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Friday, September 07, 2007

Comments

Well, John, looks like you're in good company!

I, too, am apparently now banned from Common Dreams discussions.

The last four-five times I've tried to post something (yesterday and today- 9/10-9/11), I've been booted off.

Apparently it's not OK to critique or question the motives, effectiveness and/or tactics of high-profile activists?
Or something.

Welcome to the club. We may never know what sets off the CommonDreams censors, since they don't give any hints on the site and won't respond to any questions. They've developed a culture in which they feel no sense of responsibility to their readership whatsoever. Based on how arbitrary and fanatical they are, the only guiding rule would seem to be "if you don't like it, delete it."

I am curious, though: what do you think you said that set them off?

First, I dared to suggest that our movement for social change could use some new tactics.
Then, I think it was that I directly responded to something "Eagle Scout" had said (guilt by association?) and I hinted that something was amiss on their site, as far as censorship goes. My posts appeared to be accepted without a problem (as I was typing them), but they never appeared on the comments thread.

I tried a few times: day, night, different days, thinking at first that it was a computer glitch.

But, nothing. I admit that this realization does give me chills, it's such an unpleasant reminder of Big Brother's reach. Self-censorship is a terrible thing.
I guess it's better, though, for us to comprehend the ugly reality of it, than remain deluded.

Yeah, if you responded to "Eagle Scout" I imagine your chances of getting nuked would have been raised considerably. One of the worst sins to the CommonDreams autocrats seems to be mentioning the disappeared, or questioning the disappearances themselves. The sign of true control freaks.

(Eagle Scout's over here now, BTW.)

And I understand just how you feel. I really did feel like someone had punched me in the stomach as the realization slowly dawned that they'd erased my entire existence there--not just one or two comments that they objected to, but every single one, and every comment by anyone else that so much as mentioned me. It's a level of malignancy that's hard to comprehend. When someone disagrees with me, I see it as an opportunity to discuss and debate--but apparently they just see it as an intolerable affront to their total control. It's truly pathetic. Anyway, I'm sorry you had to go through it too.

I agree with you that it's better that we know about it than remain deluded, though. And I think as time goes by, more and more people will catch on to what's going on there--especially if we spread the word.

THANK YOU!! for your blog and for the link to Common Plans.
I'll keep returning, and greatly appreciate the wise words and important questions that are being raised here.

I'm still in a bit of a shock that one of my favorite news sites (CD) has censored commenters. Although, I've long been frustrated at the similarity (and frequency) of certain voices on their list (though the links on the edges of the main page are pretty darn comprehensive).

But, let's see what we can generate here! The discussion about our effectiveness in creating real change is long overdue.

I like the concept of a full "chessboard" of strategies (well said).

I've been banned from CD too. I tried to post several times, was able to log on but my posts stopped appearing. From reading a post on another website, someone said that CD removed posts regarding a General Strike (which was supposed to be on 9-11). I frequently talked about long national strikes and millions taking to the streets in my posts and I suspect that's what triggered "progressive" Common Dreams to ban me. They want no talk about a General Strike or millions taking to the streets all over the nation? If not, well screw them! By the way, they frequently have fund raising drives asking for thousands and thousands of dollars (which they apparently get) and they never publically account for what the $$ is used for. They steal most of their articles from other sources/people under "Fair Use." I've never given them a cent but I've noticed all the beg-fests. Hopefully, people will stop funding them. Anyway, I've been banned too.

Erma

Common Dreams are not as common as they would like us to believe. After a lengthy membership and many posts and great dicussions with others, suddenly my comments too have become persona non grata. I hope before long other members will soon discover its contrived atmosphere and flee their mud-pit.

They'll discover it faster if we take every opportunity to out CommonDreams' censorship in public forums, so please do. My impression was that many/most CD readers are not only unaware this is going on but actually deny or rationalize it when the victims pipe up (in the CommonDreams comment threads, anyway). But I'm sure the hard evidence I collected would convince people.

I have an apology to make - While I was aware that the the CD comment system deleted posts for innocuous words like "Zionist" (later removed) or "General Strike" (still of the delete list). I thought many of these accusations of censorship were just due to an automation glitch somewhere.

No longer. In stories regarding Barak Obama, I have attempted to post comments on a rather extreme - but quite factual, pro Gaza-siege letter written by Sen. Obama. It doesn't matter how the letter is presented - a link to a .jpg copy of the letter, the text of the letter, paraphrasing the letter - all censored out.

Apparently, CD is now working hard to suppress any criticism of Obama.

