aureantes: Portrait bust of Alexander the Great (being_so_DIFFICULT)
( Jan. 18th, 2012 12:57 am)

Don't Let U.S. Media Megacorporations

(or Government)

Kill Online Freedom of Speech

This is the only public post that will be visible on my Facebook or blog pages for Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012, in protest of unconstitutional online domain-blocking/censorship legislation. If you have not already seen and signed the petition linked above, please read and consider it now - and/or contact your Congressperson via this link here - because the Internet that you are used to seeing in all its activity here and elsewhere will not exist if either SOPA or PIPA pass into law as massive media conglomerates are pressuring.

I have studied arts/entertainment law - "anti-piracy" being the supposed basis for this legislation - and this law (under either docket name) has no teeth to curb /actual/ IP piracy/theft on a global scale (since it is focused on "U.S. aimed" websites), but a good deal of threat to harass and quash all manner of nonprofit fair-use: demo covers & karaoke videos, fan & tribute videos, socially-shared news articles/excerpts, fan fiction, obscure films/clips that are out of commercial distribution - and practically any material, be it entertainment or factual information, that either media companies or governmental entities do not want distributed to the general American public. It denies due process absolutely, indefinitely, and without recourse for injury; it claims the right to punish entire domains (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, etc.) for even single "alleged" user infractions of copyright/IP law by blocking them, rerouting their online traffic, and freezing their financial transactions - and this controversy is being swept under the carpet by the mainstream & primetime broadcast media whose parent companies are behind the proposed legislation.

These media megacorporations are counting on people's loyalty and ignorance to maintain their commercial profits (and increase their gain from legal settlements) despite this gross betrayal and evasion of public dialogue. Ultimately it is a stupid attempt to kill the very goose that lays their golden eggs in this peer-to-peer and intentionally-communal online age....even assuming a short-term gain in profits due to scaring away all non-profit usage/sharing of material, the forecast is that - as people are (hopefully) not idiots, they will eventually refrain from consuming for-profit-only entertainment as they realize that it has treated them all as potential criminals rather than as loyal or supportive audiences at all.

I believe in the right of all artists to be duly recognized and earn compensation for their creative work. I do /not/ believe in the right of corporations or government entities to censor creative or political expression merely because it does not give them instant money and/or support them unconditionally. The "marketplace of ideas," ironically, is one of the least-free and least-respected aspects of civilization in this capitalist society, because of the modern demand that all activity be directly translatable into financial gain or loss as a "property" - a concept which in itself goes against the grain of both nature and the entire course of pre-Industrial creative and technological history. These present demands of entrenched media-monopolists go too far, and what is at stake is freedom of speech itself - political /and/ creative; entrepreneurial, educational, and social. And that is a fundamental freedom that we as a nation and as humans cannot afford to lose, regardless of anyone's profit-driven paranoia.

[Yes, I do realize the irony of protesting U.S. censorship on a Russian-owned blognet....but LJ is aimed at a large U.S. audience, and it is just as liable as any American-owned social/blogging website to run afoul of this proposed legislation.] 


Yesterday morning saw the publication of the
Time magazine article on Sarah Palin's time as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in which it was mentioned that she had threatened to fire the town's librarian over her opposition to banning books (allegedly on account of complaints of offensive language).

According to the
New York Times article from this morning (Sept. 3), Sarah Palin actually did fire her town's librarian shortly taking office as mayor, then re-hired her due to public outcry/support from town residents.  This is also mentioned in the Opinion column from that newspaper's editorial board (sans author credit).

In the Los Angeles Times, Tim Rutten's excellent
op-ed takes on directly the issue of the "privacy" that the Palin family claims for itself, when by her politics Sarah Palin would forbid that same privacy and free choice to others.

I'm waiting for the Washington Post to land in my inbox so I can scan through it....hmm, they don't seem to have anything on the book-banning issue -- it's all about finances and abortion rights/restrictions, significant as those are.

This is not even covering the material that
Dark Christianity has been turning up regarding her links to dominionist movements....for anyone who does not know what that term refers to and doesn't want to read the whole article before proceeding, it basically means those who believe that it is their mission to force the United States (and/or whatever other country they happen to be working in) to be a "Christian nation" -- i.e., a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. 

Some religious fundamentalists and evangelicals basically see the state of the nation as morally deplorable but not their business to fix by force -- they may separate themselves from the rest of society/outside culture to whatever degree, and control their children's education and religious indoctrination, and agitate when they feel beleaguered by the advances/changes of modern society and the loss of assumed preeminence to Christian "traditional" values and observances (and political obeisances) within the United States, but it is the dominionists -- largely Pentecostals, of the Assemblies of God churches or the breakaway charismatic "
Joel's Army" movement, a militant form of Christian Reconstructionism -- who believe that it is their duty to use every means possible to make their nation a full theocracy in which civil rights are re-forbidden to those who do not follow/fit the rules of Christian Cultural Conservatism (my capitals; happens to be more convenient to be able to refer to the CCC).

That would mean:

=/= Legal execution of queers of every kind, preferably by good old-fashioned Biblical methods such as stoning (that's one thing they have in common with radical Islam...); never mind gay marriage or adoption, as they intend a "final solution" to that problem.   

=/= Enforcement of traditional gender roles; re-segregation/restriction of higher/career education according to permitted social roles; emphasis on women's fertility and wifely virtues as their primary purpose in life; "morality police" a probable development

=/= Elimination of divorce except on traditional (OT) Biblical grounds (which don't include domestic or sexual abuse); arranged and/or "shotgun" marriages in the case of teenagers to eliminate illegitimacy and single-parenthood; adultery technically again punishable by death 

=/= Criminalization of both abortion and birth control, with death penalty prescribed for those who perform abortions (and punishment to the woman as well); total abstinence-only education; women's reproductive health no longer under their own control but technically controlled by physician and husband/father/son/male head of household 

=/= Total educational regression -- creationism again taught in place of evolution; history rewritten to favour the CCC agenda; literature censored to an extreme, with inevitable bookburnings in the process; religious indoctrination integrated into all areas of education

=/= Re-criminalization of witchcraft, paganism, etc.; unbelievers not permitted to live.  (Even the scrupulous white-lighters, people...and Christopaganism won't pass muster)

=/= Censorship of arts and media; destruction of "immoral art" of every kind; morally-educational standards required to be met in all areas of art; artistic immorality equated with sexual immorality and punished likewise

=/= "Immigration reform" -- extreme raising of borders against anyone not meeting moral standards of the CCC (similar to Spain not allowing heretics/political incendiaries to emigrate to the New World)

=/= Science dismantled in every controversial area; all research or technology banned that does not support sanctioned religious/moral aims; genetics, medicine and surgery re-censored to avoid forbidden uses 

=/= All politics subjugated to religion; mandatory public prayer at all government meetings/functions; all laws to be decided not by their constitutionality but by their adherence to (selective) Biblical doctrine

This doesn't even take into account the hypocrisy and double-standardness that is already rampant within cultural conservative politics -- the idea that those in power can insulatedly indulge the liberties that they forbid to others -- lovers and mistresses, adulterous or not (as long as they remain behind closed doors and demand nothing), abortions, genetic testing and controversial medical procedures (for those who can pay or threaten well), recreational drugs, erotica & pornography, high art and forbidden literature/knowledge (on their own terms).  The above list assumes that dominionists actually mean what they say and would enforce it as such without exception.  

 And yes, Sarah Palin has some definite ties to these people (as well as to these people, who vetted her for the McCain ticket).  Her Wikipedia article has been whitewashed to say that she's just "Christian," but more precisely (truth in advertising...) that ought to be "born-again Christian" (as per the NY Times article cited above)  and the kind of born-again Christian that, once in a position of national power, will do all they can to enforce their version of the Kingdom of God over the entire country.

So, this is why so many people on the hardcore Religious Right are applauding McCain's choice of running mate.  Not only has he promised them an administration governed by pro-life policies, he's given them someone they can really believe in as a fellow Christian, whose moral principles are uncompromising and who will deliver unto them the licence and control they need to start making their dreams come true.

So, anyone who was considering voting for this McCain/Palin wonder-ticket (as per Senator Lieberman's sickening display of proselytizing last night...), please re-engage your brains and....just don't.

(And don't forget to celebrate 
Banned Books Week....>:)...I'm definitely planning to do something to observe it properly...)

[Addendum: According to the New York Times article from this morning (Sept. 3), she actually did fire her, then re-hired her due to public outcry/support from town residents.  The NY Times' columnists have also picked up on this incident and are set to make the most of it.]    

If you've been following my serious posts lately, you won't need three guesses. 

magazine article on Sarah Palin's time as mayor up in her niche of Alaska.....apparently she wanted to use her authority as mayor to ban books at the local library:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Here's the full article.  It implies that she's turned from hardline social conservative to "maverick" (damn, that word's gonna be radioactive for years...), but I don't buy it in this case.  Honestly, with McCain promising a "pro-life Presidency" and the moon to the Religious Right, do you think that Sarah Palin could resist using her sway over national policy to push for banning and censorship to be normalized, when we don't even have a federal-level National Librarian for her to go head-to-head with?

I read about this just earlier this morning over at the Dark Christianity LJ comm -- they keep a pretty close weather-eye out for theocratic attempts to take over the secular government, and are a good resource for looking up anything in the "dominionist"/extreme fundamentalist line.  I.e., the kind of people who like to ban/burn anything that doesn't agree with their interpretation of the Bible. 

And it's at times like this that I'm reminded just how much librarians are the guardians of civilization and free speech.  Just the right season, too, as we're heading up to Banned Books Week, which runs from September 27 through October 4 this year.

Anyhow, figured that perhaps the librarians, bookworms and civil liberties lovers around here might want to....hmm, prepare something special for the occasion.  I'm certainly in a good mood to be making some political noise....>:)




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