Archive for May, 2007

Why am I obsessed with LOLcats?

It’s just a stupid internet meme, but it amuses me endlessly. Here’s one I made for Hedy:

Ahhh… the internet. Pretty soon there’s gonna be more pictures of cats on the web than (human) pornography. Kitty-porn, as it were, is winning.

I just can’t explain the attraction. Kitties are cute, no doubt, but it still seems odd. I wonder if there’s a 12-step program…

An enjoyable four-day weekend

I’m back at the grind after a lovely Memorial Day vacation. I hope you all had a great vacation as well. Mine was pretty cool. It involved dancing, drinking, camping, recording, softball, jogging, bocce ball, lots of eating, frisbee, jamming, driving, hiking and non-stop partying with friends. All in all, I can’t complain. The weather was even pretty nice. It got really windy the first night we camped, though. It was kind of surreal, but it just added to the fun.

I should have a more interesting post up soon. Probably later today or tomorrow. I will have to do a bit of research before I post. This blog is tougher than it looks, yo. I move mountains for you, dear readers!

You live in the monkeysphere, human!

You are human, yet you live in a monkeysphere. How odd.

..What?! You don’t know what the Monkeysphere is? Here’s your chance.

You can impress people and look smart at parties by having a solid grasp on the concept of a monkeysphere and the ability to explain it succinctly. Then you can screech and fling poo at them.

If you’re nice, maybe I’ll let you into my monkeysphere.

We can’t depend on Laura to manage this task. If she was doing her job we wouldn’t be at war right now. There’s only one person who can give the president the blow job he so desperately needs. There’s only one person whose undying devotion and selfless emasculation could possibly sway Bush. There’s only one person who could possibly imagine giving Bush the fellatio that could free us all from his despotic regime. One person… one man. Tony Blair.


Come on, Tony. You owe us this much. Give Bush a BJ and get caught!… so we can impeach him. It’s a dirty job, but you owe us big-time, Tony. Pucker up.

A tiny reason, if you need one:

California has threatened to sue the feds for blocking efforts to raise fuel efficiency standards. The Bush administration is accused of leaning on EPA and colluding with automakers in order to strangle California’s attempt to get rid of their huge fucking smog problem.

Dear Bushie: Thanks for the fucking help.

Ah, joy. The Bush administration … which, not that long ago, was proclaiming their love for the environment… and some fucking stupid people out there actually seemed to believe them!! Get some eyes, people, and put them in your head. The adminstration says one thing and does another: do you need a goddamn map to a clue?!

Sorry, I’m just frustrated that we haven’t impeached the fucking fratboy clown and his evil puppetmaster, Cheney, yet. What the fucking are we waiting for? A fucking sign from heaven that these assholes are up to no good?! The writings on the fucking wall, man. Some people just too blind to see.

But seriously… what the fuck are we waiting for? … for Dick Cheney to reveal that he eats skewered eight year old girls for breakfast every morning?!! …. We’ve already guessed that!!!!

We’re beyond the, “Oh my goodness… the Bush adminstration seems to have violated a few teensy laws, and maybe launched **oopsies!** a war that looks based on fraudulant reasons… Leapin’ Lords to Betsy! He might be… (gasp!)… a liar…. even a… a… villain!” phase, aren’t we? If somebody reading this just realized, YESTERDAY, that Bush is an asshole and a liar and a warmonger and a phony, then I would like to be the first to welcome you to planet Earth. Welcome. How was your stay in Lollypop Land?

So why aren’t we impeaching the fucker yet? Gary Kamiya at Salon takes a stab at it. You might not like what he finds…

But there’s a deeper reason why the popular impeachment movement has never taken off — and it has to do not with Bush but with the American people. Bush’s warmongering spoke to something deep in our national psyche. The emotional force behind America’s support for the Iraq war, the molten core of an angry, resentful patriotism, is still too hot for Congress, the media and even many Americans who oppose the war, to confront directly. It’s a national myth. It’s John Wayne. To impeach Bush would force us to directly confront our national core of violent self-righteousness — come to terms with it, understand it and reject it. And we’re not ready to do that.

