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Poll_Blind's Journal - Archives
Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Fri Dec 09th 2011, 02:55 PM
I've been reading most if not all of the threads about DU3 and the concerns people said they had. I've looked at the responses, too. If you're reading this you probably have as well, and you've also probably found it impossible to miss the tone and the subtext in it all.

I don't think this really has much to do with DU3. It seems to have a lot more to do with unresolved business about DU2 and the nature of DU in general.

Two simple points, which combined are causing a lot of frustration out there, IMO:

First, this website has an overwhelmingly liberal userbase. Classic, bleeding-heart (I say that as a compliment) liberal. Go look at the Greatest Page any day of the week if you doubt it. After years of reading DU, I think most of us are probably more liberal in our opinions than when we first came here. That's true for me, anyway. And that naturally causes a conflict with and criticism of President Obama and the Democratic Party in some circumstances. So there's already a source of friction there and it's not trivial.

Second, over the history of DU there have been a number of famously malignant personalities which seem to thrive on conflict with other users. Everyone knows their names and the list is long if you've been here a while. I don't mean people who simply have a differing viewpoint, I mean people who expend a great deal of energy to regularly inject themselves in unpleasant ways into discussions. And who clearly and openly relish the unpleasantness with which they do it. In my experience, it takes quite a few people to really promote a topic of discussion but just a few to stifle it, if they are determined enough.

Some very well-known users literally did this for years and years before being shown the door. Would it be controversial to assert that some of those types of personalities might still remain and that almost everyone would be familiar with their names and behavior- from regular readers of DU, to the moderators, to the Administrators?

We all read the same site, after all. We all see the same things.

Those two aspects have mixed together in some very unhealthy ways, which are also no secret to anyone: While there are many users here who legitimately agree with and defend the President and Party from criticism, it's easy to imagine how a malignant personality could find a goldmine in conflict and a safe harbor of sorts by propping themselves up as an uncivil, nasty "defender" of policies openly derided here for almost a decade during the Bush administration.

A foil against most of the userbase for maximum headbutting enjoyment, and all under the guise of supporting the core tenets of this website.

It's an almost airtight racket, if you think about it.

I think a major concern with DU3 is how a personality (like the one I describe) will game the system and leverage the new tools to cause even more havoc.

While the Administrators have done a yeoman's job explaining the technical aspects of DU3, it might be worth explaining to the userbase specifically how those new features will help curtail the dynamic I describe above and really make DU3 a healthier environment to hold discussions in. For instance, I believe a host may lock a thread and the only way to unlock it is to plead your case to the host who locked it. If, by some random chance, one of these personalities winds up in a host position, well, see the potential for problems there?


p.s. As I've yet not accepted the Privacy Policy for DU3. I am unable to post this message there.

p.p.s. There is a certain grim and apathetic part of me that believes this post will be locked as quickly and as surely as if I'd filled it with slurs and links to pornographic images- that it will be locked in less time than it takes to read it. It's the other part of me, the one that thinks there's a possibility of repairing things by speaking openly about a situation everyone is aware of...that's the piece of me that's hitting the "Post message" button.
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Posted by Poll_Blind in Latest Breaking News
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 07:11 PM
Source: New York Times

TOKYO — Traces of radioactive cesium thought to be from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were detected in Japanese baby formula on Tuesday as concerns about food safety continue almost nine months after the accident.

Meiji, the Tokyo company that makes the powdered formula, announced the recall of 400,000 cans of it as a precaution, but said the levels of cesium detected were well below the government’s safety limits. Tests found a combined 30.8 becquerels per kilogram of cesium 134 and cesium 137, the company said, compared with the government limit of 200, the company said. (A becquerel is a frequently used measurement of radiation.)

Babies could still “drink the formula every day without any effect on their health,” Meiji said in a statement.

Infants and young children are thought to be especially vulnerable to radiation exposure, which can increase risks of cancer and other illnesses.

Read more:

Much more at the link!

Babies could still “drink the formula every day without any effect on their health,” Meiji said in a statement.

And what about in conjunction with all the other elevated levels of radioactive contamination in the environment and other food?

FYI, the half-life of cesium 134 and 137 is 2 years and 30 years, respectively.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 11:19 PM
From BBC:
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has urged Israel to "mend fences" with Turkey, Egypt and others in the Middle East to reduce its growing isolation.


"Unfortunately, over the past year, we've seen Israel's isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow, and the pursuit of a comprehensive Middle East peace plan has effectively been put on hold," he said.


