Thursday, August 21, 2014

Does Google Target Conservatives?

Should bloggers that challenge the ultra-progressive narrative (especially libertarians and conservatives) strongly consider using Wordpress instead of Blogspot?

On July 3rd, in anticipation of conservative buzz over D'Souza's America movie and July 4th weekend posts by conservative patriots with some extra time on their hands, Google employee activists are back to their old tricks. I came out of the theater looking to blog about the movie, and found I had an email about "suspicious activity" on my account.  Well, if Google didn't want me to think my account was hacked, this was a poor choice of words.  Turns out that I was the suspect, and my blog was guilty until proven innocent. (Note: This also occurred withing hours of me doing something I had never done before: commenting on an LA Times article and linking back to my blog!)  And as such the Blogspot interface would not even let me download or back up the data from my 'jailed' blog.  I was told that my blog had been removed.  As I was trying to find information about blog restoration and the review process, I was sent an email telling me that my blog had been reviewed and was denied reinstatement.  Which could easily have dissuaded a blogger from further pursuing the matter.  From a company that prides itself on user interfaces, is that the point?

Back in 2008 it seems that the 98% liberal Google workforce decided to silence criticism of Barack Obama including (or especially) blogs of pro-Hillary Democrats.
It turns out that there is an interesting pattern where it concerns the blogs that Google's Blogspot team have summarily locked down on their service. They all belong to the Just Say No Deal coalition, a group of blogs that are standing against the Obama campaign. It seems the largest portion of these blogs are Hillary supporting blogs, too.
The blogger GeekLove (a pseudonym) writes about how the timing of her blog removal made her suspicious. 
“I suspect that it was Obama supporters because I think the block was timed to affect blogs prior to the unity event so that we would not ‘rain on the unity parade,’ GeekLove said. “Also, Obama has ads out hiring people with no experience, except the ability to use computers. I presume these are the individuals responsible for silencing any opposition. His campaign has really harnessed the power of the internet and in the process learned to game the system in a way that I find frightening.”
In other words, select people (with a questionnaire) who will do anything to support the campaign, and have them simply do Google searches, find anti-Obama sites that get hits on Google, and flag them for review.   Hard to believe?  Do you not know how this Chicago politician became a state senator in Illinois to begin with???

Is all this bullying activism coming from outside Google?  Or are there people on the inside giving low priority to the resolution of suspected Terms of Service violations?  Well, realize that Obama now has the DOJ, the FBI, and the NSA now, not a team of campaign volunteers with PCs.  He can communicate to any staff members of Google and Facebook through intermediaries (although he has met with Zuckerberg directly), and enjoin them with a national security letter to not speak of anything said, especially their covert "cooperation" with the government.    

But even before Obama administration, the following was written by an alan james in 2008 (emphasis mine):
I recently started a new "conservative" blog on blogspot, and was "under review" for potential splogging within 48 hours. Here's the kicker - I hadn't even put any content on my blog yet. The only content on the blog were 2 gadgets (newsmax video feeds and fox news headlines) provided by blogspot.  
Oddly enough, when I learned I had been placed under review, it wasn't hackers I suspected of foul play, but the political leanings Google/Blogspot themselves. Call me narrow minded, but Occam's Razor seems to work here. It's not hard to imagine the simplicity with which Blogspot could flag conservative blogs from the outset and place them under review. 
Last year a "birther" blog was shut down for TOS violation in concert with a purported malware attack, as with the aforementioned alan james (most of the targeting is under the guise of anti-splogging).
I do know that on Oct. 1, 2013 this blog was severely hacked to the point the template had to be replaced and on the very same day Google AdSense sent notification that it was disabling the ads running for violating TOS listing, targeting an individual or group, as their reason, even though sites like Americans Against The Tea Party [] can run Google AdSense with no problem.
On one hand I thank Google and on the other I shame them. It is sad that such a great resource would let political ideology take over.
And when Christian Browne was given the anti-splog treatment, he was not directed at all to the forum at all by Google staff, and (naturally) concluded that that there was no appeal process for reinstating his blog.  This is all very similar to the tactics reportedly used by insurance companies.  Except that it makes you wonder what Google has to gain by this abuse in a venture that is no more a charity than Facebook is.

