S.Res. 424 – A resolution condemning the mass atrocities committed by the Government of Syria


Hello everyone, long time no talk. I was away for the past few days due to birthday celebrations (hot springs and massage…doesn’t get any better!). But, I’m back, and I’ve taken notice to a new bill going through the US. It’s bill S.Res. 424, which condemns the mass atrocities committed by the government. Link to more information here. First of all, I have to wonder, what would passing this bill actually accomplish? It goes to state all the atrocities committed by Bashar al-Assad, and then states that the US should provide the people of Syria with weapons and other material needs to protect themselves. Ok, I thought they were already getting assistance? “We are going to hold the major players responsible for their actions against the people.” Well, no shit. There’s an idea! Ok, so I’m a little annoyed. In the time it takes for this bill to pass congress it will have put off saving these people. What the world should be doing is going in and arresting Bashar al-Assad. The people can fight for themselves, sure, but it’s been going on for a year already and what progress has been made? What will more weapons do for them, really, when half their population is either injured or dead already? I don’t get it. It’s as though the government is playing a board game. “Oh! Give these guys more weapons and lets see how it plays out.” Come on, if you can’t figure out that al-Assad needs to go, and the most influential military country in the world isn’t going to do anything but hand out weapons to potential bad guys, we have a problem. As the congressmen are sitting there reading over this form there is a war going on, and all they say it “let’s provide more weapons, it’ll be fun to watch.” Oh, come on. They say, in this bill, to ensure that the weapons don’t get into the hands of any Al Qaeda members, or other human rights violators. And how, exactly, are you going to ensure that? Right, you can’t. Once again, the US government has wasted the time of the people and just embarrassed themselves while they play their board game. Maybe it’s time they step up and actually do something useful? Like, I don’t know, actually taking out the human rights violators such as Bashar al-Assad and his followers. I totally support the rights of the Syrian rebels, and I think they should be the ones to take him out, but it’s not worth so many deaths, and if the US is going to support them anyway, why not do something besides sit at a desk and make stupid, empty promises? All your doing by sending them weapons is allowing more of them to go into the field where they will get injured or die. Weapons aren’t going to break down the barrier al-Assad has put up around himself. What will, is having another power go in there and seize him. Not shoot citizens, not demand rights and steal their oil, not engage in open combat, but drop down onto his house and kill the man. No, I don’t think the US should be the ones to do this, but this bill is more of an embarrassment and a waste of time than sitting there doing nothing would be. Kudos congress, you’ve done it again.

CISPA – Not ANOTHER SOPA/PIPA!


Hi Everyone, and welcome to Tricipian’s!

I’m going to try to make this as short as possible, so we can start discussing. The topic today is H.R. 3523 or commonly known as CISPA, a new bill that the US Congress is trying to pass. The following link is to the GovTrack website where you can read the full text of the bill, among a lot of other interesting information. I have a notecard with the summary if you want it, but it’s pretty long so I won’t paste it here:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3523

It is feared that CISPA is far worse than SOPA and PIPA in its possible effects on the Internet. Critics say that CISPA would give any federal entity that claims it is threatened by online interactions the ability to take action against the “perpetrator”. Without notifying the parties concerned. While this paper has been created under the guise of being a necessary weapon in the U.S. war against cyberattacks, the wording of the paper is vague and broad. It is thought that the act could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and would allow the monitoring and censorship of any user and also stop online communications which they deem disruptive to the government or to private parties.

The Avaaz team, who have started a petition against the bill, say: “Under the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), if a cyber threat is even suspected, companies we use to access the Internet will have the right to collect information on our activities, share that with the government, refuse to notify us that we are being watched and then use a blanket immunity clause to protect themselves from being sued for violation of privacy or any other illegal action.”

If you are interested, the petition can be signed here (you don’t have to live in the USA): http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/?tta

It could threaten the types of information we can access online, as well as our privacy and freedom of speech.

CISPA places absolutely no explicit limits on the type of information that may be shared with the government, or between private companies, as long as it is somehow related to cyber threats.

However, as Andrew Couts at Digital Trends says, “For most people, sharing information about ourselves is just the way things work nowadays. We post every aspect of our lives online, from what we’re eating to our location to all the gritty details of last night. These companies already know all our secrets. In other words: privacy just ain’t what it used to be.”

Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Verizon — and many others, have sent letters to congress voicing support for CISPA.

Here’s some links to articles about the bill:
http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/cispa-is-not-the-new-sopa-heres-why/
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322396#ixzz1rPqAhV00

What do you think about it?

Intro Notes for Tuesday Jan 24 Discussion


Topic: Intervention for the sake of Future Generations

Rupert Read let out a publication titled, “Guardians of the Future: A Constitutional Case for representing and protecting Future People”.

In this document he argues for “the creation of a new legislative structure – Guardians of Future Generations.”

Find Entire PDF Here: http://goo.gl/mUzG6

The World Future Council let out an interview with the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations:

“Parliamentary commissioners or ombudspersons are elected as independent watchdogs to monitor the protection of human rights as defined in a country’s constitution.

Hungary has four such Ombudspersons and their competencies for intervention vary significantly.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations has comparatively strong powers and can stop on-going activities causing severe harm to the environment

or intervene in on-going administrative and court procedures.”

http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/hungarian_ombudsman.html

The idea of these councils is to protect the environment, ensuring that people’s of the future are able to exist in a stable, healthy environment.

“If we really feel that the procedures must be halted because otherwise irreversible environmental harm could happen,

then exceptionally we have the right to suspend a permit or authorization of a particular project.”

http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/hungarian_ombudsman.html

Read argues that, roughly, the Guardians’ powers [should] be, on this proposal, at least twofold:
a) To veto in whole or in part new legislation that threatened the basic needs and fundamental interests of future people.

b) To force a review, on petitioning, if appropriate and merited, of any existing legislation that threatens the basic needs and fundamental interests of future people.

c) The Guardians could be given the positive power to initiate legislation.

Do you think a system like this is possible, or beneficial? Is it something that could be monitored effectively, democratically?

If it’s plausible, is it a step forward? How would we ensure there was no corruption? What is too much power?

“[Society is] a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”
– Edmund Burke

What do you think? I open the floor.