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SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby 302

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the piracy-is-a-sin dept.
Adrian Lopez writes "Techdirt reports that 'apparently, the folks behind SOPA are really scared to hear from the opposition. We all expected that the Judiciary Committee hearings wouldn't be a fair fight. In Congress, they rarely are fair fights. But most people expected the typical "three in favor, one against" weighted hearings. That's already childish, but it seems that the Judiciary Committee has decided to take the ridiculousness to new heights. We'd already mentioned last week that the Committee had rejected the request of NetCoalition to take part in the hearings. At the time, we'd heard that the hearings were going to be stacked four-to-one in favor of SOPA. However, the latest report coming out of the Committee is that they're so afraid to actually hear about the real opposition that they've lined up five pro-SOPA speakers and only one "against."' Demand Progress is running an online petition against such lopsided representation."
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SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:10AM (#38072414)

    Its simple

    We are not represented by congress anymore

    Its big business, for big business

    • by characterZer0 (138196) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:17AM (#38072456)

      There are two ways you can get your representative to represent you:

      1. Pay him more money than big business does.
      2. Make a believable thread to shoot him.

      Neither of these are viable options. So you need to get him voted out of office. Thus, the problem is the voters.

      • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:30AM (#38072538)

        But voted out of office in exchange for what? Another one of the same.

        Ultimately, yes, the problem is the voters. But it's rather like complaining that if the sheep don't like the pen they are herded into, they should get a new sheepdog, when we all know the shepherd is calling the shots.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:45AM (#38072654)

          The problem is that by standing for public office, the candidate is showing that they are unsuitable for the job.

          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:01AM (#38072770)

            Exactly. Anyone who really wants the job that much shouldn't be allowed to have it. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a book about a human colony that had this exact rule; leaders were appointed more-or-less randomly, after disqualifying those who really wanted to be the leaders; it was called "Songs of Distant Earth".

            • by sproot (1029676) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:38AM (#38073048)
              So did Thomas More in the sixteenth century and Plato in about 400BC, it's not a new thing.
        • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:51AM (#38072680)

          But voted out of office in exchange for what? Another one of the same.

          Another one of the same who is afraid to go against your wishes on the particular issue you got the predecessor voted out of office for. This is very important. Remember that the rule of American politics is "do anything the corporations pay you to; as long as it doesn't offend the NRA". This is not because the NRA has huge amounts of money (though they have quite a bit); it's because they credibly and effectively make the threat to vote out whoever offends them. If you aren't voted in then you aren't getting your corporate bribes.

          There are a bunch of things to learn from the NRA. Things like:

          • Organise; meet; get together.
          • Gather money; put it into a fund which is dedicated to your exact issue.
          • Be extremely focused
          • Physically protest; be seen
          • Write actual letters to specific representatives from specific supporters
          • Very clearly target specific politicians and ensure that you are seen to get rid of them
          • Be fun and interesting to be part of

          These things do not come at once and immediately; the NRA was founded in the 1870s and only got to full success in the 1980s, but if you are patient and keep at it you will win.

          The idea that we can do nothing is planted in our minds in an attempt to stop us from doing anything. It's true that most people will still ignore you, but that doesn't matter. Most Americans aren't part of the NRA and they are still the effective rulers of the country for the particular issue they care about.

          • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:09AM (#38072838) Homepage

            Don't forget to fear monger to your group endlessly like the NRA does. I'm a gun owner, I love my gun rights. I carry daily. I WAS a NRA member. I'm so sick of getting letters about how Obama (or whatever evil you can come up with) is going to take away my guns unless I give the NRA another cash injection.

            Obama has bigger issues than guns, and he won't be taking them away during campaign time (which with our media is basically from day one in office). The truth is that gun rights have gotten a lot better in the last 3 years. Their message of constant fear and attack just drove me away.

            • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

              The truth is that gun rights have gotten a lot better in the last 3 years.

              Just curious. How much of that improvement has happened because of Obama, and how much because of legal actions by the NRA?

              Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single thing that Obama (or Congress) has done to improve gun rights recently.

