Monday, December 19, 2011

Fighting for the Future of the Internet

          Tis the season for your Senators and Congress members to hand out presents to their constituents. 
       No, not you, silly! 

Their REAL constituents---the corporations who have paid them much more money than you are even allowed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Special-Interest Bills Would Cripple Free Speech, Innovation on the Internet

(An edited version of the following ran as an op-ed in The Tennessean Sunday Dec. 18, 2011, opposite a piece by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and alongside an editorial by The Tennessean's Ted Rayburn)

By Gary Moore

If you were alarmed when you saw SWAT teams ridding public parks of the First Amendment in the form of "Occupy Wall Street," you will be sick when your Internet is blocked after a powerful Congress-Corporate SWAT team clears cyber space of the First Amendment.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was argued last week in a two-day markup session of the House Judiciary Committee. Rather than being "marked up," the bill should be shredded. The bill might better be called the "Shut Off Practically Anyone" Act or the "Stop Online Privacy Act." A counterpart bill is in the Senate.

The stated intent of the legislation, which is being pushed by the motion picture and music industries, is to supersede existing laws that protect copyright holders from those who would illegally sell movies and songs over the Internet.

Unfortunately, the bills are so broadly written that they swing a medieval ax that chops down the First (free speech), Fourth (privacy) and Fifth (due process) Amendments. Under the House bill a copyright holder could go to court and, without a hearing, get the government to block web sites, even over materials put there by a third party, like users posting to Facebook. The burden could be on YouTube to monitor its about 24,000 postings an hour for such things as kids singing a Beatles song.

The bill further provides for cutting off credit card and PayPal payments to allegedly offending sites. What would that mean to eBay? And, the bill knocks down the privacy door as it allows snooping on what users write, read and seek.

Opposition to the bill is more grassroots and can afford fewer lobbyists. It ranges from venture capitalists to technology interests to First Amendment lawyers.

"Our State Department can't push for Internet freedom abroad if we pass SOPA at home," said committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

Authoritarian regimes are intently watching this bill, which they view as a free pass from the U.S. to engage in censorship, spying and electronic revolt-crushing. The technology prescribed by SOPA is substantially the same that China uses to enforce the Great Internet Firewall of China.

Investors fear the broad liability cast by these bills would stifle the robust economic force of the Internet. Future Facebooks would stay in the dorm room, and future Googles might not get out of the garage.

Judiciary committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is pushing his bill as if it were a Christmas gift for corporate sponsors. The movie/TV/music industry is Smith's top campaign contributor by industry rank, just as it is of the bill's other principal sponsor, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Not surprisingly, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN 7th district) has signed on as a co-sponsor.

Further entwining the Corporate-Congress marriage is the fact that former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd now serves as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, and he recently hired a Congressional staffer who had worked on the bill. Imagine this on a resume: "I helped the United States pass new laws to benefit you at the expense of the public interest."

The Internet is the last level playing field, where there is equal opportunity to post and search, even if you are a budding entrepreneur or a dissenting political voice. The spirit of the Internet must prevail in America against the narrow interests that would throttle it.

Gary Moore is public information director of Citizens for a Free and Open Internet PAC.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Despite GOP Claims, U.S. Health Care Nowhere Near ‘Best’ in the World

This article was published at NationofChange at:

By Wendell Potter

A little more than a year ago, on the day after the GOP regained control of the House of Representatives, Speaker-to-be John Boehner said one of the first orders of business after he took charge would be the repeal of health care reform.

"I believe that the health care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health care system in the world, and bankrupt our country," Boehner said at a press conference. "That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common sense reforms to bring down the cost of health care.”

Boehner is not the first nor the only Republican to try to make us believe that the U.S. has the world’s best health care system and that we’re bound to lose that distinction because of Obamacare. I’ve heard GOP candidates for president say the same thing in recent months, charging that we need to get rid of a President who clearly is trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing, something that isn’t broken in the first place.

Well, those guys need to get out more. Out of the country, in fact. They need to travel to at least one of the many countries that are doing a much better job of delivering high quality care at much lower costs than the good old USA.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Redneck Party and Beer Party Protest Republican Party Debate

GOP's 'Cheap-Labor Conservatives'
Can No Longer Take the South for Granted


Jeana Brown of Redneck Party: "Whose side are you on?"
SPARTANBURG, S.C.---"The South shall rise again!" will be the rallying cry of the Southern-based workers' rights Redneck Party and the Beer Party when they picket the Republican presidential debate beginning at 5 p.m. ET Saturday Nov. 12 at Wofford College.
Though whimsically named, the Redneck Party and the Beer Party are dead serious about waking up Southerners to who is behind their loss of jobs, homes, income and quality of life.


"We want to run these cheap-labor conservatives back home," said Jeana Brown, co-founder of the Redneck Party, a pro-labor coalition. "We want folks across the nation to know that we in the South might be so-called 'right-to-work’ states, but we know right from wrong. Taking away collective bargaining rights of teachers and fire fighters all over America is wrong.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wall Street Spies on Protesters at Taxpayers' Expense

For those people who get riled over thinking they saw somebody on food stamps driving a too-nice car....Open your eyes to the real welfare in America, the big-time corporate welfare, which taxpayers are funding and which loots our U.S. Treasury and runs on the backs of those who are barely making it.

Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters
in Tax-Funded Center

By Pam Martens, CounterPunch
Posted on October 26, 2011, Printed on October 28, 2011
The following article is original to CounterPunch.

Wall Street’s audacity to corrupt knows no bounds and the cooptation of government by the 1 per cent knows no limits. How else to explain $150 million of taxpayer money going to equip a government facility in lower Manhattan where Wall Street firms, serially charged with corruption, get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law abiding citizens.

According to newly unearthed documents, the planning for this high tech facility on lower Broadway dates back six years. In correspondence from 2005 that rests quietly in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s archives, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly promised Edward Forst, a Goldman Sachs’ Executive Vice President at the time, that the NYPD “is committed to the development and implementation of a comprehensive security plan for Lower Manhattan…One component of the plan will be a centralized coordination center that will provide space for full-time, on site representation from Goldman Sachs and other stakeholders.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Redneck Party Says: 'Carpetbagger, Go Home'

Redneck Party and Williamson Countians Decry
Wisconsin Governor's Fundraising Trip to Franklin 
FRANKLIN, TN---It won't be a Civil War reenactment, but the appearance of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a Republican fund-raiser on Tuesday will be met with a peaceful protest from Williamson County residents and the Southern-based Redneck Party, workers' advocates who will trek to Franklin to act in solidarity with Wisconsin teachers and workers.
Walker, whose 2010 election was bankrolled by Tea Party funder David Koch and other extreme, neo-conservative special interests, will be raising money in Franklin for his recall election.  The following day, Walker will be in Iowa for a fund-raiser; so his journey south to get money from the locals and then scurry back northward with his bounty mimics the Northern carpetbaggers, who came south after the Civil War to meddle in politics and exploit Southern states. 

          Walker will be the keynote speaker at the Williamson County Republican Party annual Reagan Day Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 25 at Embassy Suites in Cool Springs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sign and Pass Around this Online Petition to Repeal Jim Crow Law

Sign this online petition to repeal the Tennessee voter suppression law.

Or print out some and carry them around, so that you will have some petitions handy to pull out for friends, strangers, co-workers, cashiers, others in the doctor's waiting room, people waiting in line, anywhere. 

After Lifetime of Proudly Voting, Woman Is Shut Out by Tennessee's New Law

96-year-old Woman Barred from Voting!

....because her birth certificate did not prove her married name..!  Huh?  That is what our Tennessee knuckleheads told her.