Senator Wyden Calls Out Content Companies For Wanting To Censor The Internet

from the kudos dept

We’ve already covered the list of companies who support censoring the internet, but there were a couple of other interesting ones on the list that deserved a separate discussion. Greg Sandoval over at News.com did a nice job of reading between the lines to notice that Nike & Adidas were prominently featured in the letter and suggesting that this was targeted at Senator Ron Wyden, who was the only Senator who stood up and said that COICA was a bad idea, and blocked it from being rushed through last year. Wyden, of course, is from Oregon, and Nike is based in Portland and has tremendous influence in Oregon. Adidas also has a large operation in Oregon.

Sandoval also got a comment from Wyden’s office, suggesting the Senator is still standing up for what’s right, rather than bowing to political pressure:

“Senator Wyden has long worked with U.S. industry on combating the trafficking of counterfeit goods like fake shoes and apparel. But going after trade in real merchandise can be done in a variety of effective ways, like inspecting shipping containers at American ports of entry to identify and seize fake merchandise.

“Unfortunately, the content industry has piggybacked on the legitimate efforts of apparel designers to combat counterfeit goods and now threaten the integrity of the Internet as a means to combat intellectual property infringement. The Internet is too important to our economy and to advancing American values to be inappropriately regulated and censored under the guise of protecting IP, which is why Congress and the Administration should be as cautious as it is surgical when it aims its sights on the Internet.”

Nicely said. Hopefully he sticks to it and doesn’t cave in to the pressure.

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Companies: adidas, nike

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Comments on “Senator Wyden Calls Out Content Companies For Wanting To Censor The Internet”

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85 Comments
The Baker says:

I didn't vote for him but

I think I would now ….
I Liked how his son “Stole Content” from Biden and Biden bribed the poor lad to get it back. A lesson on how Biden operates.

From The Oregonian:
—————————————————-
We were this close to having a national crisis on our hands when Vice President Joe Biden stepped in to solve the problem.

Just before the swearing in ceremonies for U.S. Senators, the 3-year old son of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) snatched the script out of the Vice President?s hands and refused to give it back.

After repeated attempts to get the script back failed, the proverbial light bulb suddenly went on over Biden?s head.

He pulled a mint out of his pocket, asked the boy to guess which hand the candy was in, and grabbed his script while the lad was pondering the answer to that question.
———————————————————-

Unconfirmed reports say Biden learned this technique from his experience of taking and holding onto others needs until payment was given.

Anonymous Coward says:

The sad part is that the continued existence of widespread piracy (in both senses) isn’t a positive for the economy. What it does is divert money in other directions, mostly away from the US economy.

It sort of works in the same manner as illegal drugs. While most people see nothing wrong with a little pot, they don’t take a moment to realize that the money is leaving the US economy and not coming back. It’s like a tax on stupid.

Piracy benefits those who knock things off, it doesn’t help those who create, and the money certainly doesn’t stay in the economy. Diverting money away from the tax base and into the hands of those outside the economy isn’t to anyones benefit.

Sounds like the Senator needs a lesson in economics. Cue TD!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Why would it be free if it was legalized?

You are correct. If you could grow it openly, everyone and their dog would have a pot plant or two growing on their balconies, and it would all be free (total cost involves soil and water, as the seeds would be very easy to obtain and sort of self supporting).

Legalizing something doesn’t suddenly fix the economy. It can often break it worse than it is already.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re:

uh what?

why did an anonymous troll have to wax political?

piracy benefits the creators of the content, but not as much as if they were to actually release the things the consumers wanted.

Meanwhile, the analogy with weed isn’t even remotely accurate either.

this isn’t magic.

anon needs to learn what business is in 2011, not in 1920.

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re:

To say that piracy is hurting the economy is a wild assertion that you really need to back up with some evidence. Moreover, piracy is actually not the problem, but a symptom.

The problem is that the economy has come to rely too much on intellectual (read: imaginary) property. Isn’t the current economic crisis the result of relying on imaginary property (albeit of a different kind)?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I say piracy helps keep the money in the house and not going to corporations that are foreigners.

