Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hey Daily KOS: Thanks for Showing Me That Democrats Have as Little Respect for Freedom of Expression as Republicans--And Why the Green Party is The Way to Vote!!

Some essential backstory: Daily KOS markets itself as a "Daily weblog with political analysis on US current events from a liberal perspective."
I have a "diary" there, and have had for years. I let it lapse for long periods. But had recently revived it in the interest of gaining greater exposure to work I have been doing right here at The Wrench to expose the ecological liquidation and community destruction wrought by the natural gas industry, and to galvanize the moment to end this and all forms of extreme fossil fuel extraction. I reposted at Daily KOS the pieces I have originally posted here or at Raging ChickenRaging Chicken Press | Progressive, Activist Media since 2011). 

Note for now that nothing in the Daily KOS self-description says "Democrats Only!," or "No Greens (or Republicans or Libertarians or Constitutionalists or Whoever) allowed!"

Recently, I was asked to join the Pennsylvania Green Party Gubernatorial ticket with Paul Glover (Paul Glover: candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania) as the Lt. Governor candidate. I am very flattered and honored, and--after thinking about it for a while--accepted the invitation. Just prior to the offer, I was also flattered to be able to give a short presentation at the Pennsylvania Green Party Convention, 3.2.14. Here's the text of that presentation--If you'd like to see it with the photographs, please go here: Green Party Convention Presentation, 2.14 - a set on Flickr.

Of all the issues confronting Pennsylvanians—health care, education, jobs, etc.—among the most important of these are the devastating ecological and human rights toll the fossil fuel extraction industry has taken on the Commonwealth, her neighboring states, and the planet as a whole in the form of its potentially devastating contribution to climate change. Fracking must be banned.
There are many reasons why an articulate and uncompromising opposition to hydraulic fracturing, mountain top removal, tar sands extraction, other forms of unconventional gas drilling, the Keystone Pipeline, the construction of LNG export depots, is critical to the Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign.  
Here are just four:
1. The responsibility of the governor is to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution, including Article 1, section 27: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
2. The fossil fuel industry’s profit objectives are demonstrably inconsistent with the commitment to health care, education, and jobs.
A few examples:
a. Health care: given the hazardous health effects that follow from exposure to the carcinogens, biocides, and other toxins associated with the fracking process; given that a similar account can be given for exposure to toxins resultant from compressor station emissions; given the potential for explosions at every juncture of this process—frack pad, pipeline, truck accident, compressor; and lastly, given that these hazards make particularly vulnerable populations already marginalized by the state’s inadequate health care access, no case can be made in defense of the industry’s conversion of Pennsylvania into what amounts to an extraction factory for wealthy multinationals.
b. Education: in addition to the obvious hazards of locating extraction-associated facilities next to public schools, the effort of the Corbett administration to extort state universities into accepting extraction operations on their campuses is in obvious conflict with the missions of those public institutions, and inconsistent with the commitment to the health and welfare of their communities.  APSCUF—the Associated Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty union—opposes any such construction, and I had the privilege of drafting that resolution for all 14 campuses.
c. Jobs: as is made clear on the numbers, the shale boom has not generated lasting employment for Pennsylvanians. Instead, it has diminished the potential for future employment in industries connected to our once spectacular forests, rivers, and high value streams, exposed mostly non-unionized workers to toxic health hazards, and exported profits from frack pad to off-shore bank accounts of already obscenely wealthy CEOs. That a very few may become very wealthy via royalties or other associated enterprise at the expense of the very many is intolerable to a democratic union and a prescription for future disaster.

3. States are no more closed loop systems than are human bodies or frack pads. In a world increasingly confronted by the effects of global climate change, deforestation, desertification, and toxic pollution, governors and legislators must act responsibly not merely to their own constituents—much less to their campaign donors—but to the stability of the global ecology as a whole.  We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand about the impacts of an industry whose history so clearly shows that its mercenary drive to profit exceeds at every turn its commitment to human welfare or ecological stability.
4. States do not have the right to deploy their police forces to quash dissent—yet, our current administration not only acts legislatively to insure the smooth path to profit, but deploys its police resources against the people in an effort to suppress, fear-monger, manipulate, and intimidate those who expose this path as littered with toxins, political corruptions, and egregious forms of harm.
 Extreme forms of fossil fuel extraction must be banned not only because the citizens of the Commonwealth cannot afford the consequences, but because no regulation can adequately prevent the harm. As we at Shale Justice claim consistently: regulation is about nothing other than controlling temporarily the rate of harm—not the quantity, not the duration.  

Moreover, no matter what some argue are “best practices,” none keep the gas in the ground—the only strategy that will prevent the contribution of fossil fuel extraction to climate change. Pennsylvania’s governor must act not only in the interest of all Pennsylvanians—but for the future of Pennsylvania. What this means is that she or he must take seriously the adage that the local is the global—for this is no mere hyperbole; it is fact.  And as such, it is moral duty.

The presentation went nicely; some folks applauded, and I was invited to run as Lt. Governor with Paul Glover. A press release went out a bit later with the following:

Dr. Wendy Lynne Lee, prominent opponent of extreme fossil fuel extraction, has been selected as the Green Party's candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. Lee is professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania specializing in philosophy of language, philosophy of animal cognition, environmental and feminist theory. The author of "Contemporary Feminist Theory and Activism," Lee also writes a regular blog called The Wrench and is a founding executive member of the Shale Justice Coalition
Lee is a stalwart warrior in the resistance to the criminalizing of nonviolent dissent. "Sometimes in order to stand up for what is right, one must sit down with one's fellow citizens and lock arms," she said.

Green Party selects Lt. Governor candidate

Dr Wendy Lynne Lee, prominent opponent of extreme fossil fuel extraction, has been selected as the Green Party's candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. Lee is professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania specializing in philosophy of language, philosophy of animal cognition, environmental and feminist theory. The author of "Contemporary Feminist Theory and Activism," Lee also writes a regular blog called The Wrench, and is a founding executive member of the Shale Justice Coalition Lee is a stalwart warrior in the resistance to the criminalizing of nonviolent dissent. "Sometimes in order to stand up for what is right, one must sit down with one's fellow citizens and lock arms," she said.

Lee joins the Green Party's gubernatorial candidate Paul Glover, a Philadelphia social entrepreneur, former professor of urban studies at Temple University, and author of six books on grassroots economies "I'm pleased to campaign with such an effective advocate for clean water, which is the foundation of our communities, businesses and jobs."

Jay Sweeney, chair of the Green Party of Pennsylvania, “The Green Party of Pennsylvania is proud to offer voters the choice of two prominent thinkers who articulate a vision not only for the Commonwealth but for humanity.”

The Green Party of Pennsylvania is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. The Green Party of Pennsylvania stands for grassroots democracy, social justice, sustainable economics, nonviolence, and ecology.

So, here's the part where it gets really interesting--and very telling with respect to whether there are any real substantive differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, or whether American voters can brook the possibility of any challenge to the two party system.

I suggest the answers here are "no," and "no." 

But my goodness, do we need third--and fourth, and fifth parties in this county that can actually challenge a hegemony that makes a bald-faced lie out of even the appearance of a democracy.

And I suggest that the "liberal" Daily KOS offers us transparent--if unwitting--insight into the utter bankruptcy of the two party system--a system that offers really nothing but a veneer of "two" all the while they merely move about the deck chairs on the proverbial Titanic that is the planet.

I posted the press release and the convention presentation to Daily KOS. Within minutes I had backlash galore. Here's just a few of the more delicious samples--posted ver batim:

  • as the owner's rules state the purpose of the site is to elect Democrats.
    If you get a green movement or could change the national green party to continue organizing independently, but run your candidates as Democrats in the primaries, as I understand things you'd be welcome here.
    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

Nice touch--quoting MLK--but hardly "liberal," much less progressive--much less tolerant.

I responded:

    • Hmmmmm.... Thanks for that warning, but I'd argue that there are VERY few Democrats in any sense that's particularly meaningful. And if that means I am banned from Daily KOS, then so be it. I will broadcast that as loudly as I can as CENSORSHIP at a site that claims to value freedom of speech. The Greens may well take votes away from the dems--but what difference does that really make when BOTH main parties are entirely beholden to corporations--like the gas companies I am watching dismantle my state. The difference here between the Dems and the Republicans is nominal at BEST, and whether the Greens can win or not is not really to the point. What we CAN do is make the issues far clearer and the the fact that voting for either major party is largely meaningless at this point in history. If Daily KOS wants to swallow that horn swaggle then it is NOT the site it claims to be.

