SOPA Sponsors: Pass SOPA To Protect The Troops; Everyone Else: WTF?

from the seriously? dept

The main sponsors of SOPA, Reps. Lamar Smith and John Conyers, are taking political cynicism to new and extreme levels. We’ve certainly joked about how politicians love to put things like “for the children” or “to save jobs!” on every piece of legislation, because no one wants to be called out for being “against” those things. But now they’re simply attaching things that have absolutely nothing to do with SOPA to SOPA… such as claiming that it “protects the troops.” That link is to a PDF of a letter sent by Smith and Conyers to their colleagues in Congress, with the headline:

Promote Jobs and Economic Growth: Protect Consumers and Our Troops – Support H.R. 3261

(Amusingly, the URL of that letter also says “Rouge Websites” rather than “Rogue Websites” — a mistake that lots of folks make, but you’d really expect a bit better of Congress.)

So what does SOPA have to do with the troops? Well, they try to stretch the bill by noting the following:

Trafficking in counterfeit military goods — H.R. 3261 creates a strong deterrent to those who knowingly risk the lives of members of our armed forces and law enforcement by significantly increasing criminal penalties on those who knowingly traffic in counterfeit military goods or goods sold to law enforcement.

Um. Sorry, but it’s already very much against the law to sell counterfeit military goods. SOPA changes nothing there, and certainly won’t deter anyone. This is just the ultimate cynical ploy by some Congressional Representatives who appear to have no shame at all, trampling on the good name of our military to pass a bailout bill for Hollywood.

Hell, even the “jobs” claim is bogus. The entertainment industry isn’t losing jobs because of “piracy.” It’s losing jobs because its out-of-touch management hasn’t figured out how to adapt to a changing marketplace. Instead, we’re seeing tons of innovation and new jobs — including jobs and innovative tools for content creators come out of the tech industry — the same industry this bill seeks to regulate, which will significantly slow innovation and job creation.

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Comments on “SOPA Sponsors: Pass SOPA To Protect The Troops; Everyone Else: WTF?”

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79 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t know why you were thinking it was a done issue. He clearly states that it was still going to be discussed.

We still have plenty more to say about SOPA, and there will still be lots of posts about SOPA (especially as the bill continues through this process), but hopefully we’ll be going back to a more balanced schedule, with stories on lots of other topics as well…

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Ok, how does this work? Why would soldiers use counterfeit military goods? Did they answer a newspaper ad saying “M-16 rifles CHEAP!”? I thought they were issued the military gear by, I don’t know… the MILITARY? And if giving soldiers counterfeit military goods is such a problem, then why doesn’t THE MILITARY buy their gear from, I don’t know, the actual people THAT MAKES THE REAL MILITARY GOODS? I’m sure the military KNOWS which people make military goods that aren’t counterfeit, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Who buys this stuff?

It’s not the representatives intelligence they’re insulting. It’s the voters’. Because if a representative votes against this bill, their opponents can then say to the media, “Rep. Smith voted against a bill designed to protect our troops. Therefore Rep. Smith doesn’t care about them.”

The media naturally will parrot this view without explaining what the bill was really about. And voters en mass aren’t smart enough to dig into it and see what the bill was really all about.

out_of_the_blue says:

"the good name of our military"?

The military that needlessly invaded Iraq and murdered a million people to get Iraq’s oil? That’s already the 2nd casualty of that war, the first being Truth.

Mike, YOU’VE already fallen for the lowest and oldest trick in the book: start a war and accuse anyone against it of siding with the enemy.

Until you recognize that the real “regulatory capture” has been by the military-industrial complex, you’re just full of it, another neo-con or at best their dupe.

Grae (profile) says:

Re:

It’s actually happened before. It’s pertinent to this topic to note that counterfeit military equipment that has ended up in the hands of the U.S. military went through channels that would be utterly unaffected by SOPA.

The easiest way to explain it is that on occasion contractors working for the military cut corners, buy from unverified sources, and those counterfeit components/equipment ends up in the product that they deliver to the military as a part of their contract. The military isn’t expecting a contractor they hired to act in such a way, so the problem can go undetected for awhile.