              Obama has bigger issues than guns, and he won't be taking them away during campaign time

              Do remember that campaign time ends for Obama the day after the next election, whether he wins or lose

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Just curious. How much of that improvement has happened because of Obama, and how much because of legal actions by the NRA?

                I think it's more because, in the recent past, any politician who had a platform of curtailing gun rights ended up losing in the elections: just look at Al Gore in 2000. If he hadn't talked about enacting more gun restrictions, he probably would have won.

                Just curious. How much of that improvement has happened because of Obama, and how much because of legal actions by the NRA?

                I can thi

              • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @01:06PM (#38074938) Homepage

                It's not that he is passing laws to improve gun rights. It's that he is not going after gun rights. States like mine are passing laws making carrying a firearm and use of a firearm easier. Our gun rights are expanding, the only thing the federal government needs to do is sit back and let the states decide what is ok for them and stop using the term "assault rifle".

                If I was going to do anything, it would be to ease restrictions on importing/buying automatic weapons for civilian sale. There are a few "full auto" firearms I would like to own for recreational shooting that are too cost prohibitive for me to acquire at this time (Due to the restrictions limiting us to weapons made before 1986). I am ok with the restrictions required to purchase these firearms, it's just that the date restriction makes it hard to find and afford them.

                On to the NRA. What I see from the NRA in their letters to me from their president is just pure fear mongering. The last letter I received said something along the lines of "Let me tell you my greatest fear for the freedom and safety of the US is that Obama will be reelected president.". Really? His greatest fear is Obama being reelected? He goes to tell me the ONLY WAY I can protect my right to own a firearm is to send them money. Another letter talks about the fabled United Nations Small Arms Treaty which will take away all our guns (gasp!). Only it's completely untrue. Hell even snopes (http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/untreaty.asp) has an article on it showing it's a big fat NRA lie.

                Here is another example

                “[The Obama campaign] will say gun owners — they’ll say they left them alone,” LaPierre told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday. “In public, he’ll remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the Clinton [assault weapons] ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment.”

                “But it’s a big fat stinking lie!” the NRA leader exclaimed. “It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and destroy the Second Amendment in our country.”

                “Obama himself is no fool. So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled,” La Pierre declared.

                So they actually think the fact Obama is not trying to take our guns is proof he is trying to take our guns! The fact is beyond that, the NRA frequently is not protecting the gun ownership rights I care about, and instead focusing its efforts on legalizing hunting of endangered wolves and other such nonsense.

                I would support the NRA if they would simply lobby congress to keep laws sane, inform us of real attempts to take away our rights and urge voting action, and sponsor and support safe and educational events to introduce people into the wonderful sports involved with firearms. That is why I am keeping my money in my wallet for now. Screw the NRA.

                • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @02:35PM (#38076058) Homepage Journal

                  The NRA started as an advocacy organization, and one of the most successful in modern times. Unfortunately during their campaigns against (mostly Democrat-sponsored) gun control legislation, they lost track of the fact that they were supposed to be against gun control, not against Democrats generally.

                  They have still not returned to their original mission, so they're basically just partisan shills now.

          • Another one of the same who is afraid to go against your wishes on the particular issue you got the predecessor voted out of office for

            Uniting masses only works if there's just one issue to unite on.

            What we need now is to scrap this entire branch of the source code and go back to the original spec, the constitution.

            Few want that, though. It would force either amending the constitution, or killing all the federal programs and even entire executive departments that have zero constitutional basis. Good luck convincing boomers that social security isn't in the constitution.

        • Vote third party (Score:5, Insightful)

          by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:07AM (#38072804)
          I said this yesterday, and I'll say it again today: the problem is that the "two" parties in power now both have the same agenda. It is time for people to start voting third party.
          • by morgauxo (974071)
            Given the choices I think that may require starting a new one.
          • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:58AM (#38073248)

            I said this yesterday, and I'll say it again today: the problem is that the "two" parties in power now both have the same agenda. It is time for people to start voting third party.

