Corruption Watch: State Attorneys General Line Up Behind Jim Hood, Support Power To Attack Enemies Of Big Corporate Donors

from the gee,-I-wonder-why... dept

A large group of state Attorney Generals has now stepped into the legal fight between Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and Google. As we've explained a bunch, Hood went after Google with an investigation and detailed subpoena that was funded and written by the MPAA itself. In response to this, a federal court has already called out Hood's actions, noting that there was "significant evidence of bad faith" on the part of Hood as he attempted to unconstitutionally hold Google responsible for anything bad that its search engine found on the internet.

We've written plenty about issues with state Attorneys General. The state Attorney General position is frequently seen as the stepping stone to becoming state governor or US Senator. State AGs have a reputation as being grandstanding tools, focusing on getting big headlines over actually enforcing the law. In fact, they often will focus on grandstanding even when there is no legal basis whatsoever. The most damning account of this is one we wrote about five years ago, in which a group of AGs teamed up to shake down Chris Tolles, the CEO of online forum site Topix. The story is incredible and well worth reading. You'll see how a bunch of state AGs kept putting out press releases, blaming Topix for things with no legal basis. Tolles would go talk to them, explain how the company works in order to build understanding, and the state AGs would then, immediately, turn around and take what he told them, totally misrepresent it, and issue another press release twisting what he'd said into implying that the company was up to no good.
So, after opening the kimono and giving these guys a whole lot of info on how we ran things, how big we were and that we dedicated 20% of our staff on these issues, what was the response. (You could probably see this one coming.)

That's right. Another press release. This time from 23 states' Attorney's General.

This pile-on took much of what we had told them, and turned it against us. We had mentioned that we required three separate people to flag something before we would take action (mainly to prevent individuals from easily spiking things that they didn't like). That was called out as a particular sin to be cleansed from our site. They also asked us to drop the priority review program in its entirety, drop the time it takes us to review posts from 7 days to 3 and "immediately revamp our AI technology to block more violative posts" amongst other things.
In short, to state AGs, no opportunity to issue a press release slamming a tech company is too good to miss. We've seen it done against Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, small social networking sites, MySpace, ISPs, and video game companies. Frequently there is no actual legal basis for this at all. They just issue completely misleading and out-of-context press releases that slam companies, frequently because people who are up to no good use those tools and the companies haven't magically weeded out bad actors. In fact, the state AGs have become so drunk with the power of all this that they've actually pushed very strongly to change federal law to give them more power to blame websites for the actions of their users, by exempting their investigations from Section 230 of the CDA (the law that says you can't blame sites for actions of their users).

A few years ago, seeing all these grandstanding plays by state AGs, some enterprising companies began to realize that this was a great way to attack competitors or companies they didn't like. And thus, as the NY Times covered last fall, a huge lobbying effort was set up by companies to woo state AGs with lobbying dollars, and push them to attack companies they didn't like. Microsoft, for example, used this to shake down foreign companies over copyright claims, even though copyright is a federal issue, rather than a state one. The NY Times article is rather eye-opening. It details how much lobbying efforts are now targeting state AGs, and how ridiculous it looks. It often involves ex-state AGs, lavish fundraisers and (quite often) issues that are completely unrelated to the state AGs mandate. Laws against corporate influence -- including things like having to register to lobby and preventing revolving door issues -- often don't apply to lobbying state AGs, and so the money and influence has come pouring in, which is making state AGs quite happy.

