Obama, Lee, Avalos, and the arc of history


People need to hear compelling stories, particularly from those who aspire to lead them, a point that author and psychologist Drew Westen nailed in his incisive think-piece in Sunday's New York Times, “What Happened to Obama?” His conclusions also apply in San Francisco, where progressives have lost control of the narrative to the tax-cutting centrists, who are telling stories that serve mainly to enfeeble the people and prop up powerful interests.

“The stories our leaders tell us matter, probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be; to the worldviews they hold and to the values they hold sacred. Our brains evolved to 'expect' stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought,” Westen writes.

Contrast that with the guiding narrative in San Francisco politics right now, put forth by Mayor Ed Lee, his supporters, and the crew of mostly bland centrists who aspire to replace him, all of whom cast conflict itself as the villain. Much like Obama, they all style themselves as the administrators-in-chief, conflict-averse protagonists content to compromise away what little wealth and power the average citizen still possesses. Not only does that narrative guarantee that Lee will be elected, but it's a false and short-sighted narrative that does a profound disservice to this city.

The one candidate in the mayor's race who understands that class matters, that conflict is a necessary part of politics, and that we're all getting screwed over by the rich and powerful is John Avalos. But despite some flashes of progressive populism on the stump, he hasn't really been consistently and boldly telling San Francisco the story of itself that it really needs to hear right now, which is the same story that Obama should be telling the American people.

“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn’t work out,” begins the story that Westen said Obama should have told during his inaugural address.

And that's the story that Avalos should be telling right now, combating the myths that have been put out there by Lee, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Dennis Herrera, and the other centrists in the race, that if we just give Twitter, Zynga, Oracle, Sutter Health, Willie Brown's clients, and every other corporation and developer who promises to create jobs everything they want, then we'll all be okay.

But on some level, we all know that just isn't true, and it hasn't been true for a long time. Only a fool would trust them to take care of us at this point. The greed and self-interest of rich individuals and corporations – which has gone unchecked for far too long, at least partly because of the political corruption they've sponsored – is reaching epidemic proportions. It is the villain that needs to be fought, it is the hill that needs to be climbed.

“When faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far,” Westen wrote.

He was riffing off Obama's penchant for quoting the MLK line, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” which he returned to again with his devastating conclusion: “But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. It does not bend when 400 people control more of the wealth than 150 million of their fellow Americans. It does not bend when the average middle-class family has seen its income stagnate over the last 30 years while the richest 1 percent has seen its income rise astronomically. It does not bend when we cut the fixed incomes of our parents and grandparents so hedge fund managers can keep their 15 percent tax rates. It does not bend when only one side in negotiations between workers and their bosses is allowed representation. And it does not bend when, as political scientists have shown, it is not public opinion but the opinions of the wealthy that predict the votes of the Senate. The arc of history can bend only so far before it breaks.”

That is the moment we find ourselves in, both as a country and as a city. And it is a story that we're still waiting for a future leader to tell us with enough power and passion that we all begin to believe it.


MLK, or even Obama, is a stretch even by the tenuous "standards" of the SFBG.

Obama's excuse for stuffing the left is reasonable. He doesn't need them as they have nowhere else to go. While the moderate majority would run a mile if Obama actually promulgated the kind of socialist policies that SFBG advocates.

MLK acheived for civil rights something that more aggressive and confrontational figures like Malcolm X could never have achieved because, again, he understood the mind of the silent majority.

Avalos, on the other other hand, is a marginal figure with no real gravitas. Like Daly, he quite simply wouldn't survive in any other US municipality.

If SF deserves a world-class Mayor, then it isn't Avalos, who nobody outside SF has ever heard of. Although personally, I don't think we need a "world class Mayor" - we just had one of those. We need a no-nonsense, moderate guy with a non-ideological, business approach.

SF doesn't need an Obama or a MLK, let alone a non-persona like Avalos. We need a guy who can fix Muni, the streets and maybe even sometimes convict criminals. We're not trying to change the world here. We're trying to save a mid-sized City from fiscal ruin.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

Please tell me again why we should listen to someone who thinks Newsom was a world class mayor.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

Some responses, Steven T. Jones, to your editorial above.

