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Why Richard Stallman Was Right All Along 807

jrepin sends this excerpt from an opinion piece at OSNews: "Late last year, president Obama signed a law that makes it possible to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without any form of trial or due process. Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities. Initiatives like SOPA promote diligent monitoring of communication channels. Thirty years ago, when Richard Stallman launched the GNU project, and during the three decades that followed, his sometimes extreme views and peculiar antics were ridiculed and disregarded as paranoia — but here we are, 2012, and his once paranoid what-ifs have become reality."
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Why Richard Stallman Was Right All Along

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  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#38567028)

    Perhaps not the best spokesperson to get behind.

    It is funny that you complain the article is logically flawed when you make an argument from authority and complain about the messenger instead of the message.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:25PM (#38567030)

    ... leads to the concentration of wealth and power which naturally leads to dictatorship.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:26PM (#38567046) Homepage Journal

    I have yet to see a nation or government take the official stance that Occupy are terrorists. Squatters, freedom-of-speech-abusers, illegal encampments, yes, but not terrorists.

    Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities

    While I decry the NDAA and SOPA as much as anyone, I'll not buy into the Occupy claims of victimization and persecution when they squatted for TWO MONTHS before the police were sent in to clear them out. You have a right to protest, to share your ideas, and to educate the public. You do NOT have the right to squat in public spaces until the world does things your way, or we'd still have grey-haired hippies camped out all across the nation demanding that you "free the weed."

    I certainly won't buy any paranoid claims that they're going to be locked up as terrorists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:28PM (#38567070)

    Here let me quote RMS on voluntary pedophilia:

    Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization.

    I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.

    He's sceptical of the argument against it but he didn't say it should be legal. My understanding is his judgement is reserved and he wants clarification of why it should be illegal.

    It's almost as if you are spreading misinformation about him.

  • by russotto (537200) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:28PM (#38567076) Journal

    According to TFA's TFA
    "The administration also pushed Congress to change a provision that would have denied U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism the right to trial and could have subjected them to indefinite detention. Lawmakers eventually dropped the military custody requirement for U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. residents"

    I haven't checked the text of the legislation, but this seems to indicate that it's still only foreigners Bush IV can lock up forever.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:30PM (#38567084) Homepage Journal

    And now that I've finished reading the article, I realize it says NOTHING about Stallman's software ideals. It's a misleading title for a rant piece that has nothing to do with software freedom.

    It also conveniently neglects the fact that most of the internet infrastructure affected by SOPA is run on open source implementations, so the freedom of the software has done NOTHING to prevent governments from trying to abuse it.

    How they make a connection from Stallman to the NDAA is completely beyond me. They certainly don't explain why they're related in the article.

  • by klingens (147173) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:31PM (#38567106)

    He doesn't (didn't?) like Guantanamo either, it's still there. He didn't like retroactive immunity for the telcos for snooping either, it's still law.
    You need to look at his actions, not his well spoken words.
    If the law is bad in his opinion, it's his duty to veto it. If he signs it he agrees. No ifs, no buts no maybes.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:36PM (#38567142) Homepage

    Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities.

    Meanwhile, Tea Party groups have been labeled with every epithet the left and mainstream media could throw at them and are actually more peaceful and law-abiding than the average Occupy *** protest. Welcome to the club. You're not special.

  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:38PM (#38567158)

    GPL3 licensed code in the Linux kernel would have made a huge difference to people building their own versions of android to install on phones.

    While I wish we had that - a GPL3 licensed Linux kernel would not have been used in android. It probably would have been a BSD derivative.

  • Flamebait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:45PM (#38567214)

    This article is nothing but flamebait. It's misleading and incorrect and designed only to generate mass negative posts. Enough already, I know this is slashdot but this is too much.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:46PM (#38567240)

    Because it's a defense spending bill and there are massive political downsides to not signing a defense spending bill.

    And besides, it was passed by a veto-proof majority so it wouldn't have made any difference if he didn't sign it, it would have been put into effect anyway after an override.

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:48PM (#38567252) Homepage

    You need to look at his actions, not his well spoken words.

    I agree, but let's keep in mind that legislation is written by Congress, not the President. It seems to me that Congress needs to be held responsible for writing and passing the objectionable parts of the NDAA at least as much as the President is responsible for signing it.

    If the law is bad in his opinion, it's his duty to veto it.

