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Bad days in blogtopia

vastleft's picture

Posted in comments at The Sideshow:

One sorry sidelight about the blogosphere's circular firing squad in the wake of the HCR vote, is that not one of the participants ever told the truth about the fake, fake, phony "public option" (well, Glenn sorta-kinda did a time or two).

Everything was hunky dory when all were blissfully ignoring Obama's and company's outright lies about transparency and inclusiveness*, and pushing for the Trojan-pony "public-option" MacGuffin -- whether for access, profit, or to guilelessly scrape the empty bottom of the "politically feasible" barrel. Or, as it seems many did -- simply playing go-along, get-along with the A-listers (notably Jane Hamsher and Chris Bowers) who were whipping first and fiercest for "public option." Trusting them... or at least not wanting to embarrass/cross them.

Anyway, shoving single-payer "purists" (AKA "Naderites") out of the way was good clean fun all around, and the meaningless "public option" was as malleable a pseudo-object of affection as the blank-screen president himself. Supertoys last all summer long.

Though Jane's brief foray into being a single-payer champion was a notably ghastly affair (longstanding single-payer supporters were suddenly purged from FDL in droves), I give her credit for ultimately having her fill of a largely terrible bill, something her colleagues deemed utterly unacceptable.

Her detactors are now propagating the term "firebagger." This, of course, conflates taking a principled stand against a corporatist bill with the rightwing movement that is seen in the progblogs as the exclusive province of violent racists (and, for good measure, tossing in a smirking reference to a sexual practice that some lefties find endlessly risible).

I don't know if Skippy ever coined "blogdystopia," but perhaps it's time someone did.

_ _ _

* Again, Glenn did better than most, while continuing -- with between-the-lines reluctance, it seemed -- to legitimize "PO" as a goal. Purely speculation here, but I can't help but wonder if Glenn's reluctance to bust "public option" wide open, an agenda he acknowledged was designed to "placate progressives" -- was a manifestation of the reluctance of A-listers (and activism partners) to publicly challenge each other.

Seeing how ugly things have gotten now that Jane has taken a principled stand against the Dem orthodoxy, one can well understand such reluctance, even if it is painfully disappointing and frustrating given the vital need for a blogosphere built on candor and wholesome policy objectives.

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

it is a measure of how important she is that Obama enforcers have decided that she has to be marginalized, which is what these attacks are all about. It is a signle to the rest that if they stray to far from the party line, and if they challenge it in a way that Obama must take seriously, they can expect to be attacked in this way.

it is also shows why we need to keep talking about the primaries, because this is going to keep happening. Obama is like Reagan, very adept at getting others to do his dirty work for him.

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

After reading Glenn's full explanation of where the money went, I could only stand about 25 comments. "Too many words" was a common theme and it reminded me of Amadeus where the prince opined that Mozart used too many notes!

Submitted by lambert on

... the OFB are just too clueless. Never send a fan boi to do a man's job. The questions I'd have asked, if I wanted to take this whole thing up:

1. SEIU, one of the Accountability Now donors, has a "senior partner": HCAN't. Is Greenwald "proud" of that work, and if so, why?

2. I note also that Jane (as FDL) sold Jane (as Accountability Now) a mailing list (see at "list purchase"). Leaving the appearance of self-dealing aside, what list would FDL have available for sale, other than its membership list? (My understanding is that mailing list houses frown on reselling their product.)

I don't especially care about all this, which is why I didn't post on it. The OFB are going to do what they do, and one of things they do is protect the sanctity of Dear Leader. Of course, and as usual, when A says B sucks, and A sucks, that does not make B not suck. Despite tribal reflexes.

So to me, and also as usual, the scandal is what's right out in the open. Avedon gives Jane a free pass on HCR:

Jane Hamsher also tried as mightily as any sane person could not to notice what a right-wing con-man Obama was being, but even she eventually could not swallow the health insurance scam.

Come on. Giving a single payer advocate's money back during a fundraiser? And then purging a ton of 'em? Turning a supposedly independent forum like FDL into a meme laundry for HCAN shill Jason Rosenbaum? Whatever was going on with that, swallowing or refusing to swallow a scam had nothing to do with it.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I am still glad Avedon defended her. I agree with everything you said, but I am glad that avedon defended her.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

is what just popped into my head. Had Jane not extinguished most of her potential allies on policy (as opposed to access and fame), and shown some integrity earlier, she would have more now willing to defend her. Besides the home-grown syncophants at FDL, that is. Jane had a choice (as we all do/did at some point or another) of alliance based on tribalism or alliance based on policy. She chose the former but then didn't play by the rules.

Not that the tribal-enforcer system was justified, or isn't utterly corrupt, of course.

But Jane's stand came too late to be at all admirable, and it's far too early to see whether she'll understand the how and why of the attacks on her from the DKos et al crowds.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

...inclined to go out on a trust limb with Jane, but any two-minutes hate levied on someone for harshing the Obamamellow is a teachable moment, and I am inclined to defend people against bullying.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

but the real problem is the bullying while what we are talking about is Jane. Defending Jane against the Dkos attacks is like defending Palin against sexist attacks; it's not really about the merits of either, it's about the attacks, which are bullying, truthy, and motivated by perfecting the tribal enforcements as drills.

Submitted by lambert on

+1000.

I guess, to me, the truthiness of the OFB is no well established as to need no remark; but these battles need to be fought out again and again.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"even she eventually could not swallow the health insurance scam" doesn't read like a free pass to me.

Also, speaking for me only, I don't think returning the money per se was such a terrible thing. It was the context that was so awful -- after playing a leading role in distracting and silencing progressives from constructively influencing HCR, Jane suddenly placed a chip on her shoulder and said only people who donate to her suddenly blessed single-payer candidate were worth their salt. Then she started purging people who didn't prostrate themselves before her.

I completely agree that the HCAN't meme-laundering is too important to bleach out of the picture. So, yeah, leaving that out is a rather stark omission, and an unearned freebie. One can only speculate as to why she sold out reform to get on -- and substantially drive -- the "PO" bandwagon, but the fact is she did. The story of the "PO" canard is one that pretty close to nobody is willing to tell.

OTOH, I do give Jane some credit for -- at length -- taking a kill-the-bill stand. If I had to place bets, I don't think her standing in the blogosphere will suffer long term, but I'd be impressed with her if she'd use this opportunity to set herself apart from the tribal Dem politics.

Submitted by lambert on

"... even she eventually ..."

So far as I can tell with no access, the decision to deny single payer advocacy oxygen was taken by the high traffic bloggers in mid-2008, and they've collectively adhered to that editorial policy since then. If Hamsher hadn't wanted that to happen, she had the clout to stop it. That's the original sin that turned them into meme laundries instead of a system of alternative news gathering.

Absent self-criticism -- remember, my question (deleted) on Hamsher's purge thread was "what lessons did you learn?" which I thought that was a soft, high floater, but Hamsher's response (I paraphrase) was "single payer advocates are Naderite assholes," after which she started banning people -- how do we know if Hamsher's "taking a stand" or just getting ahead of the shifting winds?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I don't (of course) know Jane's inner motivation for opposing the bill.

What I do know is that when she rattled the historic-history express, the blogosphere's two-minutes hate machine fired up against her in a somewhat ugly way, notably in the "firebagger" meme that you posted on the other day.

I should note that inquiry into where all these blogosphere PAC and quasi-PAC dollars go is a perfectly worthy idea. The fact that it's only treated as a worthy topic when someone challenges Our Tribe's Noble Agenda gives me pause.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... questions as high floaters.

The most devastating thing for them would be to allow that C-list bloggers whom no one reads and everyone hates had it right, and they had it flagrantly wrong, well that would destroy their raison d'etre.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

but I'd be impressed with her if she'd use this opportunity to set herself apart from the tribal Dem politics.

your quote above, vast.

I'd be impressed if she kicked that obnoxious condescending HCAN't shill Jason Rosenbaum off FDL. He's kinda a Chris Bowers wanna be.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

I've just spent ~2 hrs tracking through the links- I mean the many links I found from vast's original link huge # of linkies to check out (except, sorry, I didn't go to dKos). I have to confess I still don't understand how to weigh various aspects.

What is the background on this guy Rogers Cadenhead? Are any of you who read or once read dKos familiar with the guy? He claims his reason for investigating FDL associated PACs was just a natural story wanting to know how PACs operated, and not a hit piece on FDL. So, because of the dKos association, I wonder if he is an Obamabot.

methinks he doth protest too much in comments on this diary:.
http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/38166

Oh, this is his original piece, which I had to track through various links to find:
http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/3604...

Whatever his motives (which I would like to know, because I suspect him of being an Obamabot) I think that he raises some interesting questions.

Jane and FDL used to be part of the original "Blue America" which was really the hard work of Howie Klein. BA channeled donations via ActBlue, and having read the FEC statements (long ago) of BA, I know that BA had zero overhead- people contributed time, expertise, made ads and performed the music (Had Enough?- catching tune) that BA candidates used, placed radio ads- I mean called the stations and negotiated low rates, totally on their own dime.

