Does Sen. Feinstein’s Gun Ban Have Holes in It?

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

A drawing of an assault rifle.

Assault Rifle drawing

Written by Sarah Peel

Ever since the December 2012, Sandy Hook shooting, the U.S. Government has been attempting to ban assault rifles, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) leading the bill. However, it has come to the light that the possible bill would have serious holes in it. The so-called ban would protect over 2,000 make and models of so called assault rifles.

Sen. Feinstein of California might have written and lead the potential assault rifle ban bill currently, but it appears she has some side interest. The ban would supposed have loopholes for 2,200 rifles that fall as hunting weapons. It would allow certain assault weapons of different models to be safe as long as they fall under the hunting rifle label. This has caused some pro-gun ban supporters upset over the so-called ban. Many claim that would cause no level of public protection and would make the law pointless. However, the officials remain that it would prevent assault weapons from getting into the hands of potential shooters, even though hunting rifles would still be sold to the public.

Sen. Feinstein has responded to the claims via The Associated Press, in which she said was her goal. She claims that she wanted to make it as clear as possible that she was not going against hunting. However, she did not expect the backlash that she and her fellow bill supporters are receiving from those within their own party. As for her own stance on gun rights, Sen. Feinstein has not been a friend to gun rights supporters. She was the master mind behind the ban back in 1996, which also made exemptions for around 600 weapons back in the day. That law expired back in 2004 during the Bush years. Since then many attempts for a new, stronger law has been made without much support nor success thus far.

No word on if this bill will even pass, but both President Obama and Vice President Biden have been doing rounds trying to raise support across the country for it. Both have traveled and will continue to travel across the country to discuss gun rights and laws. Right now no date has been set for voting, nor has the National Rifle Association stopped fighting for gun rights. Every attempt thus far for gun control has been thwarted by the NRA with success. However, with the recent rash of mass shootings, much of the public has become twice as critical to gun laws.

Dorner’s Supporters Protest at LAPD Main Offices

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Christopher Dorner in Marines

Christopher Dorner in Marines

Written by- Sarah Peel

The man-hunt for Christopher Dorner might be over, but the aftermath continues. Can Donrer’s supporters be taken seriously or will this case be buried further into the case files as a cover up as some suggest?

Ex-cop turned murder Christopher Donrer might have been caught and killed himself, but some people still stand by him. On Saturday, February 16 more than a dozen protesters arrived at the Los Angeles Police Department to protest for Dorner. The protesters spoke to the Los Angeles Times and insisted that while they do not support Doner’s crimes, they do support him over his fight for corruption-including racism which they say pushed him over the edge. They also claim that LAPD profiled and showed racism to those who resembled Doner, even at times attacking the innocent men who were confused for him. During the protest, of the protesters carried signs that were written in honor for him, as well as for fighting against the corruption within LA. One of the signs reportedly said the following, “RIP Habeas Corpus.” However, for the most part it remained a peaceful protest among Dorner’s so-called supporters.

Dorner was a LAPD member who reported a fellow cop for wrong doing and claimed to have been punished for it. His claims include that he was treated badly due to his race being African-American, and also for speaking up. This reportedly caused him to be fired, which sent him into the rampage of murdering those tied to his new found “enemies”. He wrote a manifesto which explained his thinking, in which he predicted he would fight the police to his death. His manifesto can be found online, but will not be linked here due to respect to those whom lost their lives at his hands.

Late last week he was caught in a cabin on the mountains, where he killed himself and had the house burnt down around him. Some have suggested that the cops where the ones who intended to burn down the cabin, which they have repeatedly denied. The LAPD claim that it wasn’t their goal and that they never intended for that to happen at all. However, it should be worth noting that during those final hours with Dorner locked in the cabin, the media  was asked to leave by the police department and FBI.  It will remain to be seen if more investigation will go into the case or not at this stage.

Roe v. Wade: Forty Years and Still Fighting

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written by: Selena DiGiovanni

Forty years ago this past January, the controversial Roe v. Wade case gave millions of women in the U.S. the right to a safe and legal abortion.  Not surprisingly, politicians across America have been fighting tooth and nail to prevent women from gaining access to reproductive health.

