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Meet ICREACH: The NSA's Own Secret "Google"

Tyler Durden's picture


Authored by Ryan Gallagher, originally posted at The Intercept,

The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.

ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Earlier revelations sourced to the Snowden documents have exposed a multitude of NSA programs for collecting large volumes of communications. The NSA has acknowledged that it shares some of its collected data with domestic agencies like the FBI, but details about the method and scope of its sharing have remained shrouded in secrecy.


ICREACH has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work, according to a 2010 memo. A planning document from 2007 lists the DEA, FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency as core members. Information shared through ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal religious affiliations or political beliefs.

The creation of ICREACH represented a landmark moment in the history of classified U.S. government surveillance, according to the NSA documents.

“The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community,” noted a top-secret memo dated December 2007. “This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets.”

The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones. Metadata reveals information about a communication—such as the “to” and “from” parts of an email, and the time and date it was sent, or the phone numbers someone called and when they called—but not the content of the message or audio of the call.

ICREACH does not appear to have a direct relationship to the large NSA database, previously reported by The Guardian, that stores information on millions of ordinary Americans’ phone calls under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Unlike the 215 database, which is accessible to a small number of NSA employees and can be searched only in terrorism-related investigations, ICREACH grants access to a vast pool of data that can be mined by analysts from across the intelligence community for “foreign intelligence”—a vague term that is far broader than counterterrorism.


Data available through ICREACH appears to be primarily derived from surveillance of foreigners’ communications, and planning documents show that it draws on a variety of different sources of data maintained by the NSA. Though one 2010 internal paper clearly calls it “the ICREACH database,” a U.S. official familiar with the system disputed that, telling The Intercept that while “it enables the sharing of certain foreign intelligence metadata,” ICREACH is “not a repository [and] does not store events or records.” Instead, it appears to provide analysts with the ability to perform a one-stop search of information from a wide variety of separate databases.

In a statement to The Intercept, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that the system shares data that is swept up by programs authorized under Executive Order 12333, a controversial Reagan-era presidential directive that underpins several NSA bulk surveillance operations that monitor communications overseas. The 12333 surveillance takes place with no court oversight and has received minimal Congressional scrutiny because it is targeted at foreign, not domestic, communication networks. But the broad scale of 12333 surveillance means that some Americans’ communications get caught in the dragnet as they transit international cables or satellites—and documents contained in the Snowden archive indicate that ICREACH taps into some of that data.

Legal experts told The Intercept they were shocked to learn about the scale of the ICREACH system and are concerned that law enforcement authorities might use it for domestic investigations that are not related to terrorism.

“To me, this is extremely troublesome,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. “The myth that metadata is just a bunch of numbers and is not as revealing as actual communications content was exploded long ago—this is a trove of incredibly sensitive information.”

Brian Owsley, a federal magistrate judge between 2005 and 2013, said he was alarmed that traditional law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the DEA were among those with access to the NSA’s surveillance troves.

“This is not something that I think the government should be doing,” said Owsley, an assistant professor of law at Indiana Tech Law School. “Perhaps if information is useful in a specific case, they can get judicial authority to provide it to another agency. But there shouldn’t be this buddy-buddy system back-and-forth.”

Jeffrey Anchukaitis, an ODNI spokesman, declined to comment on a series of questions from The Intercept about the size and scope of ICREACH, but said that sharing information had become “a pillar of the post-9/11 intelligence community” as part of an effort to prevent valuable intelligence from being “stove-piped in any single office or agency.”

Using ICREACH to query the surveillance data, “analysts can develop vital intelligence leads without requiring access to raw intelligence collected by other IC [Intelligence Community] agencies,” Anchukaitis said. “In the case of NSA, access to raw signals intelligence is strictly limited to those with the training and authority to handle it appropriately. The highest priority of the intelligence community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.”

One-Stop Shopping

The mastermind behind ICREACH was recently retired NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander, who outlined his vision for the system in a classified 2006 letter to the then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. The search tool, Alexander wrote, would “allow unprecedented volumes of communications metadata to be shared and analyzed,” opening up a “vast, rich source of information” for other agencies to exploit. By late 2007 the NSA reported to its employees that the system had gone live as a pilot program.

The NSA described ICREACH as a “one-stop shopping tool” for analyzing communications. The system would enable at least a 12-fold increase in the volume of metadata being shared between intelligence community agencies, the documents stated. Using ICREACH, the NSA planned to boost the amount of communications “events” it shared with other U.S. government agencies from 50 billion to more than 850 billion, bolstering an older top-secret data sharing system named CRISSCROSS/PROTON, which was launched in the 1990s and managed by the CIA.

To allow government agents to sift through the masses of records on ICREACH, engineers designed a simple “Google-like” search interface. This enabled analysts to run searches against particular “selectors” associated with a person of interest—such as an email address or phone number—and receive a page of results displaying, for instance, a list of phone calls made and received by a suspect over a month-long period. The documents suggest these results can be used reveal the “social network” of the person of interest—in other words, those that they communicate with, such as friends, family, and other associates.


The purpose of ICREACH, projected initially to cost between $2.5 million and $4.5 million per year, was to allow government agents to comb through the NSA’s metadata troves to identify new leads for investigations, to predict potential future threats against the U.S., and to keep tabs on what the NSA calls “worldwide intelligence targets.”

However, the documents make clear that it is not only data about foreigners’ communications that are available on the system. Alexander’s memo states that “many millions of…minimized communications metadata records” would be available through ICREACH, a reference to the process of “minimization,” whereby identifying information—such as part of a phone number or email address—is removed so it is not visible to the analyst. NSA documents define minimization as “specific procedures to minimize the acquisition and retention [of] information concerning unconsenting U.S. persons”—making it a near certainty that ICREACH gives analysts access to millions of records about Americans. The “minimized” information can still be retained under NSA rules for up to five years and “unmasked” at any point during that period if it is ever deemed necessary for an investigation.

The Brennan Center’s Goitein said it appeared that with ICREACH, the government “drove a truck” through loopholes that allowed it to circumvent restrictions on retaining data about Americans. This raises a variety of legal and constitutional issues, according to Goitein, particularly if the data can be easily searched on a large scale by agencies like the FBI and DEA for their domestic investigations.

“The idea with minimization is that the government is basically supposed to pretend this information doesn’t exist, unless it falls under certain narrow categories,” Goitein said. “But functionally speaking, what we’re seeing here is that minimization means, ‘we’ll hold on to the data as long as we want to, and if we see anything that interests us then we can use it.’”

A key question, according to several experts consulted by The Intercept, is whether the FBI, DEA or other domestic agencies have used their access to ICREACH to secretly trigger investigations of Americans through a controversial process known as “parallel construction.”

Parallel construction involves law enforcement agents using information gleaned from covert surveillance, but later covering up their use of that data by creating a new evidence trail that excludes it. This hides the true origin of the investigation from defense lawyers and, on occasion, prosecutors and judges—which means the legality of the evidence that triggered the investigation cannot be challenged in court.

In practice, this could mean that a DEA agent identifies an individual he believes is involved in drug trafficking in the United States on the basis of information stored on ICREACH. The agent begins an investigation but pretends, in his records of the investigation, that the original tip did not come from the secret trove. Last year, Reuters first reported details of parallel construction based on NSA data, linking the practice to a unit known as the Special Operations Division, which Reuters said distributes tips from NSA intercepts and a DEA database known as DICE.

Tampa attorney James Felman, chair of the American Bar Association’s criminal justice section, told The Intercept that parallel construction is a “tremendously problematic” tactic because law enforcement agencies “must be honest with courts about where they are getting their information.” The ICREACH revelations, he said, “raise the question of whether parallel construction is present in more cases than we had thought. And if that’s true, it is deeply disturbing and disappointing.”

Anchukaitis, the ODNI spokesman, declined to say whether ICREACH has been used to aid domestic investigations, and he would not name all of the agencies with access to the data. “Access to information-sharing tools is restricted to users conducting foreign intelligence analysis who have the appropriate training to handle the data,” he said.

CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, 2001.

CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, 2001.


