by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the fighting-the-tide dept

Jon Kerry received a lot of scrutiny this week for his ongoing crusade against Edward Snowden. Among his many recurring comments is the assertion had Snowden has "done great damage to his country" — and this week's most insightful comment is a response to that from Rich Kulawiec:

No. He hasn't done any damage at all. All the violence done to the Constitution and to the rule of law has been done by the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the DHS and all their collaborators in and out of government. Those are the people who've laid waste to the Constitution and to the lofty ideals that the United States allegedly embodies. And make no mistake about it: these are crippling blows from which the United States may, sadly, never recover.

All Snowden has done is shine a light on some of it; one small candle in the darkness.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ---Abraham Lincoln

Meanwhile, UPS is insisting that it doesn't assist the NSA in intercepting packages. The problem, as John Fenderson points out in our second place comment for insightful, is that corporate denials have been robbed of credibility:

The NSA would be more likely to use NSLs than court orders, wouldn't they? And UPS would not be allowed to confirm that fact.

Whether or not UPS is involved in the situation, this brings up an excellent point about NSLs: that they exist mean that no denial any company issues actually means a thing.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll venture to a couple other topics. First up, we've got Chris Brand pointing out the insidious problem in language from ISPs about Netflix and other services "using bandwidth":

That might be reasonable if Netflix was just pushing video content out to random people over Comcast's network. They don't do that, though. What they do is *respond* to the requests made by Comcast's customers - the ones who paid to use that bandwidth. Just because Netflix is sending the data, doesn't really mean that it's them that's "using a lot of bandwidth". It's all driven by Comcast's customers.

Next, we've got a response to a commenter who claimed you can't blame companies like Disney for doing collateral damage to harmless fan-created content because, in their quest to end piracy, they are "trying to stop a flood with not much more than a single sandbag and King Canute as their point man". Of course, whichever version of the fable of Cnut you subscribe to, jupiterkansas offers a much more pragmatic perspective:

You can try to make money by stopping the flood, or you can sell boats.

For first place on the funny side, we head to the would-be-funny-if-it-wasn't-so-serious news that the White House accidentally revealed the identity of a top CIA officer in Kabul. John William Nelson could apply for a job at the press office with his ability to put a positive(-ish) spin on things:

At least transparency is improving!

Although I'm not sure this is how they intended to be the most transparent White House.

For second place, we circle back to another of John Kerry's comments, this time saying Snowden should "come back and make his case". Trevor provided an approximation of the fine print:

*This limited time offer excludes the following defenses: Intent, Actual harm, Unconstitutionality of Government actions, Classified documents supporting your claims, Truth, Following internal reporting procedures, First Amendment, Jury of peers, Ability to examine evidence presented against you, and Ability to challenge admissibility of prosecutorial evidence. Note: This list is not all-inclusive.

Editor's choice on the funny side starts out with another topical diversion: the battle between Natural News and scientists/science journalists. After the former legally objected to statements made by the latter, an anonymous commenter strained to find cracks in the absolute defence of truth:

False statement: That Natural News is the "Most Anti-Science Site on the Web."
Fact: Natural News is the second-most anti-science site on the web.

False statement: That "Adams has claimed that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells, have been shown to 'annihilate cancer.' "
Fact: Mr. Adams has never made such a claim in any form...of Swahili.

False statement: That "[Adams] is also an AIDS denialist, a 9111 truther, a Barack Obama citizenship 'birther' and a believer in 'dangerous' chemtrails.'"
Fact: This statement contains no citations and is based entirely on ramblings published by someone who closely resembles Mr. Adams.

And, finally, we've got one more reaction to John Kerry, and an elaborate one at that. DogBreath couldn't help seeing things in terms of a classic piece of 90s sci-fi, and decided to write some fan-fiction. So crack open a bubbly, cloying root beer and enjoy the script:

This conversation made me think so much of Deep Space 9...

that I just had to do this:

DOCTOR JULIAN BASHIR: Well, Gul Dukat, what about it? Does he have a point? He’s basically saying but for the Obsidian Order wanting him dead, he wouldn’t be on Deep Space 9 at all.

GUL DUKAT: Well, for a allegedly intelligent Cardassian, that’s a extremely simpleminded answer. Look, I’m not going to get into the – who he was or what he was. Let me just say this: If Elim Garak wants to come back to Cardassia Prime today, we’ll place him on a Cardassian transport today. We’d be delighted for him to come back. And he should come back, because that’s what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away from the Cardassian Union and look for refuge on a Federation space station or Bajor or some other system. A patriot would stand up on Cardassia Prime and make his case to the Cardassian people. But he’s refused to do that to this date.

