Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Hacking of nina.com

By now, most of you already know that nina.com went offline on last weekend. As of May 16, it still is, though we hope to have it restored to some extent by Tuesday, in time for Nina's weekly live cam show. After that it will be slowly brought back, one element at a time, although with certain changes that will likely prove both unwelcome and permanent. 

Because this was not an isolated episode, because of its consequences and because of the questions it raises for us all, some explanations are in order. And besides, as we used to say back in Colorado, "Yer honor, mah family's involved." That alone, especially if followed by the observation that "besides that, he needed killin'" still counts as a pretty good defense out there.

First: what happened. Next: what we're going to do about it. Finally: why it matters.

Our story starts about a year ago when, one morning while doing my usual get-up admin check on Nina Hartley's site nina.com, I discovered that it had been shut down to all access, both external and internal, and its home-page replaced with a fairly clumsy animation of Muslim funeral surrounded by a selection of Koranic verses damning Nina,  along with all her fans and lots of other folks, and threatening various kinds of doom and damnation. It was a fairly crude job, technically speaking, and our dauntless web masters had it fixed in a couple of days. Some new safeguards were installed and we pretty much wrote it off as a mean-spirited prank by some bored teenagers sitting around in some cybercafe somewhere in the Middle East. Basically, we forgot about. 

Big mistake. It's unwise not to take any fanatic at his word. The only thing distinguishing him (or her, let's be fair) from a garden-variety nut-job is the willingness and ability to act on a threat.

This time, the hack-job was much more destructive. Again, a new screen, this time with some boasting in English along with all the Arabic smack and the cityscape of what we now believe is Istanbul shadowed in the background. Not only did the hackers actually sign their work, they cheekily put up a copyright line at the bottom. 

I won't go into the technical details of how they accomplished what they did for obvious reasons, but the practical effect was to transfer control of the site from our hands into theirs and lock us out of any portal through which we could have taken corrective measures. It took a ferocious legal intervention from counsel with the ever-so-even-handed folks at Network Solutions, who had previously offered us only the opportunity to explain our position in writing with no promises of action implied, to restore all our associated domain names, held by Nina since 1995 and paid for exclusively from California, to our control. When your lawyer uses the words "national security concerns," it does get people's attention. Now we have a case officer who specifically oversees our little corner of cyberspace. 

How much did this cost us? In dollars, we don't know yet. We don't know how many potential paid memberships we've lost in the past week, or how many existing members took one look at the hacker screen and canceled. The legal bills haven't come in yet. So the bottom line remains murky. The cost to our piece of mind and to the community of longtime contributors at Nina's open forums: priceless. Those forums as they existed before are not coming back. Not ever. Every single hack, attack, spamming and trolling that has afflicted us over a dozen years has come in through that welcoming door. We'd be fools not to slam it shut and drop the bar after this. Nina and I have discussed starting up a linked blog, but to do so we'd pretty much have to maintain it ourselves, and with all the other things we have on our plates, we're not sure we have the appetite for that.

Too bad too, because the forums on nina.com were, in many ways, the heart of the venture. Sure, though they were free to anyone who signed up, they were attached to a porn pay-site. And they contained some familiar elements from that genre, including sex advice from Nina and friendly chat (the only kind we encouraged) about the XXX world, but what really set the forums apart was the breadth of the discourse and the variety of the contributors. We talked endlessly about politics, history, economics, technology and - oh yeah - sexuality. Posters were men and women, leftists, liberals, libertarians, libertarian conservatives, sexual liberationists and those dreaded third-wave feminists. All races, all classes, all shades of gender, all sexual orientations, all levels of education and experience were represented. We had college professors and businessmen and grad students. We had Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists. We got posts from every continent except Antarctica, and I can't swear to that one. 

The discussion was far-ranging, mostly well-informed to startlingly erudite, and as long as an iron rule of personal civility was observed (I enforced it on friend and foe alike with an evenly heavy hand) frequently quite heated. Over those dozen or so years, the forum logged over thirty thousand posts from hundreds of individuals on hundreds of topics. I'm thankful that all that good conversation is safely backed up at a secure location, though whether any of it will be seen anywhere else again is not yet clear. There are both practical and philosophical considerations to weigh in terms of reinstating any of it in any form. We know our broad array of political and ideological enemies mined that source for out-of-context material to spice up their presentations. Indeed, Rebecca Whisnant cites nina.com by name as a source for writings and lectures at Wheelock and the other venues where she trashes Nina with the predicability of a stopped clock. 

But if we're not sure what the future holds for the open discussion at nina.com, we can say that Nina's voice on the net has been silenced. That's right, the S-word. Not silenced-everywhere-but-on-Fox-News-The-New-York-Times-op-ed-page-amazon.com-AlterNet-focusonthefamily.com-KPFK-and-college-campuses-across-the-land silenced like Gail Dines, Bob Jensen, Melissa Farley, James Dobson, Pamela Paul and Ariel Levy. I mean knocked off the web, which was her principle point of contact with her core audience and accessible source for those wishing to get to know her and understand her ideas. And even worse, when she returns to that venue, it won't be as the facilitator of important discussions on the big issues of the day. 

While Nina will still post her personal journal on the front page, pretty much everything else will be behind the firewall of full, paid membership and will therefore be mostly XXX visual content intended primarily for adult entertainment. In other words, it will be much less of a meeting ground for unconventional thinkers and much more of a conventional porn site. In this way, at least for the purposes of the site she helped build with thousands of hours of her personal labor, Nina will be limited to the role our society is prepared to allow her - porn star, full-stop. She can and will continue to write, speak, travel to workshops and carry on her activism within and for the community to which she has devoted the past 25 years, but if you meet her through Google, you won't know much about that, or about the remarkable mind and irreplaceable experience that makes her who she is, rather than the sex work that so narrowly defines her in the eyes of so much of the world. 

No matter how I look at it, I see this as a sad loss, for her, for me, for everyone whose lives she's touched or might touch through this medium. 

And the manner in which this loss was inflicted teaches us only the darkest of lessons. Nina was silenced by political enemies from across the world for reasons far outside the debate usually carried on at this location and in the other places where she takes her stand in favor of reason and compassion and against ignorance and fanaticism in regard to sexuality. 