    Agreed again, but note that the bill passed the Senate 86-13 and it passed the House 283-136, both of which are over the 2/3rds threshold for overriding a Presidential veto. Therefore a veto would not have been likely to prevent the bill from becoming law; it would simply have given Republicans a fresh club to beat the President with ("vetoed critical funding for Our Troops", "soft on terrorism", yada yada). Given that, I think Obama decided to cut his losses.

    Hardly a profile in courage, I agree, but then again there is a point at which taking a principled stand starts to look an awful lot like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • by Surt (22457) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:49PM (#38567260) Homepage Journal

    It's his claim that we shouldn't listen to Stallman because Stallman is a nut-job. It's a sort of reverse argument from authority, where he claims that the other side is so insane, you should listen to him (he's comparatively authoritative). Stallman's general utter lunacy isn't a legitimate test of the validity of any specific argument he makes.

  • by chrismcb (983081) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:49PM (#38567262) Homepage

    You have a right to protest, to share your ideas, and to educate the public. You do NOT have the right to squat in public spaces until the world does things your way,

    Where in the First Amendment does it say you can only protest for two months, or any other limited amount of time?

  • by Bucky24 (1943328) on Monday January 02, 2012 @06:57PM (#38567344)
    Well if it didn't matter then why didn't he take a stand and stick by his guns? I mean if the outcome is the same either way...
  • by JazzHarper (745403) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:01PM (#38567366) Journal

    Which is a completely false headline, if you actually read the police newsletter that it references. Even if it *were* true that the London police had classified them as terrorists (which, I repeat, they did not), that's still a far cry from the hysterical "Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities" claim in the summary of *this* article. Geez, people, take a breath between your rants.

  • Re:For the record (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:01PM (#38567374) Homepage Journal
    socialism = big government is the morondom of a travesty that has been produced in america. no such equation exists in other parts of the world in political literature. socialism basically means ownership of means of production by the people equally. it does not matter how you run those tools of production. you can federalize and localize to hell, or you can collect it all at the hands of one big central government.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by awrowe (1110817) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:02PM (#38567378)

    Yeees, to a point - although the following couple of paragraphs give some seemingly light hearted and off the cuff justification of incest and necrophilia - he fails to address the pedophilia mentioned by the person he originally quoted.

    Come on, he is the archetypal anti-social computer nerd. His humour is ponderous, tasteless and generally not funny. Easily twisted though.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HBI (604924) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:03PM (#38567386) Journal

    He's right. But, it showed poor judgement to say as much. The beer swilling, football watching masses don't get nuance. That "as long as" qualifies as nuance for that crowd. Now he's tarred as a pedophile sympathizer for life, at least on the idiot side of the house.

    Discretion is the better part of valor.

    I want to love RMS but he makes it really hard to do so.

  • by unrtst (777550) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:03PM (#38567396)

    It's very very very little more complicated. He issued a statement specifically stating that he didn't like it, but then signed it in anyway. If no one stands up to "the f**ked up federal legislature", then it'll just continue to get worse.

    I mean, yay, he says stuff I agree with (for the most part), but if he's not going to act on that, then it doesn't mean shit. I'm not sure if it's better or worse that he's not even trying to hide the fact that he's not doing what he says. He might as well be fully supporting it because that's the end result - he'll be out of there in 1-5 years, and the decisions he's making will stick around long after that.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:07PM (#38567418) Homepage Journal

    Don't tell me that a person who doesn't know what a graphic user interface is and that is communist can think and is normal...

    you are the fucked up moron here, and your ilk is the one continually voting morons who are passing such dastardly bills into power.

    in any other part of the world, after spending this sentence, you wouldnt be even labeled politely with the label of 'stupid'. people would think you were either
    a) moron
    b) bloodthirsty fascist

    but thankfully, in america it is free to be a fascist and then claim to the contrary that everyone else is.

    rejoice ! capitalists are going to throw you in infinite detention without cause, LEGALLY, OPENLY, and merrily.

    in all kinds of twisted country which bastardized communism with dictatorship, such things were done secretly, behind the doors, without there being anything in the open - they were not particularly compatible with the political ideals.

    but, mind-fuckingly, doing such things seems completely compatible with the political ideals of 'freedom' that exists in capitalism ! rejoice !! did i tell that it is going to be openly legal to do so too ?

