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Rep. Darrell Issa Introduces the OPEN Act to Counter #SOPA & #PIPA



An effective, targeted solution to online copyright infringement

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, officially introduced H.R. 3782, the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill delivers stronger intellectual property rights for American artists and innovators while protecting the open, accessible Internet Americans deserve. This bipartisan, bicameral bill protects American artists and innovators through the International Trade Commission (ITC), by applying due process to investigate intellectual property infringement claims against foreign “rogue” websites and cuts off funding to sites found to be willfully and primarily trafficking infringed material. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has introduced the OPEN Act in the U.S. Senate.

“OPEN is a targeted, effective solution to the problem of foreign, rogue websites stealing from American artists and innovators,” said Issa. “Today’s Internet blackout has underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA to the real problem of intellectual property infringement. OPEN is a smarter way to protect taxpayers’ rights while protecting the Internet.”

Issa and Wyden released the draft OPEN Act at last year, using the Madison platform to open up the legislative process to taxpayers for the first time. Since then, OPEN has received more than 150 substantive comments and crowdsourced suggested improvements, many of which were included in the formal bill introduction. To date, nearly 300,000 Americans have visited the website.

The legislation is supported by original cosponsors Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL), Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Upon the introduction of the OPEN Act, these original cosponsors offered the following statements:

Rep. Spencer Bachus

“The Government should not be in the business of censoring speech. The Federal Government has no right to censor the Internet.”

Rep. John Campbell

“I strongly support the OPEN Act, as it is legislation that will effectively crack down on rogue foreign websites and protect American consumers, while protecting and preserving the innovative and job-creating engine that is the Internet.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz

“SOPA threatens our cyber security, undermines freedom of speech, and chills innovation in one of the few sectors of our economy that is actually working. While I understand and appreciate the need to protect intellectual property, SOPA is a massive and inappropriate overreach. Instead, I strongly support the OPEN Act. This bi-partisan legislation addresses the problem of online piracy without causing collateral damage to the Internet as SOPA would.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio

“As written, SOPA and PIPA would jeopardize online freedom and grant corporations and the federal government unprecedented power to censor the Internet. I support the OPEN Act because it targets the people breaking the law without threatening the freedom of every other Internet user.”

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

“The threat to an open Internet posed by Rep. Lamar Smith’s SOPA cannot be cleaned up with soap and a wire brush. It should be rejected in favor of a more focused alternative, like the OPEN Act, which addresses legitimate piracy concerns without mandating censorship or blocking websites.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo

“Rogue websites and the pirates behind them represent the hijacking of American genius, and must be stopped. But the Stop Online Piracy Act’s (SOPA) overly broad language will seriously hinder the growth of new businesses, new investments, and new jobs. The economic opportunities and innovation created by the Internet and start-ups could be crushed under the weight of SOPA. Today’s introduction of the OPEN Act provides us with a framework on how to best protect U.S. intellectual property rights, and I’m proud to support it.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold

“An open internet is a marketplace for ideas that encourages innovation and economic growth. A free and open Internet gives everyone an audience for the free flow of ideas, it is the soap box of the 21st Century for political discourse exemplifying the American value of free speech. Social media is a gateway to friends and loved ones and puts new business opportunities at our fingertips. The internet is our newest frontier and must be free from oppressive government regulation.”

Rep. Mike Honda

“Throughout the public debate for the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, I have often stated that at the heart of this issue are fundamental questions about what the internet and free speech means to Americans, intellectual property rights holders, and our economy; these questions are too important to haphazardly rush through Congress without a full and open debate. No one denies that copyright infringement and piracy are serious problems. What deserves a full debate are the protections that legitimate sites should have and by what method we expose criminals while allowing lawful businesses and people, like the constituents in my District, to continue to innovate in ways that change the way we look at the world. That is why I proudly support the OPEN Act. Not only for how it is crafted, properly targeting and defining rogue actors without putting innovation in danger, but also the way in which it was crafted: in a full open forum that has allowed for robust debate. It is my sincere hope that the introduction of this bill represents a critical turning point in this debate, where diverse groups of stakeholders come together and thoroughly work on a solution.”

