I want to be oblivious, people, I truly do. I want to zombify myself into a nirvana of not knowing, not doubting, not seeming the obvious. I keep telling myself, "No, Obama is good, he will deliver on his campaign promises - eventually. Or at least he'll give a very nice speech explaining why he couldn't. And no, he is not in favor of strengthening governmental restrictions to the point where our every breath is regulated, and by "our" I mean that of the regular folks, not the banks, never that." But you can only be oblivious for that long before you can't disregard evidence any longer. Take this beautiful piece of news, for example:
The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress "in the very near future."
It's also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect. Those disclosures came from a report released today by Victoria Espinel, whom President Obama selected as the first intellectual property enforcement coordinator and was confirmed by the Senate in December 2009. There's no detail about what the proposed law would include, except that it will be based on a white paper of "legislative proposals to improve intellectual property enforcement," and it's expected to encompass online piracy. The 92-page report (PDF) reads a lot like a report that could have been prepared by lobbyists for the recording or movie industry: it boasts the combined number of FBI and Homeland Security infringement investigations jumped by a remarkable 40 percent from 2009 to 2010.
Nowhere does the right to make fair use of copyrighted material appear to be mentioned, although in an aside on one page Espinel mentions that the administration wants to protect "legitimate uses of the Internet and... principles of free speech and fair process."It would have been nice, of course, if during his election campaign Obama had told all those bloggers and Facebook/Twitter users who were doing so much to put him in office, "Prepare, folks! In return for all your Internet activism on my behalf, I will slap you with a list of regulations, rules, FBI and Homeland Security investigations so long that the most anti-libertarian amongst you will secretly start collecting Ayn Rand's books. I will make you realize that what movie and recording industry have achieved with their lobbying for copyright restrictions is nothing compared to what will be done to your free and unimpeded use of the Internet. We will now supervise every breath you take online, and isn't that amazing? Yes, we can do this to you, Internet users. Yes, we can, indeed!"
What's so frustrating is that while the economy continues to tank, both major political parties are only interested in finding new and inventive ways of policing us into the ground. The Republicans want to police our bodies with their tightening of anti-abortion regulations, while the Democrats want to police our thinking and free expression.
I know that I have now angered both the Democratic and the Republican readers of my blog but I don't care. Unless we all snap out of our partisan oblivion as soon as possible, nothing is going to get better.
Thanks for the link, Mike!