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Let me establish some bona fides here: Erick Erickson is an arrogant clod, Ron Paul is a proven racist who shouldn't be let near the White House without an armed guard, and the Heritage Foundation has the intellectual depth and integrity of a Ronco commercial. Having said that, it's beyond weird to me to find myself aligned with them, and against Barack Obama, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and John Conyers, among many many others, on a powerfully important issue. What the fuck, indeed?

I've been writing an article for Six Revisions, the Web design and development 'zine, on the hotly debated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its bastard Senate sibling, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA. I didn't know a lot about them before beginning to research the matter. As with so many other things, I became more and more horrified the more I dug into them. Not the least of which was finding out who was with me at the barricades, and who was not.

The Daily Kos has had some powerful posts about why the two bills need to be defeated. (And that's only a selected few.) If you're still not convinced of how dangerous SOPA/PIPA is to the Internet and our freedom of online speech, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a plethora of articles explaining just how bad it truly is. The online technical mag TechDirt has also been all over it. My article hasn't been published yet, but it sums up all of this and a whole lot more. I'll diary it when it comes out.

One of the things that angers me the most -- "shockingly unshocking," to crib TechDirt's phrasing from an article about how House staffers are violating the very statutes they are trying to write legislation to enforce -- is to see who's on what side of the divide, politician-wise.

For this misbegotten, lobbyist-written monstrosity (among others): Republicans Lamar Smith, Marsha Blackburn, Peter King, Lamar Alexander, John McCain, and David Vitter, and Democrats John Conyers, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Patrick Leahy, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Sheldon Whitehouse. Even Chris Dodd, one of the only two Democratic senators to fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms in the warrantless wiretapping fracas, is for it -- no doubt because he is now head of the MPAA, one of the primary organizations behind the bill. I'm used to finding myself on the other side of the debate against idiots, yahoos, and crooks like Smith, King, and Vitter. But Conyers? Boxer?? Wasserman Schultz??? And reports say if the bill is passed by Congress, Obama will sign it. ?!?!?

So who's on and actively against the bill? Tried-and-true Dems like Nancy Pelosi, Ron Wyden, Zoe Lofgren, and Maria Cantwell. That's a comfortable fit. But look who else. Ron Paul? Well, that makes sense, considering he likes to play a small-government libertarian on television. Darrell Issa?? Jerry Moran??? And the Cato Institute? The Heritage Foundation?? Erick freaking Erickson, who made the powerful and disturbing statement:

I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress. And I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 re-election bid. I wonder if the left feels that way about Debbie Wasserman Schultz? -- RedState, 12/21/2011

Man, I've gone through the looking glass and landed on my ass.

It's pretty clear why some are supporting or opposing it. A lot of Dems are wedded to that Big Hollywood money, and the MPAA (damn you, Dodd), RIAA, and other industry organizations/lobbyists are behind the bill. Some of the opponents, like Lofgren and Issa, represent tech-heavy districts, and the Internet tech world is standing firm against SOPA/PIPA. Feinstein proved her allegiance to the telecoms against our civil liberties in the NSA wiretapping fight, and it doesn't surprise me she's ready to cut us down again. But come on, Barbara Boxer? Wasserman Schultz? It is to weep.

I don't care who wants whose money. Obama wants to float to victory in 2012 on a tide of Hollywood money, I understand that. Most Dems want the same thing. But SOPA/PIPA would essentially destroy the Internet as we've come to know it. Online fundraising and advocacy would become nearly impossible. The single biggest element allowing ordinary citizens like us to fight the death grip that the corporations have on American politics has been the Internet. You can kiss that goodbye.

I expect those on the right to scramble as fast as they can move their fat little legs to give away the store for short-term electoral gain. I expect better from the Dems (though I should know better by now). How much of the money we've donated to the DSCC and other such organizations has gone to pushing SOPA/PIPA? Talk about buying the bullets for your own firing squad.

Meanwhile, here I stand, flanked by the likes of Ron Paul, Erick Erickson, Darrell Issa, the guy from HotAir, and the flabby minions from the Heritage Foundation. People that I have admired for a generation stand on the other side, ducking their heads and counting their money. It's fucking shameful.

And they wonder why we're so goddamned disgusted with politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, flames, and calls to action (20+ / 0-)

    I'm sick of Dems giving away massive swaths of our freedom for their campaign donations. If they want it that bad, they don't need to be fucking re-elected, and I don't care if their names are Blackburn or Boxer. This is one of those issues that transcends campaign politics and day-to-day ideology.

    And no, Erickson is not my new BFF. I need a shower.

    Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Main Street. Occupy everything. Force a tsunami of change on the nation.

    by Black Max on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 03:03:19 PM PST

  •  Do you have links to back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher, Black Max

    up statement that if bill passes, Obama would sign it? Not saying, you are wrong, but I didnt see a link.

