It was reported by Digital Music News that the RIAA, recently christened as part of the Axis of Evil, spent $650,000 on lobbying expenses in the first half of 2007. Is that a lot? Well, in 2006, the RIAA spent $1.5 million, Time Warner spent almost $3.8 million, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association tops the TV/movies/music category at $14 million. This year, the RIAA is on pace to spend $1.3 million. So, yes, that is a lot, but the disgusting part to begin with is how much money is put into lawmaking by people who are not lawmakers.
Total Lobbying Spending for 2006: $2.55 billion. WTF America! Half of that is the wide category of pharmaceuticals and health products, which should make everyone wonder (again) about the role of the Food and Drug Adminstration. I saw something in the grocery store called Bio-Kult, and aside from seeming absolutely revolting and sounding like a name for an international crime syndicate, I am really skeptical that this cultured dairy probiotic energy drink, with its three-fingered alligator logo, is anywhere close to being safe. Lump that in with the ever-growing list of questionable yogurt products like Go-Gurt and Yogo-Bits and the vast list of genetically modified foods, and we will seriously need to reassess what we mean by "food."
So, could the RIAA be any better? Isn't DRM just another three-fingered alligator and payola its yogurt-related cousin? How are these things getting through to the consumer? Well, $1.5 million is certainly no $1.1 billion, but proportionately, they may very well be comparable -- ethically, it is all the same. There's nothing new in the moral gray area that is lobbying and its stranglehold on how laws are made, but when these things are hitting us, really hitting us, maybe we should fight back.
Title: Thunder Clap
Subtitle: BIO-KULT HEADQUARTERS. SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA.
"Leader! The American youth is upset. They're rousing the rabble as we speak! What do we do?"
"I knew this day would come. To the Lipitor-Mobile! Everyone, lobby like this is your last day on Earth. Those Washington fat cats need milk to delightfully lap up, and by god, that milk better be our fortified, enriched, cultured bacteria dairy product!"