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Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden
Late last year, it was nearly a given that SOPA/PIPA would pass to law, with the support of an overwhelmingly large number of senators and congressmen, and tens of millions of dollars in lobbyist money greasing the skids.

Then a single lonely voice rose in opposition in the Senate Ron Wyden of Oregon. Online and on television, he single-handedly focused attention on the bill:

His promise to filibuster the bill on Nov. 28, 2011, catalyzed opposition that culminated in Wednesday's day of action and the subsequent defeat (for now) of the legislation. It was his tireless efforts that generated the first organized opposition inside Congress:

The framework for the counterproposal was put forth by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) joined with Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and John Campbell (R-Calif.).

Greg Sargent caught up with Wyden to get his take on the latest developments, and bottom line? His crusade is not so lonely anymore.

Democratic leaders had been pilloried mercilessly for weeks by bloggers and others organizing against the bills. They were accused of tone-deafness in the face of a major popular outcry — at exactly the moment when they are campaigning on a populist message — and of shunning a major progressive constituency, the online community. Wyden said the message had been heard.

“We wouldn’t accept this enormous body blow to the architecture of the internet — a technological juggernaut for jobs, innovation, freedom of expression, and the like,” Wyden said. “Democratic progressive values are what the internet is all about. If you’re concerned about income equality or what Occupy Wall Street is talking about, the Internet is where you take on the moneyed interests. The Internet is the equalizer — the voice of the grassroots.”

“What has happened in the last few weeks will permanently change the way citizens communicate with their government,” Wyden concluded. “This is a new day.”

Wyden and a bipartisan team of legislators have been working on an alternative to SOPA/PIPA that would better target copyright infringers, and has the backing of the tech industry. Wyden is confident that the Democratic leadership will adopt their approach.

And it would be fitting, because if it wasn't for Wyden, and his early bipartisan band of allies, we likely wouldn't be having this debate today.

Update: You can thank Wyden here!

Originally posted to kos on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Learnings. (12+ / 0-)

    Just as the early days of Occupy Wall Street and that Daily Kos diary that went viral on Facebook (forget the exact topic) contained lessons about how to achieve surprising and overwhelming success, I feel like this event has the capacity for providing some best practices in the future vis-a-vis netroots/Hill/social media organizing with tangible impact.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:47:47 AM PST

  •  Must be a chilly day in hell today (15+ / 0-)

    Darrel Issa and Rand F'in Paul are heroic figures to the progressive left for killing this POS bill.

    Too much money in our politics if something this terrible gets this close to passing.

    The only difference between (Mitt) Romney and George W. Bush is that Romney hasn't destroyed the American economy, yet - MoT

    by Herodotus Prime on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:48:35 AM PST

    •  So, obviously Wyden must be destroyed (4+ / 0-)

      Since he cooperated with people like Paul and Issa who have Republican cooties, he's obviously the enemy!

      When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:44:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And there are still Dems who want it passed (0+ / 0-)

      This is clear evidence of the corruption of our system and the evil that the Supreme Court brought forth by equating money and speech. Sure, there are good guys who are Democrats and there is big business on both sides of this issue, but the MPAA, RIAA, and the rest of the perverters of the intellectual property law are clearly indifferent to the rights they want to take away from Americans to keep their twisted IP laws expanding.

      I have a proposal: We'll support a reasonable enforcement law if you go back to the IP law that worked quite well a century ago.

      Special bonus hoots of derision to the indefensibly corrupt Christopher J. Dodd. He truly has shown himself to be available to the highest bidder, but, no, he isn't lobbying. What a liar. He needs a few years in Leavenworth.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 05:36:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad -- The Power of Big Money: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From Senator Al Franken to a former small contributor (me):

        As you may know, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided not to bring the PROTECT IP Act (the Senate’s version of SOPA) up for a vote next week. And since I’ve heard from many of you about this issue, I wanted to take a moment to share why I support copyright protection legislation – as well as why I believe holding off on this bill is the right thing to do.

