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Government The Internet United States

US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline 536

joeszilagyi sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "... according to the owner of a free WordPress platform which hosts more than 73,000 blogs, his network of sites has been completely shut down on the orders of the authorities. has been with host BurstNet for 7 months, but on Friday July 9th the site disappeared. ... Due to the fact that the authorities aren't sharing information and BurstNet are sworn to secrecy, it is proving almost impossible to confirm the exact reason why Blogetery has been completely taken down. The owner does, however, admit to handling many copyright-related cease and desists in the past, albeit in a timely manner as the DMCA requires."
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US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:27PM (#32929422)

    The difference is, we are talking about the incident right now.

  • by johnhp ( 1807490 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:30PM (#32929470)
    Bah, that's such bullshit.

    China is *bad*. The U.S. is *bad*. But to say that the U.S. is "just as bad" is ridiculous and obviously false. Do even the most casual of checks about free speech rights in the US versus China, and you'll see how silly your statement is.

    For all of its many faults, the U.S. has generally outstanding freedom of speech. You can say all kinds of things here that would float anywhere else in the world. Just look at how Holocaust denial is treated in Europe. Or imagine how long someone like Alex Jones could operate in China, railing against the Chinese and thousands of real or imagines murderous conspiracies.
  • by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:31PM (#32929496)

    What makes you think the Chinese cant? Just because it's not on slashdot? They usually have their own sites because of language differences too. News also got around before the internet too, don't underestimate how much people can talk using normal means - especially in the Asian countries (where I have lived many times), where even little gossip goes around the really quickly. Just because you cant read about it on the usual news sites doesn't mean people don't know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:31PM (#32929500)

    Who said US doesn't pull stunts like China? I think I've heard so many times on slashdot.

    Idunno. For starters, in China, this guy would stand a good chance of being disappeared or shot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#32929556)

    Endless nation building and the war on drugs continues.

    What makes you think a few pirate takedowns are going to stir the wasps?

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#32929564)

    GITMO, that name ring any bells for you?

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:35PM (#32929570) Homepage

    I'll grant that the US does bad things, but when you say things like "just as bad" as China you're basically saying "I am viewing the world in an over-stark black-and-white manner and am thoroughly incapable of understanding nuance, and willfully oblivious to any differing *degrees* of badness".

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:35PM (#32929594) Journal

    Twist it how you want to, but the fact remains that both countries act like assholes and US is in the same level.

    Oh my. There differences are many. For starters, the quantity blocked in China [] versus what could be considered blocked in the United States []. In the United States, this sort of thing happens in isolated cases for criminal reasons and the end result is that the website might be vindicated. Point me to one case in China that ended up where the government was wrong. I'm waiting. At least YouTube was vindicated by the government [] against Viacom. There's some semblance of justice in the United States with regards to blocking websites. In China, it's a bizarre "unharmonious" label or anti-PRC speech that gets you blocked (and oftentimes worse than that).

    I could not disagree more with your analogy.

    I'm guessing users were trading child porn or the owner wasn't handling his taxes correctly. His user name in the forums is a marketing site between the US and Canada []. I'm guessing he could have been pulling down big ad money and not reporting it correctly between the two countries. Hosting websites is a business and businesses always get into trouble. When there's money involved, there's lawyers. And with lawyers come lawsuits and with lawsuits come temporary injunctions.

  • by a2wflc ( 705508 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:35PM (#32929604)

    Or can I post copyrighted material to a political site I disagree with and give some gov't agency an excuse to take it down without a court order? I'm sure they'll admit they were wrong after 11/2 and let the site back up.

    This looks like a different scenario with multiple violations by the site owner, but it's a bad precedent if there is not a public court order listing the violations. There are ways to get a court order very quick with little evidence for a "critical mater" that they claim this is.

