Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the your-humanity dept

Normally, on the rare occasions that Mike’s or my own comments win the top spots, I skip over them unless they are really important — since this post is all about highlighting reader comments. This week, however, our participation in the comments on our response to Trump’s immigration ban dominated the leaderboards to such a degree (with one double-winner) that skipping them would mean going pretty far down the list, so this particular comment post will have to be more boastful than usual. And indeed, all of our top-voted comments this week come in response to that post.

That said, a reader still beat Mike and me out for first place on the insightful side. Roger Strong provided the very first comment on the immigration post, and racked up the points with a simple and appropriate quote:

“The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”
– Tony Benn, British Minister of Parliament for 47 years

In second place, we’ve got the first of Mike’s several responses to our detractors on the post, in this case one who asserted that “no one except children are swayed by emotional arguments and cherry picking individual sufferers to form a platform which is ultimately harmful to society at large”. Mike’s response became a double winner, taking first place for Funny as well as second place for Insightful:

Really? Because that seemed to be the basis of the entire platform of the President of the United States.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ll start out with one more nod to Roger Strong for his activity on that post, in this case handily rebutting the argument that immigrants are a drain on the country:

You’re making that up.

A more interesting look at the issue:

Wall Street Journal: Immigrants Founded 51% of U.S. Billion-Dollar Startups

…including Google, SpaceX, Tesla, Uber, Cloudfare and more.

And it doesn’t even count second generation immigrants. For example Apple, founded by the son of a Syrian refugee and the son of Polish immigrants.

Which isn’t at all surprising. When I was in high school it was the immigrants – from Asia, Russia, the Philippines, etc. – who did their homework and got the highest marks. They got the work ethic from their parents. Later I’ve worked for immigrants who set up businesses here.

We all know people with grand plans to improve their lives. They’re going to move to the west coast. Or to Canada if the Republicans or Democrats win. They’re going to save up, quit their jobs and go back to school. They’re going to run for office and fix things. But most never do. They’re stuck in the inertia of their own lives, unable to drop or stop making new commitments even in the long term. Or unable to save, or to put in the extra effort. Or just too nervous about taking a leap into a new life.

Immigration acts as a filter. You get only the people who DO the things they said. Who got over their fears. Who put in the extra effort and made the big leap.

These are the kind of people you want as citizens. The kind who ALSO tend to start businesses and create jobs. It’s one reason why for immigration is a good deal for the countries they head for.

Next, we take a break from that post to look at one of the few clues we’ve gotten about the Trump administration’s stance on copyright — a worrying editorial by one of his advisors who held up China’s ability to disappear book publishers as a shining example of how IP enforcement is possible. Machin Shin was understandably horrified:

I must say, sure makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know people in our government are looking up to China and their ability to make people vanish…..

What the hell has happened to this country? We are supposed to be a shining example of freedom, not some twisted country drooling over the wonderful power of an authoritarian country.

It really sickens me to see what this country has become. Instead of the land of the free and home of the brave we have a bunch of cowering morons trashing all our freedoms. I would much rather live free and risk being killed from a terrorist attack than live under an oppressive government that is promising me a false safety.

Over on the funny side, we’ve already had our first place double-winner from Mike above, so we move on to the second place winner… me! There was some debate over Trump’s precise attitude towards Mexicans based on rather generous interpretation of the precise words in his infamous “criminals and racists” speech. Personally, I found his final caveat to be less than convincing:

“Some, I assume, are good people” is right up there with “but I have [minority group] friends!” on the list of Shit Racists Say.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about John Carmack’s comments on the code expert who attempted to demonstrate “non-literal copying” in the ZeniMax/Oculus trial. Hij figured the concept could be put to good use:

On the up side this just gave every student in a programming class a way out of completing their assignment. Instead of saying, “the dog ate my code,” now students can say, “I wrote the code, but I cannot distribute it since it is under copyright.”

Finally, we head to the story of the Mac repair company whose lawyer sent out baseless threatening letters, offering up little more than a “just following orders” excuse when pressed by Paul Alan Levy. Roger Strong (he had a lot of great comments this week) was curious about the marketing aspect:

And what does he call this service?


Fraud On Demand?

Chris Cammack’s Barratry Emporium?

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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Anonymous Coward says:

“The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”
– Tony Benn, British Minister of Parliament for 47 years

Yea, sorry, this is utter tripe. There is not a single nation upon this planet that does not treat both their own or refugees like shit WHENEVER it suits them. For those of you able to shut off your pathetic little political sheep brains you would see that everything is more a result of the agents involved. There are people that can get good help and there are others that just get unlucky and run into assholes that won’t provide assistance at all. You can have the greatest nation on earth and you will still find utter toolbags that will hurt others like say…. refugees?

This statement was directly said to curry favor with political fools, there is little wonder why it comes from a politician and one of 47 years, obviously having made a career of it.

