Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Trolls!"


The Never-ending Story of the "Trolls" of "Lost Coast Outpost."

I have been blogging/commenting as “moviedad,” on the local blogs since the late 1990’s. Clicking on my profile always lead straight to some identifying site. I published this blog in the early 2000’s. And have deleted and republished it once or twice. I’ve never been anonymous in my blogging.
It has been a constant activity for me to visit the “Lost Coast Outpost” blog since it’s inception. I was very glad to see the start of a blog that would serve as a news-site for the North Coast. There has always been a lack of good comprehensive news coverage in our area. When the Internet was being established in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, anyone quoting or referencing items published on the web would get a standard response: “Oh, you can’t trust anything from the Internet!” That was until news sites like the “Times-Standard” and the “Record-Searchlight” began hosting online news content. Once they were part of the game, the game was legitimate. During the expansion of internet sites, some blogs floated to the top rather quickly. “The Humboldt Herald, So Hum Parlance (I&II), Tom Sebourn’s blog, etc.” The activity on those sites was moderated somewhat extensively. I felt at that time, that is was an assault on “Free Speech” to limit what people could post on a “chat-room.” Now that I have quite a bit more experience, I feel much differently about it. What changed? Well, the “Trolls” moved in. The phenomena of the “Troll” has been global. One of my favorite news sites: www.commondreams.org had to suspend their comment section for months to clean out the Troll-activity. There are different definitions of the term: Troll: One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue." [www.urbandictionary.com]
One who blogs without the protections of anonymity is taking a chance on attracting a few Trolls along the way. Some of the trolls I’ve encountered in my years of blogging have been merely annoying. Others have been a bit more threatening. As a person from East Los Angeles, I have more experience with violence than I care to remember. So the idea of potential violence coming my way in the form of some Internet “Tough-Guy” is not something I want to be dealing with at almost 60 years old.
Here is a short-list of “Trolls” I’ve encountered on local blogs:

“Just Watching”:   Thankfully this Troll spends his time on “SoHum Parlance II” and doesn’t seem to venture out much. Typical right-wing Troll. Refuses to accept any source whose factual information discounts his own views.  Pretends to be wealthy and bored. His style relies on paternalistic, condescension. 

“Suzy Blah Blah”   Suzy has been blogging locally, about as long as I have. There is no logical pattern to Suzy’s posts, as far as I can tell. She targets some poster, and then publishes detailed screeds against the poster, claiming all kinds of harm. Calling her target “dangerous to the community,” and other things. Years ago, I believe it was on the “The Humboldt Herald.” She was called out for stealing shoes from a teenager in Garberville/Redway. It would have been easy to ascertain her identity at that point. But, who cares? I sure didn’t. Suzy is still very busy on the blogs. Goes from innocent victim, to self-appointed conscience of the world, calling out the evil and profane among us, for our many sins. If you want Suzy to show up, post a comment on a religious subject, and she will appear.

“Amanda” : This Troll hasn’t been around in her usual profile. She/He fouled the comment sections of the local blogs for a few years. Once in awhile you’ll see a vitriolic post with this name attached.

“Bud.”: Well, what can be said about “Bud” he has set himself up as the representative of all things conservative. He vents about “Liberals” almost constantly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he blamed “Liberals/Socialists/Growers” when the weather turns harsh. No amount of factual presentation will sway “Bud” from his definitions of those terms. Definitions which change with each conversation. Again, as with many on the right, his usual tactic is condescension and paternalistic lecturing. His Avatar is that famous image of George W. Bush dressed as a Taliban Mullah, which might lead one to believe he was not a complete right-wing fascist. But after reading him for some time, he has shown himself to be a total fascist. Instead of persecuting a demographic on something he could be challenged on, such as race, or religious tradition; he first labels people as “Communists” and then regurgitates all the tropes from the last half-century, and smugly denounces veterans, parents, teachers, priests; basically anyone who disagrees with his pro-plutocratic views.

“Dane Carr”: Here is another Troll whose style is absurdity and emotional bombastic statements. Dane has been banned from Lost Coast Outpost, a few times, and was humiliated by other trolls who got a hold of Dane’s court case in Humboldt, and had a lot of fun passing judgement on him as a criminal. His case was not at all that severe, but he was attacked nonetheless.