The roots of ICREACH can be traced back more than two decades.

In the early 1990s, the CIA and the DEA embarked on a secret initiative called Project CRISSCROSS. The agencies built a database system to analyze phone billing records and phone directories, in order to identify links between intelligence targets and other persons of interest. At first, CRISSCROSS was used in Latin America and was “extremely successful” at identifying narcotics-related suspects. It stored only five kinds of metadata on phone calls: date, time, duration, called number, and calling number, according to an NSA memo.

The program rapidly grew in size and scope. By 1999, the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI had gained access to CRISSCROSS and were contributing information to it. As CRISSCROSS continued to expand, it was supplemented with a system called PROTON that enabled analysts to store and examine additional types of data. These included unique codes used to identify individual cellphones, location data, text messages, passport and flight records, visa application information, as well as excerpts culled from CIA intelligence reports.

An NSA memo noted that PROTON could identify people based on whether they behaved in a “similar manner to a specific target.” The memo also said the system “identifies correspondents in common with two or more targets, identifies potential new phone numbers when a target switches phones, and identifies networks of organizations based on communications within the group.” In July 2006, the NSA estimated that it was storing 149 billion phone records on PROTON.

According to the NSA documents, PROTON was used to track down “High Value Individuals” in the United States and Iraq, investigate front companies, and discover information about foreign government operatives. CRISSCROSS enabled major narcotics arrests and was integral to the CIA’s rendition program during the Bush Administration, which involved abducting terror suspects and flying them to secret “black site” prisons where they were brutally interrogated and sometimes tortured. One NSA document on the system, dated from July 2005, noted that the use of communications metadata “has been a contribution to virtually every successful rendition of suspects and often, the deciding factor.”

However, the NSA came to view CRISSCROSS/PROTON as insufficient, in part due to the aging standard of its technology. The intelligence community was sensitive to criticism that it had failed to share information that could potentially have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks, and it had been strongly criticized for intelligence failures before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. For the NSA, it was time to build a new and more advanced system to radically increase metadata sharing.



A New Standard

In 2006, NSA director Alexander drafted his secret proposal to then-Director of National Intelligence Negroponte.

Alexander laid out his vision for what he described as a “communications metadata coalition” that would be led by the NSA. His idea was to build a sophisticated new tool that would grant other federal agencies access to “more than 50 existing NSA/CSS metadata fields contained in trillions of records” and handle “many millions” of new minimized records every day—indicating that a large number of Americans’ communications would be included.

The NSA’s contributions to the ICREACH system, Alexander wrote, “would dwarf the volume of NSA’s present contributions to PROTON, as well as the input of all other [intelligence community] contributors.”

Alexander explained in the memo that NSA was already collecting “vast amounts of communications metadata” and was preparing to share some of it on a system called GLOBALREACH with its counterparts in the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance: the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

ICREACH, he proposed, could be designed like GLOBALREACH and accessible only to U.S. agencies in the intelligence community, or IC.

A top-secret PowerPoint presentation from May 2007 illustrated how ICREACH would work—revealing its “Google-like” search interface and showing how the NSA planned to link it to the DEA, DIA, CIA, and the FBI. Each agency would access and input data through a secret data “broker”—a sort of digital letterbox—linked to the central NSA system. ICREACH, according to the presentation, would also receive metadata from the Five Eyes allies.

The aim was not necessarily for ICREACH to completely replace CRISSCROSS/PROTON, but rather to complement it. The NSA planned to use the new system to perform more advanced kinds of surveillance—such as “pattern of life analysis,” which involves monitoring who individuals communicate with and the places they visit over a period of several months, in order to observe their habits and predict future behavior.

The NSA agreed to train other U.S. government agencies to use ICREACH. Intelligence analysts could be “certified” for access to the massive database if they required access in support of a given mission, worked as an analyst within the U.S. intelligence community, and had top-secret security clearance. (According to the latest government figures, there are more than 1.2 million government employees and contractors with top-secret clearance.)

In November 2006, according to the documents, the Director of National Intelligence approved the proposal. ICREACH was rolled out as a test program by late 2007. It’s not clear when it became fully operational, but a September 2010 NSA memo referred to it as the primary tool for sharing data in the intelligence community. “ICREACH has been identified by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the U.S. Intelligence Community’s standard architecture for sharing communications metadata,” the memo states, adding that it provides “telephony metadata events” from the NSA and its Five Eyes partners “to over 1000 analysts across 23 U.S. Intelligence Community agencies.” It does not name all of the 23 agencies, however.

The limitations placed on analysts authorized to sift through the vast data troves are not outlined in the Snowden files, with only scant references to oversight mechanisms. According to the documents, searches performed by analysts are subject to auditing by the agencies for which they work. The documents also say the NSA would conduct random audits of the system to check for any government agents abusing their access to the data. The Intercept asked the NSA and the ODNI whether any analysts had been found to have conducted improper searches, but the agencies declined to comment.

While the NSA initially estimated making upwards of 850 billion records available on ICREACH, the documents indicate that target could have been surpassed, and that the number of personnel accessing the system may have increased since the 2010 reference to more than 1,000 analysts. The intelligence community’s top-secret “Black Budget” for 2013, also obtained by Snowden, shows that the NSA recently sought new funding to upgrade ICREACH to “provide IC analysts with access to a wider set of shareable data.”

In December last year, a surveillance review group appointed by President Obama recommended that as a general rule “the government should not be permitted to collect and store all mass, undigested, non-public personal information about individuals to enable future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes.” It also recommended that any information about United States persons should be “purged upon detection unless it either has foreign intelligence value or is necessary to prevent serious harm to others.”

Peter Swire, one of the five members of the review panel, told The Intercept he could not comment on whether the group was briefed on specific programs such as ICREACH, but noted that the review group raised concerns that “the need to share had gone too far among multiple agencies.”

Documents published with this article:

Read more here...


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Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:39 | 5147666 Newsboy
Newsboy's picture

"Ask Jeeves" for Total Information Awareness, uber-spylords?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:42 | 5147675 Alea Iactaest
Alea Iactaest's picture

Do no evil.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:42 | 5147681 r00t61
r00t61's picture

"The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:51 | 5147703 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks
of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal
religious affiliations or political beliefs.


Ohhh!  Scary!!!!!

I am my computer at home in Texas.

I bum around with my foxy wife, other horse people, colleagues from work, parents of my kids' friends, etc.

I am going to bed soon, will wake up around 5:00am, God willing, and go to work around 8:00am. 

I am a Christian and a Libertarian.


God I haven't spent my entire life circumventing the Fourth Amendment of
the Constitution
, which I swore to protect.  That kind of hypocricy might
wear on a person.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:53 | 5147725 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

A Christian and a Libertarian? How does that work?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:05 | 5147738 hedgeless_horseman
Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:43 | 5147880 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I belive in common sense being self-evident and do not think a figure like Jesus has to explain me the difference betwen right and wrong. Plus, I can't find his stance on abortion. I asked him, but he declined to comment.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:49 | 5147894 linniepar
linniepar's picture

Three drink minimum.  Two words; FUCK YOU!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:00 | 5147928 Drunk In Church
Drunk In Church's picture

Many Americans are feckless criminals.  Perhaps the government should spy on them.  The world would be safer with Big Brother.  Feel free to step on my neighbor's head.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:59 | 5148042 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture


submit your own ideas on how to improve big brother to help CIA today:

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:04 | 5148277 negative rates
negative rates's picture

It's these guys, the FBI, And the DEA who are our largest offenders to personal freedom and justice. The sooner they are rid of, the better for all the rest of the citizens.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:53 | 5148400 CH1
CH1's picture

Go ahead and complain, but don't actually protect yourself... and keep using free shit.

Thank you, The NSA

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:08 | 5150587 TruthHunter
TruthHunter's picture



Many American(government employee)s are feckless criminals

That's always been the problem with Big Brother


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:21 | 5147973 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

You should ask His Mother.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:36 | 5147989 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Being the sarcastic atheist that I am, I'd rather ask Mary what she had to do to convince her husband that babies being born without his involvement is nothing to worry about.

