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Last post Author Topic: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates  (Read 96989 times)

IainB

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How bad could things get? You can find out in Saudi Arabia, where even entertainment in the form of movies is illegal and has apparently had to go underground:
Quote
...Last Thursday, after evening prayers, more than 60 people attended the first screening by the Red Wax secret cinema in a large warehouse in the south-western city of Abha. Directed to the clandestine event by text message, they crowded inside the hired space, which was then bolted shut.

Most sat on cheap red plastic chairs placed in rows before a makeshift screen made from a large white sheet, but as the audience was larger than the organisers had expected, some stood. As the lights dimmed, nervousness gave way to quiet anticipation and in silence they watched a film about the lives of migrant workers on one of the country's major building projects. After the screening the audience discussed the issues it raised and the ban on cinema in the kingdom.

"I was really nervous; everyone was nervous," said the film's director, one founder of Red Wax. "We didn't have a plan if [police came]. Everyone parked away from the place. We sent them directions by text message to their mobiles or rang them. Our fears are just to get caught or sent to jail."...
- from Secret cinema gently subverts Saudi Arabia's puritanism
The Internet is viewed with the same degree of mistrust and suspicion, and there is an army of online Saudi government censors, intent on ensuring that the user experience is "legal" from the orthodox religious standpoint.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 07:53:20 PM by IainB »

TaoPhoenix

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Here comes the internet watchdog system:

http://www.cnn.com/2...rt-system/index.html

"(CNN) -- It is about to get a bit more difficult to illegally download TV shows, movies or music online.

A new alert system, rolling out over the next two months, will repeatedly warn and possibly punish people violating digital copyrights. The Copyright Alert System was announced last July and has been four years in the making.

If you use AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon as your Internet service provider, you could receive the first of one of these notes starting in the next two months."

I will be watching out for if this extends to the locker services.

Renegade

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Quote
If a customer feels they are being wrongly accused, they can ask for a review, which will cost them $35 according to the Verge.

Quote
Thank you for your letter.

Please note that the use of my mailbox is subject to usage fees. Your unsolicited and unauthorized use carries with it a small additional surcharge in addition to some minor penalties.

You may remit the amount you owe, USD $150,000.00 (i.e. the cash equivalent to about 1 song), to <bank account details>, on or before the due date, i.e. today. Late fees and interest charges apply.

Also find enclosed, a payment for $35 for a case review. Your acceptance of payment is considered full acceptance of the terms of this communication.

Thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Snookered!

IainB

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Very good points made in this post: 30 Years Of The CD, Of Digital Piracy, And Of Music Industry Cluelessness
Here's an extract - read the rest at the link.
Quote
The CD therefore stands as a wonderful symbol of the music industry's inability to see the deeper, underlying trends in technology, and where they would take us. Back then, it meant that nobody was worried about the idea that people would copy digital files from CDs and share them, because they forgot that technology would make possible tomorrow the things that seemed impossible today. Now it means the copyright industries are still trying to preserve unsustainable 20th century business models instead of planning for the incredible technologies we will have in 10, 20 or even 30 years time. They only have to look at the history of the CD and digital piracy to see just how far things can go -- and how wrong our current assumptions can be.

IainB

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Working on the basis that you can see what's driving things if you "follow the money" - as the colloquialism has it - I have been doing some research into the Swiss-based WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation), whose motto is (amusingly, I thought):
Quote
"Encouraging Creativity and Innovation"

Some interesting points:

TaoPhoenix

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Elsewhere there's the complicated topic of amateur Subtitles, which are apparently copyright violations. Now Netflix has "acquired" the Finnish amateur ones wholesale. Paraphrasing Renegade, I can't even explain the complicated mess because doing so will send me into fits and I have chores to do. Plus I don't speak Finnish.  :-\ 

TaoPhoenix

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Very good points made in this post: 30 Years Of The CD, Of Digital Piracy, And Of Music Industry Cluelessness
Here's an extract - read the rest at the link.
Quote
The CD therefore stands as a wonderful symbol of the music industry's inability to see the deeper, underlying trends in technology, and where they would take us. Back then, it meant that nobody was worried about the idea that people would copy digital files from CDs and share them, because they forgot that technology would make possible tomorrow the things that seemed impossible today. Now it means the copyright industries are still trying to preserve unsustainable 20th century business models instead of planning for the incredible technologies we will have in 10, 20 or even 30 years time. They only have to look at the history of the CD and digital piracy to see just how far things can go -- and how wrong our current assumptions can be.

