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"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 Amazon.com 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.

Statistics

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



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RE: Two-step solution
By Reclaimer77 on 1/20/2012 11:23:05 AM , Rating: 1
Umm yeah and people say I'm an extremist? Banning political parties...just the suggestion is extreme. Without the right to form political parties, we might as well throw out the entire Constitution and re-form the country. Because no other rights matter at that point either.

I understand his passion and agree that something needs to be done. But there's gotta be a better, more practical way than that. How would that even work anyway?


RE: Two-step solution
By Dr of crap on 1/20/2012 12:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
I may be wrong but I don't think the constitution has any say about needing political parties.

You would then have a group of candidates running for office. They could state their stand on issues and the one with the best set and voted in by the people would be elected to office. NO money involved.
Oh, wait -- that's the way IT SHOULD be.
Instead they hide behind thier "party" and we all have to pick a side.


RE: Two-step solution
By Reclaimer77 on 1/20/2012 12:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I may be wrong but I don't think the constitution has any say about needing political parties.


lol dude it's called DEMOCRACY. The right to form groups. The right to organize. The right to shape our own Government.

The very strength and weakness of a democracy is in allowing anyone to challenge it and mold it. If the system regulates itself by declaring who cannot challenge it then it is not pure and it is a betrayal of the very system.

Of course the Constitution doesn't specifically empower a two-party political system. But banning such a thing is most certainly against it. The Constitution doesn't specifically mention unions or homeowner's associations either, but we most certainly have the right to form them.


RE: Two-step solution
By Dr of crap on 1/20/2012 3:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
My post is we do not NEED political parties.
The origiantor of this said we need to ban them.
And as they are today they should be disbanded!

And we need more than two parties, less of us vs them, and all the finger pointing that goes along with the two parties!

Don't know about you but I can't stand to hear about how the Dems blame the Reps or the Reps blame the Dems, when what they should be doing is getting their job done and NOT being concerned with who is on which side and voting with THEIR party!


RE: Two-step solution
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 4:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't know about you but I can't stand to hear about how the Dems blame the Reps or the Reps blame the Dems, when what they should be doing is getting their job done and NOT being concerned with who is on which side and voting with THEIR party!


The thing that I really love about this statement, is that it is so true. There is so much ridiculous partisan divide and most of it is fueled by the 24hr News Cycle and the desire to score political points at every opportunity. This desire to make the other party look bad is so ridiculous that bipartisan legislation often can't even get out of committee, even when it is desperately needed because one side paints the other as the devil incarnate. And who really wants to be seen as dealing with the devil?

For example, Republicans talked about denying RNC re-election funds to Scott Brown because he voted outside the party line too much. I think his party voting percentage was somewhere around 80% when this was proposed. I'm sure there is a Democrat equivalent, but it isn't coming to mind right now. However, this just shows how ridiculous each side is being when a national committee is willing to hang one of their own out to dry for representing the interests of his/her constituents by voting one out of five times with the Democrat bloc on contentious issues.


RE: Two-step solution
By Reclaimer77 on 1/20/12, Rating: 0
RE: Two-step solution
By Ryrod on 1/20/2012 3:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course the Constitution doesn't specifically empower a two-party political system. But banning such a thing is most certainly against it. The Constitution doesn't specifically mention unions or homeowner's associations either, but we most certainly have the right to form them.


That is thanks to the vagueness of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Your right to form groups stems from the Freedom of Association in the First Amendment. I'm surprised you didn't know that considering all of the complaining that has been done about the First Amendment this week.

quote:
The very strength and weakness of a democracy is in allowing anyone to challenge it and mold it. If the system regulates itself by declaring who cannot challenge it then it is not pure and it is a betrayal of the very system.


In Ancient Greece, the Athenians used a system call ostracizing to exile individuals who they believed to be a threat to the Athenian democracy. We also consider Athens the first true democracy, so what does that say? Athens: betrayal of the very system?


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