US Government seizes 307 domains in the defense of the NFL

 

This falls into the category of the sort of news  that’s significant, but is relegated to the back pages, while the diversionary infotainment that informs you of nothing is in the headlines.  Here’s the story:

 

While many sports fans are preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl by organizing parties and shopping for TVs, the U.S. government is preparing in a different way. Just yesterday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency seized 307 different domains suspected of violating NFL copyrights. Of those, 16 were suspected of illegal streaming. The rest were allegedly selling counterfeit NFL merchandise.

The seizure was conducted under U.S. civil law, not criminal law. That means the affected parties need to prove that the internet domains were not engaging in illegal activity to get them back — an ugly mirror image of the country’s usual “innocent until proven guilty” right. Many of the domains were not being operated by U.S. groups. Because they used U.S. domain suffixes .net, .com, and .org, however, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was empowered to act.

Visitors to any of the seized domains are now greeted by a message from ICE explaining the takedown. According to the government, these messages have already been viewed over 77 million times yesterday alone.

http://www.tecca.com/news/2012/02/03/ice-nfl-website-seizure-superbowl/

The story indicates that “many” domains were being operated by groups outside the US, hence the involvement of Homeland Security and US Immigration,  but doesn’t say exactly how many.  “Many” is a sort of word that’s highly subjective and doesn’t preclude that there may have also ”many” groups that were US  based.  Regardless of where they were based, all have to prove that they weren’t engaging in illegal activity—in other words, they’re guilty until they establish innocence.  For the legitimate US based businesses, that won’t do them much good at this point  as by the time they get around to that, the Super Bowl and the money making opportunity it provides will have passed.  I read somewhere that the way to get around this is to have a foreign domain, but it’s a bit late in the day for that at this point as well.  So what we have here is the US Government security infrastructure protecting private business interests by deciding who’s going to be in business and who will not.  If you needed confirmation why our vast and growing security state exists, this would appear to give an insight to its purpose and function.

This same security state, which includes the justice department, seemingly couldn’t do anything to prosecute those responsible for the robo-signing mortgage frauds— which have far broader impacts in the economy and which are largely responsible for the mess we’re in now — until  here of late and it’s uncertain at this point whether or not this is merely a populist election year ploy.  The point in making this comment is to not get into a partisan fray here as I truly believe that there’s really very little difference between what the current administration has done on this front versus what a McCain administration, a Romney administration or a Clinton administration would have done.  So the indictment here is really not against the Obama administration so much as the political system in its entirety.  Those who happen to occupy key positions in the executive and legislative branches of our government are figureheads and are there for us to vent our anger on and fight about in the left-right paradigm. The real control, which is behind the scenes, is constant and controls that paradigm. This is why certain policies are consistent across so called liberal or conservative majorities/administrations.

  • Anonymous

    “So what we have here is the US Government security infrastructure protecting private business interests by deciding who’s going to be in business and who will not.  If you needed confirmation why our vast and growing security state exists, this would appear to give an insight to its purpose and function.”

    As you’ve indicated, the government failed in its responsibility to protect consumers and to prosecute those who violated the law. 

    The anti-government trend–reaching its full-throated expression by the several Republican presidential hopefuls–has called for the dismantling of the very agencies that we rely upon to check this kind of marketplace abuse.

    As it stands, these agencies don’t always operate in ways that protect the public good, yet it’s still better to have them in place for those times when government does decide to act, and, hopefully, in the interim, to serve as a deterrent, albeit a weak one.

    “This same security state, which includes the justice department, seemingly couldn’t do anything to prosecute those responsible for the robo-signing mortgage frauds— which have far broader impacts in the economy and which are largely responsible for the mess we’re in now .” 

    For General Electric, not even internal whistle-blowing reined in the abuse and the fraud:

    “Dave Riedel, a former compliance manager at WMC, says sales reps intent on putting up big numbers used falsified paperwork, bogus income documentation and other tricks to get loans approved and sold off to Wall Street investors.

    “One WMC official, Riedel claims, went so far as to declare: ‘Fraud pays.’”
    http://www.iwatchnews.org/2012/01/06/7802/fraud-and-folly-untold-story-general-electric-s-subprime-debacle

    Of course, if we’re to believe Republicans, the real-estate debacle can be traced back to President Carter and liberals, as though Carter and liberals gave Wall Street and mortgage servicers license to steal. 

