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Let me say it, by the way – who cares, right? I mean who cares about my feelings or Carmen Reinhart’s feelings or Ken Rogoff’s feelings? We’re having a global economic crisis which is not over, which we have handled abysmally. We have massive long-term unemployment in the United States. We have massive youth unemployment in Southern Europe." - Paul Krugman responding to charges that he is a big meanie
Photo of civliity lapel pin offered at Vermont Conference  on Civlity in Political Discourse
Civility Now!
On my way to pick up my daughter at the University of Vermont, I was listening to Vermont Public Radio when I heard Jim Leach, the former Iowa Republican congressman and director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (named by President Obama), who was the keynote speaker for a conference titled “Civility and Political Discourse in Vermont: How Do We Compare to the Nation."

My ears perked up immediately, not because I think the topic so very interesting, indeed I don't. But it took me back to a time when "civiility" in the blogosphere seemed to be the major point of discussion about political blogging. Indeed, in 2005, my personal incivility became a talking point at a FEC hearing. I discovered that the conference would be held in Montpelier the next day. I resolved to attend. And I was not disappointed, in good and bad ways.

First, Jim Leach's discussion had almost nothing to do with "civility" and a whole lot to do with Citizens United. Leach said:

Corporate campaign money has harmed civil discourse in Washington and could soon affect Vermont, according to James A. Leach, ninth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and keynote speaker at the event. “Money is the elephant at the door in Washington,” Leach said. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which defined corporations as individuals with First Amendment rights to free speech, has facilitated negative political campaigning.

 “Rather than conflate a corporation with a person, and money with speech, should not the focus be shifted to the transactional relationship inherent in speaking and listening?” Without limits on independent expenditures made by corporations, more money will be spent on negative attack ads for political campaigns that will further taint the tenor of the debate and erode the focus on real issues, Leach said.

“At one end, uncivil speech must be protected by the courts, but filtered by the public,” Leach said. “At the other, moneyed speech must not be allowed to weaken the voices of the people. The Constitution begins, after all, ‘We the People,’ not ‘We the Corporations.’”

All good thoughts from Leach. The local participants however, who seemed like very nice and committed persons, were much more interested in the civility argument:
[Paul] Gillies, who has moderated town meetings in Berlin, said moderators are to a debate what an orchestrator is to a symphony. “What I see is a process,” he said. “I think what we have developed over the years is the ability of reasoning together. Not the ability to give up our own positions, but to at least listen to what the other is saying.”

[...] Aside from town meeting moderators and the courts, the press, for better or for worse, also guides public debate. However, [Deborah] Markowitz said the modern media does not have the same level of credibility. Reports, she said, are often laced with opinion, and citizens look to confirm their biases in the media. “We used to have an arbiter of facts, and that was the press,” she said. “Now what we are seeing in Vermont, as well as everywhere else, is that people get their facts from sources that are really editorial sources.” [Emphasis mine.]

To complete the journey back in time, there were even complaints about anonymity, a la Garance Franke Ruta circa 2005:

Emerson Lynn, editor and publisher at the St. Albans Messenger, said leaders and citizens alike are held accountable to one another in Vermont.

[Deb Markowitz said] that it is important to maintain a decent reputation with neighbors. “Even more so, we know that if we are driving home, and we get stuck on the side of the road, we might need them to pull us out of the ditch,” Markowitz said.

However, accountability also means public discourse is vulnerable to both constructive and baseless criticism. Lynn said that he had spoken with people in the governor’s office about how they can improve their communications with the general public. “Their response to that is that they don’t dare, in many instances, because they are terrified of putting information out that can be torn apart by the public,” he said. “If you do that, then the blogs, the online chatter groups, tear them apart. They said it’s an absolutely vicious environment out there.”

Lynn said that even in the small state of Vermont, citizens hide in anonymity and intimidate others. He said that when small groups dominate a conversation, it paralyzes the larger debate. “This is all about information. It’s all about having the right information,” he said. Lynn said that he doesn’t allow for anonymous comments at the St. Albans Messenger because he does not believe that anonymous comment sections add any useful information to debates on local issues. “If people are going to comment, they have to comment thoughtfully and respectfully,” he said. [Emphasis mine.]

This actually was one of the more remarkable portions of the conference for me. The highlighted statements were rather chilling, I thought, and I was stunned by the sanguine reaction to them. A newspaper editor blithely stating that the "governor's office" was afraid to communicate information to the public because they are afraid of it being "torn apart"? Excuse me?

The other noteworthy theme was the wistfulness for the good old days when folks were only exposed to the "good information," as newspaper editor Emerson Lang put it. Lang and Markowitz were quite dismayed that the traditional media just didn't command the respect necessary to serve the gatekeeper function they see as necessary. The notion that the traditional media's inept and corrupt performance of the past 40 years might have had something to do with it, particularly regarding the Iraq War, seemed not to cross their mind or trouble them.

Lang reiterated his belief in having the right people speaking and, somewhat contradictorily insisting that you listen to "both sides" (because every issue has only 2 sides apparently). He then told an anecdote of his moderating a debate between Bill McKibben and a climate change denier. Lang expressed shock that McKibben apparently said the debate should not be taking place, based on McKibben's belief that the existence of climate change is now beyond reasonable disagreement. Lang expressed dismay that "no longer in dispute" might be an option.

To his credit, Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group,* responded to Lang's story by pointing out that the "fair and balanced" approach Lang was lauding was, in fact, shirking a journalistic duty to say when something is true and something is false. It brought to mind for me Paul Krugman's line about the 'evenhandedness' of the media:

[R]ather than really try to report things objectively, [the Media] settle for being even-handed, which is not the same thing. One of my lines in a column—in which a number of people thought I was insulting them personally—was that if Bush said the Earth was flat, the mainstream media would have stories with the headline: 'Shape of Earth—Views Differ.' Then they'd quote some Democrats saying that it was round.”
It was the failure to grapple with this phenomenon that was the biggest weakness of the Vermont conference. Back in 2005, when the original debate about those unruly bloggers was first litigated, I wrote a response to one of them, On Persuasion:
Matt Miller, who is subbing for Maureen Dowd, writes an interesting column on political discourse and the ability to persuade with an argument. Unfortunately, Matt fails to address the central reason why political discourse has floundered, the complete lack of respect for the truth exhibited by the referees - the Media. Matt writes:
Ninety percent of political conversation amounts to dueling "talking points." Best-selling books reinforce what folks thought when they bought them. Talk radio and opinion journals preach to the converted. Let's face it: the purpose of most political speech is not to persuade but to win, be it power, ratings, celebrity or even cash.
By contrast, marshaling a case to persuade those who start from a different position is a lost art. Honoring what's right in the other side's argument seems a superfluous thing that can only cause trouble, like an appendix. Politicos huddle with like-minded souls in opinion cocoons that seem impervious to facts.
With due respect to Miller, a smart guy, politicians and partisans have never respected facts UNLESS they are required to do so. That is what a free press is supposed to do and simply does not anymore. Miller considers it a problem of a media focused more on heat than light. I believe the problem goes much deeper than that. The utter disrespect for the truth exhibited by all media is the heart of the problem. Liars are not called liars. Falsehoods are not called falsehoods. What passes for reporting these days is "Republicans say . Democrats say __." When someone spews falsehoods, there is not a media outlet in the country that will say 'that is false.' Not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not any of them.

