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Don't re-elect SOPA supporters on Tuesday (nahurst.com)
435 points by nathanh on Nov 5, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 172 comments

So, for instance, if you live in Minnesota, this page thinks you should vote for Kurt Bills instead of returning Amy Klobuchar to the Senate, because voting against someone who supported SOPA makes it sensible to vote for someone who supports a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and who believes we should consider unborn fetuses "persons" and thus ban not only abortion but also stem cell research.


The objections on this thread blow my mind. "But but but what if their opponent also supports SOPA?" How about first you make sure your "alternative" candidate doesn't think we should nuke Mecca? Jiminy Christmas, if you don't already know why you support your Senate and Congressional candidates and can't be bothered to go look up their positions on real issues, please stay the hell away from the voting booth.

We need single-issue tech voters that keep their eye on the ball and don't let campaigns distract them. That's how you make change. Politicians are experts at confusing voters using meaningless outrage. If Kurt Bills gets elected he won't be able to single-handedly ban abortion or pass any other crazy social law because it won't even come up in the senate. But there's a very good chance that a new attack on the internet will come up and Klobuchar would vote for it. More people need to focus on the real nitty gritty issues that go on in congress but don't make it into campaign ads.

No, we don't.

The problem with single-issue tech voters, is the same problem that the Asian-American solidarity movements have (such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80-20_Initiative ). We're not a large enough portion of the electorate, and we're not distributed in a manner that is consequential enough to sway an election, let alone have enough discipline to have a measurable effect.

The way you make change is you get involved in government and the way policy is made. The voting box is an incredibly coarse-grained tool to effect political change, especially in American democracy where you have one of two candidates to pick from, who've already gone through several political processes to arrive at your ballot box.

If you care about politics get involved. Don't just vote. Voting is necessary but not sufficient to effect change.

That's rubbish. You're effectively assuming someone else will do the heavy lifting of preventing the crazy, which means you can be suckered into voting against any candidate by the simple expedient of putting a newbie with no track record upa against them.

Single-issue voters are the bane of a healthy political system.

If you really don't think a senator can change anything, then why are you voting at all?

If you think voters aren't well educated, there are things you can do to help fix that. Arbitrarily voting against incumbents is unlikely to help.

Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia was absolutely opposed to SOPA. He also thinks that evolution is a lie and that all legislation must be evaluated for biblical compliance [1]. He sits on the House Science and Technology committee.

That alone demonstrates why single-issue voting is a terrible idea.

Except that there's a good chance that Broun will have the opportunity to vote on the next iteration of SOPA or its successor, but a very slim chance that Broun will have the opportunity to vote on requiring biblical compliance or on whether evolution is real.

I'd say the chances that he'll have an opportunity to vote on his theocratic agenda are pretty high. The Science and Technology Committee discusses things such as stem-cell research and global warming, among other things.

In my state (Texas), I used to consider creationists an amusing sideshow, but they're now in charge, and writing their religious beliefs into textbooks. My heuristic now is that if anyone mentions "the Bible" in their election materials, run away as fast as possible, because they're likely backwards types who don't believe in a secular government. Same kinds of people who think you should get kicked out of Boy Scouts if you don't believe in God, only now they want to run the actual government, which is more dangerous.

Plus, having these medieval types in the legislature sets a bad example for American students, and embarrasses us in front of the whole world, contributing to the stereotype that Americans are uneducated: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20121006-u.s.-hous...

So you think that his vote on the Science and Technology committee is irrelevant? Currently he's chair of the investigations group investigating the EPA for conducting tests on airborne particulates with human volunteers. Chairman Broun feels that the EPA should not be conducting these tests on the groundt that the EPA believes these particulates to be dangerous, and so it's too risky for the EPA to gather evidence in support of this theory. Of course, without such evidence, there's no basis for the EPA to make policy, and the House Science and Technology committee wants to abolish the EPA anyway.

I'm sorry you're having a problem thinking this through. I personally can't get with someone who rejects most of what we know about geology and life sciences being in charge of federal funding for science. Rep. Broun is just one example among many from that particular committee, which also includes Todd Akin, who believes women can't become pregnant from rape, and Lamar Smith, author of SOPA.

Yup. I got back a very cogent, well-reasoned response from Lynn Westmoreland -- also of GA -- when I wrote to him about SOPA. He opposed it for all the right reasons and the response demonstrated that he'd actually taken time to understand the issues with the bill.


>On October 26, 2011, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). According to its sponsor, this legislation seeks to "promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." However, this bill, and its Senate companion bill, S. 968 (the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act), would also give the U.S. Attorney General (USAG) authority to seek an injunction from a federal court against domain names used by foreign websites that actively promote or distribute counterfeit goods, as well as permitting content owners to sue the intermediate service providers that support websites hosting pirated content.

>Both of these bills would give the USAG unprecedented authority to seek out court orders against foreign internet sites that have been accused of copyright infringement. This includes websites that host user-submitted content, such as the popular websites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These and any other websites that allow comments would now be responsible for screening any and all user activity for potential infringement. This discourages innovation in the world's most fluid industry, and the United States' economic strength is dependent on its citizen's ability to create, innovate and become entrepreneurs in various industries.

>In addition to the costs of content screening, online search engines will be forced to remove the accused website from displayed search results, online advertising companies will be forced to break contracts with accused hosts, and online payment processors will be forbidden from engaging in any further transactions with the accused host. This is all carried out without any of the due process offered in present copyright infringement cases.

>The legislation is intended to protect the consumer from fraudulent medicine, counterfeited goods, and pirated data (music, photos, movies), but is too broadly written without regard for the unintended consequences. Both of these bills stand in direct conflict with established U.S. policy of internet openness and will have little impact on actual criminal online piracy, which is the target of both pieces of legislation.

I really could not have asked for a better reply to my letter, nor did I really expect one anywhere near this good. It earned Rep. Westmoreland serious brownie points in my book.

The problem is that I disagree with him on nearly everything else. He was right this time, but was wrong on e.g. mandatory arbitration as a condition of employment for federal contractors in the wake of the KBR rape scandal.

The suggestion that I should vote for him on the basis of his SOPA position alone is missing the forest for the trees.

I agree with what you're saying, but I think more important than any issue is sending the message to politicians that if they do stupid things, they don't get to stay in office. Get rid of the moron who voted for SOPA, and vote in the moron who hates women. Then, two years later, vote him out. He won't have had a chance to do any damage yet, and we'll have sent the message to Minnesota politicians that neither of their positions were tolerable.

