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Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

Journal by mcgrew

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Saturdays I watch the only R-rated religious film ever made, The Passion of the Christ. Easter Sunday I attend church, where the services are so good that if it were a secular thing people would pay fifty bucks a ticket.

But yesterday was different. I'd gotten some snail spam from Xfinity/Comcast offering internet for twenty five bucks a month. I've been on AT&T for years, with only one complaint: they keep jacking up the price. It's risen from 24 to 51.

There was a box on my porch: Nobots. It was OK so I released it to the bookstores, it's supposed to show up in stores in six to eight weeks. The cover is slightly different from the copies you guys bought, those books will be worth something in a decade or two.

The cable guy, who wasn't Larry, seeing as how he not only wasn't a redneck, he was black, showed up fifteen minutes early.

I felt sorry for the fellow, because the whole exercise was a corporate bureaucratic clusterfuck. He asked what equipment was giving me trouble. "It's a new installation," I said. So he had to call the office to clear that up.

"It says here you have some Comcast equipment," he said. "Yeah, I replied, digging through a pile of electronic junk. "I had cable a few years ago and they never came to get the cable box. Here."

"It says here you have another piece of equipment."

"No, unless it's cabling or something. On the phone again he couldn't find out what the equipment was supposed to be. Considering they sent him with a repair ticket rather than an installation ticket, my guess was a clerical error. I have to call them and clear it up, I am NOT looking forward to it.

So he gets out a modem/router, which he calls a "Dory" or "Dorie" or something that sounded like that and plugs it in to the cable and my router and fires it up. The Linux box is running, playing oggs and MP3s so I pull up Firefox. "Looks like it's working," I say.

"Huh? That's impossible! I haven't activated the modem yet!"

The DSL modem was still running. Duh!

His "Dory" didn't work. So he unplugged the cable and plugged it into a piece of test equipment. "No signal," he says. He goes out back behind the house to change the connectors and test the signal there. He comes back in. "There's no signal going into your house. I have to climb up the pole anyway, I'll be back in a few minutes."

When he got back he announced that it had been disconnected at the pole. He hooked his gizmo up and announced that he had a signal.

But the modem still wouldn't work. "Darn," I said. "I was going to have some fish at Suzy-Q'a." By then it was noon; what should have been a routine installation taking no more than half an hour had placed roadblock after roadblock in front of the poor technician.

He said to go ahead, it would take a while to get hold of his supervisor, who was at lunch. He'd sit in the truck and try to figure it out.

I'd placed my order over the phone, so when I got there it was not only done, but had cooled enough to eat without burning myself.

When I got back, the installer said he'd found the problem, that I'd gotten the wrong modem and he had to go back to the shop but would only be gone a little while. I told him I'd probably be sitting on the porch with a beer when he got back. "Man," he said, "I'm sure looking forward to that!"

"After the day you've had? I'll bet! I know what it's like, man." He left to get a different modem.

Two Comcast trucks showed up, he and his supervisor, a nerdy looking fat white guy who wanted to know where the "start" menu was. "Right where it's supposed to be," I said, taking the mouse and clicking. "Oh," he said. "The icon's different."

He putzed around in its internet settings and couldn't make heads or tails of it. I told him I'd never had to mess with it, it's not like Windows. In Linux, you just plug it in and it works. He plugged his laptop in and couldn't get on the internet with it, either. So he went for the different modem, which was exactly like the first one. This one worked, except for the button that's supposed to bypass the wifi password. No problem, the password is on the bottom of the modem.

They got done about three. I guess I have to go down to AT&T to cancel my DSL, it was impossible over the phone.

Too big to fail? Too big to operate with any efficiency whatever is more like it. I feel sorry for their employees.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Sixteen 3

Journal by mcgrew

        When I woke up, all my muscles were on fire. We would have had to turn the ship around today, and in fact that's what was scheduled, except for the meteors and the drama that followed.
        Destiny was sleeping peacefully. I got up, thankful that we weren't at Earth gravity but wishing we had turned around for deceleration then, because they have it plotted so that you start the journey close to the planet you're leaving's gravity, and reach your destination close to that planet's gravity. We were at half Earth gravity now and it would gradually be lowering to Mars' gravity.
        The girls didn't like half Earth gravity, they were going to hate Mars. I guess these girls were being well paid or something, they sure were paying me good. Except that from what I'd learned about these women they probably just promised free drops. Drops were the addicts' only motivation, only goal, only thing that mattered to them.
        God but my muscles were all on fire. I sat down on the couch and had the robot make a cup of shitty coffee, my legs hurt. I had it bring me water and Naproxin and drank the lousy coffee. Yech. Why can't they program those damned things to make drinkable coffee? I should have went to college and learned programming.
        I only drank half of the nasty brew and hauled myself painfully to the shower. A hot shower would do wonders for my aching muscles.
        The hot water felt as good as the coffee had tasted bad. I took a really long one. It helped ease the pain, and the pill had started working some, too.
        I took one sip of the remaining cold, nasty coffee and started a pot. Damned stupid robots.
        I was just pouring a cup when Destiny came in. "John!" she said. "You look like hell!"
        "I feel like hell. All that damned climbing yesterday nearly killed me. And I still have to check the instruments and inspect the boat."
        "You did inspection yesterday. I thought inspections were weekly?"
        "Yeah, normally, but yesterday wasn't the least bit normal. I have to inspect that busted generator since it would have cooled enough by now, and the other one, too, since it's working harder now that there's only one."
        "Poor baby!"
        "Well, at least I don't have to inspect cargo today. Want to watch a movie later?"
        "Sure. Isn't it almost time to check your instrumentation?"
        "Yeah, it is." I kissed her. "See you in a while."
        I went towards the pilot room, which was really just outside my quarters. Yesterday I'd been wishing for a bicycle, today I was wishing for a cane.
        All the readouts were normal except one ï½ air pressure in the port generator was twenty kilopascal low. That wasn't a good sign at all, I was going to need a suit and tether in case a bulkhead blew while I was in there.
        I noted the log and stopped by our cabin... heh, "our cabin," how about that? Anyway I stopped to fill a bug mug and summon a medic.
        Medics are robots that look kind of like narrow tables with padded tops and appendages to measure bodily functions and administer medicine. Planetside they called them "gurneys" but everything is named different on a boat. Like port and starboard.
        I sat on the medic and ordered it to the port generator and got another robot on the fone to fetch the suit from the starboard hold where Destiny had gone out the airlock.
        After I'd suited up and tethered, the difference in pressure made it hard to get the hatch open. I tried a crowbar and couldn't even make it hiss. So I lowered the pressure where I was and the door popped open by itself. I took a floater with me to hunt for the leak.
        A floater is just a small balloon filled with helium with a small counterweight to make it gravity neutral. It goes where the air goes.
        I found where the air was escaping and patched it. Why can't they program robots to do that? Stupid robots, they could act as maids and medical doctors and all sorts of other functions but the damned things can't patch a hole or make a decent cup of coffee. At least they're cheap.
        The pressure was slowly rising so I sat on the medic and waited until it matched the rest of the ship so I could get out of the room. I hadn't needed the suit, but left it on just to keep my ears from popping.
        The gauge said pressure was normal so I tried the hatch. It opened easy, so I took off the suit and gave it to a robot and rode the medic back to my rooms.
        I was dying of thirst, even after downing that big glass of water when I took the naproxin. I said something to Destiny about it when I got back, taking another pill and drinking more water.
        She laughed. "You're dehydrated, dummy. You told me yesterday you thought you were going to drown in your suit from sweating. You probably need electrolytes, too."
        "And I'm hungry, I just didn't feel like eating when I got up. You hungry?"
        "I could eat. Robot eggs okay or do you want me to cook?"
        "No, robots cook okay as long as it doesn't involve coffee. How do you want your eggs?"
        "Ham and cheese omelette is okay, maybe with some hash browns."
        "Okay. Robot, a ham and cheese omelet, a Denver omelette, two hash browns and toast. No coffee!"
        Them damn robots suck at coffee, and they can't patch a hole at all. I'm glad they can cook.


