Archive for February, 2005

February 28, 2005

End of the Right Wing Challenge

Well, color me unimpressed–with many of my fellow lefties.

(Although the self-categorization makes me uncomfortable. There are so many issues–balancing the budget, the right to self-defense, the Second Amendment, etc.–on which I don’t hold doctrinaire left-of-center political positions. A better self-description would be left on economic issues, moderate on social issues, conservative on military matters–on the last point, my beef with recent American adventurism is that it makes us less safe and that our borders are totally unguarded. But long-time readers know all that stuff about me. And it could change, obviously.)

But back to the discussion at hand. I’ll reiterate: I am surprised at the amount of vicious, specific threats of violence directed toward conservative personalities by supposed progressives. That kind of schoolyard bullying makes us no better than the Republicans we claim to despise for their “bomb first, ask questions later” approach to diplomacy. As everybody knows, I don’t shy away from harsh language; I rather specialize in it. But I draw the line at threats, real or implied, against people with whom I disagree. Once you start to do that, after all, you’ve admitted defeat because you couldn’t argue against your foe based on the merits of your point of view. And it’s a gutter tactic running against the very essence of the First Amendment.

So. Does the left give back as much as the right? In my heart of hearts, I’d say the right-wing challenge didn’t change my mind entirely. I think the right does it more. But, as a conservative blogger wrote elsewhere, it’s much easier to notice when it’s your side being attacked. I notice the attacks against progressives more, so they hurt more. Bottom line: it’s impossible to quantify the hatred on both sides and determine who does it more.

Those of us who identify with the left must set an example by seizing the moral high ground on this point. While I still stand by my chapter in WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL about dirty politics, threats of violence are where we should not go. And we should call our friends on it if and when they do it.

Here are, as part of the challenge wrap up, some entries from over the weekend submitted by rigt-wingers. (No need to send more, folks, and thanks for playing! I, for one, feel enlightened if a little soiled.)

Sent in by blogger Jon Henke:

…you didn’t get the email I sent yesterday–I think you’ve been having some server problems with the overload–here ’tis again….
http://www.qando.net/Details.aspx?Entry=1235
The comments are listed below, and the links to the originals are at the post URL listed above.
1. COMMENT: “We need to execute people like Ann Coulter in order to physically intimidate conservatives, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors.”
2. COMMENT: “bush Is a mouth faced little cheat. and you are all Imbeciles for supporting him. I hope you all die, die painfully.” [this, by the way, was addressed to us]
3. COMMENT: “I hate that filthy cunt, Maglaganglyskank more than I can say. Goddamned racist bitch – I want her fucking head on a pike. I’ve had it with that sorry excuse for a human being. Fucking skanky ass Nazi whore – I’m coming for you.” [written by Tena, a blogger)
4. COMMENT: “Fuck off and die in horrible pain you fascist prick.”
5. COMMENT: “I’d take one for the team and volunteer to anally violate [Michelle Malkin].”
6. COMMENT: “I may watch the festivities, if only not to miss the chance to applaud the appearance of the long-awaited, desperately needed dime-sized hole…”
7. COMMENT: “will somebody PLEASE start killing these people? it’s really all they understand.”
8. COMMENT: “I want to beat Scarbrough’s fucking face in! I want to smash him, beat him into the cement. Be covered in his blood. Leave him suffering on the ground. […] Fuck you Scarbrough! Your Damn right! I’ll show you a fucking Radical! Think I’m a bomb-thrower? I’ll show you a fucking bomb! Seriously, he makes me contemplete murder!”
9. COMMENT: “We have to learn to enjoy hurting people, hurting them a lot, hurting them any way we can and every chance we get. Anybody who’s not with us, we fuck him and fuck him hard.”
10. COMMENT: “Does Karl Rove get Secret Service protection? If so, on what basis? If not, dime-sized hole?”

Don’t doubt, my fellow progressives, that there are more–many more–where these came from. I have about 20 more acceptable entries along these lines. And I received a few that were so ugly that I won’t even post them because they were so racist and bigoted that I’m afraid people might think *I’d* posted them.