    Forsooth, it was unchecked greed that was our nation’s undoing: 

    “The problems grew from a lot of sloppy recordkeeping that began during the housing boom, when Wall Street built a quick-and-dirty back-office operation to process mortgages quickly so lenders could sell as many loans as possible. As the loans were later sold to investors, and then resold around the world, the back office system sidestepped crucial legal procedures.Now it’s becoming clear just how dysfunctional and, according to several state attorneys general, how fraudulent the whole system was.”
    http://www.oregonlive.com/finance/index.ssf/2012/01/foreclosure_watch_thanks_to_po.html 

    Subprime, mortgage-backed securities, given Triple A ratings, and protected with the purchase of credit default swaps–credit protection which sellers usually pocketed without setting aside adequate capital reserve in case of defaults–fueled the greed, creating the perfect storm that roared through our economy like a category 6 hurricane.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      BD,

      Sorry about my lack of response.  I got buried with work here, but your assessment is spot on.  Greed has been our undoing and although heaven and earth is being moved to suspend the reality arising from the consequences, it will be next to impossible to continue the fiction.  What we’ve arrived at is a form of crony capitalism where the kleptocrats rule.  It is indeed  a dangerous time for the country and the world at large.

      • Anonymous

        I surmised that your situation was job related. I’m taking a hiatus as well, but will get back into the fray once I recharge.

        Agreed, the times they are a changing, here at home and abroad. Many believe that Iran is behind the attempted assassination of some Israelis, increasing the tension between the two nations.

         Two Iranian warships passed through the Suez Canal, ostensibly to present a show of force, and a steadfastness of resolve against sanctions, further ratcheting up the possibility of a strike by Israel in the Spring as predicted by Leon Panetta. 

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9058443/Panetta-believes-Israel-may-strike-Iran-this-spring.html

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

           I’m watching both the situation in Iran and Syria closely as they’re very much related and both were a part of the neo-con inspired Project for a New American Century where regime change is pursued in the middle east.  I’m of the opinion that the larger strategic thrust is really about hemming in both China and Russia in a sort of Great Game reminiscent of that played in Central Asia.   In the middle of all this  is oil supply and the idea of peak oil, or dwindling supply on the one hand, and the defacto backing of the US dollar on the other IMO.  With the debt situation unraveling in the whole of the western world and Russia, China and others attempting to develop trade outside of the orbit of the dollar/oil pricing mechanism, controlling oil is viewed at critical and if you think about it, it’s not just by coincidence that we’re involved in Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere in the middle east.  I think the rebel model that was used in Libya is what is being deployed in Syria now.

          None of this will be without consequence for us.  The main thing is the enemies we are creating and they’re not limited to the middle east.  Russia and China have ties in both Iran and Syria and aren’t going to look at the situation kindly.  I wouldn’t be surprised at the emergence of the trading bloc that targets us directly where we’re vulnerable.  

  • LTE

    This board was down a few times, I thought the Feds nailed you Gregg.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

       The Fed’s have me in a sorta indirect way—considering that I have a practice heavily oriented towards tax prep, so I’ve been a tad bit busy which interrupts my ability to post.  There’s been a lot of stuff going on worthy of posting—particularly revolving around your boy Romney.  Looks like he’s got a problem, as I predicted, but I was wrong on the source.  I though it’d be Gingrich, but instead its Santorum—he of losing his election by 18 points fame. 

      I just read today about you guys possibly planning a brokered convention due to the lack of a viable candidate now that Romney looks set to lose Michigan.   This is an absolute disaster for the republican party.  You guys shot yourselves in the foot with this tea party craziness and that error is now unrecoverable it seems to me.

      • Anonymous

        “You guys shot yourselves in the foot with this tea party craziness and that error is now unrecoverable it seems to me.”

        If you listen to the likes of Edward Cox, the Tea Party made the Republican party stronger than ever, and, with that strength, the party has Democrats by the short hairs. But we both know that by re-litigating the culture wars, where women, and their uteruses, are given center stage, they’re holding a losing hand–if I’m allowed to mix my metaphors.

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          My fascination with politics has a lot to do with its similarity to business.  When I was in school, we’d frequently dissect case studies revolving around strategic management decisions and how they either dimmed or brightened a company’s future.  The strategy that one plays at any given point can have long-term consequences both in business and in the business of politics.  Obama’s strategy in 2008 exploited the changing demographics in the country by changing the electoral map and that was driven primarily by turnout of disaffected segments of the population.  The republicans have always relied on a strategy of suppressing that vote and using divisive issues to turn out their base.  That will no longer work long term and the off year elections were really a flash in the pan that occurred only because of low turnout.  The 2008 loss should have caused them to pause and reflect, but instead they doubled down on a strategy that is biting them very hard now.  Basically, what gave them the house majority in 2010, will lose the presidency and perhaps some seats in congress as well.  They’re stuck—after running with the t-party and getting their base up around that, they now are asking that same base to support a RINO like Romney.  The base is rejecting him for a hard right conservative—and that sort of candidate can’t win a national election.  They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t–but they made the bed.