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:09PM (#38567434)

    You can't have free-market capitalism though - because capitalism concentrates wealth and power, monopoly, aka fascism/dictatorship, is always inevitable. The free market is a mythical land where companies compete on the merits of their product, rather than the size of the budget they have available for marketing, lobbying, and mercenary private security forces.

    The best you can do with capitalism is try to keep it in check. The worst... well, it's beginning to look like the worst is coming.

  • by berashith (222128) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:11PM (#38567454)

    a principled stand may start to look like that, but we dont know , as it hasnt ever happened

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:18PM (#38567532) Homepage Journal

    His inability to not appear to be a raving madman insured that his message would be lost to the masses.

    If no one listens, who cares if you are right or wrong?

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:22PM (#38567588) Homepage Journal

    The problem here isn't that some software isn't free as in dollar cost, or even that it isn't free as in "I have the source code." Either of those -- or both at the same time -- can be malware.

    The actual problem (here in the US) is that our government has vastly exceeded its constitutionally assigned authority. Either we fix that, or the problem remains. The constitution sets the absolute limits of legitimate authority, and the 4th amendment is very clear that the government is not authorized to obtain the warrant required to poke into our papers, our domiciles, our person, or our effects unless they (1) have probable cause, (2) supported by oath or affirmation, (3) describing the place to be searched, and (4) describing the person(s) or thing(s) to be seized.

    We, the citizens, are responsible for this mess: We have repeatedly let the government step out of line, violating the constitution, accepting virtually any excuse the government handed out like credulous idiots.

    We have a chance to throw a monkey wrench in this and at least promote a national dialog on the subject by voting for Ron Paul this time around. Regardless of if you agree with his specific policies, he offers us one critical thing that is more valuable than anything else any other candidate brings to the table: He respects, honors, and will obey the constitution. That means he'll serve as a roadblock against further unconstitutional legislation (which we are obviously in dire need of), limiting what gets through to those bills that can muster enough cross-aisle support to override a presidential veto.

    Free software isn't going to save us. Only by putting in place a properly constituted and obedient government can we be saved. And that's going to be a much more difficult road, perhaps an impossible one, if we don't step up to the plate and do something now.

    The pundits are right about one thing: time has truly run out. If you read these most recent bills, they are stunning in their overreach, blatant violations of the oaths sworn to uphold and defend the constitution by the lawmakers and any other public official who has supported these bills. This time it isn't just the felons, the people on the various government lists, foreigners, and people who want to fly who are going to get screwed.

    This time, it's you. What are you going to do about it?

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:23PM (#38567598) Homepage

    Misses a button on his coat? Are you serious? Obama's term looks exactly like a GWB third term would look like. You may not want to believe it, but Obama's policies have been horrid and his record on human rights, heinous.

    http://nothingchanged.org/ [nothingchanged.org]

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:26PM (#38567646) Homepage

    That's not an argument from authority, that's the definition of an ad hominem [nizkor.org] argument. Instead of attacking the message, you attack the messenger.

    For another relatively contemporary example, there are people right now claiming that we should ignore all the economic advice of John Maynard Keynes [wikipedia.org] because he wrote something that might conceivably be construed as anti-Semitic when he was 17.

    You can think RMS is a nutjob, but it's quite possible that RMS is a nutjob and also right about the importance of Free Software.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:29PM (#38567694)

    Precisely, not only did we allow the Bush administration to set all sorts of new precedents we rewarded him with a second term even after it was obvious that he wasn't going to adhere to the law. Obama hasn't been as bad in that regards, but he definitely hasn't deviated anywhere near enough from the precedents set up in the Bush administration.

    Ron Paul is a joke and yes he probably would keep to the constitutional limits, the problem is that he would more or less abolish not just the bad aspects, but the good ones and would in all likelihood shrink the government far more than what is required to bring things back into control.

    Ultimately it's a moot point as he would one have to be elected and two convince enough Senators and Congressmen to go along with it, which is unlikely.

