Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Enough is Enough

The republicans have really gotten on my very last nerve in the past month. I am so beyond patience with ignorance and vitriolic rhetoric I can hardly bear to read the news these days.

It is fine to disagree with a political idea, it isn't fine to not understand it and pretend you do.


Let's start with the healthcare issue.

 There is a logical disconnect on the right from the anti-choice folks. Birth control prevents unwanted pregnancies. Thus, birth control prevents abortions. I personally agree with President Clinton. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.Women need affordable access to doctors and prescriptions for birth control. It is the best interest of our society economically if women are not taken out of the workforce because they are unable to manage their health.

If you are a woman, you often use hormonal contraception for multiple reasons. I took the pill for as long as I could handle it to prolong my fertility. Having a serious case of endometriosis required me to slow down the advance of the disease until I was ready and able to have a second child. It is not uncommon for a woman to see her dr. as a result of rough menses only to be told that the best solution to taming the symptoms is to use contraception. It is a good thing. It allows a woman a better chance of being able to be a productive worker, prevents unwanted pregnancies, and often helps a woman with unmanageable symptoms.

 NOW says 20% of the time contraception is just birth control, 60% of the time it is medical and birth control and 20 % it is strictly medical. The administration says that insurance should cover this and they should. Just like they should cover cancer care and diabetes. This issue is not about having sex, it is about women's health. That Rush Limbaugh and the catholic church want to make it about anything else belies the point and spotlights their ignorance about "lady parts".

Then there is the "death panel" legislation hyperbole that is totally taken out of context of the healthcare bill. The legislation states that the provider should make themselves available for living will consultations if the patient desires it. That is a great idea and the next time I see my dr, I need to remember to tell her that I have no wish to have my life prolonged by machines. Somehow the republicans have this nutty idea that this legislation says that this service is required by the patient to obtain medical care. Are they on crack ? Read the actual bill and not some stupid pundits misdirected quotes of it.

Now on to the ridiculous accusations about President Obama. He is not a communist or a socialist in theory or in action.  Guess what ? He is for all intents and purposes a moderate republican in drag. Every president since FDR has tried to fix our healthcare system. It is utterly childish to be angry because "your team" did not get the touchdown. The federal bill is almost a duplicate to the one Romney signed into law in Mass.

 Do republicans actually know anything at all about politics other than the silly misleading soundbites on infotainment fake news shows ?  I wish they would take this test and compare their results to President Obama. Guess what ? President Obama was born in Hawaii. Guess what ? Hawaii has been a state since 1959 . That makes President Obama a US citizen.

Now lets discuss another fact. President Obama is a child of a white woman and a black man. In our culture he is considered black. If racism gets you all hot and excited, understand that President Obama is like soft porn. Examine your real prejudices and understand that this is why the republicans really hate him. It is DUSGUSTING that racism still exists in our culture. Anyone who just hates "Obama" with no logical reason should look good and hard at their own feelings on race.

Lets talk about President Obama's education. He was a graduate of Harvard and a constitutional law professor.What an amazingly educated and accomplished person. He is well spoken, articulate, and highly intelligent. This is something that we should celebrate, unless your envy is more important to you than your common sense.

His personal life. Republicans have nothing even close to the values President Obama has lived by.
He married his college sweetheart and has stayed married. He has two lovely daughters. There are no real scandals that have any credibility, unless you count the fact that he has a really awesome jazz voice. Although I do not like it all that much, President Obama is a confirmed Christian. He has never been found to worship Islam, and supports Israel in spite of how ridiculous they behave. When did the republicans decide that the United States was now a theocracy ? I am not completely thrilled with President Obama. The reason for this is, I actually am a liberal. However, I respect the office of the President of the United States, and feel compelled to demand that there be a modicum of respect for such a talented and astute person.

Now lets talk about Iran. Iran has human beings in it. There is no proof that Iran has or is able to achieve the 90 % enrichment required to make a nuclear weapon. The last inspection showed them at 20%. Panetta has admitted they have NO CAPABILITY. The pentagon says there is NO RISK. Associated Press mistranslated the Farsi statement about wiping out Israel. Then the rest of the idiots in media re-quoted the false statement. Israel has already bombed Iran's nuclear facilities, but for some reason, that never hit the mainstream news. I had to find it out via Wiki Leaks.

Just as no one can give me the death penalty for hating my ex husband and wishing him harm, we cannot invade Iran and murder it's citizens just because they do not like Israel.That the republicans think it at all acceptable to fear-monger with such bad information is reprehensible. If you need something to be scared of, be afraid of Pakistan. They actually do have nukes and are highly unstable.

If you are a republican and think any of the statements I have made are skewed or false, I have some advice for you. Go to the original sources. Do not count on "news". "News" these days is more about ratings than it is about facts. Actually, that is my whole complaint with the republican party in it's current form. Republicans do not seem to be using any critical thinking what so ever. If one is just too lazy to really learn anything that is not "spoon fed" by shock jocks and self interested sources, then do not be upset when you are called an idiot. 

