discarded lies: sunday, march 18, 2018 12:17 am zst
Blessed are the Bewildered
daily archive: 02/10/2005
evariste in Discarded Lies:
I have the flu. And why doesn't Frank IBC get my emails?
I have the flu. It started yesterday with a low grade grade fever and got mildly worse today. I'm hoping it's a 48-hour thing. Isn't that completely fascinating? I knew you'd be interested.
Don't worry-even though I'd probably die of this mild flu if left to my own devices, zorkie is taking very good care of me and reminding me to eat things and drink things and swallow things and I'm sure I'll live. Anyway, that's why I haven't been present much in the comments today. Sorry about the guy impersonating everyone. Registration is coming soon...:-)

Frank IBC, here's why I can't email you: Verizon, heal thyself
IN THE WORLD of Verizon email, I am a non-person.

Or, rather, I am one of the people in Europe who for the last month and some has been unable to email addresses at Verizon.net, including that of my agent.

My email to her began doing the four-day bounce in late December. By mid-January, when I started to bug her about it by phone, she told me that she was having trouble getting email from a number of her European contacts. This made no sense to me: true, mail from my domain, pelicancrossing.net, comes from a UK-based mailserver at the end of my DSL, but the domain and my Web site are hosted on Pittsburgh-based Pair Networks. A week or two later, her email troubles hit the Washington Post.

The culprit is Verizon's anti-spam effort. Verizon told the Post it was merely "monitoring its own networks and blocking mail from other networks that Verizon deems to be conduits of large-scale spamming." In some reports I've read, there's a hint that only spammers would complain about these efforts. Apparently there have been anonymous complaints. Well, lissen up, Verizon, this is a fully identified, public complaint.

First of all, my mailserver is locked down – it's not an open relay – and my tiny home network is virus-free. So I'm not sending spam. Wizards, my ISP, is a small, very responsible outfit, and I feel safe in saying that it does not operate a safe haven for spammers. Its upstream ISP is, in turn…British Telecom's wholesale broadband service. Is BT a "conduit of large-scale spamming"? Really? Compared to Earthlink or AOL? Or compared to what we're being warned is about to happen, virus-infected zombie PCs using ISPs' own mail servers to send out junk?

Second: the Spamhaus Project notes that 80 per cent of spam comes from approximately 200 known spam operations. BT is not on the Spamhaus Project Register of Known Spammers. Neither is any other well-known European ISP. In fact, only one ISP from any European country is on that list, and it's in Poland. Most spam originates from US operations. Besides them ROKSO includes a handful from China, Australia, Canada, and a few other countries. But if you really want to block most spam, the rational approach is to block the US. It is arrogant, nationalist, and stupid for any American ISP to fail to recognise this fact.

Third: some time back, a Net pioneer who read a net.wars set out to email me about that column and got bounced by my mailserver because his domain had been placed on the real-time blacklist my server consults before accepting mail (which it then runs through the excellent SpamAssassin. Being a resourceful type, he consulted my Web page, found an alternative address, and emailed me there. By then, his email had expanded to include a critique of real-time blacklists. The basic argument: they are undemocratic and open to abuse. I do sympathize with that argument (though less so with the claim that blocking spam is censorship). Verizon's action displays exactly everything that could possibly be wrong with blacklists: vigilante justice that doesn't care how many innocents are trapped in the net. Notified that my friend couldn't email me directly at my main address, I whitelisted him, as Verizon is advising its customers to do. But even with the blacklist turned on, he was able – with a little effort – to find a valid email address he could use to reach me. People trying to reach Verizon customers do not in general have this option. I should note, with great sadness, that the UK's Demon Internet, once a champion of net.freedoms, provides spam-blocking but no user-configurable controls beyond opt-in or opt-out, which I find shameful, especially given the ISP's history.

Fourth: my agent submitted me for whitelisting on January 19, and despite Verizon's claim that the problem should be solved within 48 hours, I'm still blocked.