And the cessorship is all done with this maddening total opacity - a fascist wizard from behind the curtain.

If this disgusting petty crap is characteristic of the US "progressive" left - we are truly lost.

PJD: Thanks. I know it's pretty hard to believe until you've experienced it for yourself...but the evidence isn't just strong, it's irrefutable. We shouldn't give up on the entire progressive movement just because CommonDreams is run by a bunch of absurdly obsessive control freaks, but it is unfortunate (and unfortunately not uncommon).

John,

Now this guy's behavior is getting spooky!

I recently was able to resume posting comments on commondreams by changing registering as "USAn" under a different e-mail address, at first I was still getting a "being held for hold for moderation - with the post sometimes and sometimes not eventually appearing. So, the next day, I reset my IP address, and things seemed to be back to normal.

Now, just this morning, I was responding to a post by "scroller" defending Obama's energy/global warming postions, I wrote that that merely promising "clean energy" doesn't mean much, and commented on Obama's record in his home state supporting destructive coal mining:
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/02/01/6794/

Then, I noticed a second tabbed window had somehow opened up on my browser (firefox) with a google search-term, and results for, "Invest 150 billion in clean energy" - an Obama quote scroller had used in his post.

While I had, several minutes earlier done a search on the term "impact of longwall mining on illinois cropland" I never typed or copied this phrase and absolutely could not have inadvertently done this google search.

Also, while typing this note on your blog, I also had commondreams still open on a minimized window, and my typing was acting oddly "sluggish" with a lag between keystrokes and the appearance of characters, and occasional disappearance of the cursor. I closed commondreams, and the behavior returned to normal.

So, maybe paranoia is taking over, but it looks like this control-freak-asshole may also be uploading stealth-remote control onto the machines of users of his website.

One would thing there would be a law against such stuff, the exact equivalent of phone wiretapping, bu t under our wonderful free-enterprise system, no such privacy protections will be forthcoming.

I have spybot, maybe I need something stronger, any recommendations?

OK, an update.

Something seems to happen after logging on and posting a comment that causes the browser hog 95-100% of CPU time when commondreams, and only commondreams is loaded on the browser and I'm logged on for comments.

Odd...

As a tech geek, I don't think you've got anything to worry about. Regarding the Google tab: in Firefox, if you highlight some text and then right click on it you'll see "Search Google for ..." as one of the menu options. I'm guessing maybe you were copying and pasting that text from scroller's posting, and somehow activated that option (which may have a keyboard/mouse shortcut that made it more likely to happen inadvertently).

As for the slowdown, CommonDreams uses a particular PHP plugin for Wordpress that gives the user a limited time to re-edit the comment. And for unknown reasons, decrementing/displaying that timer knocks the snot out of Firefox. I noticed this as well, before I was banned for life from the site—while the counter was going, even in another window, Firefox would be extremely sluggish.

Willy Ritch is a lot of things, but smart enough to install spyware on visitor's machines isn't one of them, I think. So you can relax.

Spybot's what I use, though my PC tends to overheat, and the last time I ran Spybot it actually hit the CPU so hard that the machine powered off. Yow. But I'd say it's plenty of protection.

John,

Thanks for the analysis.

Yes, it seems to be that countdown timer.

Paul D.

"As for the slowdown, CommonDreams uses a particular PHP plugin for Wordpress that gives the user a limited time to re-edit the comment. And for unknown reasons, decrementing/displaying that timer knocks the snot out of Firefox. I noticed this as well, before I was banned for life from the site—while the counter was going, even in another window, Firefox would be extremely sluggish."

Yes, being a web developer, I investigated this issue and discovered that the javascript is extremely poorly written and actually doesn't work properly and does indeed clobber Firefox. I wrote them with a bit of code that would fix the problem but they ignored it.

As far as what triggers CD to censor people and/or whack accounts, I don't think it's the use of the word "Zionist" as I use that often in my posts and haven't been censored yet. A site that's better than Commondreams is Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info)... and Tom doesn't censor you unless you're just being an asshole on the board for no real reason.

I am now "banned" (71.65.114.81). 404 Error--IE connects, but denied permission.

I never checked to see if my posts were removed...but I've seen the "owners" enter the thread and argue with people.

USAn--I recognize you. I guess you might have suspected me to end up banned. LOL. But, my concerns about Obama were no better or worse than alot I saw there. I guess its ok to just post Nader's site over and over. Or for one of the webmaster's to send personal emails saying that you are "betraying the memory of his dead wife" if you continue to criticize Obama (!!). I THINK that that is what did it. I thought that it took alot of nerve to ask one to vote for a candidate that will 15-25 million people uninsured, as a "memorial" to someone who backed Obama. I have lost family to this crappy health insurance scam . But "Ted" said that "health care is a 'conundrum'"...oh, ok, well, "I dont concur" and I went about listing every country in the "free" (lol) world that HAS single payer care.

