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Thu Jul 4, 2013, 08:03 PM

Decade

I read the OP/thread started by Will Pitt, about claims this forum is an echo chamber versus a resource for activists earlier today. It got me thinking about how we are approaching the ten-year anniversary of Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s NY Times op-ed, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” (7-6-03). Just over a week later, the pre-corpse known as Robert Novak published a column that revealed Valerie Plame’s identity. Two months later, a Washington Post article noted that even before Novak’s column was printed, two top White House officials had called at least six DC journalists, and disclosed the name and occupation of Wilson’s wife, Ms. Plame.

Initially, those people who were paying attention to the Plame scandal -- including people here on this forum -- viewed it as a White House effort to punish Wilson for publicly calling the president on his infamous “16-words” lie during his State of the Union address. It was also correctly seen as a warning to others: cross us, and we will crush you. This was directed at more than just Wilson, or even the few journalists who had reported on the investigation he conducted in Niger in the weeks before Wilson’s op-ed.

The Plame scandal was something that a small group of associates and myself found fascinating. We knew, without any question, that there was far more to the scandal than what was being discussed in the corporate media, or even on progressive internet sites. One of my associates -- a relative working in Washington, DC, who is active in the Democratic Party -- would suggest to me that I should join one of those progressive sites. Specifically, the Democratic Underground.

Call it coincidence if you will (I don’t believe in “coincidence”), on the same day that Mr. Pitt published what I still consider to be the best article about the scandal, and that Patrick Fitzgerald was assigned to lead the Plame scandal investigation, I joined this forum.

I knew that the nucleus of the White House cell that pushed Ms. Plame’s identity was the Office of the Vice President. More, it was not simply a case of Dick Cheney attempting to cover his numerous and purposeful lies about the “threat” that Iraq posed to our nation, in order to justify the US invasion. Yet, these outright lies played a role.

There’s a strange documentary that frequently plays on Showtime, titles, “The World According to Dick Cheney.” For some misguided reason, it attempts to portray Cheney in a noble light. Still, it is of some value: for example, it shows how Cheney orchestrated the staffing of the Bush administration, placing the power in foreign policy far above W’s head. And it makes brief mention of how Dick Armey -- hardly a moral man -- had been opposed to the invasion of Iraq. Cheney met with Armey in order to change his mind.

Cheney told Armey that the White House had “top secret” documentation that: [a] Saddam’s family had strong personal ties to Usama bin Laden’s family; and that Saddam was extremely close to the production of “suitcase” nuclear weapons. The vice president explained that these documents were so frightening, that the White House could not show them to Congress -- much less the public -- or they would surely cause a global panic. The following day, Armey came out publicly in favor of the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iraq.

Now, Dick Armey is a fecal specimen who personifies everything that is wrong in the federal government. But by July of 2003, even he was privately complaining about Cheney’s lying to him. And so when Wilson began publicly calling out the president on those 16 words, Cheney was definitely looking to cover his tracks. And those tracks led from the OVP straight to the CIA, where Cheney (along with Scooter Libby and Newt Gingrich) had harassed analysts ….and where Cheney’s demand that CI investigate the “yellow cake” bit resulted in Wilson’s trip to Niger.

There was yet another reason for the OVP’s leaking Ms. Plame’s identity, though. It was, in fact, the very reason that I joined the forum, and was an early participant on the “Plame Threads.” Those threads were, I believe, among the best examples of the DU community’s ability to research and organize the events of that scandal. It truly was, in Mr. Pitt’s words, a real “think tank.”

Those threads reached far beyond this forum’s readership. And well beyond the internet’s progressive and liberal sites. Reporters from one cable television station kept track of them; it was not uncommon to read something here on DU, a couple of days before it was reported on MSNBC or others. I was contacted by a variety of people, including a well-known journalist who wanted access to my “source,” and an aide to a career politician who served in the administration in President Obama’s first term. DU helped shape the larger discussion on the Plame scandal.

