Woe of Mine Enemies, Twits Though They Be
Posting comments at sites that are not in my Dark Wraith Publishing network is perilous business. Something about what I express and how I write seems to set off one or another group of folks looking for someone to attack.
A long time ago, it was usually the Right-wingers who went after me, but in recent years, it's been the Leftists who have taken up the call of duty. In my experience, the Right-wingers attack as loners, even when more than one of them takes exception to me and perhaps my very existence.
Leftists, on the other hand, more often than not attack in packs. They grab a thematic approach, and each plays the same tune on a slightly different chord. That happened at GroupNewsBlog; at Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister); BlondeSense; and, fairly recently, at Pundit Kitchen, the last of which got me in so much trouble that I received ugly e-mail threats and open comments that included wishing me to go to a Nazi death camp. That brutality all started because I stated my disgust at an old man whose grandkids talked him into doing a YouTube video of the family disco dancing at Auschwitz. Never mind that I had tried rather gently to explain that he was not a "death camp" survivor: were he to have been in camp II, the Vernichtungslage of the Auschwitz complex, he would not have been a survivor; that was the death camp. For his grandkids to get their viral YouTube video mojo fame is one thing, but to degrade the horror of the millions who were butchered because they weren't useful enough to be put in the slave camp is quite something else, especially when the "ghosts" of the murdered are shown in the video dancing to the idiotic beat of "I Will Survive," as if any lyric in that pop-moron jingle, other than the title, has anything whatsoever to do with the victims of the most genocidally efficient regime cum slaughterhouse in modern history. Perhaps next we can have Alexandr Solzhenitsyn do an interpretive dance at a Soviet gulag to the tune of "That's the Way (Uh-Huh) I Like It," by KC and the Sunshine Band.
Forgive me if I sound cruelly curmudgeonly on this matter, but I have no quarter in my tolerance when Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war, and others get slaughtered because they have nothing to offer as slaves to monsters, while someone who was an able-bodied young man decades later lets his kids show him how to "celebrate" and represent that the millions murdered are cool with his survival by random advantages he had over their frail lives.
Judge that one for yourself. The link to the page at the Pundit Kitchen is here, and you can find my comment (as Dark-Wraith) not far down in the attendant thread. Although the sub-thread from my comment is pretty pleasant (in fact, it got a little weird at one point), the main thread contains the scattered and concentrated parts of the pack-wolf attack, generally from the hate world's Leftist/liberal sector, always ready to declare their total fealty to the god of Anything That Makes Me Look Sensitive and Hip.
Before and since that dust-up, I have been torn asunder in one way or another and in one venue or another for such heresies as these:
• I've been pilloried for pointing out that Google is not only a dirty, information-collecting snoop, but also no better than any telecom when it comes to that much-vaunted "Net neutrality" ruse. Google was all in favor of Net neutrality because its server farms for search engines and blogs chew up unbelievable bandwidth, but now that it's in the catbird seat of market power, it's going to play every angle of the pseudo-sovereign card, from not worrying too much when it's caught dragnet spying to worrying even less about working with the telecoms and the FCC to end the era of Net neutrality for all of us unimportant, trifling Web masters of the out world.
• I've been sneered at for daring to point out that FireFox, aside from using false trickery with caching to make anti-Microsoft folks think FireFox is better, is actually a sideshow of W3C, which has some really bad people who work with the National Security Administration in its coven. Perfectly standardized code is the friend of aggregators who have to gather up, store, process, analyze, and ultimately use the information of the Internet to manage us and convince us that our future is in the "Cloud," where even rudimentary rights against undue search and seizure are diminished by specific statutory law (passed during the Clinton era, mind you) and, in practice, just plain don't exist at all.
• I was deemed a "racist" and other filthy things for pointing out that candidate and then President Obama was nothing more than the latest authoritarian to pose to leadership of a nation plunging ever further into the twilight of Empire afraid not only of its own shadow, but of its own citizens' right to privacy.
