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Skinner

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Name: David Allen
Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 62,498

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DU General Election Season Begins Soon: What You Need To Know

UPDATE: General Election Season Begins June 20. More info here.

Last week I wrote an announcement providing some broad information about General Election season here on Democratic Underground. Now that the primary voting is almost done and it has become clear that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, we are sticking with our plan to transition to General Election season on Thursday, June 16.

This formal transition to General Election season is not a new thing for our website. For every presidential election since this website was founded in 2001, we have expected our members to support the Democratic nominee. It has been written into our Terms of Service for nearly as long as the site has existed, and all of you agreed to it.

But this year's transition is a little different because during the switch-over we will also be instituting some big changes to the way we run the site -- including software changes. We have two main goals with these changes:

1) Making this website a more civil and welcoming place for everyone.

2) Making clear that this website actually has a partisan purpose, especially during election season.

Here's what's going to happen:


DU will have rules again

For the past six months we have been planning and developing a hybrid system which takes the parts of the Jury System that work well, throws out the stuff that doesn't work, and incorporates a number of ideas from the "old" DU. In a post about the primaries back in March, we noted that the new system would focus on "reducing drama, providing better guidance for jurors, and setting clearer standards that better lay out our expectations for what Democratic Underground should be." We want this community to be a friendlier place for everyone, and we believe the only way we can do that is to insist on some standards of conduct.

The first step is to bring back rules -- a set of standards that members are expected to follow when posting, and that members are expected to enforce if asked to serve on a Jury. These rules were created by looking at where we are now as a community, but also by reviewing our old rules from DU2. In fact, if you joined DU any time between 2002 and 2011, much of this will look very familiar to you.

The rules are separated into four sections. Here they are:

Forum Rules (Draft)


CIVILITY

No personal attacks or flaming
Do not personally attack, insult, flame, threaten, bully, harass, stalk, negatively call-out, ascribe ugly ulterior motives to, or make baseless claims about any member of this community. Do not post in a manner that is hostile, abusive, or aggressive toward any member of this community.

Why we have this rule: Civility begets quality discussions. Democratic Underground members are highly passionate about politics which means discussions can get heated -- but they don't need to get nasty. There's no reason why a community of intelligent adults who agree on a majority of political issues can't have a conversation without insulting each other or resorting to other anti-social behaviors.

No divisive group attacks
Do not smear, insult, vilify, bait, maliciously caricature, or give disrespectful nicknames to any groups of people that are part of the Democratic coalition, or that hold viewpoints commonly held by Democrats, or that support particular Democratic public figures. Do not imply that they are fake Democrats, fake progressives, conservatives, right-wingers, Republicans, or the like.

Why we have this rule: Substantive disagreement on important issues is always welcome on this website, but our members should not be made to feel unwelcome simply because they hold a different point of view. Democratic Underground welcomes all people who are members of the Democratic coalition, including the full range of center-to-left viewpoints and supporters of all Democratic public figures.

No bigotry/insensitivity
Members are expected to respect diversity and demonstrate an appropriate level of sensitivity when discussing related topics. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of bigoted intolerance are not permitted.

Why we have this rule: Democratic Underground is a diverse community which includes people of every race, sex, religious belief (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, gender identity, body type, disability, age, etc. We want to promote a welcoming atmosphere for all of our members, and do not want to provide a platform for bigotry.


POLITICAL

Support Democrats
Do not post support for Republicans or independent/third-party "spoiler" candidates. Do not state that you are not going to vote, or that you will write-in a candidate that is not on the ballot, or that you intend to vote for any candidate other than the official Democratic nominee in any general election where a Democrat is on the ballot. Do not post anything that smears Democrats generally, or that is intended to dissuade people from supporting the Democratic Party or its candidates. Don't argue there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Why we have this rule: Democratic Underground is an online community for politically liberal people who understand the importance of working together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government, and as such we expect our members to support and vote for Democrats at election time. Rare exceptions are granted at the sole discretion of the DU Administrators. (Current exceptions: None.)

Don't bash Democratic public figures
Do not post disrespectful nicknames, insults, or highly inflammatory attacks against any Democratic public figures. Do not post anything that could be construed as bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for any Democratic general election candidate, and do not compare any Democratic general election candidate unfavorably to their general election opponent(s).

Why we have this rule: Our forum members support and admire a wide variety of Democratic politicians and public figures. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but our members don't expect to see Democrats viciously denigrated on this website. This rule also applies to Independents who align themselves with Democrats (eg: Bernie Sanders).

Don't peddle right-wing talking points, smears, or sources
Do not post right-wing talking points or smears. Do not post content sourced from right-wing publications, authors, or pundits. Exceptions are permitted if you provide a clear reason for doing so that is consistent with the values of this website.