In a way it's not "forgetting", it's like hiring an incompetent prophet who misread the future. We've known from day 1 it's possible to copy CD's. I'd peg it to more of a "Revenge of the Nerds" effect where the jocks in the industries figured computers were those things only nerds used, and so they could be kept marginalized and out of sight where they weren't really a problem. It's like having Asimov's Hari Seldon do a beautiful future history of music for the next 100 years. Then Hari Seldon missed a certain Mule-like character named Shawn Fanning and that beautiful history went to pieces. Oops.

My favorite example is that the most successful SF series of all time, Star Trek, spent *35 years* (I'm ending with Star Trek Voyager) copying everything in sight with something called a "Replicator". I think there were less than one hand's worth of fingers of stories that specifically dealt with cultures getting upset at unauthorized copying. Nah, we were too busy laughing at the Ferengi for being materialistic, remember?

IainB

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Censorship!
I followed a link to this very cogent talk by Rowan Atkinson:
He's spot-on when he talks about different examples of speech crime, for example, "The storms that surround twitter and facebook comment".
Well worth the 9 minutes it will take to listen to this, IMHO.



If you want it, I copied the auto-generated YouTube transcript, and cleaned it up. Here it is:
Spoiler
Quote
My starting point when it comes to the consideration of any issue relating to free speech is my passionate belief that the second most precious thing in life is the right to express yourself freely.
The most precious thing in life, I think, is food in your mouth, and the third most precious is the roof over your head.
But a fixture for me in the number two slot is free expression, just below the need to sustain life itself.
That is because I have enjoyed free expression in this country all my professional life and fully expect to continue to do so.

Personally I suspect it highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile.
So my concerns are less for myself and more for those more vulnerable because of their lower profile, like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse "gay", or the teenager arrested for calling the church of scientology a cult, or the cafe owner arrested for displaying passages from the bible on a TV screen.
When I heard of some of these more ludicrous offenses and charges, I remembered that I had been here before in a fictional context.

I once did a show called "Not The Nine O'clock News", some years ago, and we did a sketch where Griff Rhys Jones played constable Savage, a manifestly racist police officer, to whom I as his station commander is giving a dressing-down for arresting a black man on a whole string of ridiculous trumped-up and ludicrous charges.
The charges for which constable Savage arrested Mr.  Winston Kodogo of fifty-five Mercer Road were these:
"walking on the cracks in the pavement; walking in a loud shirt in a built-up area during the hours of darkness;" and one of my favourites "walking around all over the place."
He was also arrested for "urinating in a public convenience and looking at me in a funny way".

Who would've thought that we would end up with a law that would allow life to imitate art so exactly?
I read somewhere a defender of the status quo claiming that the fact that the gay horse case was dropped after the arrested man refused to pay the fine, and that the scientology case was also dropped at some point during the court process was proof that the law was working well, ignoring the fact that the only reason these cases were dropped was because of the publicity that they had attracted.
The police sensed that ridicule was just around the corner, and withdrew their actions.
But what about the thousands of other cases that did not enjoy the oxygen of publicity, that weren't quite ludicrous enough to attract media attention?
Even for those actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, Questioned, taken to court, and then released.

You know that isn't the law working properly.
That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have, as Lord Deere says, the chilling effect on free expression and free protest.
Parliament's joint committee on human rights summarized, as you may know, this whole issue very well by saying:
Quote
"While arresting a protester for using threatening or abusive speech may, depending on the circumstances be a proportionate response, we do not think that language or behaviour that is mainly insulting should ever be criminalized in this way."

The clear problem with the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such.
Criticism is easily construed as insult by certain parties, ridicule easily construed as insult, sarcasm, unfavourable comparison, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy can be interpreted as insult, and because so many things can be interpreted as insult, it is hardly surprising that so many things have been, as the examples I talked about earlier show.

Although the law under discussion has been on the statute book for over twenty-five years, it is indicative of a culture that has taken hold of the programs of successive governments that with the reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society, has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature That is what you might call the new intolerance, a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

"I am not intolerant" say many people - say many, softly-spoken highly-educated, liberal-minded people - "I am only intolerant of intolerance", and people tend to nod sagely and say "Oh yes, wise words, wise words", and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all that is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another, which to me doesn't represent any kind of progress at all.

Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people.
They are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process.
For me, the best way to increase society's resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it.
As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.
We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise.
Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger.

As president Obama said in an address to the United Nations only a month or so ago,
Quote
"Laudable efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics or oppress minorities.
The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech."


And that's the essence of my thesis - more speech.
If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult, or to offend.
and as - even if - as Lord Deere says, you know, the freedom to be inoffensive is no freedom at all.

The repeal of this word in this clause will be only a small step, but it will I hope be a critical one in what should be a longer term project to pause, and slowly rewind the creeping culture of censoriousness.
It is a small skirmish in the battle, in my opinion, to deal with what Sir Salmon Rushdie refers to as "the outrage industry".
Self-appointed arbiters of the public good, encouraging media-stoked outrage to which the police feel under terrible pressure to react.
A newspaper rings up Scotland Yard.  Someone has said something slightly insulting on twitter about someone who we think a national treasure.
What are you going to do about it?
The police panic and they scrabble around and then grasp the most inappropriate lifeline of all, section five of the Public Order Act, that thing where you can arrest anybody for saying anything that might be construed by anyone else as insulting.
You know they don't seem to need a real victim, they need only to make the judgment that somebody could have been offended if they had heard or read what has been said.
The most ludicrous degrees of latitude.

The storms that surround twitter and facebook comment have raised some fascinating issues about free speech which we haven't really yet come to terms with.
Firstly, that we all have to take responsibility for what we say - which is quite a good lesson to learn - but secondly, we've learnt how appallingly prickly and intolerant society has become of even the mildest adverse comment.
The law should not be aiding and abetting this new intolerance.
Free speech can only suffer if the law prevents us from dealing with its consequences.
I offer my wholehearted support to the reform section five campaign.
Thank you very much.
(Applause.)


Renegade

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^^ Wow. That was the first I'd heard of that legislation.

I suppose that if I were to have anything to say to the MPs that signed it, I'd probably say something like...



Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! ;D

I think it was Arizona that passed some similar legislation that makes it illegal to hurt people's feelings.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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We're back to this thread. I don't even know the name of the item yet!  :o

http://www.securityw...-un-control-internet

Showdown Set on Bid to Give UN Control of Internet

"WASHINGTON - It is expected to be the mother of all cyber diplomatic battles.

When delegates gather in Dubai in December for an obscure UN agency meeting, fighting is expected to be intense over proposals to rewrite global telecom rules to effectively give the United Nations control over the Internet.

Russia, China and other countries back a move to place the Internet under the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency that sets technical standards for global phone calls. "

-----

Backed by Russia and China hmm? Lovely.

Renegade

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We're back to this thread. I don't even know the name of the item yet!  :o

http://www.securityw...-un-control-internet

Showdown Set on Bid to Give UN Control of Internet

"WASHINGTON - It is expected to be the mother of all cyber diplomatic battles.

When delegates gather in Dubai in December for an obscure UN agency meeting, fighting is expected to be intense over proposals to rewrite global telecom rules to effectively give the United Nations control over the Internet.

Russia, China and other countries back a move to place the Internet under the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency that sets technical standards for global phone calls. "

-----

Backed by Russia and China hmm? Lovely.


From the article:

Quote
Mueller said the ITU "already recognizes the sovereign right of nations to restrict communications into and out of the country."

And we're supposed to believe that? From mouths of the same criminals that want to pass worldwide gun control? Huh?

These people are DANGEROUS.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

SeraphimLabs

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I think this one might go over rather well.

The ITU is the UN Equivalent of the FCC after all.

And as most Americans know, the FCC tends to do a really poor job of actually enforcing anything let alone maintaining the standards they defined.

Knowing that, there would initially be a round of arrests made to appease the RIAA and company, then people would stop caring and it wouldn't be enforced anymore.

Just like what happened to the FCC and censorship. They're so busy declaring the 80s and 90s Sesamee Street DVD releases PG13 that shows like Family Guy and even more tasteless content make it onto broadcast television. It's amazing how ineffective the regulations actually are.

TaoPhoenix

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You're funny Seraphim, but I see this as much more ominous than that. I'm just not good enough as a grade C prophet to figure out which rock we're leaving for which hard place. : (

Renegade

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The FCC is staffed with government bureaucrats...

The ITU/UN is staffed with bankster bureaucrats...

It's debatable which group manages to cause more damage.

On one hand, we have governments that mismanage economies and plunge people into deep poverty.

Than on the other hand we have the banksters that bought and paid for the governments...

Ah... yeah... The banksters win~! :P

My 110% "take it to the bank" guarantee about who will win the 2012 US Presidential Elections!
Goldman Sachs~!
:P ;D

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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@Renegade: Some people (not me, you understand) might say that when people use terms like "my 110%...", it is proof that there are three kinds of people in this world - those who can count, and those who can't. However, I couldn't possibly comment.      ;)

Renegade

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@Renegade: Some people (not me, you understand) might say that when people use terms like "my 110%...", it is proof that there are three kinds of people in this world - those who can count, and those who can't. However, I couldn't possibly comment.      ;)

I thought it was funny! :D

Oh. and there aren't 3... There are 10. ;D :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Time to throw in the towel?
Some people might say that with this news, Google would seem to have irretrievably "gone to the Dark Side" (the **AA): Google Ties the Knot with Warner Music Group

TaoPhoenix

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I'm just amazed, of all the sources of oppression, it's ... music and motion pictures? Really?! Not to commend an evil job well done, but really?! Of all the moneyed sources out there, it's those two that have managed to totally lock all of politics?!