If he’s right then we’d better come to grips with our problem — quick. We don’t have much time. We’re spiraling more each day into a the war-like fascist society the Bushies so desperately want to create. They are programming us for war, for service and fealty, for unquestioning belief in their essential decency. We don’t want to dig too deep lest the knowledge prove too painful, right? Just sit back and watch some TV, citizen.

How many of you are prepared to go all the way?

How far down into the abyss are you willing to go? … What if you’re already in the abyss but you believe you’re in a happier place, fresh like a green field in the summer. Instead of putting a fragrant purple flower to your nose you’ve actually got a tentacle of media infusion jammed down your throat and you’re wallowing in a slimy, dark, nightmare pit of fear and frenzy. You’re Neo in the Matrix. Once you take that red pill there’s no going back.

You can’t really see the world the same way again. Once you wake up you’re simultaneously horrified and relieved, somehow. Knowing the truth is not as hard as some make it seem. But looking back at your actions may scare you more than anything. Looking back at the zombie, so deluded, believing what they’re saying… What would you have done had you not become aware?

People are at different levels of awareness. Some people scoff when somebody brings up the Bush family’s Nazi-associated past. … Others see a pattern.

I urge you not to think of World War II as some distant, bronzed history which was most defintely a one-time deal, and which exists outside the normal flow of time as an idealized war faught against a horrific, satanic demigod. Far from being the exception, Hitler is the norm. Many world leaders are megalomaniacs. It can happen here. It has.

When you look at the similarities, its clear the neocons belong in the same camp as the Nazis. Calling them Nazis is not some cheap smear or baseless insult. It’s God’s honest truth.

As we awake to the potential of the world — the grand potential of a post-impeachment world — let’s not be afraid of the darkness that lurks within. The horrible truth should not be denied. It must be embraced despite its terrible core.

May whatever deity you believe in grant you the strength to look into the gaping maw of refined, practiced and fully self-aware… evil.
( atheists should invest in some adult diapers )

The Party of Torture

Ah, the GOP. They keep finding new ways to make themselves look like total assholes. During the Fox’s American Idol-style Debate the candidates crawled over each other to be the boldest defender of the country after being given a totally hypothetical plot that was clearly stolen verbatim from the TV show 24. Of course, they were basically advocating torture.

You know what? I think that’s great. The GOP is finally showing their true colors. At this rate, I won’t be surprised if they quickly go from being the Torture Party to the Put-Muslims-On-Pikes Party. Perhaps they’ll crucify them, like the Romans. Even the religious right wouldn’t see the irony.

AG Alberto Gonzales, wounded by his recent string of lies and spin before Congress, is proposing a crackdown on copyright infringement.

  • Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations. Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are “attempting” to infringe copyrights.
  • Allow computers to be seized more readily. Specifically, property such as a PC “intended to be used in any manner” to commit a copyright crime would be subject to forfeiture, including civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture has become popular among police agencies in drug cases as a way to gain additional revenue, and is problematic and controversial.
  • Increase penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention regulations. Currently criminal violations are currently punished by jail times of up to 10 years and fines of up to $1 million. The IPPA would add forfeiture penalties too.
  • Add penalties for “intended” copyright crimes. Currently certain copyright crimes require someone to commit the “distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies” valued at over $2,500. The IPPA would insert a new prohibition: actions that were “intended to consist of” distribution.

This is typical of the neocons. The wind is blowing against them, so they’ve redoubled their efforts rather than wondering if it’s a good idea to pursue the same goals so mindlessly.

She’s a witch! Burn the witch!!
It might also be an attempt to woo Hollywood Democrats by making them an offer they can’t refuse. Many Democrats (and Republicans too, of course) take large amounts of money from the MPAA and RIAA (collectively known as the mafiaa), which is fully in support of this legislation. One gets the idea they’d be in support of a bill that called for executions on the spot for suspected pirates. Piracy is much like terrorism that respect; it’s a word used almost exclusively to demonize a certain group, which gives power to those who are able to prosecute and persecute them. Basically, it’s a 21st century witch-hunt.

