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Censorship Your Rights Online

SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby 302

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the piracy-is-a-sin dept.
Adrian Lopez writes "Techdirt reports that 'apparently, the folks behind SOPA are really scared to hear from the opposition. We all expected that the Judiciary Committee hearings wouldn't be a fair fight. In Congress, they rarely are fair fights. But most people expected the typical "three in favor, one against" weighted hearings. That's already childish, but it seems that the Judiciary Committee has decided to take the ridiculousness to new heights. We'd already mentioned last week that the Committee had rejected the request of NetCoalition to take part in the hearings. At the time, we'd heard that the hearings were going to be stacked four-to-one in favor of SOPA. However, the latest report coming out of the Committee is that they're so afraid to actually hear about the real opposition that they've lined up five pro-SOPA speakers and only one "against."' Demand Progress is running an online petition against such lopsided representation."
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SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:10AM (#38072414)

    Its simple

    We are not represented by congress anymore

    Its big business, for big business

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:15AM (#38072448)
    Really? We all know the pattern by now. Cynicism is so firmly established, people hardly even bother to campaign when they know they'll be ignored.
  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:17AM (#38072456)

    There are two ways you can get your representative to represent you:

    1. Pay him more money than big business does.
    2. Make a believable thread to shoot him.

    Neither of these are viable options. So you need to get him voted out of office. Thus, the problem is the voters.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:19AM (#38072472)

    I am sorry if I am unable to keep up with all the acronyms, but really is it too much to at least spell them out fully one just so we can get a gist?

    Heck I get confused with BSA (Business Software Alliance) with BSA (Boy Scouts of America) and BoA (Bank of America)
    SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) looks a lot like SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

    If you just write out the Acronym just once you help clarify things much easier.

  • Bad for everyone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Djehuty3 (1371395) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:24AM (#38072500)
    I admin a forum with a little over 30k members.

    In the past, we've had a former member we've banned file a false DMCA claim against us and successfully take us down. We moved DNS and have been up since; For the record, 1and1 didn't even investigate, whereas our replacement, GoDaddy, kept a note of the circumstances and have notified us when that same person has tried to take us down again.

    If this passes, our little forum is fucked. No two ways about it; Somebody will get butthurt about being banned and we'll get taken down, again - but this time, there's a risk of actual criminality behind it.

    Don't tell me that this will be carefully used and no false claims will succeed, because we've been on the wrong end of that tale before.

    Today, we're participating in the scheme being run by http://americancensorship.org/ [americancensorship.org]; If you run a site, regardless of mission, you should too.
  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:30AM (#38072538)

    But voted out of office in exchange for what? Another one of the same.

    Ultimately, yes, the problem is the voters. But it's rather like complaining that if the sheep don't like the pen they are herded into, they should get a new sheepdog, when we all know the shepherd is calling the shots.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:45AM (#38072648)

    You are implying that there is corruption going on, while there is a more plausible, legal forces that explains why the business get the political ear.

    Big Business hires a lot of people who pay a lot of taxes. If they are not happy in your City/State/Country they have the resources to leave and leave a lot of people without jobs and unable to pay for taxes.
    The problem will exasperated if business need to pay far more tax. Now a lot of business may be willing to do this without moving or laying off people but what it does is centralize the money flow even further so the business will get more political pull because that is more tax revenue that could leave.

    So a Mayor, Senator, Representative, Judge, Governor or President really cannot just ignore what a big business is saying and will need to hear out some of their issues.

    Now that the businesses have these peoples ears they can explain things to them so they understand their point of view much better making the decisions much more complex.

    Then finally these people contributed to their campaign so they cannot just ignore the business as they owe them a favor.

    The core of the problem is that businesses have gotten too big. This is the economical/political version of the Irish Potato famine. Where business diversity has been replaced a small group of large companies. Just like how the Irish were planting very few species of Potato so when a plague that infected the potatoes there wan't enough diversity to handle the loss.
    American have gotten wimpy.
    In school we are afraid to study Math and Science and all those courses where you cannot BS your way threw, because we are afraid that B in math with hurt you A average, and you will not get into Harvard, or if you are in college you GPA will suffer.
    We are afraid to start our own business.
    We are afraid to make something new.

