Digital Economy Bill: Proposed By The Unelected, Debated By The Ignorant, Voted On By The Absent

from the buffoonery-in-action dept

With the UK's Digital Economy Bill rushed through with little real debate, it's worth looking at the ignorance behind those who supported and pushed through the bill. The more you look, the more you realize they didn't even understand the very basics of what they were talking about. As some have noted it was "a bill proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent."

And yes, it was proposed by the unelected Lord Mandelson, who has had to resign from the Government twice before due to accusations of corruption or influence peddling. And, of course, as many have noted, he only became interested in the whole Digital Economy Bill thing after vacationing with David Geffen, the former recording industry and movie industry mogul. After that, he suddenly pushed through the bill which went directly against the recommendations of the Gov't's own Digital Britain committee.

Then we get to the ignorant. Perhaps the most stunning is that, via Kevin Marks, we now learn that Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms, who was in charge of pushing the bill through, didn't even understand what an "IP address" means. In a letter to an MP, he explained "IP" as an "Intellectual Property Address."
Now, yes, IP is used for both Intellectual Property and Internet Protocol, but if you actually know what you're talking about, you don't mix up the two. And Carlo points us to a message from Will Tovey noting that the Digital Economy Bill originally called an IP address an "Internet Portal" address. These are the people you want deciding the basic internet setup in your country?

And the folks involved in the debate don't seem to be too keen on understanding details either. During the debate, one MP, Michael Connarty had a bizarre take on the situation:
"People are not talking about co-operating and sharing their own thoughts and content, but are stealing someone else's content and sharing that. There is an Armageddon, which has partially arrived in Sweden, where the Pirate Party, whose leader is in jail, won seats in the European Parliament on the basis that everybody's work--including MP4's--should be free."
Can you count the number of mistakes there? Of course, the big one is the idea that the leader of the Pirate Party in Sweden is in jail. He's not. My guess is that Connarty thinks The Pirate Bay and The Pirate Party are the same (they're not even connected) and that the jail sentences handed down to some of the folks who worked on The Pirate Bay applied to The Pirate Party's head and that someone was actually in jail (they're not). But, you know, who needs details when you're just setting the framework for all internet connectivity and rights across your country?

And, finally, there are the absent. During the little time put forth for debate -- where many were vehemently opposed to the bill, notice that the House of Commons was basically empty:
But when it came time to vote? Suddenly over 200 MPs showed up. It makes you wonder why they're allowed to vote if they haven't even heard the debate. Especially when the guy in charge of convincing them to vote on this bill doesn't seem to even understand what's in it or what it will do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    A Dan (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Amusing and sad

    This demonstrates a major problem with our legislative systems. We choose these people to represent us so they have time to thoroughly understand issues and choose the best course of action. Then most of them don't bother. I wish I could say I'm surprised.

     

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  2.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    "notice that the House of Commons was basically empty"

    yeah they were at the kegger being held outside by the labels ...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re: Amusing and sad

    i really feel bad for Britian

     

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  4.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Amusing and sad

    Queue circus music... here come the clowns! ... and.. VOTE!

    Somehow I feel I've seen that show before. I can't tell one room full of vacuous tools from the next.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    If the people didn't want this bill, then it wouldn't get passed, right? Right?! Okay, so the government is enacting their client's laws, but if the people really didn't want it, they would protest it in the streets. Or maybe their scared of being beaten to death by "Police Medics"...

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    Oh god, their != they're (they are). How could I make such a mistake?

    More seriously on the topic at hand, this isn't too big of a surprise. Understanding of technology is not usually a prerequisite for enacting laws on it. Although you would think that they would put these emails and correspondence through PR Scrubbers to make sure the government shows "one unified face" on such issues.

     

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  7.  
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    BBT, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    "And yes, it was proposed by the unelected Lord Mandelson, who has had to resign from the Government twice before due to accusations of corruption or influence peddling."

    I guess with three strikes, you just need to accuse him of corruption and influence peddling a third time and he'll be banned from government for life.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    and roasted by the arrogant.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    and gotten around by the intelligent.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Slander?

    There is an Armageddon, which has partially arrived in Sweden, where the Pirate Party, whose leader is in jail,...

    I wonder if the Pirate Party's leader could use the UK's strict slander/liable laws to sue Connarty for this obvious false smear?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    "It makes you wonder why they're allowed to debate if they haven't even heard the debate."

    Should that have been - "...allowed to vote if they haven't even heard the debate."

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    You should feel really sad for the rest of the free world too. The next draconian piece of legislation that crops up will use them as a beacon of modern IP policy.

     

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  13.  
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    Don Speekingleesh (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Slander?

