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I've just run into something I find VERY strange, but strangely familiar.

As I was getting ready to head out the door to vote a little while ago, I wanted to check the San Francisco Bay Guardian's position for a couple of the local propositions that I had not studied in much detail.

However, the entire Bay Guardian website is inaccessible, producing a "Forbidden, you don't have permission to access.." message and a "404 Not found" error.

I can help but think of the Republican phone-jamming scam in New Hampshire from a few years ago, when Republicans hired dirty tricksters to make it impossible for Democrats to execute their Get Out the Vote strategy.

Am I just being too paranoid?  Or is such paranoia well-justified given the measures we have seen Republicans will go to in order to win elections and subvert democracy.

For those outside the Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Guardian ( is our most progressive independent weekly newspaper and it frequently locks horns with the monied interests here in California, of both Republican and Democratic varieties.  They support positions well to the left of many mainstream Democrats, and mount sustained campaigns against rampant development and economic injustice.

There are several items on our local ballot today against which big money interests have launched expensive and intense disinformation campaigns, with the Bay Guardian being one of the few widely accessible voices standing strong against those who wish to make private profits at the public's expense.  Many millions of dollars of private profit hang in the balance on propositions to be decided by today's vote.  It is not hard to imagine that some of those who stand to profit would see the risks involved in tampering with the Bay Guardian's website as a "cost of doing business."

Given what we now know about the monitoring and surveillance of phone calls and internet traffic, is it too far fetched to suspect that this could even be more than a mere local problem?  Is it really inconceivable that the influence the big money donors to the Republican party have might be able to "buy" federal interference with the Internet with an outspoken voice of criticism at a crucial time?

Again, before I get accused of wearing tin foil, remember, that Republicans have already pled guilty to something very similar in the New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal a few years ago.  I know this isn't the best diary in the world, but it was something to put out the word on immediately.

Originally posted to wonkydonkey on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:04 AM PDT.


The problems with the Bay Guardian's website are

19%26 votes
4%6 votes
3%5 votes
48%64 votes
22%30 votes

| 131 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please let me know if you can access the... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, mayan, darthstar, Fusioner

    ..Bay Guardian.  And don't forget to vote!

    "Reality has a well-known liberal bias" -Stephen Colbert (-6.38/ -4.21)

    by wonkydonkey on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

  •  Getting the same message (4+ / 0-)

    Hmmmmm.  Verrrrry interesting.

    •  Me too. I'm in SF downtown. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And my polling places optical scan ballot counting machine was busted this morning.

      "The concentration [of the legislative, executive and judicial powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government." - Jefferson

      by El Payo on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:52:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  http 403 (forbidden) n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, wonkydonkey
    •  Site was down all last night at odd hours. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was up late and the SFBG site was down into early morning. Down due to heavy traffic @ 3am and 4am? No way.

      SFBG's I.T. people should say definitively what happened, unless it was some trickery with DNS or routing outside their control.

      They should let readers know ASAP, but get the facts first please. IF some Telco or other group were responsible, I'll be PO'ed and writing my officals and hopefully the SFBG prosecutes. If someone at the SFBG goofed, no biggy, it happens.

      It’s true SFBG endorsements are very influential and they’ve been attacked by other parties about them. For example the rival SF Weekly (a trendy transplant rag) claims they don’t give endorsements because their readers are too intelligent, with the gist that the SFBG is just serving cool aid. Never mind the SF Weekly and other local rags not worth mentioning wouldn't know informative journalism if it bit them in the ass. I’m sure local big business hates the SFBG, everyone from various utility privateers, big box stores, out of town development groups, etc as the SFBG is pretty hard on them and only occasionally overly so.

      Not saying the SFBG is perfect or I’m a fanbois as I disagree with them often enough. Imho they’re sometimes too ivory-tower/ideological and not pragmatic/incremental enough. Having said that, I know where they stand and the SFBG is still filled with valuable journalism that wouldn't be done otherwise and a vital part of the debate.

      In some ways their politcal bias is actually less than other local papers who never deviate from the golden rule of: status quo, pandering, sensation, and profits. The other papers are never going to offend big business and various interests who pay ad revenue. The SFBG advertisers are business like “Good Vibrations” and they’re hardly the greatest threat to journalism or democracy today.

      Without the SFBG even notoriously liberal SF would be noticeably less informed on progressive issues because the other local papers are all churn and fluff MSM type whores. Better just to read AP directly (which I also do) rather than slurp up the many local papers regurgitating it.

