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Hi guys and gals! Welcome to the Great Orange Satan, and try the pootie diaries, they are very relaxing and fun.

And now, humor off. Let me be serious for a minute.

I find that the following is true: a person can be

  1. Just as smart as I am
  2. Just as well informed as I am
  3. Just as well intentioned and "good" as I am

and STILL disagree with me. I have it happen in real life; I have it happen here on Daily Kos.

I'm not unique. It happens to all of us, does it not?

And that's why it's really a big colossal waste of valuable energy to care about paid NSA shills. Because item (3) above really doesn't matter. If some Kossack is in fact a paid shill, but they are marshaling relevant facts into a cogent argument, their motivations do not matter. You need to be able to respond to their argument politely with a cogent fact-based argument of your own.

In fact, worrying about shills is actually dangerous - because it allows one dismiss someone as "not good" and therefore their arguments are not worth engaging with. That's an ad hominem argument, which means if I allow myself to think that way - and I confess to the temptation - I'm really just lying to myself rather than deal with what someone has said.

So if we do have paid NSA shills - treat 'em with respect just like any other Kossack. They are, after all, just ordinary people with a job to do, and may in fact be people of good will. That's right - working for the NSA does not automatically make you a bad person. Which means that even if they ARE a paid NSA shill, they may still be

  1. As smart as you are
  2. As well informed as you are
  3. As good and well-intentioned as you are

and disagreeing with you on topics relating to the NSA.

Maybe we have shills. Maybe we don't.
Maybe these hypothetical shills are still worth listening to and engaging as credible intellectual foes.

Could a shill have a point?

UPDATE: Two commentators have pointed out that a paid shill not disclosing their affiliation would be in violation of site rules. I agree, and that would definitely undercut their moral standing as re: (3). Further, if I caught 'em, I'd report 'em.

The danger remains of just slotting everyone who disagrees with you into the "shill" bucket. Because some non-shills may still disagree with you.

Tags

Poll

Does Daily Kos have paid NSA shills?

14%17 votes
21%25 votes
5%6 votes
23%27 votes
17%20 votes
16%19 votes

| 114 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  OMG (12+ / 0-)
    If some Kossack is in fact a paid shill, but they are marshaling relevant facts into a cogent argument, their motivations do not matter.
    ...I think I just fell in love.
    •  One of many, one of many :-) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remembering Jello, BlueJessamine

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:16:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  paws off, (3+ / 0-)

      I saw him first!

      morning. ;)

      "the Devil made me buy this dress!" Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

      by BlueJessamine on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:05:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All subjective (11+ / 0-)

      what one person considers "relevant" or "cogent" may simply be a distortion, distraction or other form of influencing opinion on an issue.

      The fact that a poster is being dishonest about their identity and status not only renders their POV irrelevant, it says something about their commitment to any values whatsoever.  Values and ethics are the foundation of every good argument about issues.  Trust is important in any discussion.

      Now, if a paid shill is sincere in their commitment to an issue, ideology or political leader, they can always come clean and engage in honest discussion like everyone else.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:16:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No possible fact about a poster (7+ / 0-)

        can ever render their POV irrelevant.

        Ideas are powerful. Bad people sometimes have one or more good ideas. Dismissing ideas because of who is putting them forward is intellectual cowardice.

        Facts and logic are the foundation of argument. Not a sieve separating those who are worthy of being allowed to speak from those who are not.

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:23:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's the dishonest manipulation and derailing (9+ / 0-)

          of legitimate discussion that completely negates anything a paid shill has to say.

          Facts are meaningless if they're being spouted by someone who is trying to distort public opinion, particularly on issues that cause real harm to people.  

          These aren't esoteric issues discussed here, they're real issues that affect people's lives, health, families, communities economic security, etc.  

          What may be a fun lark for some political junkie does real damage to millions of people out in the real world.  Yeah, its all fun and games until 9 million people are unemployed and thousands die overseas, millions go without adequate food, shelter, education or a hope for a future.

          What these shills need to do is spend some time in the unemployment line, then go out with their benefactors on a listening tour, sent to Main Street United States where the real world is happening.  It aint no farking picnic outside the Beltway.  Shills can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.  Right now, they're the latter.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:33:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  NO (14+ / 0-)
            Facts are meaningless if they're being spouted by someone who is trying to distort public opinion, particularly on issues that cause real harm to people.
            Facts are always helpful and valuable. Facts do not have any particular morality. Facts that don't support your argument are the ones you need to pay the most attention to.
            It's the dishonest manipulation and derailing
            of legitimate discussion that completely negates anything a paid shill has to say.
            And you can distinguish a paid shill from someone who simply disagrees with you by what infallible mechanism?

            The shill hunt is for people who just can't comprehend someone disagrees with them. They might be here; I don't care. Good, smart, well-informed people might not agree with you. Suspecting them of being a shill actually weakens you.

            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

            by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:40:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why do you presume.... (7+ / 0-)

            ...that all "paid shills" are somehow "distorting public opinion"?

            It's the dishonest manipulation and derailing of legitimate discussion that completely negates anything a paid shill has to say.

            Facts are meaningless if they're being spouted by someone who is trying to distort public opinion, particularly on issues that cause real harm to people.

            This is the same issue I have with people who indiscriminately bash "lobbyists" and "special interests"—which usually really translates into "lobbyists and special interests who disagree with me."

            RH Reality Check, for example, is likely a "paid shill," in that the person posting in that organization's name is probably a paid employee of the organization. Similarly, the person posting in the name of Leo W. Gerard, head of the steelworkers' union, is probably a paid staffer for the union.

            Are the facts posted by those users on this site thus "meaningless," discredited, and invalid, as an attempt to "try to distort public opinion," because they were posted not by pseudonymous individuals but by representatives of organizations that have an interest and position?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:48:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those who are "honest" shills (6+ / 0-)

              should come clean and let us judge for ourselves whether they're engaging in honest discussion of issues or trying to derail them.

              It's their dilemma, they have to deal with it.

              But the idea that paid shills are in some way raising the level of discussion here or are infusing facts on important topics is ridiculous on its face.  Those who distort and disrupt are worthy of the greatest scorn and contempt.

              "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

              by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why not judge facts and reason independently? (10+ / 0-)

                If someone posts claims and demonstrates them using evidence and reason, wouldn't those claims be valid regardless of the intentions of the person posting them?

                Does it really make a difference if someone posts on this site evidence that climate change is real and urges us to get off fossil fuels because they're secretly a shill for a national solar power trade association, versus their being an average Joe/Jane who really cares about the environment? Would you suggest that the facts they post are any less objectively true as a result of their having an agenda?

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:01:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Suppressed evidence fallacy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tardis10, Brecht

                  When an arguer presents a plausible case, but withholds critical information that would indicate a different conclusion.  

                  Would it be reasonable to suspect the NSA of withholding critical information?

                  Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

                  by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:27:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is incumbent upon the responders to point out (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    blue aardvark

                    the missing evidence.

