Hopefully Not Coming Soon: Internet “Off” Switch…

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Caught this in the Washington Post. Please write your senator or congressman and tell them to worry about the economy and quit infringing on the last bastion of free speech…or we won’t even be able to bring you these stories:

 

Overkill on Internet piracy

By Jennifer Rubin

Over the weekend, First Amendment impresario Floyd Abrams addressed two controversial Internet piracy bills, the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). He argued that the bill, designed to stop Internet theft of intellectual property, has been denounced by critics for setting up “ ‘walled gardens patrolled by government censors.’ Or derided as imparting ‘major features’ of ‘China’s Great Firewall’ to America. And accused of being ‘potentially politically repressive.’ ” He contends, “This is not serious criticism. The proposition that efforts to enforce the Copyright Act on the Internet amount to some sort of censorship, let alone Chinese-level censorship, is not merely fanciful. It trivializes the pain inflicted by actual censorship that occurs in repressive states throughout the world. Chinese dissidents do not yearn for freedom in order to download pirated movies.”

I don’t quarrel with his assertion that it is hysterical to regard enforcement of libel and copyright infringement on the Internet as the beginning of a totalitarian state. But he misses the real point of sober-minded critics: The bill is unnecessarily overbroad and a formula for a host of undesirable and unintended consequences.

ABC News reported last month on the over broad nature of the remedies that would be available:

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said the bills would overdo it — giving copyright holders and government the power to cut off Web sites unreasonably. They could be shut down, and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo could be stopped from linking to them.

“The solutions are draconian,” Schmidt said Tuesday at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “There’s a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.”

Harvard law professor and Supreme Court advocate Laurence Tribe (whom I don’t always agree with but who takes the Bill of Rights quite seriously and was instrumental in developing the jurisprudence that confirmed the Second Amendment is an individual right) has submitted a memo detailing the multiple ways in which SOPA runs afoul of the First Amendment. For example, “SOPA provides that a complaining party can file a notice alleging that it is harmed by the activities occurring on the site ‘or portion thereof .’ Conceivably, an entire website containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement. Such an approach would create severe practical problems for sites with substantial user-generated content, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and for blogs that allow users to post videos, photos, and other materials.”And likewise: “The notice-and-termination procedure of Section 103(a) runs afoul of the ‘prior restraint’ doctrine, because it delegates to a private party the power to suppress speech without prior notice and a judicial hearing. This provision of the bill would give complaining parties the power to stop online advertisers and credit card processors from doing business with a website,merely by filing a unilateral notice accusing the site of being ‘dedicated to theft of U.S. property’ — even if no court has actually found any infringement. The immunity provisions in the bill create an overwhelming incentive for advertisers and payment processors to comply with such a request immediately upon receipt.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced a competing bill, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (the “Open Act”), which seeks to address legitimate concerns about SOPA/PIPA and focus more specifically on the real problem without knocking down robust, protected speech in an indiscriminate fashion. Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mozilla, Yahoo!, and Zynga have signed on to support this alternative to SOPA/PIPA.

The Hill recently reported on OPEN: “The draft proposal would instead authorize the International Trade Commission to investigate and issue cease-and-desist orders against foreign websites that provide pirated content or sell counterfeit goods. The ITC would have to find that the site is ‘primarily’ and ‘willfully’ engaged in copyright infringement to issue the order.” Rather than take down entire websites and potentially interfere with perfectly legitimate and protected speech OPEN, would, after a court order, “compel payment providers and online advertising services to cease providing services to the offending website. The approach comports with current copyright law and hews to the ‘follow the money’ approach favored by Google and other tech companies.”

In short, this is not a fight between protectors of copyrights and Internet anarchists. Rather, there is a legitimate policy dispute about how broad and how disruptive government enforcement powers should be when core First Amendment rights are at issue. No doubt the Motion Picture Association of America, headed by disgraced former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd, has spread plenty of money around Congress to try to give the government the bluntest, heaviest weapon to fight piracy. But that doesn’t make it good policy. And it sure doesn’t make for constitutional legislation.

Judge Napolitano, Ron Paul on DHS “Rightwing Extremism” Report

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JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Six Things You Should Know About the Homeland Security Report on ‘Rightwing Extremism’

By Judge Andrew Napolitano
FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

Homeland Security Warns of Rise in Right-Wing Extremism

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, dated April 7, 2009, which I have read, is apparently an unclassified summary of a larger classified report.

1.  The summary contains few proper names, has no footnotes of any significance, lists very few sources, and is drafted with a prejudice against anyone who criticizes the role of the federal government in our lives today. It lumps together in its definition of “rightwing extremism” hate groups, anti-government groups, and single issue groups “such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

2.  The document itself cautions the reader that the document is “not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval” of the DHS. The document refers to itself as one of a series of intelligence assessments intended to “deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.”