For crissakes, the former hack who had the title of Ombudsman for the Times [Daniel Okrent] claimed to stand up for truth by issuing slanderous falsehoods. Who is outraged? The Lefty blogs. Anybody else? Jay Rosen? Anyone?

I got bad news for Miller. The "beardstrokers," with few exceptions (Herbert, Krugman) have not demanded the truth. Miller has written on social security and instead of demanding truth from the Bush Administration he chose to chastise Democrats for not being open to discussion. And you believe you can be persuasive with such an attitude? Not a mention of the pack of lies that Bush has peddled?

It is pretty simple, there will be no meaningful political discourse as long as lies are tolerated and ignored. To lament the loss of political persuasion while ignoring the elephant (pun intended) in the room is to insult the intelligence of your audience. And that is never persuasive.

I trot that one out again in response to the Vermont conference.

*I have a bone to pick with the Vermont Public Interest Research Project, which uses a fundraising technique that, contrary to the assertion made by Paul Burns, is not character building, it is disillusioning. Employing the, sadly, common technique of nonprofits of 3 day quotas for young people to raise certain levels of donations upon pain of termination, is a pretty low practice, particularly when not disclosed. Burns' group appears to try and do good work, I can not say if they do, but I do know I can not respect their fundraising tactics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ah, those were the days. (6+ / 0-)

    I still feel the same way.  You?

  •  Jim Leach was always a GOP member .... (16+ / 0-)

    ..... who mostly stuck to the party line, yet would not cross certain lines.

       Emerson Lynn is a conservative publisher (albeit a New England conservative) who does note that - in a small state - people understand the need to be civil. Even during the 2000 civil unions debate - which was as nasty as it gets in this region - people understood they had to live together afterwards.

       I can't find it online, but E.J. Dionne once had a column about a town/city in Ohio where a Republican was trying to telephone GOP headquarters and (for some reason) no one picked-up. So he telephoned Democratic headquarters, who happily sent someone down th street to relay a message. When Dionne expressed surprise, the Democrats replied that "They would have done the same for us" and the GOP explained that mutually-assured-destruction might be the norm in Washington, but would be rejected there.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:16:24 AM PDT

    •  I think the relative civility in Vermont (7+ / 0-)

      is one of the reasons it went from a Republican state to a Democratic one - people actually listened in Vermont. And the politicians who lead it certainly weren't fire breathers (I don't think anyone would apply that phrase to Kunin or Leahy).  It was, I think, an extension of the core idea of civility that led Vermont to become the first state to allow civil unions.  

      •  As a Northern New Englander myself (8+ / 0-)

        (albeit from Maine, not Vermont) I think you are absolutely correct. Our flirtation with the Tea Party lasted exactly one election cycle. Two years later, they are gone, along with the three state Constitutional Officers (the lege elects them so they are always of the party that controls the House). Mainers learned their lesson (though the governor lingers). Because, as you say, people sometimes actually listen here, and look at results. Not to mention the fact that you probably know your rep and your senator personally regardless of which party.

        The way people think in places like Vermont and Maine is not easily replicated in other, more populous parts of the country. I don't know how many Vermonters there are, but there's only a million and a half of us.

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:33:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  626,011 as of 2012 (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, StellaRay, Ed Tracey, Ahianne

          according to teh googelz. (Fewer than Frankfurt which has roughly 660,000!)

          Not sure if I agree, though. MA has about 6.6 million, and my prejudice is that they are a lot more reasonable than many, many other states.

          I dunno, I'd have to give it more thought. I often wonder if there isn't a cultural element specific to New England and its history that has something to do with it. The ideals and values (and structures, including the church and educational institutions) that played a role in the earliest years of our New England states are quite different than the early years of a state like Wyoming, which has a small population like Vermont, but is very conservative.

          Maybe just maybe our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - John Lewis

          by bluesheep on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:58:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder how big the diaspora (5+ / 0-)

          is (since I am part of it).

          I think Northern New England HAD a sense of the old Yankee mainline protestant sense of fair play.  I know that will probably strike some people as odd, but the old conservative Vermont Yankee read his bible very differently from the way the Southern Baptist does.

          •  Not very big, unless you go to Florida (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ed Tracey, radical simplicity

            or North Carolina. So, not counting people from NE who retire South, how many New Englanders do you meet around the country?

            I have lived in Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts and Maine over the last 30 years and have met about five people living "away" from Northern New England and maybe a couple of dozen from Southern New England.

            All of New England is one big town, and we're all Townies. We are, perhaps, aside from the Amish, the most insular people on the Continent.

            I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

            by commonmass on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:08:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Though I was highly amused at the comment (4+ / 0-)

        ... about bloggers. Certain of the organizers (cough, Lynn and Leach, cough) of the event absolutely hate Green Mountain Daily, which is basically the only blog in the state. There is VT Digger, but it's really an online newspaper, with a full time editor, assigning tasks to paid reporters who doing investigative journalism. Thus, this cracked me up:

        Lynn said that he had spoken with people in the governor’s office about how they can improve their communications with the general public. “Their response to that is that they don’t dare, in many instances, because they are terrified of putting information out that can be torn apart by the public,” he said. “If you do that, then the blogs, the online chatter groups, tear them apart. They said it’s an absolutely vicious environment out there.”
        What they are afraid of is actual discourse.

        They don't mind saying things that no one disagrees with, but they find it terribly distasteful that a group of people who are good at research, and who are unafraid to be uninvited from elbow-rubbing events, have the audacity to point out the implications of ideas and policies that would hurt Vermonters.

        It's also hilarious that they imply that the bloggers are anonymous. With few exceptions, the crew at Green Mountain Daily use their real names - or at least their real initials (Sue Prent's actual name is ... Sue Prent, John Odum is ..., JVWalt is John Walters, etc.), and they are the ones who do most of the reporting on the site.

