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The Almighty Buck Politics

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

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 ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:38PM (#46720271)

    We lose our edge, because society gets hijacked and the money flows to the wrong places instead of spurring innovation.

    There is a theory that Japan and Germany recovered and prospered so quickly after WWII because their profound defeat destroyed so many entrenched special interest groups that could no longer block progress.

  • Order Of Events (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @07:39PM (#46720291)

    It would probably be useful to specify the order of events in TFS, as the current summary implies they received campaign contributions after they started investigating the merger.

    TFA is focusing on past campaign contributions - that is contributions before the investigation, seeing as how the investigation just started. Everyone on the committee has received a campaign contribution at some point in the past, even Al Franken. Which is more a statement on the fact that Comcast pretty much contributes to every incumbent's congressional campaign, rather than this being a case of where these senators were specifically targeted.

    Which to be clear, still isn't a good thing by any means. This means everyone on that committee has received a contribution at some point. But it's not the same thing as giving contributions to someone when an active investigation is going on, something that would be far shadier.

  • by Lobachevsky ( 465666 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:10PM (#46720563)

    Donations aren't bribery, because donations aren't payment _for_ anything. A bribe is payment _for_ some political action. It's completely legal to give donations. That's why prostitution is illegal but high-end escorts are legal. The high-end escort asks for a 'donation' and no service is promised. Of course, it's pretty obvious she won't give any service if there's no donation. But she doesn't _promise_ service for a donation. It's just that her reputation as an escort will suffer if she takes the money and runs. If she does turn tricks and the police catch her, she gets off scott free under the story that she independently fell in love and wanted a night of romance wit the John, which had _nothing_ to do with with the "donation". Senators and other politicians are high-end escorts of a different shade.

  • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @09:33PM (#46721235)

    If you have that few settlers come into a continent as large, virgin and as rich as North America (compared to tiny European countries that had been exploited for millennia in most cases, with very few natural resources) it seems to me that the US standards of living should've been 10x what the rest of the world had, if you take into account that Europe suffered through two world wars on its soil (where the second one especially nearly destroyed it industrially for many years) the US standards of living should've been more like 50x higher for several decades afterwards.

    By any metric you can think of unfortunately I don't see life in the US being 10x better than in the rest of the developed first world for the average person (life expectancy, happiness, schooling, health, ...), I mean, as far as you can find out the majority of personal bankruptcies in the US is due to medical expenses, where in the rest of the world getting sick does not automatically mean losing all you've worked for in your life.

    Nowadays with the whole 'money = free speech' it seems the table is tilting even more towards large class disparities in the population, and a much bigger division by the haves and have nots. Despite this perversely, due to endless straw-manning by interested parties, a lot of people appear, from the outside at least, to vote for politicians that are actively out to make their life worse: it is of course quite hard to develop an informed opinion when large amounts of money, advertising and content are funneled towards muddying any issue and transforming it into either a partisan dilemma or a who-do-you-like-most uninformed decision.

    The general culture of the land also seems to have an extremely strong sense of being defensive any time the country is criticized in any way shape or form, in all countries I've lived in or visited there is not as much animosity when it comes to recognizing their nation's shortfalls: ask any European in several countries, say, about bureaucracy or lack of competitiveness or the impossibility to fire people etc. etc. and you'll never hear the end of it, ask any American about health care (unless of course the ones that have gone bankrupt) and you will just get partisan talking points, these days usually about Obamacare.

    The cult of "rugged individualism" that seems to permeate American society is good for some things (very low barriers to starting a business, for example, a feeling of personal responsibility, etc.) but unless it's tempered by some sort of "compassionate government" it is not conducive to having a harmonious society where yes, there are still differences in social status, but they are not as extreme, and there is no risk of anybody in one of the wealthiest nations in the world ending up destitute because their genetic luck ran out and they were in an accident or became sick with an expensive-to-treat condition.

    The US might be great from a military power standpoint, no doubts about that, and from a 'can-do attitude' as well, but society should be about a lot more than who has the most money, who can make more money, it's should not be a competition, as much as the gospel in the US seems to be that we are all born equal we really aren't: our parents' social situations are different, our genes are different, many of us have disabilities, everybody should not be held to the same standard in a win-or-die kind of situation.

    People should stop thinking "I don't care if by doing X to prevent 'abuse' by that moocher society will be worse for everybody, as long as there are no 'moochers' it's totally fine if everybody is in misery but the really lucky ones", but the odds of that happening are pretty low, when interested parties will do their best to frame all policy decisions in a "you're against the 'moochers' or you are a 'moocher' yourself".

    The best country in the world would be a country where everybody has the opportunity to excel, and nobody runs the risk of failing due to its inbuilt safety nets, the US could certainly afford this if there was the will to make it so, now that would be American Exceptionalism I would gladly stand behind.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.