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    SOPA: Citizens Saved Internet Freedom – Watch Out for Dodd and Hollywood Money

    01/24/2012

    Democracy and Power 114:  The Power Players

     

    The politicians and interest groups control the American political process.  The politician seeks power, and thus is always in search of campaign donations.  Special interest groups – big business, big unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others - seek favors: i.e. tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc.  Interest groups give enormous money to political campaigns, and receive gigantic benefits in return.

     

     

    SOPA: Citizens Saved Internet Freedom – Watch Out for Dodd and Hollywood Money

     

    Since the advent of the Internet members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have lost millions of dollars to Internet hackers stealing and reselling their products.  MPAA, similar to all special interest groups, wants the awesome power of government to stop this theft.  How does MPAA obtain special legislation just for their needs?  You purchase the services of a DC insider.  Hence, MPAA hired former Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.   After-all, Dodd continues to hobnob with old friends, particularly Majority Leader Reid, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which puts him in a prime position to aid special-interest groups in getting their legislation passed. 

     

    Recently, Dodd was able to get "good old boy" Senator Leahy to enact The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  Yes, the good old boys had the perfect cause – stop internet stealing of movies, songs, newspaper articles and more intellectual properties.  Many Democrat and Republican Senators sensed this was a win-win vote. Think big campaign donations controlled by MPAA.  Reid proclaimed the SOPA legislation as a “top priority.”  Again, think campaign donations galore. Many Republican and Democrat Senators co-sponssored the bill and life was wonderful in good-old-boy land.

     

    Except that...many people, including Julie Borowski of FreedomWorks, warned us that SOPA granted enormous powers of censorship to the government.  The government could censor and shut down all entities connected to the Internet – advertisers, service providers, search engines, and payment providers without a court hearing or trial. Additionally, Borowski wrote:   

     

    SOPA, … contains vague language permitting the government to shut down any website that is found to "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement.

     

    So, what was the response from the arrogant Senate?  Hey, Leahy and Dodd are good guys.  SOPA must be okay.  Besides, only a small part of the public cares and the rest of indifferent.   

     

    Then a couple of Internet titans became concerned about censorship, and Google and Wikipedia made use of their money and Internet outreach.  Suddenly, the citizens of the United States were informed and outraged, and called their Senators.  Nothing influences a Senator like many - many - calls from informed and outraged constituents.  Then, a lot of  Senators withdrew their sponsorship, and Dodd, Leahy and Reid lost the necessary votes to pass the bill.  The good old boys had to retreat. And...this is how Washington DC works.


    Senator Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakota is one of the Senators who received dozens of irate calls from his constituents.  The following is how the Senator tried to placate his constituents and remain a good old boy. 

     "I'm hearing from South Dakotans on both sides of the issue. I've co-sponsored the bill and plan to support cloture so we can continue the debate in a reasonable fashion.  I will also be reaching out to Chairman Leahy and asking him to refine the bill and work with stakeholders to ensure their concerns are heard as we move forward.”

    Johnson didn’t hear from constituents on “both sides of the issue.”  He heard from concerned citizens against government censorship, which surprised and frightens the Senator.  Next, Johnson says to his constituents, “I’ve co-sponsored the bill and plan to support cloture…”  This means I want to stay true to the party leadership, i.e., Reid and Leahy.  Worse is this deception.  The vote for “cloture” is the critical vote for granting government these enormous powers of censorship – cloture requires 60 votes.  Does the Senator think the debate cannot continue without his voting for cloture?  This is a fraud on the voters of South Dakota.  Finally, “…reaching out to Chairman Leahy and asking him to refine the bill and work with stakeholders ….” means I am supporting the MPAA and asking Leahy to accommodate Google and Wikipedia.  Despicably, ‘stakeholder’ does not mean the citizens of South Dakota and much less the rest of the citizens of American.  Johnson is emphatically signaling, “Just take care of the big guys, Google and Wikipedia, and let’s pass the legislation.  Whatever it contains is okay by me.  Remember Pelosi’s infamous statement, “We’ve got to pass it (ObamaCare) to know what is in it.” 

     Why would an underling like Johnson intentionally deceive the citizens of South Dakota to support Reid, Leahy and Dodd?  Money.  Enormous amounts of campaign money from Hollywood big-wigs that flows to the Democrats.  Explicitly, Dodd directly threatened Obama, Reid, Leahy, Johnson and the Democrats to not take Hollywood for granted: 

     

    "Candidly, 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," Dodd told Fox News. "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."


    The moral of this episode is?  There is little morality in politics.  It is all about power.  Notice, Dodd and Johnson are directly and indirectly only talking about money and power.  Neither is talking about censorship and government usurping enormous power over the Internet.

     

    Presently, the power of the Internet remains in tact.  We the People must continue to preserve its freedom. Our personal freedom and our power are directly connected to an Internet as it exists - outside the control of any government.  Stay alert.  Dodd, Reid, Leahy, Johnson and many others will continue to attempt to grant government control over the internet.