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Entries in congress (6)

Saturday
Jan212012

SOPA is not Dead

Too many people think the battle is over, but the fact of the matter is that SOPA is not dead, and it will be reintroduced next month with a new name and in a far more dangerous guise...

This is not a waiting game, it's a game of poker. Lamar Smith has a royal flush and few people know it.

SOPA may pass. It may not. He doesn't care, and it doesn't matter. The MPAA and RIAA started working on their legislative strategy to pass a new anti-piracy bill in late 2010. SOPA was designed to raise the noise. Everyone is playing right into the entertainment industries hand. The lobbyists are laughing manically at the ignorance of the mob. Even sites like Wikipedia and reddit have played into it.

What people don't know about is the ace: H.R.1981, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 which is lying in wait. It's not complete. You see, PCIP is not contestable because it's about protecting children. They can, and very well might, copy and paste the full text of SOPA to the end of PCIP. That's the backup. That's the deal that was struck with entertainment industry lobbyists. We will try to push this anti-piracy bill. It probably won't work. Don't worry, we can pass it under an anti-child pornography bill.

There are two things which no Congressman will risk supporting: terrorism and child pornography. There can be no opposition, no discussion. Any anti-piracy law can ALWAYS be reframed as an anti-child pornography bill and it will pass, without even discussion. It will have the full support of the House (minus Ron Paul, of course), the full support of the Senate, and most importantly the full support of the American people. NO ONE wants to risk being called a pedophile.

The entertainment industry has finally caught up with technology. They understand how it works. It took them 15 years, but they know what DNS is. They are going to exploit a fundamental problem with the way DNS is centralized and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. They have found an error in the very architecture of the Internet. The solution, from a free speech standpoint is not to fight it politically. The solution is the fix the error.

We must move to a decentralized system of DNS. It is not impossible. It requires some new thinking and a re-architecture of some web services, but it must be done if we want the Internet, as we know it today, to exist in 5 or 10 years.

Furthermore, we must stop allowing our government to scare us into accepting Orwellian legislation by using words like "terrorism" and "pedophilia". Our government stands as a far more grave threat to our freedom and our liberty than anything else. We act now to stop a government that has run amock and broken free of it's constitutional shackles. If we do not, we will find ourselves to be the ones in shackles soon enough.

Friday
Jun032011

Killing Bin Laden UnChristian, Illegal?

The user "LiberalViewer" over at YouTube raises some interesting points about the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, and our President's faith. Whereas I personally have no issues with the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed, I also do not claim to be a god fearing Christian...

 


When Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time" referenced President Barack Obama's recent "60 Minutes" interview to argue that killing Osama Bin Laden was not consistent with Christianity, it also raised the question of the legality of going into another country and shooting an unarmed man in the head, as discussed in this video.

The clips used of Bill Maher come from the New Rules segment on HBO's May 13, 2011, broadcast of "Real Time with Bill Maher" currently available online at http://itsh.bo/jOfFuA

The clip used of President Barack Obama comes from his interview on CBS's May 8, 2011, broadcast of "60 Minutes" currently available online athttp://bit.ly/kzyCav

So, what do you think? Does supporting the use of military force in self-defense disqualify someone from calling himself or herself a Christian?

Does the September 2001 Congressional authorization for the use of military force and the self-defense justification make it legal for the U.S. to enter another country, without their consent, and kill Osama bin Laden?

Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

Monday
Mar212011

They hate us, because we bomb them...

Giving little thought to the lessons of history, President Obama has begun attacking Libya with the full support of virtually every member of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans. Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle issued the following statement today:

"President Obama's decision to order military attacks on Libya is only surprising to those who actually think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. He has now ordered bombing strikes in six different countries, adding Libya to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

"While the justifications vary in each case, the disturbing common thread is that these are all predominantly Muslim countries. And the goodwill expressed by Arab people about Obama in opinion polls early in his administration has completely vanished: in the most recent Zogby survey, 85% expressed an unfavorable opinion toward the United States, eclipsing the 83% negative opinion in the final year of the Bush administration.