User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fifteen

Journal by mcgrew

        I started the long walk back to the pilot room wishing again for a bicycle or something.
        A robot wheeled past. Hell, I should just flag down a robot. But, of course there was a reason for not having transportation; I remembered the climb up the boat when the whores locked me out and how tiring it was. A body needs exercise and the most I was going to get on a boat with two-thirds gravity was walking.
        Destiny and Tammy were in the commons with a few other women; I say "women" because these were acting halfway civilized, despite their lack of clothing.
        "Done already?" Destiny asked.
        "No," I sighed. "Trouble. One of the generators blew out and we're off course again. I just saw you and thought I'd say 'hi', I can't stay. Too much damned work."
        "what do you have to do? How long will it take?"
        "I don't know. When I get us back on course I have to see what the robots are doing with the generator."
        "How bad is it?" Tammy asked. "How many generators are there?"
        "Only two. I wish this was an old tub, they originally had just one fission generator and got retrofitted with fusions. If our other generator dies it's batteries.
        "What then?"
        "We're late. But there isn't much chance of losing both generators. We'll be okay. But speaking of generators, I gotta go." I kissed Destiny and headed to the generator.
        It had cooled enough for the robots to go in to work, but was a bulkhead removed from where a human could tolerate it. I had two more engines I hadn't checked off so I inspected them. Of course, if there was anything wrong I'd have been clueless.
        The repair robots said the generator was shot.
        I walked past the commons to my quarters, Destiny and Tammy weren't in there although there were a few unclothed whores. Damn, ladies, put some pants on!
        Destiny and Tammy were in my living room drinking coffee. As I walked in, Destiny said "John, you're damned lucky Tammy's here."
        As I'd suspected. "You're supplying the drops," I said, sitting down.
        "The whores would have killed us without them."
        "How much you got?"
        "Enough to get to Mars?"
        "Don't worry. I know my chemistry, I know how much they need."
        I said "don't give any to the bitches in confinement."
        "You don't know what you're talking about. With drops they're harmless. Take them away, and well, it isn't pretty."
        I was confused. "What can they do locked up?"
        "They're liable to suicide."
        Crap. Losing cargo is a pretty bad thing.
        "Crap! Damn but I'm glad you're here. I'm going to suggest to the company that they send someone like you on all these runs."
        She laughed. "The company wouldn't want to spend the money necessary. The bean counters know how much loss is acceptable."
        Destiny said "I made coffee."
        "Thanks, but after the day I've had I want a beer."
        "I'm still trying to wake up," she said.
        "Yeah, you napped for a couple of hours after you went for a stroll outside. I would have thought the oxygen would have woke you up."
        "Actually it put me to sleep."
        Where the hell was that robot with my beer? "Robot! Beer, damn it, are you deaf?" A robot rolled over with my beer. I'm glad this boat has the older robots. The newer ones talk, and it's annoying as hell. If I want output from the computer I'll use my fone or tablet.
        Tammy said she had whores to study and excused herself. The robots made dinner and we watched some really dumb old movie from a couple hundred years ago, laughing all the way through it although they say when it was made, it was meant to be serious.
        Then we went to bed. I hoped tomorrow would be less stressful. My muscles all ached from the walking and climbing, I was going to be in pain the next day.

To Be Continued...

User Journal

Journal: 140314 (La Jolla, CA, 92037, war v8.006)

Journal by HomelessInLaJolla

War in La Jolla, eighth year, sixth entry

If the trees begin to grow back a little perhaps the theatre of war could move into late stages. The enemy is exhausted to their final tactics; anything and everything in the world must include dog, don't move or they begin the active event monitor (consider filling your operating system with audio events, we all did, around Win98 and equiv Linux side, when the wm became capable and the code filled with hooks to allow for audio event, and suddenly the user realized why you didn't want to have neat little audio events everywhere, when just a few years earlier it was a hobby to manage the small collection of audio events which were delicately selected for each individual application launch), once you quit moving then the event monitor goes into ping mode, rinse, repeat. The police have arrived on several occasions to clear damage, they aren't a repair crew (the US continues to eat losses as a refurbishing subcontractor for little known superwealthy areas to run extravagant dog wash events with eggo, with ridiculous numbers of eggs per omelet), but I have managed not to be killed. I am approaching the G-man from Half-Life. Half-Life itself is a nice approximation of the running ages of the world, across the repeats of the scripts and ages.

Consider. Packed to the dome, humans espouse from trees as top-of-the-food-chain birds, self-packaging in the brain and not reliant on respousal from the trees. Humans gave up their right to be intergalactic warlords (if they could find a way through the dome) for a chance to do this, that, and the other with these and those and them and go to there. Humans begin procreating, women begin letting go of gumbies (modern eunuchs put on a show of being pregnant, mothers that have difficulty letting go), gumbies begin working on larger humans like Uranos and Saturns and Zeus' offspring working on them (and Hera was always so perfectly polite by the etiquette numbers, wasn't she?), and some humans become frustrated, begin accumulating boogers, lose the ability to procreate. Adam (one earliest semblance of), for example, could sit in his tower bower of paper, dying off from methanol poisoning, and resurrecting every few minutes all day long; but he was not booger free enough (in the right places) to qualify for sticking the primer up the nose and unrolling inside-out, and he eventually froze in place like a gargoyle. Is the Leah and Rachel phenomenon; you served me for seven years to make your voice drop, you will serve for at least another seven to do anything silly even close to popping wings back out your butt or walking on your hands or unrolling... keep working on it... maybe it will take twenty-eight years to make it to the point of unrolling. Walk on the hands, or pop the wings back out and then walk on the hands, probably go through stages of making people cough, sneeze, give them a bad cold, knock them out cold, give groups of people the plague. Likely it takes a long time to make it back to where humans were at one time.

