Thursday, December 9, 2010

Get Your War On - Political, Online, Or Otherwise

Aside from the annual fake "War On Christmas" that crazy right-wing pundits dredge up every year around this time, there are several other wars going full-bore this holiday season that have nothing to do with Iraq, Afghanistan, or Korea.

The one getting the most attention in the media currently, is the all-out political warfare going on in Washington.

For those people who haven't yet looked at the proposed agreement on extending the Bush Tax Cuts that President Obama, Sen. McConnell, and the Republican Congressional leadership have made, we highly recommend taking a look at the overview that was published in the Washington Post this week.

To say Democrats and Republicans are divided on this "deal" against each other, would be almost criminally negligent of the facts. Many Democrats hate "the deal" so much, they're willing to fillibuster it - alongside of Republicans - in the Senate. Likewise, many Republicans see this as fiscal hypocrisy on steroids for their party, and bad governance for their country. Members of both parties have also voiced their support for the deal.

While momentum to pass this deal does seem to be building, for both honest and purely partisan reasons, we're nowhere near claiming this battle is headed toward an armistice. In fact, this kind of conflict may ultimately prove to be obsolete.

A newer war, and one that's far more insidious in some ways, is the cyber-war that ramped up Wednesday between the forces attacking Wikileaks and those supporting Wikileaks.

A known group of hackers who call themselves Operation Payback disabled both the main websites of Mastercard and Visa on Wednesday, as well as some interaction with the credit card processors. Other targets of Operation Payback included Paypal, Twitter, Facebook, and even Sarah Palin's PAC website. To say that technology has evened the playing field between multinational corporations and governments, and small groups of individuals is an understatement.

Operation Payback made it clear Wednesday that they don't support Wikileaks unilaterally, so much as they oppose the heavy-handed tactics of governments around the world. To shut down Wikileaks and silence those like Mr. Assange, without using fully legal and proper methods, not only voids free speech rights around the world, but gives even greater power to governments of all kinds to operate outside the law.

If there's one thing we can agree with the Operation Payback folks on, it's that the people in our governments around the world don't need any more power than they currently hold.

From the political anarchy going on in DC, it's quite obvious that many members of those governing bodies don't know how to effectively use the power they already possess.

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