Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Open Thread

I'm going to be away from the Internets for most of the holidays. Here's a nice, empty open thread to post stuff into ... :)


KDelphi said...

I am "confused again"! I am not sure how to post this elsewhere, so let me be, possibly, the first to say, "good for Nadler"!

Also, samson or whomever, did I post something here or somehwere (I know--I'm an idiot) about Salazar's environmental record? Someone is flaming me from my post about his "greenness" or LACK therof,(another blog) and, they say I didnt sent them the links..I thought maybe I posted it here, because she replied to me here.

If you cant figure out what I am talking about--it didnt end up here !lol.


LittleBrother said...

Incredibly, I have received fund-raising e-mails from Common Dreams. It's really hard to tell where their intentionally controlling, censorious, repressive policies end, and where their overall incompetence and cluelessness begins.

It's truly a shame that Craig "Heckuva Job" Brownie's operation so closely resembles the outgoing maladministration-- are they just stupid, or deliberately evil, or both?

In any event, I thought I'd share the November 15, 2008 letter I wrote to Craig Brown-- I used my real name, of course. I didn't expect an answer, but I thought I'd give him a month to respond before sharing this. Happy holidays!

Craig Brown, Executive Director
Common Dreams
PO Box 443
Portland, ME 04112-0443

Dear Mr. Brown:

"We are committed to being on the cutting-edge of using the internet as a political organizing tool - and creating new models for internet activism."

– Common Dreams, “About Us”
I'm Little Brother, one of the many Common Dreams visitors who was "Welcome!" one second, and disappeared (banned) the next. This unfortunate circumstance has brought a much deeper understanding of just how committed you are to the "cutting-edge". Think of me as a grinning skull-- still wearing my glasses-- on the Common Dreams killing field, or a twitch from a moribund arm sticking out of the pile of corpses you bulldozed off the Progressives for Obama Highway. Road kill. I really hoped for a couple of days that the "banning" was a technical issue, the electronic equivalent of a bad dream; the implications are just too ugly otherwise.

I'm painfully aware from weary experience that Common Dreams doesn't respond to individual complaints or concerns, at least not to ordinary visitors; I suspect that there may be a clique of "insiders", probably the most generous donors, that is afforded the courtesy of interaction and influence. Apart from this regrettable discourtesy, Common Dreams also is unable or unwilling to devote even a bit of front-page space to report day-to-day technical problems, malfunctions, or policy issues. Thus, visitors are left to wallow in toxic uncertainty when comments go awry. The ambiguous guidelines don't really fill in this void.

Just to illustrate the point: a quotidian instance of commenters left to twist slowly in the wind occurred several months ago, before the Great Comments Reformation, when Common Dreams decided to block HTML tags used to create bold or italic text. The decent thing to do would have been to at least alert commenters that henceforth, using HTML tags would cause comments to "disappear". Instead, commenters were left to become perplexed and frustrated until a compassionate commenter with some technical insight deduced what had happened and explained it to the rest of us. Presumably this decision was made in response to a few commenters abusing HTML capability; in web site administration, "collective punishment" is the norm. Being "banned" outright is self-explanatory, of course.

Yours is not the first web site which has caused me to ruminate on the disconnect, or dichotomy, that self-identified "progressive" web forums often present: sites ostensibly devoted to free and open political discourse, yet operating on a top-down, authoritarian, non-interactive, and opaque basis. Such methods of operation, even if dictated by necessity, are no less harsh and demeaning to visitors for all their splendid efficacy.

One of my "dreams" is that civilized websites would eschew egregiously harsh solutions to problems-- but I've been rudely awakened.

Now that you've unceremoniously purged many commenters, seemingly for the offense of remaining caustic and critical towards our mutated and malignant political process, it's unlikely that you'll get much negative feedback from the survivors, who are content to exchange acceptably Positive banalities and congratulate each other for being the "right" kind of progressive and Common Dreamer. Besides, those Left Behind after a the Big Chill of a purge are generally sufficiently terrified to refrain from rocking the boat. It's a good lesson, a useful tactic for discouraging troublesome non-comformity. It will make for a pleasantly harmonious choir, methinks, as beef becomes more tender after a good pounding.