    Comments in parliament are privileged, and are exempt from slander laws.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    In a democracy they shouldn't have to protest in the streets... those 20k letters should have been more than enough.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    He's been a twat for the third time, so he should be banned from breathing.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Slander?

    In other words, comments in parliament are always stupid and potentially slanderous, so they just passed a law to exempt themselves.

     

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  17.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    It's also possible that once people around the world see what the implications of a law like this actually are (like when basic stuff that we all take forgranted online suddenly starts getting challenged in the UK courts) it will wake everyone up to how important these issues are in their own countries. All it will take is one move that really pisses people off - the UK blocking YouTube or Wikileaks or some such - to finally bring the IP debate into the mainstream.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Should that have been - "...allowed to vote if they haven't even heard the debate."


    Yes. Fixed. Thanks...

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    Dreamworks hasn't made a good movie in years. I wish Spielberg would leave Geffen is making him look like an ass.

    Just watch-- In a few years time, Dreamworks will be bought for pennies on the dollar. It will be disbursed among a few studios.

    Dreamworks is today's equivalant of MGM (Which, if it wasn't wrapped up in DiscoVision would have survived) or Gulf+Western (Which was a company that had Attention Deficit Disorder).

    Dreamworks and Geffen thinks it has something, but it's lost it's soul.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    Oops. I meant MCA not MGM.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    Things would have to get really bad over in Europe's Rubber Ducky in order to make the rest of the world "wake up". People that care about this are already informed and those that would be woken up will just get their opinion from the nearest talking head.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    Wrong thread?

    Also, to save space, you could have written: Bee Movie.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    Nope, not the wrong thread. Geffen is listed in the original article.

    ""
    the whole Digital Economy Bill thing after vacationing with David Geffen, the former recording industry and movie industry mogul.
    ""

    MCA has a real weird history. MCA became Geffen Records. Lately, it seems who ever holds their assets becomes a bankrupt company within a decade or two. And they also re-circulate copyright ideas (sans reform) about once every 10 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MCA_Inc.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    Heh, sorry about that. I figured it was meant for the movie industry thread a few articles back.

     

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  25.  
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    Darren, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    It might be time to switch to Talk Talk

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: David Geffen just killed Dreamworks

    I don't know what it is today... MCA or Music Corporation of America was swallowed up by Geffen records, which became Dreamworks SKG (SKG meaning Spielberg, Katzenburg, Geffen) Parts of MCA were also acquired by Universal, Vivendi, and Warner.

    Geffen Records eventually turned into interscope a Universal Music Brand.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Corporation_of_America

    Geffen was also an early supporter of Obama, and a while back I thought I read something about Geffen backing an Obama-based movie with Will Smith playing Obama.

    In return, for supporting Obama, I believe he'll support ACTA, just like he bought Mandelson and the Digital Economy Bill.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    An episode of Benny Hill, maybe? Or was it Monty Python's Flying Circus?

     

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  28.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    "The people" don't yet even know about it. The media has kept a conspiracy of silence. When they find out about it it will be too late.

    Every public forum in the UK in which this has been debated has shown a truly massive majority against this bill.

    Those who know about it hate it.

    However "the establishment" has had many years of practice at getting their own way in the teeth of public opposition.

    1.8 million people in the UK signed a petition on the No 10 website against road pricing - yet oddly, after a brief pause, it is back on the agenda. They started out by holding referenda on the issue - but when every single one rejected it they started working on ways around the "public perception problem".

    With the DEB they decided that keeping a low profile was the best approach - and so far it has worked.

    To these people a negative public reaction is not a message to change policy but rather a challenge to be overcome.

     

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  29.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Slander?

    However those comments crossed the line - he should have been banned for unparliamentary conduct

     

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  30.  
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    Calvin (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Slander?

    Unfortunately anything said in the House of Commons is protected against court action.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    This will never be addressed by any mainstream outlet. They have the kibosh on all IP related stories. Theres no way they would blow the whistle against their own interests.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Pontifex (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Slander?

    Actually, these rules have been in place since the English Bill of Rights, when saying the wrong thing in Parliament could get your head off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Glenn, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    More funny...

    is "content owners" thinking that they haven't "stolen" the very ideas that they claim as their own--that's right... there's nothing new under the sun. There isn't a new idea out of places like Hollywood that isn't rehashed work of someone else. What a joke... well, not so funny now, since they've bought a new law into existence which legalized their own theft of "IP".

     

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  34.  
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    Jake, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Wait, What?

    Might the lack of MPs in attendance be something to do with the fact that Parliament is prorogued until after the General Election on May the 6th? In a sane political system this would prevent laws being voted on at all.