(disclaimer: i do not live in the US, and i don't vote in elections in my home country. i'm just talking out of my ass here)

> Then, two years later, vote him out.

In the senate, it's 6 years.

This is a truly terrible idea. I am not sure what message you think it will send or even who the message is supposed to be directed towards.

You should vote for the best candidate.

Who's the moron who hates women? If you are saying that because he is pro-life, then most women hate women because more women in America identify with "pro-life" than "pro-choice" when given the option.

People vote against their own interests all the time. Women aren't an exception.

This particular issue exists purely because of the religion, which is still prevalent in the country.

It's not a religious thing - plenty of atheistic limousine liberals vote against their own self interest. Most scientists also vote D, even though voting R is the best way to increase scientific funding.

There are plenty of people in the bottom 47% (predominantly tax consumers) who vote R and in the top 53% (predominantly taxpayers) who vote D. Are they all doing it purely because of religion?

If you look around, you'll see lots of people voting for reasons other than self interest.

Your scientist example isn't very good. Scientists have self interest that extends beyond just getting more funding for their work.

Yes, and everybody else on that list has values which they allow to override their narrow pecuniary self interest too.

He won't have had a chance to do any damage yet

What makes you think that?

When was the last time a congressman got something done in two years?

They don't need to introduce their own legislation, they get to vote on other people's legislation from their first day in office.

Well, they will probably shift pretty fast once some RIAA money trickles in. I care a lot more about my daughters right to be in control of her reproductive health than I do about people downloading the new Jay-Z single for free.

This is a great point that I have been struggling with for some months now: "change" is a perfectly valid vote. In software development terms, it's reasonable to think the government is suffering from a lack of iteration.

Eh, I think that analogy falls flat. Both sides want "change," and both sides broadly want change taken from their respective playbooks in the 2000s, the 1990s, and even the 1980s.

What makes politics difficult isn't that people don't want to iterate on government, but that people have radically different product visions. One wants to make an enterprise CRM, and the other wants to make a microblogging site for cats. That naturally leads to massive dysfunction, as you end up somewhere in the middle and people cynically playing cough politics for internal advancement since everyone's stuck in the same place with no hope for real vision or resolution.

>Eh, I think that analogy falls flat. Both sides want "change,"

Rhetorical change, maybe; they're also for tradition, security, the heartland, and babies.

Changing from an incumbent to a challenger is actual change, and no party is in support of that except in the specific cases that benefit their own candidates.

We don't know what "people" want, but I do think that to whatever degree we can find such things out, we probably have a higher degree of confidence that the government doesn't want to iterate on the people who comprise it. The revolving door is a highly-valued feature in DC. That's what voting against incumbents threatens.

That might make sense if we didn't have such a divided government.

Such division is a symptom of the status quo. Change the people and you introduce more noise into the system and divisions break down.

I'm not sure that your conclusion necessarily follows from your premise. We got a bunch of new people (mainly tea Party types) at the last Congressional election and if anything they've been more obstructive than the 111th Congress.

It may take more than one election cycle.

Then you should work to make this a common option in the United States: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/None_of_the_above

You should not arbitrarily vote for candidates who do not match your beliefs as part of some sort of protest.

That does send a message, but I haven't seen it being effective yet.

Over here, we have a very bad municipal government, so when elections came, with a bad officialist candidate that was called a "fridge" and divided opposition, over 15% voted "none".

So far, it hasn't had much of an effect (though the governing party has taken note of it, for the next elections).

Heh, supposing the politician isn't re-elected, do you think the reason for it is even knowable? There could be 50 other single-issue voters who voted them out for various different reasons, or a variety of other possibilities.

The truly asinine thing is our political system constantly pits media and copyright issues against social issues like abortion and same sex marriage. The fact remains most Democrats are very much in the RIAA and MPAA camp. The whole system is asinine.

Amy Klobuchar doesn't support a teenage rape victim's right not to be forced by law into bearing a the resulting fetus to term because it's a strategy to keep you from pirating Creed CDs.

Your honor, that wasn't a Creed CD, that was just an hour of output made by piping /dev/random to /dev/audio!

For those that actually want to try this...


There are three other candidates for Senate in Minnesota besides Bills and Klobuchar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_i...

Actually, this article only recommends not voting for the senators which supported SOPA. It doesn't recommend voting for the other major party candidate, or a third party, or anyone at all.

Most stem cell research doesn't involve aborting human foetuses. Only embryonic stem cell research does.

Ditto for Emken here in CA (http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Elizabeth_Emken.htm):

  Respects the sanctity of life and will fight to uphold it. (Mar 2010)
  Define marriage as between one man and one woman. (Jun 2012)
  US should be drilling for oil in ANWR to reduce gas prices. (Apr 2012)
  More US troops to Afghanistan--we must win this war. (Jun 2012)
Do we really expect someone with short-sighted, old-fashioned ideas about society to be an improvement in the tech space?

If you want to be honest about this, consider that SOPA is an issue (as in, potentially will impact) for far more Americans (and people worldwide!) than same-sex marriage or even abortion.

The system is broken, etc. etc. Might as well play the long game.

If you think SOPA is more important than whether a woman should be forced to testify in front of a court and then drive across 2 states to secure a first trimester abortion after being raped, then you're an asshole.

I'd respect someone more if they strongly believed that women should have to endure that hardship, because it takes some serious principles to confront that issue and come out thinking the state should be demanding women carry hostile pregnancies to term. But your comment suggests they should just so you can keep torrenting The Avengers.

I don't want to know these things about people on HN, so I flagged this story, unflagged it, hit my keyboard a couple times, and then flagged it again.

If you think SOPA is more important than whether a woman should be forced to testify in front of a court and then drive across 2 states to secure a first trimester abortion after being raped, then you're an asshole.

I do, because equitable access to information through a global network is as fundamental a human right as I can imagine. Maintain the network and peoples' right to self-expression on it, and I have to believe the other problems will solve themselves.

Meanwhile, abortion is just a wedge issue, IMHO. Most threats to reproductive freedom in the US are empty ones. The GOP (and the judges they appoint) will never repeal Roe v. Wade, because as soon as they do, they will no longer be able to use it to scare up votes from the Slow Folk. Instead, they will have woken a sleeping dragon and filled it with a terrible resolve. Even the dumbest Republican legislator has got to understand that.

Likewise, same-sex marriage rights are as inevitable as Loving v. Virginia was. The Republicans screaming and yelling about it today will spend the rest of their careers trying to make people forget they ever had an opinion on the subject, just as their fathers had to do with respect to the Civil Rights movement.