  • by bieber (998013) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:34PM (#38567746)
    Protest, Rally: Free speech that I disagree with. Riot, Disorder, Squatting: Free speech that I disagree with.
  • Re:For the record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:36PM (#38567762) Homepage Journal
    you are incorrect. first, increasing decentralization in production and planning reduces need for centralization, naturally. this has been so throughout history. second, with increasing technology, centralization for running complex or large scale operations becomes increasingly unnecessary. you can see this from many technologies on the internet (from filesharing to tor or etc) to systems that run physical production systems that are spread to many countries as a single entity.

    however, lets say that even these are not correct, and it is as you say - there is no relevance : central planning and distribution does not mean central planning decides how much of what you need. leave aside that it does not necessarily decide anything regarding your moral or political choices. central planning is just an engineering concept that manufactures demanded goods and services as per the received demand and distributes them to their demandees.

    ownership of stuff is the key - everyone has equal share in this. its not the running of the system, but sharing the output of the system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:37PM (#38567772)

    For crying out loud, the guy thinks possession of child pornography should be legal.

    And why shouldn't it be legal? It's possession of an image of a criminal act. The criminal is the one engaged in pedophilia. The victim is in the photograph.

    Possession of a photograph? There's no victim in the possession of child pornography. There is no crime.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:37PM (#38567778)

    Stallman's general utter lunacy isn't a legitimate test of the validity of any specific argument he makes.

    But it is a legitimate test of the validity of his philosophy as a whole. If you know a crazy person, and he has one of his predictions validated, are you supposed to suddenly embrace all of his ideas? Because that's what the article is about, that Stallman was right all along about everything and that all of his detractors should be ignored because Obama signed this piece of legislation.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:38PM (#38567796) Homepage Journal

    No, it's not about Stallman, the messenger. It's about why the messenger was right. It's about the message, and how that message's prediction has been shown accurate.

    Stallman hasn't been "paranoid about everything". He has been scared of the abuse of people by closed software, and his fears now are being proven justified.

    His other views, even on child pornography, are irrelevant to that. Because we're not interested in Stallman; we're interested in what he said that was (and is) right. Because he was among the first to say it, was right about it despite widespread ridicule and even condemnation, and what he's right about is important.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:38PM (#38567798)

    So you can only protest if you're polite and informative, and what's more, the people who get to judge whether you've been sufficiently polite and informative are the people who don't want to listen to you in the first place.

    If it were up to people like you, Jim Crow would still be in force.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:40PM (#38567814)

    Yes, because Bush would have ended DADT, passed health care reform, banking reform and worked to close GITMO.

    You do realize that it takes more than the President to decide that somethings going to happen for it to happen, right? Unless of course you're seriously suggesting that it's OK for him to just order the doors of GITMO thrown wide open and just allow the inmates to just go wherever they like without being tried.

  • by MadMartigan2001 (766552) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:41PM (#38567832)

    Ron Paul is a joke and yes he probably would keep to the constitutional limits, the problem is that he would more or less abolish not just the bad aspects, but the good ones and would in all likelihood shrink the government far more than what is required to bring things back into control.

    Translation: Yes, I believe in the constitution of the united states and I will follow its principles unless there is something I want from the government tit that it does not authorise. Then, I will quickly ignore the constitution and ridicule it as out of touch. Because I KNOW BETTER DAMN IT!

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:46PM (#38567904)

    The Tea Parties carried guns, waved signs about "watering the tree of liberty with blood", and cheered for "second amendment solutions". To claim that they're nonviolent is absurd.

    By contrast, crimes were committed at Occupy sites. Guess what? Crimes are committed wherever people are. You can't have a big crowd in one place for a long time and expect it to be crime free.

    In one case, violent imagery is a part of who they are. In the other case, violent crimes happened where the protests were occurring, but had nothing to do with the protesters' message. It's a pretty important distinction, and one that many (biased) people like to overlook.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:49PM (#38567930) Journal

    The only people who have ever referred to him as "the messiah" are those on the far right. It says more about their simplistic view of the world than it does of their opponents.

  • Lies and damn lies:

    Richard Stallman also thinks necrophilia // As an Atheist, all he said is "After I'm dead, I don't care what happens to my body, research is my first choice, but necrophilia would be a close second". He also jokes about how he enjoys rhinophytonecrophilia (nasal sex with dead plants, AKA: Smelling flowers).

    and "voluntary pedophilia" [stallman.org] should be legal, including possession of child pornography. //He's talking about all the cases when somebody goes to jail for fucking a willing 14-15-16-17 years old girl/boy. I wouldn't sleep with someone that young, but if somebody else wants to, and they both consent to it, then let them fuck in peace. He didn't actually support "pedophilia". When he talked about Child Pornography, he didn't support it, he opposed legislation that used the "think of the children" excuse to control the internet.