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:39PM (#32929672)
    Labeling people as enemy combatants and detaining them without trial sucks and is deplorable. I'd be at a total loss for what to do if I, or someone I cared for, was in that situation. But comparing what happens to a relatively small group of people (GITMO detainees) and what happens to the entire population of China (freedom of speech/access to information) are again, in two totally different leagues. I'm not in any way suggesting I support, let alone tolerate GITMO, but we're talking apples and oranges.
  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:40PM (#32929682)

    How about you try harder?

    Whenever you hear about this kind of thing happening due to a piracy sting, the government brags about how they made the world safe from pirates. They're all too eager to pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

    The secrecy surrounding this takedown makes me think this is something much more than a piracy crackdown.

  • Freedom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Voulnet ( 1630793 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:40PM (#32929684)
    Where is your Freedom of Speech when you need it? Or is the American Freedom of Speech subject to the approvals of big corporations?
    Not any different than freedom of speech that is subject to approval of governments.
  • by electron sponge ( 1758814 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:40PM (#32929686)
    They forgot "weapons of mass destruction" and "baby-cooking recipes".
  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:44PM (#32929764) Homepage

    What you have to understand about China is that their government is an expression of their religious philosophies. They believe that social order is a moral expression, and something worth dying for:

    In Confucianism, human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation. A main idea of Confucianism is the cultivation of virtue and the development of moral perfection. Confucianism holds that one should give up one's life, if necessary, either passively or actively, for the sake of upholding the cardinal moral values of ren and yi. []

    In America, we have a culture that values liberty, which has become quite distorted in modern times. We've also retained some very puritan ideas, which is why nipples are somehow more offensive than gun violence. More recently, our only main moral metric has become profit.

    This instance illustrates the point perfectly. Mose Chinese, if begrudgingly, accept the government's right to censor their speech so that the social order is maintained. Most Americans accept the government's right to censor free speech in the interest of profit.

    So, if you want to stop the march to DRM and the loss of basic rights in the face of corporate rights to profit, you're going to have to convince fellow Americans that profit isn't the only thing that matters. Good luck with that.

  • by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:45PM (#32929766)

    But comparing what happens to a relatively small group of people

    You actually said it there. In China bad things only happen to really small group of people. Just like you seem to indicate about US.

  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:45PM (#32929768) Homepage Journal
    No, it is more like shutting down an entire city because a pawn shop is selling stolen goods.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:46PM (#32929796)
    Please post objectionable material to slashdot and get it taken down... I'm losing far too much productivity at work from reading and posting on this site!
  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:48PM (#32929838)
    This [] would make me think the Chinese can't. One of many []. So, do you think it's all well and good to suppress discourse, so long as somewhere behind a locked door a couple people who trust each other thoroughly might take the risk of actually talking about something?

    Fuck you.
  • by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:52PM (#32929918)

    If the pawn shop was allowing the sale of stolen merchandise it doesn't mean every customer was a felon. But if the police shut down the site due to repeated violations, legitimate customers would also not be allowed to go there. Exactly the same with this website service.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:59PM (#32930008)

    Labeling people as enemy combatants and detaining them without trial sucks and is deplorable. I'd be at a total loss for what to do if I, or someone I cared for, was in that situation. But comparing what happens to a relatively small group of people (GITMO detainees) and what happens to the entire population of China (freedom of speech/access to information) are again, in two totally different leagues. I'm not in any way suggesting I support, let alone tolerate GITMO, but we're talking apples and oranges.

    The point is we are doing the very things we say we are against when other nations do them.

    If terrorists can drive the US government to abandon its principles and find clever ways to justify it, then that's a victory for those terrorists. It's a real shame, for they do not deserve any victory of any sort.

  • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:59PM (#32930016) Homepage
    Wake up, pal. You are nowhere near as free as you think you are. Your life is as constrained by our bullshit corporatist state as the Chinese are by their bullshit corporatist state. The only difference is that you are showered with a moronic brain-junk-food commercial pop-culture that has evidently convinced you completely that you are free and can express yourself freely and without limit.