    In general we are afraid of a lot of things, things that are not really as scary as we make them out to be. But they do take risk and we have became Risk Averse. Thus we go the safest path.
    Take those classes that you can get an easy A.
    Get a low level job in a big company. Keep quite and out of trouble that way you don't get in trouble.
    Buy products from those big name stores because those little shops seem to sketchy.
    Complain and moan about a products rise in costs but do not cancel the service. (This part is getting better)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:45AM (#38072654)

    The problem is that by standing for public office, the candidate is showing that they are unsuitable for the job.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:51AM (#38072680)

    But voted out of office in exchange for what? Another one of the same.

    Another one of the same who is afraid to go against your wishes on the particular issue you got the predecessor voted out of office for. This is very important. Remember that the rule of American politics is "do anything the corporations pay you to; as long as it doesn't offend the NRA". This is not because the NRA has huge amounts of money (though they have quite a bit); it's because they credibly and effectively make the threat to vote out whoever offends them. If you aren't voted in then you aren't getting your corporate bribes.

    There are a bunch of things to learn from the NRA. Things like:

    • Organise; meet; get together.
    • Gather money; put it into a fund which is dedicated to your exact issue.
    • Be extremely focused
    • Physically protest; be seen
    • Write actual letters to specific representatives from specific supporters
    • Very clearly target specific politicians and ensure that you are seen to get rid of them
    • Be fun and interesting to be part of

    These things do not come at once and immediately; the NRA was founded in the 1870s and only got to full success in the 1980s, but if you are patient and keep at it you will win.

    The idea that we can do nothing is planted in our minds in an attempt to stop us from doing anything. It's true that most people will still ignore you, but that doesn't matter. Most Americans aren't part of the NRA and they are still the effective rulers of the country for the particular issue they care about.

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gsNO@SPAMovi.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:59AM (#38072748) Homepage

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0 [youtube.com] - That's it. Sorry.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:01AM (#38072770)

    Exactly. Anyone who really wants the job that much shouldn't be allowed to have it. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a book about a human colony that had this exact rule; leaders were appointed more-or-less randomly, after disqualifying those who really wanted to be the leaders; it was called "Songs of Distant Earth".

  • Vote third party (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:07AM (#38072804)
    I said this yesterday, and I'll say it again today: the problem is that the "two" parties in power now both have the same agenda. It is time for people to start voting third party.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:09AM (#38072838) Homepage

    Don't forget to fear monger to your group endlessly like the NRA does. I'm a gun owner, I love my gun rights. I carry daily. I WAS a NRA member. I'm so sick of getting letters about how Obama (or whatever evil you can come up with) is going to take away my guns unless I give the NRA another cash injection.

    Obama has bigger issues than guns, and he won't be taking them away during campaign time (which with our media is basically from day one in office). The truth is that gun rights have gotten a lot better in the last 3 years. Their message of constant fear and attack just drove me away.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:09AM (#38072840)

    "The core of the problem is that government has gotten too big"

    Fixed.

    If the government were not in a position to grant special favors to companies because it is regulating everything in sight, then business would have no use buying off politicians.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:11AM (#38072864)

    Big Business hires a lot of people who pay a lot of taxes. If they are not happy in your City/State/Country they have the resources to leave and leave a lot of people without jobs and unable to pay for taxes.

    The crucial thing to remember here is that the tech industry makes much more money for America than the entertainment industry. It still also employs more people. There has to be something else going on to explain why anti-tech, pro copyright, laws get so much support everywhere (not just in the USA)

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:14AM (#38072888)

    In school we are afraid to study Math and Science and all those courses where you cannot BS your way threw,

    How about English classes? ;-)

    I don't think the aversion to science and math classes has anything to do with fear, for most students. It's about 1) interest, 2) laziness, and 3) reward. Why bother working hard and taking the harder math and science classes when you can skate through with the minimum? It's not like these science-and-math-averse students are instead taking all the hardest English or Social Studies classes they can find. American kids just aren't interested in these things; it's not part of our culture. Instead, they all want to become famous singers or athletes, because those are the professions that are idolized in this culture. At the college level, it's all about taking the classes necessary for your major, and science and advanced math classes aren't necessary for a degree in business, finance, pre-law, or marketing. These are the things college kids want to major in these days, because these are the professions that are well-rewarded in our culture, and which have the highest respect (outside of singers and athletes) among the general population. No one respects engineers much in this country, but when people meet a lawyer they practically bow down to them and kiss their feet. Kids see this and so gravitate toward these types of profession. The only exception as far as science prerequisites is pre-med, but even here it seems like most of the new doctors are people from non-American (and non-Western) cultures; it's a lot easier and faster to get an MBA or a finance degree than to become a doctor, so that's what kids go for.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:39AM (#38073056)

    voting is not the key.

    suppose you have a broken motor (its shorted inside, say) and it keeps blowing fuses. first fuse, you replace it. fuse blows again. damn. replace it again.

    at some point, you realize that replacing fuses on a broken motor, while giving you some more 'time', is not a real solution. its not the fuse, its the motor, itself.

    voting is a revolving doorway. while someone might be good (a brand new fuse) for a short while, its 100% guaranteed that OUR CURRENT SYSTEM will 'short him out' and he'll go bad. 100% guaranteed. its our system, not the fuses; er, I mean people.