            This sounds great on the surface. But who exactly am I supposed to vote for? I am American by the way. I cannot in any way vote Libertarian. I totally reject the Libertarian Party. I truly believe that libertarianism is a fatally flawed political philosophy that cannot work. I see communism as a more rational political philosophy. That's really bad. The other parties are too small and too narrowly focused for my tastes so there is no real third party option for me.

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              The Libertarians and the Republicans seem to be merging lately, because Libertarian economic principles are very good for giant corporations.

              Social libertarianism is a very sound political philosophy, but usually it gets mixed up with the economic version (which says there should be no regulation on corporations, they should be free to pollute however much they want, etc.) and looks bad by association.

            • by dkleinsc (563838)

              I see communism as a more rational political philosophy. That's really bad. The other parties are too small and too narrowly focused for my tastes so there is no real third party option for me.

              There's an official Socialist Party that would possibly represent your views more accurately. You might also check out the Greens if you haven't: They're definitely one of the most established actually left-wing parties out there. There are definitely options other than Democrats, Republicans, or Libertarians.

            • Re:Vote third party (Score:4, Interesting)

              by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @03:10PM (#38076518)

              libertarianism (note the lowercase initial letter) is quite reasonable. The Libertarian party isn't. And isn't libertarian.

              I'm not certain that libertarianism is an acceptable political choice, but it is reasonable and defensible. This is not true of Libertarianism.

              The government is too large and too intrusive in the lives of citizens is the message of libertarianism. This isn't at all the same as "The government shouldn't interfere with whatever I want to do." But it's headed towards that, even though all sensible people would stop before it got that far.

              N.B.: communism (note, again, the lowercase initial letter) is also quite reasonably defensible. And not totally inconsistent with libertarianism...though there are obvious points of conflict. But traditional communism didn't scale. Even a village was larger than it's optimal size.

              Question: What is a reasonable social system for a civilization where only 20% of the populace need to work to produce the goods used by the rest of the civilization? Does this change if the number declines to 15%? 10%? 5%? 1%? Nobody?

              This is the current problem. If we can solve energy requirements, the percentage of the populace that will need to hold jobs is going to be declining. It has already declined tremendously, even though this is being masked by various societal mechanisms.

              Question: What are the implications of the military increasingly deploying robot soldiers?

          • No, it is time for people to stop waiting for the parties to select their candidates for office before getting involved. If you want to change things get involved locally, where you can make the biggest difference. Support candidates at all levels who support making decisions at the lowest level of government possible.
          • "I said this yesterday, and I'll say it again today: the problem is that the "two" parties in power now both have the same agenda. It is time for people to start voting third party."

            That is not how human beings work, the whole system was designed by enlightenment era thinkers with enlightenment view of human reasoning but it is scientifically wrong, the whole system is now the problem because of mistaken notions about human minds and how they function.

            http://bit.ly/dYaWUc [bit.ly]

          • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:50AM (#38073842)

            In the UK we had television debates before our elections for the first time last year they were attended by the biggest 3 party leaders.

            In a setting where media bias couldn't help people the 3rd place party, the Lib Dems, started to shoot ahead in the opinion polls, at one point polling as the most popular party with a chance of winning.

            Enter Murdoch et al. an expensive coordinated slander campaign in his papers and come election day they did no better than they usually do despite the high polls prior to that.

            But there was another twist, neither of the other two parties won a majority, and so a coalition was required, the Lib Dems got at least a share of the power as a result of this.

            Yet it didn't really matter, because they ended up getting swallowed up by the other party anyway, the times they've tried to pursue their own agenda out come Murdoch's attack dogs again, and so effectively they've just been forced to act as puppets to prop up the Tory administration.

            The moral of the story is that a 3rd party is not a panacea, unless you can deal with the deep rooted corruption and media stranglehold on influencing national political leaning then the 3rd party will either get slandered out of existence or swallowed up to become one and the same as the other two anyway.

            I've learnt that the only way to win is to not play, I've heard all my life about how important it is to vote, but this is really all part of the same game. It's actually not important to vote at all, by voting for a lost cause you're merely adding legitimacy to the corrupt powers that repeatedly win out because they can come out and say "Hey look, we got the highest share of votes on a turnout of 60%!". Better to let the turnout drop and let them try and claim legitimacy when less than half the population can't even see the point in voting anymore. It's only at this point when their foes on the international stage are laughing in their faces at their claims of democratic legitimacy that they will be embarassed into accepting change. It's only when this facade of legitimacy they've built has crumbled that they can't carry on as they have.