Why we have this rule: News media and the Internet are already awash with conservative propagandists attacking our candidates and our values -- we're not interested in providing them with another outlet. We understand that many of our members might hold some conservative viewpoints on isolated issues, but nobody here should be parroting hateful garbage from the RNC, the NRA, or the Family Research Council. Forum members should expect that the only time they'll have to read a right-wing smear or an article from Breitbart is when someone is pointing and laughing at it.

Don't keep fighting the last Democratic presidential primary
Regardless of whether you supported a winning candidate or a losing candidate, do not prolong the agony of the last Democratic presidential primary by continuing to pick fights, place blame, tear down former primary candidates, bait former supporters, or do anything else to pour salt on old wounds.

Why we have this rule: Most of our members want this to be forward-looking, friendly community that is focused on creating a better future for our country. Continuing to rehash old fights that have already been resolved is divisive and counter-productive.


CONTENT

Don't interfere with forum moderation
Don't post messages about site rules, enforcement, juries, hosts, administration, alerts, alerters, removed posts, appeals, locked threads, or anything else related to how this website is moderated (except in the Ask the Administrators forum).

Why we have this rule: The purpose of Democratic Underground is to discuss politics, issues, and current events. Open discussion of how the website is run tends to distract from our core purpose.

No graphic content
Do not post content that is Not Safe For Work (NSFW), which includes sexually explicit material, graphic depictions of bodily functions, or images of extreme violence, gore, pain, or human suffering. Exceptions are permitted when an image adds important context to a legitimate news story, but the post must include a "graphic content warning" in the subject line.

Why we have this rule: Most people do not enjoy stumbling across extremely graphic content while browsing the web.

No kooky, extremist, or hate content
Do not promote ridiculous, bigoted, or extreme-fringe conspiracy theories. Do not promote extreme fringe views. Do not reference hate sites or other extremist/fringe sources.

Why we have this rule: Democrats are supposed to be part of the "reality-based community." Some amount of skepticism toward powerful institutions is healthy and appropriate, but that doesn't mean every paranoid fantasy is true. Posts about mass shootings being "false flag" operations, 9/11 being a controlled demolition, no airplane at the Pentagon, chemtrails, black helicopters, the Illuminati, or other nonsense make us all look like fools. This website may have the word "underground" in our name, but we are not extreme fringe.

No commercial spam
Do not post commercial spam or hawk commercial products or services.

Why we have this rule: It's fine for established members to plug or post links to their own products, services, or publications every now and again, but we do not wish to provide free advertising space for spammers.

Don't start threads in the wrong forum or group
Don't start new threads that conflict with a forum or group's Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose can be found by visiting the main page of any forum or group and clicking the "About this forum" (or "About this group") button.

Why we have this rule: All forums and groups on Democratic Underground have a specific purpose, and we want to ensure that new discussion threads are on-topic for the forum or group that they are posted in.


LEGAL/ADMINISTRATIVE

Respect copyrights
Excerpts from copyrighted sources must be no more than four paragraphs and include a link to the source. See our DMCA Copyright Policy for more information.

Don't post anyone's private or personal information
Don't post private or personal information about any person (including public figures) even if that information is available elsewhere on the Internet.

No malware, phishing, cracking, or other malicious code
Don't post or link to malicious code, or attempt to interfere with this website's software or administration in any way.

Don't post anything that violates U.S. law
Don't post anything that violates U.S. law -- including but not limited to: linking to illegally-shared files, attempting to organize hacking or DOS attacks, sales of weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, or other illegal products, etc.

Don't use an avatar or signature line that violates any of the other rules
Members may opt to make use of an avatar or signature line that is appended to all their posts. Avatars and signature lines must not violate any of the other forum rules.

We will expect all DU members to follow these rules when posting, and enforce them when serving on a Jury (Note: All alerts sent on rules in the "Legal/Administrative" section will be handled directly by Admin. Alerts sent on the rule "Don't start threads in the wrong forum or group" will be sent to Hosts).


The Jury System: What's staying the same and what's changing

Next, we have made technical changes to the Jury process, implementing various improvements that people have requested over the past five years, and adding a few of our own. We also ditched a number of things that we felt were not working. With all of these changes our focus was on looking for ways to increase civility, set clear expectations, and reduce forum drama and meta-discussion.

Serving on Juries should be as straightforward as it was before -- in fact, we've streamlined the process to make it even simpler. You do not need to know all of the technical details below in order to serve on Juries -- they are provided merely for people who are interested in exactly what changes are taking place. Please note that we're tried to make the list below as comprehensive as possible, but it's possible that there may be further changes or additions as we go forward.

What's staying the same
  • The software will seat a Jury by calling seven randomly-selected eligible members.

