Senate CISPA Up For A Vote, Help Stop it!

Posting from the Massachusetts Pirate Party web site.

The Senate will have a final vote on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S 3414) soon.  They just passed the cloture vote for it.  This bill is the Senate version of CISPA, and remains a solution looking for a problem.

Thankfully, the Senate has listened to the outcry over CISPA and has made a bill that better protects our privacy.  However, it still authorizes companies to use cybersecurity as an excuse to engage in monitoring of user data and could prevent users from using privacy-tools such as TOR over their network.

This bill has the support of the White House, so we cannot count on President Obama to veto it.

We need you to tell both Senators to oppose S 3414.   Please call the numbers listed below or fill out their contact forms.  Thanks!

Scott Brown
(202) 224-4543

John Kerry
(202) 224-2742

Follow up on my guns and government oppression post

In the (generally) Facebook discussion of my Is there an instance where an armed citizenry prevented US government oppression? post, the responses were either of the form:

  1. it is too early to tell (as if 200 years of US history would not give us some useful examples) or
  2. the examples were so small they weren’t in the historical record.

I did find two US historical examples of a group of armed citizens which successfully used firearm violence to counter what they perceived as government oppression:

  1. The violence by Southern whites before the Civil War to get the South to succeed;
  2. The violence by Southern whites during Reconstruction to reestablish the power of the white planter elite.

For the white planter elites and their supporters, they perceived that they were fighting for their liberty from what they thought of as an oppressive Federal government.  However, former slaves, poor whites and most people a hundred years later would doubtless have a far different perspective.

Based on these examples, I believe that guns help authoritarian, elite power and really haven’t moved us closer to a more just society or even kept government from being oppressive.  In the examples above, they have been used to foster oppression.

The larger issue I get from my albeit brief analysis is that when firearms are used by those not in power, then they will be opposed by the larger society by all means necessary (see the examples in the earlier post). When those with firearms do have power, then there isn’t a need to resort to firearms or if they do, then they can use the power of the state to full effect to back them up.

In my mind, the historical examples don’t back up the thesis that an armed citizenry keeps oppressive government at bay, but I am still willing to hear about other examples.

What music have I been listening to?

I sorted at my iTunes list by # of plays and got this top ten play list from the last year:

  1. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
  2. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Remix)
  3. Not a Love Song by Uh Huh Her
  4. Totoro
  5. Hey Bulldog by The Beatles
  6. Yellow Submarine by The Beatles
  7. All Together Now by The Beatles
  8. Ni Na La by Solas
  9. Explode by Uh Huh Her
  10. Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

Before you think I am a big Beatles fan, I should point out that seven of the ten songs are ones my daughter chose.  Pulling out the kids songs, my top ten play list for the past year has been:

  1. Not a Love Song by Uh Huh Her
  2. Ni Na La by Solas
  3. Explode by Uh Huh Her
  4. Panic Switch by Silversun Pickups
  5. Common Reaction by Uh Huh Her
  6. Bitch by Republica
  7. Covered by Uh Huh Her
  8. Wait Another Day by Uh Huh Her
  9. Bang Bang Bang by Sohodolls
  10. Sour Times by Portishead

Not really sure what this indicates about me except that I prefer female singers with (marginally) edgy lyrics.  But, then I knew that already.

Is there an instance where an armed citizenry prevented US government oppression?

One of the assumed truths in the US is that an armed citizenry will prevent the US government from becoming oppressive and taking away our liberties.  Recently I have seen people state that the Tea Party folks brought guns to their rallies and the police were respectful of their rights to assemble, but the Occupy movement (and various left-oriented movements in the past) didn't have guns and so got attacked by the police.

I am curious about this line of reasoning and have been seeking an actual instance of when an armed citizenry prevented government oppression. 

I can think of examples where an armed citizenry didn't stop government oppression such as:

Indeed that the anarchists or Black Panther party had weapons (and sometimes used them in self-defense) were used as excuses to use overwhelming government power and surveillance on them, which is part of the reason nonviolent tactics proved more effective

Are there instances where firearms really did stop government oppression or did they only serve to bolster the power and privileges of the (generally) white wealthy power structure?  I know some of you will think the question is loaded, but I am seriously trying to find an instance where firearms did stop government oppression.

ACTA is Dead!

Reposted from the Mass. Pirate Party blog.
In a 478-to-39 vote, the European Parliament rejected ACTA. For all intents ACTA is dead. Without EU support and with other countries rejecting it, ACTA is unlikely to go anywhere.
No doubt parts of it will reappear in other secret draft treaties, especially the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. But on this Independence Day, we thank all who voiced their opposition to ACTA, especially the European Pirate and Green Parties!