“When you got nothing, You got nothing to lose”

Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

I’ve been a victim of internet hate. Sometimes private, sometime public. Sometimes e-mail, sometimes on Twitter and other social networks, as well as nooks and crannies all over the web.

My crime?

Having an opinion and a status those complaining do not.

I’ve learned to ignore it. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t inhibit me. Say the wrong thing and my enemies will express their vitriol. Hell, I said that Taylor Swift couldn’t sing and her minions are still lambasting me online.

Now if this happened in the newspaper, in traditional media, I’d call a high-priced publicity person to get the story quashed. You see unless what’s happening is truly news, the media can always forgo coverage. If you provide something in return. It’s all about the trade. I’ll hold back from doing this if you give me access to that.

But this bartering is meaningless online. Because those perpetrating the hate have got nothing to lose, they thrive on attention, if you attack you can make them famous. And every little guy sticking it to the man gets the benefit of the doubt from their brethren on the bottom.

And no one playing the professional game seems to understand all this.

The rich and famous, the powerful, believe they’re in control.

And then someone unknown comes out of the woodwork to piss on their parade. Sometimes justifiably, frequently not.

And there you have the internet today, where everybody with power is gun-shy, for fear of rattling the cages of the great unwashed, who want what they’ve got.

There’s an element of income inequality. And lack of upward mobility. Live in the U.S. long enough and you believe you deserve ascension, you deserve a better life. But as you get older and this does not happen you get angry and someone has to pay…the person who has your theoretical job.

I wish I knew the solution. I know that jobs and a social safety net help. But some are mentally ill. Some feel they must defend those they’ve pledged fealty too. Never mind criticize Taylor Swift, come down on Dave Grohl and you start a shitstorm. Which is why so many play it safe. And the terrorists win.

I won’t say I’m powerless against the online terrorists. I’ve learned you can conquer them. By attacking them individually. By hitting them where they live. Criticizing their little lives, getting personal. They don’t like the light shined upon them. If you make it about them, as opposed to the content, they freak.

Which is why I’m all in favor of striking in the middle of the night, when the enemy is unprepared. That’s what the Israelis do. They don’t get mad, they get even. And the world hates them for it. But the Israelis know they’re one loss away from the extinction of their country, they can’t let their guard down. And we can discuss the settlements and other choices the country has made that seem questionable. Furthermore, there are inequities towards the Palestinians in the past, nothing is black and white, but when it’s about your survival, you do what is necessary.

And those not involved criticize you for your behavior.

But they’re not standing in your shoes.

I’m not sure what motivates ISIS. Is it pure religious zealotry, or is it a lack of economic security? Zarqawi was a thief, who was brought up with seven sisters and two brothers. Did this make him a terrorist? Or like a school shooter, was he just nuts?

All I know is fighting terrorism isn’t like the battles of yore, where you puff up your chest and blast ’em back to the Stone Age. It’s a new game. Where intelligence is more important than might. Where strategy is more important than bluster. Where one false move can generate legions of heat you did not foresee. Cheney and Rumsfeld got rid of Saddam Hussein and they destabilized the whole region. And if you believe firepower and boots on the ground can effectuate peace, you believe that online spam can be eradicated.

It hasn’t been, although strides have been made.

And the biggest spammers come from disadvantaged economies, whether it be Russia or Nigeria. Their success rate is minimal relative to the missives they send out, but it still pays, much better than the job that doesn’t exist.

We live in a new world. Where the old knee-jerk responses just don’t work. You can give up your privacy, insist Apple decrypt its phones, but today’s terrorists are sophisticated enough to use secure channels. We’re looking for easy solutions, but there are none.

We used to live in relative anonymity with a belief our world ended at the county line. But not only can you make a crystal clear phone call around the globe, not only can you surf sites around the world, but today the people on the other end can instill fear in your heart and change your way of life.

If you let them.

Sure, you’re scared. Who wouldn’t be. But when you sacrifice your privacy and lifestyle to create a false sense of security you’re the loser.

We need a stronger safety net in the U.S. To head off class warfare if nothing else.

We need to lift up our brothers and give them opportunities, instead of believing what I’ve got is mine and you’re on your own.

We need to realize we’re all just people. And we’re in this together. And solutions come from those who are educated and experienced, as opposed to blowhards with a megaphone.

We’ve got to go on living our lives, we’ve got to take chances, we’ve got to stand up to bullies, we’ve got to be unafraid to express our opinions. That’s our way of life, in a nation built by immigrants where freedom is paramount.

