Silencing Dissension.

(cross-posed at Kickin it with CG and Clintonistas for Obama)

Last week the blog Clintonistas for Obama was locked by Blogger.  The following message was provided:

Dear Blogger User,

This is a message from the Blogger team.

Your blog, at /, has been identified as a potential spam blog. You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog.


The Blogger Team

To unlock, a code had to be entered to request an editorial review from a live person, which took four days.  I also would like to preface that C4O's mandate is as follows...

We agree with Hillary Clinton, we support the progressive values she supports, and we share her dedication to making this nation better... That's why we support Barack Obama for President! :-)

The locking of the blog puzzled the group that posts there, and personally made me suspicious since C4O is the furthest thing from being spam.  So I decided to investigate this a bit further.  What I discovered was shocking and disturbing to be frank.  

My investigation began with a Washington Post article that exposes that the Obama smear emails originated on Free Republic. No shocker there. Freepers have been leaders of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy since its inception and full of smears, slime and innuendoes, especially about the Clintons.

But after the article was published, a Freeper, charged that the WaPo reporter has exposed the identity of anonymous posters in the past, and the WaPo article also "exposed" ordinary people who dared to think the rumour was important, but who denied being involved in the spamming.

The author is quite paranoid about it:

The article Mosk wrote today purports to be about efforts to track down where the `Obama is a Muslim' allegations began. However, it is actually a warning shot across the bow to opponents of Obama that they will be tracked down and exposed for speaking ill of the Obamessiah.

While it literally pains me to agree with a Freeper, is this what is going on?  Shutting down free speech online?  Finding the name and address of people who post anonymously on websites?  Reporters harassing them and exposing them to ridicule?  I am embarrassed to say that I have witnessed behaviour akin to this on 'progressive' blogs as well.

Which brings me back to C4O.  It seems that there is a concerted effort amongst a group to shut down political criticism of Obama.

Blogger offers readers the opportunity to flag blogs as spam or complain about objectionable content.  And apparently someone has been using this to shut down blogs that are perceived as critical to Obama.

Several sources, including Blogspasm report that several blogs that have been shut down by Google that are critical of Obama, and the suspicion is that Google is being manipulated to shut down the opposition.

Now no one could think that the Obama campaign is promoting such deeds, but when people attack and try to shut down sites critical of a political candidate - we all have to worry.

Is this really what some people have become, bullying and intimidation to fall in line with what is 'acceptable' discussion?  

Tags: blogger, blogs, Censorship, Democrats, netroots, obama (all tags)



freedom of speech.

whether you agree with the speaker or not.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 09:50PM | 0 recs
Wish I could rec this 10 times.

I didn't realize exactly what had happened when the blog was shut down. I knew it had been reported as "spam", but I had no idea this sort of thing was going on. Crazy, since I think we've been pretty good sports about the whole "supporting the nominee" thing.

I don't agree with this whole "let's hunt down so-and-so" mentality. Even if it's a freeper, I don't think s/he should be tracked IRL. That kind of persecution for dissent really freaks me out.

by sricki 2008-07-03 10:07PM | 0 recs

when it first happened - i put on my detective hat and have been working on it since then.

and it totally freaks me out too.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:22PM | 0 recs

Woah there, internet detective, you better not try and figure out who it was that attacked you, or it would actually be a warning shot across the bow to opponents of CanadianGal that they will be tracked down and exposed for speaking ill of the Canadiamessiah.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:35PM | 0 recs
i think you...

have just proved what your intention is here in that comment.  well done!

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: i think you...

My intention is to point out:

1.  There is nothing wrong with figuring out who is attacking you, or someone you support.  Being anonymous is no excuse to let someone get away with slander.

2.  It is offensive to make accusations without evidence.

You see tracking down the sources of the Muslim smears as scary and offensive.

Yet, whoever attacked your blog needs to face a public call-out and your internet detectivery.

You don't see yourself saying it COULD be Obama supporters as accusing Obama supporters.

Yet, when I suggest you COULD have done it yourself you see it as a direct accusation on you.

I am saying this to illustrate points one and two above.  

Go ahead and do your best to find out who made the false reports, and post IF you have evidence.  But when you do, remember that is in conflict with your theory that uncovering anonymous posters is wrong.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:59PM | 0 recs
my last comment to you friend.

i have heard your 'problems' with this diary a couple of times now.  clearly your intention is to suggest all sorts of things that are untrue.  and i no longer am interested in engaging you.

thanks for your feedback. and happy 4th of july.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 11:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Wish I could rec this 10 times.

Though, is it not just as likely that, in the case of Clintonistas for Obama, it was Republicans or PUMAz that complained about the site?

I get what you are saying...but, I just don't see any evidence that it was persons supporting Obama intent on stifling dissent.

As to tracking down the source of the moronic Obama is a Muslim smearmail....I don't have any problem with it. Shit like that should be nipped in the matter who is being smeared and lied about.

To label the calling out of lies and the disclosure of those who peddle them as 'Silencing Dissension' is a stretch. There are plenty of folks who dissent without lying and smearing.....and those are the ones that we should be fighting to protect.