When asked by an audience member after his speech what Israel could do to get the peace talks restarted, he said: "Just get to the damn table."

"The problem right now is we can't get them to the damn table."

Much more at the link!

The Obama administration is getting frustrated with Israel lately, and this is how they show it. Specifically Benjamin Netanyahu's absolutely shitty coalition government- The NeoCon All-Stars, if you will. This is the second time in the last few days a high-ranking official in the Obama administration has publicly expressed concern about Netanyahu's irrational behavior.

The Obama administration is not the only one concerned. No less than Meir Dagan, ex-head of the Mossad (yes, that Mossad) had this to say about where Netanyahu's government is pushing Israel, from a different article also published today:
'I'm very troubled,' Meir Dagan said. 'What I understand is that Israel must act within that time frame. I don't share that appraisal.'


Dagan last night expressed concern for possible mistakes made by Israel's leadership. He explained that if a decision takes shape to attack Iran, it is up to him to warn of the imminent disaster. He said an offensive now would be entering "a regional war with eyes wide open. This is necessary only when we're attacked or when the sword begins to cut the flesh."

He added that Iran would react with missile fire, as would Hezbollah, Hamas "and in view of Syria's problematic situation, there's a good chance the Syrians would join in" to divert attention from the riots against the regime.

"I can't predict the number of fatalities in such an attack," he said, in a barb aimed at Barak.

Mind-boggling. I hope the Israelis can rein in their own Prime Minister from starting WW III.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Thu Dec 01st 2011, 10:34 AM
I built scar tissue up around that thought but sometimes the realization erupts into my mind at the oddest times.

Stepped out the door into early morning darkness with a cigarette and a cup of yesterday's coffee. As I lit up, a thought uncoiled and slithered out of nowhere to reminded me: "Bush got away with it all. He got away with everything. Rumsfeld, Powell, Rove. All of them. With everything."

"With everything."

Does that sound right to you? I rolled it around in my head and it sounded right to me.

"With everything."

I was seized with disgust and for just a second I thought of splashing out the remainder of my coffee into a nearby bush and pretending it was Dubya's face.

Decided not to. Maybe it's the price of coffee or maybe the realization that it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Wed Nov 30th 2011, 10:41 AM
...symbolically represent things. If someone inflicts pain on me, I feel pain. A "lower" animal is subject to that action and response as well. But, because of my ability to symbolically-represent myself in an other-than-me context, I can feel similar pain in contexts where a symbol I have chosen to represent a part of me (say, Native Americans) is attacked, even if the attack on that symbol is symbolic in itself.

We know ourselves by the things we choose to symbolically represent parts of us. Whether it's a band, a political movement, a brand, our family, etc.

But it comes back to those unnecessarily large brains. Those brains are not satisfied with staying contained in skulls and extend and project themselves into the world around them though symbolic representation.

As an aside, we have children over here and we also have a lot of friends with babies. One of the neatest things for me is when a young child goes from thinking that an object which has been removed from view has disappeared from the universe to when they start looking for the object or when they account for the object's existence in some other way.

Internally, they have automatically made a proxy object which need not actually exist any more, but exists and is tracked (at least for some period of time) in their mind.

That's powerful stuff! That's powerful stuff! Not long after (or maybe even before, I dunno) the child is imprinting on the object, caring about whether it continues to exist or not. It's a precursor to more complex and subtle influences symbolic objects will have in their future.

Now that I've gone on a tangent, I should rope it all back by saying that I believe there is some evolutionary/DNA-based element to it. As a viable organism on this island Earth, it will benefit my survival if I understand that the tiger which I have just spotted, and which has disappeared from view, is still lurking in the tall grass.

Which is why I put "lower" (as in "lower" animals) in quotes way up there in my second sentence. I believe animals carry out symbolic representations and have empathy in some form, as humans do. Members of a pack will sometimes rescue each other from predators. Again- that's hardcore empathy if you sit down and think about the thought mechanics at play.

It also pains me a great deal, because I am a meat eater and I know this. I regularly consume the flesh of things which almost certainly had a "reality" which is very near my own, although they don't have the cognitive ability to process some of the same stimuli as well as I may.

That those things are executed for my benefit, and essentially at my indirect command, and that those experiences of death should be recorded in my name (symbolically) in the history of the Universe is very troubling to me. But not so troubling that my big ole brain doesn't concoct a rationalization to allow me to escape the burden of it.

