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How Comcast Censors Political Content


How Comcast Censors Political Content
Or Why My Comcast Horror Story Is Better Than Yours
By David Swanson

Most Comcast internet customers seem to have horror stories, but in my humble opinion this one is a doozie and may even suggest threats to freedom of speech more significant than the jailing of a court stenographer.

I'm working on a campaign headquartered at www.afterdowningstreet.org that seeks to draw attention to the Downing Street Minutes and to lobby Congress to open an investigation into whether the President has committed impeachable offenses. According to a recent Zogby poll, 42 percent of Americans favor impeachment proceedings if the President lied about the reasons for war, and according to a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll, 52 percent think he did. But this story is nowhere to be found in the corporate media. So, our website attracts a lot of traffic.

In addition, July 23rd is the three-year anniversary of the meeting on Downing Street that produced the now infamous minutes, and we are organizing events all over the country on that day. Or, we're trying to. But we noticed about a week ago that everyone working on this campaign was having strange Email problems. Some people would get Emails and some wouldn't, or they'd receive some but not others. Conference calls were worse than usual (I can't stand the things anyway) because half the people wouldn’t get the info and know where to call in. Organizing by internet is super easy, but when you have to follow up every Email with a phone call to see if someone got it, it becomes super frustrating. Volunteers have been complaining all over the country – especially now that we've figured out what the problem was and they know what to complain about.

We didn't know it, but for the past week, anyone using Comcast has been unable to receive any Email with "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the Email. That has included every Email from me, since that was in my signature at the bottom of every Email I sent. And it included any Email linking people to any information about the upcoming events.

From the flood this evening of Emails saying "Oh, so that's why I haven't heard anything from you guys lately," it seems clear that we would have significantly more events organized by now for the 23rd if not for this block by Comcast.

Disturbingly, Comcast did not notify us of this block. It took us a number of days to nail down Comcast as the cause of the problems, and then more days, working with Comcast's abuse department to identify exactly what was going on. We'd reached that point by Thursday, but Comcast was slow to fix the problem.

During the day on Friday we escalated our threats to flood Comcast's executives with phone calls and cancellations, and we gave them deadlines. Friday evening, Comcast passed the buck to Symantec. Comcast said that Symantec's Bright Mail filter was blocking the Emails, and that Symantec refused to lift the block, because they had supposedly received 46,000 complaints about Emails with our URL in them. Forty-six thousand! Of course, Symantec was working for Comcast, and Comcast could insist that they shape up, or drop them. But Comcast wasn't interested in doing that.

Could we see two or three, or even one, of those 46,000 complaints? No, and Comcast claimed that Symantec wouldn't share them with Comcast either.

By the time Comcast had passed the buck to the company that it was paying to filter its customers Emails, Brad Blog had posted an article about the situation and urged people to complain to Comcast.
http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00001602.htm

Brad quickly added Symantec phone numbers to the story on his website, and we called Symantec's communications department, which fixed the problem in a matter of minutes.

So, why does this matter?

Comcast has a near monopoly on high-speed internet service in much of this country, including much of the Washington, D.C., area. Many members of the media and many people involved in politics rely on it. Three days ago, I almost decided to put a satellite dish on my roof. There's no other way for me to get high-speed internet, unless I use Comcast.

Comcast effectively censors discussion of particular political topics, and impedes the ability of people to associate with each other, with absolutely no compulsion to explain itself. There is no due process. A phrase or web address is tried and convicted in absentia and without the knowledge of those involved.

Now, did Comcast do this because it opposes impeaching the President? I seriously doubt it. Apparently the folks at Symantec did this, and Comcast condoned it. But why?

Well, we have no evidence to suggest that these 46,000 complaints actually exist, but we can be fairly certain that if they do, they were generated by someone politically opposed to our agenda. There's simply no possible way that we've accidentally annoyed 46,000 random people with stray Emails and mistyped addresses. We've only been around for a month and a half, and we haven't spammed anyone. In fact, during the course of trying to resolve the problem, Comcast assured us that they knew we hadn't spammed anyone. And once we'd gotten Symantec's attention, they didn't hesitate to lift the block.

But it had taken serious pressure to find out what the problem was and who to ask for a remedy. We only solved this because we could threaten a flood of negative attention.