Don't know how much sense I am making....we have already begun our July 4th celebrations here.....

by Kysen 2008-07-04 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: freedom of speech.

seems some have expanded from the gaming of various blog ratings systems to the blogs themselves

by zerosumgame 2008-07-04 12:06AM | 0 recs
Considering that is hosting...

... one of the biggest and most-publicized groups of critics of Obama's policy choices on the Internet, your fearmongering about the campaign being behind these blogs being shut down is ridiculous at best.

by tbetz 2008-07-04 05:52AM | 0 recs


Now no one could think that the Obama campaign is promoting such deeds

me thinks there are people that want to relive the flame=war in this diary.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 06:23AM | 0 recs

CG you left out the rest of the sentence. Now no one could think that the Obama campaign is promoting such deeds BUT when people attack and try to shut down sites of a political candidate we all have to worry. Please explain why you left that out.

by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 06:49AM | 0 recs

but you're not a concern troll.

by Blue Neponset 2008-07-04 08:47AM | 0 recs

Well, CG, your quoted statement is actually inaccurate. In the link you provided to Bloggasm:

"I suspect that it was Obama supporters because I think the block was timed to affect blogs prior to the unity event so that we would not `rain on the unity parade,' GeekLove said. "Also, Obama has ads out hiring people with no experience, except the ability to use computers. I presume these are the individuals responsible for silencing any opposition. His campaign has really harnessed the power of the internet and in the process learned to game the system in a way that I find frightening."

That's some high-grade paranoia that you're quoting.

Whether or not you intended to, your entire diary reads with a tone that indicates that Obama's proxies, whether "officially" endorsed by his campaign or not, are silencing all opposition. Perhaps it's that I'm used to see Fox News use the same tactic (asking a question rather than making a statement to create an impression that you can disavow ever actually saying), but all I see are conclusions without facts, only suspicions.

Blogger offers readers the opportunity to flag blogs as spam or complain about objectionable content.  And apparently someone has been using this to shut down blogs that are perceived as critical to Obama.

Fact one (there is a spam button) precedes fact two (some sites have been taken down as spam). That doesn't indicate causation, especially when fact three (there's an error-prone automated spam marking algorithm) offers a viable alternate answer. From what I've read in the comments, it seems like the primary cause of false spam blockings is the failed automated review. If anything, the "report spam" button seems to trigger a human review (which would, of course, not cause your obviously non-spam blog to be suspended).

But, to answer your next question (somewhere down thread here), it is possible for one group of blogs to be registered as spam together without nefarious human intervention. Take the next-to-last post before your "we're back from being suspended" post. There are large blocks of quoted text that one would expect would be quoted around the antiObamasphere. A large group of people posting a similar chunk of text with other unusual shared keywords could set off automated filters. Or, the fact that a lot of the posts are cross-posted (and, as such, a simple strict Google search will find exact matches) could also set off automated filters, especially since most of the spam diaries are copies of other web sites (especially Wiki) in the hopes of co-opting traffic intended for non-spam sites.

I guess what I'm getting at is that you're blaming human intervention for Obama's benefit (even if you never blame Obama's proxies, you've still got the question of who else would do it), when I don't see any indication that there's any evidence that this was a human triggered review other than a lot of sites with a similar goal quoting similar sources got pulled in together and yours got caught in the same net (even though you don't share their goal). And, like I said in the anti-PUMA PAC founder thread, I'm not much for attacking a group (in this case, Obama supporters or anti-anti-Obama forces), even if they're anonymous, without any facts to back it up.

(P.S. Sorry for the length, I've been without internet traveling for the holiday, so I've got some pent-up writing energy).

by TCQuad 2008-07-04 09:27AM | 0 recs
July 4th! 1st Amendment all the way!!!!

What a perfect day of the year to be posting this diary, too!

Major rec here!

The ACLU should be brought into this one, for sure...

by bobswern 2008-07-03 09:58PM | 0 recs
Re: July 4th! 1st Amendment all the way!!!!

Er... why?

Folks abused a spam button. What do you sue on?

That's like saying people can sue Kos for a troll's posted comment.

by Falsehood 2008-07-03 10:18PM | 0 recs
You're making a lot of assumptions...

...about a matter on which we don't have all the info, for certain...

Was there a violation of the blogger's 1st Amendment rights? Perhaps. Then again, if they don't own the blog, then the folks that own the servers on which the blog's hosted may do whatever they wish...pretty much, anyhow.

by bobswern 2008-07-03 10:22PM | 0 recs
Re: You're making a lot of assumptions...

Was there a violation of the blogger's 1st Amendment rights?


by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:25PM | 0 recs
Re: You're making a lot of assumptions...

You have First Amendment rights only against the government.  I think it's fairly safe to assume that that doesn't apply here.  I wonder if there are tort theories for which you could go after someone in this type of situation, but then there might not be any damages, if it's not a revenue-generating blog.

by rfahey22 2008-07-03 10:26PM | 0 recs
Re: July 4th! 1st Amendment all the way!!!!

I don't think there is much of a legal case here. But I can tell you from experience pressuring large companies over political email that you do have leverage. Companies like Google ("don't be evil") are very responsive to the threat of bad press. "Google is censoring political speech!" is a real bad press story and may get them to improve their spam-flagging system.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 10:32PM | 0 recs becomes a pure business decision.

