On October 7, Twitter, which is called by some the champion of free speech among social networks, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the FBI. Reuters reports, “In the lawsuit… Twitter said that current rules prevent it from even stating that it has not received any national security requests for user information.”
A blog post from Twitter stated, “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”
The “broad, inexact ranges” mention by Twitter is a reference to an “agreement between Internet companies like Google and Microsoft with the government about court orders they receive related to surveillance,” according to Reuters. For example, a tech company that received 456 FISA orders and/or national security letters, would be able to say it received between zero and 999 orders. see more…
There were two large and related news stories from the Supreme Court today.
First up, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (PDF) that some Obamacare provisions can indeed be ignored by some employers who object to it on religious grounds:
Attempting to expand religious expression protections to small business owners without significantly disrupting the rules that govern for-profit corporations, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Obama administration must exempt closely-held firms like Hobby Lobby from a rule requiring large companies to help pay for their employees’ birth control.
In a 5 to 4 decision, the court ruled that closely-held firms like Hobby Lobby are protected by Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The RFRA dictates that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a “compelling government interest.” see more…
Understandably, a shitstorm ensued as people inferred that Ron Paul was saying Chris Kyle had it coming because of his past history as a Navy SEAL sniper. In fact, the writers at ronpaul.com said just that in a tactless post titled “Ron Paul: Chris Kyle Had It Coming“.
And just like that, the three-time Republican presidential candidate’s tenuous coalition of pro-gun libertarians, anti–Federal Reserve goldbugs, and foreign policy non-interventionists crumbled. Paul is an opponent of gun control — saying after December’s Newtown, Conn., grade school massacre that “more guns equals less crime” and that “private gun ownership prevents many shootings” — but also of U.S. military adventurism. Kyle, also an outspoken gun-rights advocate, earned a reputation in Iraq as one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history.
As soon as I learned who Chris Kyle was and how proud he was of how many people he had murdered, I felt less bad.
What goes around comes around.
In this case it was on an individual level. Soon it will be on a national level.
Unfortunately, those of us who fought against the tyranny of the American Empire are going to have to pay the price for all of the scumbags and idiots that supported American Imperialism.
Oh well, life’s not fair.
There’s definitely a schism growing in the Ron Paul revolution over this tweet. It’s unfair to veterans, many who have fought in wars and killed people, to suddenly claim that for them to die would be no great tragedy.
I reiterate that the Iraq war was misguided and a terrible spilling of blood on both sides, but that’s no excuse to start flinging insults and derision at the soldiers. The blame lies squarely on the politicians who fabricated evidence and ordered aggression.
As libertarians, we ought to be taking the moral high road and insist that all deaths are tragic, even those of our soldiers.
Let’s not forget that many allies in the Ron Paul revolution have fought in previous wars under a draft. Those troops are going to view any slights against the rank and file soldier as a severe affront to their patriotic duty to protect those who can’t or won’t fight from those who would.
UPDATE II: Someone from Liberty Crier dropped by and rudely commented. I have responded.
How does a company get around copyright and trademark over-zealotry? By being bitter about intellectual property rights.
In Samsung’s commercial about making a SuperBowl commercial (so meta, you guys), Bob Odenkirk — best known as the lawyer Saul “better call Saul” Goodman from AMC’s Breaking Bad — asks comedians Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd to pitch ideas for some new product (flashed at us for only a mere three seconds).
The trio then spend the next minute hashing out how exactly to even make a commercial when they are muffled by legal precedent and unable to speak any of the trademarked names (they are constantly shushed by Odenkirk before they can finish them, but it’s clear what’s been unsaid). The Super Bowl becomes “the big game” and ultimately “el plato supremo”, while the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are re-nicknamed the “black birds” and the “fifty minus one-ers”. At which point they all laugh and embrace “hashtags” because twitter hasn’t been smart enough to trademark that term yet.
Samsung doesn’t deserve a free pass on intellectual property abuse themselves. Ironically, and rather hypocritically, Samsung has previously partnered with the International Olympic Committee — one of the most notorious trademark enforcers around the world.
And consider the following: If anyone made a widely broadcasted commercial without clearance (“hey guys, go download the new Hammer of Truth’s message notification buddy app widget thingie, which works awesome on my Samsung Android” *holds up $40 flip phone from 2004 for camera*), Samsung’s legal department would certainly be sending out cease and desist letters. For a company that has spent millions of dollars on litigating against the little guy, for them to hire three multi-millionaire actors to play the roles of potential chilling effect victims is only convincing… because they hired convincing actors.
Regardless, for a commercial focused on the inanity of legal hurdles involved in making commercials, it’s a well deserved poke in the eye of copyright laws.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what they’re selling.
From the official facebook page of the DNC where we’ve noticed the number of likes dropped off a cliff around the same time Congress took the much ballyhooed August recess (yes, an entire month off, which is typically spent campaigning, fundraising and otherwise servicing political careers).
It may be a coincidence here, or it may be that someone forgot to pay their bot network contract, causing the juice to be cut off.
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