Holy Conflict Of Interest! Tell Congress That The Public Good Is More Important Than Their Chance To Cameo In Batman

from the check-it-out dept

We recently wrote about the fact that PIPA sponsor and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Patrick Leahy has received yet another cameo appearance in the latest Batman flick. We're sure it's because of his acting skills, rather than his ability to pass legislation that favors Time Warner (who -- coincidentally, of course -- is a major contributor to his campaigns). In response to this story, the good folks at Demand Progress have set up HolyConflictOfInterest.com with an original comic, "The Adventures of Leahy & Time Warner":
Click through not just for a larger version, but also for tools from Demand Progress that let you tell your elected officials that you don't appreciate such conflicts of interest.

Update: By the way, we're hearing that the MPAA hosted a "special screening" of the new Batman movie for members of Congress and their staff. Now, that would normally run afoul of gift giving guidelines... but they worked around that by spending the first 15 minutes "educating members and staff on important issues" (take a guess what those might be).


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    tracker1 (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    I smell a DMCA notice in 3...2...

    Though I do think it's pretty interesting, I expect to see trademark and copyright suits follow pretty quickly... could be interesting to see the Streisand effect in action again though.

     

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      MrWilson, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:29pm

      Re: I smell a DMCA notice in 3...2...

      Yeah, it's coming, because even if Hollywood could tell fair use when it saw it, there's virtually no consequence for filing a false DMCA takedown even when you know its fair use.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re: I smell a DMCA notice in 3...2...

        Virtually? This is the DMCA we're talking about, you don't need to qualify that shit.

         

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    Zos (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:15pm

    Every time i click through to help out demand progress i end up on half a dozen mailing lists. I suppose i could just use a throwaway email, but it's still bloody obnoxious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Why would we write them to complain about a conflict of interest if we're unable to explain what the conflict of interest rule is and why his actions have broken the rule. But this isn't really a conflict of interest, right? A purposeful misstatement to rally the troops? But that would involve making actual arguments. That takes a lot of work. It's easiest just to FUD it out. Let the comic do the work. Anything to smear the Senator, right, Mike?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:33pm

      Re:

      But this isn't really a conflict of interest, right?

      Sure it is. This is a clear gift to Leahy, who's a big fan of Batman and would like to be in those movies. He wasn't hired for his acting chops.

      It violates Senate ethics rules, in that they're providing him with something of value in order to curry favor: http://www.ethics.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/gifts

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:16pm

        Re: Re:

        This is a clear gift to Leahy, who's a big fan of Batman and would like to be in those movies.


        Taking that statement as true, then why raise a big fuss about it?

        What's the goal? Are you trying to take his cameo away from him? Are you trying to shame him into doing the right thing? Suppose you win. Then Mr Leahy will hate you forever. Like a kid who gets a toy taken away.

        I mean —geez!— I can see knocking the guy out of office. Sending him into retirement. That's fine. But if you can't do that, then why gratuitously make him unhappy?

        Why not just let him enjoy a little perq for his career in public service.

         

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          Chargone (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ... if you could just take three steps to the left there?

          yes, yes, right there, on the big X right underneath that downwards facing flamethrower.

          very good.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you serious or is this a joke? If you are serious then you are seriously retarded. Do you know how sinister this post reads?

          "What's the goal?"

          To better alert the public about how corrupt our politicians are so that we can hopefully vote for better politicians, protest, and make the government stop passing bad laws. This country has a serious problem and the first step to solving it is to spread awareness. That's part of the purpose here. Will this one post by itself fix the problem? No, but combined with everyone pitching in to solve the problem it can contribute to the collective effort to solve our political problems.

          "Then Mr Leahy will hate you forever. Like a kid who gets a toy taken away."

          and why should Patrick's position be about him. Why shouldn't it be about what's in the public interest? Why should I care that Patric hates the public for not allowing him to act corruptly at public expense for his personal gain? Why should I care if a criminal hates the justice system for punishing him?

          "But if you can't do that, then why gratuitously make him unhappy?"


          See above.

          Plus he deserves it. Why should criminals be made miserable and sentenced to jail? Heck, Patrick deserves to be in jail for a long long time. Public humiliation isn't enough a punishment. Plus it could discourage future politicians from acting so corruptly.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 8:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If you are serious then you are seriously retarded.


            Color me retarded. I don't watch TV or movies, so sometimes I'm a little bit slow on the uptake.

            Anyhow, you're saying that this whole thing is guerilla marketing. The DMCA notice is predictable, and then Mike's patented ‘Strisand effect’ takes over and spreads a poster for the movie among the pirate-geek crowd.

