Internet Blackout Day

Generally, I avoid joining protests, but occasionally there are ideas so bad that I can’t stay away.  Such is the case with the Protect IP Act (PIPA) which is coming up before the Senate next week.  The goal of protecting intellectual property is certainly a laudable one, but the means to achieve that goal must not come at the expense of the 1st amendment, nor should it fundamentally weaken the technological structure of the Internet.  The Protect-IP bill does all of this with a vague and poorly thought-out bill.

So tomorrow, January 18th, this site will join larger organizations such as Mozilla, WordPress and Wikipedia in a general internet blackout.  I strongly suggest that you contact your Senator and express displeasure at this heavy-handed approach to IP protections.  For some general background on the bill, please check out the video below:


Rights or Privledges

I’m glad to see that the Courts have decided that the 4th Amendment is a geographic privilege and not an actual right.

A federal appeals court in Manhattan upheld the convictions on Monday of three Al Qaeda operatives in a ruling that bolsters the government’s power to investigate terrorism by holding that a key Constitutional protection afforded to Americans does not apply overseas.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit holds for the first time that government agents may obtain admissible evidence against United States citizens through warrantless searches abroad.

Via: Appeals Court Backs Warrantless Searches Abroad – NYTimes.com

I just find it amazing that this can be claimed from a text that reads so simply:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It seems the constitution has become virtually meaningless in the face of the law-and-order mentality at this time.


Bob Barr Joins the Debates, Sort Of . . .

I’m not a big fan of the inclusion of Bob Barr into the ranks of Libertarians, but it will be refreshing to see some limited government responses to the upcoming debate questions.

As usual, the two major political parties are shutting out all third-party candidates from this season’s presidential debates, while trying to out-compete one another for how many government goodies they can promise to voters. Only this time, we have the technology to do something about it.

Via: Hit & Run > Watch Bob Barr Debate the Presidential Candidates, Live! – Reason Magazine


Arlo Supports Ron Paul

In the strange bedfellows department, folk-singer Arlo Guthrie has thrown his political hat to Ron Paul with this ringing endorsement:

“I love this guy. Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of The United States had he been there. I’m with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy.”

Legendary Singer-Songwriter Arlo Guthrie Endorses Ron Paul for President — Ron Paul 2008