It sort of works in the same manner as illegal drugs. While most people see nothing wrong with a little pot, they don’t take a moment to realize that the money is leaving the US economy and not coming back. It’s like a tax on stupid.

Or the government should have realized is wasting money on the “War On Drugs” campaign and do something about it, like legalize it and regulate it.

Piracy benefits those who knock things off, it doesn’t help those who create, and the money certainly doesn’t stay in the economy. Diverting money away from the tax base and into the hands of those outside the economy isn’t to anyones benefit.

Your vague definition of piracy is hardly all true, digital piracy benefits society and artists of all levels according to some people, piracy on the seas is bad it kills people and damage real property, imaginary goods on the other hand are indestructible have no maintenance costs and are not even taxed, what could piracy of imaginary goods do to them?

Nick Taylor says:

Re: You haven't really thought that through have you?

Forgetting for the moment that you’re conflating file-sharing with piracy… and that you have no evidence whatsoever that either diverts money out of the US (as though that 5% of the population is the only 5% that matters) economy…

… forgetting that…

.. trying to conflate it with “the (utterly disasterous) war on drugs”?

“It sort of works in the same manner”. Er… No it fucking doesn’t.

How do you know that file-sharing isn’t acting like payola-free radio? You know… the radio that “those who create” had no hope of getting onto without some big company behind them?

Did you know that pre-napster, only 3% of artists signed to major labels made more than $600 a year?

Did you know that “pirates” aka, the people who work for free to distribute and evangelise about music, spend more money than those who don’t?

Had you stopped to think about what other demands there are on people’s (stagnant) wages? Games? phone-bills? CC-card repayments? Monster music tours (eg: U2, $300 million), fucking housing prices? Insurance payments? Student loans?

How does that fit into the “economics lesson” that you’d like to give the Senator?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What it does is divert money in other directions, mostly away from the US economy.

So does outsourcing the production of DVD’s to China or Hong Kong, or outsourcing animation to studios in South Korea. Yet studios do this on a daily basis.

And it’s not like the money consumers would have spent, just vanishes. They spend it on other things, which benefits the economy.

Moreover, those “street vendors” are theoretically hawking their wares in America. Why aren’t their wages being counted as stimulating the economy?

Maybe the counterfeiters should do their own version of those idiotic anti-piracy PSA’s. “Every time you get a DVD at Best Buy, a street vendor loses his job. Think of the street vendors!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Karl, even when stuff is “outsourced”, the key money still flows into the IP holder’s native country.

Most street vendors are working for organized crime of one sort or another, and most often the money goes right back outside of the country.

And it’s not like the money consumers would have spent, just vanishes. They spend it on other things, which benefits the economy.

The economy grows as the money cycles more often. Money that stays in the economy cycles. Money that leaves does not. Eliminate a cycle, and you lose that part of the economy. You lose the jobs that go with it, you lose all of that stuff. Cycling is key. Kill a cycle, lose some jobs.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Karl, even when stuff is “outsourced”, the key money still flows into the IP holder’s native country.

It flows into the IP holder’s pockets, not their “native country.” If the outsourcing decreases the amount they spend in the country, the country loses. And, of course, that’s exactly what it does, or else they wouldn’t outsource in the first place.

By the way, many IP holders are foreign-owned. For example, only one of the Big Four music labels is from the United States.

Most street vendors are working for organized crime of one sort or another,

Most vendors are working for organized crime? That’s BS. Some are, sure, but a bunch are just poor folks who found an illicit way to make some cash.

and most often the money goes right back outside of the country.

Really? Street vendors don’t have to pay rent? They don’t pay for food or clothes or cars or cell phones or iPods? They spend no money whatsoever?

Sounds like a sweet gig. How can I become one?

Money that stays in the economy cycles. Money that leaves does not.

You left out money that comes in to the economy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Karl, please consult “trade imbalance, US / China” and you will start to understand the problem.

The amount of money flowing into the US economy is so little compared to what flows out.

Really? Street vendors don’t have to pay rent? They don’t pay for food or clothes or cars or cell phones or iPods? They spend no money whatsoever?