        As someone who has worked hard to protect net neutrality, I understand as well as anyone the importance of keeping the Internet free from undue corporate influence. There are millions of Americans who rely on a free and open Internet to learn, communicate with friends and family, and do business.

        At the same time, there are millions of Americans whose livelihoods rely on strong protections for intellectual property: middle-class workers – most of them union workers – in all 50 states, thousands of them here in Minnesota, working in a variety of industries from film production to publishing to software development.

        If we don’t protect our intellectual property, international criminals – as well as legitimate businesses like payment processors and ad networks – will continue to profit dishonestly from the work these Americans are doing every day. And that puts these millions of jobs at serious risk.

        That’s reason enough to act. But these criminals are also putting Minnesota families in danger by flooding our nation with counterfeit products – not just bootleg movies and software, but phony medications and knockoff equipment for first responders.

        We cannot simply shrug off the threat of online piracy. We cannot do nothing.

        I have supported the approach Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has taken in crafting legislation to respond to the threat of online piracy – and I appreciate his leadership on this important issue.

        But I’ve also been listening carefully to the debate – and to the many Minnesotans who have told me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and good old fashioned phone calls that they are worried about what this bill would mean for the future of the Internet.

        Frankly, there is a lot of misinformation floating around out there: If this bill really did some of the things people have heard it would do (like shutting down YouTube), I would never have supported it.

        But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take seriously the concerns people have shared. And if holding off on this legislation gives us an opportunity to take a step back and try to bring everybody back to the table, I think it’s the right thing to do. This is a difficult issue, and also an important one. It’s worth getting this right.

        I strongly believe that we need to protect intellectual property – and protect the free and open Internet. I think most people, even those who have expressed concern about this particular bill, agree. And it’s my hope that we can now build a stronger consensus around how to accomplish these two important goals.

        Thanks for reading. And for those of you who have written to me about this issue (even if it was an angry letter), thanks for being honest with me. I’ll always return the favor.

        This letter is MINE, he sent it to me, and I'm sharing it with other past present and future small contributors.
        If those bills had become law, an intern at SNL, in Hollywood, or even St.Paul could shut "me "down without legal recourse.

        This bill (SOPA / PIPA) is not necessary and won't solve the problem. But it will let Rupert Murdoch shut down sites he doesn't like.

        by MT Spaces on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 06:49:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is interesting how, late last year, (23+ / 0-)

    Wyden was being excoriated for his willingness to work with Paul Ryan on RyanCare.  Now, he is a hero.  Then, he was a goat.

    Look, I am not trying to minimize the help he has provided on this important legislation.  Nor, am I trying to minimize how incredibly politically STUPID he was in trying to work out a deal on Medicare with the neaderthals.  My point is simply this:  Perhaps we should be less attracted to politicians as "heros", and simply understand that they are people, subject to the same human frailities as others.  Then, this place might be a little less drama driven.  Sure, it might not be so interesting, but the old Chinese curse says "you should live in interesting times".  A modern update might be: You should blog on an interesting blog.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:52:24 AM PST

  •  Be careful of the words "Wyden" and "bipartisan". (6+ / 0-)

    Remember, he was the one who conspired with Paul Ryan to "tweak" his plan to kill Medicare.

    And the new version still does.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 11:59:34 AM PST

  •  we need many more "new days" (8+ / 0-)
    “What has happened in the last few weeks will permanently change the way citizens communicate with their government,” Wyden concluded. “This is a new day."

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president",Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 12:01:51 PM PST

  •  Hero Rotation (5+ / 0-)

    it's the inverse of Villain Rotation.  A couple weeks ago Wyden was the devil incarnate, a sell-out, a corporatist, etc., etc.  But today he's our great hero.

    But seriously, I hope this points out how ridiculous Greenwald's formulation about Villain Rotation was, as if it's all some kind of grand conspiracy among Democrats to appear as if they are standing up for their constituents when secretly they yearn to sell them out.  Maybe, you know, some Senators actually have a wide range and diversity of views, and thus take a wide range of positions on various issues?  I know, it's shocking that some people are complex and don't have uniform views.    