Angry Libyans"Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi is no friend of liberty, but the military involvement of the United States in the rebellion against him threatens to undermine the credibility of the resistance to his rule and turn him into a hero. As news of both actual and rumored killings of innocent civilians by American bombs spreads throughout the Arab world, the hatred which spawned the 9/11 murderers will continue to grow. Finally, what if Gadaffi still manages to defeat the rebels? Faced with the choice of losing face or upping the ante with an escalation of military involvement, this could turn into yet another disastrous campaign. And as Steve Chapman put it in an article in Reason magazine, 'Most of the people endorsing an attack know less about Libya than they do about playing the oboe.' When will we ever learn?

"Libertarians advocate the foreign policy eloquently described by Thomas Jefferson at his inauguration: 'Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.' Just as the Founding Fathers expressed admiration for the 'Swiss Model' of armed neutrality that has managed to keep Switzerland out of the vicious wars of Europe for hundreds of years, we should embrace the idea that the purpose of an American military is the defense of American soil, period. As Senator Barack Obama said in criticizing the Bush administration, 'The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.'

The Constitution of the United States requires an explicit Declaration of War in order for this country to engage in hostilities with foreign nations. Obama, after dithering for two weeks, has joined the list of presidents who chose to launch wars on their personal say-so in direct contravention of the Constitution.

I don't know how many times we have to endure administrations, both Republican and Democratic, who shoot first and ask questions later. Probably for as long as we continue to elect Republicans and Democrats to office. We as a people must begin to realize that we will only continue to make ourselves less safe, so long as we continue to engage in interventionist politics around the globe. These are the very actions that make other countries resent us, and therefore make us less safe.

I believe that if we want to be safer, and more importantly, more free, we should stop tolerating the anti-constitutional security measures we are subjected to at home (e.g: the PATRIOT Act, & "Enhanced" Airport Security) and focus more on not making more enemies around the globe.

The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

Sunday
Mar202011

Ron Paul mocks "Fiscal Conservatives" who want to cut NPR Spending but approve of the war in Afghanistan

In a passionate speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, Representative Ron Paul mocked the so-called “fiscal conservatives” who voted to cut funding to National Public Radio, even though it’s unclear if such a move would affect the deficit, but don’t seem to mind continuing funding for the war in Afghanistan.

There’s a serious question of whether [eliminating NPR funding] will even cut one penny, but at least the fiscal conservatives are going to be overwhelmingly in support of slashing NPR, go home and brag about how they’re such great fiscal conservatives,” Paul said.

The very most they might save is $10 million. That’s their claim to fame for slashing the budget. At the same time they won’t consider for minute cutting a real significant amount of money.

This video is from C-Span, broadcast Thursday, March 17, 2011.


 
Sunday
Oct032010

Anti-Piracy Bill Introduced to Ramp-Up Cyber-security

A bipartisan bill recently introduced would make it easier for the Justice Department to shut down websites that traffic pirated music, movies and counterfeit goods.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee including chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" , which would create an expedited process for DoJ to shut down websites providing pirated materials.

Each year, online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods costs American businesses billions of dollars, and result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs,” Leahy said in a statement. “Protecting intellectual property is not uniquely a Democratic or Republican priority — it is a bipartisan priority.

MPAA Editorial Cartoon PosterI for one would like to know where they get their statistics and how they are calculating the value of pirated content. Both the MPAA and the RIAA are know to set ridiculous values such as $2500 for a single pirated MP3.

But more importantly, the public-at-large should be concerned with what will constitute "trafficking pirated music, movies and counterfeit goods".  Does hosting a torrent count? After all, through a torrent you are not necessarily hosting any content, you are simply linking to those who do. What about linking to content? What about sharing information about how to crack Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the such? Do these things constitute offenses under this act?

At the end of the day, it is blindingly obvious that this act is not about protecting artists or saving jobs. It's about protecting the profits of corporate fat-cats. It's about protecting the very existence of organizations like the MPAA and the RIAA who serve no real purpose and add no real value to their industries. But what they do contribute is billions of dollars in campaign funding.

I urge you to write or call your congressional representatives and let them know what you think about legislation such as this. At a time when the economy is in such sad shape, and we still have two wars raging, should Congress really be wasting time writing and passing legislation that comes dangerously close to censorship?

What do you think? Leave your comments below...

(Additional information at "thehill.com")