This post is an answer to the curious diatribe of Joshua Foust of Registan.net, a site that I've explained previously as a citadel of cynicism that almost passes for insight. And a closed one, as critics like me are bullied or scared off or deleted or permabanned. I was shocked to see that a man who appears to be a State Department official who came to my defense and the defense of the principles of open debate, had his own comment deleted, even as more snarkers gathered to gloat and victory-dance over their MMORPG-like defeat of "an evil troll".
I don't think ever in my career have I encountered someone who accused me falsely on Twitter of "lying and spreading anger" or of being "dishonest" or "mendacious" over a fact-based discussion of evolving news about human rights violations in Uzbekistan, or having a site manager (Nathan Hamm) who accused me of being so awful, that I'm a” black mark on EurasiaNet” where I constributed (false), or claimed I called him "a Stalinist asshole (no such thing!), or of being "so full of shit that there must be no need for fertilizer in my neighbourhood." These are really over-the-top, crazy insults and smears. There's something that feels quite contrived about the whole thing and I'm not sure to what end.
I'm an independent writer and I feel I have to defend myself when attacks like this are made, and doing so can take space and time because the issues are complex and you have to go line by line. While other people's polemics are seldom interesting to read, I think there are broader issues in these incidents that these exchanges. This will be long, because I go line by line and toe to toe -- it's for the record. Foust's comments from this post are in italics:
Okay Catty Catty Fitz Fitz. We need another lesson in being honest.
Yes, it's always strange when people make fun of your name -- I imagine I'm not the first one who would turn Joshua Foust's name into Jousting Faust or something like that.
But...another lesson in being honest? That’s odd, unless you see it as projection, a kind of inversion. Evidently Foust himself is dishonest, knowingly so, so he views other people as somehow deliberately taking up such bad-faith stances yet willing to come "out of character" somehow and then "be honest".
But I've written my critique of Foust honestly -- there's nothing somehow deliberately "trolling" or "lying" in what I'm writing. I do believe he first got the analysis of events in Kazakhstan wrong because he was writing glibly and arrogantly as he often did, and then he simply slid over to adapting a more nuanced position through various news cycle in the bloggy way people do, without admitting what his original position was. That's why I called him on it. His slamming of Martha Brill Olcott was uncalled for and deliberately disrespectful, but his own position wasn't (and actually still isn't) so different from hers.
Indeed -- in yet another wildly hypocritical lurch -- Joshua Foust himself -- after saying that the thought Lillis shouldn't have tacked on the speculation about "the Nazarbayev legacy" in her news article -- wrote a piece...doing just that. Go know. Worse, he made a strange litmus test for the regime based precisely on obsessing about numbers that may not exist: if there were really 70 people killed, he says -- or a lot more than the 16 admitted -- then the regime is finished. If it really is only this 16, they're ok. So that’s manipulative sophistry. Weird. And why he is obsessing on the number 70?
He claims “activists are pushing it” – but no activists *are* pushing it. Some opposition reports mentioned it in the first week. Nobody is pushing it, they are merely asking if it might indicate more are dead. After all, there were more than 10 and at least 16 after the initial round of news events. Why 70? Well, perhaps some wounded were taken for dead. Or perhaps someone seeing lots of people seemingly mowed down, as we saw in videos, could have said “desyatki” (“tens”) and somebody thought “70” would be a safer number than “80”. It’s definitely not worth obsessing about. Nazarbayev has called for a commission and said he would allow in UN experts (note: he never did)
And then – for Foust to adopt the language of the interrogator "We need another lesson in honesty" -- it's creepy.
1. Please describe where I “minimized the events — deliberately and snarkily — on your Atlantic piece” (you probably meant “in”). I described the situation accurately — 15 people confirmed dead (now 16), lots of people in the hospitals, continuing tension & unrest. Where am I minimizing those events?
Foust's snark comes right in his headline: "Seeing Revolution Everywhere It Isn't: The Kazakhstan Spring That Isn't". He is tilting at windmills because there really isn't anybody claiming there is any "spring".
I provided a lengthy comment underneath the Atlantic piece in which I disagree that anyone is over-reacting in the way Foust implies, and also disagree that it's not a serious event.
