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My Two Cents

two_cents_0

We have been having some interesting discussions lately about the future of PUMA.  That’s not anything new, we’ve been talking about PUMA since the day it was born.  We’re not the only ones who have been talking about PUMA either, our ears have been burning since last summer.

Besides ourselves, the two main groups talking about PUMA are people who should be our friends but inexplicably don’t want to be and people who never were our friends and never will be.  Unfortunately, too many members of both groups don’t know PUMA from pimple cream. The first group should have spent more time talking to us and the second group should just talk to the voices in their heads and leave us out of it.

There have been some thoughtful, well reasoned posts here and at other PUMA blogs in recent weeks, and there have also been a few things said that weren’t quite so thoughtful or well reasoned.  One of the major problems we’re running into is trying to define PUMA, both collectively and individually.

As soon as you start trying to define what PUMA is, you also define what it is not.  If you say PUMA is a group of Democrats in exile then you are excluding Independents and Republicans.  If you say PUMAs are liberals then you are excluding moderates and conservatives.

How do we decide what definition to use?  Everyone has their own definition, some of which vary widely.  We could try to reach a consensus but who gets to vote?  Those of us with our own blogs have louder megaphones than those who don’t but that doesn’t give us the right to define PUMA for everyone else.

Even if a range of choices was prepared how would we put it to a vote?  We don’t have a list of registered PUMA members we could send ballots to and if we posted an online poll the obsessed blogstalkers would gleefully freep the results and would post comments inviting wonktards and cheetos to do the same.

If we held an organizing convention not everyone could attend, but you could be certain that some of the attendees would be blogstalkers and other Obot ratfuckers hoping to cause mischief and still others would be fringe lunatics with hidden agendas.

We couldn’t make the convention “invitation only” unless some individual or small group took it upon themselves to decide who was welcome and who was not.  That would undermine the whole concept of PUMA as a grassroots democratic group.

PUMA was born here at The Confluence a little less than a year ago.  At first, we were PUMA.  That lasted about two days, and suddenly there were a bunch a people I never heard before of calling themselves PUMAs and taking actions as if it was their organization.

I’m not criticizing Will Bower, Darragh Murphy or anyone else for the actions they took.  They accomplished a lot more than I would have.  But the circumstances at the time were such that we made accomplishing certain goals (like getting Hillary’s name on the nominating ballot) our priority and so PUMA was never clearly defined or organized.

There were also legitimate concerns that if we tried to define PUMA too narrowly we would become exclusive at a time when our goal was to be inclusive.  Let’s not forget that we came together online, but in real life we are a diverse group that is scattered across the country.

Hillary was what brought many of us together, but both her campaign and the election are over.  Without a common purpose some people feel that our differences are more important than the things we share.  We are also seeing that PUMA is in the eye of the beholder.  There are lots of different ideas about what PUMA is, (or should be) what it should do and who is or is not welcome in the movement.

As for me, PUMA means ideology free from partizanship, principles without party.  To me, PUMA is not a party, it’s a rejection of parties, kinda like an organization of anarchists.  PUMA is the un-party.  That means rejecting all party labels, including the one that says PUMA.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do.  I will no longer use the PUMA label to describe myself.  I’m not going anywhere, I’ll be right here doing the same things, standing up for the same values and principles.  All I’m doing is discarding a label.  I’m not quitting PUMA, I can’t quit because I never really  joined.  There’s no membership roster with my name on it, at least not as far as I know anyway.

PUMA has become a distraction for me.  I’m tired of talking about it and I damn sure don’t want to argue about it.  I am pessimistic about its future and cynical about its potential.  So  I leave PUMA into the hands of whoever wants it, to organize and define however they wish.

This has nothing to do with anyone in particular, so nobody deserves any blame (or credit) for my decision. I don’t believe my decision should affect anyone other than myself.  I certainly hope no one will treat me any differently, as I plan to continue being the same obnoxious and rude jerk that you’re all acquainted with.

Let me add that even if those who remain associated with PUMA are successful in defining and organizing it into a political entity that shares my values and goals I doubt I would apply for membership.

As Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

99 Responses

  1. You killed PUMA.

    • If the glove don’t fit you must acquit

      • myiq2xu,

        I don’t know you, and I doubt you know me at all. I read your posts and your blogs. I like what you say. I love some of what you say. I left Puma a few days ago because it had already left me. All of it makes me sad. sort of like life.

