Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Hillary for president - anyone?

Swedish tabloid Expressen is tainting the poll numbers for presidential contenders. Hillary Clinton is supposedly supported by 43 percent of Americans, according to a recent article written by their correspondent Johan T Lindwall. Furthermore, Rudy Giuliani gets the most support among all the Republicans according to the study by Daily News which Expressen refers to. The article in Expressens seems to suggest that these numbers are picked from a national survey. In fact, they are from a recent survey in New York State. All of a sudden they seem to be much less impressive.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


TT fabricates John Kerry's voting record

The Swedish news bureau TT yesterday released a story on Bush's argument for a ban on same-sex marriage (in relations to a Senate vote soon to come up).
As in many cases of news gathering, they simply re-hashed a story written by Reuters journalist Matt Spetalnick: "Bush makes new push for gay-marriage ban" .
(Both stories can be found below.)

The interesting thing though is this paragraph which can only be found in the Swedish TT version (something their journalist seems to have made up on his own):

"In the Presidential election 2004 Bush was supported by conservative and Christian groups against the Democrat John Kerry who in his state voted for same-sex marriage." (my translation).

First of all - John Kerry has not held a public office (in his state - Massachussetts) since he was a lieutenant governor under Michael Dukakis in 1988. So for him to vote on the matter there seems rather, well, impossible. And even more important - in the former Senate vote on the same matter John Kerry is strongly AGAINST same-sex marriage again and again (although he is not for a federal ban on the matter).

TT is working in a very liberal context - as a news bureau in Sweden. It is not far-fetched to assume that the journalist who fabricated this piece of "news" wanted John Kerry to look good to the readers in Sweden. Just too bad this little thing called "reality" is not working too well with the way TT frames its news.

TT's story:

Bush vill förbjuda homoäktenskap

Gjorde utspel i radiosänt tal till nationen


USA:s president George W Bush fortsätter sin kamp mot äktenskap för personer av samma kön, i ett försök att bättra på sina urusla opinionssiffror.

– Grundlagstillägget som senaten ska överväga nästa vecka skulle helt och hållet skydda äktenskapet från att omdefinieras, sade Bush i ett radiotal på lördagen.
Det är ingen hemlighet att Bush är motståndare till homoäktenskap, men han har sällan pratat om det offentligt. Utspelet som flörtar med vacklande konservativa väljare är det första i sitt slag, och kommer inför en omröstning i senaten på måndagen om ett grundlagstillägg – där det fastslås att äktenskap bara är ett förbund för en man och en kvinna.
Bush planerar även att uttala ett starkt stöd för förslaget vid en tillställning på måndagen med konservativa aktivister och religiösa ledare, uppger en talesman för Vita huset.

Det är inte troligt att Republikanerna kan få den två tredjedelars majoritet som krävs i både senaten och kongressen, men frågan är populär bland kristna konservativa grupper och att ta upp den på dagordningen är ett försök av partiet att profilera sig inför kongressvalet i november.
I presidentvalet 2004 fick Bush starkt stöd av konservativa och kristna grupper mot demokraten John Kerry som i sin delstat röstat för homoäktenskap. Men kriget i Irak och andra politiska misstag gör att presidentens parti fruktar att förlora sin majoritet i kongressen.

I sitt radiotal nämnde Bush särskilt fyra stater – Washington, Kalifornien, Maryland och New York – där han anser att lokala domstolar sedan 2004 har ”stjälpt lagar som skyddar äktenskapet”.
Kritiker till grundlagstillägget anser att det används av Republikanerna för att spela på homofobiska åsikter.
Äktenskap för personer av samma kön har blivit till en alltmer splittrande fråga i USA sedan en domstol i delstaten Massachusetts 2003 beslutade att delstatsförsamlingar inte kan förbjuda det, något som ledde till USA:s första homoäktenskap påföljande år.
En liten majoritet av amerikanerna är enligt flera opinionsundersökningar motståndare till att ge homosexuella par samma rättigheter som heterosexuella par.
Ett liknande lagförslag gick inte igenom 2004.


