Politicians overseeing Internet received over $8 million from major cable companies in 2014

By Himanshu Arora ยท 65 replies
Nov 13, 2014
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  1. In the wake of President Obama's recent public endorsement of net neutrality, Gizmodo has released a report highlighting the campaign contributions received by politicians from the nation's four major telecom companies.

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    This kind of practice is nothing new, it happens everywhere. Politicians aren't in the business of doing anything good for everyone, they're in it for themselves and the money. There is no such thing as an honest politician anymore, they all became extinct long before the dinosaurs.
    You always know politician are lying when their lips are moving.
    treetops and Renrew like this.
  3. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Maniac Posts: 244   +177

    It's a tragic state of affairs that I actually thought "Good on you Maria Cantwell!", instead of "that should be the norm."

    Selling your principles seems to just be the done thing. And so cheaply too, for most of the people on that list!
  4. Evarin

    Evarin TS Rookie

    How do we still allow this practice? How does the phrase "Get money out of politics" turn into something people mumble whenever we see stories like this, yet no action ever takes place? We can't continue to function as a society where our politicians spend the vast majority of their time raising money rather than governing.

    We've simply institutionalized bribery.
  5. Lobbying is a big business like any other business it expects a return on investment
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    There are a couple very important things that are always left out of stories like this.
    1) Lobbying is very important. Lawmakers can't possibly know everything about every industry, so for example, if they are going to pass a law about agriculture, they need some farmers to provide some insight. Without this we'd have laws with unintended consequences far far worse than we have today.

    2) Giving money to your favorite politician is protected by the 1st Amendment. Because Freedom of Speech protects political expression, it also protects donating to someone's campaign. This is not be confused with bribery. These politicians do not receive checks in the mail, but their campaigns do. They don't get to spend the money on a new TV, only TV commercials. There are also limits to how much you can give a politician, but there are no limits to how much you can give a Political Action Committee (PAC), which is a 3rd party who helps someone get elected.

    I know in cases like this it seems like the regular joe is left out in the cold because the politicians on BOTH sides are only listening to the big companies. Have faith that if any major damaging legislation tried to pass that the collective internet will freak out like it did with SOPA. If there's one thing the internet community is good at it, it's freaking out about something without understanding all the facts.
    davislane1 likes this.
  7. I don't even know which is the lesser of two evils....A used car salesman or a politician? I guess a used car salesman is more forthcoming because we all know they are in it for money. But our politicians...that's another story entirely. and we still vote for these scallywag(s).
  8. I don't mind the internet being regulated as a utility as long as it is only in the bandwidth sense and not in the pay per Gb sense. That would suck... especially for those who watch movies or play games through their internet connection. So, I'm all for 'no one's data is more important than another person's or corporation's data' but I am against companies like Verizon and Comcast holding competitors and dependent services bandwidth hostage.
  9. These amounts listed are not huge sums of money... The "8 million" in the headline seems misleading when the numbers listed are really no more than politicians receive from very small organizations. Certainly not enough money to give any serious weight in an election effort, hardly enough to "buy" a politician...
  10. Milwaukee Mike says: "Giving money to your favorite politician is protected by the 1st Amendment. Because Freedom of Speech protects political expression, it also protects donating to someone's campaign."

    That was an instance of very cute disingenuous obfuscation, of the sort which is currently dismantling and destroying the United States of America. Giving money to your favorite politician is NOT protected by the First Amendment. It is, instead, protected by the radical right-wing majority on the Supreme Court which has equated money with speech in order to protect, not speech, but how many times you will be subjected to some specific individual's speech under the provably correct theory that the more times you hear something, the more likely you are to believe it. The so-called 'Citizen's United' decision which equated money with speech did NOT protect donating to someone's campaign because that was not the issue at all. The actual issue was how much you may contribute to negate the contributions of others, and whether or not you can contribute unrestricted amounts of money in absolute secrecy so that the American public may not know who it is who is subjecting them to the brainwashing tactics...and our radical right-wing loons and fools, in order to destroy America, chose to give the very, very, very wealthy the right to brainwash all of us on a continual basis, but most especially during the period just prior to every election.

