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I am sad to say that I will have to be leaving DailyKos forever, unless this terrible travesty is not rectified.  Some might say there are much worse things in the world to be worried about, and I am worried about those things too, but sometimes you have to worry about things right at home. It might be a leaky faucet, or chipped paint, or bad milk.  This is a matter which very much affects my "home", dailykos, a place that I rely on to exercise my constitutional free speech.

How can I exercise the right to free speech when this site allows itself to be subverted and destroyed from within?  to be diverted from its mission?

It has come to my attention that a previous kossack, who was banned for life, has returned to DailyKos. I happen to have met this person in real life, and was pleasantly surprised to discover he was a dailykos user.  We met while working on a local campaign together, and he informed me of the situation. I had been impressed with how long he had been on dailykos, but as he explained to me that he had been "banned for life" I began to grow cold.  When he laughed a bit about his new account, I became silently livid, inwardly, as I listened with a plastic smile cemented to my face, struggling to process what we had been discussing.

More below...

How can someone banned for life be allowed to return?  And if there is this one guy, how can there not be more?  Now mind you, I had nothing against this guy irl, he worked hard for the campaign, and we won, but that is that and this is this.  How can I stand idly by and allow this injustice go by just because of some camaraderie on the campaign trail, as it were?  I considered doing that, looking the other way, but I soon realized I would have to stand up and take a stand, thus, this diary.

The user was user 933, one pyrrho.  He claims to have been to YearlyKos and to have been excited about DailyKos as it rose to being a place where anti-war activists, progressive to moderate liberals could communicate with each other, and claims his criticisms were legitimate opinions, not condemnations.  I could not get the name of his current account from him, as I think he was starting to get wind of the idea that I intended to out him.  He says the new account is "satirical" and "means no harm", and that he still values many of the opinions that can be found at dailykos. If that’s the case, why does he flout the community standards explained clearly in advance by kos in the FAQ?  If this user is not found out and banned again, how can I have faith that this place really is a safe haven for progressives in need of communicating and collaborating with other progressives?  How can I feel safe?

While he says he values people here, when pressed, he still had many criticisms.  When you hear them you will realize just how nutty this guys is.  Again, I stress that this guy seems fine in person, is likable, and works hard in local politics from what I have seen, but his views about dailykos are obviously the result of an out of control demented obsession.

For example, he said, and I quote, that running conservative ads at dailykos obviously helps conservatives.  Just like that "why else would they pay for them"... um, because they are stupid, I said.  That just helps the site, I explained to him as if he were as stupid as he was acting. If conservatives waste money running ads at a place like dailykos that’s good for us.  I even click on them and that costs them even more money.  He claimed that while that was true for the faithful, that in fact a lot of people go to dailykos as just another website, that it comes up in google searches as a result of someone trying to become more informed.  He tried to argue that in a state like California, with 30 years of Republican Governors, obviously people are in fact susceptible to that.  I have not talked to him since the election, but I intend to point out to him that now that Jerry Brown won the election that blows that theory right out of the water, obviously California was safe.  No Kossack would ever vote for Meg Whitman, and that includes anyone that is reading the site for the first time.

He claimed that people writing comments with conservative leanings, or even conservative-friendly frames, can be hidden and banned.  He paused, as if making some obvious point about free speech.  I explained to him that yes, that’s true, and it’s explained well in the FAQ, conservatives have plenty of places to spew their intolerant rhetoric, dailykos is not one of them. But then he took a non-sequitur which could have meaning only in his fevered, paranoid delusions... he jumped back to the Ad thing again saying, "well, why do they get to if they pay".  If I have learned one thing at dailykos, it’s not to react to such blindsides, and to call them what they are, lies and propaganda.  He asked me if users that have subscribed get to spew "republican bullshit".  I had to admit I didn’t know the answer to that...

