This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More on Annette and the Strange Way Some Folks Are Victimised by Troll Gang Attacks

A friend of Annette's emailed me some very interesting comments. We'll get to those in a bit. As a guest blogger commented on one of the previous entries, there was a similarity between how Theresa Duncan and Annette Appollo were treated on the net after their deaths. They were both attacked and distorted beyond comprehension, when neither had a chance to fight back. Thankfully in the case of Theresa, there was some decent news coverage which captured the essence of what had truly happened to her. It countered the bizarre convolution coming out of Jeff Wells, Alex Constantine, Dreamsend, and others. In Annette's case, her on-line friends and a few others came to her rescue post-mortem in order to preserve her stellar reputation as a thinker, writer, and sincere progressive.

We're talking primarily about her on-line existence. I'm not gonna tap into her real life world any more than I did. I can relate to her having kept the two separate. Here and there I've revealed a few tidbits of my life, but that's about it. I think Annette would have loved us for doting over her blogging accomplishments while respecting that real life privacy.

I think a lot of the internet is rigged. Honest bloggers in the tradition of Annette Appollo and Dave Weintraub are simply not wanted, unless they toe the line. I think many of their detractors have been receiving a paycheck to write their various spewings. Sorry, I do.

But before getting into that, here's one more example of how we can know Annette was OldLeftieLawyer and Tangerine LaBamba. On the whois, tangerine LaBamba was listed in her email contact address. In addition, Annette as OLL and TlB revealed having worked for the tv show Miami Vice. Wow, Annette's friends were surely in the presence of a dynamic, interesting, accomplished individual. I never liked that show, but I'll give her kudos for having been a script writer. That's some cool beans for all you hot mommas and daddy-o's out there in Blogistan privileged enough to have known Annette.



That is pretty cool. What isn't cool is how some people were spitting on Annette's grave. We already know about bettyellen. There's another troll named HiFructosePronSyrup He first triggered a blip on my troll radar system when I saw he had attacked a longtime DU blogger named debbierlus. Could this syrupy troll be none other than the infamous MajorFlaw of Daily Kos? It wouldn't surprise me. At a minimum, I think such people are part of the same astroturfing racket (Hello Jason Leopold, BradBlog, Ben Burch, Larisa Alexandrovna, and others!). Sorry, I do. I don't think all trolls are unpaid. If you think that's tinfoil on my part, sue me. It's not like I pulled such ideas out of a bunghole. People are paid to post. That's been proven. Only the exact reasons for doing so and who pays them is open to debate. Except for Hal Turner, it's not like there are that many paystubs floating around. Some people are also referred to as useful idiots. They do it for free because they are weak minded conformists.

Check out this thread, in which Syrup Man teamed up with bettyellen (Walton) to spit on Annette's blogging grave. Here are some excerpts. (I don't think Ken Burch is any relation to Ben.)

I don't think Annette had many usernames at DU. I also think they were zombies, not sock puppets. The latter are utilised by real trolls. Sock puppeteering is a technique used by such immoral creeps as attempts to create the illusion of grassroots. Hence, this is why the word astroturf has emerged as part of the blogospheric vernacular. You really think that many people actually bought into Jason Leopold's "Karl Rove Indicted" hoax? I sure as heck don't. I think most of them were sock puppets.

It was already shown in a previous DFQ2 post that Appollo target Jason Leopold has become well-known for creating sock puppets. That's quite different from what Annette did. She was a zombie. Zombies are usernames of returning banned folks. Sock puppets are about creating fake dialogue. There was nothing fake about Annette Appollo. She made a lot of friends as OldLeftieLawyer. Perhaps one of the reasons she returned as Tangerine LaBamba was to have email access to those friends. She certainly had been banned for no good reason. I went looking. She did nothing wrong but expose Jason Leopold for being a paid fake. Unlike anti-social morons like FructoseFace and BettyWipe, Annette was a loving, sociable person. Of course she would try to return to be able to interact with people she had come to love and respect as internet friends.

I emailed one of them named sprouse27.
Hi sprouse27 from DFQ2
I am kind of in shock too about Annette. Not anywhere near yourself of course or her other close friends. The person in control of her website has scrubbed and replaced it with a picture of a young Annette in the Rockies with a link to my humble blog. I guess I did a good job on my entry. I'm actually writing one more on her trying to tie together loose ends. I'm trying to honour her blogging, period. If you or any of her other friends wish to contact me with any concerns about what I wrote, or if anyone would like to add anything, it'd be fine by me. Take it easy.
He wrote back.
I knew Annette for about six years and sadly, never met her in person. I spoke with her frequently on the phone and became very close to her over that time period. I was never very active with Annette on all her DU stuff. She'd periodically send me threads to discussions she was having, and she was passionate about it. But I don't believe that Annette's untimely death had anything to do with her DU activities. Annette simply took no prisoners in this life. By that I mean, she didn't compromise much. She had some significant health challenges for the last few years of her life and they greatly reduced the quality of her life. There were other factors as well, but I'd prefer not to go into those. She was a proud woman (a tough old broad) and when she could no longer enjoy what she considered an acceptable quality of life, she simply chose to end it.

I've missed her often, and didn't realize how much a part of my life she'd become until she was no longer in it. She was funny, witty, insightful, and passionate about things; and I miss her very much. I'll always regret never meeting her in person, but distance and other obligations simply did not allow that to happen. I can still hear her voice in my head. When I went on DU to help others who knew her get some closure, and get some closure myself, I was a little stunned at some of the comments I read. There were many kind and sympathetic people there, but others displayed a venom and insensitivity that was beyond my comprehension.

