Bloggers Behaving Badly: FDL Moderating Team

In follow-up to a post I made regarding an entry by Rusty1776 at FDL, I want to let people know that the site moderators have falsely removed the entry in question as spam and banned Rusty from posting.

Rusty’s entry, which in no way violated site rules, argued that it is immoral for Democrats not to issue a primary challenge to Barry Obama in next year’s election for the office of the presidency.  He was subsequently flamed by Bill Egnor, Rayne, RBG, Kelly Canfield, and a suck-up named newtonusr, who apparently took it upon himself to stalk Rusty across at least two threads with the intention of goading him to angry outburst.  The plan worked, and the moderators got the pretense they required to ban Rusty from FDL.

That this happened should not be surprising.  FDL is, like Daily Kos, Open Left, and other so-called leftist blogs, in reality a right-wing gatekeeper blog designed to neuter any real organization by the Left that is independent of the right-wing Democrat Party.  Its moderators have proven over and over again that their sole purpose is to maintain an online environment wherein people may complain about how bad the Democrats have become, but are not allowed to do anything beyond that.  People like Jeff Roby are similarly intimidated with the same tactics used to rationalize the banishment of Rusty1776, with the same message sent loudly and clearly: “You are here as window dressing for the veal pen.  Dare try to be or do more than that, and you are gone.”

This is why it is so important for genuinely independent blogs and activism sites to be independent of the Democrats, or for that matter, any political party.  As long as the Left remains tied to political parties, it remains subservient to the ambitions and interests thereof.

If there is anything positive about this latest abuse of power by a self-proclaimed liberal blog’s moderators, it’s that its agenda is now official, and now publicly exposed.



It seems that the diary entry by Rusty1776 that was flagged as spam (I posted a screen capture in my previous entry) has been restored, at least for now.  In the interests of showing you what it was that so offended the FDL moderating team, I am posting the entry below.  You be the judge as to whether or not it warranted the harsh treatment Rusty received.

By: Rusty1776 Friday February 25, 2011 2:52 pm

Does morality have any meaning to “progressives” who refuse to support a primary challenge of Obama?

They’ll be offended that I’m questioning their morality, they’ll be offended that I put “progressives” in quotation marks when I refer to them. Well ask me if I give a damn. They’re going to vote again for a “Democratic” president who authorizes the assassination of American citizens, who’s complicit in war crimes and torture, who protects Bush Administration thugs and Wall Street criminals instead of prosecuting them, who’s abused power and obstructed justice ever since he lied his way through his oath of office, who did nothing when five rightwing freaks on the Supreme Court gutted what’s left of fair elections in this country, who praised the Chamber of Commerce after its savage blitzkrieg of attack ads decimated his party, who will do whatever he considers necessary to appease corporate fascists so he can “win” reelection.

They can huff and puff all they want about Republican criminals being even worse than “Democratic” criminals, but it’s nothing but the huffing and puffing of hypocrites. Morality either matters or it doesn’t.

Human beings set themselves on fire in the Middle East in an ultimate protest against dehumanizing regimes. Hundreds of them have sacrificed their lives for democracy, in Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen and Bahrain. Libyan protesters were slaughtered in air strikes, they’re being gunned down by mercenaries, but they are not backing down, they’re still in the streets, they’re taking control of entire cities, they’re ready to die for democracy, they’re ready to die just for a chance at democracy.

But here in America, the illusion of democracy is good enough for many “progressives”, their Lesser Evil strategy has been an epic failure for 30 years, it’s had catastrophic consequences, but every election year they wipe the blood off it, pledge allegiance to it, and expect us to admire their pragmatic and sophisticated moral cowardice.

Primary challenging Obama needs the support of Netroots leaders like Jane Hamsher, but she’s concluded that a primary challenge would be really stupid because it would inflict seriously serious harm and damaging damage on the “Democratic” Party and ruin everything for everybody. She has this all figured out . . .