We make very strong pots of coffee at this house. That's my only excuse for all those words.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Wed Nov 30th 2011, 10:07 AM
If I empathize with others or a specific group, I pay more attention to any disparities of their fortunes. Not all empathy is automatic. Some empathy can be situational or even coaxed by revealing new or unknown information. Or that information can come with modifiers which dampen a natural response to empathize as well.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in Latest Breaking News
Mon Nov 21st 2011, 03:21 PM
Source: AP via CBS news

NEW YORK - U.S. authorities declined to pursue a case against an "al Qaeda sympathizer" accused of plotting to bomb police stations and post offices in the New York area because they believed he was mentally unstable and incapable of pulling it off, two law enforcement officials said Monday.

New York Police Department investigators sought to get the FBI involved at least twice as their undercover investigation of Jose Pimentel unfolded, the officials said. Both times, the FBI concluded that he wasn't a serious threat, they said.

The FBI concluded that Pimentel "didn't have the predisposition or the ability to do anything on his own," one of the officials said.


His lawyer Joseph Zablocki said his client's behavior leading up to the arrest was not that of a conspirator trying to conceal some violent scheme. Zablocki said Pimentel was public about his activities and was not trying to hide anything. "I don't believe that this case is nearly as strong as the people believe," Zablocki said. "He (Pimentel) has this very public online profile. ... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist attack."


Reporters at Bloomberg's press conference yesterday immediately jumped on the obvious question: If this was a terrorist plot, why wasn't the Federal government at the press conference? Neither Bloomberg nor Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had especially convincing answers. What answers they did provide attempted to paint Pimentel as both a "lone wolf" and as part of a larger al Qaeda sympathizer network.

They had kept Pimentel under investigation for two and a half years and yet arrested him only a few days ago. The timing of the arrest, the lack of Federal involvement have raised questions about the use of this arrest as a tool to distract from Bloomberg's handling of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

There are other details which raise even more questions- including questions about how much expertise and material the police informant provided to Pimental in order to construct the explosive device which led to his arrest:

From CNN:
In October, officials say, Pimentel's activities began to accelerate, when he began to acquire simple bomb-making materials. They say he began building his bomb in the apartment of the informant, rather than at his home, where he lived with his mother and grandmother.

The inconsistencies I point out in this OP are not meant as as defense of Pimentel: The construction of a pipe bomb, even a crude one, is a serious felony. Soon, as his case winds its way through the courts, we will all become even more familiar with his name.

A name you're not very likely to know, though, is Kevin William Harpham. Unlike Pimental, he constructed a very sophisticated radio-controlled shape charge pipe bomb whose shrapnel was carefully coated with anti-coagulant so as to cause victims to bleed to death after it was detonated. In fact, he just plead guilty to setting the bomb which was thankfully uncovered before it could go off.

But you haven't likely heard much about that pipe bomber in the national media. Why not? And, will Mayor Bloomberg use these recent terror "revelations" in order to enact or extend other controversial restrictions on Americans exercising their right to Free Speech in public places?

I think those are useful questions to ask or at least ponder.


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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Sun Nov 20th 2011, 04:26 PM

From USA Today:
The UC Davis police chief is telling the department's side of officers' heavily publicized use of pepper spray against demonstrators taking part in an Occupy Wall Street protest Friday on the California campus, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told the Times officers made the decision to use the debilitating spray after demonstrators surrounded the officers.

"The students had encircled the officers," Police Chief Annette Spicuzza is quoted as saying in the Times. "They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out."

Much more at the link!

Lies. Straight-up lies.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in The DU Lounge
Tue Nov 15th 2011, 10:18 AM

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Tue Nov 15th 2011, 12:42 AM
For all the wrong reasons.

I am genuinely sorry, gentlemen. I thought I had done something which would have seen you both come home under better circumstances.


And so much of it!

And new plans for new wars.

Circling angels of vengeance or at least righteousness, impatient.

All the strength and resolve in the world!

Yet too weak to meet the gaze of the dead.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in Israel/Palestine
Mon Nov 14th 2011, 02:32 PM
From Time Magazine:
Israeli newspapers on Sunday were thick with innuendo, the front pages of the three largest dailies dominated by variations on the headline "Mysterious Explosion in Iranian Missile Base." Turn the page, and the mystery is answered with a wink. "Who Is Responsible for Attacks on the Iranian Army?" asks Maariv, and the paper lists without further comment a half-dozen other violent setbacks to Iran's nuclear and military nexus. For Israeli readers, the coy implication is that their own government was behind Saturday's massive blast just outside Tehran. It is an assumption a Western intelligence source insists is correct: the Mossad — the Israeli agency charged with covert operations — did it. "Don't believe the Iranians that it was an accident," the official tells TIME, adding that other sabotage is being planned to impede the Iranian ability to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. "There are more bullets in the magazine," the official says.