Today, on Lost Coast Outpost; there is a whole new crop of Trolls. Some blame the exit of Kym Kemp from LOCO, to be the main reason the Trolls have “Taken over.” I have not had the displeasure of being “Trolled” by this new cadre of posters. Which include:

“William Tillman”: This new-comer has really made his/her presence felt. Attacking and jumping on one poster after another. Basically turning any conversation into a nit-picky/back-n-forth argument, where some usual/regular poster has to spend his time deflecting one accusation after another. This is also one of the “Internet-Tough-Guys” who like to play the tough-guy, speaking from a position of authority, taking the paternalistic posture. The inflated sense of his own impact is way, way overblown. I could imagine this person a 500 lb. “Shut-in” who is on the computer all day, not because his work makes the computer available; but because he has nothing better to do, and has found a way to pretend to be more than he is. But, labeling this particular weirdo as such, would make me a Troll as well. Since that is what they do, accuse everyone who posts as being: “…in their mom’s basement.” I do wonder about his posts lining up with “Public Library” hours. coincidence?

“Joe Blow from (whatever)”: If this is the same Joe-Blow who has been posting for years, then one must say he’s consistent. “Joe-Blow” has been repeatedly banned, and has always returned. His posts consist mostly of completely inappropriate, outlandish, emotionally unstable responses to other posts. He seems to read things into people’s postings that no one else sees.

“Uncle Grandpa”: I wonder if this isn’t just an alter-ego of the “Tillman” poster. Another Troll with outlandish responses to posts that, to the rest of us; seem normal. “Uncle Granpa” is part of the group of Trolls now on LOCO, who all seem to be in sync with each other. which makes one wonder if they are not actually all connected in some other way.

These are just a few of the crazies ruining the local blogs. There are so many, it’s hard to corral them all under a few chosen names.

I made an exit from LOCO recently. Since I have no desire to battle anonymous Trolls all day and night. What’s the point? Every single one of them is a complete coward. They attack, and they attack from behind their anonymity, like small, spoiled children throwing spit-balls from behind a wall. Whatever the reason LOCO doesn’t control them or moderate them is a mystery to me. But in the final analysis, I don’t care enough to ask the staff about it. But their support of recent actions of the Trolls, have soured me on their site. Two long-time posters ("Jim" & "mlrneureka) who, I have to admit; were of the same political stripe as myself; had their avatars/profiles high-jacked by some vulgar, scumbags, and nothing was done about it. So beware of Lost Coast Outpost. If you post on that site, just like ‘malware’ you may pick up a Troll, who will start slandering you and writing libelous things about you. Really low and vile things that while they have absolutely no basis in fact; the accusations will still be attached to your name. I wonder if LOCO can be sued for allowing the scumbags and lowlifes to prey on common, respectable citizens on their blog? Supposedly there is a policy in place that says poster’s cannot accuse people of crimes, or attack posters personally, and a whole lot of other rules, that are completely ignored.
So let me end with this warning; If you are not anonymous, if you are a known member of the community; stay away from the “Lost Coast Outpost.” And their scummy, gross and vile comment-section; where Internet Trolls are given sanctuary to attack people in the greater community without threat of retaliation, or even being held responsible for the libelous slander they vomit up. It seems like they allow it because of the traffic is creates, which must be better for the site’s bottom line. But actually, it’s beyond irresponsible to allow the attacks and the impersonations to continue. For me it’s easy, just say no. I refuse to hide my identity to speak my mind. That is the act of a coward.  Newspapers in the old-days, had a very strict policy regarding publishing a “Name withheld” letter or article. I would love to see Internet blogs adopt that same policy, that would eliminate a lot of the cowards that now have free-reign to attack real people, living real lives, with real consequences.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gangs!