    He doesn't visit web sites [lwn.net]--instead, he sends email to a daemon that wgets the page and emails it back to him. //Most of the time he's on an airplane or some remote location and has no direct internet connection, also, he's old fashioned. He makes the most of his time, using just about every pause he gets to answer email. He gets his mail in daily batches, and it seemed useful to him to get websites he wants to look at in those same batches. Everything without even leaving emacs. Who cares? How does this relate to his political opinions?

    Perhaps most infamously, he eats toe jam in public [youtube.com]. //Who gives a fuck? Why do we care about this stuff regarding public figures? Let them fuck, eat and fart as much as they want, we should care about their performance in their actual field of expertise and nothing more.

  • It's unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crossmr (957846) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:53PM (#38567962) Journal

    That the americans of today are not the americans of over 200 years ago. The ones today really aren't prepared to fight for what is important. They've become fat and complacent, and have no problem bending over and taking it from their government again and again. Despite the fact that they are armed to the teeth, most of them would tire before reaching the end of their driveway and when faced against a modern military using modern tactics, they'd be decimated.

    At some point Canada is going to have to man-up, invade, and bring democracy back to the USA.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:53PM (#38567966)

    No, it's not about Stallman, the messenger. It's about why the messenger was right. It's about the message, and how that message's prediction has been shown accurate.

    He already addressed that point. Free software wouldn't have stopped the current behavior of the government.

    Stallman hasn't been "paranoid about everything". He has been scared of the abuse of people by closed software, and his fears now are being proven justified.

    Stallman absolutely is paranoid about everything. He doesn't use web browsers, for crying out loud, not even open source ones! He genuinely thinks all closed software is "evil," and he uses that religious terminology to describe it.

    His other views, even on child pornography, are irrelevant to that. Because we're not interested in Stallman; we're interested in what he said that was (and is) right. Because he was among the first to say it, was right about it despite widespread ridicule and even condemnation, and what he's right about is important.

    But he's not right. Free software wouldn't have prevented the government abuse we're seeing. As for his child pornography views, I think it's pretty relevant when an article is trying to prop up Stallman as some misunderstood prophet. Stallman takes an extremist view, and what this article is trying to do is take one single thing and validate his entire philosophy with it.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:55PM (#38567984) Homepage Journal
    If an attractive lady(teacher, babysitter, whatever) approached me when I was 12 and asked me to have sex with her, and videotape it, I would have said, "fuck yeah" - especially if she plied me with a little booze.

    Had it been legal, and not required me to undergo degrading medical and psychological examinations, not forcing me to testify in a stressful and humiliating trial, and not forever attaching a stigma of victimhood to me, it would to this day have been one of the fondest days of my life. Where were all those naughty teachers when I was in high school?!

    I spent my entire 12th year alive trying to acquire HUSTLER magazines(before the internet was feasible for kids like me), and would have given my left nut for the opportunity to be "victimized" by an older woman.
  • by gtbritishskull (1435843) on Monday January 02, 2012 @07:56PM (#38567996)

    I have come to the conclusion that it is not the government's fault. I used to blame the government for "overreaching its authority" until we had the incident with the underwear bomber guy. Napolitano come out and said that no one was seriously injured, the attack was thwarted (partly by the people in the plane, yes, but it was thwarted), and that the system was working. Next thing you know there is a huge uproar and demands for the government to make sure nothing like it happens again. Now everyone has to go through the backscatter machines.

    The American people love to yell and scream when someone infringes on our (individual) rights. But as soon as our safety is threatened, we are willing to sacrifice our rights (we justify it by saying we are sacrificing other people's rights, that is why the Republicans want to be able to profile muslims, but in the end everyone's get sacrificed) to move our chances of being killed in a terrorist attack from one in a million to one in a billion. The politicians just want to get re-elected. And we are much more likely to re-elect someone who takes away our rights than to elect someone who is "weak on national security".

  • by Niscenus (267969) <ericzen@@@ez-net...com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:01PM (#38568030) Homepage Journal

    And idea is something that can be tested, abstracted, projected, compared and conditionally analyzed. regardless of whether an institutionalized 13 year old with down syndrome said it, or a 31 year old prodigal savant with tenure wrote a thesis around it. As far as the basis of a philosophy, that's what philosophy is! You start with a scalable logically constructed concept on which to construct an overall basic logic, and then expound upon into all relatable fields. Stallman believes that anyone capable of making an informed an intelligent decision that does nothing to harm or limit the rights of others should be allowed to do so. This philosophy is the core of the point in the /. introduction of the article.

