They finally did it. The folks at Daily Kos have sunk so low it’s downright embarrassing. You see, I published a post here and at Dkos a month ago or so saying that Kos and all political bloggers should maintain higher standards of disclosure in their blogs. They should inform their readers of any financial or other type of material relationship (including political advertising) with political campaigns. Man, were the Kossites hoppin’ mad. There was a tempest in a teapot that was even picked up by the right blog world to posit the ridiculous notion that my treatment signaled the demise of DKos as a political force.
Then I wrote a post questioning how Armando dealt with his own potential conflicts of interest in both his professional life as a lawyer and political blogger. This too made the Kossites hoppin’ mad. Scores of them were clamoring for me to be put in what religious Jews call “herem” or excommunicated. And that appears to be what’s happened. One of the supposed crimes I’d committed was to use Armando’s real first name in my diary title (“Armando, Political Blogging & Conflict of Interest”). You see, it’s supposedly against the rules to use a Dkos’ member’s real name in any comment, diary or story. The problem with this rule is that the very same day both Chris Bowers of MyDD (co-founded by Kos’ partner, Jerome Armstrong) and Armando had referred to me in print at DKos with my ENTIRE NAME, Richard Silverstein. So if that’s the rule I violated which caused my banishment, it’s being applied very selectively. And applied to favor the inner circle and ban the dissidents (like me). It used to be that you’d be banned in Boston if you crossed the line of decency. Now, I’ve been banned at Dkos for having the chutzpah to question the lackadaisical ethical notions of the Kos elite.
How do I know I’ve been banned? When I visit the site I no longer see a “Write New Diary Entry” link which would allow me to publish a diary. When I visit a diary or story I no longer see a “Write a comment” link allowing me to comment. I’ve written to the site administrator asking whether I’ve been banned and if so why. No answer yet.
I take my banishment as a badge of honor. I can’t think of any group from which I’d be prouder being excommunicated. Because of my progressive/dovish politics on the Israeli-Palestinians conflict I don’t often make many friends among my fellow Jews. So I jokingly refer to myself as a founding member of the Spinoza Society, an imagined group of Jewish intellectuals banned from polite society because of their free-thinking views. I’m a proud, card-carrying member of the Spinoza Society. Doubtless Armando and Kos would’ve banned the great Spinoza himself if he’d deigned to write a diary entry claiming that Moses did not come down from Sinai carrying the Democratic Party platform inscribed on those two little tablets.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.