Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the not-so-fair dept

This week, the sad story of the US government’s treatment of whistleblowers added another chapter when Chelsea Manning was threatened with indefinite solitary confinement over some minor violations of military prison rules. Both our top comments on the insightful side come in response to this news, with first place going to JustShutUpAndObey with a solid observation about any time you see a charge labelled “disrespect”:

I’ve noticed that the people most insistent on being respected are typically the least deserving of it.

In second place we’ve got That One Guy, who connected this example to the case of Edward Snowden:

So about that ‘fair trial’…

Manning made the USG look bad for a short period of time. Snowden continues to make them look bad with the gradual releases of what he gave to reporters. Manning is looking at indefinite solitary confinement for actions which basically boil down to ‘being rude’.

Anyone want to take a wild guess what kind of treatment Snowden would get if the USG got it’s hands on him?

Every additional piece of evidence as to how the USG treats whistleblowers makes it more and more clear that Snowden did the right thing in refusing to ‘face the consequences of his actions’ by staying in the US, and those who continue to insist that he should return to the US are either grossly ignorant or intentionally dishonest if they think or claim he would be treated in a fair manner, whether before, during, or after his joke of a ‘trial’.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ll start by rounding things out with one more comment from that post — New Mexico Mark offering a veteran’s point of view:

Approved torture degrades a nation

As a vet, I understand military discipline. However, like hazing and other forms of “discipline” there is a point where it simply becomes sadistic abuse. In fact, one of the differentiators between legitimate punishment and torture is a clear communication to the convicted of the sentence / punishment, including duration.

Studies have shown that isolation beyond a few days is psychological torture designed to break minds. In extreme cases it is the “clean hands” equivalent of a lobotomy. It may be arguable whether Manning’s behavior in a military prison setting merited punishment. However, legitimizing torture as acceptable for any reason is indefensible. It degrades its practitioners and advocates along with its victims.

Some might make an argument based solely on perceived efficacy. My response is that “The ends justify the means” for otherwise horrific behavior is the stock rationalization of the craven and the cowardly. Surely we can do better as a nation.

Next, we’ll pivot to the comparatively light news about Oracle telling customers to stop seeking vulnerabilities in its products. One anonymous commenter neatly pointed out that this really doesn’t instill confidence:

It doesn’t say much for Oracle when their CSO says “trust, but DON’T verify.”

Over on the funny side, we start out on our post about the HP legal saga that is absolutely chock full of redacted documents. Ninja took first place with an excellent conspiracy theory:

Can’t you see, you fools?!? This is HP plotting to force people to print dozens of black ink pages so they will sell more overpriced ink! All the redaction in FOIA and Government documents released is due to this nefarious plan from HP!


I’d add something trying to link the logo and the letters to the devil but I’m lazy.

For second place, we head to the story of the school police chief who went way overboard against a student for an “offensive” tweet, and now must face a lawsuit. After someone pointed out that this was really all about kissing not sex based on the phrase “making out”, one anonymous commenter adopted appropriately horrified tones:

Oh, sweet mercy, teenagers kissing? [Fans self.] Why, I do declare, this must be stopped at once!

For editor’s choice, we remain on that post where one commenter offered a defence of the school’s actions so formulaic and colorless that it almost could have been deadpan sarcasm — and given that the case itself is about a piece of deadpan sarcasm, this sarcastic anonymous response really does work on several levels:

I agree! In fact, I think we should outlaw sarcasm. Slow folks like me have to think too hard to figure out if people are being serious, that’s discriminatory.

Finally, after Lenovo was discovered installing crapware even during fresh Windows installs, one commenter naturally wondered what happens when you install Linux. RD had the likely answer:

You get reported for “piracy”, naturally.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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

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Giles Byles (profile) says:

Redirect this & that

First time, today, Ghostery throws warnings about redirects to when clicking an article in my RSS listing for techdirt.

“Ghostery prevented a redirect from to, which is part of Feedsportal.”

No such warnings appear when opening articles from inside the site.  Does this mean I’m going to have to “click to allow once” for every techdirt article I open from RSS?  That’s kind of inconvenient.  Am loath to “always allow” feedsportal to do whatever it wants.  Am growing leery of third-party “portals” or third-party anything these days.

Evidently feedsportal is a division of

Privacy Policy:  n/a
Data Collected:  Undisclosed
Data Sharing:  Undisclosed
Data Retention:  Undisclosed

Anybody else run into this?  Maybe somebody can make it go away.  Mike?

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