So, I took the month of January off. I sort of had to, I started a few things, finished up a few others, projects are now in the works, been under the weather…the list goes on. Speaking of lists, I have my own here for the category I like to call “Holy shit, 1984 was a blueprint.” On that list are the big four names that everyone-oops not everyone because the media doesn’t cover them- should know, these are the NDAA, The Enemy Expatriation Act, SOPA and PIPA, along with one more that people are just now figuring out is a bad thing ACTA. I will try, in my limited ability, to concisely put down why it is, exactly, that these bills begin to turn or already make the previously free United States of America into a technocratic, fascist dictatorship governed by a corrupt political elite.
Lofty goal, I know, but right now I’ve got a bit of time and a terrible bought of back pain from something I did at work, so here goes.
I’ve already covered the NDAA at length in other posts, so I won’t bother going into the massive details as to how this terrible, awful bill, which was signed into law by the president on January 2nd 2012, will seemingly destroy our civil liberties. What I will do is highlight the dangerous part(s) that cause alarm and also try to figure out why the president and the rest of congress was so eager to get this thing through.
The NDAA has a few sections in it that are, or should be considered, more than alarming. Especially when you know and see what those sections can allow the president and his full on police state to do. Foremost among those provisions in the NDAA is a little thing called Section 1031 : which outlines the indefinite detention, by the military, of suspected terrorists.
Sure that all sounds fine, especially if you believe there is a real and credible threat to America from terrorists. But the section does not however differentiate the fact that suspected terrorists and American citizens have a different set of rights, as outlined by the U.S. Bill of Rights and Constitution, specifically the 4th,5th,6th, 7th and 8th amendments. The bill also outlines that the entire world, including America and it’s territories are part of the new battlefield in the “War on Terrorism,” and without any added emotional or political bias against the bill, makes it perfectly legal to detain American citizens who are considered enemy combatants by God knows who, for God knows what. The best part about that last bit, is that the bill allows the police state to never explain to you why you are being detained, allows them to transport you out of the country if they so choose, to unknown sites around the globe where, maybe, torture isn’t as frowned upon as it is here in the United States.
However the president has already had this sort of power given to him, through the wonderful invention of post 9/11 security legislation the PATRIOT ACT. Which has been renewed and expanded upon every year since it’s inception, directly after the attacks on 9/11. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m not, I am a writer. I write books about zombies and monsters and devils and demons, imaginary things that should scare, shock and entertain. Or at least that’s the goal. At times I use real life events to inspire my work, so I keep up to date with a ton of sources, news feeds, article sharing sites, etc. So when I first heard about this, I thought, OK, this won’t make it through. Then it did. When I read that Sen. John McCain, a war hero who had been tortured in Viet Nam, another decade long kinetic military action that spanned several presidents terms, I thought…”Wait a minute, here’s a cat that should know this is terrible.”
Then it passed, without any coverage, really, in the media. Without much scorn from the public.
So I started to dig, read the thing for myself, and I will tell you this. i have read extensively on the supernatural, the esoteric, the arcane and many other subjects that are at times down right loony, but this bill makes them all look like child’s play in it’s horror.
So yes, the NDAA is the first component in the assembly of the police state machine, or rather the updated version of the PATRIOT ACT which actually kicked of the police state machine a decade ago. In doing some research on the thing, I then happened to come across the next piece or cog in that apparatus, the Enemy Expatriation Act.
The Enemy Expatriation Act
The Enemy Expatriation Act or H.R. 3166, introduced in October of 2011 (did anyone else know this, where’s the media?) is a simple little bookend to Section 1031 of the NDAA, which states, according to sources, that :
Enemy Expatriation Act – Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which U.S. nationals would lose their nationality. Defines “hostilities” as any conflict subject to the laws of war.
So, that’s a bit scary when you think about what the NDAA defines as the new battlefield in the “War on Terror,” also known as the fucking world. It’s also scary when you think about the cause and effect of maybe changing the language of the NDAA to excluding “American Citizens.” But Wait, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Yes, of course it would be, but this little act would then create a nice loophole, whereby the police stat could strip you of your citizenship, which means you would then be subject to the fully outlined intent of section 1031 of the NDAA. They got you coming and going boy oh boy that they do.
It’s no surprise to me that the Enemy Expatriation Act was co sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is also on record saying that the NDAA is great and that America should have a China like national internet policy, or censorship – which is a nice little segue to the last three issues I wanted to discuss in this post.