Nina.com was hacked by a couple of young guys in Turkey who characterize themselves as "Islamic cyber-warriors." They've hacked hundreds of other sites all over the world that they regard as suitable targets for their jihadist fury for whatever reasons and make no secret of their intention to go right on doing so. Indeed, for a couple of days after the fact, they were all over Turkish media trumpeting their great triumph at shutting down the site of the "Jew whore" Nina Hartley. And they got pretty far with that too, even making it onto the TV news back home. This will get them more views for their clumsy gangsta-rap vids on youtube (you can see their collection of laptops in the background as they bust their moves) and presumably sell more of the malware they peddle on their own site. Great heroes of the coming caliphate are these two twenty-nothings. May they be welcomed into paradise by those 72 virgins at the earliest possible date. Given the TNP's impatience with swaggering braggarts who like to stir up trouble, that date may come rather sooner than they expect. 

But those of us over here are stuck with some troubling questions whatever fate may hold in store for these pathetic low-lifes. The unpleasant fact remains that the hate they feel for Nina and all she believes is shared in equal measure among right-wing Christian evangelicals, left-wing anti-porn feminists and their fellow Islamic fundamentalist fanatics all around the world. Even though these extremists all despise each other, they agree on something basic about human nature - their deep-seated distrust and dislike for it. Where they find common ground is in their abhorrence of personal freedom and individual liberty. 

Without some unchallenged power to tell us all how we must live down to the smallest detail, they believe, human beings will revert to utter savagery and their own noble selves will be the ones to suffer for it.  When Gail Dines told me in Vegas that she distrusted arguments based in nature, she spoke for the opponents of reason everywhere. Arguments based in nature may be tested by empirical means and subjected to rational scrutiny and thus may be proven true or false. Blind belief need not be subjected to these rigors. Good thing too, as it wouldn't survive such a test. Better that we should all live by simple, revealed truths as directed by the self-anointed prophets of those truths, than that we should all have to think for ourselves, as all but the elect are incapable of doing so in a responsible fashion. 

And that is why these groups, while lining up with every weapon at their disposal to discredit or, if necessary, destroy all who disagree with them, make exceptions for one another. All are quick to deny any affiliation with each other, and to dismiss any association among the three as simply a "straw man," a rhetorical construction of their sinful, evil foes. And yet they do not speak out against each other's excesses with the curious ferocity they spew toward anyone who dares to suggest that their behavior is irrational.

Is it not odd that Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ward Churchill, Jeremiah Wright and Ahmed Ahmadinejad all agree that we got what we deserved on 9/11? Isn't it strange that a nominal leftist feminist like Pamela Paul would have no problem with offering supportive testimony before the "porn addiction" hearings trumped up by failed Christian-right presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback? And isn't it strange that will all the gallons of ink shed by the likes of Melissa Farley over the horrors of Nevada brothels and dirty pictures in this country, she has so little to say of recent date about the daily horrors of "honor killings," female genital mutilation and the savage public beatings of women for failure to cover themselves completely in those vast swaths of the world dominated by Islamic fundamentalists?  

But of course, these are people who FEEL their beliefs ever so strongly, and what they feel is so much more important than what is merely real in this world. Don't we poor, deluded rationalists understand that this is all about feelings and feelings are what matter? Who needs the facts when you already have the truth, right?

No, these extremists are not allies. Eventually, like Hitler and Stalin, they must necessarily turn on each other, but not before they've done whatever they could to rid the planet of anyone who might offer the more sensible alternatives of pluralism, of living and letting live, of tolerating real differences strongly held, of placing the ability to think above the visceral sense of permanent injustice that lies at the heart of every stripe of extremist lunacy. Wrong has been done by those who are evil and evil-doers must be punished. That's what counts. Things like choice, agency, liberty are of no use to the pure and can only be tools of wickedness in the hands of unrighteous. Thought itself, unless very carefully directed by those possessed of the ultimate wisdom, is a dangerous thing to be discouraged in all but the most limited of circumstances.

And thus it is that the real tests of moral courage, which are all about individual judgments, are failed by true believers again and again. Members of the Christian right, even if they find its conduct deplorable, will not speak out against Operation Rescue. American leftists were silent through a generation of communism's crimes against humanity from the crushing of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 right up to the Khmer Rouge auto-genocide of 1975. Today they won't speak out against the human rights abuses of the Taliban for fear of being perceived as racist. Christian evangelicals support the militant settlers on the West Bank, and the Likudniks accept that support without a blink, even though they know full well that these wonderful, new allies of theirs embrace religious teachings that require all Jews to ultimately convert or be damned. 

In addition to having their anti-intellectualism and their rejection of reason in common, they all also hate and fear any open expression in favor of sexual autonomy, because the cognitive tolerance of sexual diversity is entirely a product of human reason, and any rational thought on that subject will surely lead to the questioning of unreasoning taboos and restrictions upon which all forms of fanaticism depend. Liberated bodies and liberated minds are two things authoritarian personalities and the belief systems to which they adhere simply cannot endure. 

And they won't do so without a bloody fight using every weapon at their disposal, even if the only weapon they have at hand is a laptop. 

That is how, and more importantly why, Nina Hartley came to be silenced on the internet. She is a kind, caring, loving person whose great offense lies in her steadfast defense of the rights of adults to consent (a dirty word in itself in so many quarters these days) to the forms of sexual expression that bring satisfaction to their own lives and the lives of their partners. 

Such effrontery simply could not be allowed. And now it won't be.

I can think of a long last of people to whom this will be a cause for celebration. But at the end of the day, they and their followers are the real losers in this contest. As Goya observed, the sleep of reason produces monsters. And eventually, always, the monsters will consume the sleepers. 


44 comments:

  1. Incredible.

    Just.....I am simply speechless. Numb.

    Not only at the extent of damage these bastards did to Nina's site, but as just as much to the ramifications of the solution of simply nuking the entire site.

