though- dKos's design has been key to making it the central progressive blog.  There is so much creativity here compared to FR.

    •  only one way to do a job right... (none)
      There are so many things which have been going on at state levels that just don't get picked up here.  What's interesting is that I do see them picked up by the *Establishment.  So you see a tactic deployed in Montana suddenly appear in Washington, and I'm puzzled that nobody mentions it here.

      Why don't you write diary articles when you see those things? You seem to be reasonably articulate.

      •  We should (none)
        Well honestly I do see these things come up in diary entries here.

        But seldom does a diary entry talking about some Legislator in Iowa proposing something which is interesting make it to the front page, or even the recommended diary listings.

        Instead, they get drowned out by 100 diaries complaining about how we're going to finally impeach Bush or some other fantasy.  Not that they aren't interesting, I just don't find them useful.

        I think it's just the nature of what dKos are.  But I do notice on freeperville they comment about everything, which has been mentioned here before.

  •  Recommended (none)
    I think one of the major difference between the right-wing vs. the kos echo chamber is that the right-wing chamber, probably because it has been developing over the past 20 years, is much bigger and has been able to engulf parts of the MSM. Perhaps engulf is not exactly the right word, but at least for them, the message seems to be getting out of the chamber and into the general population. I don't think that we have that same sort of penetration; which is strange because what I think many of us are saying appeals to many mainstream Americans.

    I think we are on the right path with our strict usage of terminology (i.e. Estate Tax not Death Tax), but we have to also prevent the MSM from adopting their terms and start using ours.

    This is going to take time, but as the Repubs continue to introduce Americans to what they think Conservatism really is (bankruptcy "reform" etc), perhaps people, and the MSM, will start listening more to our message.

  •  I don't know.... (none)
     I've had some knock-down, drag out fights here...and I've had reasoned debates. I do read FR pretty often and I think they do more name calling and agreeing with each other.

    On the other hand, I have noticed people using non arguments like--everyone knows blah blah is a corporate puppet.

    I would like backup to arguments at least.
    I mean, how lazy can you get? We are all connected to the WWW and googling a source real quick takes no time at all.

    If someone can't back up their asserting from memory of specifics or links to real news articles, I wish they would not enter the discussion.

    I've noticed  also that those who can't back up their arguments often word their posts the strongest; and these posts often include insults directed at whomever doesn't agree.


  •  Eschaton is a better comparison to FR than dKos (none)
    Great diary. Recommended. The pet names, the reflexive dismissing of an idea through some little nonsequiter, the mobs -- all of them seem tied to partisan blogs, and all of them are dangerous.

    From direct experience I'll say that Eschaton is far nearer to FreeRepublic than is Daily Kos, partially because of Atrios' (and now his new guest posters' love of ad hominem attacks and his creation of pinata's which he invokes every time the news day is slow and he wants to get the base frothing -- same as FreeRepublic (though there it's obviouslt less centralized or planned). "Bobo's world," for instance. Toss up a quote or a persona, they know what to do.  Also, the ratingless and unnested haloscan threads lend themselves well to mob mentality and really, REALLY scary purging and troll-labelling of dissenting viewpoints. There's just no check on groupthink there -- and because it also happens on FreeRepublic and other sites with non-nested, ratingless haloscan style comments, I think it's a structural problem and not a personality one. Anyway, if you want to see where a lefty blog can go really sour and rotten in its comments, go to Eschaton.

    That reads like a hit piece on Atrios' site, I didn't mean it to be. I just think the structural causes of blog groupthink on people and policies and partyline formation is interesting. Eschaton still isn't as bad as FreeRepublic, though.

    Thanks for bringing this issue up.

    GOP = Grandstanding Old Party

    by Addison on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:52:38 AM PDT

  •  Know thine enemy. n/t (none)

    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    by rcvanoz on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:56:36 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for bringing this insight to the table. (none)
    In my experience, having this kind of thinking in the back of my mind is valuable in a multitude of little ways. We make choices about words every time our fingers hit the keys, and now our choices can be informed by the caution against becoming a parody of ourselves.

    That said, I believe we (the left) have more of the common good on our side.

    It's not that the right has no concern about the common good, it's just that their tactics don't seem to work. Even Darth Dobson thinks he's working for the the common good. God has told him what to do and he's doing it with zeal.  

    We on the left have a different God speaking to us. A less judgmental God, which yields a more tolerant society.  The only thing we really cannot tolerate is the intolerance of others.

    And that, dear friends, is the supreme iron knee.

  •  Drudge reTORT (none)
    This is why I like this site:

    This is NOT the Drudge Report.
    There is always VERY spirited back and forth.

    I agree - we should know what the other side is saying!

  •  Refreshing take, Nim (none)
    I am new to the Kos site -- I tend to frequent places like Powerline, NRO, etc.  So I guess you could say I am the enemy... but I am genuinely trying to get a handle on the other side, so that's why I'm here.

    I must say your thoughts here are perceptive.  Both sides are guilty of putting the blinders on.  As good as it feels to talk with people who agree with you, it may be more productive to understand the other side more completely.

    As a righty, I actually want the Kos crowd to keep ranting amongst themselves -- that will increase the chances for more failure in the next election cycle.  But now you've gone and said something rational.  Oh well, maybe they won't listen!

    By the way, in my cruising of Leftblogland, the worst I have seen is probably DU -- those guys are way gone.

    •  Welcome Andy (4.00)
      I personally think dKos should have room for dissent, as long as it is respectful and reasonably constructive. But as a so-called TU (Trusted User) I've seen hundreds of right-wingers flushed out by receiving too many zero ratings; and a fair share of them I have zero-rated myself. By way of unsolicited advice, I think the secret to longevity for an open righty is (i) bending over backwards to be polite to individual posters, including sometimes turning the other cheek; and (ii) eschewing negative generalizations about liberals or Democrats. I noted that your 4th post on this thread (and site) suggests that liberals wish for the US to fail in Iraq; that is typical of the kind of thing that tends to be zeroed.