    Nah, it's more fun to believe it's all some nefarious plot to sell out the American people at the behest of an evil corporato-fascist cabal.

    "In the long run, Americans will always do the right thing — after exploring all other alternatives." - Winston Churchill

    by puakev on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 12:12:54 PM PST

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the concept of "rotating villains" was around long before Greenwald was born, and he certainly wasn't the first to write about it.

      Example:  Sen. Lincoln's sponsoring EFCA when it had no chance of passing, and then filibustering it when it had majority support.  

      Example:  Repubs filibustering a nominee for months, then voting almost unanimously in favor.

      Congresscritters try to avoid accountability for actions that they know are unpopular.  That's what they do.  That's perfectly normal behavior.

      Congress has run that way for over a century, probably forever.  

      I want to limit the power of government. Specifically, I want to limit the power of government to create artificial superpeople and give them the same rights as human beings.

      by happymisanthropy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:41:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When Wyden is on, he is on. (18+ / 0-)

    But sometimes he goes off the deep end witness recent events with Ryan.  I wrote him a letter condenming the Catfood Commission and his office wrote back that we  listen to good ideas from the commission.  I would like to think of Merkley as a more consistently progressive version of Wyden.  

    In this case, Wyden was on big time.

    •  Wonder if this says something about the filibuster (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Max, aliasalias

      Forgot to add.

      I heard Wyden on a local radio station defend the filibuster as an institutional tool.  I was a bit surprised.  Yet it seems in this case, his threat of fillibuster saved the day.  Maybe if the filibuster stays around, Dems might find some courage here by example to use it to stop gop BS.

      •  Only one thing wrong with today's filibuster, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, LihTox

        it is not a filibuster, it is only the threat of one. There would be a lot fewer if they had to get up and recite the phone book for hours and days like it was meant to be.
        I think we do need to update our Constitution to reflect today's political environment and get rid of money in politics. The people need more power over the unscrupulous one percent.

        Just as prostitution is the world's oldest profession, religion is the world's oldest scam.

        by Agent420 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:54:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. I've definitely had issues with him in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      past, but as one of his constituents, I think we in Oregon could do a lot worse.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 04:25:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I clicked... (13+ / 0-)

    ... on the Stop SOPA graphic and signed the letter to send to my senators a couple of days ago, I added my own message to my reps (Klobuchar and Franken, both Dems, both co-sponsors in favor of that POS legislation).  I also told both of them that if they voted in favor of SOPA/PIPA that neither one would get my vote when they come up for re-election..., and at least Franken knows how close MN elections can be, and that with hand-re-counts every vote is counted.  No, I would never vote for a Repuke, but I do have the power to not vote..., my version of their listing themselves "Present but not voting."

    To repeat/paraphrase myself regarding prez elections and now legislative elections, I am old, and just once I want to vote for a candidate because s/he has principles and ethics, not do a protest vote against a worse candidate when I only have a choice to vote "for" the lesser of two evils (that means I still have to vote for something/someone evil).

    I wish every state had two senators with a sense of ethics like Bernie Sanders.  If we did, things would be a LOT better in this country.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 12:56:44 PM PST

  •  Ah, the good old days. Remember how Chris (9+ / 0-)

    Dodd was the lone voice against FISA and he was going to filibuster it, too?  

    Ironic, isn't it, the position Dodd is in now.

    I've seen this play before, and wouldn't recommend it.

    We delivered. They failed us. We have moved on. (h/t to my good friend)

    by gooderservice on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 01:00:21 PM PST

  •  :) NT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Onomastic, Matt Z

    So say we all! Battlestar Galactica (re-imagined version)

    by nerve on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 01:00:43 PM PST

  •  I'm sure the high tech industry will reward (0+ / 0-)

    him for carrying the water on this and protecting their profits.  