Cost of public relations/damage versus legal fees versus a quick $50,000 for signing off on a confidentiality agreement...basic tradeoff...seen it done many, many times...for a lot more money in some cases, too.

Yes...obeying an order to STFU has its price... <grin>

Some people actually make a living for agreeing not to do certain things...LOL!

by bobswern 2008-07-04 12:00AM | 0 recs
Yeah CG

I feel people have been too trigger happy to defend Obama against everything on the internet; he's been smeared by unfair attacks on the internet, probably moreso than any of the candidates, but at the same time, some people seem to be going overboard in their vigilance against smears that they confuse what is a smear with legitimate criticism.  The guy does a pretty good job defending himself without this unneeded protection; he wouldn't have gotten all those votes and leading McCain in the polls if he couldn't speak for himself.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 10:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Any possibility that it's some Republicans?  These anonymous hit jobs often don't come from the first person/group one would suspect.  There are a lot of immature pranksters out there in any event.

by rfahey22 2008-07-03 10:04PM | 0 recs
i guess its possible.

but in the linked article it looks like PUMA and its ilk were the bulk of the target....

so i think not likely.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: i guess its possible.

Nope - these were polarized Obama folks.

No one is immune.

by Falsehood 2008-07-03 10:19PM | 0 recs
Re: i guess its possible.

Well, thanks for solving the case.

by rfahey22 2008-07-03 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: i guess its possible.

I find it more believable that 'PUMA and it's ilk' would be responsible for shutting down 'Clintonistas for Obama'.

They are the ones that feel you are betraying 'the cause'. Makes more sense that those opposing Obama would be intent on shutting down sites that support him. And, as a whole, PUMAz have made it clear that they are not too keen on 'Clintonistas' who support Obama (see linfar and anyone else on Hillary's Voice, and several other Clinton support sites, who have voiced support for Obama). Just my take.

As it is, both your assumption and mine are equally unprovable....though, mine, in this instance, is more logical.

by Kysen 2008-07-04 09:59AM | 0 recs
entirely possible.

i kinda decided not to respond to anymore of the comments since there is a lot of trollish behaviour - but decided to make an exception for you.

i am not accusing anyone specifically - and it could have been a wide variety of groups doing this.  but im pretty certain it was a human created problem rather than bots.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: entirely possible.

Thanks for the reply CG....I commented in good faith and there is/was no intention to be divisive.

My point was (and is) that sans proof....any speculating as to who may be responsible is just that...speculation.

Though, I still believe that there is more logic in assuming those with anger towards Clinton supporters who now support Obama would be the more likely culprit (as opposed to Obama supporters who are stoked and proud to have Clintonistas supporting Obama).

Have a Happy 4th (though, in Canada...I reckon it is just another Friday).  ;)

by Kysen 2008-07-04 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: entirely possible.

yep.  canada day was on tuesday.  happy 4th to you too!

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 01:09PM | 0 recs
Remember when the damage to the cars

happen and people said not to blame PUMA people for it? Isn't it funny there we thought that it wasn't PUMA folks, but yet when it seems it could be something else people only want to assume one thing? It could be anyone out there. You do not know who. To assume it is just one person group would be wrong. If PUMA couldn't be behind the cars being damaged with anti-Obama sprayed painted on them then there is a possibility this is a outside group. It is the internet Anyone and Everyone is out there.

by AHiddenSaint 2008-07-04 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

I would normally suspect this kind of action to be Republican ratf*cking but for a few points. The first blogs shut down were PUMA blogs, a Republican operation would target pro-Clinton blogs to generate more outrage. Secondly I personally experienced the coordinated ratings abuse at DailyKos by Obama supporters, and I've seen the ratings abuse here, so there is a group of online Obama supporters who believe that this kind of suppression is legitimate.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

The reason you've never noticed the TR abuse committed by Clinton/McTroll bloggers is because they haven't done it to you personally. But abuse they do.

by Beren 2008-07-03 10:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Of course you do. What with your victimhood complex and all. It's a perfect freeper move, make it look like Obama supporters are responcible so as to create more divisions within the Clinton camp.

by venician 2008-07-04 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

This is a bit more sophisticated than what I've seen freepers do. If it is Republican driven then it is by smarter Republicans, i.e. operatives, and as I said this does not make sense to me as the approach Republican operatives would take.

by souvarine 2008-07-04 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

These are the people who STOLE a presidential election and you don't think they're sophisticated enough to do this? They're sophisticated enough to come on this site, pose as Obama supporters and say all kinds of negative shit about Hillary, and get her supporters to engage them, or claim that they're now disgruntled O supporters and again get Clinton supporters to jump in and have a hate fest.

by venician 2008-07-04 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Freepers haven't stolen any elections, they have a hard enough time figuring out in which direction to throw the feces. Karl Rove, Jim Baker and their ilk stole elections.

by souvarine 2008-07-04 10:16AM | 0 recs
you didn't pay attention to the 2004 election

then because Freepers did lots of things. I found post that they suggested to other freepers to email Kerry won early enough to discredit any real dem email. That happen the news media ignored all Dem points when Kerry did win to focus on Bush. You have no idea what freepers are capable when it comes to stupidty. Those people aren't sane.

by AHiddenSaint 2008-07-04 11:11AM | 0 recs
great point venician!

so then why don't you call them out?  

i know i try to.  if we ALL work together to stop the divisiveness and hate - maybe some things will be better.  non?