      Good luck - and see you around!

      Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

      by Sirocco on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:20:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My experience with dialog on conservative blogs (none)
    As I reported in a diary yesterday here even a historical entry can be subject to censoring.

    It is difficult to try and create a dialog when the  "conservative" blogs are really interested in brainwashing not debate.

    I have suggested many times "adopting" a conservative blog, but it seems the faithful are not going to be reached so easily.

    When even churches are becoming politically polarized the opportunities for meeting those on the other other side are decreasing.

    And lets not forget the "Town Hall Meetings" of Bush where the public is screened to hear their elected officials.

    Musings on Society: policies not politics

    by robertdfeinman on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:30:08 AM PDT

  •  There is a clear differnce between the left and (none)
    the right.

    THe desires of the right ALWAYS force conditions on the private, personal and economic lives of the lest, whil the left does not force these conditions onto the right.

    Lets look at this. Abortion is legal, but the right insists on making it ILLEGAL, forcing pregnancy, the medical risks of pregnacy, the expenses of raising a child among many other negative effect involved with having acchild and raising a family onto a person who just may not have the resources, either emotionally or fianancially to deal with it; Along with their solution, they wish force a particular religious belief about when sex is appropriate (not outside of marriage), onto others who do not hold that belief. Getting pregnant outside of marriage should be punished according to their religious based beliefs. The left, on the other hand is not making laws that force them to not have families, does not limit ther size of their families does not insist on limiting the sizes of their families by forcing abortion or sterilization after a=having X number of children. If they wish to have families, they are welcome to, if they wish to not have sex before marriage, no one is forcing them to.

    Next, they bitch and moan about taxes being spent on things that they do not beleive in, so federal money cannot be spent on abortions.

    Yet again, they have no problem  with forcing me to have more than half of my tax dollars spent on a bloated department of offense, because lets face it, our military is not here merely to defend our shores from attack, but to obliterate anyone who has a system that does not concur with our own.

    Same thing with gays and civil unions or gay marriage. GAys have to PAY just like anyone else to supprt all of the judges and places of record and registries that perform marriage and manage the legal, governmental aspects of it, but are absolutely forbidden access to those things they are force to pay for.

    Allowing gay equal rights does not require them to allow gays into their homes, their personal lives or their churches. However, their hands are in the pockets of gay taxpayers to supprt the very faith based initiative churces that attack gay rights to equal citizenship.

    If they are to be consistant with their beliefs, they should allow the income tax system to have checkmarks on it just like the one for the federal election fund. Check here if you want 50 percent of your income to go to the department of defense. Check here if you dont. Check here if you want your money to go to abortions, check here if you dont. Check here if you want your money to go to faith based initiatives, check here if you dont. Send the money into separate accounts earmarked for those purposes. Thats fair, thats just.

    And freepers would fight it tooth and nail.

  •  Re: (OT) Johnnie's dead (none)
    In general, your points are well-taken, Nim. There is, though, a key difference.

    I too have developed an unholy fascination with Freep. I have probably created 100 user ID's over there to alternately subvert, reason with, or openly heckle the mob. The big difference though is honesty. This community can handle a contrary opinion. Freep simply can't abide it. The first hint of dissent draws out the goons, followed by denouncement to the Gestapo (aka "Moderator"), followed soon after by execution (aka loss of posting privilege.

    What's disturbing about this...? If they find this practice acceptable then I fully expect them to accept it from our government and media.

    Say it slowly: World Champion Boston Red Sox

    by SFOrange on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:37:11 AM PDT

  •  Making Nim's point, Uncle Ho (none)
    Your post is a good example of why it is hard to get a dialogue going between left and right.  

    When you say something like "our military is not here merely to defend our shores from attack, but to obliterate anyone who has a system that does not concur with our own", my reaction (as a right leaning person) is to just laugh at the ridiculous, over-the-top nature of the comment.  It is so far from the truth that it just doesn't resonate with me or even more moderate types.

    I kind of liked your idea to be able to check off what you want your taxes to go towards though.  That is something I could get behind!

  •  I wonder (none)
    How many here or at some other progressive blogs would cheerfully pull a trigger if they had a chance when they heard dissenting opinions?  Resonable discourse and debate is fine.  But those folks at the conservative sites are different from us.  I have read through comments at those site and there is no doubt in my mind that most of those people wouldn't hesitate to pull a trigger on any of us.

    "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program." - G.W. Bush; 11/2/00

    by pilotweed on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:55:14 AM PDT

  •  Yikes (none)
    Pilotweed, yes there are some extremist right-wingers who like guns and would probably enjoy waving them in your face, but to say that "most" people on those sites would not hesitate to pull the trigger?  Over the top and not credible, my friend...
  •  A sure sign of success (none)
    is when the partisans on both sides are apoplectic.

    And the rest of us can just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

  •  there is much less public debate space for . .. (none)
    anti-war talk. We have the center (which in the name of patriotism supports torture and murder of thousands of innocents) the right (which supports these same more enthusiastically) and the left (which opposes them).  The disproportion of propagation of the views of the news of the right and so-called center on one hand, and the left on the other, is immense.  The disparity reflects the disparity between rich and poor.

    The liberal media - NBC, etc. - do plenty of their own cheerleading for war, and vastly underreport the corruption and the sadism of the bush administration and its allies.

    Sometimes reporters will say, well, one side hates me, and so does the other, so I must be doing a good job.  No, Mr. Reporter, that does not prove you are doing a good job.

    Some say the war in Iraq is a great thing and getting better.  Others try to express what George Galloway expresses so well.  If your idea of truth is to go halfway in between and think, this must be a moderate thing to do, since it is middle ground, then you will find yourself supporting torture - only half as much.

    Reality is complex, and it is to our advantage to recognize that.  There are also important distinctions to make, and they aren't that hard to make, some of them, if you are honest.  Torture really is wrong.  Cheney really is a gangster.  People who speak the truth really are deserving of praise and admiration, and do not deserve to be compared to the major liars of the world, like George Bush, Laura Bush, Bill Frist etc.

