Saturday, January 31, 2009


If you're just on broadcast TV like our household, you've seen these commercials ad vomitum.

I was already skeptical about sending valuables to strangers per the USPS. After reading these accounts, I wouldn't send Cash4Gold my wooden nickels...

Cash4Gold Will Offer One-Third of the Actual Value for your Gold

Cash4Gold operates in a manner similar to GoldKit. They send you an envelope, you send your gold to them in it. They determine the value and cut a check for that amount. If the amount meets your expectations, you cash it. If not, you have 15 days to return the check and get your gold back. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

He also noticed that Cash4Gold offers a "fast cash" scheme to forego the paper check and deposit their payment directly into your checking account within 24 hours. This setup would be faster, but gold sellers would give up their chance to examine and renegotiate their offer. And that, it turns out, would be a huge mistake for anyone selling gold to Cash4Gold. [More...]

Former employee exposing the scams of Cash4Gold

I am a former employee of Cash 4 Gold. I did not know much about the company before being hired. On my first day of being hired, I was taught the "Cash 4 Gold Scam" from beginning to end.

1. The "refiner's pack" that is used for you to put your jewelry is "insured for UP TO 100 dollars, " according to how much they determine from a description from you, the worth of your items to be, NOT an actual fully researched appraisal.

2. We receive your "Refiner's Pack" within 3-4 days, BUT we are instructed to tell you that it takes "7-10 business days, for us to receive your pack, ALTHOUGH many times, your package has already arrived. [More...]

Cash 4 Gold would like to melt down and recast their reputation
by Citizen

On October 6th, [my] article was featured on ( Consumerist is so popular that thousands of people read the article, and the high Consumerist pagerank meant that the Cockeyed article would take its place at the tippy-top of Google results on searches for "Cash 4 Gold". Anyone searching for "Cash4Gold" had a very good chance at this new insight: Their cash offers for gold are measly.

I guess someone at Cash 4 Gold noticed, because a week later, I got an email from Joe Laratro: [...] How about that? A polite letter, with a clear goal: Bury the "Cash 4 Gold" name in my article so that it doesn't scare off every would-be gold seller with an internet connection. [More...]

Update: And it seems millions of us tomorrow will be watching Ed McMahon, who has one foot in the grave and the other precariously perched between a bar of soap and bankruptcy, as his pimps the bling of Cash4Gold during the Super Bowl.

I wonder if he's going to get paid as much as this gal? (Well, i suppose even a blogger's got to make a living. But do you have to work for such creeps?)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sockpuppetry is Bad Karma II

Definitions: sock puppet

  1. A simple puppet made from a sock placed over the hand of the puppeteer.
  2. (internet) In an online community, a second account created by a user who already has an account, this second account being set up by that user so as to seem to be for a different user.
I have noted previously Mandate Media's online echo chamber and their seemingly successful staff of sock puppets. By all appearances, the king of the trolls is "navvoter" who has been previously identified as Preemptive Karma's Kevin Kamberg.

Posted by steveforsen on 02/27/08 at 12:29AM

I believe "navvoter" is the same user as karmaman, Kevin Kamberg of Preemptive Karma, who has used the stiff left hook and effusive phraseology the same way in other places to refer to Novick's endorsement. He is on a crusade to counteract the positive reaction to Novick's statement on Obama, particularly at Daily Kos and Huffington Post, where--beyond Kamberg and two or three other regular Merkley supporters appearing in such places to douse enthusiasm for Novick--literally hundreds of completely uninvolved readers from around the country gave it their approval.

See for yourself here:

and here

Sockpuppetry to present the illusion of broader support is a tactic betraying weakness, IMO.

It's no big deal that Kevin has chosen a cute new handle midstream. What does cross the line however for this budding blogger cum journalist is that he continues to comment on OregonLive as "karmaman," indeed sometimes in the same post. Such use of multiple personalities is classic sock puppetry.

Upon further search, it turns out that karmaman/navvoter have been busy gaming the reddit website too. (Both personas have a penchant for recommending posts on Kamberg's Preemptive Karma.)

Update: A request for comment from "navvoter" remains unanswered as both his and "karmaman's" reddit karma seems to be tanking.

Feb. 3 / Feb. 5

Dammit, Daschle!

Why is it so hard to find rich folk who haven't cheated on their taxes!

Daschle's tax records under fire

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Finance committee will meet Monday to review the tax records of former Sen. Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services who, according to sources, didn't pay taxes on a car and driver he had been loaned. [More...]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Opinions are like... pcolfan

Gawd, it's getting so that a brother can't get an opinion in edgewise these days without some blog hog getting his knickers in a twist. Such was it today when i ventured to make (an admittedly ill-postulated) point on Jeff Mapes' politics blog regarding spoilers and Oregon's recent race for the US Senate.

Posted by jeffmapes on 01/27/09 at 1:56PM

You raise an interesting point, harneycounty. Dave Brownlow of the Constitution Party did indeed receive more votes - 92,565 - than Jeff Merkley's victory margin of about 59,000 votes. Moore, however, doubts that Brownlow's candidacy cost Smith the race.

To which i responded:

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/27/09 at 3:36PM

Whereas i by no mean fault her for her candidacy (I gave her money, but Steve Novick earned my vote) i think that Candy Neville played the greater roll in unseating Senator Smith.

[Editor's note: what i should have said, and indeed intended to convey, was that Candy Neville's presence in the primary arguably affected its outcome, where as i agree with Moore that there was no Brownlow effect.]

If Merkley had been an honest broker for Neville's constituency, i would begin to accept the consolation of "no harm, no foul." But even she recognized that Merkley's anti-war cred was supported by a hollow army and she quit his campaign after her highlt publicized recruitment.

I wouldn't be mentioning this again now, but the facts were deleted last weekend from a forum run by Merkley surrogates. Jeff Merkley lied about his "anti-war" cred during the campaign.
You can stamp your feet all you want, Ms. Axtman, Senator Merkley did lie (on various occasions) when he claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this."

Just compare these quotes/lies to the "floor speach" [sic] he actually gave in an attempt to explain his vote

A vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush."