(and that would include the cease of reporting who rec'd diaries too - since everyone has their own reasons for doing so)

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Could be anything, one pissed off republican with enough knowledge to spam reports or a 4channer just getting some laughs.  

Bit of a stretch to go around accusing Obama supporters with zero evidence, eh?

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

And are making this accusation based on the actions of a reporter for a newspaper (not a shadowy group of Obama supporters) and from the rantings of free republic?


And with the suspended blog already investigated and back up?

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:14PM | 0 recs
i don't think i said that...

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:16PM | 0 recs
Is that snark?

It seems that there is a concerted effort amongst a group to shut down political criticism of Obama.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:20PM | 0 recs
a group


could be freepers, could be over zealous obama supporters or could be the teenage mutant ninja turtles.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:24PM | 0 recs
Re: a group

Could have been you, trying to stir up publicity for yourself.   How about until you have evidence you stop hurling random accusations at Obama supporters?

You are being coy with your language, but in an above thread you note you find it unlikely that it was republicans.  That leaves Obama supporters or or Leonardo.

How about you provide some evidence, or stop making baseless accusations.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:28PM | 0 recs
irony abounds...

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:32PM | 0 recs
So, no evidence?

Just sarcastic one liners.  I expect better.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:34PM | 0 recs
what would you like me to say?

clearly this is an issue you do not care about since you have come into this diary accusing me of spreading lies and seeking publicity.  so would you like me to deny your charges?  okay - ill play - they are not true.

this issue is being reported over the internet, some by questionable sources - true - but we experienced it first-hand.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: what would you like me to say?


you have come into this diary accusing me of spreading lies and seeking publicity

I in now way at all in any way implied or accused you of doing it.

All I said was it COULD have been you, like your diary and comments have suggested it COULD be Obama supporters.  

Of course, now that you have equated that to a direct accusation, you realize my point.  You posted a stupid accusation against Obama supporters.  

If at any point, you ever have the single barest shred of evidence to back that up, I'll rec that diary.  This diary isn't it.

by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:44PM | 0 recs
do you read what you write?

Could have been you, trying to stir up publicity for yourself.   How about until you have evidence you stop hurling random accusations at Obama supporters?

You are being coy with your language, but in an above thread you note you find it unlikely that it was republicans.  That leaves Obama supporters or or Leonardo.

How about you provide some evidence, or stop making baseless accusations.

by zerosumgame 2008-07-04 12:10AM | 0 recs
What a lunatic!

He thinks you shut down our blog--and all of the anti-Obama blogs--for attention???

CG, if you are that creative and effective, I have greatly underestimated you!

by psychodrew 2008-07-04 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: a group

I guess that anything is possible but I don't see the upside to the O-camp in this.  At this point - ESPECIALLY at this point - there is a lot of negative chatter throughout the whole of the netroots.  Clintonistas for Obama, and any other like-group are going to be only marginally more negative than what you find here right now, or even on the more O-centric sites.  Any attempt to silence these groups would only deliver a negative backlash - a DESERVED negative backlash.  

The truly negative Puma groups are fairly marginal and, as far as I've seen, mostly self-contained on their own domains.  So this tactic would pull only those members of the netroots who have moved from die-hard Hillary support to Obama support - albeit cautious or somehow qualified support.  Again this seems nonsensical - it would create a vacuum for genuine anti-Obama sites to fill.  Even more dangerously, there are Republican sites devoted to winning over Clinton supporters (and "supporters",) these sites could expand with their creative fiction about McSame's great respect for women.

Even if the Obama campaign is absolute evil incarnate (and I still strongly believe they're the good guys,) I just can't see them making this imbecilic a move.  

by January 20 2008-07-04 12:40AM | 0 recs
i thought...

i made it clear in the diary that in no way am i implying that the obama campaign is involved in this...  im pretty sure i did.

in any case  now that my position is clear, your logic makes sense to me.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:45AM | 0 recs
Re: i thought...

It does seem, however, that you lay the blame at some entity that supports Obama.  

by Can I Haz Moar Snark 2008-07-04 12:53AM | 0 recs
Didn't you get the memo?

The world revolves around Obama!

You're either with him or you're against him.  Everthing that is not pro-Obama is anti-Obama.

by psychodrew 2008-07-04 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: i thought...

Sorry CG, on closer read I see that you say so explicitly.  I guess I had skimmed though some of the detail initially & took too much from the title & the line about silencing sites critical of Obama.  (Yes, that is followed immediately by a note that you don't blame Obama.)

I know from having you throughout the entire primary that you're not out to sew dissent.  Considering the circumstances described, your header seems unintentionally misleading.

by January 20 2008-07-06 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: i thought...


