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  1. #81
    Senior Member alexx's Avatar
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    Stop lying?

    That would be one way....

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  2. #82
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    That idea is heinous to me. Forcing people to pay for politicians whom they despise to get elected is a terrible imposition on them on their beliefs, and outlawing private political contributions is a major violation of the right to free speech.
    Politicians are our public servants. We are their employers. Therefore, we should pay for the means of selecting them.

    Money is not speech. Period. You don't express a preference with money, it is merely a means of exchange of economic value.

    How can one hold these two ideas at the same time?
    One involves the efficient running of the system. The other involves hijacking the system for selfish gains.

  3. #83
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Politicians are our public servants. We are their employers. Therefore, we should pay for the means of selecting them.
    No, we should not. As employers, we pay their SALARIES. We do NOT pay for them to get elected. It's bad enough that people have to pay the salaries for many of them; being forced at gunpoint to donate to their campaigns is outrageous.


    Money is not speech. Period.
    Money is speech. Period.


    You don't express a preference with money, it is merely a means of exchange of economic value.
    Ridiculous. You express preferences with money every single day.


    One involves the efficient running of the system. The other involves hijacking the system for selfish gains.
    What if it ISN'T hijacking the system? What if the "special interests" want what is best for society as a whole, but the dealmaking and patronage only benefits the politician and a small subset of his or her constituency?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  4. #84
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    A profession is only as respectable as the people who work in it. You may be respectable, but haven't there been enough completely disrespectable politicians that a degree, even a large degree, of distrust is warranted?
    Honestly, no, I don't think so. Certainly there have been dishonorable politicians, but I truly believe that the overwhelming lot is - like everyone else - a mix of good and bad bound up with good intentions. That doesn't meet my standard for reflexive distrust.

    1) We can have society without sacred cows.

    2) People can bond over shared distrust, as well.
    It's not just a matter of people bonding over something. It's that governing is impossible when people believe separate sets of factual information and don't even have basic human trust in the people they've elected. I'm not suggesting that people should trust their ideas if they don't happen to agree with them. I just don't see why that has to become distrusting their motives.

    You're a libertarian, so I'm guessing you are opposed to most of the policies of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc... do you think they're motivated by a lust for power and are likely to lie and commit crimes, or do you just think that they're wrong?

    I've worked two big-city Democratic primaries in the past three years. Some of the stuff that goes on is reprehensible.
    That doesn't fit with what I've seen. The biggest "scandals" these days are silly things like pre-booking all the vans in a district for Election Day, the great Cigarettes-to-the-homeless scandal, passing out fliers with the wrong dates on them, or telling people they can't vote if they have a parking ticket. Even the "walking around money" for ward bosses that used to be standard operating procedure has almost disappeared. We can debate whether these standard campaign tactics are good or bad, but I don't think the republic will fall because of them. And I know that things aren't nearly as rough-and-tumble as they used to be.


    1) Calling something "ideology" doesn't make it right or wrong.
    Didn't say it was right or wrong. Just pointing out that you were using an ideological lens to condemn the "honor" in political pork. If people like me want legislators to serve their constituents in this way, and people like you don't, does one of us have to have the "honorable" position, or can we just have different points of view?

    2) Honestly, what percentage of pork would you consider waste? I guarantee that the average American would put the percentage much higher than you would.
    Depends on the economy. Right now? - lots, lots, lots. I'm all for a second stimulus, and don't think the first one went near far enough. But I'm not just a spendaholic either... when the economy rebounds, I'm all for scaling back a bit. I'm something of a Keynesian (although not entirely).

    3) You take a pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, not a pledge to bring home the bacon for the home team.
    If you believe that upholding the Constitution is the only duty of representatives, and they are not also obligated to serve the interests of their nation and their constituents, then a) I can see why you like Ron Paul; and b) a lot of people would disagree with you.

    Or, you know, you could have principled positions and implement policy changes based on them.
    Why would you assume that the support I was referring to isn't principled? A lot of people go into politics to do good for people and that's their highest principle. Building a road for people who need a road is a noble thing. And if you're a politician who has supported labor, what's wrong with calling in that favor at election time?