Which drew a long response from one "pcolfan":

Posted by pcolfan on 01/27/09 at 8:30PM

EBT, I know both Steve and Jeff--actually have known Steve longer.

Steve lost my vote by making an obscure 2003 vote a central point of his campaign--someone who never had to cast a tough vote as an elected official criticizing a tough vote by an elected official. As the campaign wore on, it sounded more and more as if Steve only wanted the votes of those who said "Jeff should be ashamed of himself and his speech on that 2003 resolution, and if you don't agree with that, Steve does not want your vote".

I saw (via Internet video) the Sunriver speech where Steve first brought up that issue. Other parts of the speech got applause but not that section. Are you saying Steve only wanted the votes of those who thought that part of the speech was good---and not the votes of those who thought it would have been a better speech without that section?

I did not volunteer in the US Senate race this year, and was not on a political payroll for anyone. I was working in child care in the spring of 2008 when most of this debate was going on. I thought much of the debate on Blue Oregon was childish---there were 5 Democrats who voted against the resolution, Jeff should have been the 6th, and because he wasn't, no one should vote for him for US Senate? There were no other issues???

The reason Gordon Smith was in the US Senate in the first place was because of the large 3rd party vote in 1996. Steve worked for the Democratic nominee that year, but didn't brag about that much in 2008. Perhaps because of comments like those of a friend who decided to vote for the 1996 Dem. nominee and said to when I mentioned supporting Brent Thompson, "Oh, you're saying you refuse to choose between the slick one and the chinless one?".

Bruggere ran a clueless campaign in 1996, but all good Democrats were supposed to vote for him? Why, because money is all that matters and only professionals know how the game is played?

Apparently Steve took that attitude with him (he worked for Bruggere's campaign) and thought he could win a 2008 primary by telling people what to think. It didn't work. Merkley was more appealing to downstate voters, partly because they actually saw him without having to go to the home of a supporter--Merkley had a good ground organization and appeared in public venues.

Steve is very bright, but he has a lot to learn about elective politics. I have he runs for office in Multnomah County and wins--that was a county he carried. Then he would learn about being an elected official. Some of his most vociferous supporters thought an Oregon legislator can abstain---which is not how the legislature runs. A person must vote yes or no --or if off the floor will be marked either excused, excused for legislative business or whatever. And had Steve Novick made as much of a stink about that vote in 2003 as he made in 2008, he might have been more believeable.

There are 33 counties in Oregon not named Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington. Voters in those counties also matter, but Steve didn't have ground operations or many public appearances in those downstate counties.

I saw Steve after the primary and he was just absolutely sure he'd have won had there been more money. But with enough money, ground organization and what people say to their friends and neighbors doesn't matter? Elections are decided in Portland anyway, so downstate voters don't matter?

If Jeff had released his entire floor speech to the public, and said publicly in one of the debates, "Yes, Steve, I said everything you say I said", but then asked about any of Steve's public stands or why the "beer commercial" was supposed to win over Oregon voters, would you have been happier, EBT?

Do you really think having the "pants on fire" video on the front page of the Novick website but hiding the excellent poverty video on an inside issues page really helped the Novick campaign?

My next door neighbor said she didn't see what opening a beer bottle had to do with running for US Senate. My friend who used to work in a substance abuse program was offended by the beer commercial. But that wouldn't have mattered if only Jeff had satisfied people like you over the obscure 2003 resolution?

Were there people who voted Obama/Smith ? Or would looking into that take too much work?

Steve and I had email exchanges about this. I think he made rookie mistakes in his statewide campaign. In the end I voted legislators over non-office holders for US Senate and AG because I decided experience was important. In a free country I do have that right to decide my vote using my own criteria, even though some Novick supporters thought they were helping the Novick campaign by attacking anyone on a blog who disagreed with them.

I heard Merkley in a Marion County town hall meeting answer specific questions in a public venue (not just someone's home). I never saw Steve do that.

I understand how angry some people were about this issue, esp. TJ and Stephanie and Miles on Blue Oregon. But did that anger help or hurt the Novick for Senate campaign?

EBT, there is a whole wide state of Oregon which doesn't live in Portland and might just put issues aside from how the Iraq War started at the top of their priority list when deciding how to vote for US Senate. And there are people who value good manners and what they see as common sense when they decide how to vote.

I'd love to see Bob Moore put every comment on this topic on his liberal-->conservative political spectrum.

There was a lot there, and to be honest, my eyes glazed over a wee bit. But there seemed some room for discourse. So i posted back:

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/28/09 at 10:00AM

your response was long and considered. Where our opinions differ, i think thoughtful people can indeed disagree. But just to correct the record...

Steve lost my vote by making an obscure 2003 vote a central point of his campaign--someone who never had to cast a tough vote as an elected official criticizing a tough vote by an elected official.

I don't think it ever was a central part of the campaign. As for when Merkley's vote in support of Bush and the invasion first surfaced as a campaign issue, it happened a while before the Sun River event you allude to.

Posted by: Jake Weigler - Novick for Senate | Aug 3, 2007 11:56:36 AM

I just wanted to clarify Steve's comments on this Iraq War resolution as it appears there may have been some confusion.

The state GOP put out this attack and a reporter asked Steve - who had never heard of the resolution before - how he would have voted. Steve provided an honest answer:

"It's a resolution that quote 'acknowledges the courage of President George W Bush.' You would not have found me saying that the war in Iraq is a reflection of the courage of President George W Bush."

The Novick campaign did not introduce this argument or attempt to "use" it

I submit that it was the Merkley campaign who then went into overdrive and using its main internet media surrogate (BlueOregon), initiated and sustained the "negative Novick" meme, a characterization of the former candidate with which i disagree.

there were 5 Democrats who voted against the resolution, Jeff should have been the 6th, and because he wasn't, no one should vote for him for US Senate? There were no other issues???

Ending the costly Occupation of Iraq and holding the Bush administration accountable were my top issues. It's not that Merkley was AWOL when it came to what mattered to me the most... It's that he went on to lie about it.

He claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this."

