From Loss, Opportunity

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Despite my profound disappointment with Buhdy’s withdrawal, and the impending loss of Docudharma, I will not challenge (i.e try to talk him out of it) his decision. We all have to find our own path and while I regret the path Buhdy has chosen, I have no choice but to respect it. Buhdy is one of the best voices in the progressive blogosphere and his absence is truly our loss.

But I have to wonder if it was not with divine providence, or the secular equivalent thereof, that this decision came at this time. For as some of you may or may not know, I have been scheming on a new website for some time now, and it was only quite recently that the funding came through and the account was set up. I literally started working on it this past weekend.

I spent over a year securing the domain name My intent from the beginning was to create a place for progressives who have moved on from the failed strategy of “electing better Democrats” and “taking over” the Democratic party. As I have written repeatedly, it is the system itself that corrupts and even if there were some super-progressive candidates out there who could save the world, the carnival/freakshow that is the American, mass media controlled, electoral process prohibits us from electing them or even determining who these super-progressives would be.

So it is with this in mind that I set out to create a new, Independent Progressive community website as an alternative to Daily Kos, which has become nothing but a corporatist Democratic propaganda front.  

It was also my intent from the beginning to do something completely different from the scores of similar such sites. Before I explain exactly what I mean by that, let me refer you to a passage of my so-called posthumous GBCW that Buhdy was kind enough to post for me back in early 2009 upon my then recent banning from Daily Kos:


Imagine if everyone were to have gotten together 6 years ago and said, we need a community website for progressive Democrats that we can use to organize, raise money for our candidates, and spread our message.  How do we want to do it?

Now imagine someone stood up and said, “I have an idea. Why don’t we create this website. I will run it and provide the servers. For doing so, I will run ads and get all the ad revenue. Sound fair?”

“We’re still listening”, someone replies.

“I would also, of course, have complete and absolute authority over who can come, and who can stay. I will set the terms of the site, and I will set the rules. If someone breaks my rules, or even if I just get the sense that someone has broken the rules, I will banish them into the aether, never to be seen again. Still listening?”


“And most importantly, I will decide what gets printed on the home page. It will be my sole discretion who gets to speak and who does not. And to top it all off, since I will be the owner of the site, the site will be named after me – “Daily Me”.”

What do you think the response would have been? I’m pretty sure that people would reject that proposal and secondly, I’m pretty sure that this individual would be excluded from any future meetings of the steering committee.

That is what Daily Kos turned out to be. It is a disturbing model for a progressive community. I’ve always had a problem with it. But my abrupt banning draws it into focus for me again. At some point, progressives need to think about a truly open source model for online community organization. One that reflects the values and principles of democracy and fairness that all progressives share.

A truly open source model for online community organization.

That is what I want the Daily Progressive to be. A real community based site that operates like a real, democratic community. I have got it funded for a year so far. I will set it up, get it looking decent (here’s a rough mockup I did for DD when we were talking about revamping the site), and give it to YOU.

It will be YOURS.

Now, this can happen two ways. We can start from scratch – as I said, I have the account set up and the funding.

Or we can convert Docudharma, with its valuable and currently existing user base, into the Daily Progressive. I haven’t discussed this idea with anyone. I’m just throwing it out there.


Now, here’s where it gets a bit sticky. What kind of site will this be? Who will get to post? If it’s truly “open”, doesn’t that spell chaos?

I believe that for the site to be useful as more than just a place where people can post whatever, and the general incoherence that plagues the left as a whole will be reflected yet again on yet another lefty blog, we need a mission. A theme so to speak.

If you look at our nations democracy, you’ll notice the founders set up a system, roughly speaking, where the mob rules, but only within a certain set of parameters, as defined by the constitution.

Similarly, DP will have a sort of constitution. You can post whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t violate the constitution. And just like the US constitution, democracy does not trump the guiding principles (e.g, the Bill of Rights) How that is enforced will be a COMMUNITY decision. Not one handed down from a select group of elders.

So what would this mission/constitution be? I think it’s a fairly simple question. Here are some guiding principles I have in mind:

The primary objective is to inform, multiply knowledge, and ultimately build a powerful movement to defeat the very real attack on our country and the world by corporatism.

My biggest issue has always been to stop the murder of nature. Nature is essentially my God. It always has been. This is the single reason I even got into politics.

But, strategically, I know that to save the Earth’s many species and the complex systems they make up, we have to first take our country back from the psychopathic corporatist forces that are hellbent on destroying everything for their own short term gain.

The United States is the most important player in the global attempt to save the planet. There is no other country in which the opportunity exists for a movement by the people to conquer the corporatist savagery that threatens our people and our planet. The founders left us an invaluable weapon to defeat our enemies. It may not be enough, but I believe we have a MORAL IMPERATIVE TO TRY.

