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I really don't like making cold calls to elected officials or anyone else--I'm always afraid I'm going to flub my "lines" and come off sounding like an idiot. I'm much more comfortable with the written word and would naturally rather write an e-mail than call a Congressman or Senator's office. But when you call, you know a real person actually received your message; it's harder to dismiss. So this morning I called my Congressman (Ed Markey, D-MA-07) and the Senator from Massachusetts who hasn't yet taken a position on PIPA, John Kerry. Scott Brown just recently announced his opposition via Twitter, and for all that I want him replaced with Elizabeth Warren, that's a good thing. I wanted to find out where they stood on PROTECT IP and SOPA, and to exhort them to oppose them.

I called Rep. Markey's Washington office first. The staffer I spoke to said that they were currently reviewing the bill, and that the Congressman wasn't likely to make an absolute decision until the Judiciary Committee was done with it, but that there were "several provisions in the bill that [they're] very concerned about." I asked him to encourage Rep. Markey to come out publicly against SOPA, and he said he'd communicate my message to him.

Sen. Kerry's staffer told me that he hasn't taken a public position on PIPA, but that he's been a "long-time supporter of an open and free Internet." I told her I'd like the Senator not only to publicly oppose the bill and to vote against it if it made it to the floor, but also to support Sen. Wyden's filibuster when it happens.

So: neither gentleman has yet taken a public position, but their staff seem to be under instructions to give anti-censorship constituents the impression that they will eventually oppose the bills, when the time is more propitious, or something. Honestly, I have higher hopes for Rep. Markey than for Sen. Kerry on this issue. I get the feeling there's a high correlation between being pro-Net Neutrality (as he is) and being against PIPA/SOPA, and Rep. Markey appears to be one of the more technologically literate members of Congress. As for Sen. Kerry--well, Sen. Brown evidently knows that supporting censorship would hurt his chances of re-election, so with luck, and continued pressure, Sen. Kerry will also realize that Massachusetts voters are against these terrible bills.

Both the staffers I spoke to were very courteous and professional, and it sounded as if they were having a busy day. The staffer at Sen. Kerry's office had to put me on hold for a couple of minutes before she could take my call, and I'd like to think the lines are being tied up by constituents outraged at what the MPAA and RIAA lobbyists' plans. If you, esteemed Reader, haven't called your Congressional representatives about this issue yet, please do so today. If you already have, please consider doing so again: a deluge of phone calls on the day of the blackout by Wikipedia et al. will increase the pressure on Congress to do the right thing here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think it gets easier (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cociyo, HoundDog

    the more calls you make.  

    You don't have to say a lot.  I think that most of the time the only thing that gets passed on to the elected official is a tally, for or against.  

    So the best thing to do is just to state whether you are for or against.  Makes it really easy and quick.  I also like to use the Capitol Switchboard because I like to think that it gives our whole government a sense of how energized or agitated the populace is by how many calls come through the central switchboard.  Plus, it means I only have to know one phone number.

    U.S. Capitol Switchboard     (202) 224-3121

    Which reminds me... time to call my reps.

  •  Kerry is the Chair of the subcommittee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of the Commerce committee that oversees the internet. The fact that neither he or the full committee's chair are sponsors of the bill may mean that you are right that they intend to oppose it. Although this bill is out of the Judiciary committee, it is unlikely that they and their staff are unaware of it - and getting either of them as sponsors would have been major "gets".

    I would suspect that both Markey and Kerry also see that protecting copyrights is important - they have spoken of the fact that China steals intellectual property. In the Senate, PIPA is a Democratic bill. It might be that Kerry are waiting to see what changes Leahy actually makes. Leahy has said that he sees the provision for taking sites down needs to be changed.

  •  I am more than a bit annoyed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cociyo, antimony, FishBiscuit, HoundDog

    that Markey, my congressman, is still thinking about his SOPA position.

    He's always been one of the Good Guys.

    What's up here?

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:06:57 AM PST

  •  Don't forget to contact Scott Brown as well. He (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    should feel the pressure that we Massachusetts voters are watching, remembering, and planning to vote.   He doesn't need to know that we're going to vote for Elizabeth Warren anyway.

    I also directly contacted Senator Kerry, and Ed Markey throught the Congressional Websites, as well as several online petitions.

    Folks, this is easy and a good habit to get into, as they do count these things and it represents an evolution in our political participation to move up from just lurking, and/or writing, and commenting here.

    We need to make the progressive voice on issues, as strong, or stronger than the NRA, and other famouse professional lobbies, as in "don't even think about it!'

    No too many think we complain a lot, but don't exercise decisive power at the polls.  Like the Walker recall, to the extent our voices are politically loud, persistent, and consequencial, we will develop the power to really create a better future for us all.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:04:56 PM PST

  •  I support SOPA (0+ / 0-)

    This bill will not affect the Dailykos due to Fair Use. This bill will help the economy by crippling piracy and forcing people to pay for what they want.

    I called my representatives in support of this legislation including the member of the house for my district.

    I do not feel it is write to rob the entertainment industry.

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