In general the Religious Right has a long history of being courted with wine and roses by the GOP and then left crying at the altar. One thing you can say about social conservatives of all stripes is that they have a boundless respect for history and tradition and zero interest in learning from either.

A free Internet, however, is not an inevitability. It will have to be fought over. It's the biggest deal there is, because it can and will change things. If you don't believe that, we won't agree on much else.

There's, like, 3 people running who want abortion to be illegal in cases of rape.

Do you seriously not think any of the pro-life positions are even worth debating? And that preventing even marginal restrictions on abortion is worth killing the internet? (the partial-birth abortion ban was the biggest pro-life victory in years).

All I sense from you is anger and contempt, no intellectual engagement. That's not going to win over people who don't already agree with you.

I sympathized with Hillary Clinton's formulation that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". The new abortion-absolutism says it should be "ubiquitous, easy, and subsidized". I don't agree with that. I still find late-term abortion nauseating, and early-term abortion regretful.

Am I an evil monster for thinking this way? Am I completely beyond the pale of polite opinion? Am I not worth debating?

You're overexaggerating the impacts of SOPA on the internet ("killing") and understating the kinds of restrictions people want to impose on abortion (it's more than 3 people--the Republican platform contained no exceptions for rape or incest).

There is no "abortion absolutism." Abortion rights have been scaled back dramatically since Roe. That's just plain fact, and it's dishonest to imply otherwise. The battleground is now over things like notice requirements and trans-vaginal ultra-sounds for abortions during any stage of pregnancy. And indeed, the battle ground is far closer now to "protecting any sort of abortion rights at all" than it is to "ubiqtuous, easy, and subsidized." What a totally dishonest characterization of the actual facts. The abortion rate fell 30% from 1990 to 2008, and has fallen in the past four years.

'The new abortion-absolutism says it should be "ubiquitous, easy, and subsidized"'

Must... resist... politics...

Okay, I can't resist. No one in elected office has said that they want to subsidize abortion. They probably should (at least for early term ones), but the fact is they don't.

Nor has anyone ever argued that abortions should be "ubiquitous." Seriously: can you provide a statement from anyone, ever, who says that every woman should be forced to get abortions?

Lastly: "easy." Okay, this is probably a position genuinely and widely held throughout the Democratic Party. Abortions should be easy: you shouldn't have to go through three doctor's appointments, have a rod shoved into your vagina, and be yelled at and have your picture taken and posted online when you go to a clinic for a legal procedure. That's an accurate statement of an actually-held position, but that position is hardly beyond the pale.

Is it wrong that I have no problems with non-vaginal ultrasound requirements?

In my book, abortion carries more moral importance than, say, clipping a toenail. Partial-birth abortions, while rare, were barbarous. I understand state populations that want to have waiting periods and such things.

Ideally, society should offer support and education such that fewer abortions occur.

The same people who say they hate abortions are also opposed to subsidizing contraception.

And it makes no sense. Unless you're ideologically opposed to any sort of government subsidy, contraception has got to have the best return on a per-dollar basis.

True, like Charmaine Yoest:


And when the interviewer pointed out there was a 60-80% drop in the abortion rate (compared to the nat'l average) among women in St. Louis who received free contraception for three years, Yoest refused to discuss it, calling it a "red herring."

These activists can say "life begins at conception" til they're blue in the face, but every major medical organization defines pregnancy as the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. Why do we need more unwanted children in this country when it's so preventable?

It makes plenty of sense if your religion opposes both.

> Ideally, society should offer support and education such that fewer abortions occur.

Like making birth control available? That and real sex education help a lot.

> then you're an asshole.

This is why politics should be ruthlessly banned here. Much like the Beastmaster was destined to overthrow evil, political discussions are destined to turn sour.

Well the number of abortions is far lower than the number of people on the internet or even the people using file sharing. I think that OP was just saying that the impact of SOPA effects a larger number of people, not that the impact was more acute.

Everyone has to make judgement calls with their votes, that is how democracy works. There are some people who have little interest in the internet, there are some that don't have an opinion on a woman's right to choose. This doesn't make them bad people, it just means that the issues that drive their votes are different than the ones that drive your own.

If these issues had a broad consensus they wouldn't be such big election topics. Believe it or not, there are some people voting for candidates because they are pro-life, if there weren't then candidates would not publicize their stance on the topic.

I don't want to know these things about people on HN, so I flagged this story, unflagged it, hit my keyboard a couple times, and then flagged it again.

And I thought I was the only one who felt so painfully conflicted about the whole realm of politics on HN. I sometimes wish I could have HN-quality level discussions about real political issues, but I fear that's not realistic.

On rare occasions, I've had HN-quality discussions about both politics and religion. It's difficult -- you have to be relentlessly dedicated to civility, and quite selective about who you choose to engage with. I don't think it's realistic to expect it to happen easily, but it's something that can be cultivated in an invite-only setting.

I have managed to curate my Facebook friends to the point where I can have some surprisingly civil conversations there, even among people with extremely divergent views.

I like the idea of an online discussion group for political junkies like myself that is either invitation-only or aggressively monitored for civility. Maybe I'll have to make one.

If you create such a group, one specific guideline you may find useful, on top of standard stuff like "be civil", is "no labeling another person with any label they would not voluntarily apply to themselves". This helps to weed out subtle incivilities, like calling people anti-whatever, that people might otherwise feel like they can get away with.

That is great advice. Thank you.

I think that the potential negative long-term societal impacts, for everyone, are worth equal consideration as extremely distressing edge cases of other policies.

We can't afford to ignore a slowly-worsening trend that hurts everyone because of issues that are rare but acutely bad.


Holy fuck I'm out of here until the election is over.

Meh it's just the typical argument Democrats always do to rile up the base. If it was going to be overturned it would have happened when Republicans had the Presidency, Congress, Senate AND Supreme Court in the early 2000s. It wasn't even brought up.

On the same token, Democrats are not going to ban guns or Religion, which is the Republican "base rattler".

I agree with Angersock that people let these types of issues get in the way of fixing the real big problems.

Do you realize that a lot of things like this are introduced as riders to other bills rather than put into bills of their own? For example, there have been 67 pieces of legislation in the current congresss alone that sought to change the rules on abortion, often as a peripheral to the bill's primary purpose: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/subjects/abortion/5897

Well, you might say, people shouldn't legislate that way. But they do. And even if you don't follow every bill, it should be obvious to even a casual political observer that the 112th Congress has been especially contentious in this regard.