    I was not a paid member of Nina.com, so the forums was my only real opportunity to communicate with Nina on a regular basis....and it was the means to which me, Ernest, Nina, and the other regular members would express our thoughts on everything on our minds.

    Thanks to these hacks, that opportunity is now gone. Forever.

    I would hope that Ernest and Nina would reconsider the idea of at the very least reviving the forum behind the firewall of paid membership, so that at least paid members would have the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. Or, at the very least, allow for an alternative forum or message board to be run by dedicated fans where they could at least have some venue to express themselves.

    I would also hope that Nina would reconsider the idea of using other Internet venues to speak out on issues. Her voice is simply much too important and so badly needed to be so easily suppressed; and to simply give up and self-silence herself would be the greatest victory these hacker un-fuckers (and all who wish to silence her voice) could achieve.

    To that end, I am offering my own bandwidth (through my own Red Garter Club sites) to develop an alternative forum and message board for Nina fans to express their love and best wishes. I'm also in the process of reviving my RGC website to include a message board, where I hope that sexual progressives like Nina will have a protected venue to express her thoughts.

    This may be the end for the nina.com forums; but it sure as all hell won't be the end for those of us who will continue to fight to the death for her right to express herself.

    You want to attack Nina, fuckers, you'll have to deal with her fans. We don't take kindly to her being abused.


    Anthony

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  2. I had been intending to uplaod a celebratory post raving about how Nina's record-breaking 500th feature was coming out at the end of May (she's up to #496), but now this happens.

    This is the very definition of "bittersweet".

    [It makes me want to cling to my guns and religion...]

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  3. Much appreciation to Nina for simply existing; and still more for all the work she has done.

    Excellent essay. on the authoritarian mindsets that unite in mutual tolerance only to suppress liberty and tolerance.

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  4. Exactly.

    When a "crazy terrorist" hacks a site, it's "wrong."

    But if, say, Genderberg, did the same, this would be progress, some would say.

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  5. I agree fully with the sentiment that this is horrible, but:

    Is the first choice really to simply fold? I have not been to Nina's site nor the forums, but if the forums were this thriving, it should be worth recreating them -- but of course, on a subdomain (forums.nina.com?) off site from the machines hosting nina.com.

    Maintaining a web forum is, technically, not very difficult these days - there are many free and good solutions out there - and linking to the new forums from nina.com will route the people who find Nina Hartley through google there.

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  6. Thanks all for your sympathy and support, and for your constructive suggestions.

    We are looking at ways of setting up a separate discussion site or blog for Nina, but the problem is who would manage it? The forums always took a tremendous amount of time and energy from our webmasters, our volunteer mods and Nina and myself. To maintain the kind of atmosphere and the kind of security for our participants that made it a safe, stimulating place to visit, we had to fight off constant attacks from hackers, spammers and a never-ending procession of trolls of every type.

    It's always good to be of service, but we have to ask ourselves if doing all that is really the best way for Nina to be of service in a fashion meaningful to her useful to those who respect and admire her.

    There are only so many hours in the day and the forums burned through so many of those hours we have to admit to ourselves, at last, what a drain they were on all our energies. Many were the nights I found myself cleaning out the latest batch of links to non-2257-compliant sites using our bandwidth to advertise content they probably stole from others.

    We are not just folding up or letting go of our efforts to keep Nina's ideas, as well those of others who support those ideas, a presence on the internet. But we depend to a great extent on our webmasters to create a replacement for the forums that's secure not only for Nina, but for the members as well. It really does sound a lot easier than it is.

    Right now, we're just trying to recreate nina.com as a functioning site. Every day it's down, we lose members and potential members who go to the address and find only a splash page where a thriving domain once existed. After we get it up and running again, we'll be looking for ways to create a new portal through which our friends can share their thoughts and feelings.

    But this time, that portal must be secure. Forum participants must be able to feel confident that their sign-up information is protected and we must feel certain that the management of such an alternative venue doesn't pose an insurmountable challenge for some very busy people who must also run a number of other for-profit enterprises in order to subsidize something we believe in but nevertheless costs us time and money to operate.

    All I can promise at this point is that we are trying to balance the necessities of our situations as best we can. We'll come up with something, but as I've already said, it won't be identical to what was lost, and the bar to entry may have to be raised in one way or another simply to harden it against future attacks that will surely come.

    We're working on it.

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  7. Thanks for this post, I hope, at the very least, you will be able to link to it, or recreate it, on nina.com for everyone who visits there to see.

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  8. Again, our thanks for the show of solidarity here.

    One thing I forgot to mention that may shed some light on what might appear to be a hasty and needless capitulation when other alternatives exist.

    If you Google Nina Hartley, you'll get about 2 million responses. That's right: 2,000,000. The traffic through nina.com when it was wide-open was always staggering, which is a lovely thing in many respects. We're glad so many people find Nina and her ideas of interest.

    But with numbers like those, even a tiny percentage of hostile parties can create great mischief and load us down with the labor of responding to that mischief. There was much that went on behind the scenes that we were able to keep from hindering the day to day operation of the whole site, forums included, and the enjoyment thereof by friendly contributors.

    But on a scale this large, keeping the space secure has been a daunting task to say the least. Simply moving that task to a new location not only won't make it go away, it will increase the demand for time and attention by creating the need for separate mechanisms to monitor and protect two linked domains of whatever sort. Knowing what we know now, we would feel obligated to safeguard both with unstinting vigilance, and that's pretty tough on those who have to do it.

    I can tell you that there were nights I went on the admin panel and saw things that were truly disturbing, such as whole groups of closely spaced IPs accessing long-buried threads on anti-porn radfem nonsense that I knew were opposition research in progress. Or certain IPs repeatedly calling up member profiles, collecting what little information we kept on our contributors to who knows what purpose.

    These considerations weigh heavily on all of us as we contemplate our next moves. It's not just ourselves we worry about. It's everyone who supports our goals and how they might become collateral damage in future attacks.

    I am confident that a solution will be found for these dilemmas, but we need to be strategic in our approach and cautious in the creation of whatever is to succeed the nina.com forums.

    For now, rest assured, we have not struck our colors and run up the white flag by any means. We have a different flag to unfurl in the face of those who think they've won some great victory here,

    We just need a little time to reload the cannons and perfect our aim.