• I was called an advocate of the sexual mutilation of boys because I dared to criticize the high-and-mighty enlightenment of the no-circumcision crowd. The sometimes violent and sick language used by those who think that they are blessed by some overarching enlightenment is appalling, and it is even more disconcerting to the idealist when people with some degree of education think they have the heads-up on all that is truth. The accusation that I want children sexually mutilated was about as vile as it gets, and that attack, which first arose at BlondeSense, then showed up again much later on my own darned Website, Big Brass Blog! Talk about bringing the war home.
• Although I still have publishing rights (I think) at Pam's House Blend, I don't even bother to post articles there anymore, given that I apparently offended a gay and a lesbian Zionist, whose umbrage spread to others of their sentiments. Lordie! Here I thought the straight Zionists were punk, what with the e-mail and DDoS action after my post about the attack on the USS Liberty, but I was totally unprepared for what happens when the GLBT wing of Zionism gets riled.
• Just a few weeks ago, Austrian hackers took advantage of a security failure at the Web host of The Dark Wraith Forums and put malware into my contact form, here. They then "alerted" a spyware site called "OpenDNS," which now, along with "Web of Trust," blocks access to my site under the ruse that The Dark Wraith Forums is a "phishing site" (and has a "bad reputation," as Web of Trust puts it). Now, if you don't know how OpenDNS works, you might be disconcerted to find out that, quite possibly without your knowledge, your Internet connection settings in your computer might be set in such a way that everywhere you are going on the Internet is filtered through a proxy that is supposedly "protecting" you from bad places. Yes, the entirety of your surfing, searches, visits, and everything else in cyberspace might be getting funneled through a single node, making aggregation of everything (and I mean everything) you do that has a connection to the Internet a one-stop shopping spree for those who want to know all about you. I'll bet you didn't know how those "protection" services work, and I'll bet that you didn't exactly sign up for that conveniently installed nose-job right inside your machine. More to the point, I'll double-down that you can't get rid of it, either, given that manually extricating it is a real pain and most anti-spyware programs are afraid to take on these supposedly helpful little agents that get into your computer. (If you want to block malware on sites you visit, I recommend Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. There's a free version that's sweet and a pretty cheap premium version that's even sweeter.)
By the way, as a fun aside, there's even a name for malware that poses to be helping but is, in fact, itself problematic: it's called a false white knight. Perhaps the most famous false white knight was a fascinating piece of work that went out in the hours after the virus Melissa was unleashed; the white knight ran through networks chasing down and killing Melissa, then apparently committing suicide as evidence of its benevolence. Unfortunately, right before it killed itself, this white knight would kick open an obscure port to make a future exploit a breeze.
Sheesh. You just can't trust anyone, these days.
The hurtfulness just never ends, and I become so dispirited when people who call themselves "conservatives" but are not call me some kind of Leftist, and some who really are liberals (or, more accurately, neo-liberals) and Leftists heap the juice of over-the-top condemnation on me. (Not that I am always within the bounds of temperance in commentary, myself, mind you, but that obviously doesn't count.) On balance, it seems, though, that in the scope of the bruising slugs of the rough-and-tumble Blogosphere, the liberals and Leftists have been my most frequent critics.
Imagine how refreshing it was just a few days ago, then, when an honest-to-goodness Right-wing Teabaggot freak attacked me on a comment thread at GraphJam (which, like Pundit Kitchen mentioned above, is a site within the Cheezburger Network, where I publish posters and other graphics as Dark-Wraith). It was downright refreshing; and even better, the subject that started the attack was none other than the famous "quadratic formula"!
I kid you not: the quadratic formula.
The title of the graphical post at GraphJam was this: "About As Useful As Advanced European History," and the picture was this:
A whole lot of engineering types went after this howling display of ignorance about the uses of the venerated quadratic formula, but I found it pretty interesting that almost no one knew just how extensively this silly little way of finding the roots of a second-degree polynomial in the form ax2+bx+c=0 can be applied.
The fact of the matter is that I have used and taught uses for this formula in economics, finance, quantitative operations management, and even marketing, where a very cool, very useful application to price point location brings economics to very real-world optimal product pricing, which feeds into the realm of consumer psychology and right back into microeconomics and macroeconomics (as in, when to change a price that consumers in sufficient numbers already accept versus when to change package size to conceal a price change caused by something like wholesale cost inflation).