      So yeah, it could have been purely accidental but there is lots of motive and no shortage of dirty tricks in politics lately.

  •  Got the same message on a PC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, trashablanca

    but had to vote for the "Apple" answer...just to be perverse!

    I'll bet on normal technical difficulties....

    Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you..... Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by SallyCat on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 10:58:26 AM PDT

  •  Got the same error message - why don't you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, wonkydonkey, Fusioner

    do the old fashioned thing and give them a call to find out what their site is not working.

    Please let us know what they say about the problem with the site if you do call.

  •  Call them (4+ / 0-)

    Why don't you (or someone else) call them and ask what's up?? They're nice people.

    I don't have time to do it myself, but if someone does please report back.

    I am unable to refute this.

    by joel3000 on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:04:10 AM PDT

  •  From the Bay Guardian (11+ / 0-)

    Well, it may be dirty tricks, but it may also be the fact that our host (Lunar Pages) says the server crashed and they're working on it right now. I don't know much about Lunar Pages, but they claimed load issues, so maybe lots and lots of people (more than usual) are looking ofr our endorsements. I hope so.

    Meanwhile, at the risk of boring all of you who aren't in CA, I will post our entire endorsements list here.  

    We'll be doing live election night coverage at (assuming the server goes back up, and if it doesn't we'll try to find a fix).

    Here ya go:

    The Clean Slate
    Our endorsements for the June 6 election. Tear off and take to the polls
    National races
    (D) No endorsement
    (G) Senate
    Todd Chretien
    Congress, District 6
    (D) Lynn Woolsey
    Congress, District 7
    (D) George Miller
    Congress, District 8
    (D) No endorsement
    Congress, District 8
    (G) Krissy Keefer
    Congress, District 9
    (D) Barbara Lee
    Congress, District 11
    (R) Pete McCloskey
    Congress, District 12
    (D) No endorsement
    Congress, District 13
    (D) Pete Stark
    State races and propositions
    (D) Phil Angelides
    Lieutenant governor
    (D) Jackie Speier
    Secretary of state
    (D) Debra Bowen

    (D) Joe Dunn

    (D) Bill Lockyer
    Attorney general
    (D) Jerry Brown
    Insurance commissioner
    (D) Cruz Bustamante
    Board of Equalization, District 1
    (D) Betty Yee
    Superintendent of public instruction
    (nonpartisan) Jack O'Connell
    Senate, District 12
    (D) Leland Yee
    Assembly, District 12
    (D) Janet Reilly
    Assembly, District 12
    (G) Barry Hermanson
    Assembly, District 13
    (D) Mark Leno
    Assembly, District 14
    (D) Loni Hancock
    Assembly, District 16
    (D) Sandré Swanson
    Proposition 81
    Proposition 82
    San Francisco races and propositions
    Superior Court, Judicial Seat 8
    Eric Safire
    San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee:
    District 12
    Susan Hall, Trevor McNeill, Jane Morrison, Melanie Nutter, Connie O'Connor, Roy Recio, Arlo H. Smith, David Wong
    District 13
    Bill Barnes, David Campos, Gerry Crowley, Rick Galbreath, Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland, Joseph Julian, Rafael Mandelman, Tim Paulson, Laura Spanjian, Holli Thier, Scott Wiener
    Proposition A
    Proposition B
    Proposition C
    Proposition D
    Alameda County races and measures
    Roy Thomsen
    Patrick O'Connell
    District attorney
    No endorsement
    Gregory J. Ahern
    Superintendent of public instruction
    Sheila Jordan
    Superior Court, Judicial Seat 22
    Fred Remer
    Measure A
    Measure B
    Oakland races
    Ron Dellums
    Courtney Ruby
    City Council, District 2
    Aimee Allison
    City Council, District 4
    Jean Quan
    City Council, District 6
    Desley Brooks
    School board, District 2
    David Kakishiba
    School board, District 4
    Gary Yee
    School board, District 6
    Chris Dobbins
    Live election night coverage at
    For detailed explanations of our endorsements and a printable version of this slate card, go to

    •  Thanks, Tim! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, SallyCat

      I was going to head out and try to find a dead tree copy...

      Your quick response is yet another testimonial to the power and effectiveness of Daily Kos!

      To those outside the Bay Area, Tim is one of the bay guardian's "crack" reporters and  appears in local media to represent the Bay Guardian and progressive politics in general.

      Thanks again, Tim!  I'm sure that if there is any malfeasance involved the Bay Guardian will be investigating and reporting it as soon as possible.