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  9. "The unpleasant fact remains that the hate they feel for Nina and all she believes is shared in equal measure among right-wing Christian evangelicals, left-wing anti-porn feminists and their fellow Islamic fundamentalist fanatics all around the world."

    I was directed over here by Ace of Spades, a right-wing but usually pro-porn site.

    Here is Ace's reaction:

    "As usual, those on the left -- here, the sexual left -- can only spend a bit of time criticizing jihadists before rushing headlong to criticize those they really hate, "right wing Christian fundamentalists." It really makes no goddamn sense. You've just been unlawfully harassed and cyber-attacked by Turkish jihadists, so of course you want to direct as much of your fire as possible towards people who didn't do anything to you, besides criticize you, which is also their right as Americans.

    "I find the left to be wearying and childish on this point. Their efforts to be even-handed against "all extremists" is not even-handed at all. They wind up classing those who haven't done anything particular untoward with those who are actually illegally attacking them... which merely spares the culpable parties their proper measure of blame by dividing the load among the blameless."


    My thought is similar. Anatolia is no longer run by militant Orthodox Greeks; and you did not get attacked by monks from Mount Athos. That peninsula is now called "Turkey" not because of large yummy birds but because after many centuries of Muslim attacks the Turkish variety of Muslim got lucky enough to win.

    We Christian Europeans have been aware of militant Muslim and Turkish violence for some time now. Why you think our culture, which offers outfits like yours the freedom to run without a good stoning, is somehow equivalent to the culture of the Koran is quite frankly beyond me.

    I get that many people view Christians as social inferiors, maybe "hypocrites" to boot. As porn stars I assume you're not snobs. As for the charge of hypocrisy, fair enough; when a Christian does do a bombing, they're going against their own teachings in a way that Koran-followers aren't. I will submit that I'd rather be in a culture which viewed such attacks as hypocrisy rather than martyrdom.

    Speaking as a Christian, I don't hate you; I am only disappointed in you, that yet another victim of Islamic terror has chosen the easy way out of moral equivalence and ignorant "tolerance".

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  10. Zimri:

    "Ignorant tolerance" - now there's a phrase that says it all. And you wonder why I regard you and your allies with the same contempt i feel for the enemies of individual liberty everywhere.

    For your information, our site had previously been attacked, trolled, hacked and harassed by a variety of right-wing religious extremists prior to the most recent incident. You can take whatever pride you like in having been at the head of the line when it came to trying to shout us down.

    It is also your side that does its level best to put us in jail on obscenity charges, pressures government and private businesses to use all possible means toward the aim of making what we do impossible, supports "regulations" that would prohibit constitutionally protected expression by circumventing the First Amendment under the guise of mitigating so-called "secondary effects," and on and on and on. You don't just criticize us, which wouldn't bother me in the slightest. Your side does whatever it can to silence us just like those you claim to oppose.

    For you to come here and lecture any of us on the superiority of your way of thinking and operating to that of the other enemies of freedom would be funny if it weren't so utterly nauseating, especially under the present circumstances.

    Go back and tell your friend Ace that if I associate him, you and others like you with those you detest, it is because of the similarity of your behavior, as you have demonstrated it here once again.

    Just to make this perfectly clear, I am not a moral relativist. I loathe those who oppose personal liberty regardless of their reasons or their methods.

    As a Jew, I suggest you go shtup yourself.

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  11. Oh, and BTW, I went over to your buddy Ace's site and read the comments following his post.

    Lot's of ugly and foul smack about my wife's age and how she makes her living.

    Gee, you guys are the very incarnation of Christian love. How wonderful it must feel to bask in your ineffable superiority each day.

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  12. No, what you are is a bigoted idiot. Perhaps if you had actually taken the time to read and understand zimri's comment, you would have seen that the comment is nothing against porn, or against Nina Hartley, but against your lashing out blindly toward those who had nothing to do with the current situation.
    Perhaps they were deprived youths in which case the usual leftist blather should be in regard to their cultural upbringing. Oh wait, their cultural upbringing is Islam, which we all know can not be slammed. (Fear of reprisal attacks, and all that) so you reach out to slam those who you know will leave your head on your shoulders. Nothing new to see here. Simply the usual chickenshit blather from a lefty. Shame too, I like Nina Hartley and have enjoyed her performances. Guess there's another Hollywood type person to scratch off the list.
    Question though, if you alienate those of us who could be paying fans, who is left to purchase your product?

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. My greatest sympathies go out to you and Nina for the hassle you're going through over this. I'm sure you'll pull through, but I'm very sorry to hear about the Nina.com forums being a casualty in all of this. I've only come by a few times, but it looked like it had a good level of discussion, and was a good forum for Nina to keep her fans updated and keep in touch with them.

    "Eventually, like Hitler and Stalin, they must necessarily turn on each other, but not before they've done whatever they could to rid the planet of anyone who might offer the more sensible alternatives of pluralism, of living and letting live, of tolerating real differences strongly held, of placing the ability to think above the visceral sense of permanent injustice that lies at the heart of every stripe of extremist lunacy."

    In spite of all the rhetoric about how powerful the porn industry is, its really the case that pornography, sexual expression, kink, etc is under attack from all sides right now. The Xtian and feminist fundamentalists, and now the Islamic fundamentalists, who have hacked in from half a world away just to get their licks in.

    That's why I think the activism represented by blogs like this one, along with Bound, Not Gagged, and Questioning Transphobia are so important – we're Poland and the Baltic States to the fundamentalists' Non-Aggression Pact, and we need to make sure we don't end up like the little guys in that great war – the first to fall in the aggressors' attempt at world domination.

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  15. And it also looks like we've attracted the attention of the Little Green Footballs crowd, and their ongoing meme that Islamic fundamentalist atrocities somehow justify everything the far right is trying to do to this country.

    Yes, Islamic fundamentalism sucks big time, and the tactical alliance made with it by some misguided sectors of the "left" gets absolutely zero respect from me.