Unlike Buhdy, I see a great opportunity emerging for a revolution in US politics. The institutions of control that have kept our people distracted, diverted, and weak from perceived dis-empowerment are breaking down and losing credibility. The parasite class always goes to far, takes to much, and ends up causing their host to get a ravaging fever, thereby exterminating themselves.

The question is, who will be there when it happens to lead the people to a better world? Us? Or Rand Paul?

Change is going to come. The only question is who will shape that change and will it be for the better or worse.

That is really what we’re doing here. We are indeed trying to cause the desired change. But we are also making sure that when the paradigm shifts, the pieces fall into constructive patterns instead of chaos.

For the Fun Stuff

The mission is simple: we need to create a site that informs while reaching as many people as possible. My idea for that has always been to create a sort of combination of the Daily Kos/Docudharma model of community (with diaries etc) and The Huffington Post model of news aggregation (minus the establishmentarian, mindless regurgitation of whatever AP spews out and soft porn tabloidization).

The best of both worlds are the bottom-up content that diaries provide, and the daily, up to the minute aggregation of interesting and important news. Fortunately, the system that Docudharma runs on is pretty easily modifiable to accommodate these demands.

So that’s the basic idea. While I haven’t even developed a logo yet, and am very much in the preliminary stages of setting up DP, in the spirit of openness, I am going to do something unprecedented and link to it in its infant state. Daily Progressive. Again, since the site is not presentable yet, check out the mock up I did a while back for DD.

The specifics will be forthcoming. I just wanted to give everyone the opportunity to toss around the ideas presented here.

On one last final note, I want to add that there are too many goddamned progressive websites. It’s impossible to keep up with all of them and the balkanization that results is counter-productive to the building of a coherent movement.

For this reason, I have gone back and forth on whether to even do the Daily Progressive. It is only because I believe in the somewhat unique ideas, from open source management to the community-news combo model, and the almost spooky timing of Buhdy’s announcement, that I think it can work. Or, in other words, aside from it being a pretty cool and fun site, it can work because it will be yours.

I still believe in the mob.




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    • Eddie C on November 17, 2010 at 08:10

    Or how about a new deal, anything but this dealing from the bottom of the deck.

    I can’t agree more about “newer better democrat.” I thought they banned people over there for posting conspiracy theories.

    Best of luck, you always made sense to me. I signed in.  

  1. …. I am not dissing your efforts nor your passions (whether or not we always agree) but I just could not bring myself to using the word “progressive” anymore after seeing how it’s been co opted.  

    I won’t last long at anywhere there is “community” (cough…) moderation because any such site ends up getting infiltrated with other progressives that are something else entirely, and they are intent on either shutting me up or harassing this user name.   Humans are humans.  We like to pretend that something like that “could” work but the reality is it has a snowball’s chance in hell.   Somebody has to be the hammer who makes the final editorial decisions, or who tells somebody they need to stop saying something really disruptive.  I don’t have a problem at all with somebody creating a website and getting the revenues off of it and having a set of rules, but if they are just enjoying jerking people around for the hell of it, and setting it up to generate maximum conflict, and changing the rules constantly, while calling it “community moderation,”  I don’t have time for that sh*t.  But there is a reason that sort of thing works out well for them, because of basic rules of behavior.

    I saw some astonishing behavioral shifts after the 2008 election, and have had some pretty extraordinary things said to me, gotten some interesting threats,  or have seen some people who were given great weight to cast judgement and be judge and jury just *poof* up and vanish.  Others just forgot what they were blogging about…. or deleted it !  

    There is no cultural penalty for being a psychopath. Indeed, it is a very rewarding behavior.

    What a funny day.  I was going thru deleting some old emails and hit one extolling the virtues of community.  I laughed.   I’m happy they feel like they have bloggie friends.  (eye roll )  

    • Diane G on November 17, 2010 at 14:27

    enters the land of blog-starting with the idea of being the new dKos.

    It just has not yet happened for any of us. Its been tried a thousand ways.

    Not being negative or trying to rain on your parade, just throwing a little pragmatism into the fray.

    There has to be a NEW idea, something like an “Anti-trust” party that pits Americans of every conceivable philosophy against the corporate overtake of our government.

    • ANKOSS on November 17, 2010 at 18:19

    Great news, Tocque. Let us know when you are up and running. Progressives, reformers, and DFHs need another well-lit place to gather on the web. It’s just a matter of time before the political conversations on the web move from the coffee house to the assembly hall. Maybe you will be a leader of the movement.

  2. GO GO GO GO GO!

    I hope and pray it works!