We need the unfounded accusations and the absurd name calling to end. It should end by people in the media, but more importantly, our politicians must stop doing it. If we are ever going to break these walls down, we should return to honest and civilized discourse in this country.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Me & Senator Franken

Senator Franken - This Means You

I have been corresponding with Senator Al Franken in regards to PIPA  for awhile now. Here is his latest lukewarm missive about the issue. My response can be found directly below it. Sadly, I still do not think he really gets it.

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for contacting me about S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (the PROTECT IP Act). I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me on this important issue.
As you may be aware, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to shelve the PROTECT IP Act. I wanted to take a moment to share why I support copyright protection legislation—as well as why I believe holding off on this bill is the right thing to do.
I understand as well as anyone the importance of keeping the Internet free from undue corporate influence. I've been a champion of net neutrality, which I believe to be the free speech issue of our time. At the same time, there are millions of Americans whose livelihoods rely on strong protections for intellectual property. If we don't protect our intellectual property, criminals will continue to profit from their work. We cannot simply shrug off the threat of online piracy. We cannot do nothing.
Right now, a company has no way to enforce its rights if it finds that its products are being pirated or counterfeited on a website hosted overseas. The PROTECT IP Act was designed to give the Attorney General and private companies a way to cut off the flow of money to these foreign sites. We can't force those sites to stop infringing our copyrights and trademarks because they're not subject to our courts, but we can make sure they don't make money in the process.
I strongly believe in protecting American intellectual property, but I also heard from many Minnesotans who were concerned about the possible effects of the PROTECT IP Act on the Internet. Frankly, there is a lot of misinformation floating around out there: If this bill really could do some of the things people have heard it would do (like shutting down Wikipedia or YouTube), I'd never support it. But even so, I believe we need to seriously consider the many concerns that constituents have shared.
As I said, I support copyright protection legislation, but I also believe in the value of the Internet as an engine to enable free speech, new business models, and economic growth. If holding off on this legislation gives us an opportunity to take a step back and try to bring everybody back to the table, I think it's the right thing to do. It's worth getting this right. And while I work to get it right, I will keep your concerns in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so in the future on this or any other issue that may be important to you.
Al Franken
United States Senator

Dear Senator Franken,

 I have been corresponding with you regarding internet freedom and the bills that are putting it in jeopardy. I realize you personally will likely not read this but perhaps one of your staffers will. Senator Franken when I voted for you it was based on a trust I had that you would represent me. The cheesy  old  teacher ads aside, I did feel you understood the Democratic party and it's ideals. NOT ONCE in all the time you were running for office did you EVER mention internet regulation in any of those ads. I did not send you to the senate to work against my own convictions on this issue. In fact, you never brought it up at all in your campaign that I can find.

 This rebranding of  copyright infringement to piracy is annoying. What is also annoying is your utter disregard for the future of a free and open internet. Senator Franken. PIPA had a SEVEN MINUTE debate. Can you explain to me how exactly the American people are being represented in this process by a SEVEN MINUTE debate? Once I was made aware of this issue, I contacted you. Your responses have been full of more rhetoric and no real genuine concern.

 I told you the story of how through a women's rights page on the internet I became acquainted with the plight of Afghani women under the Taliban. If those women had mistakenly used copyrighted materials under these laws, I would never have seen that website. It is not up to our government to decide for me as a citizen what websites I can or should view.

 The other concern I have is with the less savory aspect of this politically. Chris Dodd, on national television basically blackmailed all of the politicians he has "donated to" and warned them to stay "bought". So tell me Senator Franken, have you been bought and if so will you "stay bought "? There are so many things I hoped you would be able to accomplish when I voted to send you to the senate. Heal the economy, work in harmony with the president, protect women's and civil rights. The internet has been a great equalizer for the common man. To treat it so carelessly is appalling.

 Your latest letter to me on the third still indicates you would basically  sign anything that was brought to the floor with the word piracy in it. You repeat the same baseless argument about the cost of piracy. The argument is flawed on so many levels. There is no independent research to justify these claims.

 Copyright infringement is a service issue. The old guards demand/scarcity  business model is not working for them. That is their problem. If the content industry refuses to embrace new technology and work towards solving their own problems, then they deserve to fail. Legislating for a failing business model does nothing but hold our country back. 

 One last thing,  the last  line of your letter said something about bringing everyone to the table. Senator Franken, you better buy a very big table. What the proponents of this type of legislation fail to understand is that this is not a traditional two sided argument. It is not Silicon Valley versus Hollywood. It is THE INTERNET versus old media. We are not misunderstanding anything. We understand exactly what RIAA and MPAA want. They will not get it. Even if that means I have to vote an otherwise ok senator out of office.   

 Senator, we agree on so many things. Please do not waste your chance to be a force for good in our country.

Lisa James 

Update 2/8/11 If you do not follow  Mike Masnik's Blog at Techdirt.com , you should. Point for point, lie for lie, Masnik obliterates "piracy" bills.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome to the Intertubes Super Pacs !
 All UR Bases r B long 2 us.

