Tag Archives: censorship

No! No! Bad SOPA! Bad PIPA! No! No!

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I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/45811/uncensor

I am SO ███████ ████ ██████ who don’t ████ ██████████ how the ████████ █████ ████ the █████ to ███████, and, ██████, █████, a █████-████ ██████ ████ has ██████ the █████ and ██████ █████████ ███████. The Big $ has ██████ our ██████████; our so-██████ ███████████████ are too ██████ and too ██████ to ████ ████ ████ ██████ ████ are █████ to the ███████ ██████ in the US and ██████ the █████.█████ all the █████████ who are ████ █████████████ ██████ for ████ ████ – do ████████ you ████ to do, █████ of ████████, to ████ ███████ █████ █████████ are ██████ out of ██████ and ████████ by ███████████, ████████, ██████ █████ ██████!!

Uncensor This

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Hackers: 21st Century MacGyvers?

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There were SO many interesting and/or disturbing news stories  yesterday,  my brain nearly exploded when I contemplated blogging. No DREAM, Bev Perdue choppin’ away at the remnants of NC state government, good riddance “don’t ask, be a douche”, Republicans, Bev Perdue, Republicans…

I just couldn’t do it. I knew if I started, I’d be sucked so far into the blogosphere, they’d have to send a search party to get me to go to bed.

Instead, I read What Would MacGyver Do? by Brendan Vaughan, starting myself in another direction, which – as usual – came back to the very issues I was attempting to ignore… MacGyver is now part of our cultural heritage & English lexicon. Anyone capable of reading this bog ought to know what “to MacGyver” means. If you don’t, go look it up, or you’ll be a bit confused.

MacGyver burst on the scene only a couple of months before my daughter burst into the world. Since I was finishing my master’s thesis at the same time, naturally I spent plenty of time watching TV. A little 14″ cutie from a pawn shop, our TV kept me entertained on long Sunday afternoons, soothing me to sleep with football commentary. We’d actually bought it to play Atari, but … (slap face. get back on topic!) The series spanned a my new career, 2 children, a divorce & start of  medical school, so it swam in & out of my consciousness. Through the wonders of syndication, I could catch an old episode every now & then.

When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be James Bond. Now I realize I would much rather have been more like MacGyver.   Not only could he jury-rig himself out of almost any situation, he was also a truly good human being. What Would MacGyver Do? contained stories of real human beings improvising brilliant solution & saving themselves from the perils of arrest, embarrassment, angry spouses & heat stroke. (That whole drinking your pee thing makes me gag, but I’m sure I’d do it too if the circumstances were bad enough…) I was impressed by how imaginative deceptions people invent, but many of those are not in the good-hearted MacGyver spirit.. On the other hand, use of common sense, the tools at hand & basic scientific principles, in the face of other people wringing their hands or stomping around having temper tantrum, is what I consider truly MacGyverish.

When faced with an impending crisis, most people tend to react in one of 3 ways.  Most frequent & most familiar is the “OMG! Whatever will we do? We’re going to die! Or something horrible! Or at least have to put up with the running toilet for 4 days until the plumber comes!!!”. You can’t tell them anything; all they see is the sky falling & they must run & tell Farmer Brown. Now. Something has to be done now. Extremely short-term results oriented – they’d escape the chicken house, then get eaten by the fox.

There is also the “Whatever” denial group. Hearing some horrible crashing, grinding sound, these guys (yeah, usually guys) will poke their head up from whatever they’re doing. They’ll then look at their immediate surroundings, determine nothing can be touched, tasted, smelled or seen (yet), and promptly resume watching the 24th re-run of  “Whatever”.  Until they start roasting, they never know a B-52 crashed in their front yard, engulfing their entire neighborhood is in flames. Unobservant & immobile, these rock-like mules will never see or hear anything that they don’t already think they know or believe. Uh huh – read that one again!

Both OMG! & Whateverare maladaptive responses to fear: Fear of the unknown, the known, the might be, the what if & I might have to do something different.

