August 26, 2010

Political roundup

So many political things in the news of late...I'll go bulleted list today...just because...
  • Why Target and Best Buy's Support of Anti-Gay Bigots is Going to Change the Way You Shop Forever - Obviously, a headline like that is impossible to actually come true.  I like shopping at Target.  I don't like shopping at Best Buy.  It's going to take some serious political wranglings to make me stop hitting up the big red bullseye.

    That being said, the Supreme Court decision opening up political donations to corporate donors with absolutely no ceiling at all scares the crap out of me.  Yeah, it's been seven months since that decision, but this is our first general election cycle since the decision, and we're seeing the chickens come home to roost.  The Consumerist article sums things up very well in this one sentence...
    Corporations have transparent but uniform policy goals: less regulation and lower corporate taxes.
    ...and they have hugely deeper pockets than you and I could ever possibly have.  Your donation and mine - combined with all of our friends - can't possibly begin to match the contributions that corporate donors can muster with very little trouble.  This scares the crap out of me.

    Whether it's Rupert Murdoch's News Corp giving a million dollars to the Republican party because "the company believes in the importance of free markets and appreciates the Republican group's pro-business agenda" or whether it's an equally passionate but left-leaning corporation making a similar donation to the Democrats, there's simply no way at all that I - or The Girl and I - could possibly buy the level of access and influence that money in that range garners.

    I do understand that groups of people should be allowed to get together and pool their money to speak their mind, to make their political opinions known.  The is what political action committees (PACs) are all about, but their are regulations as to how PACs have to report their spending that corporations aren't party to, and that worries me.
  • "Hallowed Ground" - stuff at the same distance from Ground Zero as the planned 'mosque' - which is neither a 'mosque' nor 'at Ground Zero'.  In fact, there's a wonderful analysis of those two misstatements in this post from Matt Sledge.  The uproar over the building of this Islamic cultural center - admittedly with a prayer room - is a poor example of the welcoming arms and charitable spirit that I would rather see Americans express to anyone who doesn't share their religion or beliefs. 

    Yes, believers in an extreme version of the Islamic religion hijacked planes on September 11th nearly nine years ago.  Yes, they crashed those planes into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center towers, and - luckily for us - a field in Pennsylvania.  That doesn't mean that every Islamic person is a killer or that we should deny basic freedom of religion and assembly to every Islamic person based on the horrific actions of that one day any more than we should do the same for every Christian based on the actions of David Koresh.

    I am happy to see our president defending the rights of Americans in building this cultural center.  To do otherwise would be to deny Americans their Constitutionally-guaranteed right.
  • Ben Quayle 'Worst President Ever' Ad Draws Sharp Reactions - A number of things worry me in politics.  I'd like to say that this ad by Ben Quayle wasn't one of them.  His statement that Barrack Obama is our worst president ever is clear puffery, hyperbole, and stupidity.  The statement was - I hope - stated in spite of the obvious incorrectness of it in hopes of Quayle raising his national and local profile heading into this week's primary election.  I wish that the ad hadn't accomplished that very thing and lead Quayle onward to the general election in November after a narrow primary win.  We have, however, seen politicians long able to tap into anger and resentment during tough times, and Ben Quayle's advertisement and subsequent primary victory looks to be just another example of that.

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