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EFF Names 2008 Pioneer Award Winners

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the august-company dept.

The Internet 43

bowser100 writes "The EFF has named their 2008 Pioneer Award winners, picking three people very familiar to this community — Mitchell Baker and the Mozilla Foundation, Canadian law professor Michael Geist, and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein."

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Congrats (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508756)

Congratulations to Michelle, Michael, Mark and me if this turns out to be the FP.

CEO of Mozilla (0, Offtopic)

anastasd (849943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508826)

I didn't know that CEO of Mozilla is a woman. :)

Re:CEO of Mozilla (3, Funny)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508846)

My wife said the exact same thing upon seeing her in a different news article. That was her only comment. Sort of odd, I guess.

Re:CEO of Mozilla (2, Insightful)

anastasd (849943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509008)

This might be because the usual vision of an open source developer is an teenager with unshaved beard and long hair OR a middle aged man that had the same outlook when he was younger.

Re:CEO of Mozilla (2, Funny)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509038)

That's probably it. It's certainly my vision. When I think of web developers I can only think of this [theonion.com] .

Aren't they forgetting... (2, Funny)

Paul Pierce (739303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508840)

Al Gore?

In before.... (2, Funny)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508948)

...someone complains about NSA/EFF/ATT wiretapping business and turns this whole thread into a debate over who we hate the most, america or the terrorists.

Re:In before.... (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509150)

Do we really have to choose?

Re:In before.... (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509230)

well, duh. I mean, you're either with us, or you're against us, right? That's what the man on the TeeVee said to me when I waas sad and scared.

Re:In before.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22511732)

But then a dancing cheeseburger came on TeeVee and told me to buy lots of Chicken McSuperShakes, and that made me happy again :).

Juicy NSA Conspiracy, continued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508990)

Ok, perhaps I'm completely paranoid. Scratch that, I *am* completely paranoid.

A brick windowless bunker with cameras was recently completed outside the building that contains the AT&T spliced fibre. Some construction equipment is still there. Ack, the angle is wrong on the google map, but going to this spot you will certainly see it (it's hard to miss). clickie for map [google.com] . A few days ago, we hear about a new domestic spy satellite program [slashdot.org] .

I happen to know that the building across from that parking lot (the bunker is immediately next to this lot) houses some DHS offices. This lot between the buildings used to have these hydraulic car lifts to stack cars vertically. They were removed about 2 months ago.

Therefore, holy shit, there's a tunnel between 600 Harrisison and the AT&T building across the lot, and I work at the epicenter of spy central!

Re:Juicy NSA Conspiracy, continued... (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509046)

Move to northern VA. Your paranoia about unmarked, guarded buildings with cameras and razort wire will put you soundly in Mel Gibson (Conspiracy Theory) territory.

Re:Juicy NSA Conspiracy, continued... (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509056)

Spy central is in the tunnel? Your office/cube is over said tunnel? Otherwise, you might be in the center of spy central. In either case, I would recommend looking for new employment...

Ads are Better than Awards (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509070)

Those awards are nice honors to their deserving recipients. But they don't help any activism except preaching to the choir: people who already tune in to EFF. The mass media (which is EFF's natural enemy most of the time) doesn't even notice these nerd/wonk awards.

What the EFF should do to get itself press, more members, and actually push hard back for freedom would be making some ads to counter the telco propaganda [dailykos.com] that their award winners are persecuted by. I bet Mark Klein would be a good cameo in an ad, waving his EFF award or not.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509130)

TO be fair, the EFF is probably not likely to offer awards far outside of its purview. :) I know what you are talking about, but I feel that the EFF does a pretty good job with their money, litigation offers a somewhat better rate of return than do ads, especially for a populace that has basically made up its mind about NSA spying. As unfortunate as it might seem, we are basically split down ideological lines about spying. IF you feel that the primary goal of a government is to protect its citizens from harm, you are for spying. IF you feel that the power of goevernment stems from the just consent of the governed, you are gainst spying. I will not argue the legitimacy of either view now, but facts don't change the debate.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509260)

The populace isn't "split" on NSA spying. Sure, a few percent of the populace says "whatever the president wants" when asked "is it OK for the president to listen to terrorists' phonecalls if it happens to innocently also overhear some other people's calls - who might just be terrorists we wouldn't otherwise notice, or drug dealers, or something?" But that's a fraction of Republicans, who are losing power left and right: they'll have something like 40 Senate seats in 2009, and perhaps something like 30-35 in 2011, and probably the House will be 60:40 in 2011, while their presidential candidate will probably get whipped something like 60:40. Already Republicans don't even show up to vote except maybe half that of Democrats, and that's while they still have a Clinton to fear.

