You can’t help but chuckle.

While I have a real life of quiet notoriety (I’m not kidding when I say there are certain rooms where people are obligated to stand when I enter) I suppose most of my readers are familiar with me through my internet presence under the pseudonym ek hornbeck and involvement in Daily Kos.

Not that it was ever official, indeed Meteor Blades wonders to this day who I am.

When (rarely) I attend Netroots Nation (née Yearly Kos) I go by Roger Murdock, airline pilot. I’m out there busting my buns every night! Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!

I have people who like me, mostly because they misunderstand my work, and those that hate me with a passion. This is a mostly true story- I spent a night in the ICU stabilizing before surgery. You can hear the nurses at the nursing station and to my surprise they were talking about Daily Kos and me specifically. Alas I was only the second most despised person in that conversation and I would have put it all down as a hallucination (not that I was on any interesting drugs mind you, but I had lost some blood) except that they reiterated it at the next shift change.

Good to know people are paying attention.

The first time I was suspended it was because I accused Barack Obama supporters of being Good Germans if they approved of his suppression of the Abu Ghraib torture photos (still suppressed despite court orders). The second time it was because I correctly called Denise Oliver Velez a rapist apologist when she defended one of her sycophants who had abused another member and personally and from a position of authority as a Front Pager belittled in the process that member’s painful exposure of her personal experience as a victim.

I regret nothing.

Both my suspensions were administrative since my mojo (community standing) was unassailably off the charts. After the first suspension they begged me to come back which I reluctantly did, after the second I offered to buy them out. Daily Kos hemorrhages money faster than I did when I went to the hospital and the only thing that keeps it going is Markos’ far more successful sports blog, SB Nation, and his media partnership with Vox. That’s what keeps him in Bösendorfers folks, not your contributions.

Which is why he cares so little about his members. User content is a nuisance to him and as a consequence has become progressively (about the only progressive he can claim and not in a good way) more difficult and participation has tanked. I wouldn’t give him one thin dime for the site today.

Now you may well ask if I’m a seething cauldron of resentment and hurt and though that may be your perception I’m happy to be shed of the work (5 franchises plus occasional pieces). It’s no secret I have multiple sockpuppets to circumvent the one diary a day rule (conveniently dropped as activity dwindled to embarrassing levels) as well as several family accounts I gave as gifts. I see what I want to which is not much, haven’t even visited in about a year.

And yet, schadenfreude. It gratifies me to see stories like this.

Democrats struggle for unity as protesters swarm Netroots convention
by Dan Roberts, The Guardian
Sunday 17 July 2016 12.00 EDT

The surprise walk-out of protesters from a conference of US progressives in St Louis this weekend forced the cancellation of its panel on “translating millennial votes into power”. But here was more vivid testimony. Despite Sanders urging his supporters to back Hillary Clinton in an official endorsement a few days earlier, the energy once captured by his campaign – and beyond it, in the Black Lives Matter protests – appeared already to be slipping out of the hands of Democrats.

Hands Up United – a group born of anti-police violence protests in nearby Ferguson – brought both the Netroots convention and surrounding freeways to a standstill, accusing the largely white delegates of becoming “occupiers” in the “disunited States of America”. “Mic check, mic check,” they chanted, in an echo of the Occupy movement that used voices in the street to amplify its message.

Across the corridor in another unofficial Netroots spin-off, a different group of activists were plotting to do the same on a bigger stage in Philadelphia, where the Democratic party is holding its national convention in a week’s time. Democracy Spring is planning non-violent civil disobedience on a daily basis, scheduling sit-ins and mass arrests until the party promises to scrap the system of super-delegates that so enraged Sanders supporters during the long and bitter nomination contest.

Organisers of Netroots – which was set up in 2006 to celebrate internet bloggers “gathering virtually in the new public square” – put on a brave face despite being upstaged by events in real public squares.

“The progressive left is in the ascendence in this country,” added Keith Ellison, one of the few Democratic congressmen to back Sanders but, like many leaders in Washington, now sliding reluctantly behind the Clinton campaign.

Despite the official optimism about post-Sanders unity, behind the scenes, the mood is described as “subdued” and the movement as on a knife edge.

