Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the you-said-it dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Qwertygiy responding piece-by-piece to a commenter who was rabidly defending the CBP’s constitution-free zones:

Alright, let’s go step by step.

Controlling borders is a big part of national defense.

Absolutely correct. If you don’t exert any amount of control over who comes in and out of your country, you don’t really have a country. You can’t determine where your citizens are, or even who your citizens are.

There’s also the Coast Guard always on patrol, besides Navy at times.

Not quite the same as the CBP. The Coast Guard and the Navy operate outside the actual coastline borders of the United States. It is much, much, much more difficult for them to intercept a US citizen who is proceeding directly from one point in the country to another the way that the mentioned CBP officers do. They are much more akin to airport security than the CBP, because the only place that there is a lane that they can block, is at the ports.

The border has been determined to be a necessary transition zone

As stated above, it certainly is important to exercise control over what crosses your border…

as EVERY country practices

…but not every country does, no. The Schengen Area in Europe has practically no border control as far as people go. Once you’re inside the European Union, you’re inside the European Union. You don’t need an extra check to get from Germany to France.

and while extended powers the 100 mile range inside it seems extreme

Whoa, whoa, whoa. It’s absolutely extreme. Now we’re not talking about the border anymore. The border is the edge of the nation, with no physical width. Not 100 miles inland. If we were talking about state borders instead of the nation’s border, that would mean that the entire states of Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia consist of nothing but their border! South Carolina would have about 20 square miles in the city of Columbia that are not part of the border! Georgia would have a similarly sized pocket east of Macon, and Arkansas would only have a 10-by-10 spot north of Conway! A little patch of forest would be the only free space in Idaho! That’s how huge of a constitutionally-ignoring zone we’re talking about here.

it’s clearly necessary too.

I very, very highly doubt this.

How is the border patrol more effective — necessary amounts of more effective — when it is spread out over 100 miles instead of stationed within a more reasonable amount, like 2 miles of the border? Even 5? How many more people have they caught improperly entering the US after they’ve already gotten 50 miles inland? And how many of those that they did, might have been stopped earlier if the border patrol had increased their density by moving closer to the border they’re patrolling?

No. Do you locks on your house and car, snowflake? Same principle.

I think you misunderstood his question. If every law in the US is given the force of law via the constitution… and the CBP is given power by the laws of the US… then the CBP’s power comes from the constitution. And if the constitution has no power 100 miles from the border… the CBP has no power 100 miles from the border, either.

As far as locking my house, I don’t know about you, but I put a lock and doorbell on the outside doors, not 10 feet inside the house. I don’t need to lock the kitchen door or put a doorbell on my bathroom door.

TL:DR; Control of the border is important. 100 miles inland is not the border.

In second place, we’ve got a response from Fat Man & Ribbon to the insane prosecution of Justin Carter for terroristic threats:

Interesting how they nab the joker while ignoring the mass murderer.

Almost every time there is a mass shooting, authorities claim they were aware of the individual …. but did nothing. Why is this acceptable behavior?

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start with a response from PaulT to the idea that pre-digital publishing proves Section 230 is unnecessary:

“How did society using PRINT work?”

By having a very limited amount of content and significant costs associated with printing and distributing everything they prints, on a one-off, daily, weekly, monthly, whatever schedule. The staff working for the publication are responsible for creating all content, except for a small amount of curated user content. This allows for humans to effectively edit and check all content, and realistically have a single human editor in place who is responsible for all content.

None of this is possible, or even desirable, in an online system where thousands of pages of content can be generated by people who are not employed or edited in any way by the publisher before publication. It’s a fundamentally different paradigm, and must therefore be treated differently. Section 230 offers one very simple rule, but one that is vital for online publications to operate with user generated content – the people who wrote the content are responsible for what’s in it, not the website they wrote it on. This isn’t that much different from the print days, in fairness, it’s just that the publication don’t employ the people who generate the content like they did in the old days, so they must be protected.

