MPAA president threatening Congress

25 01 2012

Do you suppose it’s bad form to publicly try to blackmail members of Congress on national TV?  The president of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) — himself a former U.S. senator — did so this week.  He’s upset that SOPA and PIPA were rejected after the public backlash.  Here’s the story:

In an interview last week, MPAA President Chris Dodd, a former U.S. senator, threatened to cut off campaign donations to members of Congress who vote against legislation the MPAA supports.

After Congress shelved two controversial Web-censorship bills, Dodd told Fox News: “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“The MPAA is so brazen in its efforts to buy legislation with campaign cash that its leader, himself a former senator, sees nothing wrong with threatening legislators on national TV. We think it’s time that Congress showed that its votes are no longer for sale. The first thing Congress must do is give back the MPAA’s tainted campaign cash or give it to charity. Congress must make it clear to the world that it won’t be bullied into supporting censorship.

Being a former senator, Dodd should know about attempts of bribery and corruption.  Ideally there would be a huge public outcry over his statements, because isn’t it obvious he’s trying to buy votes?

A quick word on SOPA and PIPA, in case you haven’t followed them closely.  They were proposed legislation to stop online piracy, which sounds like a good thing.  We do need to cut back piracy.  Everyone is against piracy, against for the criminals who are stealing software, music, and movies.  But the proposed laws went way too far, making almost any service provider on the Internet liable to be prosecuted if someone puts anything illegal on their website.  The problem with that (besides the bankrupting litigation) is that all these sites would have to moderate every single thing posted on their site.  Imagine someone having to watch every single YouTube video before it could be listed, then checking if it could be copyrighted by someone else… it would be near-impossible.  Maybe someday software will be sophisticated enough to do that, but that’s many years away.





Nancy Pelosi threatening illegal actions

15 12 2011

As I’ve said before, I can take only so much politics.  I follow enough to be educated, but the sheer amount of corruption and lies / misleading / deception typically involved in promoting yourself while smearing dirt on your opponents is disheartening.  While glancing at the political headlines the other day, I saw another example of this.

Nancy Pelosi has said she has dirt on Newt Gingrich but isn’t going to release it yet. She said:

“When the time is right. … I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

It would be illegal for her to release this information, yet she’s apparently planning to.  The irony is that the investigative committee she’s referring to was an ethics committee that investigated Gingrich in the late ’90s.  So she will inspect the ethics of other people, but is willing to bypass those standards herself?  Actually, that’s not surprising at all with her.

Of course, I don’t expect her to put her name on it if it’s illegal.  But if some unflattering info was anonymously given to a major newspaper, they would certainly run with the story and not name their sources.  (I see the reasoning for that rule of not having to name sources, but it sure does get abused when it comes to presidential candidates.)





the cost of buying politicians’ votes

3 07 2009

I really wonder about our politicians in Washington sometimes.  I know there are different points-of-view on issues, and sometimes compromises must be made to accomplish some things, but shouldn’t there be an ethical line somewhere?

Here’s the story from the Washington Times that inspired this rant:

When House Democratic leaders were rounding up votes Friday for the massive climate-change bill, they paid special attention to their colleagues from Ohio who remained stubbornly undecided.

They finally secured the vote of one Ohioan, veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, the old-fashioned way. They gave her what she wanted – a new federal power authority, similar to Washington state’s Bonneville Power Administration, stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, included the Kaptur project in a 310-page amendment to the legislation unveiled at 3 a.m. Friday, just hours before the bill was to be debated on the House floor. The amendment was packed with other vote-getting provisions, both large and small, that had been sought by dozens of wavering Democrats.

The wheeling and dealing proved successful. Mr. Waxman and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, backed by the personal lobbying of President Obama, won over enough lawmakers to pass the bill narrowly Friday evening, 219-212.

There’s more to the story, which you can read at the link, and I will summarize some with my rant.  Miss Kaptur pushed for this — it wasn’t all Waxman’s doing.  Kaptur pointed out on her website that other areas of the country already have such programs, and she said, “It’s our turn.”   Her spokesman said Kaptur modeled the fund after Obama’s stimulus package (which contained a record-amount of pork projects).  Her spokesman also said that the inclusion of the program in the legislation “made it possible for her to entertain voting for the bill.”

So basically she was against the bill until she got money for projects back home.   Is that how the process should work?   I don’t think so.  I know, it’s how the current political system runs in Washington, but the whole thing needs to be rebuilt (based on how it used to be).  This representative disagreed with a bill that affects everyone, but voted for it anyway because she was bought by the extra concessions for her own state.  To me, that’s corrupt.

Another thing I really dislike about this whole process is that a 310-page amendment can be made just a few hours before the vote, which means not everyone will have time to read it.  How can our representatives vote for a bill they haven’t read? Isn’t that just opening the door for corruption and government waste?  (I’ve already ranted about this, so I won’t continue; you can read about it here.)