Rumormonger – From Apple to Twitter to P2P

Prologue

This is a bit of history that I’ve realized might otherwise be lost. About 9000 people knew of it (roughly the staffing at Apple at the time IIRC but I could be off a few thousand). A quick web search turned up nothing in the top pages, so if anyone else ever documented it, it is buried deeply somewhere.

About 30 years ago, near 1987 plus or minus a couple of years, someone in the Engineering Department at Apple had a brainwave. There were all these computers on all these desktops, yet they were used in only 2 modes, really. Stand alone isolated desktop personal computer, or slave to a remote system (picking up email or displaying database query results from a mainframe for example). Their bright idea is what we now call Peer to Peer or P2P.

They wrote a little program that would run all the time in the background. What in Unix / Linux terms is a daemon, but in the world of PCs at the time was not a common thing to do. When one computer talked to another, or if idle and just asking the Appletalk wire “Anyone want to chat?” and getting an affirmative response, they would share gossip.

Yes, the program taught the Mac to gossip.

Now any user of any Mac could type a statement into their copy of the program, something like “I heard Bob is going to Ohio next week to get married.” Then that message would be shared with any other Mac whenever the 2 of them “talked”.

The program was named Rumormonger…

It was launched as an experiment, to see what this kind of technical approach would do, how it would perform, was it a benefit to build into products. Basically Engineers playing and doing R&D on a new concept in computing. This was the Advanced Technology Group after all…

Well, Rumormonger caught on like pancakes at a campground. Pretty soon all sorts of folks were enjoying the daily gossip. Log on, look at the list of topics Rumormonger had heard during the last few hours, read and respond with your own rumors… Folks had a great time for a few months.

At some point, some of the “rumors” started to take a negative turn. A few folks put up messages that were harsh toward others, done in spite. Since NO rumor was tagged with any identifiers at all, it was impossible to know who started the rumor. Furthermore, since all Rumormongers were P2P and there was no control point, you could not stop nor erase a rumor in progress. Other folks started negative rumors about some of management, clearly as an attempt to get “justice” for some perceived slight or other. Things like “Sculley is planning to fire the FOO division” or “VP Bob is hot for Director Mary”.

Needless to say, “Management” was very unfond of this.

Rumormonger’s End

So the order came down: Kill it.

That order landed on the V.P. of A.T.G. desk, who put it on the desk of the Director of our group, who put it on my boss’s desk, who put it on my desk. I had to send back up the reply: “We can’t. It is not controlled by us. It just works between any 2 computers.” At the time, individual desktops were NOT centrally controlled, especially at Apple. There were 2 different I.T. groups. I.S.& T (Information Services and Technology – the corporate folks) and E.C.O. (Engineering Computer Operations – my group in A.T.G. who ran Engineering and The Cray.) So nobody controlled all the network, all the desktops and all the software. In fact, most desktop stuff wasn’t controlled by anyone. It was part of the Personal Computer mantra to have power rest with the individual.

Needless to say, that reply was less than cheerfully received.

So I’m guessing here, but I’m pretty sure the V.P. of A.T.G. went to the programmer in his group who wrote the thing and “they talked”. How can this be killed?

Eventually a “secret” was sent to my boss who shared it with me. We had a strategy. Both the I.T. side and our side needed to coordinate, and NOBODY in the company outside of just a couple of us could know what was being done.

The punch line is that the strategy worked, but likely as not due to Upper Management also issuing a Fatwa that anyone using Rumormonger (after we had spiked it) would have a Very Bad Day. The technical way it was killed had a weakness, but nobody seems to have exploited it (likely due to said Management Directive…).

So how did we kill it?

First, the programmer who wrote it came out with a New Improved Version. We were directed to remove ALL copies of the old one from ALL file servers. (Most folks could just pick up any application they wanted from online file servers and install it, no I.T. folks required.) Only the New Improved Rumormonger was to be on any server. Furthermore, any copies of the old one were to be erased whenever we found one. Then we waited.

