When last we checked in at DemocraticUnderground, where I posted as BurtWorm for seven years before getting the boot in December 2010 without a single warning, the Administrators had revamped the site and imposed a new set of rules emphasizing the “Democratic” part of the name and seeming to toss the “Underground” part, as it were, under the ground. If you’ve never heard of DU, it’s self-described as the largest “progressive” forum on the Internet, larger even than Dailykos (allegedly). Its politics, however, have been nearly dead centrist since (at least) the 2008 election, when Barack Obama made being a Democrat “respectable” again.
I was curious how our friends over there have been handling the president’s embellishment of the Bush national security policies. I’m especially curious about how the Administrators are coping. These have got to be trying times for a forum with rules meant to stifle talk that disparages Democratic elected officials. Luckily, the administrators can always count on at least a handful of shameless partisans to carry team Obama’s water even during the worst of times. Take a fellow named UrbScotty, for instance. Now, where most people might be feeling an uncomfortable sense of deja vu around the NSA/FISA/PRISM news of the past couple of days, UrbScotty has some sanguine advice for his fellow DUers: Stop Freaking Out About the NSA:
Chill. You can quarrel with this program, but it isn’t Orwellian. It’s limited, and it’s controlled by checks and balances.
… But the program is also restrained in several ways. Here’s a list.
1. It isn’t wiretapping. The order authorizes the transfer of “telephony metadata” such as the date and length of each call and which phone numbers were involved. It doesn’t include the content of calls—which is more tightly protected by the Fourth Amendment—or the identity of the callers. The targeted data are mathematical, not verbal. They’re the kind of information you’d request if you were mapping possible extensions of a terrorist or criminal network. …
Great read. At first I was very disappointed, but now I realize that it wasn’t nearly the invasion of privacy that it was made out to be.
Besides, hardly anybody knows more about the Constitution than the Constitutional-law-professor-turned-President. He takes his obligation to our country and our Const itution seriously.
Fortunately for sanity’s sake, most of those responding are reacting to this treacle as normal human beings. Someone named blkmusicmachine asks incredulously, “This is snark, right?!” Others are wondering if they want to be standing with such defenders of the president as Ari Fleischer, Lindsey Graham and Alan Dershowitz.
On the other side of the DU divide (which always looks much wider when news like this breaks), usregimechange (with over 18,000 posts and the light-bulb avatar I posted under as BurtWorm, coincidentally) announced, “I just left the Democratic party over NSA spying“:
I will support no party that supports the evisceration of the 4th Amendment. I won’t volunteer, I won’t contribute, until the rank and file of the party opposes and ends this practice, don’t bother calling me.
Predictably, this bold statement was met with plenty of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” type of dismissals. So many DUers one had amiably shared the forum with over the years show their true hearts at these moments. It’s often not pretty. But today there’s plenty of evidence that the anger toward Obama is shared widely among the rank and filers. I particularly liked this response from a poster named YoMama to a critic of the original post:
Sorry, but I won’t support this policy. It was wrong when the Bush administration was going this way, and it’s wrong now. As far as I’m concerned, it’s always going to be wrong. We are violating policies and understandings that arose out of the concern over the J Edgar Hoover FBI excesses and the like. If that was wrong, this is wrong. With each administration, the screw tightens again. It’s unnecessary. We are letting the political culture morph us into a totally different society. When you give the government this power, it will be misused sooner or later. Generally sooner. And with each step over the line, the line moves. I personally thought that Obama’s election was going to push back against this. I was wrong. I’m not going to accept it.
If remarkably consistent past experience is any guide, the future at DU is predictable. As the controversy heats up, chief administrator Skinner will make a lengthy post on the subject, noting how disturbed he is, like many of his fellow DUers, over what looks like possible Fourth Amendment violations by the NSA. However, he will urge caution in making grand, sweeping claims against the Obama administration until all the facts are out. He will ask Duers to try to cool their jets and, like him, wait and see. The post will receive hundreds of “recommendations.” If the controversy goes away, there will be a quiet, cold-bloodedly efficient purge of posters like YoMama and usregimechange (if they haven’t already been purged). Skinner and his minions will give the guilty no time to prepare for their trials or to say goodbye to friends. They’ll just be disappeared, as I was.
If the controversy does not go away, another lengthy Skinner post will appear announcing a new forum for discussion of national security and banning all such posts from the general forum. From there, it will be easier to identify the troublemakers who need to be disappeared in a hurry without arousing the anxiety of the plebes.
I can hardly wait now to see if my prediction comes true! If you’re a recently purged member of DU, please stop by and share your story.
- Morehouse grapples with Obama critic’s role at graduation weekend – Democratic Underground (aboriginalwriter.wordpress.com)
- NYT editors on NSA scandal: ‘The administration has now lost all credibility’ (twitchy.com)
- Bush haters turn wrath on Obama (politico.com)
- U.S. declassifies secret phone surveillance program details (cbc.ca)
- Secret surveillance: The NSA is collecting Americans’ phone records (tv.msnbc.com)
- IU News & Talk Guest Post – If you’re OK with revelations of NSA snooping, you’re part of the problem (reachoutjobsearch.com)