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Comcast Donates Heavily To Defeat Mayor Who Is Bringing Gigabit Fiber To Seattle

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the you've-lost-the-torrenter-vote dept.

The Internet 356

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Andrea Peterson reports in the Washington Post that one of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's big policy initiatives has been expanding the quality and quantity of high-speed Internet access throughout the city. However incumbent providers, particularly Comcast, have invested heavily in defeating McGinn in the mayoral election. While Comcast denies there is any connection between McGinn's broadband policies and their donations, the company has given thousands of dollars to PACs that have, in turn, given heavily to anti-McGinn groups. One of McGinn's core promises in the 2009 campaign was to 'develop a city-wide broadband system.' The mayor considered creating a citywide broadband system as a public utility, like water or electricity. But aides say that would have been too expensive, so the mayor settled on public-private partnerships using city-owned dark fiber. This dark fiber was laid down starting in 1995, and the mayor's office now says there are some 535 miles of it, only a fraction of which is being used. In June, the partnership, called Gigabit Squared, announced pricing for its Seattle service: $45 dollars a month for 100 Mbps service or $80 a month for 1 Gbps service plus a one-time installation cost of $350 that will be waived for customers signing a one-year contract. For comparison, Comcast, one of the primary Internet providers in the area, offers 105 Mbps service in the area for $114.99 a month, according to their website. If Comcast is indeed attempting to sway the election, it would fall in line with a larger pattern of telecom interests lobbying against municipal efforts to create their own municipal broadband systems or leveraging city-owner fiber resources to create more competition for incumbent providers. Peterson writes, '...if Comcast's donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.'"

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Money climax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301141)

Money can only buy so much. At some point, the cost to buy out our lives and hearts will grow and grow and grow until we reach the intersection on that curve between cost and "demand". My oh my, I hope that time is soon.

Re:Money climax (4, Interesting)

Etrahkad (1399575) | about a year ago | (#45301183)

I would say once enough of the middle class are unable to continue throwing billions of dollars at the corporate entities and that bubble does finally pop, mass starvation will hit. I would believe that is when the revolution and major changes will take place. It is not a question of If but when (is that the question anymore?).

Re:Money climax (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45301381)

I would say once enough of the middle class are unable to continue throwing billions of dollars at the corporate entities and that bubble does finally pop, mass starvation will hit.

I would believe that is when the revolution and major changes will take place. It is not a question of If but when (is that the question anymore?).

This is why I'm glad I own a remote farm and know how to work it.

Re:Money climax (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#45301645)

Could you supply GPS coordinates and a harvest date?

Re:Money climax (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45301769)

What kind of remotes do you grow? And can you teach my grandmother? She can never figure out how to work her remote.

Re:Money climax (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#45301397)

Replace above with giant asteroid collision, ultrabug, or any other favorite apocalypse. All matters of when, not if. But the honest will admit that despite the likelihood of happening eventually, and the significance of the impact, it is not necessarily something we need to worry our little noggins over at the moment.

Re:Money climax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301393)

"The cost to buy out our lives and hearts" gets a little bit lower each time someone gives away political power for money.

Plausible Deniability (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about a year ago | (#45301149)

It's good for the gov't, and good for the corps too!

Shame We the People get screwed when they use it

Re:Plausible Deniability (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#45301203)

*End* This System

Re:Plausible Deniability (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#45301273)

It's good for the gov't, and good for the corps too!

Shame We the People get screwed when they use it

Corporations are People, too!

Re:Plausible Deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301699)

Yep, they're sociopaths that give two shits about human life.

Re:Plausible Deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301355)

It's good for the gov't, and good for the corps too!

Shame We the People get screwed when they use it

Sure, and while we're at it we should stop teacher's unions from contributing to political campaigns, too.

Right?

Re:Plausible Deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301471)

It is not unheard of to forbid political contributions from private entities.

You won't find a perfect solution anywhere but there are tried systems out there that are better than the one we currently have.

Re:Plausible Deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301759)

Yes, that sounds pretty broken.
A teacher's union should be informing people on teacher's issues so they can vote and otherwise act appropriately in an informed manner.
It's not like teachers are one homogeneous mass that share the same political opinions.