All this is prelude to the amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by 40 state AGs in the appeal of that ruling against Hood. If you think that the state AGs are going to give up their new lobbying gravy train or their power to unconstitutionally shake down big companies, you've got another thing coming. The entire brief is one of "Hey we need this power, because FUD!" It starts out with a heartfelt plea for the continued right to "investigate potential violations of state law." Except, of course, that's almost never what these cases are about. Often there are no violations of law at all, but rather an attempt to blame companies for actions of their users -- which again is protected from liability.
If allowed to stand, the District Court’s March 27, 2015 order (the “Order”) enjoining the Mississippi Attorney General’s enforcement of his own subpoena would provide a roadmap for any potential wrongdoer subject to a legitimate state law enforcement investigation to attempt to thwart such an inquiry. With the Order as a guide, any target of a state investigation would be invited to conjure up potential federal defenses to yet-to-be filed civil claims and file a preemptive lawsuit in federal court against state law enforcement authorities. Such an outcome would undermine Attorneys General’s powers, granted to them by state constitutions and state statutes, to protect the general citizenry from violations of state law. It would also flood the federal courts with what amount to state-law discovery disputes. And it should not be countenanced by this Court.
What a bunch of hogwash. If there's a legitimate violation of state law, then such cases will quickly get dumped. In this case, it was clear from the beginning that the investigation (again, paid for and run by the MPAA rather than Hood's office) had nothing to do with "violations of state law." It was, as revealed by the Sony emails, entirely about trying to attack Google. That's why the court ruled in Google's favor, noting directly that Hood's proceeding "was brought in bad faith" and "with the purpose of harassing" Google in an effort to "coerce Google to comply" with unconstitutional demands to remove material from its website (in violation of the First Amendment).

The only situations in which Google's lawsuit provides a "roadmap" to others is if these state AGs are doing a similar attempt to use their power to demand the censorship of First Amendment-protected content at the behest of corporate interests. If they're not doing that, they don't have much to worry about. But, I guess, if you look at all those examples above, those kinds of bogus actions are an important part of some AGs' press and fundraising strategies. No wonder they're so loathe to give it up.

The state AGs' brief continually argues that state AGs should have almost unlimited power to investigate anything, because that's a huge source of their power, but it's equally the source of the kind of corruption that the NY Times article spoke about:
In furtherance of this paramount duty, Attorneys General have broad authority under the common law and/or state statutes1 to investigate potential violations of state laws within their jurisdiction, particularly state consumer protection laws.
But that broad authority does not trump the First Amendment and in no way should allow state AGs to launch massive investigations funded for and run by corporate entities into companies those entities don't like -- and whose sole purpose appears to be to violate the First Amendment rights of those targeted. This is a pretty basic and obvious distinction, and the fact that these state AGs play dumb about it is ridiculous, though not all that surprising.

The filing goes on and on about the importance of "civil investigative demands" (CID) -- the kind of subpoena-like tool that the MPAA wrote for Hood to send to Google. And no one doubts the importance of such tools. No one is questioning that. What's being questioned in this case is the ability for a third party representing corporate interests to write such a CID, give it to a state AG, and have that state AG send it -- especially when the clear intended purpose of that CID is not to investigate any violation of state law, but rather to force a company to censor content in violation of the First Amendment. Again, these distinctions are pretty obvious and the state AGs' brief ignores them all.

The state AGs also attack the fact that Google went to a federal court here, arguing that since Hood hasn't yet filed suit, Google has no right to go to court first -- which is just wrong. Not only has Hood made his intentions clear, Google is noting that it is protected under federal law from the crux of this investigation (to which the court agreed) and thus it is perfectly reasonable to seek an injunction by going to court.

