Chris Dodd

SOPA/PIPA opponents score a victory

While former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and other supporters of SOPA and PIPA have lashed out at companies and websites that participated in yesterday’s “blackout,” it certainly seems as though opponents of the two bills carried the day:

Members of the Senate are rushing for the exits in the wake of the Internet’s unprecedented protest of the Protect IP Act (PIPA). At least 13 members of the upper chamber announced their opposition on Wednesday. In a particularly severe blow from Hollywood, at least five of the newly-opposed Senators were previously sponsors of the Protect IP Act.

The newly-opposed Senators are skewed strongly to the Republican side of the aisle. An Ars Technica survey of Senators’ positions on PIPA turned up only two Democrats, Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who announced their opposition on Wednesday. The other 11 Senators who announced their opposition on Wednesday were all Republicans. These 13 join a handful of others, including Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), who have already announced their opposition.

Marco Rubio, a freshman Republican Senator from Florida who some consider to be a rising star, withdrew his sponsorship of the bill, citing “legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.” He urged the Senate to “avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”

Chris Dodd Thinks Anti-SOPA/PIPA Websites Are Abusing Their Power

If you’re like me, you hoped that you wouldn’t be hearing anything more from allegedly corrupt former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) after he decided in 2010 not to seek a sixth Senate term. Unfortunately those hopes were dashed when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) decided it just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hire somebody who allegedly knows exactly what it takes to buy a senator. The MPAA selected Dodd as its new head lobbyist chairman and CEO last year. Now Dodd is taking aim at Wikipedia, Google, and other websites involved in today’s protest against the SOPA/PIPA internet censorship legislation pending in Congress:

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

Dodd’s “financial reform” bill is a black hole

The following written by Joshua Fulton. You can check out his blog here.

Chris Dodd, everybody’s favorite hairdo, has introduced a “tough” financial “reform” bill that he claims will “limit the risk [financial institutions] can assume.” Of course, most people with a pulse realize that a 1565 page bill introduced by one of the top recipients of financial industry lobbyist money in Congress probably will do little to ‘reform’ the financial industry in the best interests of the American people. That, however, doesn’t fully capture the perniciousness of this bill.

When we look at it closely, we can see it is one of the most dangerous bills introduced in Congress in years.

Podcast: Senate Retirement, Air Marshals, Full Body Scanners, Michael Yon, ObamaCare, Pottawattamie vs. McGhee, & More

Jason and Brett traveled to Birmingham, Alabama this weekend, gathering quite a panel to discuss the political news of the week.  They were joined by Charles Kennedy, Austin Wilkes, Shana Kluck, Stephen Gordon, and Brooklyn Roberts.

The discussion covered:

Fund Raising Will Be Key to Schiff’s Success

SchiffOn this Constitution Day, Peter Schiff made a major announcement as some of you know. He officially announced his intentions to run for Senator of Connecticut.

I have personally been following Schiff since last Spring. I read both of his books, and agreed entirely with his investment thesis. As a finance and political science double major one could easily see how I would naturally gravitate to someone like Schiff. A man who owns a stock brokerage that takes into account how government affects investments who is now running for Senate - It doesn’t get much better than that.

Though it can’t be called an automatic win for Republicans, it is more likely than not that whoever wins the Republican nomination in Connecticut will take out Chris Dodd in the general election. Dodd’s ratings are tanking in Connecticut; he’s simply not popular anymore. This likely outcome of the general election is good for Republicans, obviously, but has created a crowded field of candidates.

Did Elizabeth Warren Help Travelers Insurance Cheat Asbestos Victims?

Holly Robichaud of The Boston Herald is reporting that Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Senate candidate and Lioness of Consumer Protection, may have helped Travelers Insurance cheat asbestos victims out of compensation. Robichaud writes:

One of the Harvard professor’s many well-com-pensated part-time gigs included consulting for Travelers Insurance. I know that it is hard to believe that on one hand, Democrats would be bashing an industry, and on the other hand they are making money from it. To be a Democrat is to be a hypocrite.