In American society, “gangs” are considered one of the greatest evils to exist. Whether we are talking about drug-gangs, prison-gangs, or “neighborhood “street-gangs," there are many programs aimed at reducing the influence of gangs in the communities where gangs are most visible. In the United States today there are upwards of 33,000 street gangs [FBI]. Gang affiliation in prison qualifies the prisoner to be locked up 23 hours a day in a one-man cell. The gang-affiliated prisoner is so threatening to prison officials; any policy claiming to increase prison safety is promoted and implemented, regardless of the overall effect on the prisoner. This is cruel and inhumane punishment, yet it is practiced in prisons all across the country.  Isolation, “cell-extraction,” increasing sentences through the use of “Prison Courts,” are but a few of the tools used by the private prison system to “keep a lid” on the prison, and guarantee the safety of correctional staff and inmates [Rudolf].
 Yet at what price to the American notion of individual liberty? Many of those in jail wait months and sometimes years, to work their way through the court system .One of the first statements the accused felon makes is to “waive his right to a speedy trial.” The majority of inmates use public offenders and “plead” guilty in agreements with the DA’s office that guarantees sentence recommendations to the judge. These sentences can be viewed as extremely harsh, or extremely lenient depending on one’s position regarding drugs in the United States. Mandatory sentencing, Three-strike laws, the parole system, all serve to fill America’s prisons to full capacity. These prisoners are overwhelmingly drug-offenders. Either drugs were the focus of their crime, or their crime was related to the drug culture.
Gangs are nothing new in the United States. They existed in old Europe as far back as the 17th. Century and those established gangs immigrated to America with the people. Of course if one was to consider how far back the existence of gangs actually goes, then gangs can be considered as old as civilization itself. Using present-day definitions of what constitutes a gang, we could almost call pre-civilization, hunter-gatherer groups: "gangs." For America, the ancestor to today’s gangs began in New York and flourished in post-revolutionary times [Howel].
Gangs have members from every age group. Most members join the gang when they are adolescent. This has been true of gang membership throughout the centuries. Gangs recruit its members when they are young, and those members develop the same kind of loyalty to their gang as other children have for their own families. For many youth, the street gang is their family. For these children joining the gang puts one on the fast-track to prison. Gangs cross the divide between prison and communities. A street gang can have all its leaders incarcerated and still function as a criminal enterprise. With smuggled cell phones, gang-affiliated inmates are able to relay the orders of the leadership to the members without any problem. In California alone in 2008, over 1300 cell phones were confiscated [National]. Cell phones in prison can be a real danger to society. When people who have already used threats and extortion against others have uncontrolled access to the outside world, things like ordering assassinations, or directing the criminal activities of a gang are accomplished with little or no problem.
            In America today the threat of street gangs is very real. Law enforcement lists gangs as one of the major problems facing low-income communities. While the reality of gangs is viewed as a problem, the fantasy of gangs means big money for entertainment companies. Big budget Hollywood movies bring in millions to the studios that produce them. Movie studios have found that violence sells. In fact, violence outsells sex and nudity [Dolan]. The entertainment industry has used violence to sell movies for decades. Going back to the 1930’s when “Gangland” style movies made famous by James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart; became popular and the studios could count on profits from films that portrayed the gangster as the central figure in the films. Not all portrayals were negative. Sometimes the gangster was portrayed as a victim of society, rather than a deviant within the society. The same is true today. In film and television, gangsters are prevalent. Every year the major studios release movies aimed at African-American communities that include portrayals of gangs and others who use violence as a method of income. Many of the “Hip-Hop” artists that are promoted by established entertainment companies have come up from the “Gangster” lifestyle. Rather than that being seen as a detriment to the artist’s career, it is seen as benefit.
            Nowhere in the United States are gangs more visible than in South Central Los Angeles, California. In cities such as Bell, Paramount, Inglewood, El Segundo and Long Beach, street gangs have taken over the towns. According to police, “The County and City of Los Angeles is the ‘gang capital’ of the nation. There are more than 450 active gangs in the City of Los Angeles. Many of these gangs have been in existence for over 50 years. These gangs have a combined membership of over 45,000 individuals [LAPD].”
            These varied facts about gangs in the US can only give us a small glimpse of the problem. However, it is important for the average American to be aware of the gang situation. This author feels that the one action that could completely disempower gangs and other criminal enterprises is the complete decriminalization of drugs. Drugs are the number one source of income for gangs. Illegal drugs are the number one cause of gang violence. It may be hard to imagine drugs being legal, but if we want to stop the violence associated with drugs, if we want to decrease the prison population; then we have to treat drugs as a medical issue and take law enforcement out of the equation.

