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 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 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 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 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.

How to stop Jeff Bezos from filling our skies with drones

Ilargi over at the The Automatic Earth has the  best idea ever.

Drones equipped with jammers….brilliant.

OK, so I’ve been thinking about this as well — and I think the way to keep these things out of the hands of our local police agencies is to make a very LARGE hue and cry over the ultimate loss of personnel this will cause.  After all, if there are drones patrolling the skies, what need is there for actual police on the ground?  A smaller force can be detailed to respond directly to an area where a crime was committed after the fact; there’s no need for actual in-person patrols when the drones can be deployed in place of people to detect crime.  Do we really want drones instead of personnel?

The same can be said of drones being used by other county/city agencies:  why should they, ultimately, employ people to go and check for code violations, say, when they can simply fly a drone over properties and very poorly pay someone to look at the pictures to find them?  Then they too can send out a small force targeted at violators.  Wouldn’t you rather have people being paid than drones?

The upshot is that if our tax dollars are going toward anything, it should be toward PEOPLE, not drones.  The use of drones will always and ultimately lead to job loss, or the replacement of better paid and trained people with lower paid and poorly trained drone masters.  Which will always and ultimately lead to more unemployment/underemployment and a poorer economic outlook for one’s own community.

Two seemingly unrelated issues with a common denominator

That common denominator being the Supreme Court.

In a surprising burst of common sense, the Supreme Court denied patent ability for genes to the company that discovered the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes.  This means other companies can now develop tests to detect these mutations — and at much more reasonable cost, I’m guessing — and keeps naturally occuring DNA from being owned by a corporation.  Thankfully.  For now.

The other issue I’ve been thinking about and following is the utterly asinine and illogical decision, upheld multiple times:  corporations are people.  Most recently this utterly stupid and unreasonable decision was not only upheld, but expanded upon, by the decision to allow corporations to make unlimited campaign donations to political parties — all in the name of free speech.

Well I have a few questions about this opinion.  If a corporation is a both a person, a la Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and property as Wikipedia so succinctly elucidates, then how can  a corporation be legal?   Eh??  You say?  Well, according to the Emancipation Proclamation, and the later 13th Amendment, holding a person as property is illegal.  Therefore, buying stock in a corporation — because it is a person — should be illegal.  It’s enslavement of a person.  It’s illegal.

Ah, you say.  That’s a logical fallacy.  Is it?  I mean, if corporations are legally designated as people, and they have the legal rights of people, then the 13th amendment should apply to them as well.  Stock holders should be forced to divest their ownership, to give it back (not sell, GIVE, because they obtained it illegally) to the corporation, and the company can then divest itself of shares.  If it’s a person, it can’t sell itself, nor can it be purchased (prostitution aside, which is illegal in every state but Nevada).  And what about the corporation’s free will?  Who gets to determine that?  If it’s a person, it can’t be owned, therefore the owners should not be making the decisions.  Corporations, because they are people, should have the right to self determination!

I really hope this idea takes off.  Much better minds than mine could take this and run with it.  Maybe it could even end up in the Supreme Court.  Maybe.  One can always hope.

Yep. All riled up.

Update:  found this blog thanks to a post on Facebook :What if Collapse came and nobody noticed?

We really got into politics during class.  Particularly the politics of health care, insurance, and why we don’t have socialized medicine.

I think I am the most politically aware person in class.

What we have is a two tiered health care system.  And too many doctors and providers – indeed too many health care staff period – to serve the few who can afford our high tech health care system.  What we’re facing is a crash.

Some of my classmates were outraged that France (and other nations like them with socialized care) does not pay for things like dialysis or heart surgery for those over 75 (for France, not sure about other countries), instead choosing to spend that public money on sectors of their society who still have a chance to be productive and contribute for many years to come.  They just refused to understand that those same French elderly CAN afford, like most of their society, to purchase private insurance that DOES allow them to receive those treatments.  They are not denied them, they are merely on their own to pay for them.  My classmates were insistent that it should be on a case by case basis.  Really?  How cost effective is that?  And how can one not understand that their system, BECAUSE it is offered to every citizen, allows them a much freer life without the stress of trying to navigate the health care system and worrying about how they’ll pay for their care? How can one not understand that insurance is so very much less expensive even when purchased for the simple reason that it’s NOT required?   How can one not understand that the French have a longer life span, even so, than we in the U.S.?

