Metadata – how will the Australian Government use it to spy on you?


Metadata, what is it?
In Australia, most people are now specifically wondering what the government’s recently announced plans to retain metadata about the phone and internet usage of ALL Australians means. The simplest definition of metadata is it’s data about data. It doesn’t tell you all of the information that’s in a phone call, email or web browsing session but it gives you the parameters of these things.
For a phone call it can tell you the source of the call (the address of a fixed line or the nearest tower for a mobile call), the number that made the call, the same information about the recipient of the call along with the duration of the call. And some simple cross referencing will show you how often there are calls between those two numbers.
For an email it can show you the sender, the recipient, the size of the email (if not the actual word for word content), the format of the email (HTML etc.), the language used and the type of attachments if any. For web browsing it can include a list of the websites you visit, how long you stay on the sites and in all probability anything you download from the sites. The government seems to be trying to deny or downplay they will track the websites you visit but Attorney General George Brandis’ performance in his Sky News interview was so incompetent it’s hard to be sure.
So that’s the factual part of the post – metadata is a description of the data and give the parameters of the communication without providing all of the detail. It’s of obvious interest to law enforcement because it can help incriminate someone. If someone makes numerous calls to northern Iraq, regularly visits and downloads their instructions you might want to take a closer look at them.
Here’s the opinion part:
Malcolm Turnbull came out the day after Brandis’ car crash interview and said the plan wouldn’t track web usage and the head of ASIO made the same assertion. I call bullsh for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve worked in IT for years and any reasonable definition I’ve seen of metadata for internet use would include websites visited. Second, there’s no value in metadata that doesn’t include this identifying information – the idea that they simply want to know how long you’re on the internet (tracking the IP address allocated to you by your ISP) is ridiculous.
My one caveat to this would be if they were going to combine IP tracking with other surveillance they aren’t telling us about. This is exactly the sort of weasel talk I would expect from politicians – believing they can assert they haven’t said anything untrue when by any reasonable definition they are flat out lying. One technical way to do this is monitor traffic to specific websites then match the IP address of visitors with the IP addresses assigned to users by their ISPs. Hey presto, they know what websites you visit but they’ll continue to assert they aren’t harvesting this information from your metadata.
To borrow from the government’s “we’re looking at the address on the letter, not the content of the letter” propaganda, here’s one way they can spy on your internet activity with IP monitoring. In this analogy, the letter writer is a website, your street address on the letter is your IP address and you are you. This approach of monitoring IP addresses is the equivalent of monitoring and reading every letter a particular person writes before they send it. Then when the letter is addressed, the spies check the address and look up a separate database where they find you live at the address the letter is being sent to. In this way they argue they never opened your mail but they know the exact content of the letter you received.
The stated goal is to catch people doing bad things and they believe knowing more about peoples’ communications will help with this. The idea that they don’t want to know when people go on websites advocate radical and/or criminal activity is simply laughable.
On top of the fact they’re lying there’s the additional problem of it won’t help prevent any crime. This type of information can often help with a conviction after the fact but storing everyone’s metadata won’t help prevent crime. What prevents crime is good old fashioned police work – investigation and follow up. The mountains of metadata the government is talking about keeping is simply too much information to be useful. The police and spy services don’t have the resources, time or expertise required to make it useful. It will only be useful if they are already monitoring someone and looking for an excuse to arrest them.
Getting at least slightly glossed over with the focus on metadata is the other provisions around police being able to do much more without a warrant, right up to arresting people. Under these changes, if police don’t have enough evidence to convince a judge you should be under surveillance or a warrant should be issued for your arrest, they can monitor you or arrest you anyway. And if you’re one of those idiots who thinks you only have to worry if you’re a terrorist, Abbott has already specifically said these powers would be used for general policing.
If that’s what they’re prepared to admit at this early stage, how far will they actually go as time goes by?
Historically, police power has always been abused. This is not an argument for the elimination of police but it is an argument for oversight and limits to their power. Spying is worse than policing, by its very nature it is difficult to control. If people have the power to declare that something is in the national interest and top-secret, who is in a position to make sure they don’t abuse their power? Recent history with whistle-blowers revealing government surveillance that goes well beyond the law have shown that embarrassing a government invites massive retaliation. Manning in Military prison, Snowden hiding in Russia, Assange hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy. Exposing government malfeasance can pretty much put an end to any sort of ordinary life.
Even on a smaller scale, on top of the inherent wrongness of the American surveillance system, it’s been shown to have been abused repeatedly in trivial ways with operators regularly using it to invade the privacy of exes or even complete strangers they were interested in. And those are just the ones we know about. Are you going to tell me there aren’t some brogrammers out there using the systems to try and spy on celebrities just for giggles?
And for those delightfully naïve people who say “you have nothing to fear if you haven’t done anything wrong” you are living in a privileged delusion. You have nothing to fear up until someone in power wants to hurt you. And you don’t have to break the law for that to happen, you just have to represent something they don’t like. You might rightly think the current regime is your friend and they’d never do that to you. But nobody stays in power forever. Sooner or later someone who is fundamentally opposed to your views will be in power. And these laws will still be in place, but different people with different priorities and different standards will be wielding them.
You can’t get a clearer example of this than the number of conservative governments around Australia who have set up independent commissions to investigate corruption because they were (rightly) sure the opposing Labor party was guilty of all sorts of corruption. Then they get awfully surprised when the commission exercises its independence and investigates corruption among the conservatives. If you want to know if a law can be abused, imagine your worst enemy having the power to use it against you. Do you still feel safe?
If you’re still clinging to “I don’t break the law” just think “have I ever come into contact with a total douchebag in my life?” The police service, spy agencies and politicians have a disturbing tendency to contain a greater percentage of douchebags than the general population. If one of them has decided they don’t like you and want to damage your reputation they can trawl through your communications records until they find something to smear you with. And even if you think there’s nothing in your internet history that can hurt you (I think you’re lying BTW) they only need to create the impression of impropriety to do damage.
In these situations I’m always reminded of the words of Cardinal Richelieu – “…give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” If authorities want to convict you of something, they almost invariably will. Innocence is a matter of perception, not an objective truth. Sure, it’s brown people who have to worry most now but if you think this idea of government having unlimited warrantless access to your communications metadata is no big deal, you deserve what comes next.