In contrast to incompetent frenzied flapping chickens & self-centered  snoring ostriches, there is a third group. We’re the people who say “I’m sure we can figure something out…I don’t know quite how, but we’ll get through this…Whatever happens, I can handle it…Here, let me fix that toilet for you…”.  We’re the people who will spend 18 hours learning HTML by trying to figure out how to keep the funky script from appearing on our (pre-made) template on website x, when it worked fine on y. Having taught themselves before they were 14 to repair toilets & re-wire the Christmas lights (sometimes out of self-defense), they think – high school dropouts can do this, so can I. We know never, ever leave home without duct tape, rope, a knife and – of course – a wire clothes hanger. (Yes, that’s all based on personal experience…)

I’ve noticed there are several characteristics that set the “MacGyvers” apart. One is a sense of competence, of one’s self as a competent human being. It’s important to believe you will be able to handle whatever comes your way, including failure. Another is the ability to pause & evaluate the situation, before doing anything else. I mean really evaluate the situation & environment, making as few assumptions as possible, only as reasonable extrapolations of what you know. Willness to admit you don’t know, to be wrong, to ask for help when appropriate – these are all MacGyverish characteristics. A big helping of (un)common sense, a basic understanding of the physical world & knowing what you don’t know is needed, too.

Here’s where it comes full circle. I see state, national & international governments being shredded by the tug-of-war between the OMG! & Whatever factions.  Various groups take turns playing those roles in different situations. Currently, as US is over-run by squawking Democrats & Republican rocks, Obama has been trying to MacGyver the government. Unfortunately, there’s too much chaos & volume to accurately assess the situation, much less to expect to implement any brilliant solutions. Mr. Obama’s willingness to “be wrong” has made him a target of ridicule, instead of admiration.  Most Western politicians have been squawking about wikileaks, but the US is screeching most loudly. I believe it was the Israelis who made a comment about the US being so busy reacting to wikileaks that they didn’t have time to have talks. Not, I think, an admirable face to show the international community, eh?

Meanwhile, there are some MacGyvers in the international community, but they don’t belong to a government or any particular political ideology. They are the hackers, the new “freedom fighters”, the ones who say – it’s out there, I’ll find it… this shouldn’t be hiding under a rock, let me shine some light in there…   They have networks of resources, contingency plans, others who’ll get their back, and, above all, confidence. Often mistaken for arrogance, confidence is more self-understanding than self-glorification.

I see this in Julian Assange. He is confident that he has taken the best course. He understands he’s not the only or even most important part of the wikileaks movement anymore & has been quite willing to let it be so. He used his resources, took time to consider his actions and turned himself in to the British in a quite calculated move.

In many ways, I identify with JA. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd unquestioningly. Somehow, I know, like me, he’d never settle for “because that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Like JA’s mother, I’m working hard to make certain my home-schooled son doesn’t develop an unhealthy respect for ‘authority’!!

Visa, I was about to be sympathetic, but then I read this…

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I want to make it clear that, although I support Wikileak’s and their mission, I in NO WAY condone attacks against anyone in their name. That is just as bad as what is being done to Wikileaks; the attackers are just as bad as the repressive organizations they hate.

Dec. 8th NYTimes Lede blog>

‘Operation Payback’ Attacks Fell Visa.com

By ROBERT MACKEY

I started reading this article with the thought “now they’ve gone too far. Is this the world we really want?”. However,  as I read further, I became more & more disturbed at actions taken by multinational corporations, such as Visa, who have targeted smaller companies they believe (or know) support Wikileaks.

Visa, now you’ve gone too far!

Once a company starts involving itself in international politics – especially in an arena where it should (theoretically) have no particular interest. After all, aren’t they the ones who want to be accepted everywhere?? Why are they now rummaging through their files  & spending time threatening businesses – who are using their service & making them money? How far does this go, and where does it stop?

Money police?

Visa & MC have set up a virtual global monopoly on money transfe r, along with eBay‘s more evil twin, PayPotty. They are throwing their collective weight around, in an attempt to shut down an organization that some governments don’t like. (OK, hate, despise, fear, etc) Who’s tail is wagging these big dogs? Or are they the tail?

Here are a few of the key paragraphs from the blog that, shall I say, pissed me off?(my bold)

The move against Visa comes after a Web services company in Iceland, DataCell.com, which has supported WikiLeaks and still hosts a Web page facilitating donations to the organization, complained that the credit card company had tried to force it to stop working for the non-profit media site… the company also hosts the Web site Wikileaks.ch.

…Mr. Sigurvinsson told Iceland’s national broadcaster RUV that “he finds Visa and MasterCard’ s request that DataCell stop serving WikiLeaks highly distasteful, asking what business two private companies have dictating terms to another private company.” He added, “It is clear that they will never close WikiLeaks except by taking the whole Internet down.

