Rep. Lamar Smith Decides Lying About, Insulting And Dismissing Opposition To SOPA Is A Winning Strategy

from the we-shall-see dept

It appears that SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith has decided that his best strategy continues to be to ignore any and all criticism of SOPA and pretend that none of it “is legitimate.” That’s kinda funny since we’ve shown, in great detail, where many of the problems in the bill are (see here, here and here for example — all of which cite specific language from the bill). And yet, according to Smith:

“The criticism of this bill is completely hypothetical; none of it is based in reality,” Smith said in a statement to Roll Call. “Not one of the critics was able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet. Their accusations are simply not supported by any facts.”

We’ve done exactly what he’s claimed we haven’t — as have numerous other parties, including famed Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, who also cited specific language in the bill. Ditto with former DHS Assistant Secretary, Stewart Baker, who also cited language from the bill about how SOPA will cause significant security problems for the internet.

It makes you wonder: just who does Lamar Smith think he’s fooling?

Does he really think that if he just keeps on repeating these blatant lies someone, somewhere, will believe them?

From there, he goes from the ridiculous to the absurd by claiming that the widespread outcry over SOPA is just a “vocal minority,” rather than any legitimate movement against the bill:

“It?s a vocal minority, he said. “Because they?re strident doesn?t mean they?re either legitimate or large in number. One, they need to read the language. Show me the language. There?s nothing they can point to that does what they say it does do. I think their fears are unfounded.”

Hundreds of thousands of letters sent? Nearly 90,000 calls in a single day? This is not a “vocal minority.” This is a large and growing segment of the population who is very, very concerned. And, they have shown him the language, contrary to his blatantly false claims. Dismissing the concerns of pretty much the entire tech sector and their users (not to mention the folks over at Reddit…) doesn’t seem wise. It seems like someone who doesn’t understand the internet, not just in trying to regulate it, but in how the internet can be used to rally support against those who seek to damage it.

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Comments on “Rep. Lamar Smith Decides Lying About, Insulting And Dismissing Opposition To SOPA Is A Winning Strategy”

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92 Comments
:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Theoretically...

If a million people were to cry out at how horrible some proposed legislation was, they’re only 0.325725949% of the US population.

A “vocal minority”, as it were.

Of course, if you factor out those people who never go online, and those people who do not understand how the internet works, then one may find that same vocal group likely represents a high percentage of those people who use and understand the internet.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Theoretically...

Actually, I would guess that if we’re just looking at those who use and understand the internet, the so called minority would be 100%.

How about we look at people who know what this bill is about and have commented on it? Those opposing the bill will still be a large majority, but at least we’re counting those who support the bill.

Coco Was Screwed says:

Re: Theoretically...

Ah but you are ignoring the “representative” function of these communications. If one person writes a letter, does that individual “represent” a portion of all of the constituents? I submit that they do, at some percentage that is probably highly variable. Would it not be safe to assume that a member of congress applies a percentage of “representation” to that communication?

Let just conservatively say that for each person that goes through the trouble of communicating with congress, there are 100 people that hold the same opinion but did not communicate. So if you extrapolate that out, the 1 million letters actually “represent” the opinion of 100 million people.

bluej21 says:

Re: Re: Re: Theoretically...

Actually it’s nearly a third of the entire US population.

Now let’s run some numbers (from the US Census Bureau, 2010):
US population: 308,745,538
Age 18 and over: 76%
US population 18+: 234,646,608
One hundred million people = 42.6% of the adult population

Small percentage indeed…

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Theoretically...

It’s all in how you define phrases such as “tiny percentage” or “vocal minority” or, for that matter, “silent majority”.

If it’s less than 50% it qualifies as the two former while the people who aren’t counted in are the majority. Right?

See, that makes purrrfect sense!

The only problem with that is if you or I decide to factor in the notion that that representative 30% as far more likely to vote than the “silent majority” of 70%. Given the dismal turnout in elections held in all western democracies these days that would be more for Lamar Smith to lose his job, not to mention a few others.

Not only is he lying, he’s in denial about this.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Re: Re: But...but...but of course he's right...

What Al Gore actually said is quite accurate (per, among other people, Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn); what was misquoted in the press is wrong. Please see: How a journalist invented that Al Gore invented the Internet, which links to Seth Finkelstein’s page describing how this story spread.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: But...but...but of course he's right...

?During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.?