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 01:17:42 PM PST

    •  This is a big business battle, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      only one outcome hurts us.

      Retroactive extension of copyright is absurd and disgusting. No corporation should be allowed to own a copyright, ever. Corporations, pace Mitt Romney, never created anything. I am willing to argue in the most absurdly Paulian manner that it is unconstitutional to allow corporations to own any intellectual property.

      The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

      by freelunch on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 05:41:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't really disagree but I'm disturbed by the (0+ / 0-)

        amount of unchecked power high tech really has.  By corporate whim or fiat they can shut down their sites.  They essentially blackmailed the Congress.  High tech is our new god(s). Seems to me that's a lot of corporate power.

        Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

        by thestructureguy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 06:28:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  so glad he is my senator!! (3+ / 0-)

    also glad to have Merkley as well.!!!!

    •  Same here, for the most part. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      On occasion, Senator Wyden gets it all wrong (as in the recent Medicare foofah) but on balance, over the many years he has served, I feel he has a done a good job.  

      We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough? --Wendell Berry

      by deeproots on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:42:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the thumbnail for that video, there's quite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a bit of nudity. I had to do a double-take while scrolling.

  •  Now, of course, the GOP is claiming that they (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, PorridgeGun

    are the ones who are having "second thoughts" about this because of their suddenly realizing that it might cause problems for their consituents.


    They'll claim, in a week or two, that they "saved" the internet for us all.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:33:38 PM PST

  •  Whyden supports OPEN which is almost as bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    •  VelvetElvis vs Facebook & Google (0+ / 0-)
      The OPEN Act is supported by a bipartisan group of 22 House Members and 3 Senators, as well as AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, twitter, Yahoo!, Zynga, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and

  •  Let's hope Anonymous's recent cyberthuggery (0+ / 0-)

    doesn't prompt people to reconsider the bill this year.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:37:00 PM PST

  •  People at DKos are also heros here (5+ / 0-)

    We here sent an enormous number of messages to our senators against SOPA.  Like OWS, we're a driving force if we stand together and make our point enmass.

    I give kudos to everyone here that sent a message to their particular senator about this ludicarous bill.

    Thanks to all.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:42:06 PM PST

  •  I hate to say this, but Issa deserves as much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikePhoenix, aliasalias

    credit as Wyden. And the list of Dems who STILL support SOPA/PIPA will break your heart. Barbara Boxer, for God's sake.

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

    by Black Max on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:42:49 PM PST

  •  I'll be glad when you get back to writing more. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Ron can really be confusing (and infuriating). . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on one hand conspiring with Paul Ryan to dilute health insurance reform and demonstrating absolute statesmanship on the other.

    GOP = Greedy One Percent

    by Palafox on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:51:24 PM PST

  •  Thanks.. (0+ / 0-)

    Besides Wyden, we should also thank the others, including Republicans, who was against these pieces of legislation.

    I disagree with these Republicans 99 % of the time, but this is one of those times I didn't.

  •  Strange bedfellows like Wyden and Issa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, PorridgeGun

    is yet another indicator of how thoroughly the US political system is broken. Neither party can be counted on to do the right thing on any given issue. "Left" and "Right" become more and more meaningless as big money becomes the only real citizen. Look for a new politics sooner than you expected, with weird alliances and incomprehensible agendas.

    My own senator Durbin lost most of the cred he's built up with me over the years with his sponsorship of this corrupt and idiotic bill. And yea, he's heard about it from me, for all the good that does.

    In any case, it's amazing to watch Wyden actually understanding what SOPA/PIPA will do to the Net and the country. That's were he's almost alone among politician (and judges). We're going to need much better, smarter leaders than we have now if we're to have any chance of stopping the current slide toward second-world nation status.

    In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

    by DaveW on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 04:14:37 PM PST

  •  To be clear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have retained Oregonian  citizenship to vote for this man.

    For good reason as it turns out.