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Tony Abbott: Making the unemployed less than human


In totally unsurprising news, the Australian government has open up a new front in the war against the poor. For those new to this game, this is not a war on poverty in the sense the government is trying to increase the affluence of everybody to get rid of poverty. This is the government actually targeting the poor and disadvantaged and trying to destroy them.
The latest salvo has taken the form of saying that people on welfare shouldn’t get money, they should get a card that controls what they can and can’t spend their welfare payments on. And when I say the government is waging this war, what they’ve actually done is roll out their proxy to present the case for what they want to do and what and see what the reaction is.
In this case their proxy was one of Australia’s biggest mining magnates, Twiggy Forest. Given that he had always seemed reasonable compared to the other billionaires telling the government what to do, this is more than a literally disheartening to hear him say “Listen povo, here’s how we’re going to humiliate you for your own good.”
And the Orwellian nature of his speech was creepy as well. When someone can repeatedly refer to taking away a disadvantaged person’s right to make their own decisions as “freedom” I wonder just how much freedom they want to impose on how much of the population. While this is being presented as Twiggy’s idea, not the government’s, Abbott and pals are barely bothering to conceal this lie. Abbott is standing right there next to Forrest as he spouts this plans and if that doesn’t tell you clearly enough this is where the Libs want to take the country, Abbott says lines like:
“…some of these challenges go beyond what government currently plans, but again, why shouldn’t we be challenged to think about what is currently doable?” And even more directly: “We are working urgently on this visionary report… to ensure as much of it as we can is implemented as quickly as we can.”
Hockey chimes in with: “The report is bold but it needs to win over community support and I fully expect that over the coming weeks and months”
In case you can’t decipher that barely concealed code, they’re saying “Hell yes we want to do this. We’re just scared it’s more electoral poison (on top of how we’ve screwed the pooch so far) so we’re having someone else throw it out there to give us plausible deniability. But if you morons lap it up it will be law before any of you can wake up to how evil it is.”
The danger here is it can sound so seductively reasonable when you’re not on the receiving end of it. When you tell hard working Australians is that all that’s happening is we’re stopping dole bludgers from blowing their welfare payments (which your tax dollars paid for) on gambling, ciggies and booze. Honestly, there are cases where it’s probably a good idea. If a family dependent on welfare is getting nothing because an irresponsible parent is blowing the money then a plan that stops this is good. But arbitrarily extending it to everyone is plain evil.
For those who still believe the dole bludger/job snob lie, statistics show that the unemployed outnumber job vacancies by 5 or 10 to 1 depending on your age, qualifications and where you live. So on any given day, it is literally impossible for 80-90% of the unemployed to get a job. That is the overwhelming reason people are unemployed, not that they are lazy. When you take someone who’s already in a tough situation and dish out punishment after punishment, what you are saying is “You are worthless. This is happening to you because you deserve it. You don’t deserve to survive because people who have always had what they wanted don’t like you and don’t care about you.”
I think I have worked out what the end game of all of this is. The one thing this government hasn’t taken the chainsaw to that they desperately want to is industrial relations. Abbott in particular wants to crush unions and give as many businesses as possible the right to take away any and all benefits from workers and sack people whenever they want. It seems clear that they are in the process of setting up unemployment to being close to a death sentence. Couple that with a world where a boss can make you unemployed on a whim and you have no protection, they can see their utopia where the ruling elite have everything they want and the grotty underclass will be grateful for any crumb their betters deign to allow them.