Your main argument seems to be against the truth. Sen. Merkley didn't say in his HRes2 floor speech what he later (on multiple occasions) claimed he said. The links are above, including Merkley being busted on the claim of having "published" an anti-war article before the invasion.

I heard Merkley in a Marion County town hall meeting answer specific questions in a public venue (not just someone's home). I never saw Steve do that.

I first heard Steve at the WashCo Dems (open to the public). Later, I saw him at EastSide Dems (open to the public). You seem to be quibbling here, and again your experience doesn't seem to fit the facts.

I really don't understand why you got so riled up. The conversation (including Mapes, the post author) touched on the topic of "spoilers." I merely offered my opinion that Neville more likely affected the outcome as opposed to Brownlow.

Oregon's peace and justice votes (which come from all across the State) were split between Novick and Neville. You give seeming anecdotal evidence that Democrats for whom Iraq was not a major issue were more likely to support Merkley.

Update: Ugh... Here come the M.bots. It seems that Jeff Merkley remains a delicate flower. Do not criticize him or else be faced with the wrath of his surrogates.

Posted by verasoie on 01/27/09 at 8:33PM

Poor EBT, still searching for some solace and significance in the face of an election that rendered him irrelevant.

So how exactly did Bonbon Chamberlain play a more significant role than Brownlow? Yeah, you didn't exactly elaborate that, did you, preferring to hijack the thread with more of your pitiful rants.

Yikes! And it looks like "pcolfan" is going off the deep end now:

Posted by pcolfan on 01/28/09 at 10:57AM

EBT, you make my point. YOU see things from your point of view. Had the voters of Oregon seen things from your point of view, Novick might have been the nominee. Apparently there were voters who thought other issues were important.

I see things from the point of view of this Jeff Mapes blog item.

I also didn't see why the beer ad made Novick the more qualified candidate. And why it wasn't wise to support the primary candidate with the best developed statewide grass roots effort.

"Oregon's peace and justice votes (which come from all across the State) were split between Novick and Neville. "

How involved in the campaign were you, EBT, to know that ?

In a variety of downstate counties, Novick +Neville did not = Merkley's vote.

There was an attitude among some Novickians that they had the revealed truth and all good people would support their guy, after all, he has a hard left hook--what else do we need to know?
As I said before, had Steve been outspoken on the 2003 speech in 2003, that would have been a different matter.

EBT, you are angry that Jeff gave a speech you didn't like. Did you express your outrage in 2003?
Or was it just when Steve was running for office that you became outraged at the speech?

In 3 decades as a political volunteer, "Vote for my candidate because the opponent made a speech years ago I find offensive" was never a reason I voted for anyone.

Certainly there are better topics to discuss in Jan. 2009.

Obviously "pcolfan" was an ardent support of Jeff Merkley for Senate. Seriously, at this point it's like arguing with a Fundamentalist.

Posted by EastBankThom on 01/28/09 at 11:14AM

pcolfan, if you're going to willfully ignore my responses, then there really is no point. It's not the speech that irks me so, it's the lies he told after it. (Links in my first comment.)

As a matter of fact, my initial response when i heard about his vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush" was to give him a break.

Posted by: East Bank Thom | Aug 4, 2007 12:44:20 PM

... I'm with those right now saying let this pass.

And speaking of fundamentalists, ist looks like Merkely surrogate Kevin Kamberg of Preemptive Karma (and one time extra in a Merkley for Senate campaign ad) wants to pile on too. Sheesh... And as it turns out, "pcolfan is just a sock puppet for "LT" - one of the most curmudgeony of Blue0's devotees. And for good measure, Mitch Gore - the spooky "lestatdelc" who also trolls BO also piped in. The rest of the chatter, for your bemusement.

Posted by navvoter on 01/28/09 at 2:22PM

EBT's claim that he was merely offering Ms. Neville as a "spoiler" relevant to Jeff's post is belied by the fact that EBT squandered less pixels on that offering then he did on trying to reargue the merits of a thoroughly beaten-to-death issue.

Posted by pcolfan on 01/28/09 at 8:54PM

Thank you for your comments NAV voter--if Democrats are all supposed to think like EBT, I should become NAV---all I ever did was 3 decades as a volunteer, once a member of State Central Comm., once a national convention delegate. But I am one of those "radicals" who thinks for myself, therefore some people see me as subversive.

If that means I'm not real Democrat (not the first time I've been told that) because we were all supposed to be good little boys and girls and view the world through the eyes of Novick and Neville and shun Merkley, the Portland Democrats (Does DPO stand for Democratic Portland Organization) can have their party--they don't want me.

I also wonder how many campaigns EBT worked on (staff or volunteer) prior to the 2008 primary.

I looked up the counties Merkley won in Nov. other than Lane and Mult.
Here they are, with the margins. Only about a third of the margin between Gordon and Jeff..
6978 Benton
856 Clatsop
487 Columbia
975 Hood River
2633 Lincoln
5253 Washington

But as people have been saying for years, Mult., Clackamas, and Washington are major counties one needs to win. And for a Democrat to win 2 coastal counties and Hood River county is doing pretty well.

I suspect I know what the problem is----EBT wanted a candidate who sounded like Bernie Sanders, but that is not who the voters chose in the primary. They chose someone who sounds a lot more like Hatfield. Gordon wanted to be seen as Hatfield's successor, but he wasn't even close.

And I suspect many Oregonians see the fight over whether Merkley lied or was merely "not always on message with the truth" (wonderful line from former college student body president who later became a political consultant), who gave what speech when, who was polite or rude about the whole issue, why people were more publicly outraged about a 2003 speech in 2008 than in 2003, and other such debates as just so much inside baseball.

Steve is a very bright guy who should have a future in politics if he learns lessons from the 2008 primary. But if he thinks enough money to run the beer ad every day when some people were offended by it, or making fun of an opponent, or demanding that people agree with him is more helpful in winning votes than speaking out on poverty, or that ads which create buzz can substitute for a ground operation, he is likely to lose if he tries again.