        Is GMD vicious? Nope. Persistent? Yes. Insistent? Yes. A thorn in the side of those who would take from the poor to give to the rich (Leach is the "Leach" of Graham-Leach-Bliley, the bill that wiped out the financial system protections of Glass-Stegal. Be sure to thank him for giving the financial industry the leeway to destroy the world economy)? Yes. Unwilling to stand by politely while people like Lynn hand the state over to the Walmarts of the world? You bet.

        If they find it uncivil for us to point out the shade of the emperor's clothes, I find it hard to have any sympathy.

  •  Civility and lack of anonymity are matters of (5+ / 0-)

    'seriousness'.  They're the 'clothes' that predispose people to actually consider your ideas.  They (mostly) don't actually affect the reality of your ideas, whether they are good or bad ideas.  But far more people will automatically discount ideas that come with spittle and profanity attached, or from 'snowman1324'.  Even if they're the best ideas to come down the road, they are given shorter shrift than those ideas from a guy in suit who is known by name.

    The vast majority of people are just not going to spend their time considering your ideas unless you 'talk nicely'.

    This is not a matter of 'should' but a matter of 'is'.  Yes, good ideas 'should' be considered thoughtfully no matter their source.  But it just mostly doesn't happen.

    •  Eh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, Old Sailor

      That's simply not true.

      •  It's not true (7+ / 0-)

        that people won;t listen to you based on "civlity" and it's not true that they WILL listen to you based on being civil.

        It simply is not a factor imo decade of experience.

      •  Eh, then I wasn't nuanced enough. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DSPS owl

        Maybe you disagree with 'most' or 'many' or my emphasis on what percentage of people respond in one way or another.

        But yes, it is real human behaviour that describes what happens in reality with some subset of the population.

        I'm not saying being civil will even win you a single fight - I'm saying there are people who won't consider what you say at all without the proper 'appearance', and many who will start out with a bias against your ideas if you are 'uncivil' or hide who you are.  That doesn't mean there aren't other people who react just the opposite - look at the followers of Limbaugh or Beck, who thrive on spittle.

        •  "vast majority" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Sailor, Deward Hastings

          not true.

          Hell, I don't believe it is true for a meaningful minority.

        •  Words carry the weight on the internet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joan McCarter

          Not a suit and tie and not who people think you are because of a name. It's one of the redeeming qualities of freedom to write and interact on these toobz.

          Blogging opens up doors of opportunities that in the past have been "firewalled" by the gatekeepers. It appears they still haven't gotten over the crashing of the gates and opening up discourse to any ol' hooligan.

          And, frankly, "spittle" is in the eye of the beholder. Scarborough had a fainting spell because kos dared to be open and honest in a discussion. So, the hypocritical heavyweights pulled out "gatekeeping" techniques to shut up the blogger and tamp discourse back into its "properly aligned" and corporate-sanctified territory.

          Too late. Unless the internet loses the battle of freedom, the gatekeepers just need to buy stock in smelling salts and get over it.

          Finally, per names... the Asia Times has a blogger named Spengler who writes prolifically with an anonymous pen. Does not remotely distract from the weight of his writing. I do NOT remotely agree with him on a great many underpinnings, but I read him without regard to the anonymity.


          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.

          by bronte17 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:56:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think people on the net actually generally are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DSPS owl

            more open to anonymity and more willing to ignore appearances - in that much I agree with you.  And I think it's because a separate 'society' or 'culture' has formed on the net, one that started with almost an expectation of anonymity.

            But notice that the, ah, 'Gatekeepers' of DK, have often made a practice of changing away from their anonymous handles when they become frontpagers.  Not because Kossacks give a damn whether it is 'Turkana' or Lawrence Louis writing, but because there's a wider audience who will, at least subconsciously, give more weight to the words of someone writing under a regular human name.  In fact, I think you make a good point - anonymity is not even so much the issue as normalcy.  'Spengler' is a normal human name.  People who read his work might not even realize that it isn't his name, no?  Many writers took nom de plume's, but they chose realistic names to do so.

            •  eh... the change away from "handles" (0+ / 0-)

              occurred because of business decisions. It had nothing to do with the quality and weight of the writing.

              As for the anonymous names, it's a personal thing for a lot of people. Turkana means something to Laurence Lewis just as Meteor Blades or Billmon have their own stories behind their moniker. Ditto with most of us.

              In fact, I happen to very much appreciate all these anonymous handles that people come up with. It adds character.


              A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.

              by bronte17 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:18:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Hamilton, Madison, and Jay (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bronte17

            wrote the essays contained in The Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius"...

            Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

            by chuckvw on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:01:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it is !!! (0+ / 0-)

        Drop the name-calling MB 2/4/11 + Please try to use ratings properly! Kos 9/9/11 + Trusted Users have a responsibility to police the general tenor... Hunter 5/26/06

        by indycam on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:28:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ben Franklin And Founders Published Anonymously (3+ / 0-)

      It's an American tradition

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:57:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, cocinero

        People who are afraid to speak openly publish anonymously.  Sometimes their fears are justified, sometimes they aren't.

        But Ben Franklin and the Founders also left slavery allowed in the country they founded, so I'm not sure that particular 'appeal to authority' comes without its own caveats.  They weren't Gods, they were men, and fallible as all of us.

        •  When I started blogging (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Another Grizzle, Ahianne

          I chose to be anonymous because I was in management and had employees who had diametrically opposed political opinions. I wanted to be able to voice my opinions online without risking those employees ever worrying that my politics would influence my opinion of them as employees, since it would not. They did not know, and would not know my political opinions while they worked for me.

          Long after I left that job, a real world crazy stalker dude found out my online identity, so I had to dump the consistent one I'd used everywhere for a new one, per site, on every site where I blog.

          There are legitimate reasons to be anonymous - especially if you are female.

    •  I think in most cases that "you're uncivil !!" is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, radical simplicity

      just an excuse people use to not listen to things they don't want to listen to.

      But of course honey does catch more flies than vinegar.

      But the bottom line really is that nobody will listen to an idea unless they are already ready to hear it. That's why it is virtually impossible to "convert" most people to a different view just by talking to them, no matter how wonderfully wondrous your arguments are. People believe what they WANT to believe, and seldom change their kinds unless they already WANT to.

  •  Great. Now I have to comment both... (9+ / 0-)

    ...thoughtfully and respectfully. At the same time?

    •  Old Limelighters Joke (0+ / 0-)

      "Clean mind, clean body...pause...take your pick".

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:35:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Proper Attribution - Dr. Lou Gottlieb (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrybuck, Another Grizzle, Ahianne
        Dr. Louis Gottlieb (October 10, 1923 – July 11, 1996) was bassist and lofty comic spokesman for The Limeliters. He was considered one of the so-called "new comedy" performers such as Mort Sahl, Nichols and May, and Lenny Bruce: a new generation of unabashed intellectuals.

