An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘SOPA’

GOP Authorizing Rape Before Abortions

The language in the title may sound excessive, but if you listen to what is said, and you see what is affiliated with it, then really, there can’t be any other way of looking at it.

For those who are unaware, Virginia has recently passed a law that makes is so that a woman has to get an trans-vaginal ultrasound before they get an abortion.  But why call it rape?  For one thing, this totally destroys the Constitution of this country.

It’s been on the block for years.  It’s kind of nice to know that America is finally killing it.  The Patriot Act destroyed the 4th and 1st Amendment.  SOPA and PIPA would have totally obliterated them, but they failed.  Now ACTA is trying to finish them.  Of course, that doesn’t even matter because the government did what SOPA and PIPA would have done anyway, when they took down MegaUpload.

And the Republican delegates of Virginia don’t even care.  Delegate Todd Gillbert basically made the case that a majority of abortions are a matter of “convenience.”  That this is all fun and games for women.  Not only is that an offensive statement, but in lieu of what is happening, it makes this whole affair even worse.

This is what the GOP wants to shove into rape victims

If one has ever seen the probe (featured right) that is involved with trans-vaginal ultrasound, it basically looks like a dildo.  These things are now going to be forced into the uterus’ of women in Virginia.  But the really sad part is that it doesn’t stop there.  In Texas, states all over the Lower 48, and now here in Alaska, similar legislation is being presented.

This is a total violation of the rights of women.  And the reason it is being done is even more insidious.  It is in order the shame these women.  To coerce them into not having this procedure.  Not only is forcing a woman to do something like this beyond humiliating, but it is being done for the express purpose of making them do what the GOP wants.

It is kind of interesting that this “family values” crowd is making such a big reappearance in the last few years.  Groups like the American Family Association have been coming back.  This coincides with the picking up speed that Rick Santorum is getting in the GOP primaries.  The far-right conservative base is making another appearance, and this is what it brings with it.

Legislation that would force invasive procedures onto women who could have been raped.  They were raped once, and now the GOP in Virginia has legislated that they be raped again.  As Americans, we cannot stand idly by and let this happen.  There needs to be some action.  People like elected officials are making the case that abortions are done for “convenience.”  They are shoving devices that look like dildos into women.  This is NOT how a government operates in a civil society.

But the bigger issues is – if this government thinks that this kind of thing is appropriate, does America have a future?  It is getting harder and harder to answer that question, because there doesn’t seem to be as huge outrage.  Granted, that may be because this is new.  A Category-5 Storm of media lambasting and online attack may still come.  And if it does, that’s good.  There needs to be another Komen for the Cure level reaction to this, because these people are not “moral crusaders.”  They are charlatans who wear the clothes of kind people.

This legislation is unconstitutional, it is unethical, and it is un-empathetical.  And above morality, empathy is what is needed.  Clearly, the GOP candidates who backed this in Virginia, and anybody who will back it her in Alaska doesn’t have ANY of that whatsoever.

Peace out,

Lefty

Is Anonymous as Bad as the Government?

There is a line or reasoning that you see in the comments section of YouTube videos that the group Anonymous puts up.  They are a group who randomly accosts groups of people who they perceive as acting injustly.  To date, their actions seem to be keeping with a good standard, not just striking the defenseless.  They have gone after Scientologists groups whose crimes are no well-documented.  They have gone after this government for disabling internet, something that our own government attacked Egypt for doing.  They have also attacked the government itself, after the failure of SOPA and PIPA to pass did nothing to stop them from getting rid of MegaUpload.

However, many people now seem to be of the mindset that Anonymous is as bad as the government and corporate forces that they attack.  This is an interesting theory, for many reason.  Let’s compare the actions of Anonymous and the government, to see which is the more malicious.

1. The government passed The Patriot Act, which has effectively destroyed the Fourth Amendment, and made the government be able to wire-tap any phone or computer they want, without the user’s permission.
Anonymous has leaked the personal information of people who it views as unjust.  In many instances, this doesn’t seem out of bounds because these people, like the police officers who brutalized Occupy protestors, have done reprehensible things, and seem to not be taken to task for it.

2. The government created a bill that would allow them to censor the internet, but when it didn’t pass, they simply disabled a site anyway.  It is abundantly clear that they didn’t seem to care that this didn’t pass.  They had every intention of acting anyway.
Anonymous has disabled sites, but only after the people have acted in what they perceive as wrong, and their reasons are justified.  They are not destroying countless pieces of information, like the government did when they got rid of MegaUpload.  Gigabytes of data, completely destroyed in a micro-second.  The government and the corporations were only bothered, and for a brief amount of time.