He did exaggerate to toot his own horn and sound important. He created legislation to assist those creating the internet. That sentence does make it sound like he is trying to take ownership of the internet’s creation.

But yes he did get railroaded with bad coverage that no one ever bothered to correct. Tinfoil ensues.

Moral of the story, don’t try to take credit for shit you didn’t do. Or more credit than you deserve for shit you had a small role in

fogbugzd (profile) says:

I think Lamar Smith has allowed himself to be captured by his staff. From things that he said in the SOPA hearings it sounded like he rarely if ever goes online himself. Therefore he is probably relying entirely on his staff to tell him what he needs to know. Of course, several members of that same staff probably already have promises of cushy jobs at various SOPA supporters companies to be awarded the moment that SOPA passes.

gorehound (profile) says:

Lamar Smith is nothing but a corrupt sack of dog poop that will get what is coming to him in 2012.His own Constituents will probably never Vote for him again.He is a prick and I would hope he is investigated for Ethics Violations or at the very least the Donations he received should all be made public.
FRAK YOU LAMAR SMITH !!!

I am not a Pirate or a Thief.I am a US Citizen born and bred and you will not stop our free speech.Thing is you do not even care about this fact you just care about money from Hollywood.
And your Industry support is slowly crumbling.No one in their right mind would ever want to allow any kind of Censorship in our free Country.Shut off the NET and you corrupted politicians will rue the day you do this to us US Citizens.
SOPA/PIPA = WAR !!!

Jon says:

Re: gorehound

Actually Lamar Smith doesn’t have anyone running against him in his district (which I live in) at the moment. I have been a proponent of getting his ass out of office for the past few years, and considering what his constituents are like (typically old white republicans), I seriously doubt SOPA is going to be the thing that gets him booted out.

cn says:

Re: betrayal by career politicians

The politicians in the senate and congress know they will be voted out. They are afraid to face the fact that they deserve to be voted out.

They ignore the truth hoping that the same thugs who bought the elections for McCain, Pelosi and Reid will buy re-elections for them and this is why they chose to ignore we the people.

cn says:

Re: betrayal by career politicians

The politicians in the senate and congress know they will be voted out. They are afraid to face the fact that they deserve to be voted out.

They ignore the truth hoping that the same thugs who bought the elections for McCain, Pelosi and Reid will buy re-elections for them and this is why they chose to ignore we the people.

cn says:

Re: betrayal by career politicians

The politicians in the senate and congress know they will be voted out. They are afraid to face the fact that they deserve to be voted out.

They ignore the truth hoping that the same thugs who bought the elections for McCain, Pelosi and Reid will buy re-elections for them and this is why they chose to ignore we the people.

cn says:

Re: betrayal by career politicians

The politicians in the senate and congress know they will be voted out. They are afraid to face the fact that they deserve to be voted out.

They ignore the truth hoping that the same thugs who bought the elections for McCain, Pelosi and Reid will buy re-elections for them and this is why they chose to ignore we the people.

Robert (profile) says:

Shut it down then

Beat them to it, shut down the Internet and be done with it.

But don’t DARE buy ANYTHING from corporations. Instead go to local placed where music is playing, ensure they are not on major labels, ensure the establishments are not paying royalties to SOCAN/ASCAP/et. al. Just avoid anything corporate.

Write letters (the US Post Office will thank you given they are broke) to senators and members of congress and parliament. Thank them for freeing you from information overload by their own stupidity and acceptance of bribes from corporations.

Drop your cable television/satellite subscription. Watch the movies you already have, don’t buy more unless from indie folks.

Don’t purchase a single newspaper (RMurdoch will be happy you dropped the ‘Net but pissed you’re not reading his horeshit “news”).

Talk to your neighbours and learn about them. Go to parks. Spend time with your family.

Write more to your political “representatives” explaining how if things don’t change and real proof and real transparency are not a reality (budgets, receipts, etc…) then they are out the door.

Given the financial “crisis” the greedy corps will face, they won’t have much left for bribing politicians.

Develop our own, completely open, Internet after corps have plummeted.

Maybe then society will be better off. Clearly too many people are asleep at the wheel, taking away the web and TV and news might help them to learn to think for themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shut it down then

If you DO buy movies/tv shows on dvd/BluRay, buy used or remaindered.

There are several sites that handle still-sealed dvds/blurays at really low prices, like $4.99 for a $29.99 (retail) disc.