The chief executive of DataCell, Andreas Fink, explained in a statement that his company has been operating “a payment gateway so people can donate” to WikiLeaks for two months. On Tuesday, Mr. Fink said that Visa had asked DataCell to stop accepting payment details from Visa cardholders who wanted to donate money to WikiLeaks. The company declined to do so, because, Mr. Fink explained:

After discussions with our lawyers, we have decided that we can not honor such requests based on the pure simple fact of untrue and unverified accusations.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship and/or limitation. The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law. Furthermore freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law. (US courts can’t argue with this, now that they’ve pronounced corporations “people” in terms of $ = free speech)

It is simply ridiculous to even think WikiLeaks has done anything criminal. If WikiLeaks is criminal, then CNN, and BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and many others would have to be considered criminals too as they publish the same information. Nobody even tries to touch them though. You can still buy a New York Times subscription and pay with your credit card I guess.

On Wednesday, Mr. Fink added an update to his statement, in which he said that Visa and MasterCard had stopped processing all online payments facilitated by DataCell, affecting up to 3,000 clients, apparently to ensure that no money would make it to WikiLeaks. Mr Fink added that his company was taking “immediate legal actions to make donations possible again.”

He also wrote:

The suspension of payments towards WikiLeaks is a violation of the agreements with [Visa’s] customers. Visa users have explicitly expressed their will to send their donations to WikiLeaks and Visa is not fulfilling this wish. It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur. Visa customers are contacting us in masses to confirm that they really donate and they are not happy about Visa rejecting them. It is obvious that Visa is under political pressure to close us down. We strongly believe a world class company such as Visa should not get involved by politics and just simply do their business where they are good at. Transferring money.  They have no problem transferring money for other businesses such as gambling sites, pornography services and the like so why a donation to a Web site which is holding up for human rights should be morally any worse than that is outside of my understanding….

This is not about the brand of Visa, this is about politics and Visa should not be involved in this.

I knew there has to be more than one reason I don’t use credit cards… besides keeping out of debt & out of their great greasy paws….


Hydras Happen: When Do Governments become Terrorists?

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A Hydra…

Cut off its head – how many more will grow back?

(Bold/underlines by me; red is obviously my biased, snarky commentary. I altered photographs & art to suit my purposes. )

Today, JA turned himself in to the British authorities. They’re holding him without bail, which is only a bit bizarre, since he turned himself in… He’s fighting extradition, so, I believe (gotta check this fact) that the British judge has to look at the evidence to see if there are actually any grounds.   That’ll b e a fun one – the charges now are something like… “the condom broke” and “I was half asleep”…

Can we all sayWitch! Witch!“? Now, who were we talking about???

Even before today’s less-than-momentous events (Just ’cause JA is in the brigg doesn’t mean WL stops!!), the forces have been massing (or is that “the masses have been forcing???). I’ll get back to the Hydras in a bit. First, I need to let this out….

Why is there a huge amount of hysteria around the release of information that is already public???? From NYTimes article of 12/7/2010:

British Court Denies Bail to Assange…

“Perhaps in a warning shot of sorts, WikiLeaks on Monday released a cable from early last year listing sites around the world — from hydroelectric dams in Canada to vaccine factories in Denmark — that are considered crucial to American national security.

Nearly all the facilities listed in the document, including undersea cables, oil pipelines and power plants, could be identified by Internet searches. !!!!!But the disclosure prompted headlines in Europe and a new denunciation from the State Department, which said in a statement that “releasing such information amounts to giving a targeting list to groups like Al Qaeda.” (How dumb do you think they are???)

Asked later about the cable, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the continuing disclosures posed “real concerns, and even potential damage to our friends and partners around the world.””… (How dumb do we think she is?)

Justice Department prosecutors have been struggling to find a way to indict Mr. Assange since July, when WikiLeaks made public documents on the war in Afghanistan. But while it is clearly illegal for a government official with a security clearance to give a classified document to WikiLeaks, it is far from clear that it is illegal for the organization to make it public. (especially when they aren’t American, anyway – you have NOOOOO jurisdiction!!!)

As to the burning question, When Do Governments become Terrorists?... On Sunday’s Meet the Press

GOP Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said of Assange:  ”I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law.” As usual, when wielded by American authorities, the term “terrorist” means nothing more than: “those who impede or defy the will of the U.S. Government with any degree of efficacy.”  Anyone who does that is, by definition, a Terrorist.  And note McConnell’s typical, highly representative view that if someone he wants to punish isn’t a criminal under the law, then you just “change the law” to make him one. (in this case, the bold was added by GLENN GREENWALD, color by me)

Umm, let me see – no law for someone to break. Hate that someone. Make up new law, so can say “he break!!. I don’t want to sound like, gasp!, Glenn Beck, but, OMG!!

Hitler Did This.

Will ou r government actually cross this line? I’m peeking through my fingers; I don’t want to look. It’s like one of those awful movies where you see someone standing with their back to a cliff, slowly walking backwards… Cliff! Cliff! Look Out!!!