You say:

“progressives have lost control of the narrative to the tax-cutting centrists, who are telling stories that serve mainly to enfeeble the people and prop up powerful interests.”

So anybody who disagrees with the dogmas of our local progressive sect is serving to enfeeble people and prop up powerful interests?

Did you ever read “The Paranoid Strain in American Politics” by Richard Hofstadter?

You say:

“the guiding narrative in San Francisco politics right now, put forth by Mayor Ed Lee, his supporters, and the crew of mostly bland centrists who aspire to replace him, all of whom cast conflict itself as the villain.”

The problem with SF progressivism is not conflict. The problem is ideologues acting like petulant children, shooting themselves in the foot, and feeling self-righteous about it.

As in Chris Daly.

You say:

“The one candidate in the mayor's race who understands that class matters, that conflict is a necessary part of politics, and that we're all getting screwed over by the rich and powerful is John Avalos.”

According to the latest mayoral poll, John Avalos is not a serious contender in the mayor’s race.

You say:

“that's the story that Avalos should be telling right now, combating the myths that have been put out there by Lee, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Dennis Herrera.”

According to the latest poll, all these contenders are ahead of Avalos.

You say:

“Only a fool would trust them to take care of us at this point.”

The cumulative support for the various candidates you demonize above is more than a majority of the voters.

You can’t win an election by whistling in the wind.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

"The Trolls"!

Thank you, Steven T. Jones, for your comments earlier today (and on another thread) about the declining quality of The Guardian and about the trolls.

You say:

"But all of you claim to despise us and you rarely even ofter a constructive criticism or anything of substance, just the spewing of bile and animosity. If you think we're so bad, then just go away. It's a big Internet and there must to someone else out there worth harassing."

I appreciate your statement, but Steven T. Jones, you are speaking rationally to irrational beings. That accomplishes nothing. There is no recipient there when speaking to an irrational being. Irrational beings live for conflict, dysfunction, being a pest and one-upping other people. In fact, the response directly below yours at 9:42 am is an example of that. That irrational being did not grasp your comment. That being is here purely for dysfunction and conflict.

I have previously suggested that rational people ignore anything (literally) written by Vagabond & Ayatollah Evans. It would appear that my suggestion has been honored by the rational, sensible, intelligent, intellectual and reasonable people here. Thank you. I now suggest that people expand the list to include these beings: meatlock, matlock, snapples (or whatever his/her name might be today), Harry and one being called guest (you know the one).

If one does not respond to any of these dysfunctionally-crazed beings, they will have no satisfaction to feed their craving for dysfunctions and conflict. Will they leave the site? Probably not, but they will have less incentive to come here by being constantly ignored, no matter what amount of bile and taunting they utter to express their dysfunctional, tormented obsessions with the Guardian, its staff and any other persons here.

Rational people do not continue to frequent a website they despise. Irrational people living for conflict and dysfunction engage in such behavior.

Therefore, I would kindly suggest that let's step back and be sensible, reasonable, intelligent, intellectual, cogent, coherent, articulate, civil, selective and completely ignore the irrational, dysfunctional, conflict-driven trolls on this site.

Let's be reasonable. Let's be adult. Let's be.

Posted by Artor Evons on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

All true Artor, but it would be a lot easier to ignore the trolls, if the SF Guardian team would just require logins and cookies (and start using software to identify the machines people are logging in from) and then simply eject the fucking trolls from the blog.


I used to love the Guardian; used to eagerly look forward to reading the blog. Now I dread it, and only read it because I have to. I now almost completely ignore all blog replies, unless I have no choice because it effects a campaign I'm working on.

Reading the Guardian has gone from being a joy, to being a cold, disgusting, bitter medicine that I have to swallow every morning.

It is time to eject the damned trolls.

For god's sake, please give us some relief from this nightmarish garbage...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

censor any voice that disagrees with your position?

