The Backlash! - October 1997

Headline News

It Really Steals?

Newsweek, October 13, 1997 - The first time I heard the term "It Really Steals" used to describe the IRS was at a gathering of the King County Libertarian Party in 1982. Back then, Big Media (BM) portrayed them as a bunch of right wing dope smoking tax dodging anarchists. Fifteen years later, radical libertarian principles are almost mainstream and the BM has finally admitted what almost every other American has known all along: the IRS is out of control:

Victimization of taxpayers isn't just the isolated deviltry of a few agents. The IRS itself has become a rogue organization, wielding its awesome power under a cloak of secrecy.

Say it isn't so!

Men in Panties

KOMO TV, October 5, 1997 - I guess just about everybody but me knew who Marv Albert is. That's what comes from publishing a web site. No time for spectator sports.

Naturally, I did not know he likes to wear women's panties. Interesting how, when a woman says she likes to wear men's underwear, she's just another liberated woman, but when a woman says some guy likes to wear women's underwear, he's a pervert. Says something about which sex our society judges more harshly within the context of sex roles.

The woman, in this case, being Vanessa Perhatch, and sports caster Marv Albert, the man in the panties.

Everybody knew she accused Albert of rape. Everybody knew she claimed to have had a long-standing affair with him. Everybody knew she claimed to have had sex with Peter Jennings. And everybody knew she said Albert liked threesomes. What we didn't know, until last week when radio talk show host Tom Leykis spilled the beans, was her name.

Vanessa Perhatch

When Leykis revealed her identity, pop feminists went ballistic over the "chilling effect" of publishing the names of alleged rape victims. Did I say alleged? Oops. Sorry. As the redoubtable femigogue, Michigan State Law professor Catharine MacKinnon assures us, women never lie about such things. Therefore, any woman who claims to be a victim or rape is never an alleged victim, but a victim beyond any doubt, reasonable, shadowed or otherwise.

Since Leykis decided to break ranks with the PC storm troopers, who were having a field day eviscerating Marv Albert's life, the local ABC affiliate, KOMO, decided to put him on stage under the hot glare of public spectacle with two formidable feminists and make an example of him. What they hadn't counted on was the sea change in public sentiment during the past few years. Nor were they prepared for Leykis, who, accustomed to sparring with loud mouthed adversaries, was articulate, knowledgeable, and skilled in his craft.

First up Susan Paynter, a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. During the first round, she managed to drop her drawers on a key pop feminist complaint. That rape is about men stealing the property of another man: "(Rape) is always going to be a different crime than getting burglarized." I agree. For several years, however, pop feminists have insisted that rape is (a) a crime of violence, not a crime of sex, and (b) like burglary, it's the intentional violation of another man's property. Good for you, Susan. Glad to see you're not entirely in step with new rage nonsense.

Next, out marched Ione George, a Deputy Prosecutor in Washington state's Kitsap County and head of their sexual assault unit, who also managed to immediately trip over another fundamental principle of the rape crisis feminists -- that rape is about violence, not sex. Said George, "The rape victim has been subject to an act of sex -- of sexual intercourse."

Then the fun really began. The central topic was, should we protect the identity of the, victim, but not the, rapist? Both femigogues were all for protecting the identity of the accuser, but not the accused. Who stood for equal rights? Tom Leykis. "Why not protect both names?" he asked:

If this is so horrifying and so embarrassing, isn't it just as embarrassing to be accused of the crime as it is to be a victim of the crime?

Not surprisingly, both women assumed that if a man is charged with a crime, he must be guilty. Said George, "By the time an accused is named in a court of law, a judge - a judicial authority - has found probable cause that that person committed a crime."

Then "who needs a jury," Leykis asked, "we'll just let the district attorney's office decide who's guilty and we don't need juries." Deputy Prosecutor George agreed: "Well, unfortunately we don't get to do that."

Talk about "chilling effect"! The word "nazi" comes to mind.