This state of affairs means that anyone who wants to stifle public and quasi-private discussion of a topic can quite easily do so by generating numerous spam complaints. The victims of the complaints will not be notified, made aware of the accusations against them, or provided an opportunity to defend themselves. And if the complaints prove bogus, there will be absolutely no penalty for having made them.

And this won't affect only small-time information sources. If the New York Times or CNN attempts to send people Email with a forbidden phrase, it won't reach Comcast customers or customers of any ISP using the same or similar filtering program.

And there is no public list posted anywhere of which phrases are not permitted. This is a Kafkan world. This is censorship as it affects a prisoner who sends out letters and does not know if they will reach the recipient or be destroyed.

What if I had tried to Email someone about a serious health emergency during the past week, but they had been using Comcast and I had been including the address of my website in my Email signature? Is this not a safety issue?

Above all, though, this is a First Amendment issue, as is well laid out in this excerpt of a statement released today by People-Link.org, the organization hosting the www.afterdowningstreet.org site:

"This goes far beyond the normal anti-spam measures taken by major providers and represents an effective blocking of constitutionally protected expression and the fundamental right to organize and act politically on issues of concern.

"Most spam blocking measures focus on the email address or the IP address of the suspected spammer. While there are anti-spam measures directed at the body of the email, these usually target attachments that could contain virus programs.

"Targeting the inclusion of a website url can only have one outcome: that communications about that website and the issue it is presenting will be blocked from large numbers of people and that the communications from that site's administrators and the campaign's organizers will not reach their full constituency.

"Whether Comcast's intention or not, this is effectively political and unconstitutional.

"It keeps people from getting valuable information about a campaign that is, in the opinion of many, critical to the future of this country's political system.

"It disrupts the organizing of this campaign and cripples the campaign's ability to use its most effective communications tool: the Internet.

"It damages people's confidence in this campaign since many people who write the campaign can't receive the response they expect and that the campaign has sent.

"Perhaps the worst part of this development is that Comcast has been reportedly doing this without the knowledge of the managers of this website or anyone affiliated with this campaign. In fact, no Comcast customer has received any indication that email to him or her containing this url was blocked."

____________________________

DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.

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Stay out of my mind.

If internet censorship is indeed happening, it is a dire situation (among the many others!) that we need to nip in the bud NOW, before it takes hold like aphids on a rose bush.

I question whether this was an action on the part of a Comcast employee (or group of employees) rather than a company action. If it is the former, then I would expect to see Comcast take quick action to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. Any news on this front?

If no action is taken, regardless of who is responsible, then it is time to boycott Comcast so they feel it where it hurts--in the wallet. Or, (and I'm not an attorney to know if this is feasible) a class action suit based on violation of the 1st amendment and of the contract for service.

~K

Comcast believes it is a privilege for us customers who pay over $150.00 a month for their cable television service,and high speed internet service,comcast sure is an arrogant company,what entitles them to supress our first amendment rights.
I once stated in the comcast.net help forums,"send comcast,and the comcast stock holders a message,switch to another IP and cable television company,for my honesty I was permanently banned from using the comcast.net help forums.
Comcast has Americans by the,you know whats.

Several months ago I changed to High Speed Internet from Dial Up. I chose Comcast because they gave me a good deal for 6 mths, but I quickly found out I would not be using them as my homepage. Every morning when I logged on, there were graphic pictures from the war staring at me. It just seemed heavy on that theme every day, and I really felt they were promoting it. So I wrote them a letter complaining about it. This was the answer back (in part)

"The space at www.comcast.net is purchased space, which we do not control once bought unless the posting does not meet with federal or FCC guidelines.

If you have any questions or comments regarding an article on the homepage,
please contact the news media appropriate for that particular posting."

I never use my email there. I really should change high speed provider, especially after reading your post.

Here is another case that proves how important it is in today's climate that progressive groups have access to independent channels of communication. Be it print media, radio and TV and in particular for internet access. In this case it is filtering, political inspired or not, it is more unlike that a neutral ISP would operate this way.
See US Patriot Act.

Having off shore mail web servers would make it unlikely that this sort behavior occurs.

See also:

http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050713/BUSIN...

and

http://www.iwtnews.com/

I check www.counterpunch.org everyday for progressive news and comment. I couldn't get on to it today. All day. Still can't.