Lucrative, not powerful, message.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301151)

For those looking to get into office and competing against candidates with a non-incumbent broadband policy.

just donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301163)

The only reason corporations have this power is because the people don't donate for good causes..
Instead they donate towards corporations.

Re:just donate (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#45301337)

Why should anyone donate to have a government servant put in place? It's pretty ridiculous. There should be no donations allowed. And there should be voting on issues, rather than people. Being a politician should just be a job, not a popularity contest.

Re:just donate (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#45301619)

And there should be voting on issues

LOL, are you drunk?

Re:just donate (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45301803)

According to one of my history teachers, the only reason public servants were originally paid is because they didn't think people would do the job otherwise. Of course, back then politician was rarely a full time job.

Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301169)

Why wouldn't they oppose a government program to put them out of business? Would car dealerships be upset if the city government opened up a lot and undercut their sales with taxpayer money? Is the government entering a market really competition when they can have all the tools of government to help them succeed?

That's what votes are for (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#45301263)

Votes, not money, decide the answer; but you can campaign untruthfully with no ramifications. At that point money = votes.

Corporations don't live or breathe, people do. And the people who run those corporations and profit from them have the exact same weight in the ballot box as anyone else. Anyone who is used to getting their way every day because they have money finds this equality to be horribly unfair.

Here's the thing: if Comcast made a product that was so fabulous that nobody would even want a government run version we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Re:That's what votes are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301345)

"money = votes"
For some values of "votes." Namely, the votes of stupid people.
Solution: Outlaw stupid people.

Re:That's what votes are for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301581)

which pretty much means outlaw black people.

Re:That's what votes are for (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#45301545)

So whats the solution? Make it illegal to state a political opinion? Make it illegal to pay someone to state theirs? Make it illegal to say political opinions on the air?

Re:That's what votes are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301679)

Require good civics classes in schools? Require companies to pay a good enough wage ( / have a good enough economy) that everyone can afford to take at least an hour or two off to research the options and make an informed vote?

Re:That's what votes are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301719)

Bring back the fairness doctrine to force the airing of opposing opinions. It's not rocket science.

Re:That's what votes are for (5, Insightful)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about a year ago | (#45301763)

So whats the solution? Make it illegal to state a political opinion? Make it illegal to pay someone to state theirs? Make it illegal to say political opinions on the air?

Yes. Yes. No.

Corporations have disproportionate cash resources compared to individuals and so should be disqualified from "expressing an opinion". If the CEOs, CFOs and CIOs want to influence elections to protect their gravy train, they can do so on a personal basis. They should never be permitted to redirect corporate funds towards campaigns. Also, while we're at it, to be fair no individual should be permitted to spend more than a reasonable amount as a campaign contribution. Say... $1,000

Candidates should stand on their merits, not their wallets.

Re:That's what votes are for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301775)

You remove corporate personship status and prevent corporate contributions to political compaigns.

Re:Why not? (2)

akinliat (1771190) | about a year ago | (#45301411)

Why wouldn't they oppose a government program to put them out of business? Would car dealerships be upset if the city government opened up a lot and undercut their sales with taxpayer money? Is the government entering a market really competition when they can have all the tools of government to help them succeed?

Because it's not going to put them out of business -- it just means that they can't keep gouging their customers for mediocre service. Government exists to serve the public interest, which public broadband clearly does. If a national quasi-monopoly wants to try and offer better/cheaper service, then they're welcome to try.

What they have no right to do, however, is interfere with the political process. They do not get a vote, because they are not people, and I've never seen any viable argument for allowing corporations (or anyone else) to buy votes.

Too expensive (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#45301173)

It would be nice if they'd offer 10Mbps to $10.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301299)

I doubt their costs work that way. It'd be more like 10Mbps for $44.

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301429)

That price isn't high enough to be worth it. Most customers aren't going to come close to averaging 10mbps over a month, much less 100mbps over a month, so on the whole, the provider can sell 100mbps connections and actually make a profit AND have capacity to meet demand. If everyone were to actually only buy the bandwidth they needed, most providers wouldn't make enough to build networks capable of meeting the needs of those customers who actually needed higher data rates.