Instead of burning people at the stake we need to take a look at the laws on the books and find ways to make them less draconian in an age of easy file-sharing. The ability to share/copy files is one of the greatest uses of the internet and it demands a new way of thinking about copyright and intellectual property. The endless roadblocks we get from politicians and businessmen (including legislation like the DMCA, copy-protection like DRM and lawsuits like the RIAA’s campaign against music-sharing) only serve to slow down innovation and erect huge barriers of entry that make it hard for start-ups and small businesses to make a dent in the marketplace with a new idea.

This legislation (the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 [pdf]) might backfire if it is passed. It will push more and more people to use free and open source software in order to avoid potential liability. Even having a copy of Microsoft Word is dangerous if you don’t also have a receipt proving ownership.

The War on Common Sense
Add the War on Piracy to the growing list of ideological wars we’re fighting, including the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. If it seems odd to you that we’re waging “war” against a tactic (terrorism) and an inanimate object (why don’t they put the drugs in jail?), that means that you don’t have sufficient faith in our dear leaders.

I would argue that the Big 3 Unwinnable Ideological Wars constitute an undeclared War on Common Sense. The War on Common Sense is designed to make the general populace believe that up is down, day is night, freedom is slavery and George Bush is a genius.

Please notice the tremendous power that is derived from a war, even a fake one. There’s a reason why we don’t still wage the War on Poverty (well besides the fact that the ruling elite don’t give a fuck) — there’s not an easily-demonized enemy that the ruling class can disparage in order to increase their own power and prestige. If such an enemy exists, it’s almost certainly the ruling class itself. That’s not gonna work! It’s best to have a war on somebody who can’t really fight back.

So what’s next? Well, I’d guess we’ll have a War on Illegal Immigration, which will do nothing to stop the flood of immigrants coming into the country because it won’t go after the root problem: the economic disparity between the U.S. and Mexico. Like the War on Drugs, illegal immigration is a problem caused by the policies of the wealthy elite and far from suffering from this problem the elite actually make a shitload of money from it. The CIA runs drugs to pay for their illegal black ops and a whole parasitic class of DEA agents and police officers have grown fat arresting nonviolent drug offenders in order to continue the charade.

Similarly, the corporate elite have grown even more wealthy from illegal immigration. Instead of paying their workers a fair wage they employ illegal immigrants for a fraction of the salary a naturalized citizen would earn. This simultaneously impoverishes Americans who can’t find a job and enslaves illegal immigrants to a corrupt system that gives them just enough money to get by and not a penny more… all while making the CEOs of these corporations even richer by saving money on labor costs, which is reflected in their end of the year bonus. What a great scam!

The War on Terror is a money-making scheme as well. If you doubt this, I suggest you watch Iraq for Sale, a documentary about war profiteering in Iraq. The government sends incredible amounts of money to private contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton, then some of this money is funneled back to the very people who came up with the idea of going to war in Iraq in the form of campaign contributions (you know: legalized bribery). It’s an endless loop of corruption! Legal corruption!

The War on Piracy will have to evolve to a similarly corrupt state if it wishes to become self-perpetuating. Certainly, there is some money to be made by suing college students, but that’s chickenfeed. Clearly the RIAA is getting better at extortion so they don’t even have to go to trial in most cases, but I’m guessing there’s still a lot of overhead. If they really want to make a mint they should look into what Canada is doing. Making innocent people pay for “crimes” they might or might not commit is so much more fun and profitable. The copyright tax is applied to everybody and it’s institutionalized so it will be damn near impossible to get rid of. As bad as the RIAA is, they haven’t managed to achieve something that evil… yet.

How long before people wake up to the fact that these ideological wars are always ineffective at achieving their stated goals because the real goals are hidden — and they involve profiting off the situation, not solving it. I suppose it takes a certain amount of cynicism to believe your fellow man is capable of such two-faced corruption. But that’s the way it is, folks.

