No, it’s not some new children’s book. Although a big lovable elephant named Pipa who follows his favorite bar of soap on a jungle adventure sure sounds cute. Or like a prison allegory turned horribly wrong.

Actually, a prison allegory would be tame compared to what PIPA | SOPA really is. (And if PIPA | SOPA have their way, the allegory would never get air time for poking fun at a government system).

Here’s why.

The Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House are new government regulations designed to thwart online piracy. Sounds noble, right? Except that there are already numerous national and international laws on the books that accomplish this pretty well, successfully disbanding copyright infringing entities.

When you read the fine print, these two measures are actually allowing unprecedented government access into our most accessible vehicle for the freedom of speech: the internet.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the US Government breaks everything it touches. Heck, it can’t even turn a profit delivering mail!

My friend Christian Fahey pointed out an incredible statistic on his blog recently:

If you started a business the day Jesus was born and managed it so poorly that it lost $1,000,000.00 a day up until the present day, you would have just over 2 trillion dollars of loss (that’s 2,000,000,000,000). That is 1/7 of our national debt, which is today over 15 trillion dollars. (Thanks to Chuck Missler for the analogy.)

The bottom line is our government either outspends positive cash flow and puts public entities in debt, or it over regulates and puts private entities in debt (and out of business).

With such mismanagement, do you really trust our Congress to properly manage the internet?

Although since AL Gore did invent it, maybe they have a right to and don’t even need to vote.

Please watch this video by FightForTheFuture.org first, then consider writing your Congressional Representatives through their web form. While you’re at it, sign Google’s petition too.

If you have a differing viewpoint than mine, I’d love to read your comments. And if you share the same, or if you want to add to the dialog, you’re always welcome to comment (but you already knew that). ch:


UPDATE 01.20.11: I just received this email from Tiffiniy Cheng, spokeswoman for FightForTheFuture.org, (as did you if you signed up with them) and thought it was worth posting. Great job everyone!

Hi everyone!

A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.

The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game.  You were heard.

On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday.  See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.

This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled.  “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”

“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”  

Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up  – #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause

We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.

We changed the game this fall, and we’re not gonna stop.

13 million strong,

Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore… Fight for the Future!

P.S.  China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:

In the New Yorker:  “Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know).

After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:

‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”


Heaven Has Landed On Election Day!

Please join us at The Father’s House in Rochester, NY this Friday night for our official release concert! Click “attend” for details.

If you’re of age, you could be voting. Or you could be listening to our new CD, “Heaven Meets Earth.” Here are a few reasons why you should listen to it especially if you’ve voted:

1.) You’re really excited about how you think the elections are going to turn out and need some anthem music to dance to (which you’ll find lots of on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

2.) You’re depressed about how you think the elections are going to turn out and need some encouragement (which you’ll find on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

3.)  You’ve actually become afraid of your mailbox for dishing out an exceedingly high amount of political advertising cards at you and need some calming tunes to help you with your nervous breakdown (which you’ll find some very quiet music on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

4.) You’re sick of the muzak that was playing over the loudspeakers in your town’s firehall while you were standing in line to vote. (*Note: there is no muzak on “Heaven Meets Earth”).

5.) You’re still confused about the difference between Tea Partiers and The Boston Tea Party, and have frequently refereed to the Boston Tea Party Massacre March on The Mall thinking it was a new HBO Documentary made in August. (There’s really no help for you in this case. The CD may only confuse you more. Buy it anyway).

Thanks again to the myriad of people that made this new disc possible, especially my wife, Jennifer Lee, for enduring my creative fits, my father, Peter K. Hopper, my dear friend and graphic designer, Jason J. Clement, and my band, who still thinks playing with me is better than playing with Elvis Costello. We’re thrilled to release it today, Tuesday, November 2nd, and believe that while voting effects culture, worship as fruit of a Christ-believing life does so infinitely more. May you call heaven and earth together in our surroundings. ch:

Healthcare, the Church, and the Kingdom

Is helping people who are suffering right? Absolutely. Does our current system of meeting peoples’ medical needs in the US require drastic change? Unarguably, yes. And as Christians, both of these statements directly incorporate us, and if we’re creative, will be our platform to show a divine system for solving them.

While I could list numerous issues I see with the bill that is about to be voted on today–from the general lack of popularity, to the fact that few if any of those voting on it have reportedly even read it, to portions such as the “slaughter provision” (page 1,000, Section 3403) forever prohibiting a repeal from future legislative bodies–there are two main objections I have. Simple. Concise.

1.) Public Funding of Abortion. While I recognize and support our system of taxation with representation–albeit a little thick for my taste at the moment–and see it as something our founding fathers believed in as well, I am deeply troubled that percentages of my income would, in principle, be assisting mothers with medical procedures of their choosing, namely ending the lives of their children.

2.) Gross Financial Irresponsibility. When I was a boy, my father taught me how to save and responsibly spend money. On my way to becoming an Eagle Scout, one of the core values of our Scout Law was and still is being thrifty. Yet our government–displayed by both sides, mind you–has rarely, if ever, shown that it holds to these same principles, approving measure after measure that spends money we do not have. While the initial bill is just under $1 trillion, the second-year estimate is closer to $2.5 trillion. Even if the later is falsely cited, I can not grasp how anyone sees such spending as frugal. For all the talk of making a brighter future for our children, I’m astounded that the financial burden they’ll carry has not been part of that consideration.

As I’ve always said, pointing a finger is easy, as it removes you from the equation; and do not criticize in your blog unless you have a better idea. While I’m far from offering a concise proposal for how to handle what is undoubtedly an epic undertaking–of which I prayer for deep wisdom and understanding for those that eventually take it on–I do see a way out. On a purely human level, a capitalistic, free market economy, if truly left manipulation-free by large government, has within it the power to provide insurances that all people can afford through the private sector. Granted, that same economy must be run by heads who are not tyrants, nor self-seeking, nor greedy–a stumbling block to all good ideas. But the masses will gravitate to the best product if given the opportunity. But as a Christian, I must confess that not even Capitalism is the way out, even though I think it’s the best thing going on Earth thus far. Rather, the Kingdom should be our aim.

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus announced his mission statement. We have built altars to Calvary, to Baptism, to Communion, and to Pentecost, yet when Jesus proclaimed why He had come, Luke 4 is not the first thing that comes to mind. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, and in it was God’s complete answer to man’s total need: Christ in the form of restoring the spiritually and physically poor, the socially, politically, and emotionally disenfranchised, the wounded, and declaring a redistribution of wealth according to His limitless standards (the Jubilee year of the Lord). If the Church will maintain her focus on what the Kingdom of God truly is, then the Church needs not worry about staying relevant: she will become relevancy itself. ch:

Where do you stand? Let the opinions roll!