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Freedom is slavery

June 10th, 2013

In August 2012, the US House of Representatives voted 414-0 against governments trying to control the Internet

The House resolution calls on U.S. government officials to tell the ITU and other international organizations that it is the “consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control.”

I wonder if we will see more resolutions like this. It wouldn’t surprise me.

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  1. kevin1
    June 10th, 2013 at 13:24 | #1

    What? I thought the US Govt has been monitoring everything and everyone without hesitation according to recent news.

  2. Peter Smith
    June 10th, 2013 at 14:51 | #2

    My browser appears to be not handling the Irony Font correctly. :(

  3. Adam
    June 10th, 2013 at 15:16 | #3

    Monitoring is not the same as controlling.

  4. Socrates
    June 10th, 2013 at 15:55 | #4

    This sounds similar to their positions on financial crimes, except on Wall Street, and torture, except at Guantanamo Bay.

  5. Jim Rose
    June 10th, 2013 at 16:12 | #5

    Metadata such as who you phone and email is metadata that is not private. their contents have a greater expectation of privacy.

    As for control, who wants that: the more phone calls terrorists make too each other and would be recruits, the better. They are a gossipy lot. Whatever happened to writing a letter?

  6. TerjeP
    June 10th, 2013 at 16:33 | #6

    Metadata such as who you phone and email is metadata that is not private.

    Then all departments of government and the office of president should be happy to put their own metadata online publicly available for all to see.

  7. pablo
    June 10th, 2013 at 16:56 | #7

    The bit about … ‘if you have nothing to hide’… phone records won’t bother you, instantly reminded me of GWB’s (I think) ‘State of the Union’ address 2002 bit about hunting down terrorists…’ if you’re not with us you’re against us’.

  8. Jim Rose
    June 10th, 2013 at 17:27 | #8

    Jim Rose :
    Metadata such as who you phone and email is metadata that is not private. their contents have a greater expectation of privacy.
    As for control, who wants that: the more phone calls terrorists make too each other and would be recruits, the better. They are a gossipy lot. Whatever happened to writing a letter?

  9. June 10th, 2013 at 18:16 | #9

    P Q quotes Big Brother:

    Freedom is Slavery

    Pr Q gets the strategic logic of across the board network surveillance all wrong. Its not so much the government thats trying to control the internet for political purposes. Rather, its the internet service providers who want to co-opt the government, for economic purposes.

    The “Freedom is Slavery” line is drawn from the Big Brother totalitarian model which is not really applicable these days, given the absence of para-military parties controlling the state and terrorising the citizens for ideological mobilization. Most elites are interested in making money not making over society. What is more likely is some combination of Company Town & Nanny State, where compliant citizens are data mined and troublesome citizens are named-and-shamed.

    The Big Data providers of the 21srC (Apple MS, Google, Facebook) are much like the Great Powers of the 19thC, all trying to carve up global cyber-space into spheres of digital interest, in a hurry to stake their claims before the PRC starts sending out its SOE digital gun boats. Except Big Data has learned the lesson of 19th C Empires: competition Bad. Much better to have collusion, cosily administered by friendly officials looking for a lucrative post-government service career.

    They are only too happy to assist the US governments attempts to track terrorist chatter. In return they can rest assured that US anti-trust laws will not be applied to their collusive activity or outrageous patent claims. Rather the US government will act as their global bagman, intimidating foreign competition and collecting tribute from client states.

    Surveillance of citizens does not need to be very heavy handed to be effective. We have seen recently that all it needs is a few leaked emails or credit card details to ruin the careers of independent thinkers that challenge the elite consensus, whether they be Assange, Elitot Spitzer or Jason Richwine, Ross Douthat, as usual, puts his finger right on the kinder, gentler face of authority in the 21 C:


    The problem is that we have only one major point of reference when we debate what these trends might mean: the 20th-century totalitarian police state, whose every intrusion on privacy was in the service of tyrannical one-party rule.But America isn’t about to turn into East Germany with Facebook pages.