It's not like Democrats are even aware of this issue except when asked, and then only vaguely for the most part. And independents aren't much more on the ball. So there's maybe 20-30% of adults who even have NSA spying on their radar, except when asked or actually seeing it on TV. The other 70% is up for grabs.

Which is why the Republicans and their telco masters are launching a TV ad. And why someone, if not the Democrats, should launch a counterad. On issues like this, the courts are sensitive to how the public reacts - if it reacts at all. Since Republicans are so under siege in general, this ad is a desperate ploy that would further distract them if it were met with the strong challenge that the truth actually offers: NSA spying should matter to everyone, because everyone's privacy - and therefore safety and liberty - is at risk. But if Republicans scare America again with this ad, and win telco amnesty, then that's momentum for them, and more telco bribes to keep them in line and in office.

So I want to see the debate get the facts for a change. If the ad is good, it will change the debate. Americans are fired up for change right now, and will be through November when we elect the first Black president. Let's see the rising tide also carry our most basic liberty: the line where the government and other private interests end, and where our private life begins as sacrosanct.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (3, Informative)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509330)

They most certainly ARE split on the idea. If they weren't split George Bush would be in jail. It is that simple. What is likely is that the NSA had expaned illegal spying to a vast dragnet by 2004, when normally permissive officials from DoJ wanted to intervene. They may or may not have scaled back that surveilance as Ashcroft was replaced by someone much more loyal to the pres. The times breaks the story in 2005. 2006 comes around. The president has not only not ben impeached but LAWS HAVE BEEN FUCKING PASSED TO ENSHRINE THE SPYING. Ask people how they feel about the president breaking the law to help americans and the answer SHOULD be 99-1 against. It turns out to be something like 60/40.

Those 40% are not going to be swayed by facts or arguments. They are the same 40% that think that iraq helped plan 9/11. They are the same 40% that are angry at democrats wanting some oversight ability. The disconnect is emotional, not factual.

I hope that 2008 will bring real change. It might. But I would rather money go into attempting to find judicial recourse while legislative recourse remains supine.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510306)

No they're not split. As I said, they're ignorant, apathetic, and distracted by the war, the economy, and their personal lives.

You are creating a false duality between "with or against NSA spying". The real duality is whether or not people notice. Since people mostly don't notice, and then are beaten back with distractions and end-runs, the corporate deals with the politicians who prey on the people go through.

Bush most certainly should be in jail, or worse, but he's not. He's also cruising down below 20% approval, which is like only the grade F students thinking you're the right quarterback for the football team. That shows that Americans are disconnected from the system that's supposed to protect us, including the media that should be ringing air raid sirens every day over these crimes. But they're not.

That's why ads are important. I never said that EFF should run ads instead of suing. I said that I think their running ads is more important than giving awards. I didn't even say EFF shouldn't give awards. In fact, I said that a good ad would feature Klein with his award, which would show Americans that there are real people out there putting their lives on the line to protect us all from these real tyrannies that they don't otherwise see exposed on their TV.

That's why the Republicans are running ads. If they didn't matter, they wouldn't waste their money, while they don't have enough to campaign to hold the seats they're using to put through these abuses. It's all important. But that also means that ads to convince Americans it's important, especially in the face of ads convincing them that it's not, are important. Because those people are going to the polls every few weeks already, warming up for November. At which time, if NSA spying is an issue fixed in the public imagination (not just Slashdotters'), it will mean votes. If not in the Senate, which has small turnover and other issues despite the centrality of the Senate in allowing the spying, then at least in the House, which has to stand for election every 2 years. The ads are the way to drive home the "emotional" images that drive people to demand protection. Either the Republican way of fake protection, that we'll see in those ads, or a different way, an EFF way preferably, of protecting ourselves from the telcos as well as the few "terrorists" who have to reach a lot further than the telcos to hurt us.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511752)

I don't mean to insinuate that you felt the EFF shouldn't be suing or giving awards.

