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.

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pushing for fair treatment of some people

18 01 2012

I heard that President Barack Obama is wanting countries to be fair in their treatment of homosexuals before they receive financial aid.  Now, I’m all for people being treated fairly regardless of their preferences, but why is he choosing this issue?  Why doesn’t he stand up for the fair treatment of women?  Some countries are really oppressive toward women.  And what about the countries that persecute Christians to the point of killing them for speaking openly about Jesus?  Don’t they deserve fair treatment, too?  Yet you rarely hear about these things in the mainstream news.

It sounds like politics as usual…  It’s just really sad, because he is in the position to make a difference in this world, but many of the big issues (like basic human rights) are ignored if they’re not currently being discussed in the mainstream news.





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.)





Obama’s enemy, plus reckless spending

4 11 2010

President Obama recently told Latinos that they need to vote, to punish their enemies and reward their friends, to get things accomplished in Congress.  It seems fairly obvious he is talking about Republicans and Democrats.  Is that kind of language really necessary?  It sure isn’t helping things.  Wasn’t he supposed to bring unity and stop the bipartisanship?  That kind of talk is polarizing.  Instead of “change” it sure sounds like politics as usual (or worse than usual for the President to be saying that).

You can hear it for yourself in a video at this page: Obama — Conservatives are the “enemy”.

There’s another video on that page that shows Obama saying Republicans don’t know how to run the country, that they can come along for the ride but they have to sit in the back seat.  (He was referencing a car in the ditch analogy.)

Obama has had his chance — the Democrats controlled both houses, and they’ve had two years, yet the country doesn’t seem better off.  I know, it takes a while to turn things around, but it seems like reckless spending will make it take longer to turn around…  The bills have to be paid someday, with interest…

While I’m ranting about the national debt, consider it in this perspective: Obama blames Bush for the bad economy.  It’s politics-as-normal to blame the other party for the current problems, and that way you’re saying it’s not your fault for how things are.  There is some truth to that last part — each president does have an impact on the next president’s term, regardless of which political party they’re part of.  Just like Bush’s overspending made it tougher on Obama’s administration, Obama is overspending and making it tougher on the next president.  Actually, this has been going on for 40 years!   According to FederalBudget.com, Congress has spent more than its income every year since 1969.   (I know, supposedly Bill Clinton balanced the budget some years, but perhaps his budget was more than the income — not a stretch, since Obama’s is, too.)  My point is, every president for 40 years is making it tougher on the next one, and someday, one of them will run out of credit and actually have to spend less than they take in.  (Consider this, too — in 2006, the U.S. government spent $406 billion just on interest for the national debt!  The debt is much higher now, therefore the interest will be higher, too.)   It is irresponsible to keep spending recklessly and letting someone else deal with the problem…





Do you care if politicians lie to you?

8 09 2010

Howard Dean, the Democratic Party Chairman, has said a number of stupid things over the years.  A while back he said that Republicans are “pretty much a white Christian party”.  Since politicians tend to be guarded with their words because they’re trying to sell their vision (without telling you all about it), I have to wonder if there was an strategy to that or if his racial bias just slipped out again.  Either way, he admitted he misspoke.   Although his “apology” was saying that everyone in the world has misspoken at some time, and then he changed the subject.   He also said Republicans have never made an honest living in their lives.

A reporter at CNN interviewed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and asked about those statements, if they were mistakes to say.  Senator Reid’s response may surprise you:

American people don’t care about statements that people make that may not be totally accurate.

I’m not surprised that he thinks that way, but I am surprised that he would admit it.

If you want to read it for yourself, here’s the transcript.  (I realize it’s not a “current event”, but it’s to make a point.)

Can anyone explain how these politicians keep getting elected?  And do you care if politicians intentionally lie to you?





judging racism without evidence

27 07 2010

If you haven’t heard, there’s a big debacle going on in the federal government — well, that’s not really news, is it?  🙂   The issue I’m referring to is the firing of Shirley Sherrod for being racist.   Except that it was later discovered that her statements were taken out of context, and the firing apparently was because someone said she was racist.  These days, you’ve gotta be quick on the draw with the political correctness!  You can’t wait to examine facts and evidence!  If somebody makes an accusation, you must act immediately!  (Note the sarcasm.)

From what I’ve heard, that’s how it happened.   That’s dumb enough on its own.  (But wait, there’s more.)  President Barack Obama and the others involved in this don’t want to look rash and foolish for this, so they blamed evil FOX News.  Rahm Emanuel is blaming Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity for blowing this out of proportion.  That’s very ironic, because in an effort to cover up their stupidity, they’re making the same mistake again.  The firing happened before any of it was reported on those shows.  Again, they can’t be bothered to let facts get in the way of their bias!

There was misinformed coverage of it, and Bill O’Reilly apologized for airing part of the video without doing his homework.  But the fact remains that Sherrod resigned before the show was aired.  This hasn’t stopped other groups from blaming FOX News, though…  Howard Dean has accused FOX News of being “absolutely racist”.   (Does FOX News really have that kind of influence with the decision makers in this situation?  Or is he just looking for a scapegoat?)

But it wasn’t just FOX News that jumped the gun — the NAACP agreed with the firing, saying Sherrod had been racist and her actions were shameful.   They made the same mistake — jumping to judgment without examining the facts.   And then they also blamed FOX News and a Tea Party activist, Andrew Breitbart.  (Breitbart may have some fault in this mess, but blaming him doesn’t excuse people from not examining the facts for themselves.)

These knee-jerk judgments concern me.  This has happened before.   And the way the news is typically presented on TV these days, we rarely get the whole story.  If you watch only one of the 24-hour news networks, you might not get a fair picture of both sides of the issue.   Local news (that I’ve seen) isn’t any better.  Most stories have to be told in a minute or so, and sometimes there’s some discussion about it on certain shows about the news.  Many news stories are too complex to explain in a few minutes.  And so many people form judgments and opinions based on someone else’s opinion or on one side of the story.  That’s what happened with Sherrod — someone edited the video to show only part of her story, and it made her appear racist.  It’s happening with the Tea Party movement, with people making claims of widespread racism, yet offering little to no proof.  This irresponsible methodology seems to be getting worse.  Don’t people realize how dangerous and destructive it can be to toss unfounded claims of racism on people?
When will it ever stop?





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.)