PIPA, SOPA and ACTA…or three acronyms you really should hate, if you love the internet.
I’m going to start off with ACTA as it has had, literally, zero coverage in the media and is just as detrimental as PIPA and SOPA. I think you’ll really be shocked at what ACTA is and what it can do.
ACTA, or better yet, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is an international treaty, signed by President Obama in October of 2011, that would or will allow companies in countries throughout the world to request or demand that internet service providers (ISP’s) remove any content on the web that might be infringing on their copyright status, in the U.S. without the need for legal oversight. Boo-yah.
So what does this mean…it means that under ACTA, which is actually being called an “Executive Agreement” or as many would like to see it read “Unconstitutional,” if you ran a website, say like this one, and you had some content that a company in say, China, that great bastion of civil liberties, believes that your content in some way infringes on its status as copyright holder, imagine say A LINK or a PHOTO or what 99% of the fucking internet is comprised of, the ISP you use would be required and told to take down your site, without a court order. Or read, without any chance of due process, legal action, legal need or protection form the mega corporations. Yeah, and you thought SOPA and PIPA were bad? Well, there you have it, they are already basically in effect.
SOPA and PIPA …well there’s been a wealth of information since the blackout and the protests and everything, but I will direct you to is wonderful article : All About SOPA and PIPA
SOPA and PIPA were initially designed to do two things. The first was to make it possible for companies to block the domain names of web sites that are simply capable of, or seem to encourage copyright infringement. This would have been bad for everyone because such a measure doesn’t actually prevent piracy. The reason that blocking a domain name isn’t effective is because any blocked site can still be accessed via its numeric IP address. For example, if lifehacker.com were blocked, you could still find it by visiting a number-based address. In fact, before the bills were even supposed to come to a vote, tools were created to automatically route domain names to their IP addresses to completely render this measure of SOPA and PIPA useless. As a result, the IP-blocking provisions have been removed from both bills.
The other, still-active measure present in the SOPA and PIPA bills would allow rights holders to cut of the source of funding of any potentially infringing web site. This means any other companies doing business with this site would have to stop. Whether that means advertising, links in search engines, or any other listings would have to be removed.
If you read the article there’s even more there that my puny blockquote can’t handle.
SO LET’s Put the cogs together
With the NDAA you have the detention of American citizens, defined as combatants,anywhere in the world without legal due process, even if we were to strip the NDAA of its power to do so, the Enemy Expatriation Act would circumnavigate any remaining civil liberties we have, SOPA, PIPA and ACTA all serve as a way to thwart the opposition, dissent and free exchange of ideas on the internet via the terrible idea that copyright is gospel truth. Now think about it. No rights, no freedoms, no dissent, no alternative viewpoints = complete and total police state.
I know, it seems like a grand conspiracy, nearly too loony to be true, but if there is any precedent in history it is that power given and taken is power used and abused. We have to bring awareness to these five issues, we have to write, email and call our congresspeople and representatives, we have to stand with the ACLU and other organizations that oppose these measures and lastly we all have to get involved. We can’t achieve anything by violence, we can’t achieve anything by raging against this police state machine, we can only achieve our means by peaceful demonstration, joining forces and becoming aware of these issues and letting those who we elect, pay and support to represent us that we will not stand by while our lives are taken over.
You are the resistance, now resist
“As part of an emerging international trend to try to ‘civilize the Internet’, one of the world’s worst Internet law treaties–the highly controversial Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Cybercrime–is back on the agenda. Canada and Australia are using the Treaty to introduce new invasive, online surveillance laws, many of which go far beyond the Convention’s intended levels of intrusiveness. Negotiated over a decade ago, only 31 of its 47 signatories have ratified it. Many considered the Treaty to be dormant but in recent years a number of countries have been modeling national laws based on the flawed Treaty. Moreover, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom are amongst those who have ratified within the last year. However, among non-European countries, only the U.S. has ratified the Treaty to date, making Canada and Australia’s efforts unique. The Treaty has not been harmless, and both Australia and Canada are fast-tracking legislation (Australia’s lower house approved a cybercrime bill last night) that will enable them to ratify the Treaty, at great cost to the civil liberties of their citizens.”
Hello to the Emerald Isle
A number of you who read this blog are from or live in Ireland, and it’s a place that has long been near the top of my “to travel,” list. From the first time I learned that my families Irish sir name was O’Doherty or read : Clann Dhochartaigh and even then read : Ó Dochartaigh. And even further since I began reading W.B> Yeats in my twenties while attemptiign to write terrible poetry, I have wanted to go to Ireland and see every inch of the country. So This report is for you.