Just for the heck of it I googled "sew dissent"  - third result was ClintonsforMcCain!

And no, I'm not trying to tar you with that brush.

by January 20 2008-07-06 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: a group
January. That's just it How would this be helpful.
Mojo to you.
by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 01:13AM | 0 recs
You didn't.

It was Obama supporters.

Going for the right guy doesn't make you a great person.

by Falsehood 2008-07-03 10:20PM | 0 recs


by libertyleft 2008-07-03 10:22PM | 0 recs
It isn't too hard to understand

why some people might be upset that some sights like PUMA and related to NODEAL, that great free web sites from google, would be upset at the racist lynching, and general slander of Obama that goes on.

Accusing him of having a fake birth certificate!
Accusing him of being a black racist.
Accusing him of having an affair with a felon.
Accusing him of whatever you want to make up.

Flagging crap like that on 'free google based web sites' would be hard NOT to do.

by missliberties 2008-07-04 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

It could easily be freepers doing this. Look at that vandalism in Florida a couple of days ago. That was a weak attempt to smear PUMA or a like-minded group.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-03 10:18PM | 0 recs
Hold on to yer hats, folks

It's going to get bumpy between now and November!

Great diary CG.  Makes you wonder.  You know - I heard today that Limbaugh finagled a contract worth 400 million.  He must be reaching a whole lot of people to be worth that much money.  Getting his followers to spam Obama blogs sounds right up his alley.

by The Fat Lady Sings 2008-07-03 10:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Hold on to yer hats, folks

He could be like the Tony Montana of Oxycontin with that much money.

by rfahey22 2008-07-03 10:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Hold on to yer hats, folks

Fat Lady is right. The Republicans have plenty of money> Assuming Obama supporters did this sounds like a another smear campaign.

by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 12:07AM | 0 recs
And the enablers are.....

disgruntled Hillary supporters pretending to be unbiased!

Or Republican operatives using embittered Hillary supporters emotions to ensure that Obama has plenty of haters, besides just the out and out racists.

So Lovely.

Not a great dairy, but typical of this poster. I am bashing Obama or his supporters or something, but really I am not angry that Hillary lost the primary.

by missliberties 2008-07-04 05:40AM | 0 recs
It is a good diary

It's a good point to raise.  And knee-jerk 'blame Hillary Supporters' is as disgruntled a reaction as saying the opposite.

by The Fat Lady Sings 2008-07-04 07:51AM | 0 recs
Stay stuck in the past

and always make it all about Hillary!


by missliberties 2008-07-04 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

eessk. that sucks. and its actually kinda creepy. but clever at the same time.because they understood the system and then gamed it. technically the system worked like it was designed to work- but technically it was abused, since it was an intentional false report.

apparently there is no morality[?] left on the internet. none; who ever did it, well- they suck.

by alyssa chaos 2008-07-03 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Google, which was founded under the motto "first do no harm," agreed to China's internet speech repression in order to do business in that fine country. What we have seen here is a precursor of what is to come. There is no, let me repeat that, NO privacy on the internet or anywhere else. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother to read. Which leads me to FISA, essentially the telephonic equivalent of the internet's lack of privacy. The original FISA law, without the many adjusments over the years, was bad enough. What they are doing (and Obama agreed to) now is the death knell of any privacy or freedom of speech. Throw out the first amendment along with the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth. Democrats or Republicans, makes no difference. They either don't get it - or don't care.

The right, always ranting about "unelected judges," seems to have no problem with FISA which is is administered (rubber stamped?) by, you guessed it, unelected judges. But the new version, the one which Obama reluctantly (or pragmatically) embraced, doesn't even require the judges. The President can do whatever he wants. (Read a few Glenn Greenwald columns for a better explanation of this.)

First they came for the spam blogs, but I didn't have a spam blog, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for the people who called terrorists, but I don't call terrorists, so I didn't speak up. Then they came for me, and there was nobody left to speak for me.

On the bright side, If Obama should win (despite the ability the Bush administration would have to eavesdrop on his campaign, thanks to the soon to be approved NEWFISA) the Republicans will suddenly discover renewed distaste for things like FISA. And Democrats will, fearful of campaign ads as they they always are, will probably do away with it.

by STUBALL 2008-07-03 11:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

If you guys got accused of being a spam blog, it may well have been for recently starting up and getting TONS of incoming links, most of which were reciprocated. That's definitely what happened with the Anti-Obama people. They all linked to each other, and Google identifies that as spam, since links are one of the things that drive a site's position.

As for the Obama smear, they found that out by just looking for the original document. Looking for key words and phrases. Same way you find a song that you happen to hear but only remember a few lines from. And it was originally found out over at Politico, I believe. AND it wasn't a blogger that started it, it was a man whose entry on Wikipedia's "Perennial Candidates" page reads:

Andy Martin (also known as Anthony Martin-Trigona), a journalist and self-described consumer advocate has run for several local, state and federal offices dating back to at least 1977, including two runs for president and six runs for Senate. He has run as a Democrat, a Republican and as an independent.

He's a nutcase and by all appearances an egotistical jerk. He got pissed at Obama probably because he felt like he could hitch his star on trying to smear such a prominent Democrat. I mean, read this guy's Wikipedia.