Here is a definitive argument to your point: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2008/09/how_dems_and_re....

So my wife is 9 months pregnant. Watching her extreme discomfort, it makes my head explode when people call abortion an "edge case" on one hand while making a huge deal out of the PATRIOT Act, etc.

I'm pretty sure my wife would rather be water boarded than be forced to go through pregnancy and birth involuntarily. I'm not even joking.

A third of women in the US end up having an abortion at some point in their lives. That's a pretty blunt edge.

> A third of women in the US end up having an abortion at some point in their lives.


I had no idea it was anywhere near this high. Do you have any source to back that up?

The closest thing I could find was this: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

Though this site is about as biased as you can be so it's probably not the best source.

Please stop equating "opposes SOPA" with "wants to pirate." You know how inaccurate that is, and the fact that you are arguing for (in your view) a higher cause does not make that Ok.

SOPA has a much smaller impact than abortion or gay marriage for people it does impact. And abortion impacts fully half the population. It's not just people who get abortions, it'll being able to plan a career without the risk of it brig torpedoed by an unplanned pregnancy.

Abortion is one of the biggest issues in terms of dollar value. There are two inescapable facts of life: people will have sex, and contraception even properly used has relatively high failure rates (1-3%). The availability of reproductive services is responsible for women being able to participate in the economy as opposed to being stuck in childbearing roles as they have been historically. They are far, far more important than SOPA.

First, don't get me wrong--I support the right to choose, for a number of reasons and some unfortunate things I saw growing up. I'm not against women's rights here.

I'll observe that being pregnant does not preclude you from participating in an information economy or from working at a desk--I haven't tried that, personally, so I may be wrong. I would love to hear about how pregnancy negatively impacts information workers.

I do have issue with the "fully half" population--you can't simply suggest that all of the women are trying to conceive all the time. This seems to be intellectually dishonest.

Anyways, note that we've successfully fought for abortion rights for decades now, and trends seem to suggest that, despite the alarming ignorance of some of the population and congressmen, we will continue to do so.

SOPA (and the Patriot Act, and PIPA, and so on) represent a new threat to civil liberties and the economy (I would be unsurprised to find out that there is more money in user-generated content than birth control). We owe it to ourselves and our children to try and mitigate this threat now before it becomes an issue later.

> I'll observe that being pregnant does not preclude you from participating in an information economy or from working at a desk--I haven't tried that, personally, so I may be wrong. I would love to hear about how pregnancy negatively impacts information workers.

My wife is at 9 months now. She could barely get through her finals during her first trimester. Second trimester was fine, but third trimester she has been completely exhausted. She's also chock-full of hormones that make her extremely emotional and make it hard to focus (and she is one of the most coldly rational people you'll ever meet).

> I do have issue with the "fully half" population--you can't simply suggest that all of the women are trying to conceive all the time. This seems to be intellectually dishonest.

Pretty much every woman will be sexually active through most of her life, and will be able to get pregnant for several decades of her life. While only some percentage are actually trying to conceive at any time, failure rates with contraception are substantial even when they aren't.

Also, you can't just look at the cost of pregnancy. Adoption isn't a catch-all solution in a world without abortion. Remember orphanages? That's what we had before abortions. The adoption system can absorb most unplanned babies now, but only because most unplanned pregnancies aren't carried to term. And adoption can be a huge emotional burden that along with family pressure forces women to keep their babies. Having a simple first trimester abortion is a completely different ordeal than carrying a baby to term and giving it away. As I said above, I'm pretty sure my wife would rather be waterboarded than go through a pregnancy she didn't want. And once motherhood is in the picture, the dollars-and-cents cost is astronomical. When you put a dollar figure on the direct and opportunity costs of being a mother, they're mind-boggling.

It's worth mentioning that carrying a baby to term has serious health risks -- gestational diabetes, heart problems, etc. It can leave the mother bedridden for the last months of the pregnancy. It can change the mother's body completely and irreversably. It is likely to necessitate abdominal surgery (caesarian). Here's a nice take on this:


Congratulations to you and your wife! I hope she feels better after delivery.

I'm curious where you stand on sterilization--if there is no desire to conceive, it might provide a more reliable form of birth control than the alternatives.

Thank you for the information about how pregnancy impacts student life. I had meant "precludes" in the strictest "not physically impossible" sense, but clearly there are side-effects that make life harder even if you can show up to work.

At least in my personal experience in the US, it is nigh on impossible to find someone that will sterilize a younger, childless woman. I have tried to inquire about it in my past (I'm 23 now) and every attempt to even discuss it with people that are otherwise open to discussion about most anything (e.g. Planned Parenthood) have been stonewalled.

I haven't seriously considered it and was approaching it more from a curiosity point of view, but the reaction I got was mindblowing. You are pretty much interrogated about and judged on why you're asking about it even if the doctor has no intention to perform any such procedure on you ("it's for your own good"), and sometimes it doesn't even matter that you already have kids. One of my friends has even gone to multiple doctors to find one that would tie her tubes despite having 3 kids in a marriage going on 15 years and problems with most forms of birth control. (I have no idea how men fare in this regard.)

The other unfortunate thing is that there's still no 100% effectiveness with almost all methods of sterilization: worst case it's no better than near perfect use of the pill, best case it's just slightly better than IUDs/implants - it's a matter of arguing whether one or a couple of 9s go after 99%. The only real benefit is that it's a do-it-once-and-forget type of thing as well as something men can do, unlike IUDs that need replaced every x years or similar that are only for women.

And my 2c to politics: I don't think abortion is an edge case as it ties into a greater freedom of reproductive choice for women that make up half the US population before we even get started on how this affects their partners and families. Obama is not incorrect in saying that this is an economic and also crucial issue, as even everyday things like easy access to birth control (one less stressor for me and my partner! thank you!) are being assaulted by the super far extremist right. How serious they are shall remain to be seen (and on a state level it seems pretty serious), but as a woman I am scared shitless by the idea that a presidential candidate is included in that group of people.

This is not to say that SOPA and many, many other issues aren't also important, but absolute single-issue voting doesn't help anyone in any regard because there are plenty of non-tested, extremist, and pointlessly single minded people that support SOPA. There just is no such thing as a candidate that represents everything I care about the way I want, so I choose the one that I feel will do the least damage across more issues.

I haven't tried that, personally, so I may be wrong. I would love to hear about how pregnancy negatively impacts information workers.