Maybe the Counterpunch site is down for simple technical reasons, a coincidence. Then again, it is possible that someone is making attacks on progressive communication channels. If so, it is interesting timing, what with all the activity in Congress today regarding the Rove matter.

I hope it is a coincidence.

Both of the authorative DNS servers for counterpunch.org are down:
ns1.leb.net [38.117.146.195]
ns2.leb.net [38.117.146.196]

So unless you get cached information, the site is unreachable. Make of it what you will.

No big deal. Try this:

http://69.31.42.68/

Just tried and can't get into either. Will keep trying and report back.

It's absolutely fine now. Why on earth would you just assume that every time a computer breaks down it's some kind of secret government conspiracy? Are you really under the impression that they're so reliable and the internet so perfect that nothing ever breaks down and it has to be deliberate whenever it happens? Computers break down all the time. Get a grip.

The delusional nonsense that is being spouted all over this website is damaging to our cause. You're all making us look like a bunch of unmedicated psychotics. Some spam filters screwed up, some lazy underpaid helpdesk engineers can't be bothered to do their jobs well nor properly, and you lot are all suddenly hysterical and paranoid. Try and make at least some use of the brains you were born with, for pity's sake, I implore you.

I sent an e-mail containing "www.afterdowningstreet.org" to my wife on July 11th and she received it.

I piggyback AOL on Comcast (you don't even have to actually use the AOL program, you can set-up Outlook 2003 to send/receive AOL mail).
So, even though we are using Comcast as a highspeed Internet provider, all our e-mails go through the outstanding AOL networks.

Far away from me the idea of using Comcast's e-mail system, having an AOL e-mail address is the most reliable thing.

"...having an AOL e-mail address is the most reliable thing."

You could accomplish the same thing by using yahoo mail or gmail - without the pesky AOL monthly charges.

I have a really pathetic tale of woe. I was a contented Houston Roadrunner (Time Warner Cable) customer and was sold down the river to Comcast. I just had the feeling "in my bones" as grammas used to say, that the changeover would not be smooth. I set up a Yahoo email account and notified all on my list of the change. When Comcast took over it took 3 weeks of calling customer "service" who knows how many times to get my comcast.net email set up. I preferred the yahoo format so I continued using it. After a few weeks i noticed I couldn't send emails from my yahoo address after about 7 PM. I contacted Yahoo and they determined that it was not their problem. I googled a question as to whether Comcast tampered with emails which were not Comcast.net. I was directed to a site devoted to complaints against them and found that they do. They were closing portals to prevent people from using other emails. I was not the only one to whom this had happened. I changed over to AT&T and for the past 2 weeks I have had my access to the internet blocked at about the same time each day. I have cable TV covered in my condo maintenance charge. Comcast had to come over here and unhook something. Comcast just got that worked out today. I now have 24 hrs a day net. These people are a bunch of crooks and I would love to see them shut down. If you are interested in a class action suit or any other action against them feel free to contact me.

Reading the comments and last couple of posts on this issue, I am getting the sense that many people are feeling victimized, wondering if there is a conspiracy behind this and blaming Comcast for it.

Setting aside their apparent lack of concern and delayed action on the matter -- which is certainly an issue to be addressed in the larger context -- Comcast does not appear to be the problem in this case. They did not decide to add ADS to their spam filter; that decision was made by Symantec, who owns the BrightMail spam filtering software. For some reason, Symantec's spam filter started blocking any messages with the text "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in them. Whether this was intentional or the result of an automated process we do not know. And that, I think, is the problem that should be addressed for this particular case.

Symantec's claim that they had 46,000 complaints of spam from the ADS domain is suspicious. I suggest that the victims -- I use the term broadly but here seriously -- of this incident apply pressure on Symantec to reveal exactly how and why this block occured. It might also help to apply that same pressure to Comcast, as a customer of Symantec, to get to the bottom of it. Their fix in this case is merely the treatment of a symptom of a larger problem. "Oh, did we block your mail? Sorry about that. There, it's fixed." But what about next time?

