Those who seek to bring the Internet under the control of government are the enemies of liberty. At worst, they are actively plotting to corral First Amendment freedom of speech through control of the medium. At best, they are useful idiots serving their corporate donors at the expense of basic rights, too ill-informed to be trusted any longer with the reins of power. I wrote of the technique used to promote legislation like this in an earlier essay, and we know that power once abused will be abused again.
The November elections are nine months away. The Internet community came together virtually overnight to defeat SOPA and PIPA. If we fail to do the same to those who supported these bills, we will have only ourselves to blame when they finally sneak equivalent legislation through in the dead of night while our guard is down. A man bitten once by a rabid dog can reasonably blame the dog. If he allows the dog to remain in the House (or Senate) after that, he has only himself to blame for further injuries -- no matter how friendly that mutt seems to be in other circumstances.
With that mission in mind, I suggest those efforts be prioritized for maximum success.
I would recommend beginning with the sponsor of Senate Bill 968, the Protect IP Act of 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont, and the sponsor of House Resolution 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas. These two men have shown themselves to be enemies of liberty and/or dupes to their corporate contributors of the highest order, and need to be removed from office at the first possible opportunity presented by the ballot box. Unfortunately, Vermonters are stuck with Leahy until 2016, unless some serious scandal raises its ugly head, but Smith can be replaced this fall.
Initial co-sponsors of the bills should follow. Again, whether they were aware of the threat to free speech their actions represented, or were simply wheeling and dealing away that right to advance their career, makes little difference. When a man's pocket is picked, it hardly matters if it is done by the master criminal or merely one of his compatriots.
Finally come the late arrivals, those who sponsored the bills later in the legislative process. It's almost guaranteed that these supporters were gained by promises of quid-pro-quo support for their own legislation, rather than from any principled conviction. Perhaps that's a better reason for throwing out the First Amendment than the original sponsors, or perhaps it's worse, that they would sell such a treasure to promote their own particular mess of pottage. That's for you to decide.
Note that I've also included the date of withdrawal of sponsorship, where applicable. Whether that indicates a rat deserting a sinking ship or a principled reaction to a realization of what the bill represents, again, seems to matter little to this Tireless Agorist. In either case, their hands should be removed from the reins of power.
Both tables are sorted based on how quickly these politicians decided to jump on the "sell free speech down the river" bandwagon. Senators whose terms expire in 2012 stand out in the last column.
You can easily use the "Search this page" function in your browser to locate Senators and Representatives from your state who made these lists.
...and that's all I have to say about that.
|Mary Bono Mack||R-CA(45)||10/26/11|
|Debbie Wasserman Schultz||D-FL(20)||11/03/11|