        I hope you keep blogging, because sometimes if you can’t redefine reality, you can at least escape momentarily to something better, and sometimes it is here.

        • Hi..Jennifer4Hillary: Well look who I run into on one of my little walks around the neighborhood!
          You have several birthday messages a couple of houses down the block..one from me…thanks to TT!

          For everyone here…if you want a little chill time…check out this weekend and next weekend…

          WWOZ 90.7 FM and online…New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival…sure makes for some fine music to go along with or without whatever else you may be thinking or doing or ? As we say down here..Yeah..ya rite!

    • Really Gino? I had no idea MYIQ was so powerful.

      MYIQ, since you are so omnipotent, can you grant me a wish?

      Thx in advance,

      Ni.

    • Huh? I don’t even know what that means. He just posted a blog with his opinion/experience. Myiq is not some kind of PUMA guru we all follow–as much as we love him. This is a Confluence of voices…

  2. (nodding)

  3. Funny, I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently; and was planning on posting about it. I may still do it. I haven’t come to as definitive conclusion as you have.

  4. Maybe we need to come up with a new acronym or else just call ourselves the Unparty.

    Mostly, I’m liking Riverdaughter’s notion of Confluence rather than Delta.

  5. No one has killed anything. The way I see it, the feelings and principles are the same for partisanship and the disgusting labels that go around it. I for one, have no issue calling myself a PUMA, until it comes with a label such as being Republican, Democrat, etc.

  6. Bingo!

  7. How about the “Fighting for REAL change” party? 😉

  8. You have stated well exactly the reasons why I have not been able to join the PUMA process. What I share with the PUMA is very limited.

    I want the country to restore its integrity. The Democratic Party primary process showed the country how corrupt things have become. What this Democratic administration has done and is doing since taking office shows how corrupt things are.

    I want the people to choose a government they can be proud of because they believe in doing what’s right.

    • That doesn’t sound like a limited vector of commonality to me.

    • You just described exactly what PUMA has meant: principle before party. All these definitions are unnecessary, IMO, it’s a spirit, an understanding. No need to be so analytical.

  9. At this point, I don’t really know what PUMA stands for and what the movement’s objectives are.

    However, I’m sympathetic to many of its members because I (virtually) know them and I was there when int all started. I consider myself a paleo-liberal and always feel at home among such people.

    I still hate Republicans, not some nice individuals who happen to vote (R) or your relatives who are Republicans.
    I hate what they represent as institution
    I hate their agenda,
    I can’t stand the people they idolize
    Mostly I hate what they have done to my country in addition tho the fact that their history with us the last 45 years has been no good, just terrible.

    My hope is to have a liberal Democratic Party, not the bunch we’ve had lately with their idiotic “move to the middle”, which is nothing more than a move to the Right. That is even more aggravating now that we have enough votes to push our agenda, at least try to.

    • Well said.

      So far, it appears the PUMA are caught in a blog mode. I’ve heard absolutely nothing about them forming their own policies or putting a structure in place. Not sure how the PAC is doing, or what it is doing.

      Right now the country needs a really unbiased watch dog group that simply watches the votes and associations of every member of congress. We need to start weeding the bad and the dead weight out of the house and senate while we plan for the next presidential election.

  10. That’s a real bombshell myiq.

    Are you following what Joseph Cannon said yesterday? Something about agreeing with the Puma movement but not wanting to be part of it?

    • well, I for one have to say, there are some folks wearing the PUMA label that I would sure like some distance from … I’ve witnessed behavior bordering on personality disorder in some folks

      my issue is with all the caucus fraud i witnessed last year, the overt misogyny and the treatment of Hillary and her supporters by the Obama campaign and his supporters. I don’t want to go down in the books as some who who ‘hate’s’ Obama, because that’s not my deal. Honest and fair elections that reflect one person one vote is my deal

      If I could work on getting some of that resolved in or out of the PUMA umbrella, that would be a deal to me. Frankly, at this point, I’m tired of some of the baggage since all these people spontaneously embraced PUMA.

    • Well, I view myself as a liberal who is very (very very) suspicious of Obama. That’ll do, as far as labels go.

      One problem with allying yourself with a group is that you suddenly must watch your tongue: “I want to say X in public, but I can’t because it will make the others in my group look bad.”