    You're not. You are just as enslaved, censored, exploited, and brainwashed as they are. Beware, it is vastly worse than you imagine.
  • by Rand Race ( 110288 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:59PM (#32930018) Homepage

    Yea. The 1st Amendment violations here pale in comparison to the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment violations. No warrant? Check. Deprived of property without due process? Check. Specifically NOT informed of the accusations levied against them? Check.

    Hell, they just need to quarter some troops in this guy's house and they'll have shitcanned half the Bill Of Rights in one case.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:01PM (#32930044)
    You should attack the substance, not the person nor their background, especially when both are mere assumptions. Further, if the content is something you would support, and you don't because of who the person is rather than what they say, what kind of bigot does that make you?
  • Re:yeaaah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnhp ( 1807490 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:03PM (#32930082)
    In China, if you say the wrong things, you can be arrested and then executed. That simply does not happen in the US. There IS a definite difference.

    Don't take me for some cheerleader of the US. I'm horrified by other abuses, like warrantless wiretaps and rendition... but that has nothing to do with a real China vs. US rights comparison.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:10PM (#32930210)

    The only reason I can think of for this kind of government censorship is if there is some national security related issue with the blogs on this site.

    You know what? No. To hell with "National Security". If that card was being pulled appropriately then it might be justified, but these days, the powers that be have decided that they can pull "National Security" out when they do ANYTHING and get a free pass. We can lie, cheat, steal, and piss on the Constitution so long as it's a matter of "National Security"!

    Like the boy who cried "wolf!", and I don't care if the wolf really is chewing on National Security's nuts right now. The excuse is falling on deaf ears at this point.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:14PM (#32930274) Journal

    Who said US doesn't pull stunts like China? I think I've heard so many times on slashdot.

    US is just as bad. It's just for different interests (protecting the money and cash flow of huge corporations versus ensuring that the people in the country don't start bloody revolts).

    Twist it how you want to, but the fact remains that both countries act like assholes and US is in the same level.

    Funny. A few years ago when something like this happened, you saw the story and comments here say that Bush was the problem. Now we read that the US is the problem.

    Imagine if something like this happened a few short years ago. We'd be looking at a whole different story.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:17PM (#32930340)
    Don't misunderstand, I don't think I'm all that free. Hell, if I start a business, I'll have assholes like you telling me all sorts of shit I can and can't do, because suddenly now I'm not a person with rights, I'm an eeeeevil corporatist fat-cat.

    However, it remains that unless I credibly threaten the life, safety or property of a person or group of persons (or represent harmful lies about them as facts, but I can offer the same as opinions), I can say whatever I want. I can prattle on about all the shit I hate about government or society at large with no fear that I will end up getting two hours in a show-trial and then the better part of a decade in prison like He Depu. I may not be as free as I'd like, but I know I'm more free than that poor man is.
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:29PM (#32930566)

    People finally figured out we only have one political party?

    Some people needed this lesson, I consider it a victory that they got it.

  • You will always have people telling you what you can and can't do. It's called 'society.' Rational adults realize that we have to make compromises in order to live together in peace and prosperity, while spoiled children continue to whine that no one is the boss of them. If you don't want people telling you what to do, you don't have to live in society. What you don't get to do is to have all of the benefits of living in a cooperative society, while paying none of the costs. That's called 'stealing.'

  • Not DMCA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:32PM (#32930638)

    I doubt it was over copyright or illegal content issues. If it was, the justice dept would have tripped over itself to make an example of this evil hosting service. A very public example.

    The whole secrecy thing, together with taking down 73,000 blogs, makes me think that they were targeting a few (perhaps only one) page. But they don't want us to know which one. So take them all down and it will be difficult to tell. Grab a copy of the archives while they're still up. There could be some interesting reading in there someplace.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:34PM (#32930666)

    Check your tense there bucko .... "had generally outstanding freedom of speech". Given the idiocy of using military power to prop up business interests over recent issues, the old saw of "fighting to defend your right to speak things which I personally find abhorrent" is no longer possible.

    The US is not as bad as China (yet). Both will converge to similar corruption/suppression, they are simply approaching it from different directions.

  • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:39PM (#32930762) Homepage Journal

    When it comes to respecting civil rights, there is no such thing as shades of gray.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:48PM (#32930914)
    Rational adults compromise in terms of mutual consent, not tyranny, whether of the majority or otherwise. Ironic you should should trot out 'stealing' when you no doubt support the very thing, so long as you think it's done in some romanticized 'Robin Hood' fashion. As Cullen Hightower once said,

    There's always somebody who is paid too much, and taxed too little - and it's always somebody else.

  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:57PM (#32931056) Homepage
    Well, for one our ability to judge which is doing better in the freedom of speech department by not using useless strawman statistics that say nothing about free speech. But that is just off the top of my head and I don't have any useless random statistics to back it up.
  • We do compromise on the basis of mutual consent. If you like the deal offered to you by your country, you stay. If you don't, you take your business somewhere else. Just as with any business you can not just walk in, demand what you like, and refuse to pay. What, exactly, do you deem 'tyranny?' I'm guessing tyranny means 'anything I don't want to do,' right? Well, that is not how society works, you do not get to dictate terms to the majority who have already agreed how things will work. You get to take the deal we offer you, or leave it and find a better deal. It is not our fault if the deal you want is not available in the world marketplace of governance.

  • There is plenty of free land where no one will bother you, it just does not happen to be very good land. That's property for you, though. Nothing to do with governments and countries, everything to do with private ownership of natural resources.

  • by moeinvt ( 851793 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#32931410)

    I'd like to elaborate on your point about transfer of wealth from the PRODUCTIVE for the benefit of the UNPRODUCTIVE.

    You're entirely correct in the assertion, but you're wrong to include only the "poor" in the latter group.

    High paid government employees are also parasitic by nature. In addition, the transfer of trillions of taxpayer dollars into the banking and financial industry is a case of stealing from people who are actually producing for the benefit of people who aren't really producing anything. Don't confuse an overpaid bureaucrat or someone that shuffles money around all day with a "producer".

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:19PM (#32931446)

    What you have to understand about China is that their government is an expression of their religious philosophies.

    Whose philosophy do you support in this picture? []

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:26PM (#32931530)
    The problem is that the same founding fathers that insisted on the principle of separation of church and state still allowed the legal and religious definitions of marriage to commingle. The two need to be completely and permanently separated. Register with the state to receive the legal benefits of marriage for yourself and your family. Perform a religious ceremony in your church of choice to receive the religious benefits of marriage. One does not require the other; the two can be completely independent.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:37PM (#32931754) Homepage Journal

    Looks like they shut down a host, which just happens to have a lot of sites.. Tons of collateral damage but i don't think the goal was to shut down 73k sites.

  • by Otter Popinski ( 1166533 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:46PM (#32931900)

    When it comes to respecting civil rights, there is no such thing as shades of gray.

    Whew! I guess we don't need the Supreme Court anymore.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:49PM (#32931954) Journal

    >>>You will always have people telling you what you can and can't do. It's called 'society.' Rational adults realize that we have to make compromises in order to live together in peace and prosperity,

    The problem is that most adults are Not reasonable. It is why I can't marry a man. Or smoke marijuana later tonight while watching SyFy Channel. Or have more than one wife. Or show a topless woman on broadcast TV (but Jack Bauer torturing people is a-okay). Or let my daughter drink beer, even if I am German and it's part of our culture. Or let my lawn "go natural" with wildflowers, but instead must have a monoculture grass, or else face fines from the city.

    The other adults have placed non-reasonable and illogical restraints upon me. So basically your entire premise of "reasonable adults can tell other adults what to do" is flawed. The adults are not reasonable - they are oftentimes tyrannical.

    Therefore I submit it is wiser to follow this simple rule: "No man has a right to physicall harm his neighbor - and that's all the government should restrain him." - Thomas Jefferson. i.e. Marry a guy. Have two wives. Let your kid have beer. Smoke marijuana while watching topless Amanda Tapping stroll around the Stargate. These are victimless acts and should not be outlawed. That's called FREEDOM and liberty. I think that's the best philosophy to follow.