The fact is that he can come home, but he’s a fugitive from justice, which is why he’s not being permitted to return freely to Cardassian space.

It’s that simple and he knows it.

DOCTOR JULIAN BASHIR: Have you softened your stance at all with regard to his alleged conduct? I noticed earlier this year you said that there were disclosures about the Obsidian Order made because of Garak that you yourself were not aware of that constituted Obsidian Order overreach. Does that change the calculus at all for you?

GUL DUKAT: That’s entirely up to the Cardassian justice system. Let him come back and make his case. The fact is that he should – if he cares so much about Cardassia and he believes in Cardassia, he should trust in the Cardassian system of justice. But to be hiding on Deep Space 9, a part of the Federation, and to have just admitted that he was really just trying to keep from being eliminated by the State for the good of the State, I mean, what does that tell you, really? I think he’s mistaken about where his true loyaties should lie, I think it’s very pitiable.

But this is a man who has done great damage to the State, violated his oath which he took when he became an agent for the Obsidian Order, to the great detriment of the absolute and supreme power of the Cardassian Union.

DOCTOR JULIAN BASHIR: Absolute and supreme power it holds by having secret interpretations of laws that no one can find out they have violated until they are found guilty and sentenced before the trial even takes place. And yes, in fact, he did what he thought was in the best interest of the citizens, all without being conveniently "placed" into office so he could then use it for political, financial and personal gain. You are the one who is pitiable, Gul Dukat.

That's all for this week, folks!

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 1st, 2014 @ 11:25am

    "Let me just say this: If Elim Garak wants to come back to Cardassia Prime today, we’ll place him on a Cardassian transport today. We’d be delighted for him to come back...
    The fact is that he can come home, but he’s a fugitive from justice, which is why he’s not being permitted to return freely to Cardassian space."

    Contradictory much?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 1st, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Just wish some journalist with balls would ask Kerry or Obama
    "Why should anyone believe a word you say?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    David, Jun 1st, 2014 @ 12:19pm


    Just wish some journalist with balls would ask Kerry or Obama
    "Why should anyone believe a word you say?"

    This is an excellent question that I have asked myself a number of times. But the fact that I am standing here before you in the position I have been elected to is ample evidence that both you and I should never underestimate what the people of this country are capable of. Whenever we faltered in our belief of whether we would be able to bullshit the people yet another time, history has proven that we, with the powers invested into us by the ultimate authority, should have had the faith and trust in ourselves and the people of our country to firmly believe: yes, we can!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Bergman (profile), Jun 1st, 2014 @ 2:15pm


    Not so much. That transport wouldn't go where Garak wants, it would go directly to a supermax prison. If you're accused of a crime where you're not allowed to have any defense, there's no need for a trial except to show the people that all the proper forms were observed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2014 @ 2:46pm

    Re: journalist with balls

    The only real hope is that Keith Alexander hasn't warned them away from John Oliver.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), Jun 1st, 2014 @ 5:08pm

    The DS9 episode where O'brien is put on trial on Cardasia seems more fitting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Techanon, Jun 1st, 2014 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re:


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    cbpelto (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 7:29am

    We Have All Been Here Before

    Snowden is the Danial Ellsberg of this generation.

    For those who don't remember—because they weren't cogent, let alone alive back then—Ellsberg who worked for the Pentagon during the Viet Nam War released what are know as The Pentagon Papers. It was an exposé of the dirty things the military was doing in the Viet Nam War.

    Ellsberg was declared a traitor by the government back then, just as Snowden has been by this government.

    [History repeats itself. That's one of the problems with History.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 11:43am


    If Snowden was found on the Bolivian President's Jet back in 2013, then I bet that is precisely how the trial would have played out. Except for the part where O'Brien was released at the end. That would not happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:38pm


    Cardassians on the show were well known to use doublespeak, plots within plots, telling the truth interspersed with lies, all to keep opponents guessing as to their true motives and desired outcomes.

    This type of thinking comes very easy to Cardassians, because it is how they were raised to survive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 7:38pm

    Funny someone should mention "Deep Space 9". I recently met Chase Masterson, Cirroc Lofton, Aron Eisenberg, and a couple of guys who played Klingons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2014 @ 4:38am

    NSL in fact deputizes a citizen. That is whole different game. Has anyone challenged on that ground yet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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