Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

Wikigeddon Is Upon Us. Oh My!—What The SOPA/PIPA Controversy May Mean

17 Jan


Stop SOPA and PIPA

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Wikigeddon Is Upon Us.  Oh My!—What The SOPA/PIPA Controversy May Mean

By Roger Lee, the History Guy

As the world prepares for Wikigeddon, also known as the “Blackout” of Wikipedia and Reddit, and other, less significant websites over proposed anti-piracy legislation, the question comes up, just what is SOPA and PIPA going to do to the internet if passed by Congress and signed by President Obama?

Depending on what sources you look at, these bills will either wipe out freedom on the internet, including Wikipedia, YouTube, Reddit, and many other popular sites, or, it will merely prevent off-shore websites from selling fraudulent goods by allowing courts to order domain servers to shut down those offending sites.

For proponents of SOPA and PIPA, as well as for their opponents, there appears to be no middle ground.  But what would they do if passed into law?  Not being a lawyer, I daresay I don’t really know, and most of the pundits on the internet do not know either, but they prefer not to admit that uncomfortable truth.  What I DO know about our legal and political system, is that regardless of whatever the law’s proponents say now, only the court system will actually be able to tell us what the consequences may be, and that will only happen after someone, or some internet entity, has suffered actual damages  as a result of SOPA/PIPA enforcement. 

As I sat down to weigh the pros and cons of this blackout set for January 18, I came to the conclusion that from a purely selfish point of view, the Wikipedia blackout could benefit my own website,, because Wikipedia is one of’s main competitors for website visitors.  Many of the pages are at or near the top of the Google Search Results Pages, and often, if not for Wikipedia, my pages would get the better ranking.  For example, a Google search for “Gulf War,” puts Wikipedia’s entry as the first search result, and the page on the Gulf War as the second result.  If, as the naysayers predict, SOPA passes, and sites like Wikipedia are in peril, then logically, the site, which is 95% original content (the rest being public domain items like the 1707 Act of Union Between England and Scotland), would benefit. 

Despite this supposition, the fact that the internet has grown and developed to the point where it now shapes daily life, lifestyles, news, politics, industry, and so much more, is largely due to the freedom of individuals to experiment, dream, and develop new ideas without fear that the government will shut them down due to a piece of legislation allegedly designed to halt online piracy, theft, and fraud.  Those problems are real, and need to be addressed by legislation designed with a more narrow and specific focus.  Congress should scrap SOPA and PIPA, return to the drawing board, and create new proposals that do not put the fear of authoritarian government crackdowns on those who publish, create, develop new ideas on the internet.  Stop SOPA!




Passing the Buck, and Hurting the War Effort

30 Apr

You have to look carefully in the newspapers to see it.  An enigmatic
title that evokes memories of the "Drug Czar" position from
administrations past.  The new phrase is "War Czar," and the first I
saw it, the news stories were saying that the Bush Administration was
having trouble finding anyone who would take the job.

So, what
is a "War Czar" to do, if one is ever found?  As envisioned by Stephen
Hadley, the National Security Adviser, the person who takes this job
will be responsible for briefing the president every day regarding the
ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  This person would also have the
authority to tell the various members of the president’s Cabinet what
to do. 

The problem is, no one seems to want the job.  At
least three retired 4-star generals have turned down the offer of a job
managing the wars.  Comments have been made that Hadley, the National
Security Director, is farming out an important part of his job,
possibly to pass any failures of policy off to the new person.  Maybe.
Other comments criticize the president for farming out HIS job.
Maybe.  As I see it, the biggest failure (among the individuals
involved), is that of the retired military officers who turned the job

Retired or not, they made a career of serving their
nation, and now, when their Commander-in-Chief calls on them to help
direct the wars against our enemies, the wars in which our servicemen
and women are dying almost daily, the wars which, if we fail, could
expand into more dangerous regional conflicts, they just said "no
I think those generals have turned their backs on their
country.  It is true that the president has not done a good job of
inducing a sense of national sacrifice or ownership of the wars, as FDR
did in World War Two, but these generals should know better. 

they cannot stand up and show the nation what is needed to win these
wars, (because the president sure can’t do that), then who will?  Would
Patton, or Eisenhower, or Marshall, or Bradley, or MacArthur turn down
a similar request from their president?  Hell no!


