10 October 2005

Sewer Rats & Singapore Censors


Dictionary definition: a deep hole or shaft dug or drilled to obtain water or oil or gas or brine.

Jenius definition: Sarcasm indicating irony.

Let's take The Sewer Authority first. In a move of monumental stupidity and crass disregard for even a shred of decency, responsibility or candor, the local Sewer Rats have decided to raise the rates for their pathetic level of service and diseased product more than 120% and as much as 330%. In an effort to "erase" decades of subhuman management and bestial neglect, the Sewer Rats try--they try very hard--to make this rate increase a "benefit for Puerto Rico."

The Jenius is on record as supporting a water rate increase simply because it was long overdue. But this increase fails to pass The Jenius' "Bullseye or Bullshit" meter, for the following reasons:

1) Is the rate increase justifiable? No. Increases of over 100% in any product or service, much less a utility, are essentially a raping of the consumer. Unlike a commercial product or service, a utility offers no alternative: pay up or do without. That many in Puerto Rico are already doing without water service just adds fuel to the fire. (A mixed metaphor, at least...)

2) Is the rate increase fair? No. That Puerto Ricans have been under-paying for water since the 1960s does not mean it is right to make Us over-pay for it now. Theft, constant political cronyism and piss-poor management have squandered the utility's resources. What's fair is to straighten out the utility first, then raise the rates. As it is right now, We are giving more money to a dangerously malignant entity, pretty much like giving increased blood flow to a cancerous tumor.

3) Is the rate increase useful? Hell no. See points 1 and 2 above. And notice how plans for using the rate increase's additional revenue are very very vague. Think about this: A demostrably inept organization, part of a political structure that reeks of corruption, is going to receive more than twice the money it used to... and the legislative twig says "it can't do anything about that." They lie. Just as you don't put a loaded gun in a monkey's hand, you shouldn't put millions of dollars in the hands of syphillis-addled brains.

Moving on... A recent Jenius post about Singapore touched on the limited freedoms, according to Western democratic standards, that Singaporeans have. Check out this news item about two bloggers who were jailed and fined for making racist remarks on their blogs. The judge, Richard Magnus, said the sentences were "...necessary so that such offending acts are tackled early and contained." He also said that "...callous and reckless remarks on racial or religious subjects had the potential to cause social disorder, regardless of which medium or forum they are expressed."

So far, The Jenius barely agrees. Racial slurs and racism are stupid, the product of tiny minds and cowardice. And catching variances to accepted behavior early is a key to maintaining effective discipline, a vital issue for personal and group progress.

But where The Jenius and the judge part ways violently is at this point: "..the right of one to propagate an opinion on the Internet is not and cannot be an unfettered right."

Wrong, Dick.

One's opinion is the product of one's thoughts, and thoughts are inherently free, in fact, the only inherently free right anyone has. That certain opinions are offensive, crass, disgusting, idiotic, vapid, useless and unredeeming--for example, yours, Dick--is simply part of the human condition. To state that propagating an opinion on the Internet "is not and cannot be an unfettered right" is to aim for Legality and shoot Morality in the head. For the only counterbalance to crappy opinions is more opinions, not less, to foment greater participation and not by imposing censorship.

Yes, Dickie, you sent a message of "watch out!" Yes, race and religion are sensitive issues. But trying to restrict or eliminate opinions, and the media that spreads them around the world in seconds, only creates more anonymity in the creation of opinions. That breeds cowardice. And cowardice breeds stunted thinking, like racism. Or legal precedents such as yours.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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