    •  It all depends on the color of your glasses (none)
      Supports the torture and murder of thousands of innocents. I assume you have a source for the thousands of innocents, I'm aware of mistreatment of dozens and the recent comments on the deaths of two, but thousands?

      Support torture and murder? No, but what is the appropriate response to finding they occur? Most of these revelations are about things already under investigation. People are being punished. This junk happens in every war on every side in varying degrees. That's one of the reasons to avoid war unless necessary.

      Many would like to imagine that the abuses are somehow the result of secret orders from Carl Rove. Frankly, as a nurdy guy who encountered the typical harassment in High School P.E., I have no trouble at all believing that there are soldiers out there who can come up with abuse all on their own. Occam's razor applies.

      Interestingly, the conservatives believe that the media spends all of its time focusing on the casualties, spends forests worth of trees printing stories about the rumors that some neandrethals abused the Koran. They complain continuously that the media is all anti-war and never says anything positive.

      Reality is complex.

      Here comes the big question: Do you want the Iraq occupation to end successfully?

      •  Careful, William (none)
        It has been my experience that asking questions that will reveal what liberals really think -- like "I want the war to fail so that Chimpy Bushitler and the repugs lose" -- can make liberals mad.  

        If you've read much of this thread, they like to think they are above pettiness.  Many are not and will not like it if you point that out.

        The other thing I saw a lot in this thread was the idea that the right-wing blogs were mostly based on opinion, not facts -- that folks at the Kos had the facts on their side.  What I see too often are blanket statements like "Torture is wrong" and "Cheney is a gangster".  The latter is factually incorrect and the former contains an assumption that the US tortures people.  Again, some facts to back this up would be good.

      •  I think we'd all like that (none)
         but we know enough history to know that's highly unlikely even if we had our full powers to bear on Iraq. As Gore Vidal noted, we're REALLY TERRIBLE at this empire thing - colonization ain't our bag.

         Sadly, when the invasion was still spooling up, I predicted that we'd end up with a less blatant strongman running things and US troops still there 15-20 years later. Nothing done so far has changed that estimate. Call me a pessimist, but I would much rather have seen the UN in there because they have experience at what is essentially rebuilding governments (East Timor comes most readily to mind), and we would have had more help both in troops and in monetary aid. Yes, the UN is inefficient at best, but they at least know what the hell they're doing - as Iraq has proved, the US does not have a structure for rebuilding governments, and likely never will.

        I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

        by Anderson Republican on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:53:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The big answer (none)
        Here comes the big question: Do you want the Iraq occupation to end successfully?

        Define 'successfully'.

        If you mean that before election day 2008, either all US troops are out of Iraq, or the average rate at which the remaining troops are killed goes below, hmm, let's say one a week for sake of argument, and Iraqi civilians are not being killed by insurgent violence at an average rate above one a day, I'd be far happier than I am now, even though the Bush administration could claim credit for the victory and leverage that for the election.

        If that in turn led to a 2008-2012 Republican administration which did even more damage at home and abroad, I'd weep. But I'd acknowledge that the Bush administration achieved success in Iraq.

        Do you see any conceivable way that we can achieve my standard for "successful end to the occupation"?

        •  Successfully (none)
          My question was inspired by the fact that so many diaries seem excited by bad news for progress in Iraq. I don't think that the collapse of Iraq into civil war would be a good thing and really do hope that a government can be built.

          I do think that it is possible for your definition of success to be met. We are, after all, barely two years from crossing the border into Iraq. Elections in 2008 are over three years away. Frankly, I expect significant troup withdrawals by the 2006 elections.

          On a positive note, the targets are getting softer, more of them are civilian than either military or police. It keeps the body count up and the media attention, but represents a lower capability. I found the effort to make places for the Sunnis in the new government showed more wisdom and compromise than our leaders do, so there is hope. On the other hand, there could easily be civil war.

          I would actually like to see us completely out of there, but that may be too much to hope for since we never seem to leave anywhere completely.

          As to the credit, if the Iraqis manage to build a stable democratic government, that does not leave the Bush administration off the hook. Mistakes were made, costs were high, and people died. Those responsible must bear the burden even if it works out in the end.

      •  if you are not aware of the thousands of people (none)
        who have died because of US policy in Iraq then you really have not been paying attention, or have been very selective.
        •  Torture and murder (none)
          I assumed the phrase torture and murder was related to the Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo scandals as well as the two in Afghanistan that were recently mentioned.

          If we are talking about all casualties of the war, I am clearly aware of the various estimates. And, indeed, thousands have died as a result of the war.

  •  My own visit to Free Republic (4.00)
    Back when the Alabama girl, Lauren Rainey, was in danger of having her Medicaid-provided nursing care terminated, I visited many blogs trying to drum up letters of protest to officials and the media. When I visited Free Republic, I found that Lauren's case was already under discussion, and that most opinions there could have been stated by me or you: concern for young Lauren, outrage over an uncaring bureaucracy. I posted there and asked for help. Though I was quickly identified as a "blue-stater" (not that I tried to hide it), my post was pretty well received, and I know for a fact that some of the folks there visited my blog and used the contact list of officials and media outlets I'd set up.

    So I know that there is, at least on occasion, some common ground between red and blue.

  •  Thank you (none)
    for this diary. I agree completely, from the other side of the aisle.

    Oh, and please don't see FR as representative of all Republican blogs.

    In case anyone's curious, I'm jadedmara on

    by jenabelle on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

  •  The difference between us and them (none)
    is that the equivalent of this diary would never be recommended over there!
  •  Good deal (none)
    Politically this was the best way out. If the nuclear option was passed, woe be the USA.

    If the nuclear option was defeated, and no compromise, then we would be getting hit over the head by the republican spin machine in 2006. All these religious nuts would try and get a super majority.

