Sunday, December 18, 2011

Observations from Amerika 12.18

Some updates on my post of 12.2....

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) passed both the House and the Senate this week. Despite earlier promises to the veto the bill President Obama now says he will sign it yet outside certain sectors barely a whimper can be heard. It seems the American people don't know about or more likely simply don't care about the provisions that allow the military to detain US citizens without trial. My cynical side can almost hear them thinking “well as long as it doesn't happen to me.” Supporters of the bill say it no longer requires the military detention of suspected terrorists, but it does allow it. President Obama has said that if the provisions negatively impact the nation he and the authors will work to fix it, don't hold your breath on that one. So what we are left with is the Constitution of the United States turned on its head and the knowledge that everything Adolf Hitler initially did was perfectly legal.

Any vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been pushed back but probably not for long. An 11 hour committee hearing stalled Thursday after Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) tweeted that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) was “boring.” Any further discussion was put on hold until next week. Over fifty amendments have been added to the bill by opponents yet Congress still seems dead set on destroying the internet as we know it. One interesting provision would grant immunity to financial companies that choose to boycott suspected pirate sites even if they haven't been told to do so. You might ask why they are singled out but it seems obvious to me, always follow the money. The hacker group Anonymous announced the beginning of Operation Blackout, what it calls its declaration of war on Congress because of SOPA.

This could get very interesting.

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