Friday, February 8, 2013
With the decision to repeal a discriminating exclusion of homosexuals in the Boy Scouts of America coming up a lot of emotions are running in overdrive. Many people who are gay and straight are currently showing either their support or outrage toward lifting this discriminatory membership policy, which excludes homosexuals (and atheists) from being members of the BSA organization.
The BSA is a great organization that I was once a member of. Around my early freshman year of High School I started to realize that I was gay, and it was around the same time I found out that the BSA discriminates against gays. I felt so ashamed at first, like I had done something wrong, so I quit the scouts. But I also felt so ashamed afterward that I never came out. I was very confused about the way society expected me to be and how I was not meeting up to those standards. My self confidence deteriorated significantly, and my social skills became nearly nonexistent. Not to say that I was the most popular or well liked person in school, but there was most definitely a difference between the ‘Boy Scouts me’ and the ‘after Boy Scouts me’. All because some people decided that homosexuals do not fit the criteria of an organization that promotes good vales and teaches great life lessons. What a fucking shame.
My boyfriend was also a member of the Scouts, and his father was too, as well as a Scoutmaster. He knew he was gay and accepted it at an earlier age than I did. He completed everything the Scouts ask of him in order to obtain his Eagle Badge up to completing his Eagle Project. He came so close to being awarded with his Eagle Badge accomplishment when he told the BSA to fuck off, and that he was gay and that he wanted nothing to do with a discriminatory organization. Wish I had done it that way, but instead I gave into the belief that I was unsuitable to be a Boy Scouts because of who I was. Does anyone have a time machine I could borrow?
Seriously, if I had stayed with the Scouts I would have had much more self confidence in my High School years, plus I would have had more great times with my fellow Scouts, learning new ways to be self sufficient and self reliant, while at the same time having awesome and daring adventures across the United States.
I love the Boy Scouts of America, and I think that they teach young men the skills and values that are useful in nearly every aspect of life.
But the question has to be asked. Why would an organization like this discriminate against homosexuals? And why is it that when people try to put an end to this kind of discrimination that conservatives come out and act like it would be the end of the world?
“Oh my God, we could have gays in the Boy Scouts, Martha!”
Newsflash folks, we already have gays in the Boy Scouts! I was a Boy Scout who is gay; my boyfriend was a Boy Scout who is gay. As far as we know any volunteers we that we knew while we were in Scouts could have been gay.
Just like in the military, the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was in affect, like majorly. That was good and all, I guess. But what happens to a soldier or a sailor when his commanding officers found out he was actually gay? He was discharged, end of story. And the same thing is happening to good gay men all across the nation. Men who never brought up their sexuality because it had no place in a Scouting or military atmosphere have been persecuted and discharged upon discovery of what they do in their own private time with the ones they are intimate with.
The BSA and proponents of this anti-gay member policy say that if homosexuals are allowed to be members of the BSA that they will be required to talk about sex with our children and make it policy that homosexuality be brought up during Scout meetings. They fear that once homosexuals are allowed in that we will have to explain to our kids that Scoutmaster Rick is gay and that means he likes other men.
But the Scouts have never been about teaching children about sex. It even says so, right in the Scoutmasters Handbook from 1972:
Rule number 1: You do not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, the subject of sex and family life. The reasons are that it is not construed to be Scoutings proper area, and that you are probably not well qualified to do this.
So with this rule being stated, why is it that the BSA has to exclude homosexual members? Do they believe that because they are homosexual they will undoubtedly indoctrinate children and teach them about sex?
The right-wingers make a great point on this too, and that is that Scouting is not about sex. They’re absolutely right, couldn’t agree with them more on that statement. But if that’s the case then why is it that the BSA is discriminating against a group of people because of their sexual preference? If Scouting is not about sex why do they make it an issue to discriminate against a certain group of people because of who they have sex with? Doesn’t that whole line of thought kind of go along the lines of saying, ‘Scouting has everything to do about sex’?
I guess what I am saying here is that homosexuals who want to be members of the BSA never wanted there to be an issue about sex, or their sexuality. They never wanted it to be brought up, nor did they want to bring it up. And why is that? Again, it’s because Scouting is not about sex (says so in the Scoutmaster’s Handbook of 1972), and it is certainly not about your Scoutmaster giving your kids any type of sexual education.