    But with the compromise, they can't hit us over the head that hard on judges in 06. Some get through, but that there was a deal means that Bush's judges were somewhat problematic becasue some conservatives made a deal.

    And best of all, Bil Frist just got his balls cut off by John McCain. Bush was rebuked in the Senate, there is no other way you can look at it. His mandate is over.

    There was a part of me that wanted to see the nuclear option, it would have been fun to watch the acrimony (I loved chaos). But politically, this is the best way to go for now.

  •  You have a stronger stomach than I do (none)
    And I commend you. I took a look at freerepublic last night and read a few things, just to get the flavor, but that was all I could stand.

    I know I'm getting a filtered view of the world here. And I know that's not good. But I really can't stand what passes for the "mainstream" view right now. I watched a little MSNBC on the compromise and couldn't take it.

    The '04 election results made it very clear to me that I was getting a filtered view of the world. I still question some of the specific results (it's just bizarre that everywhere else in the world, when exit polls diverge from reported results, the general consensus is that there's fraud; but here, it's just bad polling. And don't get me started on 5-hour lines to vote in Democratic precincts in Ohio, or no-paper e-voting machines so easily tampered with that nobody would deposit $1.50 in them if they were ATMs...oops blood pressure rising again...) but fact is, there were many millions of people who did vote for George W. Bush even after his first 3+ catastrophic years in office. And I just can't figure out why, except for the very rich white straight guys and right-wing extremists (religious and otherwise). I mean, obviously the Republican/Bush propaganda is effective, but I can't figure out why people are believing it. I know people are easily misled, but when it comes to their own well-being, you'd think they'd know better.

  •  Wastin' Away Again in Freeperville (none)

    Been reading the wingnuts
    All my replies have been cut
    They all said I was a liberal troll
    All I want is some reason
    Don't tell me its treason
    When you can't have complete control

    Wastin' away again in freeperville
    Searchin' for all my deleted posts
    Some people claim if you log on
    you'll go insane
    Now I know, I'll stick with Daily Kos

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:17:38 PM PDT

  •  So true, especially on abortion and gay (none)
    marriage this is freeperville reversed. You cannot discuss those issues in a balanced way without being troll rated by some nutjob.

    A pro-life stance can be rational, perhaps even more rational than a pro-choice one. In what way is the killing of a human fetus different from murder? I'm pro-choice myself, but at least I acknowledge that the pro-life position is reasonable.

    On the Iraq issue I sometimes sense that people here are exited by the misery of terror attacks and violence - never mind the Iraq people and their hope for a democratic government, as long as those car bombs make Bush look bad they are justified. Kind of...

    And all this comes from a flaming liberal. I cannot even imagine what Joe Sixpack would think of this place.

    "These people combine the business ethics and tactics of Tony Soprano with the moral certainty of James Dobson"

    by Joe B on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:19:09 PM PDT

    •  There's a small difference (none)
       between being troll rated and being expunged. I would last about 15 minutes on Frei Republik. I might last longer on Redstate, but they are all too quick to push the nuclear button - after all, it's in their mission statement. They are there to push the Republican party view, and anything detrimental to that, short shrift. Thankfully Kos doesn't have that as a guiding principle of the site.

      I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

      by Anderson Republican on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:43:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  get out (none)
    Last summer I was optimistic that I could find some undecided voters to engage in Bush/Kerry debates.  I wanted to practice, so I started hanging out in bipatisan chat rooms.  It was an excellent opportunity to learn the other side's point of view and learn how to counter their arguments.  It is also less painful than browsing wingnuttia because you have the opportunity to fight back.  On the other hand, you have little chance of changing anybody's mind because everyone else is there because they are just as passionate as you are.

    Since the election I have stopped going to those chat rooms.  No particular reason.  I guess I wanted to stay away from the other side's victory dance, and since then I've just gotten lazy.  I want to stay connected to both sides of the argument, but I can't bring myself to read powerline or lgf on a regular basis.

    The blogosphere is great for learning talking points and discussing strategy.  But it is non-ideal for teaching yourself to engage a similarly prepared Repug.  I think we would all be doing ourselves a favor if we took the effort to leave the echo chamber on a regular basis.  Think about how much better off the country would be if the other side took the effort to leave the faux echo chamber--one day the tables will be turned.

  •  Great point (none)
    I was thinking about this a couple weeks ago.  I have two points to add.  We have an opportunity to provide information to people who haven't yet made up their minds about politics, and it would greatly help our cause if we provided that information in a more or less neutral light.  For example, if you break some news by starting it off with, "Those rat bastard Republicans..." you've injected your opinion before the reader has a chance to process any new information, and that will turn many people off.  Second, I find the hidden comments to be some of the most useful discourse on this site, because the trollish comments often force people to outline the reasons for their beliefs in much more precise terms.  When we just commiserate or pat each other on the backs, there isn't a great need to flush out the reasoning behind a viewpoint.  I think in that regard the hidden comments shouldn't be so hidden.

    "A simple lie will be believed by more people than a complex truth." - TrueBlueMajority

    by starkness on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:27:55 PM PDT

  •  Huge Difference... (none)
    ...for freepers in Freeperville, since the right wing news media (pretty much all of the news), the right wing senate, the right wing house of representatives, and the right wing executive branch are ALL their great big echo chamber.

    I don't have to lurk on freeper blogs to be bombarded 24/7 with the "other side of the debate."

  •  How to and how bad it is... (none)
    I posted a guide encouraging some action and a spooky story about faked accents on Michael Savage's show.

    "You can't awaken a man who pretends to be asleep."-Navajo saying.

    by quartzite on Tue May 24, 2005 at 12:40:13 PM PDT

  •  well said... (none)
    ...and I think we can find enough legitimate things on the right to criticize without making stuff up or simply calling names.
  •  bumper-sticker mentality (none)
    Many posts on this diary has made very good and very critically thought-out points with regards to the Kos-Free Rep contrast and comparisons.  I have not personally spent much time on the FR site but would imagine there is the possibility for similar dialogue.