Ireland is Considering A Write Off of How Much?
Basically ireland lis looking to write off nearly 6 billion Euro’s worth of bad debt, in a misguided attempt at trying to jumpstart the lagging economy that has been in place since the original world fiancial collapse in 2007.
From the Reuters Article:
A government committee is to consider a proposal to relieve households left in negative equity by a fall of around 50 percent in residential property prices, junior minister Willie Penrose told the Sunday Times.
He was referring to a proposal made earlier in the week by leading Irish economist Morgan Kelly, who estimated that a mortgage debt forgiveness scheme would cost between 5 billion and 6 billion euros.
“If the figure is as reasonable as he is saying, then it would be foolhardy for us not to examine it properly,” Penrose told the newspaper.
“We have set up a group to examine possible solutions and it should look at the proposals from Morgan Kelly.”
Along with the idea of the government now essentially “forgiving” the debt owed on the originally bad mortgages, those in power in Ireland have also said that they will put forth, this fall, a three year plan of Tax increases (always a good idea to increase the hard working and struggling public taxes in a time of massive depression/recession) and cut backs ( again, didn’t we see these sorts of measures result, in Britain recently, with severe rioting from the underclasses? Yes.)
Though, what I can say positive about the state of the Irish government, at the present moment, is that it plans on severely cutting its own budget deficit, but should not have had to come to that conclusion through a roughly 85 billion Euro bailout by the notoriously corrupt and mafia like organizations of the IMF and EU.
Though the government in Ireland issued these statements on cutbacks and tax increases, it has not yet announced what services and taxes it plans to either cut or increase, at this time.
Ireland’s Economic Woes, Just The Tip of The Iceberg
It seems that everywhere we look now governments are cutting back and raising taxes. Due in large part to fiscal instabilities of their own houses, which they so precariously conjoined with the international community. A great deal of light has been shed on the contributing factors of the London Rots, and we’ve also seen demonstrations coming in from around the globe. places like Chile, with it’s student protests all but ignored b the mainstream media, Israel, where thousands and thousands of people have set up tents and have been protesting for what they believe to be fair housing and a more just cost of living. The London Riots themselves were a reaction at first to the British Police slaying a 29 year old man, which then escalated in an all out class war for nearly 6 days.
Now granted many of the looters and fires and actual crimes that were committed during the rioting was terrible, but these angry, unemployed, under-educated, working and lower class young men (yes the riots were mostly male and the ages were between 17-24, on average) had no other way, no other outlet with which they could have petitioned their overseers, other than rioting.
If we move to today, in America, we also see signs that the, though generally lazy and disinterested, culture in Americaa is beginning to grow more andmore hostile towards it’s politicians, it’s rule of law, it’s financial system and the seemingly totalitarian regime which we find ourselves living under.
And I can say this next statement, with full honesty: It does seem to be that the times, they are a changing, but it seems not for the public good.
The Economic and Social Unrest IS Leading to A Global Police State
Gone are the days when I could say that we live in a free society. A society unlike that of the despotic regimes in China, Egypt,Iran and etc. The global economic turmoil that has burned like wildfire throughout all of the modern world has created the conditions useful to the Powers that be, to exploit the growing class crisis and will ultimately help bring about a new harsher police state.
It seems that governments from England’s Westminster and Downing Street and of Course here in Washington have taken the slogan “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” quite literally.
With the Cameron Conservative Government in place, in just the last two weeks alone we have seen sweeping, over reaching draconian powers be presented to the bargaining table. Ones that would limit social media use, cut off the internet in part or in whole during times of unrest and possibly the harshest crackdown, outside of actually killing the demonstrators and rioter.
Insane jail sentences and fines for the most paltry of supposed “crimes,” like that of Posting Pro Rioting Groups on Facebook, and stealing a case of water from a store, down to proposing the eviction of convicted rioters families from government housing.
And here in the United States we see a similar sort of zeal in the governments attacks on privacy and the spread of information, and also the alarming trend of demonizing peaceful and non violent protests.
And there are more and more cases that I could site, more and more stories that I could link to. These are simply a few in what appears to be an ever mounting war on information,free speech and of course the power of the internet to motivate and facilitate dissent and skepticism at the current political system and it’s increasingly perceived inability to do much of anything except profiteer and obstruct.