Most street vendors of this nature operate illegally, selling product for someone else (think street corner drug dealer, they never have any real money). The money then flows back up the chain to where the counterfeit materials are made. Hint: those rarely happen in the US.

If you try to think of it in terms of a normal business, buying inventory and taking the profits, you fail the test. The street corner guys are making a very few dollars for an incredible level of risk, and the guys making the real coin aren’t keeping the money in the US.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Karl, please consult “trade imbalance, US / China” and you will start to understand the problem.

Oh, trust me, I do. But piracy has little or nothing to do with this trade imbalance. Don’t blame piracy, blame Wal-Mart.

And, again, lots of movie studios and music labels (who are themselves foreign-owned) use overseas production as well, so they’re also contributing to the trade imbalance.

Most street vendors of this nature operate illegally, selling product for someone else (think street corner drug dealer, they never have any real money). The money then flows back up the chain to where the counterfeit materials are made. Hint: those rarely happen in the US.

I imagine street vendors are roughly the same demographic as those guys that sell, um, “dropped” products from the backs of vans. Sure, some work for organized crime, but most are just poor folks who make money from stuff they could get their friends to “acquire” from warehouses.

And there’s really no indication that foreign nationals are the majority of counterfeiters. I’ve never bought a counterfeit anything, but I imagine that lots of these operations are by a group of citizens with access to the Internet and a bunch of DVD burners. It may be “organized crime,” but it’s American organized crime.

It’s probably different with counterfeit apparel, but then again, pretty much all clothes are produced overseas.

The street corner guys are making a very few dollars for an incredible level of risk, and the guys making the real coin aren’t keeping the money in the US.

Well, under the label system, recording artists are also “making a very few dollars for an incredible level of risk.” (Except for the “risk” part, that is also true of record store employees – as I know from experience.) Yet that industry is allowed to trot out the “billions of jobs lost” argument. From a purely economic (not legal) standpoint, if they can do it, then counterfeiters can do it, too. A guy who earns $28K/year is putting an equal amount into the economy, whether he’s a street vendor or a label musician.

The thing is, some of your arguments have merit. But none of them have to do with counterfeiting per se. You’re not arguing that people shouldn’t buy counterfeits, you’re arguing that they should only buy American counterfeits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If they bought American knock offs, they might as well just buy the real thing, because the price will be about the same.

The street corner guy selling counterfeit goods isn’t making 28k a year. He likely isn’t even making minimum wage, but risks fines, lawsuits, and going to jail.

There is a lot to the deal. It isn’t as simple as black and white. Politicians try to explain it in black and white, but there is much grey around the edges.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Counterfeiting shoes is certainly much worse than casual individual filesharing. It’s different if we are talking about organized commercial piracy – but that’s the issue. The progression of shifty arguments sort of goes like this:

“We must stop counterfeit drugs which seriously harm people” ->
“We must stop counterfeit items like shoes and drugs, which seriously harm people” ->
“We must stop counterfeiting, which seriously harms people”
“We must stop piracy and counterfeiting, which seriously harms people”

See how that works?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

OIC, so counterfeiting shoes is somehow much worse than music piracy?

If the money from counterfeit shoes goes into the hands of organized crime – then yes, absolutely.

If consumers are tricked into buying an inferior product – then yes, absolutely.

Since counterfeit shoes cannot possibly have First Amendment protection or a fair use defense – then yes, absolutely.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Karl didn’t say copyright infringement is protected. But if any of the content does “possibly have First Amendment protection or a fair use defense” then there is an issue.

That’s the point – if there is any legal possibility of protection, censorship without a trial becomes prior restraint. It’s very straightforward.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Organized crime? What? Just more nonsense.

I don’t know how true it is, but ICE and others have been claiming for years now that counterfeiting aids organized crime. In fact, according to INTERPOL, the money from counterfeit goods sometimes fund terrorist groups.

So yeah, definitely worse than some teenage kid pirating an MP3.

And copyright infringement isn’t protected by the First Amendment. Sorry.

Material that is potentially infringing is definitely protected by the First Amendment. It doesn’t lose its protection until it is determined to be infringing.