    For us, the age of surveillance is more likely to drift toward what Alexis de Tocqueville described as “soft despotism” or what the Forbes columnist James Poulos has dubbed “the pink police state.”

    So instead of a climate of pervasive fear, there will be a chilling effect at the margins of political discourse. In this atmosphere, radicalism and protest will seem riskier, paranoia will be more reasonable, and conspiracy theories will proliferate.

    But because genuinely dangerous people will often be pre-empted or more swiftly caught, the privacy-for-security swap will seem like a reasonable trade-off to many Americans.

    Welcome to the future. Just make sure you don’t have anything to hide.

    The great pity is that the citizenry are mostly apathetic about elite maneuverings and machinations. If anything, when they find out about the latest scam the clever ones tend to kick themselves that they didnt think of it earlier and clamour to get on board (as Michael Lewis discovered when he lectured on Liars Poker at US universities).

  10. June 10th, 2013 at 18:33 | #10

    “Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.” – Benjamin Franklin

  11. alfred venison
    June 10th, 2013 at 19:09 | #11

    ” Metadata such as who you phone and email is metadata that is not private. ”

    police and others need a subpoena to access metadata from phone & internet service providers.

    ben franklin might well have added that those who unlawfully access private information should go to jail.

    it is no wonder coulson and brooks think they’re not guilty . -a.v.

  12. June 10th, 2013 at 19:52 | #12

    the US House of Representatives voted 414-0 against governments trying to control the Internet

    Strictly speaking that isn’t correct.

    The internet is “controlled” (in the sense the word is used here) by a US based ‘non-profit’ corporation.

    At stake was the possibility that the UN body discussing the internet MIGHT suggest that, perhaps, something as globally important as the internet might be better “controlled” universally, maybe.

    All the US Government did was unanimously agree to thump the table and say that the UN must having nothing to do with the internet because the US was doing it just fine thanks.

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, in consultation with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, should continue working to implement the position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today.

  13. Mel
    June 10th, 2013 at 23:24 | #13

    Is there a genuine gripe about how the US not-for-profit group is performing?

    It would be a disaster if the crooks at the UN got their sticky fingers on the internet.

  14. June 11th, 2013 at 00:25 | #14

    @Mel

    How would a UN body differ from ICANN?

    The only difference would be that the US wouldn’t have primacy. Otherwise it would work the same – it’s only the body that keeps order in internet protocols and stuff like that.

    The fluffery that gave rise to this thread arose from the ‘heritage foundation’ and their ilk and is really about pretending that the UN is evil and wants to control the internet.

    The US can’t handle anything that might mean genuine consensus, they do PR quite well but other than that it’s what US wants US gets.

  15. June 11th, 2013 at 01:07 | #15

    But the US gov’t is not trying to block US users’ access to information or to prevent them from speaking out on the net. I don’t think all this snooping interferes with the First Amendment (freedom of speech), although it probably interferes with the Fourth (prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures).

    What most other governments are after – their censorship laws being increasingly applied to the net – is freedom of speech and access to information. I think Australia has an active net filter ostensibly targeted at underage porn sites but easily reconfigurable to block out anything the federal cabinet does not like.

  16. Mel
    June 11th, 2013 at 01:33 | #16

    The UN isn’t democratic. I would have a lot more respect for the UN if every country in it was a democracy. I don’t want China or the Arab dictators or any other despotic regime to have a chance to make decisions about the internet. America is far from perfect but at least it is a democratic plutocracy. Or a plutocratic democracy. Or something like that.

  17. Doug
    June 11th, 2013 at 08:50 | #17

    The US is an imperial power mildly constrained by democratic and legal processes but don’t rely on them too much if you come up against the Federal government and challenge its assumption that it can do whatever it wants

  18. TerjeP
    June 11th, 2013 at 09:03 | #18

    The US President is immune from prosecution by any entity other than congress. The President can pardon anybody of any crime. The US federal government is essentially above the law. Like most presidential systems it is highly dependent on the good character of the incumbent. And Obama has very little in the way of good character. He has charm but seriously who cares?