And, of course, the state AGs try to attack Section 230. As we already noted, the state AGs have been lobbying strongly for a special exemption to Section 230 that would allow state AGs to ignore it. And here, it doesn't take them long to refer to the one case that has limited the interpretation of Section 230, the infamous "roommates.com" case, which argued that the site was not protected for content that it created itself (in that case, involving pull down options that could be seen as violating fair housing laws). This ruling is cited by nearly everyone seeking to undermine Section 230, and in nearly every case it has failed. That is one tiny narrow exemption from Section 230 in a very specific case, totally unrelated to the issues that Hood (er... the MPAA) are arguing in the CID that was sent. But, no matter, the state AGs see a tiny, tiny loophole and attempt to drive a Mack truck through it:
Google attempts to avoid this jurisdictional bar by arguing, in part, that it is entitled to immunity under the Communications Decency Act for any state law consumer protection claims the Attorney General may bring against it. Notably, however, the immunity the CDA affords internet service providers is not absolute. Although the CDA immunizes an interactive computer service from liability for content posted by a third party, it does not provide immunity for content or speech properly attributable to the service provider itself. See Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, 521 F.3d 1157, 1162 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc) (“Section 230 of the CDA immunizes providers of interactive computer services against liability arising from content created by third parties[.]”) .... Accordingly, the Mississippi Attorney General is entitled to investigate Google’s activity to determine whether Google may be responsible for web content violative of Mississippi’s Consumer Protection Act. Indeed, it is unfair to ask the Attorney General to respond to Google’s contention that the CDA cloaks it with immunity when Google is withholding, and now has a preliminary injunction permitting it to withhold, the very materials that will allow the Attorney General to evaluate whether the CDA applies to Google’s acts and practices.
In other words, because of the very narrow and specific Roommates.com ruling, state AGs should be able to demand all sorts of stuff from companies, even if everything they're targeting is protected by Section 230, just in case the fishing expedition happens to turn up something not protected by Section 230. That interpretation effectively eviscerates the entire point of Section 230 protections and would allow the state AGs to shake down companies over actions they had nothing to do with. Such an interpretation is not just dangerous, it basically would open the floodgates to more of these bogus corporate-run and corporate-funded investigations.

The state AGs also present a ridiculous and misleading claim of "What's the big deal here, Google can just respond to the subpoena and it's not required to change any practices..."
Yet, here the Attorney General’s Subpoena merely represents an investigation. Responding to the Subpoena itself would not force or coerce Google to change its practices and procedures or otherwise abandon its rights. And, in fact, Google has not changed its behavior based on the Subpoena in order to eliminate the threat of potential prosecution--instead, it seeks to eliminate that threat through its lawsuit and the preliminary injunction.
But that ignores the entire history of how the state AGs operate. Again, read that story about Chris Tolles and Topix and his interactions with the state AGs. Despite no legal basis whatsoever, the state AGs constantly used any information he gave them in out-of-context and misleading press releases, creating a massive wave of bogus public pressure to force him to give in or just keep fighting more bad publicity and more bogus threats.

Whatever happens in this particular case, it seems abundantly clear that many state AGs are out of control and somewhat drunk on the power of the office they hold -- which has created a situation that can only be described as corrupt. They have tremendous investigatory powers to demand information, and yet there are almost no real limits on how they can effectively sell that power to third parties in the form of fundraisers and even handing over the keys to the investigation to those third parties themselves, as demonstrated by the MPAA writing out the entire CID that Hood sent Google. It's not surprising that fellow state AGs don't want to give up such power, but hopefully the court sees through this kind of power grab and puts an end to these kinds of bogus "investigations."

Nothing in this case would end the state Attorneys General legitimate investigatory powers. It would only serve to stop the abusive practice of allowing special interests to run clearly unconstitutional campaigns against companies they dislike by laundering them through state AGs offices -- or to stop the AGs themselves from engaging in these kinds of grandstanding against companies by misrepresenting what's happening and the law in order to get headlines. If the AGs want headlines and to present themselves as protecting the public, perhaps they could focus on actual law breakers instead.
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Filed Under: attorney general, cda 230, censorship, copyright, corruption, grandstanding, jim hood, lobbying, mississippi, political power, states attorneys general


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  1. identicon
    klaus, 7 Jul 2015 @ 8:35am

    AGs can do anything they please

    "...the ability to investigate potential violations of state law..."

    I hope there's some limiting text behind that, because as it stands that's broad enough to encompass everyone and everything.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 8:49am

    Re: AGs can do anything they please

    Shouldn't politician and regulator buying be against the law? It sure doesn't seem like it is.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: AGs can do anything they please

    Of course buying regulators is against the law ("bribery"). Just ask the Attorney General to go investigate it...

