Thursday, August 9, 2007

Censorship sure is a "mistake"

Pearl Jam isn't taking this sitting down. Good.

AT&T Blue Room, which apparently had the contract for live webcast from the Lollapalooza concert, scrubbed two lines from Pearl Jam's song, "Daughter," because they were anti-George W. Bush ("George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush find yourself another home").

After questioning AT&T about the incident, Lollapalooza was informed that material was indeed missing from the webcast, and that it was mistakenly cut by AT&T's content monitor. Tiffany Nels of ATT told CMJ that they are working the matter out with the band. "We regret the mistake," she explains. "This was not intended and was an unfortunate mistake made by a webcast editor." She went on to explain that AT&T has a policy for any excessive language, and that it was set up because of its all-ages audience.
Can you say, "Third Reich"? Or rather, "Fourth Reich"?

And, a clue for AT&T: Senior citizens hate Bush, too. Remember Bush's bungled Medicare prescription plan and his attempt to pull the rug out from Social Security forever (he already stole the trust fund baby boomers paid to pay for a couple of days of this Iraq invasion)? He's quantifiably the worst president of all time, having the lowest sustained favorability polling of any in modern history.

We need to speak loudly about Part 2 of the outrageous crush-FISA legislation coming quickly down the pike next month. From Balkinization:
From the President's Message on signing the FISA fix: "When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive reforms requested by Director McConnell, including the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001."

Note the key item on this wish list: legal immunity for having participated in the illegal NSA program.
That would be our own Verizon and AT&T, among other Big Telecoms.

Was this just cocky overreach by a big lobbying corporation, or a corporation that already believes it controls the people's government and gets to call the laws and contracts to suit it? I think the latter, and the latter = fascism, Italian style, by its very definition.

I'm not trying to be alarmist, but I'm going to say so when the emporer has no clothes.

Save the Internet reminds us:
AT&T routinely rails against Net Neutrality as a “solution without a problem.” They say Net Neutrality regulations aren’t necessary because they wouldn’t dare interfere with online content. At the same time they tout plans to become gatekeepers to the Web with public relations bromides about “shaping” Web traffic to better serve the needs of an evolving Internet.

Such spin needs to be held up to the light of experience. AT&T’s history of breaking trust with their customers includes handing over private phone records to the government, promising to deliver services to underserved communities and then skipping town, pledging never to interfere with the free flow of information online while hatching plans with the likes of Cisco, Viacom, RIAA and MPA to build and deploy technology that will spy on user traffic.

The moral of this story is never trust AT&T at their word.
And, in another censorship outrage, the Michigan Senate majority leader blocked the blog Blogging for Michigan from all Senate computers because he didn't like the constituent's opinion and deemed no one there would read it. Imagine, a state Senate majority leader thought this was reasonable. Has the slow and methodical erosion of the civil liberties embodied (literally with blood of our original, REAL patriots) in our U.S. Consitution brought us to a point where anyone can think for a moment -- let alone a whole week -- that such a thing is acceptable in America?

Think about that.

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