It is utterly legitimate for Verizon to try to please its customers by cutting down the amount of junk they receive. Whether the Old Net likes it or not, most people want the junk weeded out for them, even if the anti-spam efforts inflict worse damage on the Internet than the spam itself does. There is a lot of pressure on ISPs to provide blocking. But there is no requirement for ISPs to be stupid about how they do it. Or greedy – Verizon's tech support told my agent she could be let out of the blocking if she paid to upgrade to a domain name of her own.

Verizon could have done a number of things. It could have installed filters like SpamAssassin or Brightmail and given users individual control over what mail they chose to receive. It could have sent a letter or email to all their customers explaining that they were installing spam blocking and outlining what they expected to block, and given customers the right to opt in or out of the service. They could have used existing real-time blacklists, choosing ones that at least provide some information about what criteria they use to create their lists.

Instead, it blocked Europe and suggested that anyone who had a problem with that "might want to make a phone call". Wonder how many of the people they've blocked are shareholders. µ

Wendy M. Grossman’s Web site has an extensive archive of her books, articles, and music, and an archive of all the earlier columns in this series. She has an intermittent blog. Readers are welcome to post there or to send email, but please turn off HTML.

I'm not even emailing you from Europe, but I imagine this is why Very Zon is putting me on four-day-bounce mode with you. Four day bounce? No wonder I'm sore. And is this how I got pregnant?
I recommend dumping Verizon's email service in favor of Fastmail or Fusemail (the free plan from either one is great, although I like both services enough to pay for them). Or if you like I'll send you one of my 50 (!) gmail invites. I don't much like my gmail and don't really use it. Actually, gmail invites for all. Who wants it? I don't know 50 people to give this to! Sheesh.
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kianb in Discarded Lies:
Iranian Jailed Pastor Accused of Deception, Apostasy and Proselytizing Muslims, Now in Court
Compass Direct writes: "Christian lay pastor Hamid Pourmand [حمید پورمند] went on trial before a military court in Tehran last week, charged with deceiving the Iranian armed forces about his religion. It was the first time Iranian authorities have produced Pourmand since his arrest five months ago. An army colonel, Pourmand converted from Islam to Christianity nearly 25 years ago.

Iranian laws prohibit non-Muslims from serving as military officers. However, Pourmand reportedly declared in court last week that he had documented proof that the army knew he had become a Christian before he was ever given officer rank. It is expected that regardless of the outcome of his deception charges before the military court, Pourmand will now be forcibly discharged from the Iranian army. Pourmand also faces another trial on two separate charges of apostasy and proselytizing. Under Iranian law, apostasy is a capital offense."

“Either he will be forced to return to Islam," one Iranian Christian source noted, “or he will face a very big problem now."

Read the full story here.

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
UK about to make the Charles De Gaulle look like an even worse hunk o' junk
Sorry, no link yet for this one, but quoted in its entirety:
Britain’s largest defense firm, BAE Systems, has sealed a long-debated US$5.4 billion deal with the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the building of two aircraft carriers that will be the largest ships in the British Royal Navy’s arsenal. On Monday, the Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) unit of US-based Halliburton was chosen to coordinate the construction of the aircraft carriers. BAE had been slated for the project back in January 2003, but had since threatened to pull out of the deal when it seemed that the controversial Halliburton group would take over a significant part of the project. The announcement made by British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon on Monday described KBR’s role as that of "physical integrator", according to a report in the Guardian daily. An unnamed industry source told Reuters on Monday that the MoD had agreed to limit KBR’s powers, pacifying BAE. KBR’s role will reportedly be limited to advising the MoD and overseeing financial controls, timetables, and planning. The carriers are being designed by Paris-based Thales Group. There had also been much debate over the participation of KBR at a time when its parent company, Halliburton - which has close ties to the White House - is being investigated for corruption. Critics had also voiced concerns because the US company has no track record in shipbuilding. However, the British MoD had said that because of the magnitude of the aircraft carrier project and BAE’s past mistakes, it wished to involve external management. The 60’000-ton aircraft carriers will not only be the largest in the British Royal Navy, but the largest in Europe. The first carrier is slated to be delivered in 2012 and the second in 2015.
The Charles De Gaulle: 38,000 tons. Here's a nice Google News search to entertain you; the upshot is that Kellogg, Brown and Root will be managing and BAE Systems will be building, the reason being that the UK Ministry of Defence doesn't trust BAE much after previous foul-ups. From 2002: BAE Systems : sinking fast and from 2004: Can BAE and MoD put an end to their feud?
Let's just hope it doesn't run Windows 2000, for the love of God.
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sine in The People's Diner:
Cuisine of the Undead Thread
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Attorney Lynne Stewart was found guilty of smuggling messages from her jailed client, Sheik Rahman, to his followers. She's facing up to 20 years in prison.
A co-defendant, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, was found guilty of conspiracy for plotting to kill and kidnap persons in a foreign country by publishing an edict urging the killing of Jews and their supporters. A third defendant, Arabic interpreter Mohamed Yousry, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists. Sattar could face life in prison and Yousry up to 20 years.
From A Blog For All: We Find the Defendant Guilty As Charged
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Simply Evil
Criminologists and psychologists have been hard put to explain why certain individuals commit horrific crimes, but now some leading US scientists have concluded a few psychopaths are simply evil.

