Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not much of a threat

A while back I lamented that Newsweek under new owners didn't seem to be covering much in gay issues. The magazine had completely sidestepped the series of court rulings overturning same-sex marriage bans. The only issue they did cover was around the time of the Olympics. It discussed how most of the male figure skaters are gay, yet they need to remain closeted to attract an audience. Not the best view of us.

So I'm quite pleased Newsweek has a decent article on the rising trend of states working to ban conversion therapy. That is the attempt to make a gay person straight. The article follows the tribulations of a young man going through such therapy to where he decides it doesn't work and his reconciliation with his father who had signed him up. The article includes the rise of the ex-gay movement, the number of psychological organizations that condemn it, and the number of ex-gay groups that have apologized and closed shop. A pretty good effort.

Alas, I must contrast that with a truly awful article. The general premise is that the Koch brothers, rich as they are and tossing money into elections as much as they are, don't have all that much to show for their efforts. They're not that much of a threat. In the 2012 election cycle their $400 million didn't capture the presidency and made only a few gains in the Senate and House. And while the Left likes to raise the Koch brothers as conservative bogeymen their influence isn't all that great. A hundred TV commercials aren't all that much more effective than ten commercials.

As I read this I was thinking it completely misses the point. Though all that money doesn't capture the heart of the voter it has captured the heart of the candidate. Those running for office see the campaign as hugely expensive and the only way to win is to ask for money. Much of that money comes from the 1%. Therefore candidates feel beholden to the rich and do their bidding, doing such things as busting unions, refusing tax increases while the national infrastructure crumbles, ranting against regulations, refusing to act on climate change, and trashing the social safety net. That's the return on the dollar the Koch brothers are looking for.

There were three comments to the article. The one by AmericanPlutocracy fills in some details I missed. According to this comment Koch money has:

* Funded the Tea Party.

* Subverted public school systems in the South.

* Through Fox News has promoted the faulty idea of "all Government is bad" which has taken over the GOP.

* Shifted attention away from income inequality and a struggling health care industry.

I'll summarize it with this:

* In general the Koch brothers are doing all they can to trash democracy, reaching into and twisting to their benefit state and local elections across the nation.

So, no, their influence is not minimal, affecting only a few Congressional races.

After the blog post in which I noted Newsweek has new owners, IBT Media, and wondered about their commitment to gay rights my dad gave me a copy of the May/June edition of Mother Jones. I haven't read all of the article he indicated, but have read enough. IBT is owned by David Jang, who is also the head of The Community, a religious organization that comes across as a cult. IBT is to support the goals of The Community.

The awful article on the Koch brothers makes me think Newsweek is hushing up what the Koch brothers are doing because Jang's politics are similar. Because of that article and with The Community in the background I have decided that I will not renew my subscription when it runs out in about 45 days.

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