Will The Next Secretary Of State Support Internet Freedom Or SOPA?

from the let's-hope-for-internet-freedom dept

Last week, we noted that one of Hollywood's favorite Congressional Reps., Howard Berman had lost his re-election bid (in part due to re-districting, putting him up against another incumbent). For years, Berman has been a go to guy for the entertainment industry looking to pass dubious copyright expansion bills. Berman used to run the "IP Subcommittee" of the Judiciary Committee -- which you would think is a major conflict of interest, since he (literally) represented part of Hollywood. Amusingly, when he moved on to head the Foreign Affairs Committee, the next line for the IP Subcommittee was Rep. Rick Boucher -- a noted copyright reform advocate. Magically, the Judiciary Committee made the IP Subcommittee disappear. When Boucher lost in the next election, and a maximalist was available again, magically the subcommittee reappeared.

Either way, as a bunch of sources have been reporting, now that Berman lost, he's on the short list of possible candidates to become the new Secretary of State after Hillary Clinton steps down early next year. While many had thought that John Kerry would take the position (which he wants), there is now concern that the administration won't want to take him out of the Senate, because his seat would likely flip to the Republicans (Scott Brown, who narrowly lost to Elizabeth Warren this time around). The other leading candidate, Susan Rice, (the US's ambassador to the UN) is in a world of controversy right now over the Benghazi situation. That leaves Berman as a top choice (though there are a few others).

However, considering that the State Department is a leading supporter of internet freedom principles. Hillary Clinton made internet freedom a key plank of her focus at the State Department. In fact, we heard from multiple sources that the internal view at the State Department was against SOPA because it would hurt internet freedom efforts abroad. Similarly, we heard that State Department pressure on the White House helped lead to the surprising decision by the administration to come out against SOPA.

While Berman is known for having a strong grasp of foreign affairs issues, his positions on internet freedom and copyright should make it clear that he's the wrong choice for Secretary of State. While people at State realized how problematic SOPA was, Berman was a co-sponsor of SOPA and continued to defend the bill to the end -- arguing that it would have no impact on free speech and insisting that copyright infringement is no different than theft. Berman was also the one who tried to get Hillary Clinton to speak out in favor of SOPA, and then misrepresented that the letter she sent concerning the relationship between copyright and free speech, meant that the State Department supported SOPA (when it did not).

Given all that, Demand Progress is asking people to sign a letter to the White House not to nominate Berman as a replacement for Clinton. It really seems like he is way too beholden to a particular industry to be the appropriate person for the State Department. Let him do what everyone expects, and pick up an entertainment industry lobbying job.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mega1987 (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:31am

    If history repeat itself then....
    Let history repeat and bring in MORE PEOPLE POWER at that blasted extreme bill's face.

     

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  2.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    It doesn't matter who it is. All it takes is one sizable bribe.........sorry, donation........and they will be a life long entertainment industry bitch.

    Western democracy is so rotten to the core that the only thing likely to get real change is revolution, which normally leads to something even worse.

     

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  3.  
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    Lord Binky, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:52am

    XKCD reference incoming

    Bayesian probability leans to SOPA.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:55am

    i'll give you 3 guesses and a brown envelope as to which way he is gonna hang and it aint in support of Internet Freedom!

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:00am

    How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Let's forget the different donations that corporations pay to political parties.

    The pirates pay no taxes and they're proudly searching to move off shore where even more legal hassles keep them tax free.

    Hollywood, on the other hand, is filled with people who pay taxes and live in smaller mansions that Kim Dotcom.

    If you're a government worker, who will earn your loyalty? Will it be to the industry that helps pay for the defense, the hospitals, the roads, the police, the fire departments etc? Or will it be to the scoundrels who gleefully flaunt their power to pay nothing?

    Face it. Being the Secretary of State costs money. Why would the Secretary of State feel any sympathy for sophistries floated by the "sharing" community, the sophistries that feel that no money should change hands in the pursuit of entertainment? No money means no taxes and no taxes means no infrastructure for the Secretary of State.

    I'm sure the Secretary of State for the US will take one look at the job of the Secretary of State of Somalia-- the land where all of the pirate sympathizers dreams are being lived each day. Then they'll go running to embrace Hollywood.

     

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  6.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    If something like SOPA ever did pass, it would put a huge strain on the tech industry and job sectors, not to mention set a dangerous precedent for erosion of civil liberties. Hollywood and the major labels don't care about anything except lining their own pockets.

     

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  7.  
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    NotBob, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Problem with your simplistic hang-em-high outlook is that those taxpayers make more money in a world where fans can download without fear than in one where every fan is considered a criminal. There's plenty of evidence that fans who download more also spend more, as the Japanese just proved.