  19. may
    June 11th, 2013 at 12:04 | #19

    during the murdoch inquiry into phone hacking,one of the people involved came up with a public statement that went

    “privacy is for paedos”

    so maybe the over riding concern is to make out that anybody who objects to peeping toms is a child abuser?

    very little in the way of good character?
    compared to whom?

    “who cares?”
    coming from the ideology that replied to the concern that people who relied on for-profit end-of-life-care businesses that went bankrupt would end up on the street.
    “don’t be ridiculous”.

    par for the course.

  20. Tony lynch
    June 11th, 2013 at 15:40 | #20

    It’s quite something to corrupt language to the point that self-contradiction is the norm, and even more something to see this senselessness defended. Who knew sheep had that ability?

  21. Fran Barlow
    June 11th, 2013 at 16:20 | #21

    @Mel

    America is far from perfect but at least it is a democratic plutocracy. Or a plutocratic democracy. Or something like that.

    Well a plutocracy anyway, albeit one with some of of the features of pluralistic and individual rights-based societies that are commonly co-extensive with popular concepts of democracy.

  22. John Salmond
    June 12th, 2013 at 11:45 | #22

    The internet like every part of the community should not be free from government control. To maintain otherwise is to fall for the corporatist, extreme right agenda of the 1pc

  23. June 12th, 2013 at 12:55 | #23

    Assuming that it is no longer presumed to be symptom of paranoid delusion to see conspiracy behind government proposals to control the Internet and spy on all our personal communications and even pry into our computers, could I suggest that James Corbett has some valuable knowledge and insight into these questions at : http://corbettreport.com/ ?

  24. quokka
    June 12th, 2013 at 17:21 | #24

    Megan :
    @Mel
    How would a UN body differ from ICANN?
    The only difference would be that the US wouldn’t have primacy. Otherwise it would work the same – it’s only the body that keeps order in internet protocols and stuff like that.
    The fluffery that gave rise to this thread arose from the ‘heritage foundation’ and their ilk and is really about pretending that the UN is evil and wants to control the internet.
    The US can’t handle anything that might mean genuine consensus, they do PR quite well but other than that it’s what US wants US gets.

    All this is about ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is ultimately responsible for the proper operation of DNS – the Domain Name Service. DNS is a service that maps domain name (eg google.com) to IP addresses. It is a directory service. The internet can function without it, at least in theory, but you wouldn’t be able to find anything. ICANN is a not profit corporation financed by the US government. While I’m not suggesting that the US government does interfere in ICANN, it obviously could if it chose to do so. This makes some nations a bit nervous for obvious reasons.

    You need an authority such as ICANN but there is no reason that it has to be done under the auspices of the US government. Claiming that makes it “free” is just US exceptionalism.

    Internet protocol standards are administered by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and reflecting the net’s origins are known as RFCs (requests for comment). This is a light handed oversight – if you implement a protocol and want to connect such a protocol implementation to the net you can do so. As far as I know there is no requirement for any sort of official certification. If it don’t work property your users get cranky and you fix it. The internet is basically an honour system. In earlier days when things were less developed, there was a lot of interoperability testing with vendors cooperating with each other.

  25. Jim Rose
    June 12th, 2013 at 19:30 | #25

    TerjeP :
    The US President is immune from prosecution by any entity other than congress. The President can pardon anybody of any crime. The US federal government is essentially above the law. Like most presidential systems it is highly dependent on the good character of the incumbent. And Obama has very little in the way of good character. He has charm but seriously who cares?

    Nixon was to face many charges until he was pardoned.

    you may be confusing civil immunity for official acts with criminal immunity. also, paula jones was able to sue Clinton while he was in office for his private conduct.