    Money is not speech. Money, in general, does not even buy speech. When the very wealthy individual gives money to a politician, he does so with the understanding that the politician whose votes he is buying will listen very carefully to the employee of the contributor as time goes on, and that he will do as he's told. The money, therefore, buys legislation. Now, the politician has a personal interest in remaining in power because that is primarily why he is engaged in politics in the first place, so he takes the money meant to buy his votes and he spends it on subjecting us to canned, recorded messages of his godlike perfection and the absolute evil represented by his opponent(s). Generally speaking, there is no way to completely remove such corruption from the electoral process; but either that corruption can be magnified beyond any semblance of human sanity (as in the Citizen's United decision) and beyond the capacity of the nation to survive it, or it can be reduced to a very, very tiny minimum so that governance, and those doing the governing, would be mostly concerned with the impact of legislation on the people and the nation instead of the impact of legislation on the volume of money donated to pass the legislation.
    mosu, JakeT and cliffordcooley like this.
  11. I realize that money in politics seems like a bad thing but think about it...if there were no incentives put forth by large business we would not be able to attract the top people for political positions. In addition to help educating our lawmakers on the fine points of an issue, large companies donate large sums to campaigns. This is a dual benefit for all taxpayers. This prevents politicians spending millions of dollars of their own money to get a job that pays $100,000 per year it helps us attract the top people in industry to a career in politics. This is why we see the most qualified and talented people choosing public service or a lucrative career somewhere else. Be happy we have the system we have since we are all benefitting greatly from it.
  12. Curly4

    Curly4 TS Rookie

    What's particularly concerning is that money doled out by these companies directly reaches politicians like Ted Cruz, . . .
    Why is Ted Cruz's name mentioned specifically? He did not receive the most contributions. He is tied in third place with another republican, Tim Scott, while democrats Mark Pryor and Claire McCaskill received more contributions.
    Are you trying to be anti republican?
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,935   +764

    That is what open and public committee hearings are for. Put the politician's education on these issues on the table and in front of every other ignorant politician so that they also can learn, not to mention that such hearings would educate the not so tech savvy public.

    Why do people object to this kind of "giving?" Simply because there is no requirement to disclose under what terms the money was given, no requirement to disclose back-room deals and other potentially secret deals. What is not on the table for all to see will be suspect even if there is no underhanded terms present.

    In addition, you can bet that if any politician who receives such monies came out and said that they agreed with Obama, they would upset their "altruistic" donors so much that they would stop giving them that money, and I am willing to bet that most of them are not willing to risk that even if there were a one-in-a-billion chance that they actually agreed with Obama.
  14. Agreed! Finally someone posts something that makes sense. Our democratic political system is a just another free market system that finds its own level. There is a need and it it fulfilled. We blame politicians for taking advantage of a system that we created but they are fulfilling a need, plain and simple. If big business has an advantage over the individual it because of their contributions to the politicians in this country. THEN REACH INTO YOUR POCKETS AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! A small amount of donations in this case could quickly outspend big business and the playing field will be level and everything fair.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  15. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +1,998

    Just another good example of why a full disclosure law should be installed. While I don't support an unlimited contribution approach as currently exists, I do think that with "freedom of speech" there should be a "freedom of knowledge" when it comes to elected officials. We have and should continue to have the right to know where the money comes from, where it goes, and who is being influenced by it; otherwise government continues to be for sale to the highest bidder!
    wiyosaya likes this.
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,738   +3,757

    Only problem is, not all data is of equal importance. Or do you think the exchange data feeds running to whoever manages your retirement portfolio is of equal importance to your neighbor's YouTube video stream?