    However, as somebody living in these United States, when I look at who's pushing this country to be incrementally more like Iran and less like other modern secular democracies, those people are largely Christian conservatives. That's supposed to be overlooked because of what Islamists are doing elsewhere in the world? That's an absolute non-sequitur.

    Then again, this is largely the same crowd of barely-reformed Cold Warriors who used to invoke the threat of Communism as a blanket defense of anything and everything that was wrong with this country.

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  16. And while we're on the subject of Nina, I just read about her presentation to the California State chapter of NOW. Very cool.

    Are you planning to blog about this, Ernest? (I know you're pretty busy.) Otherwise, I will.

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  17. Oh, please, Zimri and Anony (if in fact you are not the same sockpuppet)....spare us the bullshit.

    Attacking the "sexual left" as being unable to join your assumed campaign against "Jihadists" tends to avoid the fact that Christian fundamentalists aren't exactly so kind to Nina and her sex-positive progressive vision, either.

    And how nice of you to point out that your "culture" allows sex positives like Nina and Ernest "room to roam without stoning", quite unlike the evil "Jihadists" Muslims whom you think we should all exterminate out of the face of the earth.

    Nice try, fool, but most of us who are actually based in reality know the difference between practicing Muslims who merely wish to exercise their faith in peace, and those extremists who wish impose their myopic and fascistic views on others under threat of death or coercion. Trust me on this one....Islam has no monopoly whatsoever on the subject of sexual bigotry and fundamentalism.

    Oh....and on the subject of the supposed free ride that some on the Left allegedly give fundamentalist Islam: yeah, you could say that for one or two activists and some personalities. On the other hand, you have far more rightists who are more than willing to mask their attacks on "Jihadism" with backhanded support of their regime of suppression against secularists, feminists, and other sexual heretics and dissidents.....as if the former are more than a bit jealous of the fact that fundamentalist Islamicists can get away with the kind of severe repression that Christians would love to adopt. (In fact, Christians have adopted all that and much worse forms of repression...so I guess that they shouldn't be talking any smack about their supposed superiority anywhere.

    Only thing you remind me of, Z, is the old school racist who pleads that Black folk should be very happy about slavery in the United States because it introduced them to the virtues of this country. Yeah, right....as if the forced servitude of Black folk was justified to begin with.

    Take your shit elsewhere, because Little Green Batturds aren't playing here.

    Oh, and one last thing: Nina Hartley is independent and competent enough as a sexual performer and a woman that she does not need the likes of you to lecture her or her fans on her ideology. Besides, I thought that it was just her ass that got you to sign up. If you don't like her ideology and personal beliefs.....well, there are other girls.


    Anthony

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  18. it's a lot more safe (and fun) to get on your high horse and rail against (a) Christian fundies or (b) the Catholic church or (c) Mormons, than it is to provoke (d) psycho Islamic death cult murdering jihadists.

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  19. Wow, this didn't take long, did it? And people wonder why I'm not in a mighty rush to go back to fielding moronic bullshit from cowards and fools as a hobby.

    I'm going to go back and answer the anonymous individual who is so scared he won't even put a screen name up here just this once.

    Okay, first things first. You're pal Ace was the one who took what I said 100% out of context to prove his piss-poor attempt at a point by conveniently overlooking what appeared on either side of what he claims Nina said (never being one to let mere facts interfere with The Truth, he couldn't be bothered to properly attribute the remarks he distorted).

    Here's what Zimri correctly quoted me as saying:

    "The unpleasant fact remains that the hate they feel for Nina and all she believes is shared in equal measure among right-wing Christian evangelicals, left-wing anti-porn feminists and their fellow Islamic fundamentalist fanatics all around the world."

    Here's the part he left out:

    "And thus it is that the real tests of moral courage, which are all about individual judgments, are failed by true believers again and again. Members of the Christian right, even if they find its conduct deplorable, will not speak out against Operation Rescue. American leftists were silent through a generation of communism's crimes against humanity from the crushing of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 right up to the Khmer Rouge auto-genocide of 1975. Today they won't speak out against the human rights abuses of the Taliban for fear of being perceived as racist. Christian evangelicals support the militant settlers on the West Bank, and the Likudniks accept that support without a blink, even though they know full well that these wonderful, new allies of theirs embrace religious teachings that require all Jews to ultimately convert or be damned. "

    In other words, I gave the finger to all murderous fanatics and their apologists with equal sincerity. Over at Ace's site they seemed to be making a big deal, in between posting more vile insults regarding my wife's appearance and other real grown-up stuff, about how liberals and leftists pick on poor right-wing Christians because calling out Islamic extremists is just too dangerous. As if no one who calls himself Christian ever committed homicide in the name of his god. Read a book, fellas. A history book might be a good start.

    It's like unto like with the haters and killers of this world and always has been. Most of us just want to be left in peace, but that can never happen for as long as there are those who deeply believe that the existence of an opposing opinion constitutes an unacceptable threat to all they hold holy. I'm not surprised to find any of the groups I mentioned a bit touchy on this subject. Given the record, they all have a lot to be touchy about.

    Meantime, as I am now a mod over here, I will continue to delete personal digs at Nina and adolescent crap of the sort flung in our direction regardless of where it originates.

    But I do want the record set straight. I did not single out Christians, Muslims, Jews or even leftists and rightists per se. I addressed myself specifically to those who harm others in the name of their own beliefs. When it comes to them, what I feel is contempt, not fear.

    Oh, and as for the drive-by threat about alienating our viewers and us therefore being unable to make a living? That's a good one. I guess we'll just have to get by without the trade of porn (and that's how it's spelled, BTW, not "pron")-loving religious and political extremists. I know they make up a large percentage of our key demographic, but I'm sure we'll manage somehow.

    Next contestant.

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  20. Sounds to me, Anony, (could that be you, Anesis??? Long time no rap!!) like you're the one having the most fun in attempting to slander all practicing Muslims for the act of a couple of extremist punks. None of us here have even mentioned the Catholic Church, let alone Mormons or most Christians, as the source of attacks.

    And gee.....if they happened to be Christians or radicalfeminists who hacked Nina's site, then would you even be here trolling???

    (Don't answer that...ByrdBrain might be listening....)