  •  I wonder how this will effect his status with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the party leadership who was pushing PIPA?

    If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

    by MikePhoenix on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 04:33:37 PM PST

    •  It won't (0+ / 0-)

      He is persona non grata with party leadership - undeservedly so, in my opinion - but he's just not as reliable a vote as they need, works with Republicans, and he represents no powerful constituencies. I've had this explained to me a lot over the years. Sad, but true. And he's not up for re-election for five years, so he's free to really follow his heart. A dangerous thing in the Senate!

      Let my people vote.

      by dcnative on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 04:52:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My cynical side says they'll come up with a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    solution that makes the tech industry happy, the media industry happy, but is lousy for the general public.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 06:25:31 PM PST

  •  Al Franken supported SOPA and PIPA. (0+ / 0-)

    And still apparently does.  Sounds like he only supported tabling it because of the vast amount of angry e-mails he was receiving.

    No surprise since he WAS and probably is still apart of Hollywood.  

  •  According to Lawrence Lessig, (0+ / 0-)

    here is another attack on internet access to Gov't research.

    "Hello Rootstrikers:

    So here they go again.

    I'm sure you've seen the continued battle about the "PROTECT IP Act" and the "Stop Online Piracy Act"—aka, PIPA and SOPA, aka Hollywood's latest misguided efforts to fight "piracy."

    Now come the publishers: Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Darrell E. Issa (R-CA) have introduced a bill designed to kill open access to scientific work that the US government has paid for! The Research Works Act targets a policy of the NIH to require free downloading of NIH funded work within 12 months of publication. The Maloney/Issa bill would forbid that policy, or any other policy that would encourage open-access distribution for government funded work.

    Our friend Michael Eisen at the Public Library of Science has been blogging up a storm about this issue (here, here, and this piece for the New York Times). But it won't surprise you to read about what Eisen says is behind this craziness: money. As he calculated using MAPLight data, almost 40% of the contributions from the Dutch publisher Elsevier and its senior executives have gone to Maloney. Is it any wonder why 75% of Americans believe "money buys results in Congress"?

    Congresswoman Maloney may well have a good reason for forcing Americans to pay twice for scientific research—first in taxes to the US government, and second, to foreign publishers, like Elsevier. But nothing in her responses so far evince any good reason. Regardless, so long as we have special-interest-funded-elections, such reasons will never sound real. That's the same story that the SOPA opponents are telling us again and again: but for the endless cash coming from Hollywood interests, many who support SOPA wouldn't have given it a second thought.

    This is the point that we Rootstrikers (or "Batmen" if you're a fan of Jon Stewart) need to teach.

    Help us. Here's what we need you to do:

    (1) Contact Representatives Maloney and Issa and ask for better explanations than they've provided so far.


    Twitter: @RepMaloney @CarolynBMaloney
    Phone: 202-225-7944
    FAX: 202-225-4709
    Email: Use this form


    Twitter: @DarrellIssa
    Phone: 202-225-3906
    Fax: 202-225-3303
    Email: Use this form

    (2) Join the protests announced by our friends at Demand Progress to oppose SOPA, with Rootstrikers signs that point to the money.

    (3) Go to my wiki and help write the article that will make the case that this bill is unjustified, unless your purpose is to raise funds for your campaign.

    Thank you for your help in this, and whenever you help "strike at the root."

    Lawrence Lessig

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 12:44:47 AM PST

  •  Not to piss on our victory, but.... (0+ / 0-)

    As you can read here, another Internet-Destroying bill from SOPA Sponsor Lamar Smith is already being set up.

    Ironically entitled the "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act" of 2011 (or PCIPA), it would force ISPs to log all financial transactions and activity of all internet users in the USA and store it in databases for 18 months. This would seriously undermine online privacy, and would cause hackers and identity thieves to reap truly catastrophic economic damage.

    The battle's been won - but our war is far from over....

  •  Thanks, get back on track on Medicare! (0+ / 0-)

    My message to my Oregon Senator.

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