Blacklisted from Raw Story for violating their terms of service


Why?  Who knows.  Their terms of service state abusive or insulting language will be blacklisted.  Violence or threats of violence will be blacklisted.  And the word that was used in my notice is yes, BLACKLISTED.

Terms of Service

Comments and commenter accounts are maintained at the sole discretion of Raw Story, its employees, contractors, freelancers and designated agents (hereafter referred to as “Raw Story”). Comments may be deleted and/or commenter accounts suspended at the sole discretion of Raw Story without notice. By commenting on the site, you are agreeing to these terms of service.

Commenting guidelines:

Raw Story appreciates and values the community that comment boards build, and uses moderation to make these discussions more productive for all who participate. But in order to maintain a productive community, our moderators generally hew to the following guidelines and we encourage commenters who wish to remain a part of this vibrant community to do so as well.

1. Abusive language. Almost everyone (including the editors of Raw Story) loves profanity, and the creative use thereof. But when profanity or other inappropriate language is used towards other people, it can either start non-productive arguments or silence another commenter. Any comments deemed abusive towards other commenters will be deleted and commenters who continue to engage in this behavior will find their accounts suspended.

2. Advocacy or threats of violence. Any comment that threatens violence against others (commenters or subjects of stories) or advocates that someone be subjected to violence (including that they should do violence unto themselves) will be removed. Commenters that continue to engage in this behavior will have their accounts suspended.

3. Ad hominem insults. If your sole contribution to a discussion is to insult the participants in it, your comments will be removed and your account suspended. It’s both unproductive and uninteresting.

4. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism. If your comments contain any of these things or other slurs similar to these, your comments will be removed and your account immediately suspended. This includes comments that smack of veiled slurs (dog whistles) as determined at the discretion of Raw Story — but note that we work on the Internet, and we quite likely know exactly what your “subtle phrasing” means.

5. Attacks on editors, writers, staff, moderators and management. Our staff is no less subject to criticism than those we write about — but there’s a pretty large gulf between criticism and attack. Abusive language, attempts to bully (in comment threads or in any platform, including email and social media) or ad hominem insults aimed at those who work for Raw Story will not be tolerated and will result in the immediate suspension of comment accounts and/or the deletion of comments. If you have a specific disagreement with a piece of information, have more information on a story that is in a piece or noticed a typo, spelling error or grammatical error that made it through our editing process, a polite email to tips@rawstory.com will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member for review.

6. Anything else our moderators, staff or freelancers deem disruptive. We wish this could be a comprehensive list, but we’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that there will always be someone who can some up with some offensive thing we haven’t thought of before. A good rule of thumb is that if you are writing it to piss someone off, stop. If you are trying to trump something offensive someone else said, stop. If the other person “insulted you first,” stop and flag their comment for a moderator and/or email tips@rawstory.com instead of replying with another insult. If the Secret Service would be asking us for your ISP address if they read it, stop. If a little voice in your head says, “The moderators might challenge this,” listen to that voice before submitting the comment.

But we’re not all mean. If your comment account is suspended, we will offer a process for appeal. A suspended commenter can send a polite email to tips@rawstory.com explaining that his/her commenter account has been suspended and s/he’d like to come back to the community, and will receive a response that the suspension is under review. There is a 3-day mandatory cooling off period during which our staff and/or moderators will determine why the account was suspended and whether, in their judgment, it warrants further review. During that cooling off period, the suspended commenter will be told, if s/he doesn’t know, what sparked the suspension. If s/he wishes to return as a commenter, s/he must then acknowledge in the email that they violated our comment guidelines, understand it was inappropriate and pledge not to do so in the future.

Note, however, that abusive, bullying or inappropriate emails or interactions on social media sites will end the review process. Each commenter may receive one review; if the account is suspended again, the decision is final.

I will note that one of the blogs I follow, Guns Save Lives, added Disqus as their commenting platform within the past week or so.  Given that Raw Story is a liberal news site, I am guessing that the mere fact that I commented there would be enough to have me blacklisted (read banned) from Raw Story.  I’ve been commenting on Raw Story for – oh, probably 7 years without a single issue – so this mere fact makes me suspicious.

Either that, or the fact that I used the actual word ‘hell’ in a comment…as in “what the hell is a public official doing unilaterally giving tax payer money to a private company with no vote on how that money is to be spent” Because that of course is insulting or threatening or abusive.  Because the word hell, even though it’s a biblical word, and was used with that meaning in mind, is insulting or threatening or abusive.

Or perhaps it was my comment that Luddites were skilled craftsman trying to protect a trade from outsourcing and lower quality, and romanticizing the industrial revolution should perhaps be re-evaluated and researched by the commenter, as should the actual history of Ludd and his Luddites.

Like I said, who knows.  I have noticed recently that Raw Story does tend to ban anyone who doesn’t fall into lockstep with their liberal agenda.  Kind of like the worst of the Tea Party blogs.  The difference being that most blogs are owned/moderated by one or a few individuals with a limited audience and no advertising.  If they pay for their own blog to make their own points and outline their own platform, more power to them.  It prevents honest discussion, but that’s their choice.  Raw Story, however, is a for profit site that makes a lot of money from advertising and depends on it for their profit.  They also have a definite liberal slant that is obvious both in the reporting of stories and in the commenting.

No big deal, I had an adblocker that enabled me to read the stories without the annoying and pervasive ads…perhaps that was the reason I was blacklisted.  The content for the most part is getting pretty annoying anyway.  Note the final paragraph here:

But we’re not all mean. If your comment account is suspended, we will offer a process for appeal. A suspended commenter can send a polite email to tips@rawstory.com explaining that his/her commenter account has been suspended and s/he’d like to come back to the community, and will receive a response that the suspension is under review. There is a 3-day mandatory cooling off period during which our staff and/or moderators will determine why the account was suspended and whether, in their judgment, it warrants further review. During that cooling off period, the suspended commenter will be told, if s/he doesn’t know, what sparked the suspension. If s/he wishes to return as a commenter, s/he must then acknowledge in the email that they violated our comment guidelines, understand it was inappropriate and pledge not to do so in the future.

If they think I’m going to apologize for a single thing I’ve said or done, they are smoking the liberal crack.  I’ll just make a point of copying, pasting, and commenting here on my own blog if I have a problem with a story or a comment – after all, they’re the ones all for fair use.  But maybe that only means for liberal bloggers who don’t have an original thought outside of what Raw Story’s writers and editors think for them.

Man, it’s hell being neither liberal nor conservative, and having a thinking brain that compels me to research anything anyone says…don’t blacklist me because I said hell tho.

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9 yards of mosaic


9 yards of mosaic green9 yards of mosaic brownThese are towels I just finished weaving and took off the loom.  They aren’t done yet, because I haven’t cut them apart, sewn the hems, or wet finished them.  But the weaving part is done!  I made one green one simply because I was getting very tired of looking at the pottery brown color, and because it’s a gift for someone who asked for green.  A few of the browns are destined for gifts, the rest will be put up for sale.  I was very excited about this pattern and its treadling variations until I did 9 yards of it.  I needed something different after all those towels in the same basic pattern!

I just finished warping up a mohair warp.  Amazingly, I only broke one thread in the beaming on!!!  It’s a very sticky warp though, and after weaving only the header to separate the warp threads I can already tell I’m going to need something to put on it to ‘slick’ it up a bit.  From what I’ve read a product called Cowboy Magic (for horses) is supposed to work like magic in making them separate more easily.

Absolutely nothing done in the garden yet.  I’ve been lazy, and working on things I really want to work on – like spinning more sock yarn, making kilt hose, finishing up the weaving,  sewing, mending, etc.  It has to happen soon though, or we’ll have nothing to eat in a month or two!

The chickens have begun laying again which has been excellent.  They have been allowed to roam the yard and as a result I have no grubs in the beds.  And the yolks are so very orange that everything I make with them takes on a bright yellow cast.  After going the whole winter without eggs, I can’t tell you how delicious these are.  We did break down and buy a dozen eggs twice, but they were awful.  Pale and watery, like the memory of eggs rather than the real thing.

That’s all, I’ll have pictures of the mohair warp later on.  I need to get busy making peach cobbler to take to a friend’s celebratory barbeque – he got a promotion and a 20% raise.  Lucky man in these times!

The essential problems of Marxism


I was inspired to actually read some of Marx’ works, though not in the original language (I once spoke German but it’s been too many years).  With my reading material being internet sources, I’m not positive as to the exactness of the translation/interpretations – German is a notoriously hard language to translate as the feelings/ideas conveyed by one word, simply don’t have exact translations/interpretations that are less than a paragraph in length, and assume a certain social understanding that I don’t have.

That being said though, I think Marxism has some of the same essential flaws that Capitalism – in the sense that modern Libertarians and Republicans understand Marxism – suffers from.  They are in some ways more similar than they are different.  And I’m not talking about socialism!  Different beast that shares characteristics of both!

Now let me state clearly that I’m no student of Marxism but I probably know more than the average conservative in this country because I actually READ some of the original works in question.  I’m also no student of Communism or of Capitalism though again, I’ve actually READ scholarly works, and critiques of some of those works, as well as derivative works, unlike many of my fellow citizens on both sides of the political fence.  Because I read, I can’t help but form opinions that gel with neither fans nor enemies of said political/economic schools.

Both Marxism and Capitalism assume an endlessly expanding economy.  This is the essential feature of the Marxist theory of declining rate of profit – because the market expands, the value and price declines, forcing lower worker pay and higher work load in order to keep the owners’ profits at the same level.  This is true IN AN EXPANDING ECONOMY.  It cannot be true in a contracting one, or even in a steady state one.  There may be price deflation as people lower their prices to try to sell product, but deflation isn’t what Marx’ theory applies to, nor does he even address a deflationary economy as far as I can tell.

Both Marxism and Capitalism assume, along with an endlessly expanding economy, an endless amount of innovation.  This, of course, forces the market to constantly adapt as people make the same product at a lower cost with better features  and thus the above occurs – declining rate of profit.   This too, is only possible in an expansionary economy.  In a shrinking or steady state economy, there is little incentive for people to think about making things more efficient, except as directly affects their own living situation.  It isn’t something that businesses will have spare capital with which to invest, in order to increase their rate of profit.  In a contracting or steady state economy businesses do NOT invest.  That is plainly true if you look at the financial books for many Wall Street companies over the past several years.  Businesses hold onto their capital in case they need it.

Finally, both Marxism and Capitalism assume money is the sole form of exchange.  Given that Marxism is less than 200 years old, and capitalism is really only about 500 years old, this is patently not true for most of human history!  Money is only efficient as a method of trade if there are luxury goods to be had that must come a long distance:  silk, in ancient times, iphones today.  For the vast majority of regular business, there are other equally efficient forms of exchange.  Barter can fulfill quite a few needs if one is fairly self sufficient and possesses skills that are desirable.  It may not be preferred now, because our entire society is focused on money, but that has not always been true and it probably won’t be true in the future.

Now, to be fair to Marx, many of his criticisms of capitalism are spot on – and some of his solutions, such as worker owned business, simply make sense for the health and well-being of the community – but he lived in the largest age of expansion the world has ever seen, and he can be forgiven if it never occurred to him that it might someday end.

We need to realize that neither Marxism nor capitalism have the answers.  Capitalism has had a long run but it has proven to be the instinct of the lemmings, driving humanity over the brink of the biosphere cliff.  What then shall we design?  It must be sustainable over the long term, allow for both needs and wants (luxury items), fun and recreation, and not create wants that must be satisfied by any means necessary (as capitalism creates).   I have a few ideas, but they’re ideas that can’t work in the present milieu – capitalism needs to crash and burn first.

Solshenitsyn


“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

-The Gulag Archipeligo

Long, long book.  Excellent read, worth every minute spent on it.  Given the mess that is currently simmering in Connecticut, and in our federal government, I highly recommend a read.