Daily Kos in Freefall

I don't read DK, or C99 much either truth be told. Sometimes I get sick of reading twitter, and the NYT has nothing of interest(most of the time), probably about once a month or so I spend 5 minutes scrolling down DK. Not much of interest. Trump bad, Republicans bad, blah, blah, blah.

Yesterday I ran a across a stupid front pager piece with a nugget. I guess not enough people are writing free content. The piece made reference to this article of a month ago. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/5/22/2031595/-Some-troubling-long-... Daily Kos is losing writers and commenters at an accelerating rate, and the powers that be are flummoxed, or maybe they don't care.

I checked here to see if it had been written about. gjohnsit touched on the thing periferally via the alexa ranking here https://caucus99percent.com/content/daily-kos-continues-drift-towards-ir...

It started in what should have been a banner year, 2016, many of you probably remember it as the time Kos banned Sanders supporters. 2016 had a net negative number of people engaging with the web site. 2017, 18, and 19 continued from bad to worse. Out of 30,000 to 40,000 users who post 2020 lost 18,000, they gained a bunch too but lost more than they gained. A net loss of 9500. The number of writers and commenters has been cut in half since 16.

But it has nothing to do with bannings.

Or the general toxic atmosphere that comes down from the top. It's been the policy forever if the people of DK didn't like what you said, they'd can your ass, they wouldn't argue with you, or engage in diaries, they'd just bojo. There's a lot that goes on there with people who seldom post but are maybe up on the masthead.

Does any of this matter? Maybe not. Seems like there are many many people on the payroll that crank out mindless claptrap, mostly woke shit. Kos is funded by somebody, to what ends I can't imagine, not to push turnout, not to provide the intellectual breathing place for hacks in between working for patronage jobs like the right wing orgs do. These folks aren't bright enough to work for any administration, they'd just mess things up worse.

I'd celebrate if DK went dark, I don't drink but I'd maybe take a slug of whiskey over that one.

Dad during siesmic.jpg

40 years ago with a headband

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The number of writers and commenters has been cut in half since 16.

But it has nothing to do with bannings.

I was afraid that DKos shot itself in the foot.

From the DKos diary: "I don’t know what the cause(s) are, and thus can’t figure a solution, but we need to find one."

Oh hey! I think I know the cause.

As for the long-hair and headband, you remind me of a younger me! Just a few years different.
Did you always have a joint rolled up in your headband as well?

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@gjohnsit No, that guy was the pilot and he didn't mind but we tried to keep things cool. Deniability.

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@gjohnsit I guess bannings have a knock on affect also. At the time you were banned your posts were very well received. You talked of economic issues that not many other people were writing about. People see you get banned and they think, "wow, they canned that guy for what? I better not say anything or I'll get shit canned too" and then they wander away.

I've seen people banned because they were on the wrong side of an issue. No flagged comments, no controversial comments, no prior time outs, old time posters from 04 and similar, 4 gone in as many days. The kinds of people who post 15 or 20 comments a year. Not even contentious issues, just one where the masthead felt differently. Wonder who the mods are, I'll bet they're regular users not the professionals often hired by web sites.

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The CIA will come up with something new.
hope you are well, ban nock
Very cool bandana

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Pricknick's picture

I heard about kos here.
Hope that's a lasting record.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick
and if things keep going in the same direction, maybe the last two times

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@gjohnsit blah blah blah...

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Cassiodorus's picture

I used it as a place for cultural criticism. I published hundreds of diaries. I was able to get free books on the pretext of "if you give me a review copy of your book, I will review it in Daily Kos, and I'll send you a link to the review."

Markos' decree of the Ides of March of 2016 was that only "constructive criticism" of Hillary Clinton would be allowed on his blog after April 1st. There is, of course, no such thing as constructive criticism of Hillary Clinton. The Clintons are the Democratic Party equivalent of the Sopranos. You say nice things about them, or you shut your mouth, and to do otherwise is to mark yourself as "not a Democrat." Which is okay with me: I'm not a Democrat.

(as a footnote: Joe Biden isn't much better than a Clinton, but Donald Trump made the horrible mistake of making the 2020 election about himself, something a Republican should never do, and so Biden won where Clinton lost.)