      This happens all the time. For example, I think Malcolm X eventually realized that the insidious Dr. Yacub — a key figure in early Nation of Islam mythology — never really existed. But he could not say so out loud. To do so would make the group look bad.

      True freedom comes when we stand apart from groups. All groups. And yet we need groups. Groups can change history in ways that the lone individual usually cannot.

      That’s the paradox, and I’m not sure how to resolve it.

  11. The past few months I’ve all kinds of posts and comments saying what PUMA should do.

    Some of the ideas are better than others but I think they’re all well-intentioned.

    But while I see a lot of words I don’t see a lot of action. If someone thinks they have the right answers then they need to get out and lead.

    • Indeed. The lack of action is already impacting how little influence they will have on the 2010 elections.

      • What should PUMA be doing right now and why aren’t you doing it?

        • I’ve been following Will Bower’s work on election reform in Indiana with a lot of interest.

        • I am watching every vote cast by my representative and senators, and I am making sure my local associates are informed. I am writing to those politicians with my viewpoint on the important issues they are voting on. I am also watching my state representatives for their strengths and encouraging those who are solid in ethics and integrity to consider running against the federal incumbants who need to be challenged.

          What are you doing?

  12. A party is too rigid — the concept of unity and following the “leader” is nicely expressed by Party Unity My A$$. So it is the ultimate un-party.

    There was never going to be a PUMA party — not gonna happen.

    But I do like being an Independent — who can criticize both parties and all parties (including Libertarian & Greens).

    I was never comfortable calling myself a Democrat — because of Andrew Jackson — a racist, genocidal Democrat. He was responsible for the Trail of Tears and you better believe that descendants of the survivors told their children and grandchildren that President Jackson was responsible for the Trail of Tears. And those children told their children and grandchildren.

    Still I do like the name PUMA — and I hope it sticks to remind all politicians that the idea of the compliant voter who will mindless select the “D” or “R” is an old myth.

  13. spammy ate my comment — I forgot and wrote out r@cist.

    Andrew Jackson the Democratic r@cist Prez.

  14. Or we could just talk it to death.

    • I’m predicting this since it’s what happens so often. I don’t want to be right, but …

      • Jangles is working on the next planning thread, she’s crafting some mission statements and principles. I’m planning on a web memorial day for the day the RBC killed one person one vote.

        There’s two things in the pipe.

  15. I am not really sure why, but your post makes me sad.

    • After I pushed submit, I realized why I am sad. When the DNC did what it did to us (not Hillary), I felt i could no longer be a member of the DNC. Being a Democrat had been a big part of my identity. PUMA gave me a ‘label’ to attach to me and a group of people that I could connect with. I think myiq has just let the air out of the balloon. But I realize that it had been slowly leaking out anyway, so I guess that it is no big loss.

      I hope that I am wrong about this.

  16. I don’t know what was more frustrating last year – the people who should have been with us from the beginning but gave us the cold shoulder, or the people we wanted nothing to do with who were calling themselves PUMAs while posting goofy stuff about the “Whitey” tape and the COLB

    • The goofy stuff drives me nuts. Commenters and Lurkers here don’t know what and who gets trapped in the spam filter. We delete crap like that all the time. No matter how many times we tell folks those things are off limits here, we still get it.

      • Yeah, but how do we stop them from posting that crap on their own blogs and calling themselves PUMAs?

        The reason I first started going to ButtBurger was to find out what the nutters were doing in our name (the blogstalkers were always on top of that stuff)

        • We can’t. I dumped two tries at posting a youtube link that some one wanted to go viral yesterday. It was the worst of all the right wing memes about Obama. Yet, it showed up on another site with a major discussion. If it stinks like a right wing meme, I spam and delete as quickly as possible. I’ve dumped a well known commenter from other sites into spam and let them scream over there too. I don’t put up with hatred, no matter what label it rides in under.

          • Then there are the people that are irrational – If Obama is for it they’re against it, even if it’s a liberal wet dream

  17. I said here recently that I remember SM first talking about P.U.M.A. as a joke, and I often wish it had just stayed that way.

    Party Unity My Ass *is* funny, but it’s not an organization or a party, and it wasn’t originally intended to be, as far as I know. SM can correct me if I’m wrong.