No wonder they wrote books about it, as it was probably the only time in 2000 years when a man actually bought it!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:36 | 5147997 AssFire
AssFire's picture

I guess I need to start posing when I take a shit.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:52 | 5148324 max2205
max2205's picture

I can barely breathe

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 19:47 | 5151796 mkkby
mkkby's picture

So these assholes ADMIT that they manufacture evidence to get easier convictions.  Nice.  Does anybody really want this USSA gov any more?  I wish we could all secede.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:57 | 5148039 aldousd
aldousd's picture


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 05:49 | 5148269 AsaMatterOfFact
AsaMatterOfFact's picture

That's rhetorical. But Ok I'll play. My Book says " You Will NEVER know how I put the baby in the womb". So Answer mine and I will answer yours?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 05:52 | 5148271 AsaMatterOfFact
AsaMatterOfFact's picture

That's rhetorical. But Ok I'll play. My Book says " You Will NEVER know how I put the baby in the womb". So Answer mine and I will answer yours?


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:12 | 5148285 unrulian
unrulian's picture

well, it's Joseph's fidelity this time, I guess variety is the spice of thread jacking.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:33 | 5148094 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"I belive in common sense being self-evident and do not think a figure like Jesus has to explain me the difference betwen right and wrong. Plus, I can't find his stance on abortion. I asked him, but he declined to comment."

Jesus doesn't have to explain to you the difference between right and wrong; God built the knowledge into you. But He also gave us free will, and that combined with our rebellious nature, causes us to sin despite that knowledge. Jesus came to reinforce that knowledge AND to redeem our sins in order to reconcile us back to God.

Jesus told you in no uncertain terms what his stance on abortion was. He instructed us to love God; how is aborting one of His children "loving" God? He instructed us to love our neighbors as ourselves; how is killing one of your future neighbors in the womb "loving" that neighbor?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:23 | 5148159 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

bringing children into this world when you can't afford to provide them a good quality of life is just irresponsible.


ponzi scammers (church, government, land owners) love to tell the poor to have more kids.


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:06 | 5148334 drdolittle
drdolittle's picture

It's the quickest and surest way to increase your numbers of followers. If I were Pope I'd do the same thing. So, I guess in that respect at least, I'm no better than the Pope.

And, Buckaroo, I'd guess using that line of logic you would be against the death penalty.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:39 | 5149303 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

Promoting more children and murdering a child are two different things. If you are so worried about the population, why don't you do what you can about it? The answer is God gave you a will to live that is within defenseless children also.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:40 | 5149309 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

So half of the people here are as blood thirsty as any bankster? Again, the hate of the banksters for half of the people here is out of envy not anything worthy.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:42 | 5149322 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

Oh, I see. Brilliant work IC troll. Truly doing the work of the lord of darkness and hate. How does the growing stone on your heart feel?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:04 | 5147938 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Luckily, the libertarian portion allows us to disagree, as long as we don't use our beliefs to justify stealing eachother's stuff.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:10 | 5148282 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Yea but you didn't put that stuff there, and you never figured out who did, or when they did it. You will find out soon though, cause he's not around to fill it up this time, and it aint so easy to carry on ur back when ur on the run. I would leave it there and save the kids a big future pain in the neck, the ISIS kind.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:28 | 5148497 Agstacker
Agstacker's picture

Where do you get the idea that stealing eachother's stuff is wrong?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:13 | 5148666 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

If you're a christian, thou shalt not steal might ring a bell. If you are a Libertarian and not familiar with the Bill of Rights, Thomas Jefferson would like to have a quick word with you by the tree of liberty.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:05 | 5147942 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Look HH, I like you and think highly of you, but we're gonna have to have a "Parting of the Reed Sea" on this one.

At the risk of causing CD (Cognitive Dissonance), that JR episode has nothing to do with libertarianism, and everything with "Be a happy little sheep, while you're getting milked, shagged, herded, sheared or fleeced".

Oh, and then there are these JR gems: "Follow me and I shall make you a fisherman of men", and "Simon, you're now re - branded and renamed as "Rock" (Petrus in Latin). Rock, lead my sheep"

Oh, and... "God will wipe away ever tear... The Lion will lie down with the sheep...". Central Planning part excellence and Communism, if I ever heard of it.

Sorry, no, whatever 'Christianity' may have been like in 35 AD, it became very much a Roman version by 350 AD (or whenever the Bible came out after the Council of Nicaea), when it's sponsor (Emperor Constantine) realized that Christianity was a "growing concern" and "useful".

Sorry, friend, but ever since then, Western Christianity became mostly a religion of the Ruled, NOT the religion of Rulers. History clearly demonstrates this dichotomy.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:53 | 5148030 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I see Christianity as a personified set of Pagan traditions that were originally designed to track natural events such as the movement of stars, turning of seasons and chane of tides. Then Romans took over and gave every natural phenomenon a face. Christianity without a man at the helm was like Al Qaeda threat without Bin Laden. There had to be a man! Yet the change had to be reminiscent of the old belief structure.

Almost like in Greek mythology, personal stories were invented practically out a calendar, turning constellations, sunrises and moon phases into events and figures. Even the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation recevied its prominent place!

Christianity, I find, is easy to buy in isolation. I'm after all, a born Christian and remained as such before reaching the age of reason (as Carlin kindly puts it). Now a reformed atheist.

When you study other religions, as well as history preceeding Christianity, your beliefs vanish into the thin air they originated from.

I make jokes about Bible, but I do think there was actual benefit to it. Like math formulast teach those who don't actually understand math, how to get useful results by substituting numbers for "x" and "y", Christianity helps people with no common sense, to do the right things. Well, at least some of the time.

It helps illiterate people follow rules that they might not otherwise follow. That's why for much of history there were more Christians then there were literate people. To believe - you don't have to know how to write or read and that in itself speaks volumes.

Once again, I'm an atheist and I can explain my progression from A to B in great detail. That's what I love about no longer being a Christian - being able to explain things without quoting a book.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:51 | 5148034 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Oh, man! How did it morph into this from an NSA related discussion?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 04:54 | 5148245 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture



Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:48 | 5148320 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

There is NSA and then there is the big eye in the sky watching you masturbate!  (from a fellow Atheist). 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:11 | 5148065 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

It helps illiterate people follow rules that they might not otherwise follow. That's why for much of history there were more Christians then there were literate people. To believe - you don't have to know how to write or read and that in itself speaks volumes.

Gawd this is smug. The trinity is probably one of the most interesting concepts in literature, the bible was almost unparalleled with regard to abstract thought. Philosophically it's immensely interesting. Christian or not, the Bible is a great work. 

What have atheists given us? The flying spaghetti monster? A bunch of seriously ignorant bullshit out of batshit crazy self-appointed spokespeople like Dawkins? The great irony of those morons is that they are completely unable to recognize that claiming that there isn't a god exactly equals claiming that there is a god. When Dawkins tries to define the difference he throws smoke and mirrors. "What? logically we saying the same thing as the people we hate?? Er... um... oh look! Taliban!!! They so evil!!!! And fuck them agnostics!!! they ain't hardcore like us!!"

Interesting that a lot of the best agnostic / atheist philosophers have used various religious concepts as their starting place / source of invention. Maybe not just for dem dum illiterate folks!!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:23 | 5148077 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

What have atheists given us? The smartest ones observed the illiterate and invented religion.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:28 | 5148093 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Nice evasion. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:36 | 5149917 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Evasion is hiding behind quotes and hyperlinks. I offer you straight up answers using a thing called "brain". It's capable of reason all by itself, you know.

Also, what's with your unhealthy obsession with Dawkins? I haven't mentioned his name once or ever. I heard of him, and that's where my familiarity ends. I haven't read any of his work. Is he like a Christian cryptonite or something? I honestly don't understand his significance in all this. You mention him almost as much as quoting out of the bible.

If you have a case of mistaken identity, I must assure you I'm clearly not the person you're thinking of.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:07 | 5150106 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Also, what's with your unhealthy obsession with Dawkins? I haven't mentioned his name once or ever. I heard of him, and that's where my familiarity ends. I haven't read any of his work. Is he like a Christian cryptonite or something?