But this isn't the only time Ms. George stuck her head up her, her foot in her mouth:

It is not socially acceptable for us to go out and talk about our sex lives. That is looked down upon. It is not something we're comfortable talking about. It has social stigma attached to it.

That would explain all the women's magazines at the check out stand at the neighborhood grocery store. You know, the ones with the headlines about Intensify your orgasm, How often should you have sex?, How soon should you have sex?, Eighty-seven ways to spice up your sex life!, How can you tell if he's a fantastic lover? And so on.

Truth is, women talk about sex all the time. It's only when men talk about sex, or it's about men having or wanting to have sex, or when it specifically caters to men's as opposed to women's sexual fantasies that it's suddenly dirty, not okay to talk about, x-rated, wrapped in plastic, not sold to minors and socially stigmatized.

Am I'm suggesting pop feminists are full of ... themselves when they complain about a double sexual standard that makes sex for men, but not for women, all right? Once upon a time, that was true. But the tables have turned, and the only time the self entitled sexual aristocrats acknowledge this is to jeer, "Now you know what it feels like." Right. What these "tit-for-tat feminists" don't get is, those men who know what it feels like are too young to know what it felt like to be the entitled sex, which is why they're members of the male backlash generation. Let's hope that, ten or twenty years from now, we will do better than today's "tit-for-tat feminists."

Ms. George also demonstrated how profoundly incompetent she is to head up any sexual assault unit when she claimed "the rate of false reporting (of rape) is very low." In The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell exposes this as another femigogue myth:

Ms. George says all the studies prove the incidence of false reporting is very low. Obviously, she doesn't know what she's talking about.

What made this program remarkable was the audience. A few years ago, they would have been booing Leykis and applauding the femigogues. This time, amid applause and cheers for Leykis, members of the audience were standing up to demand equality for both sexes, not just women.

Ironically, the pop feminists are so accustomed to having public sentiment on their side that this demand for equal treatment led Paynter to complain about a "preponderance of sympathy" for the accused. When folks are anti male, that's equality, but when the majority demands fairness and equality, suddenly it's a "preponderance of sympathy" that has to be explained away. She says it's because Albert is a celebrity. Of course. It couldn't be because most people are fed up with the anti male bigotry. Only women are victims of gender bias.

Evil Empire?

Forbes, September 8, 1997 - You read a lot of stuff about Microsoft. Some complimentary, some critical, and, as with all things, some of it is warranted, some is not, and some is just plain silly.

Take Julie Pitta's article, "Bill Gates and the Billophobes" article, for example. According to her, anyone who competes with Microsoft is, by definition, a "Billophobe," "anti-Microsoft," and guilty of "Bill envy."

(Sun Microsystems Chief Scott) McNealy stubbornly refuses to equip his network servers with Microsoft's Windows NT. That means telling Sun's customers that they either have to use UNIX, an operating system that Microsoft does not control, or go elsewhere. Which is just what some of them do.

... So why doesn't McNealy supply Sun servers (powerful computers that stand at the hub of a network) with the popular Windows NT preinstalled?

Could it be because there are more security leaks in NT than a Dutch boy has fingers. Systems security expert Winn Schwartau says, "NT and security should never be used in the same breath."

NT is a fine operating system (OS) for some applications, but as a server side OS it's neither as secure nor as robust as either UNIX or Apple. Moreover, UNIX can handle far more users per server than NT.

Ironically, for their most critical server needs, even Microsoft's own network administrators prefer UNIX to NT. (Could they be secretly guilty of Billophobia, too?)

What is truly ironic, however, is Pitta's implication that IBM's OS/2 (now marketed as Warp) was an anti-Microsoft endeavor:

The Java consortium is not the first anti-Bill Gates gang. In the mid-1980s, software companies rallied around IBM's OS/2.

Mid-1980s? When I went to work at Microsoft in 1988, OS/2 was very much a joint venture between Microsoft and IBM that continued at least through 1989. (As late as October, 1989, Steve Ballmer was still lauding OS/2 as the key to Microsoft's future success.)