                    Did Obama help Romney in the debates by pointing out things that went wrong in his administration? Of course not. We are all trying to persuade. If we persuade through non-factual bullshit, it should be pointed out. If we persuade through facts but omit other facts that don't support our case, the DK community should be smart enough to figure that out. Usually, the person with the best facts will win.

                  •  That's hardly unique to "shills." (0+ / 0-)

                    Why would "shills" be any more likely not to include evidence that would indicate a different conclusion than anyone else who has an opinion and an agenda?

                    Also, going back to my example, presuming that the secret shill for a solar power trade group didn't suppress any evidence about the reality of climate change or the importance of moving from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy sources—something I'd wager the vast majority of this community agrees on—would the facts presented by that user be any less valid because they were advocating for something they had a financial interest in, rather than simply being a concerned citizen who cares about the future?

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 06:58:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Remember the Hillary Clinton flap? (5+ / 0-)
              Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton offered an unusual defense  of a hated Washington insider caste -- lobbyists -- before an audience of political outsiders in Chicago Saturday, drawing boos from the audience at the YearlyKos Convention and offering an opening to her rivals.

              “A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans,” the New York senator said in defense of her decision to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. “They represent nurses, they represent social workers, yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people.”

              http://www.politico.com/...

              Yet today those lobbying for nurses, teachers, WalMart workers etc. are heroes.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:02:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Somewhere I thought I saw that RH Reality Check (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark

              disclosed that she was an intern for NARAL in TX.

              My general expectation for interns in non-profits is that they are not paid, unless other information is available.

              RH Reality Check's work is always top notch addressing reproductive health care, public health science and policy and women's rights, so it is easy to suspect it is professional and paid work.   Frankly, if more diarists and commentors advocated and narrated on Daily Kos in the the manner of RH Reality Check, then DK would get a lot more done for progressive causes and progressive Democrats.

              All of the "shill" and "paid shill" talk on Daily Kos strikes me as unseemly, not terribly different than CT discussions and of the character of a witch hunt.

        •  Sure it can. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NearlyNormal, Nada Lemming, Brecht, lysias

          Someone who is paid - or has some other vested interest - to promote a particular point of view will only offer that point of view even if it's premises are completely false. Nor does that person necessarily believe in the point of view s/he's promoting. It's written words on the inter-toobs. You have no way of knowing how valid the shill's POV really is, or even whether s/he actually believes it. You aren't looking them in the eyes, after all. Our human in-built bullshit detectors (based largely on body language) are inoperable here. We have only symbols and their formal construction to judge by.

          Take as a for-instance a nuclear shill. Someone with vested interests in some aspect of the industry and technology, so that their whole adult life is basically attached. Their choice of career in youth, their means of making a living in productive mid-life, their retirement security in old age. Not to mention their highly valued knowledge base, considered elite (by them and the industry) among all practical applications of science and engineering.

          An elitist mindset ("they're too dumb to understand") combined with a history of secrecy and deception from the technology's birth right through today and into tomorrow. This absolutely doesn't lead to honest discussion of approaches or views about how issues with the technology should be approached. Their whole schtick can be completely deceptive and unless you know something about it the average reader is simply unable to properly judge. Some of the issues are life-and-death important. That kind of shilling should be spotlighted in sharp relief every time it's encountered, because it can do real harm to real people.

          I consider the NSA [et al.] issue to be another one with serious potential to do real harm, with a history of secrecy and deception that needs to be spotlighted wherever and whenever an advocate starts the spiel. If they're paid for the task it only compounds the offense and the offensive nature of the spiel.

        •  Here's a little something on the nature of power (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, antirove

          and the notion of democracy:

          Making Democracy a Way of Life

          By Matthew Shapiro

              Some points:

          1.        Republic is a form of government, democracy is a way of life.

          2.        We as a society are still only in the kindergarten of democracy as a way of life, because we haven't yet learned to produce a will in common at the levels of home, neighborhood, workplace, etc.

           3.       Power is not the same as control, authority, or force. Power should be thought of as a creative force. A nation can be powerful (full of creative force) or not. The U.S. is a very forceful nation, but its "powerness" is limited because its people still lack social capacity to create. In this definition of power, its opposite is violence. The more truly powerful a people, the less violent it is. The more violence present in a society, the less power there is.

          4.        Human groups can be thought of as crowds, herds, mobs, or authentic communities. The predominant mode of social organization in the U.S. is crowd and herd. This means that we have not yet learned how to create together, and we are easily subject to manipulation.

          5        So-called "direct democracy" can't work, at least not yet, because (as pointed out by One Raven) we still exist as a crowd, rather than as a people. Also, voting does not produce a will in common. It only registers an existing will held in the minds of separate individuals.

          6.        Two more Greek words to add to complement the word "democracy" (power of the people): demosophia and syzitisis. Demosophia means "wisdom of the people." Syzitisis means "searching together." Unless people have the syzitisis, they cannot produce the demo'kratos or the demosophia. Unless people have the demosophia, they can't apply the available power well. Unless people have the demo'kratos, they won't have the opportunity to engage in the syzitisis. So we need to focus on all three "legs" of this triad.

              Credit due to Alexander Christakis for the words demosophia and syzitisis; credit due to Mary Parker Follett for the herd/crowd/mob/etc. model, and for critique of the concept of direct democracy. Credit due to Hannah Arendt for the power/violence inverse relationship model. Credit given to Matthew Shapiro for the distinctions between power, control, authority, and force.

          These points for Lovers of Democracy were sent by Heiner Benking from Berlin Open-Forum via email Fri AM 05:55 EDT July 28, 2006.

          http://sunsite.utk.edu/...

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 04:01:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think the real problem is (13+ / 0-)

        that some folks here find it easier to simply dismiss any argument that challenges their beliefs as coming from a "paid shill."

        It's happened already.

        It's really ironic that a paper about rebutting false conspiracy theories has itself become the basis for a conspiracy theory about the government paying people to post on DailyKos.

        •  That's the way it is here (6+ / 0-)

          When you post unpopular opinions, they throw everything but the kitchen sink at you. In the 08 primaries, posting a pro-Hillary comment yielded more vicious nonsense than you would believe. I must be a DLCer, blablabla.

          Name-calling/CT is a tried and true method of suppressing a minority opinion --- here and elsewhere...

          •  The thing is, we're getting bogged down here (7+ / 0-)

            not by differing opinions, but by different facts.

            A reality based community must be tethered to facts, to evidence. And to me that means going to the original source and reading it myself.

            When I do that, I usually find that the hysterical second, third and fourth hand commentary turns out to be so much hot air.

            •  Reality is often subtle, not black & white (6+ / 0-)

              An organization that performs a useful service can have bad actors that do things which reflect badly on the organization.

              The IRS "scandal" [I don't really thing it is a scandal] is a good example. Even supposing that the Cincinnati office did something wrong, it doesn't mean that the IRS is being directed by the White House to engage in wrong-doing.

              The IRS performs a useful, necessary function even if you accept the [wrong] view of the Republicans.

              Both sides engage in simplistic thinking. Here, they imagine that NSA is a monolithic monstrosity with the exclusive aim of destroying civil liberties. That's false too.