In the month after the Ides of March, I slowly and steadily copied and pasted 95% of my diaries onto a Wordpress account -- located here -- and deleted them from Daily Kos.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus It was only briefly good way back in 2003 when Billmon and Steve Soto were front page contributors. After that the FP mostly sucked, but there were some decent diaries/diarists, generally too far left for most readers. Early in 2009 it became an Obama cult site -- some would say that happened at the beginning of the '08 election cycle, but for those that had been there during the '04 election cycle, it wasn't significantly different -- and that's when it ceased to be a forum for political discussions. Hence, people there totally missed how Democrats lost the House in 2010. As I wasn't there much after that, imagine they were shocked when Democrats lost the Senate in '14. If they'd figured out those two elections, they would have had less difficulty understanding why Clinton lost to a reality show bozo.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Marie But nobody was forcing you to read it. And you could still find the most recent OPOL diary there, with hundreds of uprates of course.

Sane people figure out early on that the Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, is a cult. Nonetheless, back in the day there were a lot of readers over at Daily Kos who had figured that out and who were going there to read stuff from people who weren't cult members. That all ended in March of 2016.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus It was a CIA op from day one. Ban Nock saw it. The bojo's were a thing from the get go.

Control.

I am proud to have been banned multiple times there for pointing out the truth about Pelosi, Obama and Her Herness.

My last banning came well before 2016.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain from people who deserted a website that was ranked by Alexa in the thousands, only to join up with a website ranked by Alexa at 774,555. I love this place; don't get me wrong. But very few people actually come here.

The primary thing that had allowed Daily Kos to be a successful website was that, before March 2016, Markos didn't insist that it be the Democratic Party version of "Pravda." Oh, sure, he had it censored. And I had to work around that censorship, because I didn't want to be obliged to post at websites ranked by Alexa at 774,555. I wanted people to see my stuff. And I needed that platform, because I had neither the topical urgency nor the media presence nor the status as a former candidate possessed by Krystal Ball, who has recently discovered that she can do without The Hill.

But all that is over, because Markos, being the CIA asshole he always was, decided to make Daily Kos into the propaganda organ of the Supreme Soviet of Partisan Neoliberalism instead of having it be the relaxed propaganda organ it once was. I figure someone in the Clinton campaign hit him up to it. After a few drinks, they said something like "Markos, you really ought to exercise some iron-fisted control over what happens at Daily Kos. It is, after all, your blog." Hillary had some rather deep tentacles, and hired some rather vicious people to use them.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Battle of Blair Mountain notion that dKos was a CIA front don't you? (I'm speaking of the early days 2002-2008.)

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ovals49's picture

@Marie
Or someone earlier?

I was there in the run up to ‘04 but only heard rumors of a Kos-CIA connection. The place soon became an intolerable echo chamber, politically, but there were still good science writers and the Deepwater Horizon disaster to keep me interested for a while longer. When the bo-jo purging ramped up I kept my head down for a while and then realized that there was little left of value under the orange banner for me, and landed here. What a relief!

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The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

@ovals49 but I wasn't all that good at remembering all the names there.

The genesis, imho, was Markos' claim that he'd earlier applied to the CIA, implied that he was a prime candidate, and decided against it because he didn't want to live in VA. I blew it off as bs. Or highly embellished bs. In retrospect, it may have been misdirection away from who/what he was covertly seeking funding from. No shortage of entities actively funding the corralling of Democrats and Republicans.

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ovals49's picture

@Marie
There is, however, an interesting interview of Kos from a June 2006 Commonwealth Club transcript

So, I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become Clandestine Services. And it was at that point that the Howard Dean campaign took off and I had to make a decision whether I was gonna kinda join the Howard Dean campaign, that whole process, or was I was going to become a spy. (Laughter in the audience.) It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that if, if I joined that, they’d want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, DC, and I hate Washington, DC. Six years in Washington, DC [inaudible] that makes the decision a lot easier. [my bold]

Kos pretty much opened the door to CIA speculations. Unless he was “just kidding!” about that too. Of course the whole thing could have been hatched by “Clandestine Services”. Hard to know anything with certainty these days.

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The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

@ovals49 and it might be the one that led to him being labeled a CIA front. However, he made a similar but much vaguer claim much earlier than 2006 at dKos as part of his bio. Unfortunately, can't date that earlier claim but my sense is that it was early on. Like in 2003. In that one I'm almost sure that he didn't claim to be as far along in the process as he did in the 2006 claim and am absolutely positive that he gave "not interested in living in VA" as the reason for ending his application. That reason struck me as ridiculous at the time and isn't the sort of thing I would make up. If he first made the claim in 2003, he couldn't possibly have cited the Howard Dean campaign as a reason for not going ahead at the CIA because the readers at that time knew 1) blog started in early 2002 before there was a Dean campaign and 2) he was never on board with the Dean campaign.

