Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP and ACTA gets job at MPAA; his replacement is another copyright lobbyist

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Obama official responsible for copyright chapters of TPP and ACTA gets job at MPAA; his replacement is another copyright lobbyist
April 23, 2014
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Source: Boing Boing

Stan McCoy is the assistant US Trade Representative who oversaw the creation of the disastrous, far-reaching copyright provisions in ACTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership. He’s left the Obama administration for a high-paid job at the MPAA, which represents companies that stood to reap massive profits and permanent control over Internet governance and innovation thanks to his efforts while in government. Now, the Obama administration has headhunted a software industry lobbyist (who supported SOPA) to take over his job. McCoy is one of more than a dozen USTR officials who’ve left the government to work for copyright lobbying bodies, including former Obama copyright czar Victoria Espinel, who now gets her paycheck from the Business Software Alliance.

Timothy Lee has an excellent piece on the revolving-door relationship between the USTR and the entertainment industry and other copyright lobbyists. When Obama was campaigning for office, he vowed that “lobbyists won’t work in my White House.”

But the revolving door between USTR and industry groups creates a strong but subtle pressure on USTR’s culture. Like many government agencies, USTR regularly turns to outside experts to help it sort through complex trade issues. Naturally, they turn to people they trust: their former colleagues — or even former bosses — who now work at trade organizations with plenty of resources to devote to understanding the minutia of trade policy.

And of course, as Holleyman’s hire illustrates, the revolving door can carry people in either direction. A USTR staffer’s former colleague who works at an industry trade group this year might be her boss next year. So over time, the culture and values of industry groups like the MPAA, BSA, and RIAA seeps into USTR. USTR staffers who cater to the interests of these industries are seen as team players and get promoted. Those who push for a more balanced approach are seen as trouble-makers and get marginalized.

The revolving door was hardly invented by the Obama administration. USTR has been swapping staffers with industry groups for decades. But the decision to hire Holleyman just as McCoy becomes a lobbyist for Hollywood presents an interesting contrast with Obama’s first presidential campaign, when he vowed that lobbyists “won’t work in my White House.”

How the revolving door lets Hollywood shape Obama’s trade agenda[Timothy B Lee/Vox]

(via Techdirt)

Noam Chomsky was right: Why the Koch brothers are obscuring the real enemy - Salon.com

With a mega-merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable in the works, the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets blog has released a report detailing the “revolving door” between Comcast and the FCC, raising obvious questions about potential conflicts of interest among those tasked with maintaining a national telecommunications network that serves the interests of the American people rather than Comcast’s bottom line:

So how wide is the revolving door between the telecommunications giant and the FCC? For Comcast’s in-house lobbyists, it’s significant and still swinging. […] 18 people have both lobbied for Comcast and spent time in the public sector. Of those, 12 are currently registered lobbyists for Comcast, with five of them having spent time at the FCC.

Perhaps it’s unfair to single out Comcast and the FCC here: When it comes to regulatory agencies and lobbyists, the culture of the revolving door has recently become as American as apple pie — despite some measures that attempt to minimize its corrosive, corrupting influence. As just one example, the New York Times‘ DealBook reported in February that laws meant to prohibit congressional staffers from leaving for six- or seven-figure lobbying gigs — by not allowing them to lobby for a full year after working on the Hill — have been patently ineffective:

A top aide to a Republican congressman from Arizona helped promote a legislative plan to overhaul the nation’s home mortgage finance system. Weeks after leaving his government job, he reappeared on Capitol Hill, now as a lobbyist for a company poised to capitalize on the plan.

A former counsel to Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee left Capitol Hill a year ago. He, too, returned to the Hill just months later, lobbying committee aides on behalf of Wall Street giants like JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg L.P.

Indeed, in Washington, the revolving door culture is so widespread and naked that OpenSecrets has taken to cataloging every individual who’s walked through it – the list stands at 7,007 names as of this writing.