The people who made this issue about sex are the conservatives, mainly the Mormon Church. They are the ones who claimed that homosexuals would HAVE to be appointed to Scoutmaster positions and that they would HAVE to be allowed to talk about sex and sexual orientation. This can’t be further from the truth.
With the presences of homosexuals already in the ranks of the Boy Scouts, don’t you think this would have happened already? Like I said it’s just like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as long as no one knows you are gay you are fine, so just keep your mouth shut.
Well many people have done that but it backfired on them, big time, and they are released from duty unwarrantedly. There are many men who have been Scoutmasters, who kept their sexual orientation quiet, and did not talk about sex or their own sex life to their troops. But, once someone they knew saw them with another man, or at a gay bar (which makes me wonder why someone who went to a gay bar would try to blackmail someone else who went to a gay bar….politics…) and they get proof then it’s all over. That Scoutmaster is now fired for having a private life, a private life that had nothing to do with Scouting.
This is what is wrong with this whole thing. Not only does it cause young men who believe they are gay to think that they are wrong and sinful but it also persecutes those who worked hard to earn their position, only to have it stripped away from them because of their private life…which by the way, never came up in Scout meetings.
So what are they so afraid of? I have already shown that homosexuals are no more at risk of abusing children than heterosexuals, and I have already shown that homosexuals don’t want to take over and start teaching sex. So why is it that they have such a bug up their ass on this?
Well it goes back to the Christian God and organized religion in general. The Scouts have been hijacked by the Mormon Church, for all intents and purposes. And we all know the Mormon Church’s track record with gay and civil rights. They believe that homosexuality is wrong and against God. And since one of their laws is to, “Do my duty to God,” they believe that gays do not do their duty to God.
OK, being an ex-Boy Scout I know that the BSA allows people of all faiths.
FROM SCOUTING FOR ALL:
“The BSA, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training.”
Meaning that Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc can join the Boy Scouts of America, but what of the homosexual? And the biggest word there is “nonsectarian”, meaning that they will not relate to specific religious sect or political group. So then why are they trying to say that they can’t exclude homosexuals when they don’t relate to any specific religion? And even then, what if a member is homosexual and a Christian? Is it right to cast him out for his sin?
FROM BRIAN GRIFFEN:
“I thought only ‘he without sin shall cast the first Prius.’”
I have tried really hard to discredit many of the claims made by the religious right-wing on this issue in order to restore some type of sanity or rationality. But one voice doesn’t do enough. You need to speak out against this as well whether or not you’re a new reader, older reader, liberal reader, or conservative reader. You should at least look at the argument I’m trying to make and just for once step away from politics, and step away from that ‘I think along the party-lines’ type of rationale and start thinking for yourself a little bit. I mean, really, are homosexuals that much of a threat to society? We’ve been living with them for thousands upon thousands of years, and they are the ones out to destroy the fabric of society?
I had this discussion with my boyfriend and he said that if there existed a type of radar that could locate homosexuals (a gaydar if you will) than we would find homosexuals within every nook and cranny of our society. They are our neighbors, they are our friends, and they’re our cops, firefighters, nurses, doctors, teachers, and politicians. They make up the fabric of society like everyone else does.
Republicans often make the claim that citizens are paranoid, especially with this new gun control debate, and they like to say that people who are against guns just don’t trust their neighbors enough. And this is true to a degree. But can’t the same be said for them? They are happy to say that trust is a huge issue and that there should be more trust toward your fellow American, yet they discriminate against homosexuals teaching their children because they don’t trust them to not abuse children. Isn’t this the same argument?
Thursday, February 7, 2013
So after I got all excited about the BSA making a decision on whether or not to lift the ban on homosexuals I found out yesterday that the BSA has decided to delay that decision. This doesn’t come as too much of a shock to me, as people on the right-wing tend to have a difficult time when making coherent and tolerant decisions.
The BSA released a statement today saying, "After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."
That basically translates to, “We know it’s the right thing to do, but we have a very large group of religious members who are against the right thing. So, we will delay this decision for a while to see if maybe our religious members will allow this.”
I mean, really? How complex is this issue? Does it take a fucking rocket scientist to figure out that discrimination is bad, especially when it’s a public organization that’s discriminating? Let’s not forget to add that they are a public organization when they want those public funds supplied to them from the government then turns around and says it has the right to discriminate because they are actually in fact a private organization.