Obviously there was a huge falling out between Jane and other principals:
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?u...

~And she parted bitterly from former allies in organizing Blue America PAC, with which she is no longer associated.

"I gave it the name, and now some people who were once associated with it have stolen our graphics and our brand without permission are using them to promote a splinter effort," Hamsher said, noting that the name "Blue America" was coined as a Firedoglake column.

"I don't know what that means - it doesn't make any sense and it doesn't have any basis in fact," responded Howie Klein, a former music executive, Los Angeles-based DJ, and lesser-known political blogger who declined to detail his falling-out with Hamsher, citing legal advice.

If you look at the current BA site (sans FDL) http://www.actblue.com/page/blueamerica10 it says:

You will find the candidates we endorse on this page covered on the blogs Digby's Hullabaloo, Crooks and Liars and DownWithTyranny. In the past we have raised over $2 million, overwhelmingly in small donations. Most of the money raised has gone directly to candidates via our friends at ActBlue. Money to our PAC has been used to advertise for (and against) candidates and initiatives and to promote activities commensurate with building a strong progressive Congress. Blue America bloggers do not hire themselves as consultants nor in any way seek to gain financially from this PAC. The PAC was established because we love our country and seek to help perfect it.

Well, okay, I noted that quote a long while back, trying to figure out the "falling out" reported in the Politico piece. I suspected it had to do with how ~some~ funds had been used by the first backers of BA PAC, and the finger seemed to be pointed at FDL. Deal is, BA PAC really was meant to be totally based the ideal of no $ for anyone except candidates (and ad buys)- and Howie Klein (treasurer) even got a letter (back when) from the FEC in response to BA FEC filing, as to why there were NO expenses of any kind for overhead. This was treated as very suspicious by the FEC.

Having read the current info about AN PAC and FDL PAC the original Politico info makes a bit more sense to me- my surmise, reading between the lines- a falling out over how BlueAmerica PAC money had been used or should be used. It's hard to know how to evaluate this, without knowing what kinds of understandings the original parties in BA had, overtly or tacitly. That's one point. The other two are more general, raised by the various comments here and elsewhere- should people always be expected to work for nothing? I'd say not. Should donors know where their $$ are going up front from the get go, not later? I'd say yes.

It may be impossible to untangle the threads behind this "story" (i.e. what prompted the original post from Cadenhead that led to the current brouhaha), but threads there certainly are.

Disclosure: At one time, I did my small share of gratis work for BlueAmerica PAC, during the Bush era, willingly and eagerly. However, I can no longer support the idea of giving $$ or time to elect more "better" Democrats. No such thing. I really haven't read DWT or Crooks and Liars in a long long time, only Digby via links here at Corrente, and simply don't agree with her "take" on things, as it were. But, none of them seem to "get it" re: single payer (if I am wrong, please correct me). I can't assess the whole sweep of talking points, so "single payer" is all I'll mention here.

Submitted by lambert on

On the one hand, it would be totally like the OFB to completely piss in the analytical and discourse well for short term gain ("Like Kryptonite to Stupid" my Sweet Aunt Fanny).

On another hand, I take Avedon's point that it's very hard to see how there can be a functioning left without funding.

On the third hand, it doesn't seem to me that Versailles money has, in fact, led to a functioning left, at least not on the A list.

So there we are!

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

I haven't seen Basement Angel on this thread. Do I need new glasses?

Submitted by lambert on

Just a mental glitch. Fixed.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

mental glitches and all. *g* (Well, I luv my cat too, so nobody read anything extra into that, m'k?) Oh, wait, I'm not comparing Lambert to my cat. Gosh, I guess I better stop digging myself into a hole....

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

FDL got more Byzantine than I could deal with early on, and I bailed. There are narratives I understand and there are narratives where a fourth grader could whip my ass. This is one of the latter.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Cadenhead, I mean, by reading the posts on his site. Many are techy things. I gather he posted his piece on dKos, and saw somewhere in the numerous comments I scanned (crikey!) from all the links that he was "well respected at dKos".... which I do.not.read. And, I saw he ran Drudge Retort (memorable blog name) but, again, I don't read (I mean, so many blogs, so little time). Hence my wondering what he was about.

otoh, Willis's post and his responses in comments pretty much speak for themselves.... uh, not in a good way imho. Seems to me he was enjoying bashing Jane et al., and took the opening he saw and ran with it.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

that thread at Oliver's site was gratifying to read. LOL