While both the United States and the British Governments publicly condemn the leaders of China, Syria, Egypt, and others for their lack of transparency and total information control, it also appears that the United States along with Britain and indeed much of the western world’s governments also pursue the exact same agendas.
So What Are We To Do?
There are tons and tons, mountains of clear examples on how this country and the others in the “free world,” are becoming totalitarian regimes. On the other hand there are only a few examples to be found for solutions to this most pressing of problems.
If one is to believe that the entire core of the republic that we live in, in the United States, is not rotten, then the simple answer is to hound your congressmen and women, seek them out and exchange, PEACEFULLY, the frustrations and fears that bills like those that Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, of Florida, also the chairwoman of the DNC, are proposing. And to use that fear and uncertainty and those questions of what is right in this case, to remove from office through the power of the voting booth any one in congress that issues these sorts of attempts to curb the information that is now public necessity. Join in peaceful protests to help fight the charge against free speech, against civil liberties and against the impending police state.
But also use the internet as your ally. Meet up with like minded individuals, share information about what is happening in your local communities. Use the tool that the state wants to take away from you, to subvert the states actions. Make it known that you are standing up against the tyrannical powers of Big Brother, and make sure you do it PEACEFULLY. Try to get the message out, in whatever way you can, to everyone, no matter if they think they already know or not. Make fliers and post them in public forums, go to your local governments, state and city , and make sure that they aren’t working to curb your freedoms. It’s up to you and it’s ultimately up to all of us, working together, to make sure we do not become Winston Smith.
War is not Peace.
Freedom is not Slavery.
Ignorence is not Strength.
Moving the Compound , Short Bursts of Information Will be Today’s Norm
Since I’ll be moving the compound around today, I won’t have a great deal of time for anything other than a quick post. I’ll probably be back later today/tonight with more.
The United States State Department will spend, this year alone, nearly 70 million dollars for something that they like to call “Internet circumvention technology.” Which to this guy sounds a bit like, we’re throwing money at problems and solutions that are all half cocked, but then again, what do I really kknow?
Anyway, a nice, long winded explanation from the State Department goes on to read like this :
It’s part of what Secretary Clinton calls a venture capitalist approach to the wide range of challenges that democracy and human rights activists face in Internet repressive environments around the world,”
The above quote comes from Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Which of course is the longest title I have seen to date for someone with no power whatsoever. It’s almost comical, almost. The fact that he’s quoted as saying that the State Department is doing anything with human rights activists, and helping to free up valuable internet resources for those against repressive governments, is however extremely laughable.
So what’s it all about? Well, basically the State Department, has been giving out 2 million in grant money to help build what is basically an “Internet Briefcase,” or what boils down to a mobile hotspot for dissidents. Again, laughable, because if the United States were really that concerned with the freedom of information, and free speech and internet rights, not purely for self gain but for actual information rights for the sake of information rights, well, we wouldn’t have seen the BART protests over the cancellation of cell/Wi-Fi services over the last weekend, nor the presentation of internet kill switch bills in our congress, nor a myriad of other infringements on the right to freedom of speech and expression, like cops in California now being able to seize camera’s of photographers, because they deem the photo’s not to have the right “Aesthetic value.”
Not to mention the new joint FBI and DHS database of supposed terrorists, domestic and foreign that you may or may not be a part of, and that you will never know you are on, or even the Patriot Act, which allows the United States NSA (National Security Agency) and others to actively spy on you at any time they deem it necessary.
The internet briefcase is a great idea, but comes off as being exceptionally hypocritical.
But In Canada There’s Some Progress…For Big Brother
it seems our furiously polite neighbors to the north, Canada, and their Conservative Party, will appear at least to enact a large cache of Big Brother laws. In a disheartening article I found on TechEye.net, it appears that Canada is simply the next in line, after America and Britain, to enact even further draconian and police state powers and laws over their people. Placing the big red maple leaf in nearly the same ranks for invasiveness as China and U.S.:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that an “omnibus” security/crime bill will be introduced within days,
Basically the new laws will give police greater access to ISP and geolocation data without a warrant.
Needless to say there are few people who are a little worried about this. According to Ars Technica, the bill will compel ISPs to disclose customer information to authorities without a court order and will enable cops to spy on private lives of Canadians.
Read more: Here
And Finally, something you already know
Bono, the sunglass wearing, can’t give up my leather pants though I’m nearing sixty, should have stopped after the Joshua Tree, now I want to save the world, international music icon, is making a ton of money on Facebook, yes “Bilbo Rockins” (as I like to call him) and his investment firm are having reportedly made, so far, over 800 million dollars on investing in Facebook.