Is that the brave new world we would be living in if you and your ilk ever actually had any power?

You may care to reflect on that as you ponder why in fact your ilk NEVER has any power. A movement that cannot tolerate dissent is a movement that is always doomed.

And luckily for humanity, most people intuitively understand that.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

Subject to paranoid fits and delusions of grandeur - Eric Brooks is the epitome of a troll. Ban him please - return us to reasonable discussion without Brooks' mentioning of Mossad assassins or dark plots afoot to "get" him.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

Bro, the few dozen readers of the blog section probably are not overly influenced by your opinions as fact. They probably already agree with you or find your anti-capitalist rhetoric quaint.

If you are martyring yourself and it's driving you crazy, stop.

I used to post on frontpagemag as one of the dozen liberal and anti-war people, I never thought I was making any sort of difference, just having a laugh at the expense of the flag waving douche bags. They comically gave me the boot a bunch of times until I ran out of computers to re-register on.

Go to Daly's dive, have a beer and think about what they do in Europe. Life is too short to be so bitter and doctrinaire all the time.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 6:27 pm


Assuming the BG is not going to ban the trolls, you might want to do what I do. When you click on a thread, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Then slowly scroll back up so you can read the names of who wrote what post. I by-pass (or ignore) the trolls when I see their names. It's sort of a way of putting them on "Ignore."

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

As much as we've resisted taking that step, Eric, I have to say that we're considering it. It isn't about dissent, it's about a few people who have nothing to offer but bile that is poisoning this forum. Honestly, everyone, we'd rather not do that, but you're starting to leave us not choice. We can have a debate and you can even stenuously disagree with us, but I agree with you, Eric, they've taken it too far and focused too much on the personalities and general attacks on progressivism rather than the points we're making. To be continued...

Posted by steven on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

I think back on your foul rant about the American flag and wonder what you are talking about.

I could care less one way or another about the American flag, or bone headed flag waving idiots, but the "FUCK YOU" directed at people who for some reason love the flag is interesting. Considering how often you scream troll when people don't agree with you, and how worked up you get when people mock that get together under the sun at the end of summer, very interesting.

Also many of the points made by progressives are that not agreeing with progressives makes a person stupid. Contradiction of the world view of a "if you don't agree with us you are stupid and duped" group, I suppose would look like a general attack. When a group creates such a theory of everything world view, any pokes at the edifice will look like an all out attack.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 1:06 am

It's outrageous that editors and writers of a newspaper have to defend their views from readers' comments. Why can't the readers just shut up, or else congratulate the editors and writers?

But no, the readers respond by quoting the actual words of the editors and writers and then refuting them point by point. What an affront!

This behavior puts the editors and writers in the embarrassing position of having to defend their views with logic and evidence.

Just imagine what the world would be like if everybody starting raising questions like this!

The solution is clear -

- Don't question authority! -

And if you do -

- You will be banned! -

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 6:01 am

speaking truth to power apparently does not involve spell check. This from a professional journalist.
Bring on the restrictions! I cant wait to see the "progressive" echo chamber this site becomes

Posted by Guest on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 6:18 am

I don't think you should engage in censorship of that sort. I get annoyed by many of the posts, too, and I'm sure people get annoyed by my posts. But writing articles (some of which are interesting, some of which are thought provoking, some of which tend to be extreme) and then having a comments section where everyone agrees with the content doesn't provide much in terms of discourse.

I do what Jorge mentioned he does -- it's pretty easy to skip or ignore posts when you know who the usual suspects are.

Posted by The Commish on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 10:12 am

Commish, you often criticize me and my work, but I don't have a problem with that or your perspective. We welcome dissent and differing viewpoints. The problem is with just a couple of commenters who are obsessive, personal, and seem only interested in undermining the Guardian and derailing real discussions. Responding to their points only digs the hole of distraction deeper, and ignoring them has only made them more caustic and self-righteous as they cry out for attention. Again, we don't want to ban anyone, but I'm beginning to sympathize with those who have said something needs to change. They're like an algae bloom that is sucking all the oxygen out of this pond and killing any chance of real debate.