I'm old enough to have had friends fight in the Vietnam War--one was a casualty. I never saw statements like "he was wrong on the war" to be helpful. When a friend worked as a young man in Wayne Morse's office his last year in the US Senate, I think that did more to advance the anti-war cause than attending rallies or speaking out the way Steve spoke out.

How long after the invasion was the HR 2 vote--less than 72 hours? Or was it weeks afterwards? What good would it have done with the great middle of the population to say that soon after an invasion that W was an SOB? Because Steve's friends wanted that? I don't recall Steve being that outspoken in 2003.
And a search of Blue Oregon showed some Novick supporters understanding Merkley's reason for his vote.

There was a quote in Jeff's speech,

"Today I rise to praise our young men and women serving our nation at great personal risk. Today we are not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal; we are Americans concerned about the safety and support of our troops. "

There were people in the middle of the political spectrum who were going to decide the Nov. election. They included friends/family of those serving in Iraq. Did those folks really object to such language, or would they have found it comforting?

I know an Iraq vet who is an active Democrat. He spoke to a local Democratic audience in maybe 2004. Some people in that audience lambasted him for not coming back from Iraq and immediately joining an anti-war group. I thought that was bad manners and told a friend so--leading to a debate.

Friends, "Thank you for your service but if you come back from combat and join a political movement we don't agree with, you're not worthy of being treated with courtesy and good manners because all the good people agree with us" is what extremists do. It is what some people did to WWI veterans, much less any vet in an subsequent war. It is what the Bushies did to Gore, Cleland, Kerry. Democrats doing that to their own who were Guard, Reserve, or regular military because they didn't think like certain local Democrats is unbecoming behavior IMO.

I noticed Steve wasn't outspoken on veterans issues---for too long the subject of veterans was just a short paragraph on his website under the topic Defense.

Merkley had active support from veterans. But good people were not supposed to support him because EBT or TJ, Miles, Steph. V. on Blue Oregon supported Novick?

I spent too much of my life crusading as a volunteer for better treatment of veterans to say Merkley was a bad person because of what he said in that speech.
EBT doesn't like that, but then I would think twice in the future about supporting a primary candidate EBT supports unless there were other reasons to do so.

And if you don't like that, EBT, that is the way the Oreo disintigrates.

A friend of mine who had been involved in Oregon politics since the early 1970s (but wasn't big on using computers or blogging) called me up last spring. He said the Novick supporters on BO had no clue how to win statewide elections.

Turned out he was right--his % was wrong but he was correct in the geographic distribution of votes.


Posted by EastBankThom on 01/29/09 at 8:08AM

I get it, pcolfan. You really, really like Merkley. Were you in his campaign commercials too like "Navvoter?

Pcol, Merkley gave a nice floor speech in defense of his vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush." It's a shame he went on to lie about the content of that speech.


Posted by
pcolfan on 01/29/09 at 1:27PM

You don't get it, do you EBT?

Even if every Merkley supporter and Jeff Merkley himself had said "You're right, that was a lie about the 2003 speech", Steve lost my vote in so many other ways that I would have left the ballot line blank before I would have voted for Steve. In a free country, voters do have that right.

I WAS genuinely undecided at the beginning of the primary. But because that meant I wasn't a devoted Novickian, Novick supporters attacked me for saying things as bland as "I like both Novick and Merkley, but on this issue, I think Merkley makes more sense when he says...".

No, I was not in any ad. Some of my friends were, like the one who read BO and said the bloggers for Steve had no clue how to win statewide elections. Were you in any Novick ad? Were you a volunteer or a staffer?

Once too often Novick supporters were really condescending or sarcastic---if I didn't think the beer ad helped the campaign, therefore I was a "Merkleyite". So I decided to get a Merkley bumper sticker. If that means that for the rest of your life you will look down on me, not my problem.

Politicians have to EARN votes. I registered NAV in 1996 because I was offended by Bruggere, but I was supposed to vote for Bruggere employee Novick that many years later because some people were preoccupied by a 2003 vote and later statements about it, so nothing else mattered? What world do you live in? A world where you wish I had remained NAV and could thus not have voted for Obama in the presidential primary and would have been excluded from the US Senate primary?

You keep dredging up old arguments as if peer pressure is an effective political tool. Steve should have learned from the Bruggere campaign that peer pressure alone doesn't win elections.

But right now I am more interested in state and national stimulus packages

If you are more interested in refighting the 2008 primary, not my problem.


Posted by
EastBankThom on 01/29/09 at 1:46PM

OMG! It is you, LT!

Now i understand why it doesn't matter to you that Merkley lied about his anti-war cred.


Posted by
lestatdelc on 01/30/09 at 2:24PM

The problem with this polling is that it relies on self-labeling and identification as opposed wot what their views are on the issues.

If you look at polling on major issues, the overwhelming majority consistently favors positions which are labeled "liberal" even when those same voted self-identity as moderate, or even conservative.

Given the decades long PR campaign by the GOP and movement conservatives to make "liberal" the scarlet letter in politics, and akin to calling someone a commie back in the day, of course you will get voters rejecting that label even though their views on issues remains (and in some cases such as Universal Health Care, etc. become more) "liberal".

I see Hans (aka EBT) is still his whacked out, howling at the moon, self even after the election. Seek help.


Posted by
EastBankThom on 01/30/09 at 7:13PM

Lestat, are you like stalking me?

On the other hand, LOL.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life. Death and Kaiser

In a horrific case of multiple murder/suicide, an LA father of 5 took the lives of his children and wife before killing himself. The parents had both lost their jobs at Kaiser Permanente.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A man apparently despondent about losing his job killed his wife and five children before turning the gun on himself, officials said Tuesday. The bodies of five children and two adults -- the children's mother and father -- were found Tuesday in a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington. Among the dead, authorities said, were an 8-year-old girl and two sets of twins -- 5-year-old girls and 2-year-old boys. [More...]

Meanwhile, another California Kaiser hospital was welcoming octuplets.

(CNN) -- California octuplets believed to be the nation's second live-born set were "doing very well" one day after their birth, and aside from some oxygen assistance, all the babies were breathing on their own, doctors said Tuesday...