    Anthony

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  21. Okay, enough.

    I've said everything I have to say to trolls and I don't give a skinny rat's ass what they say in response on their own sites, or on the walls of mens' room stalls for that matter.

    The facts speak for themselves and no amount of mud-slinging can obscure the historical record.

    From here on, I suggest ignoring passing vandals. If they become too obnoxious, well, that's what the little trash-can icon is for.

    Otherwise, if anyone has something constructive to add, I'll look forward to reading it.

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  22. Fair enough.

    I reserve my right to use my own space to smack down these fools...but I respect other people's spaces.

    Besides, Ren's boots are so much better for kicking drive-by BS artists into geosynchonous orbit, anyway.

    Onward and forward, I say.


    Anthony

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  23. Ahem- Zimiri, Anony...

    Welcome to Our House.

    Here's the deal. The Christian Right, for the most part, has no love or use for people in the porn industry. Yes, on this occasion, the strife comes from Islamic fundies....but do you honestly think other strife has not come from Christians? Oh my, you would be wrong, wrong, wrong. In fact, look over there in the link column labled "Them"...educate yoursselves.

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  24. Seems pretty simple to me. These guys think of Christians as enemies because they are on principle opposed to porn (even if that principle doesn't mean they actively go after porn producers in any way.) Therefore, every opportunity to attack their perceived enemy is taken.

    Fear is as fear does.

    Sorry you guys got hacked by a Islamic terrorist dude. Hopefully you get some justice out of this.

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  25. Reading some of the trolls here and the comments on Ace of Spades HQ (google it) – Wow, not the brightest bulbs in the pack, are they?

    Clue to AOS folks wondering why "red state" conservatives get trashed so mercilessly – do you guys even read your own hateful swill? Ever stop for a minute and think about the impression the level of hate and stupidity posted on sites like AOS and Free Republic make for those of us who aren't in the far-right echo chamber?

    Singling out Christians? Um, no – first, I think you missed the part about Christian fundamentalists. There's a difference – look it up. Second, there's a whole crowd of "radical feminists" who are convinced this blog was created to single them out. With so many varieties of fundie feeling "singled out", perhaps that means we're being pretty even-handed.

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  26. I'll say it again. The Christian right has been instrumental in lobbying the DOJ to pursue legal action against pornographers, as a direct result of which some of us are facing the prospect of decades behind bars.

    Christian right groups have also put pressure on state and local governments to shut down adult bookstores and strip clubs, levy confiscatory taxes on the sale of adult entertainment products, impose record-keeping regulations that are virtually impossible to meet and that carry fearsome criminal penalties for non-compliance. No group in this country has been more instrumental in the repression of what we do than Christian right activists from Focus on the Family to Concerned Women of America.

    If, like those rather nice folks from the XXX Church, you simply wish to express your opposition to porn in the public square, that's what the public square is for and I have no objection. I merely disagree.

    When you organize to put the squeeze on outfits like the Marriott hotel chain to take adult entertainment off in-room viewing systems and lobby Congress to expand existing laws against adult obscenity (deeply unconstitutional as those laws already are) you're not just expressing an opinion. All over America, Christian right preachers hammer their pulpits every Sunday demanding government action against "the scourge of pornography." Their intentions toward us are no less clear than those of Islamic fanatic hackers who hit us, or those of radfems who try to prevent us from speaking on college campuses.

    These groups will also claim that all they mean to do is express their critical opinions, when their real agenda is our total elimination.

    And as to the nonsense that only extremist Muslims commit acts of violence, I would point out that bombing abortion clinics and killing doctors are also acts of violence against which right-wing Christians somehow lose their voices when given the chance to speak out.

    These are facts readily available to anyone who cares about facts, but as we've vividly seen demonstrated on this thread once again, facts matter little to those who act out of belief rather than reason.

    No one who actively attempts to suppress freedom of expression gets a free pass here, regardless of his or her intentions.

    Anyone who is content to express a point of view opposed to ours in a civil manner is welcome to do so in the many, many venues where those opinions are supported. If you've noticed the title of this blog, you can hardly expect a warm embrace of that POV here.

    By trolling our space, especially in the vicious manner we've observed in the past 24 hours, given the hostility and ignorance, not to mention racism, sexism and just plain cruelty with which they have done so, hate-mongers who call themselves Christians have shown their true colors. They disgrace the better principles of their own faiths no less than do the actions of Islamic extremists or feminist anti-porn cultists. Calling people who disagree with you bigoted idiots and hurling vulgar insults about my wife's age, appearance or what she does for a living could safely be called un-Christian in the truest sense of the word.

    I ask you to ask yourselves what Jesus would think of your behavior here and over at AOS HQ. Personally as I read his own words, I'm inclined to believe if he encountered the works done in his name by hateful fanatics, he'd be unable to keep from throwing up.

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  27. Oh, and one more thing. To those who believe we made up this whole incident as a publicity stunt, or deny that we have suffered previous attacks from right-wing Christians, I have electronic logs to prove otherwise. That these individuals were less effective than the cyber thugs in Turkey turned out to be on this occasion does not negate the truth told by those records.

    This thing was no invention of ours. It has cost has thousands of dollars in lost revenues and recovery efforts so far, and will continue to do so for some while to come.

    Meantime, I will provide no technical details of who did what. Why should we supply more ammunition to our enemies?

    If you don't believe I'm being honest in this matter, that's your problem, not mine.

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  28. Two things, Ernest.

    1. Ace of Spades HQ is not a Christian and/or fundamentalist site. It's pretty much libertarian on matters such as pr0n (and yes, Ernest, we know that it's really "porn," not "pr0n", "pr0n" is just an example of some fun harmless leet speak.), so all of your appeals of What Would Jesus Think are kind of beside the point. It's not a Jesus site.

    2. The thing about abortion clinic bombers is that you can pretty much name them all on the fingers of your hand. Statistically speaking, it's a myth. It's so rare that equating them with not only the threat but the body count of modern day jihad is silly. But go ahead and focus on the Christers, Ernest. It won't be my head that gets sawn off.

