Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

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)

In second place, and in response to the former East German Stasi officer’s mixed reaction to America’s surveillance program, we’ve got RyanNerd with his own perspective:

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.

For editor’s choice, we start with jupiterkansas, who looked at Pandora’s response to the RIAA’s lies, and identified a big part of what’s going on:

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.

And up next we’ve got Zakida Paul on the post about the MPAA’s ongoing attempts to screw the blind, where he struggled with the broader themes at play:

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!

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Water Quality

? Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation accusing their citizens of being terrorists when they complained about their water quality.

In Mr Obama’s FY 2014 budget, he proposed cutting over half a billion dollars in EPA assistance to the states for water infrastructure and specifically drinking water.

4. Water Infrastructure
????? ? State Revolving Funds (SRFs): $1.912 billion (-$472.3 million)
????? ????? o Drinking Water SRF: $817 million (-$100.9 million)

Meanwhile, today, Mr Obama just announced a shiny new program to federally fund African infrastructure with $7 billion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Water Quality

?Over half a billion? should have read ?about? or ?almost? half a billion in cut funding.

Sorry about the error. The FY’14 $100 million cut from the EPA safe drinking water fund is included in the half billion dollars in cuts to all FY’14 EPA water infrastructure revolving funds.

Appropriators Criticize Cuts to Water Programs

Members of the [House Appropriations Interior and Environment] subcommittee from both parties particularly criticized the proposed $472 million cut to EPA?s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which provide money for water quality protection projects across the country. Subcommittee Ranking Member James Moran (D-Va.) said he was ?disappointed? in that request. ?The State Revolving Fund Program is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the [budget], but cutting with no alternative plan really is unacceptable,? he said. ?The fact is we?re going to pay a price later if we don?t maintain our needed infrastructure.?

Again, sorry about the error.

But multiple sources in today’s news confirm Mr Obama’s $7 billion in federal funds for African infrastructure. That number seems correct.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Water Quality

Want to know why Africa is becoming important to America?

The Chinese is investing double that, with half the economy size. Why?

The US lost Latin America and Asia and is going to lose Africa too.

Who cares?
Americans should care, raw materials come from somewhere and the world is getting small, aside from Australia, things could get though if Africa starts giving the Chinese preferential treatment for materials and business since the fastest growing markets are all in Africa.

The Chinese is investing 10’s of billions of dollars everywhere in Africa, constructing hospitals, energy plants, roads and other infra-structure, they are winning hearts and minds in Africa.

The US-African trade is about 100 billion dollars the Chinese trade is double that and expanding.

Somebody wants a quarter of a trillion dollars?

China wants that quarter bad, along with all the natural resources it can get from that land, mineral, vegetal or animal.

Want the $100 million EPA back, find the funds or learn to do it yourself, that is the reality of the situation, it doesn’t help that the US has a government that doesn’t know how to function with lower levels of funding.

The same government that was unprepared for Katrina is the same government that is responsible for water quality control, that can’t be good, citizens would be better of searching for ways to test their own water and keep an eye on it and use the government only as a hammer to nail people to the wall as always, that is the only thing the government seems good at doing, but responsibility for your health and environment rest first and foremost on the citizens, Americans are not Africans, the number of PhD’s in America is huge, the number of college degrees is high, those are not ignorant fools that don’t know how to do things and find solutions.

The US will be cutting much, much more programs, those will hurt, and they are directly related to losing market share to China in the world economy, China is not Japan, they actually have a shot at becoming bigger and more powerful than the US ever was or will be, this is why Obama is investing 7 billion dollars there, against 40 billions the Chinese already put in there and more coming up with more.

They want that quarter.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Water Quality

Fuck Africa. ? Seriously.

I don’t have a lot of ties to Tennessee. Been there, of course. More than once. But I don’t have a lot of ties there.

I tell you this, though, in FY’14, if my representative isn’t more concerned about water quality in Tennessee than trying to ?win hearts and minds? in Africa?that summbitch gonna be out of a job.

Good thing Congress is on Fourth of July recess. Otherwise, I’d be in favor of cutting funds for Air Force One right now. ? Today. ? Instantly. ? Tell the guy he can fly back home commercial?or just stay there.

Fuck Africa. ? I’m more worried about Tennessee.


Want the $100 million EPA back?

US News & World Report says that the costs just for Mr Obama’s trip to Africa come to $100 million. Without counting the $7 billion he says he’s going to give away. Just the cost of the trip alone come to $100 million.

Fuck Africa. ? The president should’ve gone to Tennessee. He could have drunk a glass of tap water there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Water Quality


The U.S. drinking water and sewage infrastructure earned a barely passing grade of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers today, which said at least $1 trillion is needed to fix the problem.


It also recommended establishing a federal water infrastructure trust fund and a Water Infrastructure Finance Innovations Authority to borrow from the federal government at U.S. Treasury rates to finance water projects.

Bloomberg:U.S. Water Infrastructure Given ?D? Grade by ASCE Group

Where the 1 trillion dollars is going to come from?