Perhaps he did apply or was recruited-- his Spanish skills would have been an asset to the Company in Central/S American regime change ops. However, his timing would have been off. After 9/11 the Bush admin didn't expend many resources in the western hemisphere. (The 2002 coup in Venezuela last 47 hours.) Still think it's more fantasy than fact.

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mimi's picture

@Marie
shows Markos as far as I remember in Germany. He looks like a perfect CIA agent, doesn't he?

14609961891_1bfc75a12b_c.jpg

German pastry does wonders to ambitious wannabe CIA agents ... influencers.

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Please get along with each other. We have only one planet. Do not destroy what we have. Do not kill anyone and do not kill yourself. Nature doesn't care about what you think.

ovals49's picture

@mimi

To think this is the same asshole who persuaded his minions to shower Pelosi with roses, repeatedly. Aspiring to be a servant of power and the corruption it inevitably brings seems to me a terrible waste of a life.

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The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

@ovals49
A confession -- I only ever once gave weight to anything Markos wrote. It was the 2002 midterms and he was braying that Democrats were going to win that thing. That was the opposite of what I was seeing in the polling and my take on the "mood" of voters. But other than a bunch of stat course many years earlier, I had no experience or expertise in elections; so, I assumed that I must have been wrong.

I began commenting after that election because Markos obviously had less skill than I did and maybe I had something to contribute. (Later checking his blog archive discovered that in the spring of 2002 he'd said that a war on Iraq was off the table and wasn't going to happen. Hells bells I knew in 2000 that if GWB got to the WH, he intended to wage war with Iraq.) He's a poor political analyst (might have fit well with the CIA), but that's hardly unique in the political landscape. (In the late 1990s I began watching the McLauglin Report. A bit too much rancor for my taste, but the time slot was right for me. After about a year, it hit me that they never get anything right, and that was the last time I tuned in to it.) And it doesn't matter, because dKos is entertainment. Tickling the same spots for Democratic party regulars as Limbaugh did for Republicans.

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@Cassiodorus Was a long time ago. Maybe right before 2016 election. The question essentially debated was if dailkos a left/liberal site supporting democrats according to those principles or was it a democratic party site right or wrong. I could even remember one of their very long time front pagers attacking dems who stopped amendments to the bankrupcy bill that tried to soften its impact. This foolishly convinced me that the site was about left/liberal ideas and policies. (I remember one of the amendments Hillary and Biden stopped was the forbidding of the foreclosure of seniors bankrupted by medical bills. )

Seemed to me that the site really became unhinged with Hillary and soon after Russiagate.

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@Cassiodorus there was a dynamic in play long before the ides of March 16, the place is designed subtly to create conflict and cliques. Conflict is fine, good writing emerges when one is pushing one's point, but the best way to win an argument there is to have someone silenced. People shut up, conform, or are gone.

I'm not aware of any other place one could get one's writing in front of as large an audience. So writers lost out too. And finally the opportunity to read different opinions is lost out too. I like reading things I disagree with, written well. I change my mind about things.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@ban nock It was a year in which Americans could rest assured that their lives would get worse. There were, toward this end, forces in American politics goading participants to shut up about the situation as it stood. Markos Moulitsas was a low-level operator of one of those forces.

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5 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@ban nock function of the platform apps (Blogger for the first year and a half and then Scoop as of Sept 2003) and not consciously designed by those who built the apps much less a design by Markos. In 2002, he followed in the footsteps of his one-time partner Jerome Armstrong who started MyDD in 2001.

Until Scoop, the dKos traffic was less than that of other "liberal" Blogger sites. Eschaton (Duncan) was more worth reading than Kos. For no identifiable reason (possibly more traffic or just dumb luck) the Eschaton comment threads became dominated by inane comments; whereas, dKos comments were at a higher level. Whether Kos appreciated that new content was vital to holding and increasing traffic or it exhausted him too much to do it on his own (my guess it's the latter), in late 2002 he plucked the two best commenters to write FP pieces. The Scoop diary feature eliminated the need for Kos to supply/direct new content. And the nested comment threads facilitated reader 'conversations.'

(Note that dKos was active at least a year before Zuckerberg began writing his initial app.)

At that time (late 2002 - early 2003), it was far too small and amorphous and too indistinguishable to attract any nat-sec interest and funding. However, in the spring of 2003, Markos and Armstrong obtained a tech consulting gig with the Howard Dean campaign. dKos readers were outraged. Armstrong was upfront about his support for Dean and put his blog on hiatus, but Kos was more coy (Wes Clark was his real guy).