And this is why... (5, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | about a year ago | (#45301177)

...Lobbying needs to be illegal. Period.

If you make the period illegal. . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301237)

. . .life will be just one vast run-on sentence, but I think that, past the joke here, the broader point is that you need both punctuation and a feedback loop because LOBBYING HAPPENS whether you have a law to stop it or not and if lobbying is outlawed then only outlaws will lobby, reaching the broader (band) conclusion that the appropriate thing to do in the fact of lobbying is exactly what's going on here: get the information out there and let the (presumably non-low-information) voters figure it out because maybe Comcast IS the badguy in this equation, maybe not

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301251)

You are absolutely correct! Why should mere citizens have any say in their government? They should just bow down and serve as is there place in life.

Re:And this is why... (4, Insightful)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45301405)

There's a whole universe between "people should shut up" and "people with money can spend unlimited on corruption if they call it contributions".

Almost all democracies limit the money flowing around politics. None has done it perfectly, but the US has a particularly bad version.

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301295)

Nobody wants to admit that capitalism is actually the problem here. And no, I don't mean the ideal of capitalism where free market fixes everything. I mean the reality of capitalism where greed rules everything.

Re:And this is why... (3, Insightful)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about a year ago | (#45301465)

Greed is the real problem. Today's crony capitalism is just the latest way for the destructive force of unchecked greed to manifest itself. Greed consumes.

Re:And this is why... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#45301701)

Capitalism is driven by greed, it is the basic underpinning of the theory.

Re:And this is why... (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#45301305)

Passing an Amendment is difficult enough, and you want to repeal the First Amendment. As bad as Lobbying sounds not having the law that allows Lobbying to occur would be much much worse.

Re:And this is why... (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45301425)

Passing an Amendment is difficult enough, and you want to repeal the First Amendment.

Not necessarily; to me, it sound like he wants to get rid of this stupid concepts that corporation == a person, and that money == speech.

Because, see, the First Amendment gives the People a right to petition the government for redress of grievances; what it does not provide for is a way for any person or group to buy the legislation they want to have enacted.

Besides, according to the Constitution money cannot equal speech, because free speech is an equal proposition, and having more money than other people is not supposed to mean you have more free speech than they do. I don't even understand how such a thing could make sense to anyone.

Re:And this is why... (3, Insightful)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about a year ago | (#45301807)

Passing an Amendment is difficult enough, and you want to repeal the First Amendment. As bad as Lobbying sounds not having the law that allows Lobbying to occur would be much much worse.

Bull. Nobody is talking about removing your right to write your elected officials a letter asking them to do or not do something. What is being talked about is removing your right to stuff the envelope full of money.

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301313)

Agreed. All politicians, Democrat or Republican, are now bought and paid for by companies and special interests. This is new meaning of taxation without representation.

Re:And this is why... (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#45301343)

Lobbying used to be called bribery. Funds for campaigns should be taken from the city/state/country funds, in equal parts for all candidates.

Re:And this is why... (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#45301563)

Funds for campaigns should be taken from the city/state/country funds, in equal parts for all candidates.

Wonderful! Im a candidate. Funds, please.

Re:And this is why... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#45301677)

Funds, please.

5000 signatures first please, and remember we'll call a sampling of them, so they better be real.

Then we expect some expense reports for the funds, and remember we may audit those, and there's all sorts of felony stuff for misusing the funds. And you can't hide behind a corporation. This is on you.

What you thought you could say you were a candidate and then buy a boat?

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301729)

No problem. Just make sure to provide the receipts showing it was all spent on your campaign. Feel free to pay back any portion that wasn't or go to jail for fraud. :)

Re:And this is why... (3, Interesting)

alexhs (877055) | about a year ago | (#45301461)

if Comcast's donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.

This is the USA, completely oblivious to the message that most other developed counties would get, which is indeed that corruption should be illegal, not called "lobbying" and legal.
Here again you have the 1% ruling the country acting against the 99%, and the relayed message is that the 1% elected representatives better bow to the 1% rulers. And what's the point of electing representatives, then ?

