Tuesday, August 2, 2016

They Always Get What They Want

Way back on January 18th 2012 the fight against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act had reached it's end when the bill was unceremoniously dropped. The people had won. Led by major sites like Wikipedia and Google blackening their pages in protest, and key people like Aaron Swartz leading marches and rallies, they had bombarded congress with calls and letters. Fearing for their jobs (it was an election year), almost all support for the bill ended abruptly. The next day however, on the 19th, Megaupload.com was taken down by the FBI and members of its staff were charged with copyright infringement.

Many members of congress had been pushing SOPA and PIPA, backed by the movie and music industries for whom sites like Megaupload had been a problem for years. The CEO, Kim Dotcom, and the site staff disavowed all responsibility for what their members uploaded and did precious little to appease these media giants or help in their fight to curtail piracy. Had these laws passed, this website and many more like it would've been shut down immediately, but they didn't pass. Seeing their failure, authorities moved on a plan they already had in place anyway, regardless of it's questionable legality and did what the failed laws would've allowed, had they passed.

It's this "lose and win anyway" tactic the government employs that we find over and over throughout history and now it's been brought out again. On August 21st 2013, the Ghouta chemical attack in Syria killed anywhere from 281 to 1729 people and caused international outrage. The Syrian government claimed the rebels had done the attack even though 51 of the dead were rebels themselves, and the rebels blamed government soldiers. Leading members of our government, the loudest of whom being John McCain pushed for airstrikes and even further military action in response.

The people however, weren't ready for a third war after 12 years of continuous fighting. They poured out into the streets with "No War In Syria" signs and along with admonishment from Russia, vast letter and call campaigns pushed the President and congress to back down from their aggressive stance. John McCain and many other hawks in congress were "disgusted" and called the administration "spineless" in it's enforcement of the ban on chemical weapons.

A year after the chemical attack in Syria, almost to the day on August 19th 2014, a journalist named James Foley was beheaded by ISIS militants. We've been in Syria fighting them ever since.

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