Anyway, here is what I wrote in comments:
I am a professor who teaches finance and economics. I also teach math, computer science and software skills, along with business law. I also used to teach English grammar and composition. A long time ago, I was a canon fire direction specialist. I've been a business consultant, too.Although I received a most complimentary reply from one commenter, sure enough, my oblique reference to Sarah Palin, she who needed five colleges to get a fluff degree in sports journalism, caught the attention of a Teabaggot, one of the rather unusual kind who is semi-literate. He wrote this:
To claim that the tools and formulae of elementary algebra (and the quadratic formula is quite elementary in the huge scope of algebra, specifically, and math, more generally) is to display the profound satisfaction of those who are so ignorant that they know not their ignorance.
Compounding that, to proudly display the anti-intellectualism that asserts the uselessness of European history (or any other history, for that matter) is to declare imbecility from the stilts of FAIL Kingdom.
Ignoring, contorting, rewriting, dismissing, and otherwise sneering at history and the broader traditions of thought brought forward to invite use and invention is from the realm of fools and neoconservatives. (But I repeat myself.)
The author of this post has befarted the Cheezburger Network.
(Wait. What? "Befarted”?!)
Enough. Someone find the poster of this article a job with the You-Betcha Girl. It's a match made in Heaven.
spoken like a true liberal who's never had a job that wasn't paid for by the tax payers. It's the "intellectuals” like you that are teaching our kids mediocrity is best and that they shouldn't ever hurt anyone's feelings unless they are republican or white males who aren't in some victim group. If you move out of the ivory tower of academia and get a real job you wont use this equation again the rest of your life.Now, that hurt.
While we're at it can you explain the logical fallacy to Keynesian economics? probably not since you believe that for every dollar the government takes from the economy to spend in the economy will generate 3 or 4 dollars because you're a tard.
Yes, it hurt deeply.
Okay, it didn't hurt. Being attacked by a Teabaggot is actually edifying. In my case, it's even more so because I thought my detractors on the Left were the only ones who cared, these days.
I was wrong, though. The Right-wingers still have within their ranks some who are too stupid to leave me alone to worry about where they are, what they're doing, and if they're eating right, getting eight hours of sleep every night, and abstaining from sex for any purpose other than procreation.
Now, I know. The Right-wing imbeciles are still out and about, trolling for critics of their failed, hypocritical leaders with even less caution than progressives voting for Democrats like Obama as agents of real change.
Who could ask for more than the abundance that is mine in the presence of mine enemies? Some think I am a Luddite because I don't "Get FireFox," some think I'm a racist because I don't love myself some Barack Obama, some think I support sexual mutilation, some even think The Dark Wraith Forums is unsafe to visit and has a "bad reputation."
And now I know that the Teabaggots don't like me.
It's all good, tonight.
Sen. Diane Feinstein's Net Neutrality Killer
Via Crooks & Liars comes word that Sen. Diane Feinstein was attempting to insert into the economic stimulus bill a provision called "Reasonable Network Management," a term apparently straight out of Comcast's playbook of euphemisms for corporate control (read that, ownership) of the Internet.
Now, it seems that Feinstein has managed to get her nasty little trick inserted via amendment through the backdoor of the House-Senate conference committee that reconciles the differences in the two chambers' versions. At the second link is the means by which you can contact Rep. Henry Waxman, who seems to be in a position to do something about Feinstein's stunt but who is apparently right now supporting her net neutrality killer amendment.
What Feinstein is doing is nothing less than sponsoring legislation further defining legal censorship of the Internet, claiming her handout to corporate welfare queens is to the noble purpose of providing more laws "...so that American ISPs can deter child pornography, copyright infringement, and other unlawful activity." Yes, Feinstein is trotting out the children; and if that isn't enough for all of us to hand the keys to the Internet to government and corporate bosses, she's tossing in the music industry, which is apparently being systematically destroyed by people sharing lousy pop music performed by over-hyped, talentless twits whose fortunes are made by record industry power brokers who tell addled music listeners that bad music is good music.