Look, if you get exposed online by anyone except the government, it's because you've left a very heavy trail. But believe me, no media member is using magic or trickery or hax0rz to go after bloggers.

by vcalzone 2008-07-03 11:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

You have to understand how spam blogs work (and they do work VERY well). They put up fake text with a bunch of links using techniques that get them near the top of search results. They get tons of advertising dollars because of it, and if they get people to click their links (usually to places where they get paid for referrals), it's even better. They never stay up for long, but they don't need to. Because they just keep making more and more based on whatever search terms are popular that week.

The problem is that this means Google gets unusable. So they have to actively look for signs of spam sites. Since their filter isn't quite smart enough to understand the subtleties of what is and isn't meaningful, they look for things like links that they can actually monitor.

by vcalzone 2008-07-03 11:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

If Google or blogspot or wherever marks your site as spam for a political reason (or copyright reason), they let you know. This isn't China, and they aren't allowed to censor here without letting people know. Do a search for "Xenu" and scroll to the bottom and you'll see what happens when someone gets Google to throw out a specific page.

by vcalzone 2008-07-03 11:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

i am not suggesting that google is censoring anymore - rather that the system is flawed and being manipulated.

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 11:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

That's always the case, though. You can't get mad about that kind of thing, it isn't exactly an organized, carefully planned attack. It's internet kidz. Be glad you're not on the bad side of 4chan or something.

by vcalzone 2008-07-03 11:58PM | 0 recs
The most ridiculous crap ever.

Geeezus.  Reading some of the comments here, well, I  got to one and that was it, the top of my head blew off.

People.  There is no OSS (Obamaton Swat Squad), no PUMA sleeper cells, no Secret Office to Elect John McCain -- there are a bunch of NUTS on the internet with way too much time on their hands.

The way folks write about this shit is rididulous -- "I think it's Obama supporters", "I think it's really the Repugs," "No, I'm sure it's Clinton supports who.."  Gawd almighty.

Not everything is a sinister conspiracy.  There was no conscription ceremony that I remember to join some covert Clintonista army.

Asshats with time on their hands, who have had their tail stepped on for any one of a thousand reasons, do stupid shit on the internet, anonymously, because they can.   With the click of a button they can feel powerful and sly because the rest of the time they feel impotent and foolish.  

It has nothing to do with whom they support, or the "kind" of people a candidate attracts or some concerted attempt to squelch dissent -- it's only the mix of  bad genes, not the right attention in the formative years, too little Prozac and high speed internet access.


by grassrootsorganizer 2008-07-03 11:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The most ridiculous crap ever.

I agree that it's just some idiots with too much time on their hands, and probably not any sort of conspiracy. But I don't think CG is totally off-base in her belief that it's Obama supporters. Here on MyDD, some Obama supporters have been obvious and/or vocal about their various schemes to affect internet traffic, rec lists, search results, etc. It does sound like more of the same sort of silly hijinx.

by LakersFan 2008-07-04 09:30AM | 0 recs
It's not a conspiracy

You are getting upset about some conspiracy, when there is none.

Quick background. I have been using Blogger for over 4 years, and helping others with it via various forums during that time, I've seen it all.

This is nothing new, it's not the result of some attack, it's just the spam robot that caught you. It happens to all kinds of blogs, all the time. The fact that so many Obama (pro and anti) are springing up on Blogger lately, it's not surprising there are handfuls of those being locked.

It is completely automated, the flag button doesn't really do anything. swer=42639&topic=12444

I have seen hundreds of blogs locked over the last few years, everything from cat blogs, to knitting blogs, blogs with baby photos, it's all automated, and there are false positives. Here is a blog that was locked, only a few months after it was highlighted by Blogger as an official Blog of Note 2008/04/ethical-blogger-locked-down.html

You can find more with a quick google search, or going through Blogger's Google Group. Some Obama, most not.

Here's another ou-get-what-you-pay-for-problem-with.htm l

Problem is, when a blog is locked the owner immediately feels they have been "targeted". If the blog expresses a political view, then that feeling is amplified.

Like I said, it's no doubt with all the Obama/political blogs popping up on Blogger, that a handful have been locked. And when they talk, suddenly a conspiracy is born. Easy enough to understand why, it feels that way to the owner.

And it's not the flag button being manipulated by outside forces either. It doesn't work that way.

by br549x 2008-07-04 12:00AM | 0 recs
its good to know, and ill check it out...

but unfortunately my research didn't turn up any perceived pro-obama blogs (save for ours) that experienced this issue.  but many anti-obama blogs that are.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:08AM | 0 recs
Re: its good to know, and ill check it out...

Your research? You don't like Obama from what I can tell as you know. Why would I trust your "Research"

by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 12:14AM | 0 recs
hey trollystalker!

i guess my email to jerome went unheeded about you.  i think ill take a stab at todd!

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:17AM | 0 recs
Re: hey trollystalker!

Cg it sounds like you want to silence me. Isn't that what your diary is about? Please ask Todd to read your diary and ask him to silence me.

by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 12:40AM | 0 recs
WTF do you people want from us?