  • There is plenty of free land where no one will bother you, it just does not happen to be very good land.


    Antarctica. Plenty of tiny desert islands no one wants. Anyplace no one from the government ever goes, like most of Alaska. Go, build a log cabin, hunt and gather your food, no one will bug you to do anything. Look at the Unibomber, dude was a wanted criminal and he lived in the wilderness for decades unmolested. Don't tell me someone who wasn't in the business of mailing bombs to people couldn't do it for a lifetime.

    But the thing is, this argument is besides the point. Let's say I want a diamond encrusted flying pony, and I want to spend $5 on it. I go into Wal-Mart and demand a diamond encrusted flying pony. They laugh at me, so I get mad and say they are taking away my rights to a diamond encrusted flying pony. As there are no diamond encrusted flying ponies anywhere else, Wal Mart has an obligation to sell me one.

    You want a diamond encrusted flying pony, and you are demanding that your country provide you with one at the cost you want to pay for it. Your rational is that you can't buy a diamond encrusted flying pony anywhere else, and you can't find one just lying around, and you deserve one, so they have an obligation to sell you one at a price you find convenient.

  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:04PM (#32932134) Homepage

    So, you think America doesn't call in the troops to maintain order. I think you're flatly wrong.

    WWI Vets protesting during the Great Depression? Call in the troops! [] Miners striking for better wages? Call in the national guard! [] College kids causing a ruckus over the Vietnam War? Keep your finger on the trigger. [] Got some colored people demanding rights? Send in the secret police to take them out. []

    Apparently you have also forgotten about the Civil War. Whether the crisis (or the injustice of slavery) could have been solved without the military, who knows. But America has shown it's willingness to kill it's citizens in order to keep the Union together.

    Now, what's even more revealing, is that American investment in China went up after the Tiananmen Square incident because it proved that China could keep it's population in line. Not long after they murdered their citizens in the streets, we were lining up for their cheap communist labor. So much for our value system.

    America has many more freedoms than China, but every state has a will to survive that is larger than the value of a few of its citizen's lives. America just has much better PR about that fact.

  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:05PM (#32932150) Homepage

    Moral of the story:
    When you get the moron asshat out of power things better without the world turning into a magical candyland.

    Thanks for your rightwing input, it was oh so insightful and oh so helpful.


  • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:10PM (#32932228)

    I've never seen a more breathless defense of the lynch mob.

  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:18PM (#32932330)
    When it's possible for a government to couch new laws in terms of right and wrong and when the People are blinded enough to accept such terms, freedom suffers. When freedom suffers enough. Bad Things [] happen. I don't care if it was Russian spies, free dealing child pornographers, or Assassinations R Us: there is no justification for silencing speech. and as for Terrorism, I'm not even going to dignify that excuse.

    Whether the State can loose and bind
    In Heaven as well as on Earth:
    If it be wiser to kill mankind
    Before or after the birth-
    These are matters of high concern
    Where State-kept school men are;
    But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
    Endeth in Holy War.

    Whether The People be led by the Lord,
    Or lured by the loudest throat:
    If it be quicker to die by the sword
    Or cheaper to die by vote -
    These are the things we have dealt with once,
    (And they will not rise from their grave)
    For Holy People, however it runs,
    Endeth in wholly Slave.

    Whatsoever, for any cause,
    Seeketh to take or give,
    Power above or beyond the Laws,
    Suffer it not to live!
    Holy State or Holy King -
    Or Holy People's Will -
    Have no truck with the senseless thing.
    Order the guns and kill!

    Saying -- after -- me:--
    Once there was The People - Terror gave it birth;
    Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth.
    Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, O ye slain!
    Once There was The People - it shall never be again!

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:20PM (#32932364) Homepage

    If you don't want people telling you what to do, you don't have to live in society.