Originally, his firm called “Elevation Partners,” made an initial investment of 210 million dollars in the social networking site, way back in 2009, and has through selling and leveraging stocks that it had in the company, been able to top 975 million for it’s current valuation of holdings in Facebook.
So why should I begrudge this already multi billion dollar Irish Pop Singer? (there’s no rock and roll left in him)
Well, because, I just can’t stand the man.
And that’s it for right now-
More Disturbing News From Old Britannia
Yes, it seems that Britain is leading the charge in the west for a total police state sort of crackdown. I’m sitting here in the good old U.S.A. and of course have little good news to tell you of when it comes to free speech here stateside, but that’s sort of been thee status quo for quite sometime now, especially in light of the recent BART protests. Where the Bay Area Rapid Transit authorities killed cell phone service and it appears Wi-Fi access to it’s commuters, in an attempt to thwart protesters from, well, protesting last week.What were the protesters protesting? The senseless killing of innocent men, by BART police*.
And that’s really the focus, for the most part, of this Article. Police gaining or taking more power than they should be allowed to take. Case in point this article from : The Guardian
New powers allowing police to clear the streets and create “no-go” areas for the public are being considered, the home secretary, Theresa May, has said.
May said it was time to consider whether the police needed a power “to impose a general curfew in a particular area” in the aftermath of last week’s riots.
The home secretary said the government was also contemplating tougher powers to impose curfews on individual teenagers under the age of 16.
In a speech in London, she said the power to declare a general curfew was needed because existing dispersal powers only allowed the police to declare a “no go” area with advance notification.
“In the fast-moving situation we have seen in the last week, we need to make sure the police have all the powers that are necessary,” she added.
Asked about the curfew powers, May said: “It’s something that we’re going to look at to address whether, and to what extent, we may need to change the law.
Which to most people residing in the U.K. probably sounds as if it’s the right thing to do, just like Facebook handing over information and using facial recognition to round up rioters, like RIM, makers of Blackberry, handing over PIN’s for the BBM’s that were sent during the riots, like the severe punishments, like 4 years in jail to two young men who happened to post pages on Facebook supposedly supporting or instigating the riots (though no riots or violence were reported from their areas) just like the massive roll out of draconian powers, proposed by Dear Leader Cameron, like a social media or even more drastic, an internet kill switch.
Yes they all sound like such tiny little requests, little infractions and inconveniences to your civil liberties and personal freedoms, but that’s sort of the price you have to pay for freedom, for safety,right?
Well, no, not exactly. You could look to the root causes of the riots, the base reality is that severe austerity cuts and poor fiscal management by this and subsequent houses of parliament and prime ministers have effectively wrecked your country. The closed circuit cameras installed everywhere have made it less likely for you to speed, but have they saved you from “Terrorists,” that seem to be patrolling your cities and standing on every corner? I doubt it.
And what would the governments reaction be to those statements, those accusations?
Well I’m pretty sure it’s a predictable, “Well, what you don’t see is all the work behind the scenes,” or effectively- don’t ask how the sausage is made, even if it is rank sausage, just eat it and be sick. And that’s really what totalitarianism is, it’s a sickness, its a depravity, it’s a virus that eats it’s political system victims from the inside out. And it needs the light of proper and citizen journalism, the light of civil rights and free speech and all the rest of the innate freedoms that come along with being human. After all what’s the old saying? Ah yes, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Or could it be that the totalitarian system that British and American, oh hell, almost all western governments are now actively pushing for, needs the shadows to thrive in? So that the fearful public not see the lengths by which their masters suppress them. Well, if I’m wrong then why not pull back a portion of the curtain for us to see, with our own eyes what it is that you Wonderful Wizards of Oz are really up to?
Or are you just as ashamed of your deeds, as are the majority of citizens in the world who now see you for what you really are? Authoritarian thugs and hooligans. A ruling elite that heeds no warnings and wants no restrictions to power.
*BART met fierce opposition for their decision to cut cell service, with international hacking collective, Anonymous, the group responsible for a number of high level hacks to everything from the Sony PlayStation network, to the FBI and PayPal. With BART’s homepage being completely disabled for nearly 6 hours. As Well as some leaked information from BART’s computers. Anonymous also organized a protest on Monday August 15th over the disruption of service.