Rep. Paul Ryan Comes Out Forcefully Against SOPA After Reddit Pumps Up Opposing Candidate

from the well,-look-at-that... dept

This is kind of interesting. You may recall that, last month, when Reddit was casting about for a pro-SOPA candidate to oppose (along with an opponent they could back), for a little while they picked Rep. Paul Ryan. The Reddit community was actually looking for a politician who had supported both the NDAA and SOPA, and originally chose Ryan. This actually turned out to be a mistake, because Ryan did not support SOPA and his campaign quickly pushed out a statement to that effect. However, some of the wheels were already in motion, and Ryan’s main opponent for his seat, Rob Zerban, quickly embraced Reddit, and was able to raise $15,000 in just 48 hours for his anti-SOPA position.

And while some had used this story to mock the potentially over-zealous crowd at Reddit… it looks like it did have an impact. Going further than his original statement, saying that Rep. Ryan was not a SOPA supporter, Ryan has now come out strongly against SOPA:

“The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. While H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, attempts to address a legitimate problem, I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse. I do not support H.R. 3261 in its current form and will oppose the legislation should it come before the full House.”

So, it looks like even if they got it wrong initially, the whole effort did certainly (1) make SOPA into a campaign issue for Ryan and (2) lead him to come out with a clear statement against the bill. And, yet, Lamar Smith still thinks there’s no real opposition.

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Comments on “Rep. Paul Ryan Comes Out Forcefully Against SOPA After Reddit Pumps Up Opposing Candidate”

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Kevin H (profile) says:

Only because

Lamar Smith is only saying that because he feels safe in his job. He doesn’t think that his district could swing to another candidate, and so he is safe to be a bombastic blowhard.

As with Ryan it is clear that only the actual threat of losing their position of power can get our politicians to actually act in the interests of the people they are supposed to represent.

Rocco Maglio (profile) says:

Paul Ryan is collateral damage

So Paul Ryan is collateral damage in this instance. Poor reporting caused people to claim that Paul Ryan supported SOPA. This then spurred people to raise money for his opponent.

This may not have been innocent since Paul Ryan is probably the Representative that the Democratic party would most like to see defeated. His budget proposal changed the discussion over the past year, from stimulus to fiscal responsibility.

bjupton (profile) says:

Paul Ryan would also like to kill Medicare.

I know he doesn’t like to say that, but that’s the result of his proposals.

Talk about your class wars: he wants someone like me, age 39, to continue to pay into a system that I will not get as I am under 55. All in the name of ‘preserving Medicare’.

Just a way to buy off the votes of the old against the young. What chaps my ass is that there seem to be a large number of people who are for this madness.

bjupton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

LOL, what?

I am complaining that he wants to kill Medicare such that I will pay into the system my entire working life and yet receive a ridiculously reduced benefit under the crappy terms of his voucher plan.

There’s no inconsistency here. I like Medicare, and I don’t have a problem with supporting it. I just want it for me and all Americans, not just the currently old.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A bunch of us will never see a single cent we are putting into the system because the entitlements are already 120 Trillion in debt. It will be about 1 quadrillion according to the actuary tables for when I am due to retire. I know I will never receive a dime but know my money goes to pay for my mothers SS. If you never voted for a politician that made the government so big as to pay more out than it took in then yes you are entitled to the money. If not then you should not get a dime in my opinion.

bjupton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Medicare


His plan, which they call ‘preserving Medicare’ does nothing of the sort.

It keeps it in name only whilst replacing it with a defined priced voucher. You can then take this voucher to a health care company and pay the differences out of pocket.

I’m sure that this will be a completely fair market and won’t be disadvantageous against the patient. No sir. Businesses always deal fairly with captive markets.

It is Orwellian doublethink to call something ‘preserving’ when it guts it entirely.

bjupton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Medicare

Anyone who is telling you that Medicare is imminently bankrupt is either lying or ignorant. There is no problem there.

Any future potential problems could be easily remedied by raising the maximum income level that is taxed for Medicare.

And sorry, anything that takes what used to be covered and turns it into something that requires cash is a ‘gutting’. It would also give massive incentives to blow the roof off of health care spending.

bjupton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Medicare

government spending is not the same as household spending.
government debt is not the same as household debt.

macroeconomics are not accounting.

We do not have an unmanageable government debt at present. To say otherwise is to betray your lack of knowledge about economics or that you have been otherwise induced into your position.

Bloomman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Medicare

Some guy some where said a good idea on a forum post, yeesh, don’t you see that problems been solved???

But seriously, brilliant fixes on the forums aside, I don’t pretend to know how to fix this. I do know that saying the government getting out of the healthcare business will *raise* prices is silly. Find one instance where government stepped aside and prices went up and you’ll have your case for more regulation.

As to paying for a system at 39 that you won’t see if they *gut* it… Imagine how some people feel about paying for public school when they went to a private one. How about someone who’s never abused drugs paying taxes that go to treatment! That would all fall under betterment of society cost. So would be medicare payments as the system was phased to a stable one.