      •  Not that it would matter to some of you. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too, WB Reeves, alain2112

        Anyone who disagrees with you is considered a paid shill in some circles here.

        I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

        by second gen on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:22:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  but that not what they do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neuroptimalian, Brecht

      they dont marshal relevant facts. They are not here to have an honest conversation.  They are here to derail, and muddy the water.  An honest conversation is the very last thing they want.

      You act as if these shills would be here after hours, like some poor schmuck at a bar after a long day work, willing to talk honestly about subject etc.  

      Sorry not the case, they are here to do one thing, push an agenda.

      Its foolish to welcome paid liars to a forum.

  •  I welcome them too, nation needs the employment... (8+ / 0-)

    Though they are a bit obvious and arent really fun to argue with because they need to pretzel logic, but none the less its nice to know the NSA cares.

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:12:56 AM PDT

    •  Yes. We are stilled mired in a deep recession, (4+ / 0-)

      and the suffering caused to the long-term unemployed is very real. So if someone is able to land a paying job that requires them to post here, good for them. As long as no site rules are broken, I have no problem with it. Who would rather have these people jobless?

    •  How do you distinguish a paid stooge... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Hey338Too, WB Reeves

      From somebody who's just really stubborn or bad at arguing?

      •  Usually you can't from just face value... (3+ / 0-)

        But there are a few people who post absurd nonsensical comments and then get a few recs making me think these are likely possibilities

        I am not 'positive' we have paid stooges, but its seems highly likely with some reasonably good candidates.

        The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

        by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:39:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seems to me... (5+ / 0-)

          That if somebody is that bad at shilling, an organization as steeped in the intelligence game as the NSA would have the sense to hire someone better.

          •  Okay, is there are reason you are pulling... (4+ / 0-)

            counter arguments out of a hat?

            Do you believe that it is impossible that people are paid to shill on a very popular left leaning website?

            Or impossible some people aren't that good at it and an entity the size of the NSA is not as efficient as your imaginary perfect NSA human resource dept?

            Just trying to get your point, because all im seeing is weak argument discounting my response, without a point.

            Is it about me or about the shills or about the NSA?

            The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

            by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:52:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure why you'd think it's about you. (7+ / 0-)

              I just don't see the merit in speculating about paid posters if you're not in a position to definitively identify them.

              If they're posting "nonsense," you point it out as such and move on.  Nonsense will be nonsense regardless of who's delivering it.

              If they're posting weak arguments, shut them down with logic and move on.  "You're a paid NSA shill!" is not a logical response and should be beneath the discourse on this site.

              If they're being stubborn, deal with it.  Occam's Razor dictates that with the Internet being what it is, it's far more likely that somebody is just set in their ways, or angry at something that was said, or even trolling, than that they're being paid to be stubborn.

              If you find you don't have a response, I'm really not sure that "well, they were just a government plant" should make you feel better about it afterward.

              At no point is telling yourself that you're surrounded by enemy agents actually helpful if you have no way of acting on that.

              •  I didnt accuse anyone I merely stated... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blue aardvark

                I think its not unlikely there are some.

                You are the one who seems hell bent on discrediting that without actually making a valid point.

                The diary doesn't call anyone out either though it also implies that the diarist thinks its likely.

                So you think its unlikely or almost absurd to believe so?

                Going all hyperbole on me won't work because I tend to be more rooted in reality. Your 'surrounded by enemy agents' nonsense proves for one reason or another you don't like my reasoning and are willing to go all out to discredit me.

                You may believe as you like but if you want to convince others you might want to think about being more reasonable in your counter arguments.

                Right now you seem more interested in 'making me wrong' than 'making you right', which is a weird way to discuss if sincere.

                I hope you are not an NSA shill or their human resource dept is truly terrible... ;)

                The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

                by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:21:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I actually think that the NSA probably (9+ / 0-)

                  has some social media people, and that they probably don't spend that much time here because we don't have the eyeballs of, say, Yahoo or CNN. Plus we're as a group a lot less susceptible to blatant disinformation. More work for less effect on Daily Kos.

                  I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                  by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:25:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Very good points! I don't know to be honest (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    blue aardvark

                    if focused is better than general (here as opposed to yahoo) but you are far more convincing than the guy trying to convince me :p

                    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

                    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:32:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Not at all. (5+ / 0-)

                  I'm not trying to discredit the idea that the NSA hires people to keep up a presence on certain online communities.  It's what I'd do if I were them.

                  I'm discrediting the idea that it helps, in any way, to tell yourself you're arguing with an NSA shill if you don't have proof.  For the reasons I stated above, you really ought to be able to hold your own in an argument without the other guy's (suspected) affiliations ever coming up.  If you're trying to win an argument, it's not going to help.  If you just lost an argument, telling yourself so after the fact should be cold comfort.

                  If you do have proof, then they're violating site rules, so report them.  Problem solved.

                  •  Where I have made such a statement? (0+ / 0-)

                    You keep arguing against points I never made.

                    If you don't have an objection to any points I actually did make lets save some strawmen for the pumpkin patch, or the crows will have a field day.

                    Its like you are responding to someone other than me...

                    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

                    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:46:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually I did accuse someone once, and you (0+ / 0-)

                      are correct best to not do so. But not because I am 'beat' in an argument, but still wasn't wise, and I am always perfectly willing to hear well reasoned counter arguments.

                      The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

                      by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:51:12 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  In the first comment you say they're obvious, (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Hey338Too, alain2112

                      and then say that you have some "reasonably good candidates."

                      Again, I'm not disputing the idea that they exist, but that "this guy posted something dumb, I'll bet he's a government plant" doesn't really lead you anywhere useful.

                      •  And yet 'accused' no one... (0+ / 0-)

                        You really need to practice this discussion stuff, because I don't think you have made a solid counter argument yet.

                        Accuse is to point out an individual not make a general statement. Even if I said 'someone' is a NSA plant, with out naming them no one has been accused.

                        But if I was the imaginary person doing and saying all the things you are responding to, you would have torn me up.

                        Would be nice if just one of your responses was on point, but that would of ended this fascinating discussion.

                        The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

                        by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:58:29 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  There are a number of different approaches (4+ / 0-)

            to manipulating group-think.

            Also, it depends on the goals.  Sometimes it is possible to get a majority of people to adopt an idea, but sometimes all that is required is to maintain a split in opinion.

            Whatever you're dealing with, the best way to respond is calmly and clearly with facts and rational thinking based on those facts.

            •  In an earlier diary (6+ / 0-)

              I mentioned that if I were an NSA plant out to defuse Daily Kos, I'd be posting diaries trying to whip up outrage.  Watching the rec list for the past few weeks, it seems like there's a nice little self-sustaining reaction of people posting their outrage about something, followed by people posting diaries about how they share the outrage, followed by people who are outraged about the outrage, followed by outrageception diaries, etc.  

              People seem content to sit and do that, as if just being outraged constitutes action.  So long as they continue to think that, they're not doing anything actually inconvenient for the NSA.  