When I emailed Forbes about this, an editor replied that "software developers rallied around IBM and OS/2 and continued to cling to it even after it became clear that OS/2 would not be a success. The alternative to OS/2 was Microsoft's windows. Billphobia is the reason for their reluctance to move from OS/2 to windows rapidly."

"Billophobia" may have had something to do with it, but software development is not something that happens overnight. It's more complex than writing an article for a magazine by several degrees of magnitude. You can't wake up one morning and say, "Well, today we're going to scrap thousands of lines of code and re-port everything to an entirely different OS." That would be on par with Steve Forbes walking into an editorial meeting and announcing the magazine is going to drop it's pro-capitalist stance and begin touting the (cough) virtues of socialism.

Moreover, many developers suffered tremendous financial damage as a result of Microsoft's decision to dump OS/2. Few people would call the resulting hard feelings "Billophobia."

Pitta's erratic nonsense does not end there:

In the early 1990s, Novel bought two aged operating systems: UNIX and (Digital Research's DOS) DR-DOS, a clone of nearly obsolete MS-DOS, the software designed by Microsoft for IBM's first PC.

UNIX, an "aged" operating system? Most network engineers and systems administrators are more likely to call it mature. As opposed to "immature" operating systems. As for DR-DOS, when DR-DOS v 6.0 came out, Joachim Kempin, then VP of OEM Sales at Microsoft, went ballistic. As one OEM Account manager told me, "DR-DOS is better than MS-DOS." Kempin instructed the account managers to put clauses into all their OEM contracts penalizing any OEM that carried DR-DOS. Over kill, wouldn't you agree, for an "obsolete" clone?

Then there's the comment about MS-DOS being "the software designed by Microsoft for IBM's first PC." Not quite. It's a matter of historical fact that the original MS-DOS was a product of Seatle Computer Products and a fellow named Patterson (I don't recall his first name). Gates sold IBM on it, then, without divulging this significant fact to Patterson, bought Q-DOS for $50,000 then turned around and represented it to IBM as his own. (Later, Patterson sued...for bad faith, violation of due diligence, or something along those lines, I gather, and won a settlement plus a job-for-life at Microsoft. He died a few years later.)

Generally, I enjoy Forbes. And generally, per force of habit, I prefer using Microsoft software. But sometimes it seems the operating philosophy at both companies is, "Financial might makes right," and that is truly naive.

More evil empire?

Microsoft Magazine, Fall 1997 - Is "Big Brother" about to become another Microsoft trademark? MS-BigBrother? With the release of Microsoft's latest version of Windows, due out sometime in 1998, some folks may think so:

From the Start menu, you will be able to go directly to a Windows Update Web site maintained specifically for registered users of Windows 98. From here a service will automatically scan your system (emphasis added) and let you know about any device drivers or system updates you need, making it easy to keep your system up-to-date with the latest innovations.

Easy for Microsoft to keep up-to-date on everything their customers have their home computers, too. Talk about "things that make you go, hmmm."

Get the story straight?

America's Network, September 1, 1997 - The problem with distorting the truth is, it's impossible to keep track of which facts you publicly disown but privately accept. And it's even harder to coordinate the distortions when an entire industry does this.

According to John G. Robinson, President of Inc.'s BellSouth's Internet Service, Telcos have all the resources they need to expand their network capacity:

Telcos (make maximum) use of their networks by serving businesses by day and consumers after hours. This is what's made them able to afford high-capacity, high-quality telecommunications networks, and what has convinced us to make similar investments in our Internet service network.

He goes on to say, "Few ISPs have chosen to do this, though; witness the constant busy signals during peak residential use." Conveniently ignoring that ISPs are dependent upon their local telco for everything from bandwidth to number of lines, and if the telco is slow to deliver promised capacity, the result is "constant busy signals during peak residential use."