    Loyalty to a friend is fine. Loyalty in politics can be very dangerous. Why should politics be easy? It's SUPPOSED to be hard to get things done in government.
    I'm something of a loyalty purist in just about every way, and I believe it's the highest virtue in politics. The people who stand by you when you are starting out, and stand by you're getting hit, are the people you want standing by you when you're on top as well. Elected officials need to be able to trust the people around them. And the loyalty has to flow both ways. If you work for a politician, and disagree with something they're doing, you can confront them, you can resign, or you can suck it up. Those are all acceptable. But disloyalty is cowardly and self-serving.

  5. #85
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    re: publicly financed campaigns

    There's actually an interesting idea I read about several years ago, where the public money is rationed in equal amounts among the voting-eligible population (not actually given to them, but this is the theory). For the sake of the argument, let's say it's $10 per person. That money is held, and then when people file their tax returns, they select the party or candidate they want their $10 to go to. There are a lot of kinks in the system, but I kind of like the idea of giving everyone an equal financial say in where campaign dollars go. That would also allow third-party candidates or third parties themselves to raise money in keeping with the level of support they actually have in the public. Still uses taxpayer money to fund elections and campaigns, and still gets the big money out of politics, but also distributes financial support in accordance with popular support.

    It's logistically a tough thing, because they tie the process to tax returns, when, clearly, not everyone eligible to vote files tax returns. I'd be very much against that part of it. Also, I'm not sure what barrier they would use to get a politician or party even on the list of possibilities. That said, if they work out those kinks, I think it's an interesting idea.

  6. #86
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    No, we should not. As employers, we pay their SALARIES. We do NOT pay for them to get elected. It's bad enough that people have to pay the salaries for many of them; being forced at gunpoint to donate to their campaigns is outrageous.
    *sigh*

    Last time I checked, any good employer pays for the process of hiring an employee. In fact, this is so encoded into our law that recovery for the cost of hiring a new employee is a recoverable damage for breach of an employment contract. As such, we, the people, the employers of our public servants, ought to be responsible for paying for the process of hiring those public servants, which we have decided to use the election process for.

    Grow up and quit whining about paying taxes. I don't like it either - but it's necessary, and better than the alternative (Somalia)

    Money is speech. Period.
    No. Money is power. Speech can hold power, but it is not inherently so. I'm sorry you cannot see the difference here.

    Ridiculous. You express preferences with money every single day.
    No, I exchange an item for its corresponding monetary value, which had previously been exchanged for my labor. I also exchange someone else's labor or value to me for that monetary value... ooh, you see where the problem might be?

    There is no question of preference involved there whatsoever. I may prefer spending money on a 300 kt nuclear warhead over a shotgun, but that doesn't mean restricting my ability to spend money on one is a limitation on my speech. Just like not being able to hire a contract murderer is a limitation on free speech.

    What if it ISN'T hijacking the system? What if the "special interests" want what is best for society as a whole, but the dealmaking and patronage only benefits the politician and a small subset of his or her constituency?
    Read closely: "fiduciary responsibility". Any corporate interest has a legally binding fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. By its definition, it does not want what is best for society as a whole, but rather what will increase its' shareholders' value. If that is at the public's expense, than that is what the corporate interest will want, not because it may particularly want to, but because it will get taken behind the legal woodshed if it does not.

    Patronage isn't exactly the most efficient thing, on the other hand, but it's how human beings work - who doesn't take care of his friends? On the flip side, who wants to help out someone who's a complete asshole to everyone, and says its out of "principle"? Who would ever vote for someone who did nothing tangible for his own district, but voted to give that other district billions?

  7. #87
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    *sigh*

    Last time I checked, any good employer pays for the process of hiring an employee. In fact, this is so encoded into our law that recovery for the cost of hiring a new employee is a recoverable damage for breach of an employment contract. As such, we, the people, the employers of our public servants, ought to be responsible for paying for the process of hiring those public servants, which we have decided to use the election process for.
    Corporations don't use tax dollars to find their managers (well, some do now, clearly). It is not necessary to fund political campaigns, and there is no reason to believe that it will improve the caliber of candidates we will have. Why should we silence the voices of private citizens who want to enter the debate, and why should we shut out a wealthy private citizen who believes he/she would make a good candidate and is willing to give it a go?