Timothy Carney describes the staff-swapping relationship between Google and the Obama administration as being like what occurs for ideological think tanks (maybe they shouldn't have lost all those people to Google before the Obamacare website was built):
This may surprise you if you believed Obama’s campaign rhetoric about him fighting against big business and wealthy executives. But the Google-Obama alliance is long-lasting and intimate.
A couple of examples:
Remember Obama’s No. 2 tech staffer at the White House was Google’s former top lobbyist — who improperly worked with active Google lobbyists on pushing policy that Google supported.
Obama appointed non-registered Google lobbyist and max-Obama donor Vint Cerf to a science advisory board.
Schmidt reportedly once asked a deputy to make the search engine ignore Schmidt’s political giving (heavy to Dems and Obama).
Has the search engine been tweaked before?  Is it possible that the Google search engine response to "WMDs" was a calculated ad as part of the Democrats' "Bush tricked us into voting for the War" strategy?  A lot of criticism over private company owners' donations (e.g. Chic-Fil-A) but no response to obvious campaigning by a search engine?  Google is also apparently joining Eric Holder in Obama's economic war against the 2nd Amendment through selectivity.  It would seem Google doesn't have much use for libertarians at their company.

These are stories leading up to the latest July 4th campaign.  With all the aforementioned problems, is it any wonder that when "technical difficulties" caused an error in the Google search engine turning up results for D'Souza's new movie America, D'Souza was skeptical about it?

And that brings me to the issue of Don Mashak who was caught in the Google's persecution of sploggers" and was given the run-around by Google staff even more egregiously than Christian Browne was.  The Google staff (volunteer staff?) made it sound to me that the problem is with other blogs (presumably at Blogspot/Blogger) that clone material to get hits.  (My articles haven't reached the level to even justify monetization, let alone are there clone blogs that pop up if I test the 'searchability' of my articles.)  What they told Don Mashak that weekend paints a different picture.  It would seem that these agents ruthlessly "persecute" (yes, they use the words) authors that publish the contents of their posts in other venues.

A prominent Google rep/reviewer (who writes articles explaining/defending Blogspot policy) obviously knows that the articles being compared are written by the same person.  The blogger embeds his name in the names of his blogs.  Don Mashak explains several several times that he is the owner of the content.  The reviewer is deliberately obtuse on this point as he never explains why an author can't reuse his own content.  If you question this, look where he mentions "scraped (i.e. stolen) or syndicated" and follows with "My guess is that 90% - 100% of your content is all scraped."  He could've said "You are not allowed to use your own content" and explain how the Google policy is interpreted that way (which would be very odd and not obvious to me why that would be the case, but ...), but he simply concludes this based on his contrived evidence that Don Mashak is lying about using content from articles written by ... himself!

The most telling part might be where the Google rep tries to put on the most I'm-being-reasonable tone (like the contemptuous tone of some managers use to talk to incensed customers like kindergartners):
If this sort of ranting is part of your blogs, that would explain why the blogs were deleted.
Wow.  Think about this. The sort of political complaining that Mashak is doing there might not score points with IT personnel, but how is it against Google policy?  This rep feels that Mashak is abusive because he is "paranoid" about the fact that they are doing nothing with the information provided, not really answering his questions, and basically stonewalling him.  It's theater in a blog forum.  But Mashak's tiresome reactions wear down the TOS agent into an admission of guilt.  I'm having a difficult time understanding what sorts of ranting are against the Terms of Service.

What also seems implicit is that Google has a text comparison application that is like the WinDiff utility, but deals with hypertext and probably searches hypertext at the site level. (And why wouldn't the Terms of Service reviewers have such a utility?)  Enter the name of a blog, and a list of suspected "plagiarized" sources and all commonly used text is cited.  That common text can then be used to run in the Google search engine and turn up results in many pages.  Lo and behold, sentences "chosen at random" turn up half a dozen articles all by the same author.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seeing Socialism From Space

China to the left, Japan to the right, and S. Korea below, make N. Korea look very dark indeed.
From space North Korea is an environmentalist's dream.  There is nothing to halt energy consumption like totalitarian repression and anticapitalist poverty.  (And nothing thumbs one's nose at filthy capitalism like keeping one's people dirt poor and miserable.)  With that level of energy production there is sure to either be starvation, or a smaller population due to past starvation. 

Fascist China, having roughly survived the Mao personality cult,  is doing better than North Korea which is a personality cult.  North Korea does have nuclear capability so even if the energy production per capita is nil.  You'd think that the only industry in North Korea is nuclear weaponry.  