$400 haircuts while appealing to the Average Joe

29 Apr

Just wondering how it is that we always seem to have candidates who say they want to appeal to the average voter, and who say that despite their relatively immense wealth, they are really just like the rest of us.

What malarkey!  When John Edwards spends $400 to get his hair cut by a Hollywood hair stylist (not a barber, but a "stylist") how on earth are we to take him seriously when he blathers on about understanding the problems that poor people suffer?  And compared to him, most folks are poor.

Edwards often recites the story of how his dad was a poor millworker, and they all grew up in poverty.  He made his money as a trial lawyer, so, yes, he did make his money by earning it, unlike the Kennedy and Bush clans.  And, yes, he has the right to spend or waste his money as he sees fit.  But this man is running for President, and he is running with a campaign theme of "help the poor."  I don’t think he gets it.  He is contradicting himself by acting like a rich man with money to burn while at the same time he is bemoaning the state of this nation’s poor.

Bill Clinton, for all of his personal faults, came from basically a middle-class background, and was not a wealthy man until after his presidency was over.  For most of their marriage, his lawyer wife made more money than he did.  The $200,000 presidential salary was the most he had made up to that point in terms of salary.  When  he said that he understood people’s pain, it was believable.  John Edwards can’t get away with that one.  And neither can Romney, nor most of the candidates from either party.

A good column to read on the Edwards haircut issue is written by Leonard Pitts, Jr.  He is a columnist for the Miami Herald, and  he usually writes common sense articles on politics, culture, and life in America.  Read his column on the $400 haircut at


Kucinich-Up Close and Personal

02 Apr

Dennis Kucinich, probably the most liberal/progressive candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, visited Tacoma, Olympia, and Aberdeen (in Washington State), on Friday, March 30, and I had the opportunity to see and hear him speak.

Now, let me say out in front that his politics are a bit far to the left for me on several issues, but I did come away very impressed by his demeanor, intelligence, and his sense of humor.  The event in Aberdeen, held at the Bishop Performing Arts Center at Grays Harbor College, was free to the public.  Between two and three hundred people attended, and, given volume of applause, and the lack of hecklers or even critical questions, (yes, he took unedited questions from the audience!), I assume most in attendance were favorable to his comments and opinions. 

He criticized President Bush, as expected, but some of his harshest comments were directed at his fellow Congressional Democrats!  He basically accused them of being no better than Republicans when it comes to dealing with the War in Iraq.  Kucinich called the debate on the Iraqi "surge" a fake debate, and a waste of time.  He informed the audience of a vote in Congress the day before which basically gave President Bush enough money to carry on the war through July, 2009, well past the end of his presidency.  The next day, I saw that CNN reported on that same information.

All in all, while I don’t think Kucinich has much chance to overtake Hillary, Obama, or Edwards, if we had a vote on intelligence, honesty, and "normal human beingness," he would get my vote.  He speaks his mind, and to heck with whether or not it is politically correct.  He does not pander to his audience, like many office-seekers do, and that will cost him a chance to truly win.  Issues and politics aside, the American people DO need more candidates at all levels who are as open and forthright as Congressman Kucinich.

Oh, and his British-born wife, Elizabeth, also spoke, talking about the 9/10 Forum, a plan to discuss how people viewed the world before the 9/11 attacks.  She is quite striking, a tall redhead who contrasts sharply to her much shorter husband, and it is obvious that she could hold her own in a speaking forum with the other candidates wives (plus Bill, of course).

Links to articles on Kucinich’s visit to Aberdeen, Tacoma, and Olympia:



02 Apr

Welcome to "Politics, Presidents, and Elections..Oh My!", a new blog on, you guessed it, POLITICS!

My goal is to be a fairly unbiased observer and commentator on American politics and government.  So, what do I mean by "unbiased?"  I am not going to rant and rave about how one party is great, and the other party (or parties) are basically the spawn of the devil, or anything like that.  I do have opinions, and you will see those opinions, but I see positives in almost all of the current crop of presidential candidates. I like to think of my writings to be political, but not overly partisan.

So stop on by and check out my postings and comment on them as you wish. 


Roger Lee

p.s.  In case you wondered, the title refers to a comment by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  Her comment was "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears..Oh My"  And, did you know that the original Wizard book was, in addition to being a children’s tale, an allegory to the politics of the Populist Era?