    Where exactly? There's no place on earth not claimed by a country. There's no property in this country not claimed by somebody, including public property. And even though it's called public property, I can't just take a piece of it and put up a homestead and call it my own. And even if I did own it, I'd still be bound by all laws and building codes and zoning regulations and whatever else regulations. Besides, what claim could I have on any other land? It's on this land that I was born so by birthright this is the one I have the most claim to, even if I don't recognize the society running it. That I was born into this nation is not a choice, what denies me the right to cut out my own patch, raise my own flag and declare independence? Well the constitution paragraph 1 says the nation is "indivisible" ( 1. Kongeriget Norge er et frit, selvstændigt, udeleligt og uafhændeligt Rige. Dets Regjeringsform er indskrænket og arvelig monarkisk.) Who decided that? Men from 1814 that are long since dead, and the constituency is mostly drawn by borders created by vikings a thousand years ago.

    I'm not trying to go off on some anarchistic rant here, I'm just trying to point out that no you don't have a choice and a lot of it is not cooperative but rather quite arbitrary and full of historical luggage. Today, people in Washington DC decide federal law that applies in California thousands of miles away. It's almost as detached as London deciding colony law even though there's some representation, you can still be overruled by a bunch of people thousands of miles away. And if you think they could just peacefully secede, dream on. In Africa there are still country lines drawn with rulers on a map as the colony powers divided the continent between them. Look at all the separatist groups all over the world, there's only one thing keeping nations from crumbling as bits and pieces decide to become independent and that is pure application of force, either military or otherwise. The closest thing you got are certain occupant areas like Freetown Christiania [] where around 1000 occupants have made some partially independent mini-state but the government is trying hard to "normalize" the area which in practice means forcing them into the confines of the nation state again. One person or even a handful of person would stand no chance, neither would these if push comes to shove. For real independence you need thousands of men with arms, which really only creates a difference society you want out of. You can opt out of living with other people and become a hermit, but you can't really opt out all the way.

    That's called 'stealing.'

    Congratulations on a worse abuse of words than the MAFIAA.

  • by GSloop ( 165220 ) <networkguru.sloop@net> on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:27PM (#32932456) Homepage

    Your argument while technically true devolves to:

    Well Jimbo axe murdered, in cold blood, 100 people and I only murdered one, so we're really a lot different.

    Sure, different in that Jimbo in a quantitative sense is worse.
    But in a qualitative sense, you're really just the same. [I'd probably be willing to say there's some qualitative difference [between US and China gvmts] too, but I think it's a lot less than most would argue it is.]

    What we [the US] has done with Gitmo, Torture, Illegal Wiretaps/Rendition etc - is truly horrific. We don't have any [or much] qualitative difference as to "why" we did it, we just have a smaller pool of people we've done it to.

    So, I have a hard time feeling a lot more secure with the US than with China - the only difference is there's at least some check on the government by the people - as long as I'm in a group that's not viewed as "terrorist" I would be difficult to torture or send to Gitmo - the public would decry it.

    But the government would be glad to do it once the "cost" [in PR] is reduced.
    So, all they have to do is demonetize you or your group and ergo - you get tortured, sent to Gitmo [Bagram] etc.

    They [the US Gvmt] certainly doesn't appear to have any moral qualm about doing it, only about the cost. And that doesn't make them much different in a moral sense than the Chinese gvmt.


  • by GSloop ( 165220 ) <networkguru.sloop@net> on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:34PM (#32932510) Homepage

    I guess I missed the part in the constitution that says it only applies to citizens?

    So torture, as long as we only do it to non-citizens is just fine - we've not sacrificed our "values?"
    Jailing people in cages, without charges, without trial, picking the judicial venue at our convenience when we do offer a trial [No trial if we can't convict you, millitary tribunal if we can't convict you with real evidence] or regular civilian trial if we have good evidence] - as long as we do that to non-citizens, it's all well and good? We haven't sacrificed our values?