Dawkins is one of the leaders of this new (and extremely irritating) militant atheism. People who talk down religion / spirituality tend to be the mirror image of the worst people they are targeting. 

I am not a religious person, I should make that clear. Depending on who I'm talking to I may refer to myself as an atheist to make things simpler (atheism is a nonsensical concept though) but am agnostic.

Agnostic can be a bit vague so I have to either explain it or just say atheist. Atheist shouldn't be a dirty word, but lunatics like Dawkins ensure that it is. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:59 | 5150394 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Well, I'll surely look into him, because the name does come up here and there quite frequently. A am familiar with Agnostic alignment. Though conversation you don't come off as one.

When I am having a conversation, I like throwing jokes around. That typically puts Christians into a proverbial straight jacket. They get all hostile. Trying to reason with them is impossible, so I don't even pretend to try. I simply remember my old limited view and question how I'd respond to my old self who might've been saying and thinking those same things.

I've read Bibles - not just the Old and New Testament. Other bibles as well. I've had many aggressively religious friends that tried getting me into their churches. I've encountered catholics, baptists, mormons, evangelists, muslims, buddhists. I've examined parallels and differences in context of their national histories. To me they made sense.

Again, if you are to view religion as a rule-guided organism and throw them into the rink - you'll witness an evolutionary battle. You have hostile religions come out victorious in harsh environments and you'll get pacified brands where people don't kill eachother as often. If you are dealing with colonization - you'll have inquisitino and crusades. If you move to America, you'll have a tolerant version, that only discriminates if your skin color, gender or sexual orientation happens to be wrong. Your Christianity will likely split in ethnically represented varieties.

Some religions allow murder on the ground of dehumanization though the concept of soul. Some, supposedly possess that invisible thing. Other don't. A priest will typically help you differentiate which one's which.

You'll have tribal religions. You'll even have cannibalistic tribes devoted to the idea of an immortal soul with a slight twist: "If you devour another person, his soul will merge and yours will get bigger". It's all a question of convenience. Religion always firts the landscape. It's an afterthought. A justification following the act. First you have a desire to do something, and then you invent a rule that says it's a good thing and perhaps should be practiced more often. Such act may be a selfless gift to a neighbor, or an ear neatly chewed off. Depending on where you live, how hungry you are and which neighbors are eyeing your turf, you'll eventually come up with a bible. Requires for at least one person in your tribe to be somewhat literate. The rest don't have to be. That's why religion works as a control structure. Illiteracy - being one of its founding pillars. The more people learn to read and write the more become detached from its rigid set of rules... unless you live in the Middle East where the life doesn't offer you enough quiet time to sit down and contemplate things.

Back to Middle East wtih Islam, Judaism and everything in between - when you live in a land constantly torn apart by war, when lands change hands from generation to generaiton, then your beliefs are likely to replace "respect thy neighbor" with "an eye for an eye" equivalent.

American Christians are told to fear false idols. Radical Islamism will tell you to murder you brother if he spells a diety's name wrong. His version of Islam may be corrupted (and other religious nonsense).

Red Dwarf - one of my favorite series of science fiction stories with a hefty atheist flavor make fun of religious conviction. One story talkes about holy wars waged practically over the color of the hat the believed the god was wearing.

I like calling myself an atheist - because I can accept the world for what it is. I don't have to see something else in it to crack a joke. I think it's funny how religious people stiffen around me, how their manenr changes the posture stiffens. I enjoy talking religion because I get a good kick out of it.

I could quote bible. I know it well. In a room full of hardcore atheists, I'm actually more likely to play a Christian, because it is simply a fun thing to do. New truths are some times born in an argument and I love learning new things form believers and atheists alike.

... and this thread is getting stale. Nice talking to you. I'm moving on.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:29 | 5148500 Agstacker
Agstacker's picture

Religion and Spirituality are 2 very, very different things.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:03 | 5148616 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Sure! Then you'll no trouble pointing me to one them that's imaginary.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:12 | 5149457 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



What in our experiences is not imaginary?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:44 | 5149640 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I get an uneasy feeling, next you're going to tell me something horrible about Santa and the Easter Bunny.

Speaking of Santa - you know who else has 12 apostoles? Russian "Father Christmas". Their brand of Christianity is closer to paganism, so fairy tale characters end up sharing similarities with religious figures. Santa's bunch represents the 12 months of the year over which they preside, taking turns.

Meanwhile Jesus is pretending his posse is all about walking through deserts looking classy and having suppers sitting the same side of elongated tables... like actors in a stage production.

In bolshevik Russia they tried weeding out religion by force in order to speed up conversion of peasants into industrial proletariat, but it got stuck half way. They wanted to take the power away from the church, so they jently pushed it away without ever fully succeeding. That's why today, Russia celebrates New Year with Father Christmas on the 31st, while the rest of Christian world does Christmas with Santa few days prior. Santa has no apostoles, because the western Jesus got to keep'em all to himself.

Oh yeah, to answer your actual question - the first Matrix was a great movie. The other 2 sucked pretty bad.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:58 | 5148134 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

The trinity is probably one of the most interesting concepts in literature


It is based upon pagan notions of the same object being inhabited by many spirits, or being possessed by a spirit, or similiar. That is any pagan belief system, it's Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, and so on.

God is the Sky, Earth and Sea, and the Sea, Earth and Sky are God also.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:19 | 5148157 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

It is based upon pagan notions of the same object being inhabited by many spirits, or being possessed by a spirit, or similiar. 

It has a lot of origins but is pretty different from what you describe, trinity was an abstract concept developed over a long period of philosophical debate. Being 'possessed by' is very different than existing simultaneously as. 

I'm not saying just Christianity, religious thought in general. I singled out the bible because people were talking about christianity, but lots of religious works are great, including paganism. Now i'm starting to sound like a hippie..

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:15 | 5148286 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

 Being 'possessed by' is very different than existing simultaneously as. 


I am not referring to being possessed, I am referrring to multiple spirits being within one item, and multiple items representing one spirit. This idea is extremely common amongst pre-Abrahamic religions.

This is visible all over China where a folk hero, a real person, is merged with Taoist beliefs and then assigned enlightened status via Buddhism. Buddhism. Ancestor Worship. Daoism. All in one person.

Christianity isn't new, or very original.

The Romans had to put a man at the figurehead to give the religion government-level authority, and that innovation is the main of Christianity.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:11 | 5148655 Fiscal.Enema
Fiscal.Enema's picture

What have atheists given us?    E = mc2

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:08 | 5149769 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

You've fallen into the trap - you're trying to reason with Christians by using scientific formulas. I'll take it a step back even. You're trying to reason with Christians. Never play chess with pigeons.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:00 | 5150045 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

What have atheists given us?    E = mc2

Did they really? Ahistorical way to look at the world. Newton, for instance, wasn't an atheist. 

Religious thought has been a long touchstone of philosophical exploration which has lead to current ways of thinking. 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:00 | 5147749 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture




Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:32 | 5147857 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Libertarianism really does not work unless you APPLY the principles set out by Christ.


The trap of the Humanist's Moral Relativism is far too tempting and appealing for those that do not.


Libertarianism can be used as a facade for psychopaths and sociopaths...just like Religion.


But their inner attitude cannot be hidden forever. They expose themselves.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:21 | 5147969 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The eternal struggle of human beings to organize themselves into a functioning society can be defined on a spectrum of possibilities, from the more decentralized on one side, to the more centralized on the other. Applying labels, we can say that Libertarianism is defined as the decentralized, and socialism being defined as the more centralized.

It is a well-established tenet of organizational theory that the most highly decentralized and adaptable organizations require that the individuals composing those organizations employ a deeply internalized common system of values. With all individuals sharing these same values, each individual can make correct decisions without having to consult anyone else. It is obvious that the simpler a system of values is, the more deeply it can be internalized, and the more quickly it can be applied. Jesus Christ started with an incredibly simple system of values-- the Ten Commandments-- and boiled it down to TWO Commandments: (1) love God, and (2) love your neighbor as yourself. ALL correct behavior can be induced from these two commandments, and fairly easily and quickly if one is actually committed to doing so. Christianity so obviously promotes libertarianism that it is shocking how little this fact is recognized or acknowledged.