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Work for the dole is class warfare


So the Federal Government has decided to get tough on the unemployed. Rightly so because as everybody knows our system is perfect and the only reason for someone to not have a job is they are work-shy layabouts. You may detect some sarcasm there but given their policies pretty much the only thing that makes sense is the government genuinely believes the world is like that. Either that or they simply hate the unemployed and disadvantaged. Given the needless cruelty of many of their policies, the latter might be the more likely.
Rather than go into the morality of the politics involved, I want to go through the things that just don’t make logical sense to me. Let’s start with the obvious: “Work for the Dole”. Where does this work come from? What do people actually do when they’re working for the dole? If there is work that can forced on people on the dole, why aren’t these actual jobs? This makes very little sense to me.
If people were getting useful internships and/or training from places that couldn’t afford to actually employ someone that would clearly be a good thing. But the government is talking about forcing 700,000 people to do this. I’m extremely skeptical about the possibility of finding something meaningful for that many people to do. So in all likelihood, the majority of unemployed people are going to be forced to engage in utterly meaningless “work for the dole” which will achieve nothing but crushing their spirit. On top of this, repeated studies have shown work for the dole programs are the least effective method for getting people off welfare.
And then we come to the glory that is Employment Minister Eric Abetz. When presented with statistical evidence that the previous conservative government’s work for the dole scheme was the least effective way to get people off unemployment benefits he responded that there was “anecdotal evidence” it worked. Now, I don’t hate Abetz like I do some in the government but he doesn’t seem very bright. He has effectively said “You may well have your research and facts but a bloke in the pub told me it would work and that’s good enough for me.” It beggars belief that a government minister can say something so stupid.
Another thing that makes no logical sense to me is the requirement that job seekers have to send out 40 job applications a month. Abetz says this is one in the morning and one in the afternoon which isn’t too difficult. This sounds fine but it ignores some pretty serious reality. First, for most job seekers, particularly the younger ones there simply aren’t that many jobs available that they’re realistically qualified for which means they will be forced to apply for jobs they don’t have a hope of getting. While a lot of people might not have much sympathy for the unemployed, how about employers? Every major employer group in the country has come out and said the policy is wrong and will be awful for business.
700,000+ people sending 40 job applications a month? That’s between 25 and 30 million largely useless job applications flooding businesses around the country. And after virtually everyone told the government this was a moronic idea and the unemployed would be pushed to send off applications for jobs they had no hope of getting they came back with “we’ll punish anyone who meets the quota with random applications”. How exactly do they think they’re going to do that? Can you imagine the overhead when there are tens of millions of applications to check every month? This policy is stupidity piled on top of incompetence with a foundation of cruelty and spite.
To sum up: we have a policy that history shows won’t work. Employers groups say it’s a bad idea. Policing it would be close to impossible. So why is the government pushing it? The answer seem pretty clear. The policy is nothing but punishment. This government is so driven by ideology over fact that when they declare someone to be the enemy there is no limit to the cruelty that can be applied (see their asylum seeker policy for the most extreme example). This government is demonising the unemployed, calling them lazy and a burden on society. They want to blank out any concept of a “fair go” and any suggestion that a decent society supports the disadvantaged rather than crushing them.
Here’s the thing: there are definitely unemployed people who are “gaming the system” and going out of their way to avoid working for a living while receiving benefits. But it economic terms, the cost of this is so small it is meaningless. A tiny amount of welfare fraud disappears when placed next to the billions of dollars in corporate welfare dished out every year and the billions more in taxes big corporations dodge. There is no rational economic basis for this policy – it’s the politics of revenge and cruelty. It’s nothing short of class warfare. It seems this government won’t rest until the most vulnerable people have had all hope crushed and are painted as the perpetrators of ultimate evil rather than the victims of it.


