Random Thoughts – Randocity!

The U.S. in Peril

Posted in economy, government, Health, politics, security by commorancy on March 19, 2020

book-burn-1920I really didn’t want to write this article, but it must be written. Unfortunately, the US (and probably other countries) have come to a crossroads. As they say, the truth will out…. and here it comes. Let’s explore.

Brutal Truth

These lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have caused many, many small and medium businesses to shutter their doors and lay off staff. They’re not closed for only a few days, but for potentially weeks and possibly even a month or two.

Practically no business is prepared to run without income for weeks, let alone months. It’s no wonder, then, that business owners and operators are laying off so many of their workers. You can’t continue to hold onto staff when you can’t even pay your own business’s lease and bills. This is just the tip of this iceberg.

You just wait. It gets worse. Much, much worse.

Unemployment

It is theorized that as many as 20% may become unemployed due to COVID-19. I’d guess that this is a conservative estimate and it will go much, much higher than this. 99% of businesses in the US are considered small businesses. This is the highest failure group for an extended lockdown scenario.

JP Morgan Chase writes:

Over 99 percent of America’s 28.7 million firms are small businesses. The vast majority (88 percent) of employer firms have fewer than 20 employees, and nearly 40 percent of all enterprises have under $100k in revenue.

What does this mean for the US? This means that potentially 28.4 million businesses are at risk of permanent closure due to the COVID-19 crisis. That means potentially up to 568 million jobs are also at risk of loss due to COVID-19.

Some small businesses may be able to weather a few weeks of this storm, but not much after that. Again, this situation can (and likely will) get much worse the longer it lasts.

Survival and Economy

With up to 568 million people without jobs, this means that the economy will not only tank, it will implode. The stock market won’t even exist. There will be nothing left of the US economy.

I did say that this can get worse. Yes, it can. And… it can even go beyond this.

Apocolypse

This word is actually defined as “catastrophic change”… with the word catastrophic being the key word here.

Turning out this many people to unemployment means desperation. As people’s ability to feed, clothe and house their families and themselves dwindle, desperate actions will become necessary (at least for some). Once the newly turned Robinhood thugs turn out en-masse to shake down those who “have” to feed those who “haven’t”, it’s going to get ugly. Really, really ugly. In fact, COVID-19 will likely become the least of everyone’s worry.

It will then become mostly about survival of the fittest and who has the “necessary force” to get what is needed to survive.

We haven’t yet reached this level of desperation as people still have small stock of food, water and can live out their remaining rent, but our society is quickly coming to a turning point. Once rents can no longer be paid, food can no longer be bought and gas can no longer be afforded (or even found), the niceties of our former social world will come to a grinding halt. Then, desperation takes hold.

What will ensue is looting, gangs and these folks being forced to obtain food, water and shelter by force. The currency will no longer be the dollar, but the bullet or knife. Violence is in the US country population’s nature. When it becomes necessary to survive (and it will), then all bets are off.

Martial Law

Yes, the Government can roll its military through and declare martial law to attempt to stem the tide of the new age of lawlessness that will begin, but that can’t last. Eventually, the government itself will break down and fail to be of any use. Those in the military will be conflicted about where to take orders and, indeed, where if any place can they even use the money they are being paid.

If small businesses fail, what can you spend your money on? Will that money even be worth anything? Larger businesses like Target and Walmart may be able to last for a bit longer, but eventually the supply lines will dry up as the small business suppliers close. It will become a vicious cycle that won’t end until the country has entirely unraveled.

Making the hard Choice

The country is at a serious perilous crossroads. It can keep everything closed in order to stem the COVID-19 tide or it can immediately lift the lockdown and shelter-in-place orders and let businesses reopen to save what’s left of the economy.

With COVID-19, we may be forced to let the chips fall where they may. We can’t keep society closed forever. We can’t even keep it down for a few weeks. For the US to continue its way of existence, it must be unlocked and allowed to resume.

