"The fact that there was any debate over whether to call in experts on such a matter should tell you something about the integrity of Congress. It’d be one thing if legitimate technical questions directed at the bill’s supporters weren’t met with either silence or veiled accusations that the other side was sympathetic to piracy. Yet here we are with a group of elected officials openly supporting a bill they can’t explain, and having the temerity to suggest there’s no need to “bring in the nerds” to suss out what’s actually on it… The chilling takeaway of this whole debacle was the irrefutable air of anti-intellectualism; that inescapable absurdity that we have members of Congress voting on a technical bill who do not posses any technical knowledge on the subject and do not find it imperative to recognize those who do.
This used to be funny, but now it’s really just terrifying. We’re dealing with legislation that will completely change the face of the internet and free speech for years to come. Yet here we are, still at the mercy of underachieving Congressional know-nothings that have more in common with the slacker students sitting in the back of math class than elected representatives. The fact that some of the people charged with representing us must be dragged kicking and screaming out of their complacency on such matters is no longer endearing — it’s just pathetic and sad."
"Now a particularly ironic fact has come to light — it appears that IP addresses belonging to the offices of members of Congress have been downloading content illegally via BitTorrent. TorrentFreak used Hurricane Electric’s handy list of assigned IP blocks (found here) to track down which IP addresses belong to the offices of members of Congress. And lo and behold, when those addresses were compared to results on YouHaveDownloaded, a torrent tracking site, they yielded over 800 hits. Now to put this in context YouHaveDownloaded tracks only a tiny portion of torrent traffic, so it appears that Congress — even as they look to punish lesser mortals for file sharing — are themselves gleefully committing a “smash and grab” as Vice President Joe Biden (D) once put it."
This Is Important, You Should Know About It of the Day: President Obama today quietly signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which contains controversial provisions requiring military custody for any non-citizen suspected of terrorism and affirming the president’s authority to indefinitely detain any supporter of al-Qaeda “or associated forces, irrespective of citizenship.
In a signing statement, the President said he had “serious reservations” about the bill, and criticised lawmakers for interfering with the work of counterterrorism professionals.
“Moving forward, my administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded,” the statement said.
The Obama administration was successful in striking down a provision that would have removed the ability of the executive branch to override the military custody requirement. Additionally, US citizens and legal immigrants may not be subjected to military custody under the revised bill.
However, an amendment to explicitly exclude American citizens and lawful residents from indefinite detention was rejected by Congress.
“My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” Obama said. “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
The President’s personal stance aside, in addition to creating myriad difficulties for counterterrorism agents working with suspected terrorists to gain information, the NDAA provisions leave the door wide open for future presidents to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial.
[ap / think / aclu.]
He does this knowing the racist history of this country and the first citizens, American citizens that this will be used and abused against are PoC.
What the fuck.
I don’t know. I just…
(Source: thedailywhat, via moniquill)
TL;DR The President’s opponents played the electorate like a fiddle and will get away with it because people don’t seem to realize they’ve been tricked into being angry at the wrong person.
He signed it because if he didn’t, defense spending including benefits to veterans and their families would not have been authorized. The sections of NDAA that many people here seem to have a problem with are sections that were added into the document by primarily Republican legislators and which the President adamantly opposes but was powerless to stop. I’ll repeat that: the parts of this bill that many people here hate were included against the President’s wishes and in a way that he is powerless to stop. The only way he could have stopped these sections from being included would have been to try to veto the bill in its entirety, a move that would have been both political suicide as well as being futile, as Congress would simply have overridden him. He is explicit in his opposition to exactly the parts of the bill everyone here hates, going so far as to detail exactly which sections he opposes and why.
You’ll notice that the bill also restricts his ability to close Guantanamo Bay; this isn’t coincidence. These sections are openly hostile to the President’s stated mandate - they are effectively a giant ‘fuck you’ to the President, as well as a nasty way of eroding the President’s support with his own base. Observe:
Draft legislation that is almost guaranteed to piss of the President but more importantly piss of his base.
Attach said legislation to another piece of larger, more important legislation like, say, the Defense Spending budget for the entire year so that any attempt to dislodge the offensive legislation will result in a political shitstorm, as well as place the larger legislation in jeopardy.
Once attached, begin a PR campaign that highlights the offending legislation and brings it to the attention of as many media outlets as possible - not just the traditional media, but alternative media outlets as well (Fox news, MSNBC, Media Matters, Huff-Po, Infowars, etc.)
Here’s where it gets tricky: Simultaneously, speak to both your party’s base and the opposition’s. To your base, argue that the legislation is necessary to ‘Keep America safe’ and that the President, by opposing it, is clearly soft of terrorism and endangering the military by trying to strip the legislation out. At the same time, sit back and watch your opponent’s liberal supporters tear into the offending legislation as being dangerous, anti-democratic, and a threat to civil liberties. You know they will; that’s what they care about most. You’ve designed legislation that will make them froth at the mouth. You don’t even have to keep flogging the message; one look at the legislation will be enough to convince most people that it is anathema to everything they hold dear. Because it is.
Pass the ‘parent’ legislation. Doing so forces the President to sign it or attempt to veto it. Since the legislation in question just so happens to be the military’s operating budget, a veto is out of the question. The President must sign the bill, you get the legislation you wanted, but you also practically guarantee that your opponent’s base will be furious at him for passing a bill they see as evil. Even if he tries to explain in detail why he had to sign it and what he hates about it, it won’t matter; ignorance of the American political process, coupled with an almost militant indifference to subtle explanations will almost ensure that most people will only remember that the President passed a bill they hate.