Group of women with signs supporting Roe v. Wade

A group of Pro-Choice women gather in support of passing Roe v. Wade

Our first stop is in Michigan where, this past December, politicians locked out the general public during lawmaking sessions. The following statement was made by Kary L. Moss, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s executive director: “While the Senate passed one bad bill after another, they locked out the public, including our legislative director….Doing so on such important issues while the public is shut out of the debate is cause for, once again, the Michigan legislature to be a national embarrassment.” The Senate passed bill after bill restricting women’s rights while the public was unconstitutionally refused their right to speak to their representatives.

Moving to the South, we stop in New Mexico. There, Rep. Cathrynn Brown recently introduced a bill which would make the termination of a pregnancy for a rape or incest survivor a third degree felony for “tampering with evidence.” This means that women who obtain an abortion due to rape or incest could serve up to three years in prison. Brown later clarified that the bill would punish those that committed the rape and then destroys evidence of the crime via abortion but the bill could still negatively impact victims of rape or incest. Women who are victims of rape or incest could potentially be forced to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.

In addition, there are several states which are currently working to take away women’s reproductive health rights. In North Dakota there is a bill which is making history by attempting to pass a package of laws which would define ‘personhood.’ This ‘personhood legislation’ would prevent abortions statewide (including pregnancies caused by rape or incest) by defining the fetus as a person and granting it the rights of a citizen. Certain forms of birth control, stem cell research and in vitro fertilization would also be banned under this new legislation.

And finally, right now women in Tennessee are fighting a new law which would require them to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. This means that a woman who wants an abortion, whether it be for personal or health reasons, would first be made to listen to the heartbeat of their unborn fetus. This procedure is unnecessarily cruel, incredibly invasive and often detrimental to the mental health of the mother.

These are just a handful of laws and bills which women have had to fight and are still fighting to maintain their basic rights. Every day there is another politician unconstitutionally working to undo the benefits of Roe vs. Wade.

How can you help prevent laws which will limit your reproductive health from being passed? Go to www.thisispersonal.org to learn more about your rights and how to stop politicians from placing restrictions on your reproductive health.

HHS proposes broader exemptions for contraceptive coverage

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written by: Ken Fallon

The Obama administration on Friday proposed new rules that it said would alleviate concerns by religious organizations opposed to paying for contraceptive insurance coverage.

Photo of oral contraceptives

The Obama administration says its proposed rule changes would ease concerns by religious organizations opposed to paying for contraceptives, while still providing a way for their employees to be covered.

The Department of Health and Human Services is facing dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of plaintiffs, from both non-profit and for-profit organizations, that object to contraception on religious grounds. The new rules, seen as trying to stave off some of those lawsuits, eliminates criteria that previously required that a religious employer could only qualify for an exemption if its primary role was to instill religious values and if it employed and/or served people of that religion. The new rules more closely follow the Internal Revenue Service definition of a church.

Under the new health care proposal, a religious employer that objects to paying for contraceptive coverage would request an exemption from the government. Any employee wishing contraceptive coverage could join a free plan directly from the insurance company, which would pay for the coverage. The employer would not have to “contract, arrange, pay or refer” for any such coverage.

“Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a written statement.

However, the rule does not resolve the issue of private for-profit employers who object to paying for contraceptive coverage. Critics also charge that it fails to adequately accommodate religious non-profit organizations such as colleges or hospitals, as well as self-insured religious groups.

Friday’s change is not dissimilar to changes announced last year, in which the insurance companies would pay for coverage rather than the employer directly. However, then as now, critics suggested it was an empty gesture because their health insurance premiums still would go into the same pool, which would be used to pay for the contraceptives they opposed. In addition, they argued that their premiums would likely still increase since the insurance companies would not pay for contraceptive coverage without increasing other costs elsewhere.

Additional costs incurred by health-insurance company or health care administrators would be offset by a fee of 3.5 percent of each policy premium sold through a government-run health insurance exchange. Those fees could be passed on to consumers.

