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Journal: I'm sick of political trolling/modding/meta-moderating... 2

Journal by illumin8

Has anyone noticed that the amount of political freaks that troll these forums has gotten out of hand lately? I mean, I just got meta-moderated as unfair for a comment that I modded informative that was highly relevant to the discussion.

Judge for yourself: This is the comment I modded informative.

The discussion was in the story about how "pseudo"-scientists were criticizing Gore's new movie, and this comment rightly showed some quotes by the same guy that was in the article, proving he was an industry shill.

So do you think now the conservative trolls have figured out that they can meta-moderate this board into oblivion? My Slashdot, how you've fallen lately... it's sad really.

User Journal

Journal: I'm coining a new political term - CINO

Journal by illumin8

Conservative in Name Only. We need this term to describe the Republican leadership that has run amok in this country. I heard a great story this morning covering the SCOTUS which upheld the Oregon law that allows for physician assisted suicide. The Death with Dignity act still stands.

Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to block this law by warping federal drug statutes to try and prohibit doctors from using the drugs in a way they weren't intended, to assist a suffering patient in dying. This was a right specifically given to the states by the controlled substances act, and the power-grab by our former Attorney General (cue "Let the Eagles Soar") was appropriately blocked by 6 reasonable justices.

The real interesting thing is that the 3 dissenting justices, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts, are also supposed to be conservative. Don't conservatives believe in States Rights? It seems completely ironic that the so-called conservatives in this country, that talk about shrinking government and states rights, are the same peckerheads that are trying to consolidate federal control and reduce the states ability to govern themselves.

What it all boils down to is this: The conservative leadership in our country should be called what they are: Conservative in Name Only. CINO.

Thoughts?

Slashdot.org

Journal: Slashdot banned my IP for no reason 4

Journal by illumin8

For some reason Slashdot decided to block my IP from posting. I tried to post a comment this morning and got the rather rude message:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "b7f55ff546593c6a8a2122edc93f82e1" and "41b55072759372690f7363ed52c288ea" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" and your username "illumin8".

So, I sent them a message with the following text:

I've been a Slashdot member for years and have never abused Slashdot. If there is another user on my IP range that is abusing please let me know and I will hunt them down and have their internet access revoked. I'm sysadmin at a small company and have the authority to do this.

The response I got fairly quickly was this:

You have been downmodded too many times and are in timeout for a bit.

This is getting ridiculous now. I just checked my posting history and of my last 24 comments (you can check it now if you want) I've written, only 1 was modded "Flamebait" (an unfair mod, I might add, if you read the comment you'll see). I also have 3 posts moderated Interesting, 4 posts moderated Insightful, and 1 moderated Informative.

What's more, I've been a Slashdot regular for years and have Excellent karma... What kind of BS are they pulling on my by banning my IP?

I've gotta be honest with you guys... The quality of Slashdot's editorial staff has always been really poor. Dupe articles are constantly posted, the editors feel free to write whatever blatantly biased comments they want to after the submitter's article, and all kinds of other BS go on that sometimes I get sick of putting up with. But, I keep coming back just because occasionally you'll get a good article. Lately, though, there have been days on end where I haven't seen even 1 or 2 good articles. Have you noticed this same thing happening as well, or is it just me?

Slashdot better get their shit together or I will leave here and not come back (except maybe to read my friends journals).

User Journal

Journal: I've stayed out of these things before, but not this time...

Journal by illumin8

Ok, I've stayed out of those free iPod things so far because I had no need for an iPod. Even though I have several friends online and know I could probably get one, but this one is too good to pass up. It's for a free Mac Mini (the 80GB model!). The offer is made by the same company, Gratis Internet, that did the free iPod scheme, so you know it's legit (I haven't heard of anyone being scammed by them yet, though they do take a little while to ship your product).

So I finally took the plunge and completed an offer. The offer I chose to do was the $9.95 1 month trial of Blockbuster's home DVD delivery service (Netflix competitor). I used to use Netflix and figured I can cancel after the first month, and get a few rentals for $10, plus a free Mac mini.

