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      From a study by his officials: In the report, “The State of Homelessness in America,” even shelters get some of the blame for increasing the number of people who are homeless.The argument: Some people would be able to find their own housing if they were turned away from shelters. “While shelters play an extremely important role […]
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Telling like it is

Making it short this morning as I’m headed out the door.

Matt Stoller is experiencing the “pain of independence” this week.  He had a “Soylent green is people! We’re eating PEOPLE!” epiphany about Obama and the Democrats the other day at Naked Capitalism after the Wisconsin catastrophe.  Matt has finally come to realize that what is good for Obama and the Democratic party is diverging from what is good for the working class (and by working class I mean everyone not living off their investments or bonuses).  Go read the whole thing.  I think he’s thought this out pretty well with the exception of the label “neoliberal”.  Sometimes, the labels get in the way of understanding so I try not to use them. I try to figure out if a politician has a worldview and goal that makes sense and has intrinsic value.  At one point in the 2008 primary season, I even had a matrix of qualities I wanted to see in a president and ranked each candidate on a weekly basis based on what data I was able to collect.  Yeah, it’s kind of Vulcan but then again, it helped me not fall into a four year swoon over Obama.

Predictably, booman writes a “Matt has cooties” post:

Yes, everyone of the left is doing it wrong because they haven’t, like Matt Stoller, taken leave of their senses and attacked the most brilliant and decent and politically talented president we’ve had in decades.

He concludes with some nonsense about interfering with the flow of commerce, which sounds a little Unibomberish. Maybe Stoller would be happier as a Somali pirate.

Oh, but we know how the president deals with those folks.

Townhouse must be a ghost town these days. What a freak show.

Yep, the economy is in shambles, the Democratic party is unrecognizable and Obama has a bill of attainder “kill list” that he can add American citizens to and *Matt* is the crazy one.

This is how it works, Matt.  Groups that use high control tactics can’t have dissent in their midst.  It disrupts the unity of thought.  You become hard to be around because your presence pushes the thoughts of those around you from a low energy state to a higher one.  Therefore, you must now be excluded unless you snap back into line.  In fact, the phenomenon of reforming your thought to that of a high control group is called “snapping“.

I and a lot of other Democrats have been there, Matt.  Some of us have pretty good day jobs at prestigious universities.  I’m thinking of Heidi Li Feldman.  Others, like Anglachel, have a background in political science.  Then there are people like Lambert who had insight in 2008 and had to fight off assimilation from readers of his own blog.  You’re not alone.  There are probably a lot more of us than even we know but people who agree with us may be afraid to come out for fear of the inevitable ostracism from the group. But our number is growing everyday.  And you’re not crazy.

And Barack Obama is not “the most brilliant and decent and politically talented president we’ve had in decades”.  Once you’ve broken out of the mindset, don’t quotes like Booman’s kind of resemble that line from the Manchurian Candidate:

 “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

Maybe Obama is, maybe he isn’t.  Wouldn’t you prefer to figure that out for yourself? It’s not the end of the world.  Knowing the truth is the optimistic point of view.  It’s a relief.  The narrative starts to make sense again.  You don’t have to keep filling the chinks of inconsistencies with elaborate excuses and improbable stories.  Now that you know, you can do something about it.

Lucky for you that you’re coming around when you will have more company in your exile.  For those of us who figured it out in 2008, it has been, ahem, interesting.  But you’ll do Ok, Matt.  With your Harvard degree, no one’s going to call you a racist or a menopausal, uneducated old lady.

*********************

Here’s another guy who snapped out of different kind of thought.  Jerry DeWitt is the former pentacostal pastor who became an atheist. Ooo, I saw a few of you cringe just now.  Relax, Jerry’s not going to make you into a homocidal, immoral, untrustworthy nihilist.  And you don’t have to go all of the way to “there is no god”.  Jerry’s current gig is to help ease people out of religion at their own speed as executive director of Recovering from Religion.  This video is from the recent Arkansas Freethought meeting. I think the section where he talks about the marketing of religion is very interesting.  I had no idea that some religious denominations, like the 24/7, one-stop, espresso bar megachurch variety operates more like a franchise where the colors of the church and the music and the program has been carefully selected by a team of marketing experts with the goal of keeping you in the flock.  It’s funny how marketing is showing up all over the place these days.  Politics is saturated in it but who would have expected to find it at church?  Fascinating.

It’s kind of long but Jerry’s got a gift and he eases you right into it.