Since I switched to an HSA I spend less on healthcare then ever and use it more! Now, when I need an xray (as my daughter did last week), I call a couple imaging places and let them know I’m shopping around. After 3 calls, I found someone willing to do it for half the price of the other 2. Sold. My total cost was less than what I’d have payed in co-pays and monthly premium and my insurance got billed $0 so there’s no one getting screwed. When you tell someone you can pay up to $300, they’ll charge $300. If you tell someone you are shopping for a deal, they will charge a fair price. You can’t assume people are inherently going to try to help you at their own expense.

bjupton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Medicare

The large risk pool that is Medicare enables prices to be lower.

Right now, overall, the US is #1 in cost and #37 in outcomes. So, every industrialized country pays less and gets better care. More government involvement in those countries has led to better outcomes and a lower price, in large part by having a massive risk pool and thus power to drive down prices.

Also, people who don’t understand the value of public schools to themselves, even if they did not attend them, or have children that attend them…I just don’t understand that myopia. For instance, if we have an inexpensive path for smart people to become doctors, or engineers, or whatever, that makes all of our lives better.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Medicare

…If you tell someone you are shopping for a deal, they will charge a fair price. You can’t assume people are inherently going to try to help you at their own expense.

And this is the strength of a single payer system; regardless of who the single payer ends up being.

No regulation, just good old fashioned Bazaar-level haggling to get the lowest price with the highest quality. While you were able to get a price break in a bad economy, imagine the savings power 100-300 million participants can extract during any economic situation.

The market, to run efficiently needs to have equal power on both sides of the transaction to get the best results at the lowest price point. In your case, you had access to three competing labs whereas someone in a rural community may have access to only one – the math is compelling and no limited vouchers required…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Medicare

No regulation, just good old fashioned Bazaar-level haggling to get the lowest price with the highest quality.

What happens when they pick one though? Obviously, with no customers left, there would be NO OTHER OPTION. Suddenly, there’s only one option and the price goes up, up, up! That’s how monopolies work. There’s no one left to haggle with after the first purchase in your scenario.

Plus it’s up to one entity to decide what’s “best”. To be fair, I simply don’t trust the government negotiating on my behalf. I have confidence that I can do better. Look up the airlines when they were government controlled as an example. I encourage you to site a counterpoint where the government taking over offered a better value.

Even with that consideration aside, there are unintended consequences to single payer you haven’t mentioned. I’m not going to play the “death panel” card as that’s just dramatizing a serious point. I will say that we simply cannot afford to give everyone, every treatment, every time. If it takes 20 people to keep 1 person alive for 1 more year then you have to make a choice. There’s a massive talent shortage as it is (I’m in healthcare recruiting) at the specialist level up. You’re arguing about driving down the cost when we can’t keep doctors working as it is! Your concern for the rural community is even more compelling when you’re suggesting we send Uncle Sam to the door so he can tell them their paycheck is about to be cut in half. They aren’t going to just eat the pay cut and smile! They will retire or move their practice.

Playing with peoples unmentionables and looking down their ear canal is not “fun” work. Finding smart enough people to do it effectively is its own challenge. I guess we could make them be doctors.

Finally, who’s going to pay when they make a mistake? How about when someone says they were made to feel uncomfortable so they need a lifetime of therapy? The taxpayers should pick up the tab? Insurance companies have begged to have some recourse for frivolous lawsuits and been denied, the government would be even more susceptible!

I don’t have the answers, I just know that anyone who thinks there’s this “easy solution” like a single payer system isn’t giving the issue its fair amount of consideration.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I strongly believe that people can do a better job at producing and financing their own public option, creating community health centers, manning and operating those.

We are close to a stage where people can even manufacture some of the very instruments needed in such places and part of the drugs needed.

So from my perspective if Medicaid goes away it would be a good thing, simply because it is a mistake to put your interests in the hands of others, it is a mistake to trust your health to others that have different interest than you or me, now more important is a Medicaid gone with laws changed that promote the free creation of said health centers there is a lot of red tape and that is a barrier, that doesn’t improve the health of people, but maintain the costs high.

But maybe people should start small, like health centers that can be used for check ups, collection of samples and start of production of medicine that is rechecked elsewhere.

I was just thinking about these things this week, the premise was “how a modular public service would look like” and firefighters modules, police modules, hospital modules came to mind, the modules would interlock with each other and form rooms and spaces, so you can have good services anywhere as long as you are able to train the people who will man it appropriately.

To support those things there is also should be a sewer treatment module, food production module, manufacturing modules.

Lego cities LoL

Anonymous Coward says:

Honestly the $15,000 in 2 days doesn’t sound like much to me. Sure it would net a candidate 1.35 million a quarter, which is a lot of money in house races. But for a supposed grass roots uprising it really isn’t too much.

Compare that to money bombs people have done for other candidates, those people often get over a million dollars in a couple of days. Heck, the guy who stood up and shouted “YOU LIE” to the president during a state of the union speech and his opponent both raised 1.5 million dollars in a week over that incident.