Ah, yes, and if all of that isn't enough, we also need the government-corporate Axis of Weasels to protect the world from "other unlawful activities."
No, that doesn't mean the Right-wing Websites will get shut down for FBWS ("Felonious Blogging While Stupid"); it means... oh, my! It means whatever the federal law enforcement community decides it means.
That's right. Legislation with language that vague is precisely how interpretive regulation morphs into its ugly (and constitutionally sanctioned) evil twin, quasi-legislative regulation.
If you don't like this nonsense Feinstein is pulling, you have but one option: you need to start bitching. Either you can do so to yourself and your long-suffering friends and relatives, or you can bitch your fool head off to select congressional representatives, including your own and that guy I mentioned earlier, Henry Waxman.
You can also raise Holy Hell with Sen. Feinstein, herself. Here's how:
In Washington, D.C.
Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710
You can also send the corrupt authoritarian Democrat an e-mail message.
It should go without saying that any message you send to Sen. Feinstein should contain only the most diplomatic of language and be free of implied or expressed threats, including those involving turbo wedgies. It would also be terribly insensitive in light of last week's jaw-dropping blunder in which she let the cat out of the bag that our Predator drone flights to bomb Pakistani targets are being launched from Pakistan, itself to start your message to Sen. Feinstein with the greeting, "Dear Stupid." Accurate, yes; appropriate, I think not.
Anyway, you might want to suggest in your message that she stick with helping her war profiteering husband keep getting those big bucks in pork-barrel war money from appropriations that went through the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee on which she sat until the stench of her conflict of interest became too much even for her Democratic and Republican cohorts in the upper chamber of Congress. (Instead of requesting that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into what Feinstein did, how did the Senate handle the matter? Why, Ms. Feinstein is now the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee! Boy, that'll teach her a thing or two.)
If you're uncomfortable addressing a supposedly "liberal" Democrat with harsh words, just tell her you were compelled to do so by the Dark Wraith. Remember: he might seem incredibly charming, but he's a paleo-con; that means he has no patience for Republicans or Democrats when they're sporting their Prada jackboots.
We shall surely not stop the death plunge of this nation into an authoritarian state; but at the very least we can make its shock troops suffer the incessant din of our ceaseless bitching about it. Sen. Feinstein might even have to use some of that lobbying money she gets from the entertainment and telecom industries to buy a set of earplugs.
The Dark Wraith encourages readers to help make the Democrats at least pretend to be something other than Republicans with candy coating.
To those who read the articles published here, I convey sincere and abiding gratitude.
As surely as the night of Empire still gathers before us, The Dark Wraith Forums will continue to chronicle the colors of our destiny as they fade to the shadows of our fate.
In the falling twilight of Empire, the Dark Wraith has spoken.
A Blogger Has Passed On
Pat was the embodiment of what my kin used to call "good people."
The Dark Wraith wishes good people could stay longer.
Another Violent Spammer
They're nothing but belly-crawlers who can't grow up. The same kind of scum that terrorized blogger Melissa McEwan (aka "Shakespeare's Sister") at the behest of a heretik who poses as a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church and the guardian of the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth.
At the end of their days, these monstrosities will burn in the Hell of eternal nothingness; but long before they stew in that infinite, ceaseless, tormenting pot of not-being, they will be caught by law enforcement authorities here on this mortal Earth, and they will be punished. The sicko menacing The Fat Lady Sings isn't far from that fate.
Tonight, he's scared. He should be. He's going to be caught, and he can only imagine what that means.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Blogging the Code
With such a cast of luminaries leading the charge to determine and enforce "civil behavior online," resistance might seem, at first blush, simply futile.
As a point of terminology, it should be noted that the word "conduct" is not quite appropriate: "conduct" and "speech" are distinct acts in law. Private speech is broadly protected under the Constitution, and its commercial cousin is also protected, although not quite as broadly. Conduct, while sometimes difficult to distinguish from pure speech, does not have such blanket immunity from control by the government. It would appear, by virtue of the obvious fact that the Blogosphere is principally a venue for speech, that what this new push for civility is offering is not a "Code of Conduct," but instead a "Code of Speech." That doesn't sound quite so benign.