So packed to the dome some begin sitting around like Adam (too lazy to go for a walk), or on the walking routes they're doing it for the job and aren't putting their ankles into it properly, dragging their feet, and likely making a run from one juice pit to the next. In the juice pits the experienced drunks wait for them to pass out and then, when they wake up all soused, the drunk points to the tail of a griffon in the trees and, when the sleeper wakens with "*alcohol* ungh... What happened?", the drunk points to the griffons tail and says,"You did it! You managed to unroll! You made it! That's her!"

From the juice pits the wildlife and the trees claim back the spousal lineages which have not maintained their right to be self-packaging.

Humans on walking routes get into stonehenge clubs. Stonehenge clubs become a worldwide way of doing things, in the interest of regimenting the land. Stonehenge clubs differentiate and become covered halls. Covered halls assemble and popularize (some integrate into this little architectural box known as a tabernacle, for storage, because they don't make much money, but if they make money then they could be taken out and repositioned along the architectural lines), and form into Ninevah. This with the trees packed to the dome and humans working primarily on pressing paper and rolling baklava, not even fire and thread and soap yet. Ninevah turns to Sodom and Gomorrah at the top of the trees, worldwide network for regimenting the land for baklava rollers and delivering to drunks in the juice pits. Everybody is already going to hell. Everything is already green eggs and ham and eunuchs, at the top of the trees, with plenty of "real ones" coming from the gumbies out in the field. At some point the covered halls assembled in the cities delve basements, and the phairies and the dogs in the basement levels are able to make game of that, too. The Sodom and Gomorrah on top turns into the towers of Alderon on the way down, grandfather clock hourglass anvils from firepits swinging down through the depths. The wires and aging lineages of pokies bring Tyre and Sidon into the picture on the way down through the trees, the world is mined out, the monkies teach people how to roll their own from scratch, the nets are hung to catch the floodwater, the diamond anvil sacked out of the world cut up, polished diamonds shoved in every possible nook cranny and corner on the way down, the remainder hung as the moon in the sky just before they make it out of reach, and the roll your own technique perfected to from scratch as the last of the gumby prophets from the field quit growing up. Soon after there is no longer a difference between "real ones" and the ones just working in the model town, and everything is all worker class steam pressed ones working in the model town. The mine in the basement grows a mezzanine cover or two on the way down through the trees, the labyrinthian Alderon towers taken apart and reworked into a surface Ninevah with a Great Wall, pyramids, stonehenge, woodhenge, and easter island as roadmap markers of how the poop hit the fan on the way down, and about the last thing to happen before the final monks tried to end the world was to put the lawn troll, the sphinx, out in front of the pyramids. That's Seth: "If you ever make it past this fella *uproarious HAHAHAHAHA!* maybe you have a chance to join us."--the ones living out in the big house behind the lawn troll. The surface Ninevah turned to surface Sodom and Gomorrah and then surface Tyre and Sidon, to give an idea of how many times the stupidity of mankind of rolled over on the way down through the trees to hell. Then they tried to end the world because they were sitting on the sand over a few levels of wizard of oz machine and they knew everybody was going to hell, and then about two thousand years later Gad woke up and, bored enough to know that he wasn't dead, decided to set up the running surface carnival that we know and love today.

That's a good wire-frame model to wrap around the wikidot material. Pretty much covers everything from then to now. Does not really matter who made the terrarium, with hell down below. I have a theory. The si-p-honies, consider the size ratio between you and one of them. Sure, they're an old eunuch sewn together with a real dog and rolled into a seahorse then boiled down with a billion others in the bottom of nuclear reactor pool for a few thousand years, then the oil used to butter up old leather jerkins (vestal garments, to be specific) so they don't stick together all stacked up in the back of the warehouse, but they are as good a starting place as any. The size ratio is about, what, 5k:1? 10k:1? Maybe more. I consider that to maybe be about the size ratio between an individual of "us" and any potential "who could have made the terrarium?" So it doesn't really matter. What matters is... how bad do you want to stay out of hell?

Palm Sunday and today's scripture also quite nice.

The priests' servant with the ear to be cut off, that's the nonexistant maharaja, now that the hebrew doctors add to his cobra mistakes with castor bean mash extract (nerve agent). In the old days, when aladdin goes for his magic journey with his magic carpet looking for his magic lamp and his comeback, he'll walk over and meet jesus. Jesus and the old maharaja will sit around and spend a summer together and then maharaja goes back to finish his four frontier rehabilitation sewing project and make his comeback. Jesus continues on and nearly gets killed. Around the time that Jesus is nearly getting killed the maharaja, having made his comeback and celebrated his party, decides to walk off the party fat and make a circuit thanking people that entertained him in the foreign lands. Maharaja rearrives, according to the Great Wall and the sphinx, about the same day that Jesus is about ready to get clubbed down by the runtlings with torches. Maharaja saves Jesus and Jesus goes on to finish his rehab and drop his voice and be great big prophet. In new ages the maharaja is intercepted on the front end by the castor bean mash doctor (elijah with naaman), never makes the comeback, never comes back around to save Jesus. Jesus, instead of sitting around with maharaja, gets deep-sixed by the Nicodemus drinking crew. The replacement for maharaja in the script is this servant with his ear cut off (have some castor bean mash extract for the shoulder of your thumb, buddy) or this other guy in some other gospel that was siezed but slipped out of his tunic and went away (ie. he's not there anymore). Jesus is obviously convicted according to "Amen, Amen" is not "You will see" and "blah blah blah". They taunt Jesus with a reed ("Where's your stick?"), then take his reed away ("it belongs to the mean bitch in your head, but you will never unroll, so we get to keep it") and wind some thorns ("if you would have a stick then you would be winding the wisps around it, instead we wind this for YOU!"). On the cross they give him a reed with an alcohol sponge ("See? We got you drinking with the nico crew when you should have stuck with the reed!").. .it's a slide reed, not a mascara brush and a crack pipe, and it goes with the smoking stick. Days were when you couldn't even qualify to smoke unless you had your own stick, and if you smoke without a reed you're probably a fiend--you don't have time to walk around and find a suitable reed? Today's reading talks of such a reed. That's Alephel's stick, and Aleph's slide reed. They go together like that.

The palm Sunday also talks of "This one is screaming for Elijah", and then there's all of this destruction and everything els, and then Elisha stands up. Some other ladies are there,"Look! A new one!" There's a nice classical painting of that, a blond with two little girls on either side, and you just know that's the paschal lamb. Then Joseph of Arimathea arrives, that's also "the wood of the holy cross" (ie. Elijah's own wood before Elisha stands up), and then those two other ladies are left there facing the, ahhh, damage... bethlehem.

Peter, James, and John, the three comets (center, left, and right), Orville and Wilbur on the right. Rightful thieves, because they actually asked for a room for a "master" on the way into town, meaning a travelling Levite with the temple paying the tab (and Judas does negotiate the room that the innkeeper never need meet Jesus until he figures out that he's being swindled).

User Journal

Journal: The third time wasn't a charm.