3. The government has put an American citizen (Bradley Manning) in prison, for over a year, without charge or trial.  The trial that they did have was a show-trial, and everybody who cared and saw this knew it.
Anonymous has done nothing of the sort.  They have leaked information, and made a lot of people look really bad, but nobody has gotten hurt from their actions, despite what Fox News will say about how dangerous these people are.

4. The government has an army of people who have been brutally quashing the peaceful protests of people who are trying to exercise their First Amendment rights to have a redress of grievances.  They have put innocent people in the hospital, like the Iraq veteran who they shot in the head with a canister, and who now has problems speaking.
Anonymous has explicitly said that they do not endorse violence.  They have come firmly out and said that all protests should be peaceful, and that violence cannot solve anything.  Disagree with that point, but they have never endorses violent behavior.

5. NDAA is a new bill that has stipulations that allow American citizens to be hauled off to jail, indefinitely, without trial or charge, and also allows them to be tortured.  All they have to be is viewed as “terror suspects.”
Anonymous has never even come close to doing something of that nature.  They are online hackers, not a bureaucracy that will attack and now can indefinitely imprison its citizens, along with torture them.

When you look at the facts, it’s pretty clear.  Anonymous is a group who is acting in the interests of what they believe to be right.  If you believe that they are wrong, that’s fine.  However, to say that their actions are just as bad as the governments and corporate entities that they are fighting is a compete falsehood.

It’s good to argue about the things that matter to people.  Debate means that people are thinking.  But don’t go saying that this group is just as bad as a group that has clearly shown itself to be the more nefarious.

Peace out,

Lefty

America’s Government is Old

People can argue until they are blue in the face about it being a left thing or a right thing, but the fact is that it is not.  What is wrong this this country can be seen in what is happening in Congress right now.  It has been going on since the beginning of the Internet, and it can be seen in perfect clarity at this very moment.  So, what’s wrong with this country – the government is old.

Nowhere is this problem more visible than with the battle for SOPA and PIPA.  It is all over the internet today.  Google and Wikipedia are blacking out their pages to protest it.  If they were smart, Facebook and Twitter would have joined the fight.  If you want people to fight against these two acts, deny people their Facebook.  It would be a fury of anger at the government.  But alas, it is still a good fight that has been done on the behalf of this battle that all of the internet is firmly on one side.

But it is a sign too about how this government is.  It is very, very old.  What’s more is that the age is starting to show, and it is getting to be a real problem for the people in this country who are becoming more politically aware.

Over the last ten years, technology has changed everything.  As more and more people are becoming connected online, the cultural values and the like that have dominated society are eroding away.  Culture is becoming one online.  The online communities are growing every day.  Technology has linked our world together the way nothing ever has before.  It is an amazing time to be alive.

The problem is that while the technology is becoming a river of discovery and growth, the government of this country is behind.  This government is living in the 20th Century.  There is proof like no other when you look at how things are being handled right now.

At the end of the 90’s, things were great for this country.  Our economy was on top of the world, and there were no signs that things were going to go wrong.  Not on the surface, anyway.  Our government, especially the Republican side of the fence, keeps wanting to go back to that.  They don’t seem to realize that we can never go back to that.

The reasons are simple – everything has changed since 1999.  The world is a 100% different place than it was at the end of the century.  The Internet has changed business in this world forever.  Technology has changed the way people live their lives.  The economy dramatically failing has changed the opportunities this country has.  And most of all, the demographics have drastically changed.

Other nations have figured this out, and have taken steps to change with the times.  Europe has invested in infrastructure.  While many nations are in bad shape, many others are holding strong.  They have an up-to-date transit system, universal health care, a national wireless service.  They aren’t investing the way America is in war and bad business practices, along with deregulation.  They are embracing the future of technology.  Some nations quicker than others, but America is going next to nowhere in a big hurry.

Asia is really coming into its own too.  Japan is looking to be coming out of the economic slump that it has been in for the last twenty years.  China is rapidly expanding their economic power.  South Korea has the largest wireless network on the face of the planet, universal health care, and they are doing very well.

Even our friends close to home are doing pretty good.  Canada is holding strong.  They have some problems, but they are holding out.  Meanwhile, America is falling into a grave of economic failure.  This country is headed in the wrong direction again, and fast.

