NDAA, SOPA, and Upcoming Volunteer Meeting

Most of the emails regarding policy I have received recently have been in relation to two bills that recently came before congress.

The first, the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) for 2012 is a budgetary appropriations act which has non-germane language in section 1021 regarding indefinite detention. Although the White House assures us that this section “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens”, I have to ask why is it being considered at all? Why do we let our guiding principals like habeas corpus, enshrined in Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution only apply within our borders? Regardless of whether the language in section 1021 potentially applies to Americans, and I believe it does, I don’t think we should be suspending habeas corpus in cases of terrorism. Terrorism is not war, it is an international criminal act, and it should be prosecuted and treated by the standards of justice we hold true in the United States. In the case of enemy combatants, declaration and end of war needs to be rigorously defined by congress and prisoners of war should be detained with all concern towards their rights. The quagmire of Guantanamo represents an affront to American justice. Being detained for over a decade without rapid trial inevitably presents problems of human rights and return of the innocent. If we do not practice habeas corpus and rapid trial universally, it is only a matter of time before it is applied to all American citizens through concern of security and outright fear mongering.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) represents another case of congressional ignorance of technology. In spite of opposition from major technology companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter, congress continued to carry water for media companies demanding that they should have the ability to shut down any website without proper trial of criminality. Hearings were stacked with proponents in an attempt to squash opposition. To his credit, Utah’s 3rd Congressional District representative, Jason Chaffetz saw through these tactics and opposed the bill. Unfortunately, it has merely been “suspended” for further wrangling in 2012. SOPA was an attempt to limit the openness and freedom of the Internet and I heartily oppose it.

I will be holding a volunteer coordination meeting Saturday, January 14th, from 1pm – 3pm at 780 East South Temple in Salt Lake City. All are welcome to attend.

5 thoughts on “NDAA, SOPA, and Upcoming Volunteer Meeting

  1. I can’t make your meeting (I have twin two year old boys who wouldn’t sit still). But my honest opinion is that I think people underestimate Mormons = Republicans. I like your stances and I would support you.

    My recommendation is that I would just point out that NDAA is the same type of law making that was being used against Mormons in our past and a Mormon (Senator Hatch) sold us out. Before Islamists, we were considered terrorists with shoot to kill orders in Missouri.

    Just bringing that up and pointing out how Senator Hatch has gone against the faith with his support of these illegal acts will override the seniority in the Senate ploy he will use.

    I think you already have the Non-Mormon vote so I bring up this up to help solidify the two bases for your campaign. I would only hope that you continue to break with the current unethical Democrat party base as well as they continued the attack on our civil liberties that really began with Bush.

  2. Of the two bills, NDAA is far more dangerous. It doesn’t matter if The Pirate Bay’s DNS record is blocked if you’re a protestor locked up in Guantanamo without an iPhone. I’ve published articles in Bay Area magazines regarding the extreme un-American nature of the NDAA, links to my articles were published in Facebook by those publications.

    The ONLY respondents to my political commentary–even though these were Bay Area magazines with radical-left/technologically adept audiences–were several right-wing apologists for fascism from *Utah* foaming at the mouth about why I had it all wrong, why the NDAA wasn’t targeted toward Americans, who rationalized why it’s in the public interest to lock terrorists (read: anyone deemed a threat to the status quo, such as Occupy protesters) up without habeas corpus or a lawyer or time in court. Plus, these guys tried really hard to waste my time with endless challenges to debate them–I can’t be writing for publication if I’m engaged in email battles in loonies, can I? Just like you can’t be protesting at docks and causing tens of millions of dollars worth of logistical hassles if you’re held incommunicado at one of the many Federal prisons in the Bay Area.

    But when SOPA began to loom large on the horizon of the political/technological noosphere, people started going haywire over how terrible it would be if it actually became law, how it was so important to protest it on grounds of potentially losing the right to freedom of information exchange, how the political process was stacked with lobbyists from the MPAA, etc.

    I didn’t see or hear any uprising regarding the NDAA similar in intensity and popularity to the uproar over SOPA. Just the usual stuff from the ACLU, various fringe left-wing and right-wing groups, and some analysis of the bill in Huffington Post, NPR, etc.

    Seems to me people, including those who know better, are a lot more concerned about the 5-year prison sentence and felony conviction for downloading a movie via BitTorrent and whether they will be unable to download warez if SOPA passes than they are about losing their basic civil liberties guaranteed to them by the Constitution and the general trend toward curtailing those liberties since 9/11. Yes, SOPA is also a threat to civil liberties, but it clearly is the lesser threat compared to the NDAA becoming the law of the land.

    I didn’t see Google, eBay, Wikipedia, Reddit, or even the ACLU turning their home pages black when Obama signed the NDAA, not even for 5 minutes.

    Hopefully, Pete, things will go (are going?) a little differently with you and your platform. I may not live in SLC any more, but I still have a vested interest in seeing you win in a Republican state and bring a little forward thinking to the American political process. Good luck with that.

    – Kris Magnusson (@dadaGuerilla)

  3. Pete,

    I understand that many people were vagrantly misled into what this bill (SOPA) was actually about. I saw many of my FB friends posting pics that sugested it would ‘censor’ what they could say in their posts along with many other variations of the lie (mainly spread by illicit users who could see this WOULD put a drastic hold on their ability to de-fraud and infect regular user machines).

    While I agree that some things were a bit extrenusous; it was not as cut and dried as ‘..to shut down any website without proper trial of criminality.’ There would be a process for “questionable” websites and activity. However, the power to shut access down to BLATANT web sites selling illegal items,software, etc, was in place AND if you look outside of the internet this happens in business as well. For instance, if I were to try and open a business that BLATANTLY sold illegal goods and/or services (IE perscriptions without doctors); I would be shut down then given a chance to defend myself. They would NOT allow me to continue to operate while the trial proceeded. This was the same implemntation that would have become in effect for web-business within/to the United States.

    As far as ‘censorship’ of signal. Well, I cant wait for SOMEONE to start doing this. While I feel it is mostly up to the user to provide their own protections, my 60+ yr old mother is not so adept at the internet as you or I. I have already combated ‘MyCandianPharmacy’ last year to save her HSA account from being drained completly! The monitoring of code acorss transmission would have made the way they ‘build’ their site ineffective. Being that so many folk fell for the lie that this bill included insured that, for the next year at least, many other users like my mom will be running into websites that mean them nothing but harm.

    As far as NDAA being signed, this was not so bad excpet for the amendment attached by Jason Chaffets and Orin Hatch. This bill has existed for over 40 years, but the amendment attached was new and a ploy by the republican party to get a peice of legislation in that SHOULD HAVE NEVER hit the table. As far as the ‘indefeinate detainment’ that is suggested by this bill, for enemy combatants, this is like giving them life with the possibility of parole. Iv read the billl and there are CONSTANT checks and reviews of said detainees. So alot of this bill was blown out of poportion as well.

  4. I cant say that SOPA would have been the aboslute tool needded to protect those that dont understand how dangerous the internet has become BUT I can say we do need something in place. Its just like creating laws against lying to people thru business and such, or just outright illegal activity.

    It would be great for everyone to understand the internet at the levels we do, but alas, most do not and thats why we, as a scoiety, do need to invoke something to work for them.

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