politics

Things That Make You Go, "WTF?!"

Good morning, folks. I hope your weekend was better than mine. I've got some caffeine and a bit of a rant brewing.

It is, of course, an election year and therefore everyone and their mother is sticking some appendage into their mouth or talking out of their ass.

By now you've probably heard about Republican candidate Todd Akin's outrageous and egregious claim about "legitimate rape" not leading to pregnancy. If you didn't, allow me to inform you. The Missouri nominee for a senate seat said,

"From what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy as a result of rape is] really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."

Oh, sweethearts and dear ones, I don't know where to start with this one. Okay, that's a bit of a fib, I know exactly where I want to start, but I understand that some of you may not want to get into politics. That's fine. Those of you who do...let's get together after the jump and dive into the cesspool that is Horribly Stupid Soundbytes from Political Figures!

*Possible trigger warning. We will be talking about rape/sexual assault. 

Okay...for one moment let's forget that this is even about abortion. Okay? We're not going to talk about pro-choice/pro-life, ultrasounds, birth control or women's rights. We're going to focus solely on this gem of ignorance brought to us from Mr. Akin.

"Legitimate Rape"  What in the bloody blue blazes of Satan's scrotum constitutes "legitimate rape"? Here's how I understand it: Person A makes an unwanted sexual advance on Person B. Person B makes it known through physical cues or a simple "no" that these advances are unwanted. When Person A presses the issue and forces sexual activity to happen... this equals rape.

I know that our society likes to muddy the waters by taking pages from the Blame the Victim playbook. Rather than educate our youth that rape is wrong, we're telling our girls not to leave the house dressed like sluts. We're conditioning more women who will internalize assault as their fault and therefore be less likely to come forward. It does not help when judges let known rapists go because they feel the women were asking for it. It's true. Click the link and be prepared to calm your gag reflex.

So, is Mr. Akin saying that "legitimate rape" is one where a woman is ushered off the street into a back alley and violated by a stranger? According to Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), nearly 60% of all reported rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Does Mr. Akin feel that "date rape" is a sketchy area because clearly the woman wanted to be with this man, therefore, she can't possibly have been "legitimately raped"? I'd like to know what the would-be senator feels on this matter, but he hasn't clarified this statement. (Sure, he's walked it back and tried to weasel out of it, but he stayed away from explaining this particular phrase.)

Rape is rape. If Person A is told NO, but continues anyway? Done.

"A Really Rare Thing" Mr. Akin seems to be focusing on the idea that getting pregnant as a result of sexual assault is akin to finding a four-leaf clover. (We'll get to his reasoning why shortly, believe me.) But, there is some factual basis to this part. The US Department of Justice estimates that 5% of one-time unprotected sexual encounters will end in pregnancy. That's rather low, to be sure. There are many factors that may contribute to or skew this figure--particularly when trying to apply it to incidences of rape or incest--however, RAINN estimates that in one year, 3,204 assaults (out of the nationally reported 64,080) will end in pregnancy.

The frightening thing about RAINN's statistics, however, is that a woman is more likely to get pregnant from an assault than her attacker is to spend a single day in jail.

"...ways to shut that down..."

This is where Mr. Akin's statement takes a turn for the wacky and truly terrifying. While yes, we women are graced with a body that does amazing things in the nether regions, I think Mr. Akin gives a little too much credit to the feminine mystique. According to his statement, I've got a vagina rigged with trip wire, laser sensors and high explosives that James Bond couldn't get into with all the help from Q. And if he did manage to Mission: Impossible his way in there with his secret agent sperm, I'd have my uterus on lockdown faster than you could say Pussy Galore.

Look, it doesn't work that way. You see, a woman has no natural failsafe. Any college co-ed will tell you that we cannot will ourselves to Please God Don't Let Me Be Pregnant any more than a man can make one big boob by smooshing both of them together. We are not so in touch with our strange and mystical ovaries that we can make them stop the presses.

Funny thing: we all learned this in school. Biology class is nifty. Granted that Mr. Akin comes from the generation of "put an aspirin between your knees" birth control, but I'm pretty sure he went to school before No Child Left Behind started to dumb down the masses.