    Wallstreet, for example, has been able to expand its investment opportunities based solely on the short-term expansion of opportunities for others while obfuscating the information for an informed decision, all of which has been made legal due to the commercial nature of the US election process. Much of Occupy Wallstreet is about removing the obfuscation and overall ability to hide or control information, and getting rid of the ability to use the profits from those practices to maintain the legitimacy of that process.

    The reason ideas are important, ignoring the love of empiricity that found the Enlightenment that found the United States, is because Ideas Stand Alone. They can be objectively and critically reviewed. If you do that with a human being, having all information available, human beings almost always can be made to look like ignorant and twisted individuals. Everyone has a level of undesirable traits at some point in their lives, and if condensed together, almost anyone could be made to look less than the ideal human being.

    However, an idea can be shared by anyone, even entirely abstract computer models, and be tested for validity in someway, or otherwise scaled or planned for when the ability comes about. Take the Other Worlds Hypothesis popular in the Enlightenment, we now possess the Drake equation to allow us to theorize the probability of contact long before we might actually visit one.

  • Re:For the record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trout007 (975317) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:14PM (#38568156)

    The best part of this legislation is you can't bring it before the Supreme Court. You have to have standing to bring the lawsuit but if you have standing it means you are locked away without access to an attorney indefinitely.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:19PM (#38568200) Homepage Journal

    the problem is that he would more or less abolish not just the bad aspects, but the good ones and would in all likelihood shrink the government far more than what is required to bring things back into control.

    The president's power is limited to veto (which is a roadblock unless congress can reach a higher degree of agreement than it usually manages... and it's unlikely he would roadblock something that was constitutional on its face) and foreign policy actions (where frankly, I completely agree with his ideas: bring 'em home, close the bases, stop the wars.) The rest of Paul's ideas, at least most of them, good or bad -- he can't implement without the consent of congress, and that means, can't, really. His value is in the military pullback, and the raising of constitutional issues nationally -- that conversation is long, long overdue. There's an opportunity for four years of raising awareness here; or, of course, you can vote for the democrats or republicans again. You already know what that's going to get you. Without lube.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:29PM (#38568286)

    Because then the Republicans would run ads about how he vetoed a bill to provide health care to wounded soldiers, or body armor to troops on the front lines. And those ads would be technically truthful, since all those things are part of the bill. And the drooling masses that make up the majority of the American electorate would see those ads and be convinced, because most people are too lazy to do research.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:31PM (#38568296)

    It also conveniently neglects the fact that most of the internet infrastructure affected by SOPA is run on open source implementations, so the freedom of the software has done NOTHING to prevent governments from trying to abuse it.

    Since when did Cisco open-source Cisco IOS? Or Juniper fully release the source for Junos? (it's "partly FreeBSD-based.") Force5 isn't open-source either, nor is Foundry. None of the routers use ASICs and FPGAs for which the code is open source.

    I'd be willing to bet that there isn't a single piece of network gear between you and slashdot, or me and slashdot, that is fully under any open-source license (I'll even be generous and exclude proprietary drivers.)

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:32PM (#38568310)

    I didn't say it was illegal. OP pointed out that occupy rallies were more violent (though the ones I watched on tv didn't appear to be so), but isn't bringing a gun to a rally slightly more dangerous?

    Not necessarily. Many openly carry a firearm as a matter of course on a daily basis, and do so without incident. Well, except for harassment by uninformed/undereducated LEOs.

    Mob mentalities being what they are.

    Seeing as TEA Party rallies have been well-organized and extremely peaceful and well-behaved, even cleaning up behind themselves, I wouldn't count them as a "mob".

    You can't use a gun that you don't have with you.

    Which to my mind is a strong argument for having a gun readily available for as much of one's daily activities as possible.

    And why would you bring a gun to a rally unless you either intended to use it or wanted to scare someone with it.

    For the same reasons peaceful and law-abiding citizens carry a gun out and about on any random day, and why the Second Amendment is included in the Constitution. Bringing your personal legal firearm is also a show of support for 2nd Amendment rights which have been under assault.

    >Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. - Thomas Jefferson

    >To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. - George Madison

    >Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoplesâ(TM) libertyâ(TM)s teeth. - George Washington

    >The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference--they deserve a place of honor with all that is good. - George Washington

    ...the very presence of the guns would amplify the tension.