        Lou's special trademark on stage was a delightful burlesquing of the university pedant, the sort of teacher who knocks himself out over the jokes in Chaucer while his restless and puzzled class has nothing on its collective mind that happened earlier than last night's date. "Many of the things I have been enthusiastic about," agreed Gottlieb, "mean absolutely nothing to most people."

        Gottlieb's doctoral thesis on 15th century cyclic masses was completed when he heard Hassilev and Yarbrough sing together at Hollywood's Cosmo Alley nightclub. He joined the group, which named themselves after the Limelite Club in Aspen, Colorado.

        In July 1959, The Limeliters appeared as a trio for the first time at the hungry i in San Francisco, with Gottlieb as "the comic-arranger- musicologist, Glenn the golden-voiced tenor and guitarist, and Alex the instrumental virtuoso" (to quote from one of their song collections, "Cheek In Our Tongue"). San Francisco music critic John Wasserman said the Limeliters "attained a stature equalled perhaps only by the Kingston Trio and the Weavers." The group's biggest hit was "A Dollar Down" in 1961, but was well known for its 15 records albums and its concerts during the 1960s. The group disbanded after a near-fatal plane crash in Colorado in December 1962.

        I miss them and their sweet singing and wicked humor.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:40:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, mommyof3

    I wonder if that's the same Deb Markowitz I knew longer ago than I'd like to think about...

    Hic Rhodus, hic salta!

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:21:33 AM PDT

  •  As a Vermont native (2+ / 0-)

    I am sadden that even in Vermont civility has declined if this article is correct.

    There was a time on Vermont when you could completely disagree with someone and not hate them.  Certainly that was true in town meetings - the last vestige of Jeffersonian Democracy.  The Vermont I grew up in was a place where you knocked on everyone's door - not the doors of your own party - and expected at worst bored indifference.

    I very much think Debbie (Markowitz) is right - it used to be that there was a referee (the Press) that had credibility.  That is gone, and I do think people now read media designed to re-enforce their existing beliefs.  

    I am not sure what to do about after the Press's performance in Iraq and in the financial crisis - but I do think that in Vermont something pretty important was lost - if it is true that it has been lost.

    •  They all seemed pretty nice to me (0+ / 0-)

      Seemed like a conference searching for a topic to me.

      I thought Emrerson Lang's statement much more troubling that what concerns you.

      •  Do you mean Emerson Lynn?? (0+ / 0-)

        I actually think he is more right than wrong.

      •  If you mean his statement re: bloggers (0+ / 0-)

        Then don't worry. Take a look at Green Mountain Daily, and you'll see note that it's very, very tame, especially in comparison to Dkos.

        Lynn just "haz a sad" that his paper is no longer the sole source of information about important topics in his little corner of the state.

        Green Mountain Daily blogger Sue Prent (note: not anonymous) really gave him and his Walmart buddies a run for their money when it came to swaying public opinion on the ill-advised permitting process that allowed them to build their super store in one of the dumbest locations possible. The traffic nightmares, the environmental degradation from storm runoff, and other issues (such as the destruction of the downtown) were things Lynn would have preferred to keep quiet.

  •  We need less civility and more honesty. (7+ / 0-)

    The only way I know to successfully debate a wingnut
    is to call them out on their nonsense and ask their
    motive for spreading unlikely, illogical, childish BS. It
    often knocks them back on their heels and they do
    complain about my 'impoliteness' but about half the time they listen. Unfortunately an hour later, they will turn on
    Limbaugh pr FOX their car radio and be back in their protective bubble.

  •  ...and this why we're in trouble... (14+ / 0-)
    A newspaper editor blithely stating that the "governor's office" was afraid to communicate information to the public because they are afraid of it being "torn apart"? Excuse me?
    If you as the governor are afraid to share something with the public, then you probably should look at what it is you've been doing.  Is it part of your duty to your state...is it good governing?  What are you afraid of?

    Questions are good... authority needs picked apart sometimes and reminded that WE the PEOPLE are the foundation of our government. Information can't just flow up...it has to flow in all directions to make this thing work.

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:24:39 AM PDT

  •  In fact, Krugman was civil (24+ / 0-)

    He said that R & R were wrong and had supported wrong policies that hurt a lot of people. And had given sppeeches and written op-eds supporting the focus on deficits instead of jobs.

    Since they couldn't argue on facts, they said he was uncivil.

    Being tenured Harvard professors fawned on by all the VSP's, they were unfamiliar with being called out, but Krugman was not personal, not rude, and (as usual) right.

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:29:06 AM PDT

    •  Yes, he's been extremely civil. (4+ / 0-)

      It's pretty obvious what he really thinks of them, but he's going to say it nicely.

      And, as he's one of the few people in economics who can call them out without suffering consequences (that U Mass grad student will never be hired at Harvard, you know) he has a responsibility to do that.

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:02:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Honest actors (4+ / 0-)

      A successful multi-party negotiation relies upon the participants being good actors. If they all are, one could imagine civility as a uniform good and incivility as universally counterproductive.

      But as soon as one of the involved parties starts misrepresenting facts or even themselves in order to gain an advantage, the other parties must have the ability to call out the misrepresentation. That's an "uncivil" thing to do, and yet it's what the other parties should do, in their own interests and if one cares about the argument not straying far from objective reality.

      It's another formulation of the concept of, "If men were angels, we wouldn't need government."

      Years ago Paul Krugman wrote that the New York Times editors forbade him from calling Bush administration officials "liars," presumably upon pain of firing if he insisted. Has anyone asked him since then whether that limitation still applies? I wonder how low on the totem pole someone has to before the NYT lets you call a lie a lie...

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:10:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not uncivil to call out misrepresentations (0+ / 0-)
        the other parties must have the ability to call out the misrepresentation. That's an "uncivil" thing to do
        This mistakes what civility means. You can tell someone that they are mistaken, and give correct information, without cursing or calling names. You do not have to choose between being civil and being honest.
        •  But that person will call it uncivil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Another Grizzle

          he/she will reject the correction and complain that you're calling him/her a liar. Then what? Let the lie slide? Then the liar wins.

