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Monday, June 27, 2011

Representing Censorship

The following is a letter I've sent to my representation as a result of attempts to institute abstract internet censorship laws in our federal legislation. I would like to urge others to consider this an important matter and to contact your representatives as well. I understand that the internet is being used for illegal activity, just as the postal service and cars are, but the generalized powers presented by these bills are a clear violation of the trust given us by the founders of this great country. Without further adieu, my letter was as follows:

I am a constituent and I urge you to reject S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, and S. 978, "A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright."

In my last letter expressing my dissatisfaction with S. 968 I was told you "share [my] concerns about the protection of digital information and the importance of free speech, as it relates to digital access," though I am compelled to believe that you don't. See, I'm not "concerned" about free speech, I absolutely *demand* that it be protected. It is the most sacred tenant of all American values. Your consolation mentioned that PROTECT IP "is aimed at overseas websites involved in online piracy and infringement," and, while that may be your impression of the bill or how it has been presented by lobbyists, the language within expresses no such specific intent and we both know that enforcement of the law comes down to verbiage, regardless of the perceived intent. Even supposing the wording were particular to foreign communications I still heartily disagree at this attempt to implement censorship on the greatest informational resource humanity has ever known, the strength of which is based solely on the open exchange of information around the world. It is a violation of the first amendment and the spirit of America, sets a bad precedent and is generally hypocritical after statements both we as a people and our president have separately made regarding China’s internet policies. You stated “S. 968 would expand the authority of the Attorney General by allowing that office to investigate, with the use of a search warrant, foreign websites that have been accused of intellectual property theft and take action against those sites that are engaged in these illegal activities.” I assume you realize the Attorney General has no jurisdiction in any country besides the United State and that no act of congress can change that. There are already copyright/patent treaties in place that facilitate the cooperation of other nations with US intellectual property concerns and any further development should be subject to diplomacy, not abstract local laws. Subpoenas may already be obtained in regard to specific allegations of intellectual property violations, as you seem to acknowledge when you say “these illegal activities,” and since this is a civil matter it doesn’t belong in criminal courts wasting more of our time and taxes when we could be focusing on murders and other crimes that impact the liberty and welfare of the majority.

As for S. 978, the provisions in the bill would allow the government to lock up Americans for streaming videos or music online, and is so overly broad that people who post videos of their friends singing karaoke could be prosecuted. This legislation is a tremendous overreach and I am deeply concerned by the danger it poses to Internet freedom. The fact that these bills are even being considered is setting a poor example for legislation and any support to criminalizing civil disputes will only serve to rationalize further debasement of our constitution and legal systems. I pay for several legally licensed internet media providers myself and it’s not my responsibility to pay additionally for the legal expenses associated with criminal courts, jails or prisons for a matter that can be settled civilly at the expense of guilty parties.

It may not be a Florida or national law, but are you aware that vague amendments to Tennessee harassment law have recently made it a crime fit for incarceration to post images on the internet that could be perceived as offensive? While blatantly unconstitutional, under this law nearly every person that has ever posted an image on the internet could be considered a criminal. The American flag is offensive to some, but should it be illegal for a patriot to post an image of it on Facebook? Can nobody use satire in the state of Tennessee for fear that they’ll be put in jail due to a difference of opinion?! Every newspaper with a website and every TV program with an internet presence are now, by definition of the law, potentially criminal in the state of Tennessee. There are civil and criminal measures against malicious activity and harassment already in place and there is no need for such convoluted laws to abridge freedom of speech or press. People are not obligated to participate in web communities that offend them; if they wish to institute censorship they can start their own services and place limits in the usage agreement. Think carefully about the precedent you set for American politics as you continue to entertain legislation that criminalizes behavior in broad generalizations, especially for the sake of circumstances with legitimate and constitutional recourse already established. Benjamin Franklin said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and loose both.” I think our founding fathers would be appalled at the mockery being made of their system. If you will continue to disagree with my stance have some dignity and pride in your choice: give me your opinion candidly rather than your patronizing attempt to convince me that you share my concerns when you don’t. Instead just tell me how my opinion is not that of the majority of those you represent or, better yet, that you’d prefer to support multi-million dollar corporations rather than my civil liberties.