In the broader context, filtering spam accurately is extremely difficult and the best spam filter in the world is really only a delicate balance between avoiding false negatives (spam that finds its way into your inbox) and false positives (mail that you want to receive but is blocked by a filter) for a particular user for a paricular moment in time. Every user's inbound mail is different and spammers are constantly adapting their tactics as spam filters are adapted to new techniques to avoid the filters. I suggest people take responsibility for their spam filtering as much as possible. Ask your email provider questions. What happens to my messages that are blocked? Can I access them in a separate quarantine folder to check for false positives, or are they simply discarded? Can I choose whether or not my incoming mail is filtered by BrightMail or some other third-party? Can I bypass all of their spam filtering and choose my own?

The mail that ends up or doesn't end up in your inbox is a result of the free association between you and your ISP and the decisions you both make on how to best protect your inbox from spam. If you'd rather just pay your ISP to do it for you, don't expect stellar results. If you want better spam filtering, you need to put some effort into it yourself. This can include searching the web for more information, telling your ISP that you want more options for spam filtering, or taking the matter into your own hands. For example, you can use another email service like AOL on top of your ISP as someone else suggested. You can switch to an open-source email client with spam filtering you control locally. You can route your mail through a third-party that employs a challenge/response mechanism for mail from anyone who is not in your personal whitelist. I know Earthlink offers this type of filtering and I would guess that some other ISPs do as well. I use the email forwarding service Pobox.com so that my email address can remain unchanged when I move or switch ISPs. Although I don't use it, they offer a configurable spam filter with their service. These are not endorsements or recommendations for any particular service, just suggestions for things that might help you to determine what will meet your needs.

The bottom line here is that I don't think this is a First Admendment issue, at least not in a legal sense. There may very well be some malicious activity behind this and if so it should be exposed and dealt with appropriately. Maybe that will mean a campaign to shame Comcast, Symantec or some nefarious individuals who tricked them into blocking mail containing the text "www.afterdowningstreet.org". But first we have to find out why this happened, and for that Symantec needs to answer some questions.

"..Symantec's claim that they had 46,000 complaints of spam from the ADS domain is suspicious. I suggest that the victims -- I use the term broadly but here seriously -- of this incident apply pressure on Symantec to reveal exactly how and why this block occured. It might also help to apply that same pressure to Comcast, as a customer of Symantec, to get to the bottom of it. Their fix in this case is merely the treatment of a symptom of a larger problem. "Oh, did we block your mail? Sorry about that. There, it's fixed." But what about next time?.."

Yes I agree, Symantec owes us all an indepth explanation, than "oops we made a booboo...there,all better now, bye-bye"

Sounds like Bushco's "oops" for killing tens of thousands of innocents for no WMD's...

Thank you for relieving some of my naivete. Please enlighten me more... is Norton and Symantec connected in some way?

norton is symantec product
i have monitored and registred calls from norton utility
with a port identifier
to a company which is not symantec but has recently bought a share of it
this company is a so called security firm, with relation with so called charity funds around "security" maters

they aparently are able to use nortron utility as a tool to transmit informations for a purpose wich is monitoring content by users without their consent of course.

symentec is infiltrated by this way by people who can act in spying, or in content filtering, as it appears, that what happen to afterthedowningstreet memo try to stop a campaign designed to inform people on certain facts.

in fact it show clearly that symentec monitor contents on the false claim to protect against spam

this activity to stop an informative campaign while censoring TARGETED messages has an operator and it won't be difficult for symentec to identify the person who orderdered it.
and for the credibility of this company to take steps to avoid political actors to sunk it's business on the business point of vew only.Even if the political service are well payed instantly, the cost will be very hard if they don't restaure confidence and protect theyr users from those unlawfull and treasonous actions.

filtering messages containing targeted word wia mailserver programs
and using protection tools to allow comunicate information to third party are not exactly the services that symentec is allowed by it's users !!!

" they aparently are able to use nortron utility as a tool to transmit informations for a purpose wich is monitoring content by users without their consent of course. "

No, the norton software is just checking for updates. You are being dishonest, because you *pretend* that you know what the content of the communication is, but you don't. You haven't looked at the contents of the packets, you only know what computer it's communicating with at the far end.

You are a liar and a fantasist. Don't make up claims about things you don't actually know anything about.

I recorded the comunication from Norton Utilities in my machine
to an IP adress wich was not Norton but a private security company.
I noticed later this company has bought shares of Norton.
I am looking in my archives if i have the exact date time and ip adress.
I won't tell you that other way.
i was able to do that recording with aport software wich gave me a report.

