SOPA

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SOPA: The Internet Blacklist Bill

This is a bill that will allow the U.S. government to ban websites from being accessed in the United States. It uses the same censorship methods that are currently being implemented in China, Iran, and Syria. Further it is in violation of the Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19. This bill violates our freedom of speech and would allow the government to have complete control over what we can access on the Internet.

This bill was recently passed in the House of Representatives, and then it failed in the Senate. This was too close for comfort for anyone who was aware of the bill. I am posting this article to allow people to do an awareness check of how tuned in they are to the bills that are being purposed in Congress. If you where not aware of this bill, please tune in more. Congress should note be able to vote to take away our civil liberties before we have a chance to protest against it.

For more Information on the SOPA bill, feel free to go here.

Article 19

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas throug

 

h any media and regardless of frontiers.” Every single human, all seven billion of us, are born with the inalienable right to seek, receive, and impart information through any media, be it word of mouth or written, and regardless of the frontier, be it a book or on the Internet, and to do this without any interference. This declaration by the United Nations,

a political entity that is considered the highest political power in the world, states that any effort to censor the Internet is a violation of the basic human rights of every single person in the world.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” There is no threat to national security that is great enough to violate our basic human right to a free, uncensored Internet.

 

To see the full document of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, go here.

Iranian Blogger Tortured to Death in Prison

According to Amnesty International an Iranian man who had been receiving death threats because of his anti-government blog has died in custody, possibly as the result of torture. Sattar Beheshti was arrested at the age of 35 on October 28th.

The day before his arrest he told Amnesty International “They sent me a message saying, ‘Tell your mother she will soon be wearing black because you don’t shut your big mouth,'” The next day he was taken into custody and whose body was handed back to his family a couple days later.

According to the British Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, “Behesht’s only crime appears to be advocating the defense of human rights on the Internet,” an ability that dictators in the Middle East are trying to control.

To see another article on Sattar Beheshti’s death visit here.

Review of Anonymous (Group)

Anonymous is a hacktivist group that has been around since about 2004. A hacktivist is somebody who is politically protesting over the internet. The group originated from the website 4chan and has slowly evolved since then. Their first big protest was against the Church of Scientology where members across the world where told to meet at the nearest church wearing Guy Fawkes Masks.

Most recently Anonymous has participated in assisting with the revolution in Egypt after the previous dictator had shut down the internet to the entire country. They have also played a strong roll supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Other events they have protested against include; The Pirate Bay, Megaupload, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy act),  Kony, Government Websites, Internet Pedophilia, and other religious organizations.

In 2012 Times Magazine named Anonymous as one of the most influential groups of people in the world.

To watch a documentary on the group feel free to go here.

Source Review on “New Study Quantifies use of Social Media in Arab Spring”

This is an Article published by the University of Washington by Catherine O’Donnel. It starts by talking about how in the 21st century revolutions may not be televised, but they are likely to be tweeted, blogged, texted, and organized on Facebook. It then goes on to help explain how social media has been used in the Arab Spring.

The article compares figures of social media like how political tweets went from 2,300 a day, the week before the Egyptian revolution, to 230,000 a day, and how videos featuring protests and political commentary of the Egyptian revolution has gone viral and the top 23 videos received nearly 5.5 million views.

The article ends with explaining how social media helped organize the enemies of dictators in the Middle East, and how that led to the downfall of many corrupt leaders.

THe article was part of the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam. See the article here, and the full report here.

The Third Way

With the coming of the Arab Spring, countries in it’s path have been facing a choice of two options. Either an entrenched tyranny or a revolution. The king of Morocco, however, has opted for a 3rd option. While remaining the political figure head of the country, he has given more power to the people. Instead of being a servant to the palace, the prime minister is now a partner in power.

All of this seems to be good news for the country of Morocco, if it actually would seem to make any difference. Journalists are still being banned, public television is still ran by the king, old political figures are still present, and the new government is banned from being able to take part of the first regulation under its rule.

Here is a full article about the changes in Morocco.

Merits of a Government

People have been fighting for centuries trying to find the perfect form of government, the turmoil in the Middle East with the Arab Spring is no different. I want to point out something peculiar I noticed when I was spending time in Morocco. 

The people where protesting the king and demanding democracy, and unlike the other Middle Eastern dictators/kings/rulers, the Moroccan king said “Okay, fine.” and this is what happened…

The people got a prime minister, new taxes to pay for the new government, and a king that was still ultimately in power. What I noticed, however, that the king stayed in power by giving the people something to do. They vote for their prime minister, who deals with the day to day operations of running the government, stuff the king didn’t want to do anyways. So at the end of the day, the king stays in power, and the people are kept busy thinking they are helping themselves.

Theres somethings in that scenario that is repeated across history. Successful governments keep the people busy, while the elite operate behind the scenes. This idea sort of sparked a revolution in my head. Think of what the presidents argue for when they are elected. I will fix the economy, I will end this war, I will start this war, I will give us healthcare, I will legalize gay marriage. All of that is non-sense. The presidents don’t have the power to do half of the stuff they say they will.

As Americans, we are all “entertained” by politics. We think that our “vote” will make a difference with who is elected, but in my personal opinion, it is the elite who run this country, and they give us a president as a toy to keep us busy.

250,000 likes on a Facebook page toppled the Egyptian Government. Youtube goes through 100,000,000,000 views, a DAY. THAT is actual power, that the U.S. president or any other part of the United States government couldn’t dream of having. 

One last piece of thought. If 80% of the economy is owned by 5% of the people, and those 5% of the people only pay a 20% tax, that means that, that 5% of the people in the country, are 4 times more powerful than the entire U.S. Government.