I spent 23 years as an officer in the Marine Corps, so I'm no stranger to harsh language. I simply chose to share with those who needed the closure, and then left it behind. I've kept in touch with a few of her other friends and even though we met only through Annette, I found she had a real knack for finding interesting people. Perhaps because she was so interesting herself. Such a neat lady. So you can post this if you like, but I don't think DU pushed her over the edge. She loved stirring the pot on that thing, and had very strong opinions. But it was done the moment she logged off in MY opinion. *grin* But I'm sure she'd enjoy that there is still a conversation going on about her. She loved a good conversation. Best wishes, (name redacted).
He sent a second email.
Hey DFQ2,
just saw your follow up blog and I can help you with a few things. Annette did commit suicide. She had a horrible relationship with her older sister, whom she described as completely crazy. How much her older sister really knew about Annette's death I don't know. I never spoke to the woman. I do believe the woman who posted on DU as her older sister was in fact, her older sister. I thought it was tacky of her to do that, but given the nature of their relationship I wasn't shocked that she'd done it.

I did speak to a number of the people involved in settling her estate and her personal affairs and understand the circumstances of her death. Annette was old leftie lawyer, she was also Tangerine La Bamba. Beyond that, I'm not sure how many names she posted under. She had a hip injury that limited her mobility for long periods of time and that reduced mobility no doubt contributed to the large number of posts she made.

Over the years, Annette shared many stories with me. In a lot of ways, she was larger than life. I'll confess that a few times, I did check up on some of things she'd shared because they were so incredible. They always checked out. I personally never caught her in a lie, but there were folks on DU that wanted to challenge everything about her. I suspect there are folks on there still who think her death is a hoax. I just had to shake my head. Whatever. I am by no means an expert on Annette Appollo. She was a brilliant, complicated, intense woman and I was just fortunate enough to get to know her a little. I have to smile, she was something else. Best wishes, (name redacted)
I sent this reply.
Hi (name redacted),

Thanks for the emails. I'll post them in a new entry sometime today. I agree Annette would have loved this; People sticking up for her in regards to her blogging. Making those other people look like fools or perhaps something insidious. There was one guest post I completely deleted. I didn't even make note of it like I did with the one I suspect came from none other than Jason Leopold. Someone wrote that Annette had messed with a coal region guestbook and forum. I saw no proof. I don't allow trolls to see the light of day on my blog. Or very rarely.

I would have loved having a person like Annette to watch my back and me hers. I got some decent college in. I'm not a conspiracy theorist.

I'll respond to your words in the entry. I think she was targeted by historic trolls with either no lives or perhaps more likely something beyond most people's comprehension, a group of strange astroturfers. I got cyberstalked. Brad Friedman of BradBlog gave away my personal info. I reported it to my local police. Brad was close to Jason Leopold's crowd, still is. Annette did a good job busting Jason's chops.

This goes beyond her work as Old Leftie Lawyer. She was antiwar and a free thinker. I guess you could say I have been something of a trollbuster, and that's why I ended up writing on Annette. It didn't take long to figure what had happened to her. It disgusted me. That type of organised trolling goes on a lot. DaveFromQueens proved it. When he showed up at DU after being run off of DKos for exposing Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Hal Turner, and others, the DU pack pretty much told him to stifle it. I wanted to be a DU blogger starting back in 2007. Not anymore. It's a rigged fight club. They delete so much, because if they didn't, folks would more easily see how unfair it is. Take care.

(name redacted) from the Boston area (please don't circulate my name)
That's unfortunate that Wabansia may indeed have been Annette's sister. That was some ugly shite that person posted. If so, it's no surprise that Wabansia's side of the family is associated with Halliburton.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks this troll's probably receiving a paycheck to write disruptive nonsense on the internet. I think astroturfers are attempting nothing less than the perversion of democratic processes in the blogosphere.


One idea myself and an internet friend named donkeytale recently agreed on is that there's little nuance or complex debate going on. One glaring example of that has been with the so-called debate on health care reform. One politician caught up in that crossfire has been Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. He has been one of the holdouts from supporting Obama's bill.

I, for one, haven't been able to learn many specifics about that issue. How can one do so, unless they are an expert on it, when all one mostly can read is noise? FructoseFace has been at the forefront of producing such static. He sounds as if he is indeed an astroturfer getting paid by the Democratic Leadership Council, the conservative sector of the Democratic Party. The DLC was founded by triangulator Al From. The owner of DU has been tied to the DLC. Perhaps the unfair bannings of folks such as debbierlus and Annette have had to do with the conservative editorial stance of DU. There has to be a reason why that domain is neither democratic nor underground (in the sense of speaking truth to power). The following posts speak for themselves. Who the fock does FructoseFace think he's fooling?

Sick and Tired of Kucinich, Moore, and Hamsher

A dude who should change his username to BlueDogStateGuy wrote that above diary. FructoseFace then showed up to display his true (racist) colours as a historic troll.

Kucinich, who voted against a public option, accuses the President of being against it.

Nuance, schmuance. If you don't believe me, read through that above thread. Some people understand the concept of a democratic forum. Others do not. Annette was one of the folks who understood what was wrong with Democratic Underground. That's why I think she ultimately gave up on blogging. That's why I think her passing was somwhat a result of death by internet. Yes, she had major health issues and wanted to go out on her own terms. Nonetheless, I've a feeling she would've held on for longer, if she hadn't been treated like dirt by Democratic Underground trolls doing trench work for a conservative controlled Democratic Party.

Some more excerpts:

We'll let Go2Peace get the last word.

Related Reading (FructoseFace doing some more troll work):
I did it. I screamed out a diatribe at the end of Avatar

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