As usual, you’d be much less of an obnoxious angry fool if you bothered to learn the fundamental nature of what you complain about.

Next, we’ve got a short and sweet anonymous response to the senator who proposed fining social media companies for not removing bots fast enough:

I wonder if the senator would feel the same way if political robocalls were defined as bots.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is David with a response to our assertion that violent video games don’t make people violent, but they do make politicians stupid:

Can we please stop blaming video games for preexisting conditions? Pretty please?

Thank you.

In second place, we’ve got an anonymous comment about the NRA’s praise of Ajit Pai for killing net neutrality:

Dan Schneider actually made a lot more comments about how heroic Ajit Pai is, but if you want to read or watch them you need to upgrade to the Xfinity FREEDOM Package for another $5.99 a month.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a response to that second place winner, in which another anonymous commenter made a correction:

Don’t be absurd. $5.99 was last month’s price. Now it’s $29.99 a month.

And finally, we’ve got one more comment about the CBP, this time from Michael who proposed an important addition to the generous border zones:

If you live more than 25 miles from an airport and more than 100 miles from a border, you are clearly intentionally trying to avoid the constitution-free zone and therefore suspicious enough for the US government to get a warrant to search you and your property.

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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ECA (profile) says:


For a few that dont know, and allot that dont..
How many NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS do you think there are/were.

When I was younger there were TONS, I could get access to. If I could find them.
SOME are still around..IF you can find them..
There are Private newspapers, Small distribution papers, RESTRICTED newspapers..
Those papers in Vegas that Promise a FRIEND for the night..We had a few of those in Oregon..
Underground comics were interesting..its how MANY got a start(including TMNT)
How about all the SALES newspapers?? need a Car? Boat, TRACTOR??

Go look up the ‘Federalist’..
DONT restrict open communication of Like WILL have a problem..esp if they go underground and PRIVATE..

NOW days I dont see, 1/2 as many as I did.. Which is strange and good.. As the internet is a great place to find people with there are here.

The only problems TEND to be trolls and those TRYING TO SPOIL what we have.. Trolls not to bad..but having a site dedicated to OPEN communication..CAN get “CERTAIN” people into it that post things that WOULD BE against Principle and law if you RESTRICT OPEN COMMUNICATION..

If you drop Section 230, ANYONE can sue a site for OPINION.. And demanding sites EDIT/KILL a video/comment/… in a RESTRICTED TIME FRAME…is Futile..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Constitution Free Zones

I am always entertained by the fact that people are still running their mouth about how much the Government has destroyed the Constitution.

Lets ask a couple of questions to find out if you are okay with destroying it too.

#1. Does having a baby inside of the US while not being a citizen make the child an automatic citizen?
#2. Are hate speech laws constitutional?
#3. Can you constitutionally ban full automatic assault weapons?
#4. Can you ban a felons right to vote or right to posses and bear a firearm?
#5. Can the government criminally prosecute anyone that has given top secret information to the press?

I guarantee that you will most certainly say yes on one of those, which means you too support destroying the constitution when your politics are to be served!

Because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE wants to see a portion of the constitution ignored because of “politics” no one has a right to bitch when their rights are ignored.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Constitution Free Zones

I support the Constitution to its letter. Most people do not.

If you do not like something in the constitution that is fine, but you cannot allow the government to create laws or take actions contrary to it without first getting an amendment in.

The fact that people refuse to do that is a certain sign of their intellectual integrity. Ever notice how citizens are expected to follow the letter of the law but not the government?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Constitution Free Zones

I was refering to this line:

>”Because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE wants to see a portion of the constitution ignored because of “politics”…”

You have no idea what EVERYBODY thinks.

I do support the Constitution, though I think there are a few things that should be changed…things that would make it clearer to Government what their position actually is. These are mostly additions, rather than deletions, though there is a thing about three fifths that needs to be dealt with, and maybe a few other corrections in wording rather than changes in intent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Constitution Free Zones

“You have no idea what EVERYBODY thinks.”