I could use your help though, so if you'd like a free Mac mini (who wouldn't?), please click on this link when you go to complete your offer.

Oh, and if you know of any better offers that don't cost any money at all, please reply and let me know. $10 isn't too much to spend, but free is better.

Edit: There is one free offer... The eFax offer is for a free 30 day trial, and if you cancel within the 30-day trial period you don't have to pay anything.

User Journal

Journal: My Journal is moving...

Journal by illumin8

Hi everyone. My journal is moving. I just setup WordPress on my server at http://lukeyoungblood.com, and I'm going to start using that rather than Slashdot as a forum for my "rants"... :-)

I'll still participate in the Slashdot community on a regular basis, but I like being able to change every aspect of my site and moderate all of the comments on my blog, the way you should be able to with any real blogging system.

You ought to pop over there and check out a new article I wrote about Insecurity at the Democratic National Convention.

Thanks for reading, and keep up the great work everyone.

Google

Journal: Free Gmail Invites (just read this journal) 17

Journal by illumin8

Hey, here are some free Gmail invites for all of my friends:

(first click, first serve):

Invite #1
Invite #2
Invite #3

Basically, I sent some invites to some friends that didn't want them. Ignore the name of the person on the invite, just change it to whoever you are and sign up. Oh, and if you're not already my friend, then befriend me already... :-)

UPDATE: They're all used up. I've got 6 more, so if you didn't get one, reply to this journal and I'll send you one.

UPDATE #2: I used up all of my other six as well. Post a message in this journal and maybe some other kind soul will be nice enough to give you an invite.

Google

Journal: How to get your POP3 or IMAP mail into Gmail easily 11

Journal by illumin8

For those of you that are wondering how to get mail from your IMAP or POP3 accounts into Gmail, I found a great way to do it with Fetchmail. These are the options I used:

fetchmail --all --keep \
--smtphost gsmtp57.google.com,gsmtp171.google.com \
--smtpname yourmailbox@gmail.com \
--protocol IMAP or POP3 \
--user yourmailserverusername \
yourmailserverhostname

Give this a try, it will prompt you for your IMAP password, then start copying away. BTW, the --keep flag tells it to keep all of your messages on your IMAP server, so it's not going to erase anything.

Some tips:

You may want to setup some Labels and Filters ahead of time on your GMail account so that you don't end up with 5000 messages in your inbox. For example messages that came from a domain name of my old employer get labelled with company name and archived automatically.

Messages will have all appropriate headers intact, however the timestamp that the messages are received will reflect the current time, rather than the original timestamp. There is no way around this because Google's SMTP servers automatically timestamp every incoming message.

There is no need to worry about MAIL FROM: headers being mangled like they would be if you forwarded them from a regular mail client. All MAIL FROM: headers will remain intact. Fetchmail only overwrites the RCPT TO: portion of the headers.

Let me know if you have any problems... Mine is currently chunking away on 850 out of 2867 messages... Gmail rocks!

United States

Journal: Bush still insists on lying to the American public 5

Journal by illumin8

Yesterday, the 9/11 commission released a report on the ties (or lack thereof) between Iraq and Al Qaeda:

The 9/11 commission's report said bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to (Saddam) Hussein's secular regime."

It says the contact was pushed by the Sudanese, "to protect their own ties with Iraq," but after bin Laden asked for space in Iraq for training camps, "Iraq apparently never responded."

The report also said, "There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." - Source - CNN.com.

In the face of this damning evidence, the honorable thing to do would be to admit your error and apologize to the American public. Of course, this is expecting entirely too much from an administration that has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to deceive the people in order to accomplish their political objectives.

Instead, the administration has gone into full-on damage control mode by sending Cheney out to try and discredit the media.

Let's compare Bush's statement from October 2002 (at the bottom of this article), with the findings of the 9/11 commission, and Bush's statement yesterday:

"Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." - GWB, October, 2002

"There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." - 9/11 Commission, June, 2004

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." - GWB, June, 2004

Let's summarize here. It appears that the administration's strategy to mitigate the political damage caused by telling one lie, is simply to tell more lies. Brilliant, but it won't work. Do they really think the American public is that stupid?

