Whatever. To start with, concerning Republican attempts to rig the voting game in their favor: It just goes to show how far some people will go to hold on to whatever power they think they may have accumulated. The thing that keeps surprising me, though, is just how brazen they have become in furthering the interests of the people who own this country. They don't even try to hide or even camouflage what they're doing any more. I guess they realize that the dumbass American public will gladly buy any old load of shit that comes down the pike.
I also want to expand a little on Bill's post about crapware. To be sure, it's really annoying and insulting to find that some application you've installed on your computer has also installed other software that you didn't know was being installed. The crapware that was at issue at least has the virtue, though, of - at some point - revealing its presence.
Far more insidious and threatening is the software that is either a part of the known-installed program or is installed separately by it that never makes itself known to the user. Many (or maybe even most - I don't really know, because I'm not a user of a great deal of software) programs, both commercial and shareware, now have a "feature" that "calls home": i.e., it will, without either your consent or your knowledge, contact the developer via the Internet, often to insure that the software is properly registered, but potentially for any reason the developer sees fit. The vast majority of owners/users of the software have no clue that this is happening.
And then, of course, are the notorious Flash cookies (aka LSOs), which are installed any time you view a source of streaming content - movie, sound clip, whatever - based on Macromedia's Flash, which includes most all popular media. These, too, are installed without either your knowledge or consent, but unlike normal Web cookies, which stop tracking you once you quit your browser, Flash cookies remain active all the time, even when no programs at all (other than your operating system) are running, tracking - well, who knows what they track?
Now, I understand in principle the usefulness, and even necessity, of cookies for Web sites - within strict limits of legitimate use. But cookies can be, and often are, only marginally useful, borderline, or downright malicious, and as for me and my house, tolerance of cookies is to be tightly controlled. I also refuse to allow any outgoing connection by any of my other programs (except my email client). There might well be acceptable reasons for such a connection, but since the developers have chosen to hide those connections from me in the first place, I err on the safe side by assuming there might also be unacceptable reasons and just don't let it happen at all.
It's just sickening to be aware of how few facets of life remain which have not been sullied by the relentless pursuit of profit via every conceivable avenue. At times I yearn for the release of death from this otherwise inescapable nightmare ...