Tag Archives: Politics

Your privacy is history.


What a difference a spell in office makes.

The current British government want to pass legislation which will allow GCHQ in the UK on-demand access to anybody’s internet traffic, e-mails and phone calls.  In a remarkable display of restraint, a warrant will have to be applied for before access is granted (though with this government, I’m certain that due process is but an inconvenience to be snuffed out imminently).  This, if you need your memory jogged, is the same government who were utterly disgusted by the idea of the then-Labour government trialling a similarly heavy-handed bill devoted to half-inching our individual civil liberties on the quiet.

Of course, normal citizens won’t have to worry because only criminals and terrorist suspects are going to be targeted by this kind of measure and that almost certainly won’t include anybody critical of the government or similar, potential subversives.

I suppose it’s possible to argue that we already engage in regularly giving up our personal privacy online by participating in social networks, but that’s doable via supplying BS information and obfuscating enough details for us to comfortably participate on Facebook or Twitter.  There’s not much you can do when the government’s latter-day equivalent of Gene Hackman in “The Conversation” is gaily listening to what you did at work today and on what you bought from Amazon.

What’s more scary – that this legislation will get through Parliament without anything in the way of a challenge or that the halfwits governing my county believe for a second that this snooping power will stop even one terrorist act from occurring?


Filed under Random Notes

Your move, creep…

Sometimes, I get confused about whether I’m reading the news or I’ve accidentally clicked  The Onion’s website by mistake.

Glancing at Reddit today, I came across this gem – the city of Pontiac, Michigan appears to have been privatised.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Anybody disagree with the new plan? No? Great...

See,  “Robocop” was set in Michigan, so the image kind of makes sense?  No?  Just me then…

Not to come over all European and abhorrently progressive, but is it really a good idea to let an unelected private sector guy come in and start slashing costs left and right, even in a global economy as well and truly buggered as the planet’s currently appears to be?

The last time that I looked, running local government and trying to make a profit for your stockholders are two quite different things and never the twain will meet.  It’s hard to see how firing a bunch of civil servants, cutting local services to the bone and screwing over taxpayers is helping anybody other than the private contractor in charge of the whole process (who is presumably on some sweet, performance-related pay incentive to get things profitable again).

But then, isn’t that what this appears to be all about – bringing the private sector into public services and making a bunch of money for people whilst ensuring that the rest of us get well and truly shafted?

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Filed under Films, Geekery, Random Notes

Big Brother is here and he’s Canadian

Oh, Canada – you’re supposed to be the reasonable ones.

In the Great White North’s continued efforts to be more right-wing than their North American neighbours, gorgeous pouting Canuck MP Vic Toews (that’s the sexy beast pictured above) has spearheaded a bill making its way through parliament there which would give law enforcement agencies added powers to spy on internet users without need for warrants, due process or any of that inconvenient law stuff.

His angle – because there had to be one – is that if you oppose his bill, you stand with child pornographers.

Yep, that would be the kind of reasoned response that one should expect from an elected official and definitely not an example of hysterical trolling from an unbalanced bully who shouts louder than you until you shut up and let him have his way.

And, of course, yet another example of a politician who uses the emotive subject of child abuse as a tactic to get heinous and unpleasant legislation railroaded into law by appealing to the worse instincts of voting parents – because, of course, those are the only people whose opinions count in society.  If you can scare those guys into voting for you by convincing them that there’s a paedophile hiding around every corner on every street, you can pretty much do anything you want….

Boing Boing has more – if I have any Canadian readers, please tell me that this guy’s regarded as a joke and not somebody likely to get this kind of heinous and freedom-eroding crap passed into law.


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Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine opens mouth, inserts foot, surprises nobody.

In a story recounted on Blabbermouth.net, Megadeth founder and mainstay Dave Mustaine has felt the need to share his thoughts on the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests currently occupying the thoughts of many Americans, global financial instabililty and to explain just why President Barack Obama is so bad for America (pro-tip, Dave – absurd, unthinking patriotism is the last refuge of the easily-led).

