Sheriff Mack running for Congress against SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith

Sheriff Mack is running for Congress against Lamar Smith in the Republican primary in the 21st Texas congressional district. Lamar Smith sponsored the horribly atrocious Stop Online Piracy Act which was written to give the government and Hollywood unprecedented censorship power over the internet. Fortunately because of the tremendous national outcry, led in part by internet companies like Google, Reddit, and Wikipedia, SOPA was defeated. Hopefully those who understand how important internet freedom is will rally to support Sheriff Mack against Lamar Smith. Many in the tech industry noted soon after defeating SOPA that the forces wishing to censor and control the internet did not go away after their temporary defeat. If they really do intend to continue to fight for internet freedom, an important step in doing so will be defeating a congressman who is clearly controlled by the money from Hollywood. While Paul Graham, the founder of the wildly successful seed-stage startup funding firm Y Combinator, has boldly declared war against Hollywood, the process of diminishing the overall influence of Hollywood is a long term solution. As was necessary in the defeat of SOPA, political action also needs to be taken in the short term. Although stereotypically the tech-industry crowd tends to be more liberal and may not appreciate all of the positions of Sheriff Mack, they should appreciate the most important current issues which are internet freedom, opposition to the indefinite detention of American citizens, and the constraining or elimination of the TSA.

Read Sheriff Mack’s fundraising email to supporters for more information as well as visit his website

Dear Friend,

I urge you to read this message and share it with your friends and family.

Time is short and our country is at a breaking point.

I’ve spent the last few months speaking with Tea Party members, friends, neighbors and political activists from across the spectrum who are all concerned about one thing: protecting and securing our liberties.

I’ve thought long and hard about our political options. I often pray over it. And now, I need your input …

I’ve been nominated to run for U.S. Congress in my district.

While I’ve always worked at the local level to prevent the federal government from overstepping its authority, I’m willing to challenge my current representative.

I haven’t put my name on the ballot yet. But when I do, you can bet that I will run an aggressive campaign.

First, I need to know if my friends and fellow activists are willing to support my primary campaign against a career politician. And my team needs to gauge how much support will be offered.

I live in the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Lamar Smith has “represented” our district for the last 28 years.

You may have heard of him recently. He has been in the news for authoring and sponsoring a bill that goes beyond the enumerated powers authorized in the U.S. Constitution. It also violates the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment.

The bill is called, the “Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).”

But in truth it should be called, the “Stop Online Profits Act.”

Because that’s what it will do. It raises the legal and compliance costs to the breaking point for small retailers, independent websites, bloggers and alternative media websites.

SOPA practically criminalizes the Internet business model that depends on user-generated content.

One instance of a user uploading copyrighted work could lead the website to be permanently blocked from all financial network processors. One complaint could also remove a site from search engines and Internet Services Providers.

The consequences of SOPA go beyond the Internet.

SOPA will reduce the number of Internet jobs and hurt a recovering economy.

Here’s why –
One instance of streaming a copyright violation could cost a website operator or owner five years in prison. (That means companies like Google, YouTube and Facebook could not have been started under SOPA.)

That results in fewer entrepreneurs risking their capital to start Internet companies.

That results in fewer start-ups, which have been the net creator of private sector jobs over the last few years.
Never mind that SOPA is an un-Constitutional mandate, unauthorized by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Never mind that copyright holders can already prosecute violations of infringement under existing U.S. Code Title 17 and Title 18.

Never mind that it’s not the responsibility of U.S. taxpayers to fund quality-control or authentication procedures for corporations with political lobbyists.

Never mind that Customs and TSA Agents will be checking our souvenirs at airports and train stations to ensure “official” corporate branding.

Never mind that this bill will not prevent “online piracy” but will censor online communications, making it increasingly difficult to find information about how your representative voted on key issues like the Patriot Act and NDAA. (Smith voted yes on both.)

And never mind that SOPA goes against everything the Republican Party, conservatives and free market capitalism stands for.

What concerns me is what this is really about…

… it’s about who controls information,

… it’s about intervening in how people communicate with each other on a mass scale,

… and it’s about converting the private sector in to Red Coats for the federal government.

SOPA passes off operating costs of this federal program to small retailers, online blogs, alternative media sources, and consumers.

It forces companies with websites to hire “copyrights managers” who will receive and process copyrights complaints from the public. And then it forces those employees to report infringements to the federal government’s Copyrights Office.

In turn, the federal government hires more bureaucrats in the Copyrights Office, State Department and Attorney General’s Office to process the information. And do you know what else SOPA does?

It authorizes those bureaucrats to represent the big media corporatists that compete with so called “rogue websites.”

What’s really concerning is that SOPA is being sponsored by a Republican representative in a Republican controlled House.

At a time when our economy is in a recession, why would a Republican representative want to reduce private sector jobs? And why on earth would Smith give more power to Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder? Well, that is what SOPA does.

The thought of joining Washington D.C. goes against everything I stand for. But the thought of watching a career-politician represent me and pay lip-service to the Constitution is more than I can bear.

That’s why I’m accepting the nomination to challenge Lamar Smith.

Let me be upfront with you.

Political campaigns take tremendous grassroots effort and strong organization. They also take financial resources and a large network of support.

When we enter this primary race, we will be working around the clock to reach voters. We will need to fund mass mailings, signs, banners, door hangers, radio and Internet advertisements, canvassing, and other voter outreach efforts.

But the first thing we must do is gauge how much financial support we have.

If you want my team to run an aggressive primary against Lamar Smith, then I urge you to rush me a special and generous contribution to “Committee to Elect Sheriff Mack for Congress.” Our campaign needs funds TODAY.

Representatives do have a service to offer the public. But that service is to secure and protect rights. And they need a little bit of courage to do that.

As a police officer, my superiors wanted me to give tickets to my fellow Americans for things like not fastening their seat belts. I found it annoying that our government was trying to force people to behave a certain way. When the government didn’t get the response they wanted, I was told to take confiscate their property. (That’s what a ticket is. Confiscation.)

My conscience drove me to find a way to reconcile my duties: I was a police officer, man of faith, father, husband and I had taken an oath to honor the Constitution.

It took time, humility – ok, and a great deal of repeat lessons – to learn how to honor my constitutional oath while serving in law enforcement.

The lesson came from studying the constitution and the lives of the framers. And then I had to follow my convictions. I stopped giving tickets. And I learned how to become a public servant who protects rights.

The time has come once again for me to reconcile parts of my life with the seemingly incompatible. DC is not someplace I want to spend my time. But I’m willing to do it because I’ve been called on by neighbors, friends and others who love liberty as much as I.

I believe that we can save our Republic. But in order for us to do that, we must have the correct information about the meaning of liberty. And we must share it freely with others.

There are a few other things that you can do to help in addition to sending a contribution …

Please forward this message to as many people as you know who are concerned about liberty and Internet freedom. Send it to friends, family and fellow activists.

If we are going to succeed in unseating Lamar Smith, it’s going to take thousands of us coming together.

If you can also blog about it and ask others to blog about our campaign on websites and social media, that would help spread the message of liberty and boost our campaign efforts.

Again – the most important and urgent resource we need are financial contributions. And we do need them RIGHT NOW. I hope you will consider rushing back a special, urgently needed contribution.

The only way we can take on the machine of Lamar Smith is together.

Now, I’ve spent years rejecting un-Constitutional laws at the local level. And I teach others to do the same.

And I’ve taken the federal government to the U.S. Supreme Court and won in Printz v. U.S. Together, you and I can retire Lamar Smith.

Will you join me?

Yours In Liberty,

Sheriff Mack

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