O yeas, I am quite sure there is an exception, but those exceptions are so small that it would be like 0.1% of the population.

That essentially means everybody. Sure you can argue petty semantics to escape on technicality, but the majority of people overwhelmingly support the destruction of the constitution. So much that it is effectively EVERYBODY!

There is a 99.9% chance that you will hold a political view and support a law that is in contravention of the Constitution. In fact there is likely just as much of a chance that you will support not one, but multiple unconstitutional laws or actions that are in contravention of the Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Constitution Free Zones

That is why this is sad. You think my claims are hyperbole when they are not even in the least. You are the type of person that has to witness the government directly doing something wrong to your face before you understand what I say.

Sadly, when that happens, it is often too late to do anything about it because like now… what you think is hyperbole, is now so common place you don’t even think anything of it.

Qwertygiy says:

Re: Re: Re: Constitution Free Zones

Many of these are misleading if not outright wrong.
1. 14th amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
2. Hate speech laws are unconstitutional, with the very very narrow and little-used exemption of "fighting words" where it can be shown that you’re not just saying "I’m gonna kill this guy" but you’re threatening and clearly intending to follow through on "I’m gonna kill this guy."
3. Not unconstitutional. The right to bear arms =/= the right to bear any and all arms just because of the mere fact that they are arms. I’m not going to get away with wielding a fully-functional AK-47 that happens to be made of crystal meth, or with building nuke-guns in my garage.
4. Not unconstitutional. 5th Amendment: "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". The due process of law was them getting convicted. Their liberty to vote and liberty to own a firearm has thus been deprived.
5. Of course they can. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says secrets are illegal. The right to free speech is the right to speak freely, not the right to steal private documents and retransmit their information (hey, this also applies to piracy!) or to freely provide information that the government believes could be harmful to national security. (You can’t just go on Facebook and tell the world the nuclear launch codes, Seargant Bob. If the Russians are listening, you just committed treason. And the Russians are always listening.)

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Constitution Free Zones

Do you have a citation for the definition you reference in point 2? Because it looks to me as if you’ve confused “fighting words” with the “true threat” doctrine.

The definition you gave seems much closer to (though not quite identical with) the “true threat” doctrine than to “fighting words”.

“Fighting words”, as I understand the concept, are basically words directed in real time at a specific person (or specific group of people) which are so extremely offensive that it would be unreasonable to expect the targeted person to have the self-possession to refrain from reacting with immediate automatic/reflexive/instictive violence.

Daydream says:

Wait, if laws are given the force of laws via the Constitution...

…Then doesn’t that imply that any Constitution-free zone is by definition, a place without American laws? A place that isn’t governed by the US government?

Quick, someone check to see if any judges or politicians have officially and unironically/unsatirically called the 100-mile thingy Constitution-free.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Wait, if laws are given the force of laws via the Constitution...

No ——– without ————–.

If I could just remember what those words were… they’re on the tip of my fingers… something something fireworks July… wasn’t Bill Pullman in a film about this? That Fresh Prince chap was in it, too. And Data from the Next Generation…

Dang it!

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: No -------- without --------------.

“No nation without slavery”?

After all, the mother Empire had outlawed slavery by 1807, while the “freedom”-loving American colonies clung grimly onto it for over another half century, didn’t they? And they still preserve some of the institutions that only make sense in a slaveowning era, like the Electoral College.

Anonymous Coward says:

out_of_the_blue seems to believe that all the problems he thinks exist are due to the immunity offered by Section 230. As is his habit, most of them have to do with the piracy bogeyman he thinks is hurting rightsholders like FOX. (Because FOX is obviously not a corporation, therefore not qualifying for his rants about corporatism…)

What he doesn’t appear to realize is that if platforms actually became responsible for the shit that goes down using their platforms, regardless of their involvement, all the bots helping his heroes enforce copyright would actually get punished for all the auto-generated emails they send out, asking Google to block by HBO.

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