We’re back on the self-publishing beat today…In today’s episode, you’re going to learn about two fantastic services you should consider if you’re self-publishing a book.Even if you’re not writing a book, if you’re an avid reader you’ll love these websites too. They’re how you can find some of the world’s best “hidden” authors in the […]
Is Democracy really all its cracked up to be? Does Hong Kong really need it? That’s the question Chris Campbell ponders today as he observes the protests in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has enjoyed low taxes, free business and trade, and high social freedom without our favored system of governing.
The government is on a mad race to create a vaccine for Ebola. What they aren’t telling you is that, in 2003, they may have found a way to beat it naturally. According to one unclassified government document, this little-known plant beat Ebola 90% of the time. Why isn’t the government developing it? Read on…
The mainstream media has been complacent in reporting the truth about Ebola. They’re not telling the truth about how dangerous the Ebola situation really is. Because of this, millions of lives are at risk. Inside today’s Laissez Faire Today, learn what the mainstream should be telling you about how to protect yourself in the case of an outbreak in the United States. Read on…
Writing a book? Chris Campbell shows you three secrets to successfully self-publishing. Secrets including, how to get a professional-looking cover for as little as $5… how to format your book to get people to love it and buy your next one… and how to market your book to hundreds of thousands of people -- absolutely free. Read on…
One CIA insider visited our Baltimore HQ yesterday. While here, he leaked 30 potential events to cause the next financial avalanche. Even more, he also gave us several ways everyday Americans can thrive because of these events. Why did he impart so much valuable information? Find out in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Instead of letting you choose, the government has found it fit to force one potentially dangerous medication on you and your family. Where is it? In your drinking water. Even more outrageous: While Uncle Sam forces medication down your throat, he also says you have no right to choose your own milk. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
ISIS’ spokesperson is a kid from Calgary who wants to “paint the White House black.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell asks one question none of the “officials” seem to care to ask: Why? Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? Why is Saudi Arabia so keen on getting involved? How far does Obama really want to go? Find out inside. Read on…
If you’ve ever wanted to expose some heinous crime against humanity, here’s your chance. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell shows you how to make sure the world accesses to your leaks, even if something happens to you. Chris also shares why this is probably a terrible idea. Read on…
America has about 4% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated. What’s going on here? Chris Campbell digs deep into the industry to figure out the truth. While many blame the private prison industry, the real culprit, says Chris, begins right outside your door. Read on…
When Obama first announced U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, most people have no idea that it was to destroy U.S. military equipment in the hands of ISIS. How did ISIS get U.S. weapons? Chris Campbell blows the story wide open in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Every 37 seconds, an American is arrested and criminalized because of one racist and ridiculous law. Join Chris Campbell as he takes you back to when marijuana became illegal… why it’s hurting America… and why you should fight to end the prohibition. And it’s not so you can smoke it. Read on…
An ancient guide has been in hiding… until now. As it dusts itself off, some early adopters are calling it “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.” And, according to Chris Campbell, it could be the only thing you need to thrive in our day-to-day life of modern chaos. Embrace it, and become the hero of your own story. Ignore it, and risk living a whimper of a life on someone else’s terms. Read on…
Think it’s impossible to escape Obamacare? Think again. Laissez Faire Today reader David F. shares how he did it and how you can do it too. Don’t see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story. Read on…
“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
“While I heartily subscribe to your premise of pursuing one’s dream,” one reader, Donald J., wrote, “there are alternate perspectives worth considering.”[We’re listening… go on.]“Some wiseguy once said that life is what happens to you while you’re waiting for something better to come along. Milton put it a little more poetically in one of his […]
“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” — Oscar WildeIn the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the […]
Socialism is the big lie of the 20th century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may […]
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a worldwide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
Last spring, Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University:“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because […]
In the Huffington Post last week, Glenn Greenwald, Slate contributor Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim had an investigative piece reporting that the NSA had been tracking the online porn-viewing habits of several Muslim leaders whom it viewed as radicals. A top-secret document shows that the agency was considering exposing these firebrands’ Internet dalliances as a […]
Americans are still trying to get a handle on the full extent of the government’s domestic spying activities, including the recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and storing the email address books of ordinary Americans using online messaging services. Many users of such services are looking to tech executives for […]
A few months ago at a demonstration against the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a Canadian citizen made the following claim: “We don’t have guns, we are not Americans, we are civilized.” A few days before, in early July, a train of the company had run away and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing […]
From the Tongue-In-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced that her committee will hold a “major review into all intelligence-collection programs.” This surprising declaration followed the revelation, through documents leaked by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden, that the NSA has been listening to the […]
Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations could cope with). There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. We should care.
This two-part article reveals an untold part of the story about how the bad guys were stopped last time. And, if not stopped again, how it could lead to a fundamental loss of civil rights and freedom on the Internet.
The perversely named “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) itself may have been the most brazen attempted act of piracy in all recorded history. Truth in legislation would have required it to be named the “Ultimate Act of Online Piracy.” Enactment effectively would have pirated the World Wide Web from a common space and converted it into the private preserve of the Big Entertainment Lobby.
The Plot to steal the Internet was foiled. It was foiled by an “Irresistible Force” — public opinion, rallied by a twenty-something Freedom Fighter, Aaron Swartz, now dead. This combined with an “Immovable Object,” the consciences of a tiny group of legislators. Together they — barely — defeated one of the meanest pieces of legislation in our lifetimes.
The “outside” story — of the late-rallying popular opposition — has been fairly extensively reported. 7,000 (some claim over 100,000) websites, including Wikipedia and other high traffic sites, were persuaded to close shop for a day. Google draped its logo in black. In the view of Harvard Law School professor, author, public intellectual, and co-creator of the Creative Commons Lawrence Lessig, “SOPA was stopped by the most important Internet campaign so far — led by my (now dead) friend Aaron Swartz, and thousands of others.”