    Also, you encouraged some book reading. Excellent. Might I recommend Mark Steyn's "America Alone"? There's some real food for thought in there regarding who really deserves your ire. Give it a go!

    Finally, it really does stink that Nina.com went down. I've long admired her work and still do. One thing, though: I've bought occasional memberships at a number of adult film star sites, from Rayveness to Michelle Lay, but never Nina.com. It's always just been a litle too pricey. Would $20 for one month really be all that bad, with maybe a 3-day trial for $10 or so?

    Do what you like, but that's always been the threshold for me.

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  29. Kensington:

    Okay, you seem like a civil sort of person and I appreciate your sympathetic response to our situation.

    As for the cost of membership at nina.com, it was and will remain $50 for three months - fifteen bucks a month, 'kay? And no automatic re-billing. We have deliberately kept the price low so more people could join.

    Concerning your other points, I read enough on AOS to know it's not a Christian site per se. The guy actually believes in evolution! Fancy that. I'd say it's more a right-wing political site with cultural sympathies toward withe Christians. Satisfied? That's more even-handed than any description I read of my views over there.

    My whole beef with the guy was that he completely misrepresented what I said to make his own point about the "cultural relativism" of the left. I'm not even a leftist and as you can see from the parts of my original post that I AGAIN repeated on this thread, my beef isn't with any one ideology or religion. It's with a certain mindset that finds it righteous to destroy the lives and livelihoods of others in the name of their own beliefs.

    Have I now made this clear, or must we go over the subject-matter a few hundred more times before it sinks in?

    Now, where you really wander off course is in your attempt to quantify this or that sort of crazed fanaticism on the basis of recent casualties. Abortion clinic bombings and doctor murders are statistically insignificant? Not if you're the victim, or if you're terrorized into abandoning your work or your beliefs for fear of becoming a victim. Ask the families of those killed and injured in these acts if they regard them as mythical.

    And if you care to crack the historical record for a moment, I think you'll find that white Christians have done more than their share of killing over the course of time, in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, always in the name of advancing Christian civilization of course. In fact, just during the reign of Mad King George, this country has killed at least twenty times as many Muslims, mostly civilians, as the number of Americans killed by a handful of hijackers on 9/11.

    If you want to look closer to home for more examples, you might consider the tens of thousands of African-Americans (and the occasional Jew) lynched in this country by those fine, upstanding white Christians just in the past hundred years, right up to James Byrd. Ever heard of the KKK? Think there's any significant moral difference between them and the Taliban? If so, it's lost on me.

    Oh, and let me not forget the genocide of Native Americans. Six million of them when the white man arrived on this continent. Six hundred thousand left today. That's a record Hitler would have admired.

    And speaking of Hitler, to be far fairer to Christians and other religious types than they would be to me, I made it very clear in what I said at the outset and will say this part AGAIN as well that secular fanatics are every bit as lethal and contemptible as those acting in the name of religion. Nazism and communism managed to rack up death tolls competitive with those of every stripe of religious lunacy throughout history in just a single century. I let them have it too.

    Go back to the original post and check out the individuals I singled out by name for special disdain. A pretty diverse lot in terms of race, religion, political orientation and point of origin. Should white Christians have been left out of that roster? History wouldn't support such an exclusion, would it?

    I was, despite the grotesque distortion of what I actually said (not a word of which was quoted in Ace's smack, I noticed), quite even-handed in this matter, and that's what ticked him off. That I was "fair and balanced" in addressing myself to a broad range of evil zealots instead of just the ones he personally dislikes was more than the poor guy could stomach.

    As for not getting one's head sawn off, judging by the juvenile hostility I've seen demonstrated over on that site, I'd say there are a couple of potential lynch-mob recruits to be found in that quarter as well. Careful of the company you keep. If you say or do the wrong thing, your head might not be all that safe either.

    Now, I'm done exchanging fire on this deal. If you didn't notice, this site is dedicated to pro-porn activism. If I want to be hammered on, I'll go visit the precincts where your buddies hang out. If you want to come here and make your points politely as you have so far, you can expect them to be challenged, but you won't be unwelcome. However, neither will you be allowed to distract discussion from our primary concern, which is that threats to freedom of sexual expression must be opposed regardless of their source.

    If you'd like to go back to AOS and tell your jolly comrades to quit calling my wife names and displaying their adolescent propensity for anatomical insults, and if anyone there listened to you, your spirited defense of these fine gentlemen might ring a bit less hollow. If right-wing pressure groups would quit trying to throw me in jail, your insistence, and Ace's, that y'all haven't done a thing to warrant my ire wouldn't be quite so preposterous. I'll be waiting for these events with eager anticipation.

    Meantime, I need to get back to trying to restore what has been taken from us by the rotten little thugs who started this whole thing. And contrary to some of what's been posted here, I make no excuses for them of any kind and have no fear of telling them what I think of them. If they're planning on sawing off any heads, they'd be well advised to give this neighborhood a miss.

    I have said before and will say again that I support the Second Amendment as well as the first. Not what you'd expect to hear from the cliche cardboard-cut-out liberal Ace tried to portray me as, is it?

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  30. My two cents –

    First, if most of the commentators over at AOS HQ are in some way "libertarian", they sure as hell could have fooled me. They come across as a pretty intolerant bunch, and downright hateful and bigoted toward sex workers.

    Second, the how-terrible-the-muslims-are line of argument as a blanket defense of the American right just does not cut it for me. Yes, conditions in the Muslim world are pretty bad, yes, as a religion, Islam seems even more mired in fundamentalism than Christianity. That doesn't change the fact that with in the context of American domestic politics, Islamists play next to no role, while Christian conservatives are very powerful and play a decidedly reactionary role.

    The argument that if we don't all march in lockstep with the American right, the world will become dominated by Jihadists is fucking absurd, and reminds me more than a little of the old arguments conservatives used to use, claiming that world Communist domination was imminent, and civil rights, the counterculture, liberals, etc would surely weaken America's resistance to it. It was a bullshit argument then and its a bullshit argument now.

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  31. IACB,

    Agreed on all points, out of character as that may seem.