P.S. Some people have asked whether I checked these links to make sure they were authentic. Answer: of course.

The challenge is met, I am depressed and disgusted, and now I’m going to grab my first cup of coffee.

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February 26, 2005

Victory!

A visit to my profile at David Horowitz’s smear site shows that my copyrighted photograph has vanished into the ether, presumably with his lawyer’s fictional Fair Use defense (when will someone write a definitive debunking of that online canard?)–which has also disappeared from Horowitz’s other right-wing project, Front Page Magazine.

It’s hardly on the scale of convincing Bush to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq, but it proves my point: when lefties are on the right side of the law, we should fight back because we will win. Stop being such wussies, folks!

Assuming that Horowitz refrains from violating my copyright in the future, no further legal action will be required concerning this photo.

Favorite Hate Mail of the Day

I know it’s just a misspelling, but I’m still giggline at this from Rexxauthor@aol.com:

Ted Rall is an anto-american. and has no talent. regards

Is an “anto-american” like that 50’s movie “Them!”?

Right-Wing Challenge Entries

Finally! We’re getting some qualifying entries to the Challenge.

From Energie:

[QUOTES EDITED OUT BECAUSE THEY CAUSED FORMATTING PROBLEMS–Sorry, Ted]

Vile stuff to be sure, and should be condemned by all thinking Americans. Doesn’t quite rise to the level of the stuff I’ve seen about me and other libs like Michael Moore, but still disgusting as hell. I can’t imagine why the hosts of these blogs don’t immediately delete these threats.

And there’s this from Mark Coffee, who also runs a blog:

Permalink: [QUOTES EDITED OUT BECAUSE THEY CAUSED FORMATTING PROBLEMS–Sorry, Ted]
Title: Rall Changes Rules, but the Challenge is Met
Ted Rall, no doubt overwhelmed with examples of left-wing moonbat ranting, now says only a violent threat to specific political or media personalities (Rall laughingly must consider himself one of the latter) counts towards his challenge (and then tries to cover up his Little Green Football snafu with the new rule that comments count). He then says (and I don’t believe it for a minute) that the challenge has yet to be met,
No matter: if he continues to say it, you know he’s lying, ’cause I got your quotes, Ted, plus links.
1. Kelly Hagan, responding to a post entitled ‘Bush Should Not Be Assassinated’, responds that ‘an event like this [the assassination of
2. Fernando88: ‘I want to kill George Bush…but that’s an understatement.’
3. smilingyoukia: ‘OK, I believe George Bush should die…’
Oh, but that’s fringe stuff, you say; you won’t find anything like that on, say, the Daily Kos…oops!:
I dislike junior’s stupid, arrogant, ugly chimp-like demeaner soooo much that I change the channel any time, I mean anytime, I have the misfortune on seeing him or hearing him on TV or radio. The word hate is to mild a word to define my dislike of the punk. I would gladly watch though to see him hurt and laugh as he stated crying. I’d like to see him in pain even though I’m an animal loving, non violent atheist. Junior is a bad, bad, bad man.
Okay, okay, that’s one on the Daily Kos, but surely there weren’t anymore…oops:
Best thing about the “personal” hate you talk about is the day one of those people dies. Leaves the living. Never again to require any of your energy. Poof! Gone. Memorable, memorable day. The relief is scary enough to make you realize how terrible hate really is. I work very hard to avoid it now. Though I’m saving the red dress I was gonna wear around town after Kerry’s victory for W’s funeral week.
Then there’s this gem aimed at Hindrocket of Power Line:
Reading Hindrocket’s slanders and looking at his f***ing spoiled, preppy face, I had fantasies of meeting him on a public street and kicking the living s**t out of him until the only thing his face resembled was a raw pulp of bloody meat.

Peaceful bunch, these lefties…and Rall, you’re not kidding anyone…you know this stuff is out there already. And please, quit lying and saying the challenge has not been met. I just met it.