              •  Au contraire. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JosephK74, tardis10, Joieau

                The more awareness that these programs aren't nearly as focused on actual national security targets, the more difficult it is for the NSA to maintain their independence from oversight.

                The irony is that this is an infowar that is playing out.  Marching to the NSA will only get people 10-life.  Engaging in debate about what they are doing and the extent to which people will tolerate their intrusions is the "battleground", so to speak.

                BTW, you say that people seem to be content when you started out describing them as outraged.  Wouldn't contented outrage be an oxymoron?

              •  The work of the Enlightenment for decades, making (0+ / 0-)

                people aware of the abuses of the French monarchy, in the end paved the way for the French Revolution.

                The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                by lysias on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 07:27:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  One can only go so far (0+ / 0-)

            in defending the indefensible.

            Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

            by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:29:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neuroptimalian

            If they get half the population defending them, and the other half extremely pissed off at their lies, that's not bad shilling, that's extremely effective shilling.

            Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

            by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:31:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  how do you distinguish an unpaid stooge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hey338Too

        from somebody who's just really stubborn or bad at arguing?

  •  Errrr.... (25+ / 0-)
    A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
    Kind of defeats the idea of honest, open debate.

    Also violates the DKos rules.

  •  A secret paid shill on a site that prohibits (18+ / 0-)

    them is not 'good or well intentioned' because they lack integrity. GIGO. A paid shill who identifies themselves,could be
    good,bad,well intentioned or just trying to make a buck.
    In either case,your advice to stick to the argument is what is most important,I'd say.

    (For the record,I once was a paid shill. Baccarat.)  
     

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:14:07 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I think I need to edit (7+ / 0-)

      Site rules do matter.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:17:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pay or not, they still lack integrity (7+ / 0-)

      and to think they should be welcomed anywhere is pretty sad.

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:44:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again - title is humor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WB Reeves, middleagedhousewife

        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

        by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:28:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your humor isn't funny - it's smug sarcasm, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark

          with just the tip of your tongue in your cheek. The whole body of your diary appears to, quite sincerely, welcome our paid NSA shills.

          How is

          So if we do have paid NSA shills - treat 'em with respect just like any other Kossack. They are, after all, just ordinary people with a job to do, and may in fact be people of good will.
          even sarcastic, or anything less than a kind welcome?

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:49:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's one comment (0+ / 0-)

            Look at the rest.

            My point is that it is harmful TO YOU to try to sniff out shills, because it is quite possible that instead they are an honest person who honestly disagrees with you.

            I'm more worried that people are closing their minds (on different sides of many issues) than that the NSA is controlling us via shills.

            Shill hunts are useless.

            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

            by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:54:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "it is harmful TO YOU to try to sniff out shills" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark, tardis10

              Well, I think it's mostly a wild goose chase, so I don't do it much.

              I wish you'd keep one distinction clear, as it's crucial to this issue:

              it is not harmful TO YOU to try to sniff out shills
              It is, however, a time-consuming enterprise. I'd recommend that amateurs give it a miss.

              The point you perhaps mean to say is

              it is harmful TO ALL OF US when Kossacks throw around the "shill" label carelessly. Those Kossacks should stop it and, if they have real evidence, take it to the admins instead
              Re. your "I'm more worried that people are closing their minds" - I can see you're trying to keep a fair and open mind, with this diary. I applaud the sentiment. But I fear you've opened your mind too wide, and mosquitoes may get in.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:22:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  But who should be made to disclose their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seancdaug

        associations or identities?  I'd think that "paid" would be the criterion for that.

        Seems to me that if one isn't being paid to comment at a website, then one is just posting on his/her own accord like anyone else.  90% of the people at this site are anonymous.  Nobody knows if they have "agendas".  Or arguably, all of them have "agendas".  Nobody knows who that 90% works for.  Maybe all of their employers have agendas or would be affected by public policy in some way.

        Let's say someone works for an environmental conservation group.  But they joined DKos on their own accord, not at the behest of their conservation group.  But they care about the environment and so have an "agenda" on that issue.  Do you think it should be mandatory that they disclose their membership in the conservation group before posting here?  Or should include such disclosure in every comment they make?  When nobody else has to?  I don't think so.  As long as they are making their comments on their own accord, not at the behest of the conservation group, then I see no problem.

        If you think there is a problem, then maybe EVERYONE should disclose their employer, any activists groups they belong to, any charities they work for, any investments they have, their pension plans, 401ks, salaries, etc.  Then everyone could make judgments as to whether everyone else is posting on behalf of his/her employer, small business, activist group, charity, think tank, company they have investments in, etc.  Yeah, I didn't think so.

  •  Missing from your poll: (10+ / 0-)
    Yes, a few, but they're easily spotted.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:27:46 AM PDT

  •  I'm willing to accept this assertion: (15+ / 0-)
    That's right - working for the NSA does not automatically make you a bad person.
    But...

    Posting for the NSA at DKos without disclosing that affiliation puts a person in serial violation of site rules and thus--by definition--makes them a reprehensible troll.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:32:51 AM PDT

    •  And thus my edit (4+ / 0-)

      But "reprehensible troll" is not the same. Trolls post stuff just to stir up trouble.

      I repeat - if someone is marshaling facts into a cogent argument you have no business calling them a shill because you don't like their conclusion. Even if they are in violation of site rules a valid argument is a valid argument.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:44:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's beyond the site rules. it is simply not (7+ / 0-)

      ethical.

      “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 Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:57:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If a paid shill is so brillliant and forthright (7+ / 0-)

      why do they have to:

      take money for their work

      present the opinions of their employers

      misrepresent themselves in a public forum

      All of those things add up to someone who is unethical and dishonest, making their opinions on any topic meaningless to me.

      Anyone good at debating can argue a position from more than one point of view, as can anyone being paid to do the same.    

      No, thanks.  I'll reserve my respect for the opinions of those who are honestly representing a POV, not being paid to present a canned argument.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:06:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If they're offering a valid argument, what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, Hey338Too, Ahianne

        possible difference could their personal ethics make?

        If Henry Kissinger ( who is certainly unethical, dishonest, and prone to the rhetoric of whoever's employing him) says that 2+2=4, and Remembering Jello (Progressive stalwart and Renaissance Man) says that 2+2= 5, who's right?

        Yep, even though he's an @sshole.

        Facts matter, not personalities.

        •  Anyone can present facts (6+ / 0-)

          and anyone can use them selectively and deceptively.  There's no shortage of facts here on DKos, the problem is in how dishonest people use them.

          People who present opinions and facts in a manner that is meant to deliberately disrupt honest discussion or to attack an honest person's argument are pretty useless in a political forum.  They have nothing to offer, nothing to bring to the conversation.

          As I said before, if a paid shill thinks their contribution is so significant and compelling, they should come clean and engage in discussion like everyone else - present their own opinions and not those their being paid to promote.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:25:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am deeply disturbed to find you making the (6+ / 0-)

            argument that we should be trying to identify and silence bad people. I would not have expected it.