Violated (profile) says:


It should be good news that SOPA & PIPA are becoming election issues. Soon we can see what way they vote and anyone voting for these acts would be seriously harming their election chances.

It is well known that politicians do votes that make the majority of the public happy near election time. All the bribe money in the World helps them none if public do not like them and vote for a rival.

So reminding them who’s butt is on the line should win us a few extra politicians to vote against SOPA and PIPA.

Jim says:

This is the form letter I got in reply from Ryan when I asked him to oppose the SOPA.

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your views on this important issue.

As you may know, Representative Lamar Smith introduced H.R. 3261 on October 26, 2011. This bill would aim to crack down on rogue websites dedicated to the sale of infringing or counterfeit goods. It narrows the definition of a rogue website, while ensuring that law enforcement can get at the “worst-of-the-worst” websites dedicated to selling infringing goods. Additionally, the bill would provide law enforcement with tools to stop websites dedicated to online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods, which include new movie and music releases. It was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary on October 26, 2011. On November 16, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held its first hearing to examine issues related to this bill. H.R. 3261 is currently pending in this committee.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. I will continue to follow this piece of legislation carefully. Should this bill come before me on the House floor, I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind.

In the meantime, if you wish to share additional information with me concerning this issue, please feel free to contact me by calling, emailing, writing, or faxing me. Please be advised that mail sent to my Washington office is subject to an additional two-week delay due to increased mail security.

If I can be of further assistance to you regarding this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am always happy to respond and be of service to you.


Paul Ryan
Serving Wisconsin’s 1st District

It didn’t sound to me like he was against SOPA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reddit and Digg are just a bunch of commie fags, who say they are for freedom and bla bla bla. But then they come out for gun control and against the second amendment.
When the politicians and judges know that they can be shot at by the people whos rights they are trying to infringe, then the government fears the people and there is freedom and liberty.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

A Guiding Policy

In dealing with congressmen, my view is that if the dog did not actually steal six lamb chops off the kitchen table, nonetheless, he had to be thinking of it, given that he is a dog. There’s no particular harm done in convincing the dog that you can read his thoughts. That said, it is a generally good idea to sponsor enough primary challengers to make Paul Ryan and Lamar Smith chronically nervous, and insist that they periodically state their opposition to SOPA/PIPA or whatever.

The National Rifle Association’s policy is that the candidate has to publicly go hunting, shoot some ducks or whatever, and if he doesn’t, he is presumed to be in favor of gun control.

Uninsured and Happy says:

Single Payer = Payer Other Than Me

The big attraction to “Single Payer” health care is that each proponent knows that he or she isn’t going to be that single payer — it’ll be Somebody Else.

It’s always more fun to spend Somebody Else’s money.

The idea that “spreading the risk in a big pool” is better for everyone is a sham. It’s not better for fully half the people — the ones who need less medical care than the average. In a “single payer” system, they pay more than the cost of their health care. That’s why Obamacare’s basic premise was to force healthy, young people to buy insurance that they didn’t want. Insurance is more expensive than what they are doing now: buying their health care directly with their own money. Obama wants to overcharge those healthy people to subsidize the chronically sick. (This doesn’t even get into the moral hazard epitomized by the obese medicare diabetics who chow down on junk food while sitting in government-funded dialysis centers. Why take responsibility for your own health when “Somebody Else” will pick up the tab?)

I have no insurance, by choice, and I get great medical care. And I get it at reasonable prices (or else I go elsewhere). Here’s an analogy. I went to two or three body shops to get quotes on fixing my fender after a crash? Their initial quotes were all outrageous. Then they found out I was going to pay for it myself. They immediately dropped the price in half, and were very curious to know what the other places had quoted. I got the job done for well under half the “insurance company” price, merely by caring what I paid for it because it was coming out of MY pocket. I’ve had the same thing happen with health care when I shop around.

I have friends who are doctors. They usually have a full time staff person who chases down insurance companies, most of whom don’t pay the doctor for six months or more. The cash patients keep the doctor’s business alive and don’t cost an arm and a leg to collect. At least with a self-paying patient, the doc knows when dispensing the care whether they are getting paid or doing charity work. They can make a choice about how much charity work they want to do.

The reason US health care is so expensive is exactly because Somebody Else is paying for it – mostly an insurance company that’s paid by your employer, or a government agency. So, of course, the morons in DC want to make it worse rather than better.

PS: people without insurance DO have health care. They have plenty of health care. The uninsured are not stupid and do not need to be coddled by you-all. They buy health care the same way they buy food, housing, or CDs. With money. That they earn by working. Get off our backs.

David Radovanovic (user link) says:


Whatever acronym you give them, these bills are an over-reach by politicians who espouse “less-government” regulation. In this case, the chest-bounders on the right have it right. I’m ashamed that two of bills’ co-sponsors are from my state of New York. Schumer and Gillibrand are both Democrats that like to believe that they are conscious of their electorate. In this case, big corporate money talks louder than their rhetoric.

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