Here is what one thoughtful person wrote about the idea that the picture above says something about "socialism":
North Korea is not a socialist state. It is a dictatorship pretending to be communist. There is nothing remotely related to socialism in such a state and no economic philosophy at play in such a state. Anyone making such a suggestion that it is truly an uneducated moron. England is a socialist state. Most of out [sic] democratic allies are as well. The US is socialist in many areas. We don't use the term, but the economic basis for things like Medicare is socialism. And it was socialism at play when George W. Bush briefly took over much of our banking and auto industry. So learn what the word means and what it doesn't. The lack of electricity and the starvation in North Korea has nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with a crazy dictatorial family in power.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Imperialism in Jerusalem

The City of Jerusalem.
Around 1967 something happened that changed the way the enlightened felt about Israel.  Several Arab nations decided it was time to get rid of them pesky Jews. While the first bully was still cocking his fist, Israel punched first, proceeded to beat 3 bullies at once, and then took their lunch money for good measure.  Israeli Jews were no longer victims to be pitied.

The anti-imperialist/multiculturalist set was all prepared to mourn the destruction of the Jews and send out the 1967 equivalent of hashtags.  Their demise would have meant as little to Europe as the demise of Christians and Kurds does now in the present day Arab nations.  But suddenly Israelis represented strength instead of victimhood, they represented self-determination rather than a pawn for the UN to posture over, they represented a militarily defensible democracy rather than another pitiable medieval theocracy.

Suddenly Europe wasn't so embarrassed about the Holocaust.  No longer content to wait in shtetls for the next progrom, Israelis not only demonstrated that an enterprising people could create wealth in an impoverished land but could defend it.

One of many things that amaze me about the anti-imperialist/multi-culturalist movement in Europe and North America is how sensitive they are to some tokens of conquest and not to others.  If Mount Rushmore had been the most sacred site to the Sioux nation, fundamental to their religious system for centuries, it would be difficult to feel as positive about its nationalism.  Wouldn't there be other places to make it after all?  Surely it would even be more embarrassing to have carved a Pilgrim holding a Bible.  Or if American Christians had carved a cathedral into the mountain?

Yet no one speaks about the message of religious imperialism that the Dome of the Rock communicates.  Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran.  It is central in the Jewish scriptures (what Christians call "the Old Testament").  Muslim imperialism built this mosque on the site of the Jerusalem Temple for two reasons: to demonstrate that the Muslims have a greater claim on Father Abraham (and the sites associated with him) than do the Jews, and because claiming the most holy Jewish site was a way of marking the territory of the former Israelite kingdom for political Islam.  As beautiful as the Dome is aesthetically, it is and always will be a deliberate symbol of conquest.  If there was an ancient cathedral built there, I think most Christians would feel (and should feel) a sense of embarrassment about it. (Not out of knee-jerk political correctness, but out of the fact that a 'building' is not the Lord's Church.)  Most evangelicals and fundamentalists in America would want such an edifice torn down.

The most visible landmark in all Jerusalem is a landmark of religious and political imperialism.  Jewish Israelis are much more tolerant of the existence of the Dome on their Temple Mount than most Palestinian Arabs and Muslims are tolerant of the existence of Israel in any part of Palestine.  If Jerusalem were unequivocally Israeli soil, the Dome would remain standing.  If it were entirely Palestinian, synagogues and temples would burn as Muslim crowds cheered and Americans tweeted their hashtags.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Contrasting The Democrat Narrative With Reality

SpaceX, the private rocket company founded by Democrat Billionaire Elon Musk got hit by a pair of class-action lawsuits yesterday.  One suit is over the fact that he fired 400 workers last year in clear violation of labor law.  California's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act unequivocally states that any company with over 400 employees must provide 60-day notice when laying off fifty or more employees.

The other suit alleges that SpaceX failed to provide employees, even those with safety-critical jobs, with state mandated lunch and rest breaks.  Even worse, SpaceX is accused of forcing workers to work off the clock and even falsify timekeeping records.  That last bit is a huge violation of federal law, and managers and executives in aerospace have been marched off in handcuffs for that exact violation. I work in that industry myself, and I can tell you that timekeeping is the one thing taken as seriously (or sometimes more so) than worker safety.

So where's the California Labor Board investigation of SpaceX? There isn't one.  Where's NASA's investigation of the company's timekeeping practices? Also completely absent.  Elon Musk is a major Democrat donor, and California is run by Democrats.  So is NASA in the form of Barack Obama who directed them to end manned American spaceflight and focus on Muslim outreach.

Meanwhile, here's the (incredibly ironic) narrative put forth by the Democrats:

Elon Musk's SpaceX is a prime example of something else the Democrats blame on Republicans:  Receiving unfair tax breaks.  In April of this year, the California Legislature passed and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB777 which specifically exempts SpaceX from the same property taxes that every other business in the state has to pay.

Hilariously, Musk promptly burned California and moved his operations to Texas.