Foust described the shootings in Zhanaozen as "localized unrest". Of course, shooting 16 people, an unrest that required the president then later to fire his own son-in-law, as Foust admitted later, is a pretty big deal. Anyone with some familiarity with this region and country would understand that shooting workers resonates with many past shootings in this region and can spread. Usually, these governments placate striking workers or make some compromise with them precisely to prevent unrest from spreading and undermining their authoritarian regimes, so when they *don't* do that, it merits close attention.
As for terrorism, it was really callous that Foust described a string of incidents that had left some dozen people dead as "There is also terrorism in Kazakhstan, a worrying trend that so far has remained very small scale -- limited to a few bombs and a bunch of scary talk on the Internet."
There hasn't been any such attacks in Kazakhstan in recent years -- unlike its neighbours Uzbekistan where there have been a dozen attacks, and Tajikistan, where there have been more serious attacks, and of course Russia, where there have been many serious attacks -- so again, precisely because there haven't been such incidents, it's worth taking seriously. Foust blew it off as "a few bombs" and "a bunch of scary talk". I found that disconcerting. It's minimizing terrorism. There isn't a need to overblow it when there only *a few people killed*. But still, it's a phenomenon that there is no need to minimize. It should be taken seriously – and by contrast, see the AP story by Pete Leonard that speaks of *dozens* killed by terrorists.
Taking terrorism seriously doesn't mean you've suddenly become a hysteric Newt Gingrich believing the US is in mortal danger of Shariah law taken over, or indulging in the worst excesses of the War on Terror. It just means that you take seriously even a few or a dozen or so people being killed because they may continue, and they may have wider repercussions, and it’s ok to say that!
Joust then completely mischaracterized Joshua Zenn, who he claims portrayed Kazakhstan as the next "hotbed of global terror". Anybody can click on Zenn's article and read it. He says no such thing. Why do glib bullies like Foust think they can get away with such gross misinterpretation when we can all see the text? That has baffled me a number of times with him.
2. The Russian media is swimming with the 70 dead number. Good for them! Actual journalists, you know, the ones who are there and not with Russian racial axes to grind, can’t find evidence for that number yet. Neither your Eurasianet colleague Joanna Lillis nor Pete Leonard, both of whom are in-country and actively investigating the situation, cannot confirm anything beyond the known 16 dead. That’s a poor basis on which to claim I’m deliberately minimizing what happened, unless they are too.
Swimming? No, not really. There were a few pieces – see above. And this comment -- "Actual journalists, you know, the ones who are there and not with Russian racial axes to grind" -- is just meant as a vicious, personal ad hominem attack -- the sort that Foust accuses others always of making and imagines he never makes himself. I'm not an "actual journalist who is there on the ground" -- and my hat's off to those actually on the ground and actually doing that hard work, which I've had to do in the past myself. Foust isn't on the ground reporting, either, but that doesn't stop him from making reasoned analysis of the situation, and we can all read the news and read the reports of those who are there, and make judgements.
Neither your Eurasianet colleague Joanna Lillis nor Pete Leonard, both of whom are in-country and actively investigating the situation, cannot confirm anything beyond the known 16 dead.
I'm aware of this and in fact praised Joanna Lillis on Twitter for breaking away from the minders on an officially-organized trip to the scene and getting the story -- literally whispered to her from people in hospital beds. She should win a prize for her reporting through these terrible events. Pete Leonard also describes a situation where officials controlled the visit of reporters to the region, yet he reports around those blockages and has spent days trying to get the story and going through various official versions and independent sources to do so.
My point here isn't somehow to second-guess colleagues (Foust is setting up a strange straw-man to try to set people against each other, which worked all too well) -- when in fact I've praised their work -- my point is to show that in these countries, all foreign journalists are subject to official control and everyone has to keep challenging the official narrative persistently. Furthermore, it's a kind of control with Soviet roots and still-persistent Soviet institutions (visa control, propiska, etc.) that make moving around independently harder than even in some other parts of the world in civil wars. It's the nature of the region.
If your number comes from an official press conference, then you have to keep digging – as journalists indeed have -- especially if you have a credible Russian paper quoting Kazakh opposition, and all around you independent Kazakh sources saying there are more deaths. There may only be the six or ten more subsequently admitted, but you have to ask -- and there is nothing wrong with asking -- nor do you expect that local people -- journalists, opposition groups, NGOs -- can produce a list with names in short order that would meet Western standards for investigative reporting.
