Friday, October 23, 2009

The Real Coverup(s)

Here's your real coverup: Bryan & Stephanie Baum know who's behind LongmontReport.com - a smear site that attacked opponents of Gabe Santos during the last Council election. The funniest part was, when I tried to inform the public at a Council meeting, Roger Lange refused to let me speak. First the wingnuts ballyhooed about their 'big win' in silencing me (which they endlessly screech people are trying to do to them) but then, they slam Roger for denying people Freedom of Speech. Talk about two-faced flip-flopping hypocrisy - a specialty of our fake 'truth tellers'. Even the general public is getting disgusted with these two.

A recent article from these self-absorbed smear merchants indicates that a picture was taken down because someone complained to Blogger.com.

The complaint was due to Copyright Infringement. The image was taken, without my permission, from a personal archive on Flickr.com. The 'complaint' was a DMCA takedown order. The fact that the image came down indicates the complaint had substance, unlike 99.9999% of the bullshit coming out of the mouthpieces of the wingnuts.

The right-wing loons in Longmont screech endlessly about being 'stalked' and 'threatened' and frankly I've had enough of their lies.

I've had my images stolen (yes, stolen, it's illegal to use someone's photographs without their permission), my Facebook page mined, veiled threats made about my fiancee, been called and threatened at home and more. Only rank cowards and grade-school children think that kind of behavior is appropriate.

In the comments on the Times-Call a threat was made that Kaye Fissinger should be sued for the damage she's (supposedly) done to our community.

Discovery in that case would be endlessly revealing.

The threats keep getting more and more strident and unhinged - could it be that they realize they've overplayed their hand and are in definite danger of losing this Council election? All that money, all those robo-calls (that people fucking hate), mailers and endless smear-fests on Times-Call stories is turning off the voters, not 'energizing their base' like they hoped?

PS - the recent ballyhooing about Kaye Fissinger's paperwork turned out to be more mindless drivel, Valeria Skitt ruled no penalties. Once again, the smear merchants, eager to spout lies, screwed up and made it clear that truth is not their primary product.

March of the Sock Puppets

In light of the stream of howling wingnutty posters on the Times-Call story comments (and the anonymous cowardly attack sites) this story caught my eye. (hat tip to Tolo!)

Republicans Overtweet
Twitter shuts down 33 fake accounts created by state Republicans in an attempt to lambast Dems

By Gregory B. Hladky
Tuesday October 20, 2009 Hartford Advocate News

Barack Obama's victory last year left many Republicans bemoaning their party's ineptitude when it came to political exploitation of the Web. Democrats, they admitted, were far ahead in the art of using the Internet to seduce voters.

So Connecticut Republicans decided it was time to boldly forge into the 21st century, only to stumble when one of their decidedly deceptive experiments ran into trouble last week.

Twitter, Inc., shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives. The Republican scheme was to send out posts under the Democrats' names mocking the liberal tax-and-spend bastards.

"That's unfortunate," was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy's response when told of Twitter, Inc.'s decision. "I'm not quite sure what the issue is, other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech."

Healy's party may have suffered a setback with the loss of its Twitter campaign, but Republicans are still operating the 33 Web sites they created using the names of those same Democratic lawmakers. As far as anyone knows, this is the first time any state party has used such a tactic to mock its state opponents.

"It's our idea, actually," said Healy. He said Republicans want voters to understand how badly they're being screwed by the Democrats who approved billions in new taxes rather than cut spending.

Healy has no intention of shutting those sites down just because of Democratic protests.

"They didn't think of it first, so that's why they're whining," Healy said.

But it's not only Democrats who say the GOP's Internet policies are misleading.

According to Twitter, Inc., the fake posts violated the immensely popular social networking system's anti-impersonation policy.

In an e-mail reply to a Democratic legislative leader's complaint, a Twitter representative stated:

"A person may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse or deceive others. ... Impersonation is against our terms unless it is a parody. The standard for defining parody is, 'Would a reasonable person be aware that it's a joke?' "

"Because this is not the case in your situation, we have removed the profile(s) from circulation."

"That's silly," Healy said of the decision. "That's not impersonation; that's satire."

Some of the targets of the fake Twitter messages disagree.

Matthew Lesser is a 26-year-old rookie Democratic lawmaker from Middletown who was one of the House legislators Twitterized by the GOP. He was also the first to ask Twitter to kill the GOP account using his name.

Lesser isn't surprised he was one of the Democrats chosen by the GOP.

"It's no secret I'm going to be a targeted Democrat next year," he said.

"Everybody knows Connecticut is a rough and tumble political world," Lesser said. "I support [Republicans'] free speech rights. ... The problem I have is when they cross the line between debate and impersonating opponents."

"It's hard enough to explain what we're doing here in Hartford," said Lesser. "It's even more difficult when you've got political hacks going out of their way to confuse people."

Democrats hold a veto-proof majority in the state House, outnumbering Republicans 114-37. The Democrats also have a 24-12 margin in the state Senate. Those numbers have been frustrating the hell out of GOP leaders, who have seen their share of General Assembly seats shrivel in successive legislative elections.

Their Twitter ploy may have misfired, but Connecticut Republicans aren't giving up on those 33 Web sites created in the names of the Democratic lawmakers. (The fake Twitter posts were linked back to those Web sites.)

All the sites use the same format. In the case of state House Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, the Republican-funded Web address is meetchrisdonovan.com. All the information on the site was produced by Republicans and is critical of Donovan. The only indication that it was paid for by the state GOP is in small print at the very bottom of the page.

