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The Information Super-Sewer

Posted on Feb 15, 2010

By Chris Hedges

The Internet has become one more tool hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline. The great promise of the Internet, to open up dialogue, break down cultural barriers, promote democracy and unleash innovation and creativity, has been exposed as a scam. The Internet is dividing us into antagonistic clans, in which we chant the same slogans and hate the same enemies, while our creative work is handed for free to Web providers who use it as bait for advertising.

Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects or engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does not protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault. Anything that can be digitized can and is being outsourced to countries such as India and China where wages are miserable and benefits nonexistent. Welcome to the new global serfdom where the only professions that pay a living wage are propaganda and corporate management. 

The Web, at the same time it is destroying creative work, is forming anonymous crowds that vent collective rage, intolerance and bigotry. These virtual slums do not expand communication or dialogue. They do not enrich our culture. They create a herd mentality in which those who express empathy for “the enemy”—and the liberal class is as guilty of this as the right wing—are denounced by their fellow travelers for their impurity. Racism toward Muslims may be as evil as anti-Semitism, but try to express this simple truth on a partisan Palestinian or Israeli website.

Jaron Lanier, the “father of virtual reality technology,” in his new book “You Are Not a Gadget,” warns us of this frightening new collectivism. He notes that the habits imposed by the Internet have reconfigured how we relate to each other. He writes that “Web 2.0,” “Open Culture,” “Free Software” and the “Long Tail” have become enablers of this new collectivism. He cites Wikipedia, which consciously erases individual voices, and Google Wave as examples of the rise of mass collective thought and mass emotions. Google Wave is a new communication platform that permits users to edit what someone else has said in a conversation when it is displayed as well as allow collaborators to watch each other as they type. Privacy, honesty and self-reflection are instantly obliterated.

Tastes and information on the Internet are determined by the crowd, what Lanier calls the hive mentality. Music, books, journalism, commercials and bits of television shows and movies, along with inane YouTube videos, are thrust onto our screens and into national consciousness because of the statistical analysis of Internet crowd preferences. Lanier says that one of the biggest mistakes he and other computer scientists made when the Internet was developed was allowing contributions to the Internet to go unpaid. He says decisions such as this have now robbed people, especially those who create, of their ability to make a living and ultimately the capacity for dignity. Digital collectivism, he warns, is destroying the dwindling vestiges of authentic creativity and innovation, including journalism, which takes time, investment and self-reflection. And while there are a few sites that do pay for content—Truthdig being one—the vast majority are parasites. The only income left for most of those who create is earned through self-promotion, but as Lanier points out this turns culture into nothing but advertising. It fosters a social ethic in which the capacity for crowd manipulation is more highly valued than truth, beauty or thought.


Square, Site wide
While the severing of intellectual property rights from their creators, whether journalists, photographers or musicians, means that those who create lose the capacity to make a living from their work, aggregators such as Google make money by collecting and distributing this work to lure advertisers. Original work on the Internet, as Lanier points out, is “copied, mashed up, anonymized, analyzed, and turned into bricks in someone else’s fortress to support an advertising scheme.” Lanier warns that if this trend is not halted it will create a “formula that leaves no way for our nation to earn a living in the long term.” 

“Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one’s anus to one’s mouth,” Lanier says. “The body starts consuming itself. That is what we are doing online. As more and more human activity is aggregated, people huddle around the last remaining oases of revenue. Musicians today might still be able to get paid to make music for video games, for instance, because games are still played in closed consoles and haven’t been collectivized as yet.”

I called Lanier in San Francisco. He began by saying that he was not against the Internet, but against how it has evolved. He has sounded his warning, he said, because he fears that if we fall into an economic tailspin, the Internet, like other innovative systems of mass communication in human history, could be used to exacerbate social enmity and lead to an American totalitarianism.

“The scenario I can see is America in some economic decline, which we seem determined to enter into because we are unable to make any adjustments, and a lot of unhappy people,” Lanier said. “The preponderance of them are in rural areas and in the red states, the former slave states. And they are all connected and get angrier and angrier. What exactly happens? Do they start converging on abortion clinics? Probably. Do they start converging on legislatures and take them over? I don’t know, maybe. I shouldn’t speak it. It is almost a curse to imagine these things. But any intelligent person can see the scenario I am afraid to see. There is a potential here for very bad stuff to happen.”

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By Jim Effect, July 29, 2011 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

Never mind economic decline, but the excessive media and advertisements that are bombarding our daily lives have already brought about a social decline, starting from the root, the source of the hardware itself, and then you can think about the lives of the people who make them, to the consumers such as yourself who communicate with others via these media devices and having your mood, your rest of the day shaped by the inevitable advertising mediums telling you what to do and where to go. This is only a wild assumption but you cannot say that it is far from truth.

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By garth, July 26, 2010 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Moves to legislate government control of the Internet is what this Sherrod-Vilsack-NAACP-FOX News-Andrew (Notso) Breitbart flap is all about.

Think about it.  This Breitbart has been unmasked twice in the past.  Sheppard Smith of Fox news who was reportedly the only news guy that didn’t go with the story, said in an intro that the Internet has become an open sewer.  And if you can’t give weight to the only so-called journalist on an admittedly governemt propaganda station, then who can you trust.

We’re entering an Alice in Wonderland area now with this debate.

What they are saying is: If we can’t think for ourselves, and we can’t distinguish between a crackpot and honest journalism, then why should we trust you to be able to.

One alarming caller to C-SPOAN the other day said that our government gives us all these rights and we should respect it.  Blah, blah.

The government does no such thing.  The Bill of Rights came for the brilliant idea that we have “inalienable rights.”

Why do Amercians pay homage to such a sleazy bunch of reprobates—the U.S. Government.

On July 26th—Congratulations to Fidel Castro and the Cuban people in the anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

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By MarthaA, July 26, 2010 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

The internet is an information super highway that is wonderful right now, but if there are too many Conservatives get into power, they may get an ingrown hair and the inclination to change it, because Conservatives are not into letting information be known widely.  Right now there is liberal information and it is easy to get informed; and the populace is able to actually represent the populace on Political Forums, whereas without the internet, there would be no way for the populace to have any representation politically, what so ever..

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By shgawa, July 26, 2010 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

” On the contrary TD3 respect for one another goes a long way.. Tolerance is a key word of which some people have zero. The government protects, as it should, those who are intimidated through words.”

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By Johnny, May 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t know about this, sounds a bit paranoid. From my own experience with the internet I think it has only been helpful. I have learnt 10 times as much as I would have learnt without it. People communicate and argue in forums, and usually the best argument comes out ontop and their ideas are assumed. Sure, it means some muscians get payed less, but on the bright side it allows more people to be creative, not just those who want to make money. People can live multiple lives with the internet. You can go out during the day and work as an accountant, but you may come home and be a music producer at night. People are doing things for the mere enjoyment of doing them, not for the money it will earn them. Things people once had to pay for can now be obtained free thanks to other peoples hobbies.

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By luc59457, March 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good Job Chris.. There’s a lot of sick things negative things continuing to occur in this world, it starts with education like this where proper changes can occur. There needs to be laws for the very things you’ve mentioned. The justice system always needs improvements.

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By MarthaA, March 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

We must not allow the Republicans to keep the populace from getting reform of health care:

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By garth, March 5, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment


I think you hit the nail right on the head.


But then Obama like Clinton are bridge presidents to help pass the crypto-fascism that is poisoning our country in steps. What the Republican head can’t do the Democratic head can. Right now Obama dazzled and so temporarily blinded those who wanted to believe in the first place. Which was the point of this part of the psy-ops. Make us desperate then give a “savior” who is really just an agent of change. The slow revolution to a corporate theocratic state in the making since 1980.