Journal by mcgrew

I've hardly logged on to the internet at all this past week, too busy correcting a mistake software houses frequently do: Trying to rush a project out the door. The fact is, I'm tired of The Paxil Diaries, but I don't want to ship a flawed piece of crap.

The first copy had a messed up cover; my printer's "cover generation wizard" has an interface almost as bad as GIMP. I fixed it and ordered a corrected copy, and a day later as I was converting the .odt to .html I discovered that some of the chapter numbers were wrong and there were no page numbers. I fixed it, resubmitted it and thought "This time it'll be right."

Number three showed up bright and early Thursday morning. I started going over it with a fine toothed comb. Almost halfway through and I started to think I'd be able to release it. The weather got really nice so I decided to read it in Felber's beer garden.

I discovered I was far better at proofreading when I've had a few beers than sober. When I'm sober what the words are saying distracts me from the words themselves, and I read too fast and miss errors.

It was full of errors, many of them whoppers. I marked them drinking, and finished correcting this morning while sober and sent for copy #4. It may be available in a couple of weeks depending on if I find more errors when it comes. I'll upload the book's HTML and PDF versions as soon as I decide I can release it.

Meanwhile, I can get back to Mars, Ho! this week.

User Journal

Journal: 140311 (La Jolla, CA, 92037, war v8.005)

Journal by HomelessInLaJolla

War in La Jolla, eighth year, fifth entry

The millionaire pretending to be god supernanny complex would be so much more believable if it were not all remote control birds, jungle freak sounds, and suddenly sh*tbags hiding around all of the corners waiting on call. In the early years the spook tactics do add up to a pressure point system for antagonizing and stress-testing targets. In modern practice is nothing but a spy on you freakshow with levels of tactics. Particularly, if an individual should develop a habit for smoking outdoors in the early hours of public street space, they will, if they persist in their habit for a length of time, determine that every corner, every block, every doorway, every alcove, every shoulder of every wall, is constantly under watch and staffed to freak the smoker with "HA!"; another horn, another cell phone, another bird call, another sudden outburst of laughter, another sudden appearance of rollicking party-goers or the lone midnight stranger with or without animal present. The determination will also uncover that every seagull, every crow, every hummingbird, every sparrow, every finch, and every other bird is, at one time or another, on one day or another over the course of the year, available to play the part of mother is mad at you for smoking so this bird is going to shirp at you when you light, sit to watch you smoke, maybe chirp on every puff, and then leave when you're done smoking. At one time or another, every single one.

Everywhere you go, there is some millionaire with a remote control voice in the back of their head, timing and framing you, timing and framing what you do, trying to fit you in a box. The JFK car to the house at gerar, get worn down and rocked in the back of the head. Maybe trying to fit you closer to the JFK car to the house at gerar. Maybe trying to lure you with a Friday night party to the house at gerar. Perhaps trying to bother you with a talking wall and make you keep walking to the JFK car. Maybe a funny joke will get you in the door. Maybe they need to send you to be the guy laying in the ditch between two towns, Job, before they can sign you up to get on the arriving JFK car. Maybe you need some bait, like a pretty quadrapalegic carried on four poles, to meet you at the house at gerar. Maybe they all buy guns and bullets on the way to watch the pay-per-view as their lining you up to be the guy laying in the ditch so that they can pick you up with the JFK car and take you to the house at Gerar to get worn down and rocked in the back of the head.

Any number of possibilities...

If that doesn't work the first time, then maybe a one two three system. Maybe a fourteen step process for lining people up at the house at gerar. Maybe a method of applying the fourteen step process over the course of the year, prepping them to eventually slip all the way to the house at gerar, maybe one two three times over the span of years to properly grind them down to a predictable level.

Does the devil know how much your soul is worth? Of course the devil knows how much your soul is worth. He doesn't check you into hell until he knows that you will be on the hook to pay the whole bill. $100 mil a day hoppy-topper!

User Journal

Journal: REPOST: Brandon Eich 20

Journal by squiggleslash

(One last edit. After constructive criticism of my style from JC I'm going to lead this with a quote from a part of a post I made previously that sums up why Eich was unsuitable to be CEO without all the "It's not about X", "Hate campaign", and other stuff that is totally right but makes it all TL;DR. Original post after the -----, you don't have to read it any more)

It's not about what you think, it's about how you treat other people and how you deal with being, quite legitimately, associated with a set of actions (whatever the motive) that many find offensive. We would not be here today had Eich not, two years ago, thought this was a good thing to write:

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: no.

about people who might possibly think he has animosity about gays because he donated, twice, totalling $1,000, after it became obvious what the nature of the campaign was, to an organization that repeatedly ran TV ads claiming married homosexuals were a danger to children.

That was a particularly dumb thing to write. It's something most of us feel sometimes when we're under attack, but that's kinda why the job of CEO doesn't go to just about anyone. There are so many useful positions Eich could have gone to, why-oh-why did they make him CEO?


(Just three additional notes: First, I've reposted this because the original was open to everyone, and it turned out the same illiterate idiots who've insisted that questioning Eich's handling of revelations of his donations to an active hate campaign is the same thing as wanting him fired for his opinion are now trolling my journal. So, regretfully, I'm deleting the old JE. Second: this was originally written before Eich resigned. Some minor updates since this was originally published: additional line about "what Slashdotters believe", and removal of comment about other Mozilla board members resigning as this appears to have been misrepresented by media. Finally: actually the situation is worse than described below. In the below I presumed Eich hadn't known exactly what he donated to, thinking it was a generic pro-Prop 8 campaign. It turns out Eich knew it was a hate campaign before he made his donations. This significantly changes the relevence of "Strike 2" below.)

Let's get a few things out of the way first.

There is no issue with Eich's private views, and to a certain extent even his opposition to "gay marriage", however backward and unreasonable such a position might be. It is not about whether he supported Prop 8, whether his name appeared on any petitions in favor of it, or whether he voted for it - again, however unreasonable and backward and pathetic such a position might be.

The problem is this.

I remember the pro-Prop 8 campaigns. Those campaigning for Prop 8 did not focus exclusively on a small set of arguments focussed entirely on some kind of practical, or even religious, argument in favor of Prop 8.

The campaigns themselves were, objectively, homophobic and bigoted. They smeared. They lied. Dog whistles about "protecting our children" (couched with plausable deniability type justifications along the lines of "If it doesn't pass, children will think gay marriages are normal" - uh, right..) were common, as one obvious example.

And Eich donated money to that.

And having basically co-funded a campaign whipping up hate against 5-10% of Mozilla's workforce, he's now in charge of them.

That's strike one.

Strike two is that he's never acknowledged that this was ever a problem. My reading, both of his 2012 "explanation" (which lacks any justifications, it's more a "Don't call me a bigot, you're a bigot" type piece of crap we usually hear from right wing nuts caught with their heads in white hoods) and his current "Let bygones by bygones, of course I'll be nice to the gheys that's Mozilla policy!" comments) is that he's pointedly refused to distance himself from the campaigning he co-funded. No "I never had any problems with gay people and I was disappointed to see how the funds I donated were used", let alone support for groups combatting homophobia.