I'm sick of this shit.

We at Clintonistas for Obama immediately came out and endorsed Obama.  We started blogging for him and against McCain.  Because of that, we pissed off some very good friends.  Our candidate narrowly lost a close race that most of believes was flawed and marked by bigotry.  Yet, none of us hesitated to get behind the nominee.

And for some, that's still not enough.  Anything we say or do that is not pro-Obama is considered anti-Obama.

by psychodrew 2008-07-04 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: WTF do you people want from us?

We at Clintonistas for Obama immediately came out and endorsed Obama.  

That's actually why I don't think this is attached to Obama anti-smear radicals, nor do I see any evidence that it was. I actually see far more evidence that people are reading too much into a faulty spam finding algorithm.

by TCQuad 2008-07-04 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: WTF do you people want from us?

Stop finding fault with every damn thing he does.  

Stop holding him to a higher standard than you held Clinton to.  Will she be betraying you if she votes for the FISA bill?  I doubt it, yet you and your pals are mortified that Obama may vote for it.  

by Blue Neponset 2008-07-04 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: its good to know, and ill check it out...

It might have something to do with the rapid and recent rise of the blogs affected.

I'm pretty sure that most of the pro-Obama blogs were established before or during the primaries.  Your blog and the PUMA blogs were probably established much more recently (May or June).

by Can I Haz Moar Snark 2008-07-04 12:15AM | 0 recs

one of the problems is that blogger/google really does not take this issue v. seriously and its hard to get a response out of them.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:21AM | 0 recs
Re: its good to know, and ill check it out...

That's right snark. There could be a number of reasons. Which is why more research should be done. Facts and Proof would be nice. Without that it looks like an empty attack on our candidate.

by Politicalslave 2008-07-04 12:25AM | 0 recs
attack on our candidate?????

go away.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:29AM | 0 recs
Re: attack on our candidate?????

In all fairness, CG, this diary does have that sort of tone.  You seem to blame the problems on people aligned with Obama, without having any sort of proof.

I remember, the morning of the last primary, there were leaks from the Clinton camp circulating that Hillary would concede.  The campaign officially responded, saying that it wasn't true.  On TalkLeft, there was a feeding frenzy of commenters blaming it directly on the Obama camp (even though the leaker was ID'd as a Clinton advisor) as some sort of way to stifle the democratic process in Montana and one of the Dakotas.

This diary doesn't go that far, but it does lay lots of suspicion on "people who support Obama". It may be a good idea to soften the tone and/or update it to reflect that.

by Can I Haz Moar Snark 2008-07-04 12:51AM | 0 recs
Re: attack on our candidate?????

that particular commenter is what they call a stalker.  it follows me around in diaries and calls me a troll and alleges that i say things that are clearly misleading.  a few people here have called him out on this yet he keeps doing it.

now - again - i am not implying that any specific group has done this.  i dont know how to be clearer.

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 01:04AM | 0 recs
Re: attack on our candidate?????

And apparently someone has been using this to shut down blogs that are perceived as critical to Obama.

You aren't accusing any specific group, but you are saying that it's an act done in support of Obama.  You are therefore blaming Obama supporters for shutting down your pro-Obama blog.  This is a pretty serious claim.

Others have raised the point that your blog may have been shut down by some automated process due to spam blog-like traffic patterns, which is just as plausible.

It sucks that the blog was shut down.  It sucks that you can't get any people at Google to respond to you.  Those problems, however, don't give you the right to smear.

by Can I Haz Moar Snark 2008-07-04 01:23AM | 0 recs
Yeah, but

most likely that's a result of the inordinate number of anti-obama blogs. A result of the number more than anything. The anti-obama crowd make a lot of 'em.

Seriously, the system can't be manipulated the way you and others think. The flag button triggers a completely different (and human) response (if it reaches a certain threshold).

It's automated, completely.

by br549x 2008-07-04 12:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah, but

Well, This was supposed to be a reply to canadian gal from above. Sorry, wasn't paying attention. :-(

by br549x 2008-07-04 12:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah, but

The flag button triggers a completely different (and human) response (if it reaches a certain threshold).

how so?  i believe in both cases with bots and humans its flagged the same way.  in your answer - could you please provide sources too?  not being snarky, i just want something to reference.  thanks!

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 12:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah, but

Unfortunately, I can't provide you with sources. Because there are none.

Blogger doesn't provide any details of how the process works publicly, other than it's automated.

The best sourced information is to look around the google group over the last several years and you'll see there is no relation between the content of the blogs, and whether they get locked.

As far as the flag button, well I'll throw out a little more info, but it's not sourced and you'll have to decide if it's relevant.

The flag button was introduced several years ago, do you think that Blogger would have been smart enough to realize that if a couple clicks could lock a blog that that would be a problem? My answer would be most likely.

Since I've been involved w/Blogger for so many years, I had the chance to correspond with a Blogger engineer on a couple of things (outside of normal channels) and had a chance to meet and talk with him last year at an event (SXSW) which was held in my hometown. We talked about these very scenarios (off the record) and while he could only reveal outlines of the process, he told me the flag button will only trigger a human review, and it has a very high threshold. The reason being precisely so it can't be abused. The number of blogs that get "flagged" by people that hit this threshold, are low enough that the humans can look before any action is taken.