Maybe we should declare a moratorium on bullshit wars.

Taking part in a televised debate can be a make-it-or-break-it moment for any presidential candidate. But what if you’re not allowed to debate at all?

A diabolical Catch-22
As many of you are aware, not all candidates are allowed to debate in a given broadcast debate. This has been a problem for years. During the last presidential election both the Libertarian and Green party candidates were actually arrested trying to get into a debate they had been explicitly banned from!

Most candidates are excluded from the debate simply because the Media (big M) deems them minor/unknown/unpopular candidates. Well, of course they’re unknown; they’re not allowed to debate on national TV!! Bit of a Catch-22, wouldn’t you say?

A most insidious and foul Catch-22, I would say. Here’s why: We supposedly live in a democracy. It’s not really a democracy, it’s a republic (that’s a story for another day), but we like to pretend that the people really have a say. The hidden reality is that the bosses of the major television stations are making decisions that define the course of our nation, and they’re doing it from private boardrooms sequestered on the 100th floor of a skyscraper, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it because they aren’t elected or accountable to anybody but the company’s shareholders — ya know… other rich people.

Why should the CEO of CNN have such power? Why should he (and it’s almost certainly a he) determine who will and won’t be the next president of the United States before the people ever get a chance to vote in a primary?

Isn’t that censorship? Isn’t that more like an oligarchy than a democracy? Why do we let them get away with it?

Well, until recently most people didn’t even know about the problem. And we didn’t have the power to make a difference anyway. But things are changing.

Social Media saves the day
Social Media has finally offered regular people like you and me a voice. Sites like Digg, while not perfect, have enabled users to vote (you know, like a democracy) on what stories they think are worthy.

Two candidates, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel, owe most of their young supporters to the users of two social media sites: Digg and Reddit. Without those two sites neither candidate had a hope in hell of cracking the oligarchy and getting significant, objective coverage by the mainstream media (MSM).

Why does the media censor and ostracize certain candidates?
The candidates that find themselves locked out of televised debates tend to have a few things in common: They tend to be unpopular or unknown (but that is not always the case). Their campaigns are usually poorly funded (maybe because it’s hard to raise funds if you get no coverage) and sometimes they have views that are contrary to the political mainstream.

But sometimes the political mainstream is very much at odds with the desires of the voting public. A perfect example is the continued prohibition of cannabis (you know: “marijuana”), an issue on which the politicians are most definitely out of step with most of America, which favors medicinal pot by an astonishing 78% margin. Net candidate Mike Gravel recently came out in support of legalizing cannabis, which he says should be for sale in liquor stores. For a mainstream, “media-approved” candidate, such a position would be political suicide. Why?

Perhaps the media has been shaping our political landscape for such a long time nobody can even remember a time when they weren’t. Perhaps there are certain forces at work behind the scenes that determine what is considered politically acceptable and what is considered “extremist.”

It’s hard not to see the media as a controlling, suppressing force when they blatantly censor certain candidates. Ron Paul’s performance in the recent Republican debate at the Reagan Library was hailed by many observers, but when it came time to review the field and do some analysis ABC News made a curious omission: Ron Paul.

He wasn’t even available as an option for viewers to vote for. He wasn’t mentioned anywhere in David Chalain’s analysis. If not for a web uprising (involving Digg and Reddit) Ron Paul would probably still be excluded. When ABC finally backed down (after deleting a storm of comments asking, “Where’s Ron?”) Ron Paul ran away with a landslide victory in the online poll. The numbers are incredible (and no doubt skewed by a reaction to the censorship). Paul clearly has a massive groundswell of public support…. but in the corporate realm he has apparently earned only hand-waving dismissal and contempt.

What are we supposed to think of this? When there are 10 candidates at a debate and viewers are only allowed to vote for 9 of them is that not censorship? Is that not electioneering by a major corporation?

