Friday, September 13, 2013
The monstrous evil that is Islam
America had its nose rubbed in the insensate hate that is Islam on 9/11/2001
Just one image has brought that monstrous evil to the front of my mind today. It is the much-reproduced image of grief below, where Carrie Bergonia looks over the name of her fiance, firefighter Joseph Ogren, during ceremonies at the 9/11 Memorial marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
What I see there is a woman, perhaps in her 30s, as skinny as a rake with her big tote bag and not a lot going for her. She probably never had a lot of good options in her life but she had finally got a break in finding her firefighter partner. Then that rare chance for lasting happiness was taken away from her by Muslim evil. "The poor woman! The poor woman!", I say to myself. I feel so sorry for her.
Obama no longer the most powerful man in the world. Putin is
How Just A Few Heroes Barely Saved the Internet from Being Hijacked: Beware SOPA 2.0
Two years ago Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations could cope with). There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. We should care.
This two-part column reveals an untold part of the story about how the bad guys were stopped last time. And, if not stopped again, how it could lead to a fundamental loss of civil rights and freedom on the Internet.
The perversely named “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) itself may have been the most brazen attempted act of piracy in all recorded history. Truth in Legislation would have required it to be named the “Ultimate Act of Online Piracy.” Enactment effectively would have pirated the World Wide Web from a common space and converted it into the private preserve of the Big Entertainment Lobby.
The Plot to steal the Internet was foiled. It was foiled by an “Irresistible Force” — public opinion, rallied by a twenty-something Freedom Fighter, Aaron Swartz, now dead. This combined with an Immovable Object, the consciences of a tiny group of legislators. Together they — barely — defeated one of the meanest pieces of legislation in our lifetimes.
The “outside” story — of the late-rallying popular opposition — has been fairly extensively reported. 7,000 (some claimover 100,000) websites, including Wikipedia and other high traffic sites, were persuaded to close shop for a day. Google draped its logo in black. In the view of Harvard Law School professor, author, public intellectual, and co-creator of the Creative Commons Lawrence Lessig, “SOPA was stopped by the most important Internet campaign so far — lead by my (now dead) friend Aaron Swartz, and thousands of others.”
As the New York Times reported “’I think [stopping SOPA] is an important moment in the Capitol,’ said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and an important opponent of the legislation. ‘Too often, legislation is about competing business interests. This is way beyond that. This is individual citizens rising up.’”
But the “inside” story — four liberty-minded lawmakers who stood up in front of SOPA like the protestor in Tiananmen Square against the column of tanks — has remained, mostly, obscure. This tells that story.
But first. Why should you care? Undaunted by its 2011 failure Hollywood and the Big Record Labels are staging the sequel. This time, the bad guys could win. The Huffington Post recently spotted the perps busy inside the federal (perhaps, more aptly, feral) bureaucracy hollowing out the Constitution: “The [Commerce] department’s Internet Policy Task Force last week proposed making it a felony to stream copyrighted works.”
Give the Internet to Big Business? Hollywood and the Recording Industry appear to have found a compliant handmaiden, Penny Pritzker, the new U.S. Commerce Secretary, to work the inside while they work the outside. Pritzker’s Commerce Department employs, among other things, the risible euphemism of “improving the operation of the notice and takedown system” of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That’s a system which is working rather beautifully for all concerned, content providers and distributors both. Something’s extremely fishy here.
Secretary Pritzker, a billionaire heiress, recently was bragging about cavorting with the head of the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s not hard to imagine whose side — the rich and famous … or mere citizens like us? — she’s on.
Practical upshot? Among much other potential damage, if Big Hollywood colluding with Big Government succeeds, it changes the very nature of the Web. Quite possibly, for example, “SOPA 2.0? could mean the end of the Drudge Report. Drudge hardly can maintain his Report if an innocent miscall on copyright makes him subject to prosecution, by any United States attorney, for a federal felony.
Would the silencing of Drudge be an unintended consequence? Or might it be intentional? Chairman Darrell Issa has written to Attorney General Holder: “The suggestions that prosecutors did in fact seek to make an example out of Aaron Swartz because Demand Progress exercised its First Amendment rights in publicly supporting him raises new questions about the Department’s handling of the case.”
(Matt? Meet Penny. The new “Big Sis” candidate?)
The hero in challenging Big Hollywood’s Big Piracy Gambit in the U.S. Senate was Ron Wyden. The main heroes in the House, reportedly, were Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Jared Polis (D-CO).
As hacktivist Aaron Swartz stated in his keynote speech delivered at F2C: Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC, “How we stopped SOPA,” six months before Swartz/s untimely, tragic, death:
“Senator Ron Wyden, the Democrat from Oregon, put a hold on the Bill, giving a speech in which he called in a nuclear bunker buster bomb aimed at the Internet. He announced he would not allow it to pass without changes. As you may know, a single Senator can’t actually stop a bill by themselves. But they can delay it. … He bought us time. A lot of time as it turned out. His delay held all the way to the end of that session of Congress. … There was probably a year or two of delay there. And in retrospect we used that time to lay the groundwork for what came later.”
The reintroduction of this legislation came (in the Senate) as PIPA, and (in the House) as SOPA. “The introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart was the apotheosis of how Congress should not work,” recalls Seamus Kraft, then an Issa staff member and deeply engaged in the process. Kraft:
“Imagine the (metaphorically) smoke-filled room, special-interest authored legislation, launched without warning, without seeking input from stakeholders beyond a mere ‘sop for Cerberus’ — or, to Cyberspace: a single hearing on this bill, with five or six bigwigs from the content industry to catch softballs. And one lower level representative from Google … to be bullied.”