So... what happens next?

Firefox is Firefox. It's the world's best browser, albeit one that has suffered many knocks over the last few years both with its well documented issues with memory and reliability, and the user interface changes that continue to blur the line between it and its competitors. People aren't switching from Firefox to Chrome because they want Chrome for the most part, they're just switching because Firefox is becoming Chrome anyway, leaving no compelling reason to stick with it during the periods Firefox is especially unstable.

A political boycott of the browser is unfortunate and I'm not entirely sure it would be effective. At the same time, there's a feeling of powerlessness one has a result of this.

Moreover, there is an education problem within the community that's obvious from reading and engaging in the discussions on the subject. The same points come up over and over again:

- The equation of Eich's personal views with his public actions, as if all public actions have a shield if they're rooted somewhere in a personal view somewhere, no matter how slimy or despicable.
- The assumption that criticism of generic support for Prop. 8 is the same as criticism of specific campaigns for Prop. 8 that were objectively hate campaigns, with many refusing to believe any of the campaigns that were pro-Prop 8 contained hate propaganda.
- The failure to recognize that necessary and required qualifications for leadership include a requirement that mutual respect should exist between leader and lead.
- A failure to recognize the special role of a CEO within an organization
- An obsession with supporting those accused of homophobic actions because of some perceived disagreement with "Political Correctness", regardless of context.

I have a gut feeling that if Eich had donated $1,000 to a campaign calling for the re-enslavement of blacks, a campaign which used dog-whistles like "Welfare" et al, we'd still be having this conversation. Really. I do.

Eich is, objectively, not qualified for the Mozilla CEO job. I know some people say "Well, look at all his other qualities", and I'm sure they're right and great and all, but a blind man can know the rules of the road and the layout of New York City like the back of his hand but I still wouldn't want him driving a bus there. It is difficult to get good people some times, but you have to be patient. Good CEOs need to be good figureheads, they need to be respected inside and outside the organization. Eich isn't. Maybe one day he will be.

The Matrix

Journal: Chosen People == Master Race 8

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Bustros sparked an interreligious firestorm when he suggested that Israel was 'using Scripture' to continue its occupation of Palestinian territory. The Archbishop then questioned the biblical idea of a "promised land" set aside by a specific group of people.

"We Christians cannot speak of the promised land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people," Bustros continued. "This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people -- all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."",7340,L-3973590,00.html

User Journal

Journal: 140310 (La Jolla, CA, 92037, war v8.004)

Journal by HomelessInLaJolla

War in La Jolla, eighth year, fourth entry

Stonehenge is a symbolic representation of the day of atonement party, the gathering, the meeting of the coordinators over and above the usual common folk that don't have any other guidance through the year, the head shepherds. At whatever time of history, whatever age of the world, whatever frame of reference under consideration, the day of atonement party has become the running standard for verse response and social interaction between humans. A church, in a deliberately designed architectural setting, is a kind of stonehenge. It is a setting for a gathering with a running standardized script. The church hall is stonehenge. We did not build the church hall for the people--the people would benefit from a little water and cold. We built the church hall to protect the paper. As the day of atonement ritual developed, and eventually spawned minor judging sessions on the sides and in the between times, the paper pressers would bring their bundles of paper with them. Early times saw that the final scoring for the day of atonement party, though it could be manipulated with performances and greetings, really built the most points on the amount of clean dry leaves and paper brought with the individual, demonstrating proficiency and prowess on their routes. All-Leaf Baba makes a yearly routine out of bundling up forty half dead witches at a time and shipping them reliably on their way to paper and thread. Eventually the covered halls became specialized, paper collectors (similar to paper delivery--because the recipients don't do enough of their own work to pick up enough paper to even wipe their own butts, and their shro-ud of tur-in count is horrid low) from the north go hear, south there, the ones that went west and then passed by those lands and picked up such-and-such a token (as is common of those lands) go to those other sets of halls. The stonehenge circle becomes covered halls, covered halls become specialized covered halls. Over time some halls wear out, and those paper routes have become stripped bare, and maybe those halls aren;t used any longer. We don't lose the design of those halls, but maybe we rearrange those halls to fill the need for some weightier halls with too many staffers arriving too often.

The architectural layout of the city of Ninevah is a collection of specialized covered halls. Each covered hall is already designed to be hosting a day of atonement party, like old time circuits now into the running spindle of multi-GHz machines and hard-coded interface layers (like ATA+SCSI with a dongle equals RAID, but with neither the speed and versatillity of real SCSI nor the foundation of ATA), and the only reason that any individual even arrives in any covered hall is because they were scheduled to arrive there, north, south, east, west, all the routes have been condensed and refined and plotted out and charted and coursed. As the labyrinth towers were deconstructed (because the trees were no longer tall enough to support them), people began keeping paper track of the collections of bricks and pathways as they were dismantled--the original earliest compilation of works to eventually become the Talmud. When the labrytinthian towers were all dismantled and down to ground level then the Talmud was standardized to around the now six and a half thousand pages. What happened to all of the other pages to track all of the halls and bricks dismantled? They became the old dead laws--the si-p-honie count in the rumplestilskin. About 30000 or so. Only parts of the course have been removed, the Talmud runs down Ninevah. Talmud compressed to life in the fast lane with the law of Moses, the covered stonehenge halls of Ninevah are rearranged to Sodom and Gomorrah to tighten down all the corners and sharpen up all of the edges, more hidden pushbuttons and unexplicable coincidences.

All going to hell. :-)

User Journal

Journal: 140509 (La Jolla, CA, 92037, war v8.003)

Journal by HomelessInLaJolla

War in La Jolla, eighth year, third entry

The history of the world according to the morticians. They do exist. They have a job. Do you fit on their calendar, their appointment schedule, do you meet the qualifications? They don't really care if you kill somebody, but, please, do arrange an appointment with them ahead of time that the event does not turn into a fiasco with the police, fire department, and, if a shallow grave were involved, maybe the clergy after a few weeks. In the decision between entering you on the morticians' calendar, or me, you are a far more qualified applicant. I yet retain the use of my frontal lobes and improve daily.

In the beginning no morticians were really necessary. Humans began pressing the trees down some, sometimes people were rolled into dogs, sometimes they fell asleep and got sacked by dogs and phairies working together. Noah's ark somewhat describes the progression of chasing all of the true wild animals down (real life have feathers), and the establishment of the polymorph carnival (fur is for polymorphs) afterwards. Drunks chasing animals (or polymorphs) often met tree limbs, especially after the trees were pressed down far enough that the great grand wizard Mel with his air force began stirring up air currents ("trying to force a path out through the floodgates, at least we made some leaves fall", etc.). That's good enough to get sacked to the phairie kingdoms down below, long before the phairie witch kings built castles and such. Humans flip inside out, make ladies, ladies make gumbies (see Biblical Scriptural Macabre), gumbies grow up and, if good enough, flip inside out. Humans press the trees down enough to press enough paper, fold enough paper, twist enough paper, make baskets, press baskets, make sack cloth, fold cloth, twist cloth, make thread, etc.