I just saw the Education policy unmasked. Reading and math for the students from now on and that’s it.  Then I guess it’s off to war for the ones with the unlucky birthright.

A watered-down financial protection bill.

Back down on the civil trials for the terrorists.  I think they are protecting the torturers by this move.

Guarantee the insurance companies 30 or so million more payers.  Don’t help women who need an abortion. In short pass a Republican bill.

But Republican Democrat, Schmepublican Schemocrat.  I can get a glimpse of what’s going on in this country by omiiting the “wiil of the people” as a possible factor in the government’s decision making.  It’s now between power centers at the top.  We are the unlucky ones who suffer the outcomes of these grand schemes.

It’s like the guy who goes to see a fortune teller and is told by the seer, “You will make the same mistake.  Not once, but over and over and over again.”

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By Night-Gaunt, March 5, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Me too. But then Obama like Clinton are bridge presidents to help pass the crypto-fascism that is poisoning our country in steps. What the Republican head can’t do the Democratic head can. Right now Obama dazzled and so temporarily blinded those who wanted to believe in the first place. Which was the point of this part of the psy-ops. Make us desperate then give a “savior” who is really just an agent of change. The slow revolution to a corporate theocratic state in the making since 1980.

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By garth, March 4, 2010 at 11:44 am Link to this comment


It has been more than a year now with Obama and Hartmann is still saying things like, “Obama is a chess player.  He’s going to use reconciliation to get through the Public Option.”

Krugman still writes warm milk articles about the Obama Administration even though it has become abundantly clear to even the casual observer that this administration is Business as Usual.  One kind of looks to Krugman for some intellectual honesty.

Obama’s not a transformative figure.  He’s a sorry excuse for what the American voters are left with.

He’s just a junior executive who’s been thrust into a position that he has no preparation for.  He’s just a kid.  He was picked and primed, but I don’t think he is anywhere near the man that he has to be to get us through this mess.

At this point, my only hope is that Afghanistan does prove to be the wasteland for Empires.  I am sick of this war shit, the threat of oncoming austerity, the bozo-like performances of all politicians, especially the bone-headed Republicans and their Democratic counterparts.

Sick of it.

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By spinteractive, March 4, 2010 at 2:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

vapid. someone told me this was interesting. how untrue.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

garth,neither Krugman nor Hartmann are supporters or “apologists” for Obama. How did you miss that detail? Both have been critical of the reich wing policies that he maintains or surpasses. Krugman is just a little nicer about it. I don’t have a show or a column so I am much harsher to him. He is doing what the obvious Republicans can’t so easily. Very slick and intelligent but utterly without empathy for what these things will do to us. No a bit of it.

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By MarthaA, February 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

” The Republicans are walking right into it.” This is garth’s February 22 at 7:44 pm anxiety for his Republicans,  but he is apparently ashamed to own up.

What is it you are so afraid President Obama is going to do to hurt the the greedy little minority of conservative Republican EXTREMISTS?

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By garth, February 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

I think our schools should back the course, Reading for Comprehension.

With my luck, I’ll misread something someone says and it’ll be thrown up in my face, too.

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By MarthaA, February 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

So, garth is a Republican.  You’re on the wrong team, garth.

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By garth, February 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

What Paul Krugman doesn’t get and what Thom Hartmann doesn’t get and what the rest of these Obama apologists don’t get is that the oligarchs, the ones who are in charge here and now, don’t change their agenda.

But then maybe the media are part of the team on an elevated playing field and they are in some sort of a turf battle.  They say don’t strike, don’t boycott.  That stuff doesn’t work.  Obama’s a chess player.  The Republicans are walking right into it.  I listen to and read these media myself.  I find the right-wing stuff always has a substantial lie or misrepresentation in it.  Thom Hartman and the liberal or progressive left talk to most of what I believe.
However, we are in a different place.  Belief can be fatal.  Waiting, Obama’s key weapon against showing his hand, his true colors (Remember in the primary campaign he said Reagan was the only candidate with ideas.) can be like the waiting for the executioner.  Are we letting some opportunities go by to organize to become belicose while the rest of polite political society says, “Yes, but…”?
Most Americans have few options, I would guess.  Otherwise, there’d be a mass exodus to Sweden or other Social Democratic governments. A man I worked with a year ago was saddened to find out that although being of direct Swedish descent he did not have the requirements to emigrate to Sweden, where they have peace.  Ah, sweet peace.

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By MarthaA, February 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

The internet needs to remain open and free to political speech.

The internet isn’t what is taking jobs away from people.  Jobs are being taken away because of the WTO Agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA, etc. and the conservative, authoritarian, autocratic, Right-Wing EXTREMISTS “starving of the beast”.  Here is Paul Krugman thoughts on what the conservative Republicans have done and are doing their best to continue:

“O.K., the beast is starving. Now what? That’s the question confronting Republicans. But they’re refusing to answer, or even to engage in any serious discussion about what to do.”

“For readers who don’t know what I’m talking about: ever since Reagan, the G.O.P. has been run by people who want a much smaller government. In the famous words of the activist Grover Norquist, conservatives want to get the government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

“The conservative answer, which evolved in the late 1970s, would be dubbed “starving the beast” during the Reagan years. The idea — propounded by many members of the conservative intelligentsia, from Alan Greenspan to Irving Kristol — was basically that sympathetic politicians should engage in a game of bait and switch. Rather than proposing unpopular spending cuts, Republicans would push through popular tax cuts, with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s fiscal position. Spending cuts could then be sold as a necessity rather than a choice, the only way to eliminate an unsustainable budget deficit.”

“And the deficit came. True, more than half of this year’s budget deficit is the result of the Great Recession, which has both depressed revenues and required a temporary surge in spending to contain the damage.”

“So the beast is starving, as planned. It should be time, then, for conservatives to explain which parts of the beast they want to cut. And President Obama has, in effect, invited them to do just that, by calling for a bipartisan deficit commission. ”

“Why are Republicans reluctant to sit down and talk? Because they would then be forced to put up or shut up. Since they’re adamantly opposed to reducing the deficit with tax increases, they would have to explain what spending they want to cut. And guess what? After three decades of preparing the ground for this moment, they’re still not willing to do that.”

“In fact, conservatives have backed away from spending cuts they themselves proposed in the past. In the 1990s, for example, Republicans in Congress tried to force through sharp cuts in Medicare. But now they have made opposition to any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely the core of their campaign against health care reform (death panels!). And presidential hopefuls say things like this, from Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota: “I don’t think anybody’s gonna go back now and say, Let’s abolish, or reduce, Medicare and Medicaid.”

“At this point, then, Republicans insist that the deficit must be eliminated, but they’re not willing either to raise taxes or to support cuts in any major government programs. And they’re not willing to participate in serious bipartisan discussions, either, because that might force them to explain their plan — and there isn’t any plan, except to regain power.”

“But there is a kind of logic to the current Republican position: in effect, the party is doubling down on starve-the-beast. Depriving the government of revenue, it turns out, wasn’t enough to push politicians into dismantling the welfare state. So now the de facto strategy is to oppose any responsible action until we are in the midst of a fiscal catastrophe. You read it here first.”  —Paul Krugman, New York Times February 21, 2010

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By garth, February 22, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

At least the discussion has risen from that of ex-Senator Stevens of Alaska who said on the Senate floor just a few years ago that the Internet was a series of pipes.

I read TheBeerDoctor and I suggest that Truthdig invite The BeerDoctor to write a counter argument to be published on Truthdig.

I read Hedges’s article and I wanted some examples of what it was exactly that he was talking about.

To matters that might seem important to a few of you, a recent study revealed that a high per cent of the stories on the Internet were extracted from the print media.  What the study fails to reveal is that another study revealed that 74 percent of the stories in the print media are from government PR releases.

So now we have the echo chamber, and it takes more discernment to distinguish between government BS and real reporting.

