Politics Archives

Death Of A Freedom

It seems only fitting during this fourth of July holiday season that I take a few moments to pay my respects to the recently departed.  Another part of American freedom that too many people have taken for granted, usually only talking about it during patriotic holidays such as the fourth of July, has died.

The victim however did not simply die of old age or other natural causes.  No, this is a clear case of premeditated murder, committed in the coldest of blood.

Worse yet, the killers remain at large and even though it’s known who they are, nothing will be done to them.  They will not be arrested, tried, or convicted for this most heinous crime.

I am talking about the recent decision handed down by the US Supreme Court that upheld the provision in the obamacare law that requires all US citizens to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

It’s true that there’s a lot of people putting their hopes on Romney getting elected because they are sure that he will act to get rid of that requirement.  What most people don’t seem to understand however is that the obamacare law in general and the requirement to buy health insurance in particular are almost insignificant in comparison to the precedent that has been set by this decision.

It means that should the government choose to do so, it can require that all Americans buy a new house, a new car, a new television or anything else.  All they’d need to do is declare that the action is good for individuals and / or the economy.

It means that such a requirement will be accompanied by a tax (translation “hefty penalty”) on everyone that does not comply with the edict from on high.

Of course, the many people who cannot effort to make the required purchase and further cannot afford to pay the penalty tax for not doing so are, as the saying goes, “up shit creek without a paddle”.

These unfortunates will no doubt be subject to additional penalties of ever increasing severity.  I have no doubt that this will eventually lead to tens of thousands being jailed because they simply didn’t have the money to comply with a governmental order to buy something.

This is perhaps the single most dangerous precedent that has yet been set in American law.  Not only because of what it permits the government to do in the name of “the public good” but also because the only way to reverse this travesty is for the Supreme Court to re-hear the case and agree to nullify it’s earlier decision.

As you can imagine, the possibility of that happening is essentially nil.

So when you complain someday that you cannot afford or do not want something that the government has decreed that you must buy, remember that this started with obamacare and if you voted for him and approved of the obamacare law then you can look in the mirror and realize that you helped bring this to pass.

When that realization sinks all the way in you are hereby invited to spend the rest of your life on your knees apologizing to the rest of us who wanted no part of obama OR his health care package.

WE knew it was wrong to elect him.

WE knew his healthcare law was the wrong way to go.

WE tried and tried to tell the rest of you but you didn’t listen.

I hope you’re satisfied.

As far as *I* am concerned, you are all accessories to murder.

Your Freedom Online

I know that in recent weeks I haven’t had much to say here about the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress and I really should have.  Suffice it to say that there’s been a lot of complications that have kept me busy with things of a more personal nature.

However that doesn’t change the fact that either of these bills will have devastating effects on the freedom of speech that most of us currently take for granted.

They cannot be allowed to pass in any form.  Copyright infringement is a serious issue however that does not mean that it’s ok to allow Congress to, at the behest of “Big Content”, turn the internet into something that will eventually be just another part of their big money machine.  One that will allow little to no rights for the individual.

Both of those bills were crafted by the entertainment industry and essentially give them free reign over control of content.  They would stifle creativity and innovation and would also severely curtail the ability of people to express themselves online.

I strongly recommend that everybody contact their congresscritters and let them know that you want them to oppose any legislation that gives “Big Content” such a free pass to destroy the internet as we know it.  The easiest way I know to do this is to go to Http://eff.org and check their “Action Alert” page.  There you will find links that make it easy to contact your senators and representatives and make your voice heard.

The more people speak out the better.  We need to raise enough voices that they are convinced to not pass either of these bills or any future bills like them.  I’ve done so myself and I encourage everybody else to do so as well.

If we don’t speak out against it we’ll only have ourselves to blame if these bills pass.

Technorati Tags: entertainment industry, freedom of speech, copyright, copyright infringement, big content, piracy, freedom, internet, freedom of speech online, pipa, sopa

Donald Trump President

Picture a scene reminiscent of “The Apprentice” in which Donald Trump looks president Barack Obama square in the eyes and delivers his famous two-word catch phrase, “You’re Fired.”

Could it happen?

According to several news stories I’ve read today, he is expected to make the decision whether or not to run by next June.  If he does run, We’ll be seeing the phrase “Donald Trump for President” a lot between now and the November 2012 elections.  Personally I think that if “The Donald” should decide to run then he will most certainly win.