    There's some leakage to free-riders, but people are happier and wealthier when downloads are easier. Well, people other than lawyers and lobbyists. Of course, who needs evidence when you have instinct-fuelled prejudice? Whip up that fear, Bob!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    "Hollywood, on the other hand, is filled with people who pay taxes and live in smaller mansions that Kim Dotcom."

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    ...Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Ha.


    Good one Bob

     

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  11.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    8.3 of 10

    Good layout, simplistic opinion asserted as fact.

    Your dissembling needs work, try not to make your falsehoods to easily transparent. Attempt to better couch your logical fallacies in more emotional arguments which seem logical.

    Keep up the good work. With some improvement, you should end up with a very good grade by semester's end.

     

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  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    average_joe, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    pirate mike supporting theft again, big surprise.

     

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  13.  
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    [citation needed or GTFO], Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Don't encourage him.

    Let him do what everyone expects, and pick up an entertainment industry lobbying job.

    Do we really need another Chris Dodd around?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    @ #5 bob

    well said bob! if i could spout as much utter bollocks as you, i wouldn't bother to do anything else. i am sure i could make a good living trying to convince people that no one wants to pay for anything, that everyone wants everything for free and that there isn't a single, honest person on the planet (with the exception of your fucked up self, of course)!!

     

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  15.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re:

    Not just the tech industry. The Internet is vital to all sectors and a bill like SOPA would vastly undermine the effectiveness of businesses operating online.

     

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  16.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Another idiotic bob rant. It's as predictable and the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    SOPA

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    Keep stopping SOPA

     

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

  19.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's why MAFIAA wants to push for it,It's al about control of business structure not about copyright.

     

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  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    People are happier and wealthier? What are you thinking? I've seen Somalia, land of total freedom. There are no patent lawsuits or copyright trolls bothering anyone in Somalia. It's a pit.

    On the flip side is Switzerland, a tight ship where they enforce copyrights and patents. The same goes for Japan. I don't know what wacko study you're citing about Japan, but I'm sure it's just one of those rationalizations dreamed up by Internet free lunch crowd.

    And you're not helping your cause by claiming that Hollywood wants to turn every fan into a criminal. There's a big difference between a fan who supports the artist and a leech who just takes. The latter is not a fan, but a cheap jerk.

     

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  21. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    And wow, you couldn't find any so-called falsehoods to argue against. So you just prattle on without offering any content or any rebuttal at all.

     

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  22.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:30am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    "The pirates pay no taxes and they're proudly searching to move off shore where even more legal hassles keep them tax free."

    bob, why do you insult your masters in Hollywood so much?

     

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  23.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Are for real or do you want attention,why Don't you do something constructive like porn

     

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  24.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    From the White House's point of view, sounds like the perfect man for the job. They believe copyright and internet freedom go hand-in-hand.

     

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  25.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    The Internet Is fot porn too,Bob.So why don't you make like a penis and jack off.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    Your weak sauce. It's weak.

     

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  27.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    "I don't know what wacko study you're citing about Japan,"

    Hey, bob, check down the main page a bit...

    "Japan enforces draconian IP downloading laws. Music sales tank."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121109/13423720996/draconian-downloading-law-japan-goes -into-effect-music-sales-drop.shtml

    Do try to keep up, bob.

     

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  28.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    "I've seen Somalia, land of total freedom. There are no patent lawsuits or copyright trolls bothering anyone in Somalia. It's a pit."

    wow... Just wow...

    The stupidity and ignorance of this statement here...

    bob, you have NO freaking idea why Somalia is a pit, do you?

    Hint: Check out their fishing industries, check out the countries around them, check out the fact that people have to choose between starvation or criminal activity.

    Copyright Infringement is NOT theft.

    Sharing is Caring, after all.

     

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  29.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Like the fact "pirates don't pay taxes"?

    We do. I have a job. I pay for stuff (including digital media when I feel the price is right and I'm not going to get shafted) and I pay taxes on my income and VAT on the relevant purchases.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    That is actually a good thing about EU. The system is hopeless in formation and system since too many chefs want to control different issues. On the flipside, it makes lobbying tough to pull off really effectively.

    Since a law has to go through EP that is where most lobbying starts. But because national parliaments have to formulate the specifics in the laws, it is extremely important for lobbyists to influence the national parliaments too to assure the details they need. Because of those issues, direct lobbying is not a huge problem in EU so far.

    It is getting worse and there is no doubt that it is a real significant problem in the long run, but that kind of corruption has actually been fought well through inefficiency and incompetency!