  18. WTF cares waht anyone calls themselves? What’s needed is what to DO. I keep saying this, and it’s what keeps movements from moving. At work, we don’t freaking waste our time deciding what to call ourselves — action items are what we care about, and we don’t bang on about what labels we have to agree to wear before we sit at the table and decide what shit needs to get done and who’s going to do it.

    Yes, that’s WORK. That’s a paycheck. I see no reason why the general ethos can’t migrate away from that arena instead of thise ideological gerrymandering nonsense.

    • Hard work pays off eventually, but the rewards of laziness are immediate.

    • I am of the Cheese Sandwich Party, but lend my time and voice and money to various types of activism. It’s A La Carte, no-label politics, and suits me fine.

    • I have been thinking about all this, and we don’t need any real structure. What we need is information, follow-through, and action. The problem is having the numbers of people involved on one issue at a time to actually have effect.

      I was thinking a good way to have a loose kind of organization would be to use local chapters. Each city or region could start a local chapter, for a real place to go and discuss things face to face with others. Each chapter would have complete autonomity, to make its own plans and action items. This would make it easier to support local candidates and be watch-dog for voting issues, since voting is done locally. Records of meetings would be very important, in order to share information. This would sort of be like the colonies. Independant groups forming a loose coalition that is working toward the same goals.

      Since there are a number of relevent issues we want to work on, so maybe we could designate each month of the year to work on a certain issue.

      As far as leadership goes, no one person or chapter should be designated as “leader”. Leadership is something that evolves naturally. Maybe in a few years, a local group will be able to “lead”. But this should never be a position. A congress of chapter representatives could be contemplated after enough local groups have been formed.

      I think this keeps PUMA the loose coalition it has been, but with more focus.

  19. Great Post MYIQ. My thoughts exactly. I have suggested fighting sexism, but that was only a suggestion and in any case, most PUMAs tend to do that regardless.
    But I was thinking the other day how PUMA’s lack of principles and direction are what makes PUMAs PUMAs. I don’t like modern Conservatism and Corporatism either, and never will.
    The minute PUMAs start to say what we are and aren’t is when we become an ideology. And that is when we will no longer be an “UnParty”

  20. I am and always will be part of the disloyal opposition. It’s what I think this whole country is about, irreverence towards our leaders, our political parties, our media. Dissent is patriotic, but not only that, it’s one of the basic pilers of our democracy.

    I’ll never forget Dkos, Huff n Puff, Avarosis, Sullivan, dozens of them, all Republicans in 2000, several of them Bush supporters just 8 short years ago. All currently the new face and loud mouthed internet voice of the Democratic party. Labels mean nothing.

    • Good point. They might have switched letters in front of their names, but they are still the imbeciles they always were. And they still try to destroy Politicians who want to Govern with integrity and decency.

    • ’ll never forget Dkos, Huff n Puff, Avarosis, Sullivan, dozens of them, all Republicans in 2000, several of them Bush supporters just 8 short years ago. All currently the new face and loud mouthed internet voice of the Democratic party. Labels mean nothing.

      Funny what money can buy. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

  21. (Most of this appeared in a prior post that most probably didn’t see because it was posted a day after the post went up)

    In “Tears of a Clown” you described what I believe to be the defining trait of most PUMA and also something that is present in a very small percentage of the population. Solomon Asch studied this in his classic social conformity experiments.

    I’ve seen it explained elsewhere that the people that don’t conform in the experiment are strongly independent with high self-esteem. I also suspect that people with certain personality disorders may also exhibit the same non-conforming behavior. Most follow-up studies focus on the people that conform at least some of the time, I haven’t been able to find any that try and explain the people that never conform.

    This trait is a key element in why I think that a forming a formal third-party is not viable in the future of PUMA. It would be like herding cats.

    • “Herding cats” isn’t a good analogy because domesticated cats that are all related, and grew up together, form a pride-like structure. They become a closely connected family with a strict hierarchy, and I’m sure you don’t mean that.

      • “Herding Cats” is a saying that (from Wikipedia):

        refers to a task that is extremely difficult or impossible to do, due to one or more variables being in flux and uncontrollable.

        Herding in the saying is supposed to analogous to herding cattle, in fact, there was a famous Super Bowl commercial with cowboys herding cats.

    • A most amazing link, Asch, especially about the “extrememist dissenter” who always disagreed with the majority but was always way out in left field.