  •  I want to see Wasserman-Schultz mike checked. (6+ / 0-)

    Franken too.

    "Whose Internet? OUR Internet!"


    (& so on...)

    There's no time to play pattycake with bought-out politicians. This is OUR future they're screwing over.

    Tell Congress: DON'T BREAK THE INTERNET!

    by Brown Thrasher on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 04:16:45 PM PST

  •  good diary (5+ / 0-)

    this needs more attention.

    This is my sig line.

    by tremayne on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 04:24:42 PM PST

  •  I'm not convinced this is as bad... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens it's been portrayed. That may because I have little interest in social media, so whether social media continues to exist or not doesn't really matter to me.

    However, these bills do seem to be an over-reach on the part of the entertainment industry. Looks as if there may be some filibuster potential from Wyden or others. I'm curious if there has been any estimates of whether there will be more than 60 Senators voting for it?

    •  Instead of summing it up here (4+ / 0-)

      in a diary that is apparently dying on the vine :) I'll let you do some Googling. The article should be posted around New Year's sometime, and I'll diary it then more completely.

      Right now Reid/Leahy have some 40 Senators lined up. Wyden says he will filibuster it, though we know Dem vs. Dem filibusters usually only last a day or so. Wyden et al want the OPEN legislation, which from what I understand is far less draconian.

      Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Main Street. Occupy everything. Force a tsunami of change on the nation.

      by Black Max on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 04:46:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Black Max, An Important Exposure. (5+ / 0-)

    The fundamental principles are being mutilated by our so-called Democratic representatives in the House and Senate.  Maybe its time to "Occupy the Democratic Party" en masse"and restore the principles and policies of FDR's administration.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 04:53:45 PM PST

  •  Just Because You Wind Up in Bed with Somebody (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shliapnikov, SJerseyIndy

    Doesn't mean you have to fuck them.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:09:43 PM PST

  •  From what I understand about this (0+ / 0-)

    legislation, most of these enforcement provisions
    are already available to federal and local law enforcement in regards to shutting down foreign websites that promote piracy and traffic primarily
    in counterfeit goods and services. Or even Fraud.

    Has anyone tried to fund an offshore gaming account
    from their bank or credit card recently? Possible, but,
    very cumbersome and unwieldy. Then try to cash out.
    Very difficult since the UIGEA was signed into law in '06.

    I denote these to illustrate that some of these enforcement
    provisions have been in existence for some time.

    I have no love lost for the bit torrent mindset, and I
    think that there is a need for some sort of regulation
    in these matters. While the 'fair use' doctrine of our
    copyright law for academic, and critical purposes is
    still to the best of my knowledge, in effect, there can
    be no doubt that the fact that so many support these
    bills and their provisions, that these bills appear to me
    as a starting point for further negotiations and refinement.
    Unless you want an unrestricted and unregulated 'free
    market'. This is why you should certainly think twice
    before you adopt  strange bedfellows in alliances.

    Should Google be able to use copywritten material
    that is the property of others to sell advertisement on Youtube?
    Should Daily Kos? Would Google feel the same about its
    proprietary search algorithms, should they just be made
    available to all who may desire them? Does this
    mean that facebook needs to open their stream to google
    or bing searches in the interest of free expression?

    Now, if you run a website, say, a podcast, using others
    voices and music, but you sell no ads, there is nothing
    to really fight over, is there? When internet sites open
    their books to outside purview, it is clear that the ad
    driven model has become the dominant model. Bits and
    bandwidth and servers do cost money, don't they?

    These issues, generally, have been discussed and
    legislated previously, and I expect that similar royalty
    arrangements may be arrived at, if the interested parties
    will get out in front of this issue, and defuse the egregious
    nature of the free speech concerns raised by so many.
    We have huge industries at the table here, so I am
    hoping that rationality and naked self interest will
    force all parties to give a little bit in their stances.

    This does not preclude a fuller and broader discussion
    of the nature and impact of technology, and its effects on
    our admittedly industrial era patent and copyright legacy.
    I believe it was established to foster progress and growth
    in the arts and sciences in our constitution years ago.
    Perhaps a re examination of the fundamentals are in order.

    Does anyone really believe here that we can have
    the lawless wild west and the infrastructures of
    civilization at the same time? Is that what freedom means?

  •  I suspect that a good part (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    of the incongruous  mixes of politicians on both sides of the issue are based as much on misunderstanding of the potential impact of the legislation as on bribery campaign contributions.  

    Remember that a good part of the bi-partisan congressional leadership belongs to generations that think of the Internet as "a series of tubes".

    Also remember that a good part of Democratic political leadership is not especially interested in civil liberties for anyone but the 0.0001% they work for.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 12:06:13 AM PST

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