The Atlantic:

Wikileaks is a powerful new way for reporters and human rights advocates to leverage global information technology systems to break the heavy veil of government and corporate secrecy that is slowly suffocating the American press. The likely arrest of Assange… has nothing to do with the importance of the system he has built, and which the US government seems intent on destroying with tactics more appropriate to the Communist Party of China — pressuring Amazon to throw the site off their servers, and, one imagines by launching the powerful DDOS attacks that threatened to stop visitors from reading the pilfered cables.

(OMG! NOOoooo! It’s not even a slippery slope, it’s a CLIFF!!!…)

 

Now that I’ve given myself a headache, back to Hydras!

Wikileaks isn’t the only group with all the info:

Again, today’s NYTimes:

So far, the group has moved cautiously. The whole archive was made available to five news organizations, including The New York Times. But WikiLeaks has posted only a few dozen cables on its own in addition to matching those made public by the news publications. According to the State Department’s count, 1,325 cables, or fewer than 1 percent of the total, have been made public by all parties to date.

In recent months, WikiLeaks gave the entire collection of cables to four European publications — Der Spiegel in Germany, El País in Spain, Le Monde in France and The Guardian. The Guardian shared the cable collection with The New York Times.

First 5 heads – the allegedly free press...

Since Nov. 28, each publication has been publishing a series of articles about revelations in the cables, accompanied online by the texts of some of the documents. The publications have removed the names of some confidential sources of American diplomats, and WikiLeaks has generally posted the cables with the same redactions.

From WIRED:

A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike… The greatest threat we face right now from Wikileaks is not the information it has spilled and may spill in the future, but the reactionary response to it that’s building in the United States that promises to repudiate the rule of law and our free speech traditions, if left unchecked.

Scary Scary Free Press!!! Where’s “Deep Throat” when we need him? Oh, that’s right – he’s already said he supports WL.

Then there are the members of the “great unwashed masses” – that’s everyone who’s not a diplomat or the press…. Examples:

Quote from yesterday’s NYTimes about the backlash:

“an orchestrated effort [by an Internet group, Anonymous] was under way to attack companies that have refused to support WikiLeaks and to post multiple copies of the leaked material. The Anonymous manifesto singled out PayPal, which cut off ties with WikiLeaks for “a violation” of its policy on promoting illegal activities, a company statement said. “The reason is amazingly simple,” Mr. Housh said of the campaign. “We all believe that information should be free, and the Internet should be free.”…

By late Sunday, there were at least 208 WikiLeaks mirror sites up and running. “Cut us down,” said a message on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed on Sunday, “and the stronger we become.””

PC World:

WikiLeaks has asked the Web community to open mirror sites so it cannot be downed or censored and said Monday that 355 new sites are already up.

McCarthy? Watergate? Hypocrisy? Stupid threats that are going to get a LOT of people in trouble, eventually? You decide….

HuffPo (with Wired & NYTimes):

Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week. The State Department said they never told anyone to say this. Well, yeah. It was one of their guys just sayin’ (the obvious).

Here’s the email:

From: Office of Career Services
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
To: “Office of Career Services (OCS)”

Hi students,

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Regards,
Office of Career Services

To their credit:  On Monday, John H. Coatsworth, the SIPA Dean, reversed the university’s earlier position, affirming that students “have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena…without fear of adverse consequences.”

I think they are afraid of even more heads from this Hydra.  They should be.

We’ve come full circle. Our government using threats, international pressure & lies (what do you call someone who terrorizes???). A press wavering in its tracks,   unable to decide whether to stand up for democracy or cringe like a cowering dog. Hydras, brave people popping up all around the world, dedicated to restoring sanity & spreading

the truth that information is freedom.  (Isn’t that what the West keeps trying to tell all those dissidents

in “repressive” countries?) All followed by more massive hypocrisy from previously mentioned Western government. I don’t like playing this game, but Who’s the Terrorist?

NNNOOOOoooooo!!  I told you IT WAS A CLIFF!!!!!

 

Wikileaks Witch Hunt Continues On… Stop It, Stupids!!

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If you read further down, I mention a way you can still get donations to Wikileaks.

Been sleeping under a rock for the last few months? Here’s the background on Wikileaks .

You’d think the world would have learned. You’d think the countries known for their supposedly free-speech principles would be less blatantly hypocritical. Perhaps you’d even think they’d remember what happens when you persecute someone seen by a large part of the world as a hero.

No. Of course not.

Martyrs are pretty hard to kill!

Sometimes they turn out to be hydras: Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks’ spokesman, has announced plans to launch a new and more transparent platform on his own, the German news magazine Focus reported.