It's the bot that does the grunt work, as it finds thousands and thousands of blogs. They are locked automatically without humans, and only human reviewed when the owner requests it. Because of the sheer volume of spam blogs, that's the only way it's feasible. We are talking hundreds of thousands of blogs here, the numbers are overwhelming. It would take armies of humans to look at each of the real spam blogs. So they send out the bot, and let the humans review when it's requested. The bots are actually pretty good, less than 2-3 % false positives. They catch way more than they falsely get. So it's not surprising that some obama blogs are in that false positive range.

So unfortunately I can't source that kind of info. You'll just have to look around, and see if it jives with what you find and makes sense in the big picture.

This is the closest to source I can provide removals.html

That's official, talks about the automated classifying.

This one isn't official, but it describes what happens when a manual review takes place. I can only tell you that this is the "flagged" procedure, but I can't prove it anywhere. It may be slightly different these days, as this is from 2005, but similar. Normally the owner wouldn't be able to tell anything as the blogger internal url for review should have been scrubbed from their referrals, but sometimes it sneaks through. 09/21/googles-manual-review

by br549x 2008-07-04 01:14AM | 0 recs
Free speech isn't free access

No one is silencing dissent.  Blogger thought some of their rules were being broken and they took action to stop the alleged rule breaking.  If you want your blog hosting company to have different rules and procedures then you are free to start your own blog hosting company.  Blogger has every right to monitor and censor what appears on their servers.  

Go read Jerome's post about the Malaysian election if you want to find out what silencing dissent truly is.  

by Blue Neponset 2008-07-04 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.
"Is this really what some people have become, bullying and intimidation to fall in line with what is 'acceptable' discussion?"
by ChitownDenny 2008-07-04 05:15AM | 0 recs
Clintonistas for Obama

probably got locked because some Obots were high on the kool-aid and thought it was something anti-obama because of the word "Clintonistas" so they all just flagged it as spam without actually bothering to see what your blog was about.

It is funny to see them all jump on you and try to convince you that you are crazy. Do you remember during the primary when the script kiddies on Obama's website were pushing that script that would use the contact info from Hillary's website to call Clinton supporters? If you wanted to dig into who locked you down I'd go into the Obama website and search around his community groups.  

by LatinoVoter 2008-07-04 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Clintonistas for Obama

Spoken like the true Clintroll your are, fakelatinovoter.

by venician 2008-07-04 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

They estimate that worldwide,  30,000 children died of starvation yesterday. Actually - every day.

I'm not gonna worry about how inefficient Blogger's policies for preventing spam blogs is, if that's OK with you.

by xdem 2008-07-04 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Silencing Dissension.

Couldn't it be PUMA or NODEAL operatives who flagged your website?  Makes more sense being that they are NOT going to vote for Obama but C4O are...

by hootie4170 2008-07-04 09:59AM | 0 recs
could be hootie. could be.

but again - im certain its a human created problem rather than bots. ;)

by canadian gal 2008-07-04 11:19AM | 0 recs
Oh please.....

I don't understand why you thought Clintonistas for Obama would be treated differently than "PUMA and its ilk". If you have not shown 100% loyalty or if your constructive criticism is not viewed as constructive you become a target of those who will not tolerate dissent or criticism of Obama.

It does not matter that you and others who blog there support Obama if you have not adopted the trance induced state of Obama is deity.

From some of the writing of former Clinton supporters you all appeared to believe you were immune by citing a disclaimer of support for Obama.

The glowing praise from Obama supporters for your support of Obama gave you all a false sense of security. Some have even gone so far as to join in with the rants against "PUMA and its ilk."

I don't doubt that the very people you dialogue with every day and who read what you write in the places where you cross post your blogs are the very people who screwed you.

by feelfree 2008-07-04 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh please.....
What a load of malarky.
Not gonna even bother detailing's plain for all to see.
by Kysen 2008-07-04 01:05PM | 0 recs
how many forget this case-closed-on-lieberman-hacking-affair -what-about-holy-joe

Lamont Didn't Crash Lieberman Servers.

The FBI knew back in 2006 that Ned Lamont's campaign did not hack into Joe Lieberman's campaign website, but for some mysterious reason, we are just now getting their official statement. Emptywheel at FDL wants to know what about Holy Joe's six figure slush fund?

   In thoroughly unsurprising news today, the Ned Lamont campaign was cleared of any wrong-doing in the crash of Lieberman's server leading up to primary day in 2006. The Stamford Advocate reports that the FBI determined-way back on October 25, 2006-that Lieberman's campaign bears all responsibility for the server crash.

I and many others espically at dailykos have decided to ignore past bloggers. Why? Because the PRIMARY is over. To me and many others it doesn't matter. So case in point If someone like me who thought the primary wars were funny doesn't see the point now in any other website out there. It doesn't mean it was US. Try to think about it clearly without hard feelings of the past because MOST of us have MOVED ON to other things and it really does not concern.

by AHiddenSaint 2008-07-04 11:23AM | 0 recs


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