            Really, it's the fundamental system that's the problem, and when you vote within that system whoever for you're merely giving the system a vote of legitimacy it doesn't deserve. Both the British and American forms of power designation need a root and branch change to be more proportional and more representational.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Without the media you stand no chance of being elected, and since the media is controlled by big business they will never allow an unfavourable candidate to get elected.

          • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:49AM (#38073818) Homepage

            And if anyone doubts this for a minute, let me toss some examples out there:
            1. Asking Dennis Kucinich about UFOs [youtube.com] instead of health care in 2007.
            2. The "Howard Dean Scream" of 2003, which was mostly the result of sound editing, not at all representative of Dean's candidacy, and replayed constantly.
            3. Treating Ron Paul as a joke no matter how well he does in polls or how important his points are or how many cheers he gets in a debate, while treating Michelle Bachmann as a serious candidate.

        • by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:00AM (#38073268)
          What your basically saying is: don't bother to vote, your just going to lose anyway. There are two reasons this is B.S.

          1. These are career politicians. They will vote however it takes to get elected. If by some miracle we could vote them out, the 'next guy' would understand that his actions could end his career and would behave accordingly.

          2. More realistically #1 isn't going to happen. We're too balkanized of a country. The reason to vote then isn't to win, it's to prevent your opponent from winning by a landslide. Landslide victories embolden them to even worse excesses. If they already know you're not going to come out to vote, and that their jobs are secure no matter how awful they act, what's holding them back? The moral of the story is: vote even if you know your going to lose, or you'll lose more than just your vote.
          • by Moryath (553296)

            The reason to vote then isn't to win, it's to prevent your opponent from winning by a landslide. Landslide victories embolden them to even worse excesses.

            Really? Dumbya "won" by less than 50% of the vote both times, and claimed he had an election mandate to do what he wanted anyways. Remember his famous crack about "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and I intend to spend it" right before he tried to fuck up Social Security in 2005?

            Merely getting into office emboldens them to worse excesse

      • Neither of these are viable options

        I'm glad the Founding Fathers did not think the same way.

      • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:45AM (#38072648)

        You are implying that there is corruption going on, while there is a more plausible, legal forces that explains why the business get the political ear.

        Big Business hires a lot of people who pay a lot of taxes. If they are not happy in your City/State/Country they have the resources to leave and leave a lot of people without jobs and unable to pay for taxes.
        The problem will exasperated if business need to pay far more tax. Now a lot of business may be willing to do this without moving or laying off people but what it does is centralize the money flow even further so the business will get more political pull because that is more tax revenue that could leave.

        So a Mayor, Senator, Representative, Judge, Governor or President really cannot just ignore what a big business is saying and will need to hear out some of their issues.

        Now that the businesses have these peoples ears they can explain things to them so they understand their point of view much better making the decisions much more complex.

        Then finally these people contributed to their campaign so they cannot just ignore the business as they owe them a favor.

        The core of the problem is that businesses have gotten too big. This is the economical/political version of the Irish Potato famine. Where business diversity has been replaced a small group of large companies. Just like how the Irish were planting very few species of Potato so when a plague that infected the potatoes there wan't enough diversity to handle the loss.
        American have gotten wimpy.
        In school we are afraid to study Math and Science and all those courses where you cannot BS your way threw, because we are afraid that B in math with hurt you A average, and you will not get into Harvard, or if you are in college you GPA will suffer.
        We are afraid to start our own business.
        We are afraid to make something new.

        In general we are afraid of a lot of things, things that are not really as scary as we make them out to be. But they do take risk and we have became Risk Averse. Thus we go the safest path.
        Take those classes that you can get an easy A.
        Get a low level job in a big company. Keep quite and out of trouble that way you don't get in trouble.
        Buy products from those big name stores because those little shops seem to sketchy.
        Complain and moan about a products rise in costs but do not cancel the service. (This part is getting better)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sycodon (149926)

          "The core of the problem is that government has gotten too big"

          Fixed.

