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RIAA Lobbyist Becomes Federal Judge, Rules On File-Sharing Cases

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-call-it-a-new-strategy dept.

Government 333

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Last week, Washington, DC federal judge Beryl Howell ruled on three mass file-sharing lawsuits. Judges in Texas, West Virginia, and Illinois had all ruled recently that such lawsuits were defective in various ways, but Howell gave her cases the green light; attorneys could use the federal courts to sue thousands of people at once and then issue mass subpoenas to Internet providers. Beryl Howell isn't the only judge to believe this, but her important ruling is especially interesting because of Howell's previous work: lobbying for the recording industry during the time period when the RIAA was engaged in its own campaign of mass lawsuits against individuals. The news, first reported in a piece at TorrentFreak, nicely illustrates the revolving door between government and industry."

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Payroll (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659012)

maybe the RIAA has forgotten to take her off the payroll.

Soon we all be very afraid to pirate (-1, Troll)

slashdance2 (2029332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659052)

In fact my friend was charged 30000$ of alleged downloads. Here I blogged about that [blog.com] What to do next?

Re:Soon we all be very afraid to pirate (2)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659268)

goatse warning :(

Enjoy! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659058)

Enjoy your Corporate States of America!

Re:Enjoy! (5, Insightful)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659290)

Fascism, with its merging of corporate, political, and military power, is almost complete in America. Too much 'rah rah USA, we so free, we so great, god just loves United States !', from a young age. Brainwashed people don't see it coming. Those who do go crazy trying to get others to see it. Even today, people who own a car, or a home, or even a business think they are part of the ownership class. They cheer the corporations on as if they will benefit. They believe they are part of the people who own enough wealth to create international policy, national policy, and military support of that policy. Silly people, they think they are part of the rich, when all they make is hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. If you aren't making governments bend to your desire, you are not part of the ownership class.

Re:Enjoy! (4, Insightful)

ckeo (220727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659520)

If something can be taken away from you, then you truly do not own it. Thus, we own nothing it is just in our possession.

Re:Enjoy! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659742)

Dear citizen,

Your comments are un-american and un-patriotic. I can only guess you're a pirate. You personally are stealing money from thousands of starving artists. Piracy is theft and funds terrorism. The government's first priority should be to track down people like you and make you pay. Your life should be ruined and the lives of your children for going against what we tell you is right.

Yours sincerely

RIAA/Your government.

the alternative to the revolving door, of course (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659060)

The alternative to the "revolving door between government and industry" seems to mostly be regulators who don't know anything about what they're regulating. Fun stuff either way! :)

Re:the alternative to the revolving door, of cours (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659110)

That's a false duality. There is no reason that regulators can't listen to the industries they regulate as long as the industries aren't buying them trips, cars, vacations, etc...

Re:the alternative to the revolving door, of cours (1)

PSandusky (740962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659276)

That's a false duality. There is no reason that regulators can't listen to the industries they regulate as long as the industries aren't buying them trips, cars, vacations, etc...

In terms of avoiding legal messes of the bribery kind, sure. In terms of objectively judging whether or not an industrial operation should or should not be doing something? Um... no. Industry does not tend to be more ethical with its information than it is with its money.

Re:the alternative to the revolving door, of cours (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659740)

That's a false duality. There is no reason that regulators can't listen to the industries they regulate as long as the industries aren't buying them trips, cars, vacations, etc...

your attorney is fucking your spoiuse. I'm sure you'd agree that your divorce will be equitably handled so long as they no longer have sex....

Re:the alternative to the revolving door, of cours (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659430)

Even if that weren't a false dichotomy I'd prefer a meddlesome regulator who follows the laws to the letter because he didn't "know anything about what he was regulating" to the lazy one that "knows which regulations don't need to be followed".

Red tape may be annoying, but it's often there for a reason.

It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (4, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659066)

but this is ridiculous. I honestly don't think that cases of this nature should be allowed to come before, or be judged by someone who has spent so much time fighting on one side of a cause like that.

That's like asking an ice cream man to preside over a case or cases where someone is suing an ice cream company for them being fat or something (probably not the best analogy, but as close as i could think of). In short, this is retarded, and that judge shouldn't have been allowed to have anything to do with this stuff.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (4, Interesting)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659094)

Yes, I am pretty sure it would be grounds for appeal.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659252)

Yes, I am pretty sure it would be grounds for appeal.

Like it would do any good

I have given up. America is no longer free - political nor economically free. We're at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Western countries.