    "but I'll put a stronger fuse (person) in!"

    sorry, this is not the way to fix it. when the motor is fundamentally broken, you replace the motor.

    I hope some people get this... ..before the upstream breaker has to fail.

  • AFL-CIO WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danlip (737336) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:47AM (#38073120)

    Why the hell is AFL-CIO for SOPA? And why are they considered a relevant party to testify? As a matter of fact, why is MasterCard for it? Visa is against it. MPAA is obvious, and Pfizer I can understand (they want to block sites that sell knock-off drugs).

  • by morgauxo (974071) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:55AM (#38073216)
    Yes, but in a democracy the system is ultimately the people. The system is broken because the people are broken. They don't care about issues like this.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:58AM (#38073248)

    I said this yesterday, and I'll say it again today: the problem is that the "two" parties in power now both have the same agenda. It is time for people to start voting third party.

    This sounds great on the surface. But who exactly am I supposed to vote for? I am American by the way. I cannot in any way vote Libertarian. I totally reject the Libertarian Party. I truly believe that libertarianism is a fatally flawed political philosophy that cannot work. I see communism as a more rational political philosophy. That's really bad. The other parties are too small and too narrowly focused for my tastes so there is no real third party option for me.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:00AM (#38073268)
    What your basically saying is: don't bother to vote, your just going to lose anyway. There are two reasons this is B.S.

    1. These are career politicians. They will vote however it takes to get elected. If by some miracle we could vote them out, the 'next guy' would understand that his actions could end his career and would behave accordingly.

    2. More realistically #1 isn't going to happen. We're too balkanized of a country. The reason to vote then isn't to win, it's to prevent your opponent from winning by a landslide. Landslide victories embolden them to even worse excesses. If they already know you're not going to come out to vote, and that their jobs are secure no matter how awful they act, what's holding them back? The moral of the story is: vote even if you know your going to lose, or you'll lose more than just your vote.
  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:01AM (#38073276) Homepage

    I've never understood Americans.

    Your first amendment is the right of free speech. But you have the FCC and they can ban you if you show someone that says words like fuck on the TV. How can a government agency ban a private company if they try and use their most important right as in the Constitution?

    Then you have the amendment that they shall no seizure of property without a proper warrant from a judge. But your country searches everything if you try and go on a plane. In not just search the bags, but it strip-search everyone, including children and babies.

    The Americans claim to have the best democracy of the world, but you have only two political parties. Then you claim do be the most advanced civilization, but your poverty rate and child-death-rate is one of the highest in the western countries. There are a lot of cases in America that people die because of bad teeth.

    And now you don't only have the DMCA law, that ignores the due-process and innocent-until-proven-otherwise rule, but you have soon the SOPA law.

    I wouldn't care, but you try and export that anti-democracy laws to us in Europe, too. Just build a big wall around the USA, have your own internet and leave us in peace.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:01AM (#38073280)

    Wow. I've never seen anyone more brainwashed.

    They research and detail for us what everyones real record is on "gun control", and send us those lists in American Rifleman so we know the score come voting time.

    Except that they don't actually do so. They lie [lakelandtimes.com] or play statistics games with the real record instead. Hell, the NRA even lies about its own record [thefirearmsforum.com].

    Most important, we've got the second amendment in our back pocket and every single one of us votes when we think there's anything remotely related to our right to keep and bear arms.

    Oh for the love of... no, you freaked-out morons are too busy screaming "second amendment" to pay attention to the rest of the constitution.

    A gun is a weapon. It can be used to kill. The NRA is against the registering of firearms, period. We register CARS via license plate in order to make them trackable (hopefully) in the event of an accident/injury/death. Why should guns be any different?