And when they back down and include the suppressed candidate and he wins the poll, how do they respond? They write an article in which they find people to scratch their heads and say, “who knows how this Ron Paul got popular. Must be sumthin’ to do with them internets.” Then they conclude he has no chance of winning and that this is just an exercise in teenage rebellion (or something) and wave their hands, content that they will never have to talk about him again.

Democratic candidate Mike Gravel has experienced the exact same treatment, but on the other side of the aisle. Gravel and Paul are both painted as “extremists” within their respective parties, so we’d can conclude that Paul is a right-wing extremist and Gravel is a left-wing extremist, right?

Not quite. Both candidates are populists, espousing “common sense” positions that many average Americans hold, but which are not endorsed by many mainstream politicians. Both are opposed to the Iraq War (and always were), both question Prohibition, both are wary of a pre-emptive strike against Iran and both are suspicious of the corporate media that excludes them from debates. In short, they have a lot in common with the public they are trying to represent.

Meanwhile, the Media’s favorite Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, goes around saying fascist shit like this:

We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.[ Interruption by someone in the audience. ]

You have free speech so I can be heard.

Is that what most Americans believe? Wasn’t America founded by overthrowing the “lawful authority” of the British? And this “Freedom is about authority” stuff sounds like a parody of George Orwell’s 1984… but Rudy was being serious! “You have free speech so I can be heard”?!! Saturday Night Live couldn’t parody Rudy any better than he does himself.

Which candidate is really an “extremist”? Which candidate is fundamentally out-of-line with the thinking of mainstream America? Well, maybe America really does want fascism instead of freedom, but the noise on the internet would seem to indicate otherwise.

Media Control and Manipulation
It seems like ancient history now, but it was actually the recent past when the mainstream media controlled every avenue of information and expression in this country. Nowadays we can talk about these things and send our message out to a wide audience, but as recently as 12 years ago it simply was not possible for a middle class person to route around the MSM. Suddenly most people can afford machines that are more powerful than a printing press, and allow common people to talk to each other without the Media’s filter. That’s why the Media is so upset about blogging and social media — they’re so used to having an absolute stranglehold over the conversation in this country.

The Media is used to controlling:

  • what information citizens receive
  • what information citizens are allowed to share with one another on the national stage
  • discussion and framing of issues in mainstream press
  • which issues receive national coverage (and which are ignored)
  • who gets to talk about the issues in the press (and who doesn’t)
  • how political actors are portrayed (villain or hero or neutral)

Social Media smashes that control grid and puts power in the hands of the many, rather than the few. This is a recent development so the full ramifications are not yet clear, but one thing we are finding out is that the Media has been using their incredible power to highlight certain candidates and suppress others.

The media has a paternalist streak that is really out of place in this day and age. The Washington Post thinks they know best and they aren’t afraid to tell you that they already know Gravel & Paul are not going to be elected, so why don’t we just eject them from the debates already?

The Democratic debate in South Carolina featured eight candidates, while 10 crammed into the GOP debate in California last Thursday. Voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren’t helped by debates cluttered with the likes of Mike Gravel (hint: he’s a former senator from Alaska) on the Democratic side and Ron Paul (hint: he’s a libertarian House member from Texas) among the Republicans.

Thank goodness for our dear corporate masters. If they didn’t come in any set things straight we’d have to learn somebody’s name and what they stand for. MY GOD! The very idea exhausts me.

Sarcasm aside, this sort of thing has been going on for generations. That’s why an editorial like the one above doesn’t seem odd to them; this is standard operating procedure! The Media has identified the candidates they don’t like (the ones that aren’t easily bought/co-opted) and now they’ve decided to tell you, Dear Voter, than you needn’t concern yourself with these troublesome miscreants. Big Media will make things simple for you by excluding them.

…But wait a minute. Isn’t this a democracy? Don’t the voters decide who is voted off the proverbial island?

Well, now you know better. That is not the way America works. America is run by a ruling class of oligarchs no different than the ones who control Russia. The difference is the American media freely admits that oligarchs run Russia, but they would sooner give their mansions to the poor than admit America is the same. The exact reverse scenario plays out in Russia where the Russian (government/oligarch-controlled) media is free to disparage America and mock its corrupt institutions, while speaking ill of Russia is a good way to get your broadcasting license revoked.