IIRC, it was a few months, maybe 4, maybe 6. But it was an interval chosen to assure that everyone was running the new version. I don’t know if there was a built in incompatibility so that you had to run the new one to talk to other new ones, but I’ve got this vague feeling that was the case. Since rumors were volatile anyway, it was easy to get folks to migrate to the new rumors on the new platform. At the end of that interval, a poison pill timer in New Rumormonger went off and it committed suicide.

One day, everyone came to work, turned on their Mac, and there were no more rumors. Management issued it’s Directive that Rumormonger was to be No More, and a chapter of tech R&D ended.

Epilogue

Now clearly anyone with a copy of the Old Rumormonger could have re-installed it and started the process all over again. But that is an intentional act against Management Directive. Much higher hurdle than just not removing a program that is up and running already.

But between very few folks having kept any old copies of the software anyway, both I.T. groups scrubbing the usual places to pick up software, and the Management Edict that anyone who started using it was in Deep Doo, nobody ‘went there’ and Rumormonger died on the appointed day at the appointed hour.

Were something like a modern Rumormonger being written today (like a P2P Twitter) it would use encrypted tunnels between machines so IDS / IPS (Intrusion Detection Systems / Intrusion Prevention Systems) could not sniff out the traffic and squash it. It would need to be “Open Source” so no one person could rewrite it with a poison pill in it. It would also need to have folks keeping old copies “laying around” against just such an “upgrade and die” scheme. Finally, it would also need to be outside The Management Hierarchy (or The Government Reach…) to survive a Fatwa against it.

Today we have the same Management Dynamic playing out on Twitter (and Facebook and Google and …) as Government Is Not Happy with people talking and them not being in control of it. F.B. has announced a new person being hired (required security clearance so they can talk with Secret Government…) to suppress Ad Buying by ‘the wrong people’ (nominally “Russian Interests” – so can Rosneft not suggest we buy their product anymore?…) Twitter is busy deactivating accounts at a furious rate. The Purge is on, for any wrongthink.

My prediction is pretty simple. Once the purge is strong enough, folks will just move on to another platform. Likely a P2P platform with open source and supplied from a site outside the major countries. Initially a minor country, but if pressure to suppress becomes high enough, a Dark Web archive can protect it. The end stage will be that the software itself can be shared P2P for any user wanting it. So you get a “magnet link” from a friend running it, and the software just shows up via bittorrent from a dozen random folks scattered around the globe.

Lacking any Central Authority who can issue an effective social order to quash its use, without a compliant I.T. department to scrub the archives, open source for anyone to duplicate, and hidden in plain sight via encrypted tunnels, the P2P Rumormonger would be unkillable. Similarly the P2P “microblog” (“tweets”) and similar.

That structure is already forming. It is in very early stages of adoption, but it exists. The only real question is just how much folks care to have Free And Open Communications. Unfettered by Governments, Politicians, and other Central Authorities (like Corporate Minions – Zuckerberg would be interesting as a yellow oval ;-).

So my hope is that this bit of history will help to illuminate the deep history of P2P “microblogs”, anonymous communications; and serve to warn how they can be disrupted, so as to assure they can’t be disrupted in the future. If nothing else, I hope it is an enjoyable window into a bit of Computer History and life at the Old Apple ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to Rumormonger – From Apple to Twitter to P2P

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    Digital grape vine – I like it!

    Maybe a feature to add to TOR browser?

  2. llanfar says:

    Nah. Need to keep it simple

  3. Lionell Griffith says:

    Looks like the evolution of predator vs prey cycle continues beyond the DNA universe. A sufficiently numerous and agile prey can find a way to survive in spite of a predator. The predator assumes he can have his fill of prey by exerting sufficient brute force which doesn’t quite work as planned. If the predator ups his game, the prey ups their game only faster. This buys some time until the next cycle of predator vs prey.