During the delivery Monday, doctors were taking the babies out one by one, naming them for a letter of the alphabet and giving them to an assigned nurse, she said. After "G," the team thought they had all the babies, but "I said, 'Well, now we have H, everyone,'" she recalled.

"The G nurse became the H nurse, and took it over to the F doctor ... it just went seamlessly."

Multiple ultrasounds only found seven fetuses, she said. Asked how the eighth was missed, she said, "It is just a matter of positioning. The space is rather limited..."

The hospital has not answered questions about whether the mother had fertility treatments. [More...]

I find both of these stories disturbing...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blacklisting is Bad Karma

Back it 2007 i noted the emergence of the M.bots, a cadre of keyboard bullies who predictably went to bat for then Senate candidate Jeff Merkley. Merkley engaged the services of Kari and Carrie's Mandate Media who constructed what turned out to be at times a competent echo chamber which both recycled positive news regarding their clients and did its best to gin up scandal and outrage against the opponents of those paying Mandate.

Some blogs were created for the soul purpose of sockpuppetry. Not long after Merkley's recruitment to run for Senate, one of his interns, Jamal Raad created Forward Oregon along with the very verbose volunteer for Merkley, Bradley Dunn.

"We created this joint venture between, jraad and bdunn to examine the 2008 Oregon Senate Race, Oregon politics, and public policy. But Why? With three thesis to write, internships to complete, and an election to win why have we started ForwardOregon?"

Another example would be the blog Beaver Boundary from the pseudonymical "Taoiseach." No sooner had he lauched his new blog than he was getting front page recognition from Mandate's Blue Oregon. He ceased opperations after his cover was blown. The "Tao of smear" turned out to be Tom Powers, an aide to Rep. Mitch Greenlick. (It was Greenlick who lent his name to attacks from the Merkley camp appearing on Blue Oregon.)

A few exisiting blogs were already FOKers (friend of Kari). Other "reliable sources" promoting Mandate's Merkley message included the now defunct Witigonen as well as Kevin Kamberg's Preemptive Karma. (Kevin BTW prides himself on his role in a Merkley campaign commercial.) Just to finish the dots surrounding the incest which is Kari Chisholm and Oregon's left-leaning web media, it should be noted that Witigonen was founded by Michael Richardson, an employee of Mandate and Ben Dupree who was a Merkley media staffer. Dupree later joined Kamberg's PK. An original PK contributor, Carla Axtman, left the pro-Novick blog Loaded Orygun to work on the Merkley campaign, but quit before the endo fot he Primary. She was soon hired on as junior journalist at Mandate's Blue Oregon.

The point of recounting this revolving door history is simply to set the stage. I was reading an interesting piece on PK yesterday by Ben DuPree regarding the fallout of the Sam Adams scandal. [Editors note: Kari Chisholm iswas also on Adams' payroll.]

The Media Issue
by ben

According to Alex Blaze at the Bilerico Project, we have to think about this "scandal" as a media issue.

He cites Just Out's puzzling call for resignation. And he talks of former Senator Gordon Smith:

Gordon Smith, the former Republican Senator from the state of Oregon, lied in a series of campaign ads this past summer saying that his opponent, Jeff Merkley, voted against a bill to increase the statute of limitations for rape. [More...]

I thought that DuPree's basic premise had merit. I only quibbled with his example. But you won't find my response on Preemptive Karma any more. Kamberg, the alpha poodle of PK deleted it and banned me from further comment on his blog.

So for the record (with banned words in red)...

Whereas you make a valid point as to the capricious nature of the media when choosing which lies are worthy of headlines, i think you choose a poor example to illustrate your point.

Didn't Jeff Merkley lie when he claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this"?

I think better examples of the media turning a blind eye to significant lies are those of Eric Holder who lied about his involvement in the Marc Rich "pardon for dollars" scandal who is now Obama's Attorney General designate and US Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner who lied about his taxes.

Didn't Jeff Merkley lie when he claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this"?

No, Merkley didn't lie.

We've been over and over and over this, Hans. Enough is enough.


EBT isn't concerned about Holder being involved in the Marc Rich pardon, he's concerned that Holder will prosecute war crimes.
And so is Senator Cornyn.
And so should be all the war criminals.


EBT isn't concerned about Holder being involved in the Marc Rich pardon

Mac, you fail at mind reading.


No, Merkley didn't lie.

Hey Carla "axe to grind" man, you fail at truth.

You're not still on Merkley's payroll, are you? (Though i suppose as a new employee of Mandate, the revolving door still has its dues to pay.)


Your comment contains too many links and will not be added

Preemptive Karma


You can stamp your feet all you want, Ms. Axtman, Senator Merkley did lie (on various occasions) when he claimed he gave an "anti-war speech" on the floor of the house two days into the invasion which spoke "against the use of force" calling it a "terrible way to approach this." (These have all been previously sourced.)

Just compare these quotes/lies to the "floor speach" [sic] he actually gave in an attempt to explain his vote to "acknowledge the courage of George W. Bush."


East Bank Thom has been banned for his infantile cyber-bully tactics in the above comment.

I don't much care if he chooses to black out his own face on his blog and use a pseudonym. Some folks place a higher value on privacy than others and that's fine by me. But such a person crosses the line in attempting to bully other commenters by photoshopping their real faces and mocking them by their real names from behind the veil of privacy. It's actually something he has a long history of doing.

Edited By Siteowner


Man Thom get a hobby man.



If you really want to get down to getting personal, I suppose we could do that. But frankly, if you're not willing to allow your own name and information to be put out there--its skeezy of you to attempt to do it to others.


Gawd, this seems strangely familiar...

Update: And speaking of Sockpuppetry...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Et tu, Blumenauer?

I had spent well over a year actively criticizing my US Rep Earl Blumenauer for not sticking to his guns and holding Bush, Cheney & Co. accountable (Blumenauer faithfully followed House Speaker Nanci Pelosi who took Impeachment "off the table.") But with his minority opposition to the bank bailout, the looming prospect of Bush getting off scott free for his war crimes and a stab wound which still festers, i gave up activism as such (or so i told myself).