In its release Friday, the HHS argued that the new rules would be “cost neutral” because of fewer childbirths and improvements in women’s health.

Photo of a rally where people hold "Stand Up For Religious Freedom" signs

Religious conservatives oppose the health insurance mandates as a violation of their religious freedoms.

Religious conservatives oppose any method of birth control that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, thus terminating the pregnancy. It would force them to violate their consciences, they argue, for the government to require they financially subsidize such methods. They argue that such mandates violate their religious freedom under the First Amendment.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing several parties in lawsuits against the mandated rules, issued a statement saying it was “extremely disappointed” in the proposal.

“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious freedom of millions of Americans. For instance, it does nothing to protect the rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund.

Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retail chain, is one of the highest-profile opponents to the HHS rules. Evangelical Christian David Green, who runs the Oklahoma-based company, said in a Dec. 1, 2012 letter to supporters that the company would incur government fines of up to $1.3 million per day if it complied with the rules. “Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill,” he wrote. “We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.”

A month later, after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor upheld the 10th Circuit Court’s denial for an injunction in the Hobby Lobby case even though other courts had granted such injunctions, Green announced he would refuse to comply with the mandate. A week later, the company announced it would shift the plan year for its health insurance by several months in order to buy time to fight the mandates.

Hurricane Sandy to Play Important Role in Presidential Election?

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written By Jessica Nichols

Hurricane Sandy has been declared the highest costing and the largest hurricane on record. Scientists cite global warming and its effects to the recent spike in ‘super storms,’ which then begs the question of how Sandy is going to effect the upcoming presidential election.

Whether one is a democrat, republican or a third party supporter, a natural disaster transcends party lines. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which experts are saying was so severe partially due to global warming, how the candidates respond to these very real issues may be a decisive point in the minds of voters.

After breaking ground in the United States on October 29, Sandy has become the second-most costly hurricane in US recorded history, racking up an estimated $50 billion in economic losses, and is second only to Hurricane Katrina. Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, recently tweeted this in regards to the strength and severity of Sandy, “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.”

Global warming is not necessarily the most widely accepted notion, however, especially outside of the scientific community. There are still many political and religious figures that do not believe in climate change as well as our role in it, and responsibility that humans have on this planet.

President Obama supports Donna Vanzant, the owner of the North Point Marina, which was damaged in the hurricane, during a tour through Brigantine, NJ this October 31, 2012

But how can global warming alter weather patterns or the severity of storms? Scientists look to indicators like sea level to determine this. This past summer heralded a large loss on the level of sea ice. Climate Central had this to say, “The loss of sea ice opens large expanses of open water, which then absorbs more of the incoming solar radiation and adds heat and moisture to the atmosphere, thereby helping to alter weather patterns.”

Romney has been unclear on the subject at best, citing an unclear scientific stance as the source for his measured view on the topic. He told donors at the Consol Energy Center, “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

Obama, on the other hand, may be taking a much more active role in the wake of Sandy. While Obama has never before had a problem mentioning global warming, he has of yet has not brought to the table the seriousness of the issue at hand, though he did say in a speech in Charlottesville, Va. last week, “Denying climate change doesn’t make it stop.”

As coverage of Sandy spreads and the clean-up effort is put into place, the pressure is on for this presidential election. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are on the ropes to ensure that they are sending their message to the public, assuring them that they, too, take this issue very seriously.

Proposition 37 in California Hanging in the Balance as the Election Draws Near

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written By Jessica Nichols

As this election draws near, both sides of every debate are revving their engines and gearing towards the final battle. Proposition 37, which requires labeling on genetically modified foods, is despite having a strong lead earlier in the race, is finding its footing as opponents to the bill fight back.

In a poll from California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy done four weeks ago, the labeling initiative was supported by more than two-thirds of Californians who said they would vote for it November 6. However, in their latest poll from Tuesday, October 29, results showed the support for the initiative to have fallen to only 39 percent, with the opposition nearing 51 percent of the vote.