We haven’t learned that the way we are doing business isn’t working.  The reason we haven’t learned that, in my opinion, is because our nation’s congress is too old.  We have an old guard, and they want to do things the way that they have always been done.  But as we have seen, that system is no longer palatable.  The times have changed, and we have to change with them.  But the old guard is looking to keep things the way they always were.

And the old guard doesn’t stop at the government.  The people who run the corporations aren’t figuring it out either.  SOPA and PIPA are the result of the media industry not wanting things to change.  Never mind that what they call “piracy” has changed the shape of business forever.  Napster opened the flood-gates of a new way of doing business, and it has changed the face of business not just in America, but across the globe.

That’s the really ugly part of SOPA and PIPA.  They wouldn’t just hurt business here in America, but across the globe.  It would effectively kill the internet.  It would destroy the livelihoods of thousands, maybe millions of people.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, all of those sites would be gone in a day.  Because these acts aren’t targeted, like the DMCA was.  These are a nuclear weapon, because the media industry has realized that this isn’t going to be stopped.  The technology is going to grow and change things even more.

There is hope, though.  There are signs that the old guard is being fought against.  The Occupy movement has shown that the young guard is growing, and they are tired of things staying the way they are.  They know what I know – that things can be better, if we change the way we do things.

For 50 years, deregulation and “free market” has been the mantra.  We’re now seeing that that isn’t going to work anymore.  America isn’t the massive growing market.  We have stopped our growth spurt.  Now things have to change.  And the youth are getting active.  However, more needs to happen.  We have to elect younger leaders with an eye for changing things.  These old men and women who run Congress are driving us into the ground.

So, what’s your next move?

Peace out,

Lefty

Homeland Security tasked with watching American Journalists. RIP, Bill of Rights

There is a new initiative that is being taken by Homeland Security.  It is the National Operations Center (NOC) Media Monitoring Initiative.  According to this initiative, Homeland Security will be collecting information about journalists, news anchors, or anybody who –

traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.

This basically says that anybody from Keith Olbermann to a small blogger like myself can be targeted.  They have written that their spying is only what is “public information,” but what really raises eyebrows with that statement is the fact that they seem to want to spy on journalists at all.

There was a time where journalists were the one who were tasked with watching government.  they were the ones who were supposed to keep the government accountable to the people.  But it seems the government doesn’t like that anymore.

Oh who are we kidding.  The government of this country has hated the First Amendment since it was enacted in the Bill of Rights.  They have always wanted to get rid of it.  And now, it is looking like they are going to do just that.  Along with the entire Bill of Rights.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, along with its twin sister, PIPA, the Protect IP Act, are effectively going to kill the internet.  Or if it doesn’t kill it, it will changed it beyond recognition.  While that is going on, the National Defense Authorization Act has made it so that the government can detain America citizens indefinitely without cause or trial.  While these people are imprisoned, they can also be tortured just like the other detainees we have at Gitmo.

There was a question posed on formspring.me –

Will Freedom of Speech eventually be oppressed to the point that it’s extinguished?

The reply to that questions was very good –

You can’t really view it as an on/off switch. It’s a gradient. Right now, we are on the freer end of the spectrum, but heading the wrong way. If we don’t have some seriously culture blowback soon we’re going to be firmly on the bad end of the spectrum. We can’t let SOPA or PIPA pass.

That’s the absolute truth.  We are headed in the wrong direction as a nation when it comes to freedom of speech and other rights.  The worst part is that there is no cultural blowback.  The Occupy movement is showing signs of having gotten people involved, but unless the public starts really getting involved in what is happening, our rights are dead.

There are ugly signs that things are changing for the worse.  The police who are cracking down on the Occupy movements are attacking protestors and specifically focusing on photographers and journalists.  What exactly do they not want people to see?  With place like YouTube showing the ugliness of what is going on, like with the recent video of soldiers peeing on dead Afghanis, it is getting harder and harder for the thugs who make the police forces of this country to get away with what they could before.

Groups like Anonymous are being treated like terrorists by the FBI, but thank goodness that doesn’t give them much pause.  But very quickly, we are learning that the Bill of Rights may have been on the chopping block for a while, but now the executioner is called.

NDAA passed the Senate with only seven people against it.  Seven people stood up for the Bill of Rights.  How many will stand up for the Bill of Rights with SOPA and PIPA?  In an election year, it’s worth mentioning that Obama backed NDAA.  He also said he would be closing Gitmo, but now it appears like he wants to make it a franchise.

