This is the first article I have written since February 25 of this year. That article was entitled “49 Long Years” and dealt with the current increase in the desire of the people in this country for nostalgia. Since then, I have been very busy dealing with the growth of this web site and trying to come up with a topic for my next article. A number of ideas went through my head. But, none of them could generate enough interest for me to start doing the research necessary to draft a good comprehensive article.
Then, towards the end of last week, I realized what my next article had to be about. It had to be about the inexplicable decision of the MPAA to hire Chris Dodd to replace Dan Glickman as its Chief Executive Officer.
For those of you not in the Entertainment Industry, the MPAA is the major lobbying force for the motion picture industry in Washington. According to Wikipedia, it was started in 1922 as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. It is primarily responsible for administering the Motion Picture Rating System which is a voluntary system to inform parents whether a film is suitable for viewing by children of various ages. That’s right, it’s the MPAA that decides whether a film is rated “R” or “PG-13.” This Rating System began in 1968 when then head of the MPAA; Jack Valenti felt that the Hays Code was grossly out of date. It was one of the main successes of Mr. Valenti’s tenure at the MPAA.
Jack Valenti became head of the MPAA in 1966 under the insistence of Lew Wasserman who was running Universal Pictures and essentially running Hollywood at the time. Valenti’s background was impeccable. He was a known Washington insider and friend of both John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Valenti wielded much power on behalf of the Motion Picture Industry during his 38 year tenure. He was loved by both the Washington Insiders and the Hollywood Executives. Although a Democrat, he always had the best interests of the Industry at heart. He served it well and retired at the ripe old age of 82. Shortly thereafter, he passed away.
Valenti was replaced by former Cabinet Member Dan Glickman who held the post for about five years. Glickman retired one year ago and a search for his replacement has been going on by the Studio Executives since then.
Finally last week, the replacement was found. Imagine my shock when such replacement turned out to be Chris Dodd, the retired Senator from Connecticut. Or, should I say, “The forced into retirement Senator from Connecticut.” Chris Dodd did not run for reelection in 2010 most likely as a result of the numerous controversies during his last few years in office. Basically, he knew he was going to lose.
The largest of those controversies involved sweetheart home loans given him by Countrywide Financial during his chairmanship of Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Mr. Dodd answered to the allegations about these loans by saying he was not aware he was given low interest rates or any preferential treatment by Countrywide. However, the program under which the loans were granted should have given him notice that something was up. Maybe, he just chose to look the other way? In the end, we all know what happened to Countrywide; Bank of America purchased it in order to stop the mortgage lender from going under during the heart of the 2008 financial crisis.
Of course this is the same financial crisis that was mentioned during the Academy Awards by Charles Ferguson when he won the Oscar for the documentary “Inside Job.” His comments about the non-incarceration of the purveyors of the financial crises were quoted in our article, “The Worst Academy Awards Show” by Tim Ross. Maybe Mr. Ferguson was thinking of Chris Dodd when he uttered those immortal words during the Oscars? (Or, maybe not!)
Another controversy occurred during the time Mr. Dodd was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs involved the near collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For those of you that do not know, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the semi-governmental entities in charge of aiding lenders with home mortgages. It is actually much more complicated, but I want to keep this article as simple as possible. For those of you that want more information about Fannie Mae, please see the Wikipedia article linked here.
According to Opensecrets.org, Senator Dodd was the largest recipient of campaign funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Needless to say, Senator Dodd vehemently denied that either one of these organizations were in trouble during the 2008 Financial Crisis. Do you blame him? He needed their money. I guess he believed they were “fundamentally strong” as long as they were supplying him with cold, hard taxpayer cash.
A third controversy involving Senator Dodd was that he reportedly received over $223,000 from AIG employees for his campaign coffers. This is the same AIG the US Government bailed out. It is also the same AIG that Senator Dodd amended a bill allowing certain AIG employees to still collect their bonuses after the government bailout. As you all remember, those bonuses incensed taxpayers across the nation and members of the press that bothered to report them. As a direct result, the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register both condemned Dodd for his actions. One actually called for his resignation from the Senate.
I do not want to go into detail about any other of Senator Dodd’s mishaps and/or semi-ethical behavior, one of which included the purchase of Dodd’s vacation home in Ireland at an extreme discount after helping to arrange a Presidential Pardon for its owner; Edward Downe, Jr. Downe, a convicted felon for Insider Trading, also happened to be a partner at Bear Stearns another company that benefitted from Dodd’s strong position on the Banking Committee.
As some point when it comes to Senator Dodd, you might as well just say, “If it smells like a duck . . . “
Based upon all of this evidence and controversy, how can the MPAA even consider this man for the job held by the great Jack Valenti? What were they thinking? Has the Hollywood Establishment gone so far to the left that they would ignore all of the warning signs about him? In my opinion Chris Dodd is a pure example of a limousine liberal and one of the most left wing of all Senators that served in the past few years. In fact, his rankings by the Progressive Liberal Group, Americans for Democratic Action have him at 95% or higher since 2000.
The only conclusion I can draw is that the Hollywood left have become so blind that they would rather choose a strong left winger with a questionable past than to keep looking until they find someone who has a righteous and clean record. In the meantime, they will preach constantly about the alleged racism and ethical improprieties of the right. Once again, it is nothing but Hollywood hypocrisy; pure and simple.
©2011 by Frank T. DeMartini – Permission to copy will be granted freely upon request.