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

  4. identicon
    andy, 7 Jul 2015 @ 8:54am

    Funny

    Any communication by any ag in this regard to any business should be an immediate request by a federal court to rule on the law. Let the AG's lose all credibility and maybe they will be more careful about allowing others to threaten competitors through the ag's office with the ag signing his name to their demands.

    hopefully the federal judge in this case will put the ag's in their place and advice them to back off and refuse to help the mpaa or any of its affiliates in future.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:06am

    For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    Per pages 18 and 19, section Conclusion, the participating Attorneys General are (in PDF order, which is alphabetical except for the first three considering themselves Commonwealths instead of States):
    Kentucky
    Massachusetts
    Pennsylvania
    Arizona
    Alabama
    Alaska
    Arkansas
    Colorado
    Connecticut
    Florida
    Georg ia (which has a space in the preview, but not in my comment as typed...)
    Idaho
    Illinois
    Indiana
    Iowa
    Kansas
    Louisiana
    Maine
    Maryland
    Michigan
    Minnesota
    Missouri
    Montana
    Nevada
    N ew Hampshire (also looks fine in the edit box...)
    New Jersey
    New York
    North Dakota
    Oklahoma
    Oregon
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Tennessee
    Utah
    Vermont
    Washington
    West Virginia
    Wisconsin
    District of Columbia


    If you prefer to see the state Attorneys General who did not sign, that would be:
    California
    Delaware
    Hawaii
    Mississippi
    Nebraska
    New Mexico
    North Carolina
    Ohio
    Texas
    Virginia
    Wyoming

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

  6. icon
    Violynne (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:09am

    See, the thing here is the corruption isn't from other AGs, it's from the MPAA, a fact that shouldn't be buried. It's not going to surprise any Techdirt reader if the AGs listed above also have pockets lined by MPAA money.

    When the hell is this country going to wake up and realize corporations are the true problem?

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:11am

    Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    and somehow Massachusetts, rather than getting a space I did not type, dropped off the list entirely. It is part of the first list. I still see it in my out-of-browser list of states that I used while filtering the list of all states to produce the list of non-participating states.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:12am

    Abolish Copyright

    Just another case that would not exist if not for copyright.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:26am

    If the AGs want headlines and to present themselves as protecting the public, perhaps they could focus on actual law breakers instead.

    Ah, but the problem with that is that it would require people actually know what the laws are, something that seems to be far too rare.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:26am

    Re: Abolish Copyright

    Copyright is a tool the corporations use to legally defend their shenanigans. Without it they'd still try to get away with all sorts of stuff, just by some other means.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:32am

    Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    Looks like a nice list of AGs to subpoena to determine if they have also had questionable communications and with and donations from the MPAA. Although I'm surprised to see California on the did not sign list.

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

  12. identicon
    DigDug, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:41am

    Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    To all of the above State AGs that signed the brief...

    The activities that you are supporting are illegal.
    If you continue to support / condone the illegal activities, then you will be charged with criminal conspiracy, aiding and abetting a known felon (Hood), criminal mischief, and all-around fucktardery.

    Pull your heads from your asses and prosecute the law as it's written, not as you want it to be.

    The current law clearly and undeniably states that sites, like google, are not responsible for what the "people" aka "users" post / place on web sites.

    It's called Safe-Harbor - you might want to look it up before you commit political suicide as well as getting put up in the 1 star prison of your state's choice.

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

  13. icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:42am

    Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    Surprised to see Ohio on the "did not sign" list. Then again, DeWhine has already been a US Senator so he's on the downward spiral.

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

  14. icon
    Nigel Lew (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:49am

    We should all hop over to our respective AG websites and file a consumer fraud complaint, against them, for wasting tax payer dollars on money grabby bullshit. This needs some traction in local media.

