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A couple of degenerates headed over to the Knights of Columbus (who keep the metric system down when they're not doing the Cajun two step) for Fat Tuesday, as we heathens call it, for the big Mardis Gras party with the tre bon sounds of Atlanta Swamp Opera, "the other ASO." We arrived with just enough time to stuff down a crawfish etoufette, red beans and rice and a bite of rice pudding when the dance lessons began. A gray bearded little guy taught us the Cajun waltz and Cajun two step. Your editor is not much for formal dancing and but he gave it his best shot. Soon the band, a whole bunch of folks in cool costumes, got up on stage and started cranking out the Cajun tunes and things got hopping. A big mass of dancers swirled around the room counter clockwise and didn't stop until the band took a break an hour later. We were headed for the door when someone in the band told us to stick around for a few minutes. A parade of costumed people came in and ran amok throwing beads and whooping. They followed a person in a chicken suit around and around, finally coming to the center of the room around a pot, into which they read some kind of chant. Their conical hats all pointed together as they bent over, then parted to show a rubber chicken in the pot and the band started up again. The costumed gang grabbed partners and the swirling dance began anew. Excellent fun.
Henny Youngman, King of the One Liners, "Take my wife... please." died yesterday. I can't even remember 250 jokes, much less deliver them in a 40 minute routine. If they'd had a comedic olympics Henny would've won any speed competition hands down for the 50 years he performed.
BLASPHEMY does it's best Energizer Bunny impersonation, with the added treat of your editor's rant this week. Scroll away.

BLASPHEMY, continued:
okay, you get points for the graffit analogy; you lose them for your
analysis of the Supreme courts view on First Amendment. And the stuff
about the Constitution not applying to Corporations is downright silly; I
refer you to the Civil Rights movement if you are in doubt about the
extents courts will go to make private individuals respect the rights of
others. Not to mention, I believe the thrust of RVI's argument is that
this Web Site may have become a public place, something the court has been
quick to recognize in applying the ADA. Not that I'm keeping score but
RVI is winning at least 5 to 1 by my count.
degenerate DAC
Meanwhile, here's RVI's response:
[SOS] "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Internet access is =NOT= a basic human right. You have
the right to self-expression, but the -means- of self-expression are not
automatically yours by right. You usually have to pay for whatever means you
choose to express yourself."
[RVI] Within limits, that indeed is how it presently works in a capitalist regime; my
question, from the begining, however, has been whether or not this sort of thing is
JUST? If you have a right but no means to pursue or actualise it, I daresay what you
have is not a right at all, but a privilege enforced by those who are control in any
manner they see fit.
A right for material goods without a right to the means to pursue it is nothing but
carte blanche for the owners of capital.
[RVI] ">>But more basically, for our purposes, after access has been established, by
what authority is one deprived of use of the technology in question? BY
government, only after it is shown one has broken law -- OR by a private
interest who has been allowed to control the medium for profit and whose rules
are arbitrary and bear no resemblence to law?<<"
[SOS] "Answer-- whoever -owns- the technology in question. In this case, the big,
bad, arbitary, private interest. Sorry, but that's the way it works. Would
you want somebody telling you what you could or couldn't do with your computer?
Then why are you insisting that Time Warner be forced to keep racist crap on
their computer?"
[RVI] "Sorry, but that's the way it works?" Have some imagination -- I'm
interested in how it ought to work. TIME-WARNER isn't a person; since it isn't and
since it provides a public service, we, as a people can and ought to tell it what to do
with 'its' computer; and when we do, as I established some weeks ago, it would be
nothing like censoring or forcing a private individual to use his machine in a
particular way.
[SOS] "Wrong again. If Pathfinder was the -only- place you could -possibly- visit
when you got on the web, then you'd have a monopoly. But there are a million
other places to go."
[RVI] If Pathfinder is the -only- successful company of its sort, then you'd also have a
monopoly - as I said - because one cannot reach that range of people by any other means;
for all intents and purposes, Pathfinder's competition is competition in name only.