            I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

            by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:30:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  FACTS ARE BAD if they come from those who disagree (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark, WB Reeves, alain2112

              with us. Doncha know?

              •  Yeah, like Social Security increases the deficit (0+ / 0-)

                so we should cut it through chained CPI.

                Another lie - Chained CPI isn't a cut in benefits.

                "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:02:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  These are bad examples (3+ / 0-)

                  Because it can be determined with good precision how much Chained CPI cuts benefits. And the current surplus in Social Security is well understood.

                  But if someone points out that Social Security won't always be in surplus, that's a fact too. It doesn't make that person a shill for some privatization effort.

                  •  There are shills who post they're not cuts (0+ / 0-)

                    and argue the point endlessly, claiming they are facts.

                    It's a good example of what some Third Way Dems  claim are factual arguments that improve the dialogue here.

                    "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                    by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:25:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  More disagreement = shilling? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      middleagedhousewife, sviscusi

                      Most posters arguing the "chained CPI isn't a cut" are regular posters, (just like you probably are),  and expressing their own views and their own opinions (just as we have to assume you probably do), not shills (which we'll have tio take on trust you aren't).

                      (And if you want to pick semantic nits chained CPI isn't in fact a "cut". It's a reduction in increase. Recipients continue to get more in real dollars than they got before, just not as much more.)

                      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                      by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:51:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •   Harm from Chained CPI cuts is fact, not opinion (0+ / 0-)

                        That Chained CPI results in loss of income to seniors is fact, not opinion. There's plenty of data to back that up.

                        There's nothing wrong with someone expressing their opinion on the issue, but if they favor Chained CPI, they can't claim it doesn't reduce income or harm seniors financially.  That's a fact, not opinion.

                        The same goes for the claim that Chained CPI is necessary to reduce the deficit.  Fact - SS doesn't contribute to the deficit.

                        That leaves proponents of Chained CPI for SS to express why they think these cuts are necessary or relevant to the overall economy.  They're free to express opinions on that.

                        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                        by Betty Pinson on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:36:37 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That is a far cry from (0+ / 0-)
                          There are shills who post they're not cuts

                          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                          by Catte Nappe on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:19:21 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No, that's an accurate statement (0+ / 0-)

                            The pro- Social Security cuts shill group is pretty influential when they drop by.   Kind of like the health care reform bots we used to get.  When a couple of diaries go up on the topic, they appear and rouse the rabble.

                            "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                            by Betty Pinson on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:43:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  That's not what Betty said. She said Liars are Bad (0+ / 0-)

                and if they have good facts, they should present them frankly, without pretending to be something they're not.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:52:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Wow, interesting, yet inaccurate accusation (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht

              My comment

              As I said before, if a paid shill thinks their contribution is so significant and compelling, they should come clean and engage in discussion like everyone else - present their own opinions and not those their being paid to promote.
              is a challenge to any shills here on DKos to show how honest and forthright they are by coming clean.  Whether or not they do so is their choice.

              Interesting how you took a comment and attempted to make it into something it clearly wasn't.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm having a difficult time finding exactly what I said that advocates for banning people.  

              "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

              by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:39:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because of this (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hey338Too, WB Reeves
                People who present opinions and facts in a manner that is meant to deliberately disrupt honest discussion or to attack an honest person's argument are pretty useless in a political forum.  They have nothing to offer, nothing to bring to the conversation.
                That's all fine and good. The idea that you know who these people are is not.

                If you don't know, you have to engage the argument on the merits. Which makes your point tepid UNLESS you have some mechanism for identifying these people. In which case you clearly want them gone.

                I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:43:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Again, distortion of my comment (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blue aardvark, Brecht

                  I don't know who these people are and I'm not going to get into a game of trying to name them.

                  They know who they are and they have to live with their own conscience.

                  "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                  by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:47:37 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Hey338Too, middleagedhousewife

                    They are dishonest and in violation of site rules.

                    Getting all worked up that some posters are in violation of site rules seems like a waste of time to me.

                    I am much more concerned that people who are NOT shills are being dismissed unfairly than I am that the shills are getting away with it.

                    I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                    by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:50:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm focused on what happens in the real world (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happymisanthropy, Brecht

                      Organized propaganda campaigns that cause harm to the public and reduce the influence of average working class voters is toxic, IMHO.  I can't think of any instance where I would find benefit in that kind of governing or influence peddling.

                      It's bad enough when Republicans do it, its nearly unthinkable to me that members of my own party would engage in such low-brow, undemocratic, dishonest practice.  Sickening.

                      Whether its something happening here or anywhere else, it's something I won't accept or tolerate coming from my own party's leaders.

                      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                      by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:59:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  As though the NSA can't do things (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hey338Too, middleagedhousewife

                        without Obama directing it. I am continually amazed at the level of detail people think Obama gets down to.

                        Some bureaucrat may have decided at some point the NSA should engage in social media. That wouldn't surprise me.

                        That they would decide to work to reduce the influence of average voters would surprise me. They are probably 100x as worried about their budget than they are about what you or I think of James Clapper.

                        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                        by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:15:49 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  You have a fair point, Your diary misses it. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      blue aardvark
                      I am much more concerned that people who are NOT shills are being dismissed unfairly than I am that the shills are getting away with it.
                      That's a valid concern. You should diary the argument against that. Though, I have read that very diary, well-written, from other Kossacks.

                      To turn around and respond by saying "These con-men might be really nice people, and worth listening to. Let's invite them into our home", makes you sound like a sucker.

                      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                      by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:57:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  But look at my diary! (0+ / 0-)

                        That's what I open with - that the world is full of smart, well informed, well meaning people WHO DISAGREE.

                        The title is a play off of David Ickes "I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords". And then the second line says I'm switching from humor to serious, and then I start in on the idea that people who disagree with you might still be good people.

                        Then I extend that to the possibility that even if someone IS an NSA employee, they might not be evil. Although they are in violation of site rules. But that's a secondary point; the main one is that shill hunting is bad for the hunter.

                        I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

                        by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:06:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No - shill paranoia is bad for the shill paranoiac (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          blue aardvark

                          but if a shill hunter actually found the evidence, and exposed some shills to the admins - that would be good for the hunter, and for DKos.

                          They'd need advanced sleuthing skills though, or it might take many hours, or fail.

                          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                          by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:12:12 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  Forgot to add (8+ / 0-)

        Shills are also being paid to intentionally disrupt open, honest discussion and use subterfuge to cast doubt on legitimate facts, ideas and opinions.

        We don't like or respect Republicans who do that, why should we respect a nominal Democrat (or political Hessian) who does the same?

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:21:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shills always lie? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B

          Can no one be hired to honestly present facts that put their employer in a favorable light?

          I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

          by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:32:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JosephK74, happymisanthropy

            in my comment did I say that?

            A shill's entire existence and persona is based upon a lie and their agenda is to disrupt discussion of issues an public policy that have a huge impact on the well being of millions of people.

            Shilling doesn't happen in a vaccuum.  It's part of an overall campaign to distort government processes in ways that do great harm to people, governments and institutions.