Meanwhile, here's what Democrats claim to be reality:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Obama's Threat to Israel

An interview in which Obama defender Jeffrey Goldberg described a "veiled threat" from Obama, the President
But in today’s world, where power is much more diffuse, where the threats that any state or peoples face can come from non-state actors and asymmetrical threats, and where international cooperation is needed in order to deal with those threats, the absence of international goodwill makes you less safe. The condemnation of the international community can translate into a lack of cooperation when it comes to key security interests.  
In that case, maybe the good ol' U.S. can plead Israel's case instead of having John Kerry join that condemnation?  An honest answer to the question "Has Obama contributed to this 'diffuse-power' state of the world?" is that he has contributed a lot to it through his support of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihadists, al-Qaeda sympathizers, and political Islam in general; and his weak and ineffectual response to Iran's nuclear program.  But even more importantly, that "absence of international goodwill' has been there since 1967 if not earlier, and international goodwill did not protect Israel in 1967 anyway.  The only thing that will leave Israel less protected is the loss of America's goodwill, and John Kerry's recent undermining of the peace process is not a good sign.

It is good to remember the outrage over Romney's comments over Palestine, as though it were unconscionable for Romney to do anything other than to interfere in Israeli politics get the Palestinians the two-state solution that they consistently refuse. (All of Romney's reasons seemed very cogent.)  In the Goldberg interview, Obama seems to be all in favor of kicking the can down the road, only unlike Romney he is typically nebulous about everything except his critical attitude toward Israel.

Only now Obama is showing his disapproval to Israel by routing routine military supplies to Israel through the White House itself, as though it is somehow helpful for Barack to sign off on this and that in case we accidentally give Israel too much support.

Regardless of Obama's personal prejudices, Israel hasn't lost the goodwill of the American people in general, particularly of the evangelicals and conservatives.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Obama the Pro-NSA "Moderate" Uber-Progressive

Now that Obama is getting ridiculously low numbers in public opinion, it's time to revisit the disenchantment of 2012.
. . . unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman—and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ . . .
Kevin Drum basically argues in that election year piece ('A Pretty Damn Good Presidency') that Obama was really an uber-progressive even though Obama and his associates made it "pretty clear" that they despise the progressive base.  This piece, of course, was an effort to rally the disenchanted progressive base months before most of the media blitz that consisted of vilifying Romney, politically spinning Hurricane Sandy, and de-spinning jobs and the Benghazi debacle.  Obama had somehow managed to communicate to progressives that he despised them in spite of doing more for them than a host of liberal icons.  Drum didn't explain what this "seems to despise" consists of (it is a vague nod to the vague alienation his readers apparently felt), but contented himself with reminding his liberal audience that it is obviously just an act.  (Or alternatively, arguing that Obama believes in progressivism in spite of despising everyone.)

This is an interesting comment compared to the following from RationalWiki's hit piece on Dennis Prager   (note that 'RationalWiki' is using "rational" as a synonym for "progressive"), given the staunch depiction of Obama as a centrist:  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Free Gaza From Whom Exactly?

Over the past few weeks he received tens of emails from Gaza City acquaintances, even from Sajiyah, begging, literally begging, not to halt the operation prematurely – to please free them from the horror of living under Hamas.  They are begging for us to finish the job because Hamas is too horrible to countenance.  He showed me a video, smuggled out of Gaza, of Hamas police beating people to prevent them from leaving the area after an Israeli warning – I saw a pregnant woman beaten to death.  - Mordechai ben-Menachem
If you are on the political Left in America, it is almost certain that you will not believe such a thing happens since that makes it difficult to keep focusing on the civilian casualties; or you will have to believe it does not matter.  Just like it doesn't matter what happens to Palestinian Arabs in Middle Eastern nations other than Israel, or what happens to Christians in those nations for that matter.  Like Russell Brand, you can live in denial, because the media outlets you depend on aren't interested in such accounts either.  Like Nancy Pelosi, you might think that Hamas is a humanitarian organization who vow to keep killing Jews until all of the former British Mandate of Palestine is under Islamic theocracy, simply because the Qataris and Turks say so.  

Hamas’ state sponsors are Qatar and Turkey.  Qatar is the bankroll.  Turkey is the Hamas NATO representative; think about that!  Turkey has also been a major supporter of ISIS and al Nusra. (ibid.)
What Iraqis do to Kurds, what Iranians do to gays, what sharia Muslim extremists do to Christians and their own women, what the Chinese do to the various peoples of various religions under their iron rule (e.g. Tibet) - none of it is nearly so interesting as to what Israelis lengths Israelis will go to protect their citizenry from deadly attacks.  Comparatively, all other global suffering is a yawnfest.  An Islamic group has to kidnap and rape a whole school full of children just to be tweetworthy by our Executive Branch and the factions they represent.  Even what Hamas do to the already troubled Palestinian people is not very interesting.  