We already know that the BSA is given a government stipend to fund their activities. We also know that the government itself has acknowledged the BSA as a patriotic organization and that they are allowed to rent public land for little to no expense at all. So if the BSA wants to call themselves a private organization then I guess they can do without the public money and the neat usage of public facilities for free, right?
OBAMA QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE:
"And you know the Scouts are a great institution, that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that."
And you know something; the President is right about this. Why would you bar certain people because of the way they were born from being exposed to great opportunities and experiences that not only will serve them but the rest of the people of this nation? Oh, but the religious right-wingers have some excellent, incoherent defenses for that, of course.
Pat Robertson, the TV evangelist and host of the 700 club said that if the Boy Scouts allow homosexuals to join their organization that it will open the door to pedophiles who will target children.
Robertson said, "The question is, are there predators as boy scouts, pedophiles that would come in as scoutmasters? And if they are, then of course parents wouldn't want their sons being involved in the Boy Scouts, or their daughters in the Girl Scouts."
Well of course no one wants their Scoutmaster to be a fucking pedophile, but how does allowing homosexuals the change to be apart of Scouting going to open the doors to pedophiles?
This whole idea that homosexual men are prone to be child molesters is an old one and one that has been proven to be incorrect. But that doesn’t stop the religious right, oh no. You see they like to think that male-male sexual molestation means that the perpetrator is in fact a homosexual, and that all male-male acts of molestation are committed only by homosexuals.
FROM DOCTOR FRED BERLIN M.D.
“A man who is homosexual is no more at risk of abusing a boy as a man who is heterosexual at risk of abusing a girl.”
Fred Berlin is a professor of psychiatry at the John Hopkins Medical School, and he is one of the nations leading authorities on pedophilia.
“There is in our society still much stigma against people who are homosexual, and part of the stigma is the sense that somehow they must be more at risk to children. There simply isn’t any scientific evidence to support that.”
So what does that mean exactly?
“To put it succinctly there is no credible evidence that a homosexual man is more likely to abuse a child than is a heterosexual man.”
Thanks doc! That comes in handy when talking to this religious nut jobs that are out to discriminate against something they don’t even understand. I’m pretty sure that one of the leading authorities on pedophilia in this country would know more about sexual disorders than a guy who preaches about God and hosts a Christian television show.
And lets look at it from another angle while were on the topic. If that is a major concern of the BSA, to keep children safe from homosexual pedophiles, then what current policies do they have to protect their kids against heterosexual pedophiles? It isn’t just gay men who molest children; it is also heterosexual men and women who molest children. So what procedures do they have in place to identify these heterosexual pedophiles? The short answer is that they don’t have any procedures.
This is where the stigma comes in. Straight Scouts are “normal” and have no sexual disorders because they walk the path that God set for them. Whereas homosexuals do not walk that path according to the Mormons, and because of that they are sick, twisted individuals who are out to touch you’re children’s genitals. Yet they have no solid evidence, they just blindly back up their claim saying that homosexuals are pedophiles because homosexual men are attracted to men and the Boy Scouts is a male organization. So does that mean that males are not allowed to volunteer for the Girl Scouts? I mean, since heterosexual men are attracted to women does that mean they are a threat to young girls in the Girl Scouts? Even further, could you say that no straight man is safe to be alone with his own daughter because he is attracted to females? The logic simply makes no sense.
When I was in High School there was one gay teacher (as I can recall). You really didn’t know he even existed because he taught Advanced Placement Algebra off in some tiny little corner of the school. Aside from him all of the male teachers were straight, and you heard more stories about the straight male teachers having sex with students then the gay teacher.
So again, how does allowing straight people to be in any sort of leadership position any safer than allowing a homosexual to be in the same position? The Mormon Chuch is humping the idea that the children in the BSA are completely safe because there are no gay Scoutmasters. But what about the straight Scoutmasters who are at risk to children? How do they even find that stuff out? I mean, I’m sure it has happened before, where a straight Scoutmaster molested one or more of the children in his troop. Did anyone find out about it? If so, what happened to that straight Scoutmaster?