The diagnosis was reported on Tuesday in the New York Times, revealing that a group of scientists at New York University had come up with a depravity scale to help explain criminal savagery that defies usual psychological explanation or treatment.

While much of the public may think it natural to call vicious serial killers who cannibalise their victims "evil", psychiatrists have always avoided the term since it implies a moral rather than a clinical judgment.

Criminal psychologists talk morality
The researchers classify as evil "people who commit breathtaking acts, who do so repeatedly, who know what they're doing, and are doing it in peacetime.." But what was Mengele if not evil? And since not all wars involve genocide or willing executioners who take joy in torture and killing, I don't understand how we can apply this definition of evil to peacetime only. Isn't the everyday small evils that bring about the bigger ones?
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guest author: monkeyweather in Discarded Lies:
The War Against Israel and Growing European Nationalism
In researching what in the hell the EU is up to with regards to Israel these days (absolutely NO GOOD is the answer), I came across what I think is a very important and insightful speech written by a very brave woman - Ilka Schroder, Member of the European Parliament. I'm sure the things she spoke of could make her very unpopular with the folks whose agenda she is so clearly exposing.

It was written before the death of Arafat - but it is quite relevant and bears another look for anyone interested in the future of Israel and the direction Israel is headed in with the constant intrusion of the EU led by the omni-present Javier Solana. After all, Arafat took direction for many years from Mahmoud Abbas. (If you recall, Abbas wrote his thesis at Moscow University on the supposed contacts between "Zionists" and the Nazis, and is a Holocaust revisionist). It appears the death of Arafat caused a lot of people to develop amnesia regarding Mr. Abbas - he is not a "peacemaker", that's for sure. His obsessive hatred for Jews goes WAY back, so Ms. Schroder's words also fit the post-Arafat situation.

The EU, the US, and Israel -

Javier Solana told Israelis that the EU “is a very important international power and is going to play a role here whether you like it or not�? (Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2004).

Israel was the first of 17 countries to sign onto the ENP. Could be another in a long line of recent and disastrous decisions made by the current Israeli leadership. Just a couple of goals of the EU (for now) appear to include eliminating the US as a valuable ally of Israel by making us irrelevant, and eventually disarming Israel and causing the security walls to be dismantled. Already Israel is being harrassed about its nuclear arsenal, something I had thought the EU would be smart enough to avoid discussing until Israel is firmly locked into the ENP agreement. From the Jerusalem Post, December 9, 2004: "For the last month the agreement was stuck on the chapter dealing with weapons of mass destruction, with the Europeans keen on formalizing a dialogue with Israel on the matter." The ENP agreement is set to formally begin January 1, 2007. In the meantime, I think we can all expect to see the EU developing a more and more heavy-handed approach towards Israel while simultaneously using the back of that hand to diplomatically dispense with any possible US involvement, power, or relevance.

Read Ilka Schroder's speech after the jump.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Sinister Blogosphere Gets Gannon's Scalp
I blogged Jeff Gannon recently. It looks like the left blogosphere has managed to upset his applecart.
MediaCitizen: Gannon Quits After Blogger Inquiry
The Talon News correspondent at the center of a scandal over his White House press credentials quit last night amid a growing online investigation into his history, including allegations of involvement with several websites appearing to support gay pornography and promote male prostitution.

