Thursday, October 06, 2005

Things are getting worse all over

As I have criticised the loss of freedoms in the US and the UK and the draconian legislation in those two countries (e.g. the Patriot Act and the Terrorism Act, respectively), I have been saying all along that Europe is not far behind.

Benvenuto in Italia! Due to anti-terrorism legislation passed in July of this year, you must now show identification to use a computer in a privately-owned internet café in Italy. The Italian authorities have ordered all providers of public communications services to make photocopies of passports of everyone who uses the internet, phone or fax. Customers must sign a security disclaimer.

The law also requires internet cafés to keep logs of which customers use which computers and their log-on and log-off times. New public communications business licences are mandatory as is tracking software. The software records all sites which are visited by the internet café customers; the internet café managers must deliver the list generated by the software to the police on a regular basis.

The new measures not only add up to a blatant invasion of privacy, but they have also hurt business. Internet café owners in Italy report that their business has decreased by 10% since July.

An additional disturbing aspect to the situation is that the Italian people have not organised any protests against the legislation - which reminds us that Italy was, after all, the birthplace of fascism.

27 comments:

Riggs is Crazy said...

Probably b/c they don't want to get blown up anymore. Just a thought.

Max said...

Live free or die. Just a thought.

Riggs is Crazy said...

How about live 90% free and live. Just a thought.

Regards,

Sanity

Tits Malone said...

Riggs,

You are a perfect example of why the rest of the world considers America hypocritical assholes...I for one am bored as fuck with it...

this is it for me MM...

Once again...loud-mouth dick-heads win!!!

Riggs is Crazy said...

Jugs,

I'll grant you that I'm an ass hole. However, how am I hypocritical? Because I want to live? Because I'm willing to give up some of these supposed freedoms? I'm not oppressed by any of this stuff and I have no problem with it. That's my opinion. If you don't like it, fine. No need to attack me personally b/c I have a different viewpoint than you.

Sincerely,

Riggs

Sinister Steve said...

Tits is a quitter

Guess she wont read this, though, since isnt coming back.

MM,

What is Tits address so I can take her off my Christmas card list?

Sinister Steve said...

MM,

Big weekend of football ahead. Penn St. plays Ohio State, prime time Saturday night.

Sunday the Bengals take the national stand vs. the Jags.

I couldnt live anywhere else just for the fact it would screw up my football watching schedule.

AG said...

Don't you gentlemen (I use the term loosely) remember your history? Italy is where fascism was born... it's never died, only been asleep and is now being resurected along with the people who are trying to take away your freedom in the great USA.

Does the term NEW WORLD ORDER mean anything to you? Are you really that dense. I guess you'll get what you deserve in the end. Along with Tits, I'll say

Goodbye.

Sinister Steve said...

TITTY, TITTY
PLEASE COME BACK
ILL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT
RIGGS IS A BIG NUT SACK

WITHOUT YOU HERE
IT JUST ISNT THE SAME
WE'VE ALL SHED A TEAR
AND RIGGS IS TO BLAME

BAD RIGGS, BAD RIGGS
YOU'VE CAUSED ALL THIS TROUBLE
SAY SORRY TO TITS
RIGHT NOW ON THE DOUBLE

Riggs is Crazy said...

AG,

I'll bet you $20 you're right. This isn't the sixties hippie. We're taking this country back from the hippie do-nothings and there is nothing you can do about it.

Max-I'm sorry if I'm chasing people off. That's not my intention. I guess all these open-minded people can't take a dissenting voice. Who's the hypocrits?

SInister Steve said...

F-The BABY-BOOMERS

Audie said...

You'll probably love/hate this, MM:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051006/ts_alt_afp/mideastbritainusiraq_051006214432

Audie said...

I never thought I'd say these words together like this, but: "I wish Tits had thicker skin."

Anyway, I was pondering a news item today, that I'd read some time this week, and it occurred to me that there was a way to see it as apropos of the little tiff that's taken place here. The story was about the current move in several states to remove redistricting power from the legislatures. Several states have votes on the issue coming up next month.

Anyway, since gerrymandering legislative districts has grown in popularity (amongst politicians, that is) in recent years, more and more districts have been carved up and reshaped to all but guarantee that the party in power stays in power. All the Republican neighborhoods are grouped into one district, and all the Democratic neighborhoods are grouped into another (with little chunks of the minority party's constituency lumped into the majority's, so that the former have no voice, essentially), and so on, and anyway, the effect has been that the people who wind up going to Washington are the extremes from both parties. Because first they had to win primaries, and to win the primary in their very partisan district, they had to be a rather extreme member of their party. So then, members such as these, from both parties, go to Washington to serve, and not only do they feel they have a "mandate" to serve their bizarre- and nebula-shaped district back home, but they have little skill or desire to relate/communicate to their counterparts from the other party. There are fewer and fewer moderates, and fewer who know how to compromise, how to give and take. It's all take, all nastiness, and bitterness. And it really doesn't have to be that way (no, really).