  • Jury service is optional; members have five minutes to decide if they want to serve as a Juror.

  • Jurors will be given a maximum of 30 minutes to evaluate whether a post is acceptable or not.

  • Jury results will be decided by majority rule.

  • Posts deemed acceptable by Juries will be left alone; posts deemed unacceptable will be hidden.

  • Jurors won't be asked to serve again for at least 18 hours (unless the site is really busy).

  • If a Jury votes unanimously that a post is acceptable, the alerter will not be able to alert again for 24 hours.

  • If your post is removed, you will be notified.

  • There are still certain triggers that will flag your account for review, and we are adding some new ones to put the brakes on people who repeatedly break our rules. When flagged for review you will not be able to post or use other site functions. (This is a stop-gap measure: We have a number of changes planned in this area that we aren't ready to implement yet; we'll have more to say about this at a later date.)
What's changing
  • The privilege to serve on a Jury is now only offered to members who have been registered for at least one year, have more than 1,000 posts, and have an active Star membership.

  • Alerters will no longer be asked to provide an explanation for their alert. Instead they will be presented with a short list of rules written by the Administrators and asked to select which rule they believe the post breaks.

  • Jurors will no longer be asked to evaluate the post based on the alerter's comments and their own gut feeling. Instead they will be asked whether they believe the post breaks the specific rule selected by the alerter.

  • Jurors will no longer evaluate posts in-thread. Instead they'll be taken to a separate page. On this page only the portion of the thread relevant to the alerted post will be displayed (or just the OP if the OP was the alerted post), and usernames and other identifying information will be removed.

  • The Jury system still forbids "double jeopardy," but posts which were alerted for a particular rule and survived a Jury can now be re-alerted for a different rule.

  • Previously Jurors had two options: "Hide it" or "Leave it alone." Now Jurors have four options: "It clearly breaks the rule"; "Close call, but it breaks the rule"; "It doesn't quite break the rule"; and "It clearly doesn't break the rule."

  • Jurors will no longer be able to provide comments.

  • Alerters and Jurors will no longer receive notifications after Jury service is complete.

  • You will not be able to peek at other members' hidden posts. Only the author of the post can check the text of a removed post.

  • You will be able to officially appeal if a Jury removes your post. We have built in an appeals system that allows members to send an appeal directly to Admin. Admin will review the post and provide a final ruling. If your appeal is convincing, the post will be reinstated.

  • The Admins may also step in from time to time and remove a post if we think a Jury blew it and allowed a rule violation to stand.

  • If you can't bring yourself to enforce a particular rule when serving on a Jury, you can object to that rule and you'll never be asked to serve on a Jury for that rule again. The Admins will keep a tally of objections which will give us useful feedback about the rules.

  • Transparency pages are going away, since they only seemed to serve to create forum drama. (They may be replaced with something else at a later date.)


Software Testing

These are big changes, and they require some pretty big changes to the software we use to moderate the site. Elad has spent countless hours this year programming all this stuff, and it's almost ready to go. But before we go live next week, we need to test it to make sure it works. That means we will need some DU members to serve as testers for the new software. We'll have more information on software testing coming soon.

About the upcoming transition to general election season

There has been a lot of talk on DU lately about the fact that we are nearing the end of the primaries. As you probably know this issue has been raised a few times in the Ask the Administrators forum. I figure it might be helpful to re-post some of my comments out here in the Announcements forum so they get a wider audience.


Timing (link)

After the primaries on June 7 (California, New Jersey, etc.) we will announce that the primaries are nearing an end, and members will have one more week to "get it out of their systems."

The final Democratic presidential primary is Tuesday, June 14 in Washington DC. People will have one last glorious day of primary season on June 15, and then Democratic Underground general election season begins on Thursday, June 16.


What to expect (link)

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea, and are going to be disappointed.

We have no intention of purging anyone, and we have no intention of disallowing good-faith discussion of the issues. I think most people are going to be fine with that. But there are going to be a a few people (including both Hillary and Bernie supporters) who are going to be disappointed because the massive crackdown they have been hoping for does not come to pass.

Most people think the big change coming in general election season is that people on this website will need to stop bashing Hillary Clinton. Yes, that's part of it -- but it's not the only thing and it's definitely not the most important thing. The really big change coming in general election season is that people on this website will need to stop bashing each other.

Throughout this primary season we have been in a death spiral of declining standards. So we are going to institute some rules, and we will expect everyone to follow those rules, and we will expect everyone to enforce those rules when they serve on juries. The rules shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone -- they are mostly common sense, and they are basically the same rules we had for years when we had moderators: No personal attacks, no broad-brush group attacks, no bigotry, no right-wing smears or sources against Democrats, no advocating for spoilers or republicans, no meta-discussion, etc.