Profit. you get the legislation you want, while the President has to contend with a furious base that feels he betrayed them - even though he agrees with their position but simply lacked the legislative tools to stop this from happening. It’s a classic piece of misdirection that needs only two things to work: A lack of principles (or a partisan ideology that is willing to say anything - do anything - to win), and an electorate that is easy to fool.
This is pretty basic political maneuvering and the biggest problem is that it almost always works because most people either don’t know or don’t care how their political system actually functions. The President was saddled with a lose-lose situation where he either seriously harmed American defense policy (political suicide), or passed offensive legislation knowing that it would cost him political capital. To all of you here lamenting that you ever voted for this ‘corporate shill’, congratulations: you are the result the Republicans were hoping for. They get the law they want, they get the weakened Presidential candidate they want. And many of you just don’t seem to see that. You don’t have to like your country’s two-party system, but it pays to be able to understand it so that you can recognize when it’s being used like this.
EDIT: thanks to Reddit user Mauve_Cubedweller for this post
Agreed, that’s the thing with this whole bill, it’s way more complicated than what the alarmists are making it out to be. The NDAA is not a singular “indefinite detainment” bill, that single article is a huge thing that the Republicans got in to put the President’s back against the wall and ensure that he could never close Guantanamo (which is its own fuck off lose-lose situation).
It’s just one of those shitty things where you ask yourself what you would do? No answer you give is free from fucking over lots and lots of people.
People are forgetting a Presidential campaign is around the corner. The GOP is going to do and use every little trick they can.
(Source: dummiesinpublic, via karnythia)
ShortFormBlog: President Obama gives pay raises to Congress, VP Biden
- $900 bump in Congressional pay has been authorized by President Obama, a move made in the midst of failed “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Congressional leaders will see slightly higher raises than their rank-and-file counterparts, with Senate leaders receiving a $1,000 boost and an extra $1,100…
IS HE ON DRUGS? DID THEY DRUG HIM?! THEY PUT IT IN HIS FOOD, DIDN’T THEY?
THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE RUN LIKE A CORPORATION! THE LAST TWO CONGRESSES WERE SHIT. THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! THEY DON’T DESERVE PAY RAISES.
GET IT TOGETHER AND DO YOUR JOBS!
(Source: The Huffington Post)
USA, CIA: Hands off #Syria - A few hundred anti-war protesters are matching through Times Square in opposition to yet another imperialist war. (at Times Square)
Hot Mic Catches Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell Talking About Shutdown Strategy
On Wednesday, local news station WPSD 6 caught Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul discussing the GOP’s government shutdown strategy on a hot mic.
“I just did CNN,” Paul said. “I just said over and over again, ‘We’re willing to compromise. We’re willing to negotiate.’ I don’t think [Democrats] poll tested ‘We won’t negotiate.’ I think it’s awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again”
"Yeah, I do too,” McConnell said. “I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly.”
"I think if we keep saying, ‘We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we’re willing to compromise on this’, I think they can’t, we’re gonna, I think… well, I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re gonna win this, I think,” Paul said, before walking away.
Neither Paul nor McConnell said anything about the GOP’s apparent strategy of attempting toshame Park Rangers and hitting on CNN anchors.
(Source: thepoliticalfreakshow, via generalbriefing)
"It is cruel to promise pay in the future, but then not allow federal workers to go back to work."
Harry Reid points out the Republican’s willingness to needlessly inflict pain on workers for no other reason than to…well, inflict pain on workers and deny Americans healthcare
think about it: “fiscally responsible” Republicans—who shut the government down to
force wish into existence a repeal on Obamacare—agreed to pay furloughed federal workers for not working, when they could instead be, ya know, actually working and providing Americans valuable goods and services
but it’s nothing like a vacation though, because the furloughed workers won’t be paid again until after the shutdown…whenever that is. in the meantime, checks bounce, overdraft fees accrue and bills don’t get paid
(Source: odinsblog, via generalbriefing)
So, Imagine that the company you work for held a poll, and asked everyone if they thought it would be a good idea to put a soda machine in the break room. The poll came back, and the majority of your colleagues said “Yes”, indicating that they would like a soda machine. Some said no, but the majority said yes. So, a week later, there’s a soda machine. Now imagine that Bill in accounting voted against the soda machine. He has a strong hatred for caffeinated soft drinks, thinks they are bad you you, whatever. He campaigns throughout the office to get the machine removed. Well, management decides “OK, we’ll ask again” and again, the majority of people say “Yes, lets keep the soda machine.” Bill continues to campaign, and management continues to ask the employees, and every time, the answer is in favor of the soda machine. This happens, lets say… 35 times. Eventually, Bill says “OK, I’M NOT PROCESSING PAYROLL ANYMORE UNTIL THE SODA MACHINE IS REMOVED”, so nobody will get paid unless management removes the machine. What should we do???
Answer: Fire Bill and get someone who will do the fucking job.
Bonus: Bill tells everyone that he was willing to “Negotiate”, to come to a solution where everyone got their payroll checks, but only so long as that negotiation capitulated to his demand to remove the soda machine.
Bill is a fucking jackass.