Archives for January 2012
While looking through Twitter last night, I came across this ironic image from Andrew Bloch. It would seem that, despite trying to push the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) through, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) isn’t all that concerned with copyright protection; and, by his own standard, his campaign website should be removed from Internet:
Some things have a distressing ability to return time after time. Things like taxes, paperwork, that annoying guy at all the happy hours, pop music, Republicans, Democrats, Mondays, campaign seasons, slow Metro trains, heartburn, children, and a most odious thing called Yellow Peril.
What is Yellow Peril? It is irrational fear of Asia in general, and China more specifically. Fear that China will take over the world, fear it will take all our jobs, fear that it will surpass the United States. Lately, as Ted Galen Carpenter wrote last week, there has been more China-bashing in the news and in the presidential campaigns, as people are afraid:
A new year brings new opportunities for harsh rhetoric toward China. On issues ranging from Beijing’s valuation of its currency to China’s military modernization program, to the PRC’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, critics in the United States are voicing shrill complaints. Many of those critics warn that Washington must “stand up” to Beijing.
With just a couple of days to go until the South Carolina Republican primary, we’re seeing some movement of the anti-Romney vote in the state back to Newt Gingrich as Rick Santorum falls back to earth.
This is reflected in several surveys, but to show you the numbers, here is a look at the last four polls out of South Carolina conducted by Rasmussen, who has done the most frequent polling in the state.
|1/18||31%||33% ||11% ||15% ||2%|
|1/12||28%||28% ||16%||16% ||6% |
What is exactly is happening to cause this second Gingrich surge? While Romney benefited from a fractured conservative base and many Republican voters accepting the “inevitably” of his nomination, recent strong debate performances and questions about Santorum’s fiscal conservatism and electability are bringing anti-Romney vote back into a one camp.
Gingrich will no doubt be aided by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement even though his numbers weren’t all that great. The fiasco in Iowa, a state that Santorum seems to have now won — though some ballots have been lost, has showed us that every vote matters in this election. As I noted earlier, Perry’s supporters may just be what pushes Gingrich over the top in South Carolina.
Although many people of differing political persuasions were involved in yesterday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA protests, the overwhelming public response marked a coming of age moment for libertarianism. It looks as though libertarianism is an idea whose time has come. Americans are fed up with centralization of power in Washington, expansion of executive power, collusion between government and some corporations, and erosion of civil liberties. Polls indicate that they are also fed up with the Democratic and Republican politicians who have pursued these policies. But if libertarians are going to provide a viable political alternative to the two-party status quo, yesterday’s protests indicate that we’re going to have to embrace at least five major changes.
1. Libertarians should shift focus to attacking corporatism. As proponents of free market economics libertarians rightly oppose socialism, which we will define very simplistically as management of the market by a labor-controlled government. Whatever the evils of socialism — and there are many — it has not been the principal opposition to free market economics in the United States. Instead, for the better part of a century we have endured a corporatist economy. Corporatism, again defined very simplistically, is management of the market by a corporate-controlled government.
While former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and other supporters of SOPA and PIPA have lashed out at companies and websites that participated in yesterday’s “blackout,” it certainly seems as though opponents of the two bills carried the day:
Members of the Senate are rushing for the exits in the wake of the Internet’s unprecedented protest of the Protect IP Act (PIPA). At least 13 members of the upper chamber announced their opposition on Wednesday. In a particularly severe blow from Hollywood, at least five of the newly-opposed Senators were previously sponsors of the Protect IP Act.
The newly-opposed Senators are skewed strongly to the Republican side of the aisle. An Ars Technica survey of Senators’ positions on PIPA turned up only two Democrats, Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who announced their opposition on Wednesday. The other 11 Senators who announced their opposition on Wednesday were all Republicans. These 13 join a handful of others, including Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), who have already announced their opposition.