Donald Trump is a businessman.  He knows how to manage.  He knows how to see past the layer of bullshit that many people try to pass off as excuses for failure or why they refuse to do what’s right or what they’ve been told to do.

He has gained and lost his fortune several times and in so doing he’s learned what it takes to succeed.  More than that, he’s applied that knowledge and is arguably one of the most successful people in this country, if not the world.

His no nonsense approach to problems is something that this country needs in a president now more than ever.

Here’s a video of him being interviewed about his possible run for president recently on Good Morning America.

This video is Donald Trump talking from his office about his possible bid for the presidency.

Technorati Tags: campaign, election, fair trade, donald trump, jobs, you’re fired, trade deficit, trade, national debt, 2012, president, economy, politics

43 Companies that Support Censoring The Internet

Last Tuesday (1/18/11) some 43 companies got together and sent a letter to the US Attorney General Eric holder & John Morton of ICE.  It was also cc’d to Vice President Joe Biden, Janet Naplitano of Homeland Security, the IP czar Victoria Espinel (I don’t know about you but I can’t help thinking how UN-American it is to have ANY government position called “czar”!!), Representatives Lamar Smith and John Conyers, Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley.

This letter was all about saying how they were in support of the seizure of domain names that they don’t like and of course, the new COICA censorship bill.

Never mind the fact that there are some extremely serious Constitutional issues involved here.  Like how these seizures violate the principles of freedom of speech and a little thing called due process.  Instead, these companies are working to present the idea that censoring the internet is some kind of good idea.  Apparently they think the Constitution doesn’t apply to them when they find a website they don’t like.

This is the list of companies that would rather violate your rights of free speech and due process instead of doing the work needed to just do things right and OMG, actually compete in marketing and actually come up with ways to deal with changes in the marketplace.

Here it is, the list of companies that do not deserve one cent of your business

Achushnet – Fairhaven, MA
Activision – Santa Monica, CA
Adidas Group – Portland, OR
Anderson Merchandisers – Amarillo, TX
Beam Global – Deerfield, IL
Big Machine Records – Nashville, TN
Burberry Limited – New York, NY
Callaway – Carlsbad, CA
Chanel USA – New York, NY
Cleveland Golf – Huntington Beach, CA
Columbia Sportswear Company – Portland, OR
Concord Music Group – Beverly Hills, CA
Coty Inc. – New York, NY
Curb Music Publishing – Nashville, TN
D’Addario and Company – Farmingdale, NY
EDGE Entertainment Distribution – Streetsboro, OH
Farouk Systems, Inc. – Houston, TX
Fortune Brands – Deerfield, IL
Hastings Entertainment, Inc. – Amarillo, TX
Lightening Entertainment/Mainline Releasing – Santa Monica, CA
Louis Vuitton – New York, NY
Major League Baseball – New York, NY
Monster Cable Products, Inc. – Brisbane, CA
National Basketball Association – New York, NY
National Football League – New York, NY
NBC Universal – New York, NY
Nike – Beaverton, OR
Nu Image, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
Oakley, Inc. – Foothill Ranch, CA
PING – Phoenix, AZ
Rosetta Stone – Arlington, VA
Sierra Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
The Collegiate Licensing Company/IMG College – Atlanta, GA
The Little Film Company – Studio City, CA
Tiffany and Co. – New York, NY
Timberland – Stratham, NH
Trans World Entertainment Corporation – Albany, NY
True Religion Apparel, Inc. – Vernon, CA
Viacom – New York, NY
Village Roadshow Pictures – Beverly Hills, CA
Voltage Pictures LLC – Los Angeles, CA
Worldwide Film Entertainment LLC – Westchester, CA
Xerox – Norwalk, CT

Since these companies don’t seem to appreciate the fact that here in America we have constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and due process and would rather just sidestep those issues, I think that it is only appropriate if we American consumers make it a point to sidestep doing business with any of them.

I have to say that it’s also interesting that not very many who talked about this letter were willing to post a copy of the full letter.  I’m glad to note however that there are at least a couple of people, by Mike Masnick at techdirt.com and Greg Sandoval at News.com who did post it.

I’m joining them in posting the full text of it here:

We run companies large and small that represent diverse aspects of America’s intellectual property community. While our employees live in different regions of the country, and work to produce a variety of goods and services, they have several important things in common – they work hard, they are committed to quality and innovation and they welcome competition. However, allowing others to unfairly compete by stealing the ideas, innovations and intellectual property rights created by our employees cannot be tolerated. This theft diminishes our ability to keep and create jobs, and makes it far more difficult to attract the capital needed to invest in new products and services. In order to protect our free enterprise system, and the standard of living it has contributed to our nation, it is critical that we multiply our efforts to identify and punish the criminals who steal what we create and produce.

