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You've heard people say it. Whenever the discussion over the dinner table turns to Romney's lies, someone will remark, "Why, he'll just say ANYTHING to win!"

After a good segment about right-wing unscrupulousness on Rachel Maddow's show, someone will often reflect, "Those people will just do ANYTHING to win, won't they?"

We've indeed borne witness to some ugly conservative political campaigns in recent decades, with everything from race-baiting ads based on Big Lies to tinfoil-hat conspiracies made to cause rumor-panics to outright illegal gerrymandering & voter suppression.

But then, that's just the thing — for Republicans, it's not just about winning elections.


Your main motivation this election is:

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Until the day comes when those who use & enjoy online audio can do so without Big Business harassment, they will have to keep fighting battles like this.

This evening's Exhibit A: Google Inc. is currently hounding the popular YouTube To MP3 Converter, an especially user-friendly online tool letting users make MP3 files for personal use from the audio tracks from YouTube videos.

The site already had built-in mechanisms that screened out files that had DRM or related issues from being downloaded, nor does it even use the "YouTube API" software that Google claims is at issue — but never mind that, apparently the mere existence of such independent tools to enhance users' YouTube experience offends Google enough that they've sent in the legal trolls & blocked the software's access to YouTube videos.

More commentary & links below the Kos Divider...


Who is in the right?

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In the latest turn of events in the Congressional "cyberwar" saga, the Senate failed to invoke cloture to halt amendments on S 3414, the Lieberman-Collins "cybersecurity" bill. The vote was 52-46.

With Lieberman-Collins now dead & McCain's SECUREIT stuck in the swamp — & hence nothing forthcoming to conference with the horrifying, hateful cyber-Big-Brother bill CISPA from the House — the entire effort looks down & out for the year. That said, of course, we should keep our eyes open — not only on what Congress may try to pull during the the lame duck session, but also on plenty of other nasty, Internet-crippling legislation that's still on the table (such as the latest version of Lamar Smith's PCIPA).

While plenty of business interests that lobbied against the bill had gripes about how being made into Internet Thought Police for the NSA would hurt their own bottom lines, no doubt plenty of credit also goes to the thousands of calls, e-mails, & Tweets that ordinary users have made to the senators' offices in the last several days. As with the SOPA/PIPA fights, the Internet has shown itself to be a strong & growing political force this year.

(Relevant Techdirt article here)


As Joan McCarter diaried this week, the Senate's version of CISPA (S 3414, aka the Lieberman-Collins bill) has been granted cloture & will move to the amendment process on the Senate floor next week.

Among the interesting amendments is one that Chuck Schumer is proposing to add — & which several "prime movers" for S 3414 itself, including Diane Feinstein, support — namely, SA 2575, a gun-control amendment to ban high-capacity ammo magazines.

Several of the DLC sponsors of Lieberman-Collins, then, see the Schumer amendment as "icing on the cake" — support which likely gives it a good chance of making it into the bill — though, of course, if/when it does, then the entire bill will run afoul of those Republicans & Conservadems who would consider the amendment a "poison pill".

Big picture: No matter how "watered down" this bill is from its original language, remember that whatever comes out of this process will be conferenced with CISPA, an unmitigated disaster of a bill that will kill the Internet. Whatever your views on gun control, if a gun-control amendment can invoke the wrath of the Senate's bipartisan NRA faction enough to get us closer to the 51 votes needed to kill this bill, then I'm all for it.

Meanwhile, keep telling your Senator to oppose S 3414.


The PRO IP Act, which the Department of Justice has already used to hound Megaupload (in a case which is itself rapidly falling apart), has an outrageous & overreaching provision allowing the government to seize any material goods which their lawyers can argue as having been used in an act of "infringement".

As if that wasn't insanely bullying enough, the DOJ is currently abusing the same clause as cover to wreak on the Internet (a non-material good) what we all feared from SOPA — large-scale dragnet censorship of websites on behalf of corporations in what they are calling "Operation In Our Sites".

Among the hundreds of seized domains was music site Dajaz1, which the government, acting as enforcer for the RIAA & without any evidence of wrongdoing, buried for a year. Over 750 websites remain unfairly shut down. This is no less than seizure without due process in violation of the 5th Amendment, as well as prior restraint in violation of the 1st.

The White House website now has a petition to shut down this illegal censorship. Please either sign it or pass it on to let the DOJ know you won't stand idly by as they criminalize the Internet & its users.


I have just started a new Daily Kos group for Kossacks interested in good discussion, clear thinking, and the skills of sharp & meaningful debate for use at Daily Kos & life in general.

I want this to be a lively yet friendly group where people with many different opinions, interests, angles, & factions can come together to work on their argument & critical thinking skills, & hopefully sharpen their abilities to recognize good arguments, debunk bad ones, & debate political opponents.

As such, I welcome all "skill levels" — from professors, to high school debate captains, to people who just know something is wrong with that politician's talking point but just can't place it, to puzzle buffs who like playing with words & numbers... to Kossacks who just like to see or participate in rousing discussions!

Relevant diaries can come from a "pure" logic perspective, a math perspective, a political PR perspective, a puzzle & game perspective, an online forum-moderating perspective — basically any perspective that involves critical thinking, rational decision-making, &/or the art of argument.

