There are many reasons so many folks who work the web are opposed to these bills. Beyond the fears of enshrining government sponsored censorship (ala China) which could easily kill your access to non-American news media (especially important in a crisis) and stifling innovation (by creating a precarious legal climate for startups), existing businesses models that allow users to link to content (youtube, twitter, flickr, imgur, you name it) could be put off the internet in one fell swoop at the whim of another industry. But theres another way to look at this issue – the economics of it don’t make any sense. All signs point to this as being a massive lobbying effort by the publishers and movie industry to break the web once and for all and theres a great article by Julian Sanchez (of the Cato Institute) on Ars Technia discussing the economics of piracy which goes into great detail exploring the claims of the RIAA and the movie industry for the supposed harms of piracy.
Bill Clinton on the Daily Show discussing how he would approach the problems in the economy. I hope the Dems are listening because everything he said makes sense. I definitely had a “Miss Me Yet?” moment watching this.
1. Focus on where the jobs are: small business, manufacturing, and clean energy
2. Figure out how to loosen the money in banks and corporations (banks and businesses are sitting on more than 3 trillion dollars right now)
3. Train people to do the jobs that are already opening (the cheapest and quickest thing to do)
President Obama’s war in Libya, even if it is moral, prudent and legally authorized under international law by the Security Council, is plainly unconstitutional
Michael Lind lays out the case pretty well in today’s Salon article for why he thinks Obama’s order to assist in the UN action against Ghadafi is illegal. On the one hand I really believe it would be the height of hypocrisy for America to refuse to assist any movement of people living under an authoritarian regime to overthrow their oppressors when our very existence as a nation is the direct result of French assistance to us during our struggle against the English in our own War for Independence. It seems especially hypocritical considering the sheer volume of rhetoric we’ve thrown around for 40 years concerning democracy while silently propping up the very dictators we’re asked to remove now. But on the other hand, if the president doesn’t have the authority to order military actions (even if requested by allied UN nations and required by UN treaty obligations), then he doesn’t have it. If an act of Congress is required to authorize military action in support of a UN resolution under article 42 then Congress should be asked to authorize it. I understand the time-sensitive nature of the situation, and that swift action may have been required, but certainly there is always enough time to obey the law?
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A couple months back we heard 2012 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee call for whoever leaked those diplomatic cables to Wiki Leaks to be executed. The cables were an embarrassment to many authoritarian leaders around the globe that the US is friendly with, but despite the negative press run mainly by FOX News and partners, most of the cables weren’t particularly damning to the US. Most of what you read in the cables make the US look like the only adult in a room full of whining, petulant, spoiled brats. In fact, it might be argued that the released documents are the main reason why protests are raging across the Arab world as citizens in one country after another, having heard of the abuses of power related in those documents released widely on the internet, demand the end of totalitarian rule and a path to democracy. In a leaked cable from US ambassador to Tunisa, Robert Godec explained frankly his belief that the country was on the point of revolt. His words resonated with Tunisians and at least in this case improved public opinion about the US who could be seen (through this secret document) as truly worried by the current government and having empathy for the plight of the people. I think a case can be made that whoever leaked those documents did more to promote democracy in the middle east than 40 years of secret arms deals with the dictators of those of nations has done.