I am among those who is disappointed that DU has frequently been more of a heckler’s chamber, or an argument swamp, than a think tank for the progressive left. As I’ve noted before, DU reminds me of an airplane that was found by a tribe of people. Some used the seats for comfortable chairs and couches. Eventually, someone found that its motor ran, and began using the plane for a touring car. But they never realized that plane could fly. And DU could fly, too.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Decade (Original post)
H2O Man Jul 2013 OP
Cooley Hurd Jul 2013 #1
H2O Man Jul 2013 #2
brer cat Jul 2013 #3
H2O Man Jul 2013 #8
jaysunb Jul 2013 #4
H2O Man Jul 2013 #9
Mojorabbit Jul 2013 #5
H2O Man Jul 2013 #10
byronius Jul 2013 #6
H2O Man Jul 2013 #12
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #18
H2O Man Jul 2013 #22
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #23
H2O Man Jul 2013 #25
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #28
RainDog Jul 2013 #7
The Link Jul 2013 #11
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #13
H2O Man Jul 2013 #16
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #17
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #14
winter is coming Jul 2013 #15
H2O Man Jul 2013 #21
winter is coming Jul 2013 #26
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #29
winter is coming Jul 2013 #30
Zorra Jul 2013 #19
geek tragedy Jul 2013 #20
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #24
CakeGrrl Jul 2013 #27
robertpaulsen Jul 2013 #31

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 08:08 PM

1. Your posts on the Plame outing are still a benchmark across the entire internet...

 

...regarding the event.

Pat, you have my gratitude for that, as well as your efforts in opposition to fracking in New York State!

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 08:12 PM

2. It was a great time.

We had some serious work done here. I was glad to be part of the team.

Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 08:18 PM

3. I have learned much from you over the past decade.

You are one of our best assets.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #3)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 09:44 AM

8. Well, thank you.

I've learned a lot from being here on this forum. There is a solid community, which includes both of us, that is capable of significant accomplishments. We've done it before, and we should get back on track today.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 08:45 PM

4. We were a much smaller community then and

were united in our opposition to the Bush administration. But as the membership soared so did the acrimony and vitriol of opposing opinions on whether the glass was half full or half empty....oh, the wild and crazy food fights.
Unfortunately, after the change in House leadership in 06---and since---we have devolved into a very different forum. A forum that seems to be constantly at war with each other starting w/ the first female House leader being excoriated for taking impeachment "off the table." She was called every name in the political book and some even demanded HER resignation if she didn't "get w/ the program." Most knew it was an impossible venture, but it didn't stop the howling from some.
Since then we've gone through the PUMA wars and everything else that can disrupt the flow of thoughtful examination of facts or reasonable discourse and plans of action. Local get togethers seem to fade, no State by State reports of actions whose seeds were planted right here, Our unity broken from within....
I often wondered what would happen to this forum after we didn't have a united front (opposition to Bush & Co) and the pride of activism beyond our keyboards, but it seems like now that dog has caught the car, he doesn't quite know what to do w/ it.

Finally, back in the day when you'd be "tomb stoned" for name calling, civility was key to thoughtful discussion, but once we'd been "discovered" by the larger media and others, the invasion of trolls and disrupter's contributed heavily to our ability to remain that beautiful "think tank" of strangers coming together to put forth a progressive agenda that is the envy of the internets. Bullshit used to be relegated to the lounge...I wish it were still so.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 09:55 AM

9. Well said.

Thanks.

There does seem to be a coordinated effort to disrupt/hijack some of the discussions here lately. And I'm never opposed to debate -- even heated disagreements -- when the goal is to bring forth new and good ideas. But efforts to prevent discussing ideas seems the new style of "debate."

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 11:48 PM

5. It was a wonderful time.

Now we have a group of people who are attempting to manage many conversations. They bog down and disrupt threads making it impossible to have conversation and brainstorming. I still think this is the best political site out there and I am so glad you are you and that you are here.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #5)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:02 PM

10. "perception management"

I agree that there are groups of DUers who attempt to manage the discussions here. That is distinct from the individuals & clusters of people who simply want to antagonize and disrupt. Where the specimens known as "trolls" simply inject insults and nonsense, the more coordinated attempts to "manage" discussions repeat specific "talking points," that are not right-wing nonsense. Rather, it's the socio-political novocaine that intends to numb the grass roots.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 01:37 AM

6. K&R. I remember well.

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Response to byronius (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:14 PM

12. I remember when

an OP by friend "shraby" created an opening; I noted that Cheney wasn't simply trying to knee-cap Wilson, or intimidate other journalists. His motivation was to derail the work that Valerie Plame was involved with. And documents made public during Scooter Libby's felony trial showed that the OVP was fully aware of what Ms. Plame's job duties involved.