Where Robinson seems to feel that, unlike short sighted ISPs, his industry has capacity up the kazoo, Edward D. Young III, VP and associate general counsel of Bell Atlantic, in Philadelphia, expresses almost the opposite sentiment, that the telcos are victims of a bandwidth famine created by greedy ISPs:

ISPs stuffing our residential and business networks with billions of bits and bytes a day don't want to help upgrade the system to accommodate that explosion in on-line traffic...ISPs can well afford to pay a flat, cost-based charge that allows us to do the necessary upgrades needed to handle the massive traffic volumes." - "Rants & Raves," Wired September 1997

ISPs rolling in ill-gotten gain? That's funny.

X-rated Esquire?

The Seattle Times, September 12, 1997 - Jonnie Barr, a waste-water treatment plant operator in Olympia (in Washington state) brought a copy of Esquire magazine to work.

Nasty, nasty bad man!

One of his female coworkers took offense. How could she not? As any decent human being must know, Esquire (which is published by Valerie Salembier for the Hearst Corporation) caters to men. Like Sports Illustrated and Hustler, it is a shameful example of male hormones run amok. Something to hide behind closed doors beneath the covers with the flashlight on.

In a letter Art O'Neal, the city's public works director, wrote summoning Barr to a disciplinary hearing, he said "it has been reported to me that you have once again brought inappropriate and offensive reading material into the waste water treatment facility and that when confronted about this issue, you were less than truthful."

Unfortunately, Barr has not been fired, terminated, shamed, shadowed and blacklisted for life for this most foul deed. No, they let him off light:

Olympia officials yesterday transferred Jonnie Barr from running machinery in the city's wastewater treatment plant to doing maintenance in city buildings.

He also was docked two days' pay and will be required to undergo sensitivity training.

We can only hope that, following his training, he will learn to bring more elevated, enlightened materials to work. Cosmo, for example, Vogue, or Elle.

Enlightenment versus equality?

Reuter Information Service, August 14, 1997 - If an adult has sex with a teenager, the adult is guilty of statutory rape. Until relatively recently, this applied mostly to men having sex with girls.

During the past few years, however, the law and society have begun to say it's not okay for women to have sex with boys, either, and, in two widely publicized cases in the Seattle area involving female school teachers and teen age boys, the law has found women guilty of statutory rape, too.

Most recently, Mary Kay LeTourneau, a teacher at "Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, a working-class suburb just south of Seattle" who, as it happens, lived in Normandy Park, the neighborhood where I grew up.

LeTourneau's crime is that she had sex with a 13-year old boy. She's even pregnant with his child. In a television interview, the boy said he's in love with LeTourneau, and they plan to marry after she gets out of jail.

Although the law now recognizes that women can be guilty of rape, many people still feel a boy who has sex with a woman is lucky. As Florence Wolfe, co-director of a Seattle treatment center for sex offenders, noted, "It is hard for people to accept that she should be held responsible for her acts."

While I am glad to see a trend in the courts toward treating the transgressions of women equally, my feelings with regard to sex between adults and teen agers are ambiguous. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was only fourteen when she married Joseph, a man who already had adult sons of his own.

Did that make him a dirty old man, and Mary a victimized munchkin? While self entitled feminazis in training might scream yes, there are, I suspect, several hundred million people who would say no way. Yet, if middle-aged Joe tried to wed 14-year old Mary today, most of these same people would call him a rapist.

If our modern Joe is a rapist, then why not Joseph? Because times have changed, obviously. In Jesus' day, few people lived to see 30, so reproducing as soon as possible was a matter of survival. Just as it still is in less technologically developed cultures today. Citizens of industrial nations like the U.S., however, can afford to wait. The question is, does this really make it a crime?

Certainly rape crisis feminists will object. Always seeing an ulterior motive, they'll demand to know what 14-year old I'm interested in. Come to think of it, I don't know any 14-year olds (although I know a few women who act like they're 14 years old...obligatory equality notice: yes, I know a few men who act like they're only 14 years old, too).

The rape crisis feminists are just loud mouthed extremists. Ignore them. The rest of us have plenty of objections to the idea of adults marrying teen agers without involving the androphobic extremists.