    Grow up and quit whining about paying taxes. I don't like it either - but it's necessary, and better than the alternative (Somalia)
    Grow up and realize that there are people who are as well-informed as you who disagree with you. Better-informed, even.


    No. Money is power. Speech can hold power, but it is not inherently so. I'm sorry you cannot see the difference here.
    Donating money to politicians or to political action groups is clearly political speech.


    No, I exchange an item for its corresponding monetary value, which had previously been exchanged for my labor. I also exchange someone else's labor or value to me for that monetary value... ooh, you see where the problem might be?
    And you make exchanges voluntarily. Do you see where the problem of using taxpayer money to fund candidates might be?


    There is no question of preference involved there whatsoever. I may prefer spending money on a 300 kt nuclear warhead over a shotgun, but that doesn't mean restricting my ability to spend money on one is a limitation on my speech. Just like not being able to hire a contract murderer is a limitation on free speech.
    Murdering someone is not protected by law. Professing political beliefs is. Faulty analogy.


    Read closely: "fiduciary responsibility". Any corporate interest has a legally binding fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. By its definition, it does not want what is best for society as a whole, but rather what will increase its' shareholders' value. If that is at the public's expense, than that is what the corporate interest will want, not because it may particularly want to, but because it will get taken behind the legal woodshed if it does not.
    The interests of shareholders can mirror the interests of society at a whole. Does it always? Of course not. But neither does governmental interest. That's the whole point. It is NOT in everyone's interest to fund political candidates. They DON'T represent all of us. Many candidates represent policies that are abhorrent to Americans.


    Patronage isn't exactly the most efficient thing, on the other hand, but it's how human beings work - who doesn't take care of his friends? On the flip side, who wants to help out someone who's a complete asshole to everyone, and says its out of "principle"? Who would ever vote for someone who did nothing tangible for his own district, but voted to give that other district billions?
    Where does being an asshole come in? If I found a candidate who came out and said, "I am not going to be fighting for more tax dollars to come to our district; I am going to fight to decrease the amount of taxes taken from your paycheck and every other paycheck in this country," that would be about the least asshole-ish statement in government history. Taking care of your friends is nice. Putting any and all principles aside to do so is moral weakness.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #88
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    re: publicly financed campaigns

    There's actually an interesting idea I read about several years ago, where the public money is rationed in equal amounts among the voting-eligible population (not actually given to them, but this is the theory). For the sake of the argument, let's say it's $10 per person. That money is held, and then when people file their tax returns, they select the party or candidate they want their $10 to go to. There are a lot of kinks in the system, but I kind of like the idea of giving everyone an equal financial say in where campaign dollars go. That would also allow third-party candidates or third parties themselves to raise money in keeping with the level of support they actually have in the public. Still uses taxpayer money to fund elections and campaigns, and still gets the big money out of politics, but also distributes financial support in accordance with popular support.

    It's logistically a tough thing, because they tie the process to tax returns, when, clearly, not everyone eligible to vote files tax returns. I'd be very much against that part of it. Also, I'm not sure what barrier they would use to get a politician or party even on the list of possibilities. That said, if they work out those kinks, I think it's an interesting idea.

    Do you honestly believe that the two major parties wouldn't game the system so that they would be the only ones to benefit? They do with ballot access restrictions all the time.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #89
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Honestly, no, I don't think so. Certainly there have been dishonorable politicians, but I truly believe that the overwhelming lot is - like everyone else - a mix of good and bad bound up with good intentions. That doesn't meet my standard for reflexive distrust.
    When you have the power to tax, to levy war, to imprison/execute citizens, the standards have to be extremely high. Frankly, I think we'd get a better caliber of politician if they weren't paid at all.