I don’t think a primary challenge to Obama is realistic, it just won’t happen. And even if it did, I can’t see how it would be successful. He dominates the party machinery, and anyone who would challenge him would be hobbled by a damaged and embattled brand in the wake of a nasty intra-party fight.

If we primary challenge Obama, would we be shot dead in the streets? No. Would fighter jets drop bombs on us? No. The consequences would be even worse-there’d be a “nasty intra-party fight” and we’d have “a damaged and embattled brand.”

I don’t like to criticize Jane. I love Jane, I love Firedoglake, if I didn’t love her and this community I wouldn’t be here. We’ve seen the world change dramatically since she posted that assessment, because of one street vendor in Tunisia, revolutions have erupted across the Middle East. Was it realistic to think that would happen?

Well it happened, it happened because people have seen enough. Labor protests are spreading across America, conditions are right for primary challenging that corporate hack in the White House, the corporate elites have been rocked back on their heels, we have to ramp up the pressure and keep ramping it up.

I’ve been told about the FAQ’s, I’ve been told to tread carefully, but I’ve seen Obama take our campaign contributions, I’ve seen him take our activism, I’ve seen him take our help and our votes, I’ve seen him take the huge majorities in Congress and nationwide mandate for change we gave him and throw it all away with a Centrist grin, a wink at Wall Street, and a middle finger salute for everyone on the Left. He expects us to support him again in 2012, he thinks we have no choice.

I don’t know if the Left will finally take a stand and primary challenge that grand bargaining asshole, I don’t know what the “leaders” of the Netroots will say about it in the months ahead, but I know what Dr. King would say about it, I know what Bobby Kennedy would say about it, I know what Paul Wellstone would say about it. They’d tell us the Left gave America the New Deal, they’d tell us the Left gave America the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, they’d tell us the Left shut down the Vietnam War, they’d be ashamed to see us sitting here in the ruins of American democracy, afraid to primary challenge a puppet president because it might damage his puppet party and hand power to the other puppet party, they’d tell us what no one on the Left should have to be told . . .

We’re better than this. We are better than this.

We need to primary challenge Obama. Refusing to primary challenge him is immoral. I’m talking to you, Jane. I’m talking to you, Firedoglake. I’m talking to the front-pagers, I’m talking to the editors, I’m talking to the moderators, I’m talking to the diary writers and the readers, I’m talking to all of you. Morality is not irrelevant, it’s not meaningless, it matters, it matters more than anything else.

We all have the blood of the innocent on our hands, we’ve all been complicit in the crimes of that “government” in Washington, but we don’t have to be complicit any more. We can start washing that blood off our hands, we can begin atoning for our complicity and moral cowardice, we can take the first step down the road to redemption by primary challenging that pretty-word-peddling-puppet of the oligarchs.


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    • TMC on March 2, 2011 at 00:31

    Rusty is on the money about Obama and his amorality and Hillary is no better

  1. “Its (FDL) moderators have proven over and over again that their sole purpose is to maintain an online environment wherein people may complain about how bad the Democrats have become, but are not allowed to do anything beyond that.

    Wrong. In point of fact, they have allowed themalcontent to kick off the initial organizing for the New Progressive Alliance(NPA), which I view as an outcome (in part) of jeffroby’s Dump Obama diaries. They’re not bending over backwards to support NPA, and have refused requests for a permanent subweb at FDL, but that’s their prerogative.

    They also tend to post the following disclaimer in diaries that are strongly anti-Democratic Party and/or strongly anti-Obama:

    Editor’s note: Once again, a reminder that diaries and comments expressed by each of MyFDL’s community members are the opinions of the individual community member author and do not reflect the opinions of MyFDL or Firedoglake and its affiliate sites. See About Us.

    Oh, the horror of it all! The injustice of it!

    NPA will be looking to use a primary challenge to Obama as sort of a catalyst to the growth of a new progressive organization that has an electoral focus. A steering committee has been formed, that includes Cindy Sheehan, Cornell West, and David Swanson.

