However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith…
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Record Labels Rightly Sue Abusive AI Music Generators

However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith can agree that it mustn't become a tool for brazen copyright infringement.  Artists who pour their (sometimes literal) blood, sweat and tears into their creative works shouldn't have those works stolen and exploited by AI bots.

That is particularly true as it relates to AI music generators specifically created for that exploitative purpose.

For that reason, we should all welcome and applaud major record labels for their decisive lawsuit against AI generators Suno and Udio, whom they accuse in their complaints of copyright violation on an "unimaginable scale."

The complaints make for gripping reading unlike most legal filings, but we're not talking here about sampling various songs…[more]

July 02, 2024 • 06:30 PM

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Brown Victory in Massachusetts Kills ObamaCare Either Way Print
By Troy Senik
Wednesday, January 20 2010
Many Democrats feel that with a year’s worth of political capital invested in their reform plans, they can’t turn back now – a classic iteration of the economic fallacy of sunk costs. The question now becomes what they will do to pass legislation when they can’t triumph by sheer numerical supremacy.

The veil placed before the door of liberalism’s holy of holies was torn on Tuesday night in Massachusetts.  With a decisive victory in the Bay State’s special election for the U.S. Senate, Republican Scott Brown is headed to Washington to assume a seat that was held by Ted Kennedy for nearly 50 years.
Republicans will paint Brown’s victory as a stunning refutation of the liberal thrust of one-party government.  Democrats will take solace in the fact that a 59-member Senate caucus is still an extraordinary majority.  Both will be right.  But both will be missing a bigger point:  Fourteen months ago, a liberal African-American from Chicago won North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes – and the White House – in a decisive presidential election.  Yet before the president could give his first official State of the Union, his veto-proof senate majority was taken away by a center-right Republican from the Boston suburbs.  This is not the stuff of political fantasy.  It is the stuff of political science fiction.
Simply put, American voters are coming unglued. It took six years for the public’s disgust with the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress to percolate into decisive losses at the ballot box.  For the current administration and its congressional allies – obsessed as they are with endlessly touting their superiority to Bush-era Republicans – there is now one more sign of their preeminence: they managed to alienate the electorate in a calendar year.
Yet as the coming weeks unfold, Brown’s victory is likely to be the least salient part of the story. True, the win itself was a remarkable feat, but it was aided by a perfect storm of favorable circumstances. 
Brown is a young, attractive, articulate and charismatic candidate – that rare type who has probably never looked back since being elected his kindergarten class president.  His opponent, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, ran a campaign that was a cocktail of ignorance and apathy.  After assuming her win was a given, Coakley only got out on the hustings in a serious way in the closing weeks of the race.  When she did get behind a microphone, she managed to give offense to every group imaginable, including Catholics and Boston Red Sox fans.  If there’s a more surefire formula for destroying a campaign in Massachusetts it probably involves retroactively conceding the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
Looming even larger than personalities, however, was the specter of health care reform.  With Democrats in Congress cutting sweetheart deals to get Louisiana, Nebraska and organized labor onboard with the President’s healthcare reform plan, Coakley was stuck carrying the standard of a party that has been reduced to justifying legislative horse-trading at its most venal as the necessary means to accomplish a righteous end.  The upshot was a Coakley campaign tasked with selling the candidacy of a woman who pledged to be the decisive vote in favor of a program that enjoys support from only 33 percent of the public.  
Even as the Coakley campaign dips behind the horizon, health care reform is still going to be the issue that defines both Scott Brown and the Democratic Party in the near future.  Many Democrats feel that with a year’s worth of political capital invested in their reform plans, they can’t turn back now – a classic iteration of the economic fallacy of sunk costs.  The question now becomes what they will do to pass legislation when they can’t triumph by sheer numerical supremacy.
Democrats could attempt to delay Brown’s seating in the Senate, but with objections to a liberal end-run already coming from moderates like Jim Webb of Virginia and Evan Bayh of Indiana, that seems unlikely. They could attempt to pick up the vote of a rogue Republican, but it’s difficult to imagine any member of the GOP signing on to a bill that’s already producing martyrdom in Democratic ranks. Alternately, they could pass health care reform through the reconciliation process (which requires a simple majority but is of dubious legality) or they could advance a Hail Mary attempt to get the House to pass the Senate’s version without changes, thus staving off the need for the conference process.  Apart from getting Republican support, any of these measures will reek of dishonesty, rank partisanship and willful disdain of public sentiment. That’s not a foundation on which to build a dramatic change in social policy.
In the end, this will likely mean that Republicans will win the health care debate either way.  If Democrats admit defeat, the reform process will grind to a halt.  If they pass reform through unsavory means, the country will explode in a fit of populist rage that will make the last year pale in comparison.  The closest analog may be the 1824 presidential election, when John Quincy Adams entered the White House based on an alleged backroom deal with Speaker of the House Henry Clay.  The defeated Andrew Jackson and his supporters denounced the move as a “corrupt bargain” and campaigned on it for the next four years, paralyzing Adams’ presidency and turning the White House over to Jackson in 1828. This outcome would give Republicans the moral superiority necessary to campaign for Obamacare’s outright repeal rather than more moderate course corrections – and it would also likely double the number of Democratic congressional seats in danger.
Though the White House and the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill don’t seem ready to acknowledge it yet, the brief window of liberal ascendancy has closed.   Despite having almost no margin for legislative losses, the party has governed as if it has the mandate of heaven. Before Tuesday night, that was ill advised. Now it’s suicidal.

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