“The proposed legislation was seeking to combat intellectual property theft via the internet. The content creators wished to stop downloading of copyrighted content — especially music and movies. That’s a legitimate goal. But the mechanisms proposed for doing it were horrendous, a ‘kill them all, let God sort out the souls of the innocent’ strategy.”
The Web, oddly, still is a novelty to Washington, many of whose officials remain somewhat befuddled by the “interwebs” — that series of tubes — internets and website “numbers” . Kraft:
“This naivete left Congress vulnerable to special interests pushing a one-sided solution to an ill-defined problem. The relevant committee proceeded without seeking the input of representatives of those who use, or whose business is, the Internet. The most important locked-out constituency was users: you and me.”
The Internet’s precarious position then was summed up nicely by techdirt.com:
“It’s pretty much assured that VP Joe Biden is in favor of PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE/SOPA. Since the start of this administration, President Obama has delegated most copyright issues to Biden, and Biden’s general view on copyright seems to be ‘whatever makes Hollywood happier must be fantastic.’ How else do you describe his continued support of ever more draconian copyright law, contrary to the evidence suggesting that it only makes things worse? How else do you explain his claim that he got ‘all the stakeholders’ concerning copyright into a summit meeting, when it only involved government officials and the big labels and studios (no consumer advocates, no artists, no technologists, no entrepreneurs, etc.)?”
“Darrell Issa, a member of the Judiciary Committee, is an inventor. He holds the most patents of anyone who ever has served in Congress. He himself owns intellectual property — and benefits from a strong streamlined system. Here, however, the legislative proponents seemed clueless about what the heck the Internet really is.
“Even Rep. Issa did not realize the stakes were so serious until the ‘sop to Cyberspace’ hearing. His reaction was along the lines of You guys — out of the blue — are trying to give all this power — to shut down domains, to hold Google responsible for some joker who uploads some random item — to federal bureaucrats? What is being proposed would change, fundamentally, the architecture of the best thing that has happened to humanity in the past 50 years.
DNC Chairwoman: We Lost Colorado Gun Vote Because We Couldn't Cheat
Well, what Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz actually said - in a formal DNC press release – was: "This was voter suppression, pure and simple. Colorado voters are used to casting their ballots by mail, but because of lawsuits filed by opponents of common sense gun reform, voters were not mailed their ballots in this election… a result of efforts by the NRA, the Koch brothers and other right wing groups who know that when more people vote, Democrats win."
More of the statement is devoted to voting access than to gun control.
Wasserman Schultz is an interesting specimen because her exceptionally vicious and explicit anti-White American ethnic animosity takes very little decoding, as I noted in RNC Chairman: "GOP Natural Home Of Whites. Just LOOK At Democrats!" or sometimes none – see "New DNC Chair: More Hispanics Means We Win". My belief is that the Democratic managers try hard to keep her off the record.
But her reflexive citing of voter registration is extremely significant. The fact is voter fraud has become central to Democratic election strategy as I discussed at length in "Obama's Voter Fraud Facilitation Policy: Does The GOP Have The Courage To Resist?"
A resounding silence has greeted the totally counterintuitive news that Black turnout and vote totals are supposed to have risen substantially in 2012. Voter analysis shows Obama would have lost in 2012 if black turnout had mirrored 2008 (foxnews.com April 28, 2013). According to the US Census Bureau’s Voting Rates by Race survey (pdf) 1.7 Million or 11.04% more Blacks voted in 2012 than in 2008 when the Black vote was in turn 14.37% above the 2004 total of 14 million.
The idea that the Obama reality stimulated almost as much more enthusiasm amongst Blacks than the prospect of voting for the first time for a fellow Black for President in 2004 is simply not plausible. Especially with election night memories of stories of slow reporting from Black precincts in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, a tell-tale sign of fraud.
Wasserman Schultz’s reaction underlines that manipulating the voting mechanism is the first order of business for Democratic operatives.
USA ranks 17th among world’s happiest countries: "Something to smile about? Americans are not the happiest people on earth, but we do rank a respectable No. 17, among 156 countries evaluated for a new United Nations report. The second annual World Happiness Report, released Monday, finds the highest levels of happiness in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, all in northern Europe. The lowest ranked were Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo, all in Africa."
De Blasio takes NYC Dem mayoral primary: "Public Advocate Bill de Blasio completed his surge from seemingly nowhere in New York City's mayoral primary Tuesday by taking a commanding lead on his Democratic opponents, hovering near the threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota easily won the GOP nomination, capping a chaotic primary to succeed 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The night also marked the unceremonious end to the bid by a City Council leader trying to become the first female and openly gay mayor, and to the political comebacks of scandal-scarred candidates Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer."
Zimmerman: "This morning FL Judge Alex Ferrer who frequently comments on legal issues gave a very unusually frank evaluation of the now ended case against GZ. Judge Ferrer flatly stated that the case should never have been brought; that the prosecution never had the evidence but brought the case only because of unjustified political pressure and in the vain hope that evidence would eventually appear; and that GZ he expects will probably bring a civil case for damages against the prosecuting local authorities. Noting that the defense barely mentioned the FL 'stand your ground' law, Judge Ferrer said it had had little relevance because the case against GZ was too weak to even require the defense to raise 'stand your ground.'"
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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Posted by JR at 12:35 AM