Centralized organizations, on the other hand, rely on externalized value systems, which typically require elaborate systems of laws, regulations, and codes, all requiring a massive centralized bureaucracy to legislate and interpret them, and a substantial police force to enforce them. Religions that thrive under these systems typically are similarly organized, with elaborate rules and elites who interpret and adjudicate them. Judaism (not the original form, but the highly elaborated form that was rejected by Jesus) and Islam are two that spring to mind. The most extreme forms of socialism, fascism and (especially) communism, cannot even tolerate religion, as these forms displace any idea of a higher power in favor of pure Rule of Man (aka tyranny).

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:36 | 5148000 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Applying labels, we can say that Libertarianism is defined as the decentralized, and socialism being defined as the more centralized.

Not true for either. Socialism is often a decentralized theory, american libertarianism is highly centralized (how yea gunna protect your estate from the rabble banzai?? With yo' six shooter alone?). 

Christianity so obviously promotes libertarianism that it is shocking how little this fact is recognized or acknowledged.

Christianity & american libertarianism do seem to fit hand-in-glove. 

Centralized organizations, on the other hand, rely on externalized value systems, which typically require elaborate systems of laws, regulations, and codes, all requiring a massive centralized bureaucracy to legislate and interpret them, and a substantial police force to enforce them.

So, in other words - religion i.e. Christianity?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:54 | 5148129 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

Socialism is often a decentralized theory


That when adopted in the real world almost always results in a profoundly centralised, large, and growing government bureaucracy.

From France to the USA to Cuba to China to Sweden, the more socialism you bring in, the more government and centralisation.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:39 | 5148174 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

That when adopted in the real world almost always results in a profoundly centralised, large, and growing government bureaucracy. 

US constitution lead to a profoundly centralized, large and growing government bureaucracy? 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:50 | 5148123 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

I have begun to realise that everyone has an incorrect view of Reality.

The trap of the Humanist's Moral Relativism is far too tempting and appealing for those that do not.


No, it isn't Moral Relativism - that's Marx and Cultural Theory and Critical Theory.

Values and Morals can exist without a God imposing them from above. One can be kind, or generous, and God does not have to be around. Since these concepts were considered laudible pre-Jesus/Moses/Mohammed/Buddha, then it is logical to conclude that the concepts were in humanity, that some people recognised them as good qualities, and that some people thought others should adopt them as values.

Religion was just the stick to get people to adopt the values.

The trick is to get people to adopt the values without Religion, and that is more difficult.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:45 | 5148172 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

The reason it's not only difficult but impossible is because religion in itself rests on a double standard. Separation into rival religions - correct and incorrect idols. Separation into soul-bearing beings and soulless objects. The difference between something with a soul vs. something without determines which thing gets to consume the other thing without feeling guilty about it.

Religious Cursades, Inquisitions - all forms of religious practice that allow slaughter of people virtually indistinguishable from those committing murders.

For a modern man, it is impossible to accept the bible for what it is even, without either leaving the uncomfortable parts out or rationalizing the meaning. Fortunately the Bible is as precise as Nostradamus sometimes. If you're into comforting yourself, it'll tell you what you want to hear.

Don't like being along in the universe? Bible will solve that! Don't lile the idea of simply vanishing, with your electical impulses ceasing function and biological building blocks (carbon and minerals) being recycled much like all the food you consumed throughout your life? The Bible will fix that! Don't feel good about bombing brown people half a world a way? The Bible will let you do that! Don't feel bad. Their religion says it's alright to kill people of your religion. That makes it alright!

Feel guilty about eating meat? Well, cows don't go to heaven. It's all clouds and white men up there! Well, since 1960 they migh've allowed some blacks in, but they get their own corner. God monitors the Ferguson situation religiously and reforms are already in the works. Mexicans? No worries! Virgin Mary has her own crib, and the fences there are higher than in South Texas! If you're a homophobe - you'll feel right at home in heaven. If you're a homosexual, we'll give you a chance to reconcile... if you wish. Turns out some Catholic priests did things much worse and that ain't a problem. Catholics are being picked on, but the practice was actually common place since pre-Christian Rome and was alright in Greece too. Most places where celibacy was practiced typically saw rise in pederasty and homophilia. Catholics got picked on, but they weren't the only ones guilty.

Religion - if you're into comfort, they've got your daily fix! If you're in a pampered detached world, then Christianity is probably best for you. If you're in a hostile desert where food and water are in short supply an average lifespan is less than than 30 years, then Radical Islam migh be better. When your neighbor might be about to get your head cut off, you better have a religion that lets you cut his head off first. Christianity will not get you far in a deset, unless you're an ancient miracle man with a long stick, dressed in robes and sandals... from a fictional 2000 year old book.

When sexually transmitted diseases are a threat, we'll find you a religion that tells you to trim the bacteria-carrying section of your penis. If you have a greater chance of getting your head cut off before your first real erection, we'll offer you 40 virgins instead! There's a religion for you, my friend. Sure, once you're done with them, they'll no longer be virgins, but who cares! You're probably barely literate, cannot read write or count beyond 10, so 40 to you sounds as much as the size of Federal Reserve's bailout to a Westerner. Just enough for eternity!

You see, religon is right for eveyone, actually. You just have to have the right mindset to accept it.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:50 | 5148183 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Human beings have never needed any celestial excuse to kill each other, nor any help rationalizing stupid biases.

One could easily argue atheism is among those stupid raitonalizing biases. Dawkins is great proof that you can be a smart atheist & simultaneously pitifully moronic rationalizing bigot. 

All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge, they did great things in the Middle Ages, though.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 04:04 | 5148200 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Well, you see, the lands that are now deserts were actually the cradles of modern civilization. The sections where Radical Islam roams today were the first chunks of land defrosted after the ice age. Rich soil, plenty of good food!

I highlight the fact that religion helps rationalize the environment. It's a metaphisical structure that explains to man where he is and what he has to do to make the best of his experience. If there's danger, you end up with a hostile religion, which might've been a peaceful one when the rivers flowed freely and the fertile soil has not yet been depleted. If you adapted from an itinerant race into a permanently settled nation, but inhabit an environmently hostlie region, you'll have a religion that's full of health-related tradtions. Instead of explaining basic biology, reproductive function and promoting promiscuous behaviour, like in prentiful Greece, your new religion will tell you how to limit sexual partners and stay clean.

If social develipment is high, yet early urbanization with poor sanitation allows for rapid spread of disease, your religion is likely to tell you how to live a segregated life... just in case you end up carrying plague and wiping thousands of people with a single cough.

You look at religons, their brands and flavors as well as human history and planet's geography, you'll see that all of them were talored to local environments. The reason there are many is exactly because the whole planet never shared similar conditions. Some places were good. Some were bad. Some remained in natural isolation, others were open to conquest.

You know, how some countries have cars driving on the right side of the road and others on the left. Look it up. A person who might've never ventured out of US may think that right side orientation is intuitive and... well... right! In other countries a different notion will be embedded because of the certain period of civilization where merchants and barbarians battled for dominance.

Religions are not eternal truths, but echos of human developlent. Reactions of people being subjected to various circumstances and attempting to make the best of their experiences.

Religions are also full of wisdom and feel like they've been written by people who though they knew what was best for the majority, yet did not believe such majority could handle the complexity of raw facts.

Instead of telling people why doing something that felt good, like having sex, was bad, they insdead gave boogemen that threatened to send people to hell if they unknowingly spread dangerous infection. Teaching peasants enough commandments they could track of with their fingers was sure better than putting them though 12 years of school and covering literary subjects, arts and sciences. After all, the lifespan was so miserably short, that if you dedicated so much time to learning, the person migh've already be pass their prime by the end of it.

