Politics

The Government v. Everyone

December 17, 2011

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Obama had originally threatened to veto the bill, but not over the indefinite-detention clauses. In fact, bill sponsor Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) says it was the White House that insisted the language be altered to include American citizens:

The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved….and the administration asked us to remove (it) which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.

Under the bill, American citizens can be indefinitely detained without proof merely on suspicion of having supported terrorist groups. Exactly what constitutes such “support” is, as always, the government’s guess.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Similar to the PROTECT IP Act the Senate Judiciary Committee approved in May, SOPA is ostensibly designed to protect intellectual property and discourage copyright infringements. But critics say it threatens to “break the Internet.” It conveniently allows los federales to obliterate any site that’s so much as accused of featuring copywritten material. In such cases, “infringement” can consist of merely linking to another site that, say, features a stock photo of kitty-cats that it hasn’t obtained permission to use. Merely embedding a video containing copy-protected material is a felony that could result in five years’ imprisonment. A site can feature 100,000 comments on a message board, but merely on the unproved accusation that it hosts one unauthorized photo, the entire site can be made to disappear. Perfectly legal speech can be blotted from existence because the feds have flushed due process and probable cause down the loo in its quest to legalize prior restraint. The potential for governmental abuse is enormous. After reviewing dozens of proposed amendments to the bill on Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee finally delayed its vote on Friday, meaning the bill will likely not be submitted to the House floor until early next year.

While these cyclopean threats to basic American freedoms were being made this week, the mainstream media was a quiet village of sedated crickets. During Thursday’s Republican presidential debate, a gaggle of lumpy, gassy candidates fielded questions about Israel, the countries surrounding Israel, and the relations between Israel and the countries surrounding it, but nothing about either NDAA or SOPA. Some have insinuated that a deliberate blackout was in effect.

On Monday, Gallup released a poll that showed most Americans, left or right, said they feared the government more than big business. Despite the fact that both Democrat and Republican lawmakers seem to love both NDAA and SOPA, social-media voices from both the left and right howled in disapproval at the bills. On Twitter, one suddenly encountered something unimaginable only a month ago:  rightist libertarians and leftist Occupiers united in the belief that the government has gotten WAY the fuck out of hand. You’d see hashtags for #OWS and #TeaParty on the same Tweet. In the twinkling of an eye, jarheads and potheads agreed on one basic fact: The government that claims to represent them is instead their worst enemy. Instead of left versus right, it’s suddenly the government versus everyone. Whether it also becomes everyone versus the government remains to be seen.

 

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