[nycbug-talk] Verizon Woes got you down?

Marc Spitzer mspitzer
Tue Dec 20 15:44:08 EST 2005

On 12/20/05, Isaac Levy <ike at lesmuug.org> wrote:
> On Dec 20, 2005, at 2:13 PM, George R. wrote:
> >> Yep- but the Europeans actually have laws that protect and cover
> >> more abstract personal civil liberties, (things that reduce the
> >> meme-attacks of advertising, for example... in America we don't
> >> even begin to deal with such things [perhaps based on our
> >> religious, absolutist hanging-on to 19th century scientific
> >> idealism])...
> >
> > speaking of abstract!  Laws don't drop out of the sky, and the
> > intense deregulation of the late 70's and early 80's in the US
> > (airlines, trucking, telecom) concretely killed the innovation of
> > Bell Labs.  Nothing about abstract laws.  I mean, most people in
> > the US make the converse case by pointing to the Bill of Rights in
> > the US. . . how funny, but equally nonsensical.
> Well, the Bill of Rights, as defined by the fella's who wrote it, is
> designed to serve our interpertations;
> Read:
> - Bill of Rights could be applied to let advertisers post mind-
> numbing chatter on the subways
> - Bill of Rights could be applied to protect me from dealing with
> mind-numbing chatter of advertisement on the subway
> (it's all moot since the subway is offline today)
> Another (more relevant?) Read:
> - Bill of Rights could be used to protect private or regulated telco
> industries, to let them provide service as they see fit- (it's their
> business, they can provide what they wish)
> - Bill of Rights could be used to protect consumers/citizens from
> private or regulated companies manipulating, influencing, or
> otherwise being the gatekeepers for common infrastructure which
> society has come to rely on

umm what are you talking about?  I do not see how the constitution
applies in either case.  In the first example you would have to really
bend out of shape the constitution to apply it in either case.  There
is no law against you being bothered in public.  There are laws
against you being assaulted though, and brain washing via advertising
would count as assault

Now to the best of my knowledge the only monopoly power granted in the
constitution is for patents and copy rights.  Now with that said it is
perfectly ok to go to a government agency and say that in exchange for
exclusive rights for a period of time I will spend lots of money to 
provision a service that people want, phone or cable come to mind. 
The government does not have to approve and if the citizens are really
pissed over the decision off they can vote them out of office.

> That's what I meant by abstract stuff.

There is a thing called context.  If you remove all context from an
argument it means nothing.  The US constitution has context, which is
why speech is protected but yelling fire in a crowded theater is not,
if there is no fire.  It is also why specific forms of lieing are
protected, satire comes to mind.  Even though they are provably false
and potentially damaging, personally and/or professionally.


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