What I’m saying is that there is no way on earth to tell if someone is a child predator or not. These people blend into society very well, and you most likely live next to or close to someone who is straight and has been convicted of a sex crime against the same sex. So why point the finger at one group of minorities and say that they are the cause of all sexual abuse cases? Why not let everyone join, and those who break the law will be dealt with accordingly. That’s the way it should be.
Just like the argument against guns. The right-wingers like to say that you shouldn’t punish the law abiding citizens who own guns because criminals use them for bad things. And they are absolutely correct on that one. But the same logic can be used in this topic of gays in the Boy Scouts. Why would you punish every single homosexual in the nation because there was an instance where one homosexual man molested a young boy?
To punish all homosexuals and say they cannot join the organization because they are a molestation risk? Have there been any homosexual Scoutmasters who were caught breaking the law by molesting children? And if there have been, why would they persecute all homosexuals because of the devious act of one homosexual? Sure, they are all for it when it comes to guns. Just because one guy goes nuts and shoots up a school with an assault weapon doesn’t mean that all law abiding citizens who have assault weapons are dangerous people. The same thing applies here, and I wish they would use simple logic to realize this.
Pat Robertson had this to say as well, "Our prayers are with them (THE BSA) that they will do what they feel is right for them, not what the political [sic] correct crowd thinks is right for them."
OK, once again I am all for them being a private organization and excluding whomever they want, if they were truly a private organization. You can’t pretend to be a public organization to acquire government money, then turn around and say that you are in fact not a public organization. Pick one! If you don’t want to allow homosexuals into the group then stop accepting public funds.
In closing, I think that the Mormon Church is behind this, big time. Taking a look at some figures we see that the Mormon Church actually represents 15% of 2.7 million Boy Scouts. They represent more Scouts in this nation than any other group, religious or otherwise. And since 1999 (which was around the time I was about to leave the Scouts) the membership of the BSA has dropped significantly, making the organization smaller, but expanding its Mormon influence.
But the Mormon connection doesn’t end there. The Mormons have been vehemently attacking homosexuals and gay rights in general for years. A good example of this would be the millions of dollars they funneled into California’s Proposition 8 campaign, which made gay marriage illegal in California under the guise of protecting marriage and the family unit. This is what the Mormon Church had to say about the BS delaying their decision on lifting the ban against homosexuals, “We believe (the BSA) has acted wisely in delaying a vote on this policy issue until the implications can be can be carefully evaluated…we caution others not to speculate about our position or assume that individual Latter-day Saints inside or outside the Scouting movement speak for the Church. Neither has the Church launched any campaign either to effect or prevent the policy change.”
But we do in fact know that he Church doesn’t support any change to the BSA’s membership policy. Will they ever? That is what we will have to wait and find out.
The Mormons are trying to walk a very fine line here of course, because of their views on homosexuality and their high stakes in the BSA organization. Only time will tell how much influence they really have, and how much pressure they put on the BSA to delay this decision.
People like Pat Robertson and Rick Santorum would have you believe that this is a liberal political issue and that popular culture is trying to find it’s way into this great organization and destroy it for political causes. But this is not a political issue. As Sean Penn who played Harvey Milk in the movie ‘Milk’ said to Josh Brolin who played Dan White, “It's more than an issue. This is our life we're fighting for.”
Stand up with me and fight against this bigotry. Tell the BSA that you think they should lift their policy of discrimination and that if they wish to be a private organization that they need to stop accepting public funds. Tell the Mormon Church to back off and stop discriminating against our fellow Americans. Together we can put an end to this absurdity and we can have the equality that every American has today.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Last year, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement which essentially said that they had reviewed their “membership policy” and decided to keep it the way it was, despite what some people at the BSA itself actually thought. Since then, the BSA has experienced a large drop in membership as many parents are pulling their children out of the scouts while others just aren’t joining.
The “membership policy” that I’m talking about is one very discriminatory rule that the BSA has, which excludes certain people from joining their organization. It is a rule which bans homosexuals from joining the scouts, and after their decision last year many people have urged them to reconsider this move, which they will be doing tomorrow.
The Boy Scouts have a pretty bad track record with discriminating against homosexuals, and atheists. But this is all relatively new, though. The Boy Scouts weren’t always this way, it’s just that they have been hijacked by the religious right as of relatively recently. Many churches have Boy Scout troops of their own and have a high stake in them, but no one has a higher stake in the BSA then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons control a pretty large number of Boy Scout troops across America, more than any other religious organization in the country.
