between an #NDAA and a #SOPA

What a depressing day on the Net. Following the #SOPA discussion on twitter just makes me want to scream. Listening to a bunch of technically illiterate people debate on the merits of the bill is beyond frustrating. If SOPA passes, you can say goodbye to just about any kind of content on the ‘net. No more wiki. NO MORE YOUTUBE. We’d be left only with inane “I HAD BAGELS FOR BREAKFAST” on Facebook updates.

We’d have to build a new one, for all practical intents and purposes. One that goes thru tor and other anonymizers, uses mesh networks and in general stays the hell away from any kind of regulatory authority. It’s also especially disturbing to be debating this at the same time we pontificate to the world at large about internet freedoms while we crack down on ours.

And then there’s NDAA. There’s a fair amount of argument going around about how it’s been sufficiently modified to exempt US citizens (for example). This bothers me — why should it be THAT DIFFICULT to track down the current version of the bill? This points out another fundamental flaw in the way we do legislation in the congressional house. It sounds to me like even some of the Senators are stilluncertain of the current exact wording of the bill even while they debate, and that’s quite some devil in the details as to whether US citizens fall under its scope or not.

But in any case, I have grave objections to the bill itself, not to “subsection 1, line 22, page 6789, fourteenth letter from the middle of the edge of the left page, on Tuesday next.” NDAA itself: the concept, and the mindset that says we NEED the concept, are what truly disturb me. The Patriot Act was bad enough (and is long past its expiration date, the thing needs to be be permanently staked) but now we have this?

Remember, we have already been detaining American citizens without due process. The exact wording of NDAA probably hardly matters; we’ll continue to detain individuals unconstitutionally until we examine WHY the concept of War Without End (Amen) — my name for the “war on terrorism” — is so important to us right now.

Ten years after 9/11. After killing bin Laden. After smashing Al Qaeda up to tiny bits. After ten years of going after the terrorists who took down the towers, we’re still in such grave danger that we need to take a wrecking ball to constitutionally protected rights? As Bernie Sanders (I-VT) noted today: “The bill continues to authorize heavy spending on defense despite the end of the 9-year-old war in Iraq. Ironically, the Senate vote came on the same day when Defense Secretary Panetta was in Baghdad officially declaring that our military mission there has ended and that virtually all of the combat troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year.”

Really? We’re in such dire danger of losing this War Without End (Amen) that we have to resort to things like NDAA? What, we have shopping malls being bombed nearly weekly, scores of politicians and leaders being assassinated? We have planes being bombed out of the sky every month? Really?

ETA: I want to point out something particularly chilling that Lucien Randolph pointed out: Why I believe the NDAA is a bad piece of legislation. Of particular note: “If the Military is allowed to begin to regularly operate inside the country, then it will only be a matter of time before the Officers of today, who have expressed doubts to whether they would obey any order to deploy inside America to quell a rebellion or revolution, are all gone. Then the only Officers who will be left will be ones that have already become accustomed to operating inside the civilian borders of the country. At that point, the Military could very well be used against anyone in the country if the political leaders decided to do so.”

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