      Here's another:

      Democratic site. Always has been, read the fine print, goodbye.

            Or, crazy idea, understand that you're never going to win a governing majority as a green, definitely not in freaking Pennsylvania, so consider joining the people who can.
            Like, say, the Democrats.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            And I responded--but this time Daily KOS determined my response was just too much for a liberal Democrats only website to bear--and they censored it:
            Well, I'm still here.
            The last time I checked Daily KOS does not require its posters to present their voting registration card for permission to post. And if it does, well, then you folks really are JUST like the REPUBLICANS--entrenched in a two party system that rewards you for COLLUSION and effectively in favor of VOTER ID. And if you think the Democrats in PA are really different than the Republicans, I suggest you take a gander at their voting records on the most important issue facing the state, the destruction of its air and water via natural gas production. And fuck you for joining the party that sits every bit as comfortably with the gas giants as does Corbett. I'd rather be a Leprechaun than a sell out to corporate fascism.

            One more--but I'm sure you get the idea:

            First, quoting me: "The difference here between the Dems and the Republicans is nominal at best, and whether the Greens can win or not is not really to the point. What we CAN do is make the issues clearer, and the fact that voting for either major party is large meaningless at this point in history.

            • Then, the commenter offers us this logic-gem:
              Tell it to the five million ACA signees.  The troops home from the Mideast.  Gay couples marrying.  The hundreds of thousands in new jobs.  There's a reason the GOP loves the Green Party.  Apparently the converse is also true.

              Again, I respond:

                • Ha! What a wholly absurd argument.

                  Here's how your point REALLY breaks down:

                  The GOP loves the Greens because the Greens take votes away from the DEMS.

                  But there can only be two parties.
                  So, either your with the DEMS or your against the DEMS.
                  And, that, Tuffle, IS precisely the reasoning of the REPUBLICANS.
                  So welcome to the REPUBLICANS, but don't look for me there because I represent what the DEMS OUGHT to stand for: the necessary conditions of life--and hence the refusal to bow to the GAS COMPANIES.
                  As for the awesome things the DEMS have done:
                  You bet--GAY marriage--about damn time. And lets not forget who signed the Defense of Marriage Act--CLINTON.
                  And how much pressure DID Obama have to feel before he finally repealed Don't Ask, Don't tell?
                  And lets not forget also that Obama didn't get us anything like a just health care system--he got MORE dollars into the waiting arms of the insurance companies when he ought to have stood for SINGLE PAYER. ACA will be better than what we had--true, and good. And single payer would have been far less expensive, and FAR better.
                  Lastly, Obama supports the KEYSTONE PIPELINE--one of the most hazardous, egregiously polluting projects this generation will see--a contribution to climate change like no other sponsored by tar sands extraction.
                  So, tell me again how much better are the DEMS than the Republicans--and how they--and their corporate sponsors--represent a just society?

            And then I get this from the liberal progressive Daily KOS:

            Woah, there! You've posted at least three comments in the last twenty four hours that have been hidden by the community for inappropriate content. We think you need to take a little break. This is the 1st automatic warning you've received in the last year, so you're getting a timeout until Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 09:03 PM UTC. After that time you may return, but be aware that the length of the timeout increases each time, from 3 days, to 30 days, to 300 days. If you get another after that, you get autobanned.

            I will let the reader draw her or his own conclusions, but here are mine:

            Daily KOS is nothing but a pretense to respect for First Amendment rights, and is clearly not at all interested in any challenge to party hegemony or, for that matter, free expression.

            What this exchange shows is not only a paucity of the basic principles of Democratic challenge, but a genuine loathing for meaningful exchange. Censorship is the bastion of she or he who fears their argument is too brittle to withstand criticism, and censorship is the clear credo of Daily KOS. 

