Home > bagman, campaign contributions, campaign finance reform, corruption, homeland security, lessig, money-laundering, patriot act, pirate bay, pirate party, stanford > Happy Holidays from Palo Alto: Google and Stanford Lead the Way on Campaign Finance Reform
Happy Holidays from Palo Alto: Google and Stanford Lead the Way on Campaign Finance Reform
December 21, 2007
Once again we go through the looking glass to the hothouse atmosphere of higher learning at the Stanford Law School–a political fundraing tour for the Swedish Pirate Party hosted by Google and the Stanford Law School featuring a little chat with the head of the Swedish Pirate Party courtesy of Karl Fogel of QuestionCopyright.org. Fogel describes himself thusly: “After a brief stint as an Open Source Specialist at Google in 2006, he decided to work full-time on copyright reform and founded QuestionCopyright.org.”
What a shocking turn of events. I guess the options must have vested or something.
So on this fine July day, the Pirate King made his first stop at Stanford. Mr. Fogel is introduced to the Stanford audience by James Jacobs, who identifies himself as the International Documents Librarian at the Stanford University Library. Funny, he left off the part about he is also a board member of QuestionCopyright.org, which you would have thought he would have mentioned since he was introducing Fogel, his fellow board member whom Jacobs identified as being the “foreign secretary” for the Swedish Pirate Party. Now don’t you get confused that the Pirate Party has anything to do with the Pirate Bay. Nosireebobtail. They don’t. No connection. Just like there’s no connection between Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army.
(Both Fogel and Jacobs serve on the QuestionCopyright board along with Brewster Kahle, whose most recent accomplishment in the copyright world is being a plaintiff for Lester Lawrence Lessig III’s latest attempt to overturn the U.S. Copyright Act. And of course the entire circus was being hosted by–Lessig’s business unit at Stanford [funded by Google in large part] where his grant writers were probably having a brown bag to catch up on goings on in Sweden before getting back to the grindstone. The Old Tripster is never far away, is he?)
I noticed that Mr. Fogel waxed enthusiastic before he introduced the Pirate Party speaker–about, of all things, campaign contributions. Apparently the Pirate in Chief had recently spoken at an O’Reilly conference where we will not be surprised to learn he was (according to Fogel) mobbed by people shoving cash into his hands as campaign contributions.
Mr. Fogel tells us that it’s just the gooviest thing, political contributions are unregulated in Sweden and–up strings–”anonymity is the default”. Ah yes, the beloved anonymity. So, Mr. Fogel admonishes the crowd–here’s your chance to come up and press cash into the hand of the Pirate in Chief.
Just think about that image for a second.
Now, I’m as fond of Tammany Hall, Richard Daley and Huey Long as the next guy. Heck, I grew up in Texas. Vote early and often and all that sort of thing.
But I have to tell you that I find it so hysterical I can hardly contain myself (I think that’s called “LOL” for you Googleheads) that someone who is standing at the fountainhead, the wellspring, the epicenter–ground zero of the most sanctimonious spew about “corruption” we have heard in a long, long time–sponsored by an institution funded by one of the biggest corporations in the world, from which it has reportedly received hundreds of millions in stock–is positively thrilled at the idea that political contributions are unregulated somewhere and is CHALLENGING the audience to PRESS WADS OF CASH INTO THE HANDS OF A POLITICIAN–A PIRATE KING.
I mean–is it just me? Surely it’s not just me, right? That has to be hysterically funny if not actionable? Because even if it’s true that campaign contributions are anonymous and unregulated in Sweden, these contributions weren’t happening in Sweden.
Ah yes. Every man a pirate king, but no one wears a crown.
The Kingfish really missed the boat on that one.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight (with wads of cash falling out of his pockets), “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Epilogue: You do have to wonder a bit about all this obsession with anonymity about political contributions. I know that Google is new at this, but I really think they are at a point where they should not be even indirectly participating in having some bagman raise anonymous wads of cash for any candidate, much less trying to influence the outcome of a foreign election. I mean that almost sounds like…I don’t know, the CIA or something.
On the other hand, if it’s good enough for Google, it should certainly be good enough for, I don’t know–Halliburton, right? Because since Google does no evil, stuffing wads of cash into the pockets of foreign politicians can’t be bad, right?
In fact–on the same trip, the Pirate King spoke later that day…at Google. And Fogel made the exact same pitch at Google about “pressing cash into his bare palms”. However, no Google employee was stupid enough to get themselves on camera for that one (unlike all the other “@Google” videos I’ve seen). Big shout out to poster Rick for pointing out these vids.
Of course, the missing link is whether anyone from Google or Google itself actually gave money to the Pirate Party. And then there’s the costs of the trip, etc. But we’ll never know.
Well…at least they’re just information warriors and aren’t blowing up Harrods.
And just for clarity’s sake, when I referred to Lessig staffers attending a “brown bag” I meant as in “brown bag lunch” not “brown bags full of cash”.