Cuz if your constituency back home is 80/20, who gives a shit about the 20? Whereas, if your constituency were closer to the 50/50 that this country actually is, you'd be forced to listen more to all sides, and to be reasonable, and just not be partisan.

So, the way I think that's relevant to discussions here and throughout the country especially in the past couple of decades (yes, I know partisanship was not born in 1980), is that these "leaders" end up influencing the tone of political discourse everywhere else -- on campuses, around the dinner table, on blogs, on the radio, in the newspaper editorial pages, etc. Almost everyone feels the need to choose a side, and to follow it blindly -- everything's black and white, red and blue, the other side is stupid, etc., or we resort to sarcasm, we're rude to each other, we say goodbye instead of staying engaged, etc. (and I do mean "we," as in me too). Or we disengage entirely from the political process, because it's so disgusting, we refuse to vote, or we move to another country, where (in many cases) people are more civil.

Anyway, this isn't pointed at anyone in particular; I just thought it was an interesting item. I hadn't made the connection between redistricting, and the nasty tone of politics -- and the stalemates -- of recent years. According to the story, a few of the initiatives to take redistricting power out of the hands of legislatures were expected to pass, and a few were not. And (surprise surprise), both parties are being greedy, it seems. In California, where Democrats enjoy the majority, and where the governor has lost much of his initial popularity, the initiative (which Ah-nold supports) appears likely to fail, as do Democrat-supported initiatives in Republican-dominated states.

But I am hopeful that some of the initiatives are successful, and that they spawn more like them.

Because all this nastiness is a drag.

aud

Sinister Steve said...

Audie,

If you go down to Tits original comment what would you say that Riggs said that was so wrong? Im asking honestly. Basically Riggs stated he would rather lose some of his freedoms (In other people's opinion) in order to feel safe. "Hypocritical asshole" "loud mouth dickhead" Where did that come from? He made a valid point of how the average american feels about the tradeoff of freedom for safety. Whether or not people from around the globe agree that is another thing. How can someone in Toronto, Canada who knows they are guarded by the most powerful military in the world sit there and judge someone in the US for wanting to feel safe when we are a target? These same people that bitch the government is too much into our business also are the first to cry foul when FEMA arrives too late. If the New York subway system checks bags on subways it is an invation of privacy but if there was to be an attack they would be mad the government didnt do more. The sad thing is is that we can measure the attacks that don't happen and therefore there will always be people that believe the government has gone too far in their methods of security. Riggs just happens to believe that zero terrorist attacks durning a war on terror equates to someone doing their job right even if he may have to flash an ID or have a bag checked. If someone knocked on your door would you just open it and let them in if you didnt know them? Although these cafes are privately owned they do serve a purpose to public.

Audie said...

SS,

Among the things I lamented in my comment were: sarcasm (which Riggs's "Just a thought" was); saying goodbye instead of staying engaged (which T & A [Tits and ag] both did; rudeness (such as calling each other hypocrites, which Riggs and Tits both did); calling the other side stupid ("dense", as ag did, or "insane," as Riggs implied by signing off as "Sanity"); etc. -- and more of the same tone can easily be found in the commentary on previous posts (including, as I also said, by me). I merely wanted to point out that this commentary might be a microcosmic reflection, unfortunately, of the kind of dialogue we see in the mass media and even "on the street" -- and that I thought it could be reasonably argued that the ill-designed process for drawing legislative districts in most states might be a big part of the problem. And that a return to a more reasonable and civil political climate might be aided greatly by reforming said process.

As I said, I wish TM had thicker skin, and, even though this is not relevant to the point *I* was trying to make, I happen to sympathise with Riggs's "90%" comment, so there is no need to be defensive here, in response to my comment. Perhaps in your mind you have labeled me a "liberal" or something, which led you to assume I was saying ceertain things or holding certain beliefs that I in fact was not. Most people (you, me, most everybody else) are more complex than the political discourse in this country lately would lead one to believe, and the "extremism" that I was talking about in my comment feeds this oversimplification. There has been more and more tendency, it seems, for people to let the pols and pundits do their thinking for them. If *politicians* were forced to be more nuanced -- and honest -- with their political philosophies and stances (forced by the fact that there constituencies were more mixed/blended/diverse), I believe more Americans would, too -- would feel more comfortable holding views that they arrived at by thinking and feeling deeply, not simply by listening to AM radio -- views that would, I believe, seem "contradictory" by today's predominant, strictly partisan, thinking.