The bugs in the basement begin putting together the devil with the blue dress on. Humans getting sacked from being drunk and chasing wildlife, or being stupid and getting sacked, or from the humans playing games counting one down to power saving sleep, or the evolving revolver from the sewing machine working on the linen factory line, eventually used to line up and knock down choirs of angels at a time, they go to hell with some fabric on (getting colder with the trees so low and the wind currents so high), and the bugs putting together bait models for the humans send 'em up wearing the blue dresses (tassles on blankets thin enough to see the sky through). The mortician arrives around Seth's time, if he's gonna beg off the carrot stick and get knocked out at the castle gates of the witch king's fortress then go over and pick up the thread off of his body. Give an idea of the amount of work and time involved in going from Noah's ark to carrot stick fortresses.

Soon it becomes known that there's no way to stay out of hell. Especially with the men of Ninevah wearing out and no more inside out thunderclaps happening for so long. Lots of gumbies in the world to grow up along the way, live thousands of years, break down like all the other idiots. Hang out in the juice pits, get drunk, get stuck on the walkaround routes that they don't care about for a plate and some coin, get caught up in the rowing navy (eunuch's away... window dressing... row-bots with three hands now made, not only by the bugs teaching the technology to the modelling crews inside the walls, but by the modelling crews inside the walls, too!), or recruited into a giant "monastery" of monks living a choreographed religious life managing a model. The only new "ones" are now from the model steam press process, and they are a relic of the accounting department inside, and they show up without wings and brains capped down to runtling, designed to be used as throwaway servants and never have a voting voice to challenge the real "ones".

Morticians develop processes. Count you into stasis, old method, requires money, less and less effective as the history goes on, eventually mummy-making is no longer a full in place process but requires separation and individual consideration and treatment (the pirate party). Maybe press them into bricks... they don't run near that fast and dry any more. Maybe poke them into soap, an entire world of wax candle warehouses already. Dogs, horses, cameols, fish (power arm and a hamster wheel), birds (origami)...

All of Noah's ark and reanimated.

Nope, only option left is ship 'em to hell.

User Journal

Journal: Brandon Eich knew he was funding a hate campaign. He did it anyway. 1

Journal by squiggleslash

I had sympathy for Eich, despite wanting him to exit the Mozilla CEO position. We're a community of people with no social graces and the idea that someone might end up having their career choices limited beause their lack of human interaction skills - or so I thought - seemed depressing and obvious. To recap, Eich's stone-age views on equality weren't what bothered me so much as his failure to adequately handle the consequences of $1,000 in donations to an actual hate campaign.

That evaporated today. Eich knew exactly what he had donated to before he made the donation. Here's the link. And here's the money quote:

This is the campaign to which Eich contributed. It's proper to note that his two donations of $500 each came on Oct. 25 and 28, days before the Nov. 4 vote and well after the style of the TV campaign was established.

Quoting Eich, defending himself in his "I'm not a bigot, you're a bigot, so there, I win" post of 2012: (My bolding)

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: âoenoâ.

If deliberately, intentionally, funding a campaign that calls gays and gay marriage a danger to children isn't evidence of animosity against gays, what the hell is?

It had been my previous position that Eich had simply mishandled the situation. He'd obviously made some donations, but I'd assumed he was telling the truth in claiming there was no animosity or homophobia on his part. I reconciled the two by assuming he didn't know that the funds he donated would be used in the way they were. I criticized him for not distancing himself from the campaign he donated to after it became apparent it was a hate campaign, not simply a pro-Prop 8 campaign. I said this was evidence of poor judgement.

This appears to have been a mistake on my part. The truth appears to be uglier.

Star Wars Prequels

Journal: Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius
Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

25 March 14

If the US State Department's Victoria Nuland had not said "Fuck the EU," few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington's man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style "destabilization campaign" that brought down Ukraine's monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

"Geoffrey Pyatt is one of these State Department high officials who does what heâ(TM)s told and fancies himself as a kind of a CIA operator," laughs Ray McGovern, who worked for 27 years as an intelligence analyst for the agency. "It used to be the CIA doing these things," he tells Democracy Now. "I know that for a fact." Now it's the State Department, with its coat-and-tie diplomats, twitter and facebook accounts, and a trick bag of goodies to build support for American policy.

A retired apparatchik, the now repentant McGovern was debating Yale historian Timothy Snyder, a self-described left-winger and the author of two recent essays in The New York Review of Books â" "The Haze of Propaganda" and "Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine." Both men speak Russian, but they come from different planets.

On Planet McGovern â" or my personal take on it â" realpolitik rules. The State Department controls the prime funding sources for non-military intervention, including the controversial National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which Washington created to fund covert and clandestine action after Ramparts magazine and others exposed how the CIA channeled money through private foundations, including the Ford Foundation. State also controls the far-better-funded Agency for International Development (USAID), along with a growing network of front groups, cut-outs, and private contractors. State coordinates with like-minded governments and their parallel institutions, mostly in Canada and Western Europe. State's "democracy bureaucracy" oversees nominally private but largely government funded groups like Freedom House. And through Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, State had Geoff Pyatt coordinate the coup in Kiev.

The CIA, NSA, and Pentagon likely provided their specialized services, while some of the private contractors exhibited shadowy skill sets. But if McGovern knows the score, as he should, diplomats ran the campaign to destabilize Ukraine and did the hands-on dirty work.

Harder for some people to grasp, Ambassador Pyatt and his team did not create the foreign policy, which was â" and is â" only minimally about overthrowing Ukraine's duly elected government to "promote democracy." Ever since Bill Clinton sat in the Oval Office, Washington and its European allies have worked openly and covertly to extend NATO to the Russian border and Black Sea Fleet, provoking a badly wounded Russian bear. They have also worked to bring Ukraine and its Eastern European neighbors into the neoliberal economy of the West, isolating the Russians rather than trying to bring them into the fold. Except for sporadic resets, anti-Russian has become the new anti-Soviet, and "strategic containment" has been the wonky word for encircling Russia with our military and economic power.

Nor did neoconservatives create the policy, no matter how many progressive pundits blame them for it. NED provides cushy jobs for old social democrats born again as neocons. Pyatt's boss, Victoria Nuland, is the wife and fellow-traveler of historian Robert Kagan, one of the movement's leading lights. And neocons are currently beating the war drums against Russia, as much to scupper any agreements on Syria and Iran as to encourage more Pentagon contracts for their friends and financial backers. But, encircling Russia has never been just a neocon thing. The policy has bi-partisan and trans-Atlantic support, including the backing of America's old-school nationalists, Cold War liberals, Hillary hawks, and much of Obama's national security team.

