Thursday, December 15, 2011

SOPA

So, what are we to make of this Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?

On the one hand, who doesn’t want online piracy stopped? On the other hand, many, many people believe that this Act is akin to destroying the village in order to save it, to fall back on that old Vietnam War saw.  One Twitterati whit noted that the current Congressional debate is somewhat like a family gorging themselves on wine and rich food at a Thanksgiving dinner, while attempting to discuss String Theory.  Not a bad analogy, I thought. And an added problem is the timing. It would be difficult to imagine worse relations between the warring political parties than that which exists today.  Every time the Dems want to pass some bill badly, the Republithugs attach some poison pill non-germane amendment.  The Dems are apparently too timid, or perhaps too stupid to do the same in return.  So, really nothing rational is taking place and debates on any subject must be somewhat akin to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with John Boehner playing the role of the Hatter.

As with so many things, the Act seems well-intended. We should really do something to stop or at the least disturb the ability of various people and companies to steal copyrighted music, and films. One might imagine, in a “best of all possible worlds” (certainly unlike the one we inhabit currently) legitimate companies such as Google and PayPal would refrain from providing financial cover to piratical firms.  But apparently in today’s world of commerce really almost anything goes (which is of course why we are in the midst of this Great Depression II).  However, as we imagine, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  And so it is with this SOPA.
The primary problem, according to its antagonists, is that it would allow government to shut down any web site it (government) doesn’t like.  Could that be?? Oh, it sounds familiar. Oh, I know, isn’t that at least conceptually similar to that republithug bill attachment that allows the executive branch to arrest and incarcerate for life without lawyer or trial any individual it deems a terrorist???  So, we know that at least the possibility for some such mischievous outcome is possible with SOPA, especially in the hands of the wrong President.  It would seem we have another of those, “be careful what you wish for” things.
Perhaps we need to find some other way to shut down the piracy.
And on exoplanet Congress, I wonder whether the Senate, instead of just passing or trashing the Boehner-inspired bill that adds the pipeline to the tax relief for the middle class, has considered adding a provision that would pay for the bill, and then some, by, say, quadrupling the taxes paid by the top 1%? Think of the blood pressure readings that would be experienced by Mr. Boehner with that one.
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