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Messaging Madness, FireDogLake Edition

madamab's picture

I admit it, I signed Firedoglake's "kill the bill" petition, and due to that momentary burst of enthusiasm, I am now on the FDL mailing list.

Today I received this gem in my Inbox:

Hi MadamaB,

You were one of almost 40,000 activists who signed our petition to kill the Senate's bill - thanks so much for your support.

While the Senate's terrible health care bill passed early on Christmas Eve, the fight is far from over. Each chamber of Congress has to vote for a final bill that has yet to be shaped. At that point, President Obama's signature will deliver the final word on health care reform.

65 Members of Congress pledged to make a public plan available to all Americans. If the final bill does not contain a public option, these Representatives need to honor their pledge and either remove the mandate for everyone to buy private insurance, or kill the bill.

Call progressive Members of Congress today and find out where they stand on forcing Americans to purchase insurance from the insurance industry. Let them know: No Public Option, No Mandate.

Okay, let me get this straight. I signed a petition to kill the bill because there was no public option. But that was a while ago. I thought FDL was now all about single-payer. Why is this email, stressing the public option, even going out now? Doesn't the left hand know what the left hand is doing?

The other problem I see is that the FDL folks are now even backing off their demand for the public option, despite the fact that the entire petition is about...demanding the public option. Let me repeat this poorly-written, confusing paragraph for you. I know I had to read it three times to understand it.

If the final bill does not contain a public option, these Representatives need to honor their pledge and either remove the mandate for everyone to buy private insurance, or kill the bill.

I am just flabbergasted, because none of the Congresscritters pledged to give up the individual mandate in that petition. They did, however, pledge to kill the bill without a public option. Now the FDL folks are claiming that to remove the individual mandate will honor the pledge they made to keep the public option. It's like saying, "I know you won't honor your promise to bake me cookies. But if you don't take me horseback riding, which you never promised to do in the first place, then you, sir, are a blackguard! En garde!"

And what's this mandate vs. public option blah blah blah? The two have nothing to do with one another. You can have an individual mandate AND a public option if you want to. So how did we get to this type of horse trading?

So much for Jane's brief shining moment as a single-payer pseudo-advocate. The public option is baaaaack, people. And now, it's ANGRY!

And so am I.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

No votes yet


Submitted by Anne on

so often that I would know for sure, but I have this sense that ever since the fundraiser for Tasini kind of bombed - it didn't raise a lot of money and was little more than Jane challenging people in a very ugly way whenever they dared ask any questions about this newfound interest in single payer - Jane has pretty much dropped it, which kind of makes a mockery of her aggressive and bullying defense of her single payer stance; who knows, though - maybe it was more fun to buddy up with Grover Norquist and go on Fox News.

As a weapon in the fight for real reform, that e-mail is somewhere between a limp noodle and a dead firecracker - at least for those of us who have reading comprehension skills. Gosh, I am so tired of being treated as if I were stupid.

It seems a little late in the game to be fighting for whatever it is that e-mail purports to be in favor of or against - but then, these are the same people who managed to turn an undefined catch-phrase into a fundraising tool: they flogged the crap out of "The public option" but no one ever seemed to be able to define what that meant.

There are some good people there working for the right things; too bad Jane doesn't seem to be one of them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

a) Everything is now so clear and predictable
b) No one seems all that interested in what I'm writing

When a) wasn't the case, there was the thrill of the chase of figuring things out, so b) just didn't matter that much to me. I was blogging to figure things out, so it simply didn't matter to me how much my blogging did or didn't mean to anyone else.

Now that everything's in the Department of Now It All Makes Sense, I find myself looking for gratification from b), but it ain't there. Typical Abe Maslow stuff -- once you satisfy one need, you go looking for the next-higher one.

The fact that these posts didn't seem to mean shit to anyone (on Corrente or my site, and in the latter case, on Glenn's as well) tells me that since I'm not edifying myself -- i.e., since the Dems and A-listers have completely validated the near-worst-case scenarios for their worthlessness -- and I'm not edifying or interesting anyone else, why bother?

At first, I was going to stop reading and writing, but I missed the reading... and I remain glad to save the time of writing, at least until there's something that I find gratifying to explore.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I felt much the same way, so I decided to shift my focus to activism instead of the 90,000th episode of "I told you so," which was not only depressing, but boring as hell (even to me).

Who knows what will happen in the next three years? I know what the usual suspects are going to do, but I hope to be able to shift the paradigm in some small, subtle way if I can. Maybe it's a futile effort, but I refuse to stop trying.


skippybkroo's picture
Submitted by skippybkroo on

the only reason i keep blogging now is i have advertisers who have paid for a year's worth of links.

whenever i start to write something i get the feeling that people could read better, more precise and better written stuff about the same subjects on other blogs.

it's just not exciting for me any more.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

That's why I write plays and talk about feminism and the ERA and interview politicians and stuff like that. I don't see a huge amount of people doing that type of thing, so I don't feel so much like a small fish in a big pond.

I just figure, I'll do what makes me happy, and if people listen, that's great. If not, it still makes me happy.

If it doesn't make you happy, it's no wonder that you don't feel like doing it any more.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I've been trying to find out what "progressives" wanted to do once in power for years. Hell, I saw a fundamentalist mentality in the progosphere back in 2006 that definitely foreshadowed the primary "pie fights". So it goes.

But just because I fail to comment, it doesn't mean I'm not listening.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I read your site all the time. I rarely post in comments, because there is usually nothing else to say. You say all that needs to be said, and I usually agree with you.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Beyond my finding no more worlds to debunk, my frustration is that the aftermath of the HCR debacle -- just as in the debacle's active phase -- saw so few people being reliably vigilant about pointing out the "public option" scam and examining the systemic failure (to use the phrase of the day) that made it the One True Agenda for progressives (with and without the scare quotes).

Corrente has done it better than most anyone/anywhere else, but seeing posts and comments here that dignified "public option" as something to be mourned was alarming. I didn't save a collection of links, because I wasn't trying to wag a finger at anyone in particular, but when my posts advocating such vigilance sank like rocks, I figured there wasn't much to be gained by continuing to squawk about it.

Obviously what I wrote wasn't successful as a conversation starter / definitive link for making sure "public option" stays dead, is always shamed, and is learned from. Perhaps Lambert's forthcoming post-mortem will be that definitive post. More than anything, I'd like for all truly reality-based lefties to know and never forget that when they ride with "public option" and its support network, they ride with FAIL (deliberate or otherwise) -- at least from the perspective of the interests of ordinary Americans.

Submitted by lambert on

... I can do a post mortem on public option. I've got some links salted away.... But I don't have that day right now.

In the meantime -- and this is no knock on the FDL community -- a complete lack of consistency, combined with a refusal to look back at the record, banning, coupled with constant demands for money, should really be telling us something...

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Thus no one will notice or care about the...

refusal to look back at the record, banning, coupled with constant demands for money

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I just thought the petition was a good one. I haven't given FDL clicks in ages and ages.

I do like to keep current on what the regressives are doing. I even get emails from the DNC/DSCC folks too. What the heck, it makes for entertaining, Orwellian reading.


gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

It seemed obvious during and after the primary, even more so during the health care debate. To me, merely visiting FDL is like validating Versailles. Sure, there may be good folks there, but it is so tainted at the top.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

put Marcy (emptywhell) on your RSS reader and you will get everything that is worthwhile on FDL.

on the other hand, Avedon Carol makes a good point.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

un peu de sexisme contre la Hamsher, perhaps?

Heaven knows that male Republicans can wear diapers while having sex with hookers, loudly claim "I'm not gay" after being caught soliciting male sex in an airport bathroom, and chase after their lovers while on mysterious hiking trips, but Sarah Palin is the one whose very name strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of regressives everywhere.

Submitted by lambert on

... they banned my IP from going to -- which I only know because SiteMeter links from there show up here sometimes. But when I go there:

Method Not Implemented

GET to / not supported.