Posted by steven on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 10:44 am

How about the SFBG gets a contemporary comment system where readers not publishers get to block offending cretins?

Posted by marcos on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 11:37 am

My view is that since this is a news site, its editors should decide what gets published; including the blog comments.

This thing is their baby. They expend the blood sweat and tears, and it's on them to make the site profitable.

I'm all for allowing public votes on comments, but not to block posters. That could get whacky.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

If they censor posts and posters (other than obvious spam) then they're open to accusations of bias and lack of balance, thereby shattering any idea of being taken seriously as a news source.

While if they don't censor, then their core supporters (i.e. the far left) scream and whine that their opponents are getting too much say.

It can't be both a serious newspaper and a partisan blog at the same time. They need to decide which they are.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

I've got news for you man. There is no such thing as an unbiased news source.

And the SF Guardian is clearly engaged in outright advocacy journalism. There is furthermore, nothing wrong with that. That's how good journalism used to work before mega media corporations got into the game for outright profit making. Papers had opinions and they weren't shy about saying so.

Artificial deference to 'balance' does not serve truth. The search for truth, is what serves truth.

Nobody is going turn off of the Guardian for filtering petty trolls.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

Did you just say that?

So the truth is not the result of unbiased coverage and balanced debate? But rather, the truth is something that you decide. So the reasonableness of everyone and everything is assessed relative to that?

Can you not see how distorted that sounds?

Posted by Harry on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

The only intention of trolls is to narcissistically call attention to themselves, and exercise their childhood abuse issues on other people by creating unnecessary contention, rancor, and conflict, which has nothing to do with truly stating an opinion of any kind. And there are indeed some trolls who really do seek to purposely stifle debate for political purposes.

These jack asses are not exercising free speech, they are simply purposely verbally pummeling people. There is no reason for site administrators to tolerate that kind of tawdry bullshit, and they shouldn't.

Most sites have logins and standards, and they simply block posters whose obvious objective is nothing more than to get off abusing other people.

I've been on chat boards and email lists since the early 90s before there even -was- a worldwide web, and these pathetic abusive asshole trolls have been around the whole time. Administrators long ago learned ways to block them and on most sites that's exactly what they do.

But the SF Guardian leadership has this totally misplaced idea that blocking trolls is somehow censorship. It isn't.

Imagine a similar situation in a physical public place.

If we were in a public square and trying to have an in depth, public, political discussion, and a handful of abusive assholes was going around drowning everyone out by constantly shouting personal attacks at anyone attempting to speak their mind, we would all quite rightly recognize that it was the abusive shouters who were employing censorship by making it impossible for the conversation to proceed in a way that listeners could follow it. And we would DO something about.

And yet, when the same sort of assholes engage in exactly the same sort of behavior on blogs, suddenly they become protected by the First Amendment? I don't think so.

Trolls make these blogs practically impossible to read because they become so convoluted with voluminous troll crap that people choose -not- to take part in speech when they would have actually done so -extensively- in a fair, conducive environment. (And does it occur to you at the Guardian that the reason your blogs are so littered with this shit, is that your blog is one of the few places where these jerkoffs are allowed to get -away- with this nonsense?)

It is the trolls who are the ham handed, but insidious, censors of open communication, and it is time to put a stop to their aggressive squelching of our free public speech.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 11:42 am

dismiss as a "troll" anyone who disagrees with you.

For instance, if I come here and argue that peak oil and global warming is a myth, that raising taxes is never the solution to deficits, and that the Iraq war was justified, you'd probably dismiss me as a troll.

But in fact those are opinions held by a very large number of Americans.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

No, I wouldn't.

(Although, on the one particular issue of global warming denial, I would definitely argue that such comments should be filtered, not because they are 'trolling' per se, but because they are completely whacked, and are -often- a direct result of a purposely funded effort on the part of fossil fuel energy corporations to sow deception and misunderstanding.)