That’s a poor basis on which to claim I’m deliberately minimizing what happened, unless they are too.
Of course, Foust is wildly tendentious and manipulative here, and it ought to be self-evident -- I certainly have done nothing remotely like accusing any reporter in the field of minimizing a story they have reported their asses off about. That's insane. I've merely pointed out that Russian sources -- especially this credible one -- is important to look at and pursue.
Yet Foust was -- and is -- minimizing the events, and it's not about the official number and whether we buy it or not. Remember, he’s the one writing weirdly “16 dead, the regime saves itself; 70, it doesn’t”). It comes with the snarky headline implying everybody's over-reacting, and only he, think-tank fellow and publisher of pieces in multiple publications, can get it right, and we should all shut up if we find it a bit chilling that terrorist acts where even just a dozen were killed, or labour unrest that led to 16 deaths and the involvement of the president himself in this vertikal system something more than "localized unrest".
3. Zenn left plenty of reasons for me to describe his piece the way I did: as blowing JaK’s capabilities and presence far beyond anything justifiable, and for needlessly linking them to events like Zhanaozen they had nothing to do with and couldn’t “exploit” (in his phrasing) beyond releasing a video on the internet no one beyond western CT “experts” even watched.
First graf: “Should Nazarbayev end up being deposed the way autocrats in the greater Middle East and Islamic world were in 2011, then JaK will be one of the reasons why.”
JaK also has global ambitions. It has followed other Central Asian jihadi movements in supporting the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia and the greater Islamic World. In a statement JaK described the reasoning behind the name “Jund al-Khilafa: “This name reminds Muslims of their duty to revive the Islamic Caliphate as a system. … It is the system of Shariah-based governance that must be prevail in every Muslim country from the east to the west. … We believe that the region of Central Asia, in addition to the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa] and Yemen, are candidates to be the nucleus for the return of the Caliphate State in the future.”
The protests had nothing to do with JaK, but the group’s message about getting rid of the Nazarbayev regime might strike a chord with other Kazakhs who, for other reasons, seek the same objective. Other opponents of the regime will be unlikely to coordinate with JaK to bring down the regime, but JaK terror attacks, heightened discussion of the regime’s excesses, protests and strikes throughout the country, and examples from Kyrgyzstan to Russia to the Arab World of people gathering in the streets to voice dissents will make Nazarabyev’s job security less stable than ever before.
Indeed, while Zenn is all about how JaK is “exploiting” the Zhanaozen riots, he is guilty of the exact same thing, using a completely unrelated event irrelevant to the goals of an Islamist militant group to boast of how dangerous they are. He deserves more scorn than I heaped on him at The Atlantic because his methodology — literally, drawing all significance from an unwatched web video — and conclusions are completely unsupportable. My editors there asked me to trim that out.
A tendentious and selective representative of what Zenn actually wrote, which again, you can just look at yourself.
Zenn didn't in fact blow up the significant of JaK, and didn't "needlessly" link them to the Zhanaozen tragedy they had "nothing to do with" -- the terrorists themselves made the link.
Foust strangely elides that pertinent fact. The terrorists themselves responded to the unrest and shootings and made a statement about them. They did the linking -- Zenn didn't. When Foust mentions the video on the Internet, he doesn't explain that in fact it's a statement about Zhanaozen. Says Zenn:
On December 18, JaK issued a video statement called "Overthrow the Tyrant," saying: "The massacre that happened in Zhanaozen where tens of the general public were killed, it appears to us that the regime of Nazarbayev doesn't fight the mujahideen only, but rather he fights the whole Kazakh people. He wasn't satisfied by plundering the money of the people and oppressing it, but moreover he banned people from their right in worshiping Allah. O' Kazakh people: your blood is our blood, and your souls are our souls. Insha'Allah we won't leave this event pass quietly. We call you to continue your revolt against the regime of Nazarbayev. Since this regime aims to deform the identity of the Kazakh people."
Now we all get it that the JaK may not be able to blow their way out of a paper bag again, or only set off a bomb somewhere that might kill one person. But that's not the point, and that was evident in the accurate headline Zenn's story had on it: "Rising Terror Group Exploits Kazakh Unrest". No doubt that sort of headline makes Foust's teeth go on edge with any hint of taking terrorism more seriously, but if a small group like this hasn't been eliminated early on and survives to keep putting on scattered other attacks, it is arguably "rising". Maybe not too much, but still worrisome in a country that had nothing like this for years. Furthermore, "exploits Kazakh unrest" seems like a fair call -- they are trying to do that and have delivered a message about it.