            Got it.

            So, it's a plan, and I wish you luck. But as I said, I don't watch TV or movies.

            TTYL, I'm outta here.

             

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              The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not really: but consider fi it had been the VP or one of the much higher echelons of the Executive branch. It's a pretty unusual "gift" to give to someone who proposed laws that vastly favour yourt company.

               

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              Ninja (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, go back to your cave. I was gonna mark funny in your first post but wtf you were being serious.. It's shocking to see there are ppl like you around voting. Or worse, enacting laws.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Why not just let him enjoy a little perq for his career in public service."

          because he's being more of a public disservice than a public servant. If we simply allowed politicians to act corruptly and enjoy the fruits of their corrupt behavior what kinda message does that send to future politicians who want to do the same?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why should enjoy anything when he is the one dishing out misery to everybody?

           

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          Machin Shin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Why not just let him enjoy a little perq for his career in public service."

          Are you serious? I have a hard time believing someone is so stupid. Why not just let him take bribes? Really?

          IF HE DOES THIS KIND OF THING HE IS NOT DOING A PUBLIC SERVICE. That is why there are the rules against "gifts" AKA BRIBES. Taking these things shows he is not serving the public but is serving Hollywood.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Taking that statement as true, then why raise a big fuss about it?


          Because it's influence peddling (read: bribery). It's yet another example of corruption of our government officials.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:51pm

        Re: Re:

        Don't people usually get paid to act in a movie? I'm not seeing how a job is a gift. Do you actually know anything about the ethics rules? Do you actually know how cameos in a movie are dealt with? Can you point to anything where a similar situation was considered to be an impermissible gift?

        Just seems like more hot air and jumping to conclusions. You haven't shown it violates the ethics rules. You just point to a webpage without even saying exactly which rule he's broken. I think it's really bad form to say that a sitting U.S. Senator is in violation of an ethics rule, especially if you're not well-versed on senatorial ethical violations.

        Just seems like you start with your conclusion (everything the Senator does is evil) and then worked backwards to assume he was violating some rule. What's more likely: That you understand the rules and are right that he's violating them, or that he understands the rules and knows that he's not? I'll take the latter. Give me a break with the 24/7 mindless FUD bash-a-thon. I really don't get your unending hatred of all things IP. Try some balance for once.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          First, giving someone a job is one of the most canonical examples of graft that you can even think of; from political appointments to contract assignments, jobs are used as a reward. Second, your argument that extras get paid is on its face irrelevant; minor roles in movies and TV shows are handed out as awards in contests all-the-god-damn-time. I know that, you know that, but you decide to pretend that you don't because you think you're making some kind of point.

          Finally, in a small, sad, twisted, petty way, everyone is right! Mike's right that this is a blatant violation of the senate ethics rules, but YOU'RE right because - as the senator would argue, successfully - you can't put a monetary value on a role in a movie, even though there's not a person in the world (well, aside from how you have decided to present yourself) that would honestly think that it's not even worth $100 to take part in a movie seen by millions of people. What a victory, knowing that the senate ethics rules are so easily skirted. Bravo, sir, bravo.

          These roles are gifts that a reasonable person would value at more than $100. Mike knows that, I know that, you know that, Senator Leahy knows that; the difference is that you and Leahy are willing to pretend you don't. He at least is pretending because it's the only way he gets his perks and keeps his job; you're pretending presumably because you want to get attention by acting like a fool. Also, if you're worried about "bad form" when it comes to government corruption, then your priorities are horribly backwards from where they should be.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A job is a gift? Citation needed. A job is a job, and this was small job. I paid a guy to install a new mailbox last week. Was that a gift? Does he claim that as a gift on his taxes? Of course not. It was a job.

            I'm glad you admit that what the Senator is doing is not against the rules. I'm not sure how the rules are being skirted, though. Either it violates the rule or it does not. It is a gift as that word is defined or it's not. You're trying to have it both ways (not unusual for pirate-apologist). You're trying to say that it's not a gift under the rules, but then it really is a gift. Sorry. If it's not a gift, which you concede, then it's not a gift. Arguing that it's both is just whining.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "A job is a gift? Citation needed. A job is a job, and this was small job. I paid a guy to install a new mailbox last week. Was that a gift? Does he claim that as a gift on his taxes? Of course not. It was a job."

              That's kind of a perception thing, right? I mean, if the mailbox guy LOVED and by "LOVED" I mean grew up installing mailboxes with a sort of artistic passion (though the reasoning behind the love for mailboxes escapes me).