What did Lizzy do to earn $44,000 in compensation from the insurance company? She made it harder for claimants to collect. Warren helped establish the bankruptcy strategy for companies to avoid crushing lawsuits. In short, go bankrupt to avoid paying victims.

In court briefings, she supported the effort to protect Travelers Insurance from future lawsuits after agreeing to a $500 million settlement with asbestos plaintiffs.

This news should be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism until more information becomes available. For example, it would be helpful to know in precisely what capacity Warren worked for Travelers. Robichaud’s rhetoric is beyond partisan even for an op-ed writer and at one point she refers to Brown’s 2010 opponent Martha Coakley as Marsha. So our readers should take these accusations with a grain of salt until we see some less biased reporting.

#VotefortheNet, and Vote for What’s Right

Demand Progress has been the organization behind a lot of the SOPA Strike. They encouraged Wikipedia to join the blackout, and they’re receiving a lot of grassroots support.

They’re also working on the next phase of operations, called “Vote for the Net.” This is a campaign for people to pledge that they will not vote for politicians who try to restrict liberties on the Internet.

This is a great thing. 56,000 have already pledged to Vote for the Net (yours truly included.) This is what it comes down to, people. What these senators and representatives care about are votes. If they don’t have the votes, they don’t have their jobs, plain and simple. The campaign money is only to guarantee those votes, that is all. If we can send a message to them that we won’t vote because of SOPA and PIPA, they won’t support SOPA and PIPA. That’s it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how democracy works. So if Chris Dodd ever comes back and complains about it, you will simply know that he is against democracy, plain and simple.

So Vote for the Net, and vote for our freedoms (and a more sensible IP protection policy.)

Frank-Dodd hurting community banks

After the housing collapse, Congress did what Congress typically does.  They tried to prevent it from ever happening again.  Their answer was the Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  In regard to housing, it set down mandates that were supposed to prevent alleged predatory lending practices.  What it’s done appears to be to drive a stake through the heart of community banks, or at least their ability to offer home loans.

NORWALK, Iowa — Alesia Harlan plopped the thick folder on the desk and started flipping through papers.

Disclosures, notices, statements, forms and tax documents — it was about 300 pages, and it was just a home loan.

Last year, reviewing the bank’s 455 home loan applications created more than two months of work for Harlan, a compliance officer at City State Bank in Norwalk, Iowa.

“I’ve yet to see the benefit to the customer,” said Harlan. “It’s highly technical and confusing for the borrower.”

Harlan says the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which became law in July 2010, nearly doubled what she must review and report to regulators, with little margin for error. And that, she says, is only a portion of the avalanche of new regulation that has executives at smaller banks concerned.

The bill is massive — 2,300 pages — and bankers expect it to result in 5,000 pages of new rules as regulators turn its mandates into specific instructions for financial institutions in coming years.

Bankers worry the flood of new paperwork could choke community banks, regulating some out of existence.

Candidate lies about military service

Richard Blumenthal, the likely Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Connecticut and successor to Chris Dodd, has a fire to put out:

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

Blumenthal has held substantial leads against his two likely Republican opponents, Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons. It’s not like he needed to appeal to the military vote in this race.

Hey Washington Post, 11 Senators are rated to the left of the self-described socialist

David Boaz takes issue with the Washington Post profile of Bernie Sanders. He is the only self-described socialist in the United States Senate. If that’s the case what do you call the 11 Senators that are rated to the left of him by the American Conservative Union?:

In a profile of the poetry-reading chief of staff to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Washington Post calls Sanders not only “the only socialist in the U.S. Congress,” but also “surely [the Senate’s] most liberal [member].” Surely. I mean, he’s a socialist, right? (And by the way, that isn’t a label that Sanders rejects.)

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