Believe it or not, no, I did NOT know that any of this stuff was out there. I’d read references by Republican bloggers to such things, but no one ever provided a link and I could never find it. Suffice it to say, this stuff pisses me off and should not be tolerated by anyone who purports to be a law-abiding American. And again: mainstream blogs like Kos should delete this shit as soon as it appears–as should the nasty right-wing sites like Little Green Footballs.

Has the challenge been met? Yes. The scale may not not quite be the same, but there is clearly a significant amount of leftie hate speech out there to match the crap the righties put out. I can’t shame the righties into doing anything, but to readers who agree with me about anything, please consider what this does to us and how it invalidates our arguments.

More goes up as it comes in; wrap up on Monday.

February 26, 2005

The Right-Wing Challenge as of Saturday Morning

I have received more than 200 entries so far. Regretably, most right-wingers don’t seem to understand the rules. Reading comprehension, folks–just because Reagan cut education spending doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to pay attention now!

I’m receiving tons of generic “I hate Republicans and wish they all died” remarks. Sorry. Those are vague, unformed and stupid comments, but they are not death threats against a specific media personality or politician.

I’m also getting tons of comments that are merely insults to Republicans. Sorry. An insult isn’t a threat of violence. Remember: liberals who speak out (like me) routinely see threats of violence posted about them by bloggers and at blogs specifically directed towards them. What I want to see here is the same sort of thing going the other way.

So far we have exactly one contender (submitted by Papa Loves Mambo) that he found at http://www.majorityreportradio.com/weblog/archives/000347.php:

“I’d like to buy George Bush a Coke And poison it with glue Kill Dick Cheney And old Wolfie And shoot down Rumsfeld too”

Now that’s the kind of disgusting, reprehensible shit we’re looking for. Righties do it daily by the dozen–surely you guys can come with more than just one?

Oh, and: some righties have had trouble with the email address for the contest, so please use chet@rall.com instead. Thanks.

Challenge ends Monday.

February 25, 2005

Rules of the Challenge

Garret asks about the rules:

I wish to ask a technical question to better understand your”contest”, A Challenge for Right-Wing Bloggers. You ask for the worst, most vicious examples of liberal/leftie blogger vitriol, but when you were asked for examples, you cited (as best as I can tell) comments people made on the blog, not what I would call the “blogger”, unless Jimmy the Clam is the owner of LittleGreenFootballs.
So my questions are:
1. Is our contest limited to the actual bloggers, or are all the comments from users fair game?

Actual bloggers as well as comments posted to those blogs–especially comments that are more than a day or two old, since their presence tacitly testifies to their acceptibility to the bloggers themselves–are both eligible. Remember, we’re looking for specific threats of violence and/or murder against specific media and political personalities on the right, authored by lefties. “I hope Ann Coulter dies painfully” qualifies. Generic threats, like “I hope Republicans die,” do not.

Because if the users’ comments are fair game, I submit an entire URL: http://www.democraticunderground.com. If the user comments are not acceptable but the blogger’s comments are, I would suggest only (some of) Auntie Pinko’s postings. I hope this makes sense.

Specifics, please!

2. Also, are politicians quotations, cited in widely read blogs, acceptable entries?

A more nebulous question. I would say, generally not. We’re talking blogs here. But if you’ve got comments from mainstream Democrats calling for the murder ot Republican media types, I’d entertain those.

3. Are MSM figures quotes, cited in widely read blogs, acceptable entries?

See (2) above.

4. Are leftie quotes in otherwise news stories in widely read blogs acceptable entries?

See (2) above.

5. Are your cartoons acceptable entries?

If my cartoons call for the murder or violence against specific personalities–well, I already said that.

Thanks for the challenge.
Sincerely,
Garrett
P.S. I have an entry, I think, the text is : “If not, let’s take as a given what we already know: that Republicans’ first impulse is to punch people whose arguments they can’t defeat with logic and to bomb countries whose people know something we don’t.” From http://rall.com/rants.html.

