• God Bless The Child That's Got Her Own.

    As I said in my very first blog post, it's better to have your own stuff, because you never know when you'll end up being shown the door at other venues, especially if you happen to be a contributing blogger whose views suddenly clash with the status quo or offend the site administrator or founder. Those who ran afoul of famous firebagger Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake learned that the hard way. Fellow blogger Redeye parted ways with Left in Alabama after a number of disagreements among former fellow bloggers there.

    Which brings me to this bit of fallout from the epic Greenwaldian clusterfuck that has most of the blogosphere in stitches:

    In case you’re not up to speed, long story short, I had a Twitter discussion with Marcy Wheeler about the NDAA; a Greenwald supporter quipped that if I saw Obama raping a nun on live TV, I would defend him for it; another supporter quipped that I would fantasize about playing the role of the raped nun; and Greenwald piled on. When asked to account for the clumsy rape metaphor, Greenwald doubled down, claiming that it wasn’t a metaphor, and that he actually believed that I and other Obama supporters would defend Obama if we were to see him raping a nun.

    In what world is such a comment appropriate? It was a vile thing to say, and it is a vile thing to defend. Moreover, the stalwartness and cluelessness with which people, including John Cole, defended that statement is disappointing.

    To be clear: I neither asked nor expected John to defend me. I can and do defend myself. But I was surprised and stunned that he stridently defended Greenwald when he could have, and should have, said nothing. Even worse, he managed to cast Greenwald as a victim. Stunning.

    Both Greenwald’s comments and the comments offered in defense are incontrovertibly offensive to women, offensive to rape survivors, and are inexcusable. Does that mean I think Greenwald is pro-rape? Of course not. But using rape as a metaphor or leveraging it to score political points is tone-deaf, at best, and malicious at worst.

    The above is from contributor "Angry Black Lady," who sadly will be leaving Balloon Juice behind this bullshit. She has her own blog with a stellar cast of contributors, so her departure from the blog won't be a devastating event. But her departure in of itself is rather disturbing, for reasons I'll go into later on.

    This isn't the first time she's had a major disagreement with John Cole, recovering conservative and founder of Balloon Juice. Both came to blows when it came to the NDAA. But I was led to believe that it was more or less "no harm, no foul" in the end, just two bloggers voicing fiercely strong opinions on a subject, particularly one with a potential to cause ill will among bloggers and commentators.

    This time, the whole affair became patently ridiculous. At the heart of it all was this Chirpstory, in which Twitter user @DrDawg made an unfortunate comment about ABL's supposed willingness to defend Pres. Obama no matter what he did, with Glenn Greenwald effectively co-signing the comment:

    These two tweets helped set off a firestorm of indignation and criticism from other users, something that Greenwald quickly proved himself as being incapable of handling further into the storyline. Somewhere in there, John Cole affected a stance that attempted to criticize people for essentially making a bigger deal of this than he thought should have been made:

    If you want to make the point that 1)people are wrongly attributing this quip to Greenwald, and 2)lambasting Greenwald for this quip is a waste of energy, this is the wrong way to go about it. The above made Cole look less like an impartial observer wishing to set the record straight and more like someone who attempted to pick the most indirect way of defending Greenwald possible.

    Many people didn't see things the way Cole and others saw them, as seen below: (HT to @dvnix)

    As a result, the blog split into two camps, one that defended Greenwald and others on the so-called Professional Left while castigating ABL and others for defending Pres. Obama, and others who were genuinely outraged by what seemed to be a free pass given to Greenwald, et al. "Unquestioning Obama defenders" was the overarching meme for those posts, directed at those who disagreed with Greenwald's Chicken Little bullshit and those who attempted to explain Obama's position on NDAA.

    Ever since that post on the NDAA and whether or not indefinite detention existed for American citizens (answer: it doesn't), I've always had this feeling that half of the blog's commentator pool wanted to castigate and upbraid the "uppity" ABL for expressing opinions that ran contrary to what they wanted to believe at the time. Perhaps that vibe was always there, but from that point on, it grew into epic proportions. The commentators at Balloon Juice are known for copious amounts of snark, but a growing number of people became prone to getting downright nasty when it came to certain issues.

    Between that, the growing lovefest with civil libertarianism and the attendant boy-crush on Next American Hero™ Ron Paul, I figured ABL's departure would come sooner or later. It's hard NOT to interject "race" into this subject, especially given how this country is literally soaked to the bone with racial antagonism, but I couldn't help but get the vibe that some wanted to dress down and/or chase away ABL for not conforming to the views expressed by an obviously superior white Progressive Liberal, whose views were to be automatically respected and questioned. Remember (this goes out to those who don't do reading comprehension well), this isn't a sweeping indictment on the behavior of the people on the blog, just a somewhat disturbing observation of a few commentators.

    What disturbs me the most is a growing number of self-proclaimed liberals and progressives cosigning with a man who not only stood with white supremacist figures, but also has a mountain of evidence that outs him as being less than comfortable with minorities, no matter how much he and his supporters claim to have their best interests at heart. It's a bit unnerving to read the newsletters about his pathological fear of blacks and gays, only to be goaded into supporting Ron Paul because his stance on drugs happens to coincide with the welfare of the black community by coincidence. But that's the sort of thing his supporters want to drive home. Blacks and Latinos are supposed to climb aboard the Straight Talk Ron Paul Express, no questions asked, for a few trinkets crafted purely by coincidence.

    I suspect there's a deeper game afoot, one that involves using the ever-present levels of poutrage and indignation over Pres. Obama's failures to deliver the ideal presidential experience progressive liberals wanted to kneecap the president's chances at re-election, by driving an deep and permanent wedge between progressive liberals who are for Obama and progressive liberals who are fed up with the guy. Convince the dissatisfied side to not vote (or vote for Ron Paul) as a way to strike back at an "ineffective" Obama, and you'll have the recipe for the GOP slotting in their preferred candidate come Nov. 2012 with relative ease. And having President Romney in office come 2013 doesn't bother many Professional Lefties one bit, as these guys are the least affected economically by conservative policy -- in fact, their bank accounts rely on having conservatives in power for PLs to complete the self-effacing perpetual underdog routine, something that's hard to do when "your guys" are in power. A guy like Greenwald is the perfect trojan horse for knocking lesser minds off balance while sowing the seeds for a Democrat wash, and a conservative victory.

    ABL will be fine. There's no doubt about that. But I worry about the increasingly hostile atmosphere back at Balloon Juice and how it will shape future political values and opinions.