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The Almighty Buck Politics

Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-government-money-can-buy dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about money and politics that is sure to shock no one."It's no surprise that Comcast donates money to members of Congress. Political connections come in handy for a company seeking government approval of mergers, like Comcast's 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal and its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). But just how many politicians have accepted money from Comcast's political arm? In the case of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held the first congressional hearing on the Comcast/TWC merger yesterday, the answer is all of them."
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Comcast PAC Gave Money To Every Senator Examining Time Warner Cable Merger

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:04PM (#46719975)

    So let's see all of the Congress recuse themselves because of a conflict of interest, thus they can't do anything, thus...we're actually better off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:07PM (#46719995)

    This is how America ceases to be great. We lose our edge, because society gets hijacked and the money flows to the wrong places instead of spurring innovation.

  • by Trachman (3499895) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:10PM (#46720017)
    If fact of donations will be confirmed, then Comcast lost in the court of public opinion. The merger should not be approved on the ground of anti-trust laws, unfair competition and reduced choice by consumers. At the minimum this should send a message to the future senators who will be tempted to take donations of the big business.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:17PM (#46720069) Homepage Journal

    If fact of donations will be confirmed, then Comcast lost in the court of public opinion

    Don't worry, there will be a squirrel event shortly and people will forget all about it. Then the merger will be quietly approved and by the time the rates go up, it will be too late.

    If you rely on the general public you will always be disappointed, they are idiots and easily lead and/or distracted.

  • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:18PM (#46720073) Homepage

    America is deluded that they were great to begin with. A super power? Maybe. But 'great'? Wtf.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:27PM (#46720131) Journal
    It's not bribery, it's just a corporate person engaging in free speech. Indeed, our own dear supreme court asserts the view that this sort of activity does not even create the impression of impropriety...
  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:29PM (#46720155)
    We're very proud here. We have the best government that money can buy!
  • by Michael Monaghan (2932285) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:41PM (#46720303)
    Many countries are great or have been great in their past which includes the US due to their contributions to the rest of the world. To say otherwise is simply being ignorant of the rest of the world.
  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:46PM (#46720343)

    America is deluded that they were great to begin with. A super power? Maybe. But 'great'? Wtf.

    Sorry. Our founding fathers were mostly a bunch of bad asses with really good ideas that they were willing to fight for, and the country that came out of that fight was great.

    It's the money grubbing assholes who are fucking it up now by claiming that money = free speech and corporations are people. That means that the ultra rich have at least 10,000 times as much speech as most of us, and that there are a lot of people that have no voice at all. Money should not be equivalent to free speech. Never. It's a fucking travesty that it is, and the people who made it so are destroying our country. I'm not being hyperbolic here.

  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:25PM (#46720659)

    and that there are a lot of people that have no voice at all.

    The reason those people have "no voice at all" is because ... they don't have the money to pay for it. That really does make the point that money is required for the full exercise of free speech.

    In this country (the US), yes I'll give you that, but it shouldn't be that way. They've gamed the system so that the more money you have, the more speech you have, but it's a rigged system.

    I'm saying that inherently money != free speech, and that the law should reflect that. If we had a constitutional amendment explicitly stating that money != free speech then we could talk sensibly about limiting its corrupting influence. As it is now it has taken pretty much all of the power away from the people. You say "ah, but go out and vote!" Okay, I'll go vote for asshole 'A' or asshole 'B'. Those are my realistic choices. Not much of a choice there, and the billions floating around in politics ensures that will always be the case.

  • by F34nor (321515) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:27PM (#46721171)

    The term of art you are looking for is "rent seeking behavior"

  • News? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @11:54PM (#46721961)
    This would have been news if Comcast didn't give every member of congress that had anything to do with their merger money.

    People don't care anymore. The people in power have switched the conversation from us (regular people) vs them (those in positions of power) into us ("democrats") vs us ("republicans"). If you point out that huge corporations bribe congress someone will point out that huge unions bribe congress. If you point out that the oil/gas sectors bribe republicans someone will point out that hollywood bribes democrats. We can't have a conversation about how it is wrong for any special interest to have that much influence just because of $ because we are too busy beating each other over the head.

    The argument people have now is: "my special interest should be lobbying, your special interest shouldn't".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @02:59AM (#46722667)

    Anon because I modded you up ( because you were rated "Troll" when I did, which I dont think was fair ).

    "Then it is a good thing that money isn't equivalent to free speech. Money is, however, as your own statements show, a requirement for full exercise of same."

    A distinction without much distinction.
    If you cant really have speech without money, then allowing money to = speech means that people without money are removed from the exercise of same.

    "And by extension, telling people they cannot spend their money to pay for speech is equivalent to creating an even larger group of people who have no voice."

    No, telling people that there are no limits on what they can spend to buy an election creates a huge group of people without voice. I'm really not sure how you cant see that.
    I have sympathy for the concept of "its mine, I should be able to use it as I like", but there comes a time when "using it as I like" injures others, and that ought not be allowed.

    "I realize that silencing opinions that one does not favor is a common goal these days, but removing the ability to exercise the right of free speech from more people isn't the solution."
    Ending the treatment of speech = money would not silence anyone's opinions. ( name one person who would be silenced ( no, having to "endure" having the same voice as a poor person for the wealthy is not being silenced ) ).
    It would end the "I'm powerful because I have lots of money, so you have to listen to me and run your campaign ( quietly, so the election boards don't see it ) as I like". I believe there is plenty of documentation of the notion that power ( and money = power to an extent ) will influence others.
    Why is it OK to silence the less wealthy? That, ultimately, is what is happening.

    Corporations are made of people who have rights. And those people already have sufficient ( and for some, more than sufficient ) voice. There is absolutely, positively no need for corporations to add in this mix.

  • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:12AM (#46723023)
    I have seen the term "free speech" used in a lost of stories lately and am horrified by the number of people who do not even understand the term. It appears that the term "free speech" is hijacked to mean whatever the hell the poster wants it to mean at the time.

    It is truly staggering and I am at a loss as to why people make this huge mistake? It is honestly and very interesting social phenomenon to me.

    Is this just an American thing? Has your schooling system and/or corporate media engrained some arbitrary and/or politically convenient (yet utterly incorrect) definition or something?

    Freedom of Speech == right to convey almost any idea and opinion free of government interference. (with the exception of things like libel/slander/hate speech depending on the country)

    How on EARTH is "donating" money to politicians ANYTHING to do with free speech?!

    My god people: wake the fuck up. This is nothing more than legalised corruption. Plain and simple.

    Regardless of whether or not you believe "donations" should be allowed (and all arguments I have seen to this end have been extremely weak) it has NOTHING to do with free speech and never has.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:02AM (#46724155) Journal
    I was thinking about this the other day. The core problem is not lobbying, because it's perfectly sensible that people with an interest in a particular topic would want to talk to their elected representatives about it. The problem is unequal access to lobbying, and that comes from the massive wealth inequality in the USA and the fact that lobbying is expensive. Perhaps a better solution would be for each member of the electorate to have allocated a certain amount of their representatives' time.

    For example, each member of the House of Representatives is responsible for approximately 500,000 people. Assume that they spend on average two hours a day talking to their constituents and the rest is spent in committees, or on holidays (since we're talking about an average). That's 2628000 seconds per year, or around 5 seconds per constituent per year (10 seconds per term). If you want to have a five minute conversation with a representative, then you must find 60 people all willing to give you their time allocations. Or 300 all willing to give you 20% of their allocation. If you want to have an hour-long meeting, then that's 720 people who must give up all of their allowance, or 3600 who must give up 20% (or any breakdown).

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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