And of course, as usual, it’s become somewhat of a political topic as of late. President Obama as asked the BSA to repeal their anti-gay stance, and there is a whole movement out there to oppose them as well. One petition, which was delivered to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving Texas, had an astonishing1.4 million signatures, asking the BSA to end their ban of homosexual members.
But the opposition to this ban on the ban is also out there, albeit their rhetoric on this one is illogical and completely incoherent (As usual…?). Especially statements made by Rick Santorum recently, where he is urging the Boy Scouts of America to keep their policy and continue to discriminate against homosexuals saying, “[W]hen I saw that the Boy Scouts of America executive board is convening on Wednesday to discuss abandoning the organization’s founding moral principles that nurture boys into men, I was saddened, but not surprised.”
Santorum went on to say that the Scouts are only doing this because they are caving into pressures from “intolerant liberal mind(ed)” people. But how is not allowing discrimination intolerance? Does he not see that the comment he made is absolutely asinine? Does this man even know what the meaning of the word intolerant is?
He also went on to say that the Boy Scouts should stick to their moral roots on this one and not be forced to change to suit the popular culture. But the thing is that the Boy Scouts were never always like this. Their ‘founding moral principals’ are much different than what Santorum, or any other Republican would like to say they are. Once again, a case of politicians interpreting things in their own way to make a point.
FROM THE SCOUT MASTERS HANDBOOK 1972:
Rule number 1: You do not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, the subject of sex and family life. The reasons are that it is not construed to be Scoutings proper area, and that you are probably not well qualified to do this.
Yet now sex and family life are being used in the rules to exclude certain people that they don’t want to give equal rights to. And it’s not the BSA’s original policy to do this; it’s the right-winged religious folks who hijacked the BSA some years back and are now guiding its policies.
The BSA says that it has the right to be exclusive and not allow homosexuals the right to join because they are a private organization that can do what it wants. And this would be true, if the circumstances were slightly different. You see, in 1910 the Boy Scouts were recognized by the government as an American patriotic group, and because of that the BSA gets all kinds of great perks.
For one, the Scouts get public funding from the United States government. That’s public funding; the money that we pay into taxes goes to support the BSA and their bigotry. For two, the BSA can use public land for little to nothing. Most public buildings will allow Scouting troops to assemble for just one dollar a year or nothing at all. Fort A.P. Hill, where the Scouts hold their National Jamboree is rented for just one dollar. On top of that, active military personal are used to help set up the event, which costs the government around 5 million dollars every four years.
But let’s put all of that aside for a moment. I think the major hypocrisy of the BSA lies in their own law, a law that promotes trustworthiness, friendship, and kindness. It forces young people who are homosexuals to keep quiet about it and act like someone else, lying about who they are, thus breaking one of the Boy Scout laws? Do you think it is very kind or friendly to try to teach children hate and intolerance of this caliber?
Another great hypocrisy is that the BSA allows illegal immigrants to join their ranks, yet not homosexuals who are legally in this country. This is weird when you think about it. Why would the religious right be so strict on immigration, then turn around and say that you don’t have to be a citizen of America to join the Boy Scouts of AMERICA.
FROM THE BSA FAQ:
Citizenship is not required of youth or adult members.
Granted the FAQ goes on to say that if you are not a citizen of the United States they urge you to join a scouting organization in your own country. However, they will not turn you away from the group simply because you are not a US citizen. That translates as “Illegal immigrants? Yeah, their OK, but watch out for those subversive fucking faggots! They ruin everything!”
I was in the Boy Scouts when I was younger. It was a very cool experience for the time that I was there. I learned how to start a fire and cook during a snow storm, learned how to use a compass to find my way back home, self reliance, and most of all self confidence.
Although that self confidence began to fade once I got older and began to realize who I was. Once I found out about the Scouts policy on homosexual members I thought that maybe I was a bad Scout. So I quit.
My boyfriend on the other hand nearly became an Eagle Scout, but for all intents and purposes he is an Eagle Scout. He finished out the entire program, even completed his Eagle Project. But before accepting the rank of Eagle he backed out, saying that he wanted nothing to do with a group that discriminates against gay people.