However, if you want to debate me from a deeply conservative perspective, on the nuances of peak oil, taxes and war, let's go for it. That is not trolling, it is discourse.

I have no problem with it.

Your assumption that I seek to block people with conservative views is simply flat wrong. On the contrary, I like debating with people of honestly opposing views, especially if they are really good at debate, because it forces me to tighten my own argument and remove all of its weaknesses.

In fact, if I were to teach a class in political influence and organizing, near the top on my list of tasks to my students would be 'get your asses out there on the blogs and write a LOT'. As soon as you do, some really sharp people with opposing views will go after your every error -relentlessly- and that will force you to strongly tighten your approach, delivery, messaging and arguments.

Trolling is different. It can be recognized by the fact that it is primarily comprised of personal or even ideological ridicule meant to demean or stifle others; and/or to start flame wars.

It is usually pretty easy to tell the difference between flaming and honest dialectic.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

If these trolls were actually arguing the issues in the way you suggest, it wouldn't be a problem. The problem is that the trolls don't stick to issues. They engage in personal, meanspirited attacks on other (progressive) commenters, the BG and its staff. In the process, they have created an atmosphere that is so negative that it drowns out more thoughtful voices.

In my view, trolls like Arthur Evans, Matlock, Snapples have an agenda. They come here for the sole purpose of bashing progressives and progressive values. And some of them are probably getting paid to do this (or compensated in some other fashion). I mean, who has the time to spam a site 24/7? Especially a site that, as they are only too willing to tell you, sucks donkey balls? It just doesn't make sense. Who knows what corporate/downtown interests are backing them. So, why should the BG hand them free publicity?

Now, if you truly care to engage in a healthy debate on an ISSUE, then by all means, let's have a spirited debate. But if you're just here to sling mud at progressives (like Arthur Evans, Matlock, Lucretia, etc), you're not adding anything to the conversation. The trolls come here to rile people up, which only serves to derail any thoughtful discussion of topics. That's the difference. And I don't think it's fair to any of us.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

This one popped into my mind


Posted by Lisa on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

Posted by matlock on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

Please follow up. You can do it here if you wish.

Please explain the data you cited.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

Meh...hardly worth responding to. However, I will say that I that that was an excellent piece by Sarah Phelan. I encourage everyone to read it.

Ms. Phelan is a phenomenally talented journalist, so I just have to say this~ I don't understand why the BG let her go. However, I do know that these are hard economic times, and that most newspapers are struggling to survive. But any paper with the resources to do so would be foolish not to snap her up. It's truly a loss for the Guardian and for her devoted readers (like me).

The BG has some excellent reporters like Rebecca Howe, Steven T. Jones, and Tim Redmond, etc. But Ms. Phelan was one of the best, in my humble opinion. Well, I hope she finds a good job with some other media outlet, so that we can continue to follow her work. Maybe, if we're lucky, she'll start a blog.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 11:53 am

No data explained.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 12, 2011 @ 11:04 am

'You have a serious" & "nope" both asinine TROLL comments

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 12, 2011 @ 11:26 am

made sense in your head at the time.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 12, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

That way we will KNOW we are right!

Posted by Patrick Brown on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 11:27 am

Some people believe that the way to find the truth is to ban or censor anyone who disagrees with their own dogmas, or at least attack their motives, character, and lives.

This approach is popular among dogmatists and sects, both religious and political, both right and left.

Others, however, believe that a better way is the one described in John Stuart Mill is his class work "On Liberty":

"Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of human action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right."

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

Closer to back to the topic of the thread:

As Offshoring Continues, U.S. Public Peeved at ‘Free Market’
By Roger Bybee
In These Times
Apr 22, 2011


Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 09, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

The Guardian can no longer tolerate dissenting voices or "general attacks on progressivism." It's intolerable to allow either under any circumstances and this forum has gotten completely out of control by tolerating the extremism of Eric Brooks as well as myself. Complete control is the only way to bring sanity and reasonableness back to this forum and I, for one, urge Steven to impose that control as soon as possible!