Meanwhile, the guardians of the system - the priests remained the smartest, most educated people. I call them the earliest psychologists as they preached ignorance, for public's sake, yet spent many days listening to confessions. They had direct access to people's inner fears, their secrets and desires. When people had no idea what others were thinking, the priests had the balcony seat in a theater. Over time they were able to grow their rule books (Bibles) to encorporate observations about human psychology.

And even though the man has evolved beyond the theoretical need for any kind of superstition, the human mind hasn't really evolved, so time tested ideas and persuasions still resonate with masses. Bibles, depite their portrayal, weren't written overnight. They were compiled meticulously, control goup tested and government approved.

They were a product of the ruling class much like any law existing today. A combination of self-evident truths mixed in with convenient teachings.

One page says: "sky is blue". You look up and nod your head.

The next one says: "Bring the man in a funny fish hat his slippers". And if you don't spend a moment to think about it. If you're still mesmerized by the last page, you'll actually go off and do it.

Being an atheist does not mean going against principles lited in the bible. It means recognizing those of them that make sense without the book of fairy tales. It also means picking out political bullshit that some wise ass was trying to sneak in between all the pretty lyrical passages.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 04:15 | 5148226 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

You've set up so many straw-men above I'm not going to try and dismantle them all. On the development of the bible, you suggest a generally static work dreamed up to set the rules of specific regions by elite men in dark rooms... hardly its actual place in cultural history.

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly
-proverbs 15:14

The bible is a living work, interpreted, amended, rewritten, transcribed, translated etc. over a long time by countless people and means many things at many different times to many people. Very much not the picture you paint.


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:11 | 5148233 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

The Bible's a living work alright! All the bickering about evolution and all the while it's actually been evolving!

And you know why it evolves? Because like any living organism it would otherwise vanish - go extinct.

Religion needs to lure young people into churches or else it won't last a generation. If you present it to kids today like they did 500+ years ago, they'll flip you the bird and you'll be on your merry way. Go 500 years back and try preaching your "elastic Christianity" to Christians and they'll have you roasting on a pile of twigs before sunset for herecy.

Religon adapts, and so you'll adapt! You'll incorporate dinosaurs into your paradigm if you have to. No - not the big scary animals. I'm talking about ones such as yourself.

Always fun talking to Christians. Have a good night, and god bless you if that's the kind of thing you're into.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:27 | 5148301 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

"Bring the man in a funny fish hat his slippers"


Is that like "Throw the cow over the fence some hay"?


You might be Pennsylvania Dutch.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:58 | 5148135 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I do believe in showing kindness to thy neighbor, so if a Christian near me ever suffers an appendix attack I promise to take him to the nearest priest and mourn his blessed soul, should the promptly administered treatment of holy water not produce a divine miracle.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:22 | 5148293 negative rates
negative rates's picture

You see, it eventually has to produce a divine miracle or the whole of the process begins a new, somehow. With younger books who have authors and numerology on there side, what they don't have on there side is time, unless in enough time, time gets it right and wala, another new beginning and the birth of utopia. None of you will ever see this, but you do get to play with, and test the new toys so it can be determined if they are actually better for the human species, or just percieved to be as they make you trick your own brain, into killing you. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:04 | 5147941 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

Kinda like that, I think. 

The least free people I've encountered are rabid atheists, though they think not. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:41 | 5148008 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

The least free people I've encountered are rabid atheists, though they think not. 

Rabid coupled with any religious / political philosophy often means trouble. Doubt, skepticism etc. are highly underrated. I know lots of religious people that are alirght, I know lots of religious people who are shit. Same goes with atheists. 

The idea that there is a singular 'truth' is one of them big ole' problems...

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:46 | 5148116 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture


It is very revealing to encounter one who is a lying, manipulative, duplicitous scumbag, but he has bibles all over the house and a Christian blog.

Of course, I was the bad guy for ''getting ugly'" because I pointed out his bullshit.

The tragic fact is that most people on this planet are completely full of shit and running a put up a facade; yet if you are observant and pay attention, you can see right through this.

They do not, however, want you to call them on their shit. Everyone wants to keep up the image, even if everyone knows otherwise.

It is insanity. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 04:34 | 5148118 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Receiving a flood of negative votes for merely asking a question - Chistianity in a nutshell.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:56 | 5148596 sleigher
sleigher's picture

Do you believe it is possible for a power greater than the universe to exist?  

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:57 | 5149562 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

First of all, a book both you and I have read, had not given you any more answers about the universe than it did to me, so no point trying to set up this metaphysical trap. Being a former Christian, I know where it leads. I was coached the same way to lure people in. I bet you can't even explain the concept of either "universe" or "power" to me, so don't even try putting the 2 together.

6th century BC you would've asked me if I believed there was anything beyond the flat earth's horizon. I would've said "yes" implying the earth was round and you would've taken it as my acceptance of god instead.

In 1500's you would asked me if I believed the Earth was not the center of the universe, and I would've said "yes", implying it was a planet revolving around the Sun as oppose to being center of the universe, but you would've heard your own tune, interpeting admission as my acceptance of god.

Now you talk universe - great and vast, because it is what the modern scientists have told you the existence is. If I say "yes" yet again, you'll lock your trap and say "aha!" and I know how the rest of the thought experiment goes. Yet you will not be able to comprehend what I am actually saying.

I am a mathematician. That's one of my career traits. I'm quite qualified to speak about concepts of "infinity" if that is how you personally describe the universe. I can speak of it in terms of spacetime, volume, background radiation and all the other wonderful terms given to us by atheists. I can even tackle power. I can talk politics, energy, psychology, persuasion or superstition, if you like. Try me. Don't use this Christian claptrap. Don't hide behind passages like you've got hickups. Prove me wrong and show you are able to reason and don't require the book to do reasoning for you.

So anyway. I'll respond to your original question in a way, you Christian mind (assuming you are one of them) can comprehand. The answer is yes and no, and if you are to come down to solid earth with me for a moment, if you know basic math, I'll explain to you more simply. Do you believe the answer to the square root of 4 to be +2 or -2. No universe, no divine power. Just simple stuff you can count with your fingers. If you can figure this one out (you can even look it up online), you'll have your exact answer.

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:07 | 5154069 shiftless
shiftless's picture

"I'll respond to your original question in a way, you Christian mind (assuming you are one of them) can comprehand."

How cute.

Julia, from reading your posts on here it's clear that your thinking on this whole religion thing is about where mine was 20 years ago...back in the 7th grade. I became an atheist at an early age, growing up in the Bible Belt. After many, many years of thinking about and studying religion, I gradually came to realize what a total fool I had been. Just like the total fool and asshat you are right now.

Long ago I realized the Bible and other religious texts contain profound truths which have been passed down to us from the earliest days of civilization. Unfortunately, you are nearly nowhere as intelligent as you think, which is why you are only now reaching the low level of "understanding" I had back in grade school.

If you were not such an arrogant cunt who smugly believes herself to be superior to everyone, then you wouldn't be nearly as clueless, would you? Your arrogance blinds you to the truth. Open your mind and stop being a clueless asshat.

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:09 | 5154078 shiftless
shiftless's picture

"First of all, a book both you and I have read, had not given you any more answers about the universe than it did to me"

What an arrogant cunt you are.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:56 | 5147737 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

You can also whip up a mean roasted brussels sprouts with garlic and pancetta if you're of a mind to......

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:13 | 5147790 TungstenBars
TungstenBars's picture

"That kind of hypocricy might

wear on a person"


You forget we are dealing with clinical psychopaths, with no life, no families, and no souls. 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:19 | 5147798 jballz
jballz's picture


hedgeless you are hands down my favorite zerohedger.

I have a dream (MLK voiceover) that one day there will be an authority come to power who can and does enforce the constitution.

And won't it be ironic whose files fall on the table then.

Let's see, unlawful search, civil rights violations, due process violations, aiding and abetting organizations engaged in terror against the US (would carry indefinite detention except that would have to get ruled unconstitutional and the legislators who authorized brought to justice in the court of law they are entitled to)...list is pretty long now. 

Maybe they win, but there is still hope (Not change), the Church Commission was unlikely in its time, the Nuremburg trials in theirs. 