Works Cited
Dolan, Eric W. "Study Finds Violence In Movies Likely To Increase Profits, While Sex or Nudity Likely to Decrease Profits." PSYPOST. UK2 GROUP LTD, 15 Jan. 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. .
FBI. "Gangs - They poison our streets with drugs, violence, and all manner of crime." The FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. . Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. We’re redoubling our efforts to disrupt and dismantle gangs through intelligence-driven investigations and new initiatives and partnerships.
Howel, James C., and John P. Moore. "History of Street Gangs In The United States." National Gang Center. Bureau of Justice Assistance/ US Dept. of Justice/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, May 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. .
LAPD. "Gangs." Los Angeles Police Department Online. Los Angeles Police Department, 3 Dec. 2012. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. .
National Institute of Justice. US Dept. Of Justice, 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. .
Rudolf, John. "California Prisoners Join Hunger Strike To Protest Solitary Conditions." The Huffington Post [New York] 9 July 2011: n. pag. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. . "The hunger strike is not a protest against overcrowding, however, but against the treatment of offenders who are segregated from the general population due to gang affiliations or crimes committed in prison."



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Real Psycho.....

So who was Christopher Columbus? In the ongoing mythology of “Justification for Conquest” Columbus is an explorer and “Discoverer” of the “New World.” This is what is taught in elementary schools in the United States even today. But as Ward Churchill says in the film: “The Canary Effect,” “How do you 'discover' a place that is already occupied by a huge population?” this is true in all respects. When Columbus landed in the West Indies there was a population, cities, towns, agriculture; all the aspects of a thriving civilization. Churchill likens it to: “...what if I came to your house, I'd never been there before, and I knock on your door, you answer it and I tell you that I now lay claim to your house, your neighborhood and all your goods?” For me this is it in a nutshell. In Columbus' mind, if they did not speak one of the European languages, then they were not a people. Their towns did not exist even when they were right in front of Columbus' eyes. This kind of logic is only possible in the minds of psychopaths. When one reads Chapter Six in Stannard's text: “American Holocaust.” it's becomes clear that Christopher Columbus is a psychopath.

Like all psychopaths, Columbus had a manifesto. The: “Imago Mundi” According to Stannard, the”Imago Mundi” Written in the mid-1400's by Catholic Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly. It was a combination of horoscope, astrology and commentary on the mechanisms of the universe filled with incorrect science; Columbus used this text as his key to predicting the “End of the World.” Columbus' cosmology of course favored “Christians” and as proven by the atrocities committed by the invaders; did not count non-Christians as fully human.

Stannard says that Columbus thought, “...he had discovered-with the Lord's guidance, or course-King Solomon's mines, and it was this gold that would launch the crusade that would bring on the end of the world.” The Text says that, “...,some modern observers have claimed, Columbus was demented, or at least had been at sea too long.” After quoting his description of the Earth as being shaped like a “woman's teat...” But an earlier quote shows his sanity: “But I am completely persuaded in my own mind that the Terrestrial Paradise in the place I have described.” Absolutely. I was a terrestrial paradise to those who were the caretakers of the paradise. For 15th century Europeans the biblical paradise was a garden. But where Columbus was demented and psychopathic was how he was able to justify his taking of another person's property. In Europe at the time of Columbus property rights, at least those of the rich; were law. It's not surprising that Columbus sounds like a bank robber, or a terrorist. He is talking about committing crime and taking life to support his cause. And his cause comes out of his preoccupation with the unseen.