          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

          by Simplify on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:56:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  repeat in different words (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify

            Say the same thing you said before in slightly different words. Do not directly reply to the Are you calling me a liar formula. You could say Well, I'm saying you're mistaken about this, [repeat correction in pleasant-ish tones].
            Are you calling me a liar? is a trick question and should never be answered.
            This can go tediously on for several rounds, until you run out of slightly different ways to say what ever is the correct information. If no progress has been made, you probably want to bring it to a close in one of the time-honored ways like We aren't going to get anywhere on this topic, let's figure out [where we're going to go to eat, who's most likely to go to the World Series, ...]
            They probably won't give up, but once you've introduced the idea that the subject needs changing, if they don't follow you to the new subject  you only have to respond once more, with a very short six or seven word restatement of the correct info, and then start talking about the new subject. If they counter with the lie again, then you respond with continued talk about the new subject, or walk away in silence, or whatever is appropriate. No one who witnesses an exchange like this will believe that you have accepted what the liar/mistaken person said.
            Sometimes someone will try to back you entirely into a corner and not let go: Answer me yes or no, are you calling me a liar? Do not say yes or no. Say: I'm saying [repeat short version of correct info] I'm not commenting on what kind of person you are, and I'm not going to talk about this any more.
            What tone you take and how long you let it go on depends a lot on what the circumstances are and who else is present, are you trying to preserve continuing relationships or not, etc. If there's alcohol involved, you're better off just getting out near the beginning.
            I have been civil my whole life, and it does not involve letting lies stand. Civility is not the same thing as nice-ness. (Although I am reasonably often a pretty nice person as well :) )
            If you are really interested in this, I would be very willing to discuss it at greater length. I used to be a Verbal Self-Defense person. amazon.co.uk/ The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defence

    •  "you can't call me that", (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      "or even compare my to them", not because the comparison is vague, strained or wrong but because . . .

      it's "hurtful" to my "feelings" . . .

      Don't tell me you've never heard that "argument" . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The difference between civility (0+ / 0-)

      and politeness for its own sake is the core of this discussion, IMO.

      Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

      by chuckvw on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:12:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lest we forget... (7+ / 0-)

    As a former Iowan (albeit never a constituent of his), I do have a lot of respect for Jim Leach. But he was just as willing to bash liberals as any other Republican when it proved necessary: after losing a close race to then-Rep. Ed Mezvinsky in 1974, he won a rematch in 1976 by comparing Mezvinsky to Bella Abzug. (I admire Abzug, but you can imagine what that name meant to most Midwesterners in those days.)

    In my opinion, the only reason why you never heard much liberal-bashing from Leach after that race was that 1) he entrenched himself quickly and never really needed to get in the gutter to win after that; and 2) he represented Iowa City for much of his tenure, so he couldn't afford to appear too much like a typical Republican (and the GOP leadership knew it, too).

    Like I said, I do respect him. But I also remember the whole story.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:39:52 AM PDT

  •  I used to be a lot less civil online (7+ / 0-)

    I was angry at BushCo, especially Chimpy hisself, Darth Cheney, Condi, Rummy, Rove, the whole evil unindicted war-criminal gang.

    Technically, I still am.  And I still have fantasies of them in orange jumpsuits and leg-irons, being frog-marched to the Hague.

    But life is short, and being angry at pretty much everything is exhausting.  And so, for the past couple of years, I have tried to accentuate the positive, or at least not dwell so much on the awful.

    I think this first really manifested on the occasion of the death of Jerry Falwell.  The jist of my reaction was, condolences to his friends and family, because the dude's dead now, and I'm not gonna let my feelings over the actions and policies of a dead guy rule my life.

    As it is, I still point out atrocities and stupidities, on my personal FB page, sometimes on my DW/LJ pages (which also feed to my Twitter), and occasionally here.  And I certainly comment here a fair amount.  And I've got as much invective as anyone to throw at the various highborn douchenozzles we have to put up with in public life.

    Thanks to my current physical limitations, there's not a whole lot I personally can do, except call attention to things and occasionally, when I have it, throw a little money at a problem.

    But I'm trying to value life, and my life, and my friends, more than anger.  I'm trying not to argue with my conservative friends as much, although some of them are determined to "make me see the light" or win points or somethin'.  It's way more important to me to keep the people, people with whom I can disagree a whole lot but who otherwise have proven to be good and true friends.

    And I have become a huge believer in finding the good in the world, and working toward making it better.

    -----
    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:41:03 AM PDT

    •  Ignore Demands To Be Treated Mean (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, filkertom

      ...it makes people crazy.

      Someone says something half baked, so I'll say something dismissive. then they do the passive aggressive thing "OK explain why I'm wrong" to which I'll say "No, I will not explain why you are wrong because you need to do your own homework to come up with a defensible idea, and I won't do your homework for you.  Turn that offhand remark into 6 or more bullet points, and we'll chat."

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only one problem with that: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne

        They often will, even thought they're sourced at everything from breitbart.com to Pajamas Media to NewsBusters.  I have basically posted on my FB page that I don't want to hear their bullshit, I don't have the time or inclination to debate it, and they have their own pages to spout off.

        I have one friend (a pretty darn good guy in RL) who is a major gun advocate. He can rattle off talking points practically in his sleep. And he never, ever comes around to the core question of What The Hell Is He So Afraid Of That Defending Guns Is More Important Than Making It Less Likely For People To Be Shot During A Typical Day.

        -----
        Tom Smith Online
        I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

        by filkertom on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:27:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  End-stage perversity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3, Eric Nelson

    Maybe I'm just getting old, but this feels like our liberty and equality have been subjected to metaphorical foot-binding, where people imagine that their FoxNews, Heritage Foundation spoon-fed ignorance is equal to someone else's highly educated opinion.

    I would co-sign the "tired of it" comments.

  •  "What is truth?" (6+ / 0-)

    unfortunately the maxim of Daniel Patrick Moynihan that you may be entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts has long since been eliminated as a consideration in civic discourse

    if you challenge the factual basis of some assertions instead of a meaningful examination you will get reliance upon doctrine or referrals to chosen "heroes" whose words are themselves not necessarily factually based.

    Combine this with the rhetorical technique that if you challenge someone they immediately demand you provide something better  (a common problem in educational discussion with the likes of the so-called 'reformers") and you have immediately abandoned what should be an essential part of honest discourse - that we honestly analyze the problem.  

    That I do not have an alternative to your hare-brained scheme does not make your hair-brained scheme any less hare-brained (with  all due apologies to the brains of hares, which often show far greater depth of reasoning than some who refuse to accept criticism of their faith-based (meant in more than a purely religious and dogmatic sense) assertions.

    Believe me, this problem is being compounded by what is happening in public education, where some school boards are insisting on their right to impose interpretations and restrictions that undercut getting to the truth  - anthropogenic climate change is now becoming as much of a no-no as is evolution, and how dare you teach that the capitalist freemarket system if it existed as they pretend would not only be even more than a disaster than what we have, but is in direct contradiction to some of the more cogent comments of Adam Smith.  