I am just so tired of people bashing each other and bashing Democrats on this website. I know the hardcore partisans will try to paint this whole thing through the Hillary vs Bernie lens, and drive that wedge as hard as they can, but that is just so not where I am at right now. I don't care who anyone has supported in the primaries -- I really don't. As long as you treat your fellow DU members with respect, stop tearing down Democratic public figures (including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and everyone else), and don't advocate for Donald Trump or some lost-cause third-party spoiler candidate, then you'll be fine.


What criticism of Hillary Clinton will be permitted? (link)

Unfortunately, there is not going to be a hard line between "fine" and "not fine."

But basically, I think it comes down to this:

If you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to help her succeed, then you'll be fine. But if you are criticizing Hillary Clinton because you want to tear her down, then you won't be fine.

Now, I'm not a mind reader and I can't know for certain what everyone's intentions are. But I think that if the criticism is coming from a place of "wanting her to succeed" then that will be reflected in the tone and substance of the post. If the criticism is coming from a place of "wanting to tear her down" then that will be reflected in the tone and substance of the post. If you are here on DU then you are supposed to be supporting the Democratic nominee against the Republican nominee in the general election -- it shouldn't be very hard to write a post in a way that sounds like it.

I believe that it will be possible to discuss every substantive issue that DUers might want to discuss.


Anything else?

This should come as a surprise to exactly no one. Every four years when there is a presidential campaign Democratic Underground expects our members to support the nominee. It is written into our Terms of Service, which you agreed to when you joined:

Winning elections is important — therefore, advocating in favor of Republican nominees or in favor of third-party spoiler candidates that could split the vote and throw an election to our conservative opponents is never permitted on Democratic Underground. ... For presidential contests, election season begins when both major-party nominees become clear. For non-presidential contests, election season begins on Labor Day. Everyone here on DU needs to work together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government. If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side.

We will be providing more details in the near future.

Powerful new ad: Donald Trump rooted for the real estate crash



(I searched but I couldn't find this posted anywhere else on DU.)

Star Wars The Force Awakens recreated in Emoji

The Democratic Primary Ruined My Friendship!

Perhaps if we contemplate how pointless and unnecessary it is for other people to lose friends over their preferred primary candidate, then we get a little perspective on our own situation here on DU...

The Democratic Primary Ruined My Friendship!
Why Bernie-Hillary has gotten so personal.

By Michelle Goldberg

A couple months ago, one of my husband’s former colleagues from a progressive digital strategy firm popped up on his Facebook page to castigate him for supporting Hillary Clinton. “Matt, do you remember the exact date when you gave up?” the man wrote. “Was it when Obama turned out to be a damn conservative? Or were you never 100% behind this progressive thing to begin with? Tired of losing, so pick a candidate who, if she loses, it won’t really matter that much? I think it’s the last one. Sellout.”

That was the moment I realized that the Democratic primary, while incredibly high-minded compared with the Republican one, is creating lasting interpersonal enmity. On Saturday, Peter Wehner wrote in the New York Times about conservative friendships fraying in the age of Trump, describing people for whom “differences over the Trump candidacy have caused such a loss of respect that they feared their friendships would not survive, and that even if they did, they would never be the same.” I wish I could feel schadenfreude, but the same thing is happening among some committed progressives. Even now, with the primary season limping toward its foregone conclusion, collegial disagreement has given way to hostile incredulity, as people wonder how those who they thought saw the world in the same way could be so utterly, bafflingly wrong.

A necessary disclaimer—evidence for this is entirely anecdotal. The people who came to hate each other over the Democratic primary are a small, unrepresentative group of political obsessives. Most people never talk about politics online; in a 2012 Pew Research Center study, 84 percent of social media users said they’d “posted little or nothing related to politics in their recent status updates, comments, and links.” Like those Wehner writes about, people who’ve spoken to me about damaged relationships either work in liberal politics or are serious activists. They are part of a fairly minuscule subculture.

Among this little group, however, it’s easy to find people whose ties are being tested. “It has been an eye-opening and heartbreaking election cycle that has revealed some ugly truths about ‘progressive bros’ in my circle that will take some time for me to digest,” says Maryna Hrushetska, a 47-year-old curator and art adviser in Los Angeles who supports Clinton.* In the past, Hrushetska tells me, she’s worked on behalf of Palestinian rights and the environment, and she’s been shocked to see men she knows through those movements repeating sexist anti-Clinton slurs.

Read more at Slate...