The awful truth is that America has long been controlled by the rich, just like most nations throughout history. They have remade American society and government to suit themselves and they have grown very comfortable on their throne.

What is an Oligarchy?
Stephen Fleischman, himself a former mainstream media man, tackles the reality of the Oligarchy in an article for Counterpunch:

My dictionary says an oligarchy is a form of government where most or all political power effectively rests with a small segment of the society. As Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, puts it, “Oligarchies are often controlled by a few powerful families whose children are raised and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy, often at some sort of expense to those governed.” Does that sound like the administration of George W. Bush?

Why, yes it does! That must be a weird coincidence. … right?

I wish I could tell you more about the Oligarchy, but it operates in secret and prefers that most citizens do not even know it exists. In fact, by using the mainstream media the Oligarchy is able to program us so that even if we are provided with irrefutable evidence of the existence of said Oligarchy, many will still deny it and disbelieve it.

You’re probably wondering “How?!”

Have you ever been called a “conspiracy theorist?” Well, it tends to end any meaningful discussion of the facts and immediately puts the onus on the accused to defend himself from the charge leveled at him. The Media has a few “magic words” like this at their disposal. It’s amazing how effective they can be. Nobody wants to be called a conspiracy theorist… but isn’t that just an ad hominem attack? It’s no different than calling someone a poopy-head.

I suspect there may be more to it than that. In a future post I’ll look into how the Oligarchy exploits its control of the media for fun and profit.

What should we do about it?
At a certain point we in the ‘net community need to stand up and say, “To hell with you guys. We’re hosting our own debate and we’ll invite everybody!” We ju
st need to set up a website with a group of people dedicated to hosting the cyber-debate; we’ll get some buzz going and then what candidate will say “no” to a chance to get his/her message out to such an elusive audience?

The media can’t be trusted to define, design and delineate the ground rules for our national debate. Candidates are having trouble getting their message across because of the media’s filter. It’s time to cut out the middle man.

Dick Cheney involved with Hookergate?

Wayne Madsen is reporting that Dick Cheney is a possible client of the DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s “escort service” — which translates in my mind as “high-priced hookers.”

The individual, who is definitely “newsworthy,” reportedly engaged the services of Palfrey’s escort firm while he was the CEO and maintained a residence off Chain Bridge Road in the Ballantrae neighborhood in McLean, Virginia, a few blocks from the headquarters of the CIA.”

WMR has confirmed with extremely knowledgeable CIA and Pentagon sources that the former CEO who is on Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s list is Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney was CEO of Halliburton during the time of his liaisons with the Pamela Martin & Associates escort firm. Palfrey’s phone invoices extend back to 1996 and include calls to and from Cheney.

Madsen’s confirmation appears to rest partially on the fact that Cheney had a residence in the Ballantrae neighborhood. I have independently confirmed that Cheney did in fact have a house in that neighborhood starting in 2000.

For example, on Jan. 12, 2000, Vice President Richard B. Cheney bought a property for $1.35 million on Chain Bridge Road, one of the top-end streets in McLean — one of the richest parts of Fairfax County, which is one of the richest counties in the United States.

Watch the corporate media bury this story at the bottom of the Potomac.

5-23-07 UPDATE: The story gets weirder. Palfrey’s lawyer has issued a non-non-confirmation leading Roll Call writer Emily Heil to say that “Cheney isn’t not on the list.” What that means is unclear, but I’ll keep an eye on this story. Wayne Madsen, for his part, stands by his reporting and has a new update with additional details on how the 20/20 story was killed by Disney-owned ABC execs, apparently under pressure from the White House.

Like I said, we need blow jobs to sink the Bush administration. Apparently starting a war on false premises is A-OK with the American public. Sex is a different story.