The response I refer to above is below, though sadly I don't have my original message any more:

Dear Mr. [Omitted],

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with regards to the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 (S. 968).

I share your concerns about the protection of digital information and the importance of free speech, as it relates to digital access. As technology evolves, more Americans utilize the Internet to explore new ideas and access information. We must ensure the Internet continues to be a dynamic environment that produces the innovations and advancements that we have all come to enjoy.

As you may know, S. 968, introduced by Senator Leahy, is aimed at overseas websites involved in online piracy and infringement. If passed, S. 968 would expand the authority of the Attorney General by allowing that office to investigate, with the use of a search warrant, foreign websites that have been accused of intellectual property theft and take action against those sites that are engaged in these illegal activities. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 968 on May 26, 2011, and the bill currently awaits action on the Senate floor. If S. 968 comes up for a vote in the Senate, I will carefully evaluate all sides of this issue and work to strike a balance between the exchange of information and the protection of intellectual identity.

I will continue to keep your thoughts in mind as I make decisions that are important to you. I appreciate your opinions and I will continue to work to address the issues that are important to the people of Florida.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Old Poem

This is another one of those "I wrote this a while back and never really planned on publishing it" types of things, but I was reminded of it today and figured it wouldn't hurt to dust off some old feelings and share them with the interwebs. Usually titles are really important to me but this doesn't really have one. I remember I had a hard time deciding whether this was even done or not, but for me poetry is one of those things that you just shouldn't over-think (which I probably already do entirely too often). That said, here it is:

With 20/20 vision
I look upon my decisions

In life’s long winding roads
with potentials no lone man knows
there’s always other paths to pleasure
exuding from life’s mysterious flows
but that by which ourselves can measure
is down which road one finally goes.

The hardest part is wondering
what’d be without our blundering
without regrets to send us tumbling
and that is where I’m now stumbling.
Yes lately I’ve been bumbling
and remnants are still grumbling
perhaps I deserve a bludgeoning
or my ex’s past curmodgeoning
as penance for my fumbling.

I need to keep myself on track
by keeping on, while looking back
finding value from my learning
about my self and inner yearning.

It’s amazing now how obvious
the costs that this may have for me
and of the chance I stayed oblivious,
how much pain I caused and didn’t mean,
god damn the possibilities I really should’ve seen.

Well, perhaps not so unseen,
so much as wouldn’t believe.
Wasn’t it just a dream?
I thought myself I did deceive.

The secure can lose all confidence
and the tempered lapse in temperaments
as fear of lack and a heart’s past bleak
can turn even the strong willed weak,
then fear of change makes the patient meek.

In comforts clutch mistakes rehearsed,
although this time, reasoning reversed.
Instead of waiting just a wee bit longer,
and growing but a tad bit stronger,
observing chance and keeping honor,
I jumped the gun and pulled the trigger
confused myself and dismissed her.

Alas, life’s loves and losses linger
interpretation doubts bring pains avenger.
It’s not like I don’t remember
and I’d never want to offend her;
I try to be hope and joy’s defender.
From now hence forth I’ll remember
what we do can be defended
but what we don’t can’t be amended.

If it’s not too late to try again
I won’t give up before the end
I can’t promise that I’m the one,
but I wasn’t playing pretend
and this time I guarantee that I won’t run.
If this can’t be or it’s no longer fun
then this is my apology for everything that I’ve done;
If I’ve misunderstood, as I’ve feared all along
don’t hate me for trying, I didn’t want to be wrong
I’ve been so afraid that she’d say “so long”
she’s an amazing person that I want to know lifelong.

My blog is starting to feel like a poetry feed and I'd like to remedy that and put something especially nerdy up here soon (and maybe fix that playlist on the side or just get rid of it), but it takes a lot less time to copy and paste something I wrote before than it does to write up something new. Anyway, I still have stuff to do so my nerdy followers will just have to wait.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Loose the Demons Within

Loose the demons within ye,
Fear not while they encircle thee,
For if you don’t you’ll never know
What truly lives inside your soul.

