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I found the limits of free speech toleration...

by proximity1 Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:33:44 PM EST

 It seems that I found the limits of free speech toleration practiced by the management of the Dailykos when I posted a comment in a thread which called into question the assumption that going off to fight in the Iraq war equals bravery.


  I suggested that there are also other forms of bravery, including the variety which includes refusing to fight in that war.  In my post, which was one of dozens or scores of others, buried in a long thread, I even alerted the sensitive reader with a cautionary: "this is where those of you with your minds already made up...should stop reading..."

  That was at least a week ago.  

  Try finding that post of mine now.  I do not think you'll be able to.  Apparently, it was deleted, without comment, without notice or explanation.  I can only assume that some readers ignored my caution and went on to read, went on to become offended that anyone would dare to suggest the idea--as I did--
  and, here, again, if you already have your mind made up and hold as unquestionable the bravery of all of "our troops" then perhaps you, too, should not read further and should not ignore this notice--
suggested that there are even those who simply follow orders and report to the call up for deployment, not necessarily out of bravery but just as much or more out of fear of the repercussions to them, their family, their job, if they refused.

  That, apparently went beyond what Dailykos could tolerate in unconventional views and so, it seems, they censored it.

  Nothing could better illustrate the power of words, of unpopular ideas than to see one's views censored as unacceptable.  I recommend that those of you who think that in our society all opinions are open to debate and discussion re-examine that assumption --yes, "even" in a so-called liberal, open-minded forum such as the Dailykos is supposed to be.  On mentioning in a thread here that I'd been banned from the New York Times reader fora, I was asked by one regular here why I was banned.  The answer is always simple and always the same: something was written, expressed, which those in authority refused to allow to remain for others to see, to consider.

  Since the Dailykos censored my post, I'm obviously through practicing "free speech" there; I'm also through contributing any other opinions of mine to their fora.

 For me, they just made a mockery of the principles they are supposed to stand for and they certainly joined President Bush in making a mockery of the very principles for which our nation's are supposedly risking, and many losing, their lives.

  To those who object to seeing their automatic assumptions concerning  the bravery on the part of our nation's soldiers, all those who answer President Bush's war orders, put into question, I have only this to say:

  Speech is the first freedom.  To cavalierly suppress it in the idea that doing so protects the honor of the fallen or to place ahead of free speech, a concern for the potential injury to the feelings of the loved ones of those soldiers killed is to reduce freedom of speech to a matter of momentary convenience.

  I used to have respect for the Dailykos.  I now have none.

Display:
Just out of curiosity, what exactly did you say?

IMO going to Iraq is an act of bravery, tempered by the (reasonable) fear of what refusing to go would entail. Refusing to go to Iraq also requires courage, but again qualified by an understandable fear of the risks that being a soldier in Iraq bring.

And for those out there reading - any knowledge of what the actual consequences have been for those soldiers who have refused to go to Iraq? Has it been just dishonorable discharge, or short jail terms, or longer ones?

by MarekNYC on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:50:28 PM EST
 M.,

  The gist of my original post (the one which appeared as a comment--actually seconding another slightly similar comment in the replies thread to another's diary entry ) is here in what I've written in this diary entry.  Though far reduced, the essentials are there.

  In the original, I offered what I imagined I'd do if I were in the military as an unheroic example of someone who lacks the courage to do other than go along with the crowd and follow orders--despite knowing them to be wrong and illegal.

  As for what has happened to CO's (conscientious objectors) the responses have varied greatly.  I met one enlisted Army soldier, a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne (not an outfit for slackers!) whose military record was impeccable.  He did a tour in Iraq and after it, went to his CO (Commanding officer) and requested to take conscientious objector status.  This they allowed and he was given an honorable discharge.

  When I asked him why many others couldn't do the same, he answered that much depends on one's comportment and on what the Army expects (or doesn't expect) the person seeking a CO discharge to do.  In his case, he joined the outspoken opponents of the war.  Something the Army was given no reason to expect.

  But then, that's what free-speech is for.  Others--esp. those who make waves while still on active duty, can face disciplinary action--reductions in rank, transfers, rebukes in their official record or, of course, a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge.

  It may not be widely appreciated by the public that many firms ask job applicants not only, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?," but also, "Have you been dishonorably discharged from the military?"

  Those soldiers (in the thousands, now) who have gone AWOL (absent without leave), fleeing the country or going underground, face criminal charges and possible imprisonment if they are ever found; though there is a strong interest still on the part of the Army to settle such cases as quietly as possible since the spectacle of a trial draws undesirable public attention to the number of those who desert and the very appealingly humane motives behind many of those who do so.  It's not good public-relations for the military now that the war is no longer a popular cause.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How did they "censor" it?  Was it troll rated or removed by the admin?  Or maybe you're just having problems with the search function?