"Don't believe the Iranians that it was an accident"

I'm asking you to literally read that above sentence again, LOL!

You know, Frank Wisner at the CIA coined the term "Mighty Wurlitzer" to describe how the CIA put out disinformation through media stooges and front organizations, implying that the media could be "played" like a giant Wurlitzer pipe organ to produce whatever song it wanted them to play.

Admittedly, it's often difficult to actually spot the Mighty Wurlitzer in action because of how much penetration the message machine has in American media. I'm going to stop the Wurlitzer for just a second a point out a few things:

Israel doesn't talk or gloat over covert victories and certainly not this soon after achieving them
The blast happened a few days ago and already Time has "officials" spilling the beans
Israel remains mum on other far-more-obvious assassinations, like those of scientists in the Iranian missile program
Over the last few days the Israeli media, all of which is strictly controlled by military censor, has been coyly implying Israel was behind it
Even the Israeli Defense Minister is getting into the act, winking and nudging about it

All just a few days after the blast happened.

My conclusion: This probably wasn't a covert action by Israel. I'm not even entirely convinced the death of General Hassan Moqaddam had any serious impact on the Iranian nuclear program at this stage of the game. Oh, Israel has carried out assassinations to further their goals but, as a rule, they don't put on party hats this soon and they certainly don't go breathlessly blabbing about it like giddy teenagers.

Now, Israel is free to imply they might have had something to do with it all they want. It certainly attempts to reestablish some of the ghostly aura that the Mossad lost after its assassins were exposed in exquisite detail in the death of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai.

As an added benefit, it also serves the bigger drum-beat because if it were a targeted assassination it would obviously be an act of war against Iran. Somehow riling the Iranians up into a first strike or first strike posture (so that Israel and/or America's military action would be a "response" and not a "pre-emptive strike") would greatly help bring about a scenario Israel has been demanding for a while now.

Otherwise, China and Russia aren't having any of it.

So there you go. Back to your regularly-scheduled programming.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Sun Nov 13th 2011, 03:07 PM
From the Arms Industry page at Wikipedia:

We didn't get to number 1 on that list by accident: Just about everything America does foreign policy-wise involves, in ways obvious or not-so-obvious, the sales of weaponry. When I was much younger, I recall reading a book which briefly touched on the power which robber barons had over America at one time. The older I get, the less-convinced I am that using the past-tense is appropriate.

Whether it's banking interests and financial swindles or industry-supported military adventurism, I think this Sunday afternoon it's worth considering, if only for a moment, that very little has changed over the decades in regards to the hows and whys of America's place in the world and our place in America.

While the swindles or weaponry are updated to reflect a modern context, the playbook and the moves have not changed much in a very long time.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 11:20 PM
There are still a shitload of unanswered questions about this....

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 11:44 AM
All those people and institutions are potentially on the hook for massive civil suits and possibly criminal charges.

I couldn't imagine exactly how that was going to play out because I couldn't easily think of a scandal of similar proportions to compare it to.

And then I started wondering why I couldn't think up at least one similar-ish example and it occurred to me that in situations like this......something convenient usually happens which causes the investigation into the coverup to stop immediately.

Maybe they should yank bail and get Sandusky into protective custody.

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Posted by Poll_Blind in General Discussion
Thu Nov 10th 2011, 09:08 PM
...everyone shouting, making bids, over-valuing some stocks (subjects) and devaluing others. Some people spend all their time in the silver pit, some over in wheat futures, some just ambulate as world news moves them to and others, hoping to sow chaos, randomly drift from place to place just for the sport of it.

The only control over that (oversimplified) dynamic is the administrative moderation and the administrative moderation has been such that that is the dynamic which exists today.

In short, the best way to enjoy DU is to enter the forum of your choice and aggressively use the Hide Thread function until mostly just the topics you're interested in remain. I have been doing this for weeks now and while it is one hell of a chore, you might try it to help cut down the signal-to-noise ratio.

There will be a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of hidden threads to threads clicked on out of interest if you're doing it right.

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