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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Instapundit:
GRANDMA, PUT A LID ON IT: "President Obama is NOT a Muslim, whatever else he may be. But he needs this kind of story like a hole in the head." Of course he’s not a Muslim. If he were a Muslim, he’d have to believe in something greater than Barack Obama.
Obama's granny wants him to return to his Muslim roots.  Some would argue that he never relinquished them.

It Begins

Let me ask you, ever heard of the federal government's ICE Homeland Security Investigations directorate? No? It's part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  No?  It's part of the Department of Homeland Security.

No?  Maybe you (we) should have.  It's mission?  Read this and be very afraid:
The ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate is a critical asset in the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States.

HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.

In addition to ICE criminal investigations, HSI oversees the agency’s international affairs operations and intelligence functions. HSI consists of more than 10,000 employees, consisting of 6,700 special agents, who are assigned to more than 200 cities throughout the U.S. and 46 countries around the world.
Again: It's "responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States."

So how does this ICE Homeland Security Investigations manifest itself? By investigating international activities arising from the illegal movement of Mexicans into the United States?  Well, perhaps.  But only by showing how piss-poor a job it does of it.

No, it's heavy hand can be found in places where most people didn't even know there were places.  Places that are directly linked to the free flow of information into and within the United States of America.

Coming to a website near you:


Click on the image to enlarge it.

And cower in fear.

If I were running Google (or Bing or Dogpile or Ask or AltaVista or Yahoo or any of a hundred other search engines), or Blogger, I'd be looking over my shoulder right now.

Why?

Read this (it's language is somewhat arcane but you should get the gist of it) and absorb the implications:
U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More

Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.

While complex, it’s still possible for U.S. authorities and copyright groups to point at a fully-fledged BitTorrent site with a tracker and say “that’s an infringing site.” When one looks at a site which hosts torrents but operates no tracker, the finger pointing becomes quite a bit more difficult.

When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield – unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is.

This morning, visitors to the Torrent-Finder.com site are greeted with an ominous graphic which indicates that ICE have seized the site’s domain.  [link]
That's the graphic you see above.

Put simply (well, maybe not so simply), the domains that were seized by the United States government could be used by those accessing the site to seek out and find other domains that could lead those persons to seek out copyrighted material that could be found at still other websites.

A question: Can they even do that?

I, for a time, had a search engine function built into this weblog.  I guess I should thank God that ICE didn't come knocking on my door.

The government will argue that these domains were set up and used for the purpose of file sharing.  And that that purpose included the sharing of files that were not to be freely shared.

But good luck with proving that.

The best the government can do is prove that copyrighted files were discovered and secured by the users who accessed the implicated domains.  An allegation - a crime? - that will open up the entire internet world to potential search and seizure.

Far be it from me to tell ICE that its primary job - if the will of the people is of any importance - is to stop the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are entering our country from entering our country.  A mission it is doing a terrible job of achieving.

ICE chooses, for its own reasons, to go after easier pickin's.  The internet.

Today it's Torrent-Finder.com.  Tomorrow it's me.

- - -

* That's right.  I offer up copyrighted material every day.  And I do it with the understanding that my actions satisfy any and all obligations and restrictions set forth by the Constitution of the United States of America, as recognized and interpreted over the years by the Courts.  That interpretation evolving into the Fair Use Doctrine as I understand it


That's how it stands today anyway ...

Maybe Politico Really Is Radically Liberal

Read these sentences in a Politico "news" item and tell me if the "reporter" isn't projecting his own anti-conservative bias onto us:
FBI agent who alleged Bill Clinton sexual escapades reemerges in tea party
By Kenneth P. Vogel

Gary Aldrich, a former FBI agent whose widely discredited exposé of the Clinton White House launched him into a second career on the margins of the conservative movement, is reinventing himself again — this time as a player in the grass-roots tea party movement.

In recent months, Aldrich has aggressively worked the tea party circuit, advising activists how to avoid liberal media attacks, seeking support from some of the movement’s most prominent leaders, throwing himself into inter-movement skirmishes — and even boasting of using his FBI-honed skills to investigate rivals of a group he endorsed.

But when it was revealed last week that Aldrich’s Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty was in talks about potentially taking over a more prominent tea party group started by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, it raised eyebrows among tea party leaders — and gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme.

Some people, like Red State’s Erick Erickson, had barely heard of Aldrich. [link]
I'm no expert when it comes to the rules of journalism, but I would think if a charge is thrown out for the reader ("Aldrich "gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme"), there'd be something in the piece about his alleged "extremism" and about his "opponents" - present, not past.

But look at the next sentence.  It's indicative of how the author quickly moved away from the allegation after having leveled it.  To combine the sentences, they read: He "gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme," and "some people, like Red State’s Erick Erickson, had barely heard of Aldrich."

If there was a case to be made, wouldn't the next sentence have had to do either with extremism or opponents?

But no.

It's about the fact that few people know or remember the guy.

Weak, dude.  Real weak.

Why don't you go into the editorial business where you belong and let your biases run wild.