    Governments and their agents always prefer an unarmed populace. That they feel tension and possibly fear toward those who exercise their Constitutional right to own and openly carry a firearm is poor reason to disarm oneself.


  • by rohan972 (880586) on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:04PM (#38568548)
    Although I am an Australian, we do have a similar problem of unconstitutional government. If you really need the federal government to do something the constitution doesn't allow for (and most would argue that control of nukes should stay with the federal government, not the states) the solution is to amend the constitution, not ignore it.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:04PM (#38568556) Homepage Journal

    Hippie hygiene isn't causing the superinfections that now kill people every day, and threaten pandemics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:19PM (#38568658)

    Actually, every candidate HOPES the masses never realize this. Otherwise everyone and their brother would see the candidate for what they are. Nothing more than a lie spewing piece of garbage.

    Why else would every single candidate in history promise to " fix " everything that's wrong at the time ? Their BS campaign promises all REQUIRE ignorance on the part of the voters.

    The day the masses realize the candidate CAN'T do anything unless Congress is on their side, will be the day we actually get a Government that works. Not the BS we have now.

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:34PM (#38568748) Homepage

    The president could direct the treasury to not allocate funds for unconstitutional uses -- the president can't modify legsliation (including a "line-tem veto"), but he can simply not enforce legislation, if done so in a constitutional manner (keeping within the equal protection of the laws clause and all that). In fact, there is only one thing the executive branch is actually mandated to do, and that's count the number of people in each state every decade. (Unfortunately for Ron Paul, the Federal Reserve funds itself without tax dollars, in fact it was the single most profitable corporation in the world if it were considered one. Ever wonder why it gets the very nicest building in the city?)

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday January 02, 2012 @09:49PM (#38568804)
    And suppose two weeks later you found out you had a fatal sexually transmitted disease? Or if you were female, that you were pregnant? We protect the young from adults who would manipulate them for sexual gratification because they don't fully understand enough to protect themselves. If Stallman thinks it's ok to manipulate a child into willingly giving sexual pleasure to an adult, he should have a bullet though his skull.
  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Monday January 02, 2012 @10:05PM (#38568904)

    as opposed to what?
    Concentrating all power into one group called government, which naturally leads to a dictatorship by design?

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Monday January 02, 2012 @10:11PM (#38568944)

    You can protest all you want on your own property.

    You cannot be a nuisance on someone else's property. really no different from a stranger going into your backyard and destroying your garden and throwing a party.

    Oh, but it's a 'public space'... owned by everyone! Well that never has any easy answers. If two group want to use a park. One wants to play soccer. Another wants to play football. Who gets to use it? I don't know. So the government decides by schedule or arbitration what gets to happen.

    Why should these occupy folks get to use public space to the exclusion of people who want to use it to walk their dog, play in the parks...

    And this concludes private property 101.

  • 1860 (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2012 @10:25PM (#38569022)

    Ron Paul is a fucking lunatic who wants to take us back to 1860.

  • by causality (777677) on Monday January 02, 2012 @10:26PM (#38569032)

    Next thing you know there is a huge uproar and demands for the government to make sure nothing like it happens again.

    Where? I don't remember anyone demanding that outside the government and media.

    The media is the "fourth estate". It's an arm of the government and crucial to the establishment as we know it today. Most of what appears to be legitimate debate and discourse is actually a method of floating an idea to get people used to what's going to happen anyway. This is the power that comes from the ability to frame information and to decide what information is well-known and spoonfed, and what information is obscure and known only to the minority who will not be deterred by any amount of effort from diligently seeking it.

    The GP failed to understand this. He also failed to understand that much of what the media report are official statements that come directly from the government with no critical analysis applied, no bullshit called. Contradictory, self-serving, hypocritical, and nonsensical statements are merely repeated verbatim alongside facts as though all were equally legitimate. That's why he thinks the government is reacting to something other than its own desire and misguidedly places blame on the People.

    Some of the People do feel that way and are governed by nothing more than their own fear because they have neither principles nor the guts to back them up when things get tough. The problem is, these are the ones who get national airtime. All the rest have no national media presence and are relegated to the fringe of alternative media. No matter their numbers, they don't have a message palatable to the national media.

  • by jyx (454866) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:11AM (#38569450)

    in a veto-proof manner, after Obama had the language softened, and it doesn't apply to any random American, and it doesn't apply to anyone labeled a 'terrorist', only to people associated with specific terrorist groups.

