Posted by: Kevin | January 27, 2010

Too Much Depressing News Lately

The news has been depressing the hell out of me lately.  I follow politics, probably more than I should, and the landscape is just bleak right now.  I’m going to lay out what’s been on my mind in the hope that it helps.

Pimpin Aint Easy

This should be better news but it isn’t.  James O’Keefe, the douchebag who gave us the Acorn “gotcha” videos while dressed as a pimp, was caught in the act of trying to tamper with the phones of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu.  Why don’t I feel better about this?  For starters, there’s the lack of coverage of the story.  This guy’s videos of Acorn were literally all over the news.  News of his arrest for committing an actual felony seems to be much harder to find.

The second depressing fact is this.  The investigation of those Acorn video tapes not only found no wrong doing by Acorn employees but they found that (from page 11-12 of the report)

The unedited videos have never been made public. The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O’Keefe’s and Ms.Giles’s comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions. To date, the videographers have declined or ignored our interview requests.

It’s now an established fact that those videos were doctored, yet this never made the news.  I wouldn’t have heard of it at all, if this moron hadn’t gotten himself arrested.  So glad we have a “liberal” media.

So How Long Until We Just Turn Our Elections Over to Corporations Completely

I won’t pretend that politicians aren’t already bought and sold, but this ruling by the supreme court is only going to make this worse.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upended a century’s worth of campaign finance law. An immediate question raised by the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision is whether this will flood elections with suddenly legal corporate money. Less understood but deeply significant is what this shows about the court and its relationship to the Obama administration and Congress…

…The case itself addressed an arcane issue: whether campaign finance laws were properly applied to an infomercial critical of Hillary Clinton. The justices easily could have ruled on narrow statutory grounds. Instead, last summer, they announced a rushed re-argument, making clear they were itching to overturn a century of constitutional doctrine, even though the case offered no factual or trial record on the broad question of corporate spending. This week the justices struck down laws in 22 states and overturned key decisions from 1990 and 2003 — all in the middle of a new election cycle. It is hard to remember an instance where the justices reached so far to make major constitutional law. It will have immediate political consequences. Business managers now will be able to spend at will Bloomberg-level sums in congressional races across the country.

To sum it up, there will be no limit on corporate money in campaigns.  This will have an impact at the national level but it could have a huge impact at the local level where large companies (who already have an outsized impact on the local economy) could have a much larger impact on local elections.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Facts

This article on Don McLeroy is very troubling.  Here’s one of my favorite tidbits

“The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation,” McLeroy said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis. “But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”

Why does this idiot matter?  Because he sits on Texas’ Board of Education and is part of the extreme right wing faction that strongly influences the board’s decision.  This matters to the rest of us because Texas is now the largest buyer of textbooks in the nation (and will remain so until California gets its shit together).  What Texas wants, tends to be what the rest of us get.  Follow on article here.

This Last One I Will Present Without Comment

Cerberus Capital, one of Wall Street’s most notoriously ruthless leveraged-buyout firms (or “private equity firms” in PC-speak), recently made a $1.8 billion killing on its human plasma investment, a company called Talecris. Talecris was purchased for a mere $82.5 million just four years earlier, meaning Cerberus made 23 times its investment on human plasma…
…by paying peanuts to impoverished human plasma donors, who increasingly come from Mexican border towns to blood-pumping stations set up on the American side, jacking up the price of plasma by restricting supply, and then selling the refined products to the most desperately ill—patients suffering from hemophilia, severe burns, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune deficiencies.

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