They have 501 (c) status--they are NOT allowed to "back" any particular candidate! Isnt that true?

btw--I am NOT a neo-con (shouldnt be banned if I was!)_ I am a Socialist!

Please dont ban me here--I am getting paranoid! Jeeezz,,peeps!

Banned from CommonDreams this week. They're a front for someone is the vibe I'm picking up. I can't even go to the articles. Creepy! They always smashed any sign of movement toward public protest. And would not put up with networking."Freedom of Speech? Only if we say so!"

KDelphi and Bladerunner: Sorry to hear you've both run afoul of CD's censors. I know just how awful it feels, discovering that a place you thought was safe and welcoming is in fact a hotbed of little Napoleons, eager to erase anything and anyone they disagree with.

Since they erased my existence they've apparently put together an official policy—which essentially says they can ban anyone at any time for anything. That was the policy when I was banned too, though they didn't bother stating it (nor even responding to email asking what was happening). In retrospect, given the fact that they asked for memorial donations to go to Code Pink, I'm now all but certain that I was banned for posting something that wasn't properly deferential to Medea Benjamin.

KDelphi: I believe as long as they stop short of outright campaigning for a given candidate, they're safe in terms of their charitable status. But even given the shoddy, shameful crap they've pulled with me and you and many others, I'd rather not see them taken down that way. CD genuinely does provide an important service for the progressive community; it's just a shame that they have such a petty, small-minded view of what that community should be.

I agree---I sent them an email (do they even read them??) that, the only way I could most probably challenge their tax status would be "working with the Right" (wouldnt the GOP make "Am Idols" of us all!! yuk!!) which, as Ive said, I refuse to do.

I DO miss some of the posters there. Really! I disagreed with alot of them, but there were none that I felt any genuine anomosity towards other than the CD webmasters---yeah, they disappoint me intensely!

I did ask them for their tax returns (by law, they have 2 weeks to comply)--but I dont expect much. I just would like to "help" them see that they are HURTING the "cause" (as defined by them) Plying their conscience seems to be an exercise in futility! They are correct about everything, and, even when theyre not, they certainly know better than you! Gee--what happened to "Its patriotic to pay your taxes"? (btw--it is!)

I reminded them of SDS, Chicago 68, etc. (these people were my heroes!! well, my sister's--she "passed it to me"), and just asked them if that WAS really how they want to roll, now.

They dont read them, but, I think if they did, ,and really thought about what theyre doing---i dunno. It hurts. I know that you know that.

I guess I wanted to vote Third Party anyway (I'm registered with a minor one), but, if they had ever tried going about disputing some of the stats I had about Obama's ---and other Dems--policies--that wouldve been convincing. Banning only serves to anger and hurt people. It fosters mistrust.

Its neo-liberalism. And, it is only a bit better than neo-conservatism. Both sides feel that it is their way or the highway. Both limit freedom of speech. Both are war hawks. (It doesnt matter which party ordered you killed if youre dead). Neither support single payer health care. But, single payer Wall St.--bring it on!!

Even the Dem response to claims of "Muslim" (horrors!) or "Socialism" (that will be the day!!) are silly and histrionic. A better response would be to remind voters of the vastly better quality of life enjoyed in Socialist Democracies, such as the EU, Canada, etc.(By the majority of the people) Sure, their markets are hurting now--but you will not end up dead on the streets of Paris from cold of lack of food. (Certainly not when I was there.) The people simply wont have it. Sarkozy could try to change that--I predict he will fail. The Scandanavians systems were proposed for the "bank" bailout--especially Sweden's, of the l980s. I did work study in Scandanavia and traveled all around the area--even then, Italy's health care was better than US, in terms of availability. In Denmark, they almost cracked up when I tried to pay for an x-ray. The doctor said, "You Americans just dont get that it is a human right, do you?" I was, frankly, ashamed.

The Dems need to speak of STRONG Unions, health care for all, affordable housing, proportional reopresentation (maybe?), govt accountability, return of habeas corpus and Posse Commatatus, public finanacing (the money spent on campaigns and conventions is beyond absurd), term limits.