      On the other hand, when the dissenter always chose the line that was more flagrantly different from the standard, the results were of quite a different kind. The extremist dissenter produced a remarkable freeing of the subjects; their errors dropped to only 9 per cent. Furthermore, all the errors were of the moderate variety. We were able to conclude that dissent per se increased independence and moderated the errors that occurred, and that the direction of dissent exerted consistent effects.

      Apparently we need the tin foil hat club and the haters–the flakier the better–in order to stay honest. This dovetails with the Overton Window RD was talking about the other day. It is the extremes that keep the middle honest.

  22. Today we are all bitterz. RIP PUMA.

  23. myiq – I am amazed and shocked that you made it this long, I expected you to bolt from something a long time ago – glad it’s just the PUMA name and not those of us at the confluence who think you’re great.
    I love the big cats & what PUMA stands for re Hillary’s campaign but a symbol is only a symbol. I’ve supported 3rd party politics for about 38 years, since my 20’s, and always knew that it would be uphill every step of the way. What none of us foresaw back then is how the internet would re-shape the world as we know it. So I think we gotta separate some things out, RECOGNIZE that cyberspace is a brand new territory and we are the early explorers, define who and what we are, which has begun via RD, dakinikat & your efforts, and learn to take it one day at a time. maybe, just maybe we are NOT in charge of this process – a scary thought for someone from my (typical left) “control freak” background. But detachment has become my only comfort zone. Just sayin’.

    • I think that’s a great point. I really think we need to ensure that elections are fair. After my experience with the Texas two-step, I’m horrified. I learned that cheating wasn’t just a Republican trick.

      I’m tired of corrupt elections and pols and I don’t care which party they come from. There’s something bigger at stake. There are issues I care deeply about, but they take a back seat to ensuring fair elections.

    • Yes-those are the two things I agree with. Cyberspace as a new territory, and electoral reform.

  24. In 1952, my father, a life-long and very active liberal Democrat, announced to the family that that he was going to vote for Ike.

    He had served under him, stated that he had trusted him with his life, so had no problem trusting him with his vote.

    His brothers and sisters, with one vet exception, were shocked. One brother then asked, “so what are you now a liberal or a conservative?”

    My father took a piece of paper and wrote on it “considerable!”. Then struck through that and wrote “considerbral”, stating that heretofore his segment of the family would be known as “considerbrals”. We have called ourselves such since, whenever a label was requested.

    He further stated that henceforth he would try to “consider” all candidates, and issues, on their relative merits regardless of party or ideaology. He did!

    Our family continues to do so. Though, over the susequent decades, we have primarily voted Democratic, there have been Republicans, and/or Independantsthat, that we found preferable in certain elections. Thanks to my father’s decision regarding independence, we realized long ago that a D did not automatically infer sainthood.

    That was especially true regarding this last election, and now in the follow-up regarding governance.

    As trite as it may sound, I am proud to be a “Considerbral” !

  25. I seem to have my comment, of 8:10pm, in moderation. Perhaps due to “verbosity”, nothing that could remotely be consided offensive.

    Could someone please check? Thanks.

  26. Fitz, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but — that Solomon Asch link was incredible, thanks. And that experiment was before the Milgram experiment.

    The best quote:

    “Those who strike out on the path of independence do not, as a rule, succumb to the majority even over an extended series of trials, while those who choose the path of compliance are unable to free themselves as the ordeal is prolonged.”

    • This quote shows the power of a partner in dissent:

      Disturbance of the majority’s unanimity had a striking effect. In this experiment the subject was given the support of a truthful partner – either another individual who did not know of the pre-arranged agreement among the rest of the group, or a person who was instructed to give correct answers throughout. The presence of a supporting partner depleted the majority of much of its power. Its pressure on the dissenting individual was reduced to one fourth: that is, subjects answered incorrectly only one fourth as often as under the pressure of a unanimous majority. The weakest persons did not yield as readily.

      This could be a mission of all PUMA (and former PUMA), to provide a voice of dissent from lies and propaganda wherever we find it. It’s now obvious why blogs were banning PUMA last year, voicing our dissent gave others courage to see the truth also. Silencing the voices of dissent was their most powerful weapon to get others to join the herd.

  27. Labels tend to be limiting so I understand having a problem with them. Pretty much any group or philosophy that comes along gets a label slapped on it. Sometimes it’s OK as a starting point. But eventually it will get you into trouble and limit you.