The opposition is largely funded by biotechnology company, Monsanto, DuPont, and PepsiCo Inc, managing to sway public opinion with a $46 million campaign against genetically modified organism, popularly referred to as GMO, labeling, making Proposition 37 one of the most well-funded ballot measures fights.

Opponents to the initiative claim that it is “poorly written,” and will result in costly effects to farmers and consumers, adding $400 to their monthly grocery costs. These ads also point at “special interest exemptions” toward restaurants and animals that consume GMO feed.

Those in support of the initiative say that consumers have the right to know what is going in the food that they eat, and say that claims to higher expenses to consumers, farmers, and businesses have no founding.

Many of the processed foods that we see stocking the shelves at grocery stores use GMOs—corn and soybeans being some of the top most used. These genetically modified foods are crossed with the DNA of other species to resist insects and pesticides.

Each side claims insufficient evidence and shotty science on the part of the other with the intent to mislead voters. And without sufficient government testing on the long-term effects of GMOs, the voter is left to the mercy of both sides and their campaign talking points.

Currently, the United States does not require labeling on GM foods so long as they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts. The US also does not require pre-market safety testing of these foods. Supporters of the initiative cry that we just do not know what these foods could do to people health-wise, especially after long-term use in our daily diets.

DuPont and Monsanto, the lead in contributions at $8 million contributed, lead the industry in their genetically modified seed businesss.

As the clock counts down to the election, it seems that opponents may have surpassed those in favor of the proposition. However, only time will tell if voters will support or opposed this polarized and controversial topic.

Protesting Puppets: Why Supporters of PBS Marched on Washington

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

Written By Jessica Nichols

The first presidential debate sparked a lot of controversy, the least of which did not fall on America’s sweetheart, Big Bird. Romney’s comments about cutting funding for the Public Broadcasting Service, though conceding, “I like PBS, I love Big Bird,” inspired the protest held November 3, aptly named “Million Muppet March.”

The “Million Muppet March” brought together more puppets than probably had ever been in once place, standing for one purpose before.

Protesters marched Saturday, November 3, in support of PBS after Romney makes comments about cutting federal funding to the program

If Romney likes PBS and Big Bird, then why would he attempt to cut funding for the household name and channel? Romney had this to say, “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS… I’m not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

Romney has been under fire about the comment ever since. Trending on social networking cites, memes, thousands of tweets, and an extensive media debate over whether cuts to PBS would begin to make a dent in federal deficit later, organizers created the “Million Muppet March.” Supporters of public broadcasting were outraged to hear Romney’s comments, and critic Bill Maher from “Real Time With Bill Maher” pointed out the PBS subsidy’s small proportion of the federal budget: a mere $445 million of $3.8 trillion.

The spirited march on Washington was started by animation executive, Michael Bellavia, and Chris Mecham, a university student, in response to Romney’s comments. Bellavia said, “I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event.”

The “Million Muppet March” saw protesters toting anywhere from fun-sized sock puppets to full-sized creations of our favorite neighborhood friends from Sesame Street: Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Animal, and more.

Sesame Street, which has been airing for 43 years, is a very popular educational program, so there was no problem for organizers of the march to find people willing to come out and show their support for this longtime American institution. Organizers of the march say that at least 600 people signed up to participate in the actual march at the capital, with thousands more showing their support virtually through Facebook, Twitter, and even their own marches across the nation.

As the election draws nearer, supporters hope that their efforts raised enough awareness about the importance of federal subsidies to the Public Broadcasting System, for public television and public radio.

We’ve Shelved SOPA/PIPA, Now Can We Stop Other Crappy Legislation?

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

 

Written by: Kaitlyn Burkhart

After a short and heroic uprising of the Internet community, it seems as if the people have won the battle against censorship of the Internet. On Friday January 20, Congress dropped the bills in the wake of the largest online protest in history. A staggering 13 million people took the time to add their names to the petition, alongside a voluntary blackout held by thousands of websites (including Wikipedia, the sixth most-visited site in the world),  in order to keep the Web free of censorship and out of the hands of the government and big business. The swift building of this movement, and it’s direct impact that hit the government straight in the legislature, has possibly been the most successful (if not the only, disregarding the rather ill-organized Occupy Wall Street) display of democratic power from the people in the recent past, with comparisons to the Arab Spring Movement, and our forefathers’ Boston Tea Party.