A Right Show of Gratitude
Jeff Gannon (a pseudonym) announced last night via his personal website that he had found it "no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life."

It's this "private life" that may have precipitated Gannon's departure. In the last week, Investigative bloggers at World O'Crap, Daily Kos and Eschaton have dug up evidence that implicates Gannon as the owner of web domains hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, which are registered under the same owner as Gannon's home page www.jeffgannon.com. Two of the three web addresses are no longer active. The third, hotmilitarystud.com, requires registration before viewing the content. It now appears that the person registered as the individual owner of these domains, James "JD" Guckert, is in fact Gannon, according to investigative bloggers at Eschaton and elsewhere.

One hour prior to his resignation, MediaCitizen sent an interview request to the now former correspondent. As part of the request, I outlined a series of questions regarding Gannon's background in journalism, his relationship to members of the White House staff, to Talon News' parent company GOPUSA, as well as to the Wilmington company, Bedrock Corporation, which is the registered owner of the websites in question. Gannon resigned within an hour of receiving these questions. This was MediaCitizen's second request for an interview as a follow up to an earlier report.

Gannon's decision to leave Talon News may be related to the news site's frequent homophobic stance on issues pertaining to gay rights, marriage and adoption. A recently discovered photo, allegedly depicting the former correspondent, suggests a potential conflict between his lifestyle and the beliefs shared by his colleagues at the conservative news site. For their part, Talon News removed Gannon's bio from their website at the beginning of this controversy, nearly two weeks ago. Here's the cached bio. While blog investigators at Daily Kos claim that the image in question depicts Gannon, this has yet to be confirmed.

We needn't take the issue of Gannon's lifestyle any further. This is not a story about sexual orientation but about the viability of our Fourth Estate in the face of increasing efforts to disguise propaganda as straight news. By acting as a White House shill -- lobbing softball questions to Press Secretary McLellan and President Bush and posting, wholesale, administration press releases as "news" -- Gannon rightly came under harsh scrutiny. You can view Gannon in action via this link on CSPAN.

His decision to leave Talon News was his own, but it was aided along by a well mobilized blogosphere, intent on shedding more light on this man's duplicitous role as a White House "correspondent."

= = = = =
3:00pm Update: It's still unclear what Gannon's real name is, which raises another question: How does someone operating under a pseudonym gain such close access to the President of the United States? Surely, someone within the Congressional Press Galleries and Secrete Service does background checks on all credentialed and "day pass" journalists. Somewhere along the line someone inside the White House knew Gannon wasn't Gannon, but they gave him a waiver anyway. Were special favors granted to Gannon that wouldn't have been granted to a real journalist?

= = = = =
3:30pm Update: Once again, Talon News has "scrubbed" its site. Apparently, we were sending too many people to their homophobic reporting (stories linked to in the fifth paragraph above). They have removed the stories in question along with other material describing their relationship with Gannon. Thankfully, one of Mediacitizen's readers alerted me to the scrubbing and pointed me to an archive where they may now be read. I have re-inserted these new links above.

= = = = =
8:00 pm Update: NPR's "All things Considered" has broadcast an interview with Gannon that also features some comments on the matter from me. They've posted the segment on their website. There, you also can listen to the complete, unedited interview with Gannon -- very strange -- or read the transcript here. More than anything, he comes across as someone way out of his depth.
Well, the left-wing blogosphere comes into its own as it finally claims its first scalp. Welcome to a taste of the blog power that lastingly lashed into Lott, Rather, Kerry, CBS, the New York Times and lots of other institutions.