    The major problem I see is that the bulk of people in this country have a bumper-sticker mentality and don't want to do research to educate themselves on issues or engage in intelligent debate with others with alternative viewpoints.  Either that or they are too afraid to have their world-views challenged.

    I recently was on a scientific blog, visited by very intelligent people in my professional commmunity.  There was a diary that questioned the motives of the environmental movement.  Invariably, in response, there began the typical name-calling: liberals, greenies, tree huggers, etc...  The context was consistently negative.  And these are generally very intelligent professionals.  

    Name-calling works; and people will bite off on it regardless of their background or education level.

    All the best!

  •  bewitched by power (4.00)
    I think it's a great idea to study the mind of your enemy, but there are two dangers: 1) Don't think you can covince them of anything, because they don't really care that Bush has lied over and over again.  2) Don't allow yourself to get bewitched by power.

    Let me explain:

    (1) All the evidence of lies in the world don't matter to the wingers.  We will never convince them that their man is wrong.  When you go out trying to talk to them, the important thing to realize is that is just part of their game.

    I hope no one will mind if I basically repost something I've already posted elsewhere that was in part a response to The Right likes it this way (why we will never convince them) and in part a response to The Bigger Picture: Forget the Religious Right. Talk about the Average Joe.

    Basically, I was reflecting on what has happened to me, on a number of occasions, when arguing with wingers, especially when I've been really on the ball making well-sourced factual points and presenting an overall coherent picture of Repug duplicity. What has happened is that eventually they just get this funny look --kinda smiling at me and shaking their heads as if to say "you just don't get it do you?"

    All the quibbling over facts is just a game.  It's called "yanking the liberal's chain."   In the end --and this has happened to me with maybe a half-dozen people-- they are basically willing to admit that Bush (or whoever) has lied.  They even seem to feel kinda smug about it like: "didn't we pull a fast one on you!"

    Because, in the end, that's what you've gotta do to get the right policies through.  It is justified to lie, in their view, because if they didn't our country would never get anywhere.  It would never be as great as it was meant to be.   Why?  Because of the liberals and the liberal media who just weigh us down and hold us back by focusing on mushy-gushy things like healthcare, black people, homosexual rights, women.

    "Sure Bush lied --don't you think liberals lie too?"  For them, lying is just a means to an end, and they're convinced that everybody does it.  Yes, it's cynical, but the "fact" that the Democrats lie --and probably more than the Republicans-- is an unquestionable article of faith.  You can't get them to back off of this view just because they can't cite convincing examples.  If they can't "prove" it, it's just because the Democrats are better at getting away with it (thanks to the liberal press).  No wonder they actually relish the fact that "their guy" has been able to pull so many fast ones.

    His successful lies, in other words, only make him more of a hero.  Because in the end, it's not the truth of the matter or "the words" --it's the deeds, the policies.   And the bottom line for them is that Bush is doing things that they believe will make America great again.

    (2)The important thing to realize that this is --to a great extent-- just a form of psychological warfare.   And it doesn't just work on us, it also works on the media.  It's called the mystique of power.

    Psychological advantage is all they have.  They are a minority and can't win by force (or even electoral force) alone.  We on DailyKos have largely broken out of that "Matrix" but

    "One cannot rule by force alone.  True, force is decisive, but it is equally important to have this psychological something which the animal trainer also needs to master the beast.  They must be convinced that we are the victors."

    Guess who said that?

    It was Adolf Hitler.  While we are busy trying to win the "truth game" they're pushing us around the room like a lion tamer does to a lion.

    In the end, we've just gotta realize that we are that lion.  We are the people.  We are the majority.   We are the masses of uninsured, we are the single mothers, we are the black, the gay, the nerd, the grunt, the ones with bad jobs who don't vote.  We are the ones preyed upon by military recruiters.  We teach high-school.  We are doctors and nurses.  We are accountants, we play hoop, smoke pot.  We have debt and we are just trying to make ends meet.

    And as soon as we realize this, we will begin to win.

    "Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do." -Voltaire

    by Nate Roberts on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:10:39 PM PDT

    •  well said! perception is everything (none)
      rather than debate start with you dont still believe that? with a smirk of our own. cut it off at the get go. yes  they do enjoy a good bull shit fest , i dont, cut them off like the self serving jack asses they are
    •  It's just a game to them... (none)
      But we can learn to play it and win.

      I touched on it in a diary yesterday.  There will be more information later in the series.

      Suggestions for how to get future diaries on the recommended list will be appreciated.

      Hijack their frames! Cheap, easy, effective.

      by chriscol on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:29:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  getting recommended (none)
        I can't say how to get on the recommended list (since I've never done it before, myself!) but here's one suggestion:

        Make the lead (the part before the fold) more enticing and less didactic.  I just read "Verbal Self-Defense for Dems - Don't you even CARE?(3)" and liked it.  

        But the lead didn't say anything about politics.  Why not start with a snappy example of how it would work with a real issue.

        Also, I wouldn't worry so much about getting on the recommend list.  Most people around here have high speed connections and set the display options for "recent diaries" to 50 (which is, I believe, the max).  In the time it takes a diary to scroll to 50, a lot of people will read it.  Probably a lot more than you think or would guess from the number of comments and/or recommends.

        "Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do." -Voltaire

        by Nate Roberts on Wed May 25, 2005 at 12:04:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  People can think and say (none)
    whatever the hell they want, as far as I'm concerned.  With two caveats:

    1. I reserve the right to ridicule stupidity; and

    2. If you are determined, truly determinded, to forcibly impose your worldview upon me, I'll fucking destroy you, and I won't think twice about it.
  •  Good point (none)
    I always thought you learn less when talking to people that agree with you....sometimes it's like trying to learn something new by listening to your own echo
  •  Real news is too depressing (none)
    I get my news from Kos.  Not because I am incapable of going elsewhere, but because I want the filter, I need the filter.  The truth is so horrid, so rotten that to quote Jack Nicholson, I can't handle the truth.