            "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

            by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:45:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not necessarily (3+ / 0-)
              their agenda is to disrupt discussion of issues an public policy
              Quite often the agenda is to interject facts that support their viewpoint. In an earlier comment I reference this recent story as a potential example:
              Inhofe and Huckabee accuse the Obama administration and Organizing for Action .... of violating federal law in their push to combat climate change.
              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

              What if an OFA worker posting on a RW site that denies climate change fails to disclose their connection with OFA? Are they doing "great harm to people, governments and institutions"?

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:56:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Rachel Maddow had a great segment on this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sonnet

        in 2009.

      •  ummm... (6+ / 0-)
        If a paid shill is so brillliant and forthright why do they have to:

        take money for their work

        Maybe because they need to pay their rent, or feed their children, or put gas in the car?

        If I may say so, the argument that anyone who's taking money to do something is necessarily compromised by that money is a rather unprogressive argument—the kind of argument that people use to justify underpaying (or not paying) artists, writers, and other creative types who work very hard on their craft—not to mention teachers, social workers, and other people who live their lives serving others.

        "You should be doing it because you love doing it, not because you want to make money! That you're taking money to do what you'd do anyway just means your work is compromised!" As someone who has made money from writing, I have to say that is complete and utter bullcrap, and it's the same crap that justifies our society's lousy treatment of teachers and glorification of people who do things like financial "services" and investment.

        Don't feed into that beast by suggesting that anyone who is paid for their writing is compromised.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:56:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Curious (3+ / 0-)

      Is there a difference between "I work in communications for [whoever's being discussed], and they pay me to post online" and "I'm a regular Kossack who works at [whoever], and it annoys me when you attack my work and I'd like you to know a fuller truth, even though no one in the office knows I'm doing it."

      I think both situations merit disclosure, but others may not.

      •  Not sure. I can see an argument that requiring (3+ / 0-)

        disclosure in your second case is de facto requiring self-outing. I'll consider it.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:48:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, there is an alternative. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, Brecht

          Silence.  If telling the truth about your perspective would cause you personal difficulty, or impair the credibility of your post, then maybe you shouldn't intervene.

          •  Yes, I see that too. It's tricky. (0+ / 0-)

            My first, top of my head response to you, which I thought better of and deleted, was that both should be disclosed.

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:03:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Depends, doesn't it? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, middleagedhousewife

          How detailed the disclosure is, or how specialized the arena. We have many posters who disclose they are teachers, or nurses, or librarians or lawyers. None of them are "outed" in a meaningful way. If the disclosure gets more particluar ('I teach at Hillside Elementary in Spokane' or 'I'm an obstetrics nurse at Parkland Hospital in Dallas') they might be getting perilously close to outing themselves.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:03:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, those disclosures seem safe. A disclosure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            like "I work in the insurance industry" is maybe a bit less safe, although clearly something we would want to know if the user's comments are related to insurance and/or health care issues.

            Probably "insurance" isn't unduly revealing either. It gets trickier the smaller the industry is. If I revealed my own industry, anyone with modest Google skills could figure out exactly who I am in just a few clicks. (Not that the real world Phil is any big secret; I'll tell most anyone who's interested enough to ask, lol.)

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:11:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Does it count as being a "paid NSA shill" if, (16+ / 0-)

    due to the sequester, I am no longer receiving my stipend to disrupt discussion here?

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:35:49 AM PDT

  •  Interesting thought (3+ / 0-)

    Paid shills might have a side effect, be that intentional or not.  Paid shills might sow substantial dissent within the community - which, actually, has more or less happened.

    So here's following just one path in the decision tree - that there are paid shills here and that the intention is indeed to sow dissent here.  I say it won't work.

    The brain trust behind a plan such as this would fail to understand our appetite for dissent here, and our seasoned ability as a community to eventually overcome it.

    When they call roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty'. --Teddy Roosevelt

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:38:03 AM PDT

    •  Why is dissent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sviscusi, Sonnet

      something to be overcome? A certain level of dissent is necessary to a healthy politics.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:58:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If sowing dissent is a goal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth, ballerina X

      They are succeeding admirably.  If they misread the appetite for dissension here, they may actually be underestimating how eagerly some will lap it up for sheer enjoyment, rather than as a means to any missional end.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:53:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is not (12+ / 0-)

    them existing, per se, but the content of what they present.

    Which lays your premise to waste, if this is your premise:

    If some Kossack is in fact a paid shill, but they are marshaling relevant facts into a cogent argument, their motivations do not matter.
    They aren't always "marshaling relevant facts". When they aren't, if you think that doesn't matter, you're just wrong. Sorry.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:41:26 AM PDT

  •  Slippery slope (4+ / 0-)

    So paid posters for NSA is OK. Then you would agree paid posters for GOP positions would be OK too?

    I don't think so.

    You can't be a gatekeeper for who passes and who cannot. Either all or none.

    Nevertheless, all those being paid should disclose.

  •  i would hope that paid shills (10+ / 0-)

    would be better at what they do than most of the people suspected of being paid shills. then again, given the way our government contracts everything out these days, maybe they wouldn't be.

    never underestimate the ability of people to make lousy and even deliberately dishonest arguments for free. never underestimate the ability of people to believe absolutely anything. and never underestimate cognitive dissonance.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:45:50 AM PDT

    •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, erratic, Hey338Too

      But even more - people sometimes come to different conclusions because they put different weights on different values. For example, there's always a tension between secrecy and transparency in government, especially when an agency like the NSA is involved.

      And different smart, well informed, good people come down on different places on the "total trust" versus "no trust" yardstick. It's not a matter of smart; it's not something than can be resolved with more information; it's a "values" thing.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:54:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pretty much. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too

      I think there's a tendency for people to assume that their archenemies are always just a bit less clever than they are.  

      Back in '04-'05 or so, I posted on a forum inhabited by a number of armchair-patriot/flag-pin types.  Frequently you'd see them raging in the political section about how the "cowards" in the Iraqi insurgency were using ambushes and IEDs  and, in the process, causing a lot of allied deaths with no end in sight.  They actually expected that insurgents would line up in the streets "like men" and be obliterated by superior firepower.

      The paid-NSA-shill mini-hysteria seems to be thinking along similar lines.  The enemy is out there, but they're all so incompetent that it'll be easy for us to root them out with a little effort and public shaming - because that's what we tell ourselves a paid agent would look like.

      Hell, as I'm typing this I can think of a half-dozen much more "unorthodox" ways to mess with DKos.  Maybe I should put that on my resume.

  •  Don't mind their being here, (4+ / 0-)

    just the fact they don't introduce themselves.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:46:37 AM PDT

  •  Heh (6+ / 0-)

    someone and/or some diary really hit a nerve, I see...

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:47:36 AM PDT

    •  I haven't actually read the diary (3+ / 0-)

      about someone once suggesting the NSA use social media. I would assume they might, just like the Pentagon does.

      Whether or not the USG should hire people to use social media to advance various points the USG wants advanced is a different topic. I see tweets about Obamacare and finding out about it - are those bad?