But this just in from Jeff Mape as the Oregonian:

I talked to Blumenauer a few hours ago and he said members regarded Thursday's action as a "free vote" against an unpopular bailout bill. The bailout's public standing hasn't been helped by the fact that in the four months since it was first approved, banks and other big financial institutions have received billions of dollars in taxpayer money - and the economy continues to tank. But Blumenauer said he decided to go the other way with his symbolic vote. He said he did not want to rhetorically punish Obama for what he saw as the sins of the Bush administration. [More...]

In a response that really stinks of the old Nixonian excuse "When we do it, it's ok" (paraphrased), Rep. Earl Blumenauer falls back into the column of quintessential hypocrite. There is nothing "symbolic" about selling out your responsibility to engage in oversight as a co-equal branch of government. Blumenauer to his credit was willing to vote against such blank checks back in September. But like his new Democratic colleague in the Senate, Jeff Merkely, it's Party politics as usual.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hold your horses, Sam!

Whoh, boy!
Already the calls are coming for Portland Mayor Sam Adams to resign, but what exactly for?

To read the news, it ought to be obvious why.

But when it comes down to the question, "Who did Sam do and when did he do him?" the truth may be far less scandalous than the salacious headlines. For the record, both Adams and his erstwhile boy toy Beau Breedlove, insist that the protegé in question was 18 at the time of their summer lovin' sexual encounter. Adams is adamant he did not break the law.

Without knowing more of the facts (and i don't think i want to know any more) who are we to condemn the intimate relationship between an 18 and a 42 year old. If we're saying that it's wrong then why don't be ban it outright. If you think Sam ought to resign then perhaps you ought to champion a law that would criminalize sex where the difference in age is more that 20 years.

But what would Hugh Hefner have to say about this? After all, the 82 year old entrepreneur is currently dating 19 year old twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon. Maybe you would just want to forbid the middle aged and elderly from fornicating with young adults half their age. But what would Hugh Hefner have to say about this? After all, he's more that twice age of both his girlfriends combined. (And notice, i didn't refer to the twins as "teens"!)

Perhaps Americans should been banned from having sex until they're 21? (But what would Hugh Hefner have to say about this?) Such a law wouldn't sit well with friends of Bush in Saudi Arabia, where their sort of Pope announced recently that it's a sin not to marry off girls once they hit 10. I'm just glad the the self-righteous sex brigade of modern American Christians has evolved beyond their biblical roots. After being spared the brimstone of Sodom, Lot fled to the hills where he sexed up his virgin daughters (on successive evenings). Nevertheless, the New Testament Christians revered him as "righteous." But by God, Sam must burn!

Maybe we're not all hypocrites. It's not the age thing (creepy as it might be - suit yourself) but "Sam took advantage of a subordinate." Well as it turns out, Sam lied about being Breedlove's "mantor." That was just a cover to explain why the abundance of cell phone records and text messages between the two. [U R sooo hot!] It turns out they were dating and that in typical fashion, one thing led to another and they wound up having sex. So, contrary to the bogus comparison drawn by Portland police union boss, Scott Westerman, then Councilman Adams was not engaging in a relationship with a subordinate.

"[Chief Foxworth] didn't even lie about his relationship but was deemed by the mayor and City Council not to be worthy to lead any longer," - WWeek [More...]

So, we may not like it if older adults pursue relationships with younger adults but that doesn't mean that we ought to go around throwing stones at chicken hawks and cougars. And now it seems the kernel of self-righteous indignation has been crystalized down to the undeniable, indeed admitted fact that Sam Adams had sex with an 18 year old guy. Sam lied!

It sounds trite to write, but if we required 100% truthfulness of all our elected officials then there would be a completely different political landscape out there. When a person's version of the truth doesn't quite match reality it merits investigating both the magnitude and mitigating circumstances of the lie. Was having sex with an 18 year old a big lie? That's a matter of opinion. But was it appropriate for Sam Adams, an elected official and potential political candidate, to lie in this instance? I guess i have to admit that i struggle with my answer to this. What i am more certain about is how i would have reacted had i been in Sam's eventual unenviable position.

Remember that the charge at the time of Sam's denial was not merely that of the embarrassing revelation of a single summer romp with a barely legal hunk of love. Bob Ball, himself homosexual and an aspirant to public office had been actively rumor mongering with the added twist that Sam was actually a pedophile and had had under aged sex with a 17 year old boy. In order to fend off the greater lie being bantered about by Ball, Adams - who was himself gearing up for his own Mayoral bid - opted for the counter lie. It's not a "white lie" as such, as the reason doesn't really stem from altruism.

I can't be sure, but i'm pretty sure i would have lied too. So as mad as i am with Sam, i don't want him to resign... at least not yet.

If it turns out that Sam broke the law, then there is a crime for which a just punishment ought to be dealt by a real judge (not the mobs, the press or irrelevant unscientific polls). I'm also more than curious about the hiring by Adams of Mercury journalist Amy Ruiz for the newly created and well paid position (55K/year) of "planning and sustainability policy adviser."

"Ruiz stopped reporting the story in late spring 2008 after she hit a dead end. On Oct. 27, Adams advertised the position, saying he "strongly preferred" applicants with two years' experience in urban planning or a related field.

Ruiz, 28, has a bachelor's degree in communications from Seattle University. She sent in her application Nov. 3 and interviewed for the position twice with Adams' staff, including once with Miller. Miller said he told Adams he wanted to hire Ruiz. Adams' response, according to Miller: "Great. Do what you do." - OregonLive [More...]

I'm just a bit more than uncomfortable with this whole rush to judgment. Certainly there are greater candidates for criticism? Or better put... Criticize him but don't can him.

(At least give him the benefit of a recall. That way we all get a vote - at least those who are interested come July).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Farewell. I mean, F*%# @ff

Juvenile? Perhaps. I thought of throwing a shoe, but it might have actually hit the television and done some damage.

I spent most of the morning holed up by myself watching the Inauguration coverage. A friend emailed asking if i were in DC. I replied back, "No, i'm in my PJ's."


