The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘spam’

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ROCK ‘N ROLL?

It’s been about two and one half years since I began this blog.  As someone new to the whole blogosphere I unfamiliar even with the basics.  How to write text and have it appear – how to respond to comments – all that stuff.  I learned through trial and error and made more than my fair share of mistakes along the way.

Months went by, I had settled into a regular routing of posting, I knew how to respond to comments and I was began to feel comfortable with my writing.  And then one day I noticed something on my home page which I had overlooked.  It was a statement from Word Press that “You have 55 comments in your spam queue.”  That was interesting as I was unaware I had a spam queue – or anyone would bother to send material to it where it would take its last breath.

So I went to my spam queue and began reviewing the comments which Word Press had diverted.  Several of them were obviously ads for a service which would improve the overall appearance of the blog and which promised greater visibility by helping to select key words that google would pick up.  Several were in foreign languages and I have no idea their subject matter.  So I deleted them all and went about my business.

As more readers left comments, I noticed that the number of spam comments was rapidly overtaking the number of actual comments and would soon surpass them.  That day came and went and now the “spam” comments, received and deleted, is about four times the number of real comments.

But there is something interesting in the more recent comments – other than that about twenty per day are regularly appearing.  That is the subject matter of these comments – which predominantly come in two varieties.

The first advertise a variety of porn sites where, should one have an interest, a person presumably can view a variety of “Eurasian shemales” and things of that sort.

The second of these advertise sites where drugs, (mostly pain medications but ED drugs are also a common theme), can be obtained.

For all his genius, Jefferson messed up.  He spoke of our right to, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but omitted “privacy.”  It’s only fair to admit that he could certainly not have foreseen how the world would change a few centuries after his time.  But golly, it would have been nice if he had been that prescient and slipped it in, right after that liberty word.

But wait a minute.  Isn’t it essential to liberty to be free from spying (which implies intimidation) – whether that is from government or from fellow humans?  We’ve always had nosey neighbors and peeping Toms.  We’ve simply enhanced the tools of their trade and speeded up the process, enabling them to be even more intrusive.  And now, more than ever, we’ve gotten government in the game – in fact leading the charge.

I realize that the reason for the particular spam comments I’m receiving is that I’ve touched on drug companies and their products and written a few posts on human sexuality.  Obviously, that is sufficient to drive people through the google algorithm and allow them to send out their stuff.  So, as convenient as google is for doing useful research, it too has its downside, as my inbox will attest.

But as annoyed as I am by all this, I am most offended that from the original ‘60’s mantra, ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll,” someone had the nerve to turn off the music.

SPAM ME–SPAM ME NOT

Those of us who maintain our blogs on WordPress are fortunate.  We are provided with a spam protection device known as Akismet.  This program reviews the comments we receive and helps reduce the amount of spam in our comment notifications.

Although I receive a lot of comments, my spam comments which Akismet has caught are starting to rev up in number and are getting close to totaling as many as the legitimate comments I receive from my readers.  About 80% of them have one thing in common.

They are designed to get us to click on them so that they can show us the product they have for sale.  And what is that product?  Prescription pharmaceuticals.

Today alone I received eight solicitations.  None originated within the United States but came from  locations in Mexico, Spain, Ireland and Italy.  The drugs they had to offer included Viagra, Cialis, doxycycline and clomid, so we have two drugs for erectile dysfunction, one that treats Lyme disease and one to increase female fertility.  Now I’m beginning to question my own orientation and I’m definitely going to cut down on my walks through the woods where tics might be present.

In April last year, the Department of Justice cracked down on several large sites that were located overseas which offered people the opportunity to play poker on-line.   Apparently, these sites will soon be able to offer their services again to American players of the game.  (I guess they’ve figured out a way to tax any profits Americans might make).

The settlement calls for the three on-line companies to pay $731 Million, a portion of which is to be reimbursed to U. S. players whose funds were used to pay the board members and owners of one of the sites, instead of being held in segregated accounts as they claimed.  I’m glad these players will get their money back – or at least most of it.