With the Internets’ uprising being hailed as a great success, it seems to be that maybe this movement of power from the people will shine the light on us as citizens, and how we’ve sat idly by as unfair, unconstitutional, and extraordinarily-out-of-touch-with-citizens’-lives legislature has been passed without even a whimper. Until, that is, they tried to take our Internet. Is this what Democracy has come to in the US? They can cut taxes for the rich, monopolize the elected government official positions to weed out any person who can’t spend millions on a campaign, slash spending on our education systems yet boost Congress’ payrolls, and most recently pass a bill that gives you no rights under the Bill of Rights if the military thinks you’re a terrorist.

Was it not so much that we were fighting for Freedom of Speech, or was it that the Internet the last free thing we had?

Remember this?

 

Many social commentators have been speaking out on the apathetic nature of Americans today, noting that if most of the things we let slide today happened 50 years ago, the people would have been pulling up the roots of the administration, making noise in the streets, and children would be writing letters to state representatives in their classrooms. What happen to the America where people were actively fighting for their rights? Where if people saw something that was wrong, and actually thought they could change it?

 

Let me ask you a question; When was the last time you watched, read, or discussed the people running for the positions in Congress or the spots in the next Presidential election? Were your thoughts afterward about the policies those people were promoting, or were you merely dissatisfied with how the entire thing seemed to be about how clueless our political leaders were, or how the debates had seemingly become pissing contests between GOP members, where one person commented on how much money the other person had made, how many wives they had, or why Obama is a socialist and needs to be stopped?

Seriously? Watching a debate nowadays is like watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Same amount of cat fights, less fabulously dressed.

And somehow equally trashy.

With so many people displeased with the happenings in the government, it’s amazing that it took them threatening our Internet for something to happen. The people won have won a battle, maybe that will be the thing to stoke the proverbial fire under our chairs to win the war. Or, at least, do something to put the power back in our hands.

The Continuing War on Women’s Health

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

 

President Obama speaking

President Obama speaks to a group about Health Care on Wednesday

Written by: Katie Garren

 

Recently, President Obama made a statement on the subject of birth control that became a hotly contested issue. Recently, there seems to be an increased focus placed on the matter of women’s health.  This matter always seems to come up during an election year. This year has been no different, with a slew of Republican hopefuls bringing up the subjects of birth control and abortion.

In Obama’s policy, he stated that health insurance plans would be required to provide free birth control to all female employees, including plans for Catholic hospitals, universities and charities.  The President’s administration saw this as a matter of equality for women.  Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, said upon the policy’s announcement, “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”  This policy was intended to provide even preventative medicine for both men and women.  The contraceptive requirement was accompanied by requirements for blood-pressure screening and childhood immunizations.

The speech quickly became a talking point, both for people who approve and those who do not approve of its requirements.  Religious leaders were not at all open to the concept of providing contraceptives to women.  Catholic bishops were outraged, saying that this requirement “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.” They later vowed to fight the legislation through the other two branches of government.  Many leading Republicans also saw an opportunity to attack the President’s speech and interpret it as anti-religious. “This attack … on religious freedom in our country cannot stand and will not stand,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a speech on the floor of the chamber.  Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich added to the increasing ire having said, “If he (Obama) is re-elected he will wage war on the Catholic Church the day after (he is elected). We don’t trust him.”

On Friday, Obama changed his position. In a calculated measure, Obama sought to quell the controversy created by his policy.  In this revision, he states that religious organizations would not be required to provide free contraceptives to female employees.  “Religious liberty will be protected, and a law that requires free preventive care will not discriminate against women,” Obama told reporters.

How SOPA/PIPA Could Strike Out the Internet.

Written by buzz. Posted in Politics

newsflash strike

If SOPA/PIPA pass, images like this might be pervasive on the Internet.

