America and the Age of “So What”

I was just reading Saturday’s email newsletter from Lauren Weinstein’s PRIVACY Forum, discussing Microsoft’s admission of its efforts to influence EU regulators in the Google anti-trust review.

When confronted with this, Microsoft responded with what basically boiled down to an in your face “So What”.

This got me to thinking. Isn’t this in a way the real tragedy of where we seem to be headed as a nation right now?

A great big “So What” on any and every crisis and act of evil for the past decade or more?

“So what.” It appears to be the new American way. And Microsoft certainly would not want to be left out. See below.

This week, the lawyers that wrote the memos justifying torture are barely slapped on the wrist and let totally off the hook by the DOJ review. So what?

This week, an ethics panel lets multiple legislators in Congress off the influence peddling hook. So what?

This week, the Patriot Act was quietly, as if in the dead of night, slipped over an extension of its existence to the Prez to sign, just as much a bundle of unconstitutional laws as ever. So what?

This week, a Senator from Kentucky decides to filibuster (without of course being forced to REALLY filibuster), and hold up extension of benefits for the millions of unemployed Americans. When challenged, he from the floor of Congress whines because he has had to miss a basketball game, and to criticism of his actions responds to another member of the Senate with the words: “Tough Sh*t”.

The Republicans are repeatedly confronted with their manifold lies on the health care crisis facing this nation, everything from the death panels to their bad math to the fact their plan really does not even exist. Their response? As usual. Repeat the same old lies and talking points, and pile some new ones on while whining like the North Koreans that they did not get a big enough slice of the table or prominent enough position at the table nor enough time to babble at Blair House.

But then, so what? Or so it seems.

And on and on and on.

I begin to wonder if this nation has taken a serious turning point in a downward spiral away from the very fundamental principle that made us truly different and special, the concept of the rule of law as trumping the whim at any time of individuals. That principle has been tossed totally on the dustbin of history, I begin to think.

Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 2:48 PM
Subject: [ PRIVACY Forum ] Microsoft admits trying to influence EU regulators in Google anti-trust reviews — says “So what?”

Microsoft admits trying to influence EU regulators in Google
anti-trust reviews — says “So what?”

( )

Reference: (Search Engine Land)

There are numerous flaws in attempting to equate Microsoft’s anti-trust
woes with Google’s current situation.

Chief among them is that Microsoft used repressive and anticompetitive
tactics in its march to PC and browser domination.

Google’s rise in market share has been tied to a basic concept —
they’ve simply provided better products that more people want to use.
Being big or even dominant when you’ve grown by playing fair and by
the rules isn’t a crime. It’s when anticompetitive behavior is
involved that the alarms go off. Microsoft attempted to effectively
lock competitors out of the market through draconian licensing
agreements and other means. On the other hand, Google’s competitors
have always been — and still are — only a mouse click away for
virtually any user anywhere in the world.

And despite some critics’ claims to the contrary, it’s clear that
Google goes to great lengths to try keep their organic search results
as algorithmically “clean” and undistorted as possible. Is this
process perfect? Of course not — there’s a continual stream of
tweaks to the search rankings algorithms behind the scenes, but a
laudable avoidance of modifying specific, individual search results
rankings. As far as I can tell, the purported claims of unfair bias
in Google natural search results are nothing but sour grapes.

Lauren Weinstein

In the FWIW department, just to make sure and not miss a chance to criticize Microsoft, you realize that if you are running Windows 7, Microsoft has posted a hot fix now with the regular Windows Update that, even though you have already registered your Windows 7 license, and confirmed it is genuine, is going to start “phoning home” to Microsoft every 90 days, apparently FOREVER, and if for some reason in the future Microsoft decides you no longer have your already legitimate, recognized license, they are going to start shutting down the functionality of your Windows 7 install remotely?

Who Owns Your PC? New Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update “Phones Home” to Microsoft Every 90 Days

I am still running all XP PCs and a laptop, Apple, and a LINUX server here at home. I had just built a new PC with a new high-end motherboard, and was about to install Windows 7 (yes, Virginia, a legitimate license through my place of work, intended for use at home). At the moment I have put that on hold, till I ponder this a little further.

For the time being you can just ‘hide’ the hotfix, and not install the “phone home” feature (KB971033). But then, who knows what Microsoft will do in the future? It would not be the first time they caused updates to install and modify your computer without prior warning during changes to Windows Updates.

But, oh well, So What? Right?


Author: Ron