      "Reality has a well-known liberal bias" -Stephen Colbert (-6.38/ -4.21)

      by wonkydonkey on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:15:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was just trying to remember your UID (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      from your previous posts....

      Thanks for the post and update!

      Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you..... Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by SallyCat on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:15:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  FWIW (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Sierra Club and numerous other environmental groups are advocating a YES vote on SF Prop. C.  There is some indication that the political infighting on the Transbay Terminal upgrade will be decreased if the prop. goes through as a result of more accountability (particularly by Newsome).  Newsome is against this.  

      The Transbay project promises to go a long ways to unify the public transport systems in the Bay Area.  As a result, I broke with the Guardian on this one.  

      If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us. -Sir Francis Bacon.

      by Res Ipsa Loquitor on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:21:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Legit server load at 3-4am?? No way. (0+ / 0-)

      Quote: "so maybe lots and lots of people (more than usual) are looking ofr our endorsements. I hope so."

      You should know the server was down at all odd hours of the morning. I know because I was up and checking. Sorry, no chance it was normal reader load.

      If the load was high then it must have been a DOS attack. If your provider can't produce some decent logs of what happened, be very suspicious.

  •  Just maybe... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, HiBob

    They are having more than expected traffic, and us trying to get to the site isn't helping...

    Just a thought.

    I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?

    by marchmoon on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:07:41 AM PDT

  •  Got more of the same (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, Fusioner

    I followed your link and get the same error message.

    I find that strange because it is not the usual "page not found" message that you get if you type in an address that doesn't exist, but that odd "Forbidden" message instead.

    It looks like it may be a D.O.S-style attack (that's denial of service in intarweb terms).  Basically, it's designed to make a web-page completely inacessible to normal internet traffic. Very suspicious.

    Oh, and I just saw the last post about the unusually high traffic, yeah I'd bet that it's intentional.

    Hello there Mr. NSA man. Yes we can see you. Stop that.

    by Democritus on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, SallyCat, wonkydonkey


    Senate (D) - No Endorsement
    Senate (G) - Todd Chretien
    Congress, District 6 (D) Lynn Woolsey
    Congress, District 7 (D) George Miller
    Congress, District 8 (D) No Endorsement
    Congress, District 9 (D) Barbara Lee
    Congress, District 11 (R) Pete McCloskey
    Congress, District 12 (D) No Endorsement
    Congress, District 13 (D) Pete Stark


    Governor (D): Phil Angelides
    LG (D): Jackie Speier
    Secretary of State (D): Debra Bowen
    Controller (D): Joe Dunn
    Treasurer (D): Bill Lockyer
    Attorney General (D): Jerry Brown
    Insurance Commissioner (D): Cruz Bustamante
    Board of Equalization, Dis. 1 (D): Betty Yee
    Superintendent of Public Instruction (nonpartisan): Jack O'Connell

    Senate, District 12 (D): Leland Yee
    Assembly, District 12 (D): Janet Reilly
    Assembly, District 12 (G): Barry Hermanson
    Assembly, District 13 (D): Mark Leno
    Assembly, District 14 (D): Loni Hancock
    Assembly, District 16 (D): Sandre Swanson

    Proposition 81: Yes
    Proposition 82: Yes

    San Francisco Races:

    Superior Court, Judicial Seat 8: Eric Safire

    Proposition A: Yes
    Proposition B: Yes
    Proposition C: No
    Proposition D: No

    San Francisco Democratic County Central Committe, District 12: Susan Hall, Trevor McNeill, Jane Morrison, Melanie Nutter, Connie O'Connor, Roy Recio, Arlo H. Smith, David Wong

    San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, District 13: Bill Barnes, David Campos, Gerry Crowley, Rick Galbreath, Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland, Joseph Julian, Rafael Mandelman, Tim Paulson, Laura Spanjian, Holli Thier, Scott Weiner

    Alameda Races

    Assessor: Roy Thomsen
    Auditor-controller: Patrick O'Connell
    District Attorney: No endorsement
    Sheriff: Gregory J. Ahern
    Superintendent of Public Instruction: Sheila Jordan
    Superior Court, Judicial Seat 22: Fred Remer

    Measure A: Yes
    Measure B: No

    Oakland Races:

    Mayor: Ron Dellums
    Auditor: Courtney Ruby
    City Council, District 2: Aimee Allison
    City Council, District 4: Jean Quan
    City Council, District 6: Desley Brooks
    School Board, District 2: David Kakishiba
    School Board, District 4: Gary Yee
    School Board, District 6: Chris Dobbins

    [my note: Bolded endorsements presumably indicate strong endorsements in tight races]

  •  It's not dirty tricks... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You have to have access to the server to be able to make public web users get that error message.  It's a result of not letting the site have anonymous access which is what is necessary in order for a website to be publicly available.  

