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Friday, July 28, 2006

International Force in Lebanon?

Blair and Bush are holding a press conference as I type this. They are talking about an international force to go to Lebanon to help ensure a cease-fire and I believe to ensure the enforcement of UN resolutions (disarming Hezbollah).

Bottom line: I do not want to see any such thing until it is made absolutely clear that ANY attack on this force by parties there (Hezbollah) will be met with overwhelming force, and will be held against Iran and Syria. If another Marine Barracks occurs, I will be very pissed at Bush. The way to avoid that is to make it clear to the terror masters the price that will be paid, and to meet any aggression with bullets.

Update: Needless to say, when I think International Force, I mean NATO, or one of our own organization, NOT the UN. What a useless bunch of morons...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

How to Spot a Troll **Updated!**

Who? Me?!?

Recently I have come across the phenomenon of Trolls calling other people "Trolls" because those people had the gall to call them Trolls for acting like Trolls.

That is as confusing as it reads, so I though I would write some pointers for people to spot a Troll, especially if the Troll is you. People far better than me have written on this before, but allow me my take.

Hopefully, for those encountering Trolls, this will save you time and aggravation by avoiding someone who is a humongous waste of your time.

For those who are Trolls, this might help explain why despite your unparalleled genius, keen debating skills and ability to post faster that you read, people still think you are a wanker.

I will add to this as more occur to me. Feel free to offer your own suggestions.


The Screen Name Pun

A Troll will often reveal himself early when he makes some sort of snide comment on or pun of your screen name. While most everyone will be tempted to mock someone’s screen name during a tense argument online, a Troll grabs that bait like a Great White grabs chum-covered surfers. Usually, a Troll who is challenged will go for the screen name taunt within 2-3 exchanges. If really spooked, they’ll use it right off the bat.

Examples : “So, Wearing Me Out…”

“Tell me, Wears Garters, what do you…”

“You mean to tell me, Wear’s Your Brain…”

Free Throwing

A friend a mine once likened people who try to participate in a conversation without actually listening to anyone to a spectator at a Knicks game shooting free-throws from the stands. You can spot a Troll easy when they make a comment which is at best tangential to the flow of the ongoing conversation or post. It may be a single line, or a mighty manifesto, but in both cases you are straining to understand its relevance to the ongoing discussion.

Example: On thread dealing with drilling in ANWR, a poster pops in to state: “Of course, if Bush were really serious about fixing illegal immigration, we wouldn’t need that much oil in the first place.”


If someone copies and pastes their own words from one blog’s comment thread to an entirely other blog’s comment thread, red flags should go up. It bespeaks of someone who is trying to disseminate their viewpoint and “brilliance” rather than actually, you know, engaging in a conversation. It’s sorta innovative in that it’s like mobile blogging, but ultimately it is annoying and Trollish.

Example : Poster writes: “I left a comment on Bloggerama that I think was so brilliant, you guys should have chance to read it as well.”


There is nothing wrong with cutting and pasting material relevant to your point from whatever source (except if you're quoting you. See Xeroxing). In fact, it’s a great ability in an online forum. However, Trolls often go overboard. Instead of quoting a small portion, and linking to the original, they feel the need to put whole sections in a comment thread. This serves a couple of purposes. One, Trolls likely feel that larger quotations are more impressive than smaller ones. Two, Trolls believe that making you read a whole bunch of stuff will make you tired, sap your will and make you more likely to either succumb to their will or give up entirely. I mean, they know you have a life and job to get back to, which is your weakness.

Example : “Let me give you a quote from Moby Dick I found on page 93:

‘Call me Ishmael…’ ”

The Catch Phrase

While everyone has a favorite turn of phrase, like all good things, moderation is called for. When something is not so good to begin with, you really should drop it after the first use. Not so for Trolls, where repetition just makes it better every single time. Someone who keeps using the same phrase, particularly one of their own creation, could very well be a Troll.

Example : Well, if you Wankers of War…I would think that Wankers of War like yourself… Hail the Wankers of War!…Wanking off on your War, War Wankers?!?