    In this case PUMA quickly went viral and is used by a wide variety of groups. Perhaps the recent split is enough of a reason to let it go and let them have it if they can. Then again some might want to fight for it and try to own it. It seems pretty diluted at this point.

    I think a better thing to do is just call yourself a Conflucian and leave it at that.

  28. As a longtime independent voter, I did not have the attachment to the “Democratic Party” label that many other Hillary supporters had. I crossed over from “Planet Independence” to (hopefully) vote for her in the GE, since as a registered independent, I was not allowed to vote in the Dem primary in NY. I didn’t know it at the time, but I never would have the opportunity to actually enter the voting booth and pull the lever for HRC next to the label “PRESIDENT”. But I gave money to Hill’s campaign, wore the buttons, talked her up to anyone who would listen, and hoped for the best.

    But then … I watched in horror as the CRIMES of the primaries and the hijacking of the nomination unfolded before my eyes. The day after Hillary suspended, I joined Murphy’s PUMA Pac and I have not looked back.

    I would love to see a third party candidate really give the Dems and Repubs a run for their money. I am not a conservative, so although I have voted on occasion for the Libertarians, they really don’t represent my views. I voted for Ralph Nader in the last GE and I like what he stands for, but he is not affiliated with an organized third party. Also, nothing for nothing, but at age 73, Ralph is not getting any younger and he can’t run forever. So, who’s out there that can really scare the pants off the status quo?

    If PUMA ever does become an independent party, I would have to see what they present as their party platform before I vote for them. I have seen too much right-wing ranting on alleged PUMA blogs to say at this time that I would vote for any candidate that presents themselves as a “PUMA”. The most unbelievable right-wingers come out and say, “I supported Hillary. I just can’t get over what happened. A commie is in the White House! I voted for the Democrat party all my life, but not anymore!” Yeah, right. You were a lifelong member of the “Democrat” party and a Hillaryite …

    Anyway, like many other PUMAs, I am also waiting to see which way the wind blows, and where PUMA is headed. For now, I am still content to call myself a PUMA, and I am still a member of PUMA Pac (in spite of the right-wingers who have invaded it), but I am open to alternative affiliations depending on what comes up. I will always be an independent — that much I know for sure.

  29. I got away from the net and news channels for my own sanity last Winter/Spring

    I was completely disillusioned… but still reading the NYT and CNN blogs, and watching YOUTUBE videos of the Anti-Hillary clips to convince myself I was not imagining this surreal visceral hatred directed at Hillary and her supporters, such as myself.

    After June 2, I was so broke down in spirit… but I kept flagellating myself by reading the treacherous NYT and CNN etc… and the YouTube clips… and I started seeing comments, by people with the same feelings as myself, adding a simple word below their post

    PUMA

    Finally, a comment on a YouTube clip of Hillary, someone posted against a Hillary Hater, and added PUMAPAC. I googled PUMAPAC and found Darragh’s site. This was in Mid-June. I read there. I read at TC. I joined PUMAPAC, and my healing process began. I got my fight back.

    I am a PUMA, a Member of PUMAPAC, a longtime lurker sometimes poster at TC and I am absolutely not going to let PUMA fall apart without fighting for it. Things are unstable now, everything has gotten so fucking out of balance… and when I get the chance, I am going to analyze everything everyone is saying because there are enemies in our midst, looking to knock back our game, and they have the best behavioral scientist in the country pointing the way.
    … IT’s THE WEDGE ISSUES STUPID…

    (no tinfoil about it…)

    but I think people will be shocked and awed so completely by the coming actions of the current Administration, they will come together again, out of sheer necessity for the joined purpose of saving our Country and helping our fellow Citizens. If not, we are toast. Stick a fork, in the frickin’ toaster, cuz we are done, might as well get it over with sooner.

  30. I am going to analyze everything everyone is saying because there are enemies in our midst, looking to knock back our game, and they have the best behavioral scientist in the country pointing the way.

    Hi, Dead Girl,

    I’m one of your sister PUMA Pac’ers, as you may know. That’s a very intriguing comment. Who’s “the best behavioral scientist in the country”? I would sure love to know what you come up with.

    • NYC, it may be a subconscious thing, but I mean to say “The Best Behavior Scientists (plural)” in the world. See my latest blog thread. About what to do with the Mind Fuckers. I link to an article someone brought up in PUMA-verse but I did not want to associate them to my very radical thoughts by naming them. Its a TIME article, on the subject.