But that's nothing more than semantics, and we all know that precision in word usage is, like good English grammar, just so old-fashioned, so let us move on to more worthy topics.
To begin, I might, in my typical modesty of commentary, point out that The New York Timesthat civility-minded, monolithic institutional bulwark of East Coast Liberal Media elitismhas not yet found within its editorial intestines the wherewithal to finally, once and for all and without a shred of self-defense, apologize for being the information mule for the propaganda machine that brought about the American-Iraqi War that is now in its fifth year. This, by the way, is the war that has turned just about the entire world against us; it is the war that has turned budget surpluses at the end of the Clinton Administration into hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal budget deficits that have made us a pathetic debtor nation to every manner of wretch from mercantilist-Communist Chinese thugs to smirking, two-faced Saudi game-players; it is the war that has turned a savage, little band of murderous, criminal maniacs into a world-wide army of savage, murderous, criminal maniacs; and it is the war that has debilitated our military to such an extent that, for perhaps the first time in modern American history, we are not only incapable of projecting war-level force where necessary on the globe, but we might not be able to defend even our own homeland (unless, of course, it is from our own citizens who might oppose the President).
Yes, it is The New York Times that now promotes the idea of civility in the Blogosphere. Having gingerly purged itself of a reporter who used the front page of the rag to make it look like independent investigative journalism was uncovering the same facts as were being claimed by other promoters of a worthless, irrelevant war, The New York Times now features a call to civility in the Blogosphere. Having deliberately, knowingly silenced other journalists at the paper who were trying to warn that the drumbeat to war was a lie, The New York Times now features a call to civility in the Blogosphere. Having admitted that it was sharing pre-publication news story with the Washington Post, which then made it look like the "information" about Saddam Hussein's mythical weapons of mass destruction was coming from multiple, independent, private sources, The New York Times now calls for civility in the Blogosphere. And having finally gotten so busted by the actual facts on the ground, which revealed the so-called "journalist" as a liar (and, to some extent, added fuel to the rumors that she had for years been an asset of a foreign intelligence service), The New York Times now calls for civility in the Blogosphere.
Well, goodness. Right there, with The New York Times on board, it looks like a slam dunk.
To be honest, I really don't know anything about the A-listers who are vaunting themselves with their little seals of approval. I can say that I am impressed by that Tim O'Reilly fellow, whose subdomain, radar.oreilly.com, seems to show his familiarity with the boundaries of the so-called fair use doctrine or perhaps the Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music [(92-1292), 510 U.S. 569 (1994)] Supreme Court decision, what with the association he's making between himself and the famed character Radar O'Reilly in the movie and television series, M*A*S*H. I can also say that I have to bring up Jimmy Wales, not by name but rather by his Wikipedia site, at least several times every semester when I counsel (actually, when I roar at) students who are under the misimpression that they can use Wikipedia as a legitimate citation in a college-level term paper.
It's all just enough to take a blogger's breath away. And then The New York Times trots out some blogging group called BlogHer as a paragon of civility, what with the principals' stated policy of deleting inappropriate comments, which is apparently an act of civility. In the context of representing comment deletion as something other than censorship, we get a quote from that promoter, Mr. O'Reilly: "[It] is one of the mistakes a lot of people make — believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech... Free speech is enhanced by civility."
Yes, down really is up.
But, of course, the one-track not-really-dialogue wouldn't be complete without using the victim of a real, awful (and on-going) crime: Kathy Sierra, a technology writer, has been plagued by a sicko bent on wrecking her life for no apparent reason other than that she's a woman who had the gall to make herself a public figure by publishing online content. Even Ms. Sierra, herself, states that the matter is being investigatedand, we should hope, dealt withby law enforcement authorities, although it is most troubling that "local" police are handling the case, when what is happening to her is almost assuredly a federal matter that should be addressed and resolved with brutal efficiency by the FBI.