Can they exploit this unrest really by suddenly getting incited all kinds of people who are probably not very religious, or may be pious, but not inclined to demonstrating or especially using violent? Oh, probably not. But it bears watching. That's what analysts do. It's ok if some form the hypothesis that it may be serious and some don't, and they argue. Better two heads or 10 heads than one on something like this. But rather than accepting that some people will have other positions that they'll stick to, and they remain as "a faction" in "parliament," Foust seems to want to eliminate them (especially by having Registan block and ban critics, and delete posts from defenders of fairness.)
Zenn didn't say that the protests had something to do with JaK; he merely said that they will try to harvest the unrest that may be brewing.
Again, read Zenn's piece -- he doesn't say that because they spout a caliphate doctrine that they actually can pull off a caliphate (!); indeed, he says they are merely media-savvy and took credit for (and may not have committed) some attacks on US troops in Afghanistan.
Zenn didn't "use a completely unrelated event," he commented on the fact that JaK made their own connection to it and that they aspired to make hay out of unhappiness in the general population with some of Nazarbayev's harsh controls of religious practice.
As for "unwatched video," Zenn quotes the JaK's statement about Zhanaozen in the article. That suggests to me he watched it or got parts of it translated. I'll ask. But I don't see a thing wrong with his article. It's not overblown, but actually pretty carefully and intelligently written. So what's the issue here, really? He's with Jamestown and we don't like conservative think-tanks? But there have to be a variety of positions in a pluralistic open society. It's as if nothing but a very narrowly-defined "progressive" perspective with the "science" of Eurasianology can be allowed.
4. For the eleventeenth time, a dispute can be both major and localized. Killing sixteen people at a riot is a big deal no matter the circumstance, but that killing can also not mean anything about the regime’s chances of surviving or even thriving. This is also the heart of Nate’s piece, and if you go back and read things again, you’d see that he and I have both discussed the ways in which Kazakhstan’s social contract are being challenged. We come to slightly different conclusions about how that is happening and what the end result might be, but we are not diametrically, or even substantially, opposed. Your distinction between the two ideas here is both wrong and mendacious.
There have been two rounds of posts in this exchange, not 11, but the record shows that Foust minimized the significance and then evolved, and doesn't want to admit it. It's ok to evolve -- it's an evolving situation. But then you don't slam somebody like Olcott who is guilty of having an article ready for publication long before the events. You don’t turn around and tell other people they don’t get to study the Nazarbayev legacy while you muse whether 16 or 70 might sink it.
Zenn, too, talked about the way the social contract is challenged. It was one thing when people might be hassled on some of the religious issues but they may have not wished to make much of it out of fear or just trying to keep the status quo. But once striking workers who rebel after months of failure to resolve their situation are actually shot dead, it's hard to keep tamping it down. Yes, Aktau is 150 kilometers away. But word of mouth spreads and can amplify when there are existing grievances. Maybe now that Nazarbayev has come out and validated those grievances and fired even his own son-in-law, it may be tamped down -- for now.
As for "that killing can also not mean anything about the regime’s chances of surviving or even thriving," that just strikes me as pedantic and strange. Naturally, everyone looking at this region is going to ask whether the shooting of troops of their own people -- even if they were somehow rampaging after months of striking (and we can't be sure we have the full story about that) -- is going to have on Nazarbayev. It would be a luxury to keep this as "localized unrest" and let the dead bury their own dead. But as Joanna Lillis aptly remarked in a piece summarizing the incident, Nazarbaye'vs legacy could indeed be threatened. Making that headline doesn't mean we care more about Nazarbayev's stability than people being shot, but it means it is significant to understanding this region's events.
The shootings of Kent State; of Bloody Sunday; of Novocherkassk only involved seemingly small numbers of victims. The societies are different with different levels of openness and rights and media at different times. But there is nothing that more profoundly affects a society's course than the discovery that the government, more or less trusted or accepted grudgingly even if disliked, is capable of shooting its own people. This is profoundly traumatic for a people, and the society can spend decades in violence after such events when they aren't acknowledged and the perpetrators are not prosecuted.