If that is socialism---I'll take it over this, anyday! Chavez and Morales only succeed in the Latin Am. because Chicago School and Friedman economics have dessimated the middle classes there and, now, they have tried it on us.Theyve drained the middle class of their main source of equity--their homes. I guess I beleive in Naomi Klein's shock doctrine theory.

The middle classes never had any business in the stock mkt roullette in the first place. It was a way to defund pensions and social security. Defund FEMA (see! it dosent work! Only church groups do!), FDA, rig the FCC, expand the CIA, promote a "flat tax", but, when all else fails--force the working classes , who were too "stupid" to get into their crappy investments, to bail you out. We have been, as they say, had.

There were many amendments offered, alternative solutions--none were even allowed a vote. Sanders, Kucinich, DeFazio, Kaptur, all had plans to make some of the thieves pay for their ill gotten gains.

Of course, now, when they get the presidency, and a double majority, they are going to "fix it all" (including NAFTA!). Sure---the Wall St bailouts wil serve as the perfect scapegoat for not enacting any serious social safety net, and the tax cuts will stay in place. That is what I predict. I would be more than pleased to learn that I am wrong.

So, I guess you can see why CD did not want me around.(lol) But, in terms of the rest of the planet--I do not see my views as extreme in the least.

Almost forgot--I used to live in a coal heated house in Appalachia--there is NO "clean coal". Nukes are not safe.Also, all state universites shoudl be free to those who can pass classes--we pay for them anyway--or, at lesast, a cap on tuition. For Green Jobs, we need a program similar to the Tenn. Valley Authority, and they should start with New Orleans. 9/11 was a criminal act. We have made a mess of going after those that helped perpetrate it--it is hard to know where to go from here. But, carpet bombing Afghansitsn is not the answer. We need to work within UN guidelines, and stop trying to "except" ourselves.

Bush & Co. are war criminals--most people actually know that. If some guilt falls on the House from it--so be it.Nader should write up health care and Feingold finanace reform. Kucincih should be Attorney General.

The things I list above, of course, will not happen--at least not most of them. "Why" is harder to discern. Even here in Ohio, not exactly as bastian of liberal thought, 67% of workers say they would support a single payer health care, EVEN if it mean raising taxes. (Conyers et al HR 676--Medicare for all) It would take the burden off of the few good businesses left that supply their employees with health insurance.

To succeed, the US govt must take charge over private health insurance, which serves none but the healthy and rich, and, sad to say, some doctors will have to learn to live middle class like they do in the rest to the world. We have a glut of doctors in specialties anyway, and we need more GPs.We can cancel their student loans (if we must have them) Therefore, the only conclusion I can come to, is that,both partise (and maybe some 3rd parties too!) and too hooked on the money they get from private industry and Wall St. to do much for the people.

That being said, I hope for a 3-way majority of Dems. It has not worked in the past, but, perhaps, if they felt safer in their seats, they would be wiling to enact some programs that would return the uS to a role of decency in the world.

Thanks for letting me have my say, even if you disagree. Now, what do YOU (whomever you are) think??
.

KDelphi: Yeah, I never once got a response from the people at CommonDreams. I initially thought my problems posting comments were a technical glitch and tried to ask them about it—nothing. They like the communication to be one way, and they like to be in total control, and so far as I can tell they've got no consciences to appeal to. Supremely ironic, but there it is.

I was censored on Common Dreams last night (Nov 3, 2008) for posting a harmless comment expressing my doubts about the Democrats: they supported all of Bush's war requests, the Wall St. bailout, Pelosi took impeachment off the table, etc. I'm a fierce champion of progressive causes and a Nader supporter (and Green sympathizer), but I guess CD is a Democratic-only site. I call them part of the "catch and divert apparatus". Their job is to talk a tough talk, but anyone not voting Democrat in the end is persona non grata apparently? Too bad progressive issues can be handled in a non-partisan manner. I guess CD isn't the place for that to occur.

It sounds like they've pulled out all the stops in the weeks before the election. I honestly don't know what their criteria might be, except whatever happens to cross their own arbitrary personal red line on any given day. Sorry to hear you've joined the club.

Several of my posts were deleted, and my static IP address has been banned ( again ) to ever permit me to read CD again ( directly ). I now use a proxy server ( Onion Network ) to randomize my IP, and have created once again a new screen name.

This is the most recent of a half dozen or more DEAD screen names and a earlier static IP banning -- over the last year ( nspire, presence, enliven ).