But let’s put the vigor which the government put into its effort with on-line poker into perspective.  $731 Million is a lot of money in anyone’s book.  Heck, I would accept less and still have a fun weekend at Disneyland.  But when we compare that to the total of worldwide sales of pharmaceuticals for last year it pales by comparison.

The pharmaceutical industry last year had sales of $880 BILLION globally.

So I’d like to make this an open appeal to the FDA with a little help from their buddies in the Department of Justice.  Why don’t you look into these overseas providers who solicit Americans to buy their prescription drugs from them?

After all, the FDA doesn’t regulate the standards of manufacture of these drugs and who knows if any agency in the country of origin does either.  For that matter, who knows if they actually are real drugs or placebos?  Now there’s something into which the government could really sink its teeth.

And from a strictly selfish standpoint, I’d like to cut down on the spam in my in box.

SPAM CAN SAVE AMERICA

 It came to me from out of the blue – a flash of insight. I knew how Saul must have felt as he travelled the road to Tarsus. It was Divine inspiration and I would be remiss if I didn’t share it with you.

 Spam can save America.

 When I refer to spam I am not speaking of the substance which comes in a tin can. Mom always referred to it as “mystery meat” and it never made its way into our home.   Although made famous by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in one of their sketches, I have never had the opportunity to try it. But if you were to invite me for a meal and prepare some, I would certainly give it a go.

 This is in keeping with my philosophy that before approving or rejecting something we should at least first make its acquaintance.

 That said, my inspiration didn’t focus on the food product but on the stuff that everyone who has an email account knows intimately. Spam email. 

Now here’s an idea we can all embrace. Try to find one person who enjoys receiving spam mail – and I’ll show you someone who is behind the plot to inundate all our “in-boxes” with it.

 We’re all way too familiar with the stuff. We open our email, hoping to hear the latest about our cousin’s new baby and seventy-five pieces of communication show up from people and companies we don’t know. We start on our task, <del> <del> <del> …

 Then an idea occurs to us. There is a feature in our email which allows us to block future communications from these senders. So we begin using this tool – which only works some of the time and takes twice as long as simply deleting each item.  

Of course, when it does work it merely directs new communications to the “Junk e-mail folder” rather than our “In-Box” and we still have to delete them. My Outlook Express then transfers these newly deleted unwanted messages to the “Deleted Items” folder where they have to be deleted yet again.

 What a total waste of time.

 Whether you’re a Libertarian, Democrat, Republican or politically unconscious; whether you’re young or old or so old that you think you’re young; whatever your race or creed or sexual-orientation – YOU HATE SPAM!

So here’s the plan.

 We levy an itsy bittsy teeny tiny tax on spam emails – one tenth of a cent per. That’s right – for every ten spam-mails it will only cost the spamsters one cent. How modest is that?

 Based on the volume of these I receive daily and doing a quick extrapolation, I figure this would raise about five hundred million dollars a month for the Treasury.

 These newly collected funds would be used to pay down the National Debt (thus eliminating the need to raise taxes on the super wealthy, the remnants of the midddle class or anyone else).

 One of several things will happen.

 First, the spamsters will find that they can still make money despite the tax and will continue to send out their communications. In that case We The People benefit because we are reducing the debt by which we are all indirectly encumbered, the interest on which amounts to an additional (though unpaid) large utility bill for each of us every month. So that would be a good thing. 

Second, after getting their newly taxed bills from their email providers those responsible for sending out all this spam would reconsider their marketing strategies and would either reduce or eliminate this plan of attack on innocent Americans. That also would be a good thing.

 Third, should scenario two play out, we will need to spend less time at our computers thus saving energy, emitting less greenhouse gases and helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Yet more good things.

This is an issue on which our esteemed members of Congress on both sides of the aisle can agree.  At last, there is something positive and constructive for which they can vote without filibuster or fear of voter backlash.  It’s a winner.  (And remember where you heard it first).

 I don’t know about you but I look forward to a brighter day in America – a day where we all spend less time going <del> <del> <del>.

 

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