    Oh, but no. For you, the "right to keep and bear arms" means "I get to walk into a grocery store with an assault rifle and an extended clip full of hollow-point rounds in case I spot a deer that I want to shoot later that day." What, is there some 30-point buck with a sniper rifle and bulletproof vest sitting out in the woods during hunting season, screaming "I'm ready fo' yo ass"?

    I mean, really. The first amendment - far more fundamental to your civil rights than the 2nd - has limitations called time, place, manner. You can't randomly shout "fire" in a crowded theater (though it's sometimes funny to walk into the local firehouse and shout "theater" to see how many of the local firemen get the joke), because it'd cause a panic that is likely to result in injury. Likewise, your "right to own guns" is clearly limitable in terms of what guns are and aren't acceptable, and the government's right to register who owns them is unassailable [cbsnews.com] except for uneducated idiots... come to think of it, the NRA thrives on them.

    Nobody is coming to "take away ur gunz." They might - I repeat, MIGHT - pass a law requiring the registration of such guns. It might even include "gun fingerprinting" (ballistic markings) records such that the gun used in a crime can be more easily identified, much in the same way that cars are trackable by license plates.

    But don't worry. I'm sure by tomorrow you'll have forgotten anything you read here when the NRA's next "that muzlim nigger wantz to take away ur gunz" memo comes in.

  • 99% and the 1% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duranaki (776224) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:11AM (#38073366)
    I can't say I've been occupying anywhere but work, but it seems amazing how many stories I've been seeing lately that strike me as "Congress trying to pass a law to help the 1% at the 99%'s expense". You'd think they'd at least wait until some of this blows over, but I guess they really don't care or feel threatened.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:16AM (#38073418)

    "The core of the problem is that government has gotten too big" Fixed.

    Oh fuck you.

    The core problem is not that government has gotten too big. The core problem is that businesses have become bigger than government, big enough to engage in regulatory capture and rent-seeking behaviors.

    This is something that's happened time and again. The British East India company essentially took over the British government for far too long, leading to the ruin of Britain as a nation for some time. In the early 1900s, we needed a major slew of trust-busting activities BY the government [u-s-history.com] because of abusive companies like Standard Oil and Nortnern Securities who had engaged in regulatory capture and were exerting unfair monopoly controls, slowly taking over more and more sectors of the economy.

    Sound familiar? Strike any parallels at all to the incredibly abusive megacorporations of today that gobble up sectors at an alarming rate? Or did you notice - for instance, that of the "fast food chains" in the US, more than 50% of them are actually owned by ONE company, "Yum Brands", which is itself owned by Pepsi - which also owns Lay's potato chips, Ruffles, Lipton, Doritos, "Quaker" brand, and on and on...

    Still think there's any real competition left in the bullshit "free market" the Republicans worship so much? Might as well melt your coins down to a golden calf right now, buddy. There's not a real christian left on the "religious right", they're worshiping greed instead.

    We need STRONGER government and another major round of trust-busting. Not weaker government like the Retardicans keep shouting. They're all either fucking clueless, brainwashed Rushtards or their goal is complete regulatory capture of government and rule by their aristocrat masters.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:49AM (#38073818) Homepage

    And if anyone doubts this for a minute, let me toss some examples out there:
    1. Asking Dennis Kucinich about UFOs [youtube.com] instead of health care in 2007.
    2. The "Howard Dean Scream" of 2003, which was mostly the result of sound editing, not at all representative of Dean's candidacy, and replayed constantly.
    3. Treating Ron Paul as a joke no matter how well he does in polls or how important his points are or how many cheers he gets in a debate, while treating Michelle Bachmann as a serious candidate.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:50AM (#38073842)

    In the UK we had television debates before our elections for the first time last year they were attended by the biggest 3 party leaders.

    In a setting where media bias couldn't help people the 3rd place party, the Lib Dems, started to shoot ahead in the opinion polls, at one point polling as the most popular party with a chance of winning.

    Enter Murdoch et al. an expensive coordinated slander campaign in his papers and come election day they did no better than they usually do despite the high polls prior to that.

    But there was another twist, neither of the other two parties won a majority, and so a coalition was required, the Lib Dems got at least a share of the power as a result of this.

    Yet it didn't really matter, because they ended up getting swallowed up by the other party anyway, the times they've tried to pursue their own agenda out come Murdoch's attack dogs again, and so effectively they've just been forced to act as puppets to prop up the Tory administration.

    The moral of the story is that a 3rd party is not a panacea, unless you can deal with the deep rooted corruption and media stranglehold on influencing national political leaning then the 3rd party will either get slandered out of existence or swallowed up to become one and the same as the other two anyway.