Yes, the idea makes me uncomfortable, too. But when we see two people inconveniently in love, it's important to ask the uncomfortable questions. It might be a crime, but is it a sin? Jesus might disagree.

American shadows

The Seattle Times, July 6, 1996 - Any day of the week, day or night, dusk or dawn, take a walk down the well-traveled residential sidewalk along 140th NE in Bellevue, look at the people passing by. Few will acknowledge your gaze. Say hello, fewer still will return your greeting.

Same story in downtown Seattle. The emerald city may have a reputation for being nice (although polite might be a more accurate description), but you're still alone in the crowd.

Being a bit of a maverick, I tend to say "howdy" in my best hayseed to folks along the way. Unless they're black. Black guys, I give a nod, bobbing my head up. Some ignore it, but others are surprised and give an up nod back. White guys, on the other hand, tend to look down, look away, and hurry by. Women? Almost without exception, they scowl. I'm a man. In their world, a reality dominated by rape crisis femigogues, battered women movies, and sleeping with the enemy, that makes me guilty until proven dead. (You know the old saying about "good injuns.")

That's why I was surprised when, for The Washington Post, John W. Fountain wrote that, because he's black, white people don't really see him:

I am a shadow.

People react not to me, but to the exaggerated image of me; to the two-dimensional shadow that is every black man.

That is why white people with whom I work, people with whom I laugh and joke and trade stories, can pass me on the street or in some other unexpected venue and not recognize me. Out of context, I am but one among a cast of dark shadows.

That's funny. The other day I was shopping at Albertson's when a white guy I passed reached out and slugged me on the shoulder. One of my exercise buddies from the Hart's Athletic Club. I've known him for years, followed him through his divorce, watched his son grow up, shared career ups and downs, but outside the context of barbells, LifecyclesR, sweat and spandex, I didn't recognize him.

A few days earlier at Hart's, I struck up a conversation with a young Asian woman who joined the club several months ago, just after moving to Seattle from Thailand. She told me Americans all look alike to her. (Now, where have we heard that one, before?)

Door locks, same thing. Fountain notes people lock their car doors when they see a black guy nearby. But ask one of the guys down at Hart's, he'll tell you, it's not a black thing, but a guy thing. Waiting for the light to change, a woman looks over, sees you sitting in the car next to her, she locks her door because femigogues have trained her to fear men.

Because of our color and gender, black men are sized up, categorized, marginalized.

He's half right. Gender has a lot to do with it. Color does, too, but not to the extent he and other blacks might like to believe. And I know what that feels like. I would very much prefer to think the fact I'm Indian led my white classmates and teachers to pester, bully, harass and marginalize me as a child, than to acknowledge autism had anything to do with it. You can always find solidarity in race. And sometimes it can provide a device for getting your own way:

Sometimes it confers extraordinary power. It is as though you are walking around with a gun on your hip. Everyone reacts to you with exaggerated caution. You can play games with it, if you are of a mind to.

The verb is "to gangster." You can gangster white guys off the basketball court. You can gangster your way to the front of the line. You can gangster for yourself the semblance of respect, if fear is respect. ... People step off. Leave you the hell alone. Respect your space, give up theirs.

Maybe I run with a classier crowd, but few of the blacks I see do this sort of thing. Some do, though. Problem is, it won't work if somebody calls your bluff. Back at the exercise club, while whites stand patiently waiting their turn or, more frequently, look for an alternative, a black fellow comes up and demands to know precisely how much longer I'll be. "I just started," I'll say. "How many more sets?" he demands. "Several." "Well, then can I work in?" "Thank you, no, I work out alone." He begins to strut back and forth, fuming.

Washington, D.C., must be very different from Washington state because, like I said, you don't see much "gangstering" going on around here. Nor is it isolated to blacks. We just don't think of it as gangstering when whites and Asians do it because, then, we have another word for it: bullying. Either way, it amounts to the same thing, and nobody likes a bully.