          If the government were not in a position to grant special favors to companies because it is regulating everything in sight, then business would have no use buying off politicians.

          • by Tokolosh (1256448)

            Agreed. Anything else is a futile attempt to fix the symptoms, not the underlying cause.

            http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/lobbyists-too-powerful-because-government-is-too-powerful [lp.org]

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:16AM (#38073418)

            "The core of the problem is that government has gotten too big" Fixed.

            Oh fuck you.

            The core problem is not that government has gotten too big. The core problem is that businesses have become bigger than government, big enough to engage in regulatory capture and rent-seeking behaviors.

            This is something that's happened time and again. The British East India company essentially took over the British government for far too long, leading to the ruin of Britain as a nation for some time. In the early 1900s, we needed a major slew of trust-busting activities BY the government [u-s-history.com] because of abusive companies like Standard Oil and Nortnern Securities who had engaged in regulatory capture and were exerting unfair monopoly controls, slowly taking over more and more sectors of the economy.

            Sound familiar? Strike any parallels at all to the incredibly abusive megacorporations of today that gobble up sectors at an alarming rate? Or did you notice - for instance, that of the "fast food chains" in the US, more than 50% of them are actually owned by ONE company, "Yum Brands", which is itself owned by Pepsi - which also owns Lay's potato chips, Ruffles, Lipton, Doritos, "Quaker" brand, and on and on...

            Still think there's any real competition left in the bullshit "free market" the Republicans worship so much? Might as well melt your coins down to a golden calf right now, buddy. There's not a real christian left on the "religious right", they're worshiping greed instead.

            We need STRONGER government and another major round of trust-busting. Not weaker government like the Retardicans keep shouting. They're all either fucking clueless, brainwashed Rushtards or their goal is complete regulatory capture of government and rule by their aristocrat masters.

            • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:24AM (#38073516)

              ... Damn I wish I had some mod points to give you. This comment is AMAZING. Well stated - I've often been at odds with some of my friends who insist that one "brand" of something is better than another - especially when you look at some of the food products, where 4 different "brands" literally come right from the same factory [npr.org].

              Similar link over here [wsj.com] for those who don't want to listen to a recorded audio feed.

              Oh and don't forget this one [cracked.com] - it may be a Cracked.com article, but it's actually a great read.

            • by Toonol (1057698)
              No. Government is invariably corruptable. A strong corrupt government is worse than a weak corrupt government.

              The key would be to make it impossible for the government to favor one business over another. Nobody is giving me millions of dollars to prevent a competitor from starting up; if congress was as impotent at granting favors as I am, there would be no bribery.
          • So instead of corporations bribing politicians, they would be allowed to do whatever they want anyway. I don't see a significant difference.
        • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:11AM (#38072864)

          Big Business hires a lot of people who pay a lot of taxes. If they are not happy in your City/State/Country they have the resources to leave and leave a lot of people without jobs and unable to pay for taxes.

          The crucial thing to remember here is that the tech industry makes much more money for America than the entertainment industry. It still also employs more people. There has to be something else going on to explain why anti-tech, pro copyright, laws get so much support everywhere (not just in the USA)

          • The thing is significant elements of the tech industry, also, makes money from copyright and favors these expansions of copyright laws (Microsoft, as one example).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          In school we are afraid to study Math and Science and all those courses where you cannot BS your way threw,

          How about English classes? ;-)

          I don't think the aversion to science and math classes has anything to do with fear, for most students. It's about 1) interest, 2) laziness, and 3) reward. Why bother working hard and taking the harder math and science classes when you can skate through with the minimum? It's not like these science-and-math-averse students are instead taking all the hardest English or S

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            How about English classes? ;-)

            Or just getting off the interilliteratenet and reading a book now and then? The kind of thing you pointed out sometimes amuses me and sometimes annoys me. Substituting "loose" for "lose" is one that annoys me; if you loose your mind, wonderful things happen. If you lose your mind, terrible things happen. One letter changes the meaning of the sentence completely.

