from the victory-and-defeat dept
And the winner of this week's most insightful comment is... George Orwell! Or, well, not exactly — it's actually That One Guy passing along a quote by the former, in response to the conversation about journalists exposing government secrets:
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." - George Orwell, British writer (1903-1950)
I Want My Country Back
I was born in the mid sixties. As a teenager I grew up with pride in my country knowing that we were free from the oppressions of communism and governmental overreach. The Soviets were the enemy in a cold war. Today I wonder what country I live in. My country seems to view it’s own citizens as the enemy now. I no longer recognize America for what it once was. Here are some stark contrasts to the “red threat” when I was young and how our country is behaving today.
It was the Soviet’s that secretly spied on it’s own people and criminalized those that the government didn’t like. Not whistleblowers on the NSA.
It was the communists that would gather information on telephone calls and communications on it’s own citizens without a warrant and without probable cause. Not the NSA spying on it’s own citizens.
It was Pravda the Russian state run newspaper that suppressed accurate reporting and was used as a propaganda tool. Not a Fox News reporter being accused by the US government of espionage for doing his job.
It was the wealthy, privileged and powerful in the Kremlin who forced their politics onto the people. Not the IRS targeting political groups who have views that differ from the current regime.
Cover ups only happened in places like Chernobyl. Not at American consulates in Benghazi
Twisting of the press and the denial of the Holodomor famine only happened in Communist controlled Russia. Not with the US Department of Justice’s massive data gathering of AP reporters phone records, and having their emails monitored.
Secret puppet courts only existed in communist countries. Not in the US where over 160 witnesses are expected to testify against Bradley Manning in a secret military court.
It was only Soviet leaders that could murder it’s own citizens without probable cause and without due process. Not the United States using drones against its own citizens.
It was only in Soviet Russia that there was no constitution which allowed the government to wield absolute power. Not the so called Patriot Act that subverts due process, probable cause and can force indefinite detainment by just an accusation of treason or terrorism.
It was the KGB that could “stop and frisk” any citizen at any time without probable cause. Not the NY police department.
It was the communists that had armed troops in the streets and performed military style house to house searches. Not in Boston Massachusetts.
It would only be communists that would claim that people complaining about their situation are terrorists. Not the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation accusing their citizens of being terrorists when they complained about their water quality.
Only in Soviet Russia no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling police roamed the streets and the citizens watched as their comrades were torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes. Not in Bakersfield California where nine officers and one police dog were “needed” to subdue an allegedly drunk man who died after being beaten repeatedly by the police. Then the witnesses to this event had their cameras and cell phones confiscated as “evidence” and these were returned to them with the videos being deleted.
It was the Politburo that created vague laws making simple common actions criminal. Not the CFAA that makes it a federal crime to “access a computer without authorization or in a way that exceeds authorization” thus making it possible for prosecutors to jail a person who violates a website’s terms of service.
It was in Soviet Russia where a person was guilty and had to prove their innocence. Not America where there are so many unknown and ridiculous laws that possessing a lobster of a certain size is a federal crime.
In Soviet Russia you feared everything because any action could be twisted as against the law if government didn’t like you. Not in America where ignorance of the law is impossible to avoid because lawmakers themselves are not really sure how many criminal laws there are.
It was the KGB did not require any recording of the testimony of the witnesses they were interviewing. Not in America where the FBI’s no recording policy allows for the statements of those they interview to be falsified, editorialized or reinterpreted.
In Soviet Russia everything was owned by the state. Not in America where when the IRS was audited for inappropriate expenses they then claimed they could not find the receipts.
In the Kremlin was where everything was kept secret and there was no transparency. Not in America where the current administration claimed to be the most transparent administration in History and has in fact become the exact opposite.
Today, over 70 million listeners tune in to our service every month, where they hear the music of well over 100,000 different artists. These artists span the entire musical spectrum; from the well-known to the completely obscure, representing every imaginable genre. The vast majority of our collection gets no other form of radio airplay.This is why the RIAA is attacking Pandora. They put indie and unknown artists on equal ground as RIAA artists. The RIAA can't control who gets played the way they do on radio, and therefore can't leverage themselves as gatekeepers.
I started out believing that copyright has a place in the creative industries and that it just needed to be reformed.
Every day something happens to push me more and more toward the belief that copyright has no place and needs to be abolished completely. Organisations like the MPAA, RIAA and BPI are to blame for this.
Despite their ongoing crusade, the MPAA actually didn't get its wishes when it came to the Marrakech treaty for the blind. From that post, we get our funniest comment of the week, courtesy of an anonymous commenter with a new headline idea for the post:
MPAA tried hard to screw over the blind, but got blindsided.
Our next funny comment also comes from a post about people who aren't used to losing finally getting the experience — this time when Ecuador fought back against the US over threats about Ed Snowden. One commenter suggested the US was acting like a three-year-old, to which Chris Brand replied:
I thought "acting like a 3 year old" was official US Foreign Policy.
For editor's choice, we start with FM Hilton responding to Rep. Mike Rogers, who called Snowden a traitor and argued for "theft of government property" charges:
It's still true
You can't fix stupid, but you can get them elected to Congress.
And finally, we've got a comment from our post about the dentist who threatened a patient with criminal charges for leaving a bad Yelp review. One commenter suggested he should sue his lawyer for malpractice, but an anonymous responder had a better idea:
Or maybe this dentist should leave a yelp review on his attorney...That's all for this week — see you tomorrow folks!