Re:And this is why... (2)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#45301779)

...Lobbying needs to be illegal. Period.

Define lobbying. If I write my Congressman and say, "stop the dam". I've just lobbied. I think what you're really aiming at is, me writing the Congressman and saying, "Remember me? I'm one of your tier-1 donors who also donated an extra $100,000 to your PAC. Build the dam".

The former is a legitimate functioning of our system. The latter is bribery that flies under the radar because some lawyers baked just the right logic pretzel so, "money is speech".

IMHO, getting the money out is going to require an amendment to the Constitution. Soldiers give up their rights when they join the army. If you declare a candidacy, you should give up the right to speak during the campaign, except through a publicly funded channel. That's one idea. The devil is always in the details; but this seems like a good starting point to reason about the issue.

Really though, I just wish we had more integrity in our "leadership" and/or a more credible anti-corruption movement in the USA. We've been through things like this before [wikipedia.org] and reformed it without an amendment.

If you've got the population density... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301179)

If you've got the population density... go for it! I would love to see this happen. Although, a lower cost option would be great as well. I pay $25/mo for 2 mbps. I'd love to get 10 mpbs for the same price. Although if costs to maintain/recouple floors the price at $45, I'd still rather give my money to this than ever give Comcast any of my money.

A powerful message indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301181)

Local politicians really are in it for their communities. Challenging them with outside money will just give them all the more reason to push ahead with reforms.

Re:A powerful message indeed (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45301447)

Local politicians really are in it for their communities.

FWIW, just because one mayor isn't a total douche about broadband does not mean that all local politicians are "in it for their communities."

Hell, it doesn't even mean that any of that same mayor's other policies are sound.

_IF_ Comcast is attempting to sway elections? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301189)

IF?! As opposed to civic minded charity, a general interest in our political process?

Public utility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301209)

If it's to run like a public utility, then it should dig the trenches up people's houses, fill them up with fiber, and rent them out to private service providers at a price that covers the costs of building it. This would break the technical monopoly of the ISP (good reach), without exposing the city to the complexities of running a data network.

And Yet (5, Insightful)

fullback (968784) | about a year ago | (#45301219)

people will continue to parrot the line that the reason the U.S. has expensive and slow internet service is because the country is too big.
"It's too big!"
Nonsense. If it's too big, how in the world did you get those water, sewer and phone lines?
Watch how many people will say the same thing again and again in comments below.
"It's too big!"

Re:And Yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301361)

"It's too big!"

That's what she said.

Re:And Yet (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#45301383)

If we're arguing about places like Middle of Nowhere Northern Idaho not having broadband then yes it's too big. The terrain is too obtuse to put Phone Lines, or Cable Lines out to every little place. Every town or City, sure. Every farm, ranch, or cabin? Not happening.

Re:And Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301493)

Nobody is talking about those places except you perhaps.

He's talking about those places with piped water - e.g. Why is broadband so crap in the US cities?

Re:And Yet (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301431)

The "It's too big" argument only applies in the country or in small towns (like here in Montana). After all, most of these areas do not have sewer or water lines but instead use septic and wells. But it makes absolutely no sense in the big cities of the United States where all of this infrastructure exists. We shouldn't be concerned that some areas have expensive Internet service, but it is concerning that everyone has expensive Internet service.

Re:And Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301451)

A large portion of the rural population of Missouri and other states don't have water and sewer lines, but instead have self-drilled wells and sewage ponds because they cannot get water or sewer out that far.

The underlying problem is not solely that the country is too big. It's also too hilly, too swampy, too forested, too windy, too dry, and too wet.

Re:And Yet (2)

faedle (114018) | about a year ago | (#45301467)

Well, because water and sewer lines don't need to connect to a national network, and the "hard work" of building the phone infrastructure was paid for when we had a different regulatory regime. In fact, most small towns in the US would still have small independent exchanges with poor (or no) connectivity to the national network if it wasn't for some key regulatory decisions made in the 1930's and 1940's.