    Managers/politicians are the giant lumbering predators in the IT field and can only adapt to changes very slowly. They think they can give the commands and the techies will make it so by something that looks like magic to them. The techies they depend upon are the ones who make the changes happen because they know how to do it.

    However, the techies have the knowledge to do other things as well. Such as using the dark web, tor, encryption, VPN, TC/IP and the like. They do P2P for breakfast and deliver a finished product after dinner. All without permission of the managers and politicians. Why? First because they can. Secondly, they don’t like being told they can’t do something. Especially since they are the ones that make the doing possible in the first place.

    The only way the managers and politicians can stop it, is eliminate the techies. If they do, they can’t get any thing done because they lost the ability to do anything but make plans and issue commands. So without the techies, they have no jobs. This is a very interesting catch 22. Especially if you are a techie.

    Techies 1, managers 0, and politicians 0. The cycle starts over again.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Lionell:

    BINGO! Here’s your Kewpie Doll!…

    “Yes SIr! I’ll get right on that. Tell me exactly what you want me to do.”

    Aside: “Ah, he missed FOO and BAR that I’ll put in my FOSS release tonight!”…

    The simple fact is that I do 100% of everything any employer requests, provided it is not illegal for me to do it. Even if on the edge of immoral. (“Give me Director FooBar’s Email” issued from a V.P. over him, or me.) However, that does not prevent me from examining the immoral cases and working on “morality improvement” in my off time…

    I sat on the history of Rumormonger for 30 years now, until it was important due to Government Overreach, Dimocrat Slime Fests, and Corporate Skullduggery. So now I show what can work, and what to do to prevent stopping it.

    Since others are already writing (and shipping!) P2P code that replaces Twits, I’m not seeing my need to write code. BUT, IFF ever I was the only one standing, I’m up for it.

    BTW: They can’t eliminate us Techies, they can only fire us. THEN we are free to do whatever we want…

    @Larry:

    You want isolation and segmentation. TOR needs to be focused on transport layer only. You keep it a simple Onion Router. On top of that rides your P2P application… or applications…

    So like the Tor Browser (that is NOT a TOR router!) you can build a Tor Tweeter or a Tor Email or…

  5. Lionell Griffith says:

    EM,

    Clearly we work in the same universe.

    “BTW: They can’t eliminate us Techies, they can only fire us. THEN we are free to do whatever we want…”

    Then things start getting really interesting. The universally thought impossible becomes merely a challenge to make it so. Soon the impossible things start working. Sometimes better than you had reason to expect.

    I was discharged from a military based contract. Prior to that time, I had developed the proof of concept of a new technology. In less than a decade, I had refined the technology to product quality, documented it, and submitted technical disclosures that resulted in over ten patents in my name. I could not nor would have done it with a manager or politician micro managing me.

    If you are interested, I suggest doing a patent search on “Lionell K Griffith”.

    The next seemingly impossible task is selling it to an enterprise with a sufficiently deep pocket that has the capability building, selling, and supporting the systems world wide that will use the technology. That turns out to be almost as much of a challenge as inventing and developing the technology in the first place. That is way outside of my expertise. I have a partner who is working that issue.

  6. Chris in Calgary says:

    > the software just shows up via bittorrent from a dozen random folks scattered around the globe

    Good idea, but there are at least two ways this could go wrong:
    1. One of more of the dozen random folks turns out to be agents of government or organized crime who are interested in planting spyware/malware on your system. What *do* you do when the dozen random copies of software all have different SHA hashes?
    2. Spyware is planted into the O/S or the hardware by the authorities in the country of manufacture, and is conveniently accessible by anyone with the influence, budget, or expertise to discover it. I’m not paranoid: for example see https://fsf.org/blogs/community/active-management-technology

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Lionell:

    When at Apple, we developed a distributed back up system. It had several unique features. I chose to NOT put my name on the patent applications (thinking there was only a $1700 or so bonus to split in the team) despite the ideas being mine. Well, turns out that it was $1700 per person, no mater how many. So there are 4 patents out there that I invented but are attributed to my team members as I was not greedy enough. So goes my life…

    So I’ve gone to the “dark side” (or maybe the “light side” depending on your POV) by simply casting my insights to the wind for any to exploit, for whatever end.

    The Carbonite backup software looks to use “my” patents, FWIW. Now that they are expired.

    @Chris:

    Only one SHA (or similar hash) will match the author tag. It’s a commonly used method to sign things with a tag. So far, signed things have not shown counterfeits in the mix.

    With enough budget all thing are possible. Yet the world is finite…

    Per the Active Shit: There’s a reason I’m not using Intel chips in my gear, and it is NOT just that an arm core is about a nickle…

    Eventually, the end game will be Open Source chips of 32 bit RISC type fabrication by anyone for FOSS stuff. For now, random vendor or ARM is good enough.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_computing_hardware

    We do not go away.

    We do not quit.

    We just are.

    STFU or

    cut bait.

    I am.

  8. Serioso says:

    Let me get this straight: You report that Apple performed an experiment on the effects of an anonymous unmoderated peer-to-peer network. The experiment showed that people tend to become bullies in such a framework. So Apple management killed it – wisely. So you think such an experiment should be revived? Surely you misunderstand human nature: People tend to behave badly when they think there are no consequences; when they think no one will know. [See Ambrose Bierce or H.L. Mencken: “Conscience is the little voice that tells you someone may be watching”.] Their behavior becomes even worse when bullying (and violence) is encouraged [See: Fascism; Nazism.] The last thing we need in this world is a place where fools can tell lies and get away with it,

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    Serioso,

    I believe that the rights, liberties and privileges of the many ought not be sacrificed on the altar of the few bad.

    What the Apple experience showed was that the vast majority had a very useful and fun communications system and used it well. A couple of folks were jerks. There are always jerks.

    Now if you set up a world where ANY time ANY jerk does ANYTHING jerky, you ban it, then you will need to start banning all food (Food fights), all drink (some folks get mean when they get tipsy), all fire and fire making devices (some folks are arsonists), all cars (some folks have road rage and / or use the car to commit suicide or murder), all knives (obvious), etc. etc. etc. until their are no people left alive on the planet; because a Jerk will find a way to be a Jerk using whatever is to hand.

    It’s a principle driven thing. The principle being that the actions of the few jerks do not remove the rights, privileges and liberties of the many.

    The second principle is that, given the opportunity, Government Jerks and Corporate Jerks and all sorts of Other Jerks will apply censorship AND oppression to voices they don’t want heard. Of necessity, for those voices to be heard, they must be able to speak with anonymity. So for a free and open society to exist, the principle of Freedom Of Speech must exist, and for censorship of that speech to be prevented, for abuse of the speakers to be prevented, some of it must be anonymous.

    The last thing we need in this world is a place where fools can tell lies and get away with it,

    You mean like the IPCC, the DNC, Hillary, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc. etc. etc. ?

    Or is it only selected lies you dislike that matter?

    The presence of lies in public discourse also provide a value. They teach people not to believe everything they hear. A lesson being learned by the folks in the DNC, CNN etc as the voters voting for them and the viewership of the Nightly News plummets…

    Flip side: In many countries if you speak out against the Powers That Be, you wake up dead or in prison. Ask them about fools and official lies and freedom to speak. Only the anonymous can point out the Official Lies and not face death or destruction.

    Also, do note that I was not interested in pointing out this facility until just such time as Twitter, Facebook, Google, et. al. began appointing themselves censors of “undesirable speech” (that just happens to be conservatives in many cases) while promoting the Russia Did It!! lie full bore. Once censorship and oppression begin, then an answer must be made.

    Side bar: The EU has been meeting on how to censor speech they don’t like on line. Look for rampant China like firewalls and penalties coming soon to the continent…

  10. Lionell Griffith says:

    EM: “So there are 4 patents out there that I invented but are attributed to my team members as I was not greedy enough.”

    For my first patented invention, the first disposable biopsy needle, I received $100 and three years of employment. The first year sales paid off the entire cost of my tenure with a $200,000 net profit. It is still in production and being sold and used 50 years later. Even my current cardiologist has used them.

    I didn’t mind making other people rich if I could get rich too, but a token payment and continued employment was not the way to do it. I switched from device to software development. At least I could take the non-proprietary software with me when I moved on. Always by prior agreement. The net result is that any given non-trivial program I write now has at minimum 80% reused code. Some even higher.

    The thing about my current product, I was the development team. What I was doing was multiple disciplinary to the extreme, a challenge beyond all other challenges, and that was my kind of thing. The end point was over 250,000 lines of executable code has one author, one style, and one consistent design because I was the team and a very demanding team leader in a single package of one mind and purpose. There was no one that could have helped me beyond the public domain clues found in books and on the internet.

    If I do get rich from it, it will not have the zing to it as it would have 25 years ago. Being 80 years old sets limits on what I can do with it. Large houses, fast cars, fast horses, fast boats, and world travel are not my thing.

    My primary payout was being able to solve a problem that stretched me to an extreme limit. The result is good beyond all expectation and I find it very satisfying to have made it happen. Still, I want to be paid for the results I have produced. That would add a nice warm glow to the satisfaction the doing of it gave me.

  11. Serioso says:

    I said nothing about banning anything. The problem lies solely in combining “unmoderated” with “anonymous.” Particularly when it comes to paid advertising. If you pay to be on a prominent social media platform such as Facebook, we readers should be able to know who you are.

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    Since nobody pays to be on face book sort of an odd statement?
    That is why they put an ignore function in most social networks and blog software. If you don’t like anonymous comments just shuffle those users off to ignore and you won’t have to put up with their free speech.

    The other option of course is if you disagree with anonymous contributions on a social network you can just terminate your account – problem solved. Nobody forces you to log in to those networks.

    Our country was founded on anonymous writings because the Crown would have arrested them if they spoke openly. To prevent anonymous speech is fundamentally un-American at the most basic philosophical level. It literally goes against the very premise upon which this country was founded. A Republic with a Representative Democracy form of government cannot survive without free and open debate. Anything less, will ultimately lead to a totalitarian government.

  13. beththeserf says:

    ‘O say can you see by the sun’s early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleamings…’
    For tech-ies.)

    Reposted from Climate Etc.
    https://www.chonday.com/5595/anthofius3/

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Serioso:

    You advocated that Apple “killing it” was good and creating any new like it was bad. Sure, you never used the actual word “ban”, but a fine point lacking a point…

    Furthermore, my statement was a response illustrating why such anonymous communications are important. My statements of advocacy need not be lmited to the scope of your complaints. This isn’t US court where I must wait for you to mention a topic so I can exploit it on redirect…

    Now, per it being oh so bad to be anonymous: Care to post your legal given name, address, and phone number? SSN optional… /sarc;

    Also note you are whitelisted, not moderated, here.

    So what is it about your communications here that so offends you, eh? Or is it only anonymous unmoderated communications of others that offends?

    The need for anonymity and uncontrolled communications rises directly with government power and the abuse of it. Eventually (and IMHO rapidly) exceeding the petty cost of some folks bad speech. As we are now headed toward (perhaps fully in) internet censorship (by governments and corporations) the way to restore the balance of power of speech to “the little guy” is via a P2P platform that bypasses censorship and with anonymity (so as to avoid the official retribution being heaped on folks).

    Basically, since “Name And Shame” and the whole Alynsky Method are being widely applied, along with criminalizing various kinds of speech, it is essential to have an anonymity counter. See Turkey and the Taliban as examples of why… or the trail of bodies behind the Clintons, or the actions of Soros funded Antifa attacking speakers and their audience, or

  15. Lionell Griffith says:

    EM: “Name And Shame” and the whole Alynsky Method are being widely applied, along with criminalizing various kinds of speech

    Or so the oh so sensitive snowflakes who feel that their tender and fragile feelings need protection seem to pretend. They blank out the simple fact they can avoid the attack by ignoring the speech that so offends them. At the same time, those who utter the offending speech cannot ignore the thuggish actions of government suppressing their prior right to said speech.

    Further, the snowflakes ignore that their reaction of offense is strictly an internal matter cause by their failure to think and the premises that they accept as true. No real physical harm is actually done. The initiating of physical force is the only way an individual right can be violated.

    The prosecution of those who’s speech offended them is accomplished by the government initiating physical force. “but…but…but a law was violated”. Individual rights proceed the law and the law MUST be based upon a full and unbroken respect for those rights. When a so called law violates that respect it is a diktat and not a law no matter the formal process that produced it.

    With emphasis: individual rights adhere to the individual due to his nature and his necessary relationship to reality. Said rights are prior to government making the only legitimate function of government being protection of those rights. You have the right to your feelings but you don’t have the right to initiate force upon another because of the content of those feelings.

    The bottom line is they are guilty of advocating the violating of individual rights based upon the false presumption that mere words causes them physical injury. What ever happened to “Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”? Or even perhaps “The boy who cried wolf too often.”

  16. Serioso says:

    @Larry Ledwick
    You do not seem to understand that Facebook is a profit-making company, not a charity. Where do you think their income comes from? ADS! And who pays for those ads? Among other sources, Russians with money. And why is that a problem? Because the source of the “information” in the ads is unmoderated [at the moment] and anonymous [at the moment].

    I have no problem with “free speech” — well, maybe a little problem; I confess I tend toward the EU view. But I’m an American through and through — I am willing to accept hate speech with all the faults therein, and I give money to the ACLU every year. But PAID anonymous and unmoderated speech is another matter.

    The Apple experiment that our Chief wrote about was dismaying: When free speech is both unmoderated and anonymous the tendency is toward chaos and cruelty. Some people prefer chaos (and, probably, cruelty) [see Bannon, Steve]. But when such speech is unamplified by money, I trust the free exchange of ideas can keep the contagion in check. [Although the Apple experiment perhaps suggests otherwise.] The question here is primarily about money, not the rights of citizens to try to make their voices heard.

    Let’s keep this civil!

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    I always keep it civil – other folks not so much.

    (the fact that you tacked that on your post with full knowledge that I don’t engage in abusive posting is an intentionally “uncivil” act in itself)

    What’s your point?

    Your comment:

    If you pay to be on a prominent social media platform such as Facebook, we readers should be able to know who you are.

    Was framed in a manner that it sounded tp me like you were talking about the user (ie you and me paying to be on facebook) that was the basis of my comments – I don’t pay Facebook a dime (in fact they make money off me and my data).

    If your comment was intended to refer to the advertisers (as the folks paying to be on facebook) you should have made that clear with an explicit statement rather than using non-specific indirect references open to interpretation by the reader. I was talking about the folks who “post” on such sites ie the average person, I could care less about the advertising because I simply ignore it.
    Be that as it may according to the Supreme Court entities like corporations are legal “persons” and have the same speech rights as you and I do including the right to be annomous. Any company can buy a billboard advertisement along any highway and they have no obligation to put their name on it signifying they paid for it. If the billboard company is honorable and refuses to tell who commissioned the work, and it is not libelous or slanderous, we have no legal right to demand they identify the source of funding or who commissioned the work. The same standard should apply to Facebook as it is just another form of billboard.

    In that respect do you know who pays for ads on CNN, MSNBC?
    No not with any certainty.
    Anyone can fund advertising and there are no specific disclosure requirements even for political ads during campaign season – launder the money through several groups like Tides foundation and you have no clue aside from indirect associations, that the money comes form Soros or his ilk.

    It would be nice to know with certainty, I have to give specific personal attribution if I donate over $250 to a political campaign, but Joe billionaire can insulate himself behind multiple layers of misdirection and dump millions into deceptive advertising against groups like the NRA or right to life groups or similar causes on the hard left like Communist and extreme socialist causes and be totally anonymous via the screening of such foundations and pooling of money into funds.

  18. Serioso – the hardest thing these days is to find out what the real truth is. There are a lot of groups telling partial stories that are intended to sway us to do one thing or the other. Do you really know who funds the news channels and the newspapers you regard as good sources? You don’t, and neither do I. I can recognise obvious bias, but the best way of lying is to tell a partial truth that can be checked. It’s obvious that Trump did have a locker-room conversation and mentioned grabbing pussies, but not necessarily true that he actually did it – people boast about sexual conquests in private and I remember such conversations from my youth where there was no evidence that they were actually true. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, went a lot further than that while in office (and in the office) and somehow that is ignored these days, and Hillary’s attacks on the women involved is also ignored.

    An old truism is that if you throw enough shit, some will stick. Get enough stories in circulation that paint someone in a bad way, and a significant number of people will accept the truth of them even where there’s no evidence proffered. People haven’t got the time to do the digging needed since there are a lot of things competing for that time, so they accept the consensus opinion in general. After all, if everyone thinks that I’d be a fool to think any different, sir!

    Do you really believe that, for example, Harvey Weinstein was the only movie mogul who used the casting-couch as a way of sexual predation? AFAIK, that’s pretty much SOP for a lot of the movie business and show business in general, and people in positions of power have always used it for sexual favours. That can of worms has only really been opened in response to the attacks on Trump, as I see it, since it has for a very long time been an open secret.

    On this site, though, are people who do have the time and will to dig deeper. I used to simply accept the AGW consensus because I hadn’t looked at the data – I knew the climate was changing, after all, and with all the news biased towards It’s All Our Fault I had other fish to fry. Leave that to the specialists. Since the disappearance of my job through globalisation and the need to take an early retirement I then had the time to actually look into what the data really says, and gained a different opinion.

    So, Serioso, who would you rather trust? People with real names who have done and are doing the work to get towards the truth, or people under a false flag who want you to react a certain way, either by voting the way they want or by spending your money on their overpriced goods and services? It seems to me that you tend to accept the consensus (or what appears to be the consensus in the available news streams that appear respectable to a patriotic US citizen) and don’t do enough digging beneath the surface. I find it strange that people go into the Senate as well-off and emerge stinking rich despite the pay-scale looking insufficient to allow that. In order to protect that extra income, there’s maybe not a lot they wouldn’t lie to you about. I have no problems with a trade where both sides gain, and I have at times paid people more than they asked because of an excellent job done, but a one-sided gain is not equitable or acceptable.

    I’ll suggest that you look for some comment where you fully agree here, and then look back over that person’s comments and see where you disagree and why. Is it that they’ve done the necessary digging and have better information?

  19. Serioso says:

    @Larry Ledwick

    Corporations are legal persons, but they are not only taxed according to different statutes, they have legal responsibilities when it comes to speech. They are not nearly as free to mislead or lie as are ordinary citizens, but are legally held to a higher standard. That standard is violated, I think, when a corporation posts ads that it knows are false (“Hillary kidnaps babies”) and then hides behind a cloak of anonymity. Even newspapers have to register with the post office; their owners are a matter of public record. Not so advertisers on Facebook or Twitter. The problem is worse when the advertisers are foreign entities, who are under additional legal restrictions regarding political speech.

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