When I bought my first computer it came with the Symanyec Norton anti virus installed by the manufacturer,a virus got by the Norton,and did excessive damage to my computer.
The manufacturer of the computer advised me Symantec/Norton was responsible for the damage,as for Symantec/Norton,they would not repair the damage,I ended up having to buy a new computer.
As for the computers manufacturer,Dell,I would never recomend Dell products to anyone,not even my worst enemy,and as for Symantec/Norton,I refuse to use their products again,the company does not stand behind their products.

The key issue here is whether email was filtered or actually blocked. There are two levels of Brightmail filtering, and some added by Comcast. Mail identified as Spam is placed in a Screened Mail folder in Comcast Webmail for review if Spam filtering is turned on by the customer. If the filter is not turned on, mail will appear in the Webmail inbox, and can be retrieved normally by PC email programs.

A second level of filtering is in place before this takes place intended to weed out potential viruses and suspicious file attachments. At this level email is flagged and will be blocked and never seen by the customer. Mail is screened against known virus signatures and other indicators that are intentionally entered.

So if the mail in question appeared in the Screened Mail folder(which is deleted in 3 days by default), it was caught by the Brightmail spam filter as it was trained to do. A large number of customers reporting this mail as spam could cause the filter to be trained to divert it. On the other hand, if the mail never reached the Screened Mail folder, in all likelyhood, it was intentionally blocked.

At one time about a year ago, Comcast blocked all email sent to the .ru domain, that is all of Russia, purportedly because of spam volume coming from Russia. When it was discovered, it was attributed to a keying error by the mail server team.

I'm sure CEO Brian Roberts, a Bush Ranger, has nothing to do with all this.

This is not first amendment case(no government action involved), but there is a possible legal remedy. I strongly suggest the ADSM folks consult with an attorney who is familiar with cyber-law. The conduct that has been reported sounds like activities that have been made illegal over the past 10 years as part of anti-hacker legislation.

With a lawsuit in hand, it is likely that ADSM could compel Symantec to produce the 46,000 complaints (if they exist) and ultimately exact some monetary compensation from any parties who can be proven to have intentionally and unreasonably interfered with ADSM's email.

Uh, yeah. What a great way to blow $40k+.

where do you find an attorney with the stones to take on comcast for 1st amendment violations,circumventing 1st amendment rights,in the comcast forums a user has no first amendment right unless they are a liberal democrat and their posts are attacks on our country,government,our president,and the opinions of those who do not agree with them.
Those who scream the loudest about tolerance,are the most intolerant.
Personally the comcast.net forums should be closed down,and comcast fined billions of dollars.

I think there may be some danger of undermining your own credibility if this incident is overstated as a freedom of speech issue.

I don't mean to suggest that Comcast and Symantec (or any other service providers) are blameless, but email "spam" filtering is a very common practice and it's far from being a perfectly exact one. Some tradeoffs between effective filtering and legitimate deliveries are almost inevitable.

In a way, the fault could be said to lie with users who are too uninformed or too lazy to manage their own systems and who demand that service providers "protect" them against spam and all other potential threats and annoyances on the Internet.

P.S.: On the other hand, if you want to get into the whole broad area of control over the Internet and (broadband) access ownership concentration, there's plenty to be concerned about. See here for example: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507150245.html

is the same type of "mistake" that got America's children killed in an illegal war...Oops we killed thousands by "mistake" ... just because it was White House mistake doesn't mean its White House fault ...blame the White House janitor.

This is why bloggers are vigilant 24/7 .

Vigilance is a good thing, but effective vigilance does require some in-depth understanding of what's involved. The Internet, for example, isn't exactly comparable to the Whitehouse in terms of hierarchical structure and control.

I certainly didn't intend to blame the "janitor". Just pointing out that there's almost always a price to be paid whenever any societal group demands, on behalf of its least well informed and least competent members, the elimination of all difficulties, risks and vulnerabilites from any system. It's the same old "freedom vs security" thing.

And, believe it or not, I say that as someone who considers himself a social progressive on most issues. :^)

"..I certainly didn't intend to blame the "janitor". Just pointing out that there's almost always a price to be paid whenever any societal group demands, on behalf of its least well informed and least competent members, the elimination of all difficulties, risks and vulnerabilites from any system. It's the same old "freedom vs security" thing..."