BTW:  Occams razor does not say that you have to believe whatever the government account is.

Misleading?  Jack Welch welcomed the internet because, as he said, “Success in the Internet era will hinge on delivery of goods and services.  GE has properties all over the US and we can use them to store deliverables.  That will ensure quick response to market demand.”
He did not bring up his alias “Neutron” Jack in indignation because he did eliminate those jobs.  Those jobes of real people who worked in those buildings, instead he redirected the resources of GE to Financial Services.  That’s where the big money was. Or so he thought.  I wonder how the shareholders feel about 720 miillion dollar Jack?  With his randy interest will he be the next Tiger Woods?
I heard of a speech given by a person I heard of who was the Strauss Professor at the Harvard Business School.  He warned the cyber space was not a “place.”
This is all super-Orwellian with their ability to watch what I type as I am typing it.
Doesn’t that bother anyone?
Maybe illegal immigration is a way of replacing flatulence with living, breathing, thinking oraganisms.

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By Rick Ladd, February 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I forget. Is it normal for Luddites to be elitists too?

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By racetoinfinity, February 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

@ John Ellis

Read Ken Wilber - when you understand him for better and worse, get in touch.  Thanks.  Namaste.

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

President Obama is having to deal with a lot of this type of propaganda today, which is why his meetings with the Republicans are televised on C-Span, to cut down on their Hitler type propaganda.

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By elisalouisa, February 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

In January 1933 von Hindenberg who was President of Germany appointed
Hitler Chancellor because he felt that the Communist Party’s power would be
weakened by this act.  Following the Reichstag(Parliament) fire Hitler assumed
control. Newspapers in Germany printed false evidence of Communist
conspiracies and claimed only Hitler and the Nazis could prevent Communist
takeover. Joseph Goebels now had control of the State-run radio and broadcast
Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s speeches all across the nation. With no money
problems because of contributions from capitalists in Germany and some in
America and the power of the State behind them, the Nazis campaigned to get
Hitler the majority he wanted. The Nazi party did not get a majority, it got 44
per cent of the total vote. The goal of a legally established dictatorship was
within reach but lacked the two thirds majority in the Reichstag. After the
March 5, 1933 elections, a systematic takeover of the state governments
throughout Germany was commenced, ending a centuries old tradition of local
political independence. On March 15, 1933 an Enabling Act which did away
with democracy was proposed by the Reichstag and was passed on March 23.
Democracy had ended. They had brought down the German Democratic
Republic legally. The Nazi party was now flooded with applications for
membership. When von Hindenberg died in 1934 Hitler abolished the office of
President and became Fuhrer. The rest is history.

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

This is what Conservative Rupert Murdoch is paying his Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMIST faux liberal sophist and propaganda leaders outrageously high paychecks to set up now in the United States; the exact same scenario, different people, different place.  Somehow this scenario must be circumvented. 

As I have posted on this thread February 20 at 6:19 pm very real information about the U.S. Economy [“The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class” By David DeGraw - AlterNet. ]

And, elisalouisa, February 21 at 3:28 pm posted how long it took Hitler to get the job done.

I expect to see a Conservative, Right-Wing, authoritative, autocratic, EXTREME Hitler type regime come down on us within the time frame elisalouisa has posted, a little more or a little less, if nothing is done to circumvent the faux liberal movement by Rupert Murdoch’s highly paid conservative Republican EXTREMISTS, who will move to take over the Democratic Party if appeasement and cooperation is continued unabated by the Democratic Party.  Professor Jeff Cohen makes it plain in the following interviews on The Real News that the Democratic Party would be relative easy to take over account its an empty shell:

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By elisalouisa, February 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA You are correct The financial crisis in Germany was the result of
War Reparations that Germany could not pay. They had a large debt put upon
them by the Allies, the Mark became worthless as Germany had to keep printing
more and more money. Many became unemployed with no work available. This
caused the depression in Germany. The state governments within Germany were
unstable. This was the situation prior to 1930. Also communism was a great
threat in the 1920s. Thus the stage for Hitler was set.

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMISTS would love to censor the internet.  I don’t use MySpace, and Truthdig isn’t censored to my knowledge and hopefully will never be.

It is imperative that the populace doesn’t cut off their nose to spite their face.  The populace needs the internet open and free, otherwise democracy will only be a glimmer memory.

Other websites besides MySpace are censored and I really don’t think it is with permission of the websites.  There is a whole flotilla of conservative webmonster hackers whose job is to make it difficult to post politically liberal information, that I doubt the websites even know about, because they attack the posters.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Actually ofersince72 it does matter. We still have some chance of stopping it. No it isn’t a full on dictatorship yet. We still have functioning vestiges of a Republic. But not for much longer. The police don’t yet have the full plenary powers to shoot anyone down in the streets or grab them and make them disappear just yet but it is waiting in the wings. I do have a life and this is part of it. Just ask those in central and south America about dictatorship and they would laugh in your face about it here. But at the same time they would caution that it is very close and for some it is a dictatorship. (If you are black or hispanic definitely.) So please don’t be so dismissive and flippant.

Whatever we are going to get it won’t be like Nazi Germany, Bolshivek Russia, Mussolini‘s Italy, Franco Spain etc.—-it will be all American made.

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Then, it was the Conservatives and the Conservative Catholic Church.

Now, its the Conservatives and the Conservative Evangelical Church and the Conservative Mormons. 

Right-Wing conservative, authoritarian, autocratic fascism always travels on religion.

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By Anarcissie, February 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

1930 was the year after the stock market crash in the U.S. —that financial crisis.  You’ll notice that between 1930 and 1932 the Nazis lost about 10% of their support.  They were fading out, but a combination of conservatives in the existing government thought the Nazis would be a better bet for them than the Socialists or the Communists, who were competing for power, so they got Hitler appointed Chancellor, whereupon he unleashed a reign of terror—hence the 43% Nazi vote in 1933—and after the terror, the war.

So it was the elites, not the people (whose culture Hedges despises so much) who betrayed Germany to the Nazis.

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

The financial crisis in Germany was the Allied Nations forcing Germany to pay War Reparations.

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By elisalouisa, February 21, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

You are correct Martha and it is the free political speech that concerns me. The
link I included in my post below does provide websites that tell of what may
come down the road as to the Internet. It has been my experience that prior to an
event there are columns that spur interest in the subject.
As to Cyber units in the Sheriff’s Department and local laws that aim to prevent
predators from enticing our children, more power to them.

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By elisalouisa, February 21, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Federal election results Nazi Party # of vote and percentage are after date.

Date   Votes           Percentage           Seats in Reichstag         Background
May 1924   1,918,300       6.5           32                             Hitler in prison
December 1924   907,300   3.0           14                             Hitler is released from prison
May 1928   810,100   2.6       12  
September 1930   6,409,600   18.        107                       After the financial crisis
July 1932   13,745,800       37.4         230  
November 1932   11,737,000   33.        196  
March 1933   17,277,000       43.9         288                           After Hitler had become Chancellor

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By MarthaA, February 21, 2010 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

The United States isn’t completely like Nazi Germany, yet; but if democracy doesn’t get a handle on the autocratic, authoritarian, conservative, Right-Wing Republican Movement promoted by the political jingoism of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Fox Network,,, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill OReilly, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, the Republican Tea Party,  and the conservative Right-Wing churches, to name a few, the United States is headed for the same type of government Hitler had in Nazi Germany.

Democracy is controlled by the populace and for the populace to get a handle on Conservatism’s control of media, free political speech on the internet must remain free. 

The internet must remain open to free political speech.