This gentleman, Dave Mustaine, is the least of your problems.

Apparently, peacefully protest the banking institutions and financial sector big-wigs who have so completely capsized the economies of the world is a bad thing.  Nobody should be doing it – it’s just not American (well, I’m not American, so my continual dismay at the parlous financial state of the planet, austerity measures and public service cuts across the globe is okay, then?  Cool.  Hurray for being a lily-livered European!).

The protesters shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, the City of London, or anywhere else that banking ne’er-do-wells hang-out because heck – it costs the police money to train and deploy their officers to pepper-spray innocent people demonstrating against innately corrupt and autonomous systems.  Don’t these people exercising their right to free assembly and protest realise what they’re doing?  They’re costing the taxpayers money!  The outrage!

Image via the Daily Telegraph. Who probably don't hold with the likes of Dave Mustaine at all...

I mean, it’s not as though anybody who pays their taxes to a government ever got so ticked off at a government’s misdeeds that they decided to do something positive about their anger and went out to loudly disparage a politician or two!  That would NEVER happen. Of course the only people who ever protest against inequity are jobless, homeless, tent-dwelling, weed-smoking hipsters who can be summarily dismissed because they don’t speak for the rest of us – hey, as they’re worse than useless anyway, why not just let the police break out the hardware and tear gas the bloody hippies into submission, so that they can’t make a lot of fuss and noise and upset those sensitive financial sector types as they go to work, unsung heroes that they are.

And the President certainly shouldn’t be encouraging people to protest against arrogant swine who don’t care that they brought the economies of the world to their metaphorical knees just so long as they can have a nice Mercedes in the drive and someone else to drive it.

Never mind that he hasn’t actually done any of that.  Some rabble-rousing Tea Party shock jock said that he did, so it must have happened.   It couldn’t be some ratings-starved half-wit drumming up controversy just to stir the flames of irrational hatred which arise at the mere idea of Barack Obama being the president of the USA.

Given that Obama, his administration, the Democratic party and nobody at all haven’t been directly encouraging teens to skip school and head to NYC to protest against the financial sector at all, and that this belief is so asinine as to be barely worth discussing seriously in an on-line forum, Dave Mustaine’s argument falls apart with another fallacy – that the banks, traders and brokers of the world are perfectly capable of sorting out the mess that they’ve caused if people would only give them some space and an opportunity to get things straight.

The moment that they thought people were looking the other way, distracted perhaps by wars or natural disasters, the financial sector went back to awarding themselves appallingly indulgent, unearned bonuses and being the vile, overly self-regarding delusionists that we always knew they were.  Given the opportunity to do nothing, guess what?  Wall Street will do nothing.  They are human after all, and if we give them the opportunity to evade responsibility and behave like idiots then they will.  Somewhat like Rock Musicians in that regard, eh, Dave?

Have the banks made lasting efforts to put their houses in order? No.  Do they show any sign at all of wanting to do that? No. Would they engage in absurd misdirection if they thought it would take the heat off them for a second or two? (Look! Over there, everybody! Kim Kardashian’s doing something!)

Peace sells, eh, Dave?

Words fail me.  If Mustaine had something to say about internet music piracy, something that he knows about, has a stake in, has something to impart to me on,  then I’d probably listen.  When it comes to his thoughts on anything other than whether Judas Priest are better than Iron Maiden forgive me for wanting some substance with his ill-advised public utterances.

I’m not the guy who says that celebrities have no business in voicing their opinions and that I don’t want to listen to them trying – a celebrity is, after all, only a version of me with nicer hair and far more opinions about wine than I will ever have.  Of course they should be allowed to speak publicly about what grieves them.   That’s why we have blogs, Dave – so that swell folks can witter and the world can continue on apace…

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