    I've learnt that the only way to win is to not play, I've heard all my life about how important it is to vote, but this is really all part of the same game. It's actually not important to vote at all, by voting for a lost cause you're merely adding legitimacy to the corrupt powers that repeatedly win out because they can come out and say "Hey look, we got the highest share of votes on a turnout of 60%!". Better to let the turnout drop and let them try and claim legitimacy when less than half the population can't even see the point in voting anymore. It's only at this point when their foes on the international stage are laughing in their faces at their claims of democratic legitimacy that they will be embarassed into accepting change. It's only when this facade of legitimacy they've built has crumbled that they can't carry on as they have.

    Really, it's the fundamental system that's the problem, and when you vote within that system whoever for you're merely giving the system a vote of legitimacy it doesn't deserve. Both the British and American forms of power designation need a root and branch change to be more proportional and more representational.

  • by mr1911 (1942298) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:53AM (#38073864)

    A gun is a weapon. It can be used to kill. The NRA is against the registering of firearms, period. We register CARS via license plate in order to make them trackable (hopefully) in the event of an accident/injury/death. Why should guns be any different?

    Two points:
    1) Cars kill more people than guns do.
    2) The right to keep and bear cars is not a constitutionally recognized right.

    If you believe governments register guns to help solve crime, you are sadly mistaken. That is the talking point, and some of your friendly government agents might even believe that. The point of gun registration is to subsequently remove guns from citizens' hands. History indicates this is often followed by those citizens losing far more of their rights, if not their lives.

    Oh, but no. For you, the "right to keep and bear arms" means "I get to walk into a grocery store with an assault rifle and an extended clip full of hollow-point rounds in case I spot a deer that I want to shoot later that day." What, is there some 30-point buck with a sniper rifle and bulletproof vest sitting out in the woods during hunting season, screaming "I'm ready fo' yo ass"?

    The Second Amendment is about hunting as the First Amendment is about singing folk songs. The First Amendment was included specifically to prevent the government from squelching the people from saying unfavorable things about the government. The Second Amendment was and is for when the government ignores the rest of the Constitution.

    Your rights are limited to the point that they do not infringe of the rights of others. The example of shouting "fire" in a crowed theater is how the grownups explain it to those on the short bus that cannot grasp the magnitude of what our freedoms mean and require. You seem completely ignorant that all of the rights you take for granted today were provided to you by and armed citizenry.

    Put your helmet back on before you hurt yourself.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @12:34PM (#38074494)

    Two points:
    1) Cars kill more people than guns do.

    Guns are used as the weapon in far more INTENTIONAL killings than cars are. Lies, Damn Lies, and Twisted Statistics anyone?
    Or should we go with "Guns don't kill people: I do." [youtube.com]

    2) The right to keep and bear cars is not a constitutionally recognized right.

    Not specifically as such. However, the right to freedom of movement [wikipedia.org] is. Within such, the right to purchase a vehicle is present; the right to OPERATE a vehicle is limited by (a) each state's individual registration requirements and safety inspection requirements (varying from state to state) and (b) the privilege, after passing a driver's test and registering for a driver's license, to operate a vehicle once one has proven that one understands the requirements of safe driving and obedience to traffic laws. This can be taken away should someone be proven incapable of driving safely; HOWEVER, even in circumstances when someone's normal driving privileges are taken away due to abuse (too many accidents, drunk driving convictions, etc), most states allow a legal framework of "limited driving" rights (a restricted license) if someone, say, cannot get to their workplace from their home without the use of a vehicle. Only those physically INCAPABLE - due to senility, blindness, or other physical factors - are barred completely from driving as to allow them into traffic would constitute far too great a danger to them and others sharing the road with them.

    The Second Amendment is about hunting as the First Amendment is about singing folk songs.

    Actually, no. The mention of a "militia" in the Second Amendment required two things: #1 you REGISTERED as a member of the local militia, #2 you TRAINED as a member of the local militia. You had an organizational structure.

    Meanwhile, the "right to keep and bear arms" also included local laws. For instance, law in several of the original 13 states required each able-bodied man to shoot or kill by other means (generally, traps) a certain number of "pest animals" (birds that fed on crops and predator animals that hunted livestock) each year. Hunting was, to much of the population then, a "necessary part of life" in a way that it simply isn't today.