    The Justice department still argues that a sitting President is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution albeit only while he is in office.

    as for the chatter about a plutocracy, anyone can win a seat in upper houeses with a modest amount of community support. lower yourself and join the greens as a watermelon.

  26. Ernestine Gross
    June 13th, 2013 at 15:01 | #26

    Another brilliant heading of a thread by JQ.

  27. TerjeP
    June 13th, 2013 at 18:14 | #27

    John Salmond :
    The internet like every part of the community should not be free from government control. To maintain otherwise is to fall for the corporatist, extreme right agenda of the 1pc

    If I’m reading you right then you think the local book club along with the mothers group and the church should all be government controlled. The insanity of this outlook is that not only does it leave nowhere free to organise opposition to what the government may be doing and hence correct the course it may be on, it also overwhelms the government with things to plan, organise and control.

    The best government is one that is limited and does a few things competently whilst leaving space for civil society and private enterprise to be creative and dynamic. I can understand arguments about where the limit to government should be set but I find the advocacy of limitless government to be a rather insane concept.

  28. Tim Macknay
    June 13th, 2013 at 19:32 | #28

    @Jim Rose
    Jim Rose, your comment reads like you disagree with Terje, but nothing you’ve added seems to contradict what he wrote. It seems like you both agree that the US President is immune from prosecution (other than impeachment by Congress) while in office.

  29. Jim Rose
    June 13th, 2013 at 19:36 | #29

    @Tim Macknay ask any french president about the value of an immunity of prosecution that expires when they leave office. they spend their retirements in the courts.

  30. June 13th, 2013 at 21:53 | #30

    The resolution is meaningless, an empty piece of theatre. The Internet is a global machine that transcends national, geographic, cultural and political boundaries. At this point in the evolution of human civilization it is inconceivable that the governments of the world could agree on uniform controls for use of the information commons.

    Metadata has value. This is the premise underpinning the business models of internet communication. We must use the platforms to give them value. Online services, such as this blog platform do not exist for the common good, they exist to make money. If you choose to communicate using digital technologies, you agree to contribute your meta data as trading stock.
    That is the bargain all of us enter upon to enjoy the bells and whistles of the new media. If you are unhappy with this bargain, opt out. Communicate using less revealing methods.

    The profiteers are agog at the potential of digital commerce and services to reduce their expense and maximise profits. But cost has not been eliminated rather it is transferred. The prosumer pays by ceding sovereignty over their private lives to the suppliers of the web platforms we have come to view as intefral to our existence. The analogy of a fish on a hook seems to sum it up.

  31. Ernestine Gross
    June 13th, 2013 at 22:46 | #31

    “I can understand arguments about where the limit to government should be set but I find the advocacy of limitless government to be a rather insane concept.”

    I concur with you on this one, TerjeP.

  32. June 14th, 2013 at 01:49 | #32

    General Keith Alexander, the public face at the centre of this NSA spying on you and everyone else on the internet, appeared at the “hacker’s” conference “DefCon” in 2012.

    National Security Agency Director General Keith B. Alexander addressed the attendees of the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas on Friday and asked for their help to secure cyberspace.

    Hackers can and must be part, together with the government and the private industry, of a collaborative approach to secure cyberspace, he said.

    Hackers can help educate other people who don’t understand cybersecurity as well as they do, the NSA chief said. “You know that we can protect networks and have civil liberties and privacy; and you can help us get there.”

    The NSA director stressed the need for better information sharing between the private industry and the government and noted that the Congress is currently debating legislation to address this.

    NSA’s and U.S. Cyber Command’s roles are to protect the nation from cyberattacks and foreign intelligence, Gen. Alexander said. The issue is that if you don’t see a cyberattack you can’t defend against it and at the moment, the NSA has no insight if Wall Street is going to be attacked, for example, he said.

    Gen. Alexander’s presence at Defcon was a rare event. Before introducing him to the stage, Defcon founder Jeff Moss, who is the chief security officer of ICANN and a member of the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council, revealed that he has tried for the past 20 years to get a high-ranking NSA official to speak at the conference.