I'll speculate -- and I'm comfortable doing so -- that the core group of participants on the Plame Threads were all concerned about the attempts to trample the Constitution. It would seem a concern that could unite most of us again today.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 08:52 AM

18. Whatever happened to Shraby?

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 12:56 PM

22. She's still here.

She makes intelligent contributions -- the type that are prone to "sinking" mighty fast these days.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 04:35 PM

23. yes the good, intelligent posts often sink

Not like the good old days. I think now that we are not united against a common cause (Bu**) and DU has become so well known or "fashionable" there are too many of us. Too many to agree. So now we see so many disagreements.

I also think that now that DU is so well known we are targets for republican trolls who are angry that Obama is President and just want someone to argue with. This causes a lot of disruption. I wish it wasn't so.

I miss the good old days and I rarely post anymore. But I always love to read your essays.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 07:29 PM

25. Right.

I agree.

I think the "old" DU -- a site for progressives and liberals -- has become a target of several different political factions. Some may even be trying to persuade, which isn't necessarily bad. But other troubled souls are here to stir the muck. And, too often, good people react to them. I prefer the time-tested response: "Legalize Lonnie Anderson's hair." I mean, who could argue that point?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 10:44 PM

28. No argument there -- well for God's sake certainly not from Lonnie

I mean, how would YOU like to go around with illegal hair?

God that has to be a nightmare.

Let's make a pact. If anyone goes into some lunatic argument, we will counter with the legalization of Lonnie's hair. I mean it is impossible to be objective on that subject.

Then we'll talk about which came first -- the chicken or the egg -- and really set them off. We'll have all of DU arguing amongst themselves for days.

Then we can take over.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 01:46 AM

7. k&r n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:03 PM

11. Excellent.

 

Rec.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 01:40 PM

13. I came to DU for the same reason you did

The Plame scandal shocked me right out of my complacency and made me start asking questions, many of which we answered in the Plame threads.

I am sad that DU has degenerated into what it is now. But there are still SO MANY sane, intelligent voices here, so I keep coming and reading. You're one of them so I hope you don't pack it in.

Hah! Thanks for clearing up the story about your "source." I used to always wonder where you were getting your intel. You little Dickens!

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 06:31 AM

16. Those were the days.

I was even contacted by an adviser to a US Senator, who ran in the 2008 democratic primaries. (It wasn't only the Edwards' camp that was aware of DU!) They wanted to know two things: how did I know the things that I wrote; and about DU. I couldn't really answer the first part, except to ask, "How do you not know?" And I said DU had a high % of activists -- those people who would actually get out and go door-to-door, engaging in grass roots voter education & registration.

If I were sane, I'd surely have "packed it in" by now.

"You must believe me, for I am a mad man, and mad men always tell the truth." -- Che

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 08:50 AM

17. I had no idea

That the world at large appreciated you as much as we do. That's really cool brother!

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 01:56 PM

15. Thanks. I'd say that there was a fourth possible motive.

4) To destroy HUMINT resources, making it difficult/impossible to contradict the "reality" being promoted by BushCo. Not just to make people too intimidated to give info, but to make the info impossible to get in the first place.

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 12:54 PM

21. Right.

The movie about Wilson/Plame (which plays on Showtime frequently) addresses this. That was part of exposing Plame: she ran some of the important networks of human beings; the OVP needed to destroy that network, as it totally discredited the necroconservative imitation of human intelligence.

Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 08:53 PM

26. Ah. I've never seen the movie. I'll have to look it up sometime. n/t

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #26)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 10:48 PM

29. I've seen it several times, highly recommend. I think it's on Netflix eom

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 10:49 PM

30. Thanks, I'll look for it. n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 09:54 AM

19. Recommend. I remember those threads well, before tl;dnr became vogue here.

I miss those days, there were some incredible discussions, and many of intelligent and insightful posters taught me things with posts that were works of art ...back when democratic underground truly was a progressive think tank, a genuine democratic underground.

I agree, things have declined markedly here, over the course of the past 4 or 5 years. The videos below contain graphic language that some may find offensive, but they are, IMO, poignantly relevant to this discussion.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 09:59 AM

20. DU is half liberal governance, half opposition party thinking.

 

When the President is a Democrat, there's a lot less consensus as to which takes priority.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 04:36 PM

24. Well said. eom

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 08:57 PM

27. K/R

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:07 PM

31. K & R in remembrance of the Plame Threads!

10 years ago, it was truly Democratic Underground. Now, I agree, it has devolved into a heckler's chamber that might be amusing except for those of us who remember what it was. It was a resource team to be reckoned with.

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