Rep. Tim Johnson

“It is the right of every American to be compensated and receive payment for their efforts, whether they are artists, manufacturers, or any other type of business. While the protection of intellectual property in any form is a necessary function of government, these bills do not solve the problem of privacy, do not fully address the issue, and are not supported by the American public or the majority of stake holders in this issue. Simply put, these measures add unnecessary regulators to the federal bureaucracy and in the long-run, don’t solve the problem. The Open Act does.”

Rep. Jim Langevin

“We must act to use existing laws and organizations along with new marketing regimes to crack down on digital pirates while fully leveraging a growing market for online content,” said Langevin, co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. “Instead of trying to mitigate security, economic, and Internet freedom concerns with broad, over-reaching technical solutions, I support proposals like this one that seek a middle ground for curbing online piracy while protecting American jobs and innovative technologies that have allowed us to remain the world leader online.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren

Congress doesn’t have to censor the Internet or restrain innovation in order to fight online piracy. The OPEN Act shows there’s a better way. It relies on proven remedies—attacking the profit motive for online infringement—without the collateral damage to the Internet that SOPA and PIPA would cause. The OPEN Act has already benefited from a novel legislative experiment, through the solicitation of public comments and revisions at After the bill’s introduction, I look forward to hearing additional constructive feedback and ways to incorporate it as the bill moves forward.

Rep. Doris Matsui

“While combating online copyright infringement is a goal we all support, SOPA, as it is currently written, would cause substantial harm to American innovation and the economic opportunities created by the Internet ecosystem. Americans increasingly rely on the Internet in many important ways, from looking for a job to taking online education courses, accessing health care, and so forth. Moreover, small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on an open and free Internet to be able to offer services, and to grow and expand their businesses. That is why I am happy to join my colleagues today in introducing the bipartisan OPEN Act, which will ensure the Internet remains open and free to all Americans and enables our innovators to continue to keep our country competitive.”

Rep. Patrick McHenry

“In a society that values creativity and innovation, it’s important to protect intellectual property and prevent copyright infringement. The OPEN Act targets online piracy from rogue websites while safeguarding First Amendment rights and ensuring the American tradition of due process.”

Rep. George Miller

“SOPA and PIPA are not the right answer for the future of the Internet, and that is why I oppose them. Our bipartisan bill introduced today – the OPEN Act – can achieve what SOPA would not: crack down on foreign websites that willfully violate copyright laws, without going to the dangerous extremes proposed in the other legislation.”

Rep. Jared Polis

“Unlike SOPA and PIPA, the OPEN Act will effectively combat piracy from foreign websites while preserving Internet freedom. By using a ‘follow-the-money’ approach we can shut down foreign sites that steal intellectual property while ensuring that the Internet remains an engine of innovation, information and job creation. Without access to capital, these foreign websites will wither and die while the Internet continues to grow and thrive.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

“As an ardent defender of American intellectual property rights, I am pleased to see the OPEN Act introduced to target rogue sites without destroying Internet infrastructure or crippling legitimate innovation online. Congress must absolutely take the threat of piracy seriously, and this legislation shows we can do so without opening up the floodgates for litigation or limiting freedom of expression.”

Rep. Mike Thompson

“Today, thousands of websites such as Wikipedia and WordPress have gone dark, giving us a glimpse of what it could be like if the overly broad SOPA legislation became law. SOPA would stifle innovation, resulting in fewer new businesses, fewer new investments and fewer new jobs. While online piracy is something we must continually fight, SOPA is the wrong way to do it. That is why I am working with global leaders like Google and Twitter, to instead enact the OPEN Act, which still combats piracy but does so in a way that doesn’t let broad government oversight stifle the innovation and creativity that has been a driving force behind the Internet industry’s economic success.”

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Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There



The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.

These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by 


… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of  rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry


In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.


But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…


The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.

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Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:




Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:

The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.


Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.

Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!

I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.

After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.

The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.

But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.

Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.

In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.

Your most humble and obedient,

Friedrich Trump

… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.

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