    Also, there's no timestamp on that screenshot but I'm prepared to bet the debate was timetabled for an hour when most MPs are back in their constituencies dealing with people's complaints about broken playground equipment. Or propping up the bar somewhere.

     

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  35.  
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    meeb, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    Source

    Hey,

    Thanks for covering this. If you were wondering, the original source is http://meeb.org/post/505849844/i-wrote-to-my-mp-two-weeks-ago-regarding-my-shock - I received the letter yesterday and uploaded it to reddit a while later.

    There's some other letters with this one, I'll keep you posted if any other media pick it up.

     

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  36.  
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    Nathaniel Tapley, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 6:42pm

    The Writers; Guild of Great Britain

    published a 'Defence of the Digital Economy Bill' yesterday. As a member, I thought it was important to express my dissent.

    My response is here: http://nathanieltapley.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/why-my-union-is-wrong/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 6:44pm

    Re:

    arrogant?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    I'm not up to speed on the way politics works in the UK, but aren't these folks paid via taxation of those they are supposed to represent ? I guess others pay them more ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Jake, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Re:

    Yes, though for what the job actually entails the rate of pay is actually quite poor. A regular MP has a regular commute of up to five hundred-odd miles, a workload roughly equivalent to the managing director of a good-sized corporation and the only way to be truly off-duty is to vacation in another hemisphere, yet the basic salary is about level with the manager of a large department score.
    And then we wonder why so many of them end up gundecking their expenses claims, cutting shady backroom deals with lobbyists or just turning out to be as thick as two short planks.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

    So if its becomming law - all we need now is the specific mechanic to alledge infringment and a detailed list of gov/mp IP addresses.

    Fuck 'em.

     

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  41.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:33pm

    How interesting.

    A quote from a very good movie:
    "Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gun powder treason should ever be forgot."

    Is it me, or are the events of this movie (V for Vendetta) seemingly coming true?

    Best watch this movie now before it's outlawed.

     

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  42.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    Democracy Fail...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    "a bill proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent."

    You have the good, the bad, and the ugly; except in this case it's more like the bad, the worse, and the ugly.

     

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  44.  
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    MrSonPopo, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 4:31am

    Ah, the 10s

    This will be the decade of failing democracies everywhere.

     

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  45.  
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    Bas (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 6:40am

    Re: Slander?

    I think the British Pirate Party will happily use the promotion. It's nice when people give attention to their most vocal (though relatively unknown) opponents... especially when they don't even have to :-)

     

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  46.  
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    Joel (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    You are hired!

    These are the right people for the job, just because they have no clue what they are talking about doesn't mean that they don't mean well. That's like saying a bartender can't help you solve your emotional problems because he doesn't know what he is talking about.

     

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  47.  
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    Dave, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    A smell in the air

    Basicly, the whole thing stinks. Mandelson must be a complete and utter wally if he thought that the public wouldn't put two and two together regarding his holiday jaunt with an entertainment industry honcho and come up with considerably more than four. "Not discussed" denial. Yeah, right. As has been said many times, how on earth can a non-elected "official" be allowed to do all this? More to the point, how can a previously TWICE disgraced individual be allowed anywhere near anything more political than the instructions on how to open a can of beans?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    Janej80, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Comment

    I think it's flat out concerning. However on the other hand there are good points. I think we'll have to watch and see how this goes. There are many interests at stake here unfortunately.

    Jane J ASIB.org
    What's the point of life said the guy up there? There is no point he said!

     

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  49.  
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    buzz lightyear, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    you feel bad for britian, i hope you dont live in the US.
    nancy pelosi actually said, "now, let's pass this healthcare bill so we can find out whats in it" or something to that effect!!!

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Amusing and sad

    If mainstream news outlets won't even report on the bill itself, they're definitely not going to report on its consequences.

    Big media outlets seem to have a conspiracy of silence on news like this. It's why you don't get your newspaper and see "LORD MANDELSON WANTS TO KICK YOU AND YOUR FAMILY OFF THE INTERNET" on the front page.

    The consequences will get reported on blogs, read by people "in the know", ignored by large media, representatives will continue to pass whatever legislation their corporate sponsors want, and the whole thing will fly under the radar of your average consumer. Business as usual.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
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    chris, May 6th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Digital Economy Bill

    So i guess the goverment has yet to learn how wifi works? Or the fact that anyone with an iphone or laptop can simply sit outside one of these "free" wifi spots and download copyrighted material at no risk.

    Too bad about the innocent people that will have their connections used without consent, and while they are left scratching thier heads wondering why they have no internet the real offenders simply move to the next wifi point and continue to download.

    Typical 21st century bills being passed by cavemen. How sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    seller, Jun 19th, 2011 @ 7:48pm

    sad

    it seems no one go its embty

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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