May our nation find its day of reckoning under the banner of freedom and not tyranny...and soon.



Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:29 | 5147841 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

You don't need another person claiming any authority to enforce the constitution. If people living in the nation-state known as United States even used just the preamble of the US Constitution as a framework for daily life, and then built on that with Amendments 1 through 8, you'd find a much saner group of people.

However, that requires people to actively participate in their life, rather than simply exist in it.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:40 | 5148111 jballz
jballz's picture


well to be fair I haven't had to quarter any troops yet. Do notice those exerting their rights are throwing themselves into the gears of a machine with expected results. There is great incentive to mind one's own fucking business for however long one is able to. I do sense there is approaching a critical mass though, where too many are left with the gnashng of the gears as an equal or greater option than putting up with this shit. 

I am somewhere in tha crowd, or will be when it finds cener of gravity. For the time being I wouldn't even post here if I weren't outranked by so many vitriolic revolutionaries as to keep me in the lune fringe herd (though the "chat handle" addition to the infographic above does not inspire courage either...fuckers).

When Pauls start getting elected in the majority we can start to turn the ship around. Long as there are statists at the helm it's a hard choice to be a martyr for a losing cause. This came from Snowden and nobody else, and he'd be a smear on a jailhouse floor right now if not for some luck and serious forward planning. And all he did was tell the truth...



Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:25 | 5147981 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

My dream includes appointing Snowden head of NSA. He's the only one that knows enough and cares enough to clean it up. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:49 | 5148023 Silver Sativa
Silver Sativa's picture

Yeah. Just look at ISIS. The reason why that organization exists is because of United States hegemony: There wouldn't be ISIS if it wasn't for the Iraq / Afghanistan resource war(s).

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:20 | 5150209 forensicator
forensicator's picture

The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it. - Josef Mengele

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:47 | 5147699 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I'm sticking with Aks Jeeves:

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:51 | 5147711 junction
junction's picture

We don't need no stinkin' search warrant!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:00 | 5147931 rubiconsolutions
rubiconsolutions's picture

When is the IPO?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:30 | 5148993 LostAtSea
LostAtSea's picture


Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:43 | 5147684 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

Drought=no water=no power=no juice to cool your servers=fuck you.........!

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:44 | 5147685 Peak Finance
Peak Finance's picture

I bet it's not "google-like" but actual Google code that runs the engine. I mean it's not a secret that Google works with the government now. 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:33 | 5147860 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

A few years ago I was asked to look into purchasing a Google Search appliance for my employer. Basically, a rackmounted server that you let index all the data stored on servers within a given network, which you then connected to an intranet based web page to search through aforementioned documents.

Without some nifty firewall rules, I can only imagine how much data could be transmitted under the pretense of "updates" back to Google. That would be digitally facilitated insider trading at its finest.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:45 | 5147693 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Only a corrupt, treasonous, and murderous government need spy on the people.

An American, not US subject.


"I spy a guillotine."

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:02 | 5147754 r00t61
r00t61's picture

"The mastermind behind ICREACH was recently retired NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander..."

But I thought that the good and honorable people in the US military were going to save us from the NWO.

As opposed to being instrumental in its creation and enforcement.


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:23 | 5147921 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

The bastard took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign or domestic. He should have fired himself in disgrace. 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:46 | 5147694 Theta_Burn
Theta_Burn's picture

They have records of your nutsack selfie, but cant find a missing jet, or decode flight recorders within weeks...hmm

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:08 | 5147772 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Sometimes I wonder about shit like this. Folks don't realize how hard it is to really make use of huge mountains of shit data. Most people have data available; cooking, screwing, drinking, partying, whatever. How fucking useful!

It is almost like, the government has FUCKED UP EVERYTHING, but man, they can't fuck up spying. No way. They are fucking James Buchanan Eads when it comes to spying on shit. Look at Obama; master of the fucking INTEL UNIVERSE ... and he looks like a broke dick donkey wholly incapable of engaging in even the most basic successful foreign policy. Syria? Ukraine? BUELLER?

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like any of this shit, but seriously ...



Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:20 | 5147811 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

"Sometimes I wonder about shit like this. Folks don't realize how hard it is to really make use of huge mountains of shit data."

The data is for targeting people.

If they don't like what I say, and who does, then the data showing my predilection for midget threesome porn comes in handy. If I'm clean as a whistle, they can fabricate anything, as with their known capabilities, who's going to doubt them.

I.e. the "data" is for Room 101.

An American, not US subject.


Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:43 | 5147882 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

Maybe they use it for personal purposes, and profit.


If I had access to everything everyone searched on the internet, I would be tempted to use that access to investigate friends, neighbors, acquaintences, hell even friends of family members.


Not for nefarious purposes, but just to determine if my daughter's new boyfriend is some kind of liberal in disguise, or anti-gun, or vegitarian.


If so, I would make sure that everyone knows how I "like" and "approve of" the new boyfriend, to guarantee that he is replaced.


I might even offer these services to others for a fee, unless I was paid well enough in my day job.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:54 | 5147916 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture



Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:55 | 5148328 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

Marry NSA with Wall Street Greedy Corporations and you have created the perfect monster.  Advertising will follow you into your dreams and even into your casket (a small LCD monitor on the inside will play ads for zombies 24x7 - just in case...)

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:50 | 5147707 deflator
deflator's picture

Don't worry, those folks at Ft. Meade, MD are honest hard working Americans that only care about...infinite growth

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:53 | 5147723 pakled
pakled's picture

It's all well and good, when the target of this mass data collection was used for clear, discreet purposes in catching full on bad guys that presented an actual threat to the American people. 


But power, is first used, then mis-used, then finally, ab-used. And now the apparatus has been turned on the people it was designed to protect.


Time to pull the plug. If we are lucky enough to do I wonder if the machine will ask if it will dream, as it winds down.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:34 | 5147859 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

Tell the machine that this was all a dream.


It will wake up tomorrow and resume normal life as a coin operated Defender machine, by Williams Electronics.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:53 | 5147724 esum
esum's picture

yeah and we cant find AL BAGHDADI 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:56 | 5147729 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Pressure cooker chicken is the bomb!

Yankee Stadium is a sight to see; I once saw a Woman wearing a Burka there.

I wonder if the President will pitch the first ball next season, and what bearing that will have on his thousands of supporters and millions of voters (victims?).

Oh well, you can be sure that Al Queda and ISIS will be doing their best to damage this great democracy.

Had to buy my Daughter a new backpack for back to school, and a new cell phone.

She made a friend the first day, Akbar, whose Parents are from Yemen.

"Praise be to Allah!" he said when she told him she was Christian.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:56 | 5147736 Peak Finance
Peak Finance's picture

No need for fancy verbage:

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:58 | 5147742 r00t61
r00t61's picture

Hey! How’s it going? I’m all right.

My job is so bad I wish I could overthrow my boss. It’s like this oppressive regime where only true believers in his management techniques will stay around. I work marathon-length hours and he’s made all these changes that have made it the worst architecture firm to work at in Manhattan. Like he moved the office to the Financial District and fired my assistant. She was the only one who knew where the blueprints were! I need access to those blueprints to complete my job! F my life, right? And he keeps trying to start all these new initiatives to boost revenue, but seriously we just need to stick to what we do best. There’s only one true profit center. I seriously feel ready to go on strike at any second.

I just read this article about how these free radical particles can cause the downfall of good health and accelerate aging. These could actually cause death to millions of Americans. If these particles are flying around undetected everywhere, does that mean we’re all radicalized?

Have you seen the second season of Breaking Bad? I just finished it. I couldn’t believe that episode where they poison the guy with ricin! That was the bomb! I won’t say any more because I don’t want to reveal the earth-shattering events to come.

Oh! So I’ve been planning a big trip for the summer. I’m thinking of visiting all of the most famous suspension bridges in the United States. So probably like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Brooklyn Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I’m gonna bring my younger brother and I know he’ll want to go to bars, so I’m thinking of getting him a fake drivers license, but I hope that doesn’t blow up in my face.

Okay, I gotta run! I’m late for flight school. I missed the last class where we learn how to land, so I really can’t miss another one. Talk to you later!

