Originally written on April 6, 2010

Let me first start by offering a common definition of libel courtesy of the free dictionary

a. A false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person’s reputation.

b. The act of presenting such material to the public.

Here are a few more definitions of libel pertaining to US law and defamation of character courtesy of a legal site

To defame, or expose to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, by a writing, picture, sign, to lampoon.

To publish in print writing or pictures, broadcast through radio, television or film something that is false about someone else which would cause harm to that person or his/her reputation by bringing the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn, or contempt of others.

Published material meeting three conditions: The material is defamatory either on its face or indirectly; The defamatory statement is about someone who is identifiable to one or more persons; and, The material must be distributed to someone other than the offended party; i.e. published.

The purpose of this article is to give a personal account of my recent experiences trying to remove and defend myself against libelous statements published about me on the internet. It is my intent to spread awareness of websites that post, and in many ways, encourage libelous actions. I am referring specifically to a website that allows supposed ex-girlfriends/boyfriends to give accounts of their particular experiences with a former lover/spouse/significant other. I will not give the actual name of the offending website for obvious reasons, but suffice to say, anyone with an e-mail address can create an account and anonymously write anything their heart desires about the “offending” ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. Names, places of residence, colleges attended, mental health diagnosis’s and any other sort of personal information can be posted (other than social security/credit card numbers which would get the website removed from Google). There is no limit whatsoever as to what can be written, and no accountability by either the website, the website hosting company or the person writing the libelous statements. continue reading…

Originally written on April 5, 2010

On this, the opening day of Major League Baseball, I am harkened back to the days of my youth. The time when I lived, breathed and bled everything baseball. It wasn’t only the impending start of my own season; it was also the time that the new baseball cards were coming out from a variety of companies. Being the budding entrepreneur that I was, I kept close tabs on all of the star players like McGwire, Canseco and Strawberry, with the hopes of my baseball cards gaining value.

In retrospect, this was a somewhat innocent time, circa 1987-88, long before steroids and PED’s became commonplace jargon. Had these recent revelations of the past few years occurred in my youth, I might have taken it quite personally and have felt an emotional “crushing” to know that my “idols” were somehow cheating the game that I loved. This was the time of the Oakland A’s dominance and I worshiped the so-called “Bash Brothers;” Canseco and McGwire. I had their posters, collected their baseball cards and persuaded my parents to buy me anything related to the A’s and to the Bash Brothers. In essence, I was simply a young and naïve child who bought into the hype machine, desperately seeking heroes who I could someday emulate. continue reading…

Originally written on April 1, 2010

As an individual with a good grasp of twentieth century American Political history, the era of McCarthyism and the so called “red menace” has always been of particular interest. It has always seemed fascinating to me how certain ideas and social movements can be so polarizing due to the manipulation of said ideas and movements by a power structure that feels threatened when we, as American citizens, exercise our right to demand equality as guaranteed by the Constitution. Throughout the twentieth century, especially the latter half, Communism/Socialism has been a particularly effective tag to place on anyone who believes that we are guaranteed certain “inalienable rights.” These rights include: a sustainable wage for production (work); the right to shelter; the right to education and a right to elect representatives who truly represent the people who voted them into office rather than a small cadre of wealthy individuals or institutions who would lose their stranglehold on wealth and power if the majority were actually given these rights.

It is the idea of Communism that frightens those who control the means of production. In a simple Marxian context, the workers would control the means of production, meaning they control themselves, rather than the wealthy controlling the rest of us in order to exploit and maintain their control. It isn’t my intention to give a “dummy’s” guide to Communism, nor am I defending the historical realities of the failures of so-called Communist nations such as the USSR. My intent is to bridge the historical American fear of Communism/Socialism as an idea and instrument of change to the current, though recycled, hysteria that surrounds such ideas as “universal healthcare.” continue reading…

Originally written on March 29, 2010

I have been contemplating my own cultural identity as of late and would like to explore exactly what it is that makes me, or anyone else for that matter, unique from anyone else in the world. I was born and have always lived in the United States. Does that in and of itself represent any sort of cultural significance? I have lived in several states in various regions of the United States. Do these particular regions offer one a unique cultural experience different from any other region or state? I am of mostly Irish-Catholic heritage, have relatives still in Ireland, yet have never been to Ireland and experienced what is unique to their culture. Does that play any role whatsoever in my own cultural schema?

To some extent, I identify myself as “Irish” and would like to think that makes me unique in some ways to someone in the United States who identifies with their Italian, or Polish, or Greek heritage? At the same time, Ireland is overwhelmingly Catholic, a religion that I disassociated myself with many years ago. Is that a subculture in and of itself: anti-catholic Irish Catholic? Perhaps I’m just another middle-aged white American, but is that a distinctive cultural identity in itself? Most white Americans think of Americans of African descent as having a unique cultural bond simply because of color and the uglier aspects of American history, although race is entirely a social construct. We are all inherently human and identical in biological function regardless of nationality or skin tone. continue reading…

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