I don't think DKos makes any bones about its practice of curtailing freedom of speech.  You're probably just finding out now what all DKos visitors realize at some point.  That said, I think there is an unwritten policy that grievances about a particular also be posted on the blog in question...

Also, do keep in mind that however much we hate this war and strongly oppose the killing of innocent people, many many Americans, even us liberals, have friends and family who've been sent to war and it is those people you are talking about.  I think the situation is just more complex than you're allowing for.

 

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:53:18 PM EST
the owner of the place, marcos "kos" zuniga, is an ex-marine, that may explain their reaction in part. OTOH, dailykos, for all it purports to represent in the way of free speech, is known to be a propaganda outfit for the democrats. by proposing that refusing to fight might also be a form of bravery you are contradicting their party line.

i may suggest that, since jerome is a banker, you never ever post here in eurotrib affirming that a) central banks are a scam or b) that economic theory as taught at places like bocconi or harvard is BS, even if you think that you have sound reasons to say so.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:59:41 PM EST
I'm not aware of Jerome actually censoring anything like that.  I've said all property is theft, and I'm still here.  Not really his style.  Like I've said before, the quality of debate here does not compare to that of other blogs.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 05:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i may suggest that, since jerome is a banker, you never ever post here in eurotrib affirming that a) central banks are a scam or b) that economic theory as taught at places like bocconi or harvard is BS, even if you think that you have sound reasons to say so.

Because if you did either some member of the oppressive thought police might be really mean and ask you to justify your position or you'd be buried under a pile of people agreeing with you.

Meh.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 05:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kos was not a marine, he was an artillery guy.

As to what would supposedly tickle me:

a) I would disagree, but don't really mind anyone writing it. b) I have no idea what they teach at these places, so really couldn't comment!

Now, write that the FT is going downhill, the proof being that they publish silly LTEs from fly-by-night outfits with serious-sounding names and I might, just might get annoyed!


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 05:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

;^)

 Note to myself: Be nice to banks and to bankers!

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome is anything but nice to central bankers, at least to "bubbles" Greenspan.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kos Zuniga grew up, as did S. Gilliard, in a family that had come to positively experience the US military as a means that fostered his personal, or in Gilliard's case that of his father's, emancipation with (and into) mainstream middle-class America. Kos is a first generation immigrant kid from El Salvador, Steve is African American guy from NYC. Both tend to romanticize an alledged meta-ethos of the US miltary. Until only 5 years ago Gilliard was still very much proposing an imperialist 'Listen you punks, if you are not with us we'll show you and our military will bulldoze you into the ground you elitist European sissy bastards' policy approach.

On dKos I had posts deleted countless times and I also got banned by Gilliard, which led to one of (what now is considered by many) the greatest mythical pig fights and one of the most memorable internet wars ever (thousands of posts on various boards with troll attacks, cracking pass words, deleting entire data bases) and to the implosion and destruction of one the up to then most promising message board's.

But then Bush got into power and things changed. Gilliard became a liberal. Nice!

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 06:33:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  You're also responsible for one of the most courageous posts I've seen anywhere in this forum site : when you spoke out and up in support of the poster who dared to object that US military who have suffered so in Iraq must take their due share of the responsibility for their having accepted--willingly or not--to follow orders which are, even to some, perhaps many of themselves, illegal and immoral.

  This was done in that diary here where the memorial candles are flickering.  Your post pointed out how, by straight-forward analogy, those SS soldiers of the Nazi Reich who are deemed not worthy of memorials and homages and for whose cemetery visits you mentioned having protested Reagan and Kohl (?)--is really no different.  

  It really takes a person of exceptional insight, I think, to draw this astute parallel as you did.  Indeed, it's one or the other; trying to have it both ways is pure hypocrisy.  If this war is an unjust, illegal one, then our pride in those who are executing the executive's illegal orders in furtherance of that war is perverse, is misplaced to say the least.

  If the German people who supported Hitler were blame-worthy for having done so, then we, today, who say, 'I support our troops!' are hardly less so.  We cannot merely 'support our troops'; this is tantamount to saying "I support Bush and this war!", since the troops are there because and only because of his orders.

  We are living in denial and in a double-standard.  And that denial has cost uncounted Iraqis their lives and possessions.  One day, when our history is recounted, we shall have our place of shame right alongside--if not below--those who interned the Japanese-Americans in World War II, and other now recognized outrages of our history.