    Off to see who is hurling cash at my AG.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 10:06am

    So now you see where the corruption is and who is paying the money. No wonder the MPAA is always hunting more money. They spend it all on bribery. This isn't helping the AGs at all. It's making them look just as they are. It also tells you what state the justice system is when you get a dog pile like this.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 10:29am

    Speaking of corruption and AGs, our former national AG has gone back to work at his old firm defending corporations.

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

  17. icon
    tqk (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    See, the thing here is the corruption isn't from other AGs, it's from the MPAA, a fact that shouldn't be buried.

    No, the MPAA's involvement shouldn't be buried, but this wouldn't e a problem if the AGs weren't corrupt. They're peddling influence. The MPAA's just a customer.
    When the hell is this country going to wake up and realize corporations are the true problem?

    They're not. They wouldn't be a problem if the gov't wasn't a problem; if it was doing its job.

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

  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 11:31am

    Hmm, 3 articles on this in 24 hours? Mas nick is workin really hard to get that Christmas bonus.

    Google must have done some really bad stuff to be this scared of merely being investigated.

    Addendum: It must be REALLY bad, because he's added extra censorship to this article.

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

  19. identicon
    David, 7 Jul 2015 @ 11:37am

    This is priceless

    If allowed to stand, the District Court’s March 27, 2015 order (the “Order”) enjoining the Mississippi Attorney General’s enforcement of his own subpoena would provide a roadmap for any potential wrongdoer subject to a legitimate state law enforcement investigation to attempt to thwart such an inquiry. With the Order as a guide, any target of a state investigation would be invited to conjure up potential federal defenses to yet-to-be filed civil claims and file a preemptive lawsuit in federal court against state law enforcement authorities.

    Uh, what?!?!? This translates into "If allowed to stand, there would be checks and balances and legal recourse."

    And that's supposed to convince a court who has already determined to have a State Attorney General gone rogue "ok, it would be a bad idea to stop AGs from spinning out of control."?

    That's more like an "Inimicus Curiae". It is basically telling the court that the AGs are stomping at the gate for thwarting the rule of law and want the court to step aside.

    If anything, it should cause the court to step in with a vengeance.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re:

    And that wouldn't happen if the voters did their job...

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

  21. icon
    nasch (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    If you continue to support / condone the illegal activities, then you will be charged with...

    By whom? Federal prosecutors have no interest in going after state prosecutors.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 12:18pm

    This is worse than an epidemic, it's more like an infestation.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    Hey, clown! You were downvoted because your claim is bullshit. Downvoting != censorship.

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 12:33pm

    Now let's see who was really behind ootb's spamming of the comments. *pulls off mask* Why it was old man Jim Hood the whole time!

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 12:47pm

    Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    It's very telling that Nebraska is not a signer. The AG that just left office in Nebraska (Jon Bruning) was mentioned in exposed MPAA letters as a target with money being sent his way.

    I guess the new guy wanted to distance himself from that.

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

  26. icon
    renosablast (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 12:59pm

    State AGs back Jim Hood

    Mike, I think there is a typo in this phrase:
    "State AGs have a reputation as being grandstanding tools"

    Shouldn't the last word of that phrase start with an 'f'??!!

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    Given what we know about Hood, I'm surprised to see Mississippi on the "did not sign" list.

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:22pm

    more names for the list of traitors abusing their positions for cash. It's a wonder if these crooks are only selling to American bidders, and not foreign interests as well.

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    If you continue to support / condone the illegal activities, then you will be charged with...
    By whom? Federal prosecutors have no interest in going after state prosecutors.
    Federal prosecutors have no interest in going after the MPAA—either. For whatever that's worth.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    I'm surprised to see Mississippi on the "did not sign" list.
    General Hood is a party to the action. That's why General Hood is not an amici.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:41pm

    Jim hood NAAG

    Jim Hood is listed as the immediate past president of the National Association of Attorneys General and is currently part of their executive committee.