    It's not just a matter of people bonding over something. It's that governing is impossible when people believe separate sets of factual information and don't even have basic human trust in the people they've elected. I'm not suggesting that people should trust their ideas if they don't happen to agree with them. I just don't see why that has to become distrusting their motives.
    Healthy natural skepticism of those in power + scandal after scandal = distrust. It's better to be skeptical of those in power than trusting.


    You're a libertarian, so I'm guessing you are opposed to most of the policies of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc... do you think they're motivated by a lust for power and are likely to lie and commit crimes, or do you just think that they're wrong?
    Both. People who believe that they are right AND that they are motivated by altruistic motives AND that they deserve to wield power are the most dangerous people of all. Have you ever heard the phrase "the attempt to create Heaven on Earth invariably produces Hell?" Or the more blunt "People who want to be in Congress are creepy people?"


    That doesn't fit with what I've seen. The biggest "scandals" these days are silly things like pre-booking all the vans in a district for Election Day, the great Cigarettes-to-the-homeless scandal, passing out fliers with the wrong dates on them, or telling people they can't vote if they have a parking ticket. Even the "walking around money" for ward bosses that used to be standard operating procedure has almost disappeared. We can debate whether these standard campaign tactics are good or bad, but I don't think the republic will fall because of them. And I know that things aren't nearly as rough-and-tumble as they used to be.
    Sure, the street-level stuff isn't as bad as it was, but is that the only kind of corruption there is? Diplomacy can be corrupt. Foreign policy can be corrupt. The appropriations process can be corrupt. Look at Obama and the claims of "revenue neutrality" for health care. Is it not corrupt to lie so directly about something that will cost trillions of dollars of taxpayer money?


    Didn't say it was right or wrong. Just pointing out that you were using an ideological lens to condemn the "honor" in political pork. If people like me want legislators to serve their constituents in this way, and people like you don't, does one of us have to have the "honorable" position, or can we just have different points of view?
    No, it's not just "different points of view." There is an honorable position regarding this question.


    Depends on the economy. Right now? - lots, lots, lots. I'm all for a second stimulus, and don't think the first one went near far enough. But I'm not just a spendaholic either... when the economy rebounds, I'm all for scaling back a bit. I'm something of a Keynesian (although not entirely).
    It's always lots.


    If you believe that upholding the Constitution is the only duty of representatives, and they are not also obligated to serve the interests of their nation and their constituents, then a) I can see why you like Ron Paul; and b) a lot of people would disagree with you.
    Upholding the Constitution IS serving the interests of the nation and its constituents.


    Why would you assume that the support I was referring to isn't principled? A lot of people go into politics to do good for people and that's their highest principle. Building a road for people who need a road is a noble thing. And if you're a politician who has supported labor, what's wrong with calling in that favor at election time?
    Because the government is not supposed to play favorites. Using government power to benefit some at the expense of all is flat-out wrong. That is why the bailouts were so egregious.


    I'm something of a loyalty purist in just about every way, and I believe it's the highest virtue in politics. The people who stand by you when you are starting out, and stand by you're getting hit, are the people you want standing by you when you're on top as well. Elected officials need to be able to trust the people around them. And the loyalty has to flow both ways. If you work for a politician, and disagree with something they're doing, you can confront them, you can resign, or you can suck it up. Those are all acceptable. But disloyalty is cowardly and self-serving.
    Loyalty to the truth and to principle is more important than loyalty to person or to party. It's higher even than loyalty to the nation.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #90
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Do you honestly believe that the two major parties wouldn't game the system so that they would be the only ones to benefit? They do with ballot access restrictions all the time.
    This is what I mean about the lack of trust leading to ungovernable circumstances. I can't guarantee that nobody will look for loopholes or that it will always operate with 100% efficiency. I'm arguing that it would be a good system, and even allowing for a little politicking around the edges is a worthy goal.

    By the way, I'm a strong supporter of the 2-party system, and we're not all ogres. There are actual reasons to limit ballot access or debate participation that fall outside the motivation of power lust. You don't have to agree with it, but you also don't have to assume that those who don't share your view are shady. I have a very close family member who was national chair of a 3rd party, and we go back and forth about this all the time. I respect where he's coming from, and I think he knows I don't hold my beliefs just to screw over his (or any other) party.

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