The money for the Scoop upgrade had to have been funded by some external entity or person. It's anyone's guess, but mine has long been informal Democratic Party subsidiaries/interests. The invasion of the "Clarkies" began around June 2003 with what imho was the ridiculous assertion that he was like Ike and only a military guy could defeat GWB. As Bill Clinton was the only notable person publicly praising Clark, my guess is that was the source of this Democratic divide and nominate a general election loser campaign. That support dissipated quickly after Clark got into the race and on a debate stage.

Gotta elect Kerry only kicked in after he won the IA caucus and NH primary. Prior to then, support for Kerry and Gephardt at dKos was nearly equal and near non-existent. It was somewhat sad to see all those at dKos who were totally invested in the 2004 election deal with the easily predictable outcome. (I'm including the senate races in this comment.) In the months before the general election, I chose not to comment as I would only have been bursting their happy bubble and been a target for their enmity. OTOH they fret as much and are no more astute during election cycles such as 2006 and 2008 that are easy wins for Democrats. Guess they'd feel powerless if they accepted that protecting lame Democratic candidates is useless.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@ban nock @ban nock

The extreme capitalist doctrine of Neoliberalism began showing itself during the Clinton years. It emerged fully formed and deceptive during the Obama campaign. At DK, the untouchable Hall Monitors who bullied people up and down the threads, were making trouble as far back as Cindy Shehan, who was staking out the Bush plantation in Texas. They had a menacing Nazi-like presence, and were ubiquitous in the I/P threads — but they wouldn't become the coordinated blog gestapo at DK until Ed Snowden emerged. In the Real World, Snowden's appearance led directly to the surprise overthrow of Ukraine's newly elected government (which had Russian characteristics).

On the Internet, there had been obvious off-site collusion among the authoritarian DK Hall Monitors. Elements of Hasbara and Megaphone tracking had been on the site from Day One, but they were all about justifying a militant theocratic state that could only be a thorn in the side of the Middle East for the century or so that current Israel would last. Hasbara fought that public battle at various online venues — DK was one of them — until they melted into the secular shadows. This trend of becoming less transparent and hiding motives would continue both online and in the Real World.

War mongers and intelligence assets of the Neoliberal uber-capitalist variety were able to operate more effectively at the State Department, with the arrival of a clued-in Hillary Clinton. Gun running, al Qaeda and ISIS recruiting, and false flag operations posed little risk to the US. But in 2013, Edward Snowden made all the deniability and diplomacy unnecessary. There was no point in pretending any longer that the US had clean hands or that it was not a predator of nations. In the geopolitical realm, it was the end of the narrative history where the US was the good guy. The long knives came out without further delay. Ukraine's newly elected government immediately fell to the West and their neoNazi collaborators. Russia and China became deeply entwined to fuse a sustainable future for themselves, and for the constellation of nations that joined them. This time around, there will be no neutral states. It's the psychopaths versus the socialists.

Somewhere along the way, the old fashioned ideas about winning hearts and minds through shared ideology and national goals was discarded by the US. Any sign of resistance was crushed at once, and minds were changed by physical assaults on disrupters and activists. Militarized civilian forces like local police and the national guard were programmed to maintain an orderly society at gimpier point. New top-down global norms were being established through banking and international alliances. The ultimate global authorities were firmly designated — the nation with the most economic control, and the nation with the most powerful weapons. By 2016, this was the common understanding of how the world would work from now on. Everything else was kabuki and fine dining.

So in the Real world and in the Virtual world, alike, dissenters and non-conformists were excluded and silenced. They were suppressed at the G-8 and at International establishments like the UN. Their existence and their thoughts were excluded in the US media along with their writings and reporting. Walls were thrown up on the Internet, too, to marginalize their influence. Questioning authority and asserting rights, such as the right to speak and the right to Privacy, were dismissed and the questioning process was criminalized. Those who persisted were deplatformed or banned and their property was seized. Nations that could rival the US, and persons of integrity and influence were smeared. They were accused of heinous acts with a barrage of lies and propaganda pushed by the media monopolies.