We're no longer egalitarian nor is there any upward mobility anymore. Really there isn't.

We're a class based society and there's no way out of it.

For those of you who believe that there is, prove it - with yourself. Don't point out someone who made it big 40 years ago or someone who used his Harvard contacts to make it big, point out someone from East Butt-Fuck Idaho who went to Butt-Fuck State who made it big - show me him. No contacts. Someone with imagination, hard work, and intelligence - that's all.

Nope. Right?

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659456)

You know, I think the judge recruitment pool would be rather low if you didn't allow those that have either stood as plaintiffs or defendants as lawyers. Because if they're biased then so is the EFF lawyer too, right? Or is that just the lawyers on the side you don't like.

Any good lawyer will - within reason - argue in the way his role demands. I don't think any lawyer could swear that he thought the client was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or that his side's legal theories or claims were correct - at least not anyone with more than a handful of cases.

It's like a fencing match and there's no such thing as unsportsmanlike. If the opponent isn't paying attention or don't know the rules, then a swift stab to the guts will end it. It doesn't have to be right, it doesn't have to be fair, if your client won then you did your job. Consider it a bit like hiring a hacker - a popular idea around here - if you hire someone used at skirting the law, they'll see one that does.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (5, Interesting)

undercanopy (565001) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659704)

You know, I think the judge recruitment pool would be rather low if you didn't allow those that have either stood as plaintiffs or defendants as lawyers. Because if they're biased then so is the EFF lawyer too, right? Or is that just the lawyers on the side you don't like.

we're not talking about a lawyer being biased, we're talking about a judge being biased. Judes recusing themselves from cases where there is, or even could be, a conflict of interest is not unusual. Her having been a RIAA lawyer creates a worthy argument for recusal, but i could argue the other way as you have. Being a lobbyist, though? That's a lot more conflict-y than just a lawyer trying to properly represent their client.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659148)

Ice cream is a bad analogy for this. I'm rather bitter about the whole subject.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659224)

A cigarette analogy would have worked better. Or maybe you could have done something with cars?

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659238)

Hopefully these rulings will be overturned by the supreme court and this judge will be sanctioned for having a beyond obvious bias and not recusing herself from these cases.

     

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (4, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659388)

Hopefully these rulings will be overturned by the supreme court and this judge will be sanctioned for having a beyond obvious bias and not recusing herself from these cases.

Unlikely, judges just don't get sanctioned, brotherhood of the robe and all that rot. However; it would make sense to recuse oneself when there is such a perception of impropriety.

Re:It's hard enough to be impartial abot things (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659372)

That's like asking an ice cream man to preside over a case or cases where someone is suing an ice cream company for them being fat or something (probably not the best analogy, but as close as i could think of). In short, this is retarded, and that judge shouldn't have been allowed to have anything to do with this stuff.

Or like having a judge rule on a contract case where they once were an attorney representing someone during a breach of contract case? Or having a judge who used to be a prosecutor or defense attorney preside over a criminal case? If the judge doesn't have a personal conflict of interest, they should hear the case. Otherwise no judge would be able to hear anything.

Just an observation (5, Informative)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659076)

Increasingly, our country is appears to be more like the Corporate States of America. Sad. Can I have my bill of rights, consumer rights, and right to privacy back please? Or is that now subject to subscription services? (plenty of sarcasm intended).

Re:Just an observation (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659100)

Sorry for the bad grammar folks. Proof read before post fail...

Re:Just an observation (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659120)

You can have a bill.

Re:Just an observation (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659144)

Hi, I'm Bill. Where do you want me to go?

Re:Just an observation (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659178)

Go sit on capitol hill.

I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still
just a bill.

Re:Just an observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659400)

...while waiting in jail.

Re:Just an observation (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659162)

It's because we say corporations are "people." When they have the "same" rights as people they essentially have more rights than people since they can amass so much power.

They shouldn't have the same right as people because they aren't people. Giving the the exact same set of rights means the rights of real living, breathing people are lessened.

Re:Just an observation (5, Insightful)

Hooya (518216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659500)

When they were given the "rights", they should have also been given the same liabilities as people:

- lifespan of 80 years.
- incarceration (everyone in the company gets locked up) for wrongdoing.

(i know it doesn't work. just pointing out HOW corporations aren't people and therefore shouldn't have rights as such).

Right now, it's much better to be an incorporated entity than it is to be an individual. They get all the rights, and get to enjoy it for far longer than any person and without the possibility of incarceration if the entity starts enjoying it's "rights" a little too much by violating the rights of others.

