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My memories of the long national nightmare that was the Bush era have not faded, nor of my own experiences wandering the internet looking for some hope in a political environment that seemed like Orwell's "boot stamping on a human face forever."  It seemed like every day Republicans found some new way to shove a knife into the belly of humanity and gleefully turn it with a smirking, curl-lipped sneer on their faces.  Every day the media found some new way to not report it, or even to actively promote it with alternate-universe propaganda so brazenly partisan and false I sometimes had to do a double-take to make sure I was actually reading the New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, etc. and not some edition of Pravda from 1950.  Every day "Democratic" officials plumbed new depths of cowardice and comical understatement to avoid even criticizing, let alone confronting the lying, murdering traitors in the other Party whom they allegedly opposed.  So I drifted around political web forums in search of reason and courage, and for years found none.

What I found instead were roughly two groups of people, one of whom invariably "owned" and completely dominated the discussion on liberal, Democratic, and/or left-wing websites:

  • DLC homunculi who lived in the same Stockholm Syndrome alternate universe as the limp, willing hostages and taxidermy opposition of the Party leadership, and who advertised with every word that they fully believed America to be a conservative country solidly on board with Herr Bush's agenda.  And...
  • Vestigial Naderites who were happy to passive-aggressively run through laundry lists of everything wrong with the country, but could only ever reach the conclusion that "both Parties" were to blame for it (an article of faith whose acceptance was Shibboleth #1 among them), and that society and politics were so fundamentally corrupt that there was nothing we could possibly do about it short of some vaguely-defined revolution they had no intention of waging but would carelessly predict was imminent every now and then.  I.e., that they were totally free of any moral obligation to do anything other than whine and indulge in woe-is-me emo porn while waiting for the left-wing Rapture.

The former would say things like "I realize that we have to support the troops, and I don't disagree with President Bush about everything, but I really think his policies in Iraq are misguided and that he is mismanaging our efforts there."  Talking to these people about the hard reality of what was happening in this country was like dealing with someone in a dissociative fugue.  

They could not comprehend that this was not a continuation of ordinary American politics - that we were in the grips of a set of psychotic criminals who had seized power and were operating totally outside the Constitution on a daily basis, issuing dictatorial rulings from their undisclosed bunkers and rural Texas compounds while totally ignoring Congress.  There was no recognition that the people they were so politely addressing were the biggest internal threats to the very survival of the nation since the Confederacy, and that an average week of their crimes made Watergate look like a parking violation.  No recognition that they were dealing with lapel-pin-wearing versions of serial killers, and WASP equivalents of the Arab dictators with whom the regime was so chummy in stark contrast to its stormy relationships with democratic governments.  

You could patiently, politely explain it to them, but the fact that accepting the simple, immediate, and basically undisputed truth would impose obligations on them beyond cavalier opinionating meant they just wouldn't deal with it.  And that ironically seemed to be the same problem as the left-wing places I visited - they just didn't want the obligation of doing anything more substantive, harder, or riskier than ideological navel-gazing and narcissistic self-vindication.  

Another similarity is that both would act as though trivial or purely symbolic actions they had taken were massively courageous: The general attitude would be like "I overheard my neighbor saying he supported the war, and I went right over to him and you know what I said?  I said, 'You know, some folks disagree with that.  I have some questions about the war, personally.  And if you disagree, I respect your opinion.'  Man, I was in the zone!"  Or like "I handed out leaflets at the coffee bar I frequent educating people about the plight of indigenous Bolivian farmers, and the owner told me I should only do it in the parking lot.  It was really shocking to be confronted with real Censorship, and I understand now what Chinese dissidents must go through.  But the fight goes on."  And these were the really active people who the others applauded in admiration.  

I could just barely tolerate these two groups if I went back and forth between them, but neither of them gave me hope, or encouragement, or ideas, or even entertainment.  They were boring and demoralizing.  The only thing that made them worth being around was that they were at least theoretically in the same moral frame as me, so I'd float around to them between angry revenge-trollings of Republican sites until their weakness would become too much to tolerate and I'd go a-hunting for wingnut commentary I could tear apart.  

I once had this idea that I proposed, and if I'd done it could have been hilarious: I was going to invite conservative college students to a fake pro-Iraq War event and then get their reactions on video when I would announce to them that there were buses waiting outside to take them all to the Marine recruiting station to sign them up.  Then I would sort of harangue any of them who tried to make excuses to not go, and impugn their patriotism or something.  I'd be wearing some kind of cornball getup, like an American flag tie and an Uncle Sam hat, and totally pretend to be one of them who was just really, sincerely passionate about enlisting soldiers to go fight the Glorious War for Freedom over in Eye-Rack.  I remember I was laughing hysterically as I was coming up with it and imagining the scene playing out.

There were a few who did encourage it, although sort of in an indifferent way - yeah, sure, go for it, (yawn) - but the consensus was that it would be a mean, counterproductive prank that would be "divisive at a time when we need to be building bridges," that it would tarnish the image of other liberals and Democrats in my area, that it would alienate people in the military or with family in the military (although in retrospect, I think it would have actually been supported by them), etc. etc.  The savage humor of it was totally lost on the self-indulgently grim, weepy emos - like it would be foolish and trivial compared to reciting a rap about injustice at a coffeehouse poetry jam - and the angry motive for it was alien to the Potemkin People, who thought the snuff-porn-watching chickenhawk garbage who were cheerleading a war of aggression from a safe distance were just misinformed.  

But I actually got a sense that the relative boldness of it compared to anything else going on (this was before Fahrenheit 9/11) made some people afraid - they were concerned I could be violently attacked when the targets of the charade realized what was going on, that I'd be hauled away by police on some trumped-up charge, that the people involved would have grounds to sue me and suppress the video, and I kept wondering "How would any of that be a bad thing for the objectives of the stunt?"  If they physically assaulted me after refusing to enlist to fight a war they vehemently endorse, not only would that would be the most pungent exclamation point on their hypocrisy and cowardice, but I could both have them prosecuted and sue them.  Attempts to suppress the video would also backfire, and any move by authorities against me would have just been a selling point for it.  

I knew all this intellectually, but a lot of people telling you something is a Bad Idea have a way of eroding your commitment.  And that's all those people ever did: Erode commitment.  Leech passion.  Dissuade and discourage people from anything that was both significantly meaningful and pursued with determination.  Ooze fear, self-doubt, and insignificance all over everything they touched.  They were in aggregate perfect representations of the zeitgeist of the era on our side of politics.  And so I thought they were our side of politics, and I was some kind of refugee from another time period with completely different mores even though I was in my early 20s and many of them were supposedly the folks who had been around for all these titanic 20th century struggles.