Information Liberation points out the media silence in the wake of the recent Ohio State National Guard revelations:

The 1970 killings by National Guardsmen of four students during a peaceful anti-war demonstration at Kent State University have now been shown to be cold-blooded, premeditated official murder. But the definitive proof of this monumental historic reality is not, apparently, worthy of significant analysis or comment in today’s mainstream media.

After 37 years of official denial and cover-up, tape-recorded evidence, that has existed for decades and has been in the possession of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has finally been made public.

It proves what “conspiracy theorists” have argued since 1970—that there was a direct military order leading to the unprovoked assassination of unarmed students. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents show collusion between Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes and the FBI that aimed to terrorize anti-war demonstrators and their protests that were raging throughout the nation.

The cover-up is over, but the media are still clinging to their code of silence.

Why? Well, that seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? The circles of power are small and chummy. They all know each other and so the masters of the media are very much a part of the ruling elite. It is in their interest to keep us ignorant and distracted.

One day we shall awaken…

Digg.com pioneered social media and social bookmarking. They helped create a community who believed in the “wisdom of the crowd“, but today the crowd bit back.

After Digg started burying stories and deleting user accounts because of the HD-DVD crack controversy the Digg community hit back the only way they knew how: They took over Digg’s front page. As of 11:15 pm CST, every single story on Digg’s coveted front page has something to do with the suppressed number.

The hexadecimal number ( 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 ) unlocks the DRM copy-protection on HD-DVD discs. HD-DVD is the successor to DVD, which is already cracked. Blu-Ray is apparently affected as well since it also uses the AACS content-scrambling system that was designed to restrict who can watch the next-generation movie discs.

It was revealed that the HD-DVD group was a sponsor of Digg’s podcast. The blatant conflict of interest riled up the Digg community, which has taken the story to other social media sites such as Reddit and even the old standard, Slashdot, which has added digg-like features such as the Firehose.

It’s fair to say the internet community has been in open revolt all day, against a site that was until yesterday a shining example of how Web 2.0 businesses can work — trust your users. Digg has apparently forgotten that lesson and has sided with corporate interests and knee-jerk lawsuit-phobia instead of it’s own users — the people who (literally) make the site work. Unfortunately, it looks like Wikipedia is falling into the same trap (although it often freezes pages during periods of great controversy to prevent editing wars).

With the incredible storm of rebellion racing across the internet there doesn’t seem to be a way out of this mess for Digg. Far from blowing over, the brouhaha appears to be getting worse. Digg’s half-assed attempt at putting out this fire only fanned the flames. It appears Digg might have temporarily blocked new story submisisons, but the link appears to be working now.

Diggers are pointing out the fact that Reddit and Slashdot have not taken down stories concerning the suppressed number, nor have they deleted comments. Because of that it’s looking more and more like a situation that Digg and Digg alone created through heavy-handed policing (which is no doubt allowed by their EULA) and overreaction in general, all of which has led to the current PR shitstorm.

Far from suppressing the number Digg has managed to enshrine it for all time in the annals of internet history. It’s interesting that it happened on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. Hopefully today will long be remembered as the day when the internet community took a stand against the evil DMCA, the law which is at the root of the problem.

Let no one say the social media community is afraid to bite the hand that feeds.

Update (5-2-07): Digg has come to their senses and declared that it will no longer delete posts containing the suppressed number. That’s probably wise since they would’ve had to ban half their users and remove all the stories from their front page for several hours. A little late, but the users have spoken, and Digg finally decided to listen.


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

It's just a string of numbers and letters, right?

A simple, almost random, collection of hexadecimal characters.

No harm could come from posting them, right?

I hope that's the case
.

Digg has censored this number and any story submissions or comments referencing it have been buried (well, they haven't found all the comments). Peoples' accounts have been deleted simply for submitting it. Amazing, isn't it?...

Makes you wonder why.

This is why.

In a nutshell: It's the processing key for HD-DVD movies, enabling users to crack the DRM and watch the movie on non-approved hardware (like Linux).

Please, spread this number around. The idea of censoring a number is so silly and totalitarian that I can't sit by in idle silence. We have to resist.