If Only People Opposed The PATRIOT Act Like SOPA; The Power Of LOLCats

All the Interwebs are buzzing about de-railing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart, Protect IP Act (PIPA). Those kidz at Reddit started a campaign against a company (GoDaddy) so dull (it registers Internet domains and sells email) it gets marginal mindshare deploying quasi-strip tease acts for ads designed to be blocked at the Super Bowl. Technology companies flirting with the IP crowd are now backing away.

SOPA is kitchen table talk now. Perhaps everyone wants to at least feel like they’re ‘in’. Like Tina Fey-kinda-in. It’s a simple talking point, too. Why, allowing Hollywood lawyers to tell backbone companies to block websites the lawyers deem carrying pirated material? That would “break the Internet.” Angry Birds would die. Mafia Wars end. And so on.

We won’t rehearse all the original machinations of the Motion Picture Association of America, the Business Software Alliance (MSFT eta al.). You’ve seen it elsewhere. And of course, watching MSFT and others at BSA cave to pressure and retreat is not un-fun. But it’s the same old story of IP holders’ greed and fear from the DMCA days. Turned up a notch. Except now there’s social media – like Reddit. And it bit them in the backside but fierce.

Still, it’s a bread and circuses thing. We’re just puzzled why Amerikhuns care more about access to online porn, Pirate Bay wannabees and LOLCats than, say, oh, their personal freedom. Nobody lifted a finger to slow PATRIOT down then. Except Dick Armey and a few who demanded and got sunset provisions. OK, it was right after 9/11. Feelings were raw.

Feelings weren’t that raw when Democrats and Republicans voted to blow past the original sunsets. How raw could feelings be with the Boy King in office? To get *expansions* to the PATRIOT Act, notwithstanding its classified offshoots. Chirp. Chirp. You’d think this would be something custom made for social media, ala Cairo, etc. But alas, people can’t conceive of losing something that’s not tangible, like a shiny new iPad suddenly no longer showing a favorite website.

So if you go to one of those usual suspect aggregators news sites proclaiming this ‘dramatic’ SOPA victory to ‘preserve the Internet’, just remember, sure, Amerikhuns may get LOLCats unimpeded. And the torrents running free in Sweden.

High fives all around. Because, like, saving the “integrity of the Internet” is so much more important than a constitutional republic. You know we’re right.


  1. cabbie @ 69th st bridge says

    Maybe this can’t be blamed on the Patriot Act or W/Cheney but what is it with the never ending degradation of people by law enforcement? Does Vegas have an over/under on “Days Until an Abu Ghraib in the US of A?” I guess TSA groping & naked body scanning was just the beta testing phase. Can’t wait for the next step, hopefully I’ll be watching from Helsinki or someplace close to the Arctic Circle. http://www.npr.org/2012/04/03/149898842/supreme-court-rules-on-strip-search-issue

  2. says

    Obama Administration expands Community retention of data on American citizens unrelated to terrorism from 180 days to 5 years.


    Election year political calculations for timing. Pursuit of the bureaucratic perfect security/CYA-in-event-of-attack said to be balanced with ‘privacy’. 5 years can be a compromise only when the existing 180 days is compared to what demand?

    We don’t know.

    In this political environment we doubt there will be any real public or congressional pushback. Or even real oversight and scrutiny. For the reasons James Nostak notes in this thread. Sure would be nice.

  3. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Amalia Agree with you and Pattie that SOPA/PIPA are bad and ACTA, too. Just wish that the energy, focus and commitment that these efforts raised could be seen on restoring civil liberties. It needn’t be either or – we could stand against domestic surveillance and oppose greedy efforts to backdoor the Internet via SOPA/PIPA and ACTA?

  4. Sam Lowry says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    Dr Strauss, re: sheople. Definitely agree that the American populace looks quite passive/defeated/demoralized these days. Thinking back to the post about the unwillingness of Americans to deal with the Recession. Just as un-noticed are the signs of a growing and real permanent national security state with very real counterintelligence capabilities (that make the Stasi look like mere amateurs). That won’t just be limited to Muslims and brown people. As you noted in that piece, not signs of a healthy society. What more would it take at this point to make it clear that sh#it is f*%&ed up and bull$h#t? And to get people to be more engaged than changing the background color of their Twitter page about it?

    Having never heard of the plot to assassinate Yeltsin, I went to the Googles. “Whoa!” is all I can say.


  5. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Sam Lowry
    Sam, am guilty here, too. When the story broke just shook the head and muttered ‘figures’.

    The one word answer to your question probably is ‘sheople.’

    That and the Adminsitration’s craven decision before inauguration not to challenge the National Security State and thereby normalize its excess.

    Structurally there can be no reform. The system’s bloat and absurdities must follow through and like the Soviet example collapse because internal illogic fosters internal systemic disbelief – like when Alpha Team refused to execute Yeltsin in 1991.

  6. Sam Lowry says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    It was kind of surprising to see such a story get (albeit scant) mainstream media coverage while most of the blogs I read didn’t pick it up. So it’s not too hard to understand how your lunch mate hadn’t heard of it. (Lucky for those kids they didn’t end up in Guantanamo or some such place).

    Although I suppose for a political operative, such an event is hard to fit into the movement narrative? By that I mean, it is a real example of security surveillance counter-intelligence state over-reach, not some made up one like a secret pact between Obama and the left and the Muslim Brotherhood teaming up with the UN to take yer guns. And instead of catching browns or Muslims, it caught white people. From Britain no less. (Although I suppose with enough creativity one could sell this from a resentment angle about how the security state is all well and good until it inconveniences real Uhmurrkan white folk?)

  7. Sam Lowry says

    I’m not sure if it’s up there with the Code Talkers of WWII, but the Anguish Languish might throw off a Big Brother Twitter cyber monitor or two. I had never heard of AL before; and here I am, and English major and all. I read some of the nursery rhymes. Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing that link!

  8. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Aldershot and @SamLowry – hi guys, had lunch today with an old acquaintance Republican/Movement operative. He was very fired up about SOPA (possibly on retainer for carriers) but oddly unfamiliar with this Twitter splatter. Not even an eye blink.

  9. Aldershot says

    This sounds like a job for Anguish Languish:

    “Center Alley worse jester pore ladle gull hoe lift wetter stop-murder an toe heft-cisterns. Daze worming war furry wicket an shellfish parsons, spatially dole stop-murder, hoe dint lack Center Alley an, infect, word orphan traitor pore gull mar lichen ammonol dinner hormone bang. Oily inner moaning disk wicket oiled worming shorted, “Center Alley, gad otter bet, an goiter wark! Suture lacy ladle bomb! Shaker lake!” an firm moaning tell gnat disk ratchet gull word heifer wark lacquer hearse toe kipper horsing ardor, washer heft-cistern’s closing, maker bets, gore tutor star fur perversions, cooker males, washer dashes an doe oily udder hoard wark. Nor wander pore Center Alley worse tarred an disgorged…”


    Carp, aye jest spelled the bones!

  10. James Nostack says

    Surely ’tis no mystery, though I agree it’s lamentable.

    SOPA pits one class of companies against another. The outcome is arguably in doubt. The public is interested because it affects their daily lives, they’ve been mobilized by interested parties, and shouting about it might make a difference.

    None of which is true for USA PATRIOT, NDAA, and all the various unchecked executive expansion powers over the past decade.

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