            If someone doesn't know the difference between through and threw or there, their, and they're, that simply indicates t

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              If someone doesn't know the difference between through and threw or there, their, and they're,

              I wonder if he was using a speech-to-text converter.

              I think it's about incompetent teachers. A bad teacher can make the most interesting subject in the world deadly dull and horribly boring.

              I'm sorry, I don't really buy the boring teachers bit. Sure, it can make a difference for some kids, but how many kids go to college and get an MBA or go into law school because they were inspired by one of the elementary schoo

        • by morgauxo (974071)
          Which is why we need that metaphorical plague. Sorry, it sucks but sometimes I wonder if another great depression wouldn't do us some good.
        • by grahamm (8844)

          You are implying that there is corruption going on, while there is a more plausible, legal forces that explains why the business get the political ear.

          Big Business hires a lot of people who pay a lot of taxes. If they are not happy in your City/State/Country they have the resources to leave and leave a lot of people without jobs and unable to pay for taxes.

          I do not know about the USA, but in the UK although big business employs lots of people, the majority of people are employed by small/medium sized companies. While individually each of these does not contribute as much as the large corporations, taken together the small/medium companies contribute more to the economy than big business.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You thought your government represented you?

        Think again.

        The current distraction is the Tea Partiers, being fed a steady bullshit diet of "OMG GAYS ARE GOING TO FORCE YOUR KID TO GET GAY MARRIED" and "OMG THE GUVMINT IS GONNA TAKE YOUR GUNZ AND YOUR MUNNY IF OBAMA IS ELECTED AGAIN" through the Beck/Rush/Fox noise machine.

        You think that the standard idiots even NOTICE that a congressional hearing is stacked one way or another? These are the cud-chewing moron crowd who think that watching C-Span is "boring" an

      • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:39AM (#38073056)

        voting is not the key.

        suppose you have a broken motor (its shorted inside, say) and it keeps blowing fuses. first fuse, you replace it. fuse blows again. damn. replace it again.

        at some point, you realize that replacing fuses on a broken motor, while giving you some more 'time', is not a real solution. its not the fuse, its the motor, itself.

        voting is a revolving doorway. while someone might be good (a brand new fuse) for a short while, its 100% guaranteed that OUR CURRENT SYSTEM will 'short him out' and he'll go bad. 100% guaranteed. its our system, not the fuses; er, I mean people.

        "but I'll put a stronger fuse (person) in!"

        sorry, this is not the way to fix it. when the motor is fundamentally broken, you replace the motor.

        I hope some people get this... ..before the upstream breaker has to fail.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by morgauxo (974071)
          Yes, but in a democracy the system is ultimately the people. The system is broken because the people are broken. They don't care about issues like this.
          • it was broken when politicians discovered they could use public money to "buy" votes by means of subsidies, "pork" projects and other methods of dispersing public money to their voter base...
      • "Neither of these are viable options. So you need to get him voted out of office. Thus, the problem is the voters."

        Sorry but the problem is not the voters so much as the system was designed according to the enlightenments view of man and it is scientifically wrong, see here:

        http://bit.ly/dYaWUc [bit.ly]

    • The hearings are just theater.

    • kids, think of this when you dress in the morning and head into work for your long 10 or 12 hour days.

      you empower the big corps to continue to fuck people over. you have your 'morning anger' here on slash, you say some strong words online but then get dressed, go into work and put up with ALL that mr bossman forces on you. you are a pawn and a slave and you ENABLE The Man to do what he's doing. you're all part of the system even if you are not able to see it.

      we all need to work and get income but you don

  • by Eevee (535658) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:14AM (#38072444)
    Would it really hurt to follow standard practices and explain what the acronym is the first time it's used?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Of course. If they did that, the summary might contain information!

    • The reason SOPA isn't defined is it actually stands for Satanic Overlords and Pedophilia Association. No wonder they have a hard time getting people to listen to them.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:15AM (#38072448)
    Really? We all know the pattern by now. Cynicism is so firmly established, people hardly even bother to campaign when they know they'll be ignored.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:19AM (#38072472)

    I am sorry if I am unable to keep up with all the acronyms, but really is it too much to at least spell them out fully one just so we can get a gist?

    Heck I get confused with BSA (Business Software Alliance) with BSA (Boy Scouts of America) and BoA (Bank of America)
    SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) looks a lot like SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

    If you just write out the Acronym just once you help clarify things much easier.

  • Bad for everyone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Djehuty3 (1371395) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:24AM (#38072500)
    I admin a forum with a little over 30k members.

    In the past, we've had a former member we've banned file a false DMCA claim against us and successfully take us down. We moved DNS and have been up since; For the record, 1and1 didn't even investigate, whereas our replacement, GoDaddy, kept a note of the circumstances and have notified us when that same person has tried to take us down again.

    If this passes, our little forum is fucked. No two ways about it; Somebody will get butthurt about being banned and we'll get taken down, again - but this time, there's a risk of actual criminality behind it.

    Don't tell me that this will be carefully used and no false claims will succeed, because we've been on the wrong end of that tale before.

    Today, we're participating in the scheme being run by http://americancensorship.org/ [americancensorship.org]; If you run a site, regardless of mission, you should too.
  • by pstorry (47673) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:29AM (#38072534) Homepage

    It seems that this is hideously lopsided. One out of the six speakers being openly against the bill is an outrage!

    Given how much has no doubt been paid by companies for their representation, that sixth person is a bit of a slap in the face. They should take action immediately, and refuse to pay their representatives.

    (More seriously, American politics is becoming a textbook on how not to represent the people.)

  • Fallen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:34AM (#38072552)
    Between this, warrantless wiretapping, reporters blocked from the teardown of the OWS protest, it seems that the US has reached the tipping point on its way to becoming a fascist.corporatist state. I'm quite surprised that there hasn't been anywhere close to as much outrage as I would have suspected.
    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      You're forgetting of course the 'free speech zones', far far away from the cameras, ignored by anybody, stuffed with protesters ready to be trucked away to some holding cell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You think the cud-chewers in flyover country even NOTICED what was going on?

      Perhaps you missed out on the memo - they don't pay attention to the news, even when the newsmedia is outraged about not being able to report it.

      They get their "info" from the hatemongers and racist shitwads on morning and afternoon talk radio. Like this "Dan Patrick" and "Sam Malone" we have on KSEV and KVCE in Texas; they've been slandering the ever-loving hell out of the OWS movement ever since it started. Sam hasn't noticed yet

      • america is really 2 (or more) americas.

        there's the one you and I live in (if I may be so bold to assume) and then there's that flyover mentality that you mentioned. some call it 'red states' some call it 'pockets of ignorance'.

        we are as strongly divided as we were in the civil war times. I'm not entirely sure there ever WAS a true USA central concept here, as the country is just too vast and varied for there to be one thought of The People. The People can't think straight and are told lies by those in po

        • america is really 2 (or more) americas.

          Generally referred to as "The United States of Canada" and "Jesusland".

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by sgt scrub (869860)

      it seems that the US has taken another step towards a truly free market society.

      FTFY

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@NospAm.ovi.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:59AM (#38072748) Homepage

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0 [youtube.com] - That's it. Sorry.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:00AM (#38072756) Homepage
    Their best gambit might be to stand up, name every company and organisation against SOPA, then say "These proceedings are a farce. Go Cheney yourselves." and walk out. We can but hope.
  • by Khith (608295) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:11AM (#38072858)
    Ron Paul Comes Out Against SOPA; Joins Other Elected Officials Saying No To The Great Firewall Of America [techdirt.com]

    It's good to know that some people in government are unhappy with this. I didn't know Paul's stance on internet issues before, but now I know that he's against crap like this.
  • When did techdirt start mirroring /.?

  • If you can organize people to be part of a network you can create a free and open web. They will have to do the following.

    1) buy a wireless router and allow it to become part of the grid network.
    2) refuse to restrict any traffic regardless of how you feel about it.
    3) if you can afford it, pay for a vpn connection to one other city that has done the same.

    If people are not open to allowing any traffic to flow, then they want to be censored.