You’ve let them loose and soon you’ll see
What it is that you can be;
Indeed you’ll need to sort things out
and live your life without a doubt.
There’s no changing what we’ve done,
We must learn from where we’ve gone;
Who we are and what we’ve become.
The only life necessity
Is choosing our own destiny;
Setting out to overcome,
We can become anyone.

Truth you learn about yourself
Can’t be found on any shelf.
The power deep within your soul
Can take you where you want to go;
The only way to further growth
Is to take a stand and give an oath
that you’ll move with certainty
and you can change who you will be.
It’s not easy, that’s for sure
but you will indeed mature.
If you’re seeking happiness
Alas, with this: rest your stress.
There is nothing you can see
or buy or touch to set you free.
There is but one truth required
Self satisfaction must be acquired.
Discover this and you will see
Just how happy you can be.

Take it further and you will know
Just how much the world can grow.
Instead of bickering in petty quarrels
We can stop killing and live with good morals.
Let us protect our sovereignty
Did you know you’ve lost civil liberty?
You see while you’ve argued about Abortions,
Scandals, Drugs, and Religious Forces.
In terror you’ve missed what’s most important, see
you’ve failed to protect what makes us free.
Tagged “Patriot” during a media war,
A bill once declined can pass on The Floor
Completely abolishing what we hold dear
while idiots, confused and consumed with fear,
Will force their opinions instead of just fact
With meaningless laws that we should retract.

Completely preoccupied in a screen of smoke,
We’ve forced our opinions, now our system is broke.
We’ve sacrificed all our fathers have left us
And traded it all for war, debt and taxes.
We leave important stuff like accountability,
to a biased and lying “research” committee.
The distortion, fear and covered up importance,
Truly comes from inside this body of governance.
There’s plenty of details you didn’t see,
As they hushed them and rushed them and said “trust me.”
You can’t pay attention while you run and hide,
You’ve been deceived by your own side.
Even if there was an attacker, you see,
Lying to your people is unnecessary.
Now look at it all in retrospect,
We all messed up but, with respect,
We can still research a good portion,
Not the whole truth, but at least some distortion.
Then ask yourself, in all honesty,
“Do I really think those leaders care about me?”
It’s probable that some really do support us,
But their will alone can’t destroy this circus.

If the country were still run constitutionally,
We would actually still be free.
Instead we vote for satanic “Christian” posers
and let baseless wars start right under our noses.
With loaded terms like “Conspiracy”
We’re told these things are simply crazy!
Why do you think elections are hard to decide,
If you act day-to-day like our politicians don’t lie.
It’s talking to each other, that is the key
I’ll listen to you, you listen to me,
Don’t claim It insane if you won’t check and see,
You should admit: that’s just plain blasphemy.

A system designed to move “money” to the top,
While you’re getting robbed for all that you’ve got.
Private companies managing worth of our own sixpence,
But money no longer has value, besides “confidence.”
Economy is rated by spending, you see,
and we’re the ones spending, while they save with greed.
While we spend 100% of our earnings,
They sing and praise our mindless subservience.
Hughes, Rockefeller and Bushes resting above us,
draining our pockets and singing in chorus.
Spending a fraction of what we deliver,
while watching society’s pockets perpetually get slimmer.
Next the fake economy withers and crumbles,
So we print more money “to save the masses”
cycles everlasting in a system of shambles.

Poverty and misery and all that’s distorted,
are illusions from history when man stumbled and horded.
But we’ve progressed far—really far since then,
there is chance to recover, but our minds must bend.
There’s plenty of resources for us all to survive,
And even have homes, water and food for all people alive.
We’re going to have to work hard and strive.
It will take research and unlearning,
departure from this hive,
but satiation of yearning
can still arrive.
Even for trinkets and “meaningless” obsessions,
we have enough tools to destroy this oppression.
We will still work, and still live daily lives,
But we will be honest, without false inflation,
We will distribute goods amongst every nation.
Living in real world economy,
where we no longer think of an enemy.
We can even still live very comfortably,
With items of convenience shared for free.