From my personal experience the "least well informed and least competent members" of society are on top of the food chain in a container made of Teflon. They have more of everything, except of course, responsibility.

The other day it appeared as if the cumcast dns servers were hacked to where if you tried to go to google, you were sent to a search page called SOGO. Anyone else see this?
Also, SBC and Cumcast are fighting for customers and service has been terrible. Makes me wonder if the two companies are attacking each other's lines so that customers try the competition. Just speculation on the latter.

I would highly recommend AVOIDING using GOOGLE. Personally, I utilize Scroogle (uses GOOGLE results but does NOT maintain a permanent log of your searches; does not try to infiltrate your computer to gain access to YOUR personal info). Just a suggestion.

The only way Google can "maintain a permanent log of your searches" is if you accept cookies from Google (or, possibly, use one of Google's "toolbar" add-ons).

Never heard of "scroogle" but scroogle.com is nothing.

Oh yeah, afterdowningstreet.org wanted to set a cookie too.

WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM ME!?!! THEY MUST BE EVIL!?!!?!

I wasn't sent to SOGO but did get another site. Can't remember it's name. Wonder what's up?

AOL also censors comment and has a double-standard on who it kicks off its system, accuses of "spamming," and blocks from emailing to its members. People who attack Democrats, bigots who spout racism and hate speech against women and gays, even sickos who "cyber stalk" on AOL stay members year after year. Those who promote liberal, progressive and pro-Democratic messages often find themselves sanctioned or banned, and their emails into AOL blocked as spam.

When I attempt to access the Events page I get text, but no links appear - just the blank space where the links should be. Therefore, I cannot view scheduled events or list a new event. We use Charter cable service for connectivity. My computer has Symantec and IE products enabled. Until now, I've never run into this problem. Weird, and a little spooky.

My wife's computer uses the Firefox browser and every link is displayed on the Events page, just as it should be.

This was emailed to "Brad" yesterday.

Send questions about the Events system to afterdowningstreet@benslade.com

It seems like Symantec would do at least some checking to see if there is any evidence of wrong-doing before adding a web site to their block lists. There is no evidence at all on news.admin.net-abuse.sightings or .email. There are no entries in SPEWS or any of the many RBLs I searched.

I'd keep the pressure on to have a look at the complaints they received, and try to find out more info on their system of adding a site to their block lists.

Meaningless without knowing the IP# that the email was sent from.

This doesn't surprise me. I was thinking the other day that the Internet is the last bastion of free speech we have. Anyone want to guess who has control of the "13 root servers" of the WWW? Our Federal Government and the military! Surprised?? Can you imagine what would happen if they decided to do a little monitoring of traffic, etc? Big Brother??

"If"?

On a page from a Google search for "Carnivore":

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/carnivore.htm

"Although Carnivore was abandoned by the FBI in favor of commercially available eavesdropping software by January 2005."

Just found this one which I will be reviewing more:
http://www.epic.org/privacy/carnivore/questions.html

But here is a document from 2000.

Carnivore questions:
http://www.epic.org/privacy/carnivore/questions.html

And if your not familiar with the Patriot Act, now is the time:
Google: "Patriot Act"

http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot/default.html

It's time to catch up folks. Little may have appeared to change on the surface of our society, but the real serious changes are mostly going unseen and unheard and have been in a continual process for decades, if not centuries. If you aren't already, I invite you to investigate beyond what you are used to or comfortable with. It's past time to step outside our comfort zones, because they are just getting smaller anyway. What we refuse to see will eventually be in our faces, but by then it's too late.

The responsibility to freedom is utilization of our inherent awareness and where we choose to put out attention.

I'm not saying it will be easy, I am continually seeing where my own
willingness is to see, hear, and not fall back into the "comfort zone". Part of what makes that possible is being willing and able to meet the fears that arise and also not to engage in the story of "us and them". To not go into a story of what "they" are doing, how
"they are evil" and how "we" have to stop "them", but to simply be self aware. Aware of what choices we are making and what the possible/probable consequences are, of how we are choosing to live life and what and how it is serving the rest of the world.