  3. I will join you there!

  4. at the other camps. I don’t mind being part of a web that’s fluid that’s the beauty of this medium. Venting only goes so far and it is pretty useless as far as putting a dent in the ‘reality based’ left.

    I would like to see some organization/activism being hatched and nurtured, locally and nationally. Seems to me their is a coalition breaking apart before our very eyes that is up for grabs and looking for solutions that will fill the vacuum that the great Democratic sucking is leaving. There is offline in my liberal community a deafening silence. The Democrat’s are losing them and they are retreating in the onslaught of the Visigoths. They are not teh stupid, they have no voice yet.    

    The “Pass the prosperity around” bill is a good example, as the political history like the language of measurement has been distorted to the point where most believe that this is inevitable and their only choice is binary. Just my thought’s but I’m in, if you’ll have me lol. I haven’t done much dairying as I always figured somebody needed to be the audience you need a few of us who comment and create the illusion of lively dialog.

    I’ve been going to anti-capitalist meet ups over at dkos and although they are interesting they are limited due to the sites obsession with Obama and the concept of better Dems, neither of which jibes with anti capitalism.  We have among us some very skilled and talented people and their is a need for a place to congregate with some measure of sanity? and fearlessness.              

  5. As I posted elsewhere, I just found out about the demise of DocuDharma.

    One of the advantages of being nobody here, is that when it’s over you just pick up your stuff and you walk away. So I think that’s what I’ll be doing.

    I can’t pretend to understand the end of DD anymore than I can understand impermanence itself, the end of life the end of relationship the end of love the end of hope the end of childhood the end of growth the end of the end.  But I digress.

    It’s not like anybody is asking me what I think about the end of dd, the beginning of dp, the model for group blogs, their role, their meaning, why I write on them, who I’m writing to and why and on and on into a universe of meta that is so dense and overwhelming you feel like you’re swimming in jello.  I don’t like jello.

    I feel a little bit like I’m sitting in the peanut gallery watching the grownups do their dissolution and goodbye dance.  So I’ve put my toothbrush and my dental floss in my pocket and my keyboard under my left arm, and I’m waving goodbye.  It’s been a good run.  I’m also shaking my head. Adios.

    • rossl on November 18, 2010 at 03:55

    OK, here’s my ideal progressive/radical website.  Maybe it would take more resources to put together than you have, but here it is:

    There are two main sections.  One is dedicated to informing people – news, debate, opinion, etc.  The other is devoted to making it easier for people to take offline action.  That, I think, is essential.  I’m not even sure how that would work exactly.  Perhaps it would have to be based on some kind of geographical thing.  I don’t know.

    Please, before you set up the website, read this Malcolm Gladwell piece about social movements and social networks.  It’s got some hugely important ideas in it:

    Don’t just make it a hangout for political rejects.  Make it a place where we can challenge ourselves as radicals, celebrate the fact that we’re radical, and work to promote our ideas in politics successfully.

    Two suggestions for “featured” authors, whatever that may mean on your site:  Cassiodorus and Eli Beckerman.  I think you know Cassiodorus from his brilliant essays here and on DKos about socialism, ecology, consumerism, progressive ideology/strategy, and the like.  Eli Beckerman writes on a lot and is one of the more eloquent voices for political ecology and the Green Party out there.

    Good luck.

  6. a frustrating couple weeks since the election (over at DK), I have to get out of there.  The immaturity is too much.  I have to change what I’m doing so I’ll check it out.    

  7. but I’m going on a personal adventure and won’t be back for several years.

     Hopefully this country will be more receptive to the progressive cause when I get back.

  8. … an empty place, and a loss for me to have to do without reading and learning from this group’s collective and individual wisdom and mental and spiritual journeys.

    • banger on November 18, 2010 at 12:55

    … is to help create a compendium or wiki of well-researched and vetted data/statistics and historical facts that can be a quick reference for making our points in arguments. Google searches are very limited in the quality of data available.

    While logic and science are rapidly deteriorating as elements of Western thought I think that those treasures can be preserved. There is a history that explains, for example, the most important element of post WWII politics which is the covert/black ops and intel community not just in this country but internationally. This community is rarely referred to by progressives as being an important actor in all political events. The danger is that there’s a lot of CT stuff out there that is complete garbage so it is hard to get credible information but it exists if you look.

  9. (By forewarned, my experience of the progressive blogosphere is represented primarily by openleft, docudharma, firedoglake, democraticunderground, and huffingtonpost)

    The strong point is the sharing of information and commentary not readily available in other venues. Let’s not pretend that there’s no benefit, whatsoever…

    The first failure is the failure to lead in growing a progressive movement. One that transcends election cycles, and doesn’t kowtow to Democrats. (Or, on the other extreme, pretends that operating within the Democratic Party is always and everywhere doomed.)

    The second failure is the failure to self-promote. I remarked, within the last few days, that there’s not even a “tell a friend” feature on DD, firedoglake, or OpenLeft. Not smart.

    A third failure is the failure to be objective about political opponents. E.g., there’s been an awful lot of smearing of Tea Partiers, by people who weren’t interested in the facts, and sometimes even referred to polls that they obviously hadn’t read, (or read with any sense of objectivity and fairness). Another way of thinking about this is that the progressive blogs served as beds for hatetred and therefore (I claim) diversion from honest self-assessment. That, IMO, fed directly into the first failure. People could deceive themselves all the more that somehow repeating slurs about political opponents implied effective political action.

    A fourth failure (which is tough to get around for any blog) is the presence of inane comments that don’t contribute much to anybody’s understanding. That’s a huge problem at dailykos and democraticunderground, less elsewhere. (I wrote a blog about blog mechanics improvements, as a way to tame this problem. Nobody has implemented these ideas…)

    Closing this blog won’t do anything directly to adress these 4 major failures, though it could shake people up, and in a state where people feel alienated from a former, comfortable niche, they may ask themselves fundamental questions such as “What is the ideal purpose of my participation in an online community?”

    Furthermore, closing this blog will end DD’s contribution to the one positive that I mentioned at the outset of this post.

    I think much smarter than closing the blog is seriously trying to re-purpose the blog to growing a progressive movement. At the very least, I would urge buhdy to keep it open until a front-paged diary has been posted, along these lines. A title might be “What should DD have done differently, in order to grow a progressive political movement with real muscle?” One part of the answer (which should actually span the blogosphere, but which DD could have been a leader for) is to try and implement firedoglake’s Rayne’s “roadmap”, by matching the jobs that need to be filled with locals available to fill them. Alas, not even firedoglake is leading that effort! Not smart, IMO, but that just underscores why another blog should contemplate taking the lead. Obviously, a blog that shuts itself down will not be taking the lead in anything.

    The stripping of JeffRoby’s front page posting privileges when he started to write about Dump Obama (an attempt to organize a political effort which used a provocative meme as a wedge) was not a good sign that the PTB at DocuDharma were serious about changing the system. Closing DD fits in with that bad move, very well, unfortunately. I suppose budhy and company had good motives, but I question whether they’ve ever accepted the need to do more than throw ideas and information out there. (Plus sign the occasional online petition.)

    You can follow JeffRoby’s Dump Obama effort, as well as a closely aligned effort by themalcontent (which strikes me as basically the same, though they eschew the phrase “Dump Obama”), at firedoglake.

    • Xanthe on November 18, 2010 at 15:57

    Some of us will have to step up to the plate.  I get the impession many Docudharmians are really living on the edge – I’m not yet but who knows afer they rescue us from “Da Deficit” –

    Is there a business person among us?  Budgets, staff (other than volunteers)

  10. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

    You’ll never know unless you try.

    Oh heres another one…

    People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure. ~ Lao Tzu

    I would like to say… be mindful that buhdy, in his essay, stated his sense is that DD has been a success. And I agree. It’s just time for him to change mountains. He has handled all this with not only grace but also attention to the void that his departure creates.

    The most “successful” occurrence will be … the generation of new spawn.

    There should be adjustments, alterations, modifications, newness… measure the place for new curtains, take out the trash, re-boot the hard drive.

    Honor your blog-“parents”… evolve.

    You can count me in, Tocque.


    What they mean is that the work extracted by lowering a test mass (m), “from infinity” (on an ideal string), to the (precise) surface of a black hole event horizon, is exactly mc2 .


    Basically, the coming DD “event horizon” engages the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics on several different levels.

    semi-snark: I am engaging in silliness, but with a grain of truth…maybe half a grain.                                                        

    • on November 18, 2010 at 18:59

    I like it and I believe it!!!! Essay help

    us to understand it from the inside!!!

    • ANKOSS on November 18, 2010 at 23:43

    Action is the operative word and the great deficit in the progressive blogosphere. Some means must be found for preventing the blogging experience from bleeding off political energy that should be properly channeled into action that can bring political change.

    This means efficient new coupling mechanisms between blogging and fund-raising, boycotts, flash-mobs, nonviolent protest, and the whole catalog of political methods that deliver change rather than vent hot air.

    All the needed components for this synthesis are rapidly emerging. Social networking technology is the fastest evolving sector of the Internet. Surely we can find a way to direct new tools of communication and association toward arresting the political decay and institutional dysfunction that is all around us.

    If nothing else, we need a forum for exchanging ideas that will accelerate the evolution of Internet-based political action. It may seem like a lot of meta, but if it results in tools that can repair our government, it will be worth more than a million empty rants and screeds.

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