Not even close. Not a threat of violence, much less murder, against anybody. This is an expression of disgust with violence–in fact, it’s a statement of pacifism. The kind of thing we’re looking for here is like these tidbits from a right-wing blog that gets many links from other bushblogs, the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller:

“if the opportunity presented itself, I’d kill Ted Rall”
“How about shooting Ted Rall THROUGH the Michael Moore Range Target?”
“Ted Rall was flayed? Why didn’t anyone tell me?! Is there a video of it?! “
“Ted Rall just needs to be bitch-slapped.”

Let the challenge continue!

February 25, 2005

E&P Covers My Blogger Column

Editor & Publisher magazine covers the reaction to this week’s column.

Here’s the money quote:

“I’m a fierce critic of the mainstream media, but the right-wing blogs are not an improvement,” [Rall] added. “It’s like replacing Saddam Hussein with anarchy, chaos, kidnapping, and rape. That’s not an improvement, either. Right-wing bloggers are trying to destroy the mainstream media, but they don’t have a plan for the occupation.”

February 25, 2005

The Right-Wing Challenge

Remains totally unanswered. Come on, righties–show us these supposed death threats against conservative pundits and politicians written by leftie bloggers. Remember the standard: we’re talking threats of death, dismemberment, etc.–the kind of stuff I wrote about in my column this week as well as on my blog.

February 25, 2005

Horowitz: Another Right-Wing Tax Cheat?

Chris brings up an interesting point:

If, as Horowitz’ lawyer claims, “The nature and purpose of the use is news reporting and commentary in an Internet publication for nonprofit educational purposes” and http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/ is the nonprofit organization using your photo, why does their “Campus Support for Terrorism” link take you to an advertisment for one of Horowitz’ books?

An excellent questlon. And if there was a left wing network of blogs to match the rightists, they’d get to the bottom of it.

And Jennifer says:

I just read the interestingly spelled, satire-proof email you received from the Horowitz drones and wanted to send a message of support. Stand up for yourself and know that you’re not alone – USA Next, which I see you mention in your blog, infringed copyright when they stole a wedding picture for their anti-AARP ad, and the gentlemen in the picture are also pursuing legal remedies (see daily kos diary http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/23/235632/101). I just think it’s fun that, to advertise their campaign to destroy Social Security in the name of the sanctity of private property, the first thing they did was to steal private property. Classic. Take care & nolite te bastardes carborundorum!

To right-wingers, the law is merely an inconvenience to be skirted whenever possible. Thank God we still have a court system; it’s all we have left.

FOR Sean writes:

HALLELUJAH!!!! TESTIFY BROTHER!!!!

Just because I agree with my fellow progressives/liberals, it doesn’t mean I like them. Most of them are such incredible pussies, so afraid of any conflict, that they won’t stand up for themselves. I feel like Jack London did when he quit the socialist party. He agreed with their goals, but he thought most of them were such whiners, they couldn’t get anything done.
You know, I’ll bet a lot of conservatives would like you if they actually met you. They’re generally not that bright, but they respect people who are willing to stand up for themselves. Partly because of my hobbies (which include martial arts and shooting) I tend to socialize a lot more with people whose views are conservative. But they respect the fact that I’m willing to fight for my beliefs while most of my fellow progressives complain I’m too aggressive or confrontational.
Thank God Martin Luther King, Abbie Hoffman or the countless men and women who fought and died in the labor movement in this country didn’t listen to other progressives who complained they were too confrontational.

No shit. I admire conservatives for their relentlessness and passion. A big part of the reason liberals are getting their asses kicked in the public square is because we refuse to stand up for ourselves and, even worse, we get embarrassed by those who, like Michael Moore and Al Franken, are willing to stand up and be counted. Honestly, I would much rather be a right-winger; if it weren’t for their rancid politics, I’d have a lot in common with them.

And Robert writes:

I can’t wait to see you stick it to that creep in court. My only hope is that some of the other people on the list follow suit and shut this guy down. Maybe we can use this as the battle cry for our de-legitimation efforts against right wing blogs.

Only two and half hours left until my deadline. Something tells me I’m not going to get satisfaction from Horowitz, which means I’ll have some extra work to take care of next week. But that’s fine. And yes, let’s hope that other copyright infringement victims start to fight back against the rightie blogs.