    Curiously, I don't see that mentioned in the filing's Statement of Interest.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:42pm

    Re: This is priceless

    The part that gets me about that quote is the "Attorney General’s enforcement of his own subpoena" bit. It's not his subpoena, he just received a limited use license for it from the MPAA.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: For those interested, participating AGs (per the PDF):

    Mumbling under my breath in Eddie Izzard's voice:

    Note to self: never try that joke again.

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

  34. icon
    nasch (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:59pm

    Re: State AGs back Jim Hood

    Shouldn't the last word of that phrase start with an 'f'??!!

    Not necessarily:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tool&utm_source=search-action

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Jim hood NAAG

    Curiously, I don't see that mentioned in the filing's Statement of Interest.
    Rules and Internal Operating Procedures of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Dec 2013)
    5TH CIR . R. 29 BRIEF OF AN AMICUS CURIAE

     . . .

    29.2 Contents and Form. Briefs filed under this rule must comply with the applicable FED. R. APP. P. provisions and with 5TH CIR. R. 31 and 32. The brief must include a supplemental statement of interested parties, if necessary to fully disclose all those with an interest in the amicus brief. The brief should avoid the repetition of facts or legal arguments contained in the principal brief and should focus on points either not made or not adequately discussed in those briefs. Any non-conforming brief may be stricken, on motion or sua sponte.

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

  36. icon
    R.H. (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To continue, the voters wouldn't be a problem if the voting system did its job.

    The way it is now, if we actually had more than two viable political parties we could end up with something like the most recent UK elections where a group with less than 40% of the vote, got 51% of the seats in government and therefore 100% of the power. Not good....

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

  37. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh to be sure, it's all those pesky voters' fault.

    This, in case you haven't been paying attention, is your typical election option:

    Candidate A: Corrupt, completely willing to sell out everything and everyone for a buck, and who cares only for their own power and prestige.

    Candidate B: Same as above, has slightly better/worse hair.

    Occasionally you'll get 'lucky', and get a third option.

    Candidate C: Not corrupt, not willing to sell out, has election fund amounts of about 5-10%(if lucky) of the other candidates, and as a result the vast majority of the voters have never even heard of them outside of any slime the other candidates may fling their way.

    Of course sometimes the pesky 'choice' thing isn't even in play, as there's only one person running, meaning no matter how bad they are they'll still get the position.

    And the real kicker, the punchline to the whole joke of a system, is that even if a non-corrupt person makes it through the gauntlet, the system itself is corrupt, and they're surrounded by corrupt people, leaving them essentially powerless to actually do any good even if they did want to.

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

  38. icon
    connermac725 (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:19pm

    ASHAMED

    that my state is in that list
    time to fire up email and scold them

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    you have to be kidding right? You have Sony, the MPAA, and the AG afraid to death of being investigated, wanting incriminating evidence thrown out because they know it goes against them, trying to avoid being investigated yet you claim it's Google that's somehow at fault and that they should be afraid? I don't know what goes on in that twisted mind of yours but you really need to find a new drug to get high off of.

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

  40. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Very often, Candidate C is some Neo Nazi crazy who vows to "send the foreigners back where they came from" if elected. I haven't seen an HONEST candidate for anything more than local dog catcher in almost a decade.

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

  41. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:44pm

    Re: ASHAMED

    If you want to get their attention, make sure to include the magic word: Vote.

    They don't care how you feel about them, they care how you vote regarding them. A general scolding will be shrugged off, a promise that you will never vote for them, and will tell everyone you meet to do the same is much more likely to get a response.

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

  42. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re:

    LOL

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts of the situation. And do it somewhere other than a blog written by a confirmed Google shill.

    Have a nice day!

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

  43. icon
    tqk (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts of the situation. And do it somewhere other than a blog written by a confirmed Google shill.

    Just to familiarize myself with the facts, who is it you're shilling for again?

    I'd guess the slimeballs who're trying to buy favors from elected officials to attack seemingly innocent third parties, but that would be pre-judging you.

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Is that the game we're playing here? Get mentioned by someone else once in one lawsuit and bam, you're a shill?

