After various impediments in trying to quell the Epstein/Maxwell files, a huge number of pdfs were released by the court to the public yesterday. While disturbing, the content isn’t exactly surprising and names a lot of key people involved.
Apparently, kids around the country are staging a 17 minute or so collective protest around 10am against allowing teachers to arm themselves in response to recent shootings. It’s a pretty crazy thought that the best solution from the government to deter shootings is by arming teachers, which is the essence of this walkout. But the fact that students are doing this on their own with mixed reactions made me want to write this post.
Quite often, I’ll rip into Los Angeles in terms of its lack of planning or poor management as a city. But the thing that should be obvious by everyone who isn’t a selfish beach house living asshole is that Los Angeles is in dire need of a Metro line that runs along the coast. Perhaps, it should run parallel to PCH (the 1) or the 405. But no matter what, Los Angeles really needs this line more than ever.
Anyone who really knows and understands me realizes that I don’t talk about politics that much. The biggest reason is that I simply don’t care. American politics have been in shambles for a while now mostly because of the way it’s become a theater of spectacle rather than something that has changed lives for the better. The convoluted rhetoric and levels of machinations are so deep that you eventually grow weary of all the lies within lies. It beats you down to the point where you feel like a dust particle just floating around while these powerful winds blow you in conflicting directions.
While Democrats celebrate their victory for avoiding the government shutdown, what was highlighted in all of this turmoil was the weakness in the way the government is run at the moment. Politics, like many aspects growing in Americans’ lives, are nothing more than a large spectator sport at this point, where nothing truly beneficial is being done directly for people, but only for the people in charge running the show. And those people running the show are the lawmakers/lawyers primarily.
I read an article earlier which talked about how many key executives are departing. The article goes on to discuss how Facebook has been slowly losing its luster following the decline after its IPO. With the reports of the NSA spying on Americans as well as how teenagers have slowly been moving away from Facebook to avoid their parents, you have to believe that the long term prospects for Facebook, as it stands, does not look positive.
There’s been some controversy over a 19 year old kid, Justin Carter, who made some exceptionally threatening remarks while playing League of Legends. League of Legends is known to have a rather rowdy and toxic community. It seems that Justin Carter was one of these people who contribute to this typecast, but unlike other players, this guy ended up being thrown in jail for his comments.
The $500,000 bond and harsh inmate life for Justin may seem quite harsh for people who are used to internet culture, trolls and the verbal obnoxious behavior. Currently, Justin is on suicide watch as well after receiving a great deal of bullying inside the jail. On some of the League of Legends forums, some users are even coming to his defense, feeling that while he did overstep his boundaries on what’s acceptable conduct, the punishment probably goes beyond what he deserves.
When people examine it through their own eyes, I believe that many sympathize because they potentially see themselves in his shoes. With July 4th passing, the PRISM/NSA scandal, the increasing dissatisfaction of the government and overall system and the anti-patriotic “Murica” idealism spreading, we can look at Justin’s imprisonment and bond as just another notch in America’s overzealous behavior in punishing people online.
However, let me switch things around a bit as every story deserves an equally balanced viewpoint and let me start off by introducing an anecdotal, which inspired me to write this article in the first place. A friend and I were in LFR today doing Throne of Thunder part 3. The queue took around 30+ minutes before we were able to get in and both of us were mentally exhausted, having waited these past two days just trying to get things done in World of Warcraft. Upon entering, I decided to check both tanks out by inspecting them. I noticed that one of the “tanks” was actually a Retribution Paladin wearing all DPS gear.
So I informed my friend that this paladin (Amyolo) that she was wearing DPS gear. My friend publicly and politely asked the paladin whether or not she was in the correct spec and gear. In response, this paladin responded by saying a great deal of condescending remarks. I noticed that the paladin did have a tanking spec after checking out her armory page. So I honestly don’t know why this person decided to flame my friend. It was completely unnecessary but demonstrates the lack of control that anonymous behavior allows online.
I don’t want to repeat the offensive remarks but essentially I decided to report the player on two accounts mostly because the online player base already suffers from a great number of these toxic players. But let me go back to Justin Carter and how all this ties in. While Amyolo wasn’t nearly as in poor taste as in the case of Justin, there’s a large part of me that sees Justin as someone the government decided to make an example out of to prevent the Amyolo’s, etc. from getting out of control. In other words, if the person playing Amyolo was thrown in jail, butt raped, beat up and had a $500k bond too, I wouldn’t give two shits. In fact, I’d applaud the government of getting rid of another little snot nosed brat from the streets and making sure that these people understand that they have limits in society.
Do I believe in free speech? Absolutely. Do I think that there should be limits on the punishments the government can impose for things? Of course. But do I also value common sense in the way people should behave? Bingo.