    I suggest that anybody who is interested in volunteering for NPA look up themalcontent’s comments and diaries at MyFDL, where he has often posted an email address for people to use, to get involved.

    I’m pretty sure Archangel M knows all this, which raises the question as to why he would post such a misleading diary.

    Unmentioned in this diary is that (AFAICR) Rusty1776 got banned for his comments in his diary, where he accused some FDL moderator of lying.


    BTW, I do agree that trying to organize against the Democrats at dailykos would, indeed, get you banned.

  2. No real leftie other than Ralph Nader would ever be asked.

  3. I used to post on Talk Left. Then, when discussing police abuse, one poster and I got into it. He (supposedly) was a former Chief Deputy at a Sheriff’s Dept. After he (and others) attacked me as not being a cop, I faxed the site owner of Talk Left a copy of my certificate from the police academy.

    Then, after she posted how I was indeed a cop, it turned into “who was MORE of a cop”.

    I left…

  4. … that I was summarily stripped of my front-page status by Buhdy and Nightprowlkitty for planning — and only planning — to post one of my first Dump Obama pieces here at Docudharma.

    That is why my presence here has been minimal.  If the atmosphere here has changed, I would find that very encouraging.

  5. and they make the rules.  It has been ever thus.  

    I have major issues with Jane Hamsher and I’m not much of a fan of Markos, but they aren’t obliged to please me.  Indeed they don’t even try.  

    Why not just vote with your feet?  Start your own blog and make your own rules.

    Then you will always be at home.

  6. Link . . .

    It’s an open thread.  Egnor needs to be confronted about this, the cover-up is still in place, they’re lying and getting away with it.  Even if I’m reinstated, I’ll be targeted and harassed as long as he’s still there.

    I’ve seen the supporting posts here and at other sites, and appreciate them, but whoever wants me to keep blogging needs to get in his face.  Tonight.  Tomorrow night.  The next night.  


  7. my hackles go up when any writer uses the term

    Democrat Party

    rather than the more proper “Democratic Party”.  Perhaps your thoughts are correct, but any time that I see these code words, I sort of shut off any further interest insofar as what the writer has to say.  I immediately go defensive, and when on the defensive, it is difficult to assimilate any other information, regardless how apt it might be.

    I do not think that this is confined just myself.  I have seen Tweety calling out several folks for using that term, and, in my experience, the ones who use it most often are Limbaugh, Ingraham, Malkin, and a few other very hard right folks.

    If I just took this wrong, please forgive me.  However, if you are a serious progressive, you will apologize for using this codeword incorrectly and NEVER do it again.


  8. …of happenings here at DD, I find this thread to range between hilarious and delusional.

    I am sorry for all the people who have been hurt, and just want to let go of all the troubles and fantasies.

    Remember OPOL?

                    PEACE OUT

  9. Rusty 1776 is a TRUTH-SEEKER!

    America needs MORE people like Rusty.

    America is ruled by Tyrants.

    Wall Street tyrants.

    Media tyrants.

    Pentagon tyrants.

    Corporate Owned Politician tyrants.

    The top 1% corporatist tyrants own America.

    When will We the People overthrow “our” TYRANTS?!?!


    The 1776 Spirit is spreading across the Middle East – it is time to bring the 1776 Spirit back to America.

    Obscene greed & endless wars are the cancers of tyrants.


  10. Lame.

    I’m gonna go play Left 4 Dead 2 now.

    Call me when somebody get e-stabbed or something more awesome then this happens:

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  11. Rusty was right on.  

  12. You may remember I had some ambivalent feelings about your initial diary, though I had an aversion to Egnor’s piece following it; and I’d been unable to sort out why.  I finally got it last night; or at least part of it.

    I spend a lot of time in email relationships discussing morality, ethics, conscience, etiology of beliefs, religion, God…with people who are a lot smarter and more thoughtful about many of the subjects than I am, but still enjoy kicking them around.  Most of my e-friends are blogging friends from TPM Cafe days; and some strangely strong friendships developed just from typed words.

    Many of them moved to a small somewhat centrist-Dem site when the Cafe closed; I went to FDL, and reluctantly posted some blogs where my friends went.  

    One day a blogger put up a rerun of a blog asking, “Which side are you on?” and the battle again was over freaking Jon Stewart allegedly conflating Keith Olbermann and R. Maddow and the whack-jobs on Fox cable.  The little I heard from Stewart made me think it was an afterthought to smack them, but I don’t really know.  

    When a few of us asked about the blogger’s utter defense of MSNBC-ers (some of us were detractors), a flame-war broke out.  Two of my favorite writer/thinker/ethicists portrayed it a good v. evil war, and that Stewart was on the wrong side.

    I asked for a slightly more nuanced discussion and evidence, and was smacked HARD by longest and best e-friend of a year and a half.  For the first time in my life, I struck back, and am not proud of myself, but I hated that we were asked to choose sides by calling Stewart evil.  WTH?  A comedian?  With some wasted of energy (IMO) rally for ‘civility’?

    My friend broke off our friendship that day, and I’m not allowed to get in contact with him to even try to explain myself, or explore the issues.  

    You seem to be putting yourself into a similar ideological corner, making enemies of many former friends and supporters, from what I see on this thread.  How sad for all!

    One Docudharma essayist here I knew and loved from the past would often inflame readers with challenging diaries like you do; his eye was almost infallible, and he could see through bullshit faster than most of us.  And I would ask him to tone it down so that more could HEAR him and get his meaning.  Some days he just couldn’t, but…there it is.  The past two years have vindicated him and his perceptions about Obama, if not his style, bless his soul. ;o) But he never came out and issued challenges to our sense of morality; he just led us there by calliing out the Prez.

    Whoever said upthread that you seem to be letting this be too much about you, not your mission, may be onto something.  Remember the piece I put up about falling into the abyss ourselves?  I meant it: when we start to take ourselves or our plights and name our enemies too seriously, we need to fucking go outside and look at the stars, or go feed the hungry, or get drunk and dance.

    I’ll say that RL tragedies have burned out lots of my self-righteousness, rage, and even absolute surety about life, and I do want to try to listen more to One Love movements in the name of building peace.  when I snarl and bitch about something someone said to me online or in RL, my mate will laugh and say (with irony), “One Love, dear!”

    Take a break, Rusty; most of us are in your corner, and you are making things harder.  I’m not comfortable at FDL, and if it feels less so in the near future, I won’t stay.

    (I love Docudharma, but my particular brain can’t do well with the blogging software and colors and fonts.)

    Godspeed, Rusty, and all of you.

  13. on this issue (including mine) is indicative of what a mess the blogosphere really is — more worry about one’s personal stuff (even if almost everyone is behind a username) than about issues or doing a damn thing about anything.

    There’s 9 comments on the thread here about Private Manning’s potential death sentence.

    Sure, there’s an issue here–the primarying of Obama.  But that debate has been sidelined by the personal realm (probably intentionally) –and clearly more people will comment and get excited about their online fake personas and ‘friends’ than about anything else.

    I fear what is happening here is that the US now has an ‘activist caste’ — which does nothing but fight with itself.  

    Just like the US has a military caste that does nothing but lobby for more money to feed it’s useless self.

    We’ve seen the power of the internet in revolt in other countries. But in the US, all these private for profit fiefdoms rule — and they do rule the debate.  These interests rule also thru trolls, and thru paying posters to post on Wiki, and much more.  

    Here I/P is censored.

    Think about that for a minute.

    One of the biggest issues of the time, and it can’t be broached on a ‘political’ blog–because it ‘belongs to someone’.  Sure it does.

    The debate is being guided. And we seem all to willing to be guided towards worrying about insults to our username then we are to pursuing anything substantial, so I’ve come to think of this as another diversion, like NASCAR or the NBA.  

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