            For all their posturing about "democracy" and "liberalism," Daily KOS is nothing but a mirror of their Republican nemeses--nemeses that are really their allies in preserving a system that benefits both through the faux pretense to "differences" and "opposition" all the while their candidates take money from the Koch Brothers, vote to build the Keystone Pipeline, agree to uses of Forced Integration (can anyone spell Hilcorp?), and otherwise trample the Bill of Rights--putting the absolute lie to the claim that America was ever a Democratic Republic--much less a democracy.

            So, fuck you Daily KOS. Kiss kiss. Hug hug.



Unknown said...

DailyKos is a Web site whose FAQs make it absolutely clear that the site's purpose is to elect more and better Democrats. The owner, and the community does not allow users to post campaign material for candidates who are running against Democratic candidates. There are many Greens who are members, and they are allowed to write passionate diaries about the issues that concern them, and they don't hide the fact that they are Greens. In fact, I believe one poster actively encouraged you to continue post diaries about the issues that are important to you. You would encounter some pushback, but you would also find supporters, and your messages would be enjoy a wide audience. There is no rule against that. The only rule is that you cannot actively campaign for candidates who are running against Democrats on Daily Kos.

If that feels like censorship to you, let me ask you this: May I post campaign material for Democratic candidates on your blog?

Fluffy said...

"So, fuck you Daily KOS. Kiss kiss. Hug hug."

With such eloquence and people skills, your landslide election is inevitable.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your observations. They are, however, false in that arguments that I made out at Daily KOS were not about any particular green platform or program--they were an argument about why the Greens should prioritize gas extraction.

They were certainly not campaigning. As I made very clear, the presentation I gave at the Green Party convention was one I gave BEFORE I was invited to the ticket--and I had no idea at all that I was going to be invited. So that speech was about fracking and why the Greens needed to take it very seriously.

What I DO find very curious in all this is why so little attention has been paid to the CONTENT of my presentation, but so much to it having come from a party that the dems clearly regard as a serious threat.

No, I'm afraid all this was much more about Daily KOS inability to brook real criticism and debate than it was about anything else.

The los is for Daily KOS--who, if it continues on this path, will make itself irrelevant and unable to confront really important issues--like the fracking that no one on that thread actually wanted to entertain in any sustained way.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Dear Fluffy,

First, I was not the first one on this thread to swear. THAT can from the gentleman who wanted to chat about Leprechauns. I simply responded by satirizing his word choice. Please read through the comments again.

Second, you clearly have no idea what we're faced with out here in rural PA, or you'd know that my choice of "So, fuck you Daily KOS. Kiss kiss. Hug hug" is pretty damn mild. In fact, I might have just as well blown kisses.

Unknown said...

Dear Wendy:

Thank you for your considerate response. I believe that since your diary began with an announcement that you had been selected as the candidate, many readers saw it as campaign material. I suspect that if you had omitted the press release, and presented your positions without the framing context of the Green Party Nominating Conference, your diary would have been much more well-received.

I disagree with you about Daily Kos's impending irrelevance, but I suppose none of us can be entirely sure about that. At any rate, I certainly do appreciate your responding to my comment. Thank you.


Dean Marshall said...

Dean Marshall said...

So much for free speech!

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Dear Mr. Marshall:

Well and good. Re-post the comment, and I will let it stand.

I must tell you, however, that other than in this single instance, I will not respond to you in this or in any venue.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Dear Lisa,

Thank you as well for your considerate response. I do see your point--and am more than willing to acknowledge that "location, location, location" is very important. Perhaps it would have been better to locate the GP announcement in the text body instead of at the top.

But I also think that if folks are going to comment, they ought to read through first--then form a response. It becomes very clear that I included the announcement because it was part of a larger story. And that doesn't make these commenters look much better.

I hope indeed that DK does not drive itself to irrelevance, but what I know is that the refusal to brook dissent other than superficially can be a death nil.

Dean Marshall said...

What everyone Must not lose sight of is the reality that Gov. Tom Corbett HAS to be Dethroned! This will take the cooperation of all groups and individuals voting in concert for the best alternative to this Corrupt administration!

The Farmer's Wife Pasture-raised Poultry said...

Holy shit Wendy! Lt Gov! That is awesome. Green it is! What can I do to campaign for you?!PS I have never said that before to anyone and I 'm 60 yrs old.