They didn't seem like anyone who had lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Civil Rights movement.  They both seemed to be made of different flavors of jelly, with the one diligently protecting a completely fictitious view of American politics and living in utter fear of themselves, and the other so emotionally fragile and easily distracted by left-wing aesthetics that they found even the most benign forms of strategic logic to be too "aggressive" and "constricting."  Separately they were annoying, and together they added up to zero.  The one voted and believed in nothing; the other believed in just about everything, but couldn't be bothered to do anything about it.  

And always was the swamp of The Enemy beckoning when I couldn't take my own side's weak bullshit anymore, and needed to assert myself against the evil bastards who were making such a hash of this country.  I'd make sport of trolling the cons until my anger faded into bitterness, but ultimately none of it appealed to me and I finally just abandoned internet discussion for years.  There was simply no point in it.  What I thought was my own side was weak, demoralizing, and idea-less, and the Republicans I tormented were robotic and predictable.  Every once in a while I might check in just to verify that they all still bored me, and Yep, they did.  

But through a circuitous sequence of events that aren't really important to this discussion, I was introduced to Daily Kos...and There Was Light.  We were still in the midst of His Petulancy's tyrannical regime, but a number of external events had changed things up a bit.  The carelessness and corrupt incompetence following Hurricane Katrina had punctured the illusion of an omnipotent and authoritative state that some folks had bizarrely believed to characterize the regime.  It revealed itself as a useless parasite that gave nothing whatsoever - not even security - in return for what it stole.  And so we got a Democratic House of Representatives, although it remained a useless jelly-blob as far as standing up for this country against the elements destroying it.  Still, the jelly was slightly more congealed than before, and tasted slightly more like America than the Stepford Democrats of the preceding period.

Had the same events transpired while I was still hanging around the old crowds, the milquetoasts would have been debating the mild criticisms that were coming out of Nancy Pelosi's mouth as if they were some revolutionary proposition, while the Naderites would have defensively doubled down on their complacent contempt for Democrats in response to every movement toward relevance on the part of the Party.  But what did I find on Daily Kos?  Confidence, determination, blindingly brilliant snark, intelligent plans, substantive actions, thoughtful ideas, people fomenting change and exhibiting it in their own words and attitudes.  Clear-eyed understanding that what House Democrats were doing was piffle, but also recognition that it was a beginning we could build on.  I saw that rare, knife's-edge balance of patience and urgency that levels mountains and bridges canyons.  

I saw people who Got It.  And to the extent there were a minority who didn't, those who did were not distracted by them.  Thought proceeded rapidly over, under, around, and through them without been slowed - a gestalten cascade of recursive feedback loops generating powerful, fascinating new ideas and forms with every iteration.  At times the interplay was both so complex and yet so organically orderly on such a high level that it was almost symphonic.  Other times there were crashes and conflicts, though they often produced interesting results and resolutions.  From dizzying new heights of political revelation, I looked down at the smallness of the world I used to inhabit and pitied my past self and the people still living in that tiny, sad, 2-dimensional little place where people are convinced of their own impotence and the futility of trying to make the world better.

Since then, though, I've come to realize that maybe those forums I'd participated in and loathed weren't always the useless asshat seminars I'd known them as.  Maybe they had once been full of energy and ideas, but then just faded until all that were left were the two end-stage viewpoints that can never change anything and wouldn't want to even if you gave them the opportunity: The Last Man politics-as-social-club ciphers who can only handle comity, quietude, and comfort, and will surrender everything rather than accept the danger of believing anything; and the perpetual victims of the ground-state Left who are only at home in despair, and always focus the bulk of their anger on Democrats to guarantee the self-inflicted isolation that makes them feel so special without actually doing anything.

But every one of our side's political forums I visited back then in my wanderings was invariably controlled by one or the other.  Some tipping point decided on one or the other ground-state.  And now, as I see the exact same self-absorbed emo attitude, the passive-aggressive apocalypticism, the same vehement - almost moralistic - insistence that we cannot change anything as the old Nader crowd had exhibited; the belief in things just because they look a certain way and engender these masochistic emotions rather than being true or rational; as I see these thoroughly meritless and fruitless attitudes creeping into influence and narrative-dominance here on Daily Kos, it's obvious which side of the clown coin came up on the toss.    

And that's sad, because what made this place stunning when I first came here was that it was nothing like the kinds of sites controlled by those people.  It was nothing like those forums where everything the natives said was meaningless, and intelligent thoughts backed up by facts that didn't suit the prevailing aesthetics or emotions were treated as trollish disruptions rather than much-needed substantive contributions.  It was a place where being reality-based rather than narrative-based was a lauded objective.  Now, less so.  Certain narratives are passionately promoted simply because they foster a given set of emotions rather than being true or intelligent, and trying to inject reality into the discussions of those narratives results in a violent backlash of bitter resentment and personal demonization as if you'd just shat on someone's religion.  That's not Daily Kos, as far as I'm concerned.  That's rot creeping into the cracks.

It's not okay to promote fact-free, ideological narratives that are built on nothing but rationalizing an emotional state, and certainly not okay to defend such content by retaliating against people who question it.  Nobody who considers reality to be irrelevant or hostile to their values belongs here.  The truth is not a lump of clay to be molded into a shape that suits your beliefs - if you're an intelligent person with open eyes and a curious, perceptive mind, the reverse is supposed to happen.  This place was a breath of fresh air because it stood up for reality in the midst of a regime that told a thousand different self-contradictory, Orwellian lies before breakfast and derided "reality-based" perspectives as weak and obsolete.  

I'll do my part to make sure reality is defended, and I'll do it regardless of what I think the response will be, but I'd rather not be doing it alone.  So if you've been silent because of all the Crazy floating around, please don't - you can shatter the deafening silence by speaking up when you see an assault on reason racing up the charts.  Don't wait for someone else to prove that it's socially acceptable to tell the truth.  That's your job too if it's anyone's.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We agree. Me, too: (11+ / 0-)
    I'll do my part to make sure reality is defended
  •  Waiting for Bob Johnson's reposte... (9+ / 0-)

    Meanwhile, nice rant.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:29:42 PM PDT

  •  Amen (10+ / 0-)
    Don't wait for someone else to prove that it's socially acceptable to tell the truth.  That's your job too if it's anyone's.

    I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning.

    by BFSkinner on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:31:48 PM PDT

  •  You forgot to mention the third group (6+ / 0-)

    The OFA ridiculus

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:36:45 PM PDT

  •  Glad you found the door open, (10+ / 0-)

    And let yourself in. It has (your presence) added much to the mix here.

    Eye, four 1, am grateful, especially with your unique and informative weigh with words. Because of the mass and gravity they bring.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:37:45 PM PDT

  •  Hahaha - what a fantastic idea - I would have (17+ / 0-)

    given you all my money just to see the footage.

