George Stephanopoulos hosts the Powerhouse Roundtable with guests Donna Brazile, Cokie Roberts, Matthew Dowd, and Bill Kristol to discuss the Democrats’ move to limit filibuster to supposedly make the Senate function better.
If you are in the music industry, you probably haven’t heard of SoundExchange; but if some members of Congress and lobbyists for the record industry get their way, SoundExchange will impact everyone who loves music and listens to broadcast radio.
SoundExchange is a non-profit founded–and operated–by the recording industry that collects royalties for artists and labels on fees paid by satellite radio and Internet radio. A recent press release from SoundExchange announcing two new board members highlights the nature of this organization. Two industry insiders are departing the SoundExchange board and are being replaced by two more industry insiders. The entire board is made up of industry insiders and controlled by label executives.
In one of the more brazen crony capitalist power grabs in recent memory, Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) has introduced legislation that would force radio stations to start paying music taxes to performers when they play a song on the radio. For 80 years, radio stations have paid royalties to song composers, but not performers, because performers benefit from airplay, which acts as a form of advertising for the singers. Airplay turns into record sales and concert tickets. Its a fair balance that has worked for generations.
But fairness is not the goal of the recording industry. As usual, they are looking for government to pad and protect their profits. That’s why the legislation not only forces radio stations to pay a new tax; it empowers the SoundExchange to determine the rate they have to pay!
We live in an age where Wall Street, car manufacturers, hedge funds, green energy firms, and the like all look to their friends in Washington to build marketshare. The RIAA is no different but could be more brazen. Think about it. The government is giving monopoly power to one industry to determine the price another industry has to pay. It’s unprecedented, but not unusual.
Taxing radio stations for promoting artists and playing songs is not only a bad idea for music lovers, its cronyism. But wouldn’t you know it, Mr. Watt has entitled his legislation the “Free Market Royalty Act.” Mr. Watt is certainly no champion of free markets. The bill is nothing more than an effort to provide cover to GOP members to join the effort to help the recording industry.
Some in Congress see this bill for what it is. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in the Senate and Representatives Mike Conoway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) in the House are pushing a resolution called The Local Radio Freedom Act that opposes the introduction of “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local radio stations. The bill makes the commonsense statement that “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.”
Mr. Barrasso and his allies understand that a real free market does not need the government to fix prices or to monopolize an entity to function. A better solution already exists in the marketplace. Beasely Broadcast Group, Entercom Communications, Greater Media, and Clear Channel have all negotiated deals with artists and labels.They sat down together and formed an agreement that benefited both parties. Radio stations agree to pay performers when they play their music, but artists and labels agree to restructure the royalty rates they charge when their music is streamed on the Internet. That’s how a real free market works.
Photo credit: spcbrass (Creative Commons)
Alas, the holiday season is upon us and instead of exemplifying gratitude or imagining sugar plums in our heads, Congress is set to shred our Fourth Amendment and dump the confetti in our stockings.
Note: don’t forget to check out Brent’s other recent articles, “Secession petitions in full swing in all 50 states after presidential election” and “Civil forfeiture law could result in hotel owners losing their business“
According to chief political correspondent for CNET, Declan McCullagh, a Senate proposal originally was going to protect e-mail privacy until law enforcement complained.
Those complaints prompted Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, to rewrite the bill as a package of amendments, which essentially allows the authorization of warrantless access to American’s e-mails.
Note: These efforts to undermine our Constitutional rights are hardly surprising given that a federal judge recently ruled that police can place hidden surveillance cameras on private property without obtaining a warrant.
Read More at endthelie.com . By Brent Daggett.
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- Senate Democrats Moves Toward Vote On Small Business Bill Popular legislation to help small businesses raise capital survived a…
Candidates locked in the nine tightest Senate races in the country raised over $57 million in the third fundraising quarter.
Several of these races remain too close to call, and these funds will be used to boost the candidates out of the margin of error and into the lead in the final three weeks of their campaigns.
Elizabeth Warren, Democrat for Senate in Massachusetts, announced raising the largest haul — and outraised her opponent by the largest amount — of them all, and perhaps the largest of any Senate candidate nationwide. She raised $12.1 million in the third quarter, bringing her year-to-date fundraising total to $36.3 million — over $8 million more than GOP opponent Sen. Scott Brown.
Brown’s campaign said he brought in a considerable sum as well, but at $7.54 million, his fundraising total for the third quarter fell far short of Warren’s. He’s raised nearly $27.5 million for the year.
Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, running for Senate in Indiana, faces a disadvantage similar to Brown’s. Opponent Richard Mourdock raised twice as much as him in the third quarter, bringing in a $3 million haul.
Read More at The Hill . By Alexandra Jaffe.
- Obama On Track To Raise A Record $200 MILLION This Year For 2012 Re-election Campaign The 2012 election is set to become the priciest in…
- Senate Democrats Raise Violence Against Women Act Senate Democrats are daring Republicans to vote against a bill…
While we have been preoccupied with presidential politics, the real prize is the U.S. Senate, which is currently in the hands of the Democrats. The House will undoubtedly stay in the hands of the GOP; but should the Republicans take over both houses of Congress, they will be in a better position to pass legislation to move the country forward again. Back in February, I wrote a column entitled, “Who is going to run on the coattails of the President?” Here we are, eight months later, and Democrats are still keeping the President at arm’s length. I have even seen local Democratic Headquarters promoting local candidates, but there has been no mention of Mr. Obama. Frankly, it’s somewhat ironic to see the President become a pariah of his own party after he turned the country against George W. Bush in 2008. I guess what goes around, comes around.
As I mentioned in the February article, there are many people retiring from Congress with a new set of candidates running to replace them, but the following Senatorial incumbents bear watching:
California: Dianne Feinstein (D)
Delaware: Tom Carper (D)
Florida: Bill Nelson (D)
Maryland: Ben Cardin (D)
Michigan: Debbie Stabenow (D)
Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar (D)
Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D)
Montana: Jon Tester (D)
New Jersey: Bob Menendez (D)
New York: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Ohio: Sherrod Brown (D)
Pennsylvania: Bob Casey, Jr. (D)
Rhode Island: Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Vermont: Bernie Sanders (I)
Washington: Maria Cantwell (D)
Aside from most being Democrats, this list represents all of the incumbent Senators who voted for both Obamacare and the President’s failed stimulus programs. Yet, when you visit their election web sites, you will find little regarding how they voted on these key pieces of legislation from the Obama administration. The only exception is Washington’s Cantwell, who proudly proclaims her endorsement of Obamacare. The others, though, make statements that they are deeply committed to health care reform but fail to mention their role in the passage of the legislation.
In examining the web sites of the senators, I found a total disconnect between these politicians and the president who represents the head of their party. There is no link to the Obama re-election web site, no photos with the president, and absolutely no mention of President Obama in print. It’s as if he doesn’t exist.
These senators are perfectly cognizant of the results of the 2010 mid-term elections and are afraid of a repeat. It should therefore come as no small surprise that they distance themselves from the one person representing their biggest political liability, namely, the president. Aside from a couple of races, polls have shown that Republican nominees have made great in-roads in challenging these incumbents. It is not only feasible the GOP will take back the Senate; it is likely. It all depends on whether American voters will remember how these Senators voted. Most will not. This article, therefore, is designed to remind them.
If you believe Obamacare and the stimulus packages are detrimental to the country and should never be repeated, then these people are part of the problem, certainly not part of the solution.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at email@example.com
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
Photo credit: CTPEKO3A (Creative Commons)