    Your rights are limited to the point that they do not infringe of the rights of others. The example of shouting "fire" in a crowed theater is how the grownups explain it to those on the short bus that cannot grasp the magnitude of what our freedoms mean and require. You seem completely ignorant that all of the rights you take for granted today were provided to you by and armed citizenry. Put your helmet back on before you hurt yourself.

    I would say it's you who should put your tinfoil bat back on before the eeevil mind control beams get you. Because seriously, the inanity that comes out of the NRA crowd these days - proving they have done no research, no independent analysis, and probably were the ones sleeping through 3rd grade history too - is just incredible. You can support the reasonable right to bear arms, while simultaneously agreeing that weapons of this sort should be registered, and not come off as a complete loon, but I've yet to meet the NRA type who isn't a raving, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist.

  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @01:06PM (#38074938) Homepage

    It's not that he is passing laws to improve gun rights. It's that he is not going after gun rights. States like mine are passing laws making carrying a firearm and use of a firearm easier. Our gun rights are expanding, the only thing the federal government needs to do is sit back and let the states decide what is ok for them and stop using the term "assault rifle".

    If I was going to do anything, it would be to ease restrictions on importing/buying automatic weapons for civilian sale. There are a few "full auto" firearms I would like to own for recreational shooting that are too cost prohibitive for me to acquire at this time (Due to the restrictions limiting us to weapons made before 1986). I am ok with the restrictions required to purchase these firearms, it's just that the date restriction makes it hard to find and afford them.

    On to the NRA. What I see from the NRA in their letters to me from their president is just pure fear mongering. The last letter I received said something along the lines of "Let me tell you my greatest fear for the freedom and safety of the US is that Obama will be reelected president.". Really? His greatest fear is Obama being reelected? He goes to tell me the ONLY WAY I can protect my right to own a firearm is to send them money. Another letter talks about the fabled United Nations Small Arms Treaty which will take away all our guns (gasp!). Only it's completely untrue. Hell even snopes (http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/untreaty.asp) has an article on it showing it's a big fat NRA lie.

    Here is another example

    “[The Obama campaign] will say gun owners — they’ll say they left them alone,” LaPierre told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday. “In public, he’ll remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the Clinton [assault weapons] ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment.”

    “But it’s a big fat stinking lie!” the NRA leader exclaimed. “It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and destroy the Second Amendment in our country.”

    “Obama himself is no fool. So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled,” La Pierre declared.

    So they actually think the fact Obama is not trying to take our guns is proof he is trying to take our guns! The fact is beyond that, the NRA frequently is not protecting the gun ownership rights I care about, and instead focusing its efforts on legalizing hunting of endangered wolves and other such nonsense.

    I would support the NRA if they would simply lobby congress to keep laws sane, inform us of real attempts to take away our rights and urge voting action, and sponsor and support safe and educational events to introduce people into the wonderful sports involved with firearms. That is why I am keeping my money in my wallet for now. Screw the NRA.

  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @02:35PM (#38076058) Homepage Journal

    The NRA started as an advocacy organization, and one of the most successful in modern times. Unfortunately during their campaigns against (mostly Democrat-sponsored) gun control legislation, they lost track of the fact that they were supposed to be against gun control, not against Democrats generally.

    They have still not returned to their original mission, so they're basically just partisan shills now.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @05:15PM (#38078318)

    You cannot vote for a third party without weakening your side's position.

    The Democrats and the Republicans are largely on the same side for many issues. Which of the two major parties is opposed to the militarization of the police? Which of the two major parties is opposed to the curtailment of our rights? Which of the two major parties is not on the payroll of powerful corporations?

    Fragmenting the liberal vote while the conservative vote is unified has cost the liberal side the electoral victory in the very recent past.

    What liberal side? The Democrats are on the left compared to the Republicans, but both parties are on the right wing of politics. The parties may occasionally disagree on which corporations will receive handouts and police/military support from the government, but they both agree that corporations should receive such support. The parties may occasionally disagree on which particular forms of speech should be censored, but they agree that censorship should happen. Conservatives conquered American politics a long time ago.

  • by vaporland (713337) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:46AM (#38082484) Homepage

    I'm politically liberal, but I'm hoping the Republican candidates keep flaming out one by one until Ron Paul is the last man standing.

    I have enough faith in democracy that our checks and balances would allow him to make some of the changes I was expecting from Obama without damaging the republic.

    Paul is the only candidate who will do what he is telling us he's going to do.

    The rest will either waffle, line their pockets, or both.

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