It IS, in fact, too big given our current way our telecommunications infrastructure is paid for. The only incentive telecom companies have is a profit motive, and spending $10 million to pull a high-capacity fiber or build a digital microwave relay to a place like Burns, Oregon to only service a few hundred subscribers doesn't return the kind of investment today's stockholders want, even if there was a local "last mile" solution to deliver it (which there likely isn't). Burns is over 100 miles away from it's nearest big city (Bend, Oregon) which is, itself, 160 miles from the nearest city with a peering point.

Re:And Yet (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301477)

Nonsense. If it's too big, how in the world did you get those water, sewer and phone lines?

That logic would work if my turd has to travel from San Francisco to New York.

Re:And Yet (1)

kvn (64836) | about a year ago | (#45301761)

If it's too big, how in the world did you get those water, sewer and phone lines?

You forget that in rural 'merka, water == a well, sewer == septic system and phone lines took forever to get that far. Look at a cellular coverage map for reinforcement of that fact. It's not "too big", but rather it's too sparsely populated in some locations.

Re:And Yet (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45301791)

The internet service in the country.. it's-- it's... It's too big!

What?! How dare a company look out for itself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301255)

I'm shocked! How could a large company possibly do something as awful as donating money to an organization that looks out for its interests? That's absurd. That would be almost as unheard of as a tech company lobbying for more H1Bs, or labor unions supporting the candidates that will get them better treatment, or big banks paying to promote policies favorable to them; simply not possible!

Use your brains voters. People who vote based primarilly on high-priced ads and candidate marketing (not to mention on inflammatory and biased media "reports") are idiots and shouldn't be allowed to vote IMHO. Instead, learn the candidates true positions on issues you might care about, and vote accordingly. I know it's way to much to ask from most citizens, but it's really not that complicated and would completely deflate all the big lobbying money and help level the playing field without even needing major campaign finance reform (which would also be a good idea, but never seems to actually happen due to internal forces working against it).

Re:What?! How dare a company look out for itself! (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#45301407)

I feel that DVRs are vital to a healthy democracy. Being able to skip all political ads, I feel, has made me a more informed (or, rather, less misinformed) voter this year.

Re:What?! How dare a company look out for itself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301529)

Exactly. Although, an intelligent person should be able to ignore or disregard most of the crap in political ads anyway, the intelligence of the U.S. voting public on average seems to be something around 3rd grade level. As such, I'm all for anything that keeps people from watching those expensive, and usually misleading if not completely false, political ads.

Kleptocracy... (2, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#45301271)

This is just the way capitalism works in the US. Corporations buy politicians (and get rid of politicians who don't go along with their program).
The free market is wonderful.
USA is number 1 !!!!

Re:Kleptocracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301409)

Government interference and government sponsored monopoly is not capitalim. You are confusing big government regulations with capitolism, they are opposites.

Re:Kleptocracy... (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#45301771)

That's not a free market. That's crony capitalism, which is condemned in no uncertain terms by the free-market types.

Perhaps Google's plan is working? (4, Insightful)

froggymana (1896008) | about a year ago | (#45301287)

Isn't this what Google wanted? I've always been under the impression that Google didn't necessarily want to become a large ISP, but instead wanted to spark competition.

Hard ball (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year ago | (#45301301)

I'm shocked that businesses and politicians are playing hard ball!

Why can businesses donate? (1)

Control-Z (321144) | about a year ago | (#45301307)

Businesses aren't people, they can't vote. Why are they allowed to donate vast sums of money to politicians? And we wonder why we are in the lobbyist->politician->corporation mess we're in now.

Re:Why can businesses donate? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45301437)

Businesses are groups of one or more people banded together with a common commercial purposes. At present, grouping together does not waive their rights as citizens.

Re:Why can businesses donate? (1)

Control-Z (321144) | about a year ago | (#45301525)

Yeah they are banded together to make money, and if they're making money from the government then taxpayers pay the bill.

Re:Why can businesses donate? (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45301571)

Why are businesses allowed to donate vast sums of money?

Because the people who set the rules are politicians. Politicians who get vast sums of money from businesses and don't want to see those vast sums go away. So they might make some token rules to make it seem like they're getting rid of the vast sums, but they won't REALLY get rid of the vast sums.

It's the same reason why the "politician pushes a lobbying firms agenda->retires->gets a cushy job in said lobbying firm->lobbies his former "co-workers" (other politicians) for said lobbying form" cycle won't be broken either. What politician would vote against getting a cushy job in exchange for having to do less work while in Congress? (Less work being "just shut your brain off and push this bill using these talking points.")

RTFA (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45301333)

According to the numbers in the article a Comcat executive contributed $700 and the company contributed $10,000 to PACs. Sorry buit I doubt that $10,700 will buy an election.
Look at all contribution to People for Ed Murray [wa.gov] . The total contribution are $122,800 making Comcast's contribution 8.7%.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301423)

$10K probably wouldn't even buy a city council election, unless perhaps it's in Wyoming or something.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301463)

According to the numbers in the article a Comcat executive contributed $700 and the company contributed $10,000 to PACs. Sorry buit I doubt that $10,700 will buy an election.

Of course this is the *reported* donation. According to Colbert's investigation, one can create a SuperPAC that has no requirement to report where their money goes.

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301533)

It'll let me run a radio add 8/day at rush hour for a month I just need to figure out what I can say in 30 seconds that will make it worth while.

And the employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301547)

Don't forget, the employees are given a line about how they need to defeat this candidate and to contribute to the other side.

I once got into a discussion with a Comcast employee. He was outraged that I called his company a local monopoly. He explained how they have to pay for access and other stuff - and the whole "not having any competition" was completely lost on him.

In other words, he drank Comcast's management's Kool-Aid hook line and sinker. I guarantee you that Comcast employees like him are contributing to the other side.

Re:RTFA (2)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about a year ago | (#45301723)

When elections are won or lost based a few percentage points, then giving a 8.7% boost to a campaign can certainly sway the outcome.

Money is speech (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#45301335)

Money is speech. Citizens United vs. FEC said so. THIS IS 'MERIKA.

US lagging behind in pricing compared to world (4, Insightful)

SirLoper (827094) | about a year ago | (#45301349)

Already in the US, we pay more per Mb/s than pretty much any other 1st world country. This isn't due to the size, as some would have you believe, but rather due to the lack of oversight, regulation and, most importantly, competition. There are no laws preventing the formation of what basically become monopolies from companies such as Comcast, where they can charge what they want and basically print their own money. I sincerely hope that they are not successful in basically paying to avoid having real competition. I know I, personally, would love to have "real" Internet speeds provided to me at world-comparable rates, no matter if they came from State, county, city or private sources. Just bring it on!

Re:US lagging behind in pricing compared to world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301455)

Actually, companies like Comcast have monopolies created BECAUSE of government regulation and corrupt local governments that are in bed with the telecom/cable companies to artificially limit competition. If any company could lay cable in a town, there would be more competition and better prices.

Re:US lagging behind in pricing compared to world (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#45301693)

If any company could lay cable in a town, there would be more competition and better prices.

There is little justification for that position. Instead, it is far more likely that there would be no cable laid or prices would be higher. This sort of infrastructure is known as a Natural Monopoly [wikipedia.org] .

Re:US lagging behind in pricing compared to world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301629)

"Comcast executive vice president made in an op-ed this summer, suggesting that the reason there weren't higher broadband speeds was that consumers didn't want them." http://www.geekwire.com/2013/comcast-exec-gigabit-bandwidth-speed/

Ok maybe I don't NEED a 1Gbps {Not that I wouldn't get it anyway} but when they are offering 100mbps for less than half what you charge then it's easy to see through the spin.

Re:US lagging behind in pricing compared to world (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#45301631)

Unless things changed while i wasn't looking, at least Canada and Australia, very much first world countries, are getting screwed over way more than the US. I know Canada had a lot of oversight, too.

Its mainly just lack of competition that's the issue. Regulations are definitely needed, but alone they do nothing if no one wants to play ball with the rules.

Why pay to be spied on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301375)

Internet access should be free, especially since The Ministry of Truth needs it so badly

Competition is key (2)

Crashmarik (635988) | about a year ago | (#45301413)

I don't care what any of these companies do as long as they aren't my only choice.