Just to repeat the earlier point, though: this problem has nothing to do with the online world and SOPA is useless to combat it.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Who buys this stuff?

I’m responding to my own post here, just to be clear. I wasn’t signed in for the comments in this post.

But to follow up to what I was saying, this is all just part of the ridiculous farce that is our Republican form of government. It’s the game they play with rules that have evolved over the past 240 or so years.

Which has me thinking: Hasn’t technology gotten to the point to where we can do away with Republican government and go back to a straight up democracy? Forgive this digression, which I’m sure has been brought up before (as nothing is original).

With a majority of the population in possesion of a cellphone and more and more people using smartphones, couldn’t we just say that everyone who wants to vote has to do so by a cellphone registered to their SSN? But not voting for elected officials; instead every item that Congress would normally vote on gets voted on by the entire population, including commitee and subcomitee issues.

No more lobbying to politicians. Instead they have to advertise to the public (and you thought campaign ads were bad). A drawback to be sure, but there could be limits impossed.

Tell me why this is a bad idea or wouldn’t work. And then tell me how we can make it work.

Rikuo (profile) says:

"the good name of our military"?

Blue…Mike has said nothing in any way shape or form about the war in Iraq. Nothing at all. This article has nothing to do with it. It mentions the military, but only because SOPA supporters are now saying SOPA is good for the military.
Then again, this is your standard tactic. See a single word or sentence and try and spin it as an attack against Mike, most of the time making yourself look a complete fool for doing so.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

"the good name of our military"?

Blue, what fantasy world do you live in where anybody gives a shit about your constant political freakouts? It’s amazing how good you are at finding something to bitch about in every single post – if it’s not the actual topic of the post, then you pick one throwaway phrase like this and go off on a rant that has nothing to do with what anybody is talking about.

I Can Speak Blue says:

"the good name of our military"?

yeah, SOPA and the Iraqi war are related because SOPA would have stopped the Iraqi war by magic. Yes, magic, because the bill would have magically prevented the invasion in the first place. the whole invasion was because saddam had weapons of mass destruction and when we looked for those weapons we couldn’t find them. but the reason we couldn’t find them was because those weapons were secretly counterfeit and so our troops couldn’t find any real weapons and thought the counterfeits were just toys. has sopa passed before, saddam would have never got a hold of counterfeit weapons and we would have never attacked iraq. so, yeah, we need to pass this bill to prevent more wars from happening and consequently save our troops. yeah, pass sopa.

Anonymous Coward says:

"the good name of our military"?

This isn’t really true though. At the end of 2008, because of the near collapse of the financial industry and the tanking of the economy, gas prices cratered. Obama could have easily caused the same thing by allowing us to default on our debt and have the economy crash again. Gas prices actually peaked higher under Bush, although I suspect in 2012 we’ll see a higher peak under Obama because we’re getting to where gas prices usually bottom out and it’s not low enough. That’s going to be the problem with gas prices for the foreseeable future. Higher prices as the economy recovers. Electric cars, hybrids, renewable energy, and more drilling will help some, but the first three still make up too little to make much of a difference (plus we get more energy from coal than oil so it won’t easy demand too much), and more drilling will take years to make any significant effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Um. Sorry, but it’s already very much against the law to sell counterfeit military goods. SOPA changes nothing there, and certainly won’t deter anyone. This is just the ultimate cynical ploy by some Congressional Representatives who appear to have no shame at all, trampling on the good name of our military to pass a bailout bill for Hollywood.

More lies FUDboy? Did you Read Title II, Section 204? I don’t know why you think enhanced sentencing for anyone introducing counterfeit goods into the military supply chain doesn’t strengthen protection- other than it not suiting your own disinformation campaign.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

It’s actually happened before. It’s pertinent to this topic to note that counterfeit military equipment that has ended up in the hands of the U.S. military went through channels that would be utterly unaffected by SOPA.

The easiest way to explain it is that on occasion contractors working for the military cut corners, buy from unverified sources, and those counterfeit components/equipment ends up in the product that they deliver to the military as a part of their contract. The military isn’t expecting a contractor they hired to act in such a way, so the problem can go undetected for awhile.