    A lot of the NN dialogue reminds me of the film Idiocracy. While one half of the debate is concerned with the economic, technological, and political ramifications of net neutrality, the other half is worried their streaming movies and video games will be adversely impacted without it.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,703

    Ohh please! You don't even realize what you just did. If dangling money in front of someone is the only way to get them in office. You have no room for complaining of their greed. If they are in office for money, they are in office for the wrong reasons. And you seem OK, with keeping a Corporate Guinea Pig in office.
  18. To much of the campaign finance activity is in secret. If a politician needs to be educated on a topic, say agriculture or internet broadband, it should be done in public with the rest of the committee. Educate us all! But campaign finance by super PACs is not about educating anyone. It's about buying support for an argument - in the absence of being educated in many cases. It's too secretive. All of a politician's relationships should be public. All of a super PACs donors should be made public.

    I read that 95% of Mitt Romney's campaign money came from less than 100 people. Roughly 2 buses full of people. By contrast - 90% of Obama's money came from people donating less than $100. That's many more people than would fill a stadium. Granted - I'm talking round numbers without sources but I think the trends would support my general point. If given the choice of having a Democracy that is influenced by the people - would you prefer a large number of people having a voice or just 2 bus loads?
  19. We can't complain about politicians trying to earn a dollar, they all do it, and they are just trying to get ahead just like everyone else. If they weren't in politics they would be making money somewhere else. It's simply ability meeting opportunity. The only way to cut money out of the political process is to elect billionaires or increase or increase the salary sky high or make political corruption a crime punishable by death. If any of that seems ridiculous that is because it is. Leave the system where it is and what it is until we can think of something better. Mr. Jefferson do you care to offer a fix resulting from the political molestation of the perfect document you created? Can you believe we have taken ourselves so far away from the original intent and overall spirit of your work? Did you think we would throw so much money at problems instead of working real solutions that it would bankrupt us into unimaginable and unrepeatable proportions? Blame corporations and greedy politicians? It's bigger than that.
  20. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    What annoys me most is that these Telecoms have this extra money to donate to politicians which means they had to get it from consumers. How much cheaper would my bill be if they didn't donate to politics?

    Corporations should not be able to support a position on policies, people do. Now if the CEO of a company wants to donate to support his business, fine, but not the corporation. If the Company opts to run ads on the TV to influence people into action, sure, that's also fine. A company secretly giving money is not.
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,935   +764

    Interesting that you bring this up in light of the week ago announcement of Time Warner's profits for the quarter - http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/05/uk-timewarner-results-idUSKBN0IP1GI20141105
  22. Small donations will clearly NOT outspend billionaires and their corporations. Let's say that 50% of the working persons in the bottom 98% of income earners each contributed $50 in an election cycle for the express purpose of outspending the corporate and top 1% donors (which won't happen because 40% of the bottom 98% of workers don't earn enough to pay all of their absolutely necessary bills and another 40% of them are not exactly floating in excess cash). That would produce approximately the amount OFFICIALLY AND SOMEWHAT TRANSPARENTLY spent on this last election. Aside from the fact that less than half of the money spent on the recent election totaled $4 billion when all of the dark money is counted, that $4 billion will be merely a few drops in the bucket in the 2016 election cycle when $8-10 billion in visible money will be contributed and at least an equal amount of dark money will be spent. The only reason why the politicians of the Republican party scramble for visible funding is so that they can point to rough parity with their Democratic opponents, since that rough parity gives them plausibility among their base (which encourages their base to vote). Most of the corporate and billionaire money contributed to the goal of ruling the peons is dark money.

    Now, if everyone in the bottom 98% did contribute to political campaigns it would have the effect of forcing the corporations and billionaires to spend more, but the rest of us would pay that bill anyway - in higher costs for goods and services (we ALL pay for what the corporations and billionaires 'contribute' to their political employees).
  23. "Giving money to your favorite politician is protected by the 1st Amendment. Because Freedom of Speech protects political expression, it also protects donating to someone's campaign. This is not be confused with bribery. These politicians do not receive checks in the mail, but their campaigns do. They don't get to spend the money on a new TV, only TV commercials. There are also limits to how much you can give a politician, but there are no limits to how much you can give a Political Action Committee (PAC), which is a 3rd party who helps someone get elected."

