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.