Christopher Columbus claimed all his actions for Christ. But here is another place where Columbus was a psychopath. His religion teaches tolerance, forgiveness, non-aggressive behavior. So just like the question of property that was right in front of his eyes; so were the Christian texts prohibiting what he was doing daily. That is violate and steal from innocent people. He was able to compartmentalize all his concepts and “realities,” All this so he could continue to enrich himself and ascribe it to a higher purpose. So he is definitely a psychopath, but he is also one of many known as “Crusaders.” Those who gave themselves nobility by invading the middle east and taking the property of others. The Indigenous people of the Americas were not able to mount a defense of their realm as did the Muslims. Obviously the Arabs did not have the problem with European diseases after centuries of Mediterranean trade, and the peoples of the middle east where on par with the weaponry and type of warfare practiced by the Europeans. In my opinion they were better suited to deal with psychopaths like Columbus.

I would like to end with Christopher Columbus' psychopath nature. He obviously had apocalyptic ideas. He was able to bring about destruction of a world that had existed in sustainability for countless millennium. He was able to convince himself that the horrors he was bringing upon innocent people, was for their own good. He kept a manifesto of secret knowledge that only he understood. But he was not alone. He was but one the thousands of Europeans who were willing to commit any crime against their own consciences to get money. One the big reasons for this kind of national/continental psychosis has to be the capitalist system of western monarchies. The poor suffered and lived a hard life deprived of resources; while the few at the top lived in opulence. So once the members of that unjust society found a people with no fences, no culture of murder and taking of resources; they were all agreed it was justified. It was justified the same way Christopher Columbus justified it. Non-European Christians where not “.. even descended from Adam and Eve, but from separate and inferior progenitors.” according to the philosopher Paracelsus in Stannard. So not only was Christopher Columbus a psychopath, but he came from a whole continent of psychopaths. Who were all made that way through greed and oppression.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Semester's End....

I pray this post finds you all in good health and spirits. I can now take a breath and check in with my own blog for a change. When HSU is in session, I rarely have time to manage my own blog. Instead I find myself prompted to comment on Sohum Parlance or the Humboldt Herald instead.
I would like to take this opportunity to share my recent painting assignments from a wonderful Art course provided by the university. I just finished a painting class taught by a wonderful, engaged professor and artist: Lien Troung. Ms. Troung uses a positive outlook on art and life to encourage her students to develop "problem-solving" techniques during the development of a work or art.
As someone who has worked as a "professional" artist for almost thirty years, I can say that I was humbled by the talent, and creativity of my fellow students in Ms. Troung's class.
Thank you to everyone in the Art Department of Humboldt State University. I look forward to seeing you all again next semester; God willing, and the creek don't rise.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


In Northern California people have access to the healthier aspects of their environment. There are trees and flowing waters. They can step off on almost any road and forget the technological culture they live in. A society dominated by advertising. Those in the urban centers are not so blessed. They have no natural retreat at their fingertips. Their only refuge is one they create for themselves. That refuge is now being undone by an unbridled commercialism.

Americans are swimming in a commercialized world. It is so accepted among the mass population that there is no public debate about the commercialization of our visual space and our “virtual” space. We live in a culture where it's ok that every action on the internet may now be crafted and designed to be held up by a series of interruptions and secondary confirmations; slowing down processes to expose the user to more advertising. In our visual space there is now the phenomena of truck and trailer ads. In most California counties it is illegal for a homeowner to hang a sign to advertise a yard-sale, or to sell his mother's car. Yet, huge truck and trailers file past. Everywhere there is an endless series of mobile bill-boards thirty feet long. Showing huge graphics in bright colors with multiple lines of copy. With the “large-format-printer,” they can over power the streets.

Corporations in the United States are allowed to put their advertising wherever they see fit. It can be argued that there are new laws restricting the placing of outdoor advertising, so it is getting better, but the Corps have moved beyond outdoor, while they still use the truck and trailer mobile bill-boards method, they appear to be more concerned with commercializing any remaining space not now carrying ads. They don't need static, roadside billboards when they can have a constant stream of advertising in your vehicle. With the map programs that come with new cars there will be no escape from the ads coming from dashboard monitors.

Advertising in the public space used to be a necessary component of capitalism. In 2011 the public space has been narrowed down to a small screen. Within that flat glass lies a world with its own “real estate” and its own “reality”. But it takes real money from this world to keep that world going. At some point Americans have to say: “No, I've already paid the fee; you don't get to advertise on top of it!”