It’s hard to vilify a group large enough to fill 28 movie theaters — they can’t all be evil, even if they work in a thoroughly broken institution with the funny habit of corrupting and circumventing our democracy. Wall Street poses a similar moral quandary, as recently explored in books by Kevin Roose and Michael Lewis, two phenomenal reporters with a deep understanding of Wall Street’s culture. Their recent books outline a world populated by more than just the prototypical “wolves” of Wall Street who cheerily quote Gordon Gecko and live for the booze, drugs and women. There are simply far too many people working on “The Street” to castigate them all as Caligulan and call it a day.

While this notion that institutions are the root of evil is not particularly new, it’s important for liberals to keep in mind; by and large, the left is far too willing to lay the blame for all society’s ills at the feet of the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson. (Which is not to dismiss their paucity of character — it’s just irrelevant here.)

Noam Chomsky put it this way:

When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual. So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous. The individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine. Benevolent, friendly, nice to the children, even nice to their slaves. Caring about other people. I mean, as individuals they may be anything, but in their institutional role, they’re monsters, because the institution is monstrous.

As the most reprehensible legacy in all of human history, slavery is a vital analogy for reasons beyond its explanatory force; we live in a world today where the corruption of our institutions is largely taken as axiomatic. (While the absence of real consequences for those most responsible for the Great Recession helped spark the Tea Party movement and the short-lived Occupy protests, it’s notable that these popular movements didn’t lead to any actual convictions.) And the complete absence of punishment for corruption and illegality tends to grow with time. Last week on “Democracy Now,” host Amy Goodman asked Matt Taibbi, perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street’s crimes in the modern era, which president was tougher on the denizens of Lower Manhattan, Bush Jr. or Obama. His answer was unequivocal: “Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. […] Fast-forward again to the next big crisis, and how many people have we got — have we actually put in jail? Zero.”

When powerful, corrupt and thoroughly entrenched institutions start to seem beyond our reach to control or contain, we must turn our minds back to the horror of slavery, to be reminded that even seemingly unstoppable evil can be fought and defeated. Obviously, slavery’s supporters held unspeakable political, economic and military power. And yet it was defeated, because its opponents were able to frame the institution — and not the individuals — as evil. Through an enormous, and yes, eventually bloody, campaign, the perverse incentives that propagated and heightened entrenched wealth and power were defeated by an American people who’d put an abolitionist in the Oval Office — and supported him in his quest to rid America of her shameful “original sin.”

Liberals must embrace this strategy; we must work to rid ourselves of evil institutions, rather than spending our time and energy attempting to diminish the power of the Koch brothers and their ilk, mistakenly assuming that this will fix the deeper, institutional problems that have propelled these monsters in the first place.

Tim Donovan is a freelance author who blogs about Millennial issues at The Suffolk Resolves. Follow him @tadonovan.

Republican Makes Comment About Autism That Will Make You Sick | Greenville Gazette

God is angry with with the United States, at least that’s what one Chicago Republican thinks.

Susanne Atanus, who is ready to challenge Rep Jan Schakowsky for her seat in the 9th district of Illinois, says that dementia and autism are punishments by the almighty because of support for abortion and marriage equality.

Atanus says, “I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first.” She also thinks God controls the weather, with tornados being his wrath. “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

Her opponent, David Earl Williams III, is no prize either. He is currently trying to fight a judge’s ruling for anger management classes for domestic violence against his girlfriend.

So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Zoom Info
So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Zoom Info
So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Zoom Info
So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Zoom Info
So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Zoom Info

So the gardening has begun.  These are the plants that have come up so far.  Starting at the top:  Collards, Cabbage, Lettuce, Turnips.  Pic 2 is of my radishes, pic 3 is carrots, pic 4 is sweet basil, pic 5 is corn, peas, and eggplant, pic 6 is argula.  This is not all that have started coming up, just the ones I could get a good pic of.  You will notice that I used large cat liter buckets for some of the planting.  They work really well for root type plants such as carrots, radishes, and potato.  The buckets are heavy duty and deep which is more than I can say about a great many planters.  You just need to make sure to drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.

Judge Dismisses Suit Against Administration Officials Over Drone Strikes - NYTimes.com

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against top Obama administration officials that was filed by the parents of three United States citizens whom the government killed without trial in drone strikes, including Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric.

In a 41-page opinion, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that courts should hesitate before deciding to hold a government official personally responsible for violating a citizen’s constitutional rights in the context of a wartime action.