      • Dead Girl,

        I bookmarked your blog. I will read it later, I’ve got to go now. Thanks for the tip!

  31. I don’t know. I think the question is whether PUMA should continue to be a series of blogs under the Puma Sphere umbrella, or whether it should attempt to become a political force.

    Personally I think that RD is right in wanting to hold a Puma conference at a cheap campground.

    At the moment I think a lot of people (including myself) just feel warm thinking about the virtual Puma Movement. But that’s what it is-Virtual.

    And too many people are trying to make it their kind of Virtuous, I’ll take the High Ground, too.

    The reality is that when RD went to the Protest in Union Square, she went ALONE in the rain, and found next to no-one there.

    Commenters on the Confluence range between 100-200 at best, and they are separated by distance. In many cases they also have heavy family responsibilities.

    Like myiq said even using an online poll is ruled out because of the ease of ‘ette style cheating.

    Perhaps the best thing would be for Pumas to join local organisations that are already working on issues they feel drawn to. And keep the rest of us informed on the blogs about what is happening in the real world.

    • I was part of an enthusiastic group of Hillary supporters after the primaries but before the nomination. What do you think of forming local groups, to channel information and goals into local action? There were about 20 of us here in Pittsburgh. I posted above about forming local chapters.

      On another note, those tax day tea parties were a real success, and they weren’t thought up by the GOP. I was reading some local news coverage on individual protests, and the organizers all stressed that they were not party affilated, then a GOP official would be quoted as saying that the future of the tea party protest has to be with the GOP. Which just proves that they were not behind the protests. If we had local chapters at those protests we could have been showing them another future for the tea party movement, a non-partisan future.

      I think we have been wasting a lot of time. We need some sort of way to get everyone on the same page in order to have effective action items. I think autonomous local groups would help. The internet would of course still be our main source of communication.

      • When I said local organisations I really meant non-Puma organisations like electoral reform/watchdog groups; local Democratic party organisations (or even Repub Party orgs-after all it’s crumbling); local feminist groups/battered wives groups etc. Hillary supporters groups are good too.

        A lot of people here live in rural areas, and it is more difficult for them to form local groups. That’s what the internet is for 😉 keeping us all together…

  32. A lot of people with their own motives and some who are extremists have taken over the PUMA movement. I think it’s a problem in every movement (this is what happened to the progressive movement as well). Sometimes it’s easier to give up the name to the crazies and start fresh, reinvent oneself in order to attract new followers, and not continue to be associated with the negatives that have attached to the movement. I’m okay with letting the name PUMA go as long as we continue our work here and people continue to visit.

    • DV, I am going to name it right here right now. We (a formerly united political force) are being undermined by what can effectively call RNC and DNC Operatives. Notice I did not say Democrats. Nor did I say Republicans. I am talking about the counter-revolutionary agents sent from the Incestuous duopoly of Establishment Party Elites (and by extension, The Oligarchy). The goal they have in common is to stop this movement in its tracks before it gets any more traction than it already has.

      I am going to be the first to say, they are INCREDIBLY successful in their endeavors amongst us. I am tempted to use foul superlatives to emphasize ~ INCREDIBLY. SUCCESSFUL.

      The only tinfoil on me today is what I tore off the chewing gum.

      • “The goal they have in common is to stop this movement in its tracks before it gets any more traction than it already has.”

        Well, with many of you all throwing PUMA under the bus…it appears as if they are succeeding.

  33. You know, myiq, you and I are about a week apart in age.

    I say this because I have found myself agreeing with you thousands of times since I came to this place. Lately I have agreed with the overall mission but have also been upset with the label. Your words, once again, described my inner feelings.

    I’m not going anywhere either.

  34. To me PUMA is a response to the Democratic Party’s cheating and depriving the people of the best candidate for President of the USA.

    Whatever else comes out of this response, I hope election reform is primary.

    I am learning about election reform at Public Campaign. http://www.publicampaign.org/

    I plan to follow dakinikat’s lead and check out Will Bower’s activities as well.

    Bottom line, the spirit of PUMA is meaningful to me.