It’ll be stuff that’s been out 6 months or longer, but what’s your hurry? πŸ˜‰

Anonymous Coward says:

Lies

‘Does he really think that if he just keeps on repeating these blatant lies someone, somewhere, will believe them?’

Of course he does. Remember he belongs to a group whose members make *careers* of lying to people in order to get elected, get rich and keep their jobs. There is a skill to this that you are simply underestimating. Never, never underestimate a smiling sociopath.

Anonymous Coward says:

Support for internet blocking: 16%

Survey Shows Piracy Common and Widely Accepted

The surveys findings show pretty much what everyone other than Lamar Smith expected. According to the survey; copyright infringement among family and friends is common, the survey reveals that 46% of adults and 75% of young people have bought, copied, or downloaded some copyright infringing material. 70% of those surveyed said it’s reasonable to share music files with friends and family. Solid majorities of American Internet users oppose copyright enforcement when it is perceived to intrude on personal rights and freedoms. Support for internet blocking schemes was 16%, SOPA is not all that popular.

(H/T Slashdot)

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Support for internet blocking: 16%

Survey Shows Piracy Common and Widely Accepted… (H/T Slashdot)

Heh. Good thing we ran that story two months ago, huh?

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111115/00240216771/new-study-shows-majority-americans-against-sopa-believe-extreme-copyright-enforcement-is-unreasonable.shtml

πŸ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Support for internet blocking: 16%

Uh oh. The Internet is starting to feedback!

By my calculations, the feedback loop will soon cause a chain reaction that will destroy the Earth in less than a year (around December 21 this year, give or take)!

Clearly we need laws like SOPA to pass, to be able to take down rogue sites that continue to feed this loop.

This isn’t just for the children any more. What we are doing here is preventing the apocalypse!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Support for internet blocking: 16%

The 16% number actually refers to support for disconnecting households from the internet.

Going to the PDF itself, rather than relying on the summary at the activepolitic.com site:

Copyright Infringement and Enforcement in the US, Nov 2011:

The U.S. survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results are based on interviews on landline and cellular telephones conducted in English with 2,303 adults age 18 or older living in the continental United States from August 1-31, 2011. For results based on the entire sample, the margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
????? ?.?.?.?.

What are Appropriate Penalties for Infringement?
????? ?.?.?.?.
Disconnection, in particular, is very unpopular, with only 16% in favor and 72% of Americans opposed. Among that 16%, most (58%) would drop their support if it meant disconnecting households rather than individuals?which it does. Informed support for disconnection, accordingly, is under 10%.
????? ?.?.?.?.

Should Intermediaries Block Infringing Material?
????? ?.?.?.?.
Because of the relatively high degree of Internet literacy required to address this set of questions, we posed them to home Internet users (72% of the population) or to all Internet users (79%). We believe that the results are reflective to a large degree of those of the wider population.
????? ?.?.?.?.
Attitudes are softer when asking whether ISPs should ?block access to sites that provide access to pirated songs and videos.? A 58% majority responded yes to this question, with 36% opposed. When asked if the government should block access, that majority vanishes (40% yes; 56% no).

When we use the stronger word ?censor? for ?block,? support drops significantly. When asked if ISPs should censor such sites, users are split: 46% say yes; 49% say no. When asked if the government should censor those sites, the results are strongly negative: 33% say yes; 64% say no.

Anonymous Coward says:

But it’s much easier to be happy when you’ve got so many responsibilities like Lamar Smith when you become delusional and ignore reality!

Do you want poor Lamar Smith to die from stress by waking up and realizing the numerous horrors and acts of evil he’s inflicted upon the world just doing day to day business in congress that inevitably ruins so many people’s lives because of the size and power of the US government?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Do you want poor Lamar Smith to die from stress by waking up and realizing the numerous horrors and acts of evil he’s inflicted upon the world just doing day to day business in congress that inevitably ruins so many people’s lives because of the size and power of the US government?”

Yes!
Oh, Lord!
YES!

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“But it’s much easier to be happy when you’ve got so many responsibilities like Lamar Smith when you become delusional and ignore reality!”

You mean delusions like Friday lunches with Wills and Kate in London discussing copyright and technology while simultaneously sitting in the House of Representatives?

Not saying he has those but anything is possible when you’re delusional! πŸ˜‰

The Original Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I've heard a story like this before...

It goes like this:

“the principle & which is quite true in itself is that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily,”

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

This thought is often simplified down to “The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.”