    Organizing my thoughts about how to win from 2005 forward -

    by FredFred on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:05:35 PM PDT

    •  Well then (none)
      don't be surprised that the other side thinks you're uninformed.  You are only getting half the story...
      •  no he's only getting half the spin (none)
        there is no one getting the "real story", mainly because a phalanx of protectors surround the president and his cabinet.  He never takes truly public questions from non-supporters or allows himself to be challenged on any point publicly, and the questions he does allow are tightly controlled and scripted, well rehearsed and coached.

        Every public commentary by RIC's.. (Republicans in Charge) follows the dumb talking points, from things as silly as "freedom" fries to the "constitutional" option.  

        Secrecy surrounds the actions of this administration in unprecedented fashion.  You can't hold someone accountable for their actions when you don't know what their actual actions are, and the press isn't digging for the truth in any objective fashion.

        I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

        by MarkinNC on Tue May 24, 2005 at 02:54:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (none)
    I have been concerned about this too. You make an excellent case for keeping our sense of balance and remembering not to demonize the other side--even though, I have to admit, they often seem demonic to me. I try to remember a great bumper sticker I once saw in California: "I could be wrong."
  •  Before venturing into Freeperville (4.00)
    I hope you wore one of these:

  •  A view from the right (4.00)
    I'm a frequenter of "wingnuttia" as you guys like to call it (mostly NRO, Powerline -- not FR).  After reading this diary I am amazed at how similarly each side thinks:

    1. We are interested in facts, the other guys are all opinion
    2. The other guys lie without reservation because for them it's all about winning the game (cynical)
    3. They are vicious, cutthroat, etc. and will stop at nothing
    4. They are leading our country down the road to ruin
    5. They control the media

    The truth is that all of these are true about both sides to a certain degree.  The only way to learn anything is to see what information one side has to back up their interpretation of a given situation.

    I see a lot of opinion on this sight (which is fine) -- but if you want sway me (or other, more moderate people) I suggest making your arguments more fact-based.  I promise I will listen.

    •  I think if you keep reading this site (none)
      you will see a lot of fact based arguments.  One of the big problems I've had when debating points with right leaning acquaintances is the tendency to discount any fact based argument that comes from what they have determined to be a "liberal source".  In other words, if your "facts" don't come from Fox News, the Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.. then they can't be facts.  

      I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

      by MarkinNC on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:01:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm in agreement with this diary . . . (none)
    the few times I've visited FreeRepublic I'm struck immediately how it is the bizzaro world equivalent of here (or more precisely I'd say DU).  I also recognize the danger of an echo chamber.

    However, I have not seen a comment on the value of an 'echo chamber'--namely keeping up morale.  Remember not all of us live in lefty bastions, and in times like those dark days of early November, it was important to have like-minded voices to offer encouragement and to give us (political purpose).  Perhaps you did something as small as writing a letter to the editor or one to your congressman--that you would not have otherwise done had it not been for encouragement offered here or elsewhere.

    Or perhaps someone might follow a route similar to mine.  Generally considered myself middle of the road, always left leaning I guess, though for the most part apolitical.  (Always voted for a Democrat for President, starting with Mondale.  Didn't vote for Clinton in 96 over a particular issue; wouldn't have consider voting for Dole--so I just didn't vote.  Wasn't real thrilled with Gore and I may have for a fleeting moment have considered Bush in 2000, but ended up casting the vote for Al and became more hardened in my support during the recount.  Did have a "want to throw brick at the TV" moment when the Bush v. Gore decision was announced.  Satisfaction with Bush highest in his post-911 speech to joint session.  Cheered when Mazar-e-Sharif [sp?] fell.  Got disgusted by the snow job we were given in the run up to the Iraq War.  Another "brick at the TV" moment when a go ahead for the War following the Azores conference was announced.  Was against the war, but wasn't radicalized against the whole thing until I discovered blogs.  This happened after Dr. Kelly was "suicided" and I was googling around to see if there was anything on the internet about a possible murder.  The result is someone who is e.g., LIHOP.  I ended up contributing to campaigns for the first time and working for a campaign for the first time. I attribute this to:  1) finding like minded people on blogs and 2) learning information that never makes the nightly news or is buried without context on page A-16 of the newspaper.

    •  Amen, hidden in plain view is the worst! (none)
      who is Dr. Kelly?  Was Paul Wellstone murdered?  Was that fellow Kloberg suicided?  How about that woman who filed the sexual assault lawsuit against bush?

      i read when Clinton was president in some pamphlet that said 42 people working with or around Clinton died mysteriously over the years - and it was a leftist pamphlet.  what's the matter with these people?

      anyway, Dr Kelly?

      "War should be relegated to the shelves of history"
      -Kevin Benderman

      by mediaprisoner on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:22:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dr Kelly (none)
        was the British Ministry of Defense expert on Iraqi weapons.  Slashed his wrists.  Brouhaha ensued with the BBC.

        Not enough there for a compelling conspiracy theory.  However, the official story certainly seemed fishy enough

        •  ohhhhh yeah (none)
          i think maybe i saw photos of that on some website?  he checked into a motel and did it, supposedly?

          i don't know if people can still be killed for what they know, simply because so much horrible information is already out there that ....well, i guess i should restate:  i shudder to think of what you can be killed for knowing, considering the amount of damning information already publicly available.

