Of course they are not really powerful, especially if the population remembers they are the source of power.
You can be ignorant of your creative abilities and the unconscious choices you have been making, and just go with the flow, or you can navigate your life, by making conscious choices, to create the life you want to experience. This can be done as an individual and as a group.
Inquisition 2.0? Spanish Government Arrests Catalan-Based Critic Using "Hate-Speech Law" | Zero Hedge
Authored by Tim Cushing via TechDirt.com,
...from the shocked-SHOCKED-to-find-such-a-predictable-use-of-a-bad-law dept
Spain's government has gotten into the business of regulating speech with predictably awful results. An early adopter of Blues Lives Matter-esque policies, Spain went full police state, passing a law making it a crime to show "disrespect" to law enforcement officers.
The predictable result? The arrest of someone for calling cops "slackers" in a Facebook post.
Spain's government is either woefully unaware of the negative consequences of laws like this or, worse, likes the negative consequences. After all, it doesn't hurt Spain's government beyond a little reputational damage. It only hurts residents of Spain.
When you're already unpopular, thanks to laws like these and suppression of a Catalan independence vote, what difference does it make if you're known better for shutting down dissent than actually protecting citizens from hateful speech?
One Catalan resident is getting the full "hate speech" rap-and-ride.
A Catalan high school teacher, Manel Riu, appeared in court on Thursday accused of hate speech for his tweets and Facebook posts criticizing Spain, government members and the Guardia Civil police.
Over a hundred people escorted him to court in Tremp, west of Catalonia, where he denied any wrongdoing and asked for the case’s dismissal.
As a Catalan, Riu certainly has reason to criticize the Spanish government. During the last attempted referendum, the Spanish government sent police to seize ballots, voters' cellphones, and ordered Google to remove a voting location app from the Play store. The evidence against Riu is composed of 119 tweets gathered by the Guardia Civil, Spain's oldest law enforcement agency -- one that blurs the line between playing soldier and playing cop far more often than its US counterparts.
One tweet apparently compared Spain to hell.
"I do not believe in God, neither in the soul, nor in eternal life, nor in heaven, nor in hell ... Well, in hell I do believe: hell is Spain."
The rest are presumably similarly unflattering. Hyperbolic venting by unhappy citizens is to be expected. It also should be protected.
Insulating the government from unhappy citizens never works out well. But that's how Spain is handling dissent: by sending out the most "police state" wing of its police forces to arrest people for calling Spain figuratively hell.
The crime cited here is a violation of Spain's hate speech law. But that makes no sense.
Hate speech laws are supposed to protect underprivileged groups who are often targets of derogatory comments. They're not supposed to protect the powerful from the underprivileged.
The anomalies of hate speech law enforcement are the times they're actually used the way they should be. (Not that they're good ideas in the first place, but for the sake of argument…)
Shutting down dissenters and critics of the government is the status quo.
NSA Deletes "Honesty" And "Openness" From Core Values | Zero Hedge
Authored by Jean Marc Manach via The Intercept,
The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. But earlier this month, the agency made a discreet change: It removed “honesty” as its top priority.
Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four “core values” listed on NSA.gov, alongside “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency.” The agency vowed on the site to “be truthful with each other.”
On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page – which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive...
And replaced it with a new version...
Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency’s new top value is “commitment to service,” which it says means “excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission.”
Those are not the only striking alterations.
In its old core values, the NSA explained that it would strive to be deserving of the “great trust” placed in it by national leaders and American citizens. It said that it would “honor the public’s need for openness.” But those phrases are now gone; all references to “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” have disappeared.
The agency previously stated on its website that it embraced transparency and claimed that all of its activities were aimed at “ensuring the safety, security, and liberty of our fellow citizens.” That has also been discarded.
The agency still says it is committed to transparency on the updated website, but the transparency is now described as being for the benefit of “those who authorize and oversee NSA’s work on behalf of the American people.”
The definition of “integrity” has been edited, too. The agency formerly said its commitment to integrity meant it would “behave honorably and apply good judgment.” The phrase “behave honorably” has now been dropped in favor of “communicating honestly and directly, acting ethically and fairly and carrying out our mission efficiently and effectively.”
The new list of values includes the additions “respect for people” and “accountability.” But the section on respecting people is a reference to diversity within the NSA workforce, not a general commitment to members of the public. Accountability is defined as taking “responsibility for our decisions.”
The one core value that remains essentially unchanged is “respect for the law,” which the agency says means it is “grounded in our adherence to the U.S. Constitution and compliance with the U.S. laws, regulations and policies that govern our activities.”
In response to questions from The Intercept on Tuesday, the NSA played down the alterations. Thomas Groves, a spokesperson for the agency, said: “It’s nothing more than a website update, that’s all it is.”