    “Like magic, on our 20th anniversary and NSA’s 60th anniversary it’s all come together,” Moss said. “For me it’s really eye-opening to see the world from their [NSA's] view.”

    OK, take-away points: “DefCon” is a HSA/NSA front, NSA’s main concern is Wall Street rather than US citizens, ICANN has unhealthily close connections to NSA and HSA and the US thinks it can control the internet, indeed has some Deity given duty to control the entire universe (OK that may qualify as hyperbole) and the free market has no place anywhere near what should be government functions. In the US 70% of the so-called ‘National Security’ budget is spent on private corporations doing things exactly like this internet spying. Booz Allen Hamilton gets about US$6 Billion annually with almost no transparency (because it’s all secret for your protection because the evil doers would use that information nefariously if they knew what it was spent on).

    Here is a quote from the General’s speech:

    We’re the ones who built this internet, and we ought to be the first ones to secure it

  33. Ernestine Gross
    June 14th, 2013 at 09:33 | #33

    @Megan

    I suggest you should provide a verifiable reference for your quotes.

  34. June 14th, 2013 at 10:25 | #34

    @Ernestine Gross

    Unfortunately links tend to gum up the works these days.

    The first one is from a report on the event from a PC site, I think HuffPost had a similar report.

    The second one I transcribed from the video of his speech (I saw it on Amy Goodman’s show yesterday).

    Google of “Defcon” + “2012″ + “Alexander” will get similar info.

  35. may
    June 14th, 2013 at 12:07 | #35

    Ernestine Gross :“I can understand arguments about where the limit to government should be set but I find the advocacy of limitless government to be a rather insane concept.”
    I concur with you on this one, TerjeP.

    yay! a point of convergence.

    now, is it possible to arrive at the same thing applying to state straddling corporate encroachment via “markets uber alles” ideology?

    capitalism as a way of “fair exchange is no robbery” freely available to all who want to sell and/or buy?
    rather than the current disconnect between value and price and the vulnerability of too few market inhabitants jockeying to make the marketplace a monoculture,with no means for competition to disturb the guaranteed spoils?

    as far as the surveillance in real and recorded time goes——-is it that the theological ideology of various stripes making everyone aware from birth that “you are being watched ” and when you die everything you ever did in your life is right there to be judged,

    so look out!

    priming us for the real time stuff?

    the difference with the situation now is you don’t have to be dead to get replay.

  36. may
    June 14th, 2013 at 12:51 | #36

    also in todays fin is piece about Mandelbrot.

    he tried applying the techniques that describe chaotic systems to economics as an alternative to the efficient markets bizzo and was firmly put back in his box by prevailing powers-that- have -subsequently-been-proved-miserably-inept.

    any comment on what he was getting at QJ?

  37. TerjeP
    June 14th, 2013 at 12:51 | #37

    now, is it possible to arrive at the same thing applying to state straddling corporate encroachment via “markets uber alles” ideology?

    What does this even mean?

  38. may
    June 14th, 2013 at 13:00 | #38

    think hard.

  39. Ernestine Gross
    June 14th, 2013 at 13:10 | #39

    @may

    It seems to me you are jumping to all sorts of conclusions drawn, as it were, from a mixed bag of ideological baggages. Note the plural.

  40. Ernestine Gross
    June 14th, 2013 at 13:12 | #40

    @Megan

    I do believe quotes should be referenced.

  41. Ikonoclast
    June 14th, 2013 at 13:30 | #41

    This post is for TerjeP and Jim Rose to contemplate. Wouldn’t it be scarey if everything in the real world was actually the opposite of what you thought was case? Well, it turns out that the real world does operate in exactly the opposite way to what TerjeP and Jim Rose believe.