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Richard Dawkins – arrogant, ignorant and wrong about rape


This week Richard Dawkins decided to show yet again that intelligence is no barrier to being an utter tool by posting a series of deliberately inflammatory tweets then acting surprised people were inflamed. It’s more than a little disheartening that someone who is obviously far more intelligent than me in pretty much every measurable way can still sink to unprovoked trolling like a pathetic 14 year old who wishes he could grow a neckbeard. I have no idea why he is so desperate for attention – does he have a book coming out?
It’s also depressing to see his slavish acolytes (who are also by and large quite intelligent) rushing to sing from the Dawkins hymnbook as instructed by their high priest. Yes, I’m deliberately invoking religious language to mock them. Because I know it will annoy them. And I’m childish. I’m not as smart as Dawkins – what’s his excuse for being immature? Seeing these people pretend an emotional response is illogical is annoying mostly because they are wrong. When someone makes glib and ignorant comments on a highly emotive subject, effectively belittling the suffering of millions, an emotional response is perfectly logical. Plus it’s exactly what Dawkins wanted.
But let’s ignore the emotive elements of the situation for a moment and just look at why Dawkins is flat out wrong. In case you missed it, he tweeted “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think” the he went on to tweet essentially the same thing about pedophilia.
It may not be an endorsement of date rape but it’s still wrong. The first problem here is he has declared that there is a measurable scale of the damage done by different types of rape (and that he knows what it is). This is the type of thing a follower of scientific method would say – experimentation, evidence and empirical measurements, that’s how we know what’s real. So what is that scale of measurement? Dawkins has simply stated it’s so with no research and no supporting evidence whatsoever. He just “knows” that it’s true. Does that remind you of anyone?
Now to the assertion that date rape is not as bad. This is incredibly dangerous because it’s a statement of ignorant opinion, not fact. It’s also the line of reasoning that results in 85% of these types of crimes not being reported – the victims feel they won’t be taken seriously (and more often than not told they “asked for it”). Dawkins and his pathetic fanboys will rush to say that it isn’t his fault, he isn’t endorsing date rape, he said it was bad. But words have power.
Talk to people who work with sexual assault victims and you’ll discover that the only part of that message that gets through to rapists is “date rape is not as bad”. Worse still, all too often that’s the message absorbed by law enforcement, the courts, the media and a disturbingly large section of society. Not accepting responsibility for the effects of your words is moral and intellectual cowardice.
It’s easy to feel that “non-violent” rape is worse than rape at knifepoint (despite the implicit violence of any rape) –it feels right. But such a rational thinker as Dawkins shouldn’t accept such illogical “gut feel” assessments. He should only make pronouncement that are supported by empirical evidence. So what is the evidence that victims suffer less from particular rape?
What about the woman who was “only” date raped but has their life ruined when they are rejected by everyone around them, called a slut and a whore and blamed for the whole thing? It’s much less likely to suffer that sort of treatment when you’re raped at knifepoint (but sadly, not unheard of) so this is some actual evidence that the repercussions of date rape can be worse than at knifepoint.
What about the person raped by a family member or partner who is then unable to trust anyone ever again or even see members of their own family because of the betrayal by the person they were supposed to be able to trust the most? It’s not uncommon for this to result in social phobias so extreme the person simply can’t live their lives among other people for years afterwards. That’s bad, isn’t it? And it’s a form of trauma not usually suffered when raped by a stranger.
What about a man raped by another man? When that’s done by coercion or by drugging someone (for example) rather than by forcing submission with a weapon, the stigma can be overwhelming. Men in particular are told they should have been able to stop it – the fact that they didn’t stop it when a weapon wasn’t involved means they really wanted it.
What about a man who is raped by a woman? The victims in these cases are rarely even able to talk about what they went through, let alone get help or report a crime, because of the high likelihood of them not being believed or being mocked. It’s far too common to believe a woman can’t rape a man and it’s even sicker to judge a man who has been raped saying there’s something wrong with him if he didn’t enjoy it.
Where is Richard Dawkins’ objective, scientific system for measuring the suffering of these people?
In simple terms, Dawkins uses the methods of his most hated enemies, religious fundamentalists, whenever it suits him. He just “knows” what’s worse, he doesn’t need any scientific or objective evidence. What’s worse is Dawkins has quite a track record of belittling sexual abuse, he simply doesn’t care. For someone who is considered to be a great mind, he has a really infantile need for attention and he clearly doesn’t care if it’s negative attention. He knew exactly what he was doing with those tweets. It was deliberately inflammatory. It was hateful. It was stupid and ignorant.
For Dawkins and his mindless fanboys to criticise people for reacting emotionally does nothing but show what awful people they are