I find Republicans such as John McCain and Arlen Specter somewhat refreshing because they hold at least some views that differ from the main-line party platform. Clinton, too, followed through with fiscal responsibility and reforms of welfare that haven't traditionally been big parts of the Democrats' message. I have a friend who's father is (and remains) a staunch Republican, who believes Bush's war with Iraq is a terrible mistake. I find that refreshing. I thought Clinton was a very good chief executive, but that he did nothing to intervene in Rowanda is, in my view, a travesty (just to cite one example). Frankly, all I can glean from the comments from some of you is that Bush is great and never errs, and that "liberals" are the cause of all problems. While you can argue, for comic effect if nothing else, that all that is true, you'd never convince me that it was all that simple, and that it was just a coincidence that whatever he believed you just happened to believe also.

So, surprise me once in a while. I will agree with Tits that, hearing the same predictable party line from some of you guys, regardless of the topic, gets pretty boring.

But then, I'd say the same about watching 11 straight hours of football on the boob tube, and you KNOW how wrong I am about that!

:-)

Skeeter said...

I always seem to be behind everybody a day or two on these postings, but business is booming and I've been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.

I think everybody made some very good points. Its a shame that accepting the fact that people have different points of view is difficult. As a side note that's why pure democracies don't work for nations or nation states and why the US for one started out as a representative republic.

But aside from that I agree that "..this nastiness is a drag" (a la AG).

The thing about people with different opinions is...well, they have different opinions. They also have different ways of expressing those opinions. Some folks subscribe to hyperbole and state the most extreme things in order to make a point, others don't. Some people are angry in general, and unfortunately that can lead to hurt feelings.

But all this stuff is kind of moot, unless you know the person you're speaking with. Interpreting someones intents or meanings by reading what they write is difficult, because you have nothing to back it up. No history, that is personal history to fall back on and say, "Oh I know he doesn't really believe that, he's trying to make a point." or conversely "Wow, I've never heard her say that before, she must be angry" and so you pull back or apologize, etc.

Nothing makes up for personal interaction, especially when the people you interact with are in the same situation or under the same struggle, it's human nature.

I don't know where I'm going with this, so I'll stop now.

Go Bucks, beat Penn State!

Sinister Steve said...

PSU 56
OSU 8

OSU needing 8 touchdowns to tie with three minutes to go will have to start going for 2 when the get their first score.

Or

Jo Pa feeling generous will give OSU 4 safeties in an attempt to run down the clock buy running backwards.

Knottyboy said...

I can see showing your id, but even that isn't a good way to keep tabs. I could have easily had a fake when I came into the cafe. Who are these idiots?
k

Riggs is Crazy said...

Audie, I like your points on the re-districting topic. I'm not always tactful with my delivery, but that's me. I'm not trying to elicit a response, that's just the way I write.

Skeeter said...

SS,

You're freakin' out of your mind! OSU 34 PSU 14....much lamenting in Happy Valley tonight.

..besides what the hell do you know about football, being from Bowling Green? Ugliest school color's east of the Mississippi.

JoePa and the rest of the Pennsyltuckians are holding they're breath waiting for the shoe to fall....Here it comes baby!

O-H-I-O

Sinister Steve said...

Skeeter,

It is starting to smell a lot like 1994 when Penn St. put the worst beating down on OSU they have ever seen.

Riggs is Crazy said...

Steve doesn't know JACK about football. He's a Bengals fan for god sakes.

OH8CH
EyeOH

Bucks 27 Nits 9

Audie said...

"Interpreting someones intents or meanings by reading what they write is difficult, because you have nothing to back it up. No history," etc.

Nicely said, Skeet.

And I'm with you, too, on the attractiveness of Bowling Green's colors.

And that's the only comment I have on the football discussion. How macho does that make me?

Monkey said...

Why not start a blog at www.hijacked.blogspot.com instead of discussing random shit on someone elses post? Better yet, how's about calling each other on the phone to discuss your concerns? That way the people of the world will be spared eternal boredom from your ramblings. Thanks, and don't let the door hit ya on the way out.

Sinister Steve said...

Monkey we'll stay here. Thanks for the offer though. If anyone wants real bullshit go visit Monkeys blog.

Audie said...

MM has the option of allowing comments only from members -- people she invites to participate on her blog. Til then (or perhaps even afterwards), discussions jes' might meander....

I notice that meandering discussions (or discussions, period) are not a problem on your blog, Monkey.

chatsy malone said...

It's gonna be just like in that book by george orwell 1984.

The authorities already have access to this information as we speak. They don't need to photocopy and make a bigdeal out of it.

We are tracked by our cellphones already. Meaning if someone really wants to track us then they can.

We are all addicted to all this techonology which is making it easier for the governement to track us.

As for the rest of you, chill out man. I have been thinking for sometime about how you guys take this way too seriously. Tits doesn't need thick skin she is one of the most open minded people I have ever met. That is why I love her so.
You guys need to spend less time on the net checking soccer scores where big bro can track you and more time get your neglected needs satisfied.
WHere is the smiley with the tongue sticking out?