Phillip Simon, director of the Graduate Interactive Communications program at Quinnipiac University, said his impression of the GOP-sponsored sites is that they are misleading.

"It is very deceptive," he said. "It doesn't say anywhere that it's being written by someone else."

Simon said all of the Republicans' anti-Democratic sites use "a lot of pre-made themes" and similar templates, which has dramatically cut down on labor costs for creating and updating the sites.

"Using these relatively low-cost tools to distribute information, whether in an appropriate or inappropriate manner, is going to happen more and more in politics," Simon said.

Rick Hancock is an assistant professor of online journalism and social media at the University of Connecticut who agrees with Simon.

"Personally, I don't think it's ethical," said Hancock, a veteran Connecticut TV journalist. "As a former political reporter, I think it crosses over into dirty politics."

Hancock said the Web sites, unlike those Twitter accounts, don't appear to violate any terms of services or legal restrictions.

Similar Web sites were created during the last presidential election by people on both sides of the political divide, according to Hancock, some spewing venom against the GOP's Sarah Palin, others targeting Obama.

"This is just one additional step," said Hancock.

But Hancock doesn't believe negative political tactics will completely poison the Internet's influence on politics. "I still think it's a positive, powerful tool," he said.

"The truth will eventually come out [about such ploys as the GOP's anti-Democratic sites]," Hancock added. He said the GOP scheme will backfire "if the Republicans are being viewed as playing dirty tricks, dirty politics."

Healy is unrepentant: "I really don't care what a bunch of college professors from liberal colleges think.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Net Results

From WNN Wi-Fi Net News:

Longmont, Colo., Battle Reminder of Old Muni-Fi War

Craig Settles writes about Comcast's attempt to prevent Longmont, Colo., from operating a Wi-Fi network which has defaulted to city ownership: Comcast's sock puppets and trade association have poured at least $150,000 in a campaign to prevent the city of Longmont from operating a Wi-Fi network that a private firm built and was unable to operate. Settles notes that Longmont is also sitting on top of a fiber network that it built, and then was legislated away from being able to use. Sigh.

Flashbacks to the 2005-2006 era, for sure. The argument has been made that Longmont is usurping private enterprise by taking over the network, instead of, as has been proved elsewhere, building demand for broadband and also providing it in places that incumbent carriers are unable to. City-wide Wi-Fi data rates are well below typical cable and most DSL service rates, and wired services tend to be more reliable. Customers who use a free network either would never subscribe to wired fee-based service, or, after tasting the sweet juice of YouTube and others, decides that 5 to 20 Mbps downstream would be even more succulent.

Settles notes that the hoary arguments that cities can't effectively run broadband networks are easily refuted by examples of governments that, by building such networks, rapidly conserve their data communications costs, and then save taxpayer dollars while often expanding service and efficiency. (Settles consults with cities on this topics, but his facts are public.)

The real issue, of course, is whether Comcast and other incumbents can compete against public entities. And the answer is, of course. But those firms have to become a better deal, improve customer service, and charge less--just as they do whenever they are in a truly competitive market with multiple effective broadband providers. Cities have no inherent advantage on networks that are built right, because outside of a few free Wi-Fi networks, cities charge a market price that's typically not cheaper than a competitive broadband price for the same level of service.

What Comcast should have done, were it cleverer about this matter, was offer to take over the Wi-Fi network, build it even better, and offer limited free service to all residents and visitors (maybe an hour a day), unlimited service for the city, and unlimited service for all its subscribers. This would motivate more people to sign up with Comcast or remain customers, and would benefit the city as a whole. $150,000 would have bought a lot of Wi-Fi.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman at 1:03 PM

Beat Itself First

From this article at the Times-Call:

McInnis makes Longmont stop, calls for GOP unity by Scott Rochat

*snip*
Republican candidate Scott McInnis told a Longmont audience that Gov. Bill Ritter can be beaten — but only if the GOP doesn’t beat itself first.


“Despite all the advances in engineering, we’ve never perfected a circular firing squad,” he joked to an audience of about 25 on Wednesday afternoon.

*snip*

From the comment stream:

A mere 20% of people nationwide now identify themselves as Republicans. Sounds to me like they've done a fantastic job of perfecting the circular firing squad.
MikeRochip, Longmont, CO , 10/22/2009 9:16 AM
---
I have to agree Mikey... I have to agree. Let's hope the trend continues. It can only benefit the country if sane authentic conservatives step away from the lunatic fringe that's come to be defined as the GOP.

Gee... the fortunes of the rabid right sure have changed since the days of:

"Permanent Republican Majority"

and

"...hunting Democrats with dogs..."

...ya think maybe it's because they can't take their own advice about 'civility' and 'transparency' ?

Ya think?

Might want to examine your own behavior folks, I know it's agonizingly painful to step outside the echo chamber, turn from the book of Leviticus to the words of Jesus and actually feel some compassion (especially since it's just so durned unprofitable...) but give it a shot, you might find it makes the world a much more pleasant place to live.

...or you could go boar-hunting and make it sporting by just using your bare hands instead of a rifle that lets you stand back a hundred yards in safety and comfort. Maybe then you'd appreciate what eight years under George Bush, Karl Rove and the frothing theocrats was like for the rest of us.

Ya might want to hurry though - the ground's coming up at you awfully fast.

I think you should just wait.

Close your eyes and ignore the numbers.

Thaat's right... just pretend it's not really happening... listen to Rush... uh huh... there ya go... buh bye