Wednesday, November 14, 2007
It seems the more centralist DLC Democrats have finally bowed to pressure from the rest of their party regarding Iraq. Having capitulated on or ignored every other issue - torture, wiretapping, habeas corpus, executive authoritarianism - the more pragmatic needs of being reelected in 2008 have edged out previous reservations on Iraq. I was always amazingly unconvinced regarding the excuses of this group of Democrats in failing to preform as they suggested they would in 2006. They must realize how unpopular their opposition is, and how they could stop the war instantly with the "power of the purse" invested in them by the Constitution. Even if you do not believe this is the right course, you must concede that the Democrat's in Congress deception on this issue lacks the transparency and honesty they had promised. For as defeated as the Republicans seem to be, their libertarian-authoritarian breaking points do not seem as wide as the gap between the DLC and the masses that elected them a year ago. As a side note, I would just like to add Harry Reid is a vapid, corrupt legislator. His continued support of the Pirate Act - demanding stiffer and criminal penalties regarding copyright infringement - demonstrates his surrender to special interests whose motives are entirely counter to the public good. Similar to how taxes work (at a very high tax rate, you can lower it and actually increase revenue by reducing the incentive to cheat and because there is more consumption and growth in general), extremely protected copyright rules are unenforceable and actually reduce the innovation they are meant to encourage. Wow that was a long side note. UPDATE on copyright sidenote: In his talks, Cory Doctorow has repeated one of his many complaints of the current copyright legalism - everyone is guilty of copyright infringement, intentional or otherwise, and (to quote him) "Once everyone is a criminal, no one is free." If you criminalize normal behavior there is no need to trump up charges to quash dissent. I'll admit at first I was skeptical of such rhetoric. The first part is undoubtedly true. In a very technical sense humming a few bars for a friend or the mere act of your computer passively caching pictures on websites as you surf could be considered copyright infringement. The second part - that it would be used to suppress free speech - I felt needed an example. The Russian Federation has generously provided one. Unquestionably this is simply the start, and you should take care not to fool yourself. This will happen in the United States. It wouldn't need to be by government, the private sector would have no problem causing a similar chilling effect on free speech.