United States

Journal: Could the GOP be any more evil? 2

Journal by illumin8

I was just getting my daily dose of CNN and I found an article that blew my mind. Can you believe the GOP is trying to capitalize on Reagan's death already?? Naww, they wouldn't do something as evil as that, especially so soon after he died. At least let us mourn for a few hours before you start turning him into an animatronic puppet that says "Vote Bush/Cheney".

Not only are they using his likeness in an ad, without permission from his family, they are again using footage from the 9/11 cleanup. This frankly disgusts me. The Bush administration shouldn't be trying to use the deaths of innocent victims during 9/11 to gain political points. I think it just goes to show that they will stoop to any level to win the election.

Read the article here.

United States

Journal: Hearts and Minds: The real war is being lost

Journal by illumin8

Today our military has suffered yet another defeat in Iraq. Not on the battlefield; it is clear that our troops have military superiority, yet they are losing the war that really matters: The war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

On Sunday the Associated Press received a videotape that clearly shows the wedding celebration which was destroyed by the US military 5 miles from the Syrian border. I can't believe that after the overwhelming evidence that we killed innocent women and children during a wedding celebration, a coalition officer says "We still don't believe there was a wedding going on."

The war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people cannot be won by lies and deceit. It must be won through honesty and transparency. When innocent targets are struck, there must be accountability in our military. Again and again we are seeing that this war is different. In past wars, the propaganda machine could always gloss over the innocent casualties by feeding whatever lies were necessary to the news media. It is clear that in this war, the internet and international media has brought us a much less biased and propagandized story than we see on the "party news source", aka "Faux News". The lies told to the American people and the rest of the world cause even more damage when the truth is uncovered.

I can almost certainly guarantee you that other incidents like this will happen. War is a terrible business, and other innocent civilians will be killed. The only thing we can do is be honest with the American public and the rest of the world. Only by doing this can we save face and prove to the Iraqi people that we are more honorable than the insurgency which is gaining in popularity.

United States

Journal: Bush/Rumsfeld's flat-out assault on the Geneva Convention 1

Journal by illumin8

Wow. That's all I can say after reading this very informative article in Newsweek today.

It looks like Bush and Rumsfeld were both complicit in authorizing the use of torture and interrogation techniques that are in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Their logic? That terrorists are illegal, unlawful combatants and therefore the Geneve Convention does not apply. It appears that these methods were originally authorized only for Guantanamo Bay and Al Qaeda suspects, but in November of 2003 Rumsfeld authorized their use on Iraqi detainees as well, after getting frustrated with the lack of intelligence about WMDs and the insurgency.

It also appears that Colin Powell, the State Department, and military lawyers or JAG officers were the lone voices of protest against this policy. Of course Bush and Rumsfeld acted unilaterally on this and completely ignored their protests.

My question for you is this: Wouldn't authorizing the torture of prisoners and ignoring the Geneva Convention subject Bush and Rumsfeld to impeachment and possibly even trial for war crimes? As commander-in-chief, isn't Bush personally responsible for the war crimes committed by soldiers underneath him, especially if he personally authorized these techniques? I don't understand why there aren't a million US citizens camped out on the white house lawn right now demanding Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld be hauled away in shackles by UN peacekeepers to stand trial at the Hague.

Of course our "commander-in-chief" would probably never allow UN peacekeepers to step foot on US soil without launching WWIII.

Our country is so fucked...

United States

Journal: From Texas to Abu Ghraib: The Bush Legacy of Prisoner Abuse

Journal by illumin8

Heather Wokusch just wrote a great article revealing the Bush administration's pattern of mistreating prisoners in Texas, and makes the argument that the abuses committed in Abu Ghraib are just our latest "export" from America to the middle east: An overpopulated prison system that systematically mistreats prisoners, especially minorities.

Comments?

United States

Journal: Rumsfeld in a world of hurt 4

Journal by illumin8

Wow, when Fox News is running stories like this, you know things are getting really bad.

I don't actually expect Bush to do anything about Rumsfeld, but when pundits as blatantly biased as O'Reilly are calling for his head, maybe, just maybe, it might be time for the Bush adminstration to pull their head out of the sand and listen.

