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Journal: Grassroots gone wrong: Spamming for Ron Paul

Journal by kalidasa

Some spammer has been sending out spam supporting Ron Paul. I've reproduced enough of the headers to show the source of the spam, and enough of the content to make it clear that the pro-Ron Paul message isn't just a hash buster, but the actual content of the spam. I'll assume that this is not part of the Ron Paul strategy, but simply a case of grassroots gone wrong, but I would think the Ron Paul committee would want to stomp this now.

Received: from 221.223.0.220 (localhost [127.0.0.1])
        by barracuda.[redacted].com (Spam Firewall) with ESMTP id [redacted]
        for ; Mon, 29 Oct 2007 07:27:38 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from 221.223.0.220 ([221.223.0.220]) by barracuda.[redacted].com with ESMTP id [redacted] for ; Mon, 29 Oct 2007 07:27:38 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from [221.223.0.220] by ns3.mot.com; Mon, 29 Oct 2007 11:27:33 +0000
From: "garfinkel chung-pi"
X-ASG-Orig-Subj: 3500 Americans Died In Iraq Stop The War! [Random String redacted]
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 09:40:11 +0000
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.3790.2663

        0.80 RCVD_IN_PBL RBL: Received via a relay in Spamhaus PBL
                                                              [221.223.0.220 listed in zen.spamhaus.org]

Hello Scott,

Ron Paul is for the people, unless you want your children to
have human implant RFID chips, a National ID card and create
a North American Union and see an economic collapse far worse
than the great depression. Vote for Ron Paul he speaks the
truth and the media and government is afraid of him.

Editorial

Journal: Parent Lies? [resolved]

Journal by kalidasa

The fellow who accused me of lying retracted it; he seemed rather reasonable after all.

So, I made this post in a discussion about a company, Omega Technologies, which is providing support services for overseas military voting and whose CEO is apparently (according to a New York Times editorial) a member of a Business Advisory Council for the Republican National Congressional Committee (basically, the organization that funds Republican Congressional candidates), demonstrating (with data cut and pasted from campaignmoney.com) that the NYT editorial was in fact correct in its categorization of which party said CEO had supported financially, and that the post I was replying to was wrong to assume that Omega is a big company, and that the CEO would donate money to both parties - and the hints that this assumption was wrong were right there in the editorial. The post I replied to said it was too late to do the research to prove his point - so I did the research, in about 10 minutes. I then pasted the link to the data, the data itself, a link to the company website, and an explanation of what I did, with a description of the Business Advisory Council from their website (I forgot to include their URL, http://www.businessadvisorycouncil.org/, but hell, that's easy enough to find), and this sentence:

Note, too, that I had to do some hunting to find this - in the database, the company name is mis-spelled "TECNOLOGIES" each time (rather strange, that).

Now, the one mistake I made was in using plain old text, so the data would appear in something like the format I pasted it, and I wouldn't have to do the HTML formatting to make it readable. Unfortunately, when you use plain old text, or in any other way paste a long URL without including it in an anchor tag (or if you don't put it in the bracket-URL: construction in plain text), the Slashcode adds a blank space at a particular character point (I haven't done the work to figure out which one) so that the URL will wrap and not screw up the layout of the page. This meant that the URL didn't quite work.

So, I got this reply:

Re:They donate both sides - parent LIES!!!! (Score:1)

WHOA right there buddy. First of all, you spelled TECHNOLOGY wrong. So I was not surprised when I got a "no results found" when I went to your "reference."

So I corrected the spelling... Still no result. http://www.campaignmoney.com/finance.asp?type=io&c ycle=04&criteria=OMEGA+TECHNOLOGIES+INC

And try searching these variations:
OMEGA
OMEGA TECH
OMEGA TECHNOLOGIES INC
OMEGA TECHNOLOGIES


The only result that turned up anything was "OMEGA TECNOLOGIES," even though the search blatantly says "(enter any part of the employer name or occupation)."

So I smell a rat... Or at least a poorly written database. Anyone find REAL info?