    And who identifies these terrorist groups? And how does one prove they are not a member of these groups?

    I'm thinking there's a shit load of annoying activist type people who have the most tenuous link to that shadowy Anonymous terror organization that can now be made to 'disappear' for a short time, if required.

    And how does one get to the necessary judicial assistance to prove that you *are* an American once your in the part of the system that says 'no trials, indefinite secret detention'?

    Enough With the Sensationalism.

    No, more with the sensationalism. It is now the only way people will listen to anything through the rest of the artificial sensationalism.

    And if you think that any legislation that brings your country closer to the workings of the soviet empire of old then hand in your citizen papers and continue assuming they wont come for you.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:30AM (#38569538) Homepage

    Look, ask some of the people who has lived in a country with a civil war, a proper bloody one with armed guerrilla groups and government troops shooting it out what it was like. It's not just that you pick up your gun and go to war and you either win or die. There's chaos, mayhem, terror, looting, raping and plundering - there's no rule of law, no redress of grievances, suspected collaborators and rebels are detained and punished with little to no due process. Okay you might feel your rights are boiling away like frog in warming water, but for a time - a very long time, in some cases - you're likely to have none as desperation takes both those in power and those fighting to change it.

    That is why the average person is generally very opposed to a civil war, no matter how righteous the cause. Revolutions only happen when large groups of the people can get behind something, whether it's oppressive taxes (no taxation without representation), mass unemployment (Nazi Germany, hello Godwin), mass starvation (Soviet revolution) or something like that. Not because a handful of people may be taken by the secret police and disappear. That's never been enough for a revolution, not before and not now. All those that whine about the public apathy don't realize how far people were pushed in the past, before the revolution came.

    It has to be bad. Not just a little bad, but so bad that a good number of people is willing to sacrifice anything and everything because it can't get worse. And a population that desperately yearns for change, a small number of discontents in a population that has their bread and circus will go nowhere. Make a little show on how they cleared the Occupy Wall Street movement, but they didn't exactly have the tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square. And even that wasn't enough to trigger a revolution. To be honest, I suspect that during an actual civil war 90% of the gun nuts will be hauled up in their property protecting it from looters, not out fighting any revolutionary war. Not really that ready to sacrifice everything after all.

  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @02:59AM (#38570024) Homepage Journal

    I know for a fact that "the government" was not even listening to the country when it invented the UAS PATRIOT ACT.

    I wrote my congresspeople and explicitly and simply asked them _NOT_ to pass ANY laws or regulations in response to 9/11.

    I got back a form letter that said that "in response to my concerns" and the concerns of "likeminded americans" congress was working as fast as it could to assemble and pass legislation to (whatever and so-on).

    In short, I got the form letter treatment "assuring me" that they were busy doing _exactly_ what I begged them not to do.

    So when politicians invoke the public will as revealed by their correspondence, I tend to disbelieve. They don't read the mail, they sort it by category and subject matter, then _weigh_ it apparently. Then they decide that everybody is demanding whatever the letter on top says, ignoring any letter on top that doesn't match the political bias that the politician has already decided makes him look most re-electable.

    It's all crap and it is out of control. Everybody is talking. Nobody is listening. and the game is, bought anyway.

  • by GospelHead821 (466923) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @07:26AM (#38571008)

    You raise an important point. There are two perspectives here and unfortunately, both of them are correct. Stallman's perspective is that computers are so critical that it's unacceptable that users should be prevented from managing their hardware and software 100%. As you note, however, few users are capable of managing their *ware 100%. It follows, however, that unless the user is 100% responsible for managing their *ware, there's no assurance that the responsibility they've delegated isn't being abused.

    One can make the same argument about a number of things. My area of interest is food security. Unless one farms and cooks all of one's own food, one must delegate some of one's food security to others - either in the form of grocery stores, restaurants, or a personal chef, to name a few. How many people could really take 100% responsibility of their own food security? Very few, if you ask me. This is the nature of an interdependent society. Specialists develop expertise in narrow fields and then trade services. It's a cornerstone principle of industrialization and technological advancement. Perhaps Stallman IS correct but here is the tradeoff that must be considered then: If we must retain greater responsibility of our computers - possibly up to 100% control - what expertise or efficiency should we sacrifice instead so that everybody can have that level of responsibility?

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.