“For many progressives, and Democrats in general, it’s a wait-and-see moment around [Clinton’s] vice presidential pick,” said Stephanie Taylor of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), who called the imminent decision “a proxy for what we can expect from her administration”.

Despite some recent gestures toward the Warren and Sanders wing of the party, progressives are nervous due to Clinton’s refusal to budge on trade, where the Obama administration has been trying to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement through Congress.

“There are very powerful corporate interests who are very strongly opposed to blocking TPP,” said Taylor. “It’s the ugly reality of corporate capture that we are seeing.

“If Clinton picks someone like Tim Kaine who voted for fast-track, that – combined with the glaring omission of TPP from the Democratic platform – will depress energy and will be an anaemic choice,” she added.

“We can’t take Donald Trump for granted. He can attack Democrats from the left now on trade unless we shore up opposition to TPP. In a moment that is so populist in this country, we don’t want to leave doors like that open.”

The wrong choice of vice-president could quickly kill the delicate spirit of unity, but the PCCC is resigned to the fact that the kind of the civil war seen in Britain’s Labour party between populists and centrists might still be warranted.

“It’s a fine line because you don’t want civil war, but it’s important for progressives not to be taken for granted,” said Taylor.

Kai Newkirk, campaign director of Democracy Spring, said Clinton’s new promise to introduce a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign contributions was only a tentative step toward reform.

“It’s awesome. It’s totally dope that we are going to do that. We can feel that they are feeling the heat,” he told a group of activists, clicking their fingers and waving “sparkles” with their hands to show agreement.

“These are all good steps, but we are pushing for something more: to get party leaders as well as her to give up superdelegates as a sign of good faith.”

To underline what is at stake if campaign finance reform is not tackled head-on, other progressive candidates explained how rigged the system has become.

“The day job of most congressmen is to be a sycophant: telling jokes to rich people and becoming royal court watchers gossiping about the dreams of the wealthy,” said Zephyr Teachout, a recently nominated Democratic candidate for New York’s 19th congressional district who is following the Sanders model of relying on small donations. “Two people can equal my six months of fundraising with one stroke of a pen.”

Like a younger version of Warren, Teachout is all too aware of the dangers of letting the Sanders movement drift away from mainstream politics.

“People are extremely angry and shut out and numb, and our job is to grab that before people totally get numb and drop out,” she added. “Don’t you dare give up. We need to fight for a democracy that we have yet to achieve.”

“Sanders ran the most successful progressive campaign in the last 50 years, so it gives us hope that the Democratic party can still be the home of progressive values,” said Alan Grayson, who is running against the Florida Republican Marco Rubio for the state’s crucial Senate seat.

“Our democracy is not quite dead yet,” added Grayson. “We are not at the point where the oligarchy has everything it wants … the Sanders campaign is a sign that we are doing something; that there is a possibility that we can have a functioning democracy in this country.”

But not everyone gathered at this fast-fragmenting coalition of progressives in St Louis was so sure.

“We live in the age of Ferguson,” warned one of the uprising’s most charismatic leaders, the Rev Osagyefo Sekou. “The occupation of public space, the rejection of traditional leadership and calling into question systems that previous generations sought to become a part of.

“The age of Ferguson demands that we ask a different set of questions,” he added. “Much of it is not going to happen in electoral politics; it’s going to be young people in the streets. I am not saying don’t vote. I am saying vote and. Voting is not the end goal. Voting is harm reduction.”

So Denise, Meteor Blades, Markos- are you listening or is it more of the Neoliberal Technocratic Dictatorship? More of the “I Got Mine” entitlement or… I don’t know… democracy?

I was a movin’ man in my younger days
But I’ve grown out of my ramblin’ ways
I left that road so far behind
Now I know, oh baby

I got mine
I got mine
I got mine
Oh baby, I got mine

So baby when I rolled, I rolled deep
So much so, I didn’t get much sleep
Rock and roll hustle all the time
Now I know, oh baby

I got mine
I got mine
I got mine
Oh baby, I got mine

Whoa, I got mine
I got mine
I got mine
Oh baby, I got mine

Next Netroots is in Atlanta in August 2017. I’m trying to persuade TMC this is a bad idea.

2 comments

  1. Vent Hole

    • BobbyK on July 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Heh!

    Schadenfreude indeed.

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