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 7:26 am

There's another benefit to be gained from banning people who disagree with Steven T. Jones. Threads would be much shorter!

For example, take a look at the thread entitled "Scribe's Guide to Playa Prep," by Steven T. Jones.

Poster after poster criticizes Steven T. Jones. They say his article is unbalanced, short-sighted, destructive, etc. The comments go on and on.

If all posts were eliminated except those that praised Steven T. Jones, the entire thread would consist of only one or two posts!

Wouldn't that benefit everyone?

We want very short threads!

Limit posts to those that praise Steven T. Jones!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 8:43 am

There's yet another advantage to limiting posts to those that praise Steven T. Jones. You'll greatly lower the total amount of traffic to this site.

You may even end up with as few comments here as there are over at Luke Thomas' Fog City Journal.

Think of the advantages of that!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 10:08 am

I was happy to hear from and engage with those who had legitimate criticisms of that article and I'd never dream of deleting them, brutal and personal as they were. I've taken lots of heat over the last 20 years and I've always been willing to engage with my critics. You're another story, Arthur, with your obsessive and reflexive criticism of everything I write and that progressives do. Your intention isn't to debate, it's simply to debase. You're a sick man and you should get a life, and until you do, I'll try to just keep ignoring you.

Posted by steven on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 10:57 am

"You're a sick man and you should get a life..."

Didn't you just claim that you're the target of personal attacks rather than rational debates? So what would you call this comment?

"I'll try to just keep ignoring you."

You're not doing a very good job of that are you?

Bottom line:

Most of my criticisms of your work have quoted your exact words, pointing out contradictions and gaps.

In response, you get angry and flustered and warn darkly of banishment.

I would have expected better of someone who boasts of being an award-winning journalist.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

What an anxious morning for Harry, Matlock, Lucretia, and King Troll Arthur.
What the hell are they supposed to do with several extra hours every single day?
Or, in the case of Arthur, pretty much all day?

What has the Guardian got to lose here?
18 repetitious posts on the same thread (sometimes replying to themselves, when no one takes their rotting bait), constant pissed off reminders that progressives are exactly as bad as the worst conservatives, and constant attempts to muddy any rational debate with misinformation that is almost never supported by a single fact or link to supporting information?

Keep the debates, and let's have plenty of dissent. With each other, with the Guardian, and with anyone who disagrees with me or you.

These particular trolls have had their say for years, and it has amounted to little more than bile and childish antagonism.

The trolls will miss the thrill of the notion that they have made people they despise unhappy, and perhaps they will lose a paycheck of some sort.

The Guardian and it's comments sections will be much more readable and informative without the constant repetition and bile.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 10:55 am

Every major newspaper whose blogs I read and contribute to requires people to log in with a valid email/account. I'm not sure why this is a problem. Why say something in public if you're not prepared to attach your name to it?

Posted by Tim Daw on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 11:09 am

and passwords. But somewhere along the way, they ditched them. I had assumed that that was because of the overhead of systems administration.

In any event, it's impossible to prevent someone having multiple handles and meail addresses, so registration isn't effective at preventing determined trolls - it merely puts off the casual reader and poster.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

I just got back from hiking in the Sierras for a couple days. I have to say, the trolls all seem so small and insignificant from 9000 feet.

Coming back though, I'm glad the Guardian is having this conversation. I have one small quibble with Eric -one doesn't *have to* read the Guardian blog. But it's true -it is nice, and informative. And I enjoy reading the comments, including (especially) those whom I may not agree with. Or at least I did. But there's a fine line between disagreeing and trolling, and I think any good moderator knows the difference. We all enjoy having a forum for free speech, and the Guardian's blog is about the free-est of the free out there. But when someone comes into your living room just to take a dump in the middle of it, you have the right to tell them to leave. The trolls will whine that you're censoring them -they're experts at making themselves out to be victims if you give them the forum. But most people will applaud. Most folks -whatever side of the issue -know the difference. If the moderators engage in bona fide censorship, people will stop reading and commenting. But if you kick out a couple of real trolls, you'll get more people who want to tune in as a result, because they don't have to wade through the muck.