Thus, we appreciate the effort and energy behind Operation in Our Sites. The actions announced on November 29, 2010 once again demonstrated that, just as in the physical world, prosecutors and courts can judiciously assess evidence and distinguish between legitimate businesses and criminal enterprises that flout the law and profit from the ingenuity of others. We believe that the online marketplace can only work for consumers and creators if there is respect for property rights and the rule of law – and urge you to continue to act against the kinds of domains that you have targeted. Unfortunately, there are far too many sites stealing from our businesses but we believe that your efforts will drive consumers to the many legitimate online ventures and services that we have worked hard to foster and support.

We encourage you to work with your colleagues in the Administration and the Congress toward enactment of the principles central to S. 3804 – the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The legislation crafted by Senators Leahy and Hatch was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will undoubtedly be reintroduced this congress. The proposal expounds upon the law enforcement techniques at the heart of “Operation In Our Sites” and will ensure that rogue sites cannot evade U.S. jurisdiction by escaping offshore to foreign-based registrars, registries and country codes in order to peddle stolen American intellectual property back into the U.S. market. In addition, the Leahy-Hatch proposal provides an entirely new level of protection for U.S. rights holders by establishing the legal framework necessary to disrupt the business models of the illicit, offshore sites by starving them of the financing, advertising and access to consumers upon which they depend. The carefully balanced measure would allow American law enforcement officials and U.S. courts to deny thieves the ability to use the Internet to enter the U.S. market and undermine our businesses while reaping financial gain for themselves.

We hope that you will continue dedicating resources to Operation in Our Sites and work toward the Obama Administration’s endorsement of the Leahy-Hatch legislation.

Technorati Tags: corporate greed, censorship, unconstitutional, lazy, due process, constitution, freedom of speech, boycott

What Wikileaks Should Have Done

As most of you are probably aware the ultimate whistleblower site, wikileaks, has once again been in the news quite a bit because it has published thousands of documents, messages and so on that have proven to be a major source of embarrassment to not only the US government but to several other governments around the world.

As a result, not only is it’s top guy up to his eyeballs in legal trouble of all kinds, the site itself has been under attack in a big way.  There’s several governments and mega-corporations pushing hard, doing their best to get the site taken down, even going so far as to remove DNS entries that make it work.

In response there’s a whole bunch of people working to mirror the site in several different places to keep it online.  This is all fine and dandy and will no doubt work to varying degrees depending on jurisdiction but there’s one option that they have apparently decided not to consider.

One of the first places to mirror the data that they have been releasing ought to have been Freenet Classic Opennet (FCon).


Because the primary reason for the existence of FCon in the first place is to provide a means to publish and obtain information on the Internet without fear of censorship.

You see, FCon isn’t just another run of the mill P2P file sharing system like Kazaa, Limewire, or Bittorrent.  Data inserted into FCon becomes part of an encrypted, distributed data store.  Additionally, because the data store is encrypted, node operators cannot be expected to know the contents of their node’s data store.  Nor do they have any ability to edit or censor that content.

Once something is inserted into the network it continues to be available even after the node that inserted it goes off-line.  For example, there are websites that were inserted into the network as long ago as 2001 that can still be retrieved today even though the original authors have long since left the network.

The reason that I think Wikileaks should make use of FCon is because once the information they wish to publish is inserted, they can ask other FCon users to republish that information on the conventional internet.  Thus the information still comes out while at the same time it’s in a position where it literally cannot be taken down or deleted.

In fact, once something is inserted into the FCon network, even the act of requesting it to see if it’s there will actually cause the network to propagate that data to more nodes, thus increasing the chances that it will still be available years later.

I’m not saying that wikileaks should use FCon exclusively but it IS something that they should add to their toolbox.  I should also say that the title of this post isn’t necessarily the end of he situation.  Wikileaks still has the option to download freenet (FCon), set up a node (or six, or a few dozen) and start inserting stuff that they don’t want taken down.

Technorati Tags: cannot censor, anonymous publishing, whistleblower, censor proof, takedown, safe anonymous publishing, anonymous publishing, prevent takedown, censor proof publishing, wikileaks, cannot takedown, freenet 0.5, censorship, distributed data store, encrypted data store, freenet, encryption

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