    LOL. So because the politician can "only" spend MILLIONS on tv commercials that somehow means he/she is not benefiting from the donations? PLEASE. THAT'S MILLIONS THAT THE POLITICIAN DID NOT HAVE TO TAKE OUT OF HIS/HER OWN POCKET! Just because the politician has to use that money for a SPECIFIC purpose, further helping the politician's campaign that is, it does NOT somehow magically mean it's not always bribery! Just because it's money simply used INDIRECTLY to the politician it does not mean it's not bribery especially when it DIRECTLY benefits the politician.

    It's like you somehow forgot what a politician is to convince yourself they are not being bribed. And to put it more indrectly, yet COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY PRACTICAL FOR POLITICIANS, businesses contribute to their campaigns protect their agendas. In return, POLITICIANS get paid through investments in the business they are helping. A business does not contribute for sport. They contribute for sole purpose a business does anything: TO MAKE MONEY. A politician puts a law into place. The business benefits from said law. The politician gets a piece of the pie from the business. And alas, they are happy at, QUITE OFTEN, at the consumer's... oh excuse me, the People's expense.

    "I know in cases like this it seems like the regular joe is left out in the cold because the politicians on BOTH sides are only listening to the big companies."

    Lol. It doesn't just seem that way it already IS. Or perhaps, big companies are trying to gains rights for themselves to benefit the average joe instead? Is that really what you want to sit here and try to shove down my throat? Who the **** are you? Why are you trying to defend the obvious corruption taking place? Please tell me exactly HOW the already known shift of politicians going from protecting the People to protecting big business is somehow magically not happening despite it unfolding right in front of us. Please explain this and compare it to your comment so that it does not seem to defy reality.
  24. Hasbean

    Hasbean TS Booster Posts: 112   +29

    Democracy at work. God bless America.
  25. Here's a very simple fix: instead of the 'fair' tax, let's have the FAIR CONTRIBUTION. In other words, we ALL designate a fixed amount of money for political campaigns which is then divided up among ALL candidates of ALL parties for ALL offices...and that fair contribution amount is kept to a minimum so that all of us can access whatever message/set of promises each politician wants to produce for us, but that there would not be enough money to run 50 attack ads per day on every available TV channel, etc.

    If corporations want to influence politicians elected in such a manner they would be perfectly free to do so by the same method they use today - the lobbyists on the corporate payroll. Those lobbyists could make their case perfectly well without dangling big money in front of the big saucer eyes of the greedy politicians, however. (There would also have to be a law preventing elected politicians from EVER becoming lobbyists or employees of corporations in any capacity, under penalty of life in prison and loss of ALL personal assets.)

    Here's the underlying reality: politicians who are in it for the money are in it to take that money from someone, and that someone will take the money from all of the rest of us to employ it in ways that can, and likely will, be directly detrimental to all of us. That is the ultimate corruption which renders the continued existence of the United States of America and any semblance of representative democracy in the U.S. an absolute impossibility in the long term. Now, many on the right detest the concept of democracy and prefer to call the U.S. a 'republic' but the reality is that the Constitution created what had to become a full representative democracy (even though it was originally limited in scope to just a portion of the population), while a 'republic' (a contraction of the Latin res publica) is a government which was understood to be something other than a kingdom. Res publica simply means 'public things' and the Romans understood it to mean anything other than a kingdom, in other words republic has the same meaning as 'government' but without a king. In fact, the Roman government was a 'republic' to the very end...even when it had been ruled by despotic emperors for over 400 years, and many, many governments in Europe and the Americas for many hundreds of years have been called republics when they were actually principalities, duchies, dictatorships, oligarchies and even kingdoms. The framers of the Constitution didn't use the word democracy because they were afraid of the kind of democracy Athens had in its golden age. Instead, they used the term republic because all it actually means is government.

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