  • Bush: You got off scott free. I think you should swing for your crimes, just like Saddam. And give back the money your family and your Saudi friends stole.
  • Cheney: You just creep me out. You've been compared before to the evil Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life. Thanks for completing the picture. Did you hurt your back shredding documents? Lift with your legs, dumbass! I think you deserve life in Gitmo. You're going to have to cough up all the cash you and your fellow war profiteers at Halliburton ripped off. But you might get a stipend for your future work as a guinea pig for "enhanced interrogation techniques."
  • Kuccinich: Nice seat. And thanks again for mine at the convention.
  • Warren: We don't all worship your gods. Your invocation was an offensive performance.
  • Aretha: My dad would have loved seeing you today.
  • Biden and Stevens: Palpable happiness.
  • Roberts: What was up with that "oaf of office"? Just because Obama didn't vote for you (and i'm sure verse-visa), that's no reason to flub your part.
  • Obama: Quinessential, cool.
  • Poem: Meh...
  • Benediction: Oh no you din't!

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right." - Rev. Joseph Lowery (full text)

My big brother came just before the playing of the national anthem. We stood together and then flew the colors. Then i took him out for a pint at the Hedge House. (Cheap pints on Tuesdays!)

We were back in time for the split screen of the Obama motorcade and the Adams public flogging. I was surprised he gave up his Inauguration plans (i'm sure they would have included nice seats and and a couple big balls) and kind of wish he had put this off a day.

Inauguration Day of a lifetime!

All I can say, is "Wow!"

And now it's official!

(CNN) -- In keeping with the theme that swept President Obama into the Oval Office, change has come to the official White House Web site. Almost at the instant Obama was sworn in, relaunched with a redesign to signal a new era in government. Gone was the staid site of the Bush White House, replaced by a dynamic new site reflective of his tech-savvy successor. [More...]

My new President!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't ask, don't broadcast

Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Left Out Of HBO Concert Coverage
Jason Linkins,

Sunday's big Lincoln Memorial show was billed as the "We Are One" concert, intended to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama with a spirit of unity. But for those of us watching at home, one participant was excluded -- Gene Robinson, the "first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination." Robinson was on hand to deliver an opening prayer to the event, but this prayer went unseen by anyone watching on HBO, who provided and sponsored the coverage. [HuffPo: More...]

And so it's with mixed emotions that a I truly look forward to tomorrow.

Say it ain't so, Sam

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
George W. Bush

As it turns out, he was wrong about that too.

When Bill Clinton wagged his finger and insisted he "did not have sex... with that woman," I believed him. Fool me once. For the record, i believe that the Congressional rebuke, impeachment, was appropriate - not for the non-crime of sewing wild oats in the White House, but for lying about it under oath.

When then candidate for Portland Mayor Sam Adams in turn vociferously denied any sexual relationship with his intern, I believed him too - and sent him a campaign contribution to spite his detractors. Dammit, Sam, you fooled me again!

Here's what you claimed when the scandal first broke:

An Open Letter to Portlanders

Dear Portlander,

As you have probably seen in the media, I have been the target of a nasty smear by a would-be political opponent. I will not dignify the substance of this smear by repeating it - if you read the accounts you will see there is no foundation to it. The reason is simple: it is untrue.

This kind of ugly politicking may be commonplace in other cities and at the national level, but Portland and Oregon largely has been blessedly free of it. It saddens me that it has been introduced here, and I have faith that Portlanders' rejection of it will mean that this incident is an anomaly.

About this attempted smear, here is what I want to say.

I have in the past, and I will in the future, respond to people who reach out to me for help and advice. This is especially true when it comes to young people.

Growing up in Newport and Eugene, Oregon I remember when I was a teenager and I had nobody who I felt I could talk to at a time I desperately needed someone to give me advice and perspective about coming to terms with being gay. I came through it. Not everyone does.

Gay youth suicide rates, homelessness and depression are still too high. And adequate services have been lacking: Reasons why I co-founded Portland's Q Center, served on the Boards of Cascade AIDS Project, Basic Right Oregon and lobbied the state legislature in support of statewide non-discrimination laws.

I didn't get into public life to allow my instinct to help others to be snuffed out by fear of sleazy misrepresentations or political manipulation. I understand the need for good judgment, and I keep within the bounds of propriety -- as I did in this case.

I'm glad that people consider me as a person they could come to for help, understanding and support. I work at it. And I hope that you do too. Local programs needing mentors have long waiting lists.

About my political future: this attempted smear will not deter me from serving Portland in the best way I know how. Soon I will be with sharing with you my future political plans.

With warm regards,


No doubt, the erstwhile mayoral candidate, Bob Ball, who first publicized the affair (and went so far as to accuse Adams of statutory rape) is and remains a scumbag. But this post is not about him. For as it turns out, Sam did have sex... with that man.

What a fool.

A dream achieved?

Maybe not the full dream, but as Mary Poppins said, "Begun is half done."

Thank you, Dr. King.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kremer vs. Kari

Little did i know when I decided to take in a bit of KXL's Kremer Komedy Hour last Saturday, that this little pundit that could (out of Oregon's Right field) would prove to provide even more amusement.

In a scathing post directed at the DPO's media megaphone, Kari Chisholm, Kremer takes the mean man from Mandate to task for blatant plagiarism. He points to a recent quote by Chisholm: "In Republican circles, there ain't nothing that succeeds like total, epic failure" and responded with the following admonition:

Hey! Kari! Write your own stuff!

Anyone who knows me has heard me say the same exact thing as a motto for Oregon. I've said it many times on the air, and a simple search of my blog shows the times I have written it down here.

I did search Kremer's blog and sure enough, he's been blogging the line "Portland: Where nothing succeeds like failure" since January, 2008!

The problem is, it's a cliché. (Does Rob Kremer think he invented blogging, too?) Or perhaps he should expand his wordsmith witchhunt to include Daniel Pipes of the Jerusalem Post, who labelled an article in February 2001:

Nothing succeeds like failure

This was clearly a pre-emptive copyright infringement!