Renegade

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I'm just amazed, of all the sources of oppression, it's ... music and motion pictures? Really?! Not to commend an evil job well done, but really?! Of all the moneyed sources out there, it's those two that have managed to totally lock all of politics?!

Well, in all fairness... It's not just the entertainment industry that is led by a gang of evil geniuses. There are many other industries that have equally evil or more evil geniuses in them. (Gotta give them credit too~! :) ) E.g. NBC, part of the media there, is really just GE's bitch/mouthpiece. So, there's a food-chain in the empire of evil geniuses. :D

As for locking politics... I think entertainment and freedom of speech are just 2 of the popular things for people to focus on. There are other issues, like food & water, that other evil geniuses are dominating. Why is it that a 500 ml bottle of water is (can be) more expensive than a 3 L bottle of milk? ;) :P (I'm not making that up.)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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I'm just amazed, of all the sources of oppression, it's ... music and motion pictures? Really?! Not to commend an evil job well done, but really?! Of all the moneyed sources out there, it's those two that have managed to totally lock all of politics?!
As @Renegade says:
Quote
...It's not just the entertainment industry...
Probably the most likely - and certainly the simplest - explanation is provided by the GCS "Good Corporate Psychopath" model. (Sorry, "GCS" being used phonetically.)
Go back to basics: the GCSes are those legal persons created by Western legal systems and which are effectively more powerful and in possession of apparently greater lobbying and voting rights than the consumers - the latter being the legal persons called "voters" (QED).
The GCSes that succeed do so because they focus remorselessly on their primary objective of max. return to shareholders - continued survival with max. profitable revenues  - above all else. They hang on to that objective like grim death, hacking down all opposition in their paths. Nothing else matters. This is what they must do, according to the laws governing their incorporation (QED).

Thus, if a corporation that has as one of its mottoes "Do no evil", then it is, by definition, an anomaly and an aberration, and the motto will necessarily  - nay must - become just another cliché without substance, regardless of how high-sounding, humane or philanthropic it might have been when first announced. It will revert to meaningless corporate BS where it arguably rightly belonged in the first place.

So, though it is disappointing, there are no surprises really when we read that Google Ties the Knot with Warner Music Group
Of course they would - must - do something like this.
And yes, it is "...music and motion pictures..." - really! It is arguably obvious that it has to be so, as they are part of the **AA, a syndicate of GCSes with a strong common interest, combining their resources to succeed in their role as GCSes.
We can be assured that they are not doing this out of a sense of bonhomie, camaraderie, mutual philanthropy or loving-kindness. The GCS model is perfect and intact. This is all as it should be. "We" made it that way. If they need to be dishonest with each other or stab each other in the back with callous disregard to make max. profits, then they will do so and without compunction - they're psychopathic, remember?

So, when you read about something like this: “Six Strikes” Evidence Re-reviewed to Fix RIAA Lobbying Controversy
Quote
..."A lack of transparency is also at the origin of the current controversy as TorrentFreak learned that other than the RIAA, none of the CCI partners were aware of the link between Stroz Friedberg and the RIAA. It’s not unthinkable that CCI would have picked another company to start with if the RIAA had disclosed this relationship."...
- you might be able to fall about laughing (as I did) because of the apparent naivety of the journalist. Why would the RIAA not wish to keep mum about the relationship for goodness' sake? It would surely be obvious to all but the most obtuse that to have their plant on the inside would mean that the odds would be stacked more highly in their favour.
The GCS model is here seen working perfectly, again.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 08:28:28 PM by IainB »

TaoPhoenix

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Oh I'm sure there are lots of evil geniuses out there. I guarantee Monsanto has a few!

But of the industries that are leading directly to measures which "conveniently" overstep the stated mandate, it's Entertainment that keeps showing up, along with the War On Terror and Protect the Kiddies finishing the triumvirate. Gene patents are icky, but they don't seem to immediately lead to "we must examine blood samples daily to be sure you are not eating illegal corn."