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By Anarcissie, February 21, 2010 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Depends what you all mean by “totalitarian”.  In the kind of totalitarian society imagined by people like Mussolini, who invented the word, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

I read Wolin’s article and he seems mixed up about history.  In looking at the Nazis, he says that the totalitarianism was in the streets, and that it was the government that was democratic.  In fact, the streets and most other areas of German life were, if not entirely democratic, far from totalitarian, and the Nazi Party never gained more than about one-third of the votes.  However, if you read The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich (Shirer) or other similar accounts of the way in which the Nazis came to power, you will find that the success of Hitler was very nearly a coup d’état and was enabled by chicanery and deceit.  That is, as usual, it was the policy-making levels of government and many of the business leaders who were anti-democratic, not the people in general.  Therefore, I would say that Wolin has it backwards. 

Anyway, we have a new situation since January, 2009: the cautious, conservative, opportunistic Democrats are in charge, and many of the Republicans seem to have lost their minds.  I don’t know how that’s going to come out.

In regard to the Infowars site, the URLs I looked at had to do with the Net Neutrality issue.  This is important, although it’s not on a front burner right now.  The business community is divided about it, which gives us some hope.  I don’t know where Chris Hedges and his war-mongering Microsoft-shill buddy come out on it.  If Hedges thinks the Net is a sewer and Lanier thinks its a hive of mindless insects, though, I can guess.

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By elisalouisa, February 21, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Censorship of the Internet is not the answer for that an important source to news
other than MSM. The address below has some interesting links.

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By Leefeller, February 21, 2010 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

What is offensive to one is not always offensive to others. Bottom line, regulating speech, because of perceived offenses or personal fear real or not, does not mean freedom of speech should be limited, controlled or regulated. 

It seems activities which are illegal need not be covered by controlling speech, limiting speech or the demise of freedom of speech this seems most totalitarian, with a burning of books mentality.

If a person writes something which seems offensive to another person, it seems the law already defines this as illegal.

For instance if one wants to criticize another segment of society, for any reason at all Freedom of Speech allows this to be so.  Laws protect personal rights with a certain degree.

Regulating, limiting, controlling freedom of speech is to attack freedom itself.

If one wants to argue or even heaven forbid criticize region freedom of speech allows them to do so. It seems hypocrisy alone would limit speech in the name of do as I say, not as I do.

Yeah, using the sewer to plant sewer messages as Hedges does is most amusing, maybe Hedges does have a sense of humor after all?  So funny, almost like those stand up comics Palin, Limbaugh and Beck! Was Hedges being sarcastic?

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

P.S.  I didn’t need to read a booK to understand
    that we are now living in a totalitarian
    dictatorship with authoritarian rule


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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

i have a proclamation the world,
the U.S. government is a totalitarian
a dictatorship
but not just any,  it is upside down…one

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

I do agree we are under dictatorship…
but it ain’t upside down…

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

inverted is it ,,, upside down totalitarianism

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

you are haughty enough to throw out grades about

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

Just why do we have to stick a syn on just what
type of authoritative rule we have now.
So thats where we are at, TOTALITARIANISM.
no arguement there from me at all
It has been sabotaged.
I will take your F minus gladly for content
You opened up the can I wanted to see opened.

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

Night Gauntlet,, I respect you
but get a life.  What do you need to back it up.?

Just who gives a good crap just what kind of
totalitarianism we are living under?
It has been evident for years just who controls
this country, its military, its institutions
ect. ect. ect.

Some intellectual bullcrap about nothing???

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By Anarcissie, February 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, February 20 at 8:02 pm:
‘You may say that no one cares Anarcissie but that is not true the parents of these children care and society cares at least the society that I am part of cares. ...’

I’d suggest trying to restrain the wrongdoers, then, instead of using the problem to attack the Internet and ordinary, innocent people’s freedom of expression.

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By elisalouisa, February 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

You may say that no one cares Anarcissie but that is not true the parents of these
children care and society cares at least the society that I am part of cares. I have
one half dozen cases because I was trying to prove a point that arrests are made
not enumerate all of them which is impossible. Believe me there are many many all
over the country. Many Sheriff’s departments have units that specialize in cyber
crime and Internet child porn is what many concentrate on.They exchange
information as to methods and suspects.  As to profits that is another issue one
that does not concern me as much as protecting our children. Same goes with the
harassment case that resulted in a girls’s suicide. These are but the tip of the
iceberg. Locally people can enact laws to keep predators at bay. The sewer of the
internet can be contained and kept underground where sewers belong.  Laws can
be enacted to protect your community. Thanks to Chris Hedges for an
enlightening article.

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By larkin, February 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is a war and it is already lost.

The organism is the corporate entity, the inheritor of the nation state.  Unlike the nation state it is not confined to geographical borders or racial and ethnic considerations. Amoeba like, it can expand, contract, be absorbed or absorb, but it never actually dies. Once accepted, it becomes indestructible. Already its servants, the politicians are assigning it names like the “New World Order” and they encourage us to be like them and follow.

The arterial system of global physical transportation is currently in place. It moves resources and stored energy to where it is needed, but now is time to lay down the nervous system.

The global nervous system of satellites, server farms and local internet service providers are just the beginning. It isn’t as simple as connectivity. It is vastly more complex and now comes the task of individual assessment in so far as the needs of the larger organism. This is where the death of the individual will occur.

Instruments like the example of “My Space”, this “History Forum” or electronic banking and tax payment, the “Real ID”, cell phone global positioning tracking, a myriad of shopping data bases, electric crime detection and enforcement are not really for the benefit of the individual. They are portrayed to be for the individual but they are really the tools of a larger organism for the purpose of its own evolution. Each one of these whether they be smiley face app, pragmatic, overlooked or yet to be invented human interface are actually data mining applications in service of the super organism. This is a super organism composed of billions of human beings. (As in E.M. Fosters, “The Machine Stops)

Data mining has nothing to do with the individual!

The time will come where connectivity will be a life or death proposition. All who are connected will be slaves to this super organism. Everyone else will be shed or cast out as destructive elements. If you are not part of the organism you will be deemed outlaws subject to destruction. The final consolidation of this super organism will be a war between itself and the outsiders who it will call terrorists.

What drives this organism’s incessant growth, where is it going ?...

The hydro-carbons stored into the earth from a billion years ago is its fuel. The only thing that can destroy this primitive organism composed of billions of human beings is profound petroleum and coal depletion. Because this super organism puts its own survival above the individual no matter the consequences, I personally believe that it will never stop burning hydro-carbons it until it is gone. Only then will a total collapse occur.

Paradoxically, this is why sometimes I hope they don’t find a cheap energy alternative. I value the individual over a monstrous super thing bent only on its own survival.

I fear, if allowed to continue, it will be the beginning of the real “Matrix”

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By MarthaA, February 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

“The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class”

By David DeGraw - AlterNet

“The economic elite have robbed us all. The amount of suffering in the United States of America is literally a crime against humanity.

“We all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our founding fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99 percent of the U.S. population no longer has political representation. The U.S. economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.

Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99 percent of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep…and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the U.S. middle class.”,_threatening_the_very_existence_of_the_middle_class

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By Night-Gaunt, February 20, 2010 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

ofersince72 “enabling twit” and “stupid” (just name calling is for dunces) concerning “inverted totalitarianism” bothers you? How? Did you search for it and read Wolin‘s research on it? Or it is just too hard for you to swallow that our Republic is so sabotaged? Typical I have seen here. Just call names but don’t back it up? That is the empty crap I see here time and again. In debate you would be laughed out of the room for such vacuous posturing. Get the facts or sit down. Only the adults with their brains in full function need say anything or can. You got a “F” minus for lack of content. I shouldn’t have to ask you a follow up to get some real meat on those bones, except you didn’t give bones just hot air. So wake up or go back to sleep!

It would be rhetorical to ask you if you studied any of this because your most recent post precludes needing to ask.

The only difference I have with Wolin is that I see them moving to eventually discard the pretense of democracy in a republic and move to a complete theocratic-corporate state soon. Just don’t know when.