So, I just use a proxy, but really, that's a Hollywood level of petty-minded vindictiveness. I guess I must have called Jason Rosenbaum a shill one too many times....

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

completely and totally pathetic.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

that's been happening to numerous people, including me. i had to reset my browser (safari) and system restart. i emailed rbg (site admin) who was immediately responsive and helpful.

Submitted by lambert on

IP banning doesn't happen because of a glitch. It happens because a list of IP addresses is fed into the site's software by an admin. So... To me the fact and I was and you were on that list is a very interesting data point.

Were the "numerous people" all or mostly single payer advocates? Because I would like to know how that list was constructed, and why, rbg's courtesy aside.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

it happened to me a few weeks ago (not the same time as you) and it's been happening sporadically to various people (not sp advocates as far as i can tell). furthermore, i don't believe it actually is ip banning -- i think you have to reset your browser (or try another one) as i wrote above. i have pretty good evidence for this claim as when it happened to me i could, from the very same computer, access the site via firefox but not safari.

furthermore, i had the same error msg. as you -- which is quite different than when my ip address did get blocked, iirc a year or two ago. apparently the host had blocked a bunch of ip address ranges and mine was inadvertently included (and there was no controversy that i recall at that time). again rbg was immediately and extremely helpful in getting to the bottom of the problem so that i could access the site again.

it's not just me and it's not just you. over the years i've seen comments from other people (of the non-controversial sub-type) indicating that they had problems accessing the site which were resolved with the help of site admin, a mod or a fellow commenter.

lambert, i seriously think you are just wrong in this case. what you have presented in your comments so far is NOT evidence of ip blocking.

Submitted by Anne on

and the comments that followed, and have to give you kudos for your contribution; I find it ironic that Jane wants to hold commenters to a much higher standard of civility and respect than she is willing to observe herself.

But, it’s writing like this:

If you’re a strong progressive and you think Howard Dean has gone out too far left in health care reform or Jane Hamsher has attacked President Obama too hard from the left -then, fantastic, you are now officially a moderate!

And more importantly, so is Obama.

Why is this so important? I’m not sure you particularly want to be moderate, and I’m certainly not sure you are one. But that’s not the point. The point is that the mainstream media loves people who they can call "moderates." If Joe Lieberman is somewhere between Obama and Cheney, no matter how far to the right he is, he gets to be called a moderate. Why? Because there’s someone to the right of him.

Now, you have someone to the left of you. Congratulations, you made it! You’re now part of the cool crowd in DC, the only people that the establishment media care about or give any credence to – moderates.

that makes my head hurt. And what really gets my head aching is that so many of the comments are little more than bowing and scraping. I don’t get it. Is it because it defends Jane’s latest strategy and tactics? I don’t know, it just felt like he was trying to make me believe that down is up and black is white and pay no attention to the reality. Is it the latest dimension in 11-dimensional chess?

Now, I admit that I do not read all the diaries, and am much more likely to be reading Marcy and d-day, so maybe there’s a lot going on that I should be paying attention to, but I’ve pretty much had to give up on Jane’s posts. She could randomly pound on her keyboard and produce this: aslkjhf ouwbdvijsgpovn uihf;krfi4e, for seven paragraphs, and the comments would be filled with “Oh, Jane, you’re so smart,” and “Keep fighting the good fight!” and “Jane, you are a wonder – we love you!”

Which raises the question for me of, how is treating Jane as if she can do no wrong any different from people swallowing whole whatever the mainstream puts out there? Why is it okay to question the mainstream, but not the so-called top tier bloggers? And why does Cenk Uygur feel compelled to use tortured logic to tell us why Jane cannot be wrong?

I’m sorry for the rant, but I guess I’m tired of this need we seem to have to always elevate people to a level where they become untouchable – exempt from criticism – so that, if things get to the point where it seems they are not going about their activism in the best way, these overinflated egos will choose to stand their ground even if that damages the cause.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

You'll find that it's a good example of unchecked "progressive" truthiness.

Is it any wonder that such a tribe can't recognize and remember that "public option" is a scam?