What the rest of the world calls corruption... (5, Insightful)

X.25 (255792) | about a year ago | (#45301433)

...in the US is called "lobbying".

Quite sad, actually.

Re:What the rest of the world calls corruption... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301753)

Oh teh noes. A $10k donation from a company to a politician. The evil corruptions!!!1

and the problem is... ? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#45301505)

It's far from obvious that providing broadband using public infrastructure is a good idea. Why shouldn't Comcast oppose it? If not companies who have an interest in not seeing it happen, then who is going to oppose it?

Privatization Madness (1)

srobert (4099) | about a year ago | (#45301585)

In an earlier time, the voters would have approved of broadband access as a public utility without much hesitation. We still have some public utilities today in the wake of those times (thank God). But such debates today are off-limits due to corporate ownership of the media. Notice how quickly Obama threw the single-payer advocates under the bus when the debates over health care began. That was a complete capitulation to the health insurance industry.(And some of you are naive enough to believe Obama is a liberal or even a socialist). Look for the Mayor of Seattle to be demonized as a "communist" throughout the right wing echo chamber.

And the masses do nothing... (4, Insightful)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about a year ago | (#45301599)

Is there huge public backlash against Citizens United? Are people marching in the streets against corporate "lobbying"? Are people dumping Comcast because they disagree with their business practices? Will people come out in droves to denounce McGinn's opponent for benefiting from sweet corporate cash? Are the corporations who will do _anything_ to make a profit getting the message that the public disagrees with their business practices?

No.

Stories like this make me upset, because its the same as story about one soldier dying in a war where millions of soldiers are killed. This is one tiny example of how business works in America. Every day in every federal, state, county, and city goverment shit like this happens. Lets have a discussion about that.

Maybe Comcast will get "Whitman'd" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301607)

Whitman's spending actually backfired on me and a lot of other voters. The state needed somebody who could manage the budget. She spent like crazy, making us sick of all her commercials. Brown timed his ads towards the end of the campaign for maximum effectiveness. I don't know how many people looked at it from that PoV. I just know I did. Aside from that, I knew Brown could get the unions to accept less when they had to because he was "one of them". Whitman would have tried to use a heavy hand, gotten a lot of pushback, and likely done nothing more than reinvigorate public union activists while disrupting services..

Anyway, she threw buckets of money to become governor and failed. I've seen a number of other big-money backed California propositions fail also. Sometimes the manipulation is so transparent that even California voters see right through it.

And its perfectly legal :( (1)

drjoe1e6 (461358) | about a year ago | (#45301621)

Read "The Fine Print" by investigative journalist David Cay Johnston. He details how big business is buying laws and politicians. He also describes some municipal victories, where a plan like Seattle's works to deliver broadband for lower costs.

Cap the donation limit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45301689)

Could we limit how much an individual or organization can donate to a candidate? Set the max to some multiple of the minimum wage? Limit the max so that 75% of workers earn the max with a week's pay or something?

Overselling it (5, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#45301793)

If Comcast's donations help Murray defeat McGinn, it will send a powerful message to mayors in other American cities considering initiatives to increase broadband competition.

This article was written by someone who didn't do their homework.

There are a lot of reasons McGinn is probably going to be voted out. I doubt anyone's even going to connect his defeat with his lip-service regarding city-wide fiber.

McGinn has consistently pissed off both the business community in Seattle and large chunks of its citizenry. It all started before he was mayor - a lot of people were leery he was too much of an ideologue. As candidates do, he claimed he'd be pragmatic - promising he wouldn't let his personal opposition to the Highway 99 tunnel affect his mayoral decisions regarding the voter-approved project. Of course he got into office and immediately did everything he could to derail the project (but failed miserably - in addition to being an ideologue, the dude is not an effective leader). Anyway, it's gone downhill from there...

well this is simple (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45301811)

Boy did they point the scope right at their foot. If I were the mayor, I'd get in front of some cameras and tear them a new ass. I'd say exactly what they're doing any why, call them greedy and evil, and tell anyone who supports me to switch to another ISP. There goes a couple hundred thousands customers. Then Comcast might re-assess how wise it was from a profit standpoint to try something so stupid.
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