I can think of a number of negative impacts - for example I would imagine that being pregnant with a rapist's baby might cause any number of psychological (and even physiological) issues that might make concentration and work difficult. Pregnancy itself results an a number of discomforts including bloating, hemorrhoids, bleeding, nausea, and back pain that might make work difficult.

And that doesn't take into account pregnancy complications like eclampsia.

That's absolutely a valid point. In that position I'm unsure I'd be interested in carrying it to term, certainly. Again, I completely support access to abortion, and I don't agree with the bullshit additional hurdles pro-lifers want to put on it (must inform parents, take ultrasound, etc.).

I'm worried that we've managed to conflate "Vote out the SOAP folks for being clearly wrong on this" with "Vote in the pro-lifers". I don't think that's a fair interpretation of the issue.

edit: Changed nutjobs reference to something more reasonable.

I would even argue that it's an important issue for even more than half the population, because men are themselves affected by unplanned pregnancies.

If weighted by the severity of impact, though, I think it comes out the other way. Not to mention that I have no confidence that the religious-right candidates will leave the internet alone anyway, given the strongly pro-censorship history of religious conservatives in American politics.

And for Constitutional amendment you still have to vote yes or no.

I vote for opponent to my Senator, not because I agree with her, but because I don't think the current senator represents me. If the next one does the same I will vote against her too in next election.

If I'll leave the current senator nothing will change and will still get same s*t all over again.

I was about to post the same thing. Kurt Bills also supports a voter id amendment. Klobuchar may not be a great option, but what else do you choose? It's like deciding between a bag of poop or a flaming bag of poop.

If both are bad, why do you care which one you chose? I would opt for voting the current one out of the office, since at least it sends a message that you are not approve what the person is doing.

Flaming bags of poop can easily be converted to the other kind through the application of water. To the degree that he is on fire, that fire will be diluted by the acts of other flaming bags, er, members of Congress.

Killing is asinine not just on the dirt and concrete battlefields of human adults. You might want to expand your vision of life. The next universe might be ruled by persons who were aborted fetuses in this one.

Then they shall thank us for sending them there so soon.

Time will tell.

If you are in CA, I'm not sure that voting against Feinstein will help you. Emken doesn't seem to have many real positions and her website is lacking in any real substance of her stance on issues. She has a lot of platitudes but it seems she basically just supports the straight Romney line with "repeal healthcare" "job creators" and other nonsense.

More importantly voting on a single issue that never even passed is dumb. Congress people tend to be older folks who don't know much about tech anyway. Supporting the bill should not be this poison pill. In fact, if anything, supporting it and then pulling support once they learned of the opposition should be celebrated as a successful execution of American politics.

Anyway: educate yourselves.




For what it's worth, I wrote a letter to Feinstein protesting her support of SOPA/PIPA, and the form letter her office sent back to me made it quite clear that neither she nor anyone in her office actually understood the issue or the consequences.

I don't know that I'll be voting for her opponent, and I don't think she has any chance of losing, but the fact that she could be such a strong proponent (she co-sponsored Protect-IP) of a law that she so clearly did not understand has put me off the idea of ever voting for her again.

It is likely that she/her office felt that they did understand the issue. Most people are not tech people and her only inputs were probably executives/lobbyists looking to strengthen copyright. I'm all for lobbying to make sure more congresspeople know what the issues are but writing off candidates because of one issue is really silly.

When a legislator sponsors legislation she doesn't understand, there's a failure somewhere. Regardless of where that failure comes from, I feel comfortable saying that legislator has made a fairly grievous error.

I didn't mean to imply that I'm entirely a single-issue voter, merely that I'm upset enough by that error to avoid that politician. Perhaps I'd consider differently if I thought the outcome of this election were in doubt or that my single vote was significant enough to matter. As it is, I tend to regard voting as an exercise in personal satisfaction more than an act which carries weight.

All I was trying to point out is that she probably feels that she "understands the issue". A good lobbyist can spin a great tale of woe for how our system is protecting artists or how patents will help with innovation or what not. Lobbying from tech industry folks is still in a nascent, very naive stage. It isn't entirely fair to let it slide, but I think its silly to dismiss someone who likely hasn't had an even education on a complex and somewhat novel topic.

minor edit for clarity

That may be the case, but it's still a mistake on her part if she feels that way. It's her job to understand the issues she votes on, let alone the bills she sponsors. "I didn't seek out any source of information beyond the lobbyists dumping money into my re-election campaign" is hardly a good excuse.

I could not agree with this more. Whether they support such obviously awful legislation due to malice or ignorance is irrelevant, they are still not doing their jobs correctly.

I think it's irresponsible to say "don't vote for this incumbent because he/she supported SOPA" without offering any explanation on the alternative candidates' positions on SOPA. It seems probable that some portion of the opponents might also support SOPA-like legislature.

American politics has always been about voting for the guy/party who hasn't fucked you over yet, even if they're just as likely to as the first guy. That's why we see the house majority, senate majority, and presidency change hands between the "two" parties so often.

That's by design, and it's a beautiful thing. Set up a solid set of core human rights and then design a system that disempowers bickering politicians and you've got a flourishing democracy. Unfortunately, it decays over time.

Real facts and actions are better than a theory that another one might do it, too. You need to take that into consideration, too, but at the end of the day one actually voted for SOPA, and another hasn't (at least yet). To me the option is clear.

I guess it's clear if your voting entirely on one issue, which is what the OP is about.

For me, the alternative is a Republican candidate, who if he wins, has the potential to change the majority of the Senate, and has taken positions I do not agree with, including reproductive rights, marriage equality, energy and global warming.

I don't agree with SOPA at all but I feel like it's something that would actually be debated. These other issues are so polarizing that it becomes majority rule and to me, that makes them more important.

Regardless, it's good to be educated about your candidates.

Public statements/positions are actions and have a lot of predictive value. Do you seriously think that we should AVOID looking into the other candidate's relationship to the issue?

In California, he hasn't taken into account redistricting. If you live in the the new 30th district, your choices are Brad Sherman and Howard Berman - both on this list. There are a lot of people involved in the entertainment industry around there (it's in the San Fernando Valley), so it might be impossible to elect someone not beholden to it.

(I know this because I used to live in Brad Sherman's district. I never expected that area to have a competitive congressional race, and now it's the site of one of the most expensive, bewildering, and viciously competitive races in the country.)

I currently live in this district and the amout of political ads coming through my mail are INSANE.

There is almost no right choice here.