Most Palestinians (presumably those who haven't been forced yet to act as human shields) may not realize how Hamas is destroying them.  And even if they do realize now, it's possible that they deserve this misery, having asked for it by knowingly electing Hamas with its openly genocidal purpose.  Either way, both Israelis and Palestine need to be free of the cancer that is Hamas.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Passive Anti-Semitism

The Mighty Kerry at the bat...
“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors not out of strength, but out of weakness.”
Remember when Obama said to Romney about Russia:  "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back."  Maybe it’s time to call the 1980s to ask for our old foreign policy back.  The one we have now is truly awful.  It's Obysmal in fact. What does Obama have to say about Russia now?  This flexing of power against their neighbors is, in his opinion, a sign of their diminishing power, a sign of weakness. Wow. When this guy shovels it, he uses both hands.

Now, Russia and Iran have a new competitor for total foreign policy poochscr&w:  Just how catastrophic can progressive foreign policy get in the Middle East?  Well, Clinton bailed before she could find out the answer to that question, so enter 'Boston Strangler' Kerry.  Kerry and the President have said that Israel should be doing more to prevent Palestinian casualties, but haven't done us the service of saying what that is or why they think this.

Meanwhile various commentators are saying that fairness dictates comparing Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths, not comparing attempts to kill and hostile aggressions.  Apparently one is supposed to not remove the threat unless the terrorist attack succeeds, (just like one is only supposed to defend oneself if actually hit by a bullet). Sheik 'Yer Mami has a cogent answer to this biased assertion.   

As almost the whole Arab world is shrinking back from the stink of Hamas, Nancy Pelosi seems willing to take the Qataris' word that Hamas is a humanitarian organization (maybe the Qataris are getting rich off of the deals that procure expensive weaponry for Hamas? Poor Nancy), while Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel is calling out Hamas for its tactics that are responsible for the high civilian casualties.   
In my own lifetime, I have seen Jewish children thrown into the fire. And now I have seen Muslim children used as human shields, in both cases, by worshippers of death cults indistinguishable from that of the Molochites. [emphasis mine]

Why Do They Hate the Jews?


[Going back] to 2003, we find that another American president, named George W. Bush, directly addressed [the resurgence of anti-Semitism] in a speech at London’s Whitehall Palace on November 19 of that year.  He not only warned of the return of anti-Semitism; he scolded European leaders for averting their eyes from it. “Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause. And Europe's leaders -- and all leaders -- should strongly oppose anti-Semitism, which poisons public debates over the future of the Middle East.” (When I had the opportunity, at a White House reception, to thank Mr. Bush in person for these remarks, he replied that “it’s much worse there than you can imagine.”)  [link]


People have become inured to the quiet bigotry that Jews face, probably because they are pale skinned and often DON’T LOOK ANY DIFFERENT than most of us,” Bellerose wrote. “We have stopped taking it seriously when a Jew says, ‘What you just said makes me uncomfortable.’ Because they look just like us, it’s hard to understand that they could be targets, BECAUSE TO WESTERN PEOPLE IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO BE PREJUDICED AGAINST SOMEONE WHO LOOKS LIKE YOU.  [link


Kristallnacht Reenacted in France on Small Scale

French lay siege to shul while Jews
wait for police intervention.
Yep, French people who are likely Arab and Muslim have rallied in Paris to demonstrate for peace.  They have apparently learned how to do this in Palestine since they think this involves wrecking Jewish-owned shops, laying siege to a synagogue, and shouting "Death to Jews."

While this pogrom was awful and scary, it simply reveal the anti-Semitism that France, and Europe, has been condoning there all along by implicitly agreeing with Palestinians about Israel and not being vocal against Hamas.

They are in fact so used to tiptoeing around  Hamas, that they may say little about the shooting of Palestinian dissenters by Hamas.  Stick to criticizing Israel and the U.S.  It's safer.

Yes, this is bad.  But the timing is really good if it can successfully draw attention to the situation that even people in the U.S. have been trying so hard to ignore.

What is keeping this situation going?  The unqualified, uncritical support for the Palestinian cause by Westerners in Europe and the U.S.  This Palestinian goal of the destruction of Israel is simply unacceptable and it simply should not be accepted.  If the Palestinians can't keep their people from attacking Israel, they should be occupied or sent to Syria.