My point is this, and it is probably a cynical one. People make decisions based largely on subconscious desires and fears. We operate in small, segmented spheres of rationality, but outside those we make decisions based on emotions. More specifically, there is a small section of decisions where we feel reasonable people might disagree and we come to a conclusion based on relatively dispassionate analysis. Outside this sphere, we have made out decisions already but rationalize it (and consciously feel that we are making a rational decision). Out side THAT sphere we don't acknowledge as rational dissenting positions.

Where these spheres exist, how flexible they are and how large they are differs from person to person. some people are dispassionate about large groups of things and can come to rational decisions about them. some people can rationalize lots of things and have few "dealbreaker" positions. Some people feel so strongly about certain issues that the other position appears to not be rational.

Take for instance abortion. I am pro-choice, and probably could fully rationalize my position on it. I believe in Bill Clinton's idea of abortions, that they should be safe, legal and rare. But part of my feelings on the issue force me to reject opposing positions as irrational. I can't believe the notion that life begins at conception. To me, this seems religiously motivated and overly broad. It is not only convenient but CRITICAL that this assumption would invalidate my beliefs about abortion. If I felt that life begins at conception I would be unable to tenably hold my position. I would end up weighing one life against another.

Conversely, if I were pro-life, I could not 'logically' see a position of pro-choice as tenable. The assumption by pro-choice individuals that life begins when the fetus is independently viable would seems to be horrifying. BUT, if I took that position, I could no longer reconcile it with a pro-lie position.

This is one example of a policy position where I am able to rationalize my views, but my views are not strictly rational. As you well know from commenting on slashdot, there are positions for and against which people abandon rationality. Abortion is among them, religion and free speech is another. My favorite is scapling. Life-long libertarians and free market guys LOSE THEIR FUCKING SHIT when they find out they are paying 200 dollars to see the patriots cheat at football. The general consensus on slashdot becomes "establish a monitoring system, make people show ID at sporting events, tar and feather scalpers." Logic left the building a while ago because it was supplanted by a strongly emotional issue--people felt they were being treated unfairly and someone was profiting by doing nothing. This is not to say that scalpers are good people or that they did nothing wrong, just that the debate wasn't one dictated by logic.

National security is one of those issues too. People who feel that they need a strong, protective figure will want a strong protective government. People who feel that security is important aren't going to be swayed by the notion that the government broke laws already allowing secret surveillance just because they could. They are just going to hear "the terrorists are going to kill you and only spying can save you." Other people, myself included can't logically justify that position. I can rationalize my own fear of government but I can't become totally dispassionate. I can't take their side and see how they come to their conclusions. I just know that I start from a different set of assumptions than they do and so I will come to different conclusions.

This is not to say that there is no space for democratic positions or that ads should never be run. If the democrats continue to cede this space of passion to fear stoked by republicans then we are in deep trouble. There are some good signs and bad signs. Good signs are things like Hillary Clinton responding to a debate:

Now, Howard Meyerson (ph) of Pasadena, California, says he views the country as a very large business, and neither one of you have ever run a business. So, why should either of you be elected to be CEO of the country?

CLINTON: Well, I would, with all due respect, say that the United States government is much more than a business. It is a trust. (APPLAUSE)
It is the most complicated organization. But it is not out to make a profit. It is out to help the American people. It is about to stand up for our values and to do what we should at home and around the world to keep faith with who we are as a country. And with all due respect, we have a president who basically ran as the CEO, MBA president, and look what we got. I am not too happy about the results.

From Debate Transcripts [california...report.com]

Or from watching democrats in the house standing up against this kind of legislation. To me, a house refusing to pass a bill the president wants despite dire and untrue threats is worth a thousand ads. It is worth a thousand newspaper columns on the nitty-gritty of the bill. It is worth a thousand conversations among co-workers who will agree to disagree. Becuase it shows that democrats can be strong too, and not just by emulating republicans. That, to me, has been the PRIMARY failure of the democrats for the past 7 years. They got so scared that they would be seen as 'weak' on terror that they did whatever the president told them to do. what happened? They looked weak. And they kept fucking losing elections as they tried to find less and less daylight between republican positions and democratic ones. 2006 was almost a fluke. If republicans hadn't been so busy fucking dudes and teenage boys, we might still have a republican senate and house. Maybe once 2008 is over we can rid outselves of the fiction that whoever is the president is the only important thing and congressional democrats can get back to their fucking job.

That, to me, is better than any ad.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511786)

Those actions come from popular support, which largely depends on ads. Ads are how our huge, complex, busy society communicates with itself. You're either setting up a false choice between political opposition and ads, or you're making an irrelevant value comparison that no one is disputing about whether political opposition is more important than ads.

They're both important. And one depends on the other.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511894)

Look, I'm going out of my way to be polite here. I don't think it is fair to characterize what I have described as a "false choice" or an irrelevant value comparison, whatever that means.

Democrats acting in a way that makes them not look like pussies is wholly distinct from advertisement. Opposition to the Nixon white house didn't occur as a result of some ad buys on the part of the DNC. It occured when even republicans realized (after the sat. night massacre) that Nixon would stonewall congressional oversight into the breakins at the watergate. After that happened, the floodgates opened and impeachment moved forward (along with one of the most studiously ignored laws of our time, the war powers act).

and fundamentally, advertising is derivative. It doesn't generate political narratives, just acts on them. the same thing is true for most news services. We don't hear much analysis beyond the meta narrative of "Hillary is smart and experienced but unlikable" and "Obama is inspiring but inexperienced". Everything is parsed according to those terms. Ads are written and assimilated according to those terms. Occasionally ads are run that try to break out of those meta-narratives "Hillary is eperienced and she LOVES you! (as long as you live in Ohio or Texas, offer void where prohibited)"

Do you think that the DNC didn't run ads in 2004? Or didn't run enough? in 2002? 2006? Of course they did. They ran as many if not more than the republicans. The problem wasn't that messages weren't getting out. the problem was that there wasn't a message.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22514496)

Pointing out a fallacy by name ("false choice" [wikipedia.org] ) isn't "impolite".

Your "irrelevant value comparison that no one is disputing about whether political opposition is more important than ads" is that you are comparing political opposition to ads by value, when I didn't say one or the other was more valuable. That value comparison is irrelevant, no one is disputing it but you. That makes it not just a false choice fallacy, but also a strawman.

I was polite about it. Some people are rude when pointing them out, since fallacies are unfair arguments, and go further away from legitimate disagreement. I did not. In fact, it gets harder to stay polite when you're both trying fallacies (and sticking to them once they're pointed out), and implying that I'm rude for pointing them out. But I will stay polite, because I'm secure in my argument.

Political action is necessary but not sufficient. Advertising that delivers the message about political action is what frames the debate. It's how nearly all political action is translated into alliance by the public, or at least the critical mass even in the "word of mouth" Internet Era. The ads drive home all those stories.

Of course the DNC ran ads. They didn't actually run enough, or good enough, but yes more actual political action would have made even what they had go much further. You're asking the wrong question to test your argument. The question is what if Democrats had performed plenty of political action in 2002-2006, but didn't run any ads. Republicans would have wiped the floor with them. Just as Republicans wiped the floor with them with their superior advertising (and underlying messaging, carefully crafted lies), despite the terrible damage done by Republicans with their greater volume of worse quality political action.

So now I'm trying for at least the third time to debate you on the same subject. Not the choice between political action or ads that you're sticking to, but rather the value of more or less ads given an at least adequate amount of political action. If you want to talk about that, I'm ready. If not, I'm not interested.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22524810)

It isn't polite if I didn't exhibit the fallacy. Or I guess that isn't fair. You probably weren't being impolite on purpose. What I ams saying is that if I WERE to suggest a false dilemma, I would have to demand that the DNC (and like minded groups, for the sake of simplification) run either ads or foment political change, not do both. I don't think I have explicitly suggested that. There isn't a strong argument for it, even if you consider a trade-off argument, whereby time/money spent on political change trades off at some level with time spent making ads. I'm not making that argument, and I think it is pretty weak.

I also think we are both getting angry partially because there isn't too much difference between our positions. We both feel that democrats need to take more strong positions in favor of principles we espouse and we both feel that they should succeed politically. Given that, we see differences in magnitude between us.

I am not suggesting a dilemma. I am suggesting that it is unwise to refer to policy positions as just a neccessary condition. I don't mean the standard democratic crap when I say policy positions. I don't mean some 10 point plan on increasing insurance for orphans or some other shit that the democrats talk about every 4 years. I mean strong, relevant stances like the ones the democrats took (FINALLY) in the house on FISA. Positions like they took in confronting Al Gonzales. The victories (here I qualify a victory as a point where democrats didn't just fold, not that they achieved something measurable and notable) are few and far between, but I can't honestly see too many between 1980 and 2006. Maybe the showdown in 1995 between the clinton white house and the budget. Maybe the beginnings of the Iran-Contra investigations. But not much in between.

To me there isn't even a fucking comparison. Taking serious and strong policy stances on shit that really matters and making sure that compromise is a two way street is worth 1000 ads. IT isn't that one displaces the other. It's just that press like "Congress defies the bush administration" in the NYT is worth millions in ad buys to say nice things about health care plans that no one is going to get passed anyway.

I hope I'm clear. It is a necessary condition, and in my mind, it is close to being sufficient. There is a reason why republicans spent ~25 years kicking our asses (even after fucking nixon, who should have kept them in the political shitter for decades) and it has nothing to do with ads. I'm proud of what the EFF is doing. And I want other people to be proud too. The way for that to happen is for democrats in power to ensure that the EFF's lawsuits are not in vain. If they do that, they will be electorally rewarded. If they do that and run ads, great, but the ads will be almost completely superfluous.

Republicans don't win elections because they have better ad buyers or are better at lying. That's absurd. Republicans win elections because they have had simple, emotional messages and their message and stance resonated with their political base. They appealed to peoples fears and looked strong in the face of danger. They demonized the democrats as being weak in the face of danger. How did they do it? By pushing legislation on the dems and telling them to go along, or else they would be called "soft on terror". The dems went along, and got called soft on terror. This has nothing to do with ads. This could have been and was basically illustrated with press reporting and press releases.

In 2006 there was a viable counter narrative: "Get us the fuck out of Iraq. Also, stop fucking little boys." People like Jim Webb (Reagan's Sct. of the Navy, if you will recall) and Jon Tester got elected. Incumbents got unseated. People were pissed. Turnout was high. Democrats that didn't go to the polls before because they didn't really get excited went. The republicans didn't have a monopoly on the themes of politics. So little of this had to do with ads. So much of it has to do with coordinated messages (talking points) repeated over and over again and those talking points resonating with policy.

Please read, if you get the chance, Moral Politics by George Lakoff. It's long, but it provides a pretty good rundown of where we are and why. And it makes you remember that there was a time when people got excited about democrats. When people got fired up about their government doing good things. When we didn't just talk about fear and hate. And that was acing a much larger existential threat than terrorism and facing problems at home that basically dwarf what we face now from a public policy standpoint.

Obama '08

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526412)

Actually, we do agree on nearly everything - certainly practically everything you just said.

Except "why do Republicans win elections". The reason is not their political actions, but their ads. Or rather, their PR strategy to mask their political actions that directly conflict with both their image and what their voters expect from them.

People vote for Republicans because they think Republicans are "fiscal conservatives" and "moral people". "Limited government" and "fair interpersonal dealings". They're "good Christians" who "trust the people and private business", not "government welfare". They "put American first" and "the rest of the world can go to hell". They "lower taxes" and the "cut pork and waste".

Every single one of those statements is a lie. A Big Lie. Republicans have multiplied the debt every chance they've gotten, even ruinously, creating dependencies on foreign enemies. They've multiplied the government size while reducing its effectiveness for most Americans, at the expense of giveaways for corporations and favorite states (which vote Republican - but only to the rich/corporate Republicans there). Their "supply side / trickle down" economics subsidizes private business, largely with war profiteering (even in times of relative peace), centrally planning industry with handouts and tax cuts for selected businesses. All of which has to be paid back in taxes later, or the country defaults. They leave America rotting, sick without insurance, its infrastructures left tied up by parasitic monopolies, while shipping $trillions to foreigners as pretext for even more corporate giveaways and government power plays. They're liars, cheats, thieves on the grandest scales: S&L heist; Iran/Contra Operation (smuggling guns and drugs, resupplying Iran and positioning Sauds); Iraq. And on the personal scales they routinely molest children, cheat on their wives, embezzle and take bribes, in every combination, while covering it all up. They're evil, even if mere greed for power and money and lust for killing, rape and lies are the corruption we'd call "evil".

And everyone knows it. How do they get elected on exactly the opposite promises, for generations? Their PR. Which of course revolves around ads. It also rests on strategic token political actions, like antiabortion rules and homophobic legislation, even rising to promises of "amending" the Constitution to make blastocysts into "persons" and persons into "heterosexals only". For Republicans, political action is merely necessary for holding power, but totally insufficient without ads. Of course, the ads are coordinated with the actions for maximum effect, maximum cover beneath which they betray every promise and principle. But without the ads, good ones and just many of them, at the right time, they wouldn't succeed.

What's missing from that equation is the Americans who believe the ads, despite the mountain of contrary evidence. America is a big, complex place, with people quite complex ourselves, and a complex history (from genocide to civil rights, from liberty to the Terror War, and all points between). But America's tremendous success has come from its enthusiasm and organization of its people. Which has selected for a country that is easily led, can ignore contradictions, that lives in a mediasphere that can say anything at any time, directing vastly consistent popular behavior on a common ideal once it's established. Americans are at root immigrants, so we are enthusiastic about cutting with any past, including here at home, when there's even the possibility of getting some new dream come true, even if we've been promised it before, even if it's at odds with the rest of what we want. That's what the media and dreams are like: they don't have the constraints of reality, even when they create real actions that drive us further from the dreams.

Republicans know all of this. One reason is that their people come from the corporate tier, which is expert in creating fake realities for profit, while delivering enough reality to float on to keep the bottom of the boat clear of the bottom of the river. America's advertising and media industries are huge and successful, with just enough quality to justify the maximum quantity. Those people know how to lie while stealing. And the majority of Republican people are the Americans worst able to tell the difference. People left behind by every social change that could benefit them and their children. People not savvy enough to get an education or jump on a new industry. People more likely to have inherited their lot from killing Indians than from working an assembly line. Their two tiers have a perfect synergy of liars and believers, the top and the bottom, givers and takers, smart and stupid. They're stuck in the king/subject paradigm the rest of us left behind. But just like in ancient Europe (and everywhere else), they need to believe in an impossible life later, their dreams cherrypicked by their rulers and sent back in morality plays that keep them toiling in the fields and warring with their neighbors, for the sake of their soul and against the human interest in community common cause. Except this time a 50" TV and an SUV take the place of a grand cathedral and the duke's horses & plow.

Ronald Reagan is their saint. He quadrupled the debt, made deals with the Sauds, let Japan eat our lunch, created the Qaeda, funded Iran, stole Carter's briefing books, set up George Bush and his CIA as a covert government, invaded Grenada (and a dozen other countries), fled Lebanon under terrorist attack, destroyed labor unions for corporate profit at the expense of ending the postwar boom in real income growth... The list of his betrayal of everything Republicans voted for is nearly endless. But his reelection was a landslide that even drained Democrats, he got away with everything, his name now is moaned whenever Republicans are needed to roll over for the next con. Because Reagan was an actor. And not some good actor, but just the kind of actor who acts out some planned product written according to audience demographics for a planned profit (or some tax-dodge loss that won't be noticed). He was inserted by a team of Southern California PR firms who managed every ripoff in the media (not in the government), even to the point of inventing the term "spin doctor". And Americans went for it - still do.

The ads are what sells the product to Americans. You need an actual product, even if it's no good (but it's got to be shiny and new). And you need Americans to buy the ads, and not throw the defective product back hard at the peddler.

Now, a personal savings account would be a part of a Social Security retirement system. It would be a part of what you would have to retire when you reach retirement age. As you -- as I mentioned to you earlier, we're going to redesign the current system. If you've retired, you don't have anything to worry about -- third time I've said that. (Laughter.) I'll probably say it three more times. [whitehouse.gov] See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)


Of course, you also need an America that will swallow the ads, no matter how often the product fails and cuts them. We start out with an America like that, and the ads keep it that way. But Democrats too have that America to pitch to. The problems Republicans have created are all designed like one-way functions: they were easy and fun to get into, though extreme pain lies inevitably down their path, but to slow or reverse direction will require immediate pain. That will require both political actions that will cause some pain, and PR to get Americans to do it anyway because they think it's better.

Now, I'd love to see Democrats stop playing that fool's game that keeps America's political group mind so primitive and distractable. But they're not going to change America, certainly not so much so quickly, in the "believe the dream" department. They've got to use the tools of the old paradigm to create the new one, like any engineers in any discipline. I don't know if they'll do it, but if they don't, they won't get Americans to accept that their political changes are anything but sabotage, left holding the bag of the Republican destruction that's now so big that no one can ignore it (OK, some millions of Republicans are so pathologically in denial that they'll deny anything, but they're only maybe 10-15% of Americans). They must use PR to protect and promote their political actions, or it will fail with an America that depends on it, that cannot just "wake up" all at once, or it will wake up screaming and puking blood. The danger is that they can just as easily fall under sway of their own PR, as Republicans have, and sacrifice the necessary political action because the PR is cheaper, less risky, and leaves them with all the spoils Republicans have gotten (though the hoard is largely looted).

Now, that all goes further than what I originally said, "Ads are Better than Awards" [slashdot.org] . Not "ads are better than action". Awards are PR. They're promotion of whatever action the award celebrates. But as PR goes, awards in a ceremony ignored by everyone except a few hundred wonks and 15 minutes of fame on Slashdot doesn't compare to a 15 second ad on Fox News. That's why Republicans are running a demented ad [salon.com] terrorizing Americans into amnesty for FISA-violating telcos. They're terrorists: a little political action is leveraged into world domination with media campaigns broadcasting fear. Enemies of these terrorists, like EFF (and most Democrats) can do it, too. Hell, how many Hollywood pros are reaching into their own pockets this year to stop these Republican terrorists, who'd jump to make ad that they get paid to make? Americans are reaching into our own pockets [mydd.com] right now to pay for political campaigns against these terrorists. If some of that money went for ads to actually communicate with the rest of us, we could shut down the terrorists' hold on government and the attention of our people. Awards aren't going to do that.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

eyendall (953949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513492)

In the presidential candidate debates to date, have you heard anyone ask Hillary or Barack what they will do to roll back the Bush assault on the constitution with regard to Executive Power, civil liberties and privacy rights? Are these concepts too difficult for the media hosts to grasp? Does no-care how the current mess will be fixed? Is everyone seduced by the bullshit "national security" mantra? Is the status quo OK if it is a Democrat in power? Have you heard anyone ask John McCain to justify what Bush has done? What is it with this country?

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22523372)

No. This is why [wikipedia.org] .

My money is on the incoming democratic president quietly NOT roll back the signing statements.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510826)

The debate will not get the facts, americans are not fired up for change. That is the same hippie bs that was going on right before Vietnam when JFK gave his "New Frontier" speech. And guess what, Barack will get a bullet in his brain or something similar just like JFK somewhere right before he does anything meaningful, of course it will be blamed on a single lunatic gunman (maybe we can blame some terrorists that live in a shady, oil-rich country).

The working class of Americans HOPE for a change, they won't GET it. There is too much in the works, too many people in power that benefit from these types of schemes. Americans will just like now, get fed what they want through the television, they will see some changes coming and then it will be shot right back to the year 2001 with a Democratic-Republican government hungry for more power.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511284)

The people who assassinate presidents are not the Americans who are fired up for change.

You can believe whatever you want about America. Are you even an American? But the objective reality is that Democrats are turning out twice as much as are Republicans, in record amounts. And they're not voting for another Clinton, they're voting for a new guy. A new Black guy. After getting rid of the other white guys, and now the old woman in favor of the young guy. If that's not change, then nothing is.

Hope doesn't guarantee change, nor does energy. But what guarantees nothing will change is that people have no hope. Like you. So your advice on how America can change isn't coming from anyplace convincing.

Re:Ads are Better than Awards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22514954)

"....they're voting for a new guy. A new Black guy."

As Honorary Chairman of the Welcoming Committee, it is my privilege to extend a laurel and hardy handshake to our new...... nigger.

Here's the Better Ad (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526616)

Now there's an ad that shoves telco Republicans' nose [crooksandliars.com] in the crap they laid with their ad. An even more powerful remix of their terrorist's dream ad.

WHO? (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509090)

And Alfred E. Newman isn't a pioneer?

Seriously, tho, congrats to the winners.

2 out of 3 (0)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509232)

Mark Klein is not a hero and does not deserve an award.

He did not uncover any wrongdoing, but assumed the worst based on a very limited set of information.

He also did not divulge his knowledge of "secret rooms" at AT&T until after his retirement. Real brave!

And reading his statements on the matter reveal someone whose been grinding the Bush ax for a long time.

Re:2 out of 3 (4, Insightful)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22509402)

What does the retirement or previous political affiliation have to do with anything?

In case you didn't notice, what the government and AT&T are doing together is plain wrong. This should be obvious to any Democrat, Republican or NeoCon. Democrats seem to care, but only if they think their constituents do. Republicans are too busy being in denial about a significant chunk of their party becoming completely backwards to actually notice what is happening. The NeoCons actively ignore constitutional protections in the name of "security".

One guy has the balls to stand up and say "what I've seen is wrong". Maybe he came to the conclusion a bit late. Maybe he was CYA'ing. Any way you look at it, the public has a right to know this information and make informed decisions on whether it is right. He is a good man for bringing us this information.

Re:2 out of 3 (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512352)

Not only do I agree 100%, but I'd like to add that so-called "whistle-blower" legislation has proved to be fairly useless in protecting the employee from the wrath of the corporation or government they blow the whistle on. And some of those organizations have long memories and ethics that would make a vulture puke.

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and make black-and-white moral judgments about this kind of situation. It's not so simple if you're in the middle of one, and wondering what good a big damages pay-out will do 10 years after your kids lost the college fund and your wife left because she got sick of the on-going legal battle.

2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22510044)

Seems like a lot...

Shortcut: The winners (1)

Whom99 (673995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22510532)

1. Mitchell Baker, the Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation

2. Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. Last year, he led the public protest to proposed Canadian copyright law changes that would have devastated consumers' technology rights.

3. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician who blew the whistle on the government's warrantless surveillance program

Re:Shortcut: The winners (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511142)

Hey, how about Ray Beckerman? He's at the forefront of the whole RIAA mess, and that's a subject near and dear to the technic crowd.

US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511144)

I think that US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul should be recognized as someone who votes against government intrusion into our lives.

Re:US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22511190)

Give it up! RP is sooooo 2007. Obama is the big thing now, didn't you get the memo!?

Actually I think graveyhead's post up there was missing a 4th political party: totally apeshit crazy... Ron Paul (TX, TAC).

Re:US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511216)

We need a 2nd party before we can have a 3rd of 4th party. Right now the Democrats and the Republicans are one in the same.

Re:US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22514816)

Yeah... like Obama isn't going to fuck everyone over. Nigga puhleeze.

Privacy inspiration (2, Informative)

Benjamin_Wright (1168679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22511566)

Michael Geist's excellent newsletter on Internet law inspired ideas for using contract law to protect privacy [blogspot.com] on social networking sites.
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