  You have rare integrity and fairness of mind, Ritter, very rare.  So many people, when the issue strikes close to home for them, prefer one standard for themselves and another for others.  I was hoping to meet you at the lunch.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu May 25th, 2006 at 04:26:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 By the way, my father, 88 years old, was a career US Air Force officer and pilot; my mother, a US Army Captain in the Nurse's Corps.  He doesn't 'support our troops' unless they're opposed to the war-- and he dosen't support the current "Commander-in-Chief" and, no, I'm not proud of the even minor role he had in support of the Vietnam War--in which he never had a direct or a combat role; all the same, it isn't something that I think should be pointed to in pride; he's my father and I love him; but that dosen't mean that I think his part in that war was something deserving respect or pride.

 If anyone taught me to understand these distinctions, it was he.

 I was born on a US military base abroad and I was walking before I discovered that not eveyone wore uniforms and saluted.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu May 25th, 2006 at 04:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See the responses in your thread in dKos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/22/164241/104). You were not troll rated, and I seriously doubt that what you say you wrote would be enough to ban you. Not on kos.

The option that the whole diary was deleted sounds the most likely.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 05:02:42 PM EST

  Up-date to my diary.  

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome is almost surely correct that the "management" at dKos had nothing to do with the disappearance of your comment.  If you had been in a flame war with the group that considers itself Kos's enforcers and troll rates as a gang, you would have known it at the time.

Your instinct that your comment would not be appreciated by some in authority, however, is probably not far off.  Political viewpoint may be part of the reason, but more important is the site's near obsession with its reputation and public perception.  They seem to view themselves as a quasi-official organ that must be scrub itself free of material that would subject it to criticism that it is a "fringe" institution.

dKos is not a place for the kind of reasoned discourse that is the norm here.  Many people fly in and leave comments having read scarcely more than a diary's title, and some very disagreeable personalities quickly resort to ad hominem.

But the site's size and structure do make it useful for some things.  Jerome has managed to disseminate a lot of information about energy policy to a large readership.  He patiently built up his credibility before nearly crossing the line of permissible discourse himself by daring to suggest that Americans might have to alter their lifestyles in the near future.

When I grew frustrated at the lack of front page coverage at dKos of Bush's push for war against Iran, I posted some diaries during the past couple of weeks.  When one appeared criticizing Senate Democrats for signing on to Santorum's Iran Freedom Support Act, I took quite a beating from the Dems uber alles crowd, but the diary still sat on the rec list for quite a while with the result that the information was all over the Internet the next day and a Green candidate for Senate even used it to put the heat on Herb Kohl in Wisconsin.  It would be tough to think of another forum where some guy can come out of nowhere (almost literally) and post something that has that kind of impact.

I am ready for a break from dKos myself.  Armando's rant and the accompanying thread about some diary ending up on the rec list reminded me of the times in elementary school when we would stand on the baseball diamond arguing about the rules until it was too dark to play.  All the elements were there: the guy who said he was going to get his father if everyone didn't give in to him and the "me too" chorus.  It was especially ridiculous because the whole thing was supposedly about maintaining a mature and serious image.  Oh my.

So proximity1, I can empathize with how you feel, but I know you're appreciated around here.

by goinsouth (imgoinsouth@gmail.com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 06:38:09 AM EST
dkos will give you what you put in, mostly. If you're polite, people will almost never be nasty to you. If you are wonky, the diaries will be as well. If you are responsive, people will remember you and be friendlier.
And the same with the symmetrical behaviors...

If you have controversial opinions, be ready to defend them with arguments, stay polite, and respond peacefully, even if people are hostile or aggressive.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 08:13:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 Thank you for that wise counsel.

 You're right-- I have controversial opinions; and I  expect them to be opposed, attacked, criticized, and I am prepared to defend them-- and even change them, even find my views corrected and undone by the arguments of those who can successfully show me my mistakes.

 I posted at the Dailykos an "Update" on my diary entry in which I responded to the 31 comments it drew.

  I see that Jerome is correct, as are others there, who pointed out that the "problem" was due in the first place to the diarist's deleting his or her own diary and, with it, the scores or the hundreds of posts which were appended in reply.

  As we saw with FarEasterner's attempt to edit one of his diaries, such a deletion can occur through a simple mis-struck key; though he shows us, as well, how a responsible person reacts when that sort of thing happens.  Since he was able to do so, he restored all the almost-lost replies verbatim and explained to us what had happened.

  That is exemplary of the quality of the participants here in contrast to what is inevitably the case in a site where hundreds and hundreds contribute.

  I know how very much Eurotrib's contributors are to be valued for the differences they demonstrate.  The quality of this place is rare.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not getting it possibly said something similar, but still seems to be around.

The militarism and 'Our troops are heroes' line is disturbing, and although it's influential on Kos, I'm not sure how endemic it is.

Yyou could try writing a diary about what happened. If it's removed and you get banned, you'll know there's a problem for sure. But it could turn into a debate, and that would be a good thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 08:24:29 AM EST


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