Don't get me wrong. Racism happens. Last summer my writing partner and I went to the Crossroads Theater to catch a movie. We bought our tickets, went inside, picked up some treats, and headed for the ticket taker. We held out our tickets. Even though my partner was ahead of me, the young blonde woman took my ticket first. My writing partner is black.

Racism happens, but that doesn't mean it explains all or even most slights and slurs. White guys get stepped on, too, but when you're at the bottom of the blame chain, who ya gonna call?

Fountain makes some good points, though:

In 1995, fewer than 1 percent of all black people in America were arrested on charges of committing a violent crime.

The actual number is 0.81 percent, if you are keeping score.

Which means that ninety-nine point one nine percent of the black population does not rape, rob, shoot, stab, punch, maim or kill. And yet 100 percent are suspected of it.

Well said, if I do say so myself. Which, come to think of it, I have. As has Robert Anton Wilson. With Fountain, we're in good company.

"Shadows," Fountain says, "turn men into bogey-men." He's right. Men. Not just black men. In this androphobic age, sex matters more than color.

Old news but still relevant

Boston Globe, December 10, 1996 - Every two years, the state of Massachusetts assesses its students, testing them in reading, math, science and social studies.

Maureen O'Connell, a parent and member of the Falmouth School Committee, wanted to know what was on the Massachusetts Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP. But when she asked to see a copy, Peter Clark, Falmouth's deputy superintendent, said they were confidential.

That was in 1994. O'Connell studied the new education law aligned with the federal "Goals 2000" program, and learned that if a district scored too low on the MEAP, the state take over its schools. She also learned that the MEAP included personal questions.

In 1996, O'Connell wrote the Department of Education, invoked the Massachusetts freedom-of-information statute and demanded copies of the 1994 tests. After several months, Secretary of State William Galvin ruled in her favor.

Did the Education Department comply? On the contrary, Education Commissioner Robert Antonucci arranged to have the freedom-of-information law changed to bar the public from having access to any state "test, examination or assessment instrument." They tried to keep O'Connell from seeing the tests under this new provision.

At first, the secretary of state balked, and ordered the Education Department to turn the documents over. They refused, and as of the date of the Boston Globe's report, the decision is under consideration.

And they wonder why Americans distrust our government so much?

Commercial war on drugs?

USA Today, August 6, 1996 - Effective October 7, 1996, new regulations from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will impose severe restrictions on the distribution and sale of pseudoephedrine, a decongestant widely available in popular cold remedies, that illegal drug dealers use to manufacture methamphetamine.

The government's war on drugs has some fine sentiments behind it, but just how good are the intentions of our lawmakers? The ones who pass the laws, and the ones who write the rules and regulations?

We have noted elsewhere how the Food and Drug Administration pulled L-Tryptophan, an inexpensive nutritional supplement, off health food store shelves just before Prozac, an expensive drug that affects the body similarly, was approved. Others have noted the parallel between the ban on hemp and the introduction of nylon.

Just how sincere are the instigators of the war on drugs? Whose interests do they really serve? If they were really sincere, would we be able to buy Coleus?

This popular house plant, prized for its variegated colorful leaves, doubles as a powerful hallucinogenic drug. According to experiments performed at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1973, the leaves, when dried and smoked like tobacco, produce a hallucinogenic effect comparable to that of LSD.

This is not news. But it should raise serious questions.

The Republican joke?

The Economist, August 17th - 23rd, 1996 - Bands and balloons, silly hats, handshaking, back slapping, arm wrestling over planks in the platform, and finalizing the appointment of their candidates is what political conventions are supposed to be all about.

Or so many of us used to believe. Now they have become slick media events, dog and pony shows to astound and impress rather than determine and inform. A play for power where even the appearance of substance has been all but abandoned:

Asked about the significance of the platform, Mr. Dole replied that he had not even read it.

What a joke. The only thing they have left, the last reason to take them seriously, is that, like the Democratic party, the Republicans, through Congress and the state Governors, control the military.

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