3.  The thrust of this report is that in the present environment of economic instability, returning military veterans, those who fear of the loss of Second Amendment-protected rights, those threatened by an African-American president (racists?), and those who fear “Jewish ‘financial elites’” could all be a fertile breeding ground for groups whose power and ideas the government hates and fears. The document is essentially a warning for DHS and FBI officials to be on the look-out for rootless persons looking for the comfort of groups as they may be a danger to American security.

4.  The summary (unclassified) document is terrifying. One can only imagine what is contained in the classified version. This document runs directly counter to numerous U.S. Supreme decisions prohibiting the government from engaging in any activities that could serve to chill the exercise of expressive liberties. Liberties are chilled, in constitutional parlance, when people are afraid to express themselves for fear of government omnipresence, monitoring, or reprisals. The document also informs the reader that Big Brother is watching both public and private behavior.

When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

5. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee open, broad, robust debate on the policies and personnel of the government. The First Amendment presumes that individuals — NOT THE GOVERNMENT — are free to choose what they believe and espouse, what they read and say, and with whom they associate in public and in private. The writers of this abominable report are particularly concerned with the expression of opinions that might be used to fuel ideas that challenge federal authority or favor state and local government over the federal government. Unfortunately, legislation passed during the past eight years gives the DHS and the FBI the tools to monitor everything from a telephone conversation to the keystrokes used on a personal computer without a warrant issued by a federal judge. (as the Constitution calls for)

6.  My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com

Islamic star and crescent join town’s Christmas tree

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Boy I don’t have enough words to express my outrage on this one. Nothing Islamic belongs along side anything referring to Christmas. The Muslims don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their savior or being born to save them from their sin. What a slap in the face to all the Christians and the founding fathers of this nation.



WND



HOLIDAY BLUES

Islamic star and crescent join town’s Christmas tree, menorah

‘Spirit of inclusion’: ‘Jesus Christ himself would have gathered everyone around him’



Posted: December 14, 2008
2:40 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Christmas Tree, Menorah, Star and Crescent

The decision by a New York village to place the Islamic star and crescent alongside the community’s official Christmas tree has a Catholic leader wondering if there are any wise men among the town’s leaders. (I’d have to second that comment)

Supervisors for Armonk, N.Y. voted to display a menorah and a star and crescent at tonight’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the town’s gazebo.

“We’ve decided to go in the direction of being all-inclusive,” Supervisor Reese Berman told Associated Press.

The village had added the menorah previously. Last year, town resident Asad Jilani, saying the Christmas season is an appropriate time to celebrate all cultures, asked the board to include Islamic symbols as well.(Well I disagree here again…it is NOT appropriate to include cultures that don’t observe Christmas as the birth of the Savior of the World.)

“I said ‘Oh, there’s a menorah and a Christmas tree and where is my crescent?’” said Jilani.

Berman, who is Jewish, said the town did not have time to adequately address Jilani’s request last year and, to not make Muslims feel they were being specifically excluded, the menorah was removed to a local synagogue.(We have no amendment in the Constitution about not offending anyone…now days Christians are offended daily!)

“The last thing I was suggesting was to move the menorah,” Jilani said. “I wanted this to be for openness, for representing everyone.”

This year, after a committee researched the law and what was being done in other communities, Armonk leaders voted to include the star and crescent, even though the closest Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha does not always fall in December.

“It might have been easier to just do away with the Christmas tree and everything else but it would be too much of an assault on what we’re used to at Christmas,” said Berman.(That’s right do away with our beliefs and tradition in order not to offend some other religion.This is America, we celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Savior….if you don’t like that and are offended…. don’t try and change our beliefs or traditions……..just leave the country if you don’t like it.)

According to the board’s guidelines, any group interested in displaying a privately-funded symbol through the Christmas season must submit a formal application. The board makes no determination as to whether a symbol is secular or religious. The process is open to all religions.

“Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans are Americans and respect other religions,” said Laila Al-Qatami, spokeswoman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington. “They know that Christmas is a big holiday and they’re glad to be included.”

That’s a sentiment that feels right to Catholic-raised Judy Wesley, director of the Armonk Chamber of Commerce.

“In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with having a spirit of inclusion,” she said. “Jesus Christ himself would have gathered everyone around him.” (I’m sorry but I think Judy Wesley is wrong….Jesus would not have a spirit of inclusion with a false religion that doesn’t look to him for their salvation. He would have invited them to accept him as their savior and turn from their sins.)

Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, disagrees, saying the town has chosen to display Jewish and Islamic religious symbols while leaving out the Christian religious symbol of the season, a Nativity scene. He does not believe the Christmas tree is a religious symbol.

Further, he says, the inclusive display “shows tremendous sympathy for Jews and Muslims at the expense of the majority Christians.”

Read this entire article @ Worldnet Daily.com

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