    I don't know what your DAMN values are, but that's certainly sacrificing mine and those in the constitution we should respect.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:38PM (#32932562)

    Go educate yourself [] in some fairly recent history, then come back...

    Where are the documents? Without documents theres nothing to report.

  • by AthleteMusicianNerd ( 1633805 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @07:23PM (#32933616)
    The Federal Government. Whatever law she supposedly broke contradicts the First Amendment which clearly states "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press". The judge was incorrect with his decision.

    There is no interpreting that amendment. There is nothing in there about national security. Her time in jail is a violation of the constitution.

    I responded previously about the Schiff book and Jeian helped me out with the wiki entry.
  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @07:35PM (#32933692)

    I take it you disagree with the American War of Indepedance then? As they did exactly the opposite of what you recommend when faced with a world that did not offer the governmental option they wanted?

  • Re:yeaaah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @07:51PM (#32933806)

    Well, uh, now that the President has made it clear that he has the right to assassinate any American citizen by whom he feels threatened, there may be functional difference, but there's no longer a theoretical difference. Some might say that it's only a matter of time, now that the rules have been made clear, and apparently accepted by the people.

  • Re:yeaaah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @08:35PM (#32934098) Homepage

    How true. In the US, if you say the wrong things or talk to the wrong people, you can just be labelled a terrorist, sent to Gitmo, and tortured for a while: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @10:42PM (#32934620)

    You will always have people telling you what you can and can't do. It's called 'society.' Rational adults realize that we have to make compromises in order to live together in peace and prosperity, while spoiled children continue to whine that no one is the boss of them. If you don't want people telling you what to do, you don't have to live in society. What you don't get to do is to have all of the benefits of living in a cooperative society, while paying none of the costs. That's called 'stealing.'

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." - Declaration of Independence

  • by jesset77 ( 759149 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @11:20PM (#32934744)

    For most libertarians, harm is only something that happens to them or those they care about. If it happens to someone else, why, that person is just a whiner who wants a free ride from society, and their idea of 'harm' should not be respected.

    Meh, Libertarians have been getting a lot of flack along this line recently, and I think it's unwarranted. For example, Show me where's the heterosexual libertarian who won't argue in favor of Gay Marriage? If they are heterosexual, then they will never utilize this freedom themselves.

    At the core of it, Libertarian's specific concerns can be recodified in spun-speak as "this social agreement causes harm to our society and produces no measurable benefit; why are so many citizens resisting it being repealed?"

    If you're concern about Libertarian viewpoints is that they too frequently dismiss externalities then, speaking as a registered member of the party for 15 years I will agree that this is a problem worth chatting about. But I must also counter that most opponents we face in conversation defend virtually any incumbent policy without re-evaluating or even being able to enumerate the externalities which prompted them.

    In short, just about any law on the books was probably a good idea at the time. But times change and people are great at forgetting why things were set up a certain way. Every now and then we do have to come by and audit the legislative hacks. Libertarians accomplish this by arguing for policy which foundationally presumes personal liberty (which, while selfish, is readily quantified), and counting each compromise from this simplistic ideal as an expense which must be countered by an equal or greater benefit. Alright, I can't swing my arms in every direction but at least I won't be struck. Alright, I can't build on this strip of land but it's a communally owned "road" that will bring me more benefit than anything else I would have built there myself. Etc.

    And sure, this theme varies all the way down to the hard line anarcho-capitalists, but the intent is the same. Libertarians believe that we should start from personal liberty and then abridge that only to explore greater social benefits.

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @11:22PM (#32934756) Homepage Journal

    I don't recall the Bush administration being so keen on enforcing copyright law, and I don't recall them being so brazen, yet at the same time secretive about it.

    "The authorities" shut down an entire site and refuse to tell the owner why?

    Prior to the ascension of The One, the leftysphere and MSM (but I repeat myself) would have been all over this, proclaiming the birth of the Bush Police State.

    Yet now all I hear is some grumbling from the same fringe kooks who think copyright law is invalid to begin with.