My recent "insults" to CD's policies were to :

( 1. ) Mordor Brightens; Obama's Challenge -- And Ours ____ I humorously questioned Obama's ability to withstand the pressure of the bu$h!t legacy of near absolute Prez power -- responding to 'Little Brother November 5th, 2008 12:14 pm' comment of :

___ Long live King Boromir! ___ ( He died in his attempt to steal the 'one ring' from Frodo, to use against the evil empire )

My problem came by extending that 'Lord of the Rings' reference, and asking who would be ( for Frodo ~ Boromir role ) the Gollum to bite the ring finger off, just before the assumption of incarnate evil took over ?

(2.) Another posting that same day, was deleted from Gay Marriage: An Electoral Liability, responding to where TOAST commented : "thanks obama".

In this posting, I extending the issue of excessive African morality ( voting 69 to 31 in favor of CA's Prop 8 passage ) being a consequence and reaction of 400 year old racism, and that needed reparations to Blacks were prototypical to widening the social justice envelope to include gays -- as society still suffers that centuries long un-healed wound of SLAVERY.

Please do explain how this justifies being banned -- oh never mind, I know that controversy and open dialogue is NOT really desired on CD.

Namaste

Enliven, Nspire, & Presence have been censored, deleted, blocked, and banned on Commondreams.org ( CD ) as of 5 November 2008 ( see above ). Hopefully more web search engines will pick this up now.

Namaste

What keeps you going back? Once was enough for me. The worst part for me was that they destroyed my writing—like holding a book burning. I'd never consider giving them control over my words again after that.

Starting yesterday, when I tried to log in from my home computer (ISP is (Verizon), Commondreams tell me that my user name "USAn" is a "reserved name" and no log in is allowed. I can get around by requesting a "forgot password" e-mail. Then, under the one time login link, I am back in as "USAn". My older PJD account still works, but several posts - and a signature footer that stated: "formerly USAn but noe blocked by CD, for some reason", were removed.

More ominously, I now only get a HTTP 403 - forbidden message when I click on any Commondreams article from from my work computer (and co-workers computers) at the federal agency (MSHA) where I work. So, I am now denied even reading the articles there.

John, can you explain what is going on? is the HTTP 403 coming from the Commondreams end or my offices end?

As far as asking why we bother with Commondreams after getting censored and banned, I would argue that the more effective course is to fight the censorship by hacking around it every way we can. Far more people will read my comment on Commondreams in a day than those that will stumble upon an individual's blog in a year.

Well, at least I feel less alone now that I've found other Common Dreams exiles. Samson has a site called "Common Debate" on Blogspot: http://commondebate.blogspot.com/ to help fill the void. (FWIW, I find that posting comments on Blogspot-- or Blogger, or whatever it's called-- is a pain in the fundament. I don't get the whole dual-page deal that kicks one back and forth from the main page to the comments page, etc. Oh, well...)

I mailed a thoughtful and heartfelt letter to Craig Brown yesterday, which I'm absolutely certain will disappear without a trace in the Common Dreams communications hole. Brown seems to take pride in his site's draconian policy of Never Responding-- I touch upon that in the letter.

I'll give him a couple of weeks to not-respond, then I'll post the letter on "Common Debate" just for the satisfaction of sharing it with fellow victims, if that's not too obnoxious. And I'll start referring to the site as "Common Dweebs" and making juvenile jabs about how apt the surname "Brown" is, since he's such a piece... well, you get my drift.

I can only speak for myself, but the reason I still prefer to be un-banned and access CD is because they do present interesting articles. And more importantly, I enjoy the comments-- provided I can participate. I ought to qualify that by noting that of course I find certain regulars and perspectives incredibly stupid, obnoxious, and/or annoying-- but for every "High Karate" there's a "RichM." Just one example of my personal pluses and minuses, of course.

It is Truly Vexing that such an interesting and appealing site is being neutered by shallow and insensitive creeps masquerading as progressives.

PJD: John, can you explain what is going on? is the HTTP 403 coming from the Commondreams end or my offices end?

Could be either; government agencies have a history of blocking progressive sites, accidentally or otherwise. I've never been banned by CommonDreams, just disappeared, so I don't know what those errors look like.

Little Brother: Oh yeah, I'd agree they're still worth visiting for the content; I'd just never consider posting there again, because I don't want what I've written destroyed. They're basically digital book burners at CommonDreams, and I don't see the point in throwing any more of my writing on the pyre.

I just noticed the "report this comment" link on every comment—maybe that's how they're rooting out the undesirables. So in addition to book burning, they've got people in the "community" ratting one another out to the authorities. Truly an idyllic edifice of progressive tolerance and cooperation they've constructed, I must say.

John,

Actually, I have found website access - and the first Amendment in general, to be far better respected in US Government workplaces than in private employer workplaces.

During the runup to the Iraq War, when I was working for the Army Corps of Engineers, I engaged in activism-activities that would have gotten me fired in a minute by a private employer. I even had e-mail access from my government server that Verizon (my ISP at home) had banned. For example, when I wanted to register to comment on Al-Jazeera's web site I had to do it through my desk computer at the Army Corps of Engineers. Verizon blocks all e-mail from Al Jazeera - even after repeated whitelist requests.

The US Dept of Labor, where I now work, uses websense filtering service, mostly to ban bandwidth hogs like youtube. They are actually pretty careful not to block news sites.

And, at any rate, that would't explain why other Commondreams users are getting the HTTP 403 block. Little Brother, can I ask where you are working?

I was thinking of things like this. I recall some other instances as well, though they may have just been the result of using standard blocking software with an overly-aggressive block list. Glad to hear you've had better experiences. And I would say it's most likely that you're getting the 403 error from CD.

I don't think anyone else has explicitly said that their ban takes the form of HTTP 403 errors, though it'd make sense (but it's possible CD is just delivering a "banned" page without an error...that's why I mentioned that I haven't seen it). If someone could verify that they're also getting a 403 error, please do.

I'm sure the nimrods at CD don't know (and wouldn't care if they did), but banning by IP can affect large groups of people because of PAT, which allows an entire office to appear to be using just one IP address. That's probably why your co-workers can't go to CD either.

John,

Thanks for the explanation. I have verified that my LAN uses PAT. Both me and a co-worker have the same address when looked up on wahtsmyipaddress.com. Oddly, it places us in Annsted, WV (near one of our Coal Mine District Offices) rather than a Pittsburgh, wher we rally (the LAN server is in Lakewood, CO)

As part of any eventual LAN shutdown for maintenance, will our collective IP address get changed?

As part of any eventual LAN shutdown for maintenance, will our collective IP address get changed?

It's possible but very unlikely, because you're coming from a relatively small private IP allocation, and the PAT IP address is probably preassigned and fixed. So unfortunately in your case the IP blocking will be very effective. You can always access CD through an anonymizer or other web proxy, though.

Home users have it better in this case because their IP addresses are typically assigned dynamically from a large pool of IP addresses maintained by their ISP, so it's easier for them to get a new one. I do this occasionally when I want to look like someone different for (say) Wikipedia.

John,

Thanks for the update, Of course, CD doesn't seem to care that even in the case of the home user, someone will end up with that IP addrss and not have access.

As I wrote in the other thread, it wasn't the final weeks of the election when this purge happened, it was the day after his victory. Not only in CD but elsewhere, there was, in the 2-3 days following the election a level of vitriolic hate from liberals toward those on the left, notably Nader, but even Cindy Sheehan, that I've never experienced. The liberal's reasoning faculties (always suspect) have completely shut down, and they want us on the left while they follow the Obama piper to pardise! They can all go to hell.

PJD, I work for a state agency (PA).

BTW, I was able to use anonymouse.org one time to access CD at work-- but the next time I tried to access it, the state blocking software kicked in. I don't know if the software updates automatically or if administrators are alerted when proxy-type pages are accessed.

I use this:

http://certainproxy.com/

To get the comment utility to work, uncheck all boxes except the "cookie" and "load images" boxes, then re-enter the home page URL (commondreams.org). The comment utility should then work.

I was banned from CD on November 3rd, 2008. It's interesting that Craig Brown or his staff waited until then. No reason was given. No warnings were given. I went to the site and when I went to read articles it said something to the effect of: [ISP Address] has been Banned from this site.

Why I was banned? Probably because I have nothing but contempt for Dem kool-aid drinking suckers and those who want/wanted so much to believe in the Pope of Hope and his "change" bull shit. Already we can see it was just that: Bull shit. Considering he's selecting status-quo people from the past. So much for "change we can believe in." I never fell for that to begin with. It was just a marketing ploy for the sheep and the Obamabots (including the staff at CD) swallowed it right up. The Suckers.

I was banned most likely because I constantly talked about Bush-accomplice Obama's RECORD and I frequently challenged the thick, pathetic Dem kool-aid drinkers/Obamabots on their grandiose, delusional wishful-thinking and false hope. I have little patience for people who do the same thing over and over one voting cycle after the other (like voting for Repugs and faux Dems) and expecting different results.

I voted for Nader/Gonzalez. So, Dem Kool-aid drinker and faux "progressive" Craig Brown apparently didn't like what I had to say. He and/his staff are pretty thin skinned.

Another possible reason why I was banned:
I also wrote a comment questioning what CD does with their $$$$ they receive every begfest. They never account for how any of it is spent in any public way.

Through their articles, they were clearly campaigning for Walk on Water Obama while posturing as "non-partisan" and "progressive."

I hear through a friend of mine that the comments are way down now on CD. Maybe that's what they want. They really seem to be quite afraid of comments (they even hide them), unless of course one is cheerleading for the Pope of Hope and the Bush-accomplice Dead Democratic Party. They welcome those.


I posted here that my IP was banned on Nov. 3, and I've since noticed that my work IP was also banned recently. Certainly any of us can overcome the ban by using a laptop, IP proxy, public library terminals, etc. But what's the point? They're clearly a$$holes with some sort of agenda (creating a new home for the neocons to roost for 4 or 8 years?)

This tells me that they keep some association of users/ip's for at least a couple weeks. I'm thinking now that it may be worthwhile for us to Google our old nicknames on CD, check Google cache, maybe check the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/index.php) and save local copies of our writings. I wouldn't put it past CD to retroactively censor posts at this stage, perhaps manufacturing stronger support of Obama by the progressive community (which really ought to also include Nader, Green, Libertarian, progressive populist, social democratic, perhaps small-s socialistic, anarchistic, and related thinkers).

One more comment here. I've made some Google attempts to see my old posts, but CD's javascript method of hiding comments ("XYZ Comments -> show all") renders the comments themselves invisible to display on Google, but for some reason the Google robot nonetheless picked them up and indexed them.

The other thing I noticed on Google is that my old nick, and PJD's (perhaps others as well?) had a lot of Google hits like "Are you sure you want to flag the comment PJD...." If you view the cache, that too is basically empty of content. It's really quite strange. CD is definitely a creepy site. The corporate left and corporate right, my theory is correct, have more in common with one another than not.

FWIW, twelvepax, I've seen those "flag" screens too-- I also found them disquieting, although I don't understand their significance. Creepy indeed.

PJD, thanks for turning me on to http://certainproxy.com/; it works like a charm, although my work PC apparently blocks all proxy sites.

I was even able to register and comment under another nym-- mostly just to prove a point. The site has been effectively crippled and corrupted by its administrators, so I'm really not comfortable there any more. I notice that even DPA Obama-supporting folks are gone, or at least no longer posting-- although they've been replaced by comparable fatuous idiots.

So maybe the banning criteria wasn't so much to eliminate sourpusses like Your Humble Narrator, but to eliminate "impolite" writers. Or both, I guess.

This thread is old and effectively dead, but it occurred to me recently that sites like CD were never really set up to promote "intellectual" discourse. Rather, I would characterize their comments as a venue for therapeutic discourse-- a support group for mutual reinforcement of needy moderate progressivish folks to chase away the blues of alienation and despair.

I think you've got something there, though I don't think it was the original intent so much as a side effect of the CD staff's intolerance for viewpoints that differ from their own.

Thank you! I was banned from CD, and my computer address blocked, for posting perfectly respectable criticism of Barack Obama's proposed positions on various domestic and international policy matters. All that after being an avid fan of the site during the lead up to the Iraq war, and donating to them!

auspiciousbunny: You're welcome, and I'm sorry to hear you've joined our growing club (and after you gave them money rather than before). So it wasn't just the election, then; it sounds like any criticism of Obama might get someone banned.

I'm still banned. Out of curiousity I went back there today.

There are comments posted by militant Zionists arguing it's acceptable to kill Palestinian children on the site right now, but I've been forever banned for the crime of voicing support for Ralph Nader!

I thought it was the election, but obviously Common Dreams has more extensive plans for it's warped ideology.

And yet they've got plenty of articles that are critical of Israel, so it's clearly not that. It appears that it can be just about anything—whatever their whim of the day dictates.

I too was banned from commondreams after posting comments against Hamas. So much for free speech.

I read CD for over 5 yrs before I started posting. I used to post anti-Obama comments regularly on CD for about a year before the election. I even donated money several times. Then right after the election I got banned. I could not even visit the site. I changed my IP address and was able to get back in but I had to use a different identity. But after a few days they banned me again. I guess they knew my patterns because I used to blog daily around the same time and around they same themes: Screw Obama and the Dims.