    •  also was a 404 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I got several 404 errors last night in the wee hours of the morning, from at least as early as 2am all the way till 4:30 or so. No chance that was legit heavy activity at those hours, unless they were serving a big file or something.

      It's possible the provider may have shut down the site or restricted privledges, later as a result of a DOS attack in the mid-morning which is when most people probably noticed it was down.

      Again, the provider better produce traffic logs to isolate the problem, or they have some splaining to do.

  •  Ahhhh, the old server crash trick... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The old Daley political machine would have used it fer sure... <snark>

    (-8.88/-7.64) Flirting with Feingold, Pining for Gore!

    by Joshua Lyman on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:42:27 AM PDT

  •  I'm getting a 404 there as well. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, pixelated

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right

    by darthstar on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:49:33 AM PDT

  •  Just because information you are looking for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on the net becomes inaccessable at the moment you attempt to look for it doesn't mean that some evil force is conspiring to keep the informtion from you lol.

    Most likely cause is that their web server just crashed or something like that.

    Webpage; # Members: 89,902 (as of 8:00pm 6/4). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 9, 2006

    by FleetAdmiralJ on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 12:12:28 PM PDT

    •  Admiral, I'm an IT geek and a net administrator (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not a silly non-technical end user.  If it weren't for the site in question and the significance of today, I would tend to agree with you.

      However, I also do not put absolutely any tactic past the Republican desire to win elections at any cost.  Every time we give the Republicans the benefit of the doubt on these types of things, we subsequently discover they were as guilty as Hell.

      "Reality has a well-known liberal bias" -Stephen Colbert (-6.38/ -4.21)

      by wonkydonkey on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 12:22:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Foolish to speculate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Wonky, I agree with you.

        I don't see people here speculating with certainty the site went down due to an attack. Reasonable people are saying the site went down under suspicious circumstanes in lieu of the SFBG endorsements which are pretty influential in SF. Also that D.O.S. and web server attacks attacks do happen, that fraud does happen. It would be stupid not to investigate what happened and have a little healthy suspicion until an innocent explanation is found.

        By comparison I see several people making "tinfoil hat" type assertions based on nothing but their gut speculation. They don't know what happened anymore than anyone else. So what's with the attitude?

  •  One dirty trick, One stupid beareaucratic move (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One of my good friends is a black Democrat who lives out in Riverside County.  She's surrounded by white Mormon Republicans where she is, near San Diego.  Well she called to get her absentee ballot and they claimed to have lost her registration.  She voted most recently in 2004 for president.  I wonder how and why they mysteriously lost it?  

    And today at the polls, in a Democratic precint, they had equal numbers of Republican and Democratic voting booths.  The Democrats all had to wait in line while the Republican booths remained wide open.  I saw only 2, maybe 3 folks using them.

  •  From (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, pixelated

    Looks like the tinfoil hatters had it right this time. I suppose we need to come up with a name for people who never believe their foes are using underhanded tactics against them. Maybe "pollyannas?"

    From  ...

    What happened to our web site?

    By Tim Redmond
    Well, the simple answer is that we're still not sure -- but there's some indication that we were socked by a denial-of-service attack. Imagine that happening on 6/06/06, in the middle of election day.

    Even the folks at DailyKos have been speculating about this, wondering if maybe the Republicans were involved somehow. I dunno; maybe someone local who didn't want our endorsements available (they are now, below, scroll down.) Maybe it's just one of those things; maybe it's ....... SATAN!

    Either way, we've managed to get this blog up, which will take us through election night.


    By Steven T. Jones
    Maybe there is something to this 6/6/06 numeralogical weirdness after all. The mood seems dark and sinister for an election day. And it was certainly some devilish characters who have shut our website down all day with a denial of service attack. We don't know which ones, but the likely suspect list should start with those affiliated with candidates that we didn't endorse in close races: Fiona Ma, Mike Nevin, Lillian Sing, Steve Westly, and the downtown players gunning for Chris Daly's propositions. I'm not accusing anyone of anything. I'm just saying it was someone, and probably someone who knows how influential Guardian endorsements have been in the past.
    But we're back, ready to canvas the city, cover the parties, and put it all online. So check back regularly tonight and in the coming days.