    I once had this idea that I proposed, and if I'd done it could have been hilarious: I was going to invite conservative college students to a fake pro-Iraq War event and then get their reactions on video when I would announce to them that there were buses waiting outside to take them all to the Marine recruiting station to sign them up.  Then I would sort of harangue any of them who tried to make excuses to not go, and impugn their patriotism or something.  I'd be wearing some kind of cornball getup, like an American flag tie and an Uncle Sam hat, and totally pretend to be one of them who was just really, sincerely passionate about enlisting soldiers to go fight the Glorious War for Freedom over in Eye-Rack.  I remember I was laughing hysterically as I was coming up with it and imagining the scene playing out.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:42:50 PM PDT

  •  The problem I'm having with your diary is that (16+ / 0-)

    I don't know what types of narratives you are referring to.  I read it carefully.

    I see that there is some kind of Republican vs. Democrat narrative; that I understand.

    But I really don't know what this means:

    It's not okay to promote fact-free, ideological narratives that are built on nothing but rationalizing an emotional state, and certainly not okay to defend such content by retaliating against people who question it.  Nobody who considers reality to be irrelevant or hostile to their values belongs here.  The truth is not a lump of clay to be molded into a shape that suits your beliefs - if you're an intelligent person with open eyes and a curious, perceptive mind, the reverse is supposed to happen.  This place was a breath of fresh air because it stood up for reality in the midst of a regime that told a thousand different self-contradictory, Orwellian lies before breakfast and derided "reality-based" perspectives as weak and obsolete.
    Could you elucidate on that.  Once you do, perhaps people can comment intelligently--at least those willing to do so.
  •  Too long for me to read but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols

    reccing for quantity and the quality of the first couple of sentences.

  •  I was fortunate not to have to navigate (4+ / 0-)

    the waters you did, Troubadour.  I was lucky enough to stumble on a piece at Buzzflash, which linked back to this site (many, many years ago).  Now, this site is my go-to location for most news items, eschewing anything on the idiot box.

    -9.88, -7.44 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:11:49 PM PDT

    •  The irony is that I heard about this place (4+ / 0-)

      while I was trolling this right-wing asshole's space blog, where half the time he was giving out cool inside-scoop information about rocketry and the other half he was talking like a Rwandan genocide radio announcer about politics.  I really hated being there, but it was like crack.  I'm glad Ferris Valyn convinced me to come here instead.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:37:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Said asshole's initials wouldn't happen to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        RS, would they, Troubadour?

        Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

        by lehman scott on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:23:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  BTW, fantastic diary. If you do not make at least (5+ / 0-)

          a part-time living writing, you really could and ought to, Sir.

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:26:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed they would. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lehman scott, Larsstephens

          I've mentioned him before previously at times.

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:49:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, Troubadour. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour

            Although I've been reading DK main news items for many years it's been only since I became a member a month ago that I started following diaries, hence, I missed those times when you spoke of him.  He and I were active in the Michigan L5 Society together when we were undergraduates but I've not spoken with him since, although I've read his blog occasionally for a while.  I'm thinking of getting in touch with him about something space- and politics-related that I'm working on but his Libertarian BS is really making me hesitate.  If you have the time to shoot me any links to your comments/diaries that you think might fill me in on where he's coming from I'd be most appreciative, Sir.  Thanks in advance.

            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

            by lehman scott on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:06:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't have any specific quotes to offer (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lehman scott, Larsstephens

              but my impressions from my time trolling his blog were that his "Libertarianism" was limited to tax and regulatory issues as it applies to people like him, but where anyone else is concerned his real politics are Fascist.  I'm not being hyperbolic about that either - when I was there, he was seriously advocating a general invasion of the Middle East just because that would have involved tens of millions of deaths.

              His rhetoric in general is just really insane and teabaggery.  He equated the fishing rights provisions of the Law of the Sea to a Communist bread line because it doesn't allow people to just go out to international waters and claim columns of it down to the seafloor as their sovereign territory.

              I'm sure you must have different impressions of him if you worked with him in person through an organization like L5, but all I saw was a grim sociopath whose interest in space travel is based on fantasies of escaping humanity rather than perpetuating it.  

              Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

              by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:24:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whoa. Holy Crapiola. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Troubadour

                He's changed in the last three decades; but then, we talked mostly hardware and logistics and rarely politics back then.  At the time, he seemed as smitten by the grand humanitarian visions of Gerard O'Neill and J. Peter Vajk as any of us were then.  It's been clear from my intermittent visits to his blog that he swings Libertarian, but I had no idea he'd gone that far out.   No wonder he's become a favored recent addition to the American Enterprise Institute's stable of policy analysts.  I was hoping that they were just looking for a space guy to round out their organization's policy domain and he kinda just fit the bill for them.  Apparently there may be more to it than just that.  Jeez.  That's unfortunate.

                Anyway, thanks for the information, Troubadour.  It is helpful - - if very saddening to me.

                Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                by lehman scott on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:53:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  His trajectory mirrors that of a number (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lehman scott

                  neoconservatives.  But just to correct a mistype in my comment: He was promoting general warfare in the Middle East in spite of tens of millions of likely casualties, and his reasons were basically "just because," not because he necessarily wanted those deaths.  He just showed absolutely no concern about them or about the ones already occurring due to Bushian foreign policy.

                  Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

                  by Troubadour on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 03:34:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary Troubador! (5+ / 0-)

    I always like interesting origin stories. I came to DK during the early W years too, channelflicking to Free Republic and MSM to keep track of how things were moving.

    I don't see the rut that you're describing at DK, but maybe that's because I'm not following the discussions so closely. From my perspective, DK frequently runs into turbulence periods during polarizing periods/issues. I usually stay away from those - the conflicts quickly become complex/repetitive, and clans form. Lots of grudge-based arguments, users, diaries and comments attacked when they are perceived to sympathize with one side or condemn the other, and so on. Hillary vs Obama, TheNephew, and so on. When the participants in a discussion lose the ability to communicate with fairness and understanding, I lose interest.

    And yet there's always a few gem diaries floating through. Usually they're not on the topic/pie fight of the day/week/month/election. Someone's working on something interesting, or has a cool perspective or experience to share.

    Conflict-based narratives are fascinating - look at Game of Thrones (which I haven't). It's not what I come to DK for.

    FWIW, I'm not aware of which side of the clown coin came up. I think it entirely likely that DK is going to continue and move past whatever conflict it is that you're describing...

    •  Thanks, you're probably right. (6+ / 0-)

      But there's a paradox involved in moving past problematic developments - someone has to decide that things won't improve unless they speak up, and then do so for things to get better.  Someone has to call Bullshit and interrupt the incestuous meme-breeding that leads to irrationality, or else it just continues frictionlessly.  Ironically the bigger the number of people living in a house, the less likely the chores are to be done diligently.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:47:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess that my perspective is (8+ / 0-)

        that these conflicts happen, because the people involved have energy that they need to express in certain ways. I feel that as humans, we're conditioned for conflict - it's profoundly embedded in most of the narratives that we experience in books, tv, and so on, from childhood.

        I'm in a leadership position in several organizations, and consistently experience individuals bringing unnecessary conflict to the table. It's almost always connected with something that they've experienced in a different arena - work, personal experiences, previous organisations...

        That makes it hard to address effectively, since I have no idea what "started the fire". I work to stay calm and consistent, remain focussed on the specific issue, set and maintain clear boundaries, and keep the door open by communicating.

        Most of the effective people that I'm privileged to work with started by bringing a conflict to the table. I've learned to listen empathetically, not respond emotionally to provocations, and keep in mind that almost always, these people are in my life because they care, they have passion, and they want to do things right.

        My challenge is to find a way to flow their energy into a place where it can be constructive.

        •  Definitely the right approach. (4+ / 0-)

          I've been accused of intellectual thuggishness, and I admit I need encouragement from diplomatic-minded people to not be like that when it would be counterproductive.

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:26:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Finding what motivates people (4+ / 0-)

          is always useful, and almost always difficult.

          What brought (and continues to bring) each of us here to DKos varies enormously, and each person's story influences how he deals with the others here, and with the issues.  We all have buttons that can be pushed, and sadly some people love to push buttons, while other don't recognize their buttons.  And that can complicate things infinitely.

          Damifino of a good solution, though.  :(

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:39:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Amen! (4+ / 0-)

    You are a master of analytical, logical thinking that in this particular essay defines the irrational disorder as I also read it here on Daily Kos (and elsewhere).  Often you pose a problem and then describe my own personal positions as I cannot. And so as usual, I will go to back often to re-read you and bookmark this diary.

    You are right... what is going on has been an "assault on reason racing up the charts."

    Thank you!

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:21:34 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure that... (6+ / 0-)

    "reality-based community" holds much meaning anymore, at least in the way I interpret the phrase with connotations of evidence-based, fact-rich and data-driven. There are too many invocations of TRUTH, and that is a rhetorical gambit best left to religion.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:30:52 PM PDT

    •  It holds meaning for me (8+ / 0-)

      and I intend to contribute to it.  As long as anyone at all is building and maintaining it, there it is.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 03:57:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It never did hold much meaning for some. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul, Meteor Blades

      This site is so many different things to so many different people, and it always has been.

      I really don't see that it is any different now than it ever was, at least not to my memory... Although there is always someone going on about the "good old days."

      I always find it irritating myself... Reminds me of people's canonization of Regan.

      I lived in the United States during the 80's, and things weren't that great... It just was what it was, the good, and the bad.

      (Although living in Michigan when all the plants were first starting layoffs in huge numbers, everyone's Dad's were getting laid off left and right; going from a good living wage to working in a gas station... It was mostly bad.)

      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

      by MichiganGirl on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:11:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've never believed in "good old days." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trumpeter, Larsstephens

        What I'm talking about are simply personal experiences.  The same events mean different things through different personal contexts.  Someone watched the Apollo 11 moon landings and thought it was just the worst insult to human dignity ever, because the money wasn't spent on childhood vaccinations or something.  A lot of others looked up and saw the embodiment of hope and freedom in the greatest adventure of all time, and felt better about their lives no matter what challenges they faced.

        My experience of the Bush era would be a lot less black and white if I'd, say, fallen in love with someone at the time, or experienced some other massively fortunate thing.  Not because my views of Bush would have been different, but I just wouldn't have felt the toxic zeitgeist so acutely.  And similarly, finding Daily Kos would not have seemed so stark a change.

        Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

        by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:33:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Which you do well. Thank you for it. (5+ / 0-)

      ***Be Excellent To One Another***
      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

      by potatohead on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:38:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno. Lately there has been a huge fall-off... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead, Larsstephens, Troubadour

        ...in apparent readership.  Makes me consider moving on.

        •  I haven't read recently. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rserven, Larsstephens, Troubadour

          And that's not the subject matter, just me not in a place where I can give Dkos the time I like to give it.

          For me, the write ups I like are those that tell the story of the arc of law and norms.  And I look for progress because discrimination just isn't OK.

          I also really like the stories, life experiences, "photos" in word form that give me a sense of what the world is like from a perspective different from my own.

          You might ask this question of some people.  Perhaps there is a niche or two where there is demand.

          In any case, thanks.  I have learned a lot over my time reading here on this topic.

          ***Be Excellent To One Another***
          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

          by potatohead on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:05:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I read this comment early this morning, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          potatohead, rserven, Troubadour

          just before I went to bed.  I knew I wanted to say something but I hadn't figured out what.  It bothered me all night, the idea that you had mentioned moving on and that I hadn't said anything to dissuade you.

          My writing abilities, or lack thereof notwithstanding, I want you to know that what you post here matters.  It matters much more than many Kossacks seem to think it does.  It matters more than I can convey to you here with this comment.

          You shine a harsh light on the violence inflicted upon so many in the transgender community, victimized simply because of who they are.  It is uncomfortable knowing of these things, but know them we must.

          We all need to be aware of every instance of social injustice, of every violent assault perpetrated against anyone specifically based on their being identified as a member of a particular group, be it based on perceived ethnicity, sexual identity, social status, or any other group identity.

          We, as a society cannot bring about change by closing our eyes, by shutting out the everyday struggles of those who are just like us in every meaningful way.  We need to be aware of the reality, as uncomfortable as it may be.  If we remain dumb, deaf and blind to it, it will never change, except possibly for the worse.

          While I can never know what it is like to walk in the shoes of anyone who isn't like me, I can try to imagine, I can try to empathise.  And while my efforts to understand will always fall short, I will never stop trying.

          You, rserven, help me to be a better person, and everyone who reads your diaries without their own personal agendas getting in the way, will be affected likewise.  Please, don't give up on us.

          Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

          by sjburnman on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 05:27:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah. Me too. Well said. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sjburnman, rserven, Troubadour

            I read that stuff and I get impacted, and honestly I need to be.

            Like most people, I really didn't know much about transgender issues.  I know a lot more now, and I think the goal overall is to get people to actualize it, "What if that were me?"

            Once they do, change can happen as it has for every other basic civil rights issue.

            For that to happen there needs to be basic awareness above all else and from what I've seen that all starts by some people digging in and getting after it, grinding that first part out one effort at a time.

            The other thing that happened for me personally is I came to see gender in a much different light, some of which has lowered some long held inhibitions I didn't even know I had!  There are now things I find humorous, or intriguing as just another facet of people, where before that was not the case, and something uncomfortable.  Honestly, that's progress of some sort...  good for me at least!  I don't like being inhibited in those ways because it gets in the way of just knowing people and enjoying them for who they are, and that is something I have come to value for many reasons.

            Of course, that speaks again to awareness, the basic foundation labor so important, yet often unappreciated.

            ***Be Excellent To One Another***
            IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

            by potatohead on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 09:36:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Haha, you describe my pre-Kos experience well. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure what you allude to - in the current main debate here over NSA programs, I've seen both great and lousy diaries representing each side soar to the rec list -

    - but I will certainly answer your call to Battle for Reality. (not "reality TV", I hope :)

    I have seen a worrisome emo strain in global-warming diaries, with a vocal group of members insisting that nothing short of 100% walking-cycling-organic-veganing while living off the grid, can be an acceptable solution to the crisis.  

  •  We at the Bush Lies forum would have welcomed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, Troubadour

    you. David Corn started a great site that was a good fun.

  •  Well said. (4+ / 0-)

    I remember coming here because it was one of the only sites on the internet that you could get some actual intellectual conversation about the wrongdoings of the Bush administration and the evils of torture, drones, mass surveillance, the patriot act, wars and military-industrial complex. My how things change

    •  and aside from hair-on-fire BREAKING's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, Troubadour, Larsstephens

      you could also get some cool analysis of policies, initiatives, and issues on our side.  

      I learned a lot about environmental issues, parliamentarian process, state-level victories and up-and-comers in our party even during the darkest of dark days during Bush's reign.

      That still pops up here a bit, but you have to really be on the look out for it.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:53:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And the irony is that they've changed (5+ / 0-)

      here because so many people refuse to acknowledge they've changed in general.  Everything we've personally witnessed happening for the better, never happened.  And of course we're not allowed to see or acknowledge why progress has stalled - the GOP retaking Congress, and our failure to take it back.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:10:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly, I don't think it's as simple as... (6+ / 0-)

        your last sentence.

        There is probably some truth to the charge that what Obama and the administration wants somewhat to the right of what most of us here on this site would want.

        However, we find ourselves constantly mired in a corrosive war of absurdity with those who will claim that he wants things that are "no different" from the far right, or, for that matter, even further to the right. These charges do not stand up to any rational, tempered analysis. They are the products of lazy minds who seem to be dedicated to "the sad waste of this wonderful invention."

        It is this group of people -- those staunchly dedicated to dishonest debate, for whatever the reason -- that keep us from having honest assessments of Obama's successes and failures. Their personal need for emotional catharsis will forever outweigh their desire for actual progress. Indeed, the former will forever sabotage the latter. For all of us.

        We will never be able to create effective pressure on Obama as long as we are more interested in screaming our raw frustrations into a void. We will never be able to evaluate and overcome any illogic in our biases towards the president as long as there are people bellowing angry, belligerent nonsense at us. Because we will always latch on to another person's illogic more readily than examine our own. That is human nature, and it takes conscious effort to overcome it.

        Non futuis apud Boston

        by kenlac on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:27:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good points. I would say, however, that... (6+ / 0-)

          If the rate and quality of progress we saw in 2009 had been allowed to continue rather than being stopped in its tracks by GOP obstruction, by this point the situation would be far sunnier for most people.  The composition of Congress is something we have much more regular, more immediate control over than the intimate details of Executive policy, and yet our record at changing Congress has been pretty sad and our discussions about it far rarer than about the administration despite its enormous importance.

          We need to restore the successful aspects of Howard Dean's 50-state strategy while correcting the problems that occurred (namely, flooding the Democratic bench with Blue Dogs even in districts that were not conservative).

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:39:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. Thank you. (8+ / 0-)

    I have been somewhat silent, though it's not all about the crazy.  Just life getting in the way, and some regularly scheduled soul searching and thinking I like to do from time to time.

    Just shut it all off, get perspective and return fresh, that's all.

    I do admit the larger meta fights are a turn off.  The last one I endured was our massive Health Care push.  God, that was fugly, but slogging through that brought me new techniques for dealing with bull shit, diaried here of course, and I've applied them elsewhere to some significant effect.

    One is making a "dodge list" of all the shit people do to avoid acceptance.  Could be they avoid bring right, but it's most often avoiding being wrong, or an excuse not to act.  Make that list, publish it unabashedly with your own dodges on it then start tagging stuff.  What happens is the same old same old gets highlighted, you take a lot of shit, but keep after it and they will invent new things.  That cycle continues for a while and dialog creeps in there slow but sure.

    Another list is the "insta-lose" list.  Fallacies, personal attacks, extreme comparisons, you name it.  Apply same as the dodge list.

    I frequently will augment those with offers to help.  Even argue their side or help support it to get dialog flowing.  Strange, but it does work.

    Worth it?  Hell, if I know.  

    What I do know is that a solid progressive is very well aligned with the needs of ordinary people and isn't in the wrong on social issues.  I will solidify this by flat out declaring that racism, bigotry and theocracy are always wrong, no excuses, don't do it.

    Take shit for that too, but in the end it's a winner and it is possible to punch through.

    What needs to happen is those of us capable of conversation efforts like that need to just camp out and break down two core lies:

    1.  "Both parties do it" or otherwise known as "But the Liberals"

    There are clear differences between the parties.  Articulate them regularly, citing history regularly, and the core idea is that we have an ineffective opposition party right now.  Republicans are the problem party, and lack of progress is on their backs and it's costing everybody a lot, hurting everybody a lot, and it needs to end.

    Somehow, they need to clean house and put the bat shit nuts wing out to pasture.  Not sure how, but that is always the call, because the left isn't pretty, but it also isn't empowering and validating racists, bigots, theocrats in return for one percent friendly votes either.

    2.  If we could only get along...

    Fuck that.  The Republicans really are the stupid party, and frankly I've taken to using that and have seen some success with it.  "Independent" types, who almost always favor Republicans go nuts on this!  They respond with lie #1, "but the liberals" which is painful, but manageable.  The GOP hardcore get mad and start slinging ugly all over the place.

    The best medicine for that is "they think you are stupid, and that's why they are getting called the stupid party.  Are you stupid?"

    Nobody really wants admit being stupid and that can crack open some doors for dialog to establish common ground and maybe depolarize some discussion.

    There is one other thing, and I'll just call it "they forget the past" and it has to do with about the year 1960 or so.  They will cite every ugly Democratic party thing pre-1960 and do so over and over with shockingly good understanding too.

    But, that's not who we are today.  Today on social issues we can say racism, bigotry and theocracy are always wrong and mean it!  Our party makes positive statements to that effect, and I cite them.

    On the other hand, post 1960 for the Republicans is really nasty ugly stuff!  Cite that too, and just rub their face in it over and over and over.  All the while offering to help sort things out, etc...

    Today the GOP is a mess!  Tons of people won't even admit it, and that is how you end up with "Independent" people who are basically Republicans, but can't deal with the ugly image problem.

    IMHO, those people are reachable.  The ones that do identify as Republicans generally aren't and the best path is to just marginalize them and build dialog with the ones that can be reached and keep the noise level down using the lists.

    Little conversations are going on all over the place and the dead end stuff you put here is all true and it's a big problem because people are tuning out, thinking it's futile, there aren't any real differences, etc... and when they do that the Oligarchs win!

    I came here for the same reasons.  I read regularly, go through periods where I'm highly active and other periods where I'm not, but I do a lot of the actions that get posted up here.

    Just doing those is empowering.  Maybe it's a phone call, or a letter, or clicking through to check the "yes, fuck them" box on the petition or whatever, but it is something.

    What I haven't done yet is meetup with some Kossacks and I'm gonna do that before the election gets too close.

    I think every little bit counts and I think a whole lot of people are seeking sources other than the traditional media, which is honestly a raw mess, but for a few brights spots here and there (MSNBC) and even those are hobbled by the need to avoid the really ugly questions.

    To me, the number one priority is limiting the GOP power base.  2010 was brutal and just look at the mess we got and they are still the minority party!

    People need to grok that and what it means.  It means they take anything and run hard with it and they could give two shits about process, decorum or any other decent thing.  Truth is, they want it their way period, and they do what it takes to get it period.

    There is no dealing with that.  There is no equitable trade with that.  Just look at the record obstruction for clear evidence I'm right about it.

    Beat them back and keep them there.  Priority number 1

    And Dkos?  Elect MORE and BETTER Democrats.

    Spot fucking on.  It's much better to deal with inter-party issues than it is these fucking bat shit nuts clowns.

    Priority number two is advance progressive causes by advancing progressive people.  In a basic sense, that means eventually taking the Democratic party over for our ends, not the Oligarchs.

    I love this place.  It keeps me sane.  You guys make me happy, piss me off, make me cry, laugh, rage, and all manner of things and I love you all for it.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:17:51 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, your thoughts are insightful. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      potatohead

      One strategic move I've included in my own little code is that it's more powerful to post a diary of your own where you establish your own framing than to only comment in someone else's who you disagree with and accept their framing and implicitly lend them authority.  The same strategy applies no matter who you're disagreeing with or on what, which is why coming to Daily Kos was so much better than trolling GOP sites.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:17:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        I found that out here, during the ACA time, as well as starting to do something I call "adding value" to the venue, whatever it is.

        You model it perfectly here BTW, and your "Know Your Solar System" are a huge value add that powers through a lot of misalignment, disagreement and if nothing else warrant some general consideration.

        I need to do some of that here, and this conversation is triggering that realization again.  Need to think on it.

        So, for a forum, just posting up threads that are of interest, but not necessarily political seems to do the trick, as does educational type pieces that get at core things...

        Here is one I just did that gets at the word "scandal" and how liberals and conservatives differ in their perception of it:

        http://www.aljazeera.com/...

        Right now, conservatives in my favorite haunts are just mud slinging, and they are echoing the traditional media mud slinging almost to the hour.

        Most of us are asking, "What scandal?" while they simply declare on and literally make shit up to support it, which everybody knows is a load, but that conversation never seems to happen as the noise level rises.

        And noise favors them.  Big.

        So I drop that in, and pull the core out of it for discussion, because you know people won't always grok it otherwise, particularly on a longer piece like this one is.

        Two basic ways to understand scandal:

        There are two different ways to understand scandal, based on a distinction Karen Armstrong explained in her 2000 book, The Battle for God - the distinction between mythos, the way we make meaningful sense of the world and our place within it, and logos, the way we understand how the world works pragmatically.

        Mythos: [...] in terms of mythos, scandal is a spectacle, a morality play, whose facts are largely determined by how well they resonate with pre-established meanings - which is the primary way that conservatives understand scandal.

        Logos: In terms of logos, scandal is simply a breaking of the rules, once hidden, brought into the light. It is very much about the facts of the case, an empirical investigative process, whether by the media, law enforcement, or some special investigative body, and represents the primary way that liberals understand scandal.

        Followed by:
           This brings us to Benghazi. Is it a worse scandal than Watergate? According to a May 13 PPP poll, Republicans say "Yes" by a 74-19, while Democrats say "No" by 66-20. Among those self-identified as "very conservative", Benghazi is seen as worse by an overwhelming 91-4 margin. As with the birther obsession, this isn't just a difference of opinion. There are pesky old facts to consider, at least in the realm of logos: In Watergate, 69 government officials, Nixon campaign staff and others were charged with crimes, and 48 were found guilty. These included two attorneys general, Nixon's two top advisers, H R Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, the head of Nixon's re-election campaign, two White House lawyers and Nixon's personal attorney. The idea that something similar in scope and/or illegality went on with respect to Benghazi is simply absurd.

            And yet, 74 percent of Republicans think it's so. Why? Because they already doubt or don't believe that Obama is legitimately president in the first place. Because he's a fraud, and Benghazi will finally prove it! In short, they rely on mythos, not logos. Facts need not apply.

        And then the most interesting thing happened!

        Near silence.  Of course, nobody really wants to cop to being emotionally driven and semi-rational as the authors analysis indicates, so they stay quiet and hope it goes away and they do that why?

        1.  Both parties do it
        2.  They forget the past
        3.  If we could only get along.

        What happens then is the rational people pick up on this, and the board norms slowly move to a more rational mode, and always asking for supporting information helps this along nicely enough.

        Now when Bengazi is brought up, we can just cite the piece, the lack of discussion and ask them for the information that supports scandal, or if they just have a basic problem with Obama and Liberals, which to them IS THE SCANDAL, and once in a while they will admit it, you tag them, and move on.

        Over a period of time, they self marginalize and the noise level goes down because there now is a way to put info out there they just can't rebut all that well, and that favors us.

        One other thing favors them, and this is subtle and is something I struggle with, even here.

        "Be nice" type policies.  Real speech favors us.  We are rational, we like facts, we are well aligned with the needs of ordinary people, we are passionate and most importantly, we generally aren't assholes, nor are we racists, bigots and theocrats.

        If there is one thing I see conservatives, particularly noisy ones, do consistently is declare that they only want a "civil" discussion and for the longest time I could not figure out just why that had to be.

        Now I know.

        If the rule is to be civil absolutely, they can't really be called out as asses, racists, bigots and theocrats can they?  

        On a side note, this is why they fund Limbaugh.  If he's on the air, their serious character issues get normalized, and once that happens, another lie is triggered:

        "Always two sides to every story"

        Truth is, there are facts and then there is what we think the facts mean.  There are no "sides", but anybody who accepts this "be civil no matter what" idea, and the "two sides" idea suddenly validates and elevates irrational opinion on par with their own, which increases the noise level, drowning out more rational dialog and or just general sanity as in well supported opinion!

        Now you don't want to declare somebody racist directly, but you do want to use profanity where warranted, and you do want to always pose the question, "Boy that one seems awful racist from here, do you want to walk that back a little, or explain what you REALLY meant?"

        And that shit works.  They will back right off and attempt to frame it away, which also contradicts the garbage they post, which leads to more self-marginalization, just the way I like it.

        All the while you value add, promote rational dialog, post up educational pieces that position, frame, communicate history, timelines, etc...  another side note, timelines are powerful things.  I link 'em when I can to do damage on "forget the past."

        Sheesh, for some reason reading your thoughts really got me going.  I think it's the wasteland out there and how much ugly there is in it every single day.  I thought traditional media was bad --and it is, due to some specific biases and things not said, but the mass of online dialog is crappy now too, and it's kind of worse because an echo chamber like that without somebody actually working on rational, fact based norms, leads to pockets of resonance that don't do us any good.

        ***Be Excellent To One Another***
        IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

        by potatohead on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:06:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  BTW: I don't troll GOP sites. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        Not worth it, and half of them will just give you the boot anyway.

        When they start to look even a little bit ugly, a few will complain, and it's game over.

        The stuff I put here are for places where there is dialog on the net, but not GOP specific.

        ***Be Excellent To One Another***
        IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

        by potatohead on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:16:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, they are extremely touchy. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Moravan, Larsstephens, potatohead

          But it was part of the fun to obey all their rules and still get to them.  Still, it wasn't healthy.  A liberal mind is wasted spending its time hammering at imbeciles.  It really is like deploying fighter jets to wage war on tree-rot.

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 10:04:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  you irritate the hell out of me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616, Troubadour, Larsstephens

    keep it up.

  •  There are lots of places on the internet today. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, Larsstephens

    When I joined, there weren't many places to blog, and few were as robust as DailyKos. Now you can comment almost anywhere. You can even create your own blog for free and write whatever you want, and block whoever or whatever you want.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:34:20 PM PDT

    •  There were lots of places even then. (4+ / 0-)

      The problem was the lack of community, or the presence of a community that was either degenerate and troll-ridden, ruled by some dickish moderator who wouldn't tolerate being differed with, or was little more than a support group for sickening cowards with no ideas who just wanted the world to end painlessly.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:24:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe my recollection is hazy. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Larsstephens

        But I recall that there were only a handful of decent blogs. And I also remember a couple of years ago when BlackWaterDog left DailyKos to start her own blog... and she took many Kossacks with her. There are other options for those who don't like this community.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:00:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It wasn't limited to blogs. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, HairyTrueMan

          There were bulletin boards and other types of forums.  Blogs are a certain format where users generate content and then discuss it, but there were also places that were all discussion.  In some of them the mods would create a topic and the users would get to comment; others it would just be one infinite commentary thread; then there were news forums, etc.  

          BTW, I think you may have gotten the wrong impression.  If I didn't like this place, I wouldn't be here, and I certainly wouldn't make the effort I do to contribute to it.  I just note that sometimes it seems like the number of people contributing to it is getting a little small compared to the number of people using it as a toilet or a place to create irrational epistemic bubbles.

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:48:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Truth vs. facts. Theory vs. data. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kenlac, angry marmot

    The truth is something different for everyone, and it is actually based on our perceptions or worldview. If five people witness an event, they will probably agree on the facts, but they will each have a different version of the truth.

    Our political and philosophical orientations are always going to affect how we interpret the facts to come to an understanding of what is true.

    We have been seeing a lot more of the interpretation and a lot less of the facts lately, but on a political blog, even one that considers itself reality based, there will always be interpretation.

    It seems Greenwald's critics have downplayed what they wanted in favor of focussing on the points that make him look bad.

    The same can be said for how Greenwald presented the data in the first place.

    What I don't like is the hypocrisy of all this. People calling for an honest assessment of the facts, without providing any themselves.

    It really seems that this particular pie fight has devolved into a turf war for who is going to control the dkos narrative between several narcissistic factions. We have had very little honest assessment of the facts beyond scrutinizing them to achieve gotcha style criticism. I will leave it at that.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:37:58 PM PDT

    •  Considering that this is an account of personal (0+ / 0-)

      experiences that I've deliberately kept from degenerating into anyone's narrow issue-agenda, I'm not sure what facts you think would have been appropriate or edifying to include.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:27:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was just providing a different perspective to (0+ / 0-)

        the things you were complaining about.

        "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

        by ranger995 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:36:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You said it was "hypocrisy" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, Jeff Simpson

          to call for facts and not provide any, so I'm asking - what facts would have been appropriate and edifying to include about this personal account of my experiences?  Must I become a statistician of Daily Kos content before it's legitimate to discuss my sense of it?

          Here's the difference between general discussion and fact-free, ideological discussion: The former isn't resistant to facts.  If you wanted to dispute my sense of things by noting facts that showed otherwise, I would accept them - gratefully, because I like it when I'm shown things are better than I think, not resent hearing it the way a lot of people around here do.

          Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

          by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:41:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Imagine! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue in NC, Kitsap River

    So what you're saying is, that before you found dKos, you found an utterly demoralized left and a completely insane center. And then you found dKos, where you found the young Turks (technocrat libertarians with some leftward glances, by the standards of any sane society, but they qualify as liberals here!) who thought they could fix everything by yelling at the center and utterly loathing and excoriating anyone even slightly to the left of them. And some of them actually did some substantive work too, although frankly from what I saw it was a pretty small minority even of the commenters here.

    And then, gradually, the young Turks found out that this wasn't actually changing anything. And became either part of the utterly demoralized left or the insane center. Though of course they still hate anyone even slightly to the left of them, so the 'demoralized left' here still loathes the 'demoralized left' from before.

    While, in the background, some of us are still quietly plugging away, doing volunteer work for the good candidates, helping set up the infrastructure. A lot of us doing that are far enough to the left that, if we open our mouths, we get abuse. So we don't do so terribly often, or at least not in ways that make it obvious that we are further left than the general tenor of the conversation leads us to believe is prudent. You can only soak up so much abuse before you just give up and run away, as I've done a couple of times. I came back. Not everyone does. (It helps that I'm a gigantic asshole.)

    Well, congratulations on your journey. I'm glad there's still someone with some energy left. I don't think I ever had that much, and now I'm an old fart. An old, old-style bleeding-heart tax-and-spend liberal, and thus disqualified from polite blogging company on multiple counts.

    But the fact that you seem so SURPRISED by this outcome just boggles my mind. People get tired, and when they get tired, they get predictable. And if you burn yourself out thinking you're going to change everything RIGHT NOW, you stop trying for the future... and that's for those people who really actually did anything in the first place beyond angry blogging.

    Oh, and hating on your allies, just because they're a little further left than you? (This is not aimed particularly at you, just at dKos in general, by the way.) That's such a huge waste of energy that it boggles my mind. (But it's an old American tradition, that has been moving the country rightward ever since the red scares, so it's not likely to go away anytime soon. Alas.)

    •  It has nothing to do with how left someone is. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Jeff Simpson

      It has to do with their attitude toward discussing facts and accomplishing goals.  Other countries have competent far-lefts that can compete for office and govern effectively, and maybe someday we will too, but for the moment there's a culture of powerlessness in the American left that revels in not being in authority.  

      It's that culture that causes me and other liberals to treat them with skepticism, not their specific policy positions.  It's hard to take people seriously who flat-out refuse to do anything to accomplish the things they say they want to do, and the irony is that they use that accusation against people who do - liberal Democrats try to find ways to do things, and sometimes we succeed, but it seems like always the response we get from the left of where we are is that it's all a sick joke, a lie, a betrayal, everything sucks, we're all sellouts, yada yada yada.  It gets really tedious and silly, and you stop listening to critics when you suspect they're being dishonest and don't really care what you do.

      Some folks' ideal political leaders are people who've never passed a single piece of legislation and couldn't possibly win an election outside their own narrow community niche, and I just don't know how that's supposed to be considered admirable, morally upstanding, and brilliant.  No one else can see into these people's minds and see the perfect, ideal republics they're judging everyone else by.  All we can see is the fact that they don't come anywhere close to meeting their own standards - the most basic of Smell Tests.  But give us a left-wing leader and base who does care more about this country and its people than about their own self-image, and they'll begin to have a real effect on our politics.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:25:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Quoted for truth: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Troubadour, Larsstephens
    It's not okay to promote fact-free, ideological narratives that are built on nothing but rationalizing an emotional state, and certainly not okay to defend such content by retaliating against people who question it.
    Now the question is: how we gonna figure out which things fit that description and which ones  don't?

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:46:07 PM PDT

    •  The most problematic stuff fails the smell test (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, kenlac

      the moment you see it, but of course the smell test can fail too, so give it a chance and think about it.  Think about it as a set of distinct claims and implications, and also as a whole.  You can build a false narrative out of completely legitimate facts, just as you can build apparently round objects out of square Lego blocks.  

      Also look for Jedi mind-trick tactics, like making a claim and then posting as "evidence" a bunch of facts that have nothing to do with it and don't in any way support it: It has the structure of a legitimate argument, but not the connective tissue of reason that makes it reality-based.  People who do that depend on your own pattern-seeking mind to fill in the holes in their logic.

      Then when you've reached some conclusions and can lay them out, post a comment and have a discussion.  If the response to that discussion is deranged, petulant, and defensive, then consider writing your own diary to address reality rather than allowing the false narrative to retain the aura of community authority.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:50:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  you cant help yourself (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck
    Hidden by:
    GoGoGoEverton, Jeff Simpson

    You are not reality based and you are not the purveyor of truth. You're an ego maniac who thinks he's always right.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:49:14 PM PDT

  •  Do you think (4+ / 0-)

    the front page is not reality-based, or is it just some of the diaries you're talking about?

    The rec list has always been kind of a "hair on fire" place. At least since I got here in 2008. And there have always been pie fights.

    There is still lots of good writing, thinking, community, and action here, IMHO.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

    by Dragon5616 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 04:58:41 PM PDT

    •  The FP is more measured, cautious. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Bryce in Seattle

      Its mistakes and fallacies are generally on a smaller scale and more subtle, but can be guilty of media-driven vapidity.  At times it's indistinguishable from tabloid-oriented sources like HuffPo, but at other times highlights superbly factual, intelligent, and information-rich pieces.  

      I have taken issue with some of the plainly ODS-driven cartoons that are embedded at times, which have ranged (when problematic) from dubious to completely unhinged and not founded on reality the way political humor has to be if it's to be credible and effective.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:59:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Dragon5616
      The rec list has always been kind of a "hair on fire" place. At least since I got here in 2008. And there have always been pie fights.
      Although I didn't register here until late '09, that's my experience of the place as well. The FP is more measured (as it should be) and the RecList is more HoF. My perception--and it may be just my view--is that there has been a slow movement toward a RecList that is increasingly inflammatory, increasingly divisive (deliberately so) and increasingly representative of belief and rhetoric over fact and substance. I think that there are two (at least) factors in play: 1) where we are in the election cycle and 2) the structures of DK4 (the "Group" feature and the removal of the limit to one diary per 24-hour cycle).

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 05:40:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I came here for the waters. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gramofsam1, Troubadour

    .
    .
    .
    I was misinformed.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:11:49 PM PDT

  •  reality is, as it turns out, subjective. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Troubadour

    i suppose truth can be sifted from the collective bits and pieces of our perceptions.

    the way reality has hit me? how I've processed the streaming data over this stunning beginning of a century? it's this: we act on a reality that is mostly, if not solely, based on what we believe (to be true) or we believe in what we feel. depending on how we process the never ending stream of data/events.

    the only way I can imagine pulling us together is orchestrating the whole damned thing and listening and dancing to the music made.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:26:18 PM PDT

  •  I joined DKos..... (0+ / 0-)

    to enjoy the writings of Billmon and Steve Gillard.

    Lonely voices still.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:26:56 PM PDT

  •  I respect this and it's good. I don't know (4+ / 0-)

    What to say for myself except that I also agree with my decisions since 2003. I am a pragmatist, in the narrow sense used in academia: I hope for improvement, and my hopes have sometimes vindicated, other times proved wrong; yet I distrust the ideal of revolution whenever I see it. I'm consequently not going to cheer on the revolutionary impulse.  That said, there are issues like NSA overreach, where we agree and can come together to voice our demands to the government.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:13:11 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for writing this. (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting it here and now.

    If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican.

    by ord avg guy on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:27:02 PM PDT

  •  Loved it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Troubadour

    This latest round navel-gazing here has really discouraged me. Reminds me of the Stand With Rand hysteria.

  •  Dispassionate evidence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour
    It was a place where being reality-based rather than narrative-based was a lauded objective.  Now, less so.  Certain narratives are passionately promoted simply because they foster a given set of emotions rather than being true or intelligent, and trying to inject reality into the discussions of those narratives results in a violent backlash of bitter resentment and personal demonization as if you'd just shat on someone's religion.
    Motivation may conquer the ability to achieve a desired set of goals when the ultimate motivation is social status. It's known as Group Think. There is a lot of this going around and it's really difficult to counter. Scientists do take certain precautions to minimize the chances of Group Think or Confirmation Bias: equality, diversity, and peer reviewed publication of evidence. Basically, it's a fair competition based on evidence and not opinion.

    One could encourage this here on Dailykos. One could pick a fight and require that the only resolution would be on evidential grounds.

    Also, I wrote a diary on confirmation bias.

    If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

    by Bryce in Seattle on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:30:14 AM PDT

    •  Good call - Group Think is the phenomenon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bryce in Seattle

      Defeating it requires persistent voices of reason who are unusually resistant to it and yet sensitive to its presence.  They have to stand up and provide their own countervailing cues so that people who are vulnerable to social definitions of reality aren't bullied into accepting an irrational frame.

      Nothing makes a Republican angrier than a smile on a poor child's face.

      by Troubadour on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 03:50:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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