I ran a search for OMEGA, which my accusatory respondent says came up with no results. Guess what? It came up with 137 records, on 9 pages; I found one record for Ms. Williams at the bottom of page 7. DisKurzion apparently was as discouraged by the initial result of a search for OMEGA as I was, and didn't look carefully enough at the results.

The reason everything showed up as TECNOLOGIES in my posting - because that's the way it showed up in the records. I doubt that the records were fed in at the same time (they're dated differently), so either the sibling post who suggested that the spelling was an attempt to stay within a 30-char field is correct, or something funky is happening with this data: either at the database end, or, more sinisterly, on the part of the donater - but let's give Ms. Williams the benefit of the doubt.

It's pretty hard to find campaign contribution data by someone with a common name if all you have to go on is her name and her company, and the database consistently mis-spells the name of her company. So how did you find it, Kalidasa? Well, it took some searching.

I first did a search on for campaign contributions. That brought me to the campaign money.com website. I wish I knew more about the website, where its data comes from, etc.; I couldn't find the info after a cursory search. So then I searched for Omega Industries. Oops, wrong name. I tried Omega; too many results. So then I tried backdooring it - I went to the Omega Technologies website and got their zip code. I then searched for this zip code. Too many results again, but fortunately, that data was presented alphabetically by last name, so I was able to jump to the end and find Ms. Williams. Then I copied Ms. Williams' information to the search box and re-searched, and PRESTO! - there it was, as linked to.

So, just in case CampaignMoney.com is doing some funny business, I just did a search for Omega on another website, OpenSecrets.org. Interestingly enough, the name is again spelled Omega Tecnologies. Now, OpenSecrets.org is sponsored by the Center for Responsive Politics (can't say I like their URL, but since that just redirects to the OpenSecrets site, the only way you'll know about it is by looking at their email addresses), which is in turn funded by the "The Ford Foundation (currently under a three year grant of $1,000,000), The Pew Charitable Trusts (currently under a two year grant of $550,000), [and] The Carnegie Corporation (currently under a three year grant of $450,000)," to list just the first three (the only of the five major funders whose names I recognize. Their board includes Republicans and Democrats, and they criticize Republicans and Democrats. They tell us that they get their data from the FEC. So either CamapaignMoney.com is getting it from the FEC too (since they have the same mis-spelling OpenSecrets.org has), or they're getting it from the Center for Responsive Politics.

[EDIT - DisKurzion has apologized for the "lies" comment, and now sees that he was wrong on that point. So I'll give him credit for civility, and the guts to admit when he's wrong.]

Ok, once in a while I may post something I haven't researched enough. I'm not sure what exactly the Administration has done about military pay rates, I just know that some in the military are discouraged and feel they aren't getting paid enough. I haven't taken the time to research that, and yet have posted about it; so I'm not perfect. But I normally do try to limit my comments to things I can find some data about, and I usually check my sources.

By the way, when I metamod, I always mod as unfair any moderations that seem to me to be motivated entirely by politics - even if the moderation was by a liberal/progressive/Democrat against a conservative/Republican. It's possible to have sane political discourse, and I reward those who engage in it - even if I disagree with them. I suggest you all do the same.

User Journal

Journal: New Slashdot Poll

Journal by kalidasa

Posted as my very first journal entry because the story that it referred to has been taken down by the editors, after they belatedly noticed that it was a dupe of a story from earlier in the day.

(PS: The story is up yet again.)

Who's responsible for all the dupes we see on Slashdot?

1. Bill Gates. He is evil incarnate. All that is wrong with the world is due to the evil influence of Bill Gates. He's trying to make the FOSS movement look bad.

2. CmdrTaco. Like Nomar, he's spending too much time with his wife, and is off his game.

3. Subscribers. They're supposed to warn the editors when something from the mysterious future slips through that matches things in the equally mysterious present.

4. Editors who never read the "is there anything wrong with this story" emails.

5. Richard Stallman, for not including Slashcode in emacs.

6. Steve Jobs - the reality distortion field prevents editors from noticing the dupes.

7. Mods who misuse the "overrated" mod.

8. W.

9. Kerry.

10. CowboyNeal.

Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly suffer.

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