    Thank god we have EU!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    Earn loyalty? Oh, that's right, the same loyalty that Chris Dodd threatened to withdraw if the government doesn't police the Internet like China does. Some loyalty.

     

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  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    I noticed that in your screed you left out the most important constituency of all: normal citizens. Normal citizens pay more taxes than any other group. By your reasoning, then, politicians should be doing things with their best interests in mind, not pirates or any given industry. And it's normal citizens, almost entirely, who are hurt by things like SOPA.

     

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  33.  
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    Violated (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 9:43am

    Argh

    I think I can see why this is happening.

    Hilary Clinton prior to SOPA and PIPA gave two or three speeches on the importance of a free and fair Internet. Then of course the US Embassy in Madrid (controlled by the State Department and Ms. Clinton) forced on Spain their own SOPA-like law using threats of trade sanctions. Not at all good when the country had already shut it down.

    So there has been a conflict of interest between what she says and what she does. It is only fair for her to leave if she was forced to go against her beliefs.

    It would then not be at all surprising for them to replace her with someone who takes a hard copyright stance and is funded by Hollywood. That would indeed mean darker days as the USA bullies the rest of the world into harsh IP enforcement.

    Not at all a good thing where the best we could hope for then would be some global repulsion of copyright but that seems unlikely. So the Internet is at risk along with the State Department's usual support of Internet freedom.

     

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  34.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    On the flip side is Switzerland, a tight ship where they enforce copyrights and patents.

    Um. No.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111205/12492616979/swiss-government-says-file-sharing-isnt -big-deal-artist-are-fine-industry-should-adapt.shtml


    Switzerland, which has been a party to the ACTA negotiations, but last we checked had not signed on yet, has put out a report from its executive branch, basically completely downplaying the issue of file sharing. The report notes, accurately, that consumers are still spending just as much on entertainment, and lots of it are going to artists. The only real problem seems to be a for a few big foreign gatekeepers who are getting cut out of the new revenue streams... and as far as the Swiss government is concerned, those companies should just learn to adapt. It specifically says that concerns about file sharing having a "negative impact on the Swiss cultural creativity are unfounded."

     

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  35.  
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    looked for logic in what you said, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    annnd its gone.

     

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  36.  
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    hegemon13, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    Dumb question

    Look who's doing the appointing, and the huge support he gave to SOPA. Enough said. We're screwed.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    wow, could you assclowns be more self-serving and slimy?

    "Don't nominate this qualified person for US Secretary of State/ Why? Because they're anti-piracy".

    You people seriously need to all go die in a fire.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    0.5/10
    please try again, simple ad-homme attacks are so 90's for trolls.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    so-called falsehoods? Like 'pirates pay no tax'? I sure as hell pay taxes, friend. Perhaps not on entertainment goods (free is such a wonderful price point for people like me with no disposable income, isn't it?), but I sure as hell pay taxes. Be a bit more specific, because simplicities are just corner-cutting, and it surely seems you don't know what you're talking about.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Re:

    Way to disregard the entire article and the concerns that have been voiced. How big is your shill-check?

     

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  41.  
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    Niall (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:15am

    Re: Re: Re: How many taxes do the pirates pay?

    How about all the taxes those fat-cats don't pay on their 'loss-making' blockbusters? What, Star Wars hasn't turned a profit? Why is Disney desperate to make Star Wars VII then?

     

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  42.  
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    Niall (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 4:19am

    Re: Re:

    out_of_the_average_bob isn't even trying. Maybe they're really a poorly realised sock puppet attempt by 'Mikey' to 'pretend' there is some disagreement on this site to 'drive' page views and stop it from becoming a giant echo chamber, Fox-style?

    Then again, maybe Dark Helmet really is the Secretary of the Treasury...

     

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  43.  
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    Ninja (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    I signed that petition even though I'm not American. This guy would be a complete disaster. But hey, the US seem to like disasters. After all the subprime collapse and the billions of taxpayers money thrown right back in the hands of Goldman Sachs and the likes Obama STILL appointed Bernanke to a key economic role not to mention many of other Wall Street morons that were mainly responsible for the current recession... So yes, they are worried about freedom of speech and appoint a supporter of a censorship bill.

    I'm not surprised if it comes to pass.

     

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  44.  
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    Ninja (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    Re:

    * I'll not be surprised

     

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  45.  
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    Cory of PC (profile), Nov 14th, 2012 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    Sure, like they're going to take advice from some angry idiot sitting in front of a computer to die in a fire. Yeah I'm pretty sure that your comment is top priority and everyone should obey you and follow your every command! That way, there'll be no one left to put posts here.

    Really, how alone are you?

     

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


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