How refugees are handled is more a tell of the quality of a nations laws…

Every Nation gets the government it deserves!

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Understand, Trump didn’t merely refuse to take in immigrants. He screwed them over far beyond that:

Among those sent back by Trump Muslim ban were lawful immigrants and permanent residents who were in the air when the rules changed; when they landed they were told that since they had arrived at the US in violation of the rules, they were being deported, and were banned from entering the USA for the next five years.

Under the 2004 Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, refugees that are turned away from the US are not allowed to seek entry into Canada. I expect there are similar agreements with other countries too.

This is all new. It’s not "business as usual" for the US or other countries. And apparently America’s judiciary considers it illegal.

You’re trying defend your alt-right demagogue by claiming that he’s normal. Normal for America and for the rest of the world. You’re wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have a friend really more like a family member that has been fucked around by the immigration systems for going on 3 decades now. Guess what, I likely have more direct knowledge of how this shit is fucking with people than you do.

I speak from direct experience. Sure there are some people that made it through the system and got lucky, but I know MORE people that cheated and are treated better than those that played by the rules.

If you see what I said as a defense of the shit Trump is pulling, well lets just say this. That is why you and the rest of the fucking sheeple don’t have a fucking clue. Your only reaction is if someone says something you don’t like they MUST be part of the opposition.

I am an independent and I have my own ideas, I don’t sit around letting Party A or B tell me what I am supposed to think or believe like the rest of you sheep brains.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Honestly, your entire point in your messages here so far seems to be: "Your criticism and suspicion of the government is stupid and ignorant! Only MY criticism and suspicion of the government is valid!!! Even when it’s the same!"

At least your "sheeple" claims add context. It’s always scary when someone ventures forth from InfoWars into the outside world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Do you lack the ability to understand the quote?

Do have the mental faculties to understand the difference between macrocosm and microcosm? If you did, then you would understand the meaning of that quote, however it is fairly clear that you do not.

Sure you can make the attempt to declare that I am venting, but that really matters not. I am just making the point that for as many people that “ACT” offended by the travesties our Government will visit upon people, there are very few of you willing to really do anything about it, and even fewer still willing to understand it. All I have yet to see are mouth breathers, acting offended lest they be afraid their friends thing bad of them. Right now the continuously manufactured outrage is causing more damage than what ever bullshit trump is pulling.

As George Washington said, “I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

I see no desire to restrain it, all I see is a desire, especially by the democrats to amplify that which will cause us to fall into another war. And if I were not mistaken, is it not the platform of the Democrats to attempt democracy at all costs because war is NEVER the answer? Seems that there are many people not able to drink the same cool-aid they require of others.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Look, just because you’re too stupid to understand why people aren’t buying the tripe you’re throwing out, it doesn’t mean you actually have a point and those that disagree with you are the idiots instead of yourself. Clearly you’re just too brain-dead to get why people don’t accept as sound the jokes that are your arguments.


Does the above strike you as a good argument? After reading that would you even care what I wrote after that, or would you dismiss it out of hand and consider doing so simply returning the favor to someone that ignores and insults anyone who disagrees with them?

You want people to take you seriously and give your arguments consideration, maybe try to restrain your obsession with insulting anyone who doesn’t immediately see the ‘brilliance’ of what you’re saying. Until then don’t be surprised when people treat you as a troll and/or joke and brush your comments aside as empty rambling from someone who isn’t interested in actual conversations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I do not subscribe to all of Josesph de Maistre words. Like every other person in History there are things I do agree with and do not agree with.

I do, however, see the direct wisdom in the Quote itself, if a fool utters wisdom, does it all of a sudden cease to be wisdom?

Almost every person I dislike in History has held a wisdom or truth that should not be ignored. But because someone found fault in them, they use it as an excuse to write them off. Guess what? No one is faultless… whom is left worth listening too?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There is not a single nation upon this planet that does not treat both their own or refugees like shit WHENEVER it suits them

This reminds me of a 2nd amendment supporter saying that because no regulation will stop all gun violence that nothing should be done at all.

While no regulations will always achieve the target it is aiming for, there is no legitimate or adult reason that would excuse inaction. It is the argument of defeat, the last resort of a true scoundrel, the child telling their parental unit "But BOBBY’S parents let him!".

Real patriots don’t give up because the struggle is hard, or doesn’t immediately benefit themselves, or because someone else thinks it’s not worth it. Honor, honesty, and decency are always worthy of achievement. That path is rarely an easy one to follow or blaze.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“This reminds me of a 2nd amendment supporter saying that because no regulation will stop all gun violence that nothing should be done at all.”

What does one smoke to arrive that this conclusion? Where did I state that nothing should be done? I attacked a stupid ignorant saying for its erroneous position.

“Real patriots don’t give up because the struggle is hard, or doesn’t immediately benefit themselves, or because someone else thinks it’s not worth it. Honor, honesty, and decency are always worthy of achievement. That path is rarely an easy one to follow or blaze.”