Re:Just an observation (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659688)

Corporations were originally conceived so that volunteers working for charities could be shielded from liability for the actions of the charity. If they'd left it at that, it would be perfectly ok.

Re:Just an observation (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659642)

I would like to see a corporation declare itself as being gay and I would also like to see a corporation adopt and raise a child.

You think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm serious as fuck. I've always thought it would be fantastic to see Coca Cola or Intel go through the adoption process and raise a child. But would they be allowed to do it alone, or would they be obligated by adoption agencies to partner with another corporation?

Re:Just an observation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659616)

Ha!

Who are you asking for your rights? The more people expect to be given rights by someone else, the more relevant the concepts in the book "Democracy: The God That Failed" become.

Rights and their inalienability come from your ability to act and make decisions; they are not the imaginary privileges that most people have come to expect.

Re:Just an observation (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659620)

This isn't possible. President Obama said that the era of revolving doors at the white house (corporations hiring away whitehouse appointees and whitehouse appointees with conflicting interests being hired away from private industry) was over. Yet, that's all I've seen here. From a company hiring out nearly the entire IRS to help it pay zero taxes to a guy with no history or experience or knowledge in anything becoming the country's "CTO" to . . . this.

I can only surmise that this has somehow slipped under Obama's radar and that as soon as someone brings it to his attention, he'll make sure some heads roll. And I'm sure the next president will totally not allow this to happen. Or the one after that. Or the one after that. This is totally not the way government has operated for most of our two centuries and change. This is toooootally a rare exception. Yep. I'm sure of it.

Net even a shred of conscience (5, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659126)

How can any judge with even a sliver of a conscience not recuse themselves from this case?

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659184)

How can any judge with even a sliver of a conscience not recuse themselves from this case?

This was an RIAA lawyer. I'd check your expectations at the door.

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659186)

I think you answered your own question.

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659226)

Just to be clear the judge in question was formerly a lawyer, a political lobbyist, and worked for the music industry.

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659232)

This is a lobbyist whose primary work seems to have consisted of attacking her industry's customers.

Neither conscience nor intelligence seem to reside within these folks.

Has anyone clued the RIAA in to the fact that their business model is D-E-A-D?

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (3, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659258)

I keep shouting it on slashdot but they don't seem to notice me...

Re:Net even a shred of conscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659330)

Has anyone clued the RIAA in to the fact that their business model is D-E-A-D?

They know, that's why they have to buy judges.

It is simple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659284)

The most objective and unbiased position is that filesharing is theft, that everyone who engages in it should be financially destroyed because of it, and that all involved parties should be compelled to do whatever is necessary in order to enforce this.

This position is not a radical extreme, but rather a simple and obvious result of an honest reading of the law. Both the letter and spirit agree on this point, as do the majority of the educated members of the industry.

In fact, an ex RIAA lawyer is ideal for these sorts of cases, since they are the most knowledgable and the least biased.

Only a criminal would disagree.

Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659154)

I wonder if her past history would be something that the defense lawyers would be able to bring up as a cause for bias and a basis for appeal.

Conflict of Interest??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659156)

Since this person use to lobby FOR the RIAA, wouldn't they be obligated to excuse themselves from cases/issues such as this?

Stop shopping with companies that employ the RIAA. (1)

yossie (93792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659164)

STOP BUYING THEIR MUSIC (and don't pirate it.) Sooner or later they will die away like any meme that has become bad.
Who knows, maybe the govt will force us to shop with them, grin, but I doubt it - even forcing us to buy something useful, like medical insurance, is meeting incredible resistance.

Re:Stop shopping with companies that employ the RI (2)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659216)

STOP BUYING THEIR MUSIC (and don't pirate it.) Sooner or later they will die away like any meme that has become bad..

Or, they'll buy enough politicians to be able to simply sue all of us w/ internet connections. You know there's just no way we would stop buying their product without somehow stealing it. [rolls eyes]

Re:Stop shopping with companies that employ the RI (2)

PSandusky (740962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659328)

Why sue everyone with an internet connection when you could just surcharge the connection? There are surcharges on blank discs and burners in various places on this planet, so why not start nickeling and diming at the source here?

Eeurgh. I'm not so sure if it's more revolting that it's plausible or that there have been approximations of this already done successfully.