What Does Donald Trump Think of You? Get your personalized Free Trump Score

http://freetrumpscore.com/

I scored 665 - IRRELEVANT CLOWN

John Judis: "I'm Voting for Bernie, but on One Condition"

Interesting piece on TPM by John Judis (yes, that John Judis -- co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority). I haven't really heard this attitude before in a primary election context. While I am fully aware that actual discussion is virtually impossible here in the DU GDP forum, I am curious what people think about this. As a Hillary supporter, I will admit that this article does resonate with me somewhat.

I did a search and was surprised that this hasn't been posted here on DU yet. But I guess it makes sense given that the article is somewhat off message for partisans on either side of the Hillary/Bernie split.

Full article is here: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/voting-for-bernie

“He’s not going to get the nomination, is he?” my wife asks anxiously as she gazes out of the kitchen window at the Bernie for President sign on our front lawn. No, I assure her, and he certainly won’t win Maryland on April 26. I’m voting for Bernie, and my wife may, too, but we’re doing so on the condition that we don’t think he will get the nomination. If he were poised to win, I don’t know whether I’d vote for him, because I fear he would be enormously vulnerable in a general election, even against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and I’m also not sure whether he is really ready for the job of president.

Why, then, vote for him at all? For me, it’s entirely about the issues he is raising, which I believe are important for the country’s future. Hillary Clinton and her various boosters in the media have made the argument that it’s impractical and even irresponsible to raise a demand like “Medicare for all” and “free public college” that could not possibly get through the next Congress, even if Democrats eke out a majority in the Senate. They presumably want a candidate to offer programs that could be the result of protracted negotiations between a Democratic president and Speaker Paul Ryan – like a two percent increase in infrastructure spending in exchange for a two percent reduction in Medicaid block grants. I disagree with this approach to politics.

What Sanders is proposing are political guideposts – ideals, if you like – according to which we can judge whether incremental reforms make sense. He is describing, whether you like them or not, objectives toward which we Americans should be aspiring. That’s a central activity in politics. Should it be confined to issues of Democracy or National Affairs? Or is it the kind of activity that is entirely appropriate for a nominating contest? Ronald Reagan and the conservatives thought so during the 1970s. And I think Democrats should be thinking this way now. So I applaud Bernie Sanders for not limiting his proposals to what might appear on a President’s often-ignored budget requests.

(snip)

Does the country really need turning around? Sanders has been derided for holding up Denmark and other Scandinavian countries as examples. They are far different from the US, and they are also beginning to experience problems sustaining their own social democracies. But I think in comparing life there with life in the United States, there is one useful point to be made. . What people in these countries enjoy is not assured lifetime employment or control over their workplaces, but a degree of basic security about their lives that is missing in the United States. Americans endure needless anxiety about access to education and healthcare and about being left penniless or homeless. Our social safety net doesn’t just need mending, but replacement. It’s worn out. And Sanders provides a set of guidelines in his proposals that will move exactly in that direction That’s why he gets my vote on April 26 – even if I hope Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.


Here's what Ed Kilgore had to say at New York Mag about Judis's piece:

Do All of Bernie’s Voters Want Him to Win?

(snip)

...primary exit polls consistently show voters concerned about electability are heavily tilting toward Hillary. After all, you don't need a political-science degree to suspect that a 75-year-old self-styled democratic socialist with a Senate voting record a bit to the left of tofu is going to get Dukakised to death after a good, vicious billion-dollar Republican general-election ad campaign. That makes you wonder how many Hillary voters there are who'd pull the lever for Sanders if they really thought he could win the general election. And it also makes you wonder exactly how many Sanders voters like Judis don't really want him to win the nomination because they don't think he can win the general election — or want to fence in Clinton ideologically because they think she can.

A word about the ongoing Democratic presidential primaries

After last night's primary results I think it's safe to say that the shape of the 2016 general election is starting to come into focus. On the Republican side, Donald Trump holds a commanding lead and will likely secure his party's nomination. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to maintain a significant delegate advantage. She has not yet collected the 2,383 delegates necessary to claim the nomination, so technically it is still possible for Sanders to win. But the chances of that happening are exceedingly small, barring some sort of unexpected event that completely changes the fundamentals of the race.

So what does this mean for Democratic Underground?

Given that neither Democratic candidate has collected the necessary delegates to win, and neither candidate has suspended their campaign, it is still primary season on Democratic Underground. Members are free to support the Democratic primary candidate of their choice here on DU while the candidates themselves are still actively campaigning for the nomination.

But we also understand that many DUers -- even as they continue to support their preferred primary candidate -- are starting to turn some of their attention to the general election that is starting to take shape. I know it is something of a cliché to say that this year's election is the most important in a generation, so I'm not going to say that. But I think it goes without saying that this year is unique in that our likely opponent espouses a toxic mixture of unvarnished racism and incitement to violence that many of us had believed (wrongly) was beyond-the-pale for a major party candidate. Given such a repellent choice on the other side -- a candidate that displays outright contempt for many of the core values of this country and this website -- I have no doubt that every DU member will, in time, get past the divisiveness of the Democratic primary and vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it is. To do otherwise is unthinkable.