Suddenly, all these “democratic” countries, which put down all those ol’ repressive regimes, are bound and determined to repress information that they don’t want you to have.

And you know what? It’s silly stuff, really. Reminds me of the guy from Burn Notice who says ” you know those spies – a bunch of bitchy little girls…”  So what have we learned? Diplomats are catty? People say one thing & do another? Human beings run our governments?

OH NO!!! Stupids.

Today, eBay, via paypigpal, cut off wikileak’s donation account.

This follows Amazon kicking them off their servers, hackers continuously attempting to shut down the site, denial of service cyber attacks on servers & sites seen as friendly to them (remote computers commandeered by rogue programs bombard a website with so many data packets that it becomes overwhelmed and unavailable to visitors), Interpol putting out an alert for JA, Sweden deciding they’re going to try to arrest him on a (bogus) rape charge, and the US & UK “powers that be” roundly denouncing the release of all these nasty embarrassing documents (’cause that’s all they are!)

Pitchforks. Torches. Angry… diplomats? Where are the peasants? Oh! They LIKE Mr Assange!!  So does brave, handsome Stephen Colbert, who courageously interviewed this evil? treacherous? world-destroying? Oh! I have to stop! It’s too funny… Here’s the Interview.

Me likes Julian, too. Thinks him HOT! Brains, guts & cool Scandinavian looks, with that great mashed-up Australian/European accent. What’s not to like? Me must be peasant.

OK. So he’s no saint. Who is? Oh yeah, her.

Are these “the Pentagon Papers” of 2010? Daniel Ellsberg has given his backing to Wikileaks. You remember? The one who leaked the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war in 1971? The papers that, in the end, had little, if any, impact – except for giving jobs to a lot of journalists.

Today (Dec 4, 2010), on the BBC News Web Site, News Analyst Anatol Lieven writes: (my bolds & italics)

Finally, there is the wider question as to whether such leaks are a good or bad thing. After careful thought and with certain reservations, I’d have to say that on balance they are good.

On the security threat which has so often been cited as an objection, it seems that Wikileaks have taken care to exclude anything that can endanger specific US agents or actions.

Another objection is that for the need for confidentiality in diplomacy – so that diplomats can express candid views to their home governments without fearing that they will be spread all over the media.

This is a much stronger argument, but in the end it is outweighed – in the West, not obviously in Russia – by the fact that we are after all supposed to be democracies, and our electorates have the democratic right to know more than they have done in recent years about the conduct of their government’s foreign policy.

Far too much misinformation and outright lying has surrounded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Overall, we in the West now live in an atmosphere of security hysteria and obsessive secrecy that would have filled our ancestors with horror.

If the threat of more Wikileaks releases makes this less likely in future, so much the better.

As to the effects on the tender sensibilities of Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and Hamid Karzai of private US official opinions of them – well, how very tragic.

The more these people know of how the outside world regards them the better for their countries. From this point of view, Wikileaks might almost be seen as rather a good way for a US administration to pass on candid messages that it could not possibly deliver officially.

On Saturday, media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders issues a statement condemning  personal attacks on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and “the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure” in what it called the first “attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency… We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China.”

Oh Yeah!

The Wau Holland Foundation, named after a German hacker & the organization’s main (known) private financial backer, is actively collecting donations. So far they have collected euro750,000 ($1 million) for WikiLeaks, covering the organization’s expenses. Following WikiLeaks’ recent releases, they are now experiencing an enormous number of contributions. On its website, the foundation says “the huge and in this form unique amount of donations has caused the delay of issuing contribution receipts” — which allow Germans to deduct donations from their taxes. If you want to contribute, they have instructions on their site. Of course, you can’t use PayPorker.

If I write that I strongly support his efforts to encourage global information transparency & think Wikileaks is a brilliant idea, am I committing treason?

Bwahahahahahaha!!!

Reasonable Intelligent Freedom-loving People of the World Love You, Julian! You can come hide at my house. We’ve got this great closet under the stairs. I’ll even move out the kitty litter box & wire you in a light bulb. You can pretend you’re Harry Potter…  We won’t tell my husband. He’d be afraid of the government & all that!

Just remember to watch out for the Stupids!

A note:

This is one of my favorite articles about JA run on the musicians4freedom site:

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Homeschooled to Avoid Unhealthy Respect for Authority

More Wikileaks fun:

Check out  the cynical, tongue-in-cheek coverage on Anorak News,  an independent online sensation exposing prejudice, inhumanity, stuff shirts, misogyny, a biased news agenda, conformity, misanthropy, spin and the worst and best of human culture in words, pictures and video.