How can one not understand that in the U.S., we spend 9o% of ALL THE MONEY SPENT on health care for a person in the LAST YEAR of life?  How does that make for sound fiscal policy?

Regardless, even those systems are on the verge of crash.  Look at Spain, where they just recently declared they will no longer offer health care benefits for illegal aliens.  Look at the controversy here in AMERICA where people are outraged at that – like we have any sort of a higher ground to stand on?  We don’t even offer services to all of our citizens, let alone illegal aliens, and people here have the gall to be outraged that Spain is doing what it needs to in order to attempt to preserve some sort of health care for its actual citizens?  It will crash soon, violently.  And they too will have a two tiered health care system with far too many medical providers and staff.

Some classmates were dubious because they thought they would be told where to work and would make less money if they were employed in a socialized system like Canada’s.  Since I have in law family in Edmonton, when they started saying how awful a system it was because people had to wait so long for treatments and surgeries, I called BS on that.  I explained that issues that affect nothing but one’s quality of life may have to wait, but issues that affect life and death get first priority.  Unlike here, where those that have the most money go first, regardless of the seriousness of their issue.  And that in Canada, there is still a thriving private practice of doctors and nurses, it’s not illegal as far as I know to purchase private insurance and many Canadians actually do purchase it just in case.  The key here is that it’s optional, not mandatory, and even if they don’t purchase it they’re covered via the public option anyway.  It seems the Canadians they treat here in the American hospitals – who are being treated courtesy of the health insurance that it’s mandatory they purchase if they are traveling here – like to gripe. And misrepresent a very good system.

Regardless, it’s going to crash.

Why do I keep saying it’s going to crash?  Well, for the simple reason that taxes are dependent on employment; other things as well, but primarily on that.  And employment is down everywhere in the Western world.  50% of Spanish young adults are unemployed.  More than 24% of the population is unemployed.  These people aren’t paying the taxes they were, and they’re drawing on public benefits paid for by taxes.  How long do you think that can continue?  And it’s the same everywhere.  Demands on the system keep going up but tax revenues aren’t rising at the same rate.

It’s even worse here in America.  We offer subsidies to banks, coal and gas companies, oil companies, insurance companies, car manufacturers, ‘green’ energy companies, agribusiness, … the list goes on.  Plus what we spend on keeping our military overstaffed, because to make our military smaller would mean releasing massive numbers of angry young men (and women) who are overly familiar with firearms and accustomed to viewing life through the lens of the conquering occupier, onto our streets with no jobs for them.  We can’t afford to offer any sort of safety net (such as it is here) to our citizens when they need it, because we’re tapped out doing all of that.  It’s going to crash.  It’s bound to.

And the idea that Americans don’t buy into it is because we’re supposedly so ‘independent’ is utterly and completely crap.  Independent?  As in not following fashion trends…? As in not watching the Kardashians, and others equally insipid and irrelevant…?  As in not tweeting our every boring move…?  As in not merely parroting what we hear and see on the news….?  Riiiight.  We may have been independent 100+ years ago, but not for a long time.  And this country was ripe for socializing medicine at the turn of the 20th century, but the AMA got involved in undermining that, and now they get to reap what they sowed so long ago.  Shitty reimbursement, other people telling them what is and isn’t approved for medical treatment, and the reality that in order to survive they have to work for a big corporation and be just a cog in a really big machine instead of an independent, wealthy, respected individual who offered an important SERVICE to their community.  Which, by the way, are they very bogeymen the AMA invoked to prevent our country getting any sort of socialized medicine all the way down the line.  The only time they lost was when Medicare and Medicaid were passed by Congress.  Only it’s not the government imposing those restrictions on doctors now, like they claimed, it’s insurance companies…after all, the insurance companies have stockholders and bottom lines to protect.

