What Good Can Come Out Of The Ashley Madison Hack?


Hey, did you read that Josh Duggar was on the Ashley Madison list? And it wasn’t a fake email address either! He confirmed it!

I know that some people get a feeling of joy or pleasure seeing Duggar suffer more misfortune. That’s nice for them. But with all the genuine suffering that this exposure will be causing innocents, can we at least get something good out of it?

The media are already using it for their headlines, therapists and divorce lawyers will be using it to get new clients. But can we get more out of this hack than media hits and billable hours?

What’s the opposite of Disaster Capitalism? Disaster Socialism?

We know that some people use disasters to profit, others to push an agenda. “We are going to turn Iraq into a free market paradise using these Heritage Foundation interns!”

I propose we have a couple of items to push on our agenda.

First, increase the importance of privacy in both private governments and corporations. Second, use this data to show the problem with passing judgement on the private lives of ordinary people.

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out in his piece, The Puritanical Glee Over the . . . → Read More: What Good Can Come Out Of The Ashley Madison Hack?

How will campaigns use Ashley Madison data? How will media?

Here is some interesting information compiled by @dadaviz taken from the illegally obtained Ashley Madison data dump. Link

34% of Ashley Madison Accounts are Fake

Yesterday I could have downloaded the 10 gigs of illegally obtained Ashley Madison customer data. The idea was kind of thrilling. I could see which associates of politicians, lobbyists or corporate executives are on the list, prepare it for oppo research, political leverage and/or public shaming.

I didn’t do it but lots of people can and will. Prepare for the onslaught. I’m trying to get ahead of the curve a bit. Partly to help people see who and how this might be handled. Partly to wonder how it might be used, abused or leverage by others. And finally, I’d like to reinforce the importance of figuring out how to maintain privacy in our current surveillance state.

I keep thinking about two comments I’ve heard in the past around privacy, sex and cheating on a spouse.

“If you haven’t done anything wrong you don’t have anything to worry about.”

“It’s not about the sex, it’s about the lying.”

I wrote about privacy and this breach back in July, Why I care when people . . . → Read More: How will campaigns use Ashley Madison data? How will media?

Let’s help GOP billionaires attack each other 

“When your opponent is drowning, them ’em an anchor.”

–old phrase from some famous person you admire

I’m angry today. Maybe it’s because of watching the GOP “debate” or the BLM protests or maybe it’s because of the Planned Parenthood attack. But as I thought of all this I started getting angry. You’ll like me when I’m angry. Because when I get angry I get strategic. Then tactical. Then I take a shower.Then I write a blog post.

You know what? Screw the Kochs and their billionaire buddies. Screw Fox News and their staged “debate.” Screw sitting back and laughing at the mockery they are making of our representative democracy.

Lots of people are happy to sit back and let the billionaires on the right fight it out. I get that, but in the the process we let the right wing institutions and methods continue.

When we let them set the rules puppets fight puppets, not puppet masters fighting each other. (Presidential politics is a game with low stakes for them, since 95 percent of the players give them what they want.)

I say it’s time to help the billionaire backers destroy each other–while they target their opponent’s chosen candidate. . . . → Read More: Let’s help GOP billionaires attack each other 

Who helps shooting survivors deal with the media?

The day before the GOP presidential candidates were on TV ignoring the issue of gun violence, there was another attack in a theater in Tennessee. We saw the now standard scenario unfold: ID of assailant unknown. First reports –assailant is white male and 51. Killed by police. Theatergoers injured, but alive.

Then as details came out we found out the assailant was a 29 year-old white male who had been committed four times for mental illness. He used pepper spray in the theater and had an Airsoft gun, not a real one. Details from The Tennessean here

What struck me about his story was the response of one of the survivors. He asked the media to leave him alone. It got me thinking about how people cope with the media blitz following a shooting. I wrote a post on the issue (below) and then asked some experts.

.@everytown Do you have people who help shooting survivors deal with the media? Need show: http://t.co/999NRudHAn

— Spocko (@spockosbrain) August 7, 2015

Following big shootings the media swarm to get comments from survivors, witnesses and officials.

When there is a high body count the official NRA spokespeople lay low. . . . → Read More: Who helps shooting survivors deal with the media?

Tenn theater attack survivor: Grateful to police. Asks media to leave him alone.


Following big shootings where people die the official NRA spokespeople lay low. In comments sections or on twitter we are told, “It’s too soon to push any agenda, the bodies aren’t even cold!”

However the one group of people that it’s deemed appropriate to hear from following an attack are the survivors.

But what is the media to do when the survivor isn’t ready to make a statement? In general most people don’t know how to handle a media onslaught, but following a traumatic event it’s even harder.

Yet they are expected to answer questions, first to the authorities, to understand what happened, and then to the media.

In this case one of the attack survivors knows enough about how shootings play out to ask the media not hound him and his family. Above is the video from the Tennessean.

Since Steven doesn’t want to talk anymore, who will fill in the void? NRA gun loving types. But will the papers reach out to people who survived Aurora?

I know the NRA hides after shootings and we are told, “It’s too soon after deaths” but I think now is the perfect time to jump into this with a “political . . . → Read More: Tenn theater attack survivor: Grateful to police. Asks media to leave him alone.

Rubio: It’s the media’s fault we have to take billionaire’s money 


#SignsYoureRightWing No matter how powerful or rich you are, you are the real victim.

— Spocko (@spockosbrain) August 4, 2015

All Things Considered did a story yesterday about a Koch event attended by GOP presidential candidates. It’s really stunning to listen to some of their quotes.

Here is the link. Here are two audio bits I highlighted in the transcript below: From the story:

“The biggest contributor so far is hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer. He sent $11 million to a super PAC backing Ted Cruz. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Koch network the candidates really have no choice about raising money.”


MARCO RUBIO: As long as newspapers and television stations keep charging people to speak out on politics, we’re going to have to keep raising money to pay for it.

Great narrative flip Marco! You are the real victim here. You had no choice but to accept the trucks of cash dumped on your doors! And besides, why should you have to pay for your “free speech?” (Hey, does this mean he wants the fairness doctrine back? )

“And Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said the media isn’t . . . → Read More: Rubio: It’s the media’s fault we have to take billionaire’s money 

Roddy Piper Dies. Rewatch his SF film “They Live.” Almost a documentary

‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, WWE legend, dead at 61

    – CBCNews Saskatchewan 

In honor of Roddy Piper’s life rewatch They Live. It showed greedy, ugly aliens taking over the media.Turns out it was a documentary. #Murdoch #Fox

— Spocko (@spockosbrain) July 31, 2015

One of my favorite films in the 80’s was “They Live.” Not just because of the science fiction aspect of it, but because of the biting satire.

On the surface it’s a standard “Aliens take over Earth” story, but underneath that it showed how some in the media and government really see Americans and what they want us to do.

When our heroes put on special glasses they could see the messages that were embedded in our media, all in black and white. (Video link)

Frank: What do these things want?

Gilbert: They’re free-enterprisers. The earth is just another developing planet. Their third world.

The main character, Piper, comes to town looking for work. He is directed to a camp of other men and women looking for work. His interview:

Female Interviewer: Last place of employment? Nada: Denver, Colorado. I worked there for ten years and things just seemed to dry up. They lost fourteen banks in . . . → Read More: Roddy Piper Dies. Rewatch his SF film “They Live.” Almost a documentary