I’ve done a lot of Boy Scout bashing here, so I have to throw it out there and let it be known that I don’t hate the Scouts. I think they are a great organization that promotes great values and teaches young men a set of skills that will stay with them for the rest of their life. This is why I don’t understand why they won’t extend their hand and offer these skills, which every young man should know, to a certain person simply because they were born gay. As someone who cares about the community don’t you people think that all young men, regardless of who they are, should have these set of skills? Would it not make the world a better place?
Is it wrong to teach somebody how to tie a knot, or build a fire, or hike, or use a compass when they are born a certain way? Is this exclusive knowledge that only certain young people are allowed to know? I mean, should I be shunned for teaching a homosexual how to find his way home using a compass?
I would urge the Boy Scouts to highly reconsider this membership policy, and put an end to discrimination within their organization so that every young man, regardless of who they are, can join this great organization and learn all that the Boy Scouts has to offer. I have already sent them my feed back; I hope you will do the same.
Let’s hope that tomorrow they make the right decision and end this policy of discrimination, so that all young men will be treated equally and given the same chance to have an awesome experience like everyone else.
Monday, February 4, 2013
So after some research I have come to a few conclusions about the PredatorsWatch.com scam that I found out about recently. First off, never believe what you hear on the internet; secondly, know the laws or do some research on them; thirdly, don’t fucking panic.
PredatorsWatch.com is a website that allows people to post information about potential sexual predators for absolutely no charge. The only way to get information off the site is to pay them $99.95, regardless of whether or not the accusations made against you on the site are false or not.
I was trying to figure out ways to get this site off the net and see if we could put an end to this little organization once and for all. The thing that really upset me about it is the fact that they use a name like Predators Watch, which implies that they are some type of advocacy group that legitimately wants to make the community a safer place. When in realty they’re just out to get money from you and mine your data.
I looked through some websites about the scam and I found some people that actually paid the $99.95 to have their name removed.
I also found a lot of irate people like myself who wanted the site to be taken down, and even tried to supply names of the owners of the websites.
But upon closer examination I’ve found that the names they give can in no way really be connected with the website.
Which brings me to number 1: Never believe what you see on the internet.
When doing a WHOIS lookup on PredatorsWatch.com I found that the site is hosted by eNom LLC, a domain name service provider. When looking up contact info for the owner on the WHOIS search I found the following:
PRQ Inet KB
Gottfrid Swartholm ()
Stockholm, 114 79
PRQ Inet KB
Gottfrid Swartholm (email@example.com)
Stockholm, 114 79
PRQ Inet KB
Gottfrid Swartholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stockholm, 114 79
PRQ is an internet service provider that is co-owned by Per Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (Gottfrid Swartholm). He is also the co-owner of such BitTorrent projects like ThePirateBay.org.
Now what’s interesting is that some people on anti-scam sites are claiming that this is the man you need to speak to about the website in question, but that isn’t exactly correct. PRQ doesn’t just provide internet service or website hosting service. They also provide what is called ‘domain privacy’.
‘Domain privacy’ is a service that anyone can pay for. Essentially what you do is pay somebody else to acquire your domain name under their name, keeping you out of the picture entirely. You still operate the website and have administration powers, but as far as anyone knows you’re not the actual owner.
Now, the only reason we know that the people who run PredatorsWatch.com are from America is because for one, the actual service provider is eNom LLC, which is based in Washington State. For two, they are citing a US Federal Law, the Communications Decency Act, and using it their advantage. But what we don’t know is who they really are.
Some internet users and victims of the scam have implicated a man in Florida named Michael King, who operates a website called WikiWarnings.com. It’s the same type of premise, except is doesn’t deal with sexual predators. It is a site where you can accuse someone of being a fraud (usually a business owner of some kind) by posting a profile about them for free. Michael King’s site is kind enough to make sure that your name pops up on major search engines for everyone to find.
In order to have your name taken off this man’s website you have to show him proof that the claims are false, and he will only accept court or police documentation. Once he receives it he apparently examines it and then lets you know whether or not your information can be taken off of his website. If he approves, you must pay a fee of $599.99, which according to his website “…is to pay our developers to remove the listing report from social networks and search engines such as Bing.com, Google.com, etc…”
I did another WHOIS search on WikiWarnings.com and found that the domain was registered at GoDaddy.com and that the contact information is that of a company called “Domains by Proxy”, which is company that provides domain privacy and is owned by GoDaddy.com founder, Bob Parsons.