    Noam Chomsky sums it up perfectly in this irrefutable explanation of how military research, dirgisme and government expenditure in the US have driven almost all innovation and how private enterprise has innovated almost nothing. I say it’s “irrefutable” because he gives a set of concrete, empirical, easily researchable examples.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSJjlaggbK0

    There are two sad facts about Libertarians and Non-rich Right Wing Conservatives. One they are deluded. Two, they will always remain deluded. (Rich Right Wing Conservative Plutocrats are different. They know how it all works. They also own it all and own the government as well.)

    Oh BTW, the internet began with military research and MIT academic research (100% funded by the Penatgon i.e the government).

  42. Tim Macknay
    June 14th, 2013 at 14:02 | #42

    @Jim Rose

    @Tim Macknay ask any french president about the value of an immunity of prosecution that expires when they leave office. they spend their retirements in the courts.

    And your point is ?

  43. Jim Rose
    June 14th, 2013 at 17:11 | #43

    @Tim Macknay a temporary immunity does not make you above the law as prosecution is possible after leaving office

  44. TerjeP
    June 14th, 2013 at 18:33 | #44

    Wouldn’t it be scarey if everything in the real world was actually the opposite of what you thought was case?

    Something you should think about.

  45. Tim Macknay
    June 14th, 2013 at 18:49 | #45

    @Jim Rose
    I took Terje’s statement about the President being “above the law” as rhetorical exaggeration, although I do understand that no US President has ever been charged or prosecuted (let alone convicted) for anything done while in office.

    Ford’s pardon of Nixon removed the bare possibility in his case, but even if the pardon had not been granted, it isn’t clear that he would have been prosecuted. He resigned under threat of impeachment, but the impeachment was not proceeded with, and he never actually faced charges outside that context – just the rumour of them.

    Whether a former US President in fact can be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office appears to be a matter of academic speculation. One would certainly hope that it is possible, particularly where the crimes are unrelated to the President’s actual duties.

    It seems, though, that a President’s conduct would need to be especially outrageous to prompt the degree of social and political consensus necessary to overturn what looks a lot like a taboo against prosecuting former Presidents. Apparently the French have no such qualms, but then that’s hardly surprising. Prosecuting a President is small beer once you’ve chopped the King’s head off.

  46. Ikonoclast
    June 14th, 2013 at 20:30 | #46

    @TerjeP

    I have indeed thought about it but the extensive empirical evidence I have researched very clearly supports my views and demolishes views like yours. I have argued about various issues (the nuclear power debate was a classic) and pointed to (linked to) mountains of empirical evidence which demolish many of your cherished beliefs. I have noted each time how you remained impervious to empirical evidence and persisted in fanciful, ideologically determined beliefs. I am quite sure you are a nice bloke at the personal level. However, I am equally sure that your political-economic world view and indeed your natural world view is based on a set of fond beliefs and illusions and not on the empirical realities.

  47. June 14th, 2013 at 23:57 | #47

    @Ernestine Gross

    Yes of course they should be referenced so that interested people can verify that they are factual.

    Unfortunately we can’t just put links in comments anymore because the comments get deleted or spend huge amounts of time in moderation.

    Anyway, for those genuinely interested in the provenance of the above extracts and unable to find them through a search engine –

    The first one can be found at the website “computerworld.com” with this bit added at the end “/9229756/NSA_chief_asks_hackers_at_Defcon_for_help_securing_cyberspace”

    And the second quote can be heard coming from the man’s own mouth by going to “youtube.com” and putting this bit added at the end (it’s only about a minute and a half and my accurately transcribed quote comes right at the end): “/watch?v=JfywiKlpS0Q”

    Other than that, do you have any issue with the content and ramifications of the facts contained in my earlier comment?

    I’m happy to discuss the ramifications of the surveillance state and the fact that it is in the hands of so few who are so demonstrably unworthy of it.

  48. TerjeP
    June 14th, 2013 at 23:59 | #48

    I am quite sure you are a nice bloke at the personal level.

    Well that’s something I suppose.