    These guys don't live in the same country we do. They live in one of their own invention that can do no wrong while everyone else can do no right.

    Nativists, racists and xenophobes, they've done everything imaginable to wreck this society over the past eight years and now they're the ones bitching the loudest about how bad they've got it. When they've lost their nothingj-down-mortgaged houses, their outsourced jobs and the smog-belching SUVs they can't afford to put gas in anymore, they'll be first in line for assistance from the government they've been trashing for two decades. Thanks to their own idiotic behavior every time they get near a voting booth, that assistance won't be available. It will have been handed over to their great heroes at Halliburton.

    Well, we can sure count on these guys to make us safe from terrorists, that's for sure. They've demonstrated their clear understanding of the world so capably thus far.

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  32. The commenters on Aces are about as "libertarian" as John Hagee. Judging by their disgust/fascination with Nina, I'd say that they're basically parroting fundamentalist tradition (which is equal parts terror and fascination with sex) without even realizing it.

    I'm a non-Muslim presently living in a Muslim country, and I'd say there's a fairly regular mix of crazies, moderates, and people generally living secular lifestyles. I'm not surprised to see Muslim hackers attack Nina.com, just as I am not surprised that Christians have tried it before.

    One of the great uniting forces in this world is hatred and derision against "whores." Ace's crowd doesn't even note the similarities between themselves and the Muslim hackers.

    Their argument is, "but we don't hack your website! We just dehumanize you!" They don't understand the power of language and they never will. Of course, it is true that militant Islam often takes a violent form... just like militant Christianity does (remember Jerry Falwell's gleeful support of the Iraq war? How many innocent people have died since that debacle started, eh).

    Having said all that, I'm sorry about what you're going through, guys.

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  33. "natalia: weak."

    Care to explain why? I know that calls for a higher level of discussion than is typical on AOS HQ, but maybe you might be up to it.

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  34. "Oh, and BTW, I went over to your buddy Ace's site and read the comments following his post.

    Lot's of ugly and foul smack about my wife's age and how she makes her living.

    Gee, you guys are the very incarnation of Christian love. How wonderful it must feel to bask in your ineffable superiority each day."

    Ace of Spades, isn't a Christian website, you brainwashed liberal dupe. It's a political blog. I know, you liberal dupes can't make the distinction....

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  35. Natalia:

    Thanks for your support and for your excellent commentary. It's especially relevant from the perspective of someone who actually lives in a part of the world much denounced and little understood over here.

    And you pinned the Ace gang right where they live. No, they didn't hack us. They've merely spent the past few days slinging sickening personal insults at us. Gee, I guess that makes them ever so morally superior to the Islamic eight-balls who put us off-line. If they did a Google search on the hacker's names, so proudly posted on the page they hoisted over our domain, they'd find these creeps all over Turkish MSM calling us the same names Ace's posters lobbed at us from the safety of their own cyber-anonymity. But they have nothing in common with one another. No, nothing at all.

    If I had the time, I'd dig back through our forum archives to find the post I deleted (but of course kept in the banned file) from the "porn-hating, gun-loving Christian" who made a thinly-veiled threat to seek us out and put his familiarity with firearms to good use.

    But of course, I must have just made that up because only Muslims would do that sort of thing, right?

    And river, somebody ought to tell you that one-word put-downs are pretty weak counter-arguments to well-reasoned, well-observed posts by people with actual, first-hand knowledge of a topic. But then, I doubt that realities contrary to your skewed opinions have much impact on the way you think, judging from what you've put up here so far.

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  36. Drar here--

    I'm going to miss the forums. I'll miss Ernest changing my mind for me, I'll miss Nina asking how my little girl is doing, I'll miss flirting with triv, I'll even miss going to war with Anthony over our little disagreements. In fact, checking the forums at nina.com was part of my everyday routine. Alas, that part of my routine is no more.

    Despite how much I do and will miss said forums, I completely support the decisions made by Ernest and Nina and I'm happy to see the main website back up.

    As for our friends who caused this mess, I have this to say - there is a special place in hell for you. I do not believe that any superior deity would condone such willful destruction of private property and such malice. With attitudes like yours running rampant - the attitude that anyone who disagrees with you should be cast down - we will not see peace on this Earth in our lifetimes.

    Sad but true.

    And to Nina - I know this caused a few tears in your eyes and for that I truly am sorry. Know that you have friends in this world - those of us who care for you. Keep your chin up.

    Ernest, triv, Anthony, sheldon, joe, and all the rest - I miss you guys. I hope something is set up that allows us to communicate again soon.

    Drar

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  37. Drar:

    Thanks for dropping by, and for your well wishes.

    For the rest of you who don't know: Drar was a regular at the Nina(dot)com forums; a pretty conservative/libertarian fellow who would get into some....shall we say, spirited debates with me and Ernest on various issues. He's one of the reasons why the old forums will be greatly missed.

    I only wish that some of the other regulars he cited (like Joe, Triv, and a few others) would read this blog. I'm sure that me and Sheldon will be sending out the wishes as soon as I can find them.


    Anthony

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  38. Hi Drar,

    Great to hear from you, even under such sad circumstances. Nina and I miss you too. You were among the forums' greatest assets.

    Rest assured, we are working on a solution that will allow for the creation of some kind of open forum on a related, linked site. We haven't figured it out yet, but we will eventually.

    Meantime,. know that you and our other good friends from the old forums are in are thoughts and that we hope to be in contact again soon.

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  39. Ernest and Nina.

    I can't blame you for shutting it down. I was shocked when it happened. I want to thank you two for having a forum that answered some questions I had and others I didn't know I had until I went to the forum. It was a good time and one of the few sites on the net that had no bickering that I noticed.
    You and Nina have been great and I again am sorry that this happened. Hackers puzzle me. The thrill they get out of something like this.
    Will watch for Nina and your ventures in the future. Good luck from Elicco.

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  40. Thanks Elicco,

    We miss the forums too. I don't know what to say other than that we're working on the problem. I do think a separate but linked discussion site might be in the offing, but I can't say when. We're still not recovered enough to start up anything new and won't be for a bit.

    Please be patient. We'll make it happen if we can.

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