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Hedges is an enabling twit,

especially his stupid discourse about
inverted totalitarianism….

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By Anarcissie, February 20, 2010 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa—You have half a dozen cases.  None of them show that the makers of child pornography were inhibited in any way.  In fact, as with illegal drugs, this kind of enforcement may raise the price and desirability of the product and thus increase the profits and practice of making it.  No one knows and no one seems to care much, because as I say the present system is theater.  But any stick will do to beat a dog.

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By Leefeller, February 20, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Maybe they should have police dwarfs pose as alter boys and spy on the Catholic church?

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By MarthaA, February 20, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Report all criminal offenses to the police with the web site information.

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By elisalouisa, February 20, 2010 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

These are but a few of the headlines I gathered on the Internet concerning the arrest of those into child porn.  Law Enforcement especially follows up leads on those who have access to children such as in the teaching profession. Some of the sentences below
may not make sense because I have tried to eliminate names of those involved.
The laws are effective as you can see by the headlines below and not just “theater” as you say Anarcissee.

Court hears school job seeker had more than 4,000 child pornography images.

Forensic examination…revealed over 800 images of child pornography that
======= had sought out and downloaded…

News Wire article from: US Fed News Service, Including US State News
announced that a Holmes County man is in custody…charges of possession of
child pornography.

Inverting the First Amendment.(child pornography law)
Magazine article from: University of Pennsylvania Law Review ...INTRODUCTION
Child pornography law is the new…the times ...7) whereas child pornography
law is about..anxiety over child pornography fills the gap…

ews Wire article from: US Fed News Service, Including US State News ...prison
for possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney…District Judge———also
directed…individual who received child pornography. On May 15,
2008…revealed images of child pornography. When confronted…

Child pornography probe charges 15.

Your comment that Law Enforcement should go after the makers of porn not alleged users of porn does not hold ground. As I mentioned, many times they are one in the same. Also, users are more often in contact with children where they can do much harm.

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Damn, more insomnia,

I will spare the neighborhood this time.

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2010 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

eliaslouisa—I said that the child pornography laws were theater because they aren’t and apparently can’t be enforced.  It would probably be better to concentrate on finding and restraining the people who actually make the pornography, rather than the alleged consumers of it.  (I say alleged because a number of people have been arrested because of having it on their computers although they did not know it was there.  It can be downloaded by a kind of program called a worm without the owner’s knowledge.)  It’s not really an Internet issue, however.  It existed long before the Internet.

As for Hedges, his view of the past and present of the Internet is pretty fact-free, so I would not put much stock in his view of the future.

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By elisalouisa, February 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Yes, harassment is harassment no matter in what form it appears but it may not
be against the law in a particular area.  Laws can be enacted when harassment
results in tragic loss of life as happened in Florissant Missouri.You state that the
child pornography law is mostly theater, are you trying to say it should not exist.
If there is no law people cannot be prosecuted. Theater or not, the law is there
and used in a good many situations. Moreover laws also serve as preventive tools. People think twice when there is a law against what they are about to engage in.
This has nothing to do with the First Amendment and most of all censorship.
In again rereading Chris Hedges’ column I have concluded that he is correct and
the column is a foretelling of things still down the road.

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa—Child pornography is against the law no matter in what form it appears.  The law is mostly theater, though; it certainly hasn’t stopped people from putting it on the Internet.  It would take you about 15 seconds to find and start downloading some if you were interested in it.  As I say, you’d need a cop standing behind every person with a monitor to stop it. 

In regard to the harassment case you mention, harassment is harassment no matter in what form it appears.  It is not a peculiarity of the Internet.  It also requires there to be a specific target.  If you insult people of some broad category—as, for instance, when the president of Brazil said that “blue-eyed people” had caused the financial meltdown, or some kid wears a T-shirt that says “It’s a Black (Irish, Italian, Chinese) thing, You wouldn’t understand it” —you’re home free, under present law. 

The same goes for fraud, libel, copyright violation, impersonation and identity theft, and a number of other speech acts, which were illegal before the Internet was ever thought of.  They are illegal because they go beyond mere expression.

If you want to change this you’re going to have to rewrite the First Amendment and then plan on putting together a very large police force.

I don’t know why you think that would be a good thing, though.  In Germany, where Naziism and Nazi-like expression is forbidden, there is an active Nazi Party with thousands of adherents.  In the United States, where Nazis are free to wave the Nazi flag and recite Mein Kampf, there’s virtually nothing.  The conclusion I draw from that observation is that exposure is more effective at curing political and cultural evils than repression.

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By elisalouisa, February 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

The case of Megan Taylor Meier who committed suicide by hanging herself 3
weeks before her 14th birthday has caused several jurisdictions to enact or to
consider legislation prohibiting harassment over the Internet. The ordinance
prohibits any harassment that utilizes an electronic medium, including the
Internet, text messaging services, pages and similar devices. Violations of the
ordinance are treated as misdemeanors with fines of up to $500 and up to 90
days imprisonment. The city of Florissant Missouri is to revise its harassment
laws in response to the case, updating them to cover harassment through
computer and mobile phone messaging, and creating a new crime to cover
adults 21 and over harassing children under the age of 18. According to the St.
Louis Daily Record, the “new language expands the definition of the crime of
‘harassment’ to include knowingly intimidating or causing emotional distress
anonymously, either by phone or electronically, or causing distress to a child.”
It also “increases the penalty for harassment from a misdemeanor to a felony,
carrying up to four years in prison if it’s committed by an adult against
someone 17 or younger or if the criminal has previously been convicted of

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By MarthaA, February 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Freedom has to be Free or it isn’t freedom.  There are laws that work just fine for internet corruption already.  My prayer to my God, in the name of Jesus, is that there will never be any curtailment of freedom of speech on the internet.  Amen.

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By elisalouisa, February 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

How about child pornography. How about being arrested on a felony charge for
being part of a child porn ring on Internet? Is that free whatever on the Internet?

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By nephyo, February 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All I can say from reading this is that I’m really glad Lanier didn’t design the internet. He seems terrified of the possibility of “bad mobs” as if we didn’t have that problem before the internet and he completely discounts all the value that comes from the GOOD collectives, like for example, the civil rights movement.

The funding problem online is also overstated. I’ve experienced all the best Journalism, Cartoons, Photography, Stories, Videos all SINCE the internet, not before. Somehow the internet is encouraging non-mundane beautifully creative works in spite of supposedly scary “wikipedia” and “free software” like influences.

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa, February 19 at 11:55 am:
‘Law enforcement works at protecting children from child molesters on the Internet. Should this be stopped or are stalkers seeking prey in our children also
covered by the right to free speech? ...’

At present, you can say just about anything you want.  What the police do in the case of child molestation is try to lure potential child molesters into doing or suggesting something physical, like getting their target to travel to an assignation.  They can then arrest the (potential) molester.  This is very different from the kind of prior censorship you seem to be suggesting.  The criminal is treated no differently than if he had used the telephone, the mails, or public space to do the same thing.  Free speech is not the issue, and surveillance and censorship are not the solution.

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By Leefeller, February 19, 2010 at 10:30 am Link to this comment


Racism spreads because bigots who are unhappy with their lives or parts of their lives for one reason or another, need to belittle others of difference, dumping on others provides a self promoted feeling of power. Because I believe in free speech does not mean I like everything I read or hear and it also does not mean I would ban others rights to say what I do not like to read or hear.

Far as I see it the web is not different than any other public place, a bar, a street corner or church, maybe one difference is on the web, bigots are required to write.

Virginia777 stated:
“Leefeller: its so easy as a white American who has never experienced racism directed at them personally to write excuses for “free speech” like this: (Virginia I believe you mean Leefeller as the white American, not yourself)?