I looked up how much it would cost me to get insurance – because since quitting my full time job I no longer have any – through the ObamaCare Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan.  It would be a minimum of $240 per month.  For the two of us it would be nearly $500 per month.  That’s just not feasible, and to think that I’ll be assessed a tax penalty because even at this price (as opposed to the nearly $2000 per month it would otherwise cost me) it’s too expensive makes me feel trapped.

Medicare benefits for all – the true public option – is the only answer, and it’s not the answer because our system is unsustainable.  So as you can see, there is no answer, only a soon to be overabundance of plastic surgeons, aesthiticians, orthopedic surgeons, and dermatologists and no primary care for the great majority of regular citizens.  Prices will come down, dramatically, but still most of us won’t be able to afford care. Maybe the system will keep lumbering on for a long time yet, and the crash will be slow and gentle, more like a ride down a hill than a step off a cliff.  Maybe.

And what do I think I’m doing furthering my education?  Just to do my best for the people I live among.  I have never been out to get rich, just to get by.  What do I expect for all of my sacrifice to become an NP?  Just to be able to pay my own bills, and to be able to help those who come to me to live the most healthy life they can.  You know, a life of service.

What is the answer?

I wish I knew.

I wish I still believed in the ability of the system to be responsive to the needs of its citizens and to change.   I hate politics.

What is pornography?

WARNING:  ADULT PICTURES.  ADULT CONTENT.  DEFINITELY X RATED.  Do not read this if you are easily offended, get chest pain frequently, or are otherwise fainthearted.

Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich all vowed to enforce ‘antipornography’ (read:  obscenity) laws if elected.  Why?  And more importantly, whom in fact to they presume to enforce it against?

I recently, by pure serendipity, watched Inside Deep Throat.  What a fascinating documentary!  I didn’t know that Harvey Reems, the male actor, was actually convicted of obscenity and sentenced to FIVE YEARS in prison.  Thankfully, he didn’t serve any time.  Why on earth they prosecuted him, other than just to make an example of *someone* is beyond me.

Is this pornography?

Or what about this?

How about this?


Maybe this?

How about this?

Surely this.

No?  Then this.

What is the difference between art and pornography when it comes to the naked body?  I refuse to bow to convention and call it ‘nude’.  That, to me, caves in to the whole art vs. pornography pretend argument.  Nude is art, Naked is porn.  Whatever.  Clothes are off regardless.

Is it that one arouses and the other inspires?  Somehow I doubt that.

Is it the subject matter?  Why?  Because one is dealing with lofty or biblical or mythical topics, and one is dealing with the nuts and bolts of every day life?  You say ‘tomato’ I say ‘tomahhhhto….”

Here’s what I think, as a post modern feminist Pagan woman.  I think that the unclothed body, in all its beauty,  artfully posed, arouses no matter what.  I don’t think the subject matter has a whit to do with it.  I think that a frankly sexual picture can be equally as beautiful, as artful, as lofty and spiritual as a classic masterpiece. I think a teenaged boy, if all he has access to is the Birth of Venus, will masturbate to that the same as any Hustler magazine, if you want my honest uncensored down to earth opinion…and I birthed three boys. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s part of growing up.

I worry about their promise, I truly do.  How much money will we waste as a society pursuing something which has never unequivocally been PROVEN to cause harm to anyone?  How many people, their only crime a dildo or an x rated movie, will go to jail as a result?

And most importantly, I worry about this:  All three of these guys have access to a great deal of money from the for-profit prison industry.  Qui bono?


A much better rant on the importance of textiles than mine

Beautiful Knitting linked to this essay about the importance of textiles to modern civilization. I thought it was so very good, I’m also linking to it here. It’s from 2007, but it’s still relevant today.

Should Everyone Spin? Abby Franquemont is a renowned spinner who grew up in Peru, the child of anthropologists. Excellent read, although a little long.