The floor is now yours!


What I'd most like to learn from a Daily Kos logic/rhetoric series is:

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The US House of Representatives has officially gone insane.

What seems to have happened:
1. Ben Quayle, in the name of "limiting" the government's power, made CISPA massively worse by adding an amendment OK-ing the use of data gathered by CISPA under any claim of "protecting children", "protecting individuals", & prosecuting cybercrime;

2. Then, completely out of the blue, the House RAMMED THE BILL THROUGH IN A VOTE OF 248-168.

I am absolutely livid as I write this. This is outrageous. This is insanity. This is totalitarian.

This is completely and utterly un-American.

Our last best hope to salvage any right of online privacy & free speech now lies with a Senatorial "back-stop", or failing that, a veto from President Obama.

Good luck to us all.

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Remember those heady days of yesterday, when Mike Rogers brushed off the White House's veto threat against CISPA, claiming that a slew of amendments already addressed privacy concerns?

Well, forget about that. The House Rules Committee has decided that no amendments will be introduced in today's & tomorrow's scheduled discussion of the bill.

This means that CISPA's full-bore assault on our rights to privacy & free speech will not be softened in any way — except by killing the bill entirely. Accordingly, the Center for Democracy and Technology has returned to full-throatedly opposing it.

You still have time before the vote tomorrow afternoon to voice your opposition too.
Call, fax & e-mail NOW to save the Internet! It's up to you!


As Joan McCarter mentioned yesterday, the House of Representatives plans to vote on CISPA, yet another Internet-breaking bill that's loved by AT&T & the NSA and rightly excoriated by the ACLU & the EFF, on Thursday this week.

Tell them here & here what you think of Mike Rogers' latest attempt to destroy your right to free speech & privacy online in the name of "cyberwar".

Meanwhile, as with SOPA & PIPA, opposition is mounting not only from real cybersecurity experts, a group of whom have sent a letter to Congress explaining how many things are wrong with the Rogers bill from their professional perspective, but — even for this distinctly Republican-cosponsored bill — from a number of sources from their "side of the aisle", including Free Market Coalition (which includes Dick Armey's FreedomWorks) & even far-right demagogue Ron Paul (though, as with SOPA, the degree to which he understands the tech issues remains unclear).

Hopefully, this increasingly bipartisan opposition to CISPA will help consolidate a large enough Team No, or perhaps encourage the leadership to delay the vote in favor of more discussion of the bill's disastrous impact.

In the meantime, keep calling, writing, & e-mailing Congress to make sure that YOUR voice is heard on the future of the Internet.


Welcome & welcome back to this series on logic! (Sorry I'm late; I usually post on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays in the afternoon, but this week has been a little bit strange...)

The series so far:

Generalization Errors
Propositions & Arguments

Informal Fallacies:
Basic Ambiguity Fallacies
Personal Fallacies
Several Irrelevant Appeals
Generalization Errors
Question-Begging, Complex Question, Bifurcation
Argument From Ignorance, False Cause

...& as always, I encourage questions, comments, & suggestions.

Though the list can never be complete, the last of this summary of major informal fallacies lies beyond the Kos Antique Flourish....


If I start a Daily Kos group for Kossacks interested in diaries about logic & rhetoric, I should call it:

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Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM PDT


by Brown Thrasher

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (HR 3523) is the House of Representatives' latest attempt to destroy privacy and freedom of speech on the Internet.

Co-authored by Reps Mike Rogers and "Dutch" Ruppersberger, this bill is even more horrid than SOPA:



— They will also gain unlimited ability to FORCE ISPs TO CENSOR OR MODIFY ANY ONLINE COMMUNICATION in the name of "cybersecurity" (and, just like SOPA, this will be used to ENFORCE "INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY").

— YOU WILL HAVE NO RIGHT TO SUE WHEN YOUR PRIVACY IS VIOLATED. Entities that hand over your data will be granted automatic immunity.

— Any data which the government seizes can be SHARED WITH ANY AGENCY WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT.

(— Also, as usual, it leaves real online threats completely untouched.)

...and the floor vote for this bill will be THIS COMING MONDAY(APRIL 23).

Call your Representative and tell him or her to VOTE AGAINST CISPA (HR 3523). Whether your Rep is a Democrat or a Republican, let Congress know that you won't stand for this outrageous invasion of our privacy!

You can also contribute to online anti-CISPA activism going on this week:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has both an online campaign (Stop Cyber Spying) & an e-mail petition.

Also, CongressTMI is an awareness-raising/pranktivism effort to give those in Congress who want to spy on your personal information more than they bargained for. You can use the website (or if you're on Twitter, just use #CongressTMI) to participate.



Welcome & welcome back to this series on logic! I've been posting these diaries on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays in hopes of creating a resource to aid in discussions at Daily Kos & elsewhere in life.

The series so far:

Proposing A Series On Logic
Informal Fallacies, Part 1 — Ambiguity
Informal Fallacies, Part 2 — Getting Personal
Informal Fallacies, Part 3 — Un-Appealing Gimmicks
Informal Fallacies, Part 4 — Generally Speaking
Informal Fallacies, Part 5 — "That Begs The Question"

Some more important relevance fallacies beyond the Kos Divider...


Polls & diaries go together like:

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