My Blogger Column: Arrogant?

Mark writes:

I read your “BUT WHO WATCHES THE WATCHDOGS?” on Yahoo and thought it was
pretty arrogant. First, the lines “And what are Morrissey’s qualifications to police the media? When he’s not harassing old-school journos like Dan Rather and CNN’s Eason Jordan out of their jobs, Morrissey manages a call center near Minneapolis.” So what does a journalism degree have to do with being able to judge if someone else is doing his job?

Nothing. I don’t have one and I think journalism school is an evil influence on journalism. I was merely reminding people that this guy has no special qualifications to make his assertions; therefore his assertions must stand on their own merits. Which, like most of the stuff you read on the recently-lauded rightie blogs, they don’t.

How does having his job automatically make him stupid and incapable of figuring out when a reporter
is not telling the truth? The only purpose that reasoning can have is to protect people in your profession from having to be judged on your performance. I’ve managed a call center here in Atlanta so I know the job can make you irritable but not stupid.

And I’ve worked in one. I have zero interest in protecting my peers, but as I watched war correspondents ply their trade in Afghanistan I couldn’t help but admire them. Many were lazy, ill-informed and hopelessly biased, but they were there, risking their lives, trying in their sometimes hapless way to get the story. Meanwhile, a bunch of right-wing bloggers, sitting on their asses at home, were deconstructing what they were writing. The mainstream journos are an imperfect bunch at best, but the bloggers are much, much less admirable or useful. Right-wing bloggers want to tear down the old system without having anything new to replace it with; they’re like Bush’s neocons. They’ve planned for the war, but not the occupation.

Rather ignored the fact that the memos he used weren’t reliable; he ran out with this story and got caught. He was wrong, he deserved to be caught and doing something on that level should cost someone his job. That’s how the good get moved up over the bad and the quality of reporting improves. A lot bloggers and their readers are nuts but they can right, too, of course.

I could live with that if the bloggers were consistent. Bush, whom these people adore, was caught lying repeatedly–most notably about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Tens of thousands of people died as a result; our country is also going bankrupt as a result. If the bloggers say Rather should go–why not Bush? Anyone who only attacks one side of the ideological spectrum is instrinsically untrustworthy. (And anyone who reads my work knows that I hgit the Democrats hard whenever they deserve it, and when they’re in a position to make decisions that cause harm.)

Eason Jordan said something that he, and yourself, needs to prove if he thinks it’s so.

I don’t think so. He made an off-the-cuff remark at a panel; he wasn’t reporting anything. He didn’t need to prove anything. Besides: What he said WAS true.

When David Horowitz merely used your picture on his website you threatened him with legal action. Jordan accuses Americans of murder with no proof and you don’t think he should be called out for
that. At least not by some lowly call center manager.

Horowitz “merely” violated U.S. copyright law. Why can’t conservatives respect the law? Jordan told the truth in a private forum. I still can’t, for the life of me, see why he deserved anything but praise for what he said.

Ted Rall on BBC TV on Monday

A 30-minute documentary about me and my work will appear on the British Broadcasting Network on Monday night. Sorry, but you’ll only be able to view it in the UK. Interested Brits can check out the BBC listing. To wet your appetite:

Cartoonists on the Front Line
Ted Rall:
Michael Portillo meets a cartoonist with even more guts than the savage satirists of the UK press.
Ted Rall’s syndicated cartoons dare to take on the American right and its most sacred icons. To date he has received over 400 death threats. [With audio description]  
Mon 28 Feb, 20:30-21:00  30mins  Stereo  Widescreen 

February 25, 2005

Right-Wing Challenge, Redux

Allen writes:

Before you issue a challenge like that don’t you think you should at least post some examples of hate speech from the blogs you cited? The only threat that you quoted didn’t even have a name by it. Who made that moronic threat? I highly doubt it’s a mainstream blogger. I challenge you to find an example of a WELLKNOWN, blog such as Instapundit, or Powerline, or LittleGreenFootballs, Andrew Sullivan, etc…that has an idiotic threat like you cited in your column posted on their site.

