Burch: O, what a tangled web

Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Nashvillians who attempted to access Google or Wikipedia on Wednesday may have experienced a shock.

Wikipedia shut down completely for 24 hours, while as I write this article Google's name is blacked out on its front page. Both companies are protesting Big Brother-like intrusions on their services. China’s government recently forced Google to either censor content or stop providing services to users, so we may infer that Google — whose informal company motto is “Don’t be evil!” — is trying to persuade our government to choose freedom of speech over turning the Internet into a China-style electronic Gulag.

When George Orwell wrote his most famous novel, “1984,” he never envisioned a world in which billions of "commoners" could get together, compare notes and criticize their governments’ policies and actions. This ability of everyday Joes and Janes could be a very important thing — perhaps the most important thing — if people around the globe want to gain and/or preserve individual rights and freedoms.

But dictatorial governments need to suppress the truth, which means suppressing freedom of speech, assembly and dissent. So the question becomes: will our increasingly dictatorial federal government continue to strip us of our rights and freedoms? If so, then like China and Iran, it will have to suppress the truth, which means denying us the ability to assemble and dissent. And of course the single biggest and far most active place of assembly and dissent today is the Internet.

Google and Wikipedia are protesting two bills currently before Congress, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House.

According to Google, "Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose SOPA and PIPA" because the U.S. government could "order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China. Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results. That's why 41 human rights organizations and 110 prominent law professors have expressed grave concerns about the bills. Law-abiding U.S. Internet companies would have to monitor everything users link to or upload, or face the risk of time-consuming litigation. That's why AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga wrote a letter to Congress saying these bills 'pose a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job-creation.' "

Our government is constantly chipping away at, and eroding, our constitutional rights and freedoms. Which is more important: protecting the rights of 300 million law-abiding American citizens, or turning the Internet into a Gulag in order to reduce piracy? Do we deny American citizens the right to travel because somewhere in the world a few pirates are running amok? Do we need Big Brother to put cameras in our bedrooms and bathrooms, to scan constantly for pirates? What about our right to be presumed innocent, and the right of organizations like Google and Wikipedia not to intrude on their clients’ privacy? 

An important plank in the foundation of modern civilization and law is the idea that protecting the rights of the innocent is more important than apprehending and punishing the guilty. So we should join Google, Wikipedia and the Occupy Wall Street protestors and "just say no" to politicians who insist that we need their "protection" when what they're really offering is a Mafia-like protection racket.


Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

71 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 12:58

Question, bfra,

Can you give an explanation as to why you have such a cause to call me a usurper? Don't you even know the definition of the word? If not, may I give you the definition:

[To seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right.]
[To seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully], which is exactly what Barry Soetoro has done and is doing... with the acceptance of a congress who just passed that NDAA bill, effectively, placing us under martial law.

I am simply trying to use my First Amendment rights to show who is sitting in our Oval Office illegally. Yet, you and your fellow posters on this site don't even know who the man is and so readily accept him as your president.

Another question: How many referrals have I made you, or any of your fellow posters checked out to make sure I didn't know what I was "talking" about? Wake up, child!

Not once on this site have I read any comment showing me to be wrong on my remarks about "Barack Obama".

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 1:02

I agree with you on that comment, bfra. Facts are much more interesting than garbage. So why don't you read the facts on your boy Barack?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Ignorance is in the mind of the idiot. Which one describes you?

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 1:31

I'm neurotic, bfra? Are looking n the mirror and seeing me as yourself? Please, don't make me laugh so much. My gut starts hurting when I laugh so long.

By: Loner on 1/21/12 at 1:42

Just checking in on this rather dreary Saturday afternoon....to find more dreariness. I grow weary of the dreary.

Welcome to the site, ACLUU...can you explain your extra "U" in ACLU?

Hello, Bfra...anybody else monitoring this board?

As for Google...to me, Google is the biggest thing since Gutenberg's printing press...Google has the boogie man of ignorance on the run.....Long Live Google!

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 1:51

I think alcuu's "title" possible means ACL United Union. That's much better than their ACLDU title; meaning the ACL Destruction Union.

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 2:08

And interesting article I just read states Judge Michael M. Mahili of Georgia has refused to accept Obama's attorney's appeal to reject Obama being required to appear before his court on Thursday, Jan 26 in question of his legal eligibility.

The defendant argued that "If enforced [the subpoena] requires him to interrupt duties as president of the United States to attend a hearing in Atlanta, Georgia."

So.., was he actually performing duties of the United States during his 90 rounds of golf and 17 (written about) vacations he has taken in the past 3 years?

Its going to be interesting to see what happens here. Will the judge uphold his argument, or will he back off like all judges before him? Let's see. Its gonna be hard to wait for Thursday.

By: acluu on 1/21/12 at 2:48

I agree with you yogi, they will never learn.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/21/12 at 3:41

bfra don't waste your time on nothing.

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 3:48

Sadly, yes, acluu,

But time will tell. I hate to see them crying over their ignorance so soon... unless they are already agreeable communists.

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 3:55

I didn't know if you was an ol' timer that had just came out of the closet or a new 'member', acluu. If that be, welcome to the club. May I sadly 'tell' you, if you don't agree with them, you're wrong.

And may I ask; are you an Obama fan, or an American citizen wanting an American citizen in our Oval Office?

By: acluu on 1/21/12 at 5:20

Yogi said: "I didn't know if you was an ol' timer that had just came out of the closet or a new 'member'"

Not an ol' timer yogi, and coming out of closets, well, we'll reserve that choice of a lifestyle to others on here.

oh, an American citizen wanting an American citizen in our Oval Office!

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 5:42

Welcome to the American citizen club, acluu,

There doesn't seem to be many in that club on this site.

Are you familiar with "Obama's" personal history, most of what he gave?

By: acluu on 1/21/12 at 5:50

Fill me yogi, fill me in !

By: acluu on 1/21/12 at 6:32

Newt just won South Carolina, whoo whoo !

Better than a food stamp President !

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 7:09

Glad to, acluu.

Point 1. According to "Obama", he was born to a Kenyan father who was only a temporary student in the US. His father was a British subject at that time. His mother was an 18 year old American girl. According to the laws of 1961; to pass your citizenship to a newborn child, you must have lived in the US for a minimum time of 10 years. A minimum of 5 of those years must be past the age of 14. In order for his mother to pass her citizenship down to him, she must have been 19. The best that could have been considered would be a dual citizenship because a child is normally given the family name and citizenship of their father.

Point 2. There was two twin girls born in the hospital he claimed to have been born in, two days after his birth, but their numbers on their birth certificates were lower than his. Hospital's booboo? I don't think so. Also, the hospital he named as his birth place did not exist at that time. It became that name years after his birth date when the two hospitals in Hawaii combined and used their names for the one it is known now.

Point 3. His mother divorced his father and married another man who was also a student from Indonesia. At that time, you had to be an Indonesian to go to their school. His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, agreed to adopt him in order for him to go to school. After the adoption, he was given the name Barry Soetoro. His mother divorced his stepfather and sent him to her parents in Hawaii. They in effect, raised him. She disclaimed him as a dependent and started "moving around".

Question: After reaching his adulthood, did he decide to repatriate his citizenship back into the USA? Did he decide to change his name back to Barack Obama? No one knows because he's keeping it a secret. Major point; Once you lose your American citizenship but later decide to repatriate, the only way you can get it back is through the naturalization process of an alien legally becoming an American citizen. Consequently, if you had been a natural born citizen to begin with, you could not regain that status through naturalization.

Not to go too far right now, but why wouldn't the E-Verify program not verify his Social Security number? Was it because it had been issued to a man from Connecticut?

Want more?

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 7:11

I can't wait to see Newt come face to face with that fraud.

By: acluu on 1/21/12 at 7:15

Wow !
Thanks yogi !
Here's a video to watch yogi.

By: yogiman on 1/21/12 at 8:37

Sorry, acluu,

My 'puter wouldn't "give" it to me. What's it about?

By: BenDover on 1/22/12 at 8:08

Oh jeeezzzz acluu... that was hysterical.

By: yogiman on 1/22/12 at 9:06

What could I be doing wrong, BenDover? I've got 3 computers; a HP 'biggun' that I use most, and Acer laptop, and an Apple iBook and none of them will accept it.

By: yogiman on 1/22/12 at 2:35

Success! I finally made it. Enjoyed it, acluu. Thanks.