Akin says that he got this information from doctors. Unless those doctors are the same high school girls who think that you won't get pregnant if you have sex in a pool, spin around 3 times and bark like a dog after he comes... I'm dubious of Mr. Akin's sources. I'm betting they look like that guy up there.

At least he finishes off with a bang, that cooky Mr. Akin. He says that if our wily vaginas don't manage to purge the invader semen, the rapist should be punished. That's fantastic. I'm glad he's on our side. (See above reporting statistics and the average that 97% of rapists walk free.)

There Should Be Some Punishment Here's the thing: Would-Be-Lawmaker Todd Akin is right. There should be some punishment. Rapists should be held accountable, women should feel they can report these attacks without the blame-the-victim bullshit that inevitably ensues and we should live in a world where a football stadium full of people are not assaulted every year. However, there are these roadblocks standing in the way of that utopia. They're called "politicians". Redefining rape, trying to package rape and abortion, using them as wedge issues and ammunition in an onslaught against women's rights... Yeah, to put it bluntly, they suck. And there should be a punishment for that level of stupidity. It's fine to be that ignorant in the privacy of your own home, but when it affects my uterus, you're done.

It reminds me of John Waters (filmmaker of such cult classics as Hairspray, Cry-Baby and Pecker). He once said that if you go home with someone and you can't see any books, don't fuck them. I think we need to impose a similar rule in politics.

So, here's what I want you to do.

If you think that Akin and other such people seeking office on a platform that spews ignorance and outright lies.... Don't vote for them. Period. Don't let this shit into a position of power. If he doesn't have a grasp of 4th grade biology, he doesn't get to play with your rights or money. Savvy?

If you aren't sure, you're still on the fence and want to see what's what? Pick up a book. Educate yourself. Scour Google for hours and use reputable sources, not just Wikipedia. Feed your head with knowledge, then, once you've done that... Don't vote for this shit.

If you agree with Mr. Akin and think he speaks gold-plated gospel... DON'T VOTE. Period. It's your civil right to vote, sure, but if you're completely off reality and scientific fact in the process, you've ceased to live in our country and now inhabit the same plane as unicorns, snozwankers and vermicious knids. Feel free to blow bubbles into your chocolate milk and fuck some electric sheep, but please, don't screw up my reality because you've abandoned it.

Nerdmaste, my friends.

EDIT 8pm, 8/20 - Two things have been brought to my attention since I posted this this morning and I wanted to give them a place here. 1) A dear friend of mine made the comment, "No doesn't mean no. No is implied until removed." This is an excellent point. She went on to explain that the burden of consent should not be on the victim, yet that is where we place it. She finishes off her statement saying that if there is already a blanket consent--for example, in a pre-existing relationship--it is up to the "victim" to communicate when sex is off limits. I think she's got an amazing point when it comes to where we place the burden of consent. It's something to think on.  And 2) Someone shared this open letter to Todd Akin by renowned feminist and writer Eve Ensler. Read it. Have kleenex handy. --jw

Sluts and Sports

So there's a lot going on in the news to talk about, and anyone who's read my blog for any amount of time knows that I have a plethora of opinions. Rather than rant at length about All The Things, though, I'm just going to condense things down a bit. Join me. Let's chat.Sports: I'm an Indy girl, born and raised, and I hate to see what's going on with my Colts. Last week, owner Irsay decided it would be in the club's best interests to cut Peyton Manning. Alright, after last season and a nebulous future and your new golden boy Andrew Luck waiting in the wings, I can see where that might make sense in someone's mind. I'm sad that Peyton is leaving the team, but hope he finds a new home where he can play out his remaining years and thrive. (If that place happened to be Phoenix, Arizona, I would be ecstatic. Just sayin', love. Come to the desert. You'd look spectacular in red.) I'll still cheer on my Colts and I'll still root for my #18 every week wherever he lands. I'm grateful to him for all he did for Indy as a player and as a member of our community. And even with all the cash he gets for breaking those records, the man has class. Love love love my Peyton.But could someone please tell me what Irsay was smoking when he thought it would be brilliant to pack up pretty much the whole damn starting offensive line and send them off in a Mayflower truck? I mean, has Irsay discovered some new tropical hallucinagen? I have heard the argument that "well, when you're rebuilding a team you need to cut the old players who won't be around much longer to afford new players who can grow together". Bollocks! What about having veterans to coach your young blood and temper fresh talent with wisdom?

The mood around Indy this week has been like a funeral and it's not hard to understand why. I remember the 80s and 90s. I remember the days of Jeff George. (*shudder*) I remember when every week Indy watched the Colts suck monkey taint while other teams stomped our defensive line into the end zone to use as fertilizer. Back then, a local musician named Duke Tumatoe penned a song. Every Friday the song would be played as a kind of rain dance hoping that the gods would deliver touchdowns to our dehydrated Colts. I haven't heard that song in an age because it hasn't been needed with Peyton around. Now, though, it seems it's time to dust it off and start crooning. Lord, help our Colts.

Women's Health: Every day I get an email from someone wanting to make my dick bigger, harder, stronger to give her great stony pleasure. Usually this is in the form of a cock-enhancing drug. And I don't even have a penis. Junk mail at its worst. I mean, I at least have a roof or a carpet, so those ads for carpet cleaners could be useful, but without a penis, Viagra is just entirely out. One thing I've never gotten, though, is an email offering me contraceptives or an abortion. At least those would be anatomically correct. But, it seems that once again my vagina is getting me into trouble simply by being. You all know what I'm talking about and if you don't you must live in a media-free vacuous hole that even the Amish look upon with awe and wonder. Santorum, Rush, state legislatures ... riddle me this...
What the fuck is going on with the political war on women's health?
Look, I get it that there are people who have objections to birth control. I also understand that some people see abortion as murder. I'm willing to have civil discourse over this. Me? I'm pro-choice, plain and simple. I have a daughter, so obviously you know what my personal choice was, but I respect your right to make whatever decision you and yours feel is best for your situation. Done. Period. I won't begrudge you your opinions.
However, when you start trying to make and enforce laws that would violate another human being's body, laws that are specifically designed to humiliate and remove a person's choice of how and when to reproduce? That's when I get a little bit miffed. These same people who say that a woman who uses the Pill is a slut are the ones who see no problem with floods of emails busking for Viagra.
Are we really having this conversation now? A woman who is being responsible for herself and her partner is suddenly a prostitute and should have no problem shaming herself YouTube for all to see. Do I have that right? A woman's body is to be used by men specifically for pro-creative sex (sometimes with the help of Four-Hour Boner Juice) and the only choice she's allowed to make is whether or not she opens her legs. Do I understand?
Bullshit.
Put your probes away. Educate yourselves on what a woman's body does, how and why it does it and how contraception helps those actions run smoothly. Quit your male posturing and sit the fuck down with your happy blue pills, a bottle of Lubriderm and a box of Kleenex.

Stompy Boots

Hello, my loves. I come to you today not with silliness or heartwarming tales of my home life. No, today I come to you with a certified, 100% pure, uncut Wahine-style rant of the ages. Oh holy shit, I'm primed on this one. Allow me to just tell you right now: THERE WILL BE PROFANITY. Lots of it, probably. I've been incensed and I'm ready spit fiery porcupine quills in the general direction of this woman's face. Lace up your boots and come watch me kick in the teeth of a festering boil on the ass crack of humanity. So, today's rant comes to us from Liz Trotta, a contributor on (shock and awe) Fox "News". Either she's a satirical artist who just needs some time to hone her craft or she's a fucking nutjob.

So, the Pentagon recently reported that sex crimes committed by army personnel has gone up 64% in the past six years. A statistic bandied about in the Pentagon's study said that in 2011 every 6.5 hours, a US soldier committed a violent sex act. This is higher than the civilian population rates and is based on the 3200 crimes that were reported for that year. Considering how many sex crimes go unmentioned...? Yeah. Staggering numbers. The wording is a bit sketchy, but I believe this number pertains specifically to the assault of military service members by their peers. Soldier on soldier abuse. Security measures are being taken to protect our servicemen and women from these crimes, but they still happen. According to the Pentagon's numbers, domestic abuse and child abuse in the homes of US army personnel is on the rise as well. Initial reactions by officials are that the soldiers with PTSD are more likely to resort to violence.

Now... I look at this report and I see a few things that jump out at me.

  • First and foremost, we're not taking care of our military when they come home. I know from the experience of friends who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq that it's no picnic. Period. You do the best you can with what you're given. When they come home, though, we're not taking care of them. Our soldiers need mental and physical support on the homefront to deal with the hell they've been through while away at war.
  • The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are taking their toll on our people in ways that are kept in the shadows.  We think we're safe on this shore. No, we don't have car bombs or riots in the streets. There aren't rockets blowing up fifty yards from your office. But we're not okay here. We are not unscathed.
  • Gender is not specified, so it can (and does) go both ways.
So, are we all on the same page? The soldiers that have been giving up their sanity, homes, jobs and families (you know, the parts of their lives that aren't just biological processes) to go thousands of miles from home to sit in a desert where things explode all around them and people shoot at them all day... yeah, those people... anyway, they're turning on one another (at home and overseas) and on their families when they get home. (**Please know that when I say, "they", this is an obvious generalization. Not all soldiers cope with their demons in the same ways. Some have tremendous support networks even if the government doesn't provide it to them.**)
When Fox "News" ran a piece about women serving closer to the front lines, they turned to pundit Liz Trotta (the previously-mentioned object of my unholy wrath) to weigh in on the subject. She brought up the Pentagon's study in her interview. What was her reaction as a professional and as a woman? Let's take a look. Let's let Liz tell us what she thinks about this horrific insight into our failure to take care of our troops...
Let's just distill that to its finest point, shall we? "What did they expect?" Seriously? Fucking seriously? Oh, Liz, where do we begin with the myriad ways you've proven yourself to be a daft twat? How about this...?
FIRST of all, you've taken the Pentagon's findings and immediately made assumptions that women are the victims. Now, while that may be accurate, it is, at this point, an assumption on your part. Poor journalism on your part. Strike number one.
SECONDLY, you have just joined a sad group of our society that looks at sexual assaults and automatically assigns blame not to the criminal but to the victim. I don't care if you're a man, woman, gay, straight, lesbian, child, or a purple snouth from the planet Kuzbain: If you say 'no', and someone forcibly brings harm to your body, you are a victim. And there's a stigma to the word, but fuck that. Bad things happen to people and when they do, they shouldn't be harassed about it to add further insult to injury. A victim's emotion and stress and need for healing is valid. Period.
Also, along this same point, let's not forget that sexual assault is not an act of sex, it's about control and will. This pisses me off to no end that our society--Puritanical and strangely bent on sexualizing everything--still sees rape as something that must involve a penis, and therefore, must be solely about that most taboo subject that is sex. It's not. Sex crimes are about taking. The rapist isn't stealing a stereo or mugging someone for extra cash, nor are they just trying to get off. No, a rapist s/he's actively seeking to rob someone of their control. *That* is currency. A dominance of will. It's a power thing. Sex crimes involve terrorism and physical violence. Either Liz Trotta has had the good fortune to never have experienced a sex crime (first hand or through a friend/family member), or she needs a few rounds of therapy to help her with the self-loathing she's got going on.
Seriously, Liz, you're going to sit there with your face hanging out and tell me that a woman who wants to serve her country by laying down her life to take up arms... you're telling me that she should expect that rape or assault comes part and parcel with her oath? Fuck. You. Regardless of gender a person should never be told to take rape as just part of the job. It's like the shit argument of "well, when you go out looking like that, what do you expect?" That doesn't jive in the military population since everyone's wearing the same thing and it's not all flash and short skirts. And it doesn't flow in the civilian world, either. Why? Because there is this thing called respect for others. We shouldn't be teaching our girls that a bright shade of lipstick and a low-cut blouse are an invitation to be raped, we should be teaching everyone (boys and girls) that no means fucking no! Respect. Self-responsibility. Liz, you've just joined every jock on every 80's after school special who grinned and drawled, "She was asking for it." Fuck. You.
THIRD: You're bitching that this is a web of red tape strung up by feminists just to spend your tax dollars on helping women who've been raped? Seriously? Liz is bitching about feminists and that's fine (masochistic, but fine). However, could someone triple check me on something? Go look at the video. In the sidebar within the first few seconds, her credentials slide by. It says that she is the first woman to cover a war for broadcast  news. Gee, if you don't like feminists, maybe you should head back to the kitchen, put on your lipstick and start making a sammich. Turn over that journalism degree from Columbia. Stop taking royalties on those books you've published. Just shut up like a good little woman and use the 19th Amendment for a tampon.
FOURTH! (and this one burns me up...) She says that pressure from feminists has built this web of bureaucracy to "support women in the military who are now being raped too much".  Oh, fuck, where do I start with this sentence? Like it's such a sin to support women. Let's pass that for a moment and move to my favorite part... "support women who are" what? Being raped too much. Too much. Because once should just be overlooked? As if it's like hot dogs where there's an acceptable about of rat shit that can go into the food before the FDA gets pissed. What the fuck is this!? Let's just say this in nice big letters that everyone will be able to read:
IT SHOULD NEVER BE ACCEPTABLE TO RAPE/ASSAULT SOMEONE!
And then, (FIVE) the Fox "News" anchor actually stands up for lady soldiers, agrees that women need support and protection and what does Liz do? The cunt sneers and laughs! When a FOX NEWS anchor has to tell you the difference between right and wrong, you've got issues. AND THEN (six), she digs the hole deeper with this gem:
"That's funny. I thought it was the mission of the [Armed Forces] to defend and protect us, not the people who were fighting the war."
Holy shit, you want to talk about a sense of entitlement? Listen, you crotchety old bag of lipstick, your logic here is severely flawed. I'm not sure if it's the senility settling in or brain damage of another sort, but allow me to educate you on a few things. A) Yes, the Armed Forces are there to defend the country and its citizens. B) That's not funny. Not at all.   It goes like this, Liz. We don't conscript our soldiers from slave populations. We don't outsource them like your tech support team for your iPhone. Our soldiers are us. They're your neighbors, they teach your grandchildren, they sit across from you in church. They have just as much to fight for--if not more--than you do, you fucking hag. Do you know what they've sacrificed? Do you have any earthly clue what the soldiers and their families go through in the name of "defending and protecting" you?
In case you haven't noticed it a camp in the middle of Afghanistan isn't exactly luxury accommodation. When your husband is gone for months at a time and you have to be both mother and father to your children during that time, it's not something that lands you on the cover of Vogue. If you're lucky enough to have your spouse come home with all limbs in tact, what about their mind? Have you ever had to kill someone Liz? Have you ever had to duck and cover because a missile hit the building less than a football field away? Have you had to watch a friend die or hold his organs in his body while waiting for help? Have you had to raise a family alone because your husband is serving his country?
I know for a fact I couldn't do it. I couldn't be an Army wife like my friend April. I couldn't be a soldier like Sgt. Tydings. I couldn't do it. It takes stones and it takes sacrifice to wear a uniform for your country. They deserve honor and respect, but you've just raised your voice with the others who make our wounded warriors feel like it is truly a thankless job. They deserve ticker tape parades and more, they deserve your gratitude. But you laugh instead. You snark off.
And now you'd take dignity away on top of that? Go to Hell, lady.
Fuck off, Liz Trotta. You're a disgrace to journalism. You're a horrible woman. You're a pitiful excuse for a human being. Shut. Up.

An Open Letter To The American Government

(What follows is ranty and political. If you'd rather not read that, you are free to click away and enjoy your day. You are also free to read and add your thoughts. Either way, thank you for even coming to this blog. Nerdmaste - J)
Dear Elected Officials, Senators, Congresspersons, Whips, Speakers, Leaders and President Obama:
Grow up.
Kindergartners behave better than the lot of you right now. I hesitate to compare you to children because that is an insult to most kids to lump them with you. You are playing a game and using the American people as pawns, bargaining chips and hostages. You seem to be suffering from a collective amnesia or blindness (or both), so allow me to educate you on a few things.
The American people—all 100% of us—are your employers. We pay your salaries with our tax dollars. We trust that you are capable of doing the job we hired you for. What is that job? To represent our interests and protect us, to uphold the Constitution and maintain our freedoms. So far, though, you are all laying down on the job. You’re trying to pass bills that are not just un-Constitutional they are anti-Constitutional. They fly against the principles you’re touting on the campaign trail. You’re taking handouts from lobbyists and pandering to the rich, you are instigating and fueling class warfare and income inequality. You keep thumping the podium about jobs jobs jobs, but what about yours? Those of us who work for a living would have been fired if we’d behaved like the lazy, belligerent employees you are.
You’ve stopped listening to the American people in favor of sweet words from those who will line your pockets and keep you in the cushy lives to which you’ve become accustomed. What was that you were saying about entitlement?

You say that you're against "BIG GOVERNMENT" then you want to make federal mandates on who can or can't marry? What a woman can or can't do with her own body? What grown adults can or can't do in their recreational time?  Right. You say you're for tax breaks then turn around and vote them down specifically because you want to be contrary and get this or that guy out of office.

Your actions of late have proven that you are callow, petty people. Politicking, bickering, these little staring contests and threats that you see as meeting partisan goals are not victimless games. It’s not like chess or RISK or Candyland where you can just get up from the table when it’s done. You are playing with real people and their lives. Real people with families, responsibilities, dreams, diseases, problems, hopes… you are messing with the American people.
Do you remember what happens, historically, when someone messes with America? It usually doesn’t end well. We can start with Great Britain back in the 18th century. I’m sure you remember that.
This is our country. All of us live here together. When you set out to be contrary just to make the other party look bad, it hits us first. You think the wealth will trickle down? Floodwaters rise from the bottom up and right now you’re threatening to break the levy. If we drown, so will you. There won’t be an Americaleft for you to play with, no more lobbyists to pad your bank accounts, no more voters to send you to your Washingtonplay ground.
Snap out of it. Grow up. Remember who you are and what your jobs are.
You are representatives and employees of the American people. You are there to uphold the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and make sure our voices are heard.
Do your job.
SOPA and NDAA need to go away.
Pass the payroll tax cuts.
Quit the bullshit and games.
Your employer,
Jamie Wyman
Phoenix, AZ

Freedom Fries

So back in the 90s there was this television show called Bablyon 5. Over the 5 year story arc the Earth Alliance goes from your standard Sci-Fi-Peaceful-Explorer to a fascist police state. And quickly. First, the president is assassinated and the murder is pinned on aliens. The new president, along with friends in powerful places, begins the propaganda machine through ISN (CNN essentially). President Clark also creates the Ministry of Peace--an organization to monitor and protect the citizens of Earth Alliances from domestic threats. A sub-group called Nightwatch puts citizens on guard against one another. "If you see something, tell someone" is the rule of it. Anything that speaks out against the President or his decisions is seen as treason. Dissidents are arrested and punished. Media blackout occurs. ISN can only report what is screened by the President's colleagues. When members of Earth Alliance break away to stand up against Clark, EA forces are sent in. War breaks out as citizens protest for their freedoms until finally Clark calls martial law.

Watching that plot unfold is pretty scary. To see a government quickly turn on its people for power under the guise that it's "in their best interests"? It's enough to make you glad we don't live in that sci-fi world. But if you look around at 2011 Earth...do you see it? It's not science fiction anymore.

let's talk.... Right now in America things are getting...dicey? Weird? Scary? Our economy is bad and we all know it. The media spew out figures and opinions and doctored "facts" to perpetuate fear. Everything from job security to tainted meat to terrorist threats: it's all fear-mongering. Fear keeps you in your chair. Pass the popcorn.

Things are bad.

Various groups are trying to do something about it. The Occupy movement is one such group. They see what's wrong and regardless of your personal opinion they are doing what they think is best for people as a whole. They want the bought Congress gone. They want to steer us away from the oncoming cataclysm. They are people trying to staunch the flow of our country bleeding out.

The wounds aren't wars--although they are symptoms. The wounds are with words and ideas.

There are two bills up for passage right now that directly effect every American (foreign and domestic). The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) essentially trashes the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution that grants US citizens the right to due process. Your Miranda rights? That whole "innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers" thing? That's what the Sixth Amendment ensures for every American citizen. The police and government cannot detain indefinitely for no reason and suspicion isn't a reason. You must be charged to be held. The NDAA says that *anyone* including US citizens can be held in military custody indefinitely without charge or trial if they are suspected of terrorism. The Act also states that this will continue until the threat of terrorism is gone.

President Obama has said he would veto this bill if it came to his desk. Well, as of last night, he's changed his mind. The House passed the bill by a staggering margin and the Senate will vote later this week. It could be signed into law as soon as Wednesday.

UPDATE: As of 12/15/11, the NDAA passed the Senate (86-13). The President is expected to sign it into law quickly. Ironically, the vote comes on the day that celebrates the Bill of Rights. Funny, no?

The other bill on the table is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This bill gives more control to the government, law enforcement and copyright holders to restrict the traffic of pirated property. On the surface, that's not a bad idea. Digging deeper into the bill, however, we find that it allows for some pretty serious things. First off, it can go against *any* website foreign or domestic. Secondly, if a website is served with a court order to pull content, the companies that do business with that site (eg. Google, PayPal, etc) will *also* be served with notice to suspend that business indefinitely. The domino effect this can and will cause is catastrophic to Internet freedom.

Both of these bills are Republican creations. Both of them tighten the hold the government has on its people. For a party that fights regulation and touts their stance as "anti-Big-Government" they certainly are building a reservoir of power.

Look, I know some of you might be thinking, "But Jamie,  you're not a terrorist or an internet pirate so you're safe."

It's true: I'm not a terrorist nor do I pirate copyrighted material. However, the crux of the matter is that these bills set a precedent that the government can define "terrorism" and "piracy" as they wish then turn those rules against its citizens.

Do you remember how this spring the people of Egypt and Tunisia rose up against their governments? Remember that a lot of their messages were on Twitter and other social media sites? The Arab Spring has flourished because of the Internet and countries like Yemen, Syria and Libya are rising up to take control back from dictatorial regimes. It's still going on. Countries are still erupting with protests against the seated governments because they don't work for their people. This is page one on most magazines and newspapers around the world, but here Time magazine leads with "How Anxiety is Good For You".

The US has a problem. It's people are discontent with the power structure. Eyes are opening that we have a bought Congress, that something is incredibly wrong and it's not people who are openly gay serving in the military. Our government is broken and corrupt. Our system is breaking down from the inside and some people--regardless of party affiliation--seem to be hellbent on speeding it along to cataclysm. It's like they want the "world to end" in 2012 just to be right.

Look at the revolutions of history, the ones going on right now in the Middle East, and the ones going on right here. The people in power are scared because they see possibility. They see that what happened in Egypt could happen here, too. So, let's invent an executive power to censor the Internet so the protesters can't communicate so widely. Let's redefine terrorism and use that on our own people who disagree with the status quo. Those people could be called terrorists and hauled off to prisons like Gitmo without charge or trial and kept there. For thinking differently.

It could happen and it's terrifying.

Terrifying. Terror.

If these bills pass, the American principles of freedom will have vanished to be replaced with fear and intolerance. All in the name of "national security". We must protect ourselves from terrorists, right? Such a blanket term. Your rights come second to fighting that threat. That's what our government is telling us. Fuck, look at the TSA. Your Fourth Amendment rights are already in question with the scanning machines there.

This is how a democracy crumbles. This is how fascism rises to power.

If these bills pass, it will be the culmination of Osama bin Laden's far-reaching goal to dismantle the American way of life. If we lose our freedoms to our own government, the terrorists have won.