It would be vain to argue for reconsideration. In any case, I fear that I and others who've been summarily banned are beyond your comprehension.

Perhaps I've grossly underestimated you, and your own ratiocination is as impaired and shallow as the simple-minded commenters who interpret passionate criticism as "hate", "nihilism", etc. I wouldn't dream of throwing good words after bad by trying to explain that this is not necessarily the case at all. I will only suggest that you and your site would be better off if you viewed us "negative" commenters as the equivalent of roughage, stomach acid, and those bacteria in our gut which are necessary to break down and digest food. We may seem superficially nasty, corrosive, or bad-tasting, but we actually promote the digestive process.

Sorry you don't see it that way. If you don't have any lingering qualms over the ethical ironies of preserving your ostensibly "progressive" forum by unilaterally and brutally liquidating an entire segment of regulars who commented in good faith, so be it. I'm particularly impressed by your decision to not only ban us from comments, but to ban us from even reading the articles-- that suggests malice aforethought. Or maybe it’s just the single-minded thoroughness of a unitary executive efficiently implementing a final solution to unsettling dissonance in order to build a more perfect echo chamber.

I honestly thought that Common Dreams, of all places, was sympathetic to the notion that if you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

Thanks for your consideration.

Little Brother

Nannie said...


Bailouts as Coup d'Etat of the Legal Systems

Government Without Laws


Nannie said...

hey Little Brother,
Loved the letter. Says it all. Your style is so clear. If it was read, the meaning is clear.I wrote also and no answer...oh well...

Just finished "Shock Doctrine"
and pulled in all my horns. What's a body to do against such odds?

Nannie said...

Sampson, I like the Open Thread so we can all say hi and chat.Thanks...

LittleBrother said...

Nannie, I have twice responded to you only to find that Blogger has apparently eaten the responses.

So if they all pop up at once, don't blame me.

Anyhoo, in a nutshell I just thanked you for your positive feedback on my doomed letter.

I consider it irresponsible for a venue explicitly dedicated to promoting communication and interaction to operate with such opacity that it generates toxic uncertainty.

Uncertainty is pernicious and debilitating to the human psyche; it elevates anxiety, vigilance, etc.

So I really can't be sure whether Common Dreams is like F Troop, or whether they're a malevolent hive mind of would-be progressive Darth Vaders.

I would think that even sensible, businesslike grown-ups would recognize that unilateral, total, and irrevocable banning might upset and put off thoughtful victims.

And that, having failed to provide the courtesy of a response to civil correspondence, blithely sending fundraising e-mails would be counter-productive at best.

Obviously, they're not operating on the refined level posited by my overactive imagination. ;)

Nannie said...

I miss CD, I really liked it there.I guess I got carried away with my Nader campaigning. LOL...

Well I feel CD is the loser.
We the "Banished", were the best posters they had. Their loss. The repartie' they have now is so boring.No imagination or feeling.

I lurk now at TD and here.Like reading what you and KD have to say in TD.Hope Sampson keeps an open thread for us to chat.

Lyle said...

Obama on the Attack on Gaza by Joshua Frank


"It was the single deadliest attack on Gaza in over 20 years and Obama’s initial reaction on what could be his first real test as president was "no comment." Meanwhile, Israel has readied itself for a land invasion, amassing tanks along the border and calling up 6,500 reserve troops.

On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Obama’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod explained to guest host Chip Reid how an Obama administration would handle the situation, even if it turns for the worst.

"Well, certainly, the president-elect recognizes the special relationship between the United States and Israel. It’s an important bond, an important relationship. He’s going to honor it ... And obviously, this situation has become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks. As Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded. But it’s something that he’s committed to.""

KDelphi said...

Unbelievable..."Obama Adviser Aligns With WH in Criticism of Ropcket Attacks on Israel"---from Common Dreams...http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/12/29

If you still cant get there, Axelrod (as you may have seen on tv) is agreeing with Rice, in that "Israel has a right to defend itself".

NO mention of the Hellfire Missiles fired into Gaza,,,

KDelphi said...

The link by Lyle is good, too, as is the new article on counterpunch...