A couple months later, during a fund raiser I was amazed to get a letter from CD asking for a donation. I visited the site and was shocked they let me back on. Then I started my anti-Obama tirades again and one night while responding to an attack by a CD Obamot, a CD administrator (censor) actually signed in as "Admin" responded to my post by insulting me. I called him an Obama-supporting Democratic Party apologist idiot and asked why he didn't ban me for refusing to jump on the Obama bandwagon. Within minutes he did just that. I got banned again. The next morning the administrator removed the spat we had but to his credit left some of my comments.

I still get regular solicitations for donations which seeing as they banned me is absurd. My old email isn't recognized on their site except to ask for money. I noticed many of the regulars I used to enjoy there such as Samson, WSWS, Little Brother, CoMarc to name a few, are no longer around. They probably got banned too for being critical of the sellout Democrats. I was completely surprised to see a post by RichM today. He was a regular to Dim bashing and I can't believe he is still around.

If you Google websites that track web traffic you'll see their readership is way down, as I imagine are their donations. Craig Brown, the owner of the site doesn't believe in third parties and is wed to Democrats no matter how sleazy they become. I still read the articles a few times a week but I'm leery of posting. I would never send them one red cent again. Screw CD!

The next morning the administrator removed the spat we had but to his credit left some of my comments.

I wouldn't give them that much credit—I think it's more likely that they're just sloppy about their censorship (at least that was my experience).

I got censored & banned from Common Dreams again last night. I complained that Obama’s foreign policy in the Mideast is looking like a third term of Bush. Whether it’s bailouts to big bankers, failure to put single-payer on the table, etc. I posed the question of whether the editorial staff were happy with Obama, or naively disappointed (and we’re supposed to believe they didn’t see this coming). For this, I was banned. Sad thing is that I’ve posted political banter in all kinds of forums, my local newspaper, other blogs, etc. and never been censored. CommonDreams is the most heavy-handed of them all. I imagine they’d like to rewrite history if possible.

I have also been banned many times, with different names, with a variety of comments. what i wonder, and perhaps it is just paranoia, is the general self-censorship of the 'left' (for example, how about russ baker, bush family secrets)- there are certain issues that send up intellectual firewalls around the establishment left- jfk, rfk, 911, etc. however, what is more disturbing is the possibility that these groups are actually fronts, are actually being funded by a cia moc king berd type program. even my hero's amy and noam will not touch certain issues. other sites, like AJ and WHR could even be collecting names and information to use in coming purges, who knows? basically i find it really chilling, and i would advise all to be careful what you post there- it might be more than just heavy handed tactics and represent a new, highly repressive, if now rather invisible state apparatus

Hi -

Just wanted to state that I also have been banned from CommonDreams TWICE (two different IP addresses, emails etc) in the past couple of years.

The first time was about a week before the 2008 presidential election for supporting Nader instead of Obama and the more recent time was for criticizing Obama, who is essentially at least as far right as Bush.

THANK YOU for sharing with the world what right wing censors CD are!

I'm disappointed to read this. I feel like I've been had. All these years I trusted Common Dreams. While I feel there has always been a disconnect between many of the slightly left of center voices there and the more radical element who frequents the site, I had never heard of banning of posters until recently. At first I didn't want to believe it but as I began investigating the issue it appears by no means a falsehood or isolated incident but appears to be a pattern and practice of this website. If one of the leading progressive websites is pulling a page from the fascist douchebag playbook, it leaves a person without a lot of hope. Thanks for the wake up call anyway. I'm glad I know the truth.

...I had never heard of banning of posters until recently.

Yes, that's not surprising, since they're fanatical about making sure their readers don't hear about what they're doing.

At first I didn't want to believe it...

I know that feeling, and that's the remainder of the problem in a nutshell. That's how they've gotten away with it for so many years.

I also know what you mean about how they've undermined your sense of hope, and to me that's the worst thing about this. It's hard to imagine how there could be anything more ironic for a site that claims to champion the "common dreams" we all share.

The most profoundly depressing, mind-blowing irony of it is that the fastest way to get disappeared on CD is to mention, no matter how subtly that CD disappears people. The sheer arrogance wrapped in deceit and cowardice by these action is absolutely enraging.

but you got to hand it to them they have been very successful in their acts of widespread censorship of the mention of censorship, while they keep the range of discourse within prescribed Democrat-party limits.

There's definitely a criteria, that's not ours to know, when it comes to CD's banning. There are a few individuals there who consistently and frequently attack others in the most malicious manner, who clearly violate the user agreement. Yet they stay no matter. The only explanation I can think of is that they're larger and/or long term donors and are protected because of that.

I'm glad this is available for airing. Are there more recent blogs on CD's practices?

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