    I run the risk of facing this.  I taught for a long time in the same school in the same school system. I was a known quantity.  People had my back when I challenged closed patterns of thinking.

    Assuming I sign my contract tomorrow, I will be teaching in a building where I am largely unknown, as an untenured teacher in a system that has few people with knowledge of me as a teacher or experience in dealing with me.  In my former school I could be way outside normal limits.   I have to wonder what might happen when as a newbie someone complains because I have challenged the close-minded and inaccurate things they have been teaching children at home or in church.  

    I have been more fortunate on this than most teachers.

    If we cannot take on controversial issues, if we cannot teach our students how to evaluate the assertions of others and ascertain when statements are false, how are we preparing them to make appropriate decisions in life, whether as consumers or voters or even as parents?

    "What is truth?"   Some people will refuse to listen to anything that contradicts their pre-established beliefs.  Others recognize that allowing such questioning threatens their positions and their control, and will fight you tooth and nail, using any method available to silence you.

    A false statement is a false statement.  It is a lie if it is made by someone who knows or who should responsibly know that it is false.  Refusal to examine contrary evidence does not lessen that culpability of being a liar.  

    There are legal principles pertaining to this in the case of defamation.  In theory, truth is supposed to always be a defense against a charge of defamation, even if that truth is embarrassing or uncomfortable.

    I want to see a better America.

    For that to happen, people have to be willing to challenge lazy thinking, to call out falsities.

    That USED to be the role of at least SOME in the media.

    That there are now so few media voices that do so indicates how far we have fallen as a society, and is in part responsible for why we have
    - increasing economic inequity
    - people who violate laws and get away with it because they are not held up to the appropriate standard by the media ... that includes major government figures of both parties
    - been apparently unwilling as a society to address what we are doing to our environment with wrong-headed energy policies that destroy it both short term (mountaintop removal) and long-term (rising temperatures)

    Oh, there is so much more I could add.  I could turn this into a detailed screed.

    Let it simply rest here as one comment among many on the thread, probably to be read by only a few people.

    So be it.

    I think I will do something positive that accomplishes a good - I will clean the cat pans.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:50:38 AM PDT

  •  I've seen these calls for civlity (3+ / 0-)

    Mostly from the GOP, mostly when they are at a massive disadvantage, have lost a key argument in the public sphere and are trying to save face.

    It boils down to "please don't criticize us, because that is mean."  

    There's a storage unit, down the road a bit from where I live. Owner is very clearly a rabid winger.  Constant right-wing sloganeering from his marquee.

    After the 2012 election, he put up this sign that says "it's better to be nice, than to be right."  After the nasty right-wing shrieking he did from that sign for however many years.

    This is just another defense mechanism from mendacious people who have lied, lied, lied, lied, lied, and lied nonstop for decades.  Now they've begun to lose ground and are realizing that their LIES are pissing people off.

    I still am very uncivil, online, but I have to say the main source of my incivility is fraudulence, mendacity, lies, and outright willful ignorance.  I've been materially damaged by the lousy ideas the Right has lied about for years.  I have no reason to be nice about them.  

    The purpose for my part isn't to convince right-wingers that they are wrong . . . you are never going to convince those people.  They are wrong on purpose.  They glorify wrongness.  The purpose is to maintain a constant tone of "you've got to be kidding, you fucking liars, there you go again," a growing narrative that rejects these lies and demands some kind of consistency.  And people who are wavering, or not really sure in the first place, will have the critical ammunition to take apart the bullshit rhetoric, and hopefully over time our national discourse becomes less receptive to out-and-out fucking liars.  

    And it does work.  The online discourse has begun to dominate, and the fake political discourse that the media tries to have on our behalf is no longer the "narrative" that gets listened to.  The failure of Citizens' United to actually win many elections in 2012 is proof of this.  

    So what I hear, again, is not "please be civil."  It's "please stop winning."

    •  Demands For Niceness Are Usually Hypocritical (3+ / 0-)

      Many times it is really creep in the vein of "Daddy only drinks because you cry."

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:04:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reminds me of the quote from Truman (2+ / 0-)
      "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell.
      This conference was called by Lynn and Leach, and they invited a token woman, and token lefty:

      Deb is a very nice person, but she also very "centrist" (aka conservative) and unwilling to speak out strongly on ANYTHING, which lost her the governorship a few years back.

      Paul is deeply committed to the environment, but not the best at linguistic framing, and definitely not a politician. Ironically, he's probably the only person on the panel who has actually experienced really incivility in VT politics. The Koch brothers powered a vicious campaign in the state over the last couple of years to try to halt wind power development. Paul was hounded, mercilessly, and loudly, at every single event he attended or participated in, anywhere in the state right up until the legislature finally voted on the wind bill. He was heckled, yelled at, cornered, and otherwise intimidated by the right-wing anti-wind hacks who trolled him incessantly for the entire time period. It would have been interesting to hear what he had to say.

  •  At a picnic yesterday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, mommyof3, Another Grizzle

    Many conservatives in attendance, after certain discussions where it was obvious that many did not possess certain facts about subjects they wanted to discuss, the group came to the conclusion that nobody is reporting basic facts any longer.

    Now most of the people "discussing" with me I am going to make a wild guess watch Fox News. And I do think that the news sources I go to reflexively more often make an attempt to report the facts than Fox News does, but it is true that just giving us all the facts on the table almost never happens.  Our news is a bunch of talking points chosen for us, and many basic facts are left out and everyone is pushed towards orchestrated talking points.

    •  it is totally about choice: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mommyof3, radical simplicity

      facts and/or truth are not compelling, obvious, or revelatory. we choose based on the slice of reality we see and our ability to process the data from that slice. and no matter what is happening in the rest of the world, we are informed thusly.

      simply, people operate on what they believe and using terms to define others... "climate deniers" is a perfect example... is kinda funny and ineffective.

      i include myself as operating on what i believe... and I believe that my interpretation (of data daily streaming into my brain) is ::::blush:::: spot-on. /snark

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:17:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  VT has one TV news station - Fox in Burlington (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Militarytracy

      Cable is not available in much of the state. Most of the radio is right wing talk, religious, or country, though we do have a smattering of independent stations. It's highly ironic that NH Public Radio is far less right-wing than VT Public Radio. I'm glad I live on the NH side of the state.

  •  "You Are The Biggest Asshole On This Site" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotusmaglite

    Someone nominated me for that title the other day, so I did a quick google search to see how often that happens.  It's not worth a diary, but mildly entertaining

    http://forums.sherdog.com/...