Just do it, guys. It's a shame it's come to this, but it's time.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

Trust me. As a grassroots organizer, I have no choice. I have to both read and comment to the Guardian politics blog to do my job properly.

The only major local paper I ignore is the SF Chronicle because it is essentially a corporate propaganda rag, and to the extent that it prints legitimate news, those reports generally pop up where I can see them because of other sources referencing them.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

You really have no discretion over the matter? Isn't that a little precious?

For all the whining that you and Greg indulge in, the only sin of the so-called "trolls" here is that we don't agree with you. We're not bad people, we're not abusive or obscene. Nor do we engage in any hate speech.

No, our only crime is to not buy into the socialist group-think rhetoric. In most US cities, we'd be considered liberals and many of us vote Democrat.

It's just that - compared to your extreme stance - we somehow appear to you not only to be right-wing, but also harmful to decent people and free speech. Do you ever stop and reflect on how biased such a viewpoint is?

Posted by Harry on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

Your latest response 'Harry' is a perfect example of a post that I would delete immediately if I were a site administrator.

You do a slightly better job than the rest, of -pretending- to engage in real debate, but in the end, you simply degenerate into the same old broken record of abandoning the subject at hand, to launch into yet -another- all too typical Arthuresque rant about progressives being a bunch of extremist, whining, socialists.

You are Glenn Beck'ing, baby, and we are fucking sick of it.

You seem a little strained and strident this time though.

What's the matter? Sweating a little now that you seem very likely to be dealt with?

The way I see it, this latest discussion is revealing that you and your fellow trollers may very well be about to get your asses axed, and that is a very nice thing indeed.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

Lets harken back to Steve Jones raving screed about the American flag and his bizarre attacks on people of good faith who love the flag. Not me, I could careless about the flag.

But wasn't that trolling by a columnist of the Bay Guardian? Isn't that Glen Becking, to insult and degrade a whole group of people based on your on created world?

The problem with true believers is they want to be the ones dishing it out to the peasants and idiots to simple to agree with them. Much of the whole Guardian world view is that people are too stupid to agree with them. Did you ever listen to the so-called radio show?

It's interesting how you get to define things to your advantage at every turn.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

Most Democrats I know would never say "I vote Democrat" or "Democrat Party." The only people who say that are Republicans. They consider it an epithet of some sort. So that kind of gives you away.

But for the record, while I think you're lying about which party you usually vote for, I never really considered you a troll -just a right winger.

There are really only 3 trolls on this site (maybe 2 -multiple names and all). They know who they are.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 10, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

You can see through it all because of the improper use of the correct usage as defined by you.

You forgot to include, the word hate, Glen Beck, the Koch brothers, and tea party kool aide drinking.

trolly troll troller trollbot trolljam

Posted by Guest on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 7:31 am

as appropriate for describing one who supports the "Democratic Party". I feel sure you know that.

I voted for Obama in 2008 and never voted for W in either 2000 or 2004. Your "theory" that I must be a Tea Partier just because I don't fall in with your particular brand of socialism is self-serving.

Having said that, I don't feel I naturally belong to any political party that exists today. And I prefer to reach decisions about matters on a case-by-case basis rather than blindly following a party line.

On topic, I will vote for Lee in November because I perceive him as being relatively non-political. Or at least, non-ideological.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

"I will vote for Lee in November because I perceive him as being relatively non-political. Or at least, non-ideological."

What a crock of shit.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 12, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

and compared with most of his opponents. It feels reassuring not to be constantly reading newspaper references to him behaving outrageously like Daly. Lee is quietly getting on with the job and, while he lacks the gravitas and stature of Newsome, he feels solid and reassuring.

Given his incumbency and big lead in the pools, you'd need a really good reason to believe he won't win fairly easily.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 13, 2011 @ 8:49 am

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