The really sad part is that if somebody who doesn’t know what’s going on, or listens to Fox News reads this, they’ll think I’m fear-mongering.  It’s the tragic part when the even-minded liberals are the ones who are talking fear.  And people should be afraid.

Things have been bad for a while, and the greatest tragedy of all is that there no people with pitchforks.  There are no massive riots and massive calls to action to stop what is happening.  The Occupy movement has done quite a bit.  Now we need something more.  There needs to be public action because we are slowly slipping into a very ugly place.  As the question above said, freedom of speech is a gradient, and the gradient is getting darker.  That cannot be allowed to happen.

If it does, though, and SOPA and PIPA pass, and journalists become the first who are attacked, then RIP, Bill of Rights.  You were fun while you lasted.

Peace out,

Lefty

Lefty’s Voice: Save the Internet!

There are times in history when a person is required, even if they hate politics, to rise above and beyond the call of duty.  There are times when a person is required to do more than what they had done before.  This is one of those times, because this goes far beyond the world of politics.  It affects the freedoms of each and every one of us!  It affects all of America, and will not only destroy business, but also put our people in bondage.  I am, of course, talking about the Protect IP Act and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).

On the surface, both of these acts sound, honestly, dumb.  Piracy is a good thing.  This has been proven.  Without online piracy, websites like Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes would never have evolved.  Napster opened the floodgates on something that is universal – the pursuit of cheap entertainment.  And it has been good business all over the place.  It did bring down the record companies, but they were monopolizing music.  Piracy has changed the world for the better and for always.

However, it is absolutely clear that this is nothing more than a ploy against the freedoms that people have.  With these new bills, websites that are perfectly legal under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) will face legal threats.  YouTube vloggers and channels that put up clips from the news (which is perfectly within the real of Fair Use) will be the first to be censored.  And to prevent any legal action, websites will deliberately block anything that could be construed as violations.

It also goes further.  If just a few links that infringe on these new rules are posted, an entire website can be blocked.  So those who like watching YouTube, that could be blocked.  Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, any and all of them can be blocked completely.  To protect themselves, websites will automatically self-censor more, preventing startups from launching.  Websites will no longer be able to count on the DNS (Domain Naming System) for security, which was working just fine before.

And if you are a person who posts your own music, you can be sent to jail!  That’s right, if you aren’t licensed to put your music online, you can be sent to jail as a felon.  So independent musicians who post links on Facebook, you could be sent to jail!  Any non-commercial user can be charged with a felony for posting things online.

Since the day when I was able to pay attention, it was resoundly clear that this government hates the First Amendment.  They hate it.  They hate the people can do what they want and tell the government that they are dead wrong.  They have always hated it.  I wonder very much what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution.  They must have either been incredibly ignorant, or incredibly wise.  Because at this very moment, their dream of a free nation is about to die.

It is being supported by everybody.  SOPA has 21 Democratic supporters, 16 Republic supporters, and 1 Independent supporter in the Senate, while the Protect IP Act has 7 Democratic supporters, and 16 Republican Supporters in the House.  These people are totally fine with throwing the First Amendment in the trash.  And the mainstream media isn’t covering this!  I haven’t heard one damn story on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox about this.  Only the independent media is talking about this, and the talk is very small.  It seems like this huge affront to the Constitution might just happen and nobody outside of those who are paying attention will know about it.

Companies like the ones who own Reddit Tumblr, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and many others are fighting back against this.  There are a number of activist groups.  The YouTuve vlogger community has jumped on the bandwagon, from both sides of the sociological and political fence.  There are multiple links that are aiding in the fight against the destruction of the First Amendment, but we need YOUR help!  We need everybody.  I will provide links to opinions and to ways you can fight back.

Opinions –
My Favorite Vlogger
http://youtu.be/ijqjHo3_H8s
Nostalgia Critic
http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/33243-top-11-reasons-he-wont-review-digimon
Anonyous’ voice
http://youtu.be/HgTO9Eds09Q
Huffington Post article
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-gagnier/sopa-and-protect-ip-what-_b_1099471.html

Ways you can fight back –
Tumblr
http://www.tumblr.com/protect-the-net
Reddit
http://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/me5e9/
A great website
http://americancensorship.org/

The vote has happened, and it has only been to delay.  There is still time to make yourself heard!  We must rise above and beyond the call of duty now, right now!  This is the only chance we are going to get!  I think I’ll end this with a quote,

“The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791–don’t let them die in 2011!”  -TJ Kincaid

Peace out,

Lefty

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