Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, January 23, 2012

This Week In Review (01/23/2012)

SOPA shelved due to internet protest. On January 18, Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, and other websites protested anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA by redirecting visitors to information about the bills and what they could do to fight them. As a result, over 4.5 million people signed an anti-SOPA petition and over 8 million contacted their representatives, overwhelming Congress’ switchboards and servers. The protest proved successful, as over 13 Senators dropped their support of PIPA while SOPA was shelved altogether. This is a victory not only for internet freedom but also democracy, as this proves that people can have an influence on their government when they place enough pressure on politicians. But this fight is far from over. These bills have only been temporarily set aside, and could very well return, stronger and worse than before. As long as the internet provides citizens with the free exchange of ideas and information which threaten those in power, government will always attempt to control and censor it. Speaking of which…

Megaupload shut down due to piracy charges. The popular file-sharing website was shut down by the federal government under charges that it allowed for the illegal sharing of pirated material estimated to have cost copyright holders over $500 million in lost profits. Seven executives, including the site’s founder, have been indicted. How ironic that the day after the defeat of the bill which would have allowed the federal government to censor websites on charges of piracy, the federal government shuts down a website on charges of piracy. I believe The Amazing Atheist put it best: “The government had the power to do it all along! They never needed SOPA. They never needed PIPA. All that was was a justification for the stuff they were going to do anyway.” Of course, as internet wisdom dictates, if you mess with the internet, the internet messes with you. After Megaupload was shut down, internet hacker group Anonymous helped flood traffic to the website of the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, thus shutting them down.

Occupy Congress kicked off January 16. And boy was it a real bust! Despite the liberal media praising it, the protest only managed to garner a few hundred protesters instead of the over ten thousand it claimed it was going to have. Add the fact that donations have been dwindling and protests across the country have been getting evicted, and the Occupy movement could very well be going through its death throes.

Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary. I can forgive the fact that voters supported Gingrich and Romney over Paul. What really disturbs me is that 42 percent of Evangelical Christians supported Gingrich (an adulterer who divorced his cancer-stricken wife, claiming she wasn’t pretty or young enough to be the wife of the president) while only 13 percent supported Paul (a man who’s remained faithful to the same woman for over 53 years). Then again, to Evangelical hypocrites, whose divorce rate is higher than that of other faith groups, divorce is less of a threat to the “sanctity of marriage” than is gay marriage (or, in the case of South Carolina, interracial marriage).

Ron Paul booed for endorsing the Golden Rule at SC Debate. “If another country does to us what we do others, we’re not going to like it very much,” Paul said of our foreign policy and War on Terror. “So I would say that maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in foreign policy: don’t do to other nations what we don’t want them to do to us. We endlessly bomb these countries and wonder why they get upset with us?” And as can be expected, Ron Paul was booed—no less by an audience of conservative Christians whose very religion was founded upon the teachings of Christ—one of which was “do unto others what you would have others do unto you.” But then again, when have conservative Christians actually cared about their own religion, other than forcing the parts they support onto others?

Ron Paul proposes bill to repeal indefinite detention provision. The bill would repeal Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which allows for the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects, citizen or otherwise, without warrant, without trial, and without a lawyer—in other words, it allows the president to wipe his ass with due process and other Constitutional rights protected by the Fourth amendment, all for the sake of fighting the War on terrorism. Will this bill pass? One can only hope. It probably won’t.

Rick Perry drops out of the presidential race and endorses Newt Gingrich. So now the Republican candidates are narrowed down to an adulterer, a flip-flopper, a theocrat, and a true Barry Goldwater conservative who probably won’t be nominated. Somehow, if Obama wins a second term, I won’t be surprised—disappointed, but not surprised.

Dumbass of the Week

Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America: Following the successful protest of SOPA, Dodd criticized it as a "dangerous gimmick" and an "abuse of power" on behalf of Google and other websites involved with the protest. “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests." Abuse of power, huh? Corporate interests, huh? You mean it's not an abuse of power when the entire entertainment industry lobbies for a bill to have the government censor websites that may curtail its corporate interests, but apparently it is when websites fight against said bill which would undoubtedly hurt them the most? Pot, meet kettle!