by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the freedom-aint-free dept

As we've been pointing out a lot lately, one of the big problems with arguments in favor of NSA surveillance (and other overbearing national security measures) is the built-in assumption that Americans are neither able nor willing to accept the consequences of true freedom, and thus must be swaddled in the child-sized version. OldMugwump snagged most insightful comment of the week by summing this up in a prefab response to scaremongers:

Not enough people in this debate are emphasizing this.

When somebody says "people will die" as a justification for curtailing liberty, the correct response is "what are you suggesting - that liberty isn't worth dying for? That those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms made the wrong choice?"

Defenders of the NSA have built a big list of "reasons" on top of that "people will die" foundation. When Dianne Feinstein enumerated these reasons in an editorial this week, Ninja won second place on the insightful side by holding a mirror up to the format:

Ok, we can play that too regarding this mass surveillance.

[x] The citizens don't approve.
[x] The Constitution doesn't allow.
[x] The world doesn't like it.
[x] It is not effective in preventing anything before happening.
[x] After it happens the citizens collective effort is what helps catching suspects and providing relief.
[x] Taxpayer money that could be used to help relief efforts or improve other areas is spent in this.
[x] There is no oversight. Or the ones responsible for it simply aren't doing their jobs.
[x] Feinstein lives in denial.

Nice, can we add more?

Though that's a great table-turning, there was an even better one this week when Michael Hayden's off-the-record call was live-tweeted by a train passenger. Our first editor's choice for insightful goes to an anonymous commenter who caught Hayden out on an admission he accidentally made after he caught on:

At least Hayden admitted one thing...
“Would you like a real interview?” he asked Matzzie.

“I’m not a reporter,” Matzzie replied.

“Everybody’s a reporter,” said Hayden.
So he now admits that freedom of the press protections extend to EVERYONE.

And, last up on the insightful side, we break from the NSA with Chancius discussing the gaps in perception versus reality in the music industry:

From A DIY Musician's Point of View

People need to realize that what they refer to as the "old guard" or "industry" is nothing like it used to be. The biggest problem the major labels have are being bought and owned in the past 10-15 years by conglomerates that had nothing to do with music and tried to run their new acquisitions like they do their canned soup factories. The reason why most of the music they produce is bad is because they let go of most of the experienced music veterans they had and focus their efforts towards only one demographic. They sue and try to kill off innovation because they don't really know what they are doing having no real music experience themselves. This is not about a generation of people who want something for free. This is about a generation of people who can see the transparency of the industry and their greed and don't care for it anymore. We live in a time where the customer dictates more than ever what price and how they want to pay for things and the major labels don't like not having that control anymore.

Over on the funny side, we start with the story of the Texas judge who was forced to resign after texting instructions to an assistant during a trial. Michael took one look at her vague almost-denial and won first place for funny by adding a point that she had missed:

"While I could have fought these allegations, it would have involved significant time, significant expense, and disruption to everyone involved. I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself"

Plus, these corrupt judges make it nearly impossible to defend yourself.

For second place, we head to the not-particularly-surprising revelations that Fox News engaged in widespread online astroturfing. As we noted, even on that very post any comments defending Fox would now be immediately suspect — so of course we're still thoroughly investigating the veracity of the anonymous defense that won second place for funny:

Fox News gave me a puppy.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with yet another story of a student falling victim to reactionary punishments from a school, this time over the shockingly innocuous football threat “Im boutta drill my ‘teammates’ on Monday.” Rekrul had a better idea:

They should be suspending his English teacher.

And, finally, we've got an anonymous commenter and fellow Sid Meier fan offering one place for America's great but now faltering talent to survive:

Can't wait for "powerful hypocrisy" be listed as an ability in the next Civilization game.

(Though in truth, that's kind of just a modernization of America's current ability in the franchise: Manifest Destiny.)

That's all for this week!

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