Very well, though it’s incredible that Republicans aren’t aware that so many of their comrades are violent, hyper-aggressive shitheads. Here are some sample posts to one of the “well-known” right-wing blogs, Little Green Footballs:

“I hope Rall dies now.
“I am glad that Bolshevik dog Rall is being targeted for termination.”
“I found out belatedly that he made an appearence at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con (for what reason I’m not sure) so I missed my opportunity to give him a complimentary tracheotemy or put out a cigarette in his eye or some other fair and accurate constructive criticism of his works.”
“I wish somebody would drop Rall – out of a helicopter.”
Some people can butt-f*ck anything, if they are desperate/ugly enough. Me, I’d butt-f*ck Rall. With a large caliber repeating weapon. Or a high-velocity flame-thrower. My choice… “

Perhaps someone else has time to check out the other aforementioned neofascist bushblogs, but I think my point has been made.

February 25, 2005

A Challenge for Right-Wing Bloggers

Several Bushist blogger types have written to assert that there are as many violent and threatening remarks and insults coming from liberals online as there are from conservatives against liberals. I’ve spent many sadly-lost hours online, and I say: no way.

So here’s my challenge: Please email your worst, most vicious examples of liberal/leftie blogger vitriol (with links, natch), and I’ll post ’em right here. If they exist, obviously.

If not, let’s take as a given what we already know: that Republicans’ first impulse is to punch people whose arguments they can’t defeat with logic and to bomb countries whose people know something we don’t.

Come on, righties: my server is standing by at: rightwingchallenge@rall.com. Challenge ends Monday.

February 24, 2005

Time for Liberals to Stand Up For Themselves

For far too long patriotic American liberals have been turning the other cheek while conservative assholes beat the crap out of them. The latest example: the same scum who brought us the Swift Boat ads about John Kerry are trying to defeat the powerful AARP by calling them proponents of gay marriage and opponents of support for our troops in combat. Now, I never thought I’d find myself agreeing with the AARP on anything. But they’re right to oppose Bush’s plan to dismantle Social Security; the more I hear the details, the more outrageous it sounds. Of course the AARP, being a lobbying organization for senior citizens, doesn’t have any opinion about gay marriage, either pro or con. But that doesn’t stop the connies, and the ads still run. Meanwhile, mainstream Democrats write polite letters to the editor.

Which brings me to David Horowitz.

Readers of the Rallblog already know that this GOP-approved loon has targeted everyone from Barbra Streisand to Dan Rather as “left” and listed alongside the 9/11 hijackers and other Islamist extremists in a sordid attempt to infer a relationship between the two groups of people. You can find this online delicacy, which obviously took some work, at Discover the Network.

The very notion of this website, which reads a lot like those anti-abortion websites that listed abortion doctors whom the groups wanted to see assassinated, ought to be illegal. But the Supreme Court ruled about those sites a few years back, and found them covered by the First Amendment. The other thing that ought to be illegal is Horowitz’s stupidity. I mean, the dude lists the personalities on the first page in alphabetical order…by first name. And he lists Sean Penn, one of the world’s most photographed movie stars, with a blurry photo. Surely even a neocon torture supporter like Horowitz ought to be able to find a better picture than that.

The problem is, he’s unwilling to pay for his photos. So, in a patent violation of U.S. Copyright law, he swipes them from copyrighted sources…like other people’s website. Like mine–the photo under my listing was paid for at significant expense, and copyrighted. Horowitz neither requested, nor would have received, permission to reproduce my photo.

