Guest Column: Manzullo has lost his credibility

Part 1

I am voting for Gen. John Borling because we need new vision in Washington and because U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-16) has forfeited his credibility in at least four areas.

1. Don Manzullo long ago crossed the divide between public servant and career politician. When first elected, he promised to abide by a self-imposed term limit. He has broken his word repeatedly with no compunction.

2. Don Manzullo’s own campaign literature portrays him as a mere errand boy for special interests, a politician devoid of vision for our nation.

His work is described in mutually exclusive terms replete with irony.

He is portrayed as a crusader for cutting taxes on the one hand, but he is portrayed at the same time as a crusader for getting more tax money for political patrons in his own district. That is not statesmanship. That is political pandering.

3. Don Manzullo has forfeited personal credibility and the credibility of our nation abroad in his double standard regarding rampant piracy that undermines the rights and livelihoods of all American workers who depend on Justice Department enforcement of anti-piracy laws. On the one hand, he goes to China and demands enforcement of anti-piracy laws there. On the other hand, he comes back to Washington and ignores flagrant and egregious piracy of a constituent’s work by a lobbying corporation operating in the shadow of the Capitol.

As chairman of the House Small Business Committee, Manzullo was informed of government-subsidized copyright infringement undermining civil and criminal copyright laws, abridging the Bill of Rights (Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press), and violating Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution of the United States of America. He did nothing to help the victim.

Manzullo also was informed that the National Writers Union, an AFL-CIO UAW affiliate, has cited the Justice Department for creating a climate of piracy in America—now reaching epidemic proportions—by failing to enforce criminal copyright law on behalf of individuals and small businesses (text of this citation follows under Part 2).

Though Justice Department prosecutors swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and are paid to provide equal protection under the law for all citizens, they enforce criminal copyright law only for large corporations, leaving individual victims at the mercy of predators who steal their work. Manzullo did nothing to help, despite repeated requests.

4. Don Manzullo was first elected as a man of principle. In light of the foregoing, he has forfeited any claim to such distinction. Though I do not agree with John Borling on every issue, I believe he is a man of principle we can rely on to act with personal integrity, the fundamental quality required for statesmanship. He has proven it with his military service. I believe he will demonstrate it again in the United States Congress.

Part 2:

National Writers Union Petitions Justice Department For Task Force To Enforce Criminal Copyright Law

National Writers Union, UAW/AFL-CIO 2005 Delegates Assembly—Baltimore, Md.

1. Whereas the work of creative workers is recognized by our nation’s founders as so essential to our national well-being and prosperity that the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 directs Congress “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries,” and

2. Whereas Congress has legislated criminal and civil copyright laws to implement their Constitutional mandate to protect the works and livelihoods of creative workers, and

3. Whereas a large and growing segment of the American work force, including authors, artists, men and women in business who create unique marketing materials for their own exclusive use, independent publishers, computer programmers, creators of games and educational programs, photographers,

musicians and composers, and the ever-growing numbers of men and women who market their knowledge and creativity with desktop publishing and through the Internet must, and do, rely on those criminal and civil copyright laws to protect their property and livelihoods, and

4. Whereas the Justice Department is charged with enforcing criminal copyright laws designed to protect the works and livelihoods of creative workers, and

5. Whereas Justice Department law enforcement officers, who are paid to protect the property of authors and other creators, are federal prosecutors who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, including Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, and

6. Whereas Justice Department enforcement of criminal copyright law on behalf of individual authors and other artists has been neglected for at least two and a half decades, and

7. Whereas federal prosecutors who fail to enforce criminal copyright law on behalf of individual authors and other artists are failing to fulfill their oath of office and do the job they are paid to do, and

8. Whereas the failure of federal prosecutors and the Justice Department to enforce criminal copyright law on behalf of individual creators effectively strips creative workers of their Constitutionally mandated and Congressionally legislated rights, and

9. Whereas failure to enforce the law encourages lawlessness, and

10. Whereas Justice Department failure to enforce criminal copyright law has created a climate of infringement in the nation that jeopardizes the livelihoods of all creative workers, and

11. Whereas technology is making copyright infringement easier to perpetrate and more difficult to police, and

12. Whereas copyright infringement deprives creative workers of just income derived from their talent, education, experience, and effort, and

13. Whereas copyright infringement discourages investment in creative workers’ enterprises by destroying exclusive rights that justify and safeguard investors’ resources, and

14. Whereas civil copyright law is dominated by insurance companies and lawyers who have contrived to place impossible burdens on victims who render civil law virtually useless as a reasonable recourse for individuals whose works are stolen, and

15. Whereas creative workers are often those least able to afford costly and protracted civil litigation to defend their rights and livelihoods under civil law, and

16. Whereas copyright protection mandated by the United States Constitution and implemented by acts of Congress is intended as a fundamental right and protection for all citizens, not as a special privilege for the rich, and

17. Whereas Justice Department failure to enforce criminal copyright law and contemporaneous obstructionistic civil law practices that make civil litigation unlikely, if not impossible, by individual victims foster a growing disregard for the rights and livelihoods of creative workers, and

18. Whereas failure of federal prosecutors and the Justice Department to enforce criminal copyright law and prosecute those who deliberately or with culpable negligence violate criminal copyright law deprives creative workers of equal protection under the law, and

19. Whereas vigorous enforcement of criminal copyright law is the only real and practical safeguard to prevent predators from stealing the works and destroying the livelihoods of creators,

Therefore be it resolved:

The Delegate Assembly of the National Writers Union petitions the Justice Department to fulfill its Constitutional and Congressional mandate to protect the rights and livelihoods of creative workers, and

The Delegate Assembly of the National Writers Union petitions individual federal prosecutors to fulfill their oath of office by strictly enforcing criminal copyright law and prosecuting those who deliberately or with culpable negligence violate criminal copyright law, and

The Delegate Assembly of the National Writers Union petitions Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to uphold the law by creating a Justice Department Task Force expressly designated to protect the rights of individual authors and creative entrepren

eurs by vigorously enforcing criminal copyright law and prosecuting those who deliberately or with culpable negligence violate criminal copyright law, and

The Delegate Assembly of the National Writers Union calls upon President Jerry Colby to advise in writing Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez of this petition to implement this task force and to contact other writers’ groups asking them to sign this petition.

(PASSED 09/18/05)

John Gile is a local author and publisher.

From the Nov. 1-7, 2006, issue

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