Foust claims that he is not "diametrically or even substantially" opposed with Nate Schenkken who writes a guest piece. But this is a false framing of the issue. The issue is that Foust minimized the Zhanaozen killings as "localized unrest" and scolded imaginary people (they wouldn't be Zenn) for making an "Arab Spring". Nate then came along to explain why they could still be destabilizing for the regime (as Zenn did, in talking about how the "thin veneer" of the regime's legitimacy gets peeled off at times like this.)
As a commenter at Registan noted aptly, "here it really seems that you are reaching by trawling the web to find people who are saying stupid things about Zhanaozen."
And that *is* the problem -- there are imaginary people, there isn't an opposition of two opposite viewpoints, there is just a correcting of the assumptions in an evolving situation.
But -- I saw what you did there. Foust's game here is to try to oppose different writers on the region in the hope that he can declare some as "approved" and worthy of polemics with him, and others as "anathema" who must be banned from his site because they are *mendacious*. Mendacious! Because I have...a different point of view.
5. The constant references to the Arab Spring, including by Zenn, are why I continue to argue against it. Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy, has speculated if “the Spring is coming to Central Asia” (or something similar, that’s not an exact quote). To say that no one is talking an Arab Spring is either misleadingly describing the actual discussion or completely ignorant of it.
Lots of people have talked about the Spring coming to lots of places. As another commenter said at Registan.net, it's reasonable to assume that some people simply see these stories on TV and it inspires protest in their own situation, too.
Whatever Blake Hounshell's query about the "Spring coming to Central Asia" -- which is ok to ask and we've all been asked to ponder this in different ways -- he certainly didn't grab on to the events in Zhanaozen and declare them spring material -- and to imply that is mendacious. Sadly, there aren't that many people in the world who noticed that the wonder-chair of the OSCE last year has now shot its own people. Those that do mainly "get it" that this isn't some mass unrest down the pike, the society is too spread out and controlled and there isn't the media you have even in places like Egypt and Tunisia. So to falsely claim there is the band of liars out there deliberately snowing the world is just wrong. To move the discussion from the generalities of how people debate "is there an Arab Spring here and what is an Arab Spring anyway" to particularities of Zhanaozen is to commit a sleight of hand.
6. Trotting out the whole “by criticizing people I like you are objectively pro-Karimov” line is not only pedantic and idiotic, but it appeals to the very worst instincts of the neo-cons in 2003 who described anyone who felt the Bush policies were wrong as being “objectively pro-Saddam.” Because only a monster who hates human rights would oppose opposing a monster like Saddam Hussein!
It’s important to be precise – I haven’t accused Foust as being “objectively pro-Karimov” in the crude fashion he claims, in order to make himself a martyr; I’ve said that his attacks on the human rights movement *accomplish the same thing*. Indeed they do! They make it seem as if the human rights critics should *shut up*. They should shut up either because they are untruthful and exaggerating and everything is in fact getting better for ordinary people in Uzbekistan (a fancy that Foust peddles elsewhere in another thread) or they should shut up because they themselves are “objectively” harming their own country’s security by not allowing the USG to get on with the nasty business of buddying up to Uzbekistan for the sake of the NDN. Foust furiously denies that he’s saying any such malicious thing about the human right’s movement loyalty to their country, yet he doesn’t explain just why the hell they *do* have to shut up, or become so acutely and subtle in the unspecified way Foust demands that they become silenced.
And it's hardly pedantic, idiotic or being a neo-con (I'm not one) to raise serious, real, and persistent questions about the outrageous assault Joshua Foust has been making on good human rights critics. These aren't merely "people I like" -- I don't even know some of them, and I haven't worked full-time in a human rights organization for some years and am at times critical of aspects of the human rights movement. Rather, what's obviously at issue is the curious attack on people who are simply legitimately, rightly and accurately criticizing the despotic regime of Islam Karimov – attacks for no good reasons, and fitting no coherent world view. Why human rights groups can’t criticize Karimov or Nazarbayev, when they do this accurately and credibly (like Human Rights Watch) is beyond me -- and a lot of people. What's *up* with this?!
Nor is it some kind of modern McCarthyism to demand reasoned explanation for this constant assault, and point out that it does indeed appear to be about protecting the regime from criticism and therefore does indeed constitute “objective regime apologizing”.