It so happens that I take intellectual property rights seriously. Without them, after all, I wouldn’t make a living. So I’ve fired off the following “cease and desist” letter to David Horowitz, owner of Discover the Network:

To: david@cspc.org
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 7:44 PM
Subject: URGENT: Cease and Desist Notice
Dear Mr. Horowitz:
 It has come to my attention that you have, without obtaining written or other permission, posted a publicity photograph of myself, apparently copied from my website, to your site Discover the Network (http://www.discoverthenetwork.org). This photograph is copyrighted material. Your act violates U.S. Copyright Law, which provides for damages up to $150,000 plus attorney’s fees.
I therefore request that you take the following actions on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, February 25, 2005:
1. Remove said photograph from your website.
2. Agree to remit the sum of $5,000.00 as payment for your unauthorized use of said photograph, with such payment via money order to be received within three (3) business days at my address in New York, New York.
3. Sign a notarized stipulation agreeing not to post my copyrighted material in the future.
 Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.
 Sincerely,
Ted Rall

From Bush and Alberto Gonzeles down to the Abu Ghraib prison guards, the Republican right thumbs its collective noses at the law. Fortunately, Section 504 of U.S. Copyright Law provides for legal remedies against those who steal copyrighted material without permission. The hundreds of other liberals listed at DTN may be content to allow their copyrighted photos to appear on Horowitz’s blacklist, but not me. I’m not putting up with this shit.

Horowitz’s attorney replied as follows (at 2 AM West Coast/5 AM East Coast time…now that’s dedication!):

From: Manuel Klausner
Date: February 24, 2005 2:06:57 AM PST
To: Tedrall@aol.com
Subject: Re: URGENT: Cease and Desist Notice
Dear Mr. Rall,
I represent David Horowitz, and am writing to respond to your email below. I am informed that the “publicity photograph” was not copied from your website, contrary to your surmise. It appears to be in the public domain. If you dispute this, please promptly furnish me with a copy of your copyright registration.
Even if the photo is copyrighted, its use in FrontPageMagazine.com appears to qualify as a fair use. The nature and purpose of the use is news reporting and commentary in an Internet publication for nonprofit educational purposes. The very nature of a “publicity photo” suggests that it is ordinarily intended to be used without obtaining permission in advance. Moreover, it does not appear that the effect of the use would be to decrease the value of the photo, which appears to have been widely circulated in many sources. Accordingly, we believe a court would find this use of the photo to be “fair” under Section 107 of the Copyright Law.
Based on the foregoing reasons, your three requests are hereby rejected. We would be willing to consider any further information you care to provide, including a copy of any copyright registration.
Manuel S. Klausner

I don’t know if or where Manuel Klausner went to law school, but I like to rely on the ever-useful Glamour Models website for legal advice. And Glamour Models (well, actually, an attorney who wrote a piece they posted for fashion photographers) has some interesting advice for Horowitz and other intellectual property thieves.

My photo is certainly NOT in the public domain, and I have vigorously defended its copyright in the past. And Glamour Models has this to say about the silly “Fair Use” argument:

“Fair use” is a legal “defense” to copyright. It was created to allow use of copyright material for socially valuable purposes such as commentary, parody, news reporting, education and the like, without permission of the copyright holder. A typical instance would be a brief quotation from a book as part of a book review. Uses allowed by “Fair Use” are normally a small part of a work and include an author credit and attribution. Fair uses are generally for non-profit purposes. Fair use is rarely allowed where the use competes directly with the work or harms its commercial value. Most fair use situations involve text. It is difficult to imagine any situation involving the Internet where someone copying a photo could claim the fair use defense. In typical infringement activities, such as unauthorized posting to Usenet, stocking websites from Usenet trolling, scanning from Playboy magazine, or simply copying from other websites-the fair use doctrine does not apply.

Hmm. Doesn’t look good for David. Oh, and am I going to provide a copy of my copyright registration to this jerk? Hell, no, because whether or not I have one I still own that copyright as I own the copyright to the contents of my entire website. But he’s welcome to find out, in court, whether or not I have one. One thing he should know, however, is that I don’t bluff.

Horowitz’s Right Wingnuts

Ever since Horowitz wrote about this loverly little exchange on his anti-American hate site FrontPageMagazine.com, I’ve had the joy of hearing from his readers. Here’s a sample of the people who voted for George W. Bush and support the war in Iraq:

From mother@telefonica.net:

So you defend terrorists but you want the protection of the law? PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGG!
FASCIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Evidently this wanker equates standing against torture and preemptive wars based on lies with defending terrorists. What about Bush, who increased the terrorists’ funding (foreign aid to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) after 9/11? Isn’t that defending terrorists?