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:09 | 5147777 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



gawd is grate

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:57 | 5147735 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Hint: Dump IBM, Cisco, Apple and Microsoft.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:53 | 5147905 DarthVaderMentor
DarthVaderMentor's picture

Don't forget Apple, AT&T, Verizon and Oracle.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:57 | 5147741 BOPOH
BOPOH's picture

Remember 9/11

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:11 | 5147782 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Which version?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:34 | 5148171 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture


Military Officers for 911truth includes links to many 911thruthers including politicians, scientists, scholars, lawyers, medical community.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:55 | 5148329 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

Love you!

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:00 | 5147750 Dazman
Dazman's picture

Article instantly lost credibility as soon as I saw "seconds since the birth of Christ" used as a comparison.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:11 | 5147780 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Should've been 3 187 066 140 seconds since signing of the Federal Reserve Act. Yeah, I've been keeping count.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:14 | 5147958 Dazman
Dazman's picture

Well since there is no "Christ" the number must be infinity. 850 billion records is a lot, but not even close to infinity. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 04:10 | 5148053 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Oh, no! There was a Jesus! Maybe even a dozen born somewhere in kingdom of Tartessus around new year back when... well, without the Christian calendar the exact date would be hard to pipoint. Some may've even been born to carpenters. There were cetainly no programmers or lawyers back then, so a carpenter is a pretty good bet. Either that or a gravedigger Jesus - the cousin of another up to no good hang-at-the-tavern-all-day freeloader Jesus. The lucky one out of the dozen might've even learned a magic trick or two. Pulled a bunny out of a hat once, and with people being impressionable and predominantly illiterate you know how the story grew. Few hundred years and they had a nice big book about it, only by then it was about as accurate as the commissioner's report on 9/11.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:53 | 5149367 Otto Zitte
Otto Zitte's picture

Yes, but HerodNet fears the possibility of a Jesus, so all the first born vectors will be infected.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:59 | 5147751 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture








Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:11 | 5147768 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I like how Google auto-fills while you're still typing. Too many secret thoughts might've slipped through the cracks in the past, when people were just about to submit a phrase and suddenly reconsidered.

Also the power of suggestion. Before, you might've conducted a search this way: Had a thought. Wrote it down. Clicked a button and got the result. Now google will tell you what you were... might've been... or should've been thinking. Then you click it and it is as if it was your original thought all along! News networks had been using this trick for ages - phrasing headlines as a question. Instead of "2 pandas were born at a local zoo", they'd write: "Find out just how many pandas were born, after these messages." And when such thought propagates through the brain it does a funny thing. It makes you believe you asked the question yourself. All of the sudden you're interested to know what you wouldn't give a rat's ass about otherwise.

Another auto-suggest example:

Say, you suck at launching boomerangs. So you go and google  "Boom..." and well! Here's a bomb making recipe! Oh, you clicked it and claim it was an accident? No worries! An unmarked car will be dispatched shortly to deliver you your personalized search result!

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:25 | 5147776 robnume
robnume's picture

It's okay. They're just protecting us from ourselves. You know, how you're your own worst "enemy?"

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:10 | 5147778 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Question is, when are "we the sheeple" going to stand up en masse and demand a stop to this crap?  I'm ready are you?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:11 | 5147784 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

So let's say I'm a serial killer (for the record I'm not) and I'm out there "doing my serial killing thing."

How is this possible? I mean don't tell me the answer is "we've got a database for that!" That would mean instead of history I should have majored in literary theory instead.

I mean we talkin play by play here? "Wow! Didn't see that part coming! Let's look at the replay!"

I still stand by my question "if everything and everyone is now under surveillance how can there be any accidents anymore?" Somebody saw it coming before it happened!


Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:27 | 5147836 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

They're trying to play God, and sometimes God lets bad things happen to good people.


I don't pretend to understand God's plan, but the goddamned gubmint just doesn't give a shit.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:20 | 5147970 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

Yeah, well, the information is not there to protect you, it is there to control you.

All this info and they never saw ISIS coming.

Besides, if they want to convict you they could "manufacture" the data anyway. 

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:15 | 5147799 cart00ner
cart00ner's picture

China is sick to death of being spied on and are developing thier own operating systems.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:39 | 5147871 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

So they can spy on themselves.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:46 | 5147886 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

Feigned indignation; China does just as much spying. 

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:07 | 5147927 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

"Sick to death."

There's a kernel of truth in that sentence.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:22 | 5147819 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

Suddenly, I want that shitty wireless service company for my cell phone where the answer to the question, “Can you hear me now?” is pure static just about everywhere outside of my home town.

Meanwhile, our earstwhile government continues to spend our tax dollars maintaining the Do Not Call List to, you know, protect our privacy.

What a country.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:25 | 5147825 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

And they "can't find" IRS e-mails.


My ass.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:05 | 5147850 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

The hard drives with those e-mails were aboard MH-370. They were just about to hand them over to proper authorities. And just to be safe, they duct taped a backup onto the black box of MH-17. It should be arriving shortly. Any day now.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:25 | 5147829 Fuku Ben
Fuku Ben's picture

It should be called ICREACHAROUND because they keep sneaking up from behind you and jerking you all off of your freedoms

There's no shortage of sodomite traitorous scum willing to rape you of your rights indefinitely in the land of the free and the home of the brave

Look for me at the All-Star Series Games later this year I'll be the one laughing while they sing that line in your national anthem. Or maybe I'll cry

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:07 | 5147944 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

Don't cry, we're cleaning it up.

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:48 | 5147892 Malachi Constant
Malachi Constant's picture

Naaaah. Why would they need their "own secret Google", if regular Google is theirs?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:49 | 5147895 Rootin' for Putin
Rootin' for Putin's picture

i saw "Scorecard" in that graphic.   Do i have to check my NSA score now too?

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 23:55 | 5147917 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

That's a big parking lot.


I wonder if they have a tram, or shuttle, like Hersheypark.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:20 | 5147951 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

I think that they really meant to call it IsraelREACH because of where the data ends up?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:14 | 5147955 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

Interesting this predates the Patriot Act. So GWB didn't start it - he just gave them cover.

But don't worry, they are here to protect us (/s).

I wonder if this info isn't used to keep unruly party members in line, or blackmail political opposition, or influence elections. 


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:20 | 5147971 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Sure they gave Google Seed money, way before Sand Hill and IPO money....

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:24 | 5147978 Ginsengbull
Ginsengbull's picture

Imagine how accurately they can gerrymander now that facebook exists.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 00:41 | 5148009 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Yer cell phone is watching u.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:02 | 5148044 Salsipuedes
Salsipuedes's picture

But they didn't need any of this to know George the First was good buddies with Saddam Hussein.(?) They should have just arrested him and saved us a few bucks.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:55 | 5148181 Jano
Jano's picture

This is though the nature of the cell phone system.

Every phone, which is online, send the data every two minutes, even, if it hasn´t any active call.

And the phone is doing it also if, it is abroad, via HLR, home location register, it reports.

So my operator, now I am in Austria and my phone is from Australia, will get the information with time  stamp, where is my phone booked in, which network, which Basic Station with geolocation data. And evry technician on the home network, or on the host network austrian operator, or australian operator, every one of them will see the exact location and time stamp.

So if this is accesible to an engineer from telco, it is accesible to everybody else, who just has any entry point to the telco network. Every mobile company is networked with every other mobile company, so access is universal throughout the globe, because they need to switch the calls from one company to other and back.

Why should this be news please? Everybody, who is using his cell phone, should know, what is he doing. Every information, which is digitalized or put on any medium, is traceble and can be intercepted. So forget the FB and twitter and youtube and all that stuff, just talk to people from face to face, as this was usual 30 years ago. Abd NSA will be bypassed.

Or finally learn to use pgp.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 02:49 | 5148182 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

Great a digital version of the IRS.

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 03:07 | 5148189 crowd
crowd's picture


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:22 | 5149499 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

Name calling would be kind of juvenile. Note. If ya read your little troll guide it says leave this one alone.

 Run along now.

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