  49. Ernestine Gross
    June 15th, 2013 at 09:26 | #49

    @Megan

    Given your post @46, the reference for the first quote in your post@32 would read:

    Source: Lucian Constantin, “NSA chief asks hackers at Defcon for help securing cyberspace
    NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander called the Defcon attendees the world's best cybersecurity community”, July 29, 2012, computerworld.com.

    I suggested you provide the reference for the quote out of habit to support the integrity of the author (ie you) on technical grounds. JQ wrote not long ago he is away and won’t post much. During his time of partial absence I assume we have to assist each other.

    I don’t have the time to do the same for the second quote in your post @32

  50. June 15th, 2013 at 12:45 | #50

    @Ernestine Gross

    Thanks for taking the time to do that.

    I misunderstood. I thought you were questioning the accuracy of the quotes themselves rather than the referencing style.

  51. may
    June 15th, 2013 at 13:12 | #51

    Ernestine Gross :@may
    It seems to me you are jumping to all sorts of conclusions drawn, as it were, from a mixed bag of ideological baggages. Note the plural.

    yes ,the the description plural applies.

    not having the training or aptitude for the closely reasoned and logically coherant arguments neccessary for an academic discipline, trying to make sense of the drunkards walk of consequentially ever changing info can indeed render a comment not-quite- the-thing.

    oh well.

    the point i was trying to make is that worrying about government intrusion into areas of our lives that are none of it’s business,while being perfectly valid,does not obviate the need to also worry about market driven intrusion,from very large,politically active corporate bodies that have no purpose but to gain as much as possible from their areas of operation while giving as little as possible in return and amassing personal info that may or may not be accurate,can be considered a commodity, used in ways we know nothing about,may not give consent to and not be deleted.

    in fact given the role of government in the areas of social protection from mad as a meataxe ideologists and really hungry-gutted profit driven predators(wanna buy a young kid/baby?great big gun?blow-the-top-of-your-sanity-into-oblivion recreational substance?half the worlds private and banking details,with passwords?where the best chances of getting some murder-with-impunity action?etc,governments have a duty to pay attention.

    having proper protections of the non perpetrators of such behavior while pursuing the never ending where there’s money,there’s psychopaths, is the challenge of keeping the balance between accountable administration and denied and deniable collateral damage.(us).

  52. Jim Rose
    June 15th, 2013 at 14:38 | #52

    @Tim Macknay nixon was the first to be named as an unindicted coconspirator becuase he was the first president who was a crook.

  53. Ikonoclast
    June 15th, 2013 at 22:25 | #53

    @Jim Rose

    “he (Nixon) was the first president who was a crook.” – Jim.

    You haven’t read much history have you? There were considerable whiffs of corruption swirling about several presidencies. However, only two presidents have been impeached, namely Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, but none have been convicted. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

    It would depend on your definition of “crook” of course but my guess is that at least 10 US Presidents were outright crooks in one way or another. The US system has a high bias to protect US presidents from impeachment and conviction as such events call the office and the system into question.

    There have been 44 US presidents to date. If the yardstick were general moral honesty in office and having the interests of all US citizens at heart, then I would very much doubt that the US has had more than 4 good Presidents out of 44. I don’t recall any good ones in my lifetime (viewing things from afar and assessing how the US has affected other countries too).

  54. Jim Rose
    June 17th, 2013 at 12:35 | #54

    @Ikonoclast in the interests of brevity, i did not go into a long aside on corruption in american political history and machine politics.

  55. Fran Barlow
    June 17th, 2013 at 14:37 | #55

    @Tim Macknay

    Whether a former US President in fact can be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office appears to be a matter of academic speculation. One would certainly hope that it is possible, particularly where the crimes are unrelated to the President’s actual duties.

    This brings to mind a great line in one of the Naked Gun movies in which “Frank Drebben” is sacked for incompetence and he moans to his colleagues “just think: the next time I shoot someone, I could go to jail.

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