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Summer Rerun: How to break the DailyKos addiction

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This post was originally published on Feb. 19, 2008.

So, you say you want to leave. They’ve insulted and troll rated you for the last time and, by golly, you’ve had enough. You’ve given them the best blogging years of your life. You don’t have to put up with this crap. Do they think you don’t have choices?

The question actually is, do YOU think you have choices? The answer is yes. But you’ve got to get out from this addiction first. You know that DailyKos isn’t good for you but you’re afraid of the big bad blogosphere out there. DailyKos says, “You’re *no one* without me, baby.” You worry, can you be heard? Will your carefully crafted and beautifully written diaries find an audience or will you be cast off into the oblivion of the world wide ether, untethered from the safety of the Big Orange Satan?

Well, here I am, one month and nearly 16,000 hits later. I’ve made lots of friends and people drop by looking for the odd collaboration. It’s quite a lot of fun actually.

But you’ve got to get this monkey off your back first. The thing about this addiction is that the reason you are hooked is because of the interactivity. You can get instant feedback. It’s like a rat hooked to one of those feed bars that deliver a hit of cocaine every couple of minutes. And if that’s your cup of joe, by all means stay, even if they are abusing you. You will become a DailyKos whore, always looking for that next rec, but we will try to avert our eyes.

But if you reached that bottom and there’s no place to go but up, here is my advice for breaking the habit: Get yourself banned.

Now I know and you know that you are not a troll and you have no intention of insulting anyone but banning is the only way. I tried self-discipline, I tried a GBCW diary, I tried vacations. Nothing worked so well as being put on temporary exile. Trust me, this will work. And your friends will find you. In fact, you might want to include your new blogging place in your last diary as a forwarding address. Your account will probably still be there (mine still is so far) and you can still raid your old stuff if you need it. But you will be dead to them otherwise. And that’s OK.

So, how to do it: You don’t have to be inflammatory to be inflammatory. Simply post a diary that wouldn’t have caused a blink last year but will drive the Obamaphiles to extremes. For example, I recommend the following topic for a diary:

Are Obamaphiles using Scientology recruitment strategies?

Draw some correlation between the two (there’s *got* to be one) and then stand back and watch the amazing swarm descend upon you. It will be a sight to behold and in about 30 minutes, it will be over. Quicker than methadone.

Oh, sure, you’ll be tempted to go back and see your friends but without the ability to post or recommend, it gets to be pretty pointless after a few weeks. In the meantime, you’ll be free to explore the rest of the blogosphere, which seems to be populated by a lot of very fine bloggers in the Reality Based Community. And you’ll be happy to know that the DailyKos demographics will be getting pushed even more into the ultraviolet end of the spectra. What credibility it had when you were still there will be one Kossack short. Sort of like “one sandwich short of a picnic”, if you catch my drift.

So, if you want to leave, just do it. We’ll be here on the other side.

Update: Katiebird alluded to this in the comments, if they won’t delete your account maybe you can just ask them to suspend your priveleges. It amounts to the same thing as banning but it’s a lot less upsetting to the Obamaphiles.

Oh, what the heck, go out with a bang and really nail the bastards!

BTW: after you’re banned, just send Markos a quick thank you note for all the fun you had. I really *did* have fun, but it was time to move on. Anyway, you might like to go back someday if they ever regain their sanity and it really was a good site at one time.

Good Luck!

Update:  Here’s an interesting article that is relevent to the DailyKos addction.  It’s from The Human Nature Review and is called, Sex, Drugs and Cults: An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people and what might be done to mitigate the effects.

I can’t vouch for the level of peer review in this journal but the author makes a lot of good points that bear striking similarty to the DailyKos Action-Attendion-Reward cycle.

Also, the book Snapping by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman has been recommended to us.  Both of these authors testified before Congress in the wake of the Jonestown massacre and won the Leo J. Ryan Prize named in honor of the Congressman who was killed at the time of the mass suicide in Guyana.

Interesting Note:  The assisant to Leo Ryan, Jackie Speier, was severely wounded by gunshot on the airstrip at the same time Ryan was fatally shot.  She was rescued the next day, recovered fully and continued her career in politics, recently winning a special election to take Tom Lantos’ House seat when he died of esophogeal cancer earlier this year.  You would think she knows a thing or two about dangerous cults.  First thing she did as a representative was deliver a stinging speech against the Iraq War.  She was also a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.  Go Jackie.