Just to repeat the earlier point, though: this problem has nothing to do with the online world and SOPA is useless to combat it.

Try reading the bill douchenozzle. It provides for sentencing enhancements in Title II, section 204

JarHead says:

We Also Support This Bill

On the other news, the Homeless of America Association (HOAA) expressed their full support for SOPA in their press release yesterday. Their spoke person, Joe, said that infringed materials hurts them badly.

“We have to withstand cold in some knock off jackets and garments, which are too thin. We already have to live in card boxes made in China. Why can people understand, we need the real deal. Infringement made it unprofitable for the designers to release their stuff, or producers to manufacture. The reduced sales depressed the economy so John Q Public think twice before throwing his stuff away or giving it to donation. So we implore the public, please think of us before downloading those songs or posting links to [download] the latest movies.”

hothmonster says:

Re:

Oh sentencing enhancements! well that should keep anyone from selling or buying counterfeit military goods. As we all know the only reason people would try to sell bogus goods to the military is because the sentence was too light, because we all know with a strict enough punishment you can stop any crime, just like rape and murder which are gone now due to strict penalties.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

"the good name of our military"?

But now they’re simply attaching things that have absolutely nothing to do with SOPA to SOPA[b]…[/b]

———-

Ellipsis?! MIKE once again //you/ have fallen prey of our grammar /overlords/!!/. $ WHEN $ will you learn /that/ Imperialists forcing US to use ~their~ sentence construction ?RULES?. This just proves that PIRACY //*++–..CANNOT–??? BE allowed to //:::::) THRIVE ::// in this country! You’re such a #COLLEGE BOY%, Why can’t you be a ??Farm Boy??!!??????

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re:

Oh sentencing enhancements! well that should keep anyone from selling or buying counterfeit military goods. As we all know the only reason people would try to sell bogus goods to the military is because the sentence was too light, because we all know with a strict enough punishment you can stop any crime, just like rape and murder which are gone now due to strict penalties.

Nevermind the fact that as OP stated and others have said, SOPA will in no way effect these purchases since most of this is done at the “non-electronic” level.

I know with 100% certainty that the government contracting will be unaffected by SOPA and counterfeit components will continue to find their way into the government procurement process regardless to how many sentencing enhancements are included in Title II, section 204. I suspect even those electronic systems operated by GAO and the services will be exempt from SOPA, so the $500 counterfeit hammers we are forced to buy will still be there on the GAO website for us, regardless to what SOPA does.

Grae (profile) says:

Re:

You know the number one indicator when someone has a weak or faulty argument? When gems like “douchenozzle” are thrown down onto the discussion floor. You’re doing yourself a disservice by name calling.

Maybe I wasn’t fully clear above. I’m not talking about military contractors who purposefully or intentionally sell counterfeit goods to the military. I’m talking about contractors who get counterfeit goods/components somewhere in their supply chain unwittingly–usually due to someone in the supply chain cutting corners by not verifying a supplier 100%–and unintentionally selling a product to the military that is in whole or in part counterfeit. I did read the section of the bill you referenced, but I’m not seeing how it would stop this scenario from occurring.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Or not at all!

Anyone else remember SA.com receiving donations to purchase body armor for a forum member’s unit that the military deemed not important enough?

If that wasn’t enough, you may also recall Paypal froze the donation account and I believe there was also considerable stonewalling from the military trying to get the vests to the troops.

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/update-from-frontlines.php

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

It’s usually b/c some counterfeit good was inserted into the supply chain somewhere long before it made it to the military.

Big contractor buys stuff from smaller contractor, who buys stuff from X supplier, who gets his stuff from someone else. Every component has parts that have gone through multiple companies. The person directly selling to the government probably has zero idea anything was up as the issue arose long before he touched the goods.

Being online has absolutely zero to do with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Want to support our troops?

I thought Washington D.C. decided they were well off enough to pay for there own private health care.

Frag’em.

Awww…that wasn’t nice. After all, the government is creating soooo many part time jobs that you can pay taxes on but not receive unemployment when you get your constructive dismissal so they can hire more people and get more checks from Unky Sam.