From p.leddy@comcast.net:

Whatsa matter , you afraid someone’s gonna take a run at you, you liberal fuck? Oh and tell pseudo-indian ward to fuck HIMSELF also. This is war, asshole. If you did refer to Tillman as an idiot, I’ll piss on your momma’s grave if she’s dead. If she ain’t, I’ll wait till that happens. Kiss my ass. Ain’t the first amendment grand?!

From cramerb@dyc.edu:

Mr. Rall: I find it interesting that you are offended by such an innocuous photo. I don’t suppose it ever occurred to you to think about the millions of people you offend with your repugnant bile. Bruce Cramer, Buffalo, NY

I am not offended by my photo, although it would be nicer if my image looked more like Keanu Reeves’. I am offended, as it were, by the flagrant violation of my copyright. My “repugnant bile”, on the other hand, is protected by the First Amendment. Why is the law such a difficult concept for the right to understand?

From tonyb@hvc.rr.com:

Typical liberal response to seeing your picture posted on Discover The Network. I just loved how David’s lawyer put it to your ass. Be a man and suck it up and take some of what you dish out. Don’t be a ‘girlie man”!! If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. Tony Bonagura

I have a rule righties might find interesting. When someone I like accidentally does something to harm me, I suck it up. When someone who hates me sets out to attack me by breaking the law, I fight back. But obviously Tony supports Bush, who decided after 9/11 that he was too much of a girlie man to go after the terrorists because he was afraid of them. So instead he attacked too uninvolved, unrelated, but defenseless countries. Typical right-wingers.

From jrdott@pacbell.net:

I didn’t know the truth about you until I read your profile on David Horowitz’ excellent new website! I have email contacts all over California and I’ve sent Mr. Horowitz’ profile on to my address book—I believe it’s critical that people like you are exposed for who you are. I was surprised to see your email to Mr. Horowitz regarding the use of your photograph! As a cartoonist and a person with [supposedly] a sense of humor, I thought at first that your email was a spoof…..perhaps…..a cartoon in words, so to speak? I mean, were you serious??? HA! David Wilson

If and when a joke has been made, I’ll let you know.

And from the next Sartre, jmarks@comcast.net:

Great pic. Always wanted to see what an asshole looks like. The idiot who studifies people with an cartoon that doesn’t even makes sense. This seems to reflect on your left political leanings as well. So your the asshole that believes the Bush Adminstration is wrong for freeing people from tyranny. Tell that to the people and the victims families who have experienced death, rape and murder at the hands of Islamic jihadists and Saddam Hussein and his idiot sons. It is people like you that don’t give a flying fuck about anyone else other than your selfish needs. It is people like that go around thinking that your shit doesn’t stink, whereas the opposite is true. Salute to the ASSHOLE!

“Studifies”? Is that some gay sex thing?

Fortunately, there are people who “get it” out there…unfortunately, they’re almost all Democrats:

From Norman:

I congratulate you on your decision to fight back against the character assination from FPM, Horowitz and his new web toy. I would also suggest that your fellow reporters figure out how Horowitz got
a dot ORG web site. They are for charitable and church organizations not for Political hacks. By the way Horowitz’s lawyers answer in response to your e mail holds no water. This idea that a photo is public domain is crap. If it is am image of you you control where and when that image is used that is black letter law

That’s sure the way the law reads.

Geneva Conventions Follow-Up

An excellent email from Russell:

The argument over uniforms, et al, applies only to the rights of prisoners of war under the 3rd Geneva Convention. I’d agree with Andy that the 3rd does not apply to the insurgents. However, the 4th Geneva Convention, which everyone seems to forget about, would guarantee basic human rights protections to any insurgent who was an Iraqi citizen (it would not apply to foreign fighters). Even if they commit acts against the “Occupying Power”, they are entitled to the due process of law and to the protection of their basic dignity.
I quote a small part of the 4th convention below. Later sections are much more detailed.
–Russell
PART I GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.