July 17th, 2008

fashionable

LJ spam problem increasing.

I don't know how much the rest of you have noticed it, but I have seen a *HUGE* increase in comments, especially in many of my most widely read posts, that are clearly a form of spam.  To make matters worse, these spam comments are coming from "registered" users, such as

paulaqiguzzsuzannapivyx, etc. The goal seems to be to get Google to link from relatively well-indexed LJ users / posts to these phony accounts, which in term link to other sites.

The amount of spam comments I am getting on all my existing posts is starting to outstrip the comments I get on normal posts, but I absolutely don't want to close comments in my journal to registered users, restricting things to only those who are currently on my friends list. 

If I can't find a good solution -- or if LJ can't change its account creation or to solve this problem in a fairly rapid manner -- this might be the last straw, frankly. 

It's important to me to make sure that comments to my post are open to outside voices, especially those who can provide firsthand knowledge and information on the subject at hand. And while I pride myself in having a very knowledgeable friends list with lots of people who are in very interesting circumstances and who have very diverse interests, having to cut off comments to only those I already know is completely unacceptable.

Screw new features. Getting rid of this kind of crap should be priority #1 for LiveJournal, in order to make sure that the site still works as a community.  It would be too easy for LJ, through its inaction, to go the way of Usenet.       

 

fashionable

Al Gore throws down the gauntlet.


 "Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years." 
- Al Gore, July 17, 2008

"I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels. . . . It's a strategy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced, and one that will leave our children a world that is cleaner and safer."
- Barack Obama, July 17, 2008

It's telling that we are seeing Al Gore in a suit & tie, with all those flags behind him again. To me, this says to me that he feels that it's time to become political, if only to put this issue on the front burner. 

Al Gore has spoken previously as a political outsider, as that best suited his ability to be effective... but now he's upping the ante, and will be speaking to a national audience throughout this campaign, with a level of gravitas that is arguably higher today than that of any former president living today. And when he speaks, it will be assumed by many that he speaks with the approval and blessing of the next President of the United States... whoever that may be... 

...and woe betide to any candidate who crosses him! Expect Al Gore to try to nail Barack Obama *AND* John McCain down to firm commitments ahead of time, and expect him to keep beating up on John McCain for wanting to allow his supporters to drill everywhere, even as McCain is forced to adopt a green facade.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.    
fashionable

Reuters stumps for occupation.

I hate it when news agencies distort reality by finding the infrequent exception to the rule.

Case in point, by Reuters.

"Iraqis want the U.S. military presence to end. But when that occurs -- and whether a timetable should be set for troops to leave -- is something ordinary Iraqis, security officials and politicians cannot agree on."

Except, of course, for the Iraqi Parliament, which has been fighting for a timetable for withdrawal since passing a resolution supporting a U.S. withdrawal LAST YEAR...

...or the Iraqi people, who, as early as 2006, said overwhelmingly that they wanted the US out... immediately!

...or the Iraqi Prime Minister, who now, finally supports a timetable for withdrawal, even though he has intentionally avoided making any actual, firm security treaties with the US since last year, because he KNEW that the Iraq's constitution required parliamentary approval for any such treaties, and that the Iraqi Parliament would demand that a timetable for withdrawl be attached to any such treaty. And so the US and Maliki wasted a year on force agreements... declarations of principles... anything to avoid an actual treaty that could be approved by Iraq's elected officials.

Indeed... other than a large majority of Iraq's elected leaders, an overwhelming majority of Iraqis, a clear majority of Americans, an overwhelming majority of the US soldiers stationed in Iraq, and Bill O'Reilly, nobody wants the US to leave Iraq soon.

Certainly not the Bush administration, who has rejected the Iraqi Prime Minister's call for the withdrawl of US forces, calling it "an artificial timetable for withdrawal". (So much for soveriegnity or democracy, I guess...) Indeed, his administration is so amp'ed up about maintaining the US occupation that they've reportedly threatened the Iraqi government by withholding tens of billions of Iraqi dollars in US banks if they don't sign off on an "agreement" that will enshrine permanent US advantages and, ideally, permanent US military bases in Iraq.

(Guess all those permanent-looking bases that we built in Iraq were supposed to be permanent military bases. Who'da thunk?!) 

So, when Reuters talks about a timetable for withdrawal being something that "ordinary Iraqis, security officials and politicians cannot agree on", you have to wonder where they get off. 

It's bad enough that these ignoramuses didn't see the writing on the wall, and did nothing to inform the public regarding this issue, treating Maliki's sudden resistance to permanently selling out the Iraqi people as something that was shocking and surprising, rather than as a matter of political necessity for him, given that Iraqi elections are coming up soon.

Really, who writes this crap, and what is their motivation? Is searching for the rare exception to the rule and claiming that Iraqis are strongly divided on the issue of withdrawal their idea of "balance"? If so, they have consistantly advocated ignorance and deception to the public in the name of balance, only to feign surprise when change suddenly "happens".

Five and a half years into a preemptive war and unpopular occupation?! There was nothing sudden about it...! And unfortunately, despite the clear, obvious Iraqi opposition to a prolonged US occupation, there will be nothing sudden about US withdrawal so long as the war's backers have anything to do with it. It doesn't take that many warhawks -- and chickenhawks -- to talk tough in order to scare everyone else in the coop into submission.  Political necessity requires all to act "tough", even if doing so requires them to act ignorant at the same time. 

That is ultimately the trap we've found our nation in today -- an inability to act rationally, in the best interest of our nation.  Talking indefinite occupation and ever-expanding debts in the midst of a major economic downturn, and potentially catastrophic climate change? How suicidal is that?!! 

Reuters and other opinion shapers, with their unwillingness to clearly state the reality of Iraqi public opinion... their unwillingness to lay out how the US is attempting to break their promises to leave when asked by the Iraqis to do so... their attempts to subvert Iraq's government and constitution... they are giving John McCain the room to posture and call upon some truely undemocratic, idiotic theoreticals -- such as a prolonged occupation of Iraq -- as an example of toughness and supporting the troops, as opposed to the reality of the situation -- an attack upon an emurging, soveriegn government, and a betrayal of the wishes and the trust of American servicemen and women.  

The Iraqis are a patient people, who will gladly outwait the Bush administration in order to get a better deal that would protect and secure their soveriegnity. But it is dangerous and foolhardy for any American to assume that their patience is inexhaustable, and that they can be asked to wait patiently and peacefully, indefinitely. 

Have no doubt... voting for McCain is the same thing as voting for the fragile waiting game we face today in Iraq to end. Today, we fight only those parties in Iraq that the Iraqi government tolerates us attacking. But if the Iraqis were faced with an open-ended, indefinite occupation, we might very well find ourselves fighting both an increasingly negative and hostile world opinion, and a truely united Iraq.