Marco Rubio, a freshman Republican Senator from Florida who some consider to be a rising star, withdrew his sponsorship of the bill, citing “legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.” He urged the Senate to “avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”
CNN is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will drop out of the race for the Republican nomination today, just a couple of days ahead of the South Carolina primary, and endorse Newt Gingrich:
Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination, two sources familiar with his plans told CNN.
The Texas governor will make the announcement before the CNN debate in South Carolina, the sources said.
It was incredibly unlikely, given his poor debate performances and gaffes, that Perry would be able to make a comeback in the race. Perry had hoped for a decent showing in South Carolina, but polls there had showed him at the bottom of the pack.
Many influential conservatives had been calling on Perry to drop out of the race so the anti-Romney vote could coalesce behind Gingrich, who has been surging in South Carolina in recent days (I’ll have more on that later today).
Given Perry’s numbers may not be significant, but it could be just enough to put Gingrich over the top on Saturday.
In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jeremy Kolassa, originally published on January 12, 2012.
Going off of my colleague Ron Davis’ post about technological reasons to oppose that monstrosity known as SOPA (and it’s Senate twin, PIPA), here are a couple of news stories from earlier in the month to share with you. I am a bit late on these, I admit, but I want to place them here just to show how ineffectual SOPA will actually be.
The first “solution” will probably fail and end in misery and a fireball, but you have to give some credit to these guys: a group of hackers want to send up a satellite that will act as an independent file-sharing server, a sort of space age Sealand:
The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.
The project’s organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites.
Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon.
Hobbyists have already put a few small satellites into orbit - usually only for brief periods of time - but tracking the devices has proved difficult for low-budget projects.
The hacker activist Nick Farr first put out calls for people to contribute to the project in August. He said that the increasing threat of internet censorship had motivated the project.
In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jason Pye, originally posted by on December 27, 2011.
We’ve been posting a lot about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) lately. You’re going to continue to hear about it online over the next few weeks. SOPA is touted by supporters as legislation that would prevent copyright infringement and secure intellectual property rights, but it would actually promote internet censorship and ignore due process. In fact, SOPA isn’t likely to stop piracy.
If you want to learn more about the law and its implications, you should watch this video that explains how many of the companies supporting SOPA are in fact guilty of distributing software that promotes piracy:
In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Ron Davis, originally posted on January 11, 2012.
My post from earlier today, 8 Technological Reasons to Stop SOPA and PIPA, discussed the legitimate technological problems with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills are supposed to be an attempt at stopping online piracy, but as I mentioned yesterday, they will not work but will instead cause harm to the speed, reliability, security, and safety of the Internet.
There are also political reasons this legislation should not be supported. Here are eight of them:
SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy. It’s even a stretch to argue that they would impact it at all. I explained how earlier, but the technical details aren’t important to today’s point. If proposed legislation will obviously not accomplish its stated purpose, it should never pass. This one point alone should be enough for your congressman and senators to oppose it. In case it’s not enough, keep reading; I have seven more reasons.
SOPA and PIPA mandate censorship compliance. When a domain name is seized by the government, ISPs are forced to comply with the censorship. There is no option of appeal for the ISPs; they must comply.
In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jeremy Kolassa, originally posted on November 21, 2011.
I’ve been following the progress of the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” or SOPA, also known as the “Internet Blacklist Bill,” for some time now, but haven’t posted about it because I feel that other websites cover it far better. Recently, though, I’ve seen some news I feel I have to share to United Liberty readers, because it comes straight from the “Holy Crap I Never Saw THAT Coming!” department.
For a good summary of why SOPA is a bad law, you should read the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s explanation. You can also grab the actual text of the law here. In effect, the bill would criminalize “casual piracy”—linking a music video on Facebook would land you some stiff penalties, as well as penalties for Facebook. Goodbye Youtube, as well. For that reason, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Google, and a host of other Internet giants have come out against the bill, in addition to groups like EFF, DemandProgress, CreativeCommons, and Mozilla.