United States

Journal: Abu Ghraib

Journal by illumin8

I've been following the Iraqi prisoner abuse cases very closely, and I have a hypothesis as to why these abuses are taking place.

Remember after 9/11, when the CIA said "we need to hire more 'bad apples' in order to make our nation secure"? I'm paraphrasing, but basically, the argument was, that during the cold war, the CIA hired all kinds of unsavory characters to do their bidding. International terrorists, arms dealers, drug dealers. They were all made CIA agents, even though they were despicable people, simply because they had the know-how and underground contacts to get the job done. After the cold war ended, congress decided they should put some pressure on the CIA to fire a lot of the "bad apples" because they were no longer needed. That was one of the main arguments from the CIA about why they didn't know about 9/11: "We didn't have enough good agents."

So, fast forward to a few years later. We've been hiring all sorts of unsavory characters to work in intelligence services for the last couple of years. These guys are the scum of the earth, but they seem to get results. Some of them are put in charge of interrogation/intelligence extraction efforts at Abu Ghraib. They are told by senior military officers: "Get the information; I don't want to know how you get it; just get it." So now you've created an environment where the MP officers are ordered to do these things by the intelligence officers who are in charge of interrogation. When deplorable and dehumanizing acts like these are sanctioned by those in charge (rogue CIA agents), it doesn't take long before all kinds of depraved acts are being perpetrated on the prisoners. It's just human nature that these things start to happen. I find it similar to the "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" argument. If you put MP officers in a position of power over the prisoners, and encourage the use of torture and other methods used to break the willpower of a subject, you are asking for trouble. Human rights abuses will happen, and it's no great mystery that they are happening right now.

Right now the military has to make a tough decision: Which is more important, the basic human rights of the Iraqi prisoners, or our current administration's need to find WMDs before the election? It's obvious which one they've chosen up until now, and this is going to backfire bigtime for us. It's pretty hard to demand that the Iraqi militias treat foreigners they capture as hostages properly, when we're sodomizing their fellow Iraqis in prison. Likewise, it is hypocritical for us to demand the Iraqi militias follow the Geneva Convention when we have such blatant disregard for it.

What should the US do to solve this problem? Here are the steps I believe they should take:

Publicly apologize to the Iraqi people. Make the most sincere effort you can.

Replace all current intelligence officials at Abu Ghraib. These problems were started by senior intelligence officials who either ordered these abuses to take place, or turned a blind eye while their associates ordered them to take place. For that, they should be delivered to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

Replace all MP officers who were directly involved in the abuses. Even if they were ordered to do these things, the fact that they have performed these acts without reporting them to someone higher in the chain of command indicates that they have become corrupt with power and have the potential to abuse again.

What will happen? This is a totally different story. I think what we will see happen is this:

The US military will seek to blame all of the abuses on the MP officers at the lowest possible level, making them scapegoats for the abuses, even though they were ordered to do so by intelligence officials.

Several MP officers will be court-martialed.

The commanding officer of the prison will be sacked (already happened, I believe).

Basically, the CIA and DOD are looking for a scapegoat, and the MPs who performed the abuses will do just fine. That way nobody has to know about those shady folks that the CIA is hiring, and all of their wily ways. We can keep them on the payroll and keep extracting information from Iraqi prisoners. The human rights abuses will most assuredly continue, because this administration desperately needs to find WMDs before the election. They will just enact new rules such as banning digital cameras in order to make sure there are no leaks this time.

I find the methods our government uses deplorable. During the Iraqi invasion, the administration openly criticized the Iraqi government for airing pictures of American POWs. They said this was against the Geneva Convention (something about parading POWs in front of cameras to embarass them). How can a country that performs these vile acts on their own POWs have any recourse with the Geneva Convention? The answer is, we can't. We've become a nation of hypocrites, forcing other countries to adhere to the same code of conduct that we have no regard for.

Long live Pax Americana. I have a feeling we'll probably see the entire country crumble to bits in my lifetime and it's not going to be a pretty thing.

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