More guns won’t eliminate school shootings.

And more bombings won’t decimate ISIS.

But everybody’s got a family. The Mafia learned there was power in threatening it.

Today everything’s personal. If we go on the offensive we must attack the individual. We must operate like the Don at the end of the “Godfather.”

How can it be that we were so together after 9/11, but so divided today? How did society become so coarse? How did we stop loving our brother?

I’ll argue it’s when the rank and file realized the jig was up, that they were economically screwed.

That’s what’s happening in the Middle East. With a huge dollop of religion thrown in. And we should understand this focus on belief, since we’ve got nincompoops in this country protesting a false war on Christmas and the denigration of everyone who does not believe like they do.

We’re all different.

But we’re all together.

We’ve got the power to communicate, but too often all we get is cacophony.

Root out ISIS. And root out spam and online hate while you’re at it. I’m all for it.

But it’s gonna take a long time. And it’s gonna be tough.

Because the old rules just don’t apply.


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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. pielou commented on Nov 23

    “more bombings won’t decimate ISIS”
    last time nuke bombing was use, that shut up Everybody.

    • DeDude commented on Nov 23

      Yo gonner nuke Jersey? Cause theres a lot of muslims there.

  2. cjb commented on Nov 23

    So well written. So many simple truths my “knee-jerk” conservative friends won’t begin to comprehend. Shared on Facebook.

  3. NoKidding commented on Nov 23

    “And more bombings won’t decimate ISIS.”

    Depends entirely on how you define more.

    • DeDude commented on Nov 23

      Actually it doesn’t. Any bombing can be turned into a Christians (or fifth column muslims) attacking muslims. The more we bomb the better recruitment tools our bombings become. Then disenfranchised young muslims in our own countries feel a need to “defend” muslims and attack us from within. Then we get scared and bomb/discriminate even more. And the only thing that exceeds the cycle of violence, is the cycle of stupidity.

    • NoKidding commented on Nov 23

      Region, Muslim Population, Muslims, as % of Region*
      Middle East-North Africa, 317,070,000, 93%

    • NoKidding commented on Nov 23


  4. Robert M commented on Nov 23

    Eliminate your deliberate desire to understand America by falling on the false catch concept “We’re a nation of immigrants”, you might be taken seriously. We’re a nation of haters. We spew hate towards one another so as to not explain why under capitalism some people are deliberately hurt. Classic example remember how Congress immediately rolled back the sequester for airline security. We allow mass importation of heroin but attribute it use to AfricanAmericans, glorify that aspect of it in movies, yet cry for sympathy like children when white surbanites are effected.
    If you want to defeat Daesh you and everybody else in this country are going to have to look at their own behavior and beliefs so we have a unified theory of actiion to make their ideology unattractive. That means changing our beliefs towars ourselves.

  5. rch commented on Nov 23

    i am a moronic GOP guy! I respect our Constitution and that fact that is why you are allowed to disrespect me without even so much as meeting me by simply tagging my belief system as moronic.
    I continue to read this dribble concerning the symptoms of our social unease but i don’t read much about identifying nor solving the problem. The issues are always about gamesmanship and calling each other names. Is it possible that you could direct your visceral attention to logical thought and discussion ?
    There is an book titled the Wisdom of Crowds. It is fascinating to me that we continue to look for a Philosopher King when Plato made it clear than none exist. That is why conversation and discussion is so important, because the Wisdom is in The Crowd if you can humble ourselves enough to listen hear and understand ALL of the crowd.
    Have a nice ThanksGiving

    • DeDude commented on Nov 23

      Sure there can be wisdom in crowds, but as it relates to terrorism there only seem to be panic – and panic is not likely to provide any wisdom. The current crowd of GOP presidential candidates has reacted to that panic with an amazing level of stupidity.

      The basis of their attack on refugees from Syria is the presumption that if an ISIS terrorist wanted to go to the US to do terror, he/she would go through a 2-year process of applying for asylum to enter legally. Why on earth would they do that? They could use a false or stolen passport (or their own if they live in Europe) and enter as tourists. Unless you want to live and work permanently in the US you have no reason to go through the hell of trying to gain refugee status.

      Even worse is the focus on terrorists entering from outside, when almost all terrorists are alienated residents. And the “solutions” these GOP presidential candidates propose are sure to alienate muslims living in this country. You have to call them morons. I mean if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck…..

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