* THE SOPA BLACKOUT PROTEST MAKES HISTORY
An unprecedented wave of online opposition to the Sopa and Pipa bills before Congress shows the power of a free internet
By Amy Goodman, Guardian UK
Wednesday 18 January marked the largest online protest in the history of the internet. Websites from large to small “went dark” in protest of proposed legislation before the US House and Senate that could profoundly change the internet. The two bills, Sopa in the House and Pipa in the Senate, ostensibly aim to stop the piracy of copyrighted material over the internet on websites based outside the US. Critics – among them, the founders of Google, Wikipedia, the Internet Archive, Tumblr and Twitter – counter that the laws will stifle innovation and investment, hallmarks of the free, open internet. The Obama administration has offered muted criticism of the legislation, but, as many of his supporters have painfully learned, what President Barack Obama questions one day, he signs into law the next.
First, the basics. Sopa stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act, while Pipa is the Protect IP Act. The two bills are very similar. Sopa would allow copyright holders to complain to the US attorney general about a foreign website they allege is “committing or facilitating the commission of criminal violations” of copyright law. This relates mostly to pirated movies and music. Sopa would allow the movie industry, through the courts and the US attorney general, to send a slew of demands that internet service providers (ISPs) and search engine companies shut down access to those alleged violators, and even to prevent linking to those sites, thus making them “unfindable”. It would also bar internet advertising providers from making payments to websites accused of copyright violations.
Sopa could, then, shut down a community-based site like YouTube if just one of its millions of users was accused of violating one US copyright. As David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and an opponent of the legislation, blogged:
“Last year alone, we acted on copyright takedown notices for more than 5 million webpages. Pipa and Sopa will censor the web, will risk our industry’s track record of innovation and job creation, and will not stop piracy.” […]
* H.R. 3261.IH — STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT (INTRODUCED IN HOUSE – IH)
Source: The Library of Congress
* FBI SHUTTERS MEGAUPLOAD.COM, CHARGES 7 WITH ONLINE PIRACY
The FBI on Thursday shut down popular file-sharing website Megaupload.com and charged the site’s founders and five others with running “an international organized criminal enterprise” responsible for “massive online piracy.”
Megaupload Limited and sister company Vestor Limited generated “more than $175 million in criminal proceeds” and caused “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners” through the piracy of “numerous types of copyrighted works,” the US Justice Department and FBI said in a joint statement. […]
READ @ http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2012/01/19/fbi-shutters-megauploadcom-charges-7-with-online-piracy/?cmpid=cmty_twitter_foxnews_fbi-shutters-megauploadcom-charges-7-with-online-piracy%2F&fb_source=message
* 2012’s CIVIL LIBERTIES APOCALYPSE HAS ALREADY HAPPENED
By Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis, Common Dreams
In case you missed it, President Barack Obama has signed a death knell for the Bill of Rights. It’s a hell of a way to begin a year many believe will mark the end of the world.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) makes a mockery of our basic civil liberties. It shreds the intent of the Founders to establish a nation where essential rights are protected. It puts us all at risk for arbitrary, indefinite incarceration with no real rights to recourse.
The Act authorizes a $626 billion dollar defense budget (which does not include the CIA, special ops, various black box items, etc). Obama’s signing statement says it does address counterterrorism at home and abroad as well as Defense Department modernization, health care costs and more.
But it also includes Sections 1021 and 1022, bitterly opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, among many others. The New York Times urged Obama to veto the bill because of them. The UK-based Guardian said NDAA 2012 allows allows for indefinite detention of US citizens “without trial [of] American terrorism subjects arrested on U.S. soil, who could then be shipped to Guantanamo Bay.” The Kansas City Star was equally blunt, stating that the NDAA is “trampling the bill of rights in defense’s name.” […]
* FROM ANONYMOUS H.R. 3166: ENEMY EXPATRIATION ACT (#EEA)
Source: Big Bend Bikers For Freedom
The Enemy Expatriation Act is yet another treasonous bill similar to the National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law by President Obama on New Years’ Eve. The NDAA, which authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil, was met with outrage from the American public. The media largely refused to cover the NDAA until it was too late, and the bill had been signed into law. We are now faced with a similar situation. The Enemy Expatriation Act has been introduced in the House, and again, the media refuses to cover it. The American public have the right to know about a bill that could revoke their United States citizenship, and the continuing media blackout poses a serious threat to the freedoms this country pledges to provide its citizens.
The Enemy Expatriation Act is a short, yet dangerous bill. The purpose of the bill is “to add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality”
[http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3166]. Put simply, this bill gives the U.S. government the power to revoke your citizenship, thereby nullifying your RIGHTS as an American citizen, if they believe you are even merely SUPPORTING acts against the United States. The Obama administration has pledged not to use the NDAA against American citizens [THIS IS NOT CORRECT: SEE P.S. BELOW]. However, if this bill passes, you could be stripped of your citizenship, and subjected to the full, treacherous acts of the NDAA. You will no longer have your rights as a citizen to protect you. […]
* COMMENTS ON THE ENEMY EXPATRIATION ACT (H.R. 3166)
Congressman Dent comments on the Enemy Expatriation Act (H.R. 3166), bipartisan legislation he introduced on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, with Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA). A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).
* FLORIDA REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE A BILL THAT WOULD KEEP PRIVATIZAION A SECRET FROM THE PEOPLE
By Stephen D. Foster, Addiction Information
What if you woke up one morning and your government job was being eliminated by a corporation? What if you woke up to find that Wall Street now controlled Medicare, Social Security, and public education? What if you woke up to find that every single government service had been privatized overnight and that the prices for those services had skyrocketed because of corporate greed? Now imagine that the government kept this change a total secret. Well it looks like Florida is heading in that direction.
Florida Republicans are desperate to privatize the prison system in the state, which had been stalled by a judge in Tallahassee. So, they have introduced SB 2036 and SB 2038 to do just that. The measures would allow the state government to privatize prisons in secret and would also allow the government to secretly outsource the work of other state agencies. In other words, citizens could literally wake up one morning and find that their government by the people, for the people, and of the people has been given to corporations that don’t give a damn about what the people have to say. But that’s not all. The measures also give agencies the option of not reporting the privatization of a program until after it has already been done. So citizens won’t even have a chance to object. The bills also give the state legislature the power to privatize any government function it wants.
Imagine this on a federal level. Let’s say Wall Street secretly negotiates with the Social Security Administration or Congress to privatize the Social Security trust fund. Basically, the deal can happen without anybody saying a word to the American people. We could all wake up one morning and discover that our retirement money is no longer guaranteed by the government, but being gambled away on Wall Street by greedy fat cats. […]