ECA (profile) says:

let the dreamers DREAM, just put them in a padded room

Companies and corps ran VERY WELL, without copyrights..
Copyrights were created to HELP/protect the individual…NOT THE CORPS.
This is PURE protectionism. but the corps arnt in this country anymore. only the HEAD of the beast is here. most of the company is NOT in the USA.
what are we protecting? not much.

All the claims that are SAID, tend to be INTERNATIONAL Statistics, not national. so why are they trying to Affect our nation.
If you look into the past, you find that TONS of corps STOLE their ideas. What would of happened if the Wright Brothers had the ONLY copy for airplanes? the way copyrights and regulations are NOW, they could contest anything that left the ground with wings.

MondoGordo says:

Proving Godwins Law

Not to suggest that Lamar Smith is a Nazi or anything but
Adolf Hitler, promulgated the idea of the big lie … about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

I wonder if Smith is operating under the assumption that the big lie still works? The problem is, he might be right.

Heretic says:

Mr Smith (R-Texas) has little choice but to lie and distort the truth because the actual truth does not do him any favors.

He can’t back down and he is heading towards an increasingly uphill battle. His only hope is to maintain a brave face and push forward with the bill. He has been bought and paid for. The MPAA and RIAA paid for the champagne room and so he has to dance. Even if the music sucks, he has to dance.

So, dance, Mr. Smith, dance.

wizened (profile) says:

the wrong people get the message

Does he really think that if he just keeps on repeating these blatant lies someone, somewhere, will believe them?

Well yeah, he does believe that. Sadly, he’s right. The people who believe him and do not challenge him are the media. They believe him and in turn they are the ones controlling the information that gets to the public at large. As long as he can keep them fooled (and apparently that’s not hard) he has the public fooled.

Some guy says:

What I think Lamar Smith thinks the internet is: It’s just a few hundred people who get on these little whirring machines and clickity clack in numbers and download gallons (Not
-bytes). This is what he thinks “The RIAA tells me the internet is bad and that the only thing people on the internet do is download stuff illegally, so the WHOLE thing must be shut down!”

Nick says:

Fooling

Unfortunately, Smith doesn’t have to fool everybody, or even most. He only has to fool his peers in DC (and lets face it, that is just as easily done as said). And only has to fool them long enough for a hasty vote.

How many in Congress see Smith as an expert on this bill, and will take him on his word that the criticism is unfounded? How many will seek out or even ask for a second opinion?

Dave P says:

Techically incompetent.

From my UK viewpoint, I don’t have a clue who this guy is, but I sure know WHAT he is, if this report is to be believed. Comes across as a totally incompetent, arrogant, non-technical ignoramus. Typical politician, really. Scary that you have these sort of people allegedly representing the people and supposedly working for them….oh wait….we have much the same this side of the pond!

Mike Pointer says:

Lamar is a fucking asshole and where the fuck does a corrupt toupee owner with no spine get to call the contributing inventors of the internet, a vocal minority. Know what a vocal minority is you mother fucker, your synapses. I hope Lamar gets voted off next year like a little twirp. Fucking simpletons like Lamar are the reason America is going down the drain, now he wants to cut down the internet because he got some payola… mother fucker.

ian (profile) says:

Statist politician

Lamar Smith is a big-government Republican. He repeatedly blocks any attempts to reform the war on cannabis, possibly due to his ties to the Alcohol and Tobacco lobbies. As a person who prefers less government intervention, I fully oppose Lamar Smith. His sponsoring of the notorious SOPA (internet censorship) bill should mark him as a prime target for small-government conservatives in Texas looking to change the status quo.

R.B. (profile) says:

Cock-a-Roaches!

Everyone in in the legislative, judical, and executive branches of the government are soulless gut eating parasites. They know nothing except the color of money and the darkness of greed.

Voting people like this Hedley Lamar out isn’t going to help, he’ll be replace by another old white guy with the same gerbil sized brain, in the pockets of the same corporations.

Is he serious? says:

Vocal minority?! Has he even seen what we all did these last few days?
If we were minority I doubt the senators would have denounced PIPA…
I guess he thinks we are all stupid, but the truth is on the contrary.. and yeah not only Americans fight this world war web! I am not an American as many others! We want our internet freedom and if he thinks that he will take it from us, he is seriously wrong..
Anonymous, bring SOPA down!!

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