    I have to suspect that this action may be a trial balloon. I have to suspect that in the future, websites that host content that the regime finds objectionable will also be subject to arbitrary termination, and for equally mysterious reasons.

    Tyranny depends on information control. It isn't easy to control what people think, but it is easy to control what they think ABOUT if you control what information they have access to.

    How long before the Drudge Report gets taken down? (I am engaging in hyperbole there, but you get the point).

    Wasn't this supposed to be the new era of transparency? Well it is, transparent evil.

  • by Machtyn ( 759119 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @11:40PM (#32934836) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the TEA parties and the Daily KOS prove that people in the US are free to express themselves anyway they want. Corporations still have to sue those that they think are defaming them... that is, they can't automatically jail that person or group.

    Stating that the US has the worst education is incredibly wrong. It may not be the best, but look around, visit the world, where are many of the worlds innovations made? Right here in the US. Stating that we have the worst medical care is completely wrong. The medical care that the US population enjoys is completely top-notch. You may disagree with the methods of compensation for that medical care, but the care is received quickly and is the best anywhere. I don't know about retirement policies. Personally, what I save is what I use should I not die before I stop working. Should I be so dependent upon some organization to pay me for non-work? Only if I can create a sweet contract for myself.

    But Oh My! We can post whatever we want on Slashdot...That proves we are free! Well, yes, actually. Your name won't be discovered. Your IP address, while recorded, won't be used to track you down. You'll not end up in some forgotten prison as a political prisoner for posting inanity. And you'll be able to defend your right to post whatever crap against whatever company you want.
  • by e9th ( 652576 ) <e9th&tupodex,com> on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:41PM (#32938414)
    The vote was 5-4. All the "conservative" justices voted for Kelo, all the "liberal" justices for New London. Kennedy, often the swing vote, chose to side with the liberals on this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:08AM (#32941546)

    And what justifies the massive land grabs governments make, claiming ownership and domain of large swathes of land unused, uncultivated, lying bare? Because they said so?


    Take a situation with no government, for example. If I'm using some land for something, I might say I 'own" it. But I don't REALLY own it, I'm just using it... it's not like I can pick it up and carry it away, or hide it, or stick it in a cave, or anything else that will allow me exclusive control/use of it. If someone else comes along and says that they own it, it's just words unless they actually DO something with it... such as putting their own stuff their or kicking me out. So ultimately, the 'ownership' of a piece of land is defined solely by your ability to physically control and/or defend that land from others.
    Government's role is pretty much the same- the government 'owns' all the land, because they are the ones who are defending it. Saying they 'own' it without being able to control or defend it is, again, simply words... and anybody who wishes to use it and ignore their claim of 'ownership' can freely do so. At least until the 'owners' show up with force at their side. The primary role of the government is to provide a means for common defense- this way a group of landowners can have shared defenses, allowing them all more time to use their land, and with their collective might also comes the ability to defend against larger and more numerous opponents.

    Consider a situation where a private person decides they don't want a 'government' controlling them. Technically, they are free to abandon the protection of the government and "go it alone", or even convince some other people to do the same. But once they have abandoned that protection, the government is no longer under any obligation to protect them or help them out in any fashion at all. And in most cases, the governments aren't going to just sit by idle- after all they have a VERY large stick, and if they come to take control of the land back you're pretty much screwed.

    You are living proof of just how thuggish, violent, and controlling democracy can be.

    This has nothing to do with any particular system of government, this is a simple fact of life. ALL government operates from the fundamental position of Might, unless you happen to be living in a Utopian Fantasy Land where everybody smiles all the time, nobody is ever in need of anything, and handjobs are free.

    The REAL problem here is that you are operating under an assumption of what "right" really means. Ultimately, the only "right" is Might itself, and those who have it and use it are 'right' and those who don't are 'wrong'. Even if you choose to believe in God as being the ultimate master of 'right' vs. 'wrong' this still applies- unless 'God' enforces his definition of 'right' at some point (in this life or "the next") that definition is irrelevant.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner