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.] 


Just in this early-morn via headline-sampler in my Yahell Mail...

Conservatives shop sex ops ban to GOP

The federal government would be banned from funding sex change operations and other services for transgender individuals if social conservative activists get their way.

 There’s no sponsor yet for an amendment to the health care overhaul – and it may remain in the dustbin of unrealized wedge issues – but culture warriors are shopping the proposal to Republican senators.  (Full article at

Obviously, it can't just be assumed that healthcare reform is going to be automatically inclusive of everyone who's heretofore been marginalized by the system -- political/rhetorical pressure needs to be applied in support of trans rights to relevant medical coverage, because it's imminently being applied against them, on the same "social values" grounds as the pressure already being exerted to ban any governmental funding of abortions via public healthcare option (the issues are naturally lumped together as moral bugaboos by social conservatives, if you haven't noticed...).  

So, basically....politicians need a good kick in the arse from their trans constituents and everyone else who cares about actual social equality, before this evasion has any chance to get slipped in and undermine real healthcare reform for some of the people who need it most and have the largest obstacles in getting appropriate healthcare in the first place.  

The entire point of any publically-funded and publically-accountable system, be it healthcare, judiciary or otherwise, is that it must not be allowed to discriminate against any citizen merely on account of the social/religious prejudices of other citizens -- even if the biased are actually in the majority (even Hammurabi understood that might does not make right, as he affirmed the primary purpose of law as protecting the powerless against the powerful).  

Trans people are not criminals nor sexual offenders for being as they are, yet are consistently attacked, demonized and/or trivialized by social conservatives, and marginalized in employment, everyday interactions, and most of all in access to gender-affirming healthcare.  So anyone who endorses this legislative exclusion or merely condones it, regardless what other good they may have done for humanity, is a bigot of the most insidious and damnable type, who's essentially missed the point of the last half-century and more of U.S. progress in civil human rights.  Do feel free to borrow my invective.



I've been rather....miffed lately, to see the self-certainty with which some people state their beliefs, principles, personal opinions, assumed facts, etc., as if they were infallible pronouncements -- as well as that they seem to expect everyone who reads their words to accept them without argument, and they don't even bother to anticipate argument, which in itself indicates a serious lack of perspective.

And then there's the fact that self-righteous wankers and their wankerous pronouncements piss me off by their continued existence in a world that rightfully should have evolved past that mental stage by now.  They're like cockroaches (or sharks, depending on the level of actual malice...hmm, sharkroaches, anyone?) --  primeval and singleminded organisms which "should" be outmoded in favour of higher orders of organization and consciousness but still maintain their tenacious hold in whatever squalor remains to sustain them, feeding on neglected patches of prejudice and ignorance like a scavenging roach feeds upon a patch of grease missed by the cleaning sponge.  

So, you want to know what I -really- think.....? )
If there's anything that I've left out and remember later, I'll toss it in somewhere.   Just figured it might be useful to spell out exactly where I stand and don't stand on a few things.  And if you don't like my views, you're welcome to take it up with me...and I'm free to respond however I see fit. 

[Oh, and there will be a following post to address certain "fringe" the antiquated saying goes, don't touch that dial....]

At the present political moment, and with a plethora of "action alerts" and updates and petitions landing in my inbox every week, I have realized that I hate the word "pledge."

Here's my rant and my reasoning... )
In this matter, I would encourage people to throw out all publically-advertised, overworn, overhyped and prewritten pledges from their lives, and to make their own promises in life as they themselves believe and vow.  No standard-issue boilerplate, no email soundbites, no virtual-community peer pressure, no secondhand sentiments adopted passively as one's own.  "Pledges" are BS, even from the best groups and for the best intentions....they may work for getting people off their asses, but they're only good for mobilizing masses -- not for employing or presenting individuals at their strongest and most potent.  And this is a time when I strongly feel that we cannot rely on the tools of uniformity to support the work of freedom and intelligence and circumspection, nor to solve by broad sweeps of simplistic subscription the problems and controversies of this world.

Not that I think anyone'll actually listen to me, but.....enh, I guess it's been known to happen.

This just in today:

'Cause if you just have true faith in the market economy, it won't feel like you're gettin' screwed over a monumental barrel...

[X-posted to Hyperlucidity and my other blog; feel free to pass on (w/ due credit/blame of course) if you want.]

Okay, here we are with two things at the forefront, one expected and the other a bit of a twist: A, Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination for President, and B, John McCain choosing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (a real live WOMAN, disgruntled Hillaryites!) as his running mate on the Republican ticket.

Do you think this'll work to steal the feminist vote, this whole "cut off your nose to spite your face" angle to snare in those old-school feminists who are too attached to the idea of a certified woman in the Oval Office (or close enough to it) to care that her politics are the opposite of practically everything that old-school feminism fought for in the first place?

In other words: it's a trap. Don't fall for the stereotype of women caring about women, or caring about anything but what their own actions show as their agenda. Don't assume. Don't assume that seniors care about other seniors, that veterans care about other veterans (or active military personnel), or that anyone cares about anyone, categorically speaking, until and unless their actions prove that it's actually part of their platform.

And that's a point at which "issues voters" on the left(ish) in particular had better keep their eyes on the issues and not let themselves be misled by that purty gun-totin' feminine fly in the ointment.

I suppose it's about time I got political and stated exactly why I'm for Obama over Clinton, seeing as others have been having their say openly. I'm usually not that open about what I'm in favour of so much as what I'm against, but in this case I can explain both -- to my mind, Barack Obama shows a deep-seated drive of public service, while Hillary Clinton shows a deep-seated drive of ambition, pure and simple. Her main selling point is that she is a woman (rather than making the detail as little of an issue as possible, considering that the voting population is kinda split fifty-fifty there and one needs to deal with both halves fairly) -- and as for being a Democrat, I barely even see how she qualifies to be on the left of the aisle. Forcing people to buy health insurance is not the same thing as "achieving universal health insurance", for example, especially when one talks of garnishing wages as penalty (and when one has close corporate backing in the pharmaceutical industry)....and if, as Lurkitty excellently pointed out, Hillary shares in the presidency of Bill in professional experience as well as in political reputation, then why would I vote for the life partner of a man who advised John Kerry that if he wanted to be successful in running for the White House he ought to set his campaign platform against gay rights?

More of my argument... )
People keep talking about the gender issue and the race issue swaying people predictably and irrationally -- but really, how predictable is it? Obama isn't just black, afterall, and the way that people respond to both candidates is not just reducible to which traits define them most strongly. Some people do think that simplistically -- some don't. And if I, by this time in my life, didn't think long and hard about why I was inclined to support people and make sure that it wasn't just based on kneejerk identity politics, I'd be a pretty irresponsible voting citizen.

[Yeah, why did I choose this user pic for this particular topic....? /:)...]

Oh, by the way.....I happen to be supporting Barack Obama for President (along with the other 70+% who voted for him in MoveOn's endorsement poll). Just to get that out there in the open for discussion and debate, ya know...seeing as Tuesday's E-Day for the nomination and all that.

*tosses hat into ring, and tries not to sharpen his ginsus too obviously*
[Adapted (and corrected) slightly from my latest posting at hyperlucidity] --

In Illinois we have an interesting situation for the governor's race, because the dissatisfaction rate is high for both major-party candidates (incumbent governor Rod Blagojevich (D) and state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R)...though dissatisfaction is still slightly higher with Topinka than with Blagojevich, even with accusations of cronyism and arranging jobs in return for alleged personal "gifts".

There is a third-party candidate, though -- Rich Whitney (Green Party), whose campaign mailing was extremely persuasive...he also has a campaign website, though I haven't looked it up yet. The question, though, as with many races including the 2000 presidential one, is whether a principled vote for him will wind up being a self-defeating one, taking away from the Democratic side only to bolster the Republican margin.

I'd like to see a Green Party candidate take the governorship in Illinois, but I don't want to see Judy Baar Topinka getting in on account of a split upset (even without taking into account her horrendous 'rich conservative businesswoman' makeup, which looks as if she gets it done at the local embalmer's, I do not like nor trust the woman in the least).  

And I know most people will say the pragmatic thing to do is to vote for the candidate of your choice that you actually think has the best chance of winning (well, except in presidential primaries, where the party votes aren't actually running head-to-head and you *can* safely "throw your vote away" on a conscience-candidate like Dennis Kucinich, as I did in 2004, just to make a point).  

And then some liberal/radical activists are fond of saying that there can never be a good outcome to elections unless people stop choosing the lesser of two evils and go totally third-party....but then, who is it they're preaching to with this message but people who would more likely vote to the left side of the aisle than to the right?

And of course, there's the infamous Nader split of 2000, inconsequential as it may have really been in the final count.... plan is to do some grassroots/guerrilla promotion of Rich Whitney in my area and then watch the polls closely before Election Day to see how the cards lie. In the meantime, though...okay, I do assume you all vote wherever you live, otherwise it'd be pretty silly to be in an online group that deals so much with politics and govermental ethics and constitutionality and all that. So what is a situation you've been in, or followed closely/vicariously, where there was this kind of a decision to be made?--and what did you do (or what would you have done) in order to try and make sure that your vote was not cast in vain--nor your principles abandoned?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
There is a Bomb in Gilead--and Hitler's giving medals...

Apparently this news didn't have a chance to register on my headline-radar from the other weekend, seeing as I was out of state visiting my fiancee....yeah, and she's pissed about it too. Shocked, appalled and both of us growling mad. Just for the record, we don't plan on having any children, though it seems that the conscious and deliberate intent of adults means approximately nada these days....

What I'm referring to, of course is this:

Forever Pregnant
Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant

By January W. Payne
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; Page HE01

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

[..Statistics on infant mortality and low prenatal health conditions...yeah, that's a big problem for a supposedly-developed country, not denying that...]

Preconception care should be delivered by any doctor a patient sees -- from her primary care physician to her gynecologist. It involves developing a "reproductive health plan" that details if and when children are planned, said Janis Biermann, a report co-author and vice president for education and health promotion at the March of Dimes.
[....Okay, here comes the really really pressuring part, though---]

Experts acknowledge that women with no plans to get pregnant in the near future may resist preconception care.
"We know that women -- unless you're actively planning [a pregnancy], . . . she doesn't want to talk about it," Biermann said. So clinicians must find a "way to do this and not scare women," by promoting preconception care as part of standard women's health care, she said.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

[Linkto:\51500875.html (aka previous blogpost)]

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Hmmm...interesting.  Well, I suppose I expect people's personal responsibility to keep them out of serious trouble, and if they ain't got it then they have to deal with the consequences.  That's fairly simple enough, I suppose.

And now for something completely different.:

You Are Gonzo the Great
"Is something burning in here? Oh, it's just me."
You're a total nutball who will do anything for attention.
The first to take a dare, you'll pull almost any stunt.
You're one weird looking creature, but your chickens don't mind!

I'll.....just let you wonder about that one on your own........

[forwarded from my forum hyperlucidity, where this and a lot more gets written in drabbles as the news goes on...also posted on to my blog Aureantes' Realm...]

Personally, I think this debacle over the Danish cartoons has done more than anything in the mind of the average rational person to discredit the stance of those rioting and getting violent over them, despite whatever the official statements and apologies and such have been so far.  No one religion/culture deserves special kid-glove treatment unless all do, and we already know that the most vocal factions in the Islamic world are unfortunately not those calling for respect for other faiths and nations or treating them with civility.  It's more like, actually....hmm, the Republicans in Congress accusing the Democrats of partisan politics when they vote against legislation that is itself hostile and partisan from the start.

Now....personally, I'd like to leave any question of the United States' virtue out of this -- we know my opinions on the war, and we know that I have no fondness for the way that national foreign policies have hobnobbed conveniently with princes and dictators (as it suits their agendas) while worsening the plight of the average working stiff in any aid-dependent nation.

But that has had nothing to do with religion...rather, religion has been used as an excuse and a popular cause for retaliation, as much so as national pride. It's not that kind of personal, people -- it's not a matter of repeating the Crusades, and even there the factor of faiths was a smaller thing than the matter of underlying greed and striving for territorial control. Liberate the Holy Land? -- sure, as much as we liberated's the same basic thing, when ideologies are trumped up to rouse the public spirit, and governments are just as willing to kill and suppress people of their own basic creed (and even nation) if they happen to get in the way of the greater plan.

But to have such a pricklish sense of vested dignity that one thinks it justified to run amok and riot over the use of a holy figure in a cartoon is...a bit much. A bit thin-skinned, a bit childish, a bit spoiled in the demand for respect where none is given and much bile is spewed on a regular basis. And, reasonable minds must admit, the satirical points made were not devoid of truth.

If having an attitude of fanatical extremism exposed and pricked by mere cartoons -- and this goes for ANY belief -- is too much to take, so much that mobs must rise and chaos ensue in protest, then that only proves that those who are quivering with outrage and fury at the jab and the insult, hell-bent on demanding apologies and reparations and capitulations are all the more deeply and tragically WRONG.

Strong words, right?--afterall, moral terms and absolutes aren't supposed to be brought into the politics of nations and global affairs anymore, not so long as hairs can be split and legalities dissected and prerogatives claimed within the dry technical boundaries of law. But this is moral, and the law has lost its sense of moral discernment, had it bled dry by design to let hypocrisies reign. Strong words must be used again, and strike to the core of the matter.

Extremism is inherently wrong and pathological, no matter where it arises and what creed (or lack thereof) it claims. Claiming orthodoxy ("right belief") as one ideology's possession and all other faiths, paths and philosophies as misguided, inferior, immoral and right to destroy, is inherently wrong -- no matter from where the impulse comes. One's beliefs may be worth dying for personally, but they are never worth condemning others to death. Never. Claim the "divine right" of spreading your way by force through all the world, and you step over the line of morality. Any credo of "manifest destiny" -- whatever its form -- is wrong, was wrong, will always be the wrong way to conduct human affairs.

Unfortunately, though...

Unfortunately, Islam is one of those religions in the world whose origin and history from the very start has been marked by reactionary resentment and a quest for ascendency over the faiths and cultures that preceded and surrounded and dominated it. In claiming supersedence of both Judaism and Christianity by virtue of a superior prophet and scriptures, it announced itself as being in struggle from the start, emerging out of the inferiority complex, if you will, of the Arabic peoples who lacked a unified and respected monotheism of their own in a predominantly monotheistic world. Not just an assertion of "we-too", but a "we-better-than-you" -- as with all movements when they assert the chosenness of their mission over all others.

And this has nothing to do with finding ultimate truth within Islam, mind you -- I have every respect for those who can find their truth personally and live it honourably for themselves -- but it is an immensely unrefuted and uncontested point within most of the Islamic world, that Islam must and will triumph over all faiths.

As it is within America's so-called "heartland", that American conservative fundamentalist Christianity must and will win out in the end (and better fight for its aims sooner than later, 'cause the Rapture's a-comin')...but then, most of the vitriol there is aimed at domestic purported enemies than global ones, except for enforcing their version of "moral values" in policy wherever the U.S. holds effective sway...

At any rate, the idea is a backwards one that badly needs fighting-against. Not that there's no value in people's religions, no transcendent worth, nothing worth preserving, but that the ingrained idea of any one religion -- or nation, or ideology -- being supreme, perfect, and sacrosanct from all reproach or challenge or levity MUST be brought down wherever it exists. Because that is the root of all fanaticism. If you've ever read or seen The Name of the Rose, you might recall that the root cause of all those apocalyptically-themed murders was to protect against the dissemination of blasphemy in the form of laughter, with comedy, satire and travesty being perceived as insults against the dignity of God.

Which, of course, *always* needs fierce defending by the faithful...

I remember hearing on the radio one morning a few years ago that Pope John Paul II had chosen not to sign to a declaration of religious human rights, on the grounds that it would compromise the Church's missionary efforts.

No faith is supremely perfect. No institution is supremely perfect. Anytime an ideology becomes more important than the community of people it's applied to, it loses its way. The reason revolutions devour their own children is that maintaining the purity and control of a philosophy becomes more of an ideal than maintaining and bettering the state of humanity.

So that's the thing -- really, no one should get away with putting their own religion on so high a pedestal that they themselves can't tolerate laughter or an unflattering truth.  People who are so deadly serious are also bloody immature, and a danger to others around them.  Idolatry at its core doesn't consist in whether or not a picture or a statue is allowed, but in the worship and importance of images above their realities.

In preserving the sanctity of a symbol while ignoring or violating that which it ought to represent.  In using the Ten Commandments as an excuse for social tyranny.  In taking the name of Jesus as a flag for trampling on one's brother, or extolling the virtues of the Virgin Mary while demeaning and repressing the women who are real and alive in the world around. Or invoking the spectre of the Holocaust as the one atrocity that can never ever be equalled or even compared with, keeping it in hand as a constant justification for every deed of oppression, violence and chauvinism thereafter. Making it a crime to burn the American flag -- stop me if you've heard this one -- while systematically unraveling all the liberties and justice and greater human possibilities that it was made to serve as the banner for in the first place.

And in that respect, all those who show themselves willing to resort to threats and violence and destruction over the implications of mere images are truly and pathetically idolaters. They have lost the way, whatever their way -- if ever indeed they had it.

[Hmm....anyone else wanna pitch in some thoughts? I know I'm being rather bold and absolute in my assertions of truth, but hey--I ain't gonna execute anyone for not going my way....>:)...]

Mainly because it's been being fought under our noses and out of sight of TV screens, where far too many of us still get our news pre-digested, not even able to read between the lines of a printed page, never taught to test for truth. Maybe because there's that other war-- or two, or three--that has been built up and given the spotlight as an honourable cause--America against this, against that, a sanctioned outlet of us versus them, us versus evil. The war that goes unspoken or derided as a mirage is the one that is U.S. versus us--the steady erosion of rights and dignity and the welfare--yes, literally, the welfare, the well-being--of the ordinary American citizen.

The one who doesn't have an escape pod for every disaster, resources and insurance and medical provisions to cover every loss without hassle or delay, names and connections to get a job in a pinch whenever he or she needs one--or hell, just wants one for the credentials. The one whose name is not a passport to perks and privilege, whose labour is for the sake of survival not amassment of landed wealth. The common man--whether common or not in skills, intelligence, honour and personal virtue--who is being edged steadily back to the feudal ages, under the triple thumb of state and church and all-powerful-&-unquestioned "employer" from whom he must beg his daily bread. Leave God out of it--he's only a name in this machine, a placebo to make people think there's someone looking out for them, a source of true justice and unbiased, unstinting love. Bullshit, at least for the daily grind--only a pill one takes with all the others, and now on the pretense that it'll help one's health, lower one's blood pressure, increase one's life expectancy--and for what? For more of this crap, this technicolour pablum, this sham of a culture, this artifically sweetened and chemically fertilized, hyped-up, accessorized, wholly inconsequential vanity of vanities that is the existence of the American consumer-subject?

iPods and circenses, my armory of mass distraction--and the unwitting accomplices in it are twofold.

There are the willing marketers, salesmen, trendsetters, survey-takers, test panels--paid and unpaid alike, selling themselves for these corporate gods, external idols, false saviours for whom one will lie, cheat and steal to get a buck, to win a prize, to land the big one, anything to replace the real with the synthetic, the essential with the persuaded luxury, the energy of integrity for the dregs of ephemeral fame, attention, something from the Powers That Be.

And there are the well-meaning but all-too-ambitious politicians who voice their outrage in every moment but the ones that might have counted in the first place, thinking so much for the long-term and the interest of lasting harmony and stability (and political tenure for themselves) that they refuse to take a firm stand against the thousands of little encroachments, erosions, cracks and lapses that the enemy has given them an ostensible choice on--and that they refuse to lead any firm alternative or argument to sway the other side of the aisle, letting the battles be lost and thinking that they have a positive war they're fighting all the same--trying to win support and dollars from the people for their moderation, when it is their very moderation that has let the fox into the henhouse and approved him having his way--ah well, bargaining and quibbling over a wing or a leg here and there, but mounting no decided objections to his presence in itself.

There is a war going on. It is the war of power and wealth against those who are ignored, underrated, have little or no voice, little choice in their lives. It is the war of privilege against a common humanity, of moral hypocrisy against a common decency. Of paperwork against people, the letter of the law against the very virtues that it was supposed to support and encourage. The administration is destroying the people--and it does not care one whit more than it has to for a good soundbite, a dramatic photo opp, another little token to keep the wool pulled over the eyes of those who want to believe that they live in a system that makes sense. But no god in a machine is coming down to set things right, and the fox is still feasting in the henhouse. Criticism alone won't get him out.


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