    I am unable to refute this.

    by joel3000 on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 05:50:18 PM PDT

    •  Considering how their endorsments meant NADA (0+ / 0-)

      Considering how their endorsements did little to no good for their endorsed candidates, this is wishful thinking at best for a paper past its prime. The Onion and Craigslist do more for the average SF resident than the G.

  •  Maybe the Guardian just sucks nowadays (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Conspiracy theories console the ideologue, but rarely explain the truth. The fact is the Guardian has been dying for a long time, and the fact that they were totally impotent in the face of the challenge from Craigslist, and the fact that they have seen an exodus of senior staff (including AC Thompson, who left with one day's notice and went to the Weekly) means that it's more than likely their web server went down because they didn't pay their bills or invest much in a web site to begin with. No wonder they're losing readers to the Onion.

    •  geeze (0+ / 0-)

      Got a chip on the shoulder there? Imho the SFBG is the truer SF paper and more natives and long time residents read it.

      The SF Weekly is pretty light weight stuff, and fits into the niche market of people inbetween the fraternity, first job in the Bay Area, and eventually a move back to the burbs. It also appeals to the many Sunset kids who have a more burb/conservative mentality to begin with. Also SF Weekly readers generally don't seem to follow politics.

      The Chron/Examiner/SFgate is just lowest common denominator fluff that seeks to offend nobody and does littel journalism as a result. I'll get that from other sources like the AP, NYT, or whatever. They do very little journalism of their own.

      •  the Guardian used to be great but... (0+ / 0-)

        The Weekly has been weak on reporting, with 1/2 the editorial for goofball features, yes. But the #1 complaint amongst progressive activists , politicos, and others concerend about SF is that there is no strong, credible progressive paper reporting in SF anymore. Which sucks because we really need one now - when we're on the verge of a total meltdown in SF.

        And by the way, f*ck you for insulting us in the Avenues. That kind of bullshit attitude is why so many people who could be progressive voters think "progressive" is another word for "pretentious asshole with emo glasses."

        •  Your problem, not mine (0+ / 0-)

          The Sunset is on average more conservative, that's a fact. Don't give me any of your neighborhood tribalism or that Emo BS. If you can't distinguish between who you are as an individual and what your ethnicity or place of residence is, or the difference between a statistical average and your personal identity, that's really your problem and pretty lame. Anybody who can't find flaw in where they come from is an idiot. Every people have strength and weakness and seperating them is every person's responsibility.

          Some progressive people do obviously live in the Aves. I'm one. But they’re more conservative on average, and that’s a fact. There are a lot of Irish and Chinese, and other South Asian immigrants in the Aves, and they're more conservative on average. They tend to be anti-Government ideologically, with certain exceptions such as public education. The Irish are often anti-government and conservative socially. Asians are often anti-gov due to Chinese Communism and history of governmental corruption.

          Irish tend to be pro-union and pro-labor, but anti-regulation and pro-expediency especially on things like building codes. So are the Chinese immigrants now they’re doing most of the cheap construction work. Many people will gamble things life safety and public planning for the expediency of a buck, especially people coming here for the American dream to get rich quick.

          So, their political interests tend to be borderline Libertarian, or as I like to call it: unenlightened self-serving regulation only. There is also a fair amount of racism against Jews, black & brown people which dovetails with the anti-taxation and anti-social programs. There is more anti-gay sentiment in the Aves than anywhere else in the city, except perhaps Union Street.

          Many recent immigrants also understand the American dream to be simply that they should work hard and become capitalists and invest in a rent based business so they don't have to work anymore. The Republican "entrpenurial spirit" rhetoric often appeals to them as they interpret it as lubing the tracks to personal enrichment and McMansions. Regulations, the environment, the larger community, etc be damned.

          The gay community in the Castro is similar in that regard in their pro-gay marriage emphasis, but unreliable vote when it comes to other issues like the environment, regulation, public power, and other more enlightened and less self serving politcs in the immediate sense.

          Those recent immigrant views tends to wash out come second or third generation, but that doesn't change the fact that there are still many recent immigrants in the Aves carrying the unassimilated conservative ideology from other cultures.

          And btw, I'm half Japanese half Irish and live in the Richmond. My wife is a Japanese immigrant. We’re proud of it. So, no, I'm not racist/xenophobic. Nor do I associate politically with people because of neighborhood or skin color.

          Again, if you can’t distinguish an individuals considered opinion from neighborhood averages and facts, it’s your problem not mine.

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