Wait, that’s not completely true, politicians are supporting business’ to hire full timers as well, just not that they turn around and fire them all before they’ve worked a year and a half to hire a whole bunch more full timers and get a whole bunch more checks.

But that’s OK because said companies donate a lot of money to their political campaigns. That’s Patriotic. So what have we done for congress lately?

Shame on us for talking about our rights.

Grae (profile) says:

Re:

As I stated above: the first sign of a weak or faulty argument is name calling. It provides a literally negative value to the discussion as anyone who might have been on the fence and listened to what you had to say will now be deafened to your arguments. Knock it off, and leave your “FUDboy”s at home.

So, here’s the sentencing guidelines that would be enhanced by SOPA. The penalties range from up to $2,000,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment to $15,000,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment just for being involved in counterfeiting goods. If you bring causing death into the equation, the penalties jump to a fine as stated above and life imprisonment.

I suppose that because there are no minimum penalties outlined a counterfeiter could in theory cause someone’s death, get caught, and get away with a slap on the wrist. If you can provide some cases where this actually happened, I’d love to see them.

As it is, increasing the penalties for a crime is the weakest method of reducing crime. If there’s already enough incentive to commit the crime of counterfeiting when you could be fined $15,000,000 and go to jail for 20 years then increasing these penalties is won’t stop criminals from counterfeiting. The risk of getting caught is simply comes with the territory.

Anyone who is really genuinely interested in reducing harmful counterfeiting will be looking at ways that reduce the incentive to counterfeit in the first place, rather than dealing with the problem after it has already occurred as that’s all a penalty increase will do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Maybe a better way of saying this would be: contrary to Mike’s assertion that “it’s already very much against the law to sell counterfeit military goods. SOPA changes nothing there, and certainly won’t deter anyone,” SOPA in fact would change the law with respect to counterfeit military goods. It would allow for greater penalties against those who sell them. So that particular statement of Mike’s is not actually correct. Perhaps what he meant was just the second half of his staement – that SOPA’s changes won’t deter military counterfeits. He may have a point. If, say, 5 years in prison won’t deter you, then 6 or 7 may not deter you either. On the other hand, if there’s a specific enhancement for people who deal in counterfeit military goods, maybe it would make a difference in some marginal cases.

Regardless of whether one can take issue with that one part of Mike’s statement, the military counterfeits aspects is a pretty weak argument for adopting SOPA wholesale. There’s already a similar, standalone military counterfeits bill in the Senate, so if Congress cares about that issue, they already have a vehicle to deal with it, without adopting SOPA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I know with 100% certainty that the government contracting will be unaffected by SOPA and counterfeit components will continue to find their way into the government procurement process regardless to how many sentencing enhancements are included in Title II, section 204. I suspect even those electronic systems operated by GAO and the services will be exempt from SOPA, so the $500 counterfeit hammers we are forced to buy will still be there on the GAO website for us, regardless to what SOPA does.

There’s no requirement for transaction to be electronic for enhanced sentences for introduction of counterfeits into military supply chain. Try reading.

Anonymous Coward says:

Who buys this stuff?

That’d be easy enough (relatively). Just link the current e-voting machines and mobile phones to the same servers. Or just let any computer with internet access be used as well. On election day, schools and libraries reserve some of their computers for those who want to vote. Just have a polling person there to verify their ID.

JEDIDIAH says:

Replacement gear

If soldiers want to buy replacement gear, they know what to get and who to buy it from. The compare notes on this sort of stuff. It’s not like they go cruising for some guys selling stuff out of the back of a truck or the electronic equivalent.

It’s total bogus nonsense.

Besides: if you want to protect consumers then enforce consumer protection laws. This copyright nonsense has nothing to do with protecting consumers of any sort.

nasch (profile) says:

"the good name of our military"?

Gas prices are higher now than under Bush (although you don’t hear screams from the media about Obama doing nothing about it).

That’s because he did do something about it. I’m not saying it was a good idea, but it’s what he did and the media reported on it.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/06/obama-taps-strategic-petroleum-reserve-will-release-more-if-necessary/

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