Print 42 comment(s) - last by lagomorpha.. on Jan 23 at 11:55 AM

"You may vote me out of office, but I will come back richer than you can imagine!"

For months now we've been covering the U.S. House of Representative's "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and its Senate equivalent, the "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968), but after weeks of analyzing this bill whose punitive provisions could have proven the death of the internet economy and the bequest of big media, it appears that a massive populist outcry has taken the bill towards its grave.

I. SOPA Strike?  So Good, so Far

It would be folly to compare the protest against SOPA/PIPA to the Arab Spring, in so much as the Arab Spring sought to fully sweep out local corrupt politicians/dictators, where as the protests only sought to sweep away a single piece of legislation cooked up by politicians welcoming blatant bribery (big media paid appr. 10 percent all combined active Senators' campaign costs, and tens of millions in parallel donations to members of the House to have its bill passed).

Nonetheless, some in the mass media and blogosphere will doubtless latch onto the passing similarity, in that the SOPA/PIPA protest approached the scale and passion seen in the Arab Spring, and compelled the typically politically apathetic public to take to the internet in protest.

Indeed this was the biggest digital protest on American soil to date.  Past promised campaigns by internet groups like Anonymous had promised such wonders, but largely underdelivered.  But backed at last by some members of industry (companies like Google Inc. (GOOG) and Inc. (AMZN) who could have seen their prosperity destroyed by the act) and everday Janes and Joes who wouldn't know their Androids from their Anonymous, an unprecedented digital populist army marched forth against SOPA/PIPA.

II. The Congressional Critters Flee Sinking Ship

And it didn't take long for some of SOPA's well-funded supporters to perhaps realize that campaign contributions wouldn't do them much good if they were voted out of office.

The results are visually amazing.

Left to Right:
    PIPA/SOPA supporters,
              Pre-protest;                         Yesterday;                                 Today;

SOPA supporters    SOPA supporters   SOPA supporters
(right click, click open image in new tab to view each phase closeup)

Note: Each orange 'X' represents a defecting politician, who retracted their sponsorship of SOPA.


Original supporters: 80
Current supporters: 60
Original Senate supporters: 47
Total who've abandoned bill thus far: 15
Those who've called it quits in the Senate:
11 total
9 Republicans
1 Democrat
Those who remain in the Senate:
30 total (Senate is Democratic controlled)
11 Republicans, including 2008 Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
1 Independent -- Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
18 Democrats 
Original House supporters  33
Those who've called it quits in the House: 
5 total (House is Republican controlled)
4 Republicans
1 Democrat
Those who remain in the House: 
28 total
10 Republicans
18 Democrats

III. Some Even Pledge Fresh Opposition

The following Representatives/Senators oppose SOPA/PIPA:

(Ones boxed in red represent those who have reversed their opinions from being a cosponsor to being a vocal opponent.)
SOPA/PIPA opponents
(right click, click open image in new tab to view these opponents closeup)

Note the biggest trend with the waning support of SOPA is that the Republicans are jumping ship from what was originally a bipartisan bill first.  Critics would likely comment that perhaps Republicans are simply better at sensing when the ship is sinking and they should scurry away.  Supporters of these politicians would likely defend them, arguing their opinions weren't fully formed yet (regardless of what lobbyist donations they happened to accept).  Regardless, the Republicans take most of the current credit for thinning the ranks of supports.  

By contrast the ranks of opponents to the bills sees strong support from both parties.

IV. To the Bitter End

Despite the fact that vocal opponents outnumber the proponents almost two to one now, and despite the tremendously unpopularity, SOPA key backers -- many of whom were the most deeply funded/bribed by big media during the last campaign cycle -- vow to continue on and find a way to pass SOPA/PIPA.

Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith feels he's above the laws he's looking to subject his lowly proles to.
[Image Source: Lamar Smith]

Among those is Rep. Lamar Smith (R- Tex.).  He called his constituents express their freedom of speech a "publicity stunt" and says he will, come hell or high water, bring SOPA before the House floor for debate in February.

And for Senators McCain and Lieberman -- both men who once lusted for the powers of presidency -- are with him.  After all, even if the threat of veto by President Obama stands in their way, even if their colleagues stand in their way too, even if it seems like political suicide, how often do you find someone to pay that much of your campaign costs?  Money talks.

Sources: Propublica, ArsTechnica

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By ncage on 1/19/2012 9:07:02 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone politician who votes for SOPA or PIPA will loose my vote. I urge anyone here to do the same. They are not voting for individual freedom (with most of the constituents). That are violating everyone 1st amendment rights. We must show our members of congress that they must stand up for our rights rather than back special interest and big media. I really hope that he supreme court, if it passes, will vote the law as unconstitutional. My current senator "Dick Durbin" is a SOPA supporter. I will be watching how he votes closely and will not be voting for him if he votes yes especially considering all the calls and emails i know he has got.

RE: anyone...
By jonmcc33 on 1/20/2012 10:04:14 AM , Rating: 2
Does it matter? They are all corrupt. Bush's family had huge oil industry ties and he sent the might of the US military to appease them. This is just another example in a different arena. The RIAA/MPAA has lost in it's efforts at individual lawsuits so they are trying to impose government control of the internet. That's so unconstitutional that it's not even funny. It completely violates the 1st Amendment but politicians do not care. What feeds their pockets and gives them power is all they care about. Every politician is corrupt. It's just a matter of who pays them the most.

RE: anyone...
By villageidiotintern on 1/20/2012 10:29:21 AM , Rating: 1
Familiarize yourself with I think you need it.

RE: anyone...
By Dr of crap on 1/20/2012 10:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.
It's bribery no matter how you candycoat it.
In no way should the amount of money given be an influence of how they vote on ANY matter.

And yet no one thinks this is a bad thing. If there are those, they are in a vast minority!

I have chosen to not be a part of the corrupt system we have, and chose to NOT vote anymore. The choices are all the same and all are no good. Our two party system, the us vs them, the finger pointing, the voting along part lines are all crap and very childish. They are elected to represent the people from the area they come from and yet that is not remotely what they do!

RE: anyone...
By Schrag4 on 1/20/2012 11:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
I have chosen to not be a part of the corrupt system we have, and chose to NOT vote anymore. The choices are all the same and all are no good.

While you're basically right about all choices being "bad", they're not always the same. I believe sometimes you have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils. Are you saying it makes no difference if you lose 10 freedoms or if you lose those same 10 freedoms plus 10 more?

RE: anyone...
By Dr of crap on 1/20/2012 11:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm saying NO candidate is worth my vote.
All of them are the same no matter the "party".

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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