I found even more people on these anti-scam sites which claimed that Michael King owned other sites like Warning-Notice.com. A WHOIS search of that site also brought up GoDaddy.com as the domain provider and Domains by Proxy as the contact information.
But other than this there is no proof that Michael King is the owner of PredatorsWatch.com. There isn’t even proof that he is the owner of Warning-Notice.
There are certain privacy issues here which people can use to their advantage and it’s perfectly legal. There are free speech issues at hand here as well which we must recognize.
Which brings me to number 2: Know the laws, or do some research on them.
I learned a lot today about internet privacy laws and domain name providers. I learned that I can look up a web page and get some clues as to who they might be. I read TOS agreements from other web based service providers, looked up the laws that they were citing and came to my own conclusions.
I took a dive head first into the world of internet scams and I saw how easy it really is and how much money there is to make for people who do this. They’re devious mother fuckers who don’t give a damn about your reputation, but they don’t have the balls to let anyone know who they really are. Totally illegitimate!
But even though we know it’s a scam now, even though we are smart enough to look into things and figure out what’s really going on, there are some people who are willing to pay the money to have their name taken off the sites. Some out of fear, others out of pure determination to keep their reputations intact, and with good cause too!
Which brings me to number 3: Don’t fucking panic.
These assholes have been at it for a really long time, and nothing is going to stop them. The only thing that can happen in the case of PredatorsWatch.com specifically is that enough pressure will come down upon eNom LLC and they will close the site down. But before that happens, you’ll just have to live with the fact that some shady data miners got a hold of your name and picture and labeled you a predator.
I think the best thing we can do right now to bring this one site down is to complain to eNom LLC, your attorney general, and consumer based advocacy groups to shut the site down. But just remember that within a few days there will be another site just like it, using the same tactics as before.
People, you need to stay informed about this stuff and be extra careful. Spread the word about scams like this and be active about it. And remember, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Craig’s List!”
If you have been taken advantage by a scam like this then here are some people that you can contact:
Saturday, February 2, 2013
I really hate assholes. And when I heard about this it really pissed me off. It was brought to my attention recently through a clip of the David Pakman show on Youtube.com, that there exists a website called Predatorswatch.com. Pretty interesting name, but don’t let it fool you folks. At first glimpse you would think this is some type of organization that protects children from real predators like Preverted-Justice.com. But it’s something completely different and completely unethical.
David Pakman brought it up on his show when a viewer sent him an email stating that he was a victim of a Craigslist.com personals ad scam, which involved Predatorswatch.com. The viewer said he decided to respond to some personal ads on Craigslist.com to try to score a date (or a lay, who cares) and that after responding to them he received an email stating that he had been placed on the Predatorswatch.com list of known sexual predators. He was given the URL to where he can find his newly created profile, so he followed it and found his name, phone number, email address, and the picture that he sent to the personal ads of himself on the website.
|A Profile on PredatorsWatch.com|
Now here the real kicker which pissed me off, he noticed at the bottom of his profile there is a large red button which says “Delete This Profile Now”. He clicked it and it lead him to a page where he could submit his credit card information to have the profile removed.
I checked out the website myself and clicked on the button and it redirected me to a page which does in fact ask for credit card information. The price to have a profile deleted is $99.95, and they accept all major credit cards. The funny thing is that you don’t even have to be the person who listed on the god damned website to have it removed; anyone can remove a profile of anyone if they can pay the price. Of course making the profile is completely free and anonymous, but removal is what will cost you.
|Payment info screen to remove profile|
I did in fact try to create a profile of myself on the website for fun, see if you can find me by looking up my email address email@example.com. I’m not sure if I was able to get away with it though, because I’m not sure if these posts are reviewed by anyone before they get added to the website and I added a picture of Reno from Final Fantasy VII and their TOS page states that they will not allow anyone to post copyrighted material, so that may have set me back.