If in meaning Leefeller as a white American,  attacking my ability to comprehend racism seems a most prejudicial assumption. Sounds as if Virgina777 knows more of myself and my experiences than I and one may suggest Virgina sounds overtly racist. 

An assumption of my own; does Freedom of speech mean,  freedom only acceptable by Virginia777 or those who think the same as Virgina777?

Censorship has always been a goal of special groups in societys. If I recall from reading, in the 1920s or 30s movies had of all things more skin showing than they felt acceptable by some people?  I see little difference between forcing someone to dress a certain way, hold their face a certain way and how to think a certain way, as this is as I see it, would be the end result of selected speech.

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By elisalouisa, February 19, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

What we are talking about is a vehicle where children(preteens) can be enticed.
Law enforcement does its best everywhere to protect children. The question: Can
this device be used to entice children? Can law enforcement respond as a preteen
would and then arrest?

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By Leefeller, February 19, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa stated:

“Law enforcement works at protecting children from child molesters on the
Internet. Should this be stopped or are stalkers seeking prey in our children also
covered by the right to free speech?”

Not any more than the right to seek prey of our children under the tax free robe of religion, even though it is against the law or on the sewers of the street?

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By Leefeller, February 19, 2010 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Words hurt so this means they should be banned? Who decides which words?

As one can observe just from different posts here on TD. Which words to ban, would be different depending on political or religious or any other feeling of importance depending on priority of the decider.

For instance I would find it very uncomfortable if someone like Pat Robertson or any other self righteous ass hole was the decider.  Now, if it was not Pat Robertson, it would be different I suppose it could be worse or better?  Now If I was the guy calling the shots, I would ban words that annoy me, even hurt at times, depending on how much Tequila I had been drinking at the time.

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By elisalouisa, February 19, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Law enforcement works at protecting children from child molesters on the
Internet. Should this be stopped or are stalkers seeking prey in our children also
covered by the right to free speech? Where is the fine line when someone of
questionable mental stability is enticed into a criminal act through use of the
Internet? That is the sewer that Chris Hedges speaks of. Are bloggers protected as
to their writing? The first sentence of Mr. Hedges first paragraph is not evil, on the contrary, it should be slowly digested as to content. Jumping to the word that is forbidden “censorship” is not the answer to the question Mr. Hedges really asks:
How can we better this form of communication, the Internet to have better protection for all contributors as to their work and safeguard participants from those who stalk the Internet seeking innocent prey for their crimes?

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By Night-Gaunt, February 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

A Turn to the Dark Side of Politics

“The American media, large segments of the public and many educators widely believe that authoritarianism is alien to the political landscape of American society. Authoritarianism is generally associated with tyranny and governments that exercise power in violation of the rule of law. A commonly held perception of the American public is that authoritarianism is always elsewhere. It can be found in other allegedly “less developed/civilized countries,” such as contemporary China or Iran, or it belongs to a fixed moment in modern history, often associated with the rise of twentieth century totalitarianism in its different forms in Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union under Stalin.”Giroux Read the rest of it, very good.|+News+Politics)

It lays it out very well, what we are mutating into from a democratic-republic to inverted totalitarianism. It isn’t pretty. Book mark it, I have.

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

Virginia—I would say racism is in decline, both on the Internet and in the real world.  Not very many years ago a bunch of raging of right-wingers like the Tea-Baggers would have been overtly racist.  Now they are taking great care to hide it, if indeed they are conscious racists at all.  For every overt racist who has a web site or posts on a forum, there are a hundred or a thousand other people to jump on them or make fun of them, and they do.

But if you are really dedicated to the proposition of forcibly suppressing speech which you don’t like, I think you need to answer the same questions I asked elisalouisa.  You have a hundred million people at least on the Net in the U.S. alone, and you’re going to have to stand a cop behind every one.  Also, the cop will need your definition of racism, which is pretty tricky given that race is a social construction that is played very flexibly.  And you’re going to have to rewrite the First Amendment to encompass whatever sort of regulation you desire.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Democracy and the Threat of Authoritarianism: Politics Beyond Barack Obama - Monday 15 February 2010

by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

A more appropriate understanding of democracy comes from Sheldon S. Wolin in his claim that:

  “democracy is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs. What is at stake in democratic politics is whether ordinary men and women can recognize that their concerns are best protected and cultivated under a regime whose actions are governed by principles of commonality, equality, and fairness, a regime in which taking part in politics becomes a way of staking out and sharing in a common life and its forms of self-fulfillment. Democracy is not about bowling together but about managing together those powers that immediately and significantly affect the lives and circumstances of others and one’s self. Exercising power can be humbling when the consequences are palpable rather than statistical - and rather different from wielding power at a distance, at, say, an “undisclosed bunker somewhere in northern Virginia.”[30]

Wolin ties democracy not merely to participation and accountability, but to the importance of the formative culture necessary for critical citizens and the need for a redistribution of power and wealth, that is, a democracy in which power is exercised not just for the people by elites, but by the people in their own collective interests. But more importantly, Wolin and others recognize that the rituals of voting and accountability have become empty in a country that has been reduced to a lockdown universe in which torture, abuse and the suspension of civil liberties have become so normalized that more than half of all Americans now support the use of torture under some circumstances.[31] Torture, kidnapping, indefinite detention, murder and disappeared “enemy combatants” are typical practices carried out in dictatorships, not in democracies, especially in a democracy that allegedly has a liberal president who ran on the promise of change and hope. Maybe it’s time to use a different language to name and resist the registers of power and ideology that now dominate American society.”|+News+Politics)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2010 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool, February 18 at 4:37 pm:
‘anarcissie…hedges’ column first induced a once in a year typo from u; and now your telling us that Truthdig is supposed to be a leftist forum!!  hey girl, it’s time to chill <wink>’

Well, I do so love bashing Hedges it gets me all excited, my fingers shake, and typos ensue….  but the business about the preview with typo being posted after the fair copy is Truthdig’s alone.  I think.  Maybe their CGI programs are excited too!

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By Virginia777, February 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller: its so easy as a white American who has never experienced racism directed at them personally to write excuses for “free speech” like this:

“Though I also find bigotry despicable, I would not ban peoples right to speak of it, only then may one begin or at least have potential for discussion of it.”

That is fine for you to say. But if for one day, you could find the color of your skin changed and experience real racism, you would feel differently.

If for one minute you could comprehend how incredibly destructive racism is to our society as a whole, how the demeaning of another human being based on race, brings us all down, not just the racist.

As long as open racism is tolerated and free to spread on the internet, we are in big trouble here. As things stand, the internet has spread racism far and wide, and it is literally fracturing our society, and making the tea parties work a whole lot easier for them. That is why they were bold enough to include it in their opening speech, they knew of its “value” in creating the fractured, unequal society they are dreaming of.

Keep racism free and flowing and growing on the internet, and their dream will come true.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

It is much better for people of the populace to be able to say whatever they want to the people of the populace than for the people of the populace to have to stomach only the garbage on television, radio and the newspapers that doesn’t include the populace at all.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

We must be the anodyne to the agents provocatuers out there mustn’t we? Such is the price of that freedom-straitening out the lies and slurs unfounded. But Hedges feels that such limits are necessary except that the problem always is who will do it other than ourselves? Me, I say I am the best for me, no one else need apply or is needed.

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By Frank, February 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Here, again, is my original post, with the offending words omitted to protect
the tender sensibilities of everyone at Truthdig:


So is TruthDig owned by the rich? Do the rich dictate what content Hedges can
write in his column?  Do they dictate the opinions and content that tens of
millions of ordinary Americans publish on their own blogs and websites? No.
Within the bounds of Constitutionally-protected free speech, people can pretty
much say whatever the hell they want on the web, and it can be seen by the
world. The old traditional media is owned by the rich. The web is the media
of the people.