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Potato Salad Kickstarter

Of all the things I ever thought I’d rant about, I didn’t expect potato salad to be on the list. Unless you throw a handful of green shit on the head. I don’t care if it’s spring onion, parsley or coriander – that shit is unnecessary and fucking evil.

What I’m talking about today is the guy who posted a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad. His target was $10. He raised near enough to $60,000 as I write this, less than a week after launching from around five thousand backers. The campaign still has more than three weeks to run.

A lot of people are angry about this and they expected me to be angry about it. Why? A dude put something up that was obviously a joke and for whatever reason thousands of people were engaged by it. Like some glorious unplanned Dadaist prank, the world is paying some guy to make potato salad. Most people’s objection to the success of this campaign can be summed up as jealousy – even if they won’t admit to it. 

“I can’t get support for my thing so this sucks.”

“Why don’t people support a worthy cause instead of this stupid thing?”

Don’t ask these questions of the world. Ask them of yourself. And I mean REALLY ask yourself. This guy engaged thousands of people with a piece of whimsy but you can’t engage people how you’d like. Does the fault lie with other people or with you? Here’s a hint: if you blame other people YOU’RE WRONG! While I regularly bemoan society’s obsession with triviality, if you have failed to engage the people you want then you need to look at yourself, not lay the blame on someone else.

And if you’re saying “Why aren’t people donating to more worthy causes?” the question remains the same. If the cause is important to you, why can’t you make it compelling to other people? It isn’t the job of other people to care about the same things you care about. If you want people to support your cause, get out there and promote it!

And don’t use the cop-out that people won’t get behind meaningful causes. KONY 2012 engaged millions of people worldwide. Then it fell apart because the people behind it were dodgy as hell. But the point is, their campaign worked. Stop complaining about people who succeed where you fail – get out there and make your case.

This idea that you get to dictate how other people spend their money pisses me off. Where does that shit stop? “No, you can’t buy that coffee until you contribute to something meaningful.” Everyone spends money on something that someone else would find frivolous. Passing judgement on people for having a bit of fun makes you look pathetic.

The only thing that would make me angry at this guy is if he didn’t deliver the rewards he promised (and as far as I understand Kickstarter, nobody can really force him to deliver). When you look at the rewards, which he probably expected exactly zero people to claim, things start to get funny.

He has to say the names of thousands of people while making the potato salad (video evidence maybe?) He has to send out thousands of photos, thousands of bites of potato salad (how the hell does that work?) hundreds of t-shirts, hats and books. Oh, and he’s effectively invited hundreds of people into his house to watch him make potato salad.

If I was him, I’d go large with this. Get a local charity involved, do a “world’s biggest potato salad” type of thing. Feed it to the homeless. You could probably get a few celebrities to go along. Make it a huge event. He’d actually be doing some good (which would go some way to silencing the holier-than-thou whiners) and he’d have help with the logistics.

And without help, fulfilling the rewards would be quite expensive. He’d be very lucky if he cleared more than half the amount pledge. Mind you, that’s starting to look like it would be quite a bit of money.

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Men’s Rights Activists – Shut The Fuck Up!

I turned my recent blog post into a video and here it is:

I’ve been very happy with the overwhelmingly positive response the original post received across various social media but the video brought the truly abysmal “men’s rights activists” out of the primordial slime in a way the blog post didn’t. I’m assuming reading isn’t their forte. The wave of hate was like old school YouTube trolls. I haven’t been subjected to it on this scale myself for years. I feel it gave me a tiny insight into the sort of hate women who dare to speak up get every day and it really highlighted how vile these MRA losers are.

It isn’t as though I’m surprised but both the blog post and video were relatively mild – suggesting that it’s actually in men’s best interests to pick up their game in relation to women. What I got in response was a tsunami of butthurt manbabies bleating about how their pathetic worthless lives are someone else’s fault. I was tempted to rip into them via comments like I used to do a few years ago but honestly, the level of stupid was too much to bother with. When someone wants to say statistics reported consistently by law enforcement and health authorities across the western world are not true “just because” then there’s only one response they deserve: SHUT THE FUCK UP!

I went to town with the block and delete on YouTube (and to a much lesser extent here) rather than simply ignoring the neanderthals for a number of reasons:

  1. Because I can. And I enjoy doing it. And there’s nothing the whiny, self-important losers can do to stop me. I like to remind them exactly where the power lies in this situation.
  2. I have no desire to give these hateful scum a platform. You losers can go back to your circle-jerk forums and soft cock subreddits and make each other “feel better” as much as you like. Go ahead and make your own videos if you want but you don’t get to use mine for your agenda. What’s that? You’re that special blend of gutless and talentless that means you can’t do that? Awww, that’s a shame.
  3. I actually think I have a responsibility to not give them a platform. Their poison is spread far enough without me contributing to it. In my opinion, NOT blocking these idiots and deleting their comments is an active avoidance of responsibility.
  4. I really enjoy the thought of these absolute morons losing it when they realise I’ve taken away their precious “rights” and “censored” them. Their idiotic belief that they are entitled to anything they want is pretty much their central problem and the thought of them choking on their righteous man-tears makes me happy.

No matter what their argument, for me (if I was going to waste time engaging with them) it always comes back to what’s your point? You say I’m wrong… and therefore? With all these whiners, their point is obvious: women are bad, there isn’t a problem, I’m the one who’s hard done by. I can see right through you and you’re barely worth the time to say shut the fuck up.

There will always be people who think “arguments” put forward by idiots should be countered rather than ignored. These people are either much more patient than me or simply don’t have the experience of dealing with idiots. Whether it’s a climate change denier, a creationist, a conspiracy nutbag, or an MRA neckbeard they do not start with the intention of engaging in a conversation or debate. Their sole intention and only tactic is to shout down or wear down anyone with a different opinion. They don’t listen to counterpoints, weigh the evidence and then proceed. They ignore anything that counters their world view (no matter how self-evident or well-supported it is) and grind on with their agenda.

And they will. Not. Stop. EVER. Their aim is to one way or another shut down their opposition, not to have the most valid evidence recognised. I learned this years ago. So all they get from me is shut the fuck up!

There were a few variants of moron in the comments and I’ll address each of them now.

First, the deniers. The ones who say there isn’t a problem. It’s made up by the feminists. Men have it worse. My blanket response: Shut the fuck up you worthless scum. The fact that you blithely state the opposite of reality and expect to be taken seriously is all I need to know about you. You are the abusers. You are the rapists. You are the ones who grope and assault women in bars and don’t see anything wrong with it. When you see your friends do it, you don’t pull them into line. You laugh because this sort of abuse is all a joke to you. 

I want to make this clear. This is not a case of “I disagree with you”. You disgust me. You are worthless scum and utterly beneath contempt. I don’t engage with you because knowing you exist makes me physically sick. Just shut the fuck up and get out of my life. 

Second are the ones who want to obsess over one sentence or even one word. Their idea of proving how smart they are is to get into a pointless argument over semantics while ignoring the actual issue. “Hmmmm, well the definition of that word is blah which means that you said this and therefore there isn’t a problem.” Shut the fuck up! What you are is a coward. A worthless sniveling worm twisting and writhing because you don’t have the guts to take any responsibility and face the issue head on. Grow a spine or shut the fuck up.

Third were the martyrs who couldn’t take it on board when I said one simple thing: of course men have problems and seriously problems that are often not given the focus they deserve but let’s make that a different conversation. Derailing a much needed conversation about violence towards women because “you have problems too” is shallow and narcissistic at best but more often is a deliberate and dishonest tactic to shut down any proper discussion.

Why are you so fucking insecure that nobody can make a point without it being about you? If you get the feeling nobody cares about your problems it’s probably because you’re a spoilt little baby who can’t stand it if you’re not the centre of attention. Get it together or shut the fuck up.

Then there’s the darling little keyboard warriors who threaten me. I get that this is your modus operandi for women: making rape threats, making death threats, threatening their privacy and their family. Of course there are cases where this works and outspoken women won’t make public appearances because of the threats made against them. Guess what? I’ve been doing this for 8 years and I spend a lot of time getting in people’s faces. This means I’ve been dealing with threats from pretty much day one.

Over the years I’ve announced exactly where I was going to be and when I was going to be there dozens of times. And you know how many of these tough guys have showed up in person to accost me? Precisely zero. I’m not the one hiding behind a screen you pathetic losers, your threats make me laugh. For fuck’s sake, I’ve had Stormfront, actual Nazis pissed off at me, discussing how they were going to get me on their White Power forums. “Men’s rights activists” are a sad fucking joke.

So that’s what it comes down to. Men’s rights activists can shut the fuck up because everything about them is worthless. There are a lot of people who make very eloquent arguments as to why MRA shit stains are wrong so there’s no point in me re-writing those points. This is about catharsis for me and everyone else who’s sick of your bullshit. You’re pathetic, weak, cowardly losers who go on and on about masculinity but you’ll never be man enough to own up to your own failings. Everyone with a shred of decency is sick of your bullshit, just shut the fuck up up and fuck right off! 


Filed under General Angriness

Men have got to be better

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time and incidents keep happening that show beyond any doubt that a significant number of males need to wake up to themselves. I can’t think of a better way to put it: men have got to be better.

It isn’t as if men don’t have problems. Society forces a lot of messed up ideas on males from a young age in the name of masculinity and many women simply don’t understand the difficulties men face. But that’s a different conversation. And if you think the problems and injustices faced by men are worse than those suffered by women (or even equivalent) then simply put, you ARE the problem.

Women are murdered every week in Australia by their partners or ex-partners. That’s reality. One in three women you know has been sexually assaulted. One in six has been raped. And more often than not, when these cases are reported there’s a focus on what the woman should have done.

Why didn’t she leave him? Why was she walking there? Why was she alone? Why was she drinking? Why didn’t she know better?

A simple look at the reality faced by women shows that in practical terms there’s very little a woman can do to stop violence happening because it can happen at any time in any circumstance. Their own home is the most dangerous environment. They are in the most danger from men they know. There is only one person who can stop it from happening and that’s the attacker. Telling women how to avoid being attacked can’t possibly work as a primary message – it (at best) implicitly tells the attacker that it’s the woman’s fault. Until the primary message it to men, saying don’t attack women, nothing will change.

If you even started to equivocate then, YOU are the problem. “But she could have…” Yes, maybe she could have. But she shouldn’t have to. And glib statements made after the fact can’t possibly take into account what it was like when the attack happened. And make no mistake, every single time you comment on what a woman should or should not have done, you embolden attackers.

And now we come to the most sensitive part of the conversation. The derailing of discussions about violence against women by saying “not all men” do it. That approach is at best meaningless and self-serving. At worst, it’s pure evil. Deliberately designed to sabotage the conversation and shut down women who dare to speak out. The concept that as a man your feelings are hurt at the suggestion you might bear some responsibility for the plague of violence against women is utterly pathetic.

If you feel compelled to shut down women talking about the everyday reality they deal with because “not all men” do it, you are actively supporting the rapists. If you need to negate someone’s actual experiences because of your feelings you are utterly reprehensible and need to shut the fuck up.

And for those worthless losers who can’t stop with their obsession of saying not all men do it and think that is in any way a meaningful contribution, here are some home truths:

  • Statistically, it is almost certain that you work with, associate with or are related to a rapist
  • There’s no doubt at all that you or someone you hang out with is responsible for abusive or threatening behavior towards a woman that made her legitimately fear for her safety

And quite honestly, the more you protest, the more I suspect that you are the sort of scumbag that does these things on a regular basis.

If you can’t let women talk about what their lives are like without trying to shout them down and tell them why they’re wrong then I really don’t trust you when you protest you’re not guilty of treating women badly. On top of everything else, I can’t understand why so many men are threatened by the idea of women feeling safer. How could you possibly lose out if women feel safe? Imagine a world where a woman doesn’t fear that when you try to open a conversation with her, that means she’s in danger from you. Because it’s a world where women aren’t constantly threatened and assaulted by men.

I’ve seen some guys take exception to the term “Schrodinger’s Rapist”. This surprises me because I think it’s an excellent definition of why women have to be cautious of men who are NOT rapists. Like Schrodinger’s Cat who is both alive and dead until the box is open, women are confronted with so many situations where she should be safe but can be attacked without warning. She only knows for sure if a man is a rapist when she makes herself vulnerable and so up until that point, the man both is and is not a rapist. The worst thing is, in far too many cases, “vulnerable” means nothing more than existing as a woman.

If you say this reflects badly on women and not men, that it’s women and not men who have to change, then I think you’ve answered the Schrodinger’s Rapist question. You’re just waiting for the right opportunity to show who you really are.

And even at the (arguably) more innocuous end of the spectrum, being jerks to women – I don’t get this. To take an example that really bugs me – geek/nerd culture. Whether it happens online or at conventions/meetups there are always self-proclaimed “real” nerds who go out of their way to make women feel unwelcome and/or threatened. They call them fake geeks, they say they’re too fat to cosplay, they say they’re too hot to be a real nerd and they’re exploiting this for attention. In fact there’s no end of flaws these types can find with women when ultimately their only transgression is being female.

I don’t get it. Do you want sausage fests? Because this is how you get sausage fests!

I’m making a blatant appeal to self interest here. So long as women feel threatened and unsafe men are also going to lose (although in a far less awful way). Some purists don’t like the idea of using self-interest as a motivator, the simple fact women should deserve to go through life without living in fear of assault should be enough. Yes, it should be. But it isn’t. I’m a pragmatist. I’m looking for anything that works. And I truly believe men are hurting themselves with this “not all men” MRA bullshit.

Try listening. Try being supportive. Don’t make it about you. Because it isn’t about you. And if you can’t see why all men accepting responsibility for reducing violence against women is something that will benefit men, I think we’ve learned all we need to know about you.


Filed under General Angriness