I find it distasteful that they destroyed him over controversy about his sexuality and their inability to accept a White House reporter that was friendly to the President. Trent Lott was a racist pig; Kerry a traitor; Rather seditious. All were major figures on the American stage. Gannon was a bit-player, but he's given them a taste of blood and they'll keep trying to reproduce their success. They might even succeed sometimes. The right wing blogosphere is still more powerful and well-connected; it seems mainstream while the left wing seems disaffected and full of radicals. The contrast in the quality of the kills brought down by the right wing blogs versus the left wing ones is remarkable. Anyway, we'll see your Jeff Gannon and raise you an Eason Jordan-much bigger game. Have fun with your insular witchhunts, we'll fell all your puffed-up media demigods one by one in the meantime.

Jeff, I hope you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and resurrect your public persona bigger and better than before. It's America and you can do that here. Don't let a bunch of gibbering leftist monkeys send you into exile. Start a blog. The blogosphere is one place you can be a political pundit at the same time as running a budding gay porn empire and no one will blink an eye. One lesson you might consider making sure you learn is being true to yourself and not keeping a part of your life that can cause you trouble secret.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Crescent of Power
Even before elections in Iraq, it was a foregone conclusion that Shiites would come out of the process the dominant community. Yet, a more urgent question being posed today in the Middle East is, What happens to Shiites throughout the region once their brethren fully inherit Iraq?
Overstating the Shiite Monolith
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zorkmidden in Bloggies Of Our Lives:
Episode 301,434,745
Romantic setting at a romantic bar/restaurant near the lake.

Throbert: evariste, darling, you're pensive tonight.

(evariste looks piercingly at the camera)

evariste: Throbert, we have to talk.

(Throbert looks questioningly at the camera)

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Balkans...

In his office, UN Chief-in-Charge-of-Invasions Colt, is looking over a stack of papers while squirming in his seat. Underneath his desk, his secretary is also squirming.

Colt: A little to the left...

Portia: ...

Colt: Right there...

Portia: ...

Colt: Oh, yes...

Portia: I hope I get extra rations for this...

Colt: Yes, of course m'dear, I'll get you an extra tin of biscuits.

Portia: Your feet are very stinky.

Colt: Are you saying one tin isn't enough?

Portia: Your toenails are huge.

Colt: Er...I'll add a pound of cheddar?

Portia: I can't cut this one for nothing...

Colt: OUCH!!!

Portia: Oops, sorry...

The phone rings. Colt answers while trying to stop the bleeding on his little toe.

Colt: UN Chief-in-Charge-of-Invasions Colt.

Colt: NY Na-!

Colt: Wha-?!

(Colt gasps in shock and stares at the camera very alarmed...)

Meanwhile in the barn...

Gustav: Achtung Ali, how is the nuclear suitcase?

Ali: Oh, Gustav! Very good, very safe. I'm sitting on it.

Gustav: Ok, here's the deal...

(Ali leans his head contentedly on Gustav's shoulder)

Cut to the veranda of a beautiful mansion in Beverly Hills.

zulubaby: Ja, grapefruit.

Mr. Pol: Yes, madam.

zulubaby: And champagne, of course, Mr. Pol.

Mr. Pol: Yes, madam.

zulubaby leans back in the chaise-longue, her long legs symmetrically tanned. Her Manolo mules with the ostrich feathers further accentuate the perfection of her toes. The phone rings.

zulubaby: Ja?

zulubaby: Jefe, I've told you not to call me here, it's not safe.

zulubaby: Wha-?!

(zulubaby gasps in shock and a worried look appears in her eyes...)

zulubaby: When?

zulubaby: How could you let this happen, Jefe?

zulubaby: No, don't do anything yet. Let me meet with Charles first.

zulubaby: Ja, I'll call you. Bye.

zulubaby rings the bell. Mr. Pol appears instantly.

Mr. Pol: Yes, madam?

zulubaby: Mr. Pol, please tell ploome to get the Jaguar ready; we'll be leaving in 10 minutes.

Mr. Pol: Yes, madam.

zulubaby: And tell her to bring the guns. All of them.

Mr. Pol: Yes, madam.

(zulubaby glares worriedly at the camera as she takes a sip of champagne...)

Meanwhile in Germany...

Stormi: Cam!

Cam: Stormah!

Stormi: Cam! Wazzup?

Cam: Wazzup Stormah?

Stormi: Hey Cam, wazzup?

Cam: Stormah!

To be continued...
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