[SOS] "How do you know their site is 'most visited', anyway?"
[RVI] THEY said so.
[SOS]"And if they have the largest audience share, why does that suddenly burden them
with the requirement
to allow every single point of view, no matter how obnoxious? My feeling is,
if they did, their site would suddenly become a lot -less- visited, so what
precisely would they gain by this?"
[RVI] My argument doesn't hinge on the size of the audience, at base - It's the fact
that Pathfinder offers fora for discussions which are open to the public and can be
viewed by anyone - and which, thus, places the burden on them to respect the rights of
those who frequent their sites and use them.
[RVI] And I would politely like to respond "BULLSHIT." The 1St Amendment applies to
anyone or organisation which occupies a position of power. The Amendment =started out=
as a curb to elected government, but time and changes in circumstances call for a
broader interpretation.
[SOS] "Sorry to yell that, but you keep seeming to miss that point. Otherwise, you
wind up with corporations being -forced- to express points of view that it
doesn't agree with--and taking all the flak for said points of view."
[RVI] Then 'said corporations' don't need to be in the business of managing public
fora, perhaps? As for their being 'forced' to do anything - who told 'em to go into
this line of work?

[SOS] "Besides,
inflammatory speech isn't even necessarily protected by the 1st Amendment-- the
Supreme Court ruled -ages- ago that speech or expression that does damage to
someone else (clear and present danger doctrine) is =not= protected by the 1st
Amendment. And clogging up a message board with a big, useless flame war is
probably damage enough."
[RVI] I think if you re-check the literature, it's more difficult to actually engage in
damaging speech than you imply here. In any case, I'm not defending it.
[SOS] "As far as I can tell, all those publicly expressed opinions were expressed
-voluntarily-. You were invited to post your opinion, but you were neither
required nor forced to. Hell, you weren't even -paid- to. When you -gave-
these people your words to put on -their- system, they were willing to put them
up, but they were never -required- to. For the umpity-umth time--it's their
computer, it's their show, if you don't like what is being done with your
words, =don't give your words to them=. Just because Pathfinder has the
=appearance= of a public forum, that does not automatically =make= it one."
[RVI] What in the world, then, does make a public forum, SOS? One can have a public
space wherein private conversations occour which is managed by a corporation (e.g. an
airport). The space Pathfinder manages seems to be of just such a sort. But in fact,
the Hare Krishna won a suit a few years back which established that religious speeech,
in particular, cannot be monitored or censored on public areas managed by private
interests (i.e. yes, at airports). There seems to me a parallel here, except that there
is no need to limit 'speech' to 'religious speech.'

[RVI] >>There is no root for the belief that one can or should profit from speech
while silencing the speech of those whom one does not agree with<<
[SOS] "Ever see a letters column in a magazine? People send in letters. Some get
printed. Some don't. The magazine sells them as part and parcel of the whole
package and therefore makes money off of free expression."
[RVI] Ever see a poor argument? First, the analogy is weak to non-existent: Magazine
collums choose what will be printed through the use of an editorial staff; a magazine
is not a conversation, it has a definite direction in terms of content, and so on. A
bulletin board, on the other hand, has no defined topics, no editors, and its content is
generated by the conversation of its participants -- there are nor can there be any real
editorial guidelines to meet in order to be "published" because no one is being
published, in a strict sense. A magazine and its contents are not like the free flow of
speech, and the editorial exactitude appropriate in the one has no meaning or place in
the other.
[SOS] "If a letter isn't
printed, is the letter writer being silenced?"
[RVI] Yes, but not in quite the same way as if we are standing around talking in the
park and a corporate Urban Assault Vehicle comes around; suits exit and grab one of our
conversation partners and drive him away with the excuse that "Corporation X" owns or
manages the area and, thus, gets to set limits on what is acceptable or unacceptable
speech. Our little friend just said something unacceptable and now he's ejected from
the park.
Maybe no one has any right to be published in a private news organ, but BBS and such are
NOT Magazines, papers, or any other form of media where some level of expertise and
knowledge are required to be considered for publication, etc. A BBS is simply a means
to having a conversation and so on, nothing more specialised, and certainly not as
specialised as writing for a magazine. That's why your analogy breaks.
[SOS] "You haven't argued =me= to a standstill yet, have you?"
[RVI] Am I trying to? I am simply showing the weaknesses in your position, your
willingness to stand by a status quo which has greed, not human rights, as its driving