Here’s the big lesson in all of this. We may think we live in a “free” society but we’re also bound by common sense and require rules to operate for this society to continue to function without everyone trying to beat their heads in. That means people need to treat each other with a certain level of respect and it shouldn’t be one sided. The government and individuals simply have to figure out certain reasonable behavior for each other. That’s the long and short of it. In the case of Justin Carter, he needed to be put in jail because he probably has a dysfunctional personality that allows himself to shoot from the hip so freely. But at the same time, the government shouldn’t be tyrannical in their decrees of punishment. Whoever submitted Justin Carter’s “threat” should have simply made Riot Games (the maker of League of Legends) to review his comments and ban him from the game. Certainly, that ought to be their action in the future. Riot Games too has a responsibility to prevent people from becoming into these toxic people. Same with Blizzard and any company where people have these opportunities to act in the worst behavior possible.
Something I wanted to talk about that has garnered quite a bit of attention lately is the whole NSA “spying” issue. A lot of people are offended and perhaps even shocked. That said, all things considered, I really have to wonder why people should be surprised and even offended. People talk about their privacy being violated from a national security point of view as if they really had any sense of privacy. I value my own privacy but I can’t get overly mad at the government for doing this. Not in the way people are.
The whole thing to me is that pretty much unless you’re planning to do something against the government or some other illegal activity, the average person shouldn’t really care. Yes, there is the 1984 Orwellian aspect but I think that dystopian vision is only worrisome if the country becomes overly oppressive in handling its citizens for banal cases. There are distinct differences between a plot to slay a key political figure vs shooting from the hip and saying that you want to kill someone for pissing you off while you were driving.
Now, again I’m not a complete proponent for any form of spying but I think people are being somewhat impractical, looking at themselves as if they were criminals. The only thing I can think of where most people probably feel insecure about their own government (at least in the US’ case) of spying on them is the whole RIAA/MPAA downloading thing. In this situation, I really feel that if the corporate lobbyists from these scumbag industries are bribing the government to spy on citizens just for a few measly downloads, then the government should go fuck themselves for wasting taxpayers’ dollars on such a frivolous activity that only favors a few elite while true criminals that pose a real threat are on the loose.
The other case I can think of are private sex phone calls and related activities. Besides pedophilia and some cases of prostitution, I seriously doubt that the government cares how you fuck at your home or what kind of dog shit eating porn you enjoy. Again, most of these activities really are to look for people creating plots against the government or its citizens. I mean, you can look to Minority Report as an exaggerated version of how this can all be used, but that’s the case of where the government is abusing this power. At any rate, you have to look at the overall picture to correctly criticize how this works out.
Quite honestly though, I don’t get how people can be surprised by this at all. In fact, I pretty much expected this from the government. Now, whether or not companies like Google or Facebook are White Knights in all of this is the real question.
Not quite as dramatic as 9-11, today’s attack during the Boston Marathon still was quite unexpected. The only thing significant about 4/15/2013 was that it was tax day. So it’s pretty odd that in light of this, the attack wasn’t done against something like the IRS. Also, unlike 9-11, no one has claimed anything for the attacks thus far.
Some people said that the world nature of the Boston Marathon made it a significant event to incur the bombing. Call me ignorant in this but I never heard of the event up until this point. That said, they did position the bomb in the JFK library. But I can’t tell if that was symbolic or coincidental since the finish line was close to that point.
With most of the world recently far more focused on North Korea, this event does not really seem connected to them. Strangely, North Korea has been pretty forthcoming about their intentions whereas this act was dishonorable. So I doubt this has anything to do with them.
Hard to say whom or why this occurred at this point in time. The only other significant thing that occurred this day was the falling prices of gold. It seemed as though that situation was completely overlooked compared to what happened in Boston. Not sure if there’s a connection, but it’s hard to discard major events like these when seeing something like this.
My main fear is that the government will eventually use this as an excuse to push an increasing military state agenda. Now, what would be scary (and possibly not surprising if you’re into conspiracy theories) is if this was an internal job to create the justification for revoking more freedoms in the name of terrorism. Let’s hope that it’s just some frustrated insane guy who failed to pay his taxes as opposed to something far more serious.
I was reading about the new so-called “plan” Obama just sent in for spending. It includes taxing the rich and cutting social security. Obama desperately is trying to find ways to deal with the deficit the country has been under. Well, if you examine the track record for some of the worst offenders, look no further than the TSA and Homeland Security.
Some people might wonder, “Well, isn’t the TSA supposed to protect us at the airports?” You would think that would be the case. Instead, it’s just a massive bureaucratic, inflated program that does little good except punish the innocent and allow terrorists to terrorize us from the inside. Instead of having such a useless government, tax funded organization, why not just have that agency become privatized? That way consumer groups can fight back and businesses can be formed and have competition to provide a better service with good “outside-of-the-box” thinking to ensure safety at the airports?
Similarly, why have yet another bureaucratic government, tax-funded organization for handling security in this country? Don’t we have enough organizations like I don’t know the police, military, NSA, CIA and FBI? Is it too much to ask to either consolidate these organizations and make all the spending more transparent and meaningful rather than have separate branches to perform various nefarious tasks?
Either way, on behalf of intelligent people who for some reason feel that voting is a great thing in this country, I apologize to the aliens in this universe who won’t allow us to become part of their system because we absolutely refuse to do anything that makes sense. Sincerely, a pissed off coincidental entity that happens to be on the wrong planet.