Yeah ok that is a pretty old school meme, but then so am I. Well, it has been a hell of a week hasn't it? I don't even know where to start. I guess focus on the positive is the best way to go. Great things happened this week. Great things. The web came together in a monumental fashion to stop SOPA and PIPA from becoming insta -law. Talk about crazysauce! The day was saved. One battle in a big war did get won. Watching Twitter on Wednesday was one of the most astonishing days in recent history.

Who did it ? The tech industry, the bloggers, the non profits, the gamers, the 9gaggers, the activists, the hackers, the indies, the porn fans. Yes, the damn porn fans lol. There were some really awesome trending topics.  #FactsWithoutWikipedia  was one of my favorites. It was GREAT fun ! The web was under attack and it was not having it. They gave everyone an earful. Congress, Senate, the White House and the people that bought them off had a really bad day.

To be clear, SOPA and PIPA used the word "piracy" to misrepresent bills in congress that would demolish our web as an avenue of open and free speech & forward innovation. It ate the constitution for lunch. There was a SEVEN minute hearing on PIPA before it was rubber stamped for cloture vote. The House flat out REFUSED to hear from the tech industry or anyone else that had concerns about this bill. Now there are some debates about piracy and what it is or is not  doing to certain industries.Some crazy unfounded numbers are floating around. There are some arguments about copyright law and how it is continually getting more and more draconian.

I can only speak for my own experience. Yeah, if you want to view content that under existing law is copyrighted you can do so. My argument is that is not necessarily a bad thing for those industries. I realize that feels extreme to anyone that reacts emotionally to the word "piracy".  Often the industry themselves will post their content in a "post radio"modern style format to garner attention. In my experience that works. I heard a great song on Bones awhile back called Pride. I went to you tube and looked up a fan vid, found the song and listened a few times. It was an indie group that had failed  due to lack of sufficient saturation named Syntax. I proceeded to buy the song and I also now own the cd.  Twilight is another example. I saw the movie at a questionable site, bought the books and then the DVD's. I faithfully line up to see all the movies as well. Now I admit that this 13 year old girl franchise has a lot of awful and is not telling our young girls a very good message. Regardless, the cgi wolves and cute young people are fun to watch. I love edgy gamer artist Luis Royo. After seeing his pictures on the web, I bought his book.  This has happened a lot, I see or hear something that I am interested in, I find  it on the web, then I buy it. Under SOPA and PIPA this content would not exist. I would not be buying anything, because I never had any exposure to it.

As many others have so clearly stated Piracy is a service problem. Technology is ripping along at nascar speeds. Industry Super Pacs that cannot cope such as MPAA and RIAA  are frustrated. They should be embarrassed. Rather than evolve, these old guard industries are reacting. They are reacting like spoiled children. Old business models are dying faster than the Beta format did. Artists can self-publish now. The "middle man" is becoming obsolete. Apple just released an app for authors that will enable them to self publish without paying the publishing industry ANYTHING. Start up indie musicians are not feeding the recording industry labels. New movies are getting made and bypassing ALL of the old guard Hollyweird.  Cable news is so much more a fictional tv drama these days than actual news, many web users don't even watch it any more. Why bother when there are so many indie sites out there that don't put up fake videos and are not owned by anyone named Rupert Murdoch ? Many of us, myself included, have fired their cable tv company in favor of  more selective and cheaper content. The shows I watch can be found legally and free on the web or with a small paid subscription.

This is creating a lot of new money and innovation in our society and our economy. It is also dealing a death punch to those that refuse to see the writing on the wall. So here comes the old way of dealing with these things. MPAA chief Chris Dodd and his Super Pac of cronies decided to buy their way out of this. If you check the federal election site or just Google "campaign contributions SOPA PIPA" you can easily follow the money. THEY BOUGHT THE WHOLE GOVERNMENT. The government did not stay bought. They caved in droves when faced with millions of screaming angry people that had no pseudo facts when Wikipedia shut down. A peaceful, REALLY LOUD non-violent world wide protest did the unthinkable. It stopped the old guard Super Pac dead in it's tracks.

We won this battle. There is no doubt that we have not won this war yet. There is a huge media push ad buy- in now funded by the Super Pac to ask the American people to reconsider. After all, how can you be "for" piracy? It is the same old thing, Only if you like piracy would you support stopping legislation that will end existing law. This dying industry that cannot evolve wants to police the world and burn down anything and everything that it dislikes or is threatened by. It is the same fallacy trap as " Do you like money ?" Money is used to buy everything from wars to child pornography. so hence you if you like money, you like wars and child pornography. These kinds of silly gimmicks are tiresome. You can be against  piracy and still not agree that we need to take down 100 websites with a nuclear warhead aimed at the future of the entire internet. Not that it would work anyways. The websites would be back up somewhere else by the end of that business day.

Anyways, sorry I rambled a bit today. I am just GLOWING at how great a job the web did to defend itself. Everyone that participated is to be commended. They will rebrand SOPA and PIPA as New Coke, but at least now we have a fighting chance. Stay informed. Stay on your elected representatives like flies on molasses.