But what if they're excellent (in your opinion) in every other aspect? If you agree with them on 20 issues, and disagree on 2, it's better (and IMO, you're being much more responsible) to vote for a pro-SOPA than to vote for someone who's against SOPA but is a complete bozo.

I think you should not decide for/against someone just because you agree/disagree strongly with one of their ideas.

(Note: I'm not in the U.S. and like others disagree with SOPA)

Fuck that, don't re-elect PATRIOT Act supporters. SOPA pales in comparison to losing one's basic human rights.

(Hint: Obama renewed Bush's PATRIOT Act when it was due to sunset.)

The seemingly commonplace idea that popular american liberals are somehow less evil than the GOP is dangerous poison.

PS: inb4 instant-runoff voting

I think it's safe to say that there is no plausible electoral outcome that ends with the new President working to repeal the PATRIOT act.

The only plausible outcome for this election would be if Obama won, and he decided in his second term -- with nothing to lose, politically -- that he would repeal the PATRIOT act. (Not because Obama is any better on this issue than Romney, but because by nature, a second-term president has less to fear in making politically risky calls).

I would call this scenario highly unlikely, if only because he'd face strong pressure from his party not to repeal it, jeopardizing everyone else's political futures in doing so.

This is one of those obnoxious political footballs that is entrenched precisely because everyone's too chickenshit to do anything about it. Republicans won't do it, because they have a rah-rah jingoistic voting base to appeal to. Democrats won't do it, because they don't want to look "soft on terrorism." And nobody wants to be the guy who repeals it right before another attack happens. So both parties are strongly disincentivized to repeal it.

In the long run, I think we'd need a grassroots movement to pressure politicians to make it a core issue.

It's equally plausible that with nothing to lose he would make PATRIOT worse.

That's assuming he's actively malicious. Given his record, I would doubt that (note, not malicious does not equal the opposite of malicious). It is certainly a possibility, but I wouldn't say it's an equal possibility. In all likelihood, the chances we're discussing here on both sides are far less than one.

>That's assuming he's actively malicious.

No, it's not. It's not assuming that he is against the PATRIOT Act. I've seen no reason to believe that he is, other than the projections of his constituency. President Obama has advanced and legalized most of the encroachments on civil liberties from the Bush years, and in no way that I am aware of has he made any argument to curtail them since he was Candidate Obama.

Assigning malice to that is assuming that he believes that the PATRIOT Act is a bad thing, and that supporting it would be knowingly perpetuating a bad thing. In other words, assuming that he secretly thinks of PATRIOT as you think of PATRIOT.

Obama never claimed to be against the PATRIOT Act. He claimed he would work to reform it. However, Presidents don't write legislation and reform has never made it into any bills reauthorizing the Act. That said, the president has directed the Justice Department to enact certain oversight above and beyond what is required by law.


"Reform" is one of those lovely words that means precisely whatever the audience thinks it ought to mean.

It happens the same with "change" and many others.

It's not about malicious or benevolent. Obama has actively reduced civil liberties in this country and abroad. I fully expect Obama to reduce civil liberties even further in his second term

(sources: Obama's stance on the NDAA, warrantless wiretapping, extrajudicial assassination, Omar Khadr, prosecutions of whistleblowers, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project)

His intent barely matters. If it gets worse, it is worse.

Then those of us that consider living somewhere with basic human rights important have exactly two (2) options:

- Take up arms in violent revolution to restore due process,

- or, -

- Flee the country and take one's productive energies and output to a place that has the rule of law.

I abhor violence in all nonconsensual forms. This summer will be five years since I left job, family, friends, native language, and significant other behind in what was easily the most difficult and taxing decision I have ever made in my life.

There are no other reasonable options now but to flee. To remain and to contribute in light of these facts is to support and enable this course of events. Don't be evil.

You don't start a post by earnestly attempting to foment violent revolution, and end it by saying "don't be evil."

If you had ever looked into what tends to happen in a violent revolution, you would have found that due process is not a significant part of it, and the end result is often a dictatorship, theocracy, etc.

There is no reason to suppose that the lawless violence you advocate will ultimately result in any improvement, for anyone except 'the party' which wins the revolution.

Perhaps I was unclear or ambiguous.

I only mentioned it first to underscore how unreasonable and detestable it is - that is, not an option at all.

The ONLY reasonable option, given the facts, is to leave.

Where, may I ask, did you flee to?

Germany, according to his profile.

Fleeing the US to Europe to escape restrictions on civil liberties... Head = asplode.

The US is a lot more free on paper, but has very little liberty in practice.

Germany is, in theory, a lot less free - however I have never been anywhere else that allows many of the sorts of things that are commonplace here.

I could go into many details but suffice it to say there is an interesting inverse symmetry to be found.

One handy example: asking a bank for €5000 in cash doesn't even raise an eyebrow here.

My only experience of interacting with law enforcement in Germany is having my bags searched in a drug enforcement sweep on a train.

After 20 minutes of reading, I'm even more convinced of what my intuition said earlier this morning: the civil rights situation throughout large portions of Europe is much worse than it is in the US. Compare the first N articles of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic to the Bill of Rights. Then read about the "sect filters" the German government(!) drafted to enable employers to deny jobs to people in a disfavored religion.

* The US is a lot more free on paper, but has very little liberty in practice.

Germany is, in theory, a lot less free - however I have never been anywhere else that allows many of the sorts of things that are commonplace here.*

I have a similar understanding of China, based on several limited visits and conversations with extended family and friends there. They've got a lot of restriction in theory, but in practice, as long as you leave the oligarchy alone, they keep to themselves and ignore you.

That comparison is fanciful! Germany has the rule of law and its liberty (or lack thereof) is nothing like China's.

Given your comments about starting a violent revolution I guess it's not too surprising you moved to the one country that tried twice in the last 100 years to take over the world.

I was under the impression that Germany already fucked up once, so who would know better than they why it's wrong to be a police state?

I think is that the current government is less than 100 years old and hasn't had time to become evil and comtrolling yet.

If being a police state was enough to educate people why being a police state is bad, America wouldn't have this problem. :)

- or -

- Educate the voting public and bring them to your side

With what uncontrolled mass media? The window for this has closed.

The internet?

At least vote 3rd party for people who would like to do that. If enough people do that, they might at least want to consider some of those policies for the next elections. Real change has to start somewhere.

October 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act going into law.

If change from within worked, it would have accomplished measurable effect within the first decade. Voting in the USA, on the federal level, is now demonstrably meaningless.