Unlike, say, counterfeit shoes.

Sorry.

Mike says:

Ridiculous

How can you inspect every individually purchased package that comes into the country via online sites? And how would you identify whether each package is counterfeit or legit?

The only reasonable method is for companies like Merck, Nike, NFL, etc to work with the authorities to identify the websites selling their IP illegally. Then block them off. Cut off their domain access. Cut off their funding.

What does Internet freedom have to do with breaking the law by purchasing and accessing illegally?

Bruce Ediger (profile) says:

Re: Ridiculous

How does Internet Freedom have anything to do with this particular issue?

Because the super-draconian measures proposed to counteract purchasing and accessing illegally have effects far beyond merely dealing with counterfeits of physical goods. The measures proposed limit speech on the internet, limiting speech is probably never a good thing. The measures proposed limit legitimate copying, never a good thing. The measures proposed make taxpayers enforce a private company’s privilege, arguably a bad thing, the measures proposed keep ideas and implementations of ideas out of the public domain, a bad thing.

Anything else?

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ridiculous

Because that’s his M.O. Don’t hold your breath for any actual proof… the only thing this guy ever brings in is the misapplication of Arcara v Cloud Books. And he hasn’t even done that in a while.

He has a repeated history of statements that would lead you to believe that his word should be truth and law. And if you disagree, well then, you’re just dumb or only deserve a response of “LOL”.

Anonymous is one of our more prolific trolls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ridiculous

Bruce, you may want to reach in and pull the hook out, because TD got you solid on this one, hook line and sinker.

There isn’t some massive censorship deal here. This isn’t some collection of jackboot thugs coming in and killing your children because you dare speak a word. It isn’t anything like that.

It is the government helping to enforce the laws, justly passed by the government(s) of the day.

Calling it “free speech” is a nice way to rally the troops, but it isn’t about speech, it’s about taking someone else’s IP and spreading it around without permission, often for profit (monetary or “cool kid” standing). It isn’t about what any of these people wrote in blogs, it’s about the steps they took to help people pirate music.

Once you get a grip on that basic idea, and stop getting tricked into a free speech discussion, things make much more sense.

The government is there to enforce the laws, all laws. Piracy isn’t just a contractual issue, it can also be a criminal activity. That is another thing you need to understand.

TD (and the Senator) are attempting to frame the discussion in a certain way, leaving out a lot of information, glossing over the bad parts, and trying to try a 1st and 4th amendment bow around it all. It’s dishonest, but then again, the whole process of pirating someone elses work is pretty dishonest.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

It is the government helping to enforce the laws, justly passed by the government(s) of the day.

If that were the case, there would be a lawsuit and a trial. Not a seizure.

Calling it “free speech” is a nice way to rally the troops, but it isn’t about speech, it’s about taking someone else’s IP and spreading it around without permission, often for profit (monetary or “cool kid” standing). It isn’t about what any of these people wrote in blogs, it’s about the steps they took to help people pirate music.

You mean the blogs that the VPs of various music labels SENT THEIR MUSIC TO *asking them* to post it to their blogs?

Uh, yes, that’s a free speech issue.

The government is there to enforce the laws, all laws. Piracy isn’t just a contractual issue, it can also be a criminal activity. That is another thing you need to understand.

Sure. And the way you determine criminal activity is after a trial.

I find it amusing how the ICE defenders still can’t seem to admit this simple fact.

Why do you hate due process?

misterdoug (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Due Process

You mean like Congress extending the length of copyright because a Disney copyright is about to expire? Yeah, that’s due process.

You mean the law that placed every audio recording made before 1972 under copyright until 2087, including material that had already been public domain for many years? Sure, due process again.

You mean cutting text from MPAA emails and pasting it directly into legislation, complete with spelling errors? Yep, due process!

If you want to look for a lack of due process, start with Congress.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Ridiculous

The ICE seizures have stood Masnick.

Um, what?

The terms of our deal were that we would see if any of the 5 named sites that I mentioned challenged the seizures, and then see how the courts responded — waiting until the highest court reviewing the issue ruled.