As The New York Times reported “’I think [stopping SOPA] is an important moment in the Capitol,’ said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and an important opponent of the legislation. ‘Too often, legislation is about competing business interests. This is way beyond that. This is individual citizens rising up.’”
But the “inside” story — four liberty-minded lawmakers who stood up in front of SOPA like the protester in Tiananmen Square against the column of tanks — has remained, mostly, obscure. This tells that story.
But first. Why should you care? Undaunted by its 2011 failure, Hollywood and the Big Record Labels are staging the sequel. This time, the bad guys could win. The Huffington Post recently spotted the perps busy inside the federal (perhaps, more aptly, feral) bureaucracy hollowing out the Constitution: “The [Commerce] department’s Internet Policy Task Force last week proposed making it a felony to stream copyrighted works.”
Give the Internet to Big Business? Hollywood and the Recording Industry appear to have found a compliant handmaiden, Penny Pritzker, the new U.S. Commerce Secretary, to work the inside while they work the outside. Pritzker’s Commerce Department employs, among other things, the risible euphemism of “improving the operation of the notice and takedown system” of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That’s a system which is working rather beautifully for all concerned, content providers and distributors both. Something’s extremely fishy here.
Secretary Pritzker, a billionaire heiress, recently was bragging about cavorting with the head of the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s not hard to imagine whose side — the rich and famous… or mere citizens like us? — she’s on.
Practical upshot? Among much other potential damage, if Big Hollywood colluding with Big Government succeeds, it changes the very nature of the Web. Quite possibly, for example, “SOPA 2.0” could mean the end of the Drudge Report. Drudge hardly can maintain his Report if an innocent miscall on copyright makes him subject to prosecution, by any United States attorney, for a federal felony.
Would the silencing of Drudge be an unintended consequence? Or might it be intentional. Chairman Darrell Issa has written to Attorney General Holder: “The suggestions that prosecutors did in fact seek to make an example out of Aaron Swartz because Demand Progress exercised its First Amendment rights in publicly supporting him raises new questions about the Department’s handling of the case.”
(Matt? Meet Penny. The new “Big Sis” candidate?)
The hero in challenging Big Hollywood’s Big Piracy Gambit in the U.S. Senate was Ron Wyden. The main heroes in the House, reportedly, were Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Jared Polis (D-CO).
As hacktivist Aaron Swartz stated in his keynote speech delivered at F2C: Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC, “How we stopped SOPA,” six months before Swartz’s untimely, tragic, death:
“Senator Ron Wyden, the Democrat from Oregon, put a hold on the Bill, giving a speech in which he called in a nuclear bunker buster bomb aimed at the Internet. He announced he would not allow it to pass without changes. As you may know, a single Senator can’t actually stop a bill by themselves. But they can delay it… He bought us time. A lot of time as it turned out. His delay held all the way to the end of that session of Congress… There was probably a year or two of delay there. And in retrospect we used that time to lay the groundwork for what came later.”
The reintroduction of this legislation came (in the Senate) as PIPA, and (in the House) as SOPA. “The introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart was the apotheosis of how Congress should not work,” recalls Seamus Kraft, then an Issa staff member and deeply engaged in the process. Kraft:
“Imagine the (metaphorically) smoke-filled room, special-interest authored legislation, launched without warning, without seeking input from stakeholders beyond a mere ‘sop for Cerberus’ — or, to Cyberspace: a single hearing on this bill, with five or six bigwigs from the content industry to catch softballs. And one lower level representative from Google… to be bullied.
“The proposed legislation was seeking to combat intellectual property theft via the Internet. The content creators wished to stop downloading of copyrighted content — especially music and movies. That’s a legitimate goal. But the mechanisms proposed for doing it were horrendous, a ‘kill them all, let God sort out the souls of the innocent’ strategy.”
The Web, oddly, still is a novelty to Washington, many of whose officials remain somewhat befuddled by the “interwebs” — that series of tubes — internets and website “numbers” . Kraft:
“This naivete left Congress vulnerable to special interests pushing a one-sided solution to an ill-defined problem. The relevant committee proceeded without seeking the input of representatives of those who use, or whose business is, the Internet. The most important locked-out constituency was users: you and me.”
The Internet’s precarious position then was summed up nicely by techdirt.com:
“It’s pretty much assured that VP Joe Biden is in favor of PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE/SOPA. Since the start of this administration, President Obama has delegated most copyright issues to Biden, and Biden’s general view on copyright seems to be ‘whatever makes Hollywood happier must be fantastic.’ How else do you describe his continued support of ever more draconian copyright law, contrary to the evidence suggesting that it only makes things worse? How else do you explain his claim that he got ‘all the stakeholders’ concerning copyright into a summit meeting, when it only involved government officials and the big labels and studios (no consumer advocates, no artists, no technologists, no entrepreneurs, etc.)?”
“Darrell Issa, a member of the Judiciary Committee, is an inventor. He holds the most patents of anyone who ever has served in Congress. He himself owns intellectual property — and benefits from a strong streamlined system. Here, however, the legislative proponents seemed clueless about what the heck the Internet really is.
“Even Rep. Issa did not realize the stakes were so serious until the ‘sop to Cyberspace’ hearing. His reaction was along the lines of You guys — out of the blue — are trying to give all this power — to shut down domains, to hold Google responsible for some joker who uploads some random item — to federal bureaucrats? What is being proposed would change, fundamentally, the architecture of the best thing that has happened to humanity in the past 50 years.
To be continued…
Article originally appeared here.