I understand that many of you are not ready to think about the general election yet, and that's fine. But to those of you who are starting to think about the need to get past the division and start to think about healing, I think it is important that we begin to tone down the most divisive and over-the-top rhetoric about our primary candidates and their supporters. And in case it's not clear, that goes for both candidates.

For the last four years we've allowed you all, via the Jury system, to set the standards for where you think the line should be drawn at DU, without interference from Admins. The system worked pretty well for a long time, but I think most people would agree that it has been stretched beyond the breaking point during the last few weeks of primary season. I knew there was a risk in sticking with this system in a highly-charged partisan environment, but we decided to place our faith in the members of DU -- believing that most DU members would be able to take off their candidate-supporter hats when serving on juries and make a good-faith effort to be fair to everyone regardless of candidate. I do not believe my faith was misplaced, but in hindsight I think that it was very difficult for individual jurors to hold the line against the worst-of-the-worst when it felt like standards everywhere on the site were in freefall. And let's be honest: Some of you have been serving on juries in a nakedly partisan fashion.

With this in mind we have been working on some significant changes to the Jury System which we think you will approve of -- I'm not going to go into the details because we're still working on it. Let's just say the focus is on reducing drama, providing better guidance for jurors, and setting clearer standards that better lay out our expectations for what Democratic Underground should be. Unfortunately these changes are still a couple of weeks to a couple of months away from being ready -- at which point the primary race should be pretty much over. Until then, we are going to implement some short-term changes to get us through primary season.

The short-term changes

We still believe that the vast majority of DU members are perfectly capable of participating in a productive way, and serving on juries in a non-partisan way. But given the pervasively negative tone of discussions here, we think it would be wise to provide a greater incentive for people to do so. Going forward if we see anyone voting to leave the worst-of-the-worst posts, or voting in a nakedly partisan fashion to hide posts which are clearly legitimate, then we will remove that person's ability to serve on juries. (We are not going to provide any notification to members who lose their jury privileges, because under the messed-up values of primary season we think many of you would see it as some kind of badge of honor.)

So, please, do the right thing when serving and let's clean this place up a bit.

We've also decided to try removing the current "five hides and you're out" restriction, mainly because we suspect that members would be more likely to vote to hide bad behavior if they didn't feel like one of their friends might get canned over it. So while members can still be flagged for review for getting posts hidden too quickly, there's no more five-hide suspension. And anyone who is currently suspended for getting five hides is able to post again as of now. We reserve the right to change this decision if it seems like it's having the opposite effect to what was intended.

And also we are not going to feature discussion threads on the DU homepage if they are posted in the General Discussion: Primaries forum, or in either of the two primary candidate supporters' groups. We are no longer interested in featuring the most divisive content on the front page of this website.

And so on to the part I'm sure you're all really interested in...

Who are we purging?

Nobody. However, if we see anyone puffing up Trump they will have to go do it someplace else.

tl;dr

General election season is on the horizon but the race is not over. Primary season continues. Nobody is getting purged unless they're Trump-humping. In an effort to improve the level of discourse we're going to remove Jurors who make terrible decisions (either voting to leave the worst-of-the-worst posts, or voting to hide clearly innocuous posts).

We'll be back with more news when we have some. In the meantime, let's all enjoy the fact that 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for progressives and a car wreck for conservatives.

PS. Fuck Donald Trump.

The Accidental Swiftboater

I suspect some of you may have heard about a discussion thread I started yesterday regarding this photograph of Bernie Sanders during the civil rights movement which was alleged to not be Bernie Sanders. It seems that I inadvertently stumbled into something much bigger than I was aware at the time. Here's what happened.

Obviously many of you are news junkies and DU junkies and you have a totally up-to-the-minute awareness of the latest controversies and where they stand, particularly when it is related to politics and the Democratic presidential primary in particular. When I am on DU I usually have a pretty good handle on what is going on, but if I am not on DU I don't actually spend my leisure time following politics. I rarely if ever watch cable news.

And it just so happens that when I posted my infamous thread about the Bernie photo, I was completely unaware of the larger context which the discussion was taking place.

On Thursday I was on DU a fair amount in the early afternoon, and I even participated in some of the discussions about John Lewis and the CBCPAC. My last post was probably midafternoon, and then I logged out for most of the rest of the day -- stopping back in around 11pm to post a little and then go to bed. As far as I'm aware, the story alleging that Bernie Sanders was not the person in the widely circulated photo from the civil rights era broke sometime in the evening, and I totally missed it.