    You know, you made an ashole out of yourself in at least 3 other threads yesterday, to the point white belts who have been here 2 weeks were calling you an asshole. So its just not me. And I stayed away from your posts because we had it out in the one thread and there wasn't much left to say to you. but If you want to keep this going, you went to the right guy buddy
    http://isitnormal.com/...
    Thats the pot calling the kettle black. You are the biggest asshole on this site. You and your philosophical bullshit replies. What a wanker.

    http://www.okcupid.com/...

    You are the biggest asshole on this site and that's why you are treated as such. I'm still waiting for something intelligent/funny/insightful/meaningful/interesting .....oh wait, I'm talking to Kal.
    http://www.newsrake.org/...
    Go find a religion web forum where you can post dead fetuses and bash people who don't believe in your funky warped catholicism. Furthermore, you are the biggest asshole on this site, next to Observer, and the one least likely to pass through the heavenly turnstyle when your time thankfully and hopefully soon, comes.  
    http://www.ratebeer.com/...
    Well well well, I agree with Cobra, you are the biggest asshole on this site. Let me just bow down to you and your almighty ego....
    http://www.pierandsurf.com/...
    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say you are the biggest asshole on this site just looking for any opportunity to take a shot at me.
    http://www.fuckfrance.com/...
    You are the biggest asshole on this site BrasherPoof. Maybe one day a young family member of yours will die tragically, make the news, and we can gloat over that. Given your complete worthlessness, let's hope it is your son or daughter.
    www.punknews.org/article/28656/yellowcard-going-on-indefinite-hiatus‎
    You are the biggest asshole on this site, you goddamn piece of shit. You can go fuck yourself.
    http://www.camfuze.com/...
    to canada24: you're right, you ARE the biggest asshole on this site..epic woman beater! a pathetic spineless waste of space who thinks hitting women makes him a man. i hope you got ass raped 10 times a day while you were in jail. you are nothing but a piss ant
    http://kunstler.com/...
    Fuck you, you sanctimonious racist pig.
    See, that works too. Now go & SHUT THE FUCK UP.
    Geeez, you are the biggest asshole here. Oh, wait,you got your new little asskisser newworld.
    Every week, you turn the discussion to your racist bullshit.
    Well, Fuck you, you sanctimonious racist pig.
    http://phantasytour.com/...
    You are the biggest asshole on this site. You can rip on anyone and anything all day long, but if we talk about you and your poor ass salary, we somehow went to far.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:02:39 AM PDT

    •  I think I get that nomination (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers, coquiero, TerryDarc

      ...on sports pages practically every day. Being the lone voice who speaks out in favor of marriage equality, or racial justice, or changing Washington's NFL franchise name will do that.

      Sometimes, I feel like I'm reverse-trolling.

      The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

      by lotusmaglite on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:31:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I See You've Been Spending Time On Yahoo! Sports (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotusmaglite

        ;-)

        Talk about your ignorant, bigoted assholes. I suppose they don't have a complete monopoly but they do have the copyright.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:14:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

          True. I do most of my damage on CBSSports, where the population is slightly smaller, though no less ignorant and bigoted.

          But Yahoo! does have a place near the peak of Mount Asshole.

          The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

          by lotusmaglite on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:28:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Incoherent Ad Hominem Tirades Are The Best (0+ / 0-)

        When the mask of niceness slips and the raging ugliness comes pouring out, usually because someone refuses to engage in their petty tit-for-tat codependency.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 12:02:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like This One (0+ / 0-)
          You are the biggest asshole on this site BrasherPoof. Maybe one day a young family member of yours will die tragically, make the news, and we can gloat over that. Given your complete worthlessness, let's hope it is your son or daughter.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 12:03:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The knives are at least as sharp in the academic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity

    world as in politics.  I don't see what the crying is about.

  •  "Nice" People Take Over = Past Point Of No Return (0+ / 0-)

    Generally this is the most unproductive people forming an "in group" to socially isolate and bully anyone outside their little group.  In the workplace, it means that the group won't exist in a year or two, and that they passed the point of no return about 2 years earlier.  Every time I've seen, not only has the business unit failed, generally a large scandal has been uncovered.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:08:37 AM PDT

  •  Calls for civility and politeness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, chuckvw, radical simplicity

    are a political tactic usually employed by those pushhing the least civil and polite agenda.

    It is a very American thing.

  •  Weren't The PUMAS The "Nicest" People Here? (0+ / 0-)

    ....until all that self proclaimed "niceness" got them purged?

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:14:31 AM PDT

  •  The internet is what the "media" used to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity

    before it got bought out and turned into just another PR department for corporations that used to make things.   It was never the gatekeeper of the truth or the civil moderator of the discussion, simply look at the broadsheets and tabloids from any prior era in US history.   Ask Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt or any President before WWII just how respectful the media was.

    The difference is that the media used to be profitable enough that it could be owned by people who had an interest in making money, and that interest would sometimes (perhaps rarely) overwhelm the interests of the advertisers.   Juicy stories would not be suppressed, at least not without large amounts of money changing hands.   Nowdays the advertisers own the media, so one of the first things that a journalist has to worry about is "will this offend my boss?"

    The internet is very much like the old media, with people competing for "clicks" that are turned into money.   Because advertising is randomly served, so far there is less ability of the advertisers to control the content.   (This will probably change.)    This competition for attention leads to a lack of civility (anything that shocks is attention getting) and tends to lead to exaggerations, but it also leads to a competition to uncover interesting things to talk about.    It is clear from watching the mainstream media that talking about interesting things is a low priority, avoiding stepping on influential toes is the most important concern of mainstream journalists, unfortunately.

  •  not challenging radio has made lying acceptable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, radical simplicity

    the NSA monitors everything and the left doesn't even know what the local and national blowhards are repeating for the think tanks until after they've created their own conventional wisdom.

    The utter disrespect for the truth exhibited by all media is the heart of the problem. Liars are not called liars. Falsehoods are not called falsehoods.
    the sheer UNCHALLENGED volume and think-tank coordinated repetition only possible with the radio monopoly makes it possible.

    and they are seldom called out for it until it's already too late, repeated by hundreds of national and local liars to 50 mil a week.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:30:26 AM PDT

  •  I grew up in diplomatic Washington, in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity

    DC suburbs. I now live in California. Reading Katherine Graham's Washington has brought home to me a major problem in political discourse in the capital. That is simply, the actual person and humanity of one's political opponent is much more salient than the toxic results of that person's policies. It's too easy for people to write off ghastly political behavior b/c they need to be "civil" - or even more - friendly and collegial. They're going to be across the dinner table from this person on Tuesday night, and sharing cocktails on Thursday. They both enjoy golf and their kids attend the same school, which just won a soccer championship. The fact that the opponent's proposal, now in committee, would wipe out, say, any possibility of a decent life for children on welfare, is not what is salient. Journalists are mostly not in this clique, though that has broken down a lot in years (note this is Kate Graham's book so even then...) so they have an easier opportunity to call a lie a lie, and get rid of the "even-handed" BS.