I have come to acknowledge my own past complacence, how I was aware of the issues and dealings of the world, and how I had chosen to continue on with life as if I didn't, or gave into the fear of what it would mean to my life if I chose to respond to what I felt, saw and heard. And how my own lack of reponsiveness has helped to perpetuate these issues we are facing today.

Everything that is culminating now is here to remind us that we are not seperate, as much as we have been taught to believe we are(while giving lip service of "we are the world"), and it's time to stop behaving as if we are.

I don't feel I have the right to be "righteous", but I do know I have the responsibility to tell the truth to myself and the rest of the world. Isn't this what we are wanting from "them"? To tell the truth, to engage in the world with integrity and mutual consideration, if not compassion, for our fellow beings(animal, mineral AND vegetation!)

An excerpt from a great read at http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com
which has been set as my homepage as of today.

From "The Trouble With Normal":

"If we want to uncover hidden truths then we have to go deep, and when we go deep we have to get our freak on, because the truths we dredge up transgress the assumptions of respectable society."

That is to say we must be willing to be percieved as an "outsider" or different, to not play it safe and only speak when it won't jeopardize being accepted. And willing to consider things that may seem absurd or frightening and repulsive. To trust our maturity and ability to process this information and to make the time and give our attention to openly investigate.

The full piece: http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2005/07/trouble-with-normal.html

I also have read lately some wonderful communications from Hari Heath, among others, at the Idaho Observer: http://proliberty.com/observer

An excellent piece:
A Quantum Shift http://proliberty.com/observer/20050409.htm

I offer this, once again not in self righteousness, but in support of the desire to know deeper truth, and compassion for any fear there may be that may arise from it, because I know this and continue to do my best to meet it. And I know you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't already listening, seeing, a little deeper. The support is here if you continue to investigate.

I have considered starting my own blog or site, but there is such a proliferation of them that I consider to be well informed and well spoken, and if one is searching they will be found. But who knows, it still feels to be the most viable way for me to be interacting and communicating outside of individual encounters with people. Even if it is most likely being fully monitored and recorded and not necessarily for the reasons it is being said to be.

Good luck and thank you for any and all consideration you give to seeing outside the "comfort zone". ;)

"Anyone want to guess who has control of the "13 root servers" of the WWW? Our Federal Government and the military!"

No they don't. The root servers are widely distributed world-wide and there have been a lot more than 13 of them for years now. Your information is based on how the internet used to work two decades ago. Take a look at the list at http://www.root-servers.org/, then tell us once more how you believe the US.Gov controls the servers in Beijing, Seoul or Moscow ?

"Can you imagine what would happen if they decided to do a little monitoring of traffic, etc?"

You clearly don't have the faintest idea what the root servers are or what they do. Your traffic does not go through the root servers, only your DNS lookups. There's not a lot they could usefully discover from monitoring the traffic through them.

This shit happens all the time to email servers, I think it's a bit ridiculous to say there is some sort of conspiracy going on here by Comcast and Symantec, shit happens.

from the top. So we nip it in the bud at the top, ok? Money talks, IF Comcast wants our business that is. Conspiracy and/or techie problems that delete emails with ADS links, why should we tolerate either one?

If your new car is not working from the car dealership do you say, "oh they are such nice people , they would never sell me a lemon?! I trust car dealers with my life in their hands !"
Boy , are you naive.

I'm with Karl. I am as liberal as the next guy. Hell I even live in Berkeley!!! But you think comcast/bright mail "blocked" emails BECAUSE they had the URL AfterDowningStreet.org in it? I am more likely to believe that the WTC was detonated at sublevel four. Email is not a very reliable means to communicate, and shit gets blocked all the time. Comcast or any other ISP is under NO obligation to accept your email anyway - there are no common carrier laws that cover email.

Did you check to ensure that the IP# you were sending from wasn't blocked by one of the many blocklists out there for another reason, such as being a spam source?

I ask how a Web site that has been up for less than two months got more than 46,000 email addresses to write? You don't seem to dispute the 46k figure. I find it incredulous that you would have so many "opt-ins" in so short a period.

So if I sign up to get email at another site, let's call it ihatebush.org, can I expect to get email from AfterDowningStreet.org? That would be the textbook example of spam, and with so many ISPs providing "quarantine" areas where clueless [l]users can just click a button that says "this is spam" because they never heard of you, who could blame them?