  35. I’m still a PUMA in the original sense of the phrase: Party Unity My Ass, which by definition would be a Democrat (in exile). I am a PUMA because of Hillary R. Clinton, the smart candidate who did her homework, knew the answers, and was a better choice for leading the country who “lost out” to the cool, popular kid. The exile comes from how she “lost out.” How it was stolen from her through lies, intimidation, and outright theft, by the side that I thought was for truth and justice, and it all happened right under our noses, in plain view.

    I remain convinced that somebody sinister wanted Obama to win for sinister reasons. (Maybe it was only Wall St–maybe worse, time will tell.)

    As long as Obama is the President, I am a PUMA. As long as this could ever happen again in America (once a free country), I am a PUMA.

    I don’t care if other PUMAs are Indies or Republicans or liberals or fundies as long as they acknowledge that the qualified candidate was wrongfully whacked in favor of the unqualified candidate and that this kind of thing should not happen in America. I don’t care if other PUMAs are willing to support Obama now because of the irony that our survival as a nation depends upon his success as a President as long as they don’t try to claim that he was somehow qualified for or deserving of this office all along. I have a special kind of disdain for former PUMAs sporting a KoolAid mustache.

  36. Thank you Sophie for very succinctly expressing my feelings. PUMA came into existence on this very site and should not disappear here. PUMA has meaning & the general public knows it means a terrible electoral injustice was done . If it disappears than no asterisk in history will exist and the fraud elections will continue.

  37. MIQ—RD & Co!

    Hi.

    What if the bunch of people who have come together here over the last year and a half stick together beccause PUMA a mountain lion imago — in all it’s various forms — with basically a “paw” as its motif, once—-just stays as it is.

    Meeting RD and her friends here, over Hillary last year was how it started? Over and above what happened all last year — important to me was how you went to Denver? And so forth.

    It’s not all politics all the time here, and that is why I like to read it.

    The Dems busted apart last year because of what happened.

    Is it possible that we form some solid center of voters who knows how to do the right thing?

    I am not going to take stuff for granted anymore.

    We can help candidates on a local level — or discuss issues as they come up? We are the tolerant group?

    So, what if we made each other aware of great candidates that are running in our various areas? For instance –Jerry Brown is a fab Dem. I am blogging now to support him — and, I will also blog to support who I am going to feel like voting for.

    We will need to be a counter-force based on what happened this last year as the targetmarketing media spin kicks in again. When Dems F up, such as Feinstein has? I’ll bring that up. The LAT buried that. No good. It’s corrupt. So — maybe the voices here will get bigger and as the political things happen that is what we will see?

    plus all the other fab stuff — like the music or the decorating or reading or?

    dunno.

  38. Puma lacks what they call “branding”. As far as I can tell the only thing Pumas have in common is a lack of fear of female leadership. Who wants to blog at a place where women are considered to be nothing more than appliances? So we look for political identity elsewhere.

    In some ways Puma has become typical of the “trashcan” theory of policy formation. You have a bunch of semi-baked policies looking for a vehicle and you have a bunch of loosely coalesced groups of people looking for a a group that they can use to advance their interests. Shake them all up in a big trashcan and see which issues stick to which groups and have enough traction to become policy.

    Like the nation as a whole, Puma has swung way to the right. There have been plenty of LaRouchies hanging around Puma events and plenty of North American Union right wing conspiracy fruitcakes posting links late at night to balance out the pragmatic middle that the Confluence used to represent. But where are extremists on the left?

    There used to be bloggers who cared about the environment, cared about separation of church and state, cared about habeas corpus, and were willing to defend social security, but they are all gone now. They were coopted by the astroturf machines and never regained their voices or their integrity. The few who are still blogging, like the Buttburgers, are busy posting cutesy pet pictures and recipes and have forgotten they were ever anything but paid hacks who regurgitated the predigested talking points while spying on any bloggers who were actually using any brain cells. The people who should be providing the nations dialogue on the left to keep the moderates from floating off to the right have given up and are instead busy rolling joints and acting like BO’s CREEP for 2012.

  39. I dropped out of Will Bower’s PUMA group because it was becoming too conservative. But I still hold to the idea that I will be not be unifying with the Democratic Party. I am independent now, so maybe the days of PUMA have passed for me too, but I don’t want to jettison the acronym b/c so many people denied the movement existed in the first place. I want to stand up to Obama, but I also want to stand against the conservative political machine that is pumping out crazy stuff like Obama is a Marxist socialist and universal health care will ruin healthcare in America, etc. Both parties have a lot to answer for.

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