Sunday, December 09, 2007

Robert Pickton.

Let me say one thing about the Robert Pickton verdict. It doesn't matter what charge Pickton was convicted of. What matters is that he was convicted and is going to jail for a very long time. (In all likelihood, he will die there, depending on what sentence the judge hands down.) The goal that was achieved was the right goal, and the means taken were effective. In this, then, the prosecutors did exactly what they were supposed to do: they got a charge to stick.

So, if you want to bitch because he was convicted of second- rather than first-degree murder, then you're an idiot. If you want to bitch because the victim impact statements were edited by prosecutors' requests, then you're an idiot.

Remember that they could never get Al Capone for anything -- except tax evasion.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Canadian DMCA.

There's a minor shitstorm brewing over the so-called Canadian DMCA that Industry Minister Jim Prentice is going to be bringing before Parliament some time next week. The progosphere has decided that a letter/email/phone campaign to MPs might change something.

I doubt it.

It's no big secret the MPs are pretty much all on the take, to a greater or lesser extent. It costs money to get elected these days and no one seems to have mastered the trick of cashing the cheques and flipping off the donors when they subsequently ask for favours. (Hint: it's the middle finger, guys.) It's also no big secret that the multinational media conglomerates have a hell of a lot more money and power than ordinary folks, and thus can exert tremendously undue influence over these sorts of legislative processes.

So, the only way anything will change is by doing one of the following:

(1) Finding a monster strong enough to fight the monster that exists. That is, since government is being manipulated by the unethical mass of many corporations, we should find similar powerful entities that can fight for what we're interested in. In Canada, with regard to DMCA: True North Edition, the best option seems to be the artists' unions. They're no particular fans (from what I've seen) of this sort of legislation.

(2) Kill the monster. This would require opening up the electoral process to all citizens by massively restricting the amount of money allowed and required to successfully run for office. And then citizens should actually run for office against the corrupt assholes currently running the show. I submit this is a radical change (no shit, right?), but it will ultimately become necessary.

But note that there is no (3): start a big letter/phone/email campaign nor (4): march around with signs waving placards. Progressives need to understand how little we can trust the current instantiation of the institution of government to do anything right; and exactly how far the institution must change in order to achieve progressive goals. Acting as if only minor change is required is political and moral suicide.