I agree with that sentiment, however you make it clear you are part of the road block having assumed that my disgust for an ignorant quote leads down the path that you implied.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well said.

The “problem” seems to be that people are conflating “immigrants” with “refugees”. I keep seeing all kinds of cherry picked examples, such as the founder of Apple being the son of a Syrian immigrant.

Nations court immigration of TALENTED people. Refugees are a completely different ball of wax. Currently, it appears the way to get rid of your unproductive people is to terrorize them and then ship them to the US as “refugees”.

And I’m really tired of hearing that POEM on the Statue of Liberty or sections of the Declaration of Independence as if they’re some kind of “law”.

MY ancestors a couple of generations back were immigrants. They were able to prove they would not be a drain on US resources, learned English, filled out the paperwork, and took the Oath.

They weren’t bulk processed for Green Cards because their home government was “mean”.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The Benn quote reminds me of a Voltaire quote–A witty saying proves nothing.

I often skip the “Voted Most” wrap up as the most insightful comments are usually not insightful at all, they just make the voter feel smart–with the most votes going to the commenter who throws the most fish to the barking seals.

As Techdirt gets more political, even the funny is getting less funny.

Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated says:

Re: Re:

So your argument can be summarised by this quote is completely untrue because “I don’t really have an argument against it but I’ll yell a bit and insult people in order to distract from the fact that my example actually demonstrates that the original quote was perfectly valid.

Let’s write a list.
– Argumentum ad lapidem
– Ad hominem
– Ignoratio elenchi
– False analogy
– Judgmental language
– Straw man

And to try and disparage someone who was famously one of the most honest and determined fighter for the people is simply dumb. Might as well suggest that Bernie Sanders was pro Wall St and open to bribes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Watch the video below if you want to hear the real facts behind the temporary curb on immigration. Nothing other presidents haven’t done in the past. Also used a list of countries created by Obama, the racist. It is a temporary ban, not an out right ban. Lastly, it is not based on race and religion or there are 40 other countries that would be on the list, a list that Obama created.

Look, disagree with Trump, the ban, conservatives, whatever. But please, base it on something other than lies. Next time the lamestream media lies to you, which will be almost daily, take a day or two to research it for yourselves before throwing a violent tantrum.

It has finally dawned on me why you guys are so against the 2nd amendment. People project their beliefs and attitudes on others. They think everyone is like them. The left is so filled with hate, rage and violence that they think the right must be too. Never mind you never see the right burn down cities.

The left also trots out the racist, sexist, bigot, mysoginist and other terms. They do this because again, they feel this way and think everyone else must as well. You never hear the right talking about race, gender, etc because they moved past that long, long ago. The left focus on it daily. Just look at Chelsea Handler speaking down about Melania not speaking English well. Someone who can speak multiple languages and is an immigrant. I though the left liked immigrants? Look at the protestors at Berkley assaulting and pepper spraying women. I thought the left weren’t sexists? Your tantrums and insults belie your true attitudes and beliefs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Obama, the racist

Wow, the sarcasm just goes right over your heads. I am merely pointing out that Obama must be a racist with this list if Trump is. That is why you should take a day or two to get the facts before throwing a violent tantrum and burning down cities. By the way, it was great to see you guys smashing the windows of a Starbucks who is a major liberal organization. 🙂 You guys are so angry and ready to commit violence you don’t even focus your rage.

Digitari says:

what the Hell?

happened in the comment section today?, Oh and the Patriots won, again, ( in the Superbowl, not talking about the election results.)

President Trump was correct again, too.

wonder which city will burn for that.

The Falcons rushed for more yards though,

this will be blamed on the “Russian” towel boys I’m sure…

Jones says:


Yes, they immigrated, but from advanced countries of that era. Not from countries living one leg in medieval Dark Ages and the other one wrapped around AK-47. That is the main difference. Show me how many billion-dollar start-ups were conceived by muslims? And how many muslims conceived a billion-dollar start-ups? Huh…?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Immigrants...

Show me how many billion-dollar start-ups were conceived by muslims?

Here’s the study referenced in TFA:

It doesn’t break down the founders by religion, but several majority-Muslim countries are listed, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq, and Uzbekistan, as well as countries with sizable Muslim minorities such as India and Israel.

Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated says:

Re: muslims and billion dollar start ups.

Ah, the old argument of “I haven’t heard or noticed them, therefore they don’t exist”.

I quick Google immediately brings up…
– Shahid Khan – Pakistan ($7.5 billion)
– Haim Saban – Egypt ($3.0 billion)
– Hamdi Ulukaya – Turkey ($1.9 billion)
– Marc Lasry – Morocco ($1.6 billion)
– Fayez Sarofim – Egypt ($1.6 billion)
– David Hindawi – Iraq ($1 billion)

and then there is oil…

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