In defense of Kari Chisholm, he's less likely to take credit for somebody else's words than to try and hide his own authorship when he's using Blue0 to shill for his clients. He got busted for this right around the time Willy Week nominated him as Rogue of the Week "for excessive use of bullshit in his mud-slinging."

After getting caught with his hand in the internet cookie jar, he managed this excuse:

Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Aug 28, 2007 11:02:59 AM
actually, Kari DID post this entry.
Um, folks... Yes, I did write this entry. I didn't say that I didn't. You'll note that I post a version of the "please don't assume" comment every single time that someone suggests that I wrote a particular post. I've done it dozens of times over the last year.
I write many of the posts. I don't write all of them. When I'm posting my opinions, I do it over my own name. When it's in the "Voice of BlueOregon", it's much more neutral. (That is neutral/progressive - not neutral/neutral.)

Then he went ahead and fiddled with his blog so as to further disguise the "neutral" voice of BO. (But he forgot to tell his co-editors... oops!)

It also looks like Kari Chisholm ripped off their logo.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Worst President EVAR!

Over 70% respond "Stinky" but 1 out of 5 still like Bush. (All hail the American Taliban!)

(CBS) President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent... Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago. [More...]

Kremer vs. Kremer vs. Truth

Trust me, you can't afford Rob Kremer's brand of "fiscal conservatism."

Would you buy a used car from this guy?

One of Rob Kremer's day jobs is that of political fundraiser for Oregon's con- Right. In mid-February of last year he founded the "Con - Majority Project" PAC. He writes the following there:
(What? Me worry about facts?)

Rob Kremer is Founder and President of the Oregon Education Coalition, which has been active in the school policy debate since 1998. In the 1999 Legislative Session, Rob led the effort to pass Oregon’s charter school law. Since then, he has directly involved [sic] in helping start more than three dozen charter schools, including the four Arthur Academy Charter Schools, of which he is co-founder.

Indeed, rarely is the question asked, "Is our right wingnuts proofreading?" Him speak pretty some day.*

Rob also writes a blog where the front page shines insight into his paranoia regarding / obsession with "socialism." From the anti-Socialist himself:

Portland, Oregon is occupied territory. It was invaded years ago by a non-native species of political animal from back east who took over our political and cultural institutions in order to try out their utopian socialist dreams on our great state. This blog will chronicle the insurgency that is trying to free Oregon from the occupiers' grip by shining a bright light on their most egregious schemes.

It sounds scary, but to read his blog, it's mostly funny (pages)... and a little bit sad.

And completing his trifectic strangle-hold on Socialism, Rob Kremer has his own Hannity & Colmesesque radio show on KXL, Kremer & Abrams. (And not that Marc Abrams is anything like that soggy milquetoast Alan Colmes used to be!) Today, former US Senate candidate Steve Novick was sitting in for Abrams (who was visiting his fiancé in California) so i tuned in for a bit.

The bones of 4228 US service personnel to pick...

In an old twist on tired attempts to justify George W. Bush's war crime, Kremer (a self described fiscal conservative) threw out some pretty outlandish numbers in order to assert that despite the money pit of a fiasco which is the Iraq debacle, it still pencils out to be cheaper than the pre-invasion monitoring protocols carried out against the Saddam regime since George H. W. Bush suckered the Butcher from Baghdad into invading Kuwait back in 1990 and the Great Coalition kicked the Iraqis back out the following year.

According to Kremer, a decade of simply monitoring Iraq as we had been doing (successfully as it turned out) would have cost us $700 Billion. Yes, this is a huge exaggeration. Nevertheless, Mr. Kremer, the champion of education who demonstrates questionable verbal skills (see above) also fails at math.

The Dick Cheney administration (a subsidary of Halliburton) had already conned a feckless Congress into authorizing a half trillion dollars by the 5th anniversary of Shock and Awe. With a present "burn rate" of $10-14 Billion a month, the direct costs to the US taxpayers will hit one Trillion dollars by the end of this year.

In case you need help with the arithmetic, Rob, that's $300 Billion more than your fiscally conservative solution. Even for Republican fat cats, that's an an Obama sized chunk of change.

As i mentioned before, Rob Kremer exaggerates the cost of containment when it came to Saddam, the paper lion. As near as i can tell, he derives his fanciful financial figure from a February 2006 study done by Steven J. Davis, et. al. The authors admit that the actual annual "cost of containment" had been $14.5 Billion per year. Based upon a series of dire assumptions (including another successful terrorist attack inside the US) they calculated that the cost of mere monitoring (along with the occasional air strike) might range from $350-700 Billion.

"We model the possibility that an effective containment policy might require the mounting of costly threats and might lead to a limited war or a full-scale regime-changing war against Iraq at a later date. We also consider the possibility that the survival of a hostile Iraqi regime raises the probability of a major terrorist attack on the United States."

In other words, they added to the real cost of containment the probability that the US would invade Iraq regardless (evidently adopting the Donald Rumsfeld Invasion Lite™ numbers), and they added in a doomsday scenario to boot. Naturally, Kremer only quoted the upper end figure. (By the way, higher end estimates for the total cost of the Iraq war exceed $3 Trillion. ("The government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years." - HuffPo, May 11, 2008. More...)

What's more, the authors of the $700 Billion containment theory published a follow up in March, 2008. In it, they revise their numbers and refute Rob Kremer:

"The Iraq intervention has proved to be much costlier for the United States than our baseline estimate for the cost of containment (roughly 300 billon 2003 dollars) and at least as costly as the most pessimistic containment scenario we considered..." [More: pdf]

Perhaps these scholars weren't even the source for Kremer's right wing talking point. (But i prefer not to think that he just pulled the $700 figure out of his imagination.) In the end his math, his logic (and of course, his politics) fail.

Near the end of the show Kremer claimed that person for person, public transit is costlier than private means of transportation. I can't wait to learn how he's cooking up these numbers. Mmmmm... Hot pot of Republican bullshit, comin' right up!

*[Disclaimer: Even though i am not paid to publish this blog, i accept any and all pot/kettle accusations for the multitude of typos and out right spelling errors in my own writing. In my defense, i believe i am experiencing adult onset dyslexia.]