Daily Kos mirrored all these activities and the philosophy from which they emerged in Real Time. As a practical matter, this political construct is organized and managed on K Street. The talent pool is circulated and incubated there, prepared to assume top level positions on the National Security Council, and ready to fill the Presidents cabinet. They await appointments as ambassadors, and are ready to take on the roles of Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense or Attorney General. They are ready to run any of the various Intelligence agencies. The army of highly funded think tanks, lobbying firms, hedge fund operators, and a vast array of NGOs are ready to take on both nation building and nation destroying. The media monopolies are fully integrated at the top. This is the permanent government. It's focus is international, not domestic. The people's wellbeing will continue to degrade. There is no longer a political mechanism to change that and the US has a debt-based economy. The only way to invest in the people or the nation is by debasing the value of the dollar.

From the patterns, it's pretty clear that DK was funded from here. Their demise suggests that what they do is no longer needed. They were a political go-between that is now obsolete.

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Creosote.'s picture

@Pluto's Republic
I've had your third-world country comment in mind often here.

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@Cassiodorus

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

they banned me twice but still barrage me with e-mail requests for $$ on a daily basis
does not seem at all out of character for DK...

Remember you, ban nock, from discussions there around guns, Bundy Ranch & such.

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ovals49's picture

@Blue Republic
the year after Easy Rider was released. Four of us planned to ride as a group, which seemed a good idea for the time. One by one, jobs or other opportunities winnowed that number down to one. Me.

I had cleared my schedule, bike was ready to roll and I had enough money ($600 as I recall). To say I was disappointed was an understatement. As I sat ruing the loss of our grand adventure, and looking into my foreseeable future, I asked myself “When am I going to be able to do this sort of trip again?”

I left the next morning, solo. A little over a month later, with over 11,000 miles added on the odometer I arrived back home with a string of memories I will always remember. I did, however skip New Orleans and the entire southeast quadrant of the country. I was also very careful never to flip the bird at anyone while up on two wheels, which may be why I are here this morning to share this story.

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The cool thing about a US president with obvious dementia symptoms … it is like training wheels for the reality that all administrations are run independent of any president’s authority. - Caity Johnstone

I self-sensor as a lifestyle and profession. No judge needs to hear out loud what I think of their rulings. No opposing attorney need to know what my opinion of their lack of ethics might be.
The danger of speaking aloud is contempt of court, possibly disbarment. Ok. That is my living at stake.
Dkos conditioned me to self-censor for likes or approval, and I felt it. I think it was a combo of getting my ad free money's worth, and just not starting any shit. I work in shit, home should be shitless.
I think I started viewing it as some psyops about 3 years after I joined.
It happens. Maybe a bit embarrassing, but I am not alone in experiencing the mental and emotional conditioning of feeling as though I was in a community of cyber pals I really needed, and I wanted to conform to the group thinking to keep a place in said community.
There was a time when Dkos was about the only place for "liberals".
2016 taught that community what their definition of liberal was, and if you don't like it, leave this echo chamber.

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River Rover's picture

Dkos is circling the wagons

around the drain.

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Rivers are horses - and kayaks are their saddles

Everyone has gone back to brunch because Biden is in control and the world is now a sunny sunny place with a totally moral guy at the helm.

Very WorriedG2geek
May 22, 2021 at 09:08:24 PM
I think we’re losing people because there simply isn’t enough to gripe about since -ich-you-know-who is not in the news as often, doing horribly stupid things. Not as much news, so not as much need to check in and reply? IDK

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02

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@FutureNow

religious ideas and claims many times.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Kos packaged it up and put a bow on it. After sucking up to Pelosi with a bazillion roses and delivering the package, it turns out an echo chamber has only so much interest to those outside of the ones holding the megaphone. It's not about ideas, it's about advertising and clicks.

Of course the My Pillow guy has a business model too. I respect them both equally.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Snode would display a semblance of open debate. The product is made less saleable when the wannabe hall monitors dominate the comments sections, and that's what you see in the ratings decline. Wannabe hall monitors eventually piss people off, and they leave. Conversely, the reason Daily Kos hasn't collapsed altogether is a testament to the persistence of high-school "Mean Girls" culture in America.

There are, of course, aspects of a business model to Daily Kos; the first that comes to mind is the proliferation of fun bells and whistles in the DK software package.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus

banned. It wasn't kind nor necessary, if you know what I mean.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Snode
At least he stuck to his beliefs and tried to separate his business from his politics.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

1. The Science articles. What was the handle of the guy who did them?

2. The GunFail series. Hilarious. I never fact-checked them. Are there really that many morons with guns? My favorite was the would be bank robber with the sawed off shotgun poked into his waistband. Tried to pull it out. BOOM! Tried it agin. BOOM!

Courts might of treated him with kid gloves but he gave himself his own punishment.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness the best gun fail diaries were the early ones where he made fun of kids getting shot, hilarious.

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