None of that has happened yet. So bizarre.

Why would you now lie and claim that the seizures have “stood” when the sites haven’t even been given a chance to respond?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

“and trying to try a 1st and 4th amendment bow around it all.”

You forgot the 14th amendment.

So that three amendments that this law and these seizures have or will violate. Why don’t we just scrap the entire document and force man woman and child on earth to pay a $2,500 USD yearly fee based on what these IP types say they are loosing due to piracy …

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ridiculous

“and trying to try a 1st and 4th amendment bow around it all.”

You forgot the 14th amendment.

So thats three amendments that this law and these seizures have or will violate(d). Why don’t we just scrap the entire document and force every man woman and child on earth to pay a $2,500 USD yearly fee based on what these IP types say they are loosing due to piracy …

velox says:

Re: Re: Re: Free speech does not shield criminal websites for criminal conduct

Until you give a cogent argument and specifics how COICA and ACTA will not have a 4th amendment significance, you are not convincing.
A contradictory “Is not”. style of argument unsupported by facts won’t score you a win in very many debates.
If you think this isn’t a concern, then give us specific facts.

What I understand about proposed legislation is that it would provide incentive (and legal protection from lawsuits) for private entities (ISP’s) to monitor traffic using whatever methodology necessary including deep packet inspection. If the ISP finds what it judges to be illegal activity then the ISP is empowered to cut off service. This puts the ISP in the position of being policeman, judge, jury, and executioner. There is no due process. No trial. No examination of the facts through a public process. No right to a defense. If this is not legal for the government to do, then how is it possible for the government to authorize a private entity to do for it that which is not constitutional for it to do on it’s own.
In short. Please explain how this does not run afoul of the 4th amendment.

BTW — don’t think that I just got all of this from TD. Just last week I heard a member of Congressman Adam Schiff’s staff imply in a panel discussion that Representative Schiff was in favor of empowering ISP’s to do exactly this.

Mike says:

Re: Re: Free speech does not shield criminal websites for criminal conduct

That is wrong. Someone who is a Chinese citizen has no obligation to follow American law. If someone starts a website in China that is illegal as ruled by an American judge who examines it, they have no right to operate their business online via American ISPs and American payment processors.

What are you going to do? Extradite every Chinese seller pushing fakes?

Free speech is not selling illegal merchandise on the web. That’s just illegal. You can’t use free speech to shield every criminal because they might at some point have something legitimate to say.

Bruce Ediger (profile) says:

Why troll here?

Sorry for the duplicate.

Why does the website Techdirt attract such dedicated and persistent trolls? I don’t get it. The position advocated by Mike Masnick in the articles that get the most trolling is a fairly minority position. I’d hazard that most people don’t think about “intellectual property” a whole lot, and that most people don’t read Techdirt.

I’d also hazard that Masnick’s articles aren’t doing much to convert the heathen as it were. So, the automatic gainsaying of whatever position the Trolls are against probably doesn’t really matter that much in the long run.

In conclusion, why troll here, especially anonymously?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why troll here?

Actually, there are few people who disagree with TD here because they get shouted down, insulted, and treated as dirt.

Even TD itself posts comments like “oh, grow up”, and “you need an education”, and “you don’t have a clue”. The majority shouts down the minority on this site, and most people who don’t agree give it up fairly quickly.

However, searching google for things like “mike masnick is wrong” gets you plenty of stuff to read. Just those people no longer bother to add comments here, because they know it just turns into a shouting match with a bunch of people too immature of actually discuss a subject and look at it deeply.

Since the start of the year TD has been wrong on a number of occasions and drawn conclusions on things where no such conclusion is possible. It would help TD (not harm it) if they actually accepted that they made errors and worked to refine their arguments. Otherwise, their blog remains the home of what some people refer to as “freetards” or “koolaid drinkers”, basically people slapping each other on the back for being the smartest cave men in the modern world.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why troll here?

Highbrow and well-spoken, but still trolling. If you read through, you’ll see that we “koolaid drinkers” are “shouting down” such people as Mr. Anonymous (not to be confused with the many Anonymous Cowards, some of whom actually present very well-stated arguments) who do nothing but post zingy one-liners such as “LOL”. And no, I’m not making that up… that was his full response on at least one occasion… “LOL”.