      If someone's making a good argument, you need to engage it. If they are making a bad argument, you need to shred it. If they are actually lying, they must be called on it.

      But if they are reaching a different conclusion than you do, they may just be smart, well-educated, good people with different values than yours. And dismissing them as "Oh they must be paid to say that" is dishonest.

      I'm on a mission! http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1233352/51142428#c520 Testing the new site rules.

      by blue aardvark on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:59:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have read that diary (6+ / 0-)

        And also the paper it references - which in and of itself is worth reading. As I commented in the diary, it raises an
        interesting question of the whether the government has a role or responsbility to debunk conspiracy theories, and if it does what is the best way to do that.

        Here is the abstract, and the same link offers opportunity to download the 30 pg. pdf.

        Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined. Such theories typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
        http://papers.ssrn.com/...

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:12:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  uh (0+ / 0-)

      Bob Johnson?  Really?

      Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

      by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:10:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He was calling others out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arizonablue

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:19:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did see them (0+ / 0-)

          none of them said that Kos was literally in the payroll of the NSA, so you're just lying.

          Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

          by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:56:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lying about what? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            arizonablue

            Bob Johnson has been calling people out for implying Kos takes money from the NSA. Fact.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:40:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not what they were implying. (0+ / 0-)

              That was Bob Johnson's snark version of what they were implying.

              Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

              by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:05:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then take it up with Bob (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                arizonablue

                He's probably been called a liar before.

                “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:18:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I need to tell Bob (0+ / 0-)

                  that his snark is snark?

                  Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

                  by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 04:37:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sigh (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    arizonablue

                    Bob always tries to approach things with humor, but is not always "snarking". He's taking these allegations seriously. Here's another thread for your consideration.
                    http://www.dailykos.com/...

                    Now, you are perfectly free to disagree with him about it. But don't call me a liar for pointing out that his comments are seriously  intended to call out folks speculating that Kos is getting paid by the NSA.

                    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                    by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 05:45:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  His snark (0+ / 0-)

                      taken seriously, is a bad strawman.  Otherwise it's just snark.

                      Here are the comments:

                      It's not that hard to imagine given his comments (24+ / 0-)
                      on the issue.

                      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

                      by The Dead Man

                      Refering to what Kos actually said, or perhaps an unkind interpretation of what Kos actually said.  Does not even remotely imply that Kos is on anyone's payroll.
                      Or his resume. NT (9+ / 0-)
                      Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue

                      by Horace Boothroyd III

                      I suppose you could stretch that to infer that Horace is implying that Kos is currently on somebody's payroll (and stretch it even farther to infer that somebody is the NSA), but any reasonable person would interpret it as a reference to Kos's status as a veteran of the US Army.

                      Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

                      by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:49:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Go back to the beginning (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        arizonablue

                        "Bob Johnson?  Really?"

                        Yes, Bob Johnson, really. He's calling people out for implying Kos is spying on users for the NSA, and taking money for it. If you doubt his intent, try reading the last link I gave you --- which does not include any of the comments you are citing and parsing.

                        If you disagree with his interpretation of the comments, take it up with him. If you think he's putting up a bad straw man - take it up with him.

                        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                        by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:06:43 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  well, geez (0+ / 0-)

                          if you're going back to the question of whether Kos would honor a National Security Letter, if he received one, that's too obvious to consider a conspiracy theory.  Of course he would.

                          You're desperately digging to find something that isn't there.  

                          Reasonable suspicion? How can being wrong 98.6% of the time ever be reasonable?

                          by happymisanthropy on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:41:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Fascism, STASI-like thugs. That would apply to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, happymisanthropy

    any and all security/intelligence/surveillance personnel tasked with manipulating public opining surreptitiously.

    It portends the rise an undemocratic and oppressive regime.

    The ultimate goal of these folks (or the ones that put them up to it) is to subjugate and exploit the population on behalf of an increasingly brutal ruling elite.

    •  Stasi like thugs? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sviscusi, kalmoth, alain2112

      For sitting at keyboard and dicking people around?

      "Stasi thugs" did a hell of a lot more than that Ray and someone would have to do a hell of a lot more than that before I'd compare them to a Stasi thug.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:28:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't take it so personally. Before things get to (0+ / 0-)

        be a hell of a lot worst, there has to be preparation and conditioning of the citizenry, and much of it is done through propaganda, which is what these national security trolls, shills, and traitors to the U.S. Constitution are doing.

        Does that makes sense?

        •  "Don't take it so personally"? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sviscusi

          I guess that means I'm on a different list now?

          Does it make sense?

          Only if you think you can accurately characterize people t based on actions not yet taken and events that have not yet occurred.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:36:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Try this; let's check cognition: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves
            The government in collusion with for-profit military-surveillance companies is actively engaging in propaganda efforts, including the infiltration of online blogs, as well as actual social justice activists groups.
            You should be able to quickly express your opinion about that statement: True or false?
            •  I possess no direct knowledge of such (0+ / 0-)

              but I've never doubted it was so. Based on history, it would be remarkable if they didn't.

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:04:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, so let's go with "likelihood." If they are (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WB Reeves

                indeed doing it, then those participating in it are helping bring about a totalitarian police state and are acting as STASI-like thugs.

                Remember, in police states and such, not everybody involved is knocking down doors and dragging people out in the middle of the night.  They are "analysts" and "paper-pushers," but in the final analysis they are thugs involved in helping bring about a STASI-like Police State.

                •  You say "helping bring about a totalitarian (0+ / 0-)

                  state", which indicates that you don't think we are there yet. It follows that you are basing your judgement not on the actual content of people's actions but on what you assume the future consequences will be.

                  You really see nothing problematic in this?

                  It's true that every totalitarian system requires "paper pushers" who engage in no direct violence but they're usually referred to as bureaucrats rather than thugs, since personal violence is the definition of thuggery.

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:24:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay, if this is a bout hurt feelings, then let's (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    WB Reeves

                    just call them paid trolls, shills, liars, and treasonous scum undermining freedom, democracy, constitutional protections, justice, and the rule of law.

                    If they are just at the keyboard at this point, that's what they are... But they should be aware that they are helping in setting the stage for the next step, which includes physical thuggery and intimidation.

                    About that?  Is that better.

                    •  Actually yes (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador, kalmoth

                      Because everyone of those characterizations is subject to actual evidence in the present rather than imagined evidence from the future.

                      If you're trying to make people aware of what they are potentially contributing to, that's a far better position to start from. The other would likely insure that they would ignore you from the get go.

                      Nothing human is alien to me.

                      by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:41:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  I just want to know one thing: (4+ / 0-)

    how can I monetize my DKos activites?

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:09:59 AM PDT

  •  May I point out that NSA is in MARYLAND (5+ / 0-)

    The bluest of the blue states. Did it ever occur to anyone that NSA employees might be Democrats? Or DailyKos readers?

    Its much easier to not think. But in reality, NSA employees are not monolithic evil-doers...

    I'm sure that people will HR this, but it doesn't make the statement false.

