This week’s “favorites” post comes from the aptly-named CommonSense. Who can disagree with a little CommonSense?
I was starting to think that this day might never come. I’ve had an insightful comment show up in that weekly post before, and I’ve even been told by one of my favorite commenters turned contributor, Dark Helmet, that I was basketball stupid (at least he noticed me, right??….more importantly, at least the Heat LOST!). But with my sometimes sporadic comments coming in surges, I wondered if I had what it took to be a chosen one, and reveal for the world what my favorite posts of the week really were. Alas, here I am. I’m going to do things a little bit different, and show you all some of the main reasons I visit this site. This week there were a lot of good posts – I currently have 25 tabs open, each to an article I hope to mention – and many of them touch similar topics, each with different bits of information, or different viewpoints. Let’s get started.
- To start, I bring to everyone’s attention the post: Finnish Police Respond To The Norwegian Tragedy By Increasing Internet Surveillance
This post did a few things for me, least of which was to remind me that the U.S. isn’t the only country that suffers from some corrupt, power hungry leaders who would sink so low as to use a massive tragedy to gain more power for themselves. My parents taught me something important when I was younger — that you should never make important decisions in the heat of the moment. Emotions cloud judgement. Gandhi didn’t become who he was because of magic, it was because he was able to separate his actions from his emotions. Here in America, we haven’t really been doing that lately and I feel that we are paying a heavy price (Is Your Senator Using the Distraction of the Debt Ceiling to Support the Feds Secret Interpretation of Spying Laws?, Wyden Continues to Press Intelligence Officials About Tracking American Under ‘Secret’ Interpretation of the Patriot Act, Intelligence Chief to Wyden: It Would be Difficult to Reveal What You Want Us to Reveal Because We Don’t Want to Reveal It). I’ve mentioned before that I don’t believe it’s possible to catch ALL instances of terrorism or malicious actions in general (Looking at Security Theater Through the Lens of the Utøya Massacre). There are just some people in the world who have a desire to cause harm; always have been and always will be. Ben Franklin said it best: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
When a society lets its government take the knee jerk approach and react with emotion instead of reason, we get the exact scenario Franklin predicts:
Canadian Officials Censoring Scientists Whose Results They Don’t Like
UK Court Orders BT to Block Access to Usenet Site Hollywood Hates
China Monitors WiFi, US Takes Notes?
House Committee Approves ‘Keep Every American’s Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011’
There we are, clear as day, with the U.S. government acting almost exactly like the Chinese government we hear our officials condemn so often. The only difference is that China is open about monitoring live communications (didn’t Obama promise to be more open???), while our government tries to hide it with what could seriously be compared to the 7 second delay. As long as they’re not listening while we’re having the conversation, it’s cool, right? Hollywood is in the U.S., isn’t it? So why are they controlling UK courts, and why would Canadian officials be mimicking their behavior? Luckily, they don’t have enough money to give to everyone in the world (Mexican Senate Calls On President To Reject ACTA) or else this might start happening everywhere: 54-Year Old School Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How To Download Movies First To Be Kicked Off The Internet In France.
I was told by a wise man once, DeInter Nett was his name, that an older definition, since replaced, of fascism, defined it as the “Authoritarian merging of government and industry”. The point was that high level people, many of them with familiar sounding last names, moved swiftly between government and industry positions. There weren’t any specific posts touching that exact topic this week, but what we see above are definitely symptoms of a problem that seems eerily familiar to that definition.
- Now, I don’t only visit this site for the depressing news. I’m here for the same reason I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, to get a taste of the news that matters, various viewpoints on said news, and, occasionally, a laugh. I laugh when people get what they deserve: ABC Sports Threatens To Hit Tim Pawlenty With Copyright Infringement Claim Over Miracle On Ice Footage (maybe you should think about those unintended consequences to the laws you want so badly??), and I laugh when companies repeatedly make the wrong decisions again and again: Fox Decides To Drive Fans To Piracy, Rather Than Giving Legitimate Options (Mr. Nett also told me once that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results…). I value real education, which involves debate, discussion, differing views, and anything BUT a closed up, one-sided, piece of propaganda, so I was very thankful to see this post from Tim: If Your Comment Section Is Awesome, It’s Your Community’s Fault. And I’m always thankful when a post goes up showing that there are people out there who still understand what it means to be civilized: How Should Law Enforcement Handle Being Filmed? Officer Lyons Provides The Perfect Example.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope I didn’t put you all to sleep.