With a name like Predators Watch you would think the website would be a legitimate organization that catches sexual predators. But what type of legitimate organization would troll online personals ads by posting personals themselves and then posting those who respond to them on a website which labels those people as potential sexual predators? It doesn’t make any sense to call yourself a legitimate organization when your website allows ANYONE to post information about other people indiscriminately and without any proof what-so-ever and then charge them a fee to have it removed
|Me adding myself on PredatorsWatch.com|
I did read their TOS and their FAQ and I found out that these assholes really did a good job of covering their scumbag asses. They know about and are using to their advantage a federal law called the Communications Decency Act or "CDA" (47 U.S.C. § 230). This law basically states that someone can post something on a website like Predatorswatch.com which is defamatory and false and that the website itself cannot be held responsible for the posted material.
FROM THE FAQ:
Specifically, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) states, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." Because the submitted profiles on PredatorsWatch.com are authored by users of the site, we cannot be legally regarded as the "publisher or speaker" of the reports contained here, and hence we are not liable for reports even if they contain false or inaccurate information (NOTE: we occasionally create editorial comments and other material, but when we do, this is clearly marked as such).
I understand this law as this law actually protects assholes like me who have blogs and the people who provide the blogging service to me. This way all the crazy shit that I write up on this blog doesn’t affect Blogger.com. They are not held responsible for the things I say just in the same way I’m not held responsible for the things other people comment about on my blog.
Here’s the big difference though! Blogger.com is a legitimate website which provides a free service allowing users to post their thoughts. They do not take any liability for how you use their services, but they also do not charge you a fee to have your content removed. Predatorswatch.com will allow people to post information on their website anonymously about anyone and they are not held liable for it, yet they will charge you a fee of $99.95 to have it removed. And why the fee, you ask?
FROM THE FAQ:
Removal is a paid service due to the costs associated with altering the content of the site on an individual basis.
You know, Preverted-Justice.com is a real organization that actually helps to protect children from real sexual predators on the internet by helping to catch them and get them registered as sex offenders. They post information about the people that they know to be sexual predators because they provide proof and they actually get them caught by authorities. If for any reason though they just happened to implicate or somehow otherwise falsely accuse an innocent individual of being a sexual predator I’m pretty sure they would remove that information and begin writing retractions and apologies. For free, too!
Now here’s the crazy thing. So you’ve been added to Predatorswatch.com because someone on the internet made a false claim about you. Even if you can proof that this is a false claim ( I.E. police statements, court papers, etc) they will not remove the information about you. You will still have to pay a fee to have your information removed. Once again they are using the Communications Decency Act to get around that one.
Granted, many people who have fallen victim to this scam did their research and found out that this website is bogus, as I found on certain websites like Ripoffreport.com, TheDatingJudge.com, and even Wikipedia has an article on these dipshits.
But the idea that these fuckers are posing as an organization that exists to help the community (the word ‘community’ is used a lot on their website) when all they’re really out for is to help the community lighten their wallets.
Here’s Predatorswatch.com’s ‘mission’:
We've been saying it for a long time and proving it even longer, our operations are professional, effective and one of a kind. Thanks to our brave visitors for stepping forward to tell the world what it should already know, that exposing online sex predators discourages other potential offenders from doing the very same thing.
Thankfully, these fuckers have actually been caught doing this before under different names such as PotentialPredators.com, which were shut down. Predatorswatch.com is their new effort at blackmailing and extorting innocent people.
And now with this proof from a David Pakman viewer, who responded to a Craigslist.com personals ad and was placed on the website, we know these assholes are not just data miners but predators themselves. They are people who post false personal ads on free websites and wait for some poor lonely guy who’s looking for a date or a lay to respond to them with some pictures and an email address, then post it all on a website that accuses him of being a ‘potential predator’. Thinking that the next response he gets will be from someone looking for a date he gets a friendly email letting him know that he is currently being blackmailed by some pissant group of punks on the internet looking to make a quick buck. (PS. I know the stupidity of looking for a date on Craigslist.com, like…I mean, why would you go there for a date or sex? But still, people do it and I don’t think they should be blackmailed for it.)
Of course, being the smart ass that I am, I sent an email to them asking them if they had any comment on those who claim their website is fraudulent. I’m still waiting for a reply.
This type of shit really pisses me off, and I won’t stop hounding these assholes until their website is taken off the internet and their little organization is dissolved.