He also tried to convince me that mostly conservative dems were in danger in the midterms, and they were a danger to the Democratic party anyway. He seems to think that leadership roles provide "some" benefits, but that really, if part of your own caucus is going to vote with the Republicans, then not only can you not pass DADT, you have to make excuses and let it look like weakness (bad "framing") when really it’s that you don’t have the votes in your own party and are in no position to admit it.  I mentioned even Bill Clinton wanted Meek to quit the race (we’d been talking about Meek a bit before, and the nonsense of ‘voting your conscience’ when any fool can see a practical, immediate, strategic mistakes should not be ignored or ventured into), and that Crist would be a pretty conservative Democrat. If Clinton believed that, there must be some truth to it, and that’s all anyone at dailykos had been trying to point out. "Crist is not a democrat, and would never caucus with the Democrats, but even if he would my point stands" he replied. At this point I realized he was irrational, and figure that’s why he was banned in the first place.  I also found it rude, because I knew Crist used to be a Republican, but he has vowed to caucus with the Democrats if elected.

I got the idea this guy would have voted for nader, some sort of purist, though he claims he has never liked Nader and wouldn’t have voted for him at any rate. He also tried to say if the Democrats had been more inspiring (that’s the best GOTV strategy HE says... being inspiring between elections), then they could have gotten the few hundred votes that would have made that election Gore’s. This one is really moot though since he and I agree Gore did win, and was in fact robbed. Not only did he get the popular vote, which our laws don’t happen to recognize as victory, but we both agree the SCOTUS overruling the Florida Supreme Court was a mistake, and that had their order stood, Gore would be president.  But such incidental agreement is at this point in time besides the point.

I said, well, if you see all these problems at dailykos, why have you opened an account there again, breaking the laws?  He said that he believes there are a lot of "motivated" and "sincere" people here with "good ideas" and that he uses communication media to communicate, not to form alliances, factions, or gangs, nor to endorse the person owning the site as property.  "What’s that supposed to mean?" I challenged, but he never answered. He said that he thinks political blogging is a good thing, it gets people thinking over their politics one way or another, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts they have are always good.  He says it’s better to share them then bottle them up, and to do that requires differences... something to talk about.

He claimed a good example to understand his criticisms about dailykos, even liberal blogging in general, was to witness the liberal bloggers that have criticised the Rally to Restore Sanity (don’t know what he was talking about I’ve seen ZERO of that, but maybe I missed it, but for the sake of argument...).  He said such criticisms would be implicitly associating themselves with a need to be insane, self-identifying as the target of the willfully not-sane.  He said it’s not about if a bunch of "slacktivists" ought to do more, ought to respond to calls besides those to be entertained by a political comedian... it’s about framing.  He said some of those people may become more politically active but that it doesn’t matter if they do or not. It was, he claims, a media event, and the only way to judge it is by its "framing" (he’s always on about framing, which I understand to be not what you say but how you say it, though he says that’s not it).  He claims the framing of the rally was this... it’s a group of liberal DailyShow fans, that’s well understood and is part of the narrative, and if they can associate themselves with a call for sanity, as such, as "liberals", and as stronger than fear, that’s good framing that helps all the liberal activists that do stay involved, that show up for issues and not just for notable headliners.  

Bloggers, he said, if they were half as clever as they’d like to be, would be extending that framing only, not contradicting it.

It’s all gotten too much for me and the only reason I talk to him about dailykos now is hoping he’ll let slip who he is at dailykos.  Instead we talk about the local and national politicians, the initiatives that were up, and other political ideas.  We agree, generally, on these, we voted for essentially the same exact line of candidates, and agreed on at least 80% of the initiatives, and what the long term needs of our area are and even mostly what role government should and should not play, where it can be effective and where it cannot.

But this, to me, is about our free speech, liberal free speech if you will, and if dailykos does not find this person and ban them for life again, I don’t see how I can either feel safe, or have any confidence that here, at least, unlike republicans, we keep our word.  And I’m dead serious.  You have one week.

Originally posted to GBCW on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:47 PM PDT.

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