fresh voices from the front lines of change








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Was on Current TV’s The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur the other day, appearing with the crew and participating in a “Power Panel” discussion with Glenn Greenwald and Paul Waldman. The  Crooks and Liars team edited some of my comments into a video clip.  

The “Power Panel” topic was “Which Is Worse: The Stop Online Privacy Act” 9which gives the Attorney General nearly unilateral power over online speech) “or the Defense Approriations Act” (which permits the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial)?

I pointed out that while people are understandably horrified by the way the Defense Appropriations Bill legalizes military detention of Americans, people aren’t talking about the fact that it’s an economic disaster, too, because it allocates nearly $119 million for two unnecessary wars. 

If I’d more time I would’ve also talked about the the fact that our total defense spending comes to nearly $700 billion (that’s what we know about, anyway), which is probably still more than the rest of the world spends in total on defense.   And that the budget includes another $2.6 billion to Lockheed Martin for their AEHF (Advanced Extremely High Frequency) satellite system, which failed ignominously on launch despite the $6.5 billion we’ve already sunk into it.  

And speaking of “sunk,” retrieving the satellite cost the Pentagon $25 million (which Lockheed has agreed in principle to refund).  

What’s that old definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results?  The bill also includes billions for the worthless Star Wars program.  And all of this money is being squandered while people are being evicted from their homes and poverty is on the rise all across the country.  

As for the online piracy act, it seems to legalize the extralegal measures the government took to shut down Wikileaks when it pressured banks, hosting sites, and other service companies to stop working with Wikileaks – despite the fact that Wikileaks hasn’t been found to have broken any laws.

The bill’s expressed purpose is to “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”  If it sounds like BS, that’s because it is.  It would actually benefit the telecoms who have always blocked innovation, and it would make future Googles, YouTubes, and similar breakthrough innovations all but impossible.

SOPA and its sister bill, the “Protect IP”Act, are being hailed for their “bipartisan” sponsorship. But there are many times when “bipartisan” in Washington means “a collaboration of corporate-owned politicians who oppose things voters from both parties want.”  This is one of those times.

Cenk also asked me to prognosticate about the GOP Presidential in the first couple of snips, which isn’t central to my writing or policy-based work – but which is kinda fun.

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