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:33:49 AM PDT

    •  Kathleen Parker - Toxic Enabler Mom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer

      Sometimes she makes sense but she always goes back to theme of defending whatever horrible thing someone has done lately and devotes a whole column to the smarmy sickening sweet criticism of the people who dared to complain. It's always "Daddy only drinks because you cry."

      That gooey childish sucking up to random authority figures just reeks of abandonment issues, as in "Which one of your parents died tragically while you were little?"   I never really cared about the specifics, but she recently wrote a column where she mentioned how her mother died when she was 4 and how she relied on various parent figures while growing up. And she's still going through life being the good little girl trying to please powerful people.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 09:47:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure what brings up Kathleen Parker? (0+ / 0-)

        Are you referring to her as an example of what I said? I was talking about politicians,for the most part.

        We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
        Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

        by pixxer on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:33:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Katherine Graham Would've Taken Parker To The (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pixxer

          ...woodshed and told Parker to pull her head out of her ass or go work for the Times.

          Parker is the antithesis of what Katherine Graham built and a perfect symbol of the Post's decline into false equivalency.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:44:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah. The downfall of the Post. It was a stronger (0+ / 0-)

            paper back in the day. I agree.

            We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
            Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

            by pixxer on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:50:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Is THAT what's wrong with KP? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bernardpliers

        Seriously, I have read a couple of her columns that I actually agreed with, in substance. Mostly though she's off the deep right end of the pool.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:17:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My Plumber/Neighbor Grew Up In Orphanages (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TerryDarc

          He's a pretty twitchy character, but we have a good working relationship and I don't think any less of him because of who he is. But he's NOT trying to tell other people how to live.

          But some large percentage of people that suffered abandonment have what's called a "leadership complex," where they have convinced themselves that are "born leaders" and moral authorities.  In fact, they should mainly stick to professions like being a CPA.

          On the other hand, some people like Obama (abandoned by his father)  overcome their urge to sabotage themselves and others, and Obama wrote two whole books about that journey.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:28:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  That FEC Transcript (8+ / 0-)

    I haven't looked at this in awhile. Wasn't actually about civility, but, here goes. June 28, 2005:

    COMMISSIONER SMITH: I was going to have more time to listen to other rounds, but--all right; Mr. Moulitsas, you've got this guy, Armando, who posts on your site with some regularity. I don't know who he is. He's just Armando.

    MR. MOULITSAS: Yes.

    COMMISSIONER SMITH: Armando. So he's been publishing some stuff saying that the Republican Commissioners all want to regulate the Internet; it's part of a Bush administration plot to silence the left. Now, it's hard for me to imagine reporting that would be more counterfactual and incorrect and goofy, all right? Why on Earth--most of your comments are devoted to the press exemption, your written comments--why should you get the press exemption when you're publishing something so irresponsible as that and so factually inaccurate?

    MR. MOULITSAS: You know, I say the same thing about Bob Novak and Charles Krauthammer-- [Laughter.]

    MR. MOULITSAS: --and Tucker Carlson, and, I mean, I could go down the list. I mean, we don't deem, we don't give the press exemption based on the content, the political leanings, or whether it's 100 percent factual or not. Armando, you know, in addition to that also led the charge against Alberto Gonzalez being confirmed as Attorney General, and actually moved a lot of people to actively oppose Alberto Gonzalez. And he was right. That was true. [Laughter.]

    MR. MOULITSAS: Gonzalez is a torturer.

    COMMISSIONER WEINTRAUB: But again, unsuccessful.

    MR. MOULITSAS: Unsuccessful. But the press exemption doesn't really--I mean, I don't think it's designed to say only people who write the truth get it. I mean, it's clearly--opinion is a form of journalism, is a form of communication that does get the press exemption. It has traditionally. Now, if that's going to change in other media, then, we could talk about bloggers getting treated the same, but until--but I don't see why blogs should be treated any differently than the rest of the media does.

    COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

  •  I blame TV. (0+ / 0-)

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:05:54 AM PDT

  •  Recent Diary On Hatred And Provacative Behavior (0+ / 0-)

    I did not even touch on the internet or specific examples of troll behavior because I did not want the discussion to turn into a debate on internet civility.  But the diary is quite relevant.

    Psychology Of Hatred Part II: Projection & Projective Identification

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:36:20 AM PDT

  •  Matt Miller's longing for niceness (0+ / 0-)

    led him to espouse a third party  that would have positioned itself somewhere between the full-throated insane right wing and the weak-tea, all apologies "centrist" right wing...

    Had it all worked out Michael Bloomberg would have been swept into the White House on a wave of approbative politeness.

    Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

    by chuckvw on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 11:27:03 AM PDT

  •  Jim Leach refused (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne

    to take campaign contributions from out-of-state donors when he ran for congress. (He served 15 terms.)

  •  !!!!! HEY ARMANDO !!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PATRIOT ACT?  IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT VIA THE COURTS?

    Thank you for enduring the all caps questions, if, in fact, you did endure it.    :-)

    (and for all the times i don't say thanks, thanks for being a brilliant mind that leans liberal progressive.)

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 12:40:06 PM PDT

  •  "It is pretty simple,there will be no meaningful.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity

    .. political discourse as long as lies are tolerated and ignored." - 2005 Diary

     Argument vs advetizing ("talking points.")

    True argument requires truth/facts. Advertizing (in today's form - perhaps always) does not, and civility would outweigh the need of facts

     Hence the demand for civility or worse when "fair and balanced" is used to enter a lie as a valid "side" of an argument, which is not really a demand for civility at all.

    It a demand that liars be allowed to lie and their "side" be politely accepted  in order have  "fair and balanced" political discussions

    It's bullshit. And it always has been

    So fundraisers have determined (probably correctly) that advertizing will get the bucks rolling in faster than an engaged argument/political discourse.

    Thx Armando

  •  Armando, did you identify yourself and/or (0+ / 0-)

    make any comments/ask any questions at the hearing in Vermont?

  •  Jim Leach has a new job. (0+ / 0-)

    He stepped down from his position as director of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    U of I[owa] President Sally Mason wisely lured Leach back to Iowa City, where he will be a visiting professor of law and hold an endowed chair in public affairs.
    (from an item in today's Des Moines Register.)

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