We just can’t support this stupid economy,
unless we’re wealthy, stupid or we enjoy slavery.
There’s so much more that you deserve,
But they’re holding us back and making us serve.
Even spending money, to push good research under,
Just to prolong this world encompassing blunder.
The reach of those “elite” few has grown to be ubiquitous,
But our founding fathers are counting on us,
To protect their design which, to this day, remains tremendous.
The system they made was designed to protect us,
Our ignorance in using it is just plain sacrilegious.
The “lesser of evils” is the one that destroyed it,
along with me and you when we let them deform it.
Pay attention to congress and the hierarchy,
and start demanding better transparency.
It’s our fuckin’ country, made by you and me,
so stop looking for answers from FOX and NBC.
Those choices are ensuring our slavery.
Get off your ass and make a stand, it’s free,
And maybe we’ll retake our liberty.

Before you label and ignore me,
Remember the importance of speech that is free.
I’m not yet worried about UFOs
I’m much more concerned about what the facts expose
Right here and now in our own country
Awful things have happened; it’s up to you and me
To set this straight and do things right
We can’t be too indifferent or lazy to fight.
We must stand strong and gather our might
And never give up on repairing the blight
The road will be tough but we’ll do it despite
All obstacles are nothing, and this may sound trite,
But, we can restore our nation and the world’s delight.
I know it probably seems like I’m being forthright,
But it’s absolutely essential, you start caring tonight!

I wrote this poem some time ago and I feel like I probably didn't post it because I wanted to edit it, but I threw an excerpt of it online recently and so I've decided to post the whole thing. Another possibility is that I wasn't intending to link a long-time anonymous pseudonym to my publicly known profile, but I don't think I ever published any of the other stuff written under it so it seems like a moot point.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Implosively exploding, magnetically eroding, and eventually foreboding.

TheXenocide unloading encoding goading

Sleep is for the week
and blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth,
though once I’m done with her,
I’m not sure what she’ll be worth.
But don’t mind me,
I’m more of a tripper than a flipper,
seeking truth through insanity
over temporary remedy to reality.

The extremes of regimes suppressing
are in conflict with progressing
so let’s do the next best thing
while they’re in committee digressing
we can focus on collecting
and with others grow means for affecting
the world and more people projecting
peace and happiness connecting
the populace and infecting
with all those rejecting
greed and politics and expecting
inspecting, ejecting, respecting and erecting
discussing who they're electing
rather than deflecting
for fear of someone objecting
effecting intersecting subjecting
inflecting rather than neglecting.

Be weary however
we don’t have forever
we must get together
to push through whatever
may stand in our way.
Stand up this day
and be proud to say
you party and play
but you will not stray
from the NINJA way.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Is It Really Real Son?

I came to bring the pain hardcore from the brain, let's go inside my astral plane.

This is going to take a while to read but you should really consider it. If you can't read it all at least read the first link below or maybe make multiple trips. I'll warn you that this is emo as all hell, but in it there is hope and direction that could change lives and those lives could add up to a changed world. I say this more-so than much of the change I've ever supported. It's broad but it's deep and very much needed, so please take the time to read.

When you give it to me ay, give it to me raw

I just read the most wonderful and inspiring post about The Disease Called Perfection and I'm here now to show my support for being real. I'm not the only one either, it's important to know just how many people have been affected by this, and just how many more are there for support. There's a follow-up that promotes working together to be The CURE for "Perfection" and I'm in the mood to be a little more real than just one thing, but I'll try to follow the format at least loosely. I'm not so sure if these are my biggest trials, mistakes or struggles as I've had many and they've made me who I am today. I'm posting this here because even though anonymity is offered in the comments there I feel that I need to back my claims of being open and honest and catalog some of my imperfections here in front of my friends and family. All that said, here goes:

I dated someone for 5 1/2 years out of comfort and fear of change. I justified the things I should have taken as signs and I lied to myself and to her to keep it going. I was hurt and I caused pain. I became spiteful and angry, which takes a very very long time of repetition and exasperation and despite my lifelong quest for understanding, self control, patience and forgiveness, I once threw a pillow at her out of anger. Sure, "it was only a pillow" but I am more ashamed of that pillow than any other action of my life. My mother sacrificed everything, at times maybe even her last bits of sanity, saving my siblings and I from the cyclic abuse of all varieties that had plagued her family for generations and I always promised that I would never be one of those people. I wasn't true to my own values and standards and still I belittled hers for being selfish and immature.

If I could write to that person I once was I would tell him that there is a fine line but a huge contrast in working through differences of opinion and sacrificing who you are. I would tell him that he should be more confident and that he will find someone that accepts him for who he is because he's amazing, despite the few flaws that make him as imperfect as everyone else.

When I was younger and more reckless I threw a party at which a guest tried to force himself on a young lady. I was so blinded by rage that instead of just making a difference I beat him, bloodying his face and trying to break limbs, until I was pulled away. I invited the people, I intoxicated the young and inexperienced and the worst truth is that I would have killed him. It might not seem so bad to some, but even then I knew for a fact that people learn and change. My closest cousin and others in my family had already traveled those roads and, as terrible as rape is, what I did showed no more control than him. What's worse is that I've told people of this event as though it made me a protector or someone who stood against barbarianism when I myself had been one, before and after then, which may only stand to perpetuate such travesty. I probably knew this before but I didn't even admit it to myself until reading these posts and thinking back with a more critical eye and vulnerable disposition.

If I could send that young man a letter I would remind him of his own imperfections and that his place is not to judge but to support change. I would tell him that he can make a difference, even in those people, but he needs to be a good man and keep his convictions regardless of the situation or he stands only to reduce his own reliability and diminish the impact he can have. Most importantly, I would remind him, as he has thought he understood long before and after, that it matters not what one says, but what they do that defines who they are.

More recently than those is something that remains heavy on my heart, though lighter over time, even today. I found a friend who hung himself. I go over it and know that it's past and that he made his choice and that he told nobody and showed no signs, but every now and then I still break down and blame myself. What if I hadn't moved out? Why didn't I see how torn up he was? There's more, but "I know" none of that matters and that it's not my fault. He was unable to pursue the military career he always wanted in life, lost his "one true love" and probably felt that he had no hope but ultimately I believe that he felt like a burden on his friends and loved ones and thought it would be best if he stopped dragging them down. He didn't understand that his criminal record, joblessness and propensity for partying a bit too hard didn't mean he couldn't live a long and happy life making positive change in others as he always wanted but would seldom admit openly.

I'm not qualified to write a letter to this me just yet; I could put down eloquent and insightful words, but they're words I already know and have shared and hoped would put others at ease. They're words that are true and yet still I hold on not knowing why. I'm not so good at taking my own advice, though I tend to give it well. I support movements like To Write Love On Her Arms and try to make it known that life is never without value, not out of penance but because I didn't really understand just how real and close to home suicide could be. It doesn't weigh on me as heavily so perhaps it will eventually fade--only time will tell.

If I could write a letter to my friend though, I would remind him that people change and that the world changes. I'd also make it clear to him that as much as he depended on us, we were so much more dependent on him for the joy he spread so well. I'd point out how many people were changed by him and how amazing he was at bringing people together and tell him how much more powerful of a weapon that is in war than any weapon a soldier carries. I'd tell him how important it is for him to share his story, rather than leaving mere fragments of that power behind.

Perhaps it's just the way I'm looking at it, but the perfection article didn't tell me things I didn't know per se, but rather made me admit and realize many things. I reflect regularly, but the article and the amazing set of comments therein drew attention to things I had forgotten or buried. It reminded me the power and importance of open forum and gave me an opportunity to say things that are important to me with relevance to others and perhaps a chance to have a wider impact than my normal ramblings. I am also impressed and compelled by the response and have a renewed sense of hope that people will share their lessons with each other, be there for each other and help make a better world. A homeless man told me something as a child that I will never forget: "A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

Thank you Dan Pearce and all those taking part in this; I wish there was an adequate way to express the gratitude I feel

Is it real son, is it really real son, let me know it's real son, if it's really real. Something I could feel son, load it up and kill one; want it raw deal son, if it's really real.