May 7, 2012 4:25 AM   Subscribe

That politician got amnesia again. Kim Dotcom, of previously fame, has released a videoless youtube 'video' of a rap song he created with with Black Eyed Peas producer and songwriter Printz Board, about 'anonymous' donations he made to a local politician.
posted by Sparx (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Story picked up by the guardian.
posted by Sparx at 4:29 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, he's trying to fight extradition under racketeering charges by blackmailing politicians?

It's an interesting defence strategy, that much is certain...
posted by Skeptic at 4:41 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

No, I think at this point he's just saying "if I'm going down then these are the people who are going down with me."
posted by Blue_Villain at 4:44 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah I reckon it's a case of Kimmy calling in favours. There are a number of rich guys here who give "donations" to both major parties.

John Banks is a character - sometime-talkshow host, ex and wanna-be Auckland mayor, party-jumping member of parliament, notorious tea drinker and suddenly very unpopular with his electorate.
posted by arzakh at 5:03 AM on May 7, 2012

Something about that Kim Dotcom guy rubs me the wrong way.

I know it's wrong, but part of me wants to ask "what part of anonymous does he not understand?"

And what is he complaining about, exactly? That he didn't get his money's worth for the donation/bribe?
posted by gjc at 5:46 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think Kim always was an attention whore (and to be clear that's not a negative thing; I find that rather endearing in people as they do entertaining things), and part of him loves the fact that he's involved in a drama involving most of the world at a point where he has enough money to retire anyhow when it's all eventually released.

Massive success, filesharing martyr, murky stock manipulator, amateur rap video maker. Whatever he is entertainingly being that day, I have to suspect that his somewhat Zaphod Beeblebrox personality most fears being boring.
posted by jaduncan at 5:47 AM on May 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

One of the more interesting aspects of this is that KD has apparently had his accounts frozen, yet had enough somewhere to pay for a [QUALITY COMMENT REDACTED] mix.
posted by Sparx at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2012

Something about that Kim Dotcom guy rubs me the wrong way.

Something about him is awesome. He is rather tasteless, practices extreme plausible deniability, and seems a bit conspiracy theorist-y, but regardless, he built something for himself and did quite well out of it. He took advantage of the rules, loopholes, and money-machine politics the same way heaps of elites do every day.

Only he wasn't the right kind of new money. When someone in the US decided to release the dogs on him for "copyright violations", they really "let the dogs out" on the pay-to-play systems that allow the wealthy to traverse the world as the like, whilst leaving the rest in highly-controlled domestic environments with limited international mobility.

The elite play this game... My $1B against your $1B. Our $2B versus the foreign $2B. Our good $4B against the evil $4B. Our $8B against the working classes.

The Wrong New Money doesn't know these rules and is quite happy to light the secret house on fire and watch it burn to the ground.

Kim Dotcom is quite a weird dude, but hey, he played the game well, and they're changing the rules on him. Somewhere, Julian Assange thinks this all sounds quite familiar. New technology outrunning old power structures and the pristine, gleaming rule of Western law crumbling to expose the dirty Rules of Men.
posted by nickrussell at 5:56 AM on May 7, 2012 [13 favorites]

This seems a bit skinny for a post, but considering NZ is a nation of about 4 million voters, and there is a NZ$50K I'm not going to flag it, if only because they had top music producers on the case.

Recorded at a studio owned by Crowded House frontman Neil Finn

That, to me, seems wrong. I thought Finn had taste.

(It's also a pretty crap song).
posted by Mezentian at 6:52 AM on May 7, 2012

There are plenty of CEOs who built their careers by playing ridiculous games with other people's money and careers, like say running a couple startups into the ground to "show growth".

Imho, all the megaupload guys have earned respect by building megaupload the morally legit way, even if they benefited from going more into the legally grey area than their competitors.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:54 AM on May 7, 2012

all the megaupload guys have earned respect by building megaupload the morally legit way

I suspect we don't share quite the same set of morals.
posted by Skeptic at 9:25 AM on May 7, 2012

Also, are such anonymous campaign donations "morally legit"?
posted by Skeptic at 9:27 AM on May 7, 2012

Wiki: Before his arrest, Dotcom was the world's number one-ranked Modern Warfare 3 player.

This person leads a strange life.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2012

arzakh, you left out notorious homophobe. He was one of the leading lights against homosexual law reform in the 80s and 90s.