          I’m sure this will wind up being a Harvard B-school case at some point—as will Obama’s 2008 campaign.

      • Anonymous

        You are now an agent for the ever expanding welfare state. Freedoms and privacy will be casualties in the ever growing need for tax revenue.
        .
        As for the Republicans, Santorum is a good possibility.  He’s a bull dog and worse yet, well informed. I had watched him and Casey debate back in 2006 and he was impressive, poor ole Bob Casey was left to flounder around.
        .
        I think he would maul Obama in any debate. Obama has supplied a lot of ammo to Republicans, it is up to the party to use it. I think Santorum would. 
        .
        As for the Tea Party, let them play the admiring comments of leading Democrats cooing over Occupy Now :) .

        • Anonymous

          Oops, I forgot, you are an agent for the state… ignore those Obama comments.

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

           >>>You are now an agent for the ever expanding welfare state. Freedoms and
          privacy will be casualties in the ever growing need for tax revenue.<<>>As for the Republicans, Santorum is a good possibility.  He’s a bull dog
          and worse yet, well informed. I had watched him and Casey debate back
          in 2006 and he was impressive, poor ole Bob Casey was left to flounder around.<<<

          Wasn't it Casey who Santorum lost to by 18 points?  I don't think Santorum has a snowball's chance in hell versus Obama.  The main reason being the very narrow electorate that he'd appeal to.  This is why they're talking about a brokered convention.  The crowned front runner Romney, can't win primaries and looks set to lose Michigan.  And the republicans know that a Santorum candidacy will doom them to defeat.  The media and Romney here have been dead silent since Santorum's romp.  This primary season has been an absolute disaster for the republican party and all the T-party craziness set this up.  The base wants a hard right conservative, but that dog ain't gonna hunt in the general election. 
          .

          • Anonymous

            “but the other side is that practitioners are increasingly being positioned as tax collection agents.”

            I had seen this coming years ago, regardless of Republican or Democrat you were going to see a continued growth in the welfare state. I deal with Europeans and it’s taxes everywhere for them and it drives many crazy. The Wall Street Journal had an article on how after Merkel got into office she had a round table meeting with the major German industrialists asking why they were no longer investing and expanding businesses in Germany. They told her it was no longer worth the effort and they rather “take the day off” than work harder just to watch everything they earned get chewed up in taxes. The previous Socialist government admitted Germany could no longer sustain it’s welfare system and programs would have to be rolled back.
            It appears American will have to learn the lesson instead of learning from someone else’s experience.
            .
            As for Santorum, I can’t say 2006 speaks that much. There was a strong anti-Bush mood and the Democrats made Santorum out to be Bush’s lackey. His campaign released an ad that had inaccurate information and the Democrats made hay with that.  The Democrats painted him as a religious kook. His support for Arlen Spector was a big, BIG mistake, that left a LOT of Republicans intensely angry at him. Robert Casey, Jr was widely admired and Bob Casey, Jr got great mileage from that admiration.
            .
            Maybe it could be said it was remarkable Santorum was elected at all and the fact Pat Toomey was elected shows Santorum’s basic political leanings were not far away from what Pennsylvanians wanted.
            .
            Santorum is no show horse but his relatively positive message,  his pit bull tenacity could wear well over time. Obama has played financial games, has not been honest with the Americans and has played socially divisive games.
            .
            Santorum could also do an ethnic play as many Hispanics are Spanish, who are cousins to Italians. His being both Catholic and Latin could play well to that crowd.
            .
            I would be more concerned if Obama played square with Americans, but he didn’t. If Santorum is clever, has my sense of smoking out a con man, he could pull off a win. May only be by a 5% margin, but Obama’s “landslide” was only 7% (I see 10%+ a landslide, 7% is a solid win).

            • Anonymous

              Watching the last debate, Santorum could only do a double when he needed a home run…

              • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

                I don’t know how this entire primary season can be considered other than a disaster for the republican party.  According to our local newspaper, even Pennsylvanians don’t think Santorum will best Obama and he still remains seen by majorities here as extreme let alone when one considers the electorate as a whole. Santorum can’t even count on carrying his home state.

                I say and say again that you guys made a strategic blunder that will be fatal for your party this year and beyond.  You guys doubled down on the right to get your base all worked up in 2010, but now have to run to the middle for the general.  Your base is rejecting that move and demanding a hard right conservative, but that person can’t get elected.  You guys are trying to deflect attention away from this crisis with the attacks on Obama’s apology to the Afghans, but it won’t work.  Yes, make no mistake LTE, this is a crisis of major proportions for your party.

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