How many decades will you live there, having liberty only at the mercy and willingness of your government and its large corporations, entertaining this poisonous delusion?

The ratchet only works in one direction.

And fomenting violent change from outside works?

Candidates differ on concrete policy issues which have concrete consequences after elections. If you don't care about those differences, that is your affair - it does not mean that voting is 'demonstrably meaningless.'

Uprooting a life is complex, expensive, difficult, and unpleasant. Nobody's going to do it until it's more attractive than staying. Look at where people immigrate here from, and you'll have a good benchmark for the difference in quality of life that will have to exist in order for it to start looking attractive to emigrate--and remember that even then, the vast majority of people stay because it was easier or they find it tolerable.

You are explaining the consequences of such a choice to someone who has done it.

It's not a matter of quality of life. That is the danger - the quality of life for the median citizen in the USA is nearly unmatched.

Except it is a quality of life issue. Not many people are willing to endure a worsening quality of life simply to achieve philosophical purity. I'm glad that it worked for you, but do understand that simply by being an immigrant you are demonstrably different. That it worked for you is absolutely not a prescription for everyone.

It's been 10 years since the PATRIOT Act was passed, and nothing has really changed here. The consequences of the legislation were vastly overblown.

Also, the ractchet does not only work in one direction. We've had peaks of restrictions on civil liberties far worse than what we have now. E.g. alien and sedition acts, reconstruction, japanese internment, mccarthyism.

You seem to have worked yourself into a froth over nothing.

> It's been 10 years since the PATRIOT Act was passed, and nothing has really changed here. The consequences of the legislation were vastly overblown.

How exactly have the consequences been overblown? The Patriot Act has been used for everything EXCEPT terrorism. That was predicted and that is what happens now.

> If change from within worked, it would have accomplished measurable effect within the first decade.

Why do you think that's true? Is that just a gut feeling, or is it based on some logic that you did not include here?

To be clear, it is far from obvious to me that what you say is true. It seems to me that change from within could potential work, despite the events of the last ten years.

I am all for changing who is in the White House every four years until they take the hint. I would be of the same mind for Congress but they keep changing the rules to make it near impossible to get them out. The only recent threat to them had even the press siding with politicians!

Just like with schools, most people will claim that Congress is bad but have no reason NOT to support their guy because he is "the good one".

Term Limits, I am more than willing to take the bad many associate with term limits over the situation as is

The seemingly commonplace idea that popular american liberals are somehow less evil than the GOP is dangerous poison.

What does this statement have to do with the topic being discussed?

Other than just being the usual political flamebait that people always feel compelled to sling around when discussing policitics, of course.

The post is suggesting that people vote based on issues vitally important to the freedoms of this interest group (HN).

I am pointing out that one should live (and vote, and think, et c) based on issues vitally important to the freedoms of all humans, as these are much more life-and-death than internet censorship (and that one is huge, too).

Political flamebait is usually of the pro-/anti-skub variety. I argue that it is just that - flamebait - as we can expect near-identical behavior on the issue of basic liberties from any candidate in the US with half a prayer of being elected.

It is now time to leave. This is not a drill.

I think democrat presidents are actually worse for the discourse, as the blue plebs turn into complacent government supporters, while the red plebs think that repeating the republican party line is a form of dissent.

What "basic human rights" does the PATRIOT Act impinge?

It's been a decade, and I don't see the "there" there. The PATRIOT Act was supposed to be the end of the republic, but so far it seems to have had no impact in practice.

It seems to have had no impact in practice because you haven't been told whether your communications are being monitored, who is monitoring them, or what conclusions they are drawing.

Until there is a publicized abuse of this information - like happened with Watergate - people will not be made aware of how much our political system has been impacted. Of course the people who would like to abuse it are perfectly aware of this, and very conveniently the PATRIOT act has lots of safeguards built in to help them avoid public discussion of their actions.

In this light I find it very concerning that the NSA has argued - with a straight face - that it would violate the right to privacy of Americans for Americans to be told how many are currently being monitored.

The lack of judicial oversight for the executive branch's data gathering powers granted by the Act evaporates any circumstances in which the First Amendment could reasonably and effectively be used for unpopular speech or unpopular assembly.

The banking regulation amendments effectively prohibit large scale anonymous or unpopular publishing and communication/organization of effective resistance.

A shining example presently is the harassment of the social networks of Wikileaks associates and supporters. Another is the collection and use of Twitter and GSM metadata of protesters in New York.


The next time something like COINTELPRO happens, it won't have a wikipedia page for it, and those attempting to draw attention to it will be jailed indefinitely without trial.

Note that this is the same FBI that targeted Martin Luther King - but now with no sunlight. If you don't see the real, live implications of this sort of tyranny, you aren't paying attention.

The government issues over 40,000 NSLs a year, now.

Absolutely absurd.

What the FBI did with Martin Luther King came to light years later. Meanwhile, we're seeing their moves with regards to organizations like WikiLeaks in real time. There is far more sunlight today than there was.

National Security Letters are also wildly overblown. They are a formalization of things the FBI was already doing. With that formalization has come increased judicial oversight: the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in 2006 gave recipients subject to the gag order recourse in court.

You think if the FBI circa 1950 wanted information from you, you'd be able to go complain to a federal court?

Absolutely absurd.

The difference is that what they did in the 50s was illegal.

We hear about it sometimes now because these sorts of unconstitutional actions have been specifically permitted under the guise of national security.

My plan is to not re-elect EESA supporters. I don't think this plan will work very well, though.

Are there any districts on this list that are remotely competitive? I'm sympathetic, but I really don't understand why people bother attacking entrenched politicians in non-competitive districts when they should be identifying more competitive races and directing resources there.

A case in point: TX-21, the district I live in, which is on this list. Rep. Lamar Smith will be re-elected. There is simply no chance of any other result. That didn't stop anti-SOPA campaigners, primarily from Reddit, from sinking tens of thousands of dollars into a challenger in the Republican primary - a challenger who didn't manage to get 15% of the vote. They might as well have lit the money on fire.

I think this article might have made more sense during the primaries. I'm not happy with Feinstein supporting SOPA, but I'm not going to vote for her conservative opponent who probably also would have supported SOPA.

This just highlights the main problem with representative democracy as I see it.

I don't care who represents me. I'm not interested in their personality or values, I couldn't give a fig if they're black/white, male/female, gay/straight, republican/democrat/whatever. I care about issues and how they get addressed in legislation.