He's already had a couple of songs made about him. Nark by Pumpkinhead is about Banks comments while Minister of Police that people should report all illegal behaviour they see their neighbours doing.
John Banks by Salmonella Dub reminds us that Banks tried to prevent homosexuals working in the Police force.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I thought his letter to his neighbours was hilarious... but then again I'm not one of his neighbours.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, are such anonymous campaign donations "morally legit"?

In NZ they aren't legally legit:

"Dotcom alleges that Banks asked him to make anonymous donations into his mayoralty campaign and subsequently called him to thank him....Failure to specify significant donors is a breach of New Zealand electoral laws.

Banks denies making such a call and insists he has complied with the relevant laws.

The donations are the subject of a police inquiry." (from the Guardian link).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:28 PM on May 7, 2012

This is a case of everybody knows KD gave JB the money, everybody knows JB is crooked as a loon and everybody knows KD is just trying to stir up some shit on his way down. And good on him. John Banks is the worst kind of shock-jock racist politician (e.g.) and the country would be significantly better off without him stinking up the joint.

The problem is JB almost certainly won't go down because he holds the deciding vote in the biggest national issue of the day (whether or not we should sell all our state assets (again)) and the government want to hold on to him.

And $50k is not a bribe, that's stupid talk. It is just some general 'good will' palm grease. KD's explanation is that he gave JB the money because he hoped to learn how NZ politics works. Seems likely enough.
posted by mhjb at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2012

Ars Technica's coverage of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload over the past few months has been incredibly great.

The Kim Dotcom fact that made me LOL the most was how, in addition to amassing ridiculous wealth, living in a fortress mansion in New Zealand, and paying for bizarre rap videos to be produced highlighting his self-declared awesomeness, Kim Dotcom was also the world #1 at Modern Warfare 3
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:13 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, the background is that Kim Dotcom paid 2 lots of $25K anonymously to Banks, but Banks has the legal obligation to disclose donations if they know who they are from. Part of the furore comes from around the correspondence between Banks has had concerning Dotcom where Banks lobbied on Dotcom's behalf.

Having seen Dotcom's first interview after his arrest, I have a lot more sympathy with him.

(It's also a pretty crap song).

I think this is the real tragedy here. Dotcom is rushing the song out while the news is still top of the headlines. Good parodies take time -- for example this roasting of All Black Zac Guildford was really well done, but came out too many months after Zac's exploits in Rarotonga to make a splash...
posted by Metro Gnome at 2:08 PM on May 7, 2012

The actual law that Banks is has maybe broken is not as clear as it should be, but I am loving every part of this scandal. I particularly enjoy seeing serious men in serious suits on TV talking seriously about the actions of "Mr. Dotcom" while Dotcom himself seems to be having a great time.

On the other hand, it seems fairly clear that he went along with Bank's stupid suggestion to try to hide the donation and it is quite possible that Dotcom did expect favors in return. Nobody comes out of this looking well, especially Banks who lost the election for mayor and only just got into parliament via another dodgy deal that almost backfired hilariously.

It is a great time to be a watcher of NZ politics.
posted by AndrewStephens at 2:26 PM on May 7, 2012

KD's explanation is that he gave JB the money because he hoped to learn how NZ politics works

In 2011 Banks also lobbied on the behalf of Dotcom, whose purchase of Dotcom Mansion in Coatesville was being delayed (and ultimately rejected) by the OIO.

That's 0 for 2; Dotcom needs to find a beneficiary of his largesse who can actually get shit done.
posted by John Shaft at 2:32 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll say one thing. If, by some miracle, I become a gazallionaire I'll definitely pay songwriters/producers/etc to commission rap records explaining how great I am ... it'll be my way of paying a bit back to the community.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:31 PM on May 7, 2012

I have to mention that, at a recent uni pub quiz, a team called themselves " which was awesome.

Banks is a super scaly bastard. He changes what he says about this whole affair every day. Even worse is John Key, who made comments about this very thing against the previous government, and now stands behind Banks 100% despite the obviousness of the latter's dodgy dealings.

The upshot of all of this is that National is likely to loose the next election. Not that Labour seems to be able to do any better. The Hobbit better hurry the hell up so I can distract myself from the current circus that is NZ politics.
posted by New England Cultist at 8:01 PM on May 7, 2012

"Failure to specify significant donors is a breach of New Zealand electoral laws."

This is not strictly correct - while JB is currently an MP, the donations in question were made when he was campaigning for a MAYORAL election, where the rules a considerably more lax.

He's still a worm though.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 10:59 PM on May 8, 2012

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