Yes, we need to be cautious and vigilant to avoid getting COVID-19, but we can’t let COVID-19 grind the US to a halt and, subsequently, to completely unravel the US’s entire way of life.

We have to consider what’s worse? Perhaps 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 or millions of deaths due to a bankrupt US economy leaving millions homeless? Without an economy, the US can’t survive as a country. Having a president preside over a dead country is like not having a president at all.

Believe me when I say that if the US is forced into martial law, it won’t be long before there’s bloodshed… and that won’t have anything to do with being infected with COVID-19.

As I said, I really dislike writing this article, but the outcome of what can become a very real possibility must be said. Right now, the president is basically saying, “everything’s going to be okay”, but that’s not reality. If these lockdowns continue beyond a week or two, much of our country’s way of life is doomed to vanish forever. Even Hollywood may never be able to recover from this… the biggest entertainment producer in the world will be lost. Without Hollywood and the music business, this country will plunge into a second dark age.

With all of that said, cities, counties and even the federal government needs to reconsider these lockdown actions pronto. Staying locked down for months will tailspin the US into unrecoverable territory. This will force many families into the streets without the means to obtain food, clothing or shelter. The homeless shelters will be forced to shutter because even they can’t afford to stay in business. Literally, the entire country will fall back to “the wild, wild west”. People will be forced to take matters into their own hands to survive.

Now, it is difficult to foresee exactly how all of this plays out, but no matter the sequence of events, the end result will be failure, death and loss of the US way of life. We will turn back into small communities together using local services. We will have to barter to live. The technology we so actively thrive on will cease to exist. The computers will still function, but the internet may effectively shut down as more and more businesses are forced to close. Even cell phones may become a thing of the past as lawlessness and anarchy begin driving survival. Even money may become worthless paper.

Alarmist?

This article may seem a bit alarmist. In part it may be, but it is also grounded in current lockdown reality and is based on where we are headed today, while still in the early stages of these lockdowns. Simply reviewing Twitter, you can already see just how many people have been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg. News articles show restaurants and other businesses with their doors shut and lights out.

Right now is a perilous time and our government leaders needs to weigh what’s coming if we remain on this course. If we don’t change our course now, there may not be any time left to change this downward spiral.

COVID-19 may, in fact, turn out to be the least of society’s worries. Our society isn’t currently prepared to live and work at home on a semi-permanent basis. It hasn’t ever considered or prepared financially for this eventuality. There are just no work-at-home jobs that pay enough to live. Most businesses can’t afford (nor are they willing) to begin paying people the salaries they were getting when they worked in a company office. I’m not even sure that companies can recover enough at this point to pay those former salaries anyway.

Tailspin

We only need to look at the stock market to understand the ramifications of business closures, layoffs and lockdowns. Clearly, people are selling because they know they will need that money to live. The stock market can’t handle this kind of mass sell off. But, it’s inevitable and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

This means way less investing overall and that means less investment capital for businesses to stay in business. Businesses will also need to recover any investments they currently have to pay their own bills also, which means more selling. And, unless this COVID-19 lockdown business is unlocked soon, there won’t be an economy left to save or investments worth holding.

Only the currently richest businesses may be able to weather this storm for any length of time, such as Apple and possibly Google. That is, those businesses with billions in the bank. That also depends on how worthless the dollar becomes. Even then, these rich companies will have to start trimming their own workforce or face a cash hemorrhage crisis.

This situation will likely also tumble salaries massively. It will tumble everything including home values, multifamily rent and even phone bills. Not only will it be a recession, it may become a depression forcing major deflation across the board. One might think deflation is a good thing, but it’s not. When few will be able to afford to pay for much, even at deflated prices, we’re in for a rough and violent road ahead.

Prevention?

Can this combined economic and societal tailspin be prevented? It depends entirely on our governmental leaders. If they can find ways to prop up the local economies while allowing businesses to reopen in safe and effective ways, then perhaps. Unfortunately, I doubt that propping up everything is possible. There are far too many people to attempt to prop up every man, woman and child in the nation. Even the measly $1000 grant from the government can’t possibly help to stem this quickly overflowing tide. The only thing it will do is, in fact, make the situation worse.

How can we reopen safely? That’s the million dollar question. The first thing that needs to happen is to find a way to disinfect people’s clothing and surfaces before they enter any large gathering. This way, when they touch any surfaces within, there’s no chance of leaving latent virus behind or picking one up. Second, we need near instant viral load testing. It doesn’t matter the virus. What matters is that the person has a high viral load of any kind. If a person is carrying a high viral load of any kind, they will be denied access to all social gatherings. It doesn’t matter if the virus is COVID-19, HIV, the flu or a simple cold. We can’t be specific here. Testing needs to be general because it’s too complicated to try to determine COVID-19 specifically. This will weed out super spreaders.

With any high viral load, you can’t fly, you can’t get on a bus and you can’t enter a restaurant, store or any other business. If you’re carrying a high viral load, an isolated medical transport will come to collect you and take you home where you must stay until you can be tested viral load free. If you’re found out and about a second time, you may be jailed. HIV positive people may be a problem in this. But, HIV is also a virus and it does count under viral load. It’s not necessarily spread as easily as COVID-19 appears to be, but it is spreadable.

These actions are the only way we can protect citizens against COVID-19 and still operate society in some kind of normal fashion. Without some semblance of normality resuming quickly for our every day lives, there will be no hope of recovery for not only the economy, but for society in the US as a whole. When TV shows can’t film, when music performers can’t perform, when you can’t go to the movies, a restaurant or even an amusement park and when everyone is scared to even walk out their front door, society grinds to a halt… and that’s where we are now. Society has stopped dead in its tracks.

The things that the US is so known for can’t even be done. All business that revolves around those activities and linked to activities plus the activities secondarily and tertiarily linked will equally suffer. It’s a huge supply chain, with emphasis on the word ‘chain’. When one link breaks, the entire chain fails.

Unless we can figure out a way to kick our society back into gear, fix the chain and keep it going, we’re at the cusp of situation that is bad… very, very bad. So bad that it’s practically impossible to understand or predict just how bad it can really get. Though, we can most certainly guess.

Lawlessness

When there is a large contingent of the working force that becomes not only unemployed, but hungry and homeless, where do we go from here? As the saying goes, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” What that means is that many people will get desperate to feed, clothe, house and protect their families… and many will attempt to take matters into their own hands to make that a reality, using necessary force if needed. This means I’d expect gun violence and looting to drastically increase.

This lawlessness will drive the government into declaring martial law. Right now, we’re at the cusp. We are teetering on the precipice. But, it won’t take much for that edge to collapse and then society falls in. In fact, we’re currently on the verge of collapse.

Government, Survival, Society and Hard Choices

I urge the governmental leaders to reconsider these lockdowns. Instead, we need to find alternative workable solutions that allow businesses to resume normal operation while attempting to keep them safe from COVID-19.

If we can’t resume a semblance of normal societal operation, we will likely end up in bloodshed. We might even have anarchy on our hands. We could even have more deaths due to unemployment and a deep depression than from COVID-19.

Governments must weigh these risks carefully. COVID-19 is a known quantity. It will kill a number of people just because of what it is. But, attempting to protect every person from it may end up collapsing society as we know it. This collapse could very easily bring about unnecessary violence as people attempt to survive. A societal collapse could even bring about more death, violence and destruction than even COVID-19 and the Flu combined.

When people get desperate enough, they will break into houses, steal food, clothing and use it for shelter. They may even consider killing others to get what they need. They will break into stores and loot. They will break into stores to steal necessities. Is that where we want society? Is that what we want to see? Is that what the current government really wants for its people?

All told, the death toll from violent survivalists could actually kill more people than COVID-19. This risk must be weighed! Letting the virus run its natural course while allowing society to operate may be a better (and safer) choice than having to declare martial law, while attempting to lockdown an entire nation. There are simply not enough troops to do that, which will lead to an even worse outcome. This situation could even trigger a second civil war, except this time it will be between governmental forces and its out of work citizens.

If we let society collapse, all bets are off on how many deaths may occur… not necessarily directly because of COVID-19, but this virus may certainly contribute in some way to that death toll.

This is a serious decision that governmental leaders must consider and they must decide NOW. Complacence and apathy doesn’t work. Strong decisive change must be implemented quickly. It may not be happy news for some, but society can’t be ground to a halt for the 18 months (as some organizations have predicted) for COVID-19 to subside. The US can’t survive an 18 month lockdown. It can’t even survive a 1 month lockdown. We must craft an alternative solution. We must craft and implement that solution NOW, while there’s still time to bring us back from the precipice. There is no other choice.

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Mass Shootings vs Entertainment: What’s to blame?

Posted in best practices, california, government by commorancy on December 21, 2012

Note, my heart goes out to those who were hurt by Adam Lanza’s violent act at Sandy Hook.  This article in no way intends to diminish anyone’s loss that day.

After Adam Lanza killed 27 people at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, congressional leaders are now aiming their sites on video game violence as a cause.  This knee jerk reaction came about because Adam Lanza was a ‘gamer’.  What child of his generation hasn’t played at least one video game at some time?  I would have been more surprised to learn he had never played video games. Video games are ubiquitous at this point. They are as ubiquitous as TV, the telephone and the Internet. In fact, video games are on telephones. Video games are not in any way a small industry that only a small segment of children play. No.

In fact, most big video game titles like Skyrim, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft today gross far  in excess of the proceeds that even the biggest films gross over their cinematic run.  Most children today play video games in some way or another every day, whether it be on their iPhone, personal computers, a console (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, etc), Facebook or on a handheld like the PS Vita, PSP or Nintendo 3DX.  Video games are everywhere.

Violent Games versus the Real World

Video game violence has been in games since the early days of video games on computers, like playing Ultima on the Apple II to Nintendo’s Zelda series to Plants vs Zombies to today’s most sophisticated pc and console games like Call Of Duty.  Video game violence is what it is and it’s here to stay. But, there is nothing at all that feels real about playing a video game or in participating in video game violence.  Yes, video games can become an immersive experience at times, but it is so far removed from reality that anyone who is sane and rational can tell the difference between a game and reality.  Note, I did say that anyone who is ‘sane’ can tell the difference.

With Adam Lanza (as with many of the other shooters), there are questions regarding mental state, which brings up a whole separate topic that is unrelated to video games.  We’ll explore that in just a bit.  However, I have been playing games since the Atari 2600 days.  I’ve sold video games and video game units and I’ve owned practically every video game system ever made.  Suffice it to say that violence in video games has never once prompted me to pick up a gun in the real world nor carry or point said gun at anyone (nor any other kind of weapon for that matter).  Not one video game has conditioned, persuaded, caused or in any other way influenced me to do anything violent.  Okay, I have to confess that I have thrown my game controller across the room because the game did something stupid and frustrating.. like crash and lose my game making me start over.  And, throwing the controller across the room was not prompted by the content in the game, but because the game itself was badly designed and caused me to start parts of the game over wasting a lot of my time.  I’d also never throw the controller at someone.  Breaking the controller in half, that’s one thing.  Hurting someone using a gun, that’s something totally different.  Personally, I don’t even own a gun and that’s also my own choice.

Gun Rampages

Let’s discuss some causative factors involving Adam Lanza’s actions.  Note, I cannot speak from personal experience as I did not know the Lanza family personally.  However, based on what I’ve read in the media, here are the issues as I see it.

  • Adam Lanza may have had Asperger Syndrome or some other form of Autism.  This is a form of mental distress.  That is, without a certain level of proper management of the condition, an autistic child can either withdraw and/or act out.  This is the first problem in a series of problems that led to Adam’s actions.
  • Adam was legally an adult at the time.
  • Adam’s mother was apparently an active gun owner.  She had purchased guns from a local gun shop several years prior to Adam’s actions. One thing, however, I am not certain of is how actively she managed keeping those guns safe.  Apparently, however, she didn’t keep them locked up safe enough as Adam was certainly able to gain access to them, load them and carry them to Sandy Hook.
  • Nancy Lanza apparently thought that teaching her mentally ill son how to shoot guns was a smart idea.
  • Adam’s mother had been having some mental distress of her own, perhaps in just simply managing her son’s condition.

The question remains, were video games involved?  Was any type of entertainment media involved?  Unlikely.  So, what did prompt this?  Let’s explore Aspergers just a little.

Asperger Syndrome

Here is an explanation according to Wikipedia:

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

Basically, these repetitive patterns keep the mental distress of the person to a minimum, the patterns give the person structure and order and allows the person to function in a mostly normal way.  If new things are introduced, the Asperger’s sufferer can act out, withdraw or produce violent acts.  Let me say that again, without proper management of Asperger’s, the person can act out violently.

I could see, however, an Asperger’s sufferer turning to video games to relieve the condition.  That is, most games are extremely repetitive.  The more repetitive, the better for this type of person.  So, I could easily see how any repetitive video game could provide comfort and stability for someone with Asperger’s.

Access to Guns and Mental Distress Disorder

If any one thing played role in Adam’s actions, it was easy access to Nancy’s guns.  Any mental distress can easily place a person into a state that is surreal or unreal.  That is, they can’t easily tell the difference between reality and delusion.  Once the line between reality and delusion has been crossed, the person may not have any conscience left to understand any actions that may be acted out.  With Asperger’s, something must have changed in Adam’s life that upset his everyday repetitive balance and he acted out.  Apparently, first on his mother, Nancy Lanza three days before Sandy Hook.  Then, killing her on the day of Sandy Hook and then killing 26 people at Sandy Hook.

Nancy, unfortunately, provided him with access to the necessary weapons to make his own fantasy become a reality.  So, off Adam went toting Nancy’s guns to Sandy Hook to commit his violence.

Were Video Games involved?

Let me start by saying that I’ve never played a video game where someone stocks up with guns from their mother’s gun stash, visits a school and opens fire.  So, I would have to say that getting this idea from a video game is definitely not possible.  Where Adam got the idea is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps he watch a documentary on the Columbine massacre?  Who knows?  But, it’s clear that the main problem did not stem from a video game plot.

Gun ownership and mental distress?

Instead of wasting time pointing the finger towards entertainment media as a ’cause’, we should point the finger towards where it belongs, at the gun safe located in a house with a person of mental distress.  Guns and gun ownership comes with a price (and not just a monetary one).  It comes with the price that you are responsible with what happens with the guns that you buy and store.  If you buy guns and store them in a house with someone that has a history of mental issues, then you are responsible for what happens after.  Of course, in Nancy’s case, she’s now dead along with the 26 other people from Sandy Hook.

Gun laws and gun background checks should include checking the background of anyone living in the home (or in proximity) with the person who wishes to buy, own and use the gun.  Anyone who is close enough to have access to the gun needs to also be background checked.  If any one of those persons has a history of mental illness, the gun purchase should be denied.  It’s quite clear that gun access in combination with mental distress is the most likely reason these children rampage schools with guns.  If they hadn’t had the access to the guns, they wouldn’t have rampaged the school with said guns as they wouldn’t have been able to buy the guns as children.

It’s fairly clear that gun ownership laws need to change.  These laws need to prevent gun ownership by anyone who is the legal parent or guardian over anyone with a history of any mental condition or illness.  I also believe that gun ownership should be denied to parents who have children that are not yet legally adults (and especially of children during teen years).  It should also be illegal to store guns in a home of children between the ages of 8 and 17 at minimum, but preferably children of any age.  Of course, if someone has guns already or they were handed down because of a will or other ‘gift’, then these are situations where guns can become present in the face of someone with mental distress.  For anyone purchasing a gun that will live in proximity to anyone of any age, the laws should require mandatory gun safety training for anyone who intends to touch, use or gain access to the weapon.  In fact, gun safety and storage training should be required to even get a permit to own a gun.  It should also be illegal to teach anyone with mental illness to hold, use, access, touch or otherwise handle a gun (or any other weapon).

Clearly, though, there is no real answer to completely prevent this problem.  Allowing any gun ownership can lead to another Sandy Hook.  Gun laws can only do so much without outright banning guns, but that cannot be done in the US because of the US Constitution’s second amendment which guarantees the right to ‘keep and bear arms’.  So, without repealing the second amendment, there is no real answer to the issue of these mass violence events.  Even if violent video games and other entertainment were banned tomorrow, the violence would not stop as gun ownership and mental conditions would simply continue to be influenced by other means (news, TV shows, movies and the like) and people would still act out.

Prevention?

Could Sandy Hook have been prevented? Maybe.  Maybe not. If Nancy had recognized the signs early enough (as in 3 days earlier when Adam acted out on her), she might have had him arrested or otherwise detained.  However, since Adam was an adult at the time, that issue brings up an even more serious question about mental illness. However, the US does so little to actively manage people with mental illness, especially when they reach adult age, I’m not sure this could have been completely prevented.  It’s clear, though, that guns and mental illness do not mix, especially those with Asperger’s, but any person with paranoid delusions could act out violently. We need better means to determine just who is in a state that could lead to such violent acts. Unfortunately, doctors just want to medicate and send people on their way. That doesn’t fix the problem, it just delays it. We need better from the medical community than, “take 2 pills 3 times a day”.

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SOPA: Is it tortious interference?

Posted in fraud, free enterprise, government, legislation by commorancy on January 18, 2012

SOPA and PIPA take aim at ‘online piracy’.  Of course, the term ‘online piracy’ is defined as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon. How do you define ‘online piracy’?  Well, clearly, taking copyrighted works without the owner’s permission is considered copyright infringement.  We already have laws on the books that protect copyright holders.  For years, these legal mechanisms have worked. Basically, the copyright owner identifies the alleged infringer and takes them to court, then proves the case (in front of a judge) that someone infringed.  So why isn’t this enough?  What changed? The entertainment industry wants more power.

For Hollywood and the music industry, the current legal system is not enough.  Now they want to interfere with businesses’ abilities to continue to do business.  Both the MPAA and the RIAA have tried various mechanisms to gain control over stopping piracy without involving the courts.  The entertainment industry wants direct unfettered access into businesses to force them to stop ‘enabling’ the alleged pirates.  No due process, no courts, no guilt or innocence determination in a court of law.  No, all of this they want outside of the courts.  They want to tell someone to stop doing something without any due diligence or fiduciary responsibility. “Oops, we made a mistake?  My Bad. Tee hee.”

Legalized Tortious Interference

With SOPA, this goes one step further and effectively becomes legalized tortious interference.  So what is tortious interference?  Simply put, it’s when a random third party steps into a two party contract and causes one party in the contract to breach the contract for the other party.  That is, the third party prevents a party in a contract from being able to fulfill their contractual obligations.  How does SOPA do this? It does this by forcing banks or other financial institutions to stop transactions to one of their customers on a third party say alone.  It does this by asking DNS registrars to disable domain names and prevent web sites from functioning without any court determination of guilt or innocence, again, on say alone.

Guilty until proven innocent

Clearly, our legal system and government system is broken.  More than that, our legal system is taking a huge step backwards. Back to a time before the US adopted ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.  Clearly, this mantra means little in the legal system today. With an adoption of SOPA or PIPA, we would always be presumed guilty until proven innocent.  Those in the entertainment industry are severely undermining our legal infrastructure and, if you also happen to be a conspiracy theorist, systematically dismantling it with the help of of the US Congress no less.

Internet Piracy and the end of independent artists

The music and movie industries have yet to prove substantial losses regarding piracy, yet they continue on this legal tirade that attempts to systematically destroy our current legislative system with such overreaching laws as SOPA and PIPA.  So overreaching, in fact, that these acts need no court interaction to remove alleged infringing sites from the internet without any court due process or a trial by peers.  They offer no way to prove innocence easily or to refute any claims alleged.  Simply put, the entertainment industries want to control businesses at a fundamental level outside of the courts.  They simply want to call up GoDaddy and say, “You have a site that is infringing, take it down” and GoDaddy must comply with no questions asked. This is the entertainment industry’s ultimate goal:

  • No legal system involvement
  • Forced compliance
  • No due process
  • No refuting copyright claims allowed
  • Instant removal

Clearly, we don’t want to be here.  No single private industry should have that level of legislated control over any individual or business.  Even law enforcement shouldn’t have that level of control over individuals or businesses without due process.  The entertainment industry, let alone law enforcement should follow due process just like any other individual or business is required to do.  If one industry is given that level of government sanctioned legal control, this country will fall and it will fall hard.

If SOPA or PIPA pass, we will move into a new dark age.  An age without new books, new music or new creative works of any kind (other than those that the music and movie industries want us to see).  The age of independent creative works will end.  The age of creative new web sites will end. Eventually, even Hollywood and the music industry will end because of the negative backlash over the lack of substantial creative content… ultimately leaving no creative works of any kind.  Independent creative people will stop creating because SOPA will have been so completely abused people won’t set up new sites for fear of a SOPA backlash.  Existing businesses will stop doing business with anyone involved in creative works (and let’s hope that includes Hollywood).

Censorship

Part of the SOPA and the PIPA drafts suggest that ISPs adhere to a browsing blacklist.  That is, ISPs would be required to prevent access to sites that are ‘known pirate’ sites.  This is allegedly to target non-US sites, but it could just as easily target sites within the US.  ISPs are and should be treated as a common carrier.  That is, what is carried over their lines is not their responsibility either in or out.  Requiring ISPs to become filters for the government and the entertainment industries is, again, overreaching.  There is no need for this.  I do understand what the MPAA and RIAA are both trying to do. But, instead of using censorship to block sites, they should simply go after the site directly.  Do not censor everyone else’s view of the Internet because of an suspected problem.  Again, this is simply like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  No, just throw the bathwater out .. meaning, if a site becomes a problem, go after that specific site.  Don’t require ISPs to block access to the site for every subscriber in the US.  Censorship is not an acceptable problem resolution in any form here in the US.  That representatives and senators are even considering this is amazingly chilling.

Chilling effects

Legislation like SOPA is chilling.  It should not ever be passed. This legislation is the wrong legislation at the wrong time and for the wrong industry.  No one industry should wield that level of unregulated power towards any other industry.  The DMCA attempted that level of control but failed to work. SOPA is the next step to come out of the DMCA, but it is far too overreaching. Worse, this type of legislation needs to end before the United States as we know it ceases to exist.  With legislation like SOPA, the US is leading itself to its own demise.  We are, in effect, legislating the US out of existence and SOPA is just one step towards that end.

Consider who the major players are in Hollywood and in the music industry. Most of the players are not even US companies. Again, a conspiracy theorist could have a field day with all of this.

I’m sorry to say that entertainment is the least of this country’s worries, let alone the entertainment industry.  They can fend for themselves.  Boo Hoo, the movie and music industry might have lost 50 cents because someone allegedly downloaded a song or watched a movie online. Show us the numbers!  The entertainment industry already has laws and the court system to back them up with both patent and copyright infringement claims.  There is no need for any further legislation on this front. The US needs to focus its efforts on the economy and keeping this country afloat. The US is not responsible for propping up industries that can’t even properly manage themselves.  Let’s let Hollywood and big music figure out how to manage themselves using the existing laws.

More then that, let’s make these industries first prove substantial losses to piracy before we give them any level of power, let alone this level. Just say ‘No’ to SOPA and PIPA. Write your congressional representatives and ask them to not support this legislation.

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