OBSCENITY: I SEE IT AND I KNOW IT

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is famous for his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v Ohio, 1964 in which he stated that it was hard to define hard core pornography that would be obscene, but that “I’ll know it when I see it”.

Well I find nothing obscene about sexual matters between consenting adults, though some of my former partners may disagree.

However I can see plenty of obscenity in human behavior such as war or in the various states of the human condition that exist because we do not have the true desire to eliminate them. Poverty and hunger and degradation and many forms of prejudice fit my definition of obscenity.

In this election season which, for some, is more of a full year or two or more, we are provided a prime example. That example lies in the simplest of things and legendarily is considered to be the root of all evil. Of course I am speaking of $ MONEY $

Above is a graph showing spending by the two major candidates and their parties and Super Pacs. Notice the total is over $1.5 BILLION. It will be much higher after the next nearly six weeks until the election.

To put that into perspective let’s look at some of the spending done by our government that has outraged different interest groups.

  1. Solyndra    $535 million in government guaranteed loans
  2. Planned Parenthood   $70 million directly from the federal government and a mix of Medicaid funds from both federal and state sources.
  3. Public Broadcasting   $445 million.

Those allocations together do not add up to what is spent trying to buy the highest office in the land.

Two individual donors stand out as spending money on their candidate as they expect favorable tax and regulatory treatment if he wins.

Sheldon Adelson has given $70 million to Romney’s campaign through various entities. He has stated he would spend $100 million. There’s time left to do so.

The Koch Brothers have pledged at least $60 million to Romney and efforts to defeat Obama. They have the deep pockets to afford more.

Obama doesn’t have such high rollers on his side though he’s most definitely not without his own superrich supporters.

But let’s contrast this insane fundraising and spending to election financing across the ocean.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was on Letterman Wednesday night and was asked about the process in England. Cameron replied that he spent 4-5 months visiting every area of the UK but by law he was limited to spending no more than $150,000. Total. Television advertising for elections is prohibited. (That comment drew a cheer from Letterman’s audience.)

Yet each of our candidates has donors hosting $50,000 a plate fundraisers.

I dunno. Nearly $700 million of the total number has been used to purchase television advertising. The hell of it is in states like West Virginia which is not considered up for grabs, neither party has put many ads on the air if any, while the so-called battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and others are having their airwaves polluted on a regular basis.

These ads are vacuous and inane. They contain little if any substance and most often consist of selected and highly edited sound bites, dark innuendo directed towards the opponent, and very often outright lies.

With the flurry of campaigning and ads sure to come before the first Tuesday in November, it would not surprise me that another half billion dollars is expended seeking to influence voters.

So for $2 billion total what else could we have bought.

  1. Pay and benefits of $80.000 for 25,000 previously unemployed people.
  2. One year of college at a public university for 133, 000 students.
  3. Serve 2-3 million uninsured people at private health clinics.

Now tell me you’d prefer hearing how one candidate or the other is the devil himself out to destroy civilization as we know it.

That’s obscene.

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