Mind Reading

Some Trolls apparently think they can read your mind, knowing what you must have been thinking when you posted, rather than actually reading what you wrote when you posted. Surprisingly, they usually find out that you were a racist, fascist, homophobe, etc., and you didn’t even know it! Sometimes its pretty overt, and sometimes more subtle, but the bottom line is it’s an attempt to get you to really understand what your are all about. I also think it is a way for Trolls to write politically incorrect statements and get way with it.

Example : “The Third World is not full of the ignorant mud-people you think it is!"

Kettle Calling

As in, "Pot Calling Kettle Black". A Troll has a highly developed skill for projection of their behavior onto others. As I mentioned at the very top of this post, the most simple form is to call someone a Troll,, even when they're the one acting like a wanker. It also comes down to specific accusations, such as lambasting someone for resorting to insults after they have spent numerous posts calling people names, using the Screen Name Pun and say, questioning their intelligence.

A curious subset of this I have seen is the homophobic, gay-rights Troll. On several occasions when I was engaged in an online debate, I had people trot out the "right-wing, rethuglican gay basher" themes against me. At the same time, after they became completely frustrated when they were losing the argument, they began to insinuate I was gay and used stereotypical language to do so. No one out and out called me a "faggot" or "fruit", but I was told I was a mincing or shrieking pansy, must love show tunes, was getting boned by my boyfriend, etc. I once had this kind of crap thrown at me by a woman claiming to be a liberal and a lesbian! Pointing out the, uh, irony of this was, no pun intended, fruitless.

Oh, and the most telling thing was that of all the other left-wing progressives posting in those threads, I think ONE called the gay-baiters on it. ONE. That says much more than the random spittle of cranks, doesn't it?

Example: Not sure I need one after the preceding paragraph

** Update : Here's a great example
of the Homophobic progressive that Jeff Goldstein encountered at Protein Wisdom.

The Hypocritic Oaf

While other catagories may contain elements of hypocrisy, it deserves its own catagory when it comes to Trolls. Why? Because Trolls are acutely aware of any whiff of hypocrisy in those with which they disagree, but have absolutely NO concept of it when it relates to themselves or those that agree with them. A Troll can make statement in a thread, and in the following post, they can write something completely at odds with their previous statement. Pointing this out, even quoting their own words, have absolutely no effect on them. Think of them as Hypocrisy Vampires or Werewolves; they can't be harmed by normal means.

Example : Post 1 "I don't think terrorism is really a big problem at all. It's been hyped to keep people scared."

Post 2 "Thanks to Bush's "War on Terror", the threat from terrorism has only gotten worse. If something happens, and it will, Bush is at fault."

Raging Against the Machine

This should be bloody obvious, but I added it anyway. Anyway who pops in to tell everyone and/or the host to "'eff off!", or to do something unnatural to themselves or otherwise calls them a "*$&%@" or a "$%&!*", is a Troll. True, if you were to see them in person, they would more resemble a angry, sputtering dwarf of ancient European legend, but they are still a Troll.

What's usually funny about these guys is that they usually communicate their sputtering well if nothing else. You can see them getting so animated that someone challenged their precious dogma, but are so frustrated that they have none of the ability, patience, intelligence or knowledge to argue their point. No matter what they write, its like reading:


Friday, July 21, 2006

The Coming Carnage - Who's to Blame?

The Israelis are massing more troops along the Lebanon border with the possibility of a larger scale invasion to come soon. The Lebanese government is promising to send their military to the south to confront the Israelis should they invade.

I am sure it has occurred to more than me that if the Lebanese had sent their troops south months or weeks ago to put a leash on Hezbollah, there would be no crisis here.

Instead, Lebanese leaders will send troops that might have been used and sacrificed to crush Hezbollah and instead send them to be slaughtered fighting Israel, a nation trying to wipe out a group threatening Lebanon’s government and sovereignty. The insane, stupid irony of it elicits no humor, only nausea.

Of course, Hezbollah, whatever strategic mistakes they may have made in all this, has planned as much on this. They hide amid the civilian population using them as shields and propaganda props for when the Israeli air attacks come in. Now they will use the Lebanese army to shield it from whatever ground attack ensues. The ensuing carnage, even it engulfs them, will cause great havoc amid its enemies all the same.

Well, then, isn’t Israel just playing into Hezbollah’s hands then?

No. The world is playing into all the Islamofascist’s hands will their moral equivocation and narrow self-interest. The conflict in Lebanon is but one example of this.

Disproportionate Response

Keeping to my theme from the previous post, how does the media define “Disproportionate Response”? How do they define “Proportionate Response”? They should let us know because a lot of the questions I see bandied about regarding Lebanon and Israeli actions keep asking about “Excessive Force” or “Disproportionate Response”. If they are going to ask someone this question, shouldn’t they have some idea of what those terms mean to them? If not, could not an Israeli representative or Tony Snow simply just respond “No”?

“General, do you think that the Israeli response, while certainly initially provoked, has been disproportionate?”


“Why not?”

“Because its not. What do you think qualifies as disproportionate?”

“…Well, its not me saying its disproportionate. So and so says so.”

“Okay, what do they say they think is disproportionate?”


You get the idea. The problem I am highlighting is the media's tendencyto set up a meme, or to proceed from a certain “conclusion”, and to base their coverage and questions on it. The one they seem to working from now is, "Well, Israel is really going too far here, now, aren't they? I mean, even though we know they were attacked..."

They are certainly not the only one, mind you. Various other factions, like say Hezbollah, do it for specific tactical reasons. But the press is supposed to be clarifying things, no? Getting to the truth behind the spin?

So, what IS a disproportionate response to unprovoked attacks, kidnapping and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorists?

I am not saying that there are no responses which are disproportionate or excessive. I am merely saying that those asking the question should first have some idea of what they think that means before asking the question.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How About a Little Thanks and Praise?

The past week has been an exasperating experience as I watch the coverage of the Lebanon evacuations.

Gee, I wonder where people get the idea that Americans are pampered, whiny and arrogant?

I see people whining and complaining that the mass evacuation of people out of a war zone is not neat and orderly. I see people complaining that the accommodations on ships which are taking them out said war zone were not comfortable. I see complaining from many quarters that the government would have liked to be reimbursed later for getting their asses to safety.

Some news organizations complained of cramped conditions on a Norwegian cargo ship which took 1,000 people. Video of said ships showed that while people were lined up along the side walkways, there were not on top of one another. In addition, on the central part of the deck there was apparently enough room for guys to play basketball!

Apparently, the only way to evacuate for some is to take a cruise ship, or you shouldn’t leave at all.

Of course, a lot of this could be the media’s doing, which cannot go without somehow finding fault with how the government, particularly this administration, does things. The question I have is; what is the yardstick for performance? Where is it, what does it look like, and what is needed for a “good” rating?

I mean, is there ANY chance we would see a headline or chyron say “Government Does Kick Ass Job on Evacuations!” What would the government (State Department, Military, White House, etc) need to do to get such praise. We are never told.

Look, I am not a big fan of government beauracracy and I have plenty to complain about in regards to their inefficiency. My point is, if the media or anyone is going to set themselves as constant critics, shouldn’t they A) reveal their grading methods, B) sometimes be able to give a positive review?

**Update** To be fair, I have seen some people praising the efforts of the State Departement and others in facilitating the evacuation, so at least there is some attempt at balance. However, you still see the media's tendency to emphasize the negative and to ask why it wasn't done better without revealing what they view as acceptable performance. Should 24 hours been enough time to get everyone out? 36? 48?

If they had sent this ship, what would have been the reaction, I wonder. These people had a much rougher time on their vacation than any of these people have had during the evacuation.

I also noticed some statistics that indicated that the French and Canadians have gotten far fewer people out so far. If accurate, does that mean we are doing all that badly? Again, the question is not even asked from what I've seen.

Update : Blackfive puts it very nicely regarding what people should expect from the evacuation:

In my mind, if you voluntarily decide to go to a country whose southern half is controlled by a 25 year old terrorist organization that until 9/11 had killed more Americans than any other you ought to take some responsibility for your own predicament when things go sideways. I mean if you are pregnant and decide to go to Beirut on your Mediterranean vacation with 5 kids (instead of France, Italy, Greece, etc.) then perhaps you should either blame your travel agent or have a nice tall glass of shut the hell up when you suddenly are operating outside your itinerary. Should these Americans pay for their evacuation from their terrorist occupied vacation spot? Let me ask another question; why should I pay for it?