Reuter's original story:

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Saturday urged the Senate to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, in a congressional election-year pitch to conservatives whose enthusiasm for him has cooled.

The Senate next week plans to debate a proposed amendment against gay marriage, though it is believed to have little chance of passing.

"Marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

"Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society."

Bush said a constitutional amendment was needed to keep "activist" judges from overturning efforts by some state legislatures to ban gay marriage.

But Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, accused Bush of using the radio address to "appease his right-wing conservative base."

"At a time when Americans are tuning in to hear about issues they care about, he chose to spend the time advocating writing discrimination into the Constitution."


Bush spoke out in favor of a ban on gay marriage during the 2004 presidential election race, when the issue's appearance on local ballots helped turn out Republican supporters in key states, but some conservatives complain that he has done little more than talk about it.

He is raising his profile on the issue as he grapples with approval ratings near 30 percent, a low for his presidency.

Bush once could count on overwhelming conservative support but the Iraq war and several political blunders have cost him some of that backing, leaving many Republicans fearful of losing control of Congress to Democrats in November.

Bush's wife, Laura, has said she did not think the gay-marriage issue should be used to score political points in an election year.

"I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously," Laura Bush told Fox news in a mid-May interview. "But I do think it's something that people in the United States want to debate."

Bush plans to promote the marriage amendment again on Monday in a White House meeting with community leaders, constitutional scholars and clergy who support the ban on same-sex unions.

Bush cited four states, Washington, California, Maryland and New York, in which he said local courts had "overturned laws protecting marriage" since 2004, and pointed to a Nebraska federal judge who removed a state ban on same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage has been an increasingly divisive issue since a Massachusetts court ruled in 2003 that the state legislature could not ban it, paving the way for America's first same-sex marriages the following year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the amendment along party lines on May 18. But it must pass both houses of Congress by a two-thirds majority and then be approved by at least 38 states to become law. A similar measure failed in 2004.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Wayne Allard, a Colorado Republican, has acknowledged he has far fewer than the 67 votes needed to win passage.

At least 13 states have passed their own amendments banning gay marriage. Vermont and Connecticut have legalized civil unions. Just over half of all Americans oppose same-sex marriage, a March poll by the Pew Research center showed.


Pirates launch new attacks, backed by many

Yup, they are up and running again. The Pirate Bay (new address!) is allegedly relocating its server capacity to the Netherlands and Russia and hope to be soon up and running full scale in Sweden again.
Too much to say about this - but one thing is really scary - they way Hollywood interests and the White House seem to have been able to influence police authorities in Sweden to make the raid on The Pirate Bay. It does not only beg the question whether the Swedish Minister of Justice - Thomas Bodström - is guilty of ministerial control of the legal branch (which is against the Swedish constitution) but also if Sweden's government is really turning into a Banana republic, simply doing whatever other governments demand of them (just as in the Mohammed scandal).

Anyways, the pirates have set full sails again, and they are certainly not afraid of engaging in battle formation against the bureaucrats and Hollywood interests. Regardless of what you may argue is a virtuous position in the debate over immaterial property rights The Pirate Bay has really done something quite useful here - they have addressed the question of whether torrent files and other Internet P2P-sharing systems are really breaching the copyright restrictions. To side with the MPAA and other Hollywood tycoon interest without considering the philosophical as well as technical arguments on property rights and Internet technology is probably the worst way to go. So until further notice - I will proudly hail the Jolly Roger banner.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Pirates forced to walk the plank

The Internet file sharing community has its own version of Cutthroat Island. And the MPAA seems to have been able to push the Swedish police into taking actions against The Pirate Bay - one of the leading file distributors on the net. This is indeed an interesting case of property rights, since TPB does not provide actual files but merely torrent files, which by themselves contain no copyright data — merely pointers to sources of the content. That makes The Pirate Bay’s activities perfectly legal under Swedish statutory and case law. “Until the law is changed so that it is clear that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we’ll continue our activities. Relentlessly,” claims the founders of TPB. Well, yesterday the Swedish police raided the raiders. But I imagine this battle is far from over.

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