Written by: Alexis Poole

 

Bill H.R. 3261 (SOPA) and Senate Bill 968 (PIPA) both aim to “protect intellectual property of content creators” and “create American jobs” by cracking down on Internet piracy. It actually reads like a horribly invasive bill that seeks to strike out Internet-based companies, put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and infringe upon the privacy of anyone who uses the Internet.

Provisions under SOPA would allow judges to order ISPs to block access to websites that infringe on copyright law. Now, that sounds good and even makes sense at face value until we investigate what it takes to block a website. That order to block a website also allows them to check IP addresses of customers who visit that website. This is called IP-blocking and is a highly invasive process that would monitor users’ web traffic. So from Google to Facebook to Twitter to other “questionable” sites we may visit, the government would watch and track it all, like some peeping tom peering into your house to watch you pee.

Now, replace that peeping tom with members of the military. That’s my guess as to who these purported American jobs will go to. SOPA claims that it will protect against copyright infringement by law enforcement. I’d bet that those enforcers would need security clearance in order to even be interviewed for a job that would include daily surveillance of people’s private information. I know I don’t have any such clearance and I’d be willing to bet that the majority of current job seekers don’t either. Politicians like to throw catch phrases like that on the first page of bills because they know it’s more likely to garner votes from members of the House and Senate seeking brownie points come re-election time. That way, they can subtly remind everyone that they voted FOR American jobs.

What IS it with the undying love of extra-long acronyms for the names of these bills? We already have the USA PATRIOT Act, otherwise known as Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism. Now there’s SOPA, which stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. Additionally, there’s PIPA, an acronym with a double meaning. It stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property. Read more commonly as “Protect IP Act,” the bill’s title seems to indicate that it will somehow protect IP addresses. These acronyms hide their bills’ true equal and opposite intentions. For example, the PATRIOT Act claimed that it would unite America when all it really did was tap our phone lines. SOPA and PIPA similarly propose to protect the rights of artists and maintain that the Internet won’t be affected but the bill reads like it’ll knowingly violate major privacy rights and cripple a booming Internet industry in one fell swoop.

Hypothetically, let’s say that SOPA/PIPA created 100,000 jobs…for the military, since they have the security clearance. That sounds great! At least that’s 100,000 jobs not going overseas, right? Sure, but think about the hundreds of American software companies, domain name system servers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers it would put out of work for even one small infringement. SOPA claims it wouldn’t attack entire DNS servers, just the subdomains that infringe on copyright law. They would do this by requiring DNS servers to stop linking requests for a webpage to the IP address requesting it. Domain Name System servers by design deal with request failures by finding other servers that can and will grant the original request’s wish, even if they have to go overseas to do it. Requiring servers to stop referring these requests to other servers directly affects the integrity of the DNS system as a whole. Since this hole in the proposal was pointed out, this and other DNS-related provisions have been removed from SOPA as of January 12, 2012. But SOPA/PIPA is a butt that just won’t quit.

Opposers of SOPA/PIPA are really concerned with the biggies: the First Amendment, privacy and legal liability for websites where users can upload illegal content. YouTube comes to mind. Let’s say I can’t understand the lyrics of a song. I go to YouTube, type in “lyrics to [popular song] by [popular artist]” and listen to a user-uploaded copy of the song and a cheesy Powerpoint-style presentation of the lyrics. With a room full of the military’s finest following me from webpage to webpage, they can hold me liable for accessing the copyrighted content, hold the original poster liable for uploading it and essentially sue YouTube for allowing it to be uploaded in the first place. Supporters of SOPA maintain that websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have nothing to fear, but why shouldn’t they when the responsibility for policing infringement falls on the website itself? No wonder businesses look overseas to invest where laws like this are more lax.

Many of those who oppose SOPA/PIPA also have signed petitions asking Google to leave the Chamber of Commerce like Yahoo has already done. So far, SOPA/PIPA have been tabled for more time to review and resolve these and other issues. Many more wants to see this bill eliminated than those who want it passed. Just mentioning SOPA and PIPA sends shivers down the spines of all who value privacy and freedom from censorship.

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