              Imagine too if you had hired the mailbox guy multiple times before because you enjoyed stimulating his need to install mailboxes...wouldn't that be some sort of an arrangement of giving?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 8:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              All I hear is "It was just a blowjob, nothing else?"

               

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              John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A job is a gift?


              Jobs are often gifts. Some jobs really are that awesome or rewarding. for example, someone who is dreams of being a star would certainly view appearing in a movie cameo as a gift, even if it's technically a job when viewed by a working actor.

              More commonly in government, jobs are the currency of graft. It is extremely common for legislators to be bought off with the promise of a high-paying, low-effort "job" after they leave office in exchange for favorable legislation while they are in office.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Don't you normally have to interview or audition for a job if you're getting it on your merits and not as a gift?

               

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          Machin Shin (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Don't people usually get paid to act in a movie?"

          In response to this I ask you a simple question. If you went to say Comic-con and stood in front of the crowd of people and announced that $5000 would get them an appearance in Batman as an extra, I'm talking just showing up on screen and not even having a line in the film. How many people do you think would pay that $5000?

          I'm willing to bet you would have have more than a few. So you trying to make it seem like this was a "job" that they had to drag him into is just stupid.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re:

        So why no accusations about Fred Thompson? He did tons of films. And Mark Foley was in a couple of films himself. Staffers are extras in almost every show that shoots in DC. Now all of a sudden it's front page news? Pretty weak, even for Kim Dotcom's mini-me.

         

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      Rich, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

      Re:

      God, give the bullshit a rest, douche.

       

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      MrWilson, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

      Re:

      More shills spouting the "legality = morality" fallacy. "It's not against the rules, so it's perfectly okay, even if it's entirely ethically compromised!"

      Except of course for that fact that you're wrong:

      The first rule of conflict of interest is:

      "You do not talk about..."

      Wait, never mind. It's actually:

      "A Member, officer, or employee may not use his or her official position for personal gain."

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

      Re:

      While whining about "actual arguments," it generally helps if you actually try making one.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

        Re: Re:

        My argument is this: If Pirate Mike is going to accuse a sitting U.S. Senator of violating the Senate's ethical rules, then he should actually know what the fuck he's talking about or else that just makes him a blowhard whiner. See my point? This article is just knee-jerk bashing and FUD. There is no substance. Only a vague notion that the Senator is violating rules. This post is an excellent example of where Pirate Mike just goes into full-on FUD mode. A prime example of his pirate-apologism--attack the Senator with nothing more than a baseless insinuation of wrongdoing. It's rather sad how far Pirate Mike will go for "the cause."

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 7:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So you don't have an argument. Got it.

           

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          MrWilson, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Both Mike and I pointed to the rules and your response to Mike was the childish equivalent of "nuh uh!" You accuse Mike of having an anti-Leahy bias, but it's obvious you've got an anti-Mike bias, so how can we trust anything you're saying if you espouse the view that anyone with the appearance of a bias cannot be trusted? Or maybe Mike has articles and articles on record showing that Leahy has passed or has tried to pass arguably bad legislation and the pattern of his relationship with Hollywood clearly indicates a pro-Hollywood bias on his part.

          If you actually want to refute Mike's post, explain why Leahy getting a cameo in a movie despite not being an actor and having gone on record in many Senate sessions as supporting the same efforts that Hollywood requests for greater copyright enforcement that he is not even potentially compromised ethically.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't want to refute Mike's point. My point is that Mike doesn't actually have a point. Unlike Mike, I'm not going to say whether or not this is an impermissible gift without researching the heck out of it first. Mike did no research. He started with his conclusion and worked backwards. You don't seem to understand that my point is about Mike, not about the thing Mike said. This article is just another article in a long line of articles from Mike that does nothing more than spread FUD on a person who is pro-IP, and it furthers Mike's incredibly obvious pro-pirate agenda.

            That said though, Mike's claim is pretty fantastical. He thinks a sitting U.S. Senator is violating the Senate ethics rules by being in a movie that is going to be seen by millions. And the Senator has been in two prior Batman movies, IIRC. If he's trying to get away with something, he's picked an awfully public way to go about it. Makes you think that maybe the Senator knows the ethics rules, and maybe he did his due diligence. And maybe, just maybe, getting a role in a movie isn't a gift. But I don't know for sure. Again, I'd have to research it. I tried researching it. I read every case in Westlaw that mentions gifts to people in Congress. It didn't take long since there's not much there, I can tell you that. And you certainly won't find the answer to this issue.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 8:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In The Dark Knight, Leahy is seen being man-handled by Joker in a close-up. The camera zooms in on the two, we're able to see that it's Heath Ledger as Joker and Leahy playing a nameless character. That's a role for an extra that is willing to pay some serious dosh. I can only assume that Leahy will have a similar scene in Rises.
              It certainly smacks of corruption that Time Warner calls for expansions on copyright law, that Leahy is at the heart of this law and that somehow, he ends up on not one but TWO Batman movies!

               

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              John Fenderson (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My point is that Mike doesn't actually have a point.


              If that's your point, then I can say without hesitation that you're wrong. Mike has a point, clearly made: that the senator has a clear conflict of interest going on. It's even in the post's title.

              You may disagree with that point, of course (although it's fascinating that you explicitly say you don't want to have that discussion), but his point does, in fact, exist.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You don't seem to understand that my point is about Mike"

              You don't seem to understand that literally everyone here is aware that you've nothing to add but blowhard ad hom about Mike on any given subject. That's why we all say your posts lack substance and have no point, because you don't address anything and spend all your time here burning your effigy of 'Pirate Mike' with nothing to contribute.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm having a difficult time telling if your post is intended to be sarcastic or serious. If it's serious then sarcasm couldn't do a better job at mocking you.

           

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          Paul`, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Seems all you do is claim Mike is wrong and offer not a single shred of evidence to the contrary. So, you know, add to the discussion constructively or fuck off.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Mike is making the claim. Mike claims that the Senator has violated the Senate ethics rules. In fact, Mike is promoting that people should voice their opposition to this terrible violation. The problem, though, is that Mike has not proved that this is a violation. The presumption is that the Senator is not violating the Senate ethics rule (think innocent until proven guilty--I know how important that is to guys like you). This means that the burden is on Mike to prove the Senator is violating the Senate ethics rule. Mike has not even come close to doing this. Mike didn't even try to prove it in the article. And when asked about it, he gives a lazy link to the Senate website with a conclusory exclamation that it's a gift. Nope. He has not carried his burden. I'm moving for JNOV and sanctions against Mike for the vexatious lawsuit. Savvy?

             

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              Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hmmm, so the role in the Batman movie for someone who it turns out is an avid fan of batman does not constitute a gift?

              "Gift" defined is: "something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present."

              And since it states here - http://www.ethics.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Gifts - that Senators cannot receive gifts from Lobbyists (I don't think you can argue that Hollywood doe snot lobby politicians), then what would the movie role count as, and even if the role did not violate the senate ethics, doesn't it look bad on his part to accept it?

               

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You started your 'argument' with an ad-hom. So I can safely disregard anything you say after that. Learn to discuss things without childish attacks.

           

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      TDR, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:59pm

      Re:

      Holy clueless troll, Batman! Whips out an argument without even a shred of proof and gets pulverized!

      POW!!! BAM!!! BANG!!!

      Maybe if he stopped worshiping the law, he might realize that it's sometimes wrong and needs to be fought. Makes me wish the Joker would come back and stir things up. Sure, he's psychotic, but at least he doesn't pretend to be anything else. Politicians do more spinning than Two-Face with his coin!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:03pm

      Re:

      Shut up you dumb shill. No one cares what you think.

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:10pm

      Re:

      What color is the sky in your world?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:39pm

    LOL, I love the last panel. Not even Batman can fight the corrupting forces D.C.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    "We're sure it's because of his acting skills, rather than his ability to pass legislation that favors Time Warner"

    If he had not been a politician and/or if he had not supported publicly detrimental legislation, does anyone here honestly believe he would have gotten these positions?

     

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      MrWilson, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:43pm

      Re:

      Stan Lee had to be famous for decades after creating or co-creating some of the most famous superheroes before he got cameos in superhero movies.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re:

        No need to try and bring Mr. Lee into this. Lee is one of, if not, THE top guy at Marvel. It's not corruption on his part to say to the Marvel film producers to allow him to do a cameo. It's more or less his company, his characters, his comics.
        Leahy though, has NO relation to Time Warner, Bob Kane, or Batman. Other than accepting Warner lobby money and of being willing to call for copyright expansionist laws that Time Warner wants.

         

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          MrWilson, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wasn't saying that Stan Lee getting cameos in movies was corruption. I'm saying that for being the guy who has a direct relationship with a bunch of comic book characters, it took a while for even Stan Lee to get cameos in their movies, whereas Leahy, who has no direct relationship with the creation of comic book characters or their movies, suddenly gets a few cameos just by virtue of him being a bought and paid for voice for Hollywood in Congress.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    I bet he is also in violation of SAG union rules.
    Which means so scale pay or hooker and blow money (Per Diem), poor underpaid Pattie.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:38pm

    Does anyone even watch this wornout movie series, I thought batman died in the 1970s. Just another reason not to watch this franchise die.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 18th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    And no matter how much the movie grosses this weekend, Hollywood will still cry pirate and think they deserve more. They will never be satisfied. It will never end.

     

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    identicon
    RD, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

    And did they tell them....

    Did anyone "Educate" them on the fact that Dark Knight was pirated THE DAY it was released, and it went on to become the 2nd highest grossing movie

    IN

    HISTORY.

    Piracy is not the problem.

     

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      RGC, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

      Re: And did they tell them....

      But...but...had it not been pirated on the day it was released it would have become the highest grossing movie in history...those bastard pirate.

       

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        Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:29am

        Re: Re: And did they tell them....

        Or, were it not for the pirating, it wouldn't have made any money. Oh wait, this is Hollywood, where even the highest grossing movie in history didn't make money.

         

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      Hephaestus (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:40am

      Re: And did they tell them....

      No it didn't, no movie in Hollywood makes money. I often wonder why the IRS hasn't gone after them. I mean they must be doing something illegal to maintain their extravagant lifestyles with every movie running at a loss. Maybe they are laundering money ...

       

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    Anonymous1, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 7:36pm

    Sopa

    So where is a copy of the actual bill so that We the People May read it? One would think that Progressives would post the bills they oppose on all their sites...especially those which are asking for us to take action. Yes, I can look up the bills but it is very time consuming and since you are asking for support I'd think you would want to make it easy for We The People to read the bills and discuss them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 8:54pm

    What I find interesting here is that Mike will stand up for civil liberties on one side, and then try to deny those same freedoms to people who hold opinions he does not like.

    When it's people he likes, it's "in kind" deals or people working together. When he doesn't like them, it's a payoff or a bribe.

    Besides the relationship that exists between the Senator and the movie industry on a professional level (as senator and constituents), there is also clearly friendships that have developed. It's sort of natural when two parties happen to see eye to eye on many issues. The appearance in the movie is probably much more of a "I know exactly the right guy for that role, and he will get a kick out if it" rather than some grand payoff for being a stooge for the industry, as you try to paint him.

    Oh yeah, the pay rate for extras in a movie without lines is about $100 a day, if I remember correctly. It pays a bit more if they say something. It's truly a huge bribe.

    Now, with the senator being in the movie, it's a pretty natural thing to bring that movie to the hill for a private screening, so his colleagues can have a laugh at his "acting skills" and so on, and a natural for the movie industry to take the time to speak to the assembled members regarding issues that are important to them.

    Mike knows how hard it is to get 15 minutes of a single Senator's attention, let alone getting any number of them at the same time.

    Everything explains differently when you stop looking for some grand conspiracy, and consider things on a more normal, human level. Apparently Mike's opinion of all involved is that they are unable to be human. That's a pretty sad opinion.

     

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      techflaws (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:40am

      Re:

      What I find interesting here is that Mike will stand up for civil liberties on one side, and then try to deny those same freedoms to people who hold opinions he does not like.

      [citation needed]

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:15am

      Re:

      Quote:
      Mike knows how hard it is to get 15 minutes of a single Senator's attention, let alone getting any number of them at the same time.


      So you know it is bribery you just won't admit it then.

      Because for Mike to get 15 minutes he has to work the system up and down for years and Hollywood get 35 minutes gratuitously with a room full of them, that sounds like corruption to me.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:09am

      Re:

      "What I find interesting here is that Mike will stand up for civil liberties on one side, and then try to deny those same freedoms to people who hold opinions he does not like."

      No one is denying you any civil liberties for holding retarded positions. Sure, people may mock you for it, but the only ones denying anyone civil liberties are the government established media cartels that use the power of the state to censor speech they don't like. For instance, this problem won't ever be broadcasted over broadcasting spectra or cableco infrastructure and, to the extent that it does, it's only because of the Internets influence on the media. You, OTOH, are free to come here and express your position.

      "When it's people he likes, it's "in kind" deals or people working together."

      [citation needed]

      So you admit that there is a deal going on here then? This role in exchange for bad laws. You think that's OK?

      "When he doesn't like them, it's a payoff or a bribe."

      When it concerns elected officials, who are supposed to represent the public, accepting favors in return for laws, then yes. "deals" between private parties, like me going to the store and giving money in exchange for food, is perfectly OK. Me going to a politician and offering a position in exchange for legislation is not OK. See the difference?

       

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
       
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:54am

      Re:

      What I find interesting here is that Mike will stand up for civil liberties on one side, and then try to deny those same freedoms to people who hold opinions he does not like.

      That's a great point. I've run across few, if any, people more duplicitous than Mike. The best part is that he's so judgmental of others, being complete assholes to them (his review of Levine's book comes to mind), but his own shit stinks worse than most. Try and call him out for his own wrongdoings and he gets either more hyper-arrogant or feigns injury. Classic psychopath/narcissist reaction, IMO.

       

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      Michael, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:01am

      Re:

      "What I find interesting here is that Mike will stand up for civil liberties on one side, and then try to deny those same freedoms to people who hold opinions he does not like.

      When it's people he likes, it's 'in kind' deals or people working together. When he doesn't like them, it's a payoff or a bribe."

      Really? Care to prove that assertion? BTW, Mike isn't a Senator taking bribes by Hollywood in order to expand their monopoly at the expense of our civil liberties. So I think you have the roles reversed.

       

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      " It's truly a huge bribe"

      Are you downplaying a political bribe?

      Wow, quite naive.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      I totally agree with you, this is not just corruption on the part of Lehay, but all the senators who took part...

      That is your point, isn't it?

      I mean if all it takes is a 'special screening' from Hollywood to get all the senators attention (explaining how they can all have their own cameo's in their favorite movies... as long as the continue to pass draconian legislation... this is what the 'education' was about wasn't it?), than there is definite corruption going on....

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 9:01pm

    I think most of what people have a problem with is that Hollywood bribed him he took that bribe and pushed an agenda instead of serving the people like he's supposed to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2012 @ 10:51pm

    Actually, I ran across a term today that I had totally forgotten, and yet it sums up this post perfectly:

    YELLOW JOURANLISM.


    Frank Luther Mott (1941) defines yellow journalism in terms of five characteristics[3]:
    scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
    lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
    use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
    emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips
    dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.


    From Wikipedia, in case you are wondering.

    I can't help but think that this sums up this and many other posts on Techdirt. Scare headlines, graphics, underdog sympathy stories, and the like. It's pretty amusing to see that we have gone in a cycle.

    So forget "Pirate Mike", let's try "Yellow Mike" for a while :)

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 1:25am

      Re:

      So your implying that the Senator was not in the new batman movie. Please show your proof.

      Please show how the senator has not introduced legislation favorable to those who have placed him in movies, who are not in his district.

      If you want to try screaming Yellow Journalism, the first test is show its false.

      This appears to be quid pro quo and even if unfounded, which this is not, the appearance of that should be a warning sign to the Senator that his current actions are not the right way to handle himself.

      But then Congresscritters get to make sure regular laws don't apply to them, why should we expect them to have ethics.

      One would hope they could afford to hire better shills than you with all of the graft they are getting.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:30am

        Re: Re:

        "So your implying that the Senator was not in the new batman movie. Please show your proof."

        Umm, I didn't say that. Of course he was in the movie. He is a good friend of the movie industry, of people in the movies, and probably got a real kick out of appearing in the movie.

        Since no single Senator has the power to pass laws, any suggestion of a tit for tat thing is laughable. Quite simply, he is one vote among many, and only in 1 of the two houses.

        When you call them "critters" it pretty much says it all. You dismiss them before you start. You can join Mike on the yellow side.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 2:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          When you call Mike a pirate it pretty much says it all. You dismiss him before you start. You can join him on the yellow side.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except I didn't call Mike a pirate... someone else did.

            Swing and miss. You failed.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Except that you're using it as an acceptable substitute for "Pirate" in your attempt to insult Mike. The point being you dismiss him before you start.

              Swing and miss, you failed.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Nope, I am suggesting that Mike is doing what would be called Yellow journalism, so that the guys calling him Pirate Mike might be much more accurate calling him Yellow Mike instead.

                Two stokes on the anonymous coward. Would you like me to throw the third pitch and strike you out?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:21am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Nice try attempting to completely sidestep the point that regardless of what you're calling him, you're dismissing him before you start. Just like you're claiming he does to "congresscritters".

                  Also, work on your spelling before you decide to come up with fanciful ways of insulting others. I'm pretty certain it's strikes, not stokes.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 8:46am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I never dismiss Mike. He is a powerful force, similar in nature to the snake oil salesmen of the past. If he was a little more into it, he could be a host for a talk show on Fox, he would fit right in with their truthiness.

                    I am not insulting him. I am just pointing out that he is using a technique that actually has a name, and has mostly been shunned by all major media, except tabloids.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Except you've yet to point out anything that was actually false. You just equivocate with non-sense about how the Head of the science damn Judiciary committee is 'just one vote in a sea of votes in the Senate.'

                       

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 10:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Senator has the power to propose laws, and funny if he hasn't been proposing laws to benefit his friends who give him gifts of movie roles.

          Congresscritters, they are a different form of life. Somehow they enter office not being millionaires and when/if they leave they are. Could have nothing to do with compromised ethics, cushy jobs in the industries they were supposed to be regulating, or insider trading.

          They ran a man out for the accusation of impropriety with other men, but applauded an adulterer while talking about the sanctity of marriage.

          When millions of dollars are being spent to fund PACs and the like, you claim they aren't buying influence... are you high? I can support my position with facts, and I have. You tore a page outta Wikipedia and are trying to wrap Mike in it and not showing the tortured path your mind tried to use to get there.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Since no single Senator has the power to pass laws, any suggestion of a tit for tat thing is laughable. Quite simply, he is one vote among many, and only in 1 of the two houses."

          So, by your standards, bribing a senator or congress person is functionally impossible.

          Ludicrous. On. Its. Face.

           

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        Rikuo (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        "This appears to be quid pro quo and even if unfounded, which this is not, the appearance of that should be a warning sign to the Senator that his current actions are not the right way to handle himself."

        Hang on, didn't I read something like this in an earlier article? Where a judge had to step down from a case after making a comment that apparently mocked copyright law, i.e. he looked bad?
        Yet, here we have AT THE VERY LEAST, the appearance of a politician accepting gifts and violating ethics rules. How come he doesn't have to step down?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:22am

      Re:

      +1. But characterizing his ravings on Techdirt as journalism is a stretch.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:56am

      Re:

      Actually, I ran across a term today that I had totally forgotten, and yet it sums up this post perfectly:

      YELLOW JOURANLISM.


      Absolutely. You nailed it. Perfect. He's obviously use age-old tactics to promote his anti-copyright/pro-piracy point of view. It's funny how he can't just admit what his cause actually is. Funny and sad.

       

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        abc gum, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:59am

        Re: Re:

        Except this is a blog and therefore, by your own definition, not journalism - amirite?

         

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        RD, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        "It's funny how he can't just admit what his cause actually is. Funny and sad."

        Whats funny is how I can just skip down the page hitting "report" on all your comments and you just disappear like you never opened your bile-filled piehole.

         

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      Hephaestus (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:06am

      Re:

      Can I Play Also??

      Actually, I ran across a term today that I had totally forgotten, and yet it sums up DC politicians and the MPAA leadership perfectly:

      PSYCHOPATHY.


      Glibness/superficial charm
      Grandiose sense of self-worth
      Pathological lying
      Cunning/manipulative
      Lack of remorse or guilt
      Emotionally shallow
      Callous/lack of empathy
      Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
      Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
      Parasitic lifestyle
      Impulsiveness
      Irresponsibility
      Revocation of conditional release
      Criminal versatility.


      From Wikipedia, in case you are wondering

      I can't help but think that sums up pretty much every politician in DC and the higher ups in the MPAA. Psychopaths. It's pretty amusing to realize that.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      OMG, the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on "yellow journalism":
      Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.[1] Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.[1] By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.[2]
      It's like they wrote that while thinking about Techdirt! Too perfect.

       

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      identicon
      RD, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      "So forget "Pirate Mike", let's try "Yellow Mike" for a while :)"

      Wait, so pointing out congressional corruption and arguing that maybe, just maybe, the politicians elected to represent THE PEOPLE should represent US properly, and not the interests of Hollywood at our expense, is now YELLOW JOURNALISM??

      REALLY?

      You, sir, are a piece of shit. A waste of a human being. I'm sorry, but you have crossed the line.

       

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    maclypse (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:11am

    Another good cause, but as usual sadly restricted to US residents only.

    The US represents 4% of the planet's population, but it's reach doesn't stop at it's borders. It's not just a passive influence anymore either, but the US is actively pushing their own agenda through "trade agreements" like ACTA, even creating diplomatic IP attaches to spread the Hollywood gospel, and trying to have NZ and UK (so far, more countries will follow) citizens extradited to stand trial in the US.

    Every time that I, as a Swedish citizen, can't even sign a protest because I'm not a US citizen, it pisses me off. Yes, I get it, the congress and the senate can ignore voices of malcontent from abroad, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will ignore us completely.

    If US citizens can protest what's happening in China, Russia or Syria (and they DO) - why does every US civil rights organisation assume that no one outside the US borders should have a voice? EFF, Demand Progress... they ignore us.

    Sad face. Really sad face.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:19am

      Re:

      Why don't you cry to the Swedish ambassador to the US? It's his job to represent Swedish concerns to the US government. Don't like the trade agreements? Don't sign them. And I don't know how seriously China or Russia takes a petition signed by their own citizens much less foreigners. If you really want to get people's attention, go set yourself on fire in front of an IKEA store.

       

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        maclypse (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        And if we are looking for dramatic effect, I'd probably get more media attention if we burn someone else in front of the store, or better yet, burn the store itself - with a senator still inside, shopping for meatballs and a coffee table.

        But sure. Let's all just stop protesting, since no one is going to listen anyway. I'll let the guys at Avaaz know it's time to close up shop and go home - or to IKEA.

         

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        Rikuo (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 9:09am

        Re: Re:

        " Don't like the trade agreements? Don't sign them."

        We wouldn't sign them at all if they let us, the PUBLIC, into the negotiating rooms. That's what Mike writes about, or don't you know?

         

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 19th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    ...but they worked around that by spending the first 15 minutes "educating members and staff on important issues" (take a guess what those might be).

    But of course it's how to pass laws that will save the children and incidentally fill their pockets. Any doubts?

    Ahem. Patrick Leahy "acted" as the evil guy's henchman, right?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:08am

    Fred Thompson, among others have appeared in many Hollywood films. So have a host of state legislators. Does that mean they've all been bribed? Nope, just more vitriol from FUDboy.

     

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      identicon
      Digitari, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:40am

      Re: Cameo Vs Co-star

      really you do not see the difference between a Cameo and being a costar in a Movie??

      and you are pro IP

      wow Just WOW

      another "intellectual phallacy lover

      you guys just loving swinging your imaginary dicks don't ya

       

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    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Is this that movie created solely to embarrass Romney?

    I heard that the producer stole Romney's Delorean time machine in order to go back in time so that he could change the evil character name to Bane.

    Will Bain become the bane of the Romney campaign?

     

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    identicon
    Im Batman, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Awesome!

    That is awesome! I wonder if DC / Warner Brothers will crack down on them for Trademark/Copyright violation.

    It really is disgusting the level of outright corruption in Congress.

    I think if our founding fathers would see the miserable state of politics today... there'd be another shot heard round the world.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Update: By the way, we're hearing that the MPAA hosted a "special screening" of the new Batman movie for members of Congress and their staff. Now, that would normally run afoul of gift giving guidelines... but they worked around that by spending the first 15 minutes "educating members and staff on important issues" (take a guess what those might be).

    Oh, wow. I'm confused. Now you're saying the Senator understands the Senate ethics rules and knows how to conduct his business in accordance therein? I thought he was clueless, haphazardly appearing in several movies without a thought in the world about his ethical duties. I thought you, Pirate Yellow Mike (I'm going to use that one; thanks to AC above), really had the Senator by the nuts--"It's a gift, Senator! You're a rule-breaker! I HAVE OUTED YE, SIR! Prepare thee for impeachment! Bailiff, to the stockades with this grubbing gift-taker!" Oh well, maybe next time, PYM.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      Wow for someone who is so passionate about Mike's assholism, you sure are a hypocrite, but hey...at least he is doing something constructive instead of sweeping the idea of impartiality under the rug.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

      Re:

      It's almost as if the real point of the article is that the 'ethics' rules are so incomplete and ineffective that it doesn't count as a gift if you add in a few minutes of lobbying before the movie starts.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    TDR, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    AC shills, care to prove to us that you're not really one troll putting on a laughable display of sockpuppetry in a desperate attempt to show a point that doesn't exist and never will? Evidence, please, or shut your gobs, you sycophantic gits. You have all the innate wit, charm, and sensibility of an Alsatian dog after a head swap operation.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    According to a review I read just a few minutes ago, the new Batman movie isn't very good.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 11:10pm

    "Now, that would normally run afoul of gift giving guidelines... but they worked around that by spending the first 15 minutes "educating members and staff on important issues" (take a guess what those might be)."

    wait so u can get around bribery laws, as long as u tell them what u want them to do?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    So this means the US is practicing "Yellow Politics"....

    Probably a pretty accurate description....

    1. Scare headlines of minor news....
    Cyber Terrorists....
    FBI induced plans foiled....
    Check

    2. Lavish use of pictures or imaginary drawings
    FBI "You must be a criminal" logo...
    Check

    3. faked, pseudo, false learning....
    301 report...
    Entertainment 'education' propaganda in schools...
    Kim Dotcom (we know he's a criminal so just give him to us)
    Check

    This is just sad... I give up

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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