A word about the “objective” business. Foust thinks this sort of accusation belongs to “neo-cons”. But that’s because he’s too young to understand where they got it: from strenuous Trotskyist and other sectarian debates (a la Alcove 1 and Alcove 2) about the nature of the Soviet Union back in the 1940s – and where those old debaters of the 1940s through the 1970s in turn got it – from the Soviets themselves.
A stock piece of Soviet propaganda in those years was to accuse people of “objectively” serving capitalism or colonialism or fascism if they did something that ostensibly served those evil interests. So a dissident complaining about too many people being thrown in the Gulag and long lines for bread would be accused of “objectively” serving imperialists, etc.
The neo-cons who grew out of the Trotskyist socialist movements (the factions of Max Schachtmann and others) turned this around and in doing so believed they sanitized it. Rather than disingenuously invoking the “objective” concept as the Soviets did, they literalized it and turned it right back against Soviet sympathizers and showed how they were “objectively” serving the Kremlin. And they were in many cases.
But you don’t have to borrow Stalinist or neo-con inversion of Stalinism to make legitimate points: that Foust, in making his wild assaults on human rights activists is indeed accomplishing what Karimov and the engagement crowd at State or the buddy-up crowd at the Pentagon and the Am-cham want to accomplish: trying to silence them, trying to make it seem as if they are doing something wrong and harming some sort of cause – the cause of engagement, the cause of military exigency.
I see nothing wrong whatsoever, and certainly nothing immoral and indecent, in demanding some accountability for these constant vicious attacks, especially when quite a few of the people attacked have decided not to answer the attacks under the "don't feed the troll" concept -- ensuring only that they are attacked more viciously for many more rounds.
One could believe honestly that it is not useful or valid or expedient to criticize Karimov publicly. Then say so. Such a position has a name and a place in the discourse -- call it RealPolitik or pragmatism or IR School No. 2 or whatever -- and it's not necessarily a dishonourable one. If analysts opt for this position they don't have to somehow feel shame or be bullied into human rights criticism, given that an array of positions is possible and there are already enough human rights critics.
But you have to explain yourself morally, when you wrongfully attack so many people, so fiercely, for no real reason and deny people their moral human rights criticism. Unless you believe that human rights criticism is some kind of imminent danger that could cost us NDN cooperation, you should stand down with this continued dishonourable assault.
Of course, thinking, honest people know that you can oppose a policy, or in my case a method of advocacy, without being pro-regime. For you to insinuate otherwise is not only unjustified, but again dishonest.
Sure. But it's not "dishonest" to press on this, or "insinuating" some kind of fellow-travelling regime-symping to demand some accountability: the onslaught on the "method of advocacy" very, very much has a feeling of "the lady doth protest too much" at this point. It's not persuasive as some mere difference of strategies or nuances about effectiveness. Not with the bitterness it has been waged. That is what is dishonest.
Dishonesty is a recurring theme with you, Catherine, and it was old months ago. Please do not expect to be welcome here if you insist on refusing to engage with the actual arguments in play as opposed to what you wish people have argued. This isn’t some Second Life forum, Prokofy.
This, from a man who simply lied about what was in the Freedom House article by Susan Corke which I had blogged about, and who claimed she was saying things she clearly wasn't, if you just clicked on her article. She said that Hillary Clinton's speech was censored; she didn't say "it didn't matter," which was Foust's claim.
There's a high creep factor in this final statement in many ways. First, this curious claim of "dishonesty" merely for expressing a different view. Is everyone who expresses a sharp dissent to Foust's take on reality "dishonest"?
And then, that old forums' fake-out of claiming that the debater is arguing against things he imagines the other has said, straw men. Again, I don't have to look far to find discrepancies in Foust's arguments from one day to the next. For some reason, he is loathe to admit his internal contradictions and seems to have a kind of rhizomatic ability to absorb certain debater's arguments and then blog them as his own insight the next day.
As for the reference to the Second Life forums and my avatar in that virtual world, Prokofy Neva, I don't know what he intends to imply with this nasty swipe. That I have an avatar and follow virtual worlds and this makes me less credible as a human being? That I was banned from the Second Life forums years ago for standing up to just the same kind of dissembling bullies as Joshua Foust? (And I've long since been restored there, now that there are different, less tendentious managers unlike those who were protective of privileged classes of geeks.) Or does he mean this to be some generic stab at people he believes are "master trolls"? Doth the lady protest too much?