The truth is, Hedges is just another [CENSORED] who laments that he and his Ivy-League-educated ilk have been knocked from their journalistic pedestals by the wholesale decentralization and democratization of information and content distribution, which is what the Web is.

Hedges is obviously bitter that his own opinions now have to compete with those of millions of other voices of both ordinary and extraordinary people, and on a playing field much more level than it used to be.

Apparently Hedges doesn’t realize that journalist’s personal opinions were never more special, valid, or significant than anyone else’s to begin with. Was he ever a major leader in business, science, or politics? No, he was just a professional observer and ‘opinionater’. The air of importance that he and other career journalists were once afforded through the structured information control of the traditional media was a manufactured illusion.  Now he is just another [CENSORED] trying to find an audience for his personal rants, and with a lot more competition than he would like.

Isn’t progress a bitch, Hedges?

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By elisalouisa, February 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: There is a play of words here (censorship), let’s just say we disagree on this one. I reiterate that all people should be treated with respect and we should
have tolerance of one another. That is first and foremost. The 1969 Federal Civil
Rights Law suits me fine as to intimidation of others concerning religion and race.
As to censorship of the Internet, that was never on my agenda. Chris Hedges must speak for himself. I do not see “evil” in his writing, any of it. Perhaps we see what we want to see.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

The internet is liberal freedom.

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By Deena Stryker, February 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment


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By J, February 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hahahahahahaha.  “The Internet is stealing all my hard work!”

Then don’t put your work on the Internet!  Duh!

Charge people for it! Duh!

Ever hear of cable TV - where you pay.  Duh!

Hahahahahahaha Bad old Internet!

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By Amon Drool, February 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

anarcissie…hedges’ column first induced a once in a year typo from u; and now your telling us that Truthdig is supposed to be a leftist forum!!  hey girl, it’s time to chill wink

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By Leefeller, February 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Hey how about a religious metaphor in response to Hedges weekly splattering of non substance against the wall, hopefully a few may breathe easier as most of what Hedges comments on, seems to only stick on a few?

Hedges loves to poke sticks in other peoples eyes while he ignores the log in his! (Don’t know if this is accurate but what the hay, this is the web!)

Damn, hypocrisy is just not what it used to be.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

No matter what, we need to keep speech on the internet free to the populace without regulation.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

No matter what we need to keep speech on the internet free to the populace without regulation.

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By drbhelthi, February 18, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

The terms paranoia and paranoid have been so vastly
misused to scapegoat, they are useless outside a
clinical setting. Nor, is genuine paranoia in today
´s world as easily discerned as it was fifteen years

Gaining insight into the “cloak and dagger stuff,”
as one commenter described some of my comments, can
be easily gained. Reading the chronicles of Chip
Tatum, other former CIA operatives, and the
testimony of Sibel Edmonds provides some insight
into life in todays world. If more is desired, the
chronicles of the retired FBI chief of the larger
region of California, Mr. Ted Gunderson, provide
additional insight. If more is desired, read the
updated version of “The Franklin Cover-Up.”  If more
is desired, watch the video produced by retired
Major General Stubblebine, former chief of Army
Intelligence, who explains that no airliner flew
into the pentagon. Reading these items will remove
cobwebs associated with my comments. 

A couple months back, an elderly, retired US
scientist explained to his interviewer that,
“regarding UFOs and space-type weapons, anything you
can imagine, we already have it.” Twenty years ago,
an experienced, intelligence contact said that it is
impossible for a novel to transmit the breadth of
spy activities. Reading only the chronicles of Chip
Tatum tends to clarify that this idea is factual. 

“Is there a possibility that currents can be
transmitted through cable or whatever connections we
use to our TVs and computers that can set fire to
our homes - - “  As far as electric currents
transmitted via telephone lines and cables, creating
fires in a home device, this has not come to my
attention.  Secret-type agents and operatives carry
out this type of activity in person. Similar to the
MOSSAD operatives that murdered the alleged HAMAS
leader Mahmud Al Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel. Folk
acquainted with this area of sordid activity tend to
think that the MOSSAD wanted to demonstrate to the
world that they can do as they please, with
impunity. Of course, israeli leadership denies

Criminal-types often decline to admit guilt, even
when confronted with conclusive evidence.  For
example, very few of the NAZI officers who were
scapegoated at the Nuremburg trials admitted to the
charges.  Why should they?  Their colleague, Werner
von Braun, who should have been tried along with the
ones who were scapegoated, was elevated to hero
status by the NAZI machine in the USA.

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By MarthaA, February 18, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

Federal prostitution????

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By truedigger3, February 18, 2010 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa wrote:
” On the contrary TD3 respect for one another goes a long way.. Tolerance is a key word of which some people have zero. The government protects, as it should, those who are intimidated through words.”

elisa, you are calling for censoring any criticism of religion, then you say you are calling for tolerance. Why don’t you tolerate other people’s opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.
You are equating critisism of any religious belief with intimidation??!! What kind of twisted logic is that?!! I am not calling calling for violence against or threatening or intimidating anyone or anygroup. All I am asking for, is to be able to express my opinions without any censorship.

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2010 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Diego—I could make a long list of the good things I get from the Internet, which I’ve been using just about as long as it existed.  But at the head of this discussion we have an article that is so abusive, so insulting, so ignorant and so wrong it has completely poisoned the atmosphere, and it seems to me that no reasonable discussion about the Internet or anything else can take place in its shadow.  About all that seems possible is to try to stanch the howling for more authority.  And this is supposed to be a leftist forum!

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By Lomax, February 18, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

The only value the internet has and has ever had is what it, in fact, is: a Data base. Not an opinion base.

For every political spew there are many many more people finding out how to fix their lawn mowers, grow roses, what Kant really said or the exact text of the Congressional Bill.

Intellectual and property are now two separate issues. Intellectual ‘products’ are by their nature disseminated. Who can claim absolute private property rights on ANY idea as if ideas were some self defining finite tangible like land?

I suggest Mr.Hedges is having an understandable crisis in the same faith in humans which he usually professes as being the natural base line of justice.
That and the fact that mind as money are and must be redefined now, for better or worse but far far worse if this shift does not take place at all.

It is quite sad to me Mr.Hedges characterizes the internet by lowest common denominator at the same time truthdig runs Sarah Palin Newsmax ads next to this.

If the internet makes a nightmare, it is a nightmare that we must finally have. God knows our nice dreams have made many nightmares for others. Maybe then we all can wake up and move ahead.

This fear of mob or hive or whatever else is code for “lots of different people” is exactly the hook used by the phony populist corporate neo-conservatives. This is their ‘liberal/progressive stereotype’. People such as myself see two factions wanting the same end, that of control.

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

elisalousia—Hedges certainly says the Internet is evil.  Read just the first paragraph of his article; three or four major evils are listed.  That Hedges is wrong on the facts is beside the point.

The question then arises as to what you’re going to do about the evil.  Hedges’s approach may be to throw a hissy fit but not do anything.  However, a lot of people, including you and Virginia, like the idea of censorship, that is, using state force to punish people who say or express the wrong things—those things which the state deems wrong.  This proposal raises the questions I asked: who is going to decide what is prohibited?  How are the people going to be surveilled?  Who will be the judge of those who are accused?  What sort of punishments will be imposed?  These questions have to be answered before the police can be sent forth and the courts and jails filled with violators.

Since, physically speaking, anyone can write anything on the Internet, the suggested task would require the construction of an enormous police state. Tens of millions of people would have to be watched, arrested, judged, jailed by other millions.  This is why we need to know the specifics.  A Hedges-style hissy fit won’t do.

The Civil Rights law you cited does not apply, because it includes the phrase “by force”.  To make a similar law applying to speech and other expression, you would have to rewrite the First Amendment, since the courts have interpreted freedom of speech pretty broadly, at least compared with what you appear to desire.

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By Diego, February 18, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok. I understand all the outraged people out there bashing the Internet. It truly has
become a disgusting thing. With all of the hatred on the web, who, other than those
who are using it to such a degree, could completely support it?
Well, I think that people aren’t looking for good things to say about it anymore. I have
not seen one referance to the good it possesses. Not one referance (that I have seen,
and it’s posssible I may hve missed something due to the fact that I am posting this on
a mobile device) to the online databases of scholarly journals. Not one post on the
marvels it’s doing for globalization not even praise to this website. Isn’t the fact that at
least a small niche of us are engaged in critical analysis of aparticular article something
to be happy about?

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By Leefeller, February 18, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Years ago I had a program called Microsoft Money, for me it was a simple tool for keeping track of my budget and checking account. I liked the program and used it regularly and appreciated its abilities, then after a while all of a sudden Microsoft said they would no longer support the program and suddenly I felt as if I owned a Toyota with no wheels.(which now means it would be much safer)  Ever since then my opinion of software in general and Microsoft in particular is not very nice and if I stated here how I really felt about Microsoft,  would qualify me for federal prostitution especially now that Microsoft is considered a person.

Intellectual property seems to mean one can abandon one at any time with out any integrity or any reason what so ever, except seemingly for them the bottom line or to make a new program because since they already made all the money they could on the old program. Yeah, like I need to fork over a Hundred bucks for the newest best est ever Vista Program. 

In Hedges case, intellectual property (using the word intellectual loosely here)  martyr routine, I see his books next to Winky Palins in the second hand book store, what can this mean?

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By elisalouisa, February 18, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

All this cloak and dagger information posted by drbhelthi leads me to ask a
question that has been dogging my mind.
Is there a possibility that currents can be transmitted through cable or whatever connections we use to our TVs and computers that can set fire to our homes, businesses, etc. when on the Internet or TV? Could software be developed where a site you were visiting could zap such currents back. Can other harmful
material be transmitted in such a manner?
Perhaps I am a bit paranoid to even think of such a thing.

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By elisalouisa, February 18, 2010 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

“The 1969 Federal Civil Rights Law, 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2), permits federal
prosecution of anyone who “willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with
another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person’s race,
color, religion or national origin” [1] because of the victim’s attempt to engage in
one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school,
patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a
state court or voting.”
On the contrary TD3 respect for one another goes a long way.. Tolerance is a key word of which some people have zero. The government protects, as it should,
those who are intimidated through words.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 18, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Since anarcissie and prole have revealed the invalid nature of Hedges’ Internet assertions, I thought it best to describe something else but related.
Yesterday I received a telephone call from a young couple in my neighborhood who had just obtained an Internet DSL connection and asked if could help get them, as they said, ‘hooked up’ on the Internet.
It was an encounter I have seen before. Mom (she has several children) had an old Compaq PC that was eaten up by old Windows XP stuff. Of course with the introduction of Zoomtown (the DSL connection) it immediately switched into a non-operating mode that can best be described as digital constipation. Where the FUD (fear uncertainty doubt) principal was in full swing.
I looked at the young couple and said: So you want to find out whether your Internet connection is working? Here I will find out.
Which I proceeded to do by first telling them that I first I would have to turn off their computer, which I did, and then put a CD of Puppy Linux 341,, which is a tiny OS that does not install to hard drive as it copies to RAM. Anyway, within 10 minutes I had the whole thing up in and running, including the Firefox browser, which the young couple proceeded to use. Their main choices were Craig’s List, You Tube with special interest in videos featuring cars with giant rims.
Would these have been my interests? Of course not. But that is what the freedom of the Internet is suppose to be about. You decide what you want to use this for.

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By drbhelthi, February 18, 2010 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

“Very bad stuff” began to happen prior to the 2004
US presidential, alleged “election.”  More recently,
the leadership of Google were intimidated into a
merger with a “major media network” in 2009.
Similarly to the intimidation of a Mr. Wm. Gates by
the CIA, in order to stop the federal lawsuit
alleging “Windows monopoly,” a few years back. 
Insiders reported that Mr. Gates was forced to agree
to create “back doors” and special software to
enable the CIA and NSA to furtively enter the
computers of Windows users.  Which software has been
continuously upgraded by NSA and “out-sourced”
programmers.  One spy-type reported AOL to have been
the brain-child of the CIA, with the assistance of
an intimidated Mr. Wm. Gates.  Does Face-Book and
Twitter feed directly into NSA/NASA super-computers,
or indirectly via the israeli network?

We are experiencing the results, as freedom of
speech is selectively applied, and will be
increasingly applied to Google. Predictably,
eventually, Google will parallel all other media
that is controlled by the illuminazi machine that
governs the USofA. The Headquarters is of course
located in Israel.

Just as the israeli MOSSAD assassinated the alleged
HAMAS leader in a Dubai hotel, it is assassinating
everything that counters the israeli religiosity.
Obviously, with support of the US illuminazi
machine, founded via Operation Paper-Clip at the end
of WWII, when the original NAZI machine transferred
its Headquarters to the DC area, and subsequently
spread throughout the USofA.

How long will leadership of the western world allow
the tail to wag the dog?
Is intervention of the EU leadership required ? Or,
is EU leadership a function of the dog´s ass-end ?

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By truedigger3, February 18, 2010 at 1:59 am Link to this comment


You are calling for censorship, pure and simple, and that is not acceptable.
You want to censor according to your standards, why not to may standards, and why not to a third person standards and that is the reason we have the first amendment, and please don’t tell me that nonsense about everyone knows what pornography is. That is not true here either. Some may look at a painting and say this art and some will say this pornography.

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By elisalouisa, February 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

In no way did I ever say the Internet was evil nor did I get that message from
Chris Hedges, in spite of the title of his column which is an eye catcher. How can
the Internet be evil when it brings us Truthdig and Chris Hedges. Right

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By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

Even if the Supreme Court is totally controlled by the corporations, I doubt if they are going to rule against free expression on the Internet any time soon.  I think that would get the folk, especially the noisier folk, really, really excited.

However, what the Supreme Court does or doesn’t do doesn’t answer my question.  There seem to be a lot of people here who, like Hedges, believe that the Internet is some kind of terrible evil (even though they are using it even as they write).  Usually, accusing someone or something of doing evil is the pretext for doing something to the person or thing to put a stop to it.  So I’d like to know what their specific plans and goals are.  I’d like to hear the other shoe drop.  Or, if they were just blowing smoke and handwaving, they could say, “I was just blowing smoke and handwaving.”

C’mon, folks, calling the cops is a serious matter.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Ultimately it is those who control the Supreme Court and the politicians who make the decisions and pay the money for the work of the corporation/elites wand done.

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By elisalouisa, February 17, 2010 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

Ultimately if the Supreme Court decides to take a case concerning the First
Amendment, it can render a decision as to free speech and the interpretation of
the First Amendment.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, February 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment


That’s our blood down there
on Tap Taps, pink, yellow, green
That’s our blood down there
on lilting music laced with screams
That’s our blood down there
on sneakers sticking out of piled roof beams
That’s our blood down there
on workers entombed with their machines
That’s our blood down there
on the stench of burning flesh and gasoline
That’s our blood down there
on statues of Toussaint and Dessalines
That’s our blood down there
on children under guns of the marines
That’s our blood down there
in Haiti, Iraq or New Orleans
That’s our blood down there
on the Empire’s lies and schemes
That’s our blood down there
we must not give up our dreams
of revolution,
a world fit for human beings.
That’s our blood down there
on the palm trees and the sea.
Sa se san nou anba-a*
in the name of humanity.

This poem was sent to Revolution by a reader

* “That’s our blood down there” in Kreyol.

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