“Since the start of the year TD has been wrong on a number of occasions and drawn conclusions on things where no such conclusion is possible. It would help TD (not harm it) if they actually accepted that they made errors and worked to refine their arguments. Otherwise, their blog remains the home of what some people refer to as “freetards” or “koolaid drinkers”, basically people slapping each other on the back for being the smartest cave men in the modern world.”

At this point, I have to think that you’re cherry-picking the parts you actually read. I have seen some of the regulars say “Oops… didn’t think of that. You’re right.” They would then go on to restructure their arguments to take into account the new information. I’ve done that myself. I’ve had my foot wrapped in crow and had to take a big bite of it, and did so. Not so with Anonymous… I have never seen him deviate from the singular non-arguments he keeps bringing up. Feel free to show me where he’s actually modified any of his statements after they were proven wrong (such as Arcara v Cloud Books).

Finally, you say that TD has been wrong or drawn conclusions where no such conclusion is possible? Fine. Show me.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why troll here?

‘However, searching google for things like “mike masnick is wrong” gets you plenty of stuff to read.’

Oddly, it only got me 1 result. I have to admit that I didn’t bother switching off the content filter first though. I tried “masnick is wrong” too and had a great improvement of 9 results (most of which pointed to the same article). Without the quotes I get over 21,000 results, but then I get over twice that if I replace ‘wrong’ with ‘right’. None of that really proves anything, but it does lead me to ask what are you trying to show with the suggestion?

sam sin says:

the sad thing here is that if all the counterfeit goods were prevented from being sold or even produced, how many more people would buy the genuine article? how many more people would be able to afford to buy the genuine article? how many more people would actually want to buy the genuine article? i bet that number would be extremely low. as for using this to include IP? bad idea! the type of sneaky approach that we have come to expect from the entertainment industries, but one that they would condemn any other industry for doing.

TDR says:

Anonymous, I’m still waiting for the evidence I requested. And as I said, I will not stop hounding you until you either give it to me or provide a complete retraction of everything you have ever said on this site. Now. Everything you say is being reported, and it will not stop until you address me and give me what I’ve requested. Do it. Now. If you don’t, you’re only admitting to everyone here that you’re a paid industry shill that doesn’t care at all about basic human rights and constitutional rights. So make your choice. Now.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

The street corner guy selling counterfeit goods isn’t making 28k a year.

I did a bit of Googling, and the only story I could find is this one:
New York City Chinese Immigrant Street Vendors are Charged With Medicaid Fraud, Tax Fraud, Selling Counterfeit Goods

Apparently, they did not do too badly:

According to the HRA, all 11 defendants had been receiving Medicaid benefits while owning multiple expensive homes, luxury vehicles, and multiple bank accounts.

So, they were definitely pumping a bit of money into the national economy.

Now, one thing to consider is the cost to taxpayers. Street vendors obviously don’t pay taxes on merchandise, and as this story shows, they often scam social services.

The thing is, they would be costing the taxpayers this money if they weren’t selling counterfeits. So – from a purely economic perspective – it’s still a win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Five years later, after ICE did fuck all to find the websites guilty of anything, the sites were returned.

And the trolls were proven wrong, wrong, wrong, and they turned tails and crowed about the sites’ return like some big victory over piracy. Because taking a website on grounds of piracy and finding no evidence of it and returning them afterwards OBVIOUSLY put a big fucking dent in piracy, right?

David says:

I didn't vote for him but

Sorry for this zombie reply but I just popped onto this article by accident (I need to turn off my touchpad every time I boot or I get accidental clicks) That being said:

[Biden] pulled a mint out of his pocket, asked the boy to guess which hand the candy was in, and grabbed his script while the lad was pondering the answer to that question.

That’s how democracy is modeled to work. The government holds out both hands, asks the voter whether the president is in the Republican or Democratic hand, and grabs the power while the voter is pondering the answer to that (actually irrelevant) question.

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