No matter that the policy doesnâ(TM)t pass the giggle test. Extending NATO and Western economic institutions into all of a very divided Ukraine had less chance of working than did hopes in 2008 of bringing Georgia into NATO, which could have given the gung-ho Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvilli the treaty right to drag us all into World War III. To me, that seemed like giving a ten-year-old the keys to the family Humvee.

Western provocations in Ukraine proved more immediately counterproductive. They gave Vladimir Putin the perfect opportunity for a pro-Russian putsch in Crimea, which he had certainly thought of before, but never as a priority. The provocations encouraged him to stand up as a true Russian nationalist, which will only make him more difficult to deal with. And they gave him cover to get away with that age-old tool of tyrants, a quickie plebiscite with an unnecessary return to Joseph Stalin's old dictum once popular in my homestate of Florida: "It's not the votes that count, but who counts the votes."

Small "d" democrats should shun such pretense. Still, most journalists and pollsters on the scene report that â" with the exception of the historic Tatar community â" the majority of Crimeans want to join the Russian Federation, where they seem likely to stay.

Tensions will also grow as the US-picked interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk â" our man "Yats" â" joins with the IMF to impose a Greek, Spanish, or Italian style austerity. Hard-pressed Ukranians will undoubtedly fight back, especially in the predominantly Russian-speaking east. According to Der Spiegel, a whopping three quarters of the people there do not support the coup or government. What a tar patch! A domestic conflict that could split Ukraine in two will inevitably become even further embroiled in the geo-strategic struggle between Russia and the West.

On Planet Snyder, as in most Western media, these realistic considerations make absolutely no difference. Ideology rules, masked as idealism. Fine sounding abstractions fill the air. Ukrainians are making their own history. They are acting with great courage. They are seeking the rule of law and their rightful place in "European Civilization." They are defending "sovereignty" and "territorial integrity." Russians remain vicious. Big bad Vlad is the new Hitler. He is seeking his own Eurasian empire (as opposed to NATO's), which could soon include parts of Moldova, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that the West needs like a "lok in kop," a hole in the head. And those watching in the West must abandon what Snyder calls "our slightly self-obsessed notions of how we control or don't control everything."

"It was a classic popular revolution," proclaims the professor. An undeniably popular uprising against "an unmistakably reactionary regime."

Writing in The Nation, Professor Stephen Cohen shreds Snyder's argument. My concern is more pointed. Popular uprisings deserve our support or opposition depending on who comes to control them and to what ends. As McGovern puts it, "The question is: Who took them over? Who spurred them? Who provoked them for their own particular strategic interests?"

Detailed evidence provides the answers. For all the courage of the Ukrainian minority who took to the barricades, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and his team spurred the protests in Kiev and exercised extensive â" though never complete â" control over them. Tactically, Pyatt and his fellow diplomats showed unexpected skill. Strategically, they should have stayed home.

Revolution on Demand

Arriving in the Ukrainian capital on August 3, Pyatt almost immediately authorized a grant for an online television outlet called Hromadske.TV, which would prove essential to building the Euromaidan street demonstrations against Yanukovych. The grant was only $43,737, with an additional $4,796 by November 13. Just enough to buy the modest equipment the project needed.

Many of Hromadske's journalists had worked in the past with American benefactors. Editor-in-chief Roman Skrypin was a frequent contributor to Washington's Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and the US-funded Ukrayinska Pravda. In 2004, he had helped create Channel 5 television, which played a major role in the Orange Revolution that the US and its European allies masterminded in 2004.

Skrypin had already gotten $10,560 from George Soros's International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), which came as a recommendation to Pyatt. Sometime between December and the following April, IRF would give Hromadske another $19,183.

Hromadske's biggest funding in that period came from the Embassy of the Netherlands, which gave a generous $95,168. As a departing US envoy to the Hague said in a secret cable that Wikileaks later made public, "Dutch pragmatism and our similar world-views make the Netherlands fertile ground for initiatives others in Europe might be reluctant, at least initially, to embrace."

For Pyatt, the payoff came on November 21, when President Yanukovych pulled back from an Association Agreement with the European Union. Within hours Hromadske.TV went online and one of its journalists set the spark that brought Yanukovych down.

"Enter a lonely, courageous Ukrainian rebel, a leading investigative journalist," writes Snyder. "A dark-skinned journalist who gets racially profiled by the regime. And a Muslim. And an Afghan. This is Mustafa Nayem, the man who started the revolution. Using social media, he called students and other young people to rally on the main square of Kiev in support of a European choice for Ukraine."

All credit to Nayem for his undeniable courage. But bad, bad history. Snyder fails to mention that Pyatt, Soros, and the Dutch had put Web TV at the uprising's disposal. Without their joint funding of Hromadske and its streaming video from the Euromaidan, the revolution might never have been televised and Yanukovych might have crushed the entire effort before it gained traction.

For better or for worse, popular uprisings have changed history long before radio, television, or the Internet. The new technologies only speed up the game. Pyatt and his team understood that and masterfully turned soft power and the exercise of free speech, press, and assembly into a televised revolution on demand, complete with an instant overdub in English. Soros then funded a Ukrainian Crisis Media Center "to inform the international community about events in Ukraine," and I'm still trying to track down who paid for Euromaidan PR, the website of the Official Public Relations Secretariat for the Headquarters of the National Resistance.

Orange Revolution II

Preparing the uprising started long before Pyatt arrived in country, and much of it revolved around a talented and multi-lingual Ukrainian named Oleh Rybachuk, who had played several key roles in the Orange Revolution of 2004. Strangely enough, he recently drew attention when Pando, Silicon Valley's online news site, attacked journalist Glenn Greenwald and the investor behind his new First Look Media, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Trading brickbats over journalistic integrity, both Pando and Greenwald missed the gist of the bigger story.

In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko. As the generally pro-American Kyiv Post tells it, the shadowy Rybachuk was Yushchenko's "alter ego" and âoethe conduitâ to the State Security Service, which "was supplying the Yushchenko team with useful information about Yanukovych's actions." Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. In line with US policy, he also pushed for privatization of Ukraine's remaining state-owned industries.

Despite US and Western European backing, the government proved disastrous, enabling its old rival Yanukovych to win the presidency in the 2010 election. Western monitors generally found the election "free and fair," but no matter. The Americans had already sowed the seeds either to win Yanukovych over or to throw him over, whichever way Washington and its allies decided to go. As early as October 2008, USAID funded one of its many private contractors â" a non-profit called Pact Inc. â" to run the "Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms" (UNITER). Active in Africa and Central Asia, Pact had worked in Ukraine since 2005 in campaigns against HIV/AIDS. Its new five-year project traded in bureaucratic buzzwords like civil society, democracy, and good governance, which on the public record State and USAID were spending many millions of dollars a year to promote in Ukraine.

