September 30, 2013

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

NOTE: I was asked to look into issues taking place in other countries like Britain and Canada.  While I do often touch on the Eurozone, this is my first effort to hone in on Britain.  This isn’t void of American perspective, but this does touch on some items that we rarely hear about here in the U.S.  Next week’s contribution will be my Canadian article.  Thank you for the feedback!

Governments in general want us to be nationalistic, so when asked, “Who are the good guys?” naturally, the resounding response is in favor of their respective countries.  

In the old movies, our sympathies were meant to go to the police or the military.  They were indubitably the good guys, and no one questioned it for a second.

Who Exactly Are the Good Guys?I recently watched a movie called “Welcome to the Punch”.  Not to give it more intellectual credit than it deserves, mind you, but I found it hard to cheer for the police… given the criminal shenanigans they were a party to.  I found myself cheering for the crook, in fact!  He had more scruples!  I couldn’t even bring myself to sympathize with the protagonist (marginalized “honest” cop caught in the political crosshairs while being over-obsessed with catching a particular fugitive).  His obsession with catching that fugitive made him into a monster who went about assaulting innocent people because they bared a similar resemblance to the criminal.

The bigger picture being that it’s difficult (if not damn near impossible) to endorse the government when they are just as much a criminal syndicate as those who are self-proclaimed crooks!  The former get their jollies from the power trip while the latter probably get their rocks off from the thrill of getting away with something.

That all having been said, it would seem that the UK is in a desperate rush to match the US in its surveillance and liberty obstruction efforts!  (Isn’t it endearing how they are so competitive with their respective tyrannies? *tongue deeply in cheek*)

First, we have the UK and its “War on Torrent Sites” underway.  The High Court ordered six (6) ISPs to block torrent sites in an effort to stop or slow piracy of copyrighted material like music and movies.  Interesting to note though, “The High Court orders give music industry group BPI the authority to add sites to the blocklist without oversight.”  Not only do they not have oversight, but they are not required (nor have they offered) to release the list of sites on their blocklist.

The order to have the torrent sites blocked is one thing.  Blocking their proxies is another, although to be expected and a natural extension of such an order.  But why all the secrecy?  Why so much power to a corporate entity like BPI with NO transparency or accountability?

“The problem lies with the fact that these changes are being made in secret without any form of oversight. There appears to be no valid reason to keep the list of prohibited sites away from the public eye, but yet the ISPs nor the BPI are prepared to be open about it.”

Next we have the UK and its own “War on Whistleblowers”.  While Americans pay lip service to search warrants, at the end of the day, the press (or at least what is left of the press) is under siege… and the same seems to be true in England.  America was more subtle in its approach.  It just tapped the Associated Press’ lines to find out their sources.  But England!

Evidently they can treat their news outlets like suspects of drug possession in the U.S.!  Raid their establishments, destroy their property, and accomplish absolutely nothing all while issuing various threats of legal action and sanctions.  We have that every day here in the states: cops get the wrong house on a drug raid because you MAY have a plant!  Shooting dogs, gassing homes with children in them, breaking private property… But in England, all you need is possession of INFORMATION to warrant such an intrusion.  Bra-VOH!

And they are equally effective aren’t they?  Breaking into the wrong house certainly does nothing to curb drug use, possession or dealing.  And breaking a bunch of reporters’ hardware doesn’t do a damn thing to prevent the spread of their information considering it’s more than likely saved in a million different places, and the stories are written out of New York!

These “wars” are being waged on the British public by an entity that hardly has clean hands: “…the daily reporting of major newspapers getting involved in phone taping and pay offs to police officers, the seemingly endless examples of the falsification of police statements in some of our highest profile cases such as Stephen Lawrence and Hillsborough, LIBOR rate-fixing, personal protection insurance mis-selling, horsemeat in our burgers, arms companies bribing foreign governments, drug companies illegally paying other drug companies to keep accessible medicines off the market, politicians being paid to ask questions and fixing expenses claims and so on and on and on”.

I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the scandals in British government, but I will say that I would have a hard time discerning whether the above list of ethical breaches were perpetrated by my government or another’s.  They have as much of a revolving door with their regulatory agencies as we do even!

There are British politicians who lament the fact that much of their young talent is leaving to other countries to find work and experience rather than keeping their potential in their homeland.  Unlike the US, England does not tax its citizens, it taxes its residents, so they are losing a considerable tax base of productive individuals.  The focus of course is on the loss of tax revenues, condemning these younger generations as being ungrateful and selfish for pursuing their own happiness rather than sticking around to foot the bill for the British Greater Good. 

But here’s the thing: Such condemnation again is stemming from an entity that can hardly talk about fiscal matters when it leads in being one of the most pathetic and poorly managed central banks in Europe with Hungary being a close second.  I’m not knocking Britain as if the US were any better.  I mean, I live in a country that admittedly hires people for “nonessential” jobs.  (You can’t get more laughable than that!)  In fact, such hypocrisy isn’t endemic to the UK or the US, but rather to government itself and central powers.  It’s a breeding ground for such malfeasance.

And finally, you have THIS ridiculous nonsense!  Banning a song from campuses to help end “rape culture and lad banter”.   Student governments are instituting this ban.  (Funny, I’d never heard the term “lad banter” because here we call it “shop” or “locker room” talk.)  But how the hell do you begin to mitigate something like that in the first place short of just declaring “all sex and by proxy, double entendre and innuendos, are hereby banned”?    

Censorship of Sex TalkI remember when college campuses were a petri dish of activism, liberation movements, rebellion, and counterculture.  While some might’ve been misguided, I respect the fact that people were speaking out rather than censoring what could be spoken, sung, or recited.  But here we have what the author calls “the grisly end product of the self-esteem culture: having educated young people to believe that their self-esteem is sacrosanct, and that anything which dents it is evil, we cannot now be surprised that they believe they have the right to erect a moral, censorship-powered forcefield around themselves and their peers in order to ward off any idea or image or song that makes them feel bad”. 

The irony is in women’s rights groups supporting such a ban considering the paternalistic nature of instituting a ban in the first place.  Irony?  A little, right?  For as intellectual as universities SHOULD be, they are woefully ignorant when it comes to the history of prohibition and bans.

As you watch the events of their societies unfold, and the tactics of their respective governments plays out, I would ask you to perform this one exercise: If you were just watching this as a movie, who would you be rooting for?  My support goes to the torrent sites, the whistleblowers, the expatriates, and just the private individuals trying to make a way for themselves pursuing their own happiness as they see fit.