Archive for July 23rd, 2007

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Not Supporting The Troops

July 23, 2007

While the rightosphere obsesses over the perceived level of anti-military rhetoric emanating from the Daily Kos, this story seemed to sneak across everyone’s radar screen unnoticed:  Iraq, Afghanistan veterans sue US government over health care horrors

Hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against the US government for providing them with deficient medical and financial support.

They accused the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of violating the constitutional rights of war veterans who have to face a bureaucratic nightmare that leaves claims pending for up to 10 years.

“The delays have become an insurmountable barrier preventing many veterans from obtaining health care and benefits,” the plaintiffs said in their 11-page complaint filed at a US District Court in San Francisco.

The Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth Inc. complained on behalf of “hundreds of thousands of men and women who have suffered grievous injuries,” alleging the system for deciding VA claims “has largely collapsed.”

But this was today’s outrage:


See? Anyone can say it.

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LGF Vs. Daily Kos

July 23, 2007

As one of the few netizens out there that has posting privileges* on both of these popular and opposing websites, I sometimes feel the need to document my adventures in the political battlefield that exists out there, so here I go…

Tonight’s topic is this LGF thread:  KILLITARY: Lefties Dropping the Fiction of ‘Supporting the Troops’

Now, I should come right out and say that I post a lot more frequently on LGF than I do on Kos, and I’ve never considered it a duty of mine to “defend” Kos (even though I’m a left-leaning netizen), but sometimes I feel compelled to point out things that most of the LGFers don’t.  Both these sites have a history of taking shots at one another, and often times I feel like the only one out there caught in the middle.  When I see a post like this that attempts to smear Daily Kos or the “left” based on the flawed logic and bias of one diarist, sometimes I can’t help myself.  In this case, the diary in question was deleted by the powers that be at DK, and the accusation is being made by Charles (LGF’s webmaster) is that the motivation for it (the deletion) lies in some need in the Kossack hive mind to not let the proverbial mask slip (that the “left” really does hate the military).

The fact that the LGFers seem to be ignorant of is that anyone can post a diary on Kos.   All one has to do is register (always open) and wait a week before you can post whatever wild rant of a diary that you chose.  There are plenty of diarists out there that cross-post entries from their own blogs, simply because they know that Kos gets a considerable amount of traffic (a practice that I have abandoned, if you’re curious).  In a way, a Kos diary isn’t much different than a post left in the comment section of any blog, in that “cherry-picking” in order to make an argument that it is representative of the whole is really nothing more than a cheap shot.

What’s interesting is the fact that, in the LGFers minds, DK is in a no-win situation here.  If the diary were left to stand, the accusation would be that it reflects the opinion of it’s readership.  If the post is deleted (as this one was), the aforementioned accusation of attempts to hide their true feelings is made.  What I had to point out was the likely reality:  the Kossacks were as offended by the diary as the LGFers were, and deleted it simply because they didn’t want their site associated with this entry.  This point was backed up by the fact that the lost comments revealed the diarist receiving quite a bit of flak before the thread got yanked (something that, of course, I had to dig up).

I’ve been hanging out on LGF for over a year, so I’m very familiar with the protocols of the site.  For example, I know that Charles will delete comments that call for internment or mass deportation of US Muslims.   I’ve seen them get deleted.  What I have yet to see, however, is a post on Kos that highlights one of these comments and declares it a “mask-slipping” moment that is representative of LGF or the “right” in general (Charles resists the label of a “righty” website, even though you’d be hard-pressed to find a single post critical of that side of the political spectrum).   Visions of glass houses and rock wielders just dance in one’s head, don’t they? 

A closing thought… 

I’ll admit, there’s something that I find fascinating about the effect and influence that blogs can have on shaping politics and opinion.  It’s amazing that technology allows any single person to broadcast his or her thoughts to the entire word. It’s a dynamic that didn’t exist as recently as 10 years ago. Today, however, you’d have to be living in a cave to deny the power that blogs (and the internet in general) has when it comes to perception and debate on policy and current events. 

I have my own internal debates on whether this is a good or a bad thing.  On the one hand, over reliance on blogs as one’s main source of news and opinion can be hazardous, especially if you decide to base your opinion entirely on news delivered by those who adhere to no journalistic standards.  On the other, blogs provide a valuable check on the corporate media that is driven to deliver news based on ratings instead of what is actually important.  My current opinion is that one should find a balance responsibly and objectively, and be mindful of all these factors when determining your worldview. 

*I know I’m taking a shot at Charles and LGF with this post, so I’d just like to say that I acknowledge and respect the fact that the site tolerates dissenting voices such as my own.  There are plenty of sites – right and left – that don’t.  My goal in participating in both sites’ discussions mirrors that of my own blog, which is to bridge this gap between the two sides in the spirit of intellectual honesty and enlightenment.  I feel that an America that is less divided is a stronger America.

Update:  This story actually has created a bit of a buzz and even made the USA Today blog, where the author of the deleted post explains that he deleted it himself:

But Mitchell says he then pulled the posting from both blogs after readers, liberals and conservatives alike, “ripped it to shreds.” He says no one from Daily Kos asked him to remove the posting.

OK.  No “mask slipping” incident here.  In fact, one would think that the LGFers would congratulate the Kossacks for shooing him away. 

I won’t hold my breath.