  • AFL-CIO WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danlip (737336) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:47AM (#38073120)

    Why the hell is AFL-CIO for SOPA? And why are they considered a relevant party to testify? As a matter of fact, why is MasterCard for it? Visa is against it. MPAA is obvious, and Pfizer I can understand (they want to block sites that sell knock-off drugs).

    • >> Why the hell is AFL-CIO for SOPA?

      Cozying up to the MAFIAA: "all this movie piracy is costing your people trade jobs in set building, craft services, etc etc etc". Just as much BS as they're pushing at Congress, but threatening the "little people" that they're losing work.

    • by awjr (1248008)

      Pfizer are part of this because Canada and 20 other smaller countries' IP block comes under the SOPA regulation. They can simply close down [techdirt.com] the legal online Pharmacists in Canada causing untold damage to the poor in the US.

  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:01AM (#38073276) Homepage

    I've never understood Americans.

    Your first amendment is the right of free speech. But you have the FCC and they can ban you if you show someone that says words like fuck on the TV. How can a government agency ban a private company if they try and use their most important right as in the Constitution?

    Then you have the amendment that they shall no seizure of property without a proper warrant from a judge. But your country searches everything if you try and go on a plane. In not just search the bags, but it strip-search everyone, including children and babies.

    The Americans claim to have the best democracy of the world, but you have only two political parties. Then you claim do be the most advanced civilization, but your poverty rate and child-death-rate is one of the highest in the western countries. There are a lot of cases in America that people die because of bad teeth.

    And now you don't only have the DMCA law, that ignores the due-process and innocent-until-proven-otherwise rule, but you have soon the SOPA law.

    I wouldn't care, but you try and export that anti-democracy laws to us in Europe, too. Just build a big wall around the USA, have your own internet and leave us in peace.

    • The larger corporate groups will exert their leverage alongside that of the US itself and laws like these will be enacted in most countries, specifically EU countries.
      Should that not come to pass, than the alternative (which is already under way, to an extent) will be pursued - extraditing or fining people across the pond who violate US internet laws (you can skip due process as well, because they're 'furners).

      At the very least, they will (quite easily) get any website on Earth taken offline should they des

    • "I've never understood Americans."

      It's not just americans and there is a reason why, see below...

      http://bit.ly/dYaWUc [bit.ly]

  • With no mention of what the initialism stands for, this summary reminds me of the great pro-skub / anti-skub [pbfcomics.com] debate.

  • 99% and the 1% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duranaki (776224) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:11AM (#38073366)
    I can't say I've been occupying anywhere but work, but it seems amazing how many stories I've been seeing lately that strike me as "Congress trying to pass a law to help the 1% at the 99%'s expense". You'd think they'd at least wait until some of this blows over, but I guess they really don't care or feel threatened.
  • by Quila (201335) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:43AM (#38073754)

    I know Conyers (D), Coble (R), Sensenbrenner (R) and Berman (D) and others are basically owned by the entertainment industry so there will be a total kiss-ass fest between them and the industry reps.

    Jackson-Lee (D), Congress' most "entertaining" member since the departure of Cynthia McKinney, also is on the MAFIAA's side. We might get to see a supremely ignorant and downright mean tirade directed at the one person testifying against SOPA. If she does go off the deep end again, expect her to find some way to bring race into the issue. Who knows, we could get another gem like "two Vietnams" or

    Lofgren (D) is the only one on the committee that know has expressed some apprehension at the vast expansion of copyright. It'll be interesting if she actually tries to put the interests of the people first.

  • by bwcbwc (601780) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @01:48PM (#38075492)

    in this mess is that if SOPA really ends up being as bad as it is currently, its powerful enough to use AGAINST big media.

    Warner Brothers links to a Youtube video? Google should file a SOPA complaint against them. After a few such episodes, file for a site takedown and payment blocking to shut down WBs internet presence. EIther WB pays a heavy price in the market, or Google gets a court precedent weakening SOPA. Same goes for CNBC CNN, Fox or any of the other big media sites.

    Even better, when the politicians who vote for this farce post infringing material on their own websites or their campaigns' websites, use the same approach. Sue their campaigns out of existence.

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