          "War should be relegated to the shelves of history"
          -Kevin Benderman

          by mediaprisoner on Tue May 24, 2005 at 07:49:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  guilty as charged (none)
    i only read dailykos and articles recommended to me through it for news (i actually read voluminously but i'm talking strictly about news media in this case).  i don't watch tv and don't read the paper.  i only check the major network sites to see what the "it" story is every few hours, but rarely read the articles.

    for the most part, dailykos is where i get my talking points and i use google and/or relevant government/ngo/corporate/whatever sites to fact-check questionable information i find here (hint hint to all you MSM reporters out there).  i see what you're saying and sometimes grapple with the same worries, but the fact is those people are getting bunk information in the first place, already tailored to their near-sighted if not just bigoted and ignorant ideological needs from the corporate owned media.

    you know, to be honest, i've been getting tired of hearing about the nukular option and social security because it seems like we should be on to the next big thing now that the mainstream media has taken over (and thus ruined) those things.

    for what it's worth, i see it as this.  the media's not actually liberal (duh), but since bushco is soooooo shady and has gone to such broad measures to impose rule on the general public and also has such a disdain for the press that it has actually emboldened the press, to whatever degree might be possible within the various constraints of their corporate employment and roboticness.  consequently, blogs are like beta media.  after it's been vetted adequately and the staffer who found it is ready to make it in the big time as an associate producer, her/his boss no doubt takes the story and runs with it.  maybe even that person's boss.

    "War should be relegated to the shelves of history"
    -Kevin Benderman

    by mediaprisoner on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:11:59 PM PDT

  •  Looking Back (4.00)
    Thanks for your insight, I am glad you posted it. Many of the responses are well thought out as well. You have raised an important question.

    As I see it, the way to differentiate ourselves is by being constructive, by being solution oriented. If we are here to criticize and demean then we are just choosing sides. That moves everyone farther apart, solves nothing.

    Labeling others moves you farther from the truth about them. You wind up dealing with your label and your thoughts about that label and not them. You miss opportunities to relate with people on a different level. We need to engage people on issues and ideas and not their labels.

    This really isn't about republicans, democrats, the current administration or lack thereof. Its about doing what right for our country. There are decent republicans and democrats.

    This forum can be a very powerful tool or it can be inconsequential. If we focus on doing what is right for the country, getting ideas and solutions out there and organized, it will be powerful. If we descend into labels, name calling, etc. we will be letting others define our future.

    I like dKos and keep coming back because there is a core of good people and good ideas. Some people post well thought out and informative diaries. Some are trying to coordinate constructive actions. Some bring information you cannot find anywhere else. Some bring little to the forum but it doesn't take away from those who bring a lot.

    An empty limosine pulled up and George W. Bush got out.

    by beerm on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:15:43 PM PDT

  •  spent 3 years on FR... (4.00)
    ...before finally getting banned, and i totally agree with your assessment.

    when i first started posting at dkos, i cringed at the constant use of terms like "rethugs" and "goopers". the freepers' term of choice for us was "rats" as in "demoRATS" and i had always thought it was infantile to the point of suggesting some kind of basic insecurity.

    but that's a somewhat superficial matter. more bothersome is the similar tendency towards content-less "here here" and "what s/he said" posts, and the similar reluctance to question assumptions or allow that there can be good faith disagreements. kossacks, disappointingly, love a good straw man just as much as the next freeper, and are just as likely to label opponents as 'evil,' a term that has no place in post-medieval political discourse.

    but probably the most striking similarly i see is the endless tug-of-war between purists and realists.

    btw, there are some big differences also...

    • each side frequently goes ad hominem on politicians, but freepers are far more likely to go ad hominem on fellow posters. the overall level of discourse there is much lower on that account.

    • each side has it's share of sycophants, but this is far more common on FR. people here frequently challenge kos's ideas, while freepers are disturbingly reverent towards JimRob (FR founder Jim Robinson).

    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

    by jethropalerobber on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:07:20 PM PDT

  •  Hey! (none)
    I was expecting a bunch of FR quotes like "The klinton news network = Satan = Harry Commie Reid from France". And instead I get a thought provoking article about the dangers of the blog echochamber that we should be aware of? You fiend!
  •  We are a Pluralistic country... (none)
    we need the two ends pulling at each other.   If you ask me we on the left are losing this battle and need to become better at making our voices heard.

    I disagree with you when you say our echo chamber is bad.  As long as there is an echo from the right there needs to be an echo from the left.  

    And like I said, we on the left need to get better at getting our voices heard, because we are getting beat right now.

    IN our pluralistic country you have to win the propaganda war.

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limit's the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:52:06 PM PDT

  •  P.U.! (none)
    After reading some of that stuff, I feel the need to hop in the shower.

    You ever suspect some of those people are mixing meds and alcohol?

    When you couldn't get a real journalism job, there's Fox News.

    by The Truffle on Tue May 24, 2005 at 06:25:50 PM PDT

  •  A trip across the Lethe (none)
    I just spent 20 minutes over at  I've created an account over there, but doubt I will be posting much.  However . . . I read about 20 things that just seriously got my back up, so one never knows.

    After reading most of this thread and about  3 threads over there, I have to say my impression of this is that the conservative sites are run by control freaks.  One thread was a supposed "laundry list" of social conservatives' desires.  There were more than a couple of liberal "trolls" over there who had the nerve to step outside of the thread's self-assigned "rules of debate."  And the redstaters just freaked the hell out whenever someone did that.  If there's one trait I could assign to that behavior it's a facist mindset requiring complete obedience to DA RULZ.  I quickly recognized our own Maryscott O'Connor, who is vilified over there as a cackling witch, as well as some other people clearly trying to poke holes in the fog of their worldview.

    What I didn't see over there were any compelling arguments that would make me want to change my worldview.  They have begun declaring victory in the filibuster fight, even though I still feel that the Repubs quite clearly lost something there -- their party unity.  The socially conservative wing of the R party is tearing itself off, and the sound we heard this morning was the gristle ripping off the bone.  It may be that people like McCain and Lindsey Graham are now marked for destruction by the far rightwing, but they are also the only reason the party appeals to the middle.  I think the pattern from here on out will be increasing friction within the conservative party.  They got what they wanted.  They rule the world.  Now they are trying to divide the spoils, and like every good heist story, the real conflict is not how to get the loot, but the overwhelming greed of the theives as their co-operation disintigrates and they either kill or steal from each other in a bid to be the only one holding the bag.

    At any rate, the difference between what goes on over here and what goes on over there is clear.