Re:Stop shopping with companies that employ the RI (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659672)

What if I use blank discs to copy stuff other than music or movies? Should I pay for those download music and movies? How fair is it that the population must pay a private corporation even if the population doesn't use their product or service? I'm OK with taxes that go to the government but taxes to private industries is going way too far.

Re:Stop shopping with companies that employ the RI (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659674)

Or they'll use their clout to whine so much about the supposed "piracy" that the government applies a federal "media" tax where everything that can or does hold any kind of content (from a blank journal notebook to a CD to a hard drive to web space) is taxed and filtered into the RIAA. And those artists who are not part of the RIAA can just eat a dick.

pseudocode (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659170)

if isCrony(judge){
    if isRepublicanAppointee(judge)
          blame(Repuplicans);
    if isDemocratAppointee(judge)
          blame(RevolvingDoors);
}

Re:pseudocode (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659340)

Nice timing, you got in immediately prior to the person who posted the "Blame Obama" comment.

Re:pseudocode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659522)

Your program resulted in undefined behavior when both isRepublicanAppointee and isDemocratAppointee returned true.

democrat and republican were defined to the same value in enum party.

Re:pseudocode (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659550)

Republicans are blamed if the crony judge rules according to republican political or economic interests. Both republicans and democrats seem to be on the RIAA's side. You *could* blame democrats, but there's not much point unless you think that republicans are going to stand up for the little guy against the major corporation. In this particular case, I was not aware of who appointed the judge, and I'd find it believable either way.

Obama nominee, of course (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659204)

And confirmed by a Democrat Senate (in the lame duck session, right before the Dems lost some Senate seats in January):

Beryl A. Howell (born 1956) is a federal District Court judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 14, 2010 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 27, 2010. (Wikipedia)

Well, all you YRO types who voted for Obama, this is what you get.

Too bad I had to post anon due to predictable mod abuse, because I am serious about this topic, not trolling.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (0)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659270)

I was coming here to post the same thing. I *assumed* it was a democrat appointee doing this - wikipedia confirmed it.

And I agree that posting under your login would have damaged your karma - that is how insecure liberals are.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659346)

Under most usages *I'm* a liberal. I don't like Obama. He *isn't* a liberal.

Only in the minds of crazy right wingers and tea party activists involved in fighting shadows is he a liberal.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659404)

And you are what we call "delusional" if you think Obama isn't liberal.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659474)

Bullshit. He is about as much a corporate sellout as one can be.

Only in the USA have politics slid so far to the right that this person could be even thought of that way.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (1)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659496)

Did you have some purpose for posting? Where did *I* say that *Obama* was a liberal?

Since you do not *like* Obama, I'm sure that during your pre-election research you decided not to vote for him. Right?

Anyone who honestly looked at his past words and actions should not be surprised at anything he has done while in office.

I bet if you vote next time you will find some way to *like* him again.

Voting is where the rubber hits the road - only a complete pussy votes a certain way and then distances themselves when that is no longer the popular choice.

On a similar note - it is amazingly hard to find someone who admits to voting for Jimmy Carter twice. Strange that.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659438)

You think a republican majority would not have done the same?

They are all bought and paid for.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659466)

Well, all you YRO types who voted for Obama, this is what you get.

It was pretty obvious Obama was not going to be particularly progressive where it counted. McCain, however, after his rightward lurch during the election would probably have gone to war with Iran, would have appointed right-wing nutjobs to the EPA, Department of the Interior, etc., and would have emboldened the Republican party for generations --"look how much we screwed the country up with Bush, and we still got re-elected, we can do anything!" So he was still worth voting for.

Re:Obama nominee, of course (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659700)

Because this would be totally different under a Republican president. And it'll be totally different under whoever the next president is. Totally. Yep.

Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659206)

Do conflicts of interest not affect judges?

Great. They have a Cave Tro...err Judge. (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659228)

This is a bought and paid for judge. Not a doubt in my mind. Music war is on I guess. Pirate everything, leave them nothing.

Re:Great. They have a Cave Tro...err Judge. (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659250)

Hell, there are whole classes of artists who are doing an end-run around the RIAA's megalopy. Pretty soon, they won't have much of anything to pirate that isn't already 20 years old.

Re:Great. They have a Cave Tro...err Judge. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659408)

Don't use you retarded view of the legal system as an excuse to break the law.

yet another (5, Informative)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659230)

She is an Obama appointee [wikipedia.org] . And not his first. [google.com]

Re:yet another (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659306)

Yes. We do know now that Obama is a corpratist.