Take this over to the real experts at news.admin.net-abuse.email and they will be happy to fit you for some new head gear: http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html

From Google -> "Comcast Partisanship"

http://www.newshounds.us/2004/09/30/begala_v_novak.php

See Postings from Sept 30 2004 , 6:33 PM and 6:37 PM

This is not the first time I have seen Internet remarks regarding potential Partisan Issues related to Comcast.

Further research by others in the State of Oregon might result in other references to RW leanings or worse.

From Google: "Comcast Republican Party"

http://www.public-i.org/telecom/analysis/CompanyProfile.aspx?HOID=2#Cont...

Note: See Contributions in Presidential Campaign

There is much more on Google.

In the lead up to the war in Iraq, I was not able to send out any anti-war e-mails and was not able to receive truthout.org information clearinghouse, moveon.org and I even could not receive the Dutch news paper by e-mail.

Yes, I also got a cheap rate for the first six month but I canceled and went for another server.

Comcast had any of these e-mail lists blocked as spam. When I contacted Comcast they said they did not censor since it was against the first amendment. It happened anyway. It is time for other countries to be able to use their own servers. The internet will not be able to survive, if other countries cannot use their own servers. A Good article about the problem is in World Socialist Web Site. Actually a similar article is also in the Dutch news paper.

Bush administration refuses to relinquish US control of Internet

It is interesting to read these comments about Comcast as I personally have very recently (yesterday actually) "suffered at their hands". Not with regard to internet use but our cable tv service.
A few weeks ago, when I had gotten behind in my bill, which is $10 per month and because of the low amount I often wait a few months and send a larger check. I have been doing this with no problems for the past 5 years or so, so I was quite surprized when a technician showed up at my home on a Sunday afternoon to disconnect our service. I told him that I would deal with the situation via telephone, which I immediately proceeded to do and made him aware of this, and would he please leave my property as I fely his presence an intrusion in my home. He refused and I had to call the police to get him to leave. There were many apologetic calls from supervisors etc...and I thought the matter was resolved. Then the other day I was going to pay my bill (on time!) and noticed a mysterious charge on it. I called Comcast to inquire about the charge and they could give no explanation for it. The payment I had made previously over the phone was indicated on the bill, so I said I wanted them to remove the "bogus" charge and they said they would.
Yesterday my son was wathching tv and the the cable suddenly went out, thus drawing my attention to a cable tech. working on the lines outside our house...I asked my son to ask when he thought the service would be back on ( I assumed that something he was doing had accidentally interrupted our service) My son asked him so sweetly, when the service might come back on and the technician snarled at him ,right in the street where any passing neighbor could hear, "when your mother pays her bill"... to my SON!! I went out and told him I would sue him for liable, as the bill HAD been paid and no matter what he had ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO AN INNOCENT CHILD.. My GOD I was upset...of course I called Comcast and complained (to put it mildly)
"Is this the way you treat loyal (actually if we want cable tv we HAVE to be customers) anyway..."I said I had been treated horribly by the company and that both myself and now my SON have been assaulted by their barbaric treatment and it was an OUTRAGE...(etc...,etc...)...I called my bank and found out that indeed, the problem with the bill payment was not related to my account...the bill had never hit my account at all...someone in Comcast screwed up and couldn't even tell me what the problem was when I called and asked about it SPECIFICALLY the other day BEFORE the problem with my son and the technician,....This is a frightening state of affairs... possibly the sign of "things to come" if legislation continues to favor big business over American citizens. I don't want to sound paranoid but.....I am very, very active in Anti-Bush correspondance, mostly via e-mai, on a daily basis( strange coincidence) You don't suppose...... (nah...Can't be)
Or can it.....???

Amy Goodmans DemocracyNow.org had a story about legislation enabling consolidation of internet servers or services similar to consolidation of radio channels. i dont know the details but it sounded like the first step in internet control.? Is there a email forward for afterdowningstreet? if so where is it? Is this site being monitored?

Amy Goodmans DemocracyNow.org had a story about legislation enabling consolidation of internet servers or services similar to consolidation of radio channels. i dont know the details but it sounded like the first step in internet control.? Is there a email forward for afterdowningstreet? if so where is it? Is this site being monitored?

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