So what do I do when I'm presented with someone who is pro-SOPA on one side (but also pro a bunch of stuff I like) and someone who is anti-SOPA but pro a bunch of other things I consider abhorrent?

Politics of party and politics or the personality-cult need to end.

Use money. If a politician is pissing you off on some issue, write and say 'I've donated to your opponent'. Unlike voting, donations are recorded and public information, so if you donate $50 to Party B, (even though you support party A at heart), then the Party A candidate has to raise an extra $50 at the next election. You can always donate to Party A closer to the election if you want to even things out, but donating between cycles is a very powerful way of sending a message. Alternatively, support a primary challenger. Money talks. Is this institutionalized corruption? Sort of, but I'm not sure it's something you can ever legislate away.

If you don't want to spend money, you can also change your party registration. Also, write letters on actual paper. They have to be opened and filed, and have considerably more impact than phone calls, faxes, or emails. Or write an op-ed explaining why a politician's vote on some topic is wrong.

I agree with you from the pragmatic viewpoint, what can we do now, but you're proposing a workaround to a system that (IMHO) addresses the wrong problem and is fundamentally broken.

Maybe it addresses an old problem from before the information age, maybe at that point your best hope was to send someone off to represent you, someone whom you felt was in tune with your community and would do what they did with a deep understanding of who you were. Perhaps this was necessary because you couldn't hope to keep up with the news or the unfolding of events in a timely fashion.

Now this is no use to anyone, every candidate is a mess of good and bad, I want my voice to be heard on the things I believe in, not just on voting in some asshole who happens to be slightly better than some other asshole. Because the first asshole takes your vote as a mandate to pursue their full 'platform', regardless of the fact that most people voted for them simply because they had one less repellent, abhorrent policy on their manifesto.

Swiss style democracy should be spread around the world.

Tha's very idealistic and I'd like to agree, but the thing is you're one voter among millions - tends of millions, if you're electing a Senator in CA. There's a whole string of reforms I'd like to see (beginning with Senate representation) but realistically that requires redrafting the constitution, which isn't happening soon (although it's not as remote a possibility as you may imagine).

But all that said, money does talk and it's the best way to move the needle on a single issue - directly to the candidate if you can do it in quantity, via lobbying organization (eg the EFF) if you can't.

A little bit late on this one. If the internet freedom coalition wants to be effective they need to take a clue on grass roots organizing from the Tea Party and target the primaries. There you need far fewer votes to be effective. And you can recruit someone who you know is good on the issue.

On that note - if anyone is interested in supporting an Internet Freedom PAC that targets the primaries of both parties, please contact me.

For those who react to not voting for A, because B is worse in some way, there is an alternative: vote 3rd party. Any party, it doesn't matter. You're voting for a message, not a result.

If you want to send a proper message, vote Libertarian. Not because you agree with them (I personally abhor the party) but because it is the largest third party in the US. Your vote won't have an impact on the outcome of this election but it's your best chance for actually having impact since a sufficient number of votes for a third party can affect visibility and funding.

It really doesn't matter which 3rd party you vote for, so vote for whichever one you abhor less or like more.

The main thing is that you're entering a vote that isn't being counted in the Dem or Rep column.

If you don't vote then it doesn't count against the Dems or Reps at all.

Vote whichever 3rd party is easiest on your conscience, and you'll be voting against both parties that can't responsibly work together at the moment.

Scattered votes will have very little impact. The most impact we can have as voters in locked states is in concentrating on one party to boost for now. Party status and funding is based in part on percentage of the popular vote, so concentration is necessary for that visibility. While I wish it were more viable to vote in a manner I abhor less, I recognise it would be a better bet to shine light on the viability of third parties by bolstering one first.

I don't think you should vote for "any party." Some third party candidates may believe things you abhor. I really feel pretty strongly that you should vote for the best candidate (third party or not).

The bigger picture around SOPA is the attitude that large corporations are to be blindly trusted and given ever more power over individuals. No trend pushes this agenda more than privatization. SOPA has its roots in the privatization agenda (see http://torrentfreak.com/the-privatization-of-copyright-lawma...), which I would argue is more of a "big picture" issue where there's a clear ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans. Voting against Democrats, who are at least very skeptical if not opposed to privatization in many cases, in favor of Republicans who are usually 100% pro-privatization in almost all cases, who would also have the same or worse position on SOPA, is at best very ignorant.

I think that there is a big problem with having so few candidates, even for the president there are only two candidates.

This is a very big problem if one supports acta and the other one supports baning abortions or something like it, choose the smaller evil? this is stupid, the system must be changed.

Except there wasn't two candidates. At the end there's two candidates, and there's good reason for it. Put in more and you have problems with splitting the vote.

If you want more options, vote during primaries. For long-term change, vote and push third-parties. Nationally, this punishes the two main parties for not representing you properly (and thus losing their vote to someone who does), and locally they actually have a chance to be elected.

perhaps this should be "Don't re-elect SOPA supporters on Tuesday, but make sure you vote for an alternative."

I for many important things and against others, but one cannot vote on just a few issues the way our system works.

We wouldn't to sacrifice some things for other things if we could be represented by a person of our choosing. And, no, I don't mean choosing between two choices someone else picked.

When you're influence gets watered down and distorted, that means other people are getting more than their fair share of the power.

And no you know how banking works.

The problem with this is, how can we be sure that their opponents won't also vote for such legislation if they get into office?

We don't, obviously. And in most cases positions on bills like this are a function of geography more than politics -- if a bill is desired by local lobbyists the local representatives are going to support it. This is the problem with single-issue voting in a two party system; it simply doesn't work the way you want it to except in very limited ways:

SOPA died because its proponents wanted to avoid the controversy that was growing over it and dropped it, seeing litle upside. That is the way single-issue politics works in the US system. And the system worked, and the bill isn't law. Trying to prolong the fight at the ballot box does nothing more than make you enemies among the supporters of basically every other single-issue subject in american politics.

A really important related point is that not all issues are like this. A vote at the ballot box isn't going to do anything about SOPA or follow-on bills, but it is likely to have effects on future tax and health care policy, court appointments (hint: which party's judicial appointments are most friendly to heavy-handed internet regulation?), and (in the executive branch) the choice to engage in wars of aggression.

Don't fool yourself into being a single-issue voter. This isn't a parliamentary system.

It's a safe bet that if a candidate publicly opposes SOPA they are a lot less likely to vote for it. So look for that, if you are a single-issue voter on SOPA.

How about this Indiegogo to educate Congress: http://www.indiegogo.com/tech-literacy

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