IainB

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Potentially unethical/unconstitutional alliances.
« Reply #147 on: October 31, 2012, 09:49:33 PM »
But of the industries that are leading directly to measures which "conveniently" overstep the stated mandate, it's Entertainment that keeps showing up, along with the War On Terror and Protect the Kiddies finishing the triumvirate. Gene patents are icky, but they don't seem to immediately lead to "we must examine blood samples daily to be sure you are not eating illegal corn."
Yes, but the explanation for that could be that there is a natural real/potential alliance over common ground between:
  • (a) The profit objectives of commercial interests (GCSes), and
  • (b) the expansion of State-control objectives of that much bigger "GSO" (Good Psychopathic Organisation), the State.
- thus, wherever such a natural real/potential alliance exists, you will probably see collaboration between, for example:
  • the State GSOs - e.g., EPA, Homeland Security, TSA, Judiciary, Police - and
  • other GSOs - e.g., PPA, GreenPeace, WWF, UN, WHO, IPCC - and
  • commercial GCSes - e.g., Big Oil; Big Tobacco; Big Media; Big Pharmacy; Big Food; Big Research (Monsanto and others); Big Internet/Marketing (Google).

These will necessarily/probably only be alliances of convenience, and you can bet that the collaboration will be obscured/hidden as best as possible (e.g., the UN's and IPCC's "impenetrably transparent" processes) and oiled by borderline or arguably corrupt/unethical practices, and typically motivated by revenue expectations in one form or another - e.g., carbon trading (a tax); royalty payments (another kind of tax); research funding (sharing of tax revenues); market share protection (a revenue guarantee); administration funding (sharing of tax revenues).

If you want to spot this happening, just apply Cadbury's "Ethical rule of thumb":
Quote
"The rule of thumb is that, if a business process can not stand the hard light of scrutiny, then there is probably something unethical about it". - Sir Adrian Cadbury (Chairman of the then Quaker family-owned Cadbury's) in his prize-winning article on Business Ethics for Harvard Business Review circa 1984.

This helps to explain why organisations put so much effort into delaying/rejecting FOI (Freedom Of Information) requests, with some GSOs even spending hundreds of thousands of what was originally taxpayers' money in stalling/defence tactics in the Courts. Avoidance/fear of discovery.

Putting your "own people" in as plants/political appointments and using a "revolving door" for appointments is all part of the game - stack the odds in your favour.
As an illustration, see Fed.Govt.+MPAA here, and coincidentally I read the other day that the UK's Labour party apparently have "placeholders" (Labour plants) on the Boards of almost all of the major charitable institutions in the UK. Now why would they do that?     :tellme:
Quote
"Becase we care about charitable work."
Yeah, right.

Renegade

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Oh I'm sure there are lots of evil geniuses out there. I guarantee Monsanto has a few!

But of the industries that are leading directly to measures which "conveniently" overstep the stated mandate, it's Entertainment that keeps showing up, along with the War On Terror and Protect the Kiddies finishing the triumvirate. Gene patents are icky, but they don't seem to immediately lead to "we must examine blood samples daily to be sure you are not eating illegal corn."

I think the media reports on the MAFIAA are simply much more accessible to people, and easier to understand. Consequently, they receive a lot more attention.

For other places where the evil geniuses overstep the bounds of law and morality, things often get pretty murky pretty quickly. The problem is that what they are doing is much more difficult to understand, and it then receives much less media attention.

For example, take Monsanto's BT corn. It's a biological weapon. It is not food. But they pass it off as food.

BT corn is engineered as a hybrid with the BT bacteria (from which it gets its name). The BT bacteria creates a toxin that ruptures the stomachs of insects, which kills the insect. This is now in "corn", and insects that eat that corn, die. But the corn doesn't stop producing the toxin, and when you eat it, it still creates that toxin. The really scary part is that the "corn" can infect the natural flora in your stomach, causing them to adopt that same trait, and to start producing the BT toxin. Now, the natural flora in your body produces the same toxin that ruptures the stomachs of insects and kills them. Nice.

There are lots of studies on this showing how GMOs are toxic. There is also a massive effort on the part of Monsatan to discredit any and all research on GMOs that doesn't say exactly what they want.

So, you're left with the situation where you are being sold chronic bio-toxins that self-replicate inside your body, and you have governments that fully support you being poisoned, and even trying to deny you the right to know which "foods" contain the toxins. (Check out "prop 37" in California.)

I'll leave out the obvious connections for how poisoning people is profitable. (You don't make money from people that are healthy.) And leave out the connection for how a sick population is less likely to be involved in public life, e.g. politics. etc. etc. etc.

The difference between the evil geniuses in the MAFIAA and Monsatan are really only a matter of *how* they are evil. They approach things very differently, but the net effect is the same: Your destruction.

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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