[SOS] "What makes you think a
boneheaded racist nimrod is going to listen to reason in the first place?"
[RVI] What makes you think I waste my time on bone-headed nimrods? My idea with those
who are immune to reason is to outflank their arguments and presuade onlookers that
siding with them is foolish. And if that's obvious enough, I leave 'em to those who
will insult them for hours on end.
[RVI] >>No one, least of all me, has called for 'unfettered' speech<<
[SOS] "I was quoting -you- when I used the term."
[RVI] Quote the passage; I never argue for "unfettered" speech; that's for the
libertarians and such-like.
[RVI] >> I am simply calling for recognition of and respect for 'Constitutionally
protected speech.'<<
{SOS] "See big capital letters above."
[RVI] See the ones beneath it that spell B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.
[SOS] "If somebody spraypaints grafitti on the side of your house, are you repressing
that person by cleaning it off? No. If the guy spraypaints grafitti on the
side of -his- house and you decided to clean it off, =then= you'd be treading
on his rights. The same principle is at work in this case, regardless of how
you feel it -should- be."
[RVI] Both of these are instances of individual property rights; they do not answer the
question of why I or anyone else should act as if a private interest - a corporation -
is a human being and why a corporation believes it can ignore the Constitution simply by
waving it off and saying - "No, that's just for governments, even though, for all
intents and purposes, I am the government on this property." Why does money make anyone
immune from respecting our rights as humans, those rights enshrined in Law?
degenerate RVI

RVI and SOS, and a few others who we haven't printed, have been going on and on about this mess for a couple of weeks. It has spawned a debate here at Degenerate Press' offices, and even come up on the GSU campus. Obviously it's a concept that needs some discussion. However, it seems like the discussion going on in this broadcast has gotten into a debate over a specific incident instead of the bigger issue.
Here's a line of reasoning that the editor thought up that may stir you to consider the issues anew:
Assume that EVERYTHING in an individual's life will involve the web sometime within the next couple of decades - your banking, paying bills, all mail, even ordering pizza and making long distance calls all over the internet. The catchphrase "information superhighway" is all-too perfect - the net becomes the highway of the next century. However, our highway system is something created, maintained and patrolled by the government. Therefore, in theory, by the people. Aside from a tiny minority, everyone uses the road system, and everyone has a right to access, though they may not be able to afford the best car.
Now imagine that you hopped in your car tomorrow and found that the whole system had been bought - privatized. So you head down the block to get on the highway, only to find that VW owns that portion of the highway and they don't take too kindly to your Dodge. They won't give you access. So you head up to the next exit - IBM owns this one and they don't like the Mac you use at home. Next exit is Texaco and they look at your skin and tell you to move on. You have no defense because they're privately owned - it's their property and they can do what they want with it, go screw yourself. You've been locked out of the basic infrastructure of modern society.
The net is the infrastructure of the future. But unlike our current road system, it's owned, for the most party, by private companies. If you put up a site, you put it on rented property and if the landlord doesn't like your content they can kill it. Owners of bulletin boards have a similar power.
One issue raised by a fellow degenerate was the responsibility of the owners to prevent things like racist comments - they can be sued for sponsoring damaging speech. SOS has mentioned the possible financial burden of having to post everything. Obviously there are many issued that need to be considered. However, RVI has pointed to a real example of a big problem that isn't looming on the horizon, it's lurking in cyberspace right now.
degenerate X

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