I woke up on Friday morning and briefly stopped into DU, adding some stuff to the homepage, maybe posting a little and then logging off. I had an important conference call at 11:30am that I needed to prepare for, so I didn't spend much time on DU that morning and I didn't have any clue what the controversy du jour was.

After I finished my conference call I logged onto DU and if my memory serves that was when I first heard about the two posts that had been hidden by juries because they referenced this photo controversy. In both cases I thought the posts were fairly innocuous -- they were reporting that there was a story reported by Chris Matthews on MSNBC and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post alleging that there was a photo from the civil rights era previously believed to be Bernie Sanders, which might not have been him after all.

This was the first I had heard about this issue.

I looked at the hidden posts and I thought the hides were pretty dubious. I've certainly seen some questionable hides before, but I very rarely if ever see posts hidden simply for sharing (in a relatively civil manner) some information gleaned from a reputable mainstream news source. This troubled me.

In both cases the alerts characterized the posts as vile smears which (at the time) seemed over-the-top for what I thought was a just a case of mistaken identity. Big deal, right? One of the alerts referenced a debunking of the vile smear, which I checked out. It seemed pretty compelling -- similar looking clothing, hair, and glasses -- but not a slam dunk because it did not address why the wife and friends of the guy alleged to be in the picture (someone named Bruce Rappaport) seemed to think that this was their friend Bruce. I checked the Capehart article and an article at Time Magazine and the picture on the University of Chicago website and at the time I checked none of them had updated their stories to indicate that any of the facts of the story might be in dispute.

So this looks to me like some jurors just straight-up voted to hide a legit news story because they didn't want to hear what it said, which would be pretty lame. Keep in mind that at this point as far as I am aware the only thing going on here is that people are trying to figure out who's the dude in the picture. Perhaps the over-the-top alert messages should have been a clue, but I've seen over-the-top alert messages plenty of times before so I tend to discount them.

So, as I said, this troubled me. There had been another thread a couple weeks ago where a jury had voted to hide a legit news story about Jane Sanders' tenure at Burlington College that didn't cast her in a positive light, and that was somewhat eyebrow-raising but I figured it was removed under the unofficial don't-attack-family-members (unless they're public figures) principle. But here it was happening again, people voting to hide a legit news story simply because they didn't like what it said. I was getting concerned that this was now a trend, and we had entered a new phase of primary season in which people were using the DU juries to just censor news stories from reputable mainstream sources because they paint their candidates in a less-than-favorable light.

After thinking about it for a moment I decide to just go ahead and start a thread to ask about this allegedly misidentified photo. My intent was twofold: 1) to find out if there was more to the debunking than I was aware of, and 2) to express my concern that people might be using the juries to straight-up censor stuff for no good reason. I knew there would be some pushback, maybe some people would call me biased or complain about the jury system, but I figured most people would not quibble with my points 1 and 2 above so I went ahead and wrote up the post. I called EarlG to get his opinion before I posted, but he didn't pick up the phone so I just went ahead and posted it.

Again, keep in mind: At this point I still think we're just talking about some old picture and whether the person in the photo is Bernie Sanders. I have not seen any of it on cable news, nor have I read many other threads on the topic. The issue of the mis-identification does not seem like a a particularly big deal to me, except for the fact that some people were getting their posts hidden.

But based on some of the replies I am getting, it slowly starts to dawn on me that everyone else thinks this is some kind of swift boat situation. The reason why everyone else is so invested in the identity of the person in the photo is because they believe this is an effort to cast doubt on Bernie Sanders' history of civil rights activism.

By midafternoon my three boys come home from school. They bring along one friend from school for an impromptu playdate. Then a neighbor brings over her three kids so I can watch them while she runs errands. Then another boy from across the street comes over to play, because our house is the one where all the neighborhood kids come to play. Then I get a last-minute phone call from a neighbor asking if I can watch her daughter because her mother is having complications related to breast cancer. So here I am babysitting nine children between the ages of 3 and 11, entirely by myself, while I've got nearly the entire membership of my website piling on to tell me what an awful person I am. The whole situation is totally surreal.

By dinner time all the children leave and I can focus back on DU and it's totally nuts. It was right around the time when somebody called me a "COWARDLY SCUMBAG" that I decided to call EarlG -- which is what I do when DU is blowing up in my face -- to get his feedback and also to just vent. He has of course already seen the whole thing. And as I'm on the phone monologuing and wondering what the hell is happening, he tells me:

"Dude, don't you realize what's going on? They think you are trying to swift-boat Bernie."