The cyberviolence being committed against Ms. Sierraand no less against other women, like Melissa McEwan of Shakesvillehas nothing whatsoever to do with "civility" in the Blogosphere. It is way on the other side of a line between nasty commenters on blogs and criminal acts. It is a case study in how far behind and completely clueless about the Internet our legislatures, justice system, and law enforcement mechanisms are. Police departments all around the country show off how with it they are by getting newspapers to run stories about police investigators posing online as tempting little girls, and the media eat this up as proof positive that the cops are on the cyberbeat. No, they're not, not when people like Kathy Sierra are being terrorized by dangerous predators who operate with impunity and anonymity, and not when women like Melissa McEwan are being terrorized by religious hate-thugs who actually appear without fear of arrest on television.
And while we're at it, where's the civility in the Julie Amero case, the one about the substitute teacher who had a computer in her classroom suddenly go into porn pop-up overdrive, probably because a couple of little snots in her class (who didn't have the guts to admit what they had been doing) were surfing naughty-little-boy sites before she got to the class. Ms. Amero, having been convicted by an ignoramus jury, an incompetent judge, and a vicious prosecutor, is facing 40 years in prison for corrupting the tender, virginal youth under her temporary care. (O! the horror of 12-year-olds seeing porn for the very first time in their otherwise innocent, unworldly lives!) Where's the civility? Will Messrs. O'Reilly and Wales be giving The New York Times CyberCivility Badge to the people who, in the on-going quest for the Righteous Web, have wrecked Ms. Amero's life?
The point of that diversion is that "civility" is not the biggest issue vexing the Web. We have major problems that are not being even so much as recognized by the mainstream media, the anointed Internet gurus, the legislatures, and the courts. Instead, we have promoters pushing this new gadget, that new seal of approval, and some other great enforcement hype that erodes privacy while doing nothing about the real pools of personal destruction.
For my own part, I can deal with trolls. Not only do I ban them when they cross a line that I, as the editor and publisher, understand quite clearly, I send them packing with one of my famous, belt-to-the-butt-cheeks lectures. On the other hand, I really could use some help dealing with the mess of commercial spambots; and I could use some aggressive laws to help lame, we-can't-do-nuthin' backbone servers understand their role in choking off DDoS attackers and IP flippers. The problem, of course, is that the federal government has become an enormous, growing threat to my privacy, and it is quite likely that any effort the government would make in pretending to get anonymous attackers into jails would actually be to the end of getting me fully under surveillance, just in case I went all subversive or something.
On the other hand, the cry for "self-policing" embedded in this new "code of conduct" smells suspiciously like the very same whine that persistently pours out with the crocodile tears from overburdened corporations that want to run amok without government regulators to worry about having to abide, bribe, or otherwise control through elections of the appropriate types of Presidents and Congressmen.
Solutions do exist. They really do, and I could offer some; but I won't, not now, anyway. The situation isn't quite bad enough yet, and far too many people, even bloggers, honestly believe that a systematic, deep solution isn't necessary since a solution requires a substantive problem. Even those who honestly say, for example, that the government is watching everything we do on the Web don't believe it enough, or don't see it as sufficiently dangerous, to require extraordinary measures. Even those who believe that entrapment is outrageous cheer every time some law enforcement group trots out their latest sting that nailed a bunch of miserable pervs who never actually chatted online with anyone other than cops posing as tarts. And even a few bloggers who have had annoying trolls slither onto their sites do not understand the difference between a whiney, garden-variety, Right-wing or Leftist windbag and the kind of deranged criminal who writes death- and rape-threat e-mail messages.
For the time being, I can take care of myself out here on the Web. As such, I shall, in the spirit of civility so lacking in this harsh, modern world simply advise Messrs. O'Reilly and Wales, together with their new buddy, The New York Times, that they can bite me.
Having done so, they can then, at their earliest and most frequent convenience, take their seals of approval and stick them up their self-anointed asses.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Have your own official Dark Wraith Blogging Code of Conduct Seal of Approval: Click here for the transparent dark background graphic or here for the transparent light background> version.