    Of course, I've been posting on news sites for six years now.  I had an account over at the one, the only, the original cesspool of the internet /., and as computer geeks tend to be of wildly varying dispositions, I got used to just turning the flame on all the time.  I also hang around quite a bit at plastic, where there is a fairly broad spectrum of views available.  In addition, I sometimes spend some time at kuro5hin, which tends to lean rather left, but updates the front page so slowly that it puts me to sleep.  I like a rapidly changing frontpage because I read rather quickly.

    So all told I don't view Kos as a giant herd of sheep, or a bunch of screaming fanatics, much contrary to the opinion of  But it is clear that redstate is quite aware that they are being trolled.  Their comment-to-story ratio is way lower than what I'm used to, and there is a disproportionate amount of concern over there about being trolled by liberals.  I think that's because the liberal of today is quite frankly used to being adrift in a sea of conservatism, whereas the conservative, despite their pitiful cries of "media bias" has spent basically the last 15 years or so being able to form their opinions in the midst of a chorus of dittos, with large screens and comfortable talking heads sagely repeating their cherised biases.

  •  Looking glass = mirror (none)
    Just what are you implying in your title?
  •  Different approach (none)
    Most of these comments refer to the point aboout name calling, but this post held a much more interesting issue at heart.

    The group-think factor and our need to get outside our own circles.

    Can we organize a 3 hour block scheduled in advance and targeted toward a specific site/topic/post where we, as a group, descend, posting our arguments in even tones (avoiding rhetoric)?

    Usually when a progressive enters enemy territory, they are gang-flamed by the local trogs. If we can generate sufficient numbers we can pull off a successful "blog-coup".

    It would be sure to get some airtime on the cable (perhaps even network?) news. The site-admin will be in a tizzy trying to erase all the comments and block all the IPs simultaneously.

    Anybody care for this idea?

    "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." ~Plato

    by dj angst on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:16:09 PM PDT

  •  Count me in (none)
    I often thought that posting at the Daily Kos is kind of like preaching to the converted. We won't change any minds as long as we talk to ourselves.
    I think it would be great asking difficult questions on the other side. Afflict them with some painful truth. But I don't know. These blogspheres don't have as fans anything but the true believers. I mean, come on, is there any argument you would buy that would convince you that ending filibusters is a great idea? The only I would buy is that once the right wingers run their string, IT WOULD BE OUR TURN!

    I do believe in karma. I think we have a stack of it coming our way. Soon. Very soon.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

    by makemefree on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:33:49 PM PDT

    •  Not the point... (none) convert them, but to show them up on their turf, and let the neighborhood watch their humiliation.

      Coordination with relevant news agencies is critical.

      "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." ~Plato

      by dj angst on Tue May 24, 2005 at 10:36:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why do we ignore our own history (none)
    I've always wondered why the southern Christian conservative political history has consistently been ignored.  We ignore slavery.  We ignore the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  We ignore the most successful terrorist regime of modern times, the Jim Crow south.  We ignore the lynchings.  We ignore the political assassinations of the leading liberal voices of an age in JFK, RFK and MLK.  We ignore the political murders of the sixties at Kent State, Jackson State, Attica.  Not to mention the bombing of black churches and baby killing.   We ignore the vast criminality of the Nixon administration.  We ignore the vast criminality of the Reagan regime.

    Am I the only American who remembers all this?  How could it be that our national government is run by the very same lynchers and church bombers?  The radical southern Christian conservative.  The Confederacy.  The Secessionist South.

    God damn it.  William Tecumseh Sherman rolls in his grave.

    •  I've been thinking the same lately (none)
      ...but remember. They were all elected, more or less, by the people of our democracy.

      If they are what you suggest, the question is "How could we do such a bad job of educating the electorate?"

      "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." ~Plato

      by dj angst on Tue May 24, 2005 at 11:38:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My answer is this (none)
        We let the slick Ronald Reagan pretend that history began in 1980.  I haven't heard a single soul, let alone a politician since that time speak about the conservative Christian of the southern persuasion and his truly repulsive story.  Political correctness?  I don't know.  It truly blows my mind that people think I'm insane when I mention this history.  As if it were "all in the past" and therefore is no longer relevant.
  •  Sensible (none)
    Before I was driven mad by nightmares of burned children I used to frequent all sites.  I had irony to protect me.  But as I got angrier, I did it less...

    Because I found myself at war, and didnt care much what some white supremacist had to say in defense of his malevolent stupidity.  

    All I knew was that I wanted to kill him.  But, it is sensible to monitor this stuff... Not  only as a strategic tool, but also because... I dunno, some of them are asking questions, too.  

    But, let's face it,  mostly as a strategic tool. Because I want more than ever to destabilze and confuse them, and if I don't know what theyre looking at, then I dont know how to block it, and so I can't be a good fighter.  And I want to be a good fighter.  So I read their bigoted ignorant blatherings, the way I'd study boxing films of somebody I'm going to face in the ring.   All the while, picturing them face down among the flash cameras, bleeding from the ears.

     Because I remember everything, and I refuse to surrender an inch without exacting a penalty in return.

  •  Excellent (none)
    This is a great diary. Highly recomended.

    I too agree "preaching to the choir" as my old Grandmother use to say will not win anyone over. But those who go out and fight the good fight on the conservative blogs and sites. That is what we need.

    I routinely go to a site called to try and fight the good fight. Others are there already fighting. They do a good job standing up to right and standing for solid beleifs.

    We can make each other feel good about this but its when we sally forth into these other domains and fight the good fight and maybe just maybe someone stops by and sees the right for what they really are. We as a movement get stronger.

    Go forth Kossacks and take back the net from the Right!!!

  •  Right Hook on Salon (none)
    I'm probably waaayyy too late for this discussion, but y'all should check out the Right Hook column that runs on Salon. They go and wade into Right Blogistan and summarize the results so that you don't have to. Unfortunately it seems to be running less often lately.
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