    Does that mean Prenda is a shill for the RIAA? I'm certain that if we apply your logic, sufficient connections can be made.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And who are you then? Because you sure as heck don't seem to be doing anything to familiarize us. Please do, I'm listening.

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

  46. icon
    JMT (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts of the situation."

    Why don't you tell us what the facts of the situation really are. Don't forget sources.

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

  47. identicon
    David, 8 Jul 2015 @ 12:43am

    Re:

    Multinational megacorporations, even when having a seat in America, do not serve American interests. Take a look at all the tax haven crap they are pulling in order to evade serving American interests.

    People conflating those corporations' interests with the interests of America is just an example of successful propaganda. All those repeating that mantra do so because it keeps the hoi polloi patriotically proud of being exploited.

    America is sort of a nostalgic homeland for corporations because it's here that the people applaud the most when the corporations are shitting their beds.

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

  48. icon
    G Thompson (profile), 8 Jul 2015 @ 2:01am

    So as a non-US citizen this whole thing about the AG's can be boiled down into one petulant statement by them?

    "Bwaaaa... Bwaaaa.... We don't want judicial oversight or due process to affect us... Bwaaaaaaa"

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

  49. identicon
    GEMont, 8 Jul 2015 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: AGs can do anything they please

    Actually, "Bribery" is absolutely legal in the USA when its a politician you're bribing and as long as you follow the guidelines set out in the "Rules For Successful Lobbying".

    Seeing as how all of the AG's are already on the Sony Lobby List, and therefor getting 100s of grand a year for their "services" from the Mobster CEOs of America, this gang-up is little more than a show of hands, to let Hollywood and the other Legacy Industries know that the Boys are on the job and earning their graft, and deserve a raise in pay for their efforts.

    ---

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

  50. icon
    nasch (profile), 8 Jul 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AGs can do anything they please

    Seeing as how all of the AG's are already on the Sony Lobby List, and therefor getting 100s of grand a year for their "services" from the Mobster CEOs of America...

    Collectively maybe, but I'm guessing each of them is only getting a few thousand to maybe tens of thousands. Politicians, even at the national level, can be bought for much smaller campaign contributions than you might think.

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

  51. identicon
    GEMont, 8 Jul 2015 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Very astute description.

    The infestation is called fascism, and the USA has a really bad case of it.

    It is indeed an infestation of internal parasites, and is normally fatal.

    It is very difficult to diagnose because its an infestation by those already living in the affected nation - an infestation of the wealthiest people in the nation, who already own most of the structures and land in that nation and whose greed has convinced them that they can have it all.

    See pre-world-war-2 Germany and Italy for a prognosis for America.

    ---

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

  52. identicon
    GEMont, 8 Jul 2015 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AGs can do anything they please

    I was doing an accumulation tally, for services rendered over the last decade or so, cuz this stuff is not really new and has been "the way things are done" for some time now.

    I think they used to call it the "Good Old Boys Network", or something like that.

    And while its always easier to vanish a few grand at a time into your offshore, than it is to dump a quarter million in one shot, without someone noticing, the overall total graft funnelling its way into the pockets of elected officials and especially these cowboy politicos they call Attorneys General, probably totals a few hundred million over the last ten years, if not a billion or three.

    It is pretty much just a legalized secondary, and untaxable income, now that its called Lobbying rather than Bribery.

    I like to think of it as the Yacht Fund, although most of these cowboys are probably more interested in the Bimbos and Cocaine.

    ---

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

  53. identicon
    Mississippi Voter, 21 Jul 2015 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: AGs can do anything they please

    It seems that Hood is for sale, last month on the campaign finance report he submitted,interestingly only 6 of his campaign contributions came from his constituents. That's right 6 people in the whole state last month. The other 100K+ came from companies and others out of state. It is good to know that Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Ebay and others are concerned about the citizens in Mississippi. I am afraid his challenger would never be able to pull in that kind of cash to get him out.

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


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