You can put everybody out of office it won’t change the outcome, the government is cutting costs because it doesn’t have the money to operate at current levels.

Without exports it has even less money, internal consumption is slowing down because all the jobs have gone to China.

Hint: start investing on reverse osmosis filtration systems because those pipes are not going to get any better anytime soon, even if the US government had the money it would take decades to repair and replace everything.

Anonymous Coward says:

I Want My Country Back

How amusing, and na?ve, rose colored vision of history, sure if you are willing to totally INGORE HISTORY, forget things like Cuban missile crisis, presidential assassinations, extensive phone tapping, including people like Martin King, Pres. Kennedy and many other events that puts the US in exactly the same boots as Russia, Japanese prison camps during WW2. Watergate, Nixon.. the list just on and on, but according to the revisionist none of this happened.

BTW: you have been keeping up with the large number of reporters who oppose Putin being killed, murdered or just disappearing. Or other politicians being poisoned with nuclear isotopes ?

KGB just killed people either during or soon after being interrogated, problem solved.

It’s a shame some Americans still have this opinion, and see everywhere in the world as ‘perfect’ and American all that is evil. You really need to get out more.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: I Want My Country Back

… how in the world did you get that from that comment? He wasn’t saying ‘america evil, everyone else good’, he was lamenting the fact that what used to make the US good compared to other, more oppressive countries is no longer the case, as the US is now just as bad if not worse than they were/are.

Which is not to say the US hasn’t done plenty of… well, let’s be generous and call them ‘less than legal/pleasant’ actions, just that for the most part those actions were the exception, rather than S.O.P. as they are now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I Want My Country Back

? what used to make the US good?

Clean tap water. That was good, wasn’t it?

?U.S. Water Infrastructure Given ?D? Grade by ASCE Group?

The U.S. drinking water and sewage infrastructure earned a barely passing grade of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers today?

With state and local governments now responsible for about 98 percent of the capital investments in water infrastructure, the engineers? group proposed to finance needed work by boosting government-backed revolving loans with $7.5 billion in federal funds?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: I Want My Country Back

I agree that our tap water sucks and needs improvement. I do not drink tap water unless necessary.

However, an organization of people that potentially stand to benefit from government funds proclaiming that they need government funds doesn’t really convince me of much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I Want My Country Back

It was not revisionist, all those bad things you mentioned are bad and not what America stands for.

RyanNerd was making the point that what was once unacceptable is now acceptable.

When Nixon ordered illegal wiretaps the press held his feet to the fire leading to his resignation and had he not resigned he would have been impeached.
When Obama administration wiretaps the press tries to brush it under the rug and labels those telling the truth traitors.

Yep, America has taken a turn for the worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I Want My Country Back


Two presidents have been impeached. None have been thrown out of office because, in this country at least, impeachment is just an indictment by the House of Representatives, which is step #1 of a 2 step process. It requires a trial in the Senate and a 2/3 majority vote to actually remove from office.

Folks frequently state, “Impeach so and so president!” as if that’s all there is to it to get them out of office. It’s not.

Nixon would have certainly been impeached/indicted had he not resigned. Whether he would have been thrown out of office as a result of that indictment, we’ll never know.

horse with no name says:


The truly most insightful comment of the week didn’t make it here, because Techdirt censored it.

When are you guys going to address this issue? Clearly you use censorship to block or at least “delay until no longer relevant” opposing views. Why would you do that?

Techdirt has sunk to a new low (and that takes effort).

Erik says:

Let fair be fair

While RyanNerd says a few appropriate things about USA falling into what it used to hate, some of his points are inaccurate, ironic in choosing, and even flat out false… as well as missing a few shots.

The IRS targeting political groups who have views that differ from the current regime… Please, please, pretty please! This has been debunked over 1 month ago. This is a non-issue. It was organized by a Republican member of the IRS and was intended to study the Tea Parties’ eligibility for tax-exempt status. But Faux News keeps pretending it is a scandal so maybe RyanNerd should just broaden his sources of information.

Fox News reporter being accused bla bla bla… Well ok… but the same argument could have been used with previous people being attacked (Julian Assange anyone?) who were actually accused of similar crimes on which channel??? Oh that’s right! It was on Fox News. And there was also something about Pravda… Maybe RyanNerd could be interested in a Youtube channel called “liberalviewer” where the author of that channel, a lawyer with past experience on board with ACLU, has selected in playlists over 200 segments of Fox News bias to document the deception and flat out lies tactics by that TV channel.

Finally, 2 points missing from RyanNerd’s piece. Abdulelah Hayder Shaye, a Yemeni journalist was imprisoned for revealing murders of villagers by the USA in Yemen, and though he was scheduled to be released, Obama made a phone call requesting for that journalist to remain in prison. Also, the Insider Threat Program (revealed recently by McClatchy) is more or less an equivalent of the Stasi. To prevent leaks, even of non-classified information, public sector employees are expected to spy and report on each other. Failure to do so can lead to criminal charges.

My 2 cents!

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