[A2k] Data Point for Campaign Finance Reform and the Weakness of Human Character

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri Apr 26 06:06:12 PDT 2013


I wrote this earlier this week in response to Chris Dodd's blog about
the WIPO treaty for blind negotiations.

>From the blog:

* Campaign finance reform is not the main issue for most groups. But
as the failure to reform campaign financing systems continues to
damage our governance, and leads to astonishing failures to protect
the public, in the end, it is everyone's main issue.

* It is also interesting that Christopher Dodd, a man who was born
into a family of privilege and influence and began his career
protecting consumers and weaker parties, so comfortably found himself
the sharp point of an attack on blind people, most of whom are poor.

* And why has Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, made it a priority to
attack a treaty for the blind? His mother was school teacher and his
father a professor. Iger spent his life broadcasting information, and
was proud to have received the Ambassador for Humanity Award for "his
leadership role in corporate citizenship." Is this an example of the
lessons he learned from his parents, or the corporate citizenship he
promotes?

*  Why have Dodd and Iger, coming from different initial starting
places, ended up in the same place, using their considerable talents
and influence to attack such a vulnerable population, on an issue of
zero economic impact to the motion picture industry?


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-love/the-mpaa-disney-and-blind_b_3146665.html

April 26, 2013

The MPAA, Disney and Blind People: Data Point for Campaign Finance
Reform and the Weakness of Human Character
Posted: 04/24/2013 9:51 am

On Monday, I published a 4300-word account of efforts by the MPAA and
its members to undermine negotiations for a new UN treaty on copyright
exceptions for persons who are blind or have other disabilities. (Link
here). The same day, Chris Dodd, the CEO of the MPAA, responded, with
a 320-word blog (also in HuffPost, link here) that EFF's Maria Sutton
described as vague and defensive. Manon Ress, whose mother became
blind, noted the "MPAA specifically thanks the EU and U.S. governments
for screwing the blind people on their behalf."

In the rough and tumble world of Washington, D.C. politics, where the
corrosive impact of money is ever present, the actions of the MPAA are
not even newsworthy. But for those of us who have not lost a capacity
for surprise or outrage, it was notable, and worth a reflection, not
only as regards the damage the MPAA is inflicting and a vulnerable
population, but as a measure of how debased is the current political
dialogue in Washington, D.C.

How does the MPAA and its member companies like Disney (probably the
most aggressive company on this issue) mount an assault on a UN
treaty, the primary beneficiaries of which are blind people living in
developing countries, and not tarnish their brand, or generate a peep
from members of Congress from either party?

How did the Obama administration allow itself to be pressured into
opposing the positions it had endorsed in 2011 and some even as
recently as February 2013, knowing that it was shrinking benefits for
blind people, and risking a complete failure of the treaty
negotiations? Isn't there anyone in the White House who can take a
deep breath and tell Disney CEO Robert A. Iger and the MPAA CEO Chris
Dodd that they should be ashamed of themselves? Is the Obama
administration still so focused on corporate fundraising that they
have forgotten why they entered public service in the first place?

More generally, why does the public continue to ignore what Larry
Lessig accurately describes as the root problem in our political life.
Does the broader public see what I see, as regards the bowing and
scrapping to corporate lobby groups that finance election campaigns?
And if so, why does this not lead to broader and more effective calls
for reform?

Campaign finance reform is not the main issue for most groups. But as
the failure to reform campaign financing systems continues to damage
our governance, and leads to astonishing failures to protect the
public, in the end, it is everyone's main issue.

It is also interesting that Christopher Dodd, a man who was born into
a family of privilege and influence and began his career protecting
consumers and weaker parties, so comfortably found himself the sharp
point of an attack on blind people, most of whom are poor.

And why has Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, made it a priority to attack
a treaty for the blind? His mother was school teacher and his father a
professor. Iger spent his life broadcasting information, and was proud
to have received the Ambassador for Humanity Award for "his leadership
role in corporate citizenship." Is this an example of the lessons he
learned from his parents, or the corporate citizenship he promotes?

Why have Dodd and Iger, coming from different initial starting places,
ended up in the same place, using their considerable talents and
influence to attack such a vulnerable population, on an issue of zero
economic impact to the motion picture industry?


Follow James Love on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamie_love



-- 
James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.
twitter.com/jamie_love




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