“The persons holding the jobs of the named defendants must be trusted and expected to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution when they intentionally target a U.S. citizen abroad at the direction of the president and with the concurrence of Congress,” Judge Collyer wrote. “They cannot be held personally responsible in monetary damages for conducting war.”
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Relatives Sue Officials Over U.S. Citizens Killed by Drone Strikes in YemenJULY 18, 2012

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages against several top national security officials for the deaths caused by two American drone strikes in Yemen.

In September 2011, a strike targeting Mr. Awlaki killed him and Samir Khan, also an American citizen. Two weeks later, another drone strike killed Mr. Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. The Obama administration has said that the deaths of Mr. Khan and the younger Mr. Awlaki were unintentional.

If it stands, the ruling suggests that courts have no role to play, before or after, in reviewing the legality of government decisions to kill citizens whom officials deem to be terrorists in overseas wartime operations, even away from “hot” battlefields where conventional American forces are on the ground.

“We believe the court reached the right result,” said Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman. Lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which helped bring the suit, said they had not decided whether to appeal.

Baher Azmy, the center’s legal director, criticized the judge for accepting “at face value the government’s claims” that Mr. Awlaki was a terrorist without first conducting an adversarial hearing to gather evidence.

“The Constitution cannot permit the killing of U.S. citizens based on the government’s untested claim of dangerousness,” Mr. Azmy said.

Judge Collyer cited officials’ statements that Mr. Awlaki was a terrorist leader with the Yemeni group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. She also cited an account of his role in a plot to blow up a Detroit-bound jet in 2009, based on court documents from the trial of a Nigerian man who pleaded guilty to trying to bomb the plane, and statements by Mr. Awlaki praising and encouraging acts of terrorism.

Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of Anwar and grandfather of Abdulrahman, and Sarah Khan, Mr. Khan’s mother, filed the lawsuit in July 2012 against several officials it accused of authorizing and directing the strikes, including the secretary of defense and the director of the C.I.A. It did not name the president, who is immune from such lawsuits.

Nasser al-Awlaki had filed a lawsuit in 2010 seeking an injunction to stop attempts to kill his son, but another Federal District Court judge, John D. Bates, dismissed the case on the grounds that Mr. Awlaki had no standing to bring it on behalf of his son. In the second lawsuit, Mr. Awlaki was acting as the executor of his son’s and grandson’s estates.

In May 2013, the Obama administration declassified and formally acknowledged the fact that it had killed the three men. It argued that the case should be dismissed without any further evidence before the court. Judge Collyer agreed, saying that allowing the plaintiffs to pursue the case would “impermissibly draw the court” into executive deliberations about how to protect national security.

“The Constitution commits decision-making in this area to the president, as commander in chief, and to Congress,” she wrote, adding that allowing a lawsuit against top government officials would “hinder their ability in the future to act decisively and without hesitation in defense of U.S. interests.”

Judge Collyer was appointed to Federal District Court in 2002 by President George W. Bush. Last year, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. selected her to serve a term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government spying on American soil, filling a seat previously held by Judge Bates.

The Obama administration is separately fighting Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union seeking disclosure of a classified Justice Department memo explaining its legal reasoning for the strike, although an unclassified “white paper” summarizing those arguments has become public.

Unbelievable! It would appear that the American Empire will not be taken down by the people who have allowed it to become Empire - us. It appears that there will be no choice but for the world to fight and take down the American Empire because we the people have become too cowardly to do the right thing and stop our government from indiscriminate killing. All the pain and horror we have allowed our government to inflict on the world will come home to roost - and it will be us and our children who will pay the price.

For over a decade, Americans have been told that terrorism poses a threat that cannot be addressed by the existing legal system; that a new domain of law must be constructed to handle this new threat. What has actually been created is a new domain of pseudo-law where the roles of law making, law enforcement, and judiciary, are rolled into a single political authority. Even if there has been no coup d’etat, nor extended imposition of martial law, this is nonetheless the dawning of an insidious and piecemeal form of fascism. It does not impose itself with an iron fist but grows upon us slowly, so that painlessly freedom can be lost as it is gradually forgotten.
America’s willingness to be terrified by terrorism (via theamericanbear)

This is so true!

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