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Staff journalist 2011-2013

Weinstein founded and became president of, The Military Religious Freedom Foundation or MRFF. Graduating from the United States Air Force Academy with honors, and serving as a Federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney with JAG, Weinstein acknowledges and understands the importance of military life requiring each individual soldier’s loyalty to united patriotic principles. He also appreciates the need for military personnel to make temporary concessions concerning some Constitutionally granted personal freedoms in order to maintain joint military disciplines and objectives; but the freedom of religion (apart from the most limited of military circumstances) is an essential right to the American way of life, a basis of American patriotism, and should be protected by the military, in the military, as painstakingly as any other patriotic principle. “When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism.”- Mikey Weinstein. Said patriotic principle, as defined by MRFF: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/: “MRFF adheres strongly to the principle that religious faith is a deeply personal matter, and that no American has the right to question another American’s beliefs as long as they do not unwontedly intrude on the public space or the privacy or safety of another individual.”

“No Snowflake in an Avalanche” takes the reader deep into the trenches of the power struggle, and political infrastructure of religious extremism as it infiltrates and attempts to transform key elements of our nation’s military mission. With a complete disregard for the United States Constitutional principles of separation of church and state, and freedom of religious choice, the forceful indoctrination of Christian fundamentalist beliefs, which are intent on converting United States military personnel to the extreme-right-thinking crusaders, is systematically dismantling our nation’s military principles. The ultimate effect will gravely wound Constitutionally-grounded secular democracy and implement a repressive theocracy. Weinstein’s perspective provides a compelling argument that is well balanced between logic and emotional retelling of the stories of those affected by religious extremism in high places, leaving the reader: enlightened, infuriated, and terrified.

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein will be signing copies and discussing “No Snowflake in an Avalanche” at 7:30 pm at the Tattered Cover’s historic LoDo location, on March 1st, but if you are unable to attend, you can purchase a copy from http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/mrff-st

Elyse Draper


Denver Authors Examiner


© 2006-2014 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com

IN THE WEEK TO COME: PIPA AND SOPA STALLED BUT NOT DEAD, AN AUTHOR’S PERSPECTIVE

January 21, 2012

11:23 PM MST

Intellectual property: every author, artist, manufacturer, and creator needs to feel that their dreams hold worth; they are valuable. The United States has some of the most supportive, and harsh, laws to protect intellectual property and copyrighted materials. We’ve even managed to practice enforcement and regulation of these laws within something as all-encompassing as the internet, since 1998. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, companies are protected from charges of “contributory infringement” on content uploaded by users … only as long as they follow the ‘alert’ procedure and remove the content that encroaches on copyrighted property. Yet, for some, these procedures aren’t quite enough … but at what point do we validate the exchange of property ‘worth’ for individual rights?

Logging on last week, you may have noticed some uproar about two particular Acts up before Congress and Senate: Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA, and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, aka PIPA. If you missed Wikipedia’s downtime, or Google’s black band … you most likely didn’t miss just about every media outlet discussing those who are against, and those who are for, the Acts finding success in positive tallied legislative votes. Surely the barrage of opinionated information and inconveniences are over, right?

Wrong. This coming week PIPA goes up before Senate, and SOPA may be stalled … but it most certainly isn’t dead, yet.

Watching the drama unfold, listening to the ‘experts’ — their informative legal voices trying to summarized and explain, while President Obama is promising to practice veto power, and a roar of ‘No!’ rises from the depths of Facebook … all the while, the average internet user doesn’t understand the inner workings of hacked and/or bootlegged property, or how sites such as The Pirate Bay can even find ways to appropriate copyrighted material in the first place, not to mention how these Acts are supposed to stop rogue sites outside the of U.S. from selling their stolen treasures. Heck, the titles of the Acts themselves are misleading … who wouldn’t want to support stopping online piracy, or protecting intellectual property? I know as a writer; these concepts are extremely important to me.

The road paved with these confusing, miscalled, ‘good’ intentions … lead to broad proposals that give certain individuals the power to dictate what sites should be accessible by the American people. How can the Acts allow this blatant violation of freedom of information and speech to happen? Quite simply: They were intentionally written in such a bewildering manner that the circulative arguments and loopholes could be potentially overlooked … until they are ready to be exploited.

As, Joichi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, explains, “SOPA accelerates the process of copyright removal, with a mechanism that permits copyright holders to obtain court orders against sites hosting copyrighted materials and have those sites rapidly blocked. Scholars of online censorship, like Rebecca MacKinnon at the New America Foundation, worry that SOPA may be popular with the Chinese government as with the copyright holders who are lobbying for the bill.

US law already permits the seizure of domestic domain names that are used for piracy, and the US seized 150 domains in November. SOPA is an attempt to enforce copyright provisions across international borders by prohibiting American internet users from accessing certain foreign websites, like The Pirate Bay. In effect, it would create a firewall to prevent users from accessing prohibited intellectual property, much as China’s “great firewall” limits access to politically sensitive information.”

The aforementioned ‘exploitation’ begins at home, with sites such as Google, and YouTube … where those filing complaints of copyright infringement can’t physically stop the outside-of-the -U.S. ‘rogue’ sites from trying to sell their ill-gotten gains; but they can stop the site’s IP addresses and Domain names from showing up in United States’ citizen’s searches. Yes, folks – what we have here is a slippery slope that isn’t too far of a slide into full blown censorship.

As a writer, trying to make her living off of the dreams she slaps on to a piece of paper, I find comfort in knowing that I have rights to protect my intellectual property … much like Lucy’s little brother finds comfort in his blue blankie. Although, as these Acts stand, written in seemingly foreign tongue, the nightmares of unconstitutional regulation (removing our rights to freedom of information and speech) are such that not even that comfy little blanket can possibly sooth. What can we do to protect these rights? Protest. Contact your local representative and voice your fears.

Selected resources on SOPA and PIPA

Liz Dwyer, “Why SOPA Could Kill the Open Educational Resource Movement”, Good Magazine.

Julian Sanchez, “SOPA: An Architecture for Censorship”, Cato Institute.

Dan Rowinsky, “What You Need to Know about SOPA in 2012”, ReadWriteWeb.

“Internet Blacklist Legislation”, Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF’s email campaign against the legislation and EFF guide to meeting with your representatives.

Charles Cooper, “One early winner in SOPA protest: Wikipedia”, CNet.

John Gaudiosi, “Obama Says So Long SOPA, Killing Controversial Internet Piracy Legislation”, Forbes.

Elyse Draper


Denver Authors Examiner


© 2006-2014 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com

Elyse Draper


Denver Authors Examiner


© 2006-2014 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com

Published by Author Elyse Draper

Published Author, Journalist, Publisher, and Illustrator

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