He's actually laughing when he says it, even though he knows it's not funny and I know it's not funny. But maybe it is kind of funny in a way. It's a complete clusterfuck and I feel like crap but at least now it all kind of makes sense. I barely slept at all last night, and I spent most of today obsessing over what happened.

Which is a long way of saying that I think a number of you might have gotten the wrong idea about my post. I was actually trying to find out to find out how (and if) the story had actually been debunked, and to express my concern that people might be using the juries to straight-up censor stuff. I totally didn't get why it seemed so important to some of you that I give you my verdict asap, and then go back and edit my OP to make clear. The whole thing just seemed so surreal and over-the-top.

So, in case anyone still cares at this point, yes, I am convinced that it is Bernie Sanders in the photo. And yes, I understand why some people do actually think this might be a coordinated attempt to swift-boat him. And yes I now understand why this was such a big deal. But no, I am not involved.

CBCPAC

WHO WE ARE

The CBC PAC works to increase the number of African Americans in the U.S. Congress, support non-Black candidates that champion our interests, and promote African American participation in the political process-with an emphasis on young voters. There are currently 46 African Americans in Congress comprising the largest Congressional Black Caucus in history. With your financial support we will continue to grow, and expand our voice in key campaigns throughout the country.

http://www.cbcpac.org/about-us


CBC PAC LEADERSHIP


Gregory Meeks (New York-5), Chairman
Serving the people of New York’s Sixth Congressional District has been the focus of Congressman Gregory W. Meeks’ eleven year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Benjamin Branch Executive Director
Benjamin Branch is the Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC where he is responsible for developing and implementing the PAC’s fundraising strategy.


Chaka Burgess
Chaka Burgess is co-Managing Partner of Empire Consulting Group. Mr. Burgess has over 20 years of experience in public affairs, coalition building, lobbying and ally development for corporations, trade associations and nonprofit organizations.


Rep. Andre Carson (Indiana-7)
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2008 as part of a special election, Congressman Andre Carson was voted in to his first full term in Congress in November 2008.


Rep. Elijah Cummings (Maryland-7)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where he still resides today.


Daria C. Dawson, J.D.
Daria C. Dawson is a senior legislative manager of governmental relations at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (New York - 8)
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has proudly represented New York’s Eighth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since taking office on January 3, 2013.


Earl Jenkins Treasurer
Mr. Jenkins is a native of Detroit, Michigan and has been a CBC-PAC board member for eight years. He was educated in Detroit Public Schools and holds BBA (1971) and MBA (1974) degrees in Marketing from Western Michigan University.


Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas-30)
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is serving her ninth term representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas. The 30th District is entirely within Dallas County.


William Kirk
Bill is a Partner at Thelen Reid & Priest LLP and Chairman of their Government Affairs Division. He represents major Corporations, investment firms and national trade associations before Congress and Executive Branch agencies with an emphasis on tax, finance and corporate matters.


Honorable Steven Horsford
Congressman Steven Horsford currently serves as managing director of the R&R Resources+ office of R&R Partners in Washington, D.C.


Marcus Sebastian Mason
Marcus Sebastian Mason is Managing Director and Senior Partner at The Madison Group (TMG) in Washington, DC.

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Bob McGlotten
Bob McGlotten is a partner in the legislative affairs consulting firm of McGlotten & Jarvis. Bob formed the firm with long-time friend and fellow lobbyist John Jarvis after his retirement from the AFL-CIO in March 1995.

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Mike McKay
With nearly 15 years of public affairs experience at the federal, state and corporate levels, Mike McKay provides proven experience and strategic advice to clients on public policy, political and regulatory developments in Washington, DC.


Stephanie J. Peters
Stephanie Peters serves as Microsoft’s Director of Federal Government Affairs for the House of Representatives Democrats, following an extensive 20-year career focused on corporate social responsibility, immigration, trade, intellectual property and foreign sovereign representation.


Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (Louisiana-2)
Born and raised in New Orleans, Cedric Richmond was elected to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives on November 2, 2010 after more than a decade of service in the Louisiana House of Representatives.


Angela Rye, Esq.
Angela Rye is Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies. Developing tailor-made solutions for high profile clients, Rye is highly sought after for her practical, commonsense approach to political strategy, issue advocacy, and public engagement.


Rep. Terri A. Sewell (Alabama-7)
Congresswoman Sewell is one of the first women elected to Congress from Alabama in her own right and is the first black woman to ever serve in the Alabama Congressional delegation.


Daron Watts
Daron Watts practices at the crossroads of law and public policy, providing strategic counsel to clients facing complex challenges which involve government regulation and public policy.


Honorable Albert R. Wynn
Congressman Albert Wynn is a Senior Director at GreenbergTraurig LLP. He joined GreenbergTraurig after serving 16 years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.

http://www.cbcpac.org/leadership
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