Pact would build the base for either reform or regime change. Only this time the spin-masters would frame their efforts as independent of Ukraine's politicians and political parties, whom most Ukrainians correctly saw as hopelessly corrupt. The new hope was "to partner with civil society, young people, and international organizations" â" as Canada's prestigious Financial Post later paraphrased no less an authority than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

By 2009, Pact had rebranded the pliable Rybachuk as "a civil society activist," complete with his own NGO, Center UA (variously spelled Centre UA, Tsenter UA, or United Actions Center UA). Pact then helped Rybachuk use his new base to bring together as many as 60 local and national NGOs with activists and leaders of public opinion. This was New Citizen, a non-political "civic platform" that became a major political player. At the time, Pact and Soros's IRF were working in a joint effort to provide small grants to some 80 local NGOs. This continued the following year with additional money from the East Europe Foundation.

"Ukraine has been united by common disillusionment," Rybachuk explained to the Kyiv Post. "The country needs a more responsible citizenry to make the political elite more responsible."

Who could argue? Certainly not Rybachuk's Western backers. New Citizen consistently framed its democracy agenda as part of a greater integration within NATO, Europe, and the trans-Atlantic world. Rybachuk himself would head the "Civil Expert Council" associated with the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Committee.

Continuing to advise on "strategic planning," in May 2010 Pact encouraged New Citizen "to take Access to Public Information as the focus of their work for the next year." The coalition campaigned for a new Freedom of Information law, which passed. Pact then showed New Citizen how to use the law to boost itself as a major player, organize and train new activists, and work more closely with compliant journalists, all of which would seriously weaken the just-elected Yanukovych government. Part of their destabilization included otherwise praiseworthy efforts, none more so than the movement to "Stop Censorship."

"Censorship is re-emerging, and the opposition is not getting covered as much,â Rybachuk told the Kyiv Post in May 2010. He was now "a media expert" as well as civic activist. âoeThere are some similarities to what Vladimir Putin did in Russia when he started his seizure of power by first muzzling criticism in the media.â

One of Rybachuk's main allies in "Stop Censorship" was the journalist Sergii Leshchenko, who had long worked with Mustafa Nayem at Ukrayinska Pravda, the online newsletter that NED publicly took credit for supporting. NED gave Leshchenko its Reagan Fascell Democracy Fellowship, while New Citizen spread his brilliant exposés of Yanukovych's shameless corruption, focusing primarily on his luxurious mansion at Mezhyhirya. Rybachuk's Center UA also produced a documentary film featuring Mustafa Nayem daring to ask Yanukovych about Mezhyhirya at a press conference. Nothing turned Ukrainians â" or the world â" more against Yanukovych than the concerted exposure of his massive corruption. This was realpolitik at its most sophisticated, since the US and its allies funded few, if any, similar campaigns against the many Ukrainian kleptocrats who favored Western policy.

Under the watchful eye of Pact, Rybachuk's New Citizen developed a project to identify the promises of Ukrainian politicians and monitor their implementation. They called it a "Powermeter" (Vladometer), an idea they took from the American website "Obamameter." Funding came from the US Embassy, through its Media Development Fund, which falls under the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Other money came from the Internews Network, which receives its funding from the State Department, USAID, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and a wide variety of other government agencies, international organizations, and private donors. Still other money came from Soros's IRF.

New Citizen and its constituent organizations then brought together 150 NGOs from over 35 cities, along with activists and journalists like Sergii Leschchenko, to create yet another campaign in 2011. They called it the Chesno Movement, from the Ukrainian word for "honestly. " Its logo was a garlic bulb, a traditional disinfectant widely believed to ward off evil. The movement's purpose was "to monitor the political integrity of the parliamentary candidates running in the 2012 elections."

This was a mammoth project with the most sophisticated sociology. As expected, the Chesno monitoring found few honest politicians. But it succeeded in raising the issue of public integrity to new heights in a country of traditionally low standards and in building political interest in new areas of the country and among the young. The legislative elections themselves proved grim, with President Yanukovych's Party of the Regions taking control of parliament.

What then of all New Citizen's activism, monitoring, campaigning, movement-building, and support for selective investigative journalism? Where was all this heading? Rybachuk answered the question in May 2012, several months before the election.

"The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked," he told Canada's Financial Post. "We want to do that again and we think we will.â

He Who Pays the Piper

Rybachuk had good reason for his revolutionary optimism. His Western donors were upping the ante. Pact Inc. commissioned a financial audit for the Chesno campaign, covering from October 2011 to December 2012. It showed that donors gave Rybachuk's Center UA and six associated groups some $800,000 for Chesno. PACT, which regularly got its money from USAID, contributed the lion's share, $632,813, though part of that came from the Omidyar Network, a foundation set up by Pierre and his wife.

In a March 12th press release, the network tried to explain its contributions to Rybachuk's Center UA, New Citizen, and the Chesno Movement. These included a two-year grant of $335,000, announced in September 2011, and another $769,000, committed in July 2013. Some of the money went to expand Rybachuk's technology platforms, as New Citizen explained.

"New Citizen provides Ukrainians with an online platform to cooperatively advocate for social change. On the site, users can collectively lobby state officials to release of public information, participate in video-advocacy campaigns, and contribute to a diverse set of community initiatives," they wrote. "As a hub of social justice advocates in Kiev, the organization hopes to define the nationâ(TM)s 'New Citizen' through digital media."

Omidyar's recent press release listed several other donors, including the USAID-funded Pact, the Swiss and British embassies, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the National Endowment for Democracy, and Soros's International Renaissance Foundation. The Chesno Movement also received money from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Figures for fiscal year 2013 are more difficult to track. Washington's shows USAID paying PACT in Ukraine over $7 million under the general category of "Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance." The data does not indicate what part of this went to Center UA, New Citizen, or any of their projects.

What should we make of all this funding? Some of it looks like private philanthropy, as back in the days when the CIA channeled its money through foundations. Was the Soros and Omidyar money truly private or government money camouflaged to look private? That has to remain an open question. But, with Rybachuk's campaigns, it makes little difference. USAID and other government funding dominated. The US Embassy, through Pact, coordinated most of what Rybachuk did. And, to my knowledge, neither Soros nor Omidyar ever broke from the State Department's central direction.

Strategic Containment, OK?

When Ambassador Pyatt arrived in Kiev, he inherited Pact and its Rybachuk network well on its way to a second Orange Revolution, but only if they thought they needed it to win integration into Europe. That was always the big issue for the State Department and the Ukrainian movement they built, far more telling than censorship, corruption, democracy, or good governance. As late as November 14, Rybachuk saw no reason to take to the streets, fully expecting Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union at a November 28-29 summit in Vilnius. On November 21, Yanukovych pulled back, which Rybachuk saw as a betrayal of government promises. That is what "brought people to the streets," he told Kyiv Post. "It needed to come to this."

Euromaidan would become a "massive watchdog," putting pressure on the government to sign the association and free trade deal with the EU, he said. "We'll be watching what the Ukrainian government does, and making sure it does what it has to do."

That is where the State Departmentâ(TM)s second Orange Revolution started. In my next article, I'll show where it went from there and why.

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money and the Corporate State: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How to Nonviolently Break Their Hold."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce