Your Cynicism About Lobbyists Only Helps The Lobbyists Win

from the too-much-cynicism dept

Last month, I posted the letter I helped put together from a bunch of entrepreneurs to the US’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, as a part of the open comment period on the most effective forms of copyright enforcement. One of the most frustrating responses I heard was “it doesn’t matter, the law is bought and paid for already.” I can understand why many people feel that way, and it’s absolutely undeniable that the entrenched entertainment industry interests have a very successful lobbying program that has a long history of success in getting the laws they want. But such things are not set in stone, and can absolutely be overcome.

Earlier this year, when This American Life did an hourlong episode on lobbying, there was one message that has really stuck with me: yes, lobbying has tremendous power in terms of its impact on Congress and the White House, but votes will trump lobbying every single time. I can’t remember which politician said it during the episode, but it was made clear: in the absence of the public speaking out on an issue, yes, the lobbyists will likely win. But if the public is interested, no matter how much money is spent, the public will win, because the votes matter more than the lobbyists. Always.

I’d been meaning to write about this in response to the defeatism I saw after that letter, but Public Knowledge’s Sherwin Siy beat me to it (and did it much better, since he’s got a hell of a lot more experience on this front), pointing out that the best way to fight big money politics is to speak out and take part. Yes, it may seem like the deck is stacked, and yes, the lobbyists have plenty of power — but that power only works if the voting public stays quiet.

In other words: your cynicism only helps the lobbyists.

Trust me, I understand where that cynicism comes from, and there are significant problems with the way money works in politics today and just how corrupt the system often appears. But, as Siy notes, all that money is a means to an end, and the end is to get re-elected (or elected in the first place). And that means that votes — and the people behind the votes — can trump money in politics. The larger problem is that we can’t do that for any and every issue. But saying that you shouldn’t even bother to speak out at all is self-defeating. It’s automatically handing victory to the lobbyists.

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Comments on “Your Cynicism About Lobbyists Only Helps The Lobbyists Win”

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Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

This article gives me the opportunity to be clear: my cynicism isn’t over the lobbyists: it’s over the voters.

How long has TD been doing stories on copyright/patent issues? No matter how much work TD tries to do to help people change their minds, the majority of voters, also known as “artists”, will ensure their welfare system keeps giving them pennies (while their publishers take the cream from the top).

To them, they can’t see beyond the welfare system. To them, everyone’s a “thief”, only out to take things for free. These are the same voters who’ll back the lobbyists because they allow the cream to be taken for their “survival”.

SOPA didn’t fail because the public voted. SOPA failed because a few select organizations blocked out their pages and forced the voters to make phone calls. I’m sure they saw this as some form of extortion, especially since most of the blackout messages were of the wrong issues regarding SOPA.

What’s worse is these organizations have the power to stop these laws. Stop and think for a second if Google put a banner on its page which read “We are no longer complying with the DMCA because the law is flawed. Please contact Victoria Espinal, and your Senators, to have these laws removed.”

But, in 2012, we don’t have such banners on websites powerful enough to get people to understand.

Therefore, my cynicism for change will not be seen in my lifetime. It was 1997 when the DMCA was passed, and it’s been well over 10 years to show it’s a system of abuse, not protection, and yet it still remains on the books.

As well as the ridiculous copyright changes perpetuating all these issues which were done in 1976.

When the voters stand up and realize they have the power to amend the Constitution to remove/alter Section 1, Article 8, then we can talk.

Until then, I’ll just sit idly by as people vote for government bodies who allow people like Victoria to get her job in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

SOPA didn’t fail because the public voted. SOPA failed because a few select organizations blocked out their pages and forced the voters to make phone calls.

I hear you loud and clear Meso, ignorance can be quite disconcerting. However consider that sentence a little more. The public did in fact vote, even if they were “forced” by stark messages showing up where their favorite Internet services should have been.

Look at it this way, if no one made an effort to get the word out about SOPA, and speak their opinions to the government, it would have passed.

Likewise, if it weren’t for the ‘early few’ who have been researching and sounding alarms about copyright laws for years, what are the chances so many senior management teams at tech companies would even have been paying attention and been cogent to the possible effects of SOPA-style legislation on their businesses?

Filling in holes of ignorance is very much whack-a-mole-like in gameplay, only less rewarding as chances of hitting that mole are pretty low. It’s probably the kind of game most people can’t play all day every day… certainly not me.

Like everything new, every change in politics requires a catalyst, a sacrifice and the force (support) to drive it to manifestation. Nothing at all ever happens in their absence.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Those in power use “bigger” issues such as the economy, terrorism, pornography, immigration and jobs to keep the people distracted. That way the people don’t have the time or energy to be concerned about minor issues like “freedom” or “police states”.

In Soviet Russia the people’s will was drained by endless standing in queues for whatever everyday item happened to be in “short supply” this week. (eg, toilet paper, razor blades, etc)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

>> the majority of voters, also known as “artists”

I don’t think the majority of the people who called or wrote or spoke to their congressmen about SOPA were artists. (And why the scare quotes?)

>> SOPA didn’t fail because the public voted.

I agree. SOPA failed because people got off their butts and spoke out–which is, I think, Mike’s point. In our representative democracy, voters have abdicated direct responsibility to elected legislators–for better or for worse–and usually don’t speak up–for better or for worse. So, when a few thousand voters from a given congressman’s district call or write about a single issue, they get noticed because that is a huge response and (assuming they don’t come across as crackpots) will be assumed to multiple many hundreds of times over.

>> if Google put a banner on its page which read “We are no longer complying with the DMCA because the law is flawed. Please contact Victoria Espinal, and your Senators, to have these laws removed.”

ICS would confiscate all their servers–and then destroy them because they didn’t have space to store them. ๐Ÿ™‚

But, seriously, there is a difference between violating a law (what you proposed) and opposing a proposed law (the SOPA blackout, which broke no laws). There is also a difference between individual civil disobedience (sitting in the wrong-race section of a bus, etc.) and corporate disobedience. One is a matter of individual conscience, the other is a matter of corporate suicide. It’s also worth noting that, while corporations are virtual people, they have no conscience

>> When the voters stand up and realize they have the power

How will that happen if we don’t educate them? How will that happen if we don’t LEGALLY (so we can’t be silenced) and PUBLICLY (so we get their attention) raise their awareness, stir them up to act, and incite that realization and change?

RIAA and MPAA certainly are too busy producing lame anti-piracy adutainment comedy.

Who is going to show artists effective ways to be successful without the big labels and the collection agencies? Because until there are enough examples for them to follow, enough evidence to support those examples, and enough data to demonstrate that those methods are more profitable in the end even if they do require more work up front, most artists are going to take the easy way out. (Because they’re human, and artists, and don’t understand all that business crap anyway. Which is why they probably won’t be successful in the long run even with a label.)

Sony, Warner, EMI, and the like certainly aren’t going to bother. They’re too busy looking for the next one-hit-wonder who can make them a bundle–because they’re in the business of making hits, not art (to quote a music exec in recent article here).

So, while I understand your cynicism, and even share some of it, you are the evil in Mike’s article because, if everyone sits idly by, nothing will change. SOPA is a prime example of what happens when we STOP sitting idly by and speak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

When the voters stand up and realize they have the power to amend the Constitution to remove/alter Section 1, Article 8, then we can talk.

I doubt anyone wants to open a Constitutional convention. Because you cannot limit it to a specific provision, everything is on the table, like

Abortion, gay rights, gun control, due process, religion, taxes, etc, etc. It would be utter pandemonium and everyone knows it- that’s why it will never happen.

SujaOfJauhnral (profile) says:

Re: Re:

my cynicism isn’t over the lobbyists: it’s over the voters.

the majority of voters, also known as “artists”, will ensure their welfare system keeps giving them pennies (while their publishers take the cream from the top).

To them, they can’t see beyond the welfare system. To them, everyone’s a “thief”, only out to take things for free. These are the same voters who’ll back the lobbyists because they allow the cream to be taken for their “survival”.

This here^ a million times.

Most artists are selfish, greedy, egotistical, chicken shit imbeciles who would cry into their pillow at night if they didn’t have some law to hold their hand.

They whine and they simper about how the MAFIAA oppresses them yet they give them all the power. People offer to help and are turned down as “trying to freeload or steal from them”. Stupid stupid stupid.

I don’t think I hate the MAFIAA nearly as much as I hate other ARTISTS.

The MAFIAA didn’t insult and harass me because I made fan art which I offered as a GIFT to the person I was making fan art of without permission. ARTISTS did.

They wank and they cry and they bitch and they moan. At the end of the day they are their own worse enemy, even more so than any entertainment industry … which is made up of .. well, THEM. That says A LOT.

If MAFIAA, and probably, copyright disappeared tomorrow artists would still be up their usual business of RESTRICTING, REMOVING, SHAMING. All out of some perverted, corrupt idea of ‘respect’. Because they want to tell you what to do. They can’t get over the little high having control gives them. It’s like a goddamn DRUG.

Spoiled children. All of them. What I wouldn’t give to see everyone of them bend over, whipped on the ass with a belt and made to sit in the corner wearing a dunce hat.

The root of the copyright problem is ARTISTS. And the ONLY way anything is going to be changed to find some way to either override/overpower their influence or convert them or take their power away. I need my midol.

Zakida Paul says:

I have said it for years, the voting public (and this applies to the UK and US) need to stop voting for ‘less bad’. If you look at elections the only reason people vote is to get an unpopular government out regardless of whether the person they are voting for is any better.

Until that changes, the status quo will remain and the money men will always get their way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The “lesser of two evils” has increased in use since Super PACs entered the arena. When you cannot plan a campaign with the candidate your super PAC wants, it is just so much easier to avoid saying something good about who you support and put as much dirt on the opposing candidate. Not saying it didn’t happen before since it has been shown that negative ads are better than positive in some situations, but it is a lot more pronounced than before.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m in agreement with this… the people have the power but in the main their is a mixture of apathy and the ill-informed.

I truly feel sorry for Americans that are tired of 2-party politics… where there is no 3rd choice. In the UK at least there is a 3rd choice and a few fringe parties… but even then fringe parties tend to be derided – not by the main party politicians – by the voting public itself.

When the UK Pirate Party started running, a lot of ill-informed people consider it to be another Monster Raving Loony Party – just a joke. This is but one of the perceptions to overcome.

But there is a bigger perception to overcome in order to see the ‘power of the people’ channeled correctly and that is the cognitive dissonance displayed towards ‘intellectual property’ in general.

Just checkout this YouTube video –
Then read this review-

Disregarding the quality of the movie. Stop someone in the street and ask them what they think of GM Toons animated Thai “Beauty and the Beast” movie, most of them will respond along the lines of “Oh it’s a poor rip off of Disneys movie – despicable”.

Then ask them what they think of modern media conglomerates like Disney using public domain works such as “La Belle et la B?te” by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and using them to create animated movies… the response will usually be an opposite one of approval – they may even justify it as a good thing that the work is being adapted for a modern audience.

In order to get copyright issues into a mainstream issue – you have to overcome this kind of mindset. I can tell you it’s like try to force the equal poles of 2 magnets together.

I’m reminded of a lesson from history, both Bach and Beethoven were considered by the church at the time to be “devils music” and only played by those godless liberals.

Perhaps it’s really down to a disdain for older works. The older the work gets, the more disdain – but somehow a derivative work (by a major brand) earns a level of respect the original will never again see. Anyone wanting to do something similar with the original work somehow then gets the stigma of being a poor imitation if catering to a similar audience (in the example above: children).

But I digress.

Anonymous Coward says:

That means we need a system of speaking out (online website, for example). Petition websites are a good start, but they don’t cover every issue, as you noted.

If a website were made that updated with every issue in Congress, who was responsible for it, and allowed users to identify their county of residence and voice their opinions, that would be progress. The Representatives and Senators could then see who would specifically vote them out of office come next election for every bad decision they made. That would represent some significant hurt to lobbying efforts.

bwp (profile) says:

While I completely agree that the voters CAN be more powerful than the lobbyists I think that there are forces that ensure they don’t become more powerful. I’m not talking about nefarious, behind the scenes actors that are doing this either. I’m just saying that the divisiveness of our current political situation ensures that it will be very hard to get anyone out of office that cares more about lobbyists and large campaign donations than representing their constituents.

Justin (profile) says:

I am not sure I really belief the line “but votes will trump lobbying every single time”. If this is true, why ins’t TPP dead, why are we hearing about a son of SOPA, why is ACTA being rushed through in the countries that accept it?

The public spoke up when it came to internet regulations, but it just keeps getting pushed. If they truly cared about the votes, they would step up and stop any more BS before it got started. Maybe even try to pass laws that go the other way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s why they’re doing it. The lobbyists have convinced the politicians, who I must remind you are stupid enough to take everything they say at face value, that SOPA/PIPA/ACTA was just a fluke, and that everyone will have forgotten it in time for the second round. Nobody’s going to forget it, but many people will lose hope in the face of incredible governmental incompetence.

As Mike said, the lobbyists are banking on your cynicism. It’s reasonable cynicism, which is why they’re banking on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree. No one really says anything substantial, because they don’t want to aggravate financial donors. If they do say something, I doubt that the media outlets would even give the ideas credence due to the fact, they are backing the very ideas we are trying to change. So how is the general public expected to know of the issues?

SOPA/PIPA went so well because large internet companies put the word out and actually let people know the issues at stake, if not I doubt that any notice would have been taking by major broadcast networks.

Jan Bilek (profile) says:

Must be nice...

When I was reading that bit “all that money is a means to an end, and the end is to get re-elected” I was like “what the hell does he mean by that? Why would a politician care about voters or being re-elected when he already has the money… and going to politics is just means to get the money, right?” Why would you care about voters after you “sell out” and are financially set for the rest of your life?

Then it hit me – aah, it was not an euphemism, he probably means real legal lobbying… like when a politician can only use the money for the political campaign and not buying yachts and houses at Bahamas. It must be nice to live in a country where you just assume that lobbying is mostly legal and politicians (and therefore laws) cannot just be bought.

I know how it looks… but I am not cynical.

Jeff (profile) says:

A book to read...

This conversation reminds me of an interview on Fresh Air earlier this week. After scratching around on NPR I found this…

I don’t necessarily agree with the author on some of the minor details – but the overall point is spot on.

Both of the political parties in the country are equally and egregiously guilty of rigging the game to ‘beat’ the other team – not do what is right or even needed for the district or state they represent. The end result is two amped up teams, playing with our country’s future like it’s Monday Night Football(tm).

The two party system has to go, or at least allow more accountability to the voters. The ogliarchs here in the US will continue to buy both sides, and rig the system in their favor no matter who pretends to steer the ship…

bleah… even ranting like this makes me feel unclean – I need to go shower to escape the filth that is our political system.

But I will definitely find this book to learn more…

Anonymous Coward says:

funny, why aren’t you telling people that illegally downloading material helps the big business win, because it proves the point about pirates?

why aren’t you telling people to stop illegally downloading material and do not buy the product and tell the company why you aren’t buying the product, but above all stop stealing it, because it lets them win??

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Because, you numb nut, when people inform a company that they refuse to support said company, the company automatically assumes that subsequent losses are the result of piracy despite that not being the case. It’s the same way how legitimate customers are constantly bogged down by things like DRM and unreasonable release windows, DESPITE NOT BEING PIRATES. They’re already all treated as pirates.

If you didn’t choke yourself so much on industry phallus you might have realised this, googlypants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Your biggest problem in the world of political perception is the disconnect between the type of free speech that allows you to express your opinion on politics, religion, government, etc. and your claim that any attempts to thwart the freeloading of copyrighted software, movies, songs and books equates to infringing free speech. Shutting down a blog critical of US foreign policy is not viewed the same as shutting down a pirate site. Yet you piracy apologists seek to apply the same standard to each. Lawmakers and most other people see a difference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

any attempts to thwart the freeloading of copyrighted software, movies, songs and books equates to infringing free speech

Dear Mr. Thread Jacker,
“Any attempts” kind of glosses over the fact that there’s been only one remedy theme tried over and over in Congress to address the “problem” of piracy… censorship without recourse or due process.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Now that I’ve written that through and thought about it, I’m going to stop writing to an insane person now, because that’s just crazy.


P.S make better movies and appreciate the paying customers you haven’t lost.. whoops… coo coo, coo coo

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Any attempts” kind of glosses over the fact that there’s been only one remedy theme tried over and over in Congress to address the “problem” of piracy… censorship without recourse or due process.

SOPA was entirely consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and afforded targeted websites the same rights as any other civil litigant.

Now you get industry agreements like search engine demotion and payment processors severing ties without any judicial oversight. If you think you are better off as a result of SOPA’s defeat, that’s fine by me.

bob (profile) says:

Public Knowledge is a lobbyist...

They may not think so, but they get paid by billionaires and what do you know, they take the billionaires’ side. Oh, they like to say that it’s all some charity and public interest thing, but they’re trying to influence the government just like everyone else.

I find it hilarious to see the so-called public interest non-profits claim that they’re fighting for our digital rights. In many of their cases, they’re just fighting for the rights of a small section of the population and pretending that it helps everyone.

Are these groups fighting for my copyrights? Nope. Are they fighting to come up with rationalizations and excuses for why other people can ignore my copyrights? You betcha.

Everyone forgets that there are companies that make a big profit when digital rights like copyright are destroyed or weakened. These companies also contribute heavily the so-called public interest firms to try to weaken or destroy digital rights.

Simple Mind (profile) says:


How do I make my vote known to a politician? I have tried writing letters. Every time I get back a form letter that does not address any of my points. Are they listening? They need to know I will vote them out for making the bad decision before they make the bad decision. After I can still vote against them but the damage is done. Also, I am fighting against a majority of fellow voters that seem more concerned about what a politician worships or what a politician fucks than how a politician votes on important issues. My vote is lost in the noise.

Doods says:

Electoral votes?

If my vote matters why do we still have electoral votes then? Bottom line is as far as the president is concerned my vote DOESNT matter in my opinion. prove to me that is makes a difference in electoral voting from the states. The Electoral College effectively alters the power of votes, so that in states where the winner is a foregone conclusion, voting has little impact, while in swing states, a handful of votes can decide the entire set of electoral votes. “One vote, one person” is a common rallying cry against this departure from that principle. so yea again show me how my vote matters

Ben S (profile) says:

Re: Electoral votes?

Try encouraging your local representatives to join the multi-state compact where the electoral votes are given based on the nation’s popular vote, instead of merely the state’s own. If enough states that more than half the electoral vote is automatically given to the popular vote, it automatically overrides the whole point of the electoral system. Which ever president is the most popular will automatically make it into office. Those people in states where the majority of the vote is always democrat, or always republican, suddenly becomes meaningful.

Although, it’s possible your state has already joined the compact, so check into that first.

Lord Binky says:

Soo… We know lobbyists spend lots of money already. Then the best way to disrupt their system is to keep communicating and voting to show the politicians we are serious. The end result being lobbyists spend even MORE crazy amounts of money to counter the voter feedback, eventually spending more than their efforts return causeing their scheme to collapse. Sounds like a plan to me.

Roland says:

Example: War on Drugs

No, the voters do not always win. The voters of Oregon voted twice to decrim cannabis-in the ’70’s & again in the ’90s. Both times, OASCOP, the Oregon Assn of Sherriffs & Chiefs of Police, waited a year then went to the legislature & had them recriminalize. Moral: in the long term, lobbying wins. Lobbyists bring concentrated force (& $$) to a subject. Voters’ concerns are much more diffuse, because they have other things to do with their lives.

Paul Nash (profile) says:

In a two-party state ...

In a two-party state, where both parties are equally corrupt, you can vote out the incumbent after four years and vote in the new guy, who will take the same bribes to pass the same legislation.

No wonder the US has such a low voter turn-out.

Maybe you guys should try this thing called “democracy”, along with another thing called “rule of law”. You may be surprised at the results ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

American Plutocracy

It doesn’t matter because no matter how hard some of us try to educate our fellow citizens, they will not care unless told to do so by the media and the media is not going to report any anything that is not profitable. SOPA was not profitable to report against, therefore there was a blackout. Same with TPP. Same with pretty much everything important these days, unless you consider what Myley Cyrus wore to some fucking hollywood event recently, they’ll cover that repeatedly.

Have you never told someone “THE NSA, WITH THE COOPERATION OF THE MAJOR TELECOS IS CAPTURING ALL YOUR PHONE CALLS, THEY’RE MONITORING ALL YOUR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, THEY HAVE EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE KNOWN ABOUT YOU, THEY EVEN HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THE CCTV CAMERAS FOR FACIAL RECOGNITION AND TRACKING OF YOU, IN VIOLATION OF YOUR PRIVACY AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND ITS BEING KEPT SECRET FROM YOU. THEY WILL NOT SAY WHY OR WHAT THEY NEED THAT INFO FOR” ???? I _have_ and guess what? BLANK STARE then back to some stupid sheeple, self important shit that isn’t at all concerned for the greater good. Because unless Google, or CNN or some other douchey major corporate entity tells them to be concerned, they don’t fucking care. These are the same sort of people who judged Socrates deserved death, and they are the majority of Americans.

America is doomed: Innovation is on the decline, same as science, education, the arts, especially critical thinking. It sucks but that is the reality. You can lead a horse dying of dehydration to water all you want, but if that horse wants to just stare at it like an idiot instead of drinking, you can’t make it drink, not unless you want to become a dictator and force its head into that water, which frankly, you probably ought to for its own damn good. Too bad that horse will fight back, because it’s been taught to think that dehydration is normal, good and acceptable by the government and media brainwashing.

Look no further than the popularity contest our elections are. They aren’t about electing the person best fit for the task, nope its who is more popular. The fact we have a whopping TWO CHOICES doesn’t bother anyone, at all. The fact that those two choices equate to a Douche or a Turd Sandwich, Every Fucking Election, nope nothing to see here. That one of the choices will seek to turn the government into a private police force for copyright and the other choice will seek to censor sex and legislate womens bodies like a backward, fearful of knowledge & progress idiot, doesn’t even give them pause. Why? Because the majority of Americans are stupid, willfully, embracingly stupid. Instead of thinking about the actual issues, they say “I’m a one issue voter” as in “I hate taxes and even though I’m told taxes pay for things I expect as a baseline standard, I’m gonna vote republican because fuck anyone who needs assistance, those lazy scumbags just need to get a job” (bootstrap myth) or “I’m a moron who thinks that because one person shot up a movie theater, and I think I’m super important, I will definitely get shot *anywhere* I go and if I died, the world would Totally notice and be worse off and so I’m voting Democrat so they can take away guns, then I can leave the house again.” Doesn’t matter that there are more complex problems than these, that would take too much minimal effort to think about and develop an opinion of such problem.

We live in damn Plutocracy but heaven forbid we bother to acknowledge that. No, that would take EFFORT. We love, LOVE to say that people can have the “American Dream” where if “you just work hard enough, you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps and become successful”. Nope, sorry, but that is a myth. The ‘bootstrap’ myth, specifically. The system is designed to keep you down and not allow you to join the entrenched ranks of the wealthy and successful. We’re here to drive the economy so they have continuous wealth and people to provide service to them.

We do not live in a righteous or just world. We live in a world of cruelty, unfairness and privilege, where the privileged few rule the rest. It’s pure fantasy to believe otherwise. There is no hope, get used to it, or get used to being ignored.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: American Plutocracy

All true, but there is at least a little hope. Namely, that you’re aware of all of it, you’re upset about it, and you’re not the only one.

Remember, the public was told about SOPA/PIPA, and then informed itself about ACTA. All three were defeated through sheer public outcry.

Most people may not care, but enough do. After all, you’re a person too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: American Plutocracy

… and then informed itself about ACTA. All three were defeated…

?ACTA?s Defeat in Europe and What Lies Ahead? by Maira Sutton, EFF Deeplinks, July 12, 2012:

ACTA may live on for the remaining 12 signatories, for the U.S. at least. Spokeswoman for the U.S. trade representative, Carol Guthrie, said so herself following the vote last Wednesday:

ACTA?s membership may initially be more Pacific-oriented than would be true with E.U. participation ? There continues to be a need for international cooperation on these issues, and the ACTA can still serve as a valuable forum through which countries can coordinate to stop counterfeit trade and piracy.

This is consistent with an earlier statement from a U.S. government representative, stating that ACTA would not necessarily have to exist with the EU.

(Internal hyperlink omitted.)

When the spokeswoman for the U.S. trade representative says, ?ACTA?s membership may initially be more Pacific-oriented…?, well, that’s not completely defeated.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Because if we could, it would be more feasible to have a direct democracy where citizens voted on individual issues (or at least the most pertinent ones).

I wish we could do something like this as well. Politics now is too much based on candidate personalities, backgrounds, and party affiliation. The issues themselves don’t get as much coverage. And I think if voters were presented with issues without knowing the people associated with them, they might actually vote according to what they want to see happen rather than a kneejerk reaction to the politicians.

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