Monday, April 29, 2002  [!]

Hollywood Lobbying LA Times covers the fractiousness behind the scenes of the Entertainment Industry's lobbying efforts in Congress. The article has a decent who's who in the entertainment lobbying world.

Re: the Hollings Bill, here's this:

Disney wants the law passed because the Burbank-based company would be devastated by the loss of its exclusive copyrights to such lucrative characters as Mickey Mouse. Padden urged a quick MPAA endorsement of the legislation.

But AOL Time Warner and Sony Pictures balked, fearing that the measure would give the government too much power to set technological standards better left to the private sector. AOL lobbyists began circulating a rival proposal, which called for a narrower government role.


But it was Valenti who carried the day with some straight political talk. He argued that it would be unwise to alienate Hollings, chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee. Six of the seven MPAA members fell into line. AOL Time Warner refused to go along, setting up a rare split vote, 6-1. emphasis mine. arrgh!!

The Mickey-Mouse drive to re-legislate all things copyright (and technology) calls to mind what I heard Arianna Huffington say yesterday in the Abuse of Power seminar at the LA Times Festival of Books: "Corporate welfare is very alive and well, thank you very much."

Also harks to Saturday's JIhad vs McWorld panel, where Benjamin Barber (author of the Jihad vs McWorld book) said that the terrorist question was not a clash of civilizations, nor Islam vs. the West, but rather that democracy is threatened by both tribalism and globalism. Both are forces of anarchy that go against democracy. If you want to deal with anarchy, then act in ways to increase democracy.

(A happy side-note for us here in weblogging world internet news story link-land: Arianna Huffington sees the internet and free flow of information as being a sign of hope in the midst of abuses of power.)

In catching up on weblogs here and there, there are two threads outstanding: The middle east situation, Palestine/Israel/Afghanistan/Iraq and the U.S. response and the response of Americans to what our government is doing. How this is (or is not) a response to terrorist attacks.

What's going on in with proposed legislation that increases the power of certain corporations and reduces the powers of the people of this country.

Gee... mebbe it's time to read Barber's book, as he argues about how terrorism/tribalism and globalization work against democracy.

(and will I write a recap of both of the forums? Don't hold your breath, but it's a well-intended thing right now)

But what about that thing called 'Rule of Law'? Guardian: The Good Dictators "America cares whether the world's leaders support its interests, not whether they have been freely elected"

Throughout the ordeal [Venezuelan coup] America, which has roamed the globe since September 11 declaring its determination to protect "democracy and civilisation" at the barrel of a gun, lost its tongue. When the coup crumbled, Chavez emerged not to warm support but a stern warning from Bush that he "hoped Chavez had learned his lesson".

The lesson is clear, if double-edged. America supports democracy when democracy supports America. But when there is no democracy, dictatorships will do just as well - and at times even better.