But you have to admit it simply makes the tea party's positions MORE laughable, not less.

Socialist indeed...

Uh, crony capitalism != capitalism (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659390)

Any more than a fraud = a contract. True conservatives want the crony capitalism cut off, because capitalism means taking risk, risk to fail, not be bailed out by Big Nanny. The Tea Partiers, while just casual, often first-time political participants, do understand this. No bailouts or special deals for cronies, like Obama's UAW peeps. This is what they ran on and why they won. To suggest Obama's corruption of the judiciary somehow lessens that message takes some seriously contorted reasoning.

I'm not saying there aren't Republicans who have corporate cronies. I'm saying they aren't real conservatives. The current tension between the recently-sworn Tea Party members of Congress and the GOP old guard is evidence of this. Power corrupts. Which is why we should Amend the Constitution for term limits.

Re:Uh, crony capitalism != capitalism (1)

Appolonius of Perge (961983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659518)

True conservatives want the crony capitalism cut off

True liberals want this too. In fact, I don't think you'll find anybody not paid to think otherwise who claims crony capitalism is a good thing.

Re:Uh, crony capitalism != capitalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659600)

Yeah but instead of corporations fucking us the libs want the government to fuck us harder. That's lose-lose to me. I'll stick to a model where I have a more honest chance at a slice of the pie.

Re:Uh, crony capitalism != capitalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659572)

I'm not saying there aren't Republicans who have corporate cronies. I'm saying they aren't real conservatives.

And don't even get me started about Scotsmen!

Re:yet another (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659622)

Socialists are Corporatist in a sense. They are simply favoring the government corporation over private corporation of the community. People get all their terms intermixed and confused because of the base words used.

Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that views a community as a body based upon organic social solidarity and functional distinction and roles among individuals.

Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources.

Socialists seek to control the masses with the belief they do not know what is best for themselves, Corporatist's believe the masses are individuals to be dealt with as such. Socialism in basic concept is much like Communism in the sense that the basic idea isn't bad, but the implementation entails direct abuse of the individual. The will of the masses are crushed/purchased and conformed to the will of a smaller group who dictate what the social directive should be. While in the basic theory everyone would have a say, that simply can't happen at a larger scale, so a small body injects their special interest into a regulatory authority to implement their will. In context of history this tends to be done via social programs, social programming, and direct regulation.

Re:yet another (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659494)

She is an Obama appointee [wikipedia.org] . And not his first. [google.com]

I like a lot of Obama's campaign promises.

His execution... not so much.

the USA needs some of what Egypt and Tunisia did (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659240)

1789 style, throw the rich greedy bastards out of the country...

Re:the USA needs some of what Egypt and Tunisia di (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659350)

Hell Yea, When do we start ?.

been done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659428)

Pol pot, Lenin, Castro, Mugabe, Mao...

America isn't France (0)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659454)

Our revolution wasn't class-based, because in America, there is the opportunity for class mobility unlike in 1789 and present-day Europe. Two-thirds of the Forbes 500 did not inherit their wealth, BTW.

Americans, unlike Europeans, don't hate rich greedy bastards. They just hate when they accrue their wealth and power in nefarious ways inconsistent with real capitalists, i.e., crony capitalism. In fact, the Tea Partiers, mocked as simpletons by the left, are ironically, quite clear about such a nuanced position. They didn't run on "no more rich!" They ran on, "no more bailouts!" IOW, no more crony capitalism, not no more capitalism.

Re:America isn't France (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659592)

Our revolution wasn't class-based, because in America, there is the opportunity for class mobility

Go look up the stats on the recently.

Americans, unlike Europeans, don't hate rich greedy bastards. They just hate when they accrue their wealth and power in nefarious ways inconsistent with real capitalists, i.e., crony capitalism. In fact, the Tea Partiers, mocked as simpletons by the left, are ironically, quite clear about such a nuanced position. They didn't run on "no more rich!" They ran on, "no more bailouts!" IOW, no more crony capitalism, not no more capitalism.

No ones hates the rich for being rich, they hate them for how they got the money and how they abuse everyone with it. If you did not notice that is how they got those bailouts. The tea partiers are not that smart, they ran on "This is what the talking head told me to say, no more brown people".

Re:the USA needs some of what Egypt and Tunisia di (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659524)

the whole country would fail, just like it was prophesied in "atlas shrugged"

I don't like where this is going. (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659288)

Has anyone ever read the Science Fiction classic The Space Merchants or the more recent novel Jennifer Government? This is where we're headed...a society where consumers have no rights.

Re:I don't like where this is going. (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659356)

Jennifer Government was a spoof on libertarianism, not fascism.

Re:I don't like where this is going. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659486)

Judging by the wikipedia article, it's a dystopia where ONLY consumers have rights. Looks kinda interesting, might have to give it a read.

Re:I don't like where this is going. (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659708)

"it's a dystopia where ONLY consumers have rights. Looks kinda interesting, might have to give it a read." You read wrong. Both Jennifer Government and The Space Merchants are leftist-leaning. I read both novels recently and I assure you the consumer has no rights and ONLY corporations have rights

Re:I don't like where this is going. (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659634)

True, it was libertarian in that the Federal Government was weak but the corporations had all the rights. Nike was able to assassinate one of its consumers, believing by some twisted logic that the assassination would increase market value of their product. In fact, murder and corporate espionage occured throughout the novel. The police were private-sector and only acted upon payment.

Stopped reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659298)

I actually started reading the article for once, and immediately regretted it after seeing this:

The big question is why Judge Howell came to this conclusion. Although we can’t see inside her mind, ... [snip]

All judge's are required to put their verdict into writing, with a clear explanation for why they came to a conclusion. I don't care what the rest of the article says if the author can't even be bothered to look up simple background information.

Re:Stopped reading (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659514)

Generally they do, but they are not required to. I've seen plenty of judicial opinions where it's a single sentence just letting know which side they came down on.

Shouldn't the judge be recused in such instances? (2)

ausrob (864993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659302)

I'm certainly no legal expert, but shouldn't a judge with such an obvious conflict of interest recuse themselves from such cases? I was under the impression that's what a judge is supposed to do if the judge can't adjudicate impartially?

It is borderline (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659658)

If she has no current financial arrangement then she may not be _required_ to recuse herself but she most certainly should recuse herself. Caesar's wife and all that. Complaints should be made to the relevant bar associations and her acaedemic institutions. See where it goes from there.

Conflict of interest much? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659364)

See subject.

Re:Conflict of interest much? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659434)

Nope.

Unless the judge is still getting paid or owns an interesting the either of the parties involved.

You really don't understand how lawyers operate. There is nothing here that indicates any other judge would have ruled differently. This is neither unexpected or shocking.

Re:Conflict of interest much? (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659484)

There is a clear conflict of interest here, it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that the RIAA/MPAA is buying out the legal system. For instance, just take a look at who our copyright czar is.

Appeal anyone? (2)

davev2.0 (1873518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659392)

She did not recuse herself even though she lobbied on behalf of one side? Sounds to me like she gave them built-in grounds for appeal.

Treason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659436)

Plain and simple. Politicians should be hung when they do things like this, publicly, on the White House lawn.

What is the process to impeach such a judge? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659458)

Is there a way to do something like impeachment or something to such a biased judge?

Re:What is the process to impeach such a judge? (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659706)

Depends on whether "reeking so badly of corruption as to blanket a mile radius with the stench" constitutes bad Behaviour on the part of a Federal judge (U.S. Const. Art. III Sec. 1) and whether two-thirds of the Senate agrees with the proposition. (Art. I Sec. 3 cl. 6). Yeah, that's... not gonna happen anytime soon.

*Sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659480)

Where's Jared Lee Loughner when you need him?

Bush, right? Not during Obama's reign, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35659544)

This is something that would have happened during the Bush years. Obama was going to change government and we'd become a file-sharing utopia. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

There is no actual conflict here... bias maybe. (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659636)

A large number of posters seem to be confusing bias (pre-determined unjustified favoritism towards one side or the other) with a Conflict of Interest. A Conflict of Interest is indeed a serious matter, and not disclosing them can lead to censure, having a caseload pulled, etc. However, a Conflict of Interest would require a *current* financial or personal incentive to rule for one side or the other. Merely having worked for one side or the other at some point in the past is NOT a Conflict of Interest. Judges are required to recuse themselves from individual cases they have personally worked, but she worked for the RIAA, and this particular suit was brought by the movie industry.

Judges, by necessity are lawyers, and they will have of course worked for clients. We don't ask judges who worked in criminal defense (or prosecutions) to recuse themselves on civil liberties cases, nor can we demand a corporate lawyer recuse themselves from a case that happened to involve the same industry as one or more of his/her clients.

Judge Howell is (1)

Andronicus (263666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35659714)

WINNING!
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