  •  Ends, means (and a hypocrisy check) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, Susan G in MN

    Example:
    While we are all fixated on the NSA, the paper that generated the earlier diary, that apparently motivated this diary, mentions one consipiracy theory that might need to be addressed is the notion that climate change is a fraud.  

    The argument it presents suggests that someone from the IPCC openly posting counter arguments is going to be discounted and ignored by the members of a forum who are invested in the notion that climate change is a lie cooked up by scientists to suck up grant money. One alternative approach would be to have someone who appears to be just another regular user posting those counter arguments.

    Imagine that someone is periodically posting sensible and accurate information on Red State, and calling in to Huckabee's show to dispute Inhofe - all the time masquerading as Anonymous Dude. Will we be as righteously indignant if we learn that the poster/caller is actually on OFAs payroll?

    The Senate's most prominent climate change skeptic, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), called in to Mike Huckabee's radio show on Monday to discuss conspiracy theories on global warming and the Obama administration's plans to deal with it.

    In the segment, both Inhofe and Huckabee accuse the Obama administration and Organizing for Action -- the nonprofit created out of the Obama campaign to stump for the president's agenda -- of violating federal law in their push to combat climate change.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:45:42 AM PDT

  •  I'm actually a little encouraged (8+ / 0-)

    that no one in comments has accused you, diarist, of being a shill for expressing this view.

    There's hope for this community yet!

  •  The problem is, there is a large number of (8+ / 0-)

    Kossacks here who assume that disagreement = paid shill. Not every person who disagrees with you is a paid shill. In fact, I'd venture a guess that MOST of the people here who disagree with you is just another Kossack.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:21:01 AM PDT

  •  Your poll is missing a few options. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    Yes, dKos has professional shills, lots of them, and they are doing an admirable job.  Their job is not to 'hide the truth', it is to sabotage organized action against their employers.  Just like they killed Occupy.  The 'truth' doesn't matter, if you can create internal dissent and prevent concerted action.

    As for countering paid shills with carefully crafted, factual arguments, well, good luck with that.  It might work on planet Vulcan.  I've studied enough psychology to know that's a losing battle, on Earth.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:28:33 AM PDT

    •  I don't think OWS got "killed" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too, tardis10, alain2112

      I think it served it's purpose admirably, and we are seeing positive results from it today, and will continue to see more. Economic inequality wan't even on most people's radar before OWS. Now the 99%/1% framing is a standard part of discussion of many policies. I think what we are seeing in the Wisconsin solidarity singing and NC Moral Mondays; as well as the WalMart and fast food worker strikes are all "son of OWS" actions. We shouldn't be mourning the death of OWS, but looking for what more it can give birth to.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:42:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have yet to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too, alain2112

    any convincing evidence that there are ANY paid NSA shills posting to Daily Kos.

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:31:07 AM PDT

  •  Great diary and great comments... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Mywurtz

    ... thank you for taking the time to do this.

    Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

    by Hey338Too on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:46:00 AM PDT

  •  Cogency and brevity combined. N/T (0+ / 0-)

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:26:18 AM PDT

  •  But what if no one could possibly be as smart, (0+ / 0-)

    well informed, or as good as you? That's certainly the way it is in my case. Modesty is my best quality though.

    If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it. -- Elmore Leonard

    by voroki on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:00:44 PM PDT

  •  A paid shill? Isn't that a propagandist? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, MrBigDaddy

    A paid shill is a liar and should be treated as one.

    I for one don't traffic with liars.  Anyone suggesting that liars should be heard with respect needs to rethink their opinion or be catorgarized and treated similarly.

    Treat a paid liar with respect?

  •  The Walmart Appearance (0+ / 0-)

    Recently Walmart's communications department made an appearance on DK.  

    If something like this happens, consider it more of an opportunity.

    You get to ask such a representative the most specific question that you possibly can.

  •  It demolishes your #3 point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrBigDaddy, SpecialKinFlag

    and that negates your argument.  Their intention becomes being paid, and not contributing honest information and analysis.

    75534 4-ever or until dk5

    by NearlyNormal on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:44:22 PM PDT

  •  Where can I sign up? Free money!!! (0+ / 0-)

    I can be just as good a shill as the next guy, if I put my mind to it. :)

  •  I don't care (0+ / 0-)

    if they're here. In that I agree with you completely.

    I do care that the government thinks this is an appropriate activity and use of public resources. I care that they don't recognize what their job is and what it isn't.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:40:42 PM PDT

  •  Curious argument you make here.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    la urracca

    Especially because it doesn't--at least, it doesn't appear to--take into consideration the fundamental asymmetries of power implicit in the premise that paid shills are fundamentally situated on an ethically equivalent, rhetorically comensurate, and similarly materially resourceful position for making their arguments (favoring their employers' strategic interests) as compared to the individual, unpaid, and voluntarily participating, democratic activist users here.

    If it is a particular user's paid job to post an argument here and, moreover, that the employer of that user is able to provide a wealth of material, organizational and (dis)informational resources and infrastructure (such as, say, the NSA is able to provide) to empower such a user to make their (variably) convincing, misleading, obscuring, or distracting arguments and explanations in supporting of its aims, what then?

    So if we do have paid NSA shills - treat 'em with respect just like any other Kossack. They are, after all, just ordinary people with a job to do, and may in fact be people of good will. That's right - working for the NSA does not automatically make you a bad person. Which means that even if they ARE a paid NSA shill, they may still be

    As smart as you are
    As well informed as you are
    As good and well-intentioned as you are

    and disagreeing with you on topics relating to the NSA.
    Maybe we have shills. Maybe we don't.
    Maybe these hypothetical shills are still worth listening to and engaging as credible intellectual foes.

    Could a shill have a point

    I have no doubt that many such shills are smarter than me, are much better informed than me, and (from wherever they are justifying their actions) far better intentioned than I am--some believe they are actually doing so to serve the "greater good", no doubt.

    All of those points you listed don't change the reality that the purposeful--if articulate and seemingly reasonable--methodical, and systematic promulgation of disinformation, subterfuge, doubt, and confusion by state-sponsored institutions and actors effectively poisons the well of collective goodwill among emergent, grassroots social democratic movements. It is a tactic that has been used time and again by intelligence agencies in this country and elsewhere.

    However, I would like to add that I sincerely am not of the opinion that this is a position which you necessarily support. And, as a matter of fact, I appreciate that you posted this diary, simply because some of the comments are really interesting. A number of them are, indeed, very reasonable and compelling efforts to uphold your diary's proposition--that paid shills might have some valuable and informed perspective to share with this community. They are really worth reading, and help illustrate some views that are very different from my own.

    By no means am I suggesting that any of them are "sponsored" to do so, just that if any "well-intentioned NSA shills" were on Daily Kos (not saying they are, or aren't) they might sincerely agree with some of those views. That those views are expressed so clearly in the comments here is, in my opinion, a fairly productive result.

    If you see a sacred cow, milk it for all it's worth. -Swami Beyondananda

    by The Free Agent on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 03:11:12 PM PDT

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