Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet Openness in Jeopardy

Public protests continue against congressional legislation known as the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA.) Legislators are being pressured to re-write this bill to protect internet privacy and prevent censorship. Protecting intellectual property internationally has become a challenge with advent of the Internet.

This bill is claimed to attack the serious problem of foreign piracy and counterfeiting. Critics say the bill's intention is quite different from what the bill actually achieves because of the way it is written. Censorship is said to be imposed -- actually limiting internet freedom -- in the efforts to prevent online piracy.

This legislative bill's title plus initial pages likely fail to reveal the many details tucked away in words, phrasing and punctuation deep within what is a multi-page compilation.

(I personally know of an instance in another bill years ago when a simple omitted comma significantly altered acknowledged service intent. The bill was passed with the error before discovery, but was never corrected despite Congressional efforts to do so. The result has had limiting and more complicated consequences for select health services.)

This current open Internet issue is certainly about far more than just a comma, but SOPA language wording best be correct on passage. Needed corrections might never be enacted.

News reports have quoted major Internet company founders of Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Yahoo and others as being so concerned about internet censorship they were prompted to write that the bill would:

"give the US government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran."

These freedom issues are of significant import warranting serious consideration from every citizen.

Always of interest when considering conflicting viewpoints and interpretations of legislation is knowing who are the actual congresspersons involved in formulating any bill. So, here's a link to the official U. S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary website that shows each of the committee members and a detailed list of the bill's supporters -- also of value in assessing possible/likely influencing sources.

We can contact committee members and our congresspersons in these days ahead to make our views known -- that we desire an Internet free of government censorship techniques as purported to be integrated in Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261.) Do follow the evolution of this bill -- and not just what the committee chairman reports on the government website -- as the committee resumes work this February 2012.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


New Year goal setting requires considerably more time than I’m willing to devote to the activity. Instead, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned through the years. I’ve also been wondering what I’ll be learning in 2012 since life’s lessons never end.

This is a not so subtle introduction to the first piece I ever wrote for blogosphere publication -- before I even considered having a blog of my own. These retrospective nuggets previously appeared on Ronni Bennett’s "Time Goes By” on Tuesday, 14 March 2006 (slightly edited here.)

“Some of What I’ve Learned Through the Years.....So Far”

I've been aging all my life. Now, here in Southern California, where I've lived for about half my life, I'm flirting with my seventh decade. I look forward to those unknown decades to come. Isn't that what makes life so interesting and exciting, that we don't know what's coming next?

I'm not ready to leave this planet yet, unless I could finagle a free ride on one of Branson's or Ruttan's commercial space flights. (Last I read, ticket prices were just a bit steep.) Haven't yet traveled all over the world as I wanted, so this way I could just do it all in one grand trip. If for some reason I didn't make it back, well, what a way to go!

I learned long ago there's no way to predict the future. I planned as best I could. Some plans worked out. Some didn't.

I learned I didn't know as much as I thought I did at times. I learned I knew more than I thought I did at other times.

I learned to not waste my time and energy blaming others for something that didn't go right, even though they may have deserved it. Doesn't mean I haven't and don't still try to rectify what I perceive as a few injustices along the way, just means I can do that and keep my life moving ahead at the same time.

I learned there are only so many self-help books you can read, then at some point I learned I just had to get on with life. Then, I wondered why I wasted so much time reading those books. Well, I might have gotten a nugget or two from a couple of them.

I learned that everybody has problems of one kind or another, at one time or another, in their life. I learned that somewhere, someone else has had the same problems I had.

I learned that when it comes to problem solving, one size does not fit all. The same problem experienced by two different people may require entirely different solutions.

I learned it takes such little effort to smile and be pleasant to people 'cause you never know what might be going on in that person's life. They might really need that kind gesture. I've hoped others would give me the same consideration.

I learned to enjoy quiet and solitude, to value time alone without feeling lonely.

I learned to treasure time with friends and family as they may not always be present in my life.

I learned to love others just as they are; to value our differences.

I learned something from every job I ever had and I learned how to enjoy my time at every job I ever had. Doesn't mean there weren't some difficult experiences along the way.

I learned that learning is forever. I still take classwork. I still learn from people of all ages.

I learned that every job and the person who performs it is entitled to be treated with respect. I hope I'll be treated that way, too.

I learned that music, theatre, art, books, travel, nature, good food, pets can bring genuine pleasure though this is an incomplete list and not in hierarchical order.

I learned that viewing life as a glass half full is healthier than an attitude that the glass is half empty.

I learned that laughter is truly the best medicine. Science has finally proven it with all those endorphins we release when we laugh.

If you haven't laughed for a while, I strongly recommend you do so now. I know there are a lot of really humorous blogs to tickle your and my funny bone, to suit each of our tastes, written by people of all ages. I keep trying to find time to explore all those blogs, but can't do that when I'm doing this.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


New Years Rose Parade with Occupy Wall Street's participation has prompted recent commentary here. OWS continues to be active in my community and elsewhere though media coverage of their activities has diminished in news prominence. Before my upcoming blog content focuses on other topics I want to mention OWS's future plans and potential significance for the 2012 elections pending continuing needed public support.

Occupy Wall Street continues to thrive with planned actions in 2012 you may track through the months ahead with the link provided here by clicking on the organization's name.

Today I stopped by my local OWS city hall site described in the immediately preceding two posts. A young man who participated in the Pasadena Rose Parade described the enthusiasm experienced by "Occupy" marchers and parade stand viewers. Their action received only token news coverage. He noted that ongoing "Occupy" activities will continue including a major national event planned for May 1st.

The Young Turks Network features a video in which they report:

"Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters created a 'human float' at the Tournament of Roses parade and unfurled giant banners of the constitution an a giant octopus made of recycled grocery bags. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks discuss."

TYT Network

Here's a very short video of the "Occupy" marchers "Octopus" seen from Rose Parade stands. A full cohesive photo of the octopus tentacles and gigantic copies of the Constitution aren't clearly defined.

This Presidential election year is a prime time to bring pressures to bear on candidates to address the nation's issues which OWS can do. All too often candidates speak in generalities, avoid the pertinent topics, distract the focus to religious and social issues, or become enmeshed in launching and defending themselves from negative campaign attacks.

Unduly complicating the election process has been Supreme Court decisions recognizing corporations as individuals (there's an effort to correct this obvious injustice.) This constitutional interpretation invites undo influences contrary to a real actual persons best interests -- like yours and mine. Criminal amounts of $$$ are now allowed to be spent on behalf of candidates. We the people will be drowning in those advertising $$$. Just a thought, but wouldn't it be more helpful to the financial recovery of this nation if some of those $$$ went into the U.S. Treasury as taxes???
Yes, I know, it's all about power, control and money.

The outcome of recent Iowa Republican caucuses confirmed a fact proven in California's most recent campaign for Governor -- the candidate spending the most money does not automatically win an election. I suggest those excessive campaign $$$ serve primarily to create static, muddy the waters for disseminating the facts and alienate many toward politics and government.

Occupy Wall Street offers an opportunity to bring to bear pressures for desired legislative and government action benefiting that 99% championed. OWS needs citizen support to reach full potential for influencing the focus this 2012 election takes.


Monday, January 02, 2012


"Occupy" marchers did follow the Rose Parade as described in the previous post but none of the television stations provided live video coverage. Audio mention was made earlier in these corporate-owned station's commercial broadcasts. An all-news local radio station provided brief reports confirming "Occupy" presence and post-parade march. Later news coverage, if any, remains to be known.

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Here's a link to CBS-TV news accounts:

Huffington Post provides photos of the "Occupy" march:

Los Angeles local news accounts report "Occupy" leaders say 4000 supporters present; police estimate 400.

Here's a video account of "Occupy" preparation, group panels from

Sunday, January 01, 2012



Y E A R !

What will this new year bring to our lives?

We'll continue to be affected by world affairs with Europe's financial woes, the Middle East's uncertainties, and the Far East's growing economies plus the inevitable unexpected events internationally and/or domestically.

Eventually the U. S. political parties will each officially declare their Presidential candidate. I would welcome a campaign focused on the issues and minus negative attacks.

A new political party, Americans Elect, may emerge with a candidate. He/She may have the potential strength to spoil the election for our traditional political parties, or even be voted into office which could be a positive - or not.

The Occupy protest movement is another group that may have some impact on election outcomes. Their primary focus centers on the growing social and income inequity being experienced by 99% of the United States population.

Southern California's Occupy Claremont has actively supported Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Los Angeles and the movement across this nation. Last October their initial action involved staging a protest at one of our major local banks. Community local activists are often joined by nearby University students. All maintain their tent area erected on concrete neat and clean outside our City Hall.

I've been interested in conversing with a few of the Occupiers. They assured me this movement is still quite active locally and nationally. Also, Occupy anticipates more peaceful protests and actions in the coming year. Perhaps there is still hope some of the more definitive objectives they described will make a difference for citizens and their support will broadly increase.

A handout distributed there provided information promoting a Constitutional Amendment that would rectify the interpretation of law that allowed corporations to be considered individuals like you and me.

The Occupy movement with some protestors from around the country will be marching Monday at the conclusion of Pasadena's famed Rose Parade. After all the floats, bands, performers, celebrities, Rose Bowl dignitaries have passed, typically the multitude of trucks used to transport the floats to the display site appear followed by law enforcement vehicles. Occupy's group most likely will emerge with their display before or after the trucks and police cars. The degree of media coverage Occupy marchers receive remains to be seen.

I wonder if Occupy groups are still active in the community where you live, even if they aren't still camping out?

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Up Date with further details for Occupy at Monday's Rose Parade.......
credits: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin - Occupy article by Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer;
Los Angeles Times - Occupy article by Michael Hiltzik

A several thousand large Occupy contingent will be parade side with tents and camping overnight.

Select marchers expect to exhibit "...a giant 70-foot-long octopus and a 250-foot-long Constitution as parade elements."

This will not be an official parade entry but one being "...allowed to march on the parade route after the last float." Rose Parade officials have been quoted as saying other groups have marched in the past under supervision of the Pasadena Police Department.

This will be a peaceful activity as Occupiers stressed to me when I spoke with some of them. This movement is far from over in their efforts to focus citizens attention on issues affecting us all including: bringing accountability to Wall Street, addressing banks excessive power, concern there's too much money in politics, caution that there's increasing infringement on individual rights and privacy.

Citizens aware of inequities must take responsibility to bring about the changes needed for our nation.