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  1. #11
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Yes, yes, dramatic title. But seriously, the trends of campaign financing in this country often has me seriously concerned about our democracy, or the degree to which we have any at all.

    Corporations are pitching a bizarre product -- a radical vision of the 1st Amendment. It would give corporations rather than voters a central role in our electoral process by treating corporate political spending as protected speech. If this vision becomes reality, businesses and other big-money players will spend billions either hyping their preferred candidates or running attack ads against elected officials who don't support their preferred agenda. Voters will be forced into a couch-potato role, mere viewers of the electoral spectacle bought and paid for by wealthy companies.

    Why do campaigns even have to be so expensive in the first place? As a non-American with an outsider view, the American elections always look so glitzy and colourful compared to elections in other places. They wouldn't spend all that money and go to so much trouble to change legislation if it didn't really influence how most American citizens think. Even the writer of the article itself (see bold) writes as if she assumes that American citizens are so passive that they would necessarily be victimised by the random things they hear because they will believe anything you tell them via advertising/TV. Why would voters be “forced” into a couch-potato role? How can anyone “force” you to be a couch potato?

    If America is turning into a corporatocracy, isn't it up to the people themselves to exercise their personal power? Compare with how the people of Iceland are standing up and refusing to be held in debt slavery to pay off the debts of private banks with interest on top. America could do the same. It doesn't matter if corporations spend their money on shouting out their message. Nobody has to listen if they don't want to.

  2. #12
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    Why do campaigns even have to be so expensive in the first place? As a non-American with an outsider view, the American elections always look so glitzy and colourful compared to elections in other places. They wouldn't spend all that money and go to so much trouble to change legislation if it didn't really influence how most American citizens think. Even the writer of the article itself (see bold) writes as if she assumes that American citizens are so passive that they would necessarily be victimised by the random things they hear because they will believe anything you tell them via advertising/TV. Why would voters be “forced” into a couch-potato role? How can anyone “force” you to be a couch potato?

    If America is turning into a corporatocracy, isn't it up to the people themselves to exercise their personal power? Compare with how the people of Iceland are standing up and refusing to be held in debt slavery to pay off the debts of private banks with interest on top. America could do the same. It doesn't matter if corporations spend their money on shouting out their message. Nobody has to listen if they don't want to.
    Many Americans (such as myself) do not want to see full public funding of campaigns, though. A) it's extremely expensive; and B) it's just not right to force all taxpayers (even those who do not vote out of principle or lack of acceptable options) to fund the campaigns of politicians that do not hold their beliefs. I despise most politicians in Washington. It's enough that my tax money pays for their salaries, not to mention the awful legislation they create. Forcing me to pay for them to get elected is repulsive.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    Ah, I see. You could just have the campaigns more low-key though, then they'd be less expensive? In Europe they are rather low-key. More boring in comparison, but that is to do with the culture, I think. If politicians here made their campaigns so glitzy and obviously emotional, it would actually turn people off and make them suspicious.

    If the writer of the article is correct about a couch-potato culture really being so prevalent, if that culture changed the campaigns would naturally become less expensive because there would be less point in spending money trying to appeal to people in that way. I remember watching Obama's ads on youtube, you could cry or something with all the lighting and the colours, lol. Merkel was recently re-elected but all I saw of her in my area were random posters of a head shot on street lamps. Really not particularly attractive or anything, and most other parties' candidates had similar standard head shots.

  4. #14
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    Ah, I see. You could just have the campaigns more low-key though, then they'd be less expensive? In Europe they are rather low-key. More boring in comparison, but that is to do with the culture, I think. If politicians here made their campaigns so glitzy and obviously emotional, it would actually turn people off and make them suspicious.

    If the writer of the article is correct about a couch-potato culture really being so prevalent, if that culture changed the campaigns would naturally become less expensive because there would be less point in spending money trying to appeal to people in that way. I remember watching Obama's ads on youtube, you could cry or something with all the lighting and the colours, lol. Merkel was recently re-elected but all I saw of her in my area were random posters of a head shot on street lamps. Really not particularly attractive or anything, and most other parties' candidates had similar standard head shots.

    The political mainstream in the United States is also quite narrow. There aren't any communist, socialist, green, or far-right nationalist parties of any note here. It's basically a choice between two parties, one centrist and one center-right. Both of them support a mixed economy and interventionist foreign policy (for the most part). A lot of it has to do with the way our federal government is set up, and its relationship to state and local governments. A good portion of the differentiation comes from branding and personality.
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  5. #15
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    Why do campaigns even have to be so expensive in the first place? As a non-American with an outsider view, the American elections always look so glitzy and colourful compared to elections in other places. They wouldn't spend all that money and go to so much trouble to change legislation if it didn't really influence how most American citizens think. Even the writer of the article itself (see bold) writes as if she assumes that American citizens are so passive that they would necessarily be victimised by the random things they hear because they will believe anything you tell them via advertising/TV. Why would voters be “forced” into a couch-potato role? How can anyone “force” you to be a couch potato?

    If America is turning into a corporatocracy, isn't it up to the people themselves to exercise their personal power? Compare with how the people of Iceland are standing up and refusing to be held in debt slavery to pay off the debts of private banks with interest on top. America could do the same. It doesn't matter if corporations spend their money on shouting out their message. Nobody has to listen if they don't want to.
    30 years of Reagan, Rush and other Republican rhetoric, the picture emerges that since Socialism is the greatest evil, we must do anything to avoid that, taxes, govt spending and regulation are the only wrongs we must fight against, and capitalism is seen as the political savior, so if it means giving corporations the rights of "the people", then apparently, that's what should be done. After all, as the rationale goes, the leaders of corporations are only "people" who have pulled themselves up by the boostraps, further. So they rightfully lay larger claim to "the rights of the people". If you want more, just become one of them.
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  6. #16
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    30 years of Reagan, Rush and other Republican rhetoric, the picture emerges that since Socialism is the greatest evil, we must do anything to avoid that, taxes, govt spending and regulation are the only wrongs we must fight against, and capitalism is seen as the political savior, so if it means giving corporations the rights of "the people", then apparently, that's what should be done. After all, as the rationale goes, the leaders of corporations are only "people" who have pulled themselves up by the boostraps, further. So they rightfully lay larger claim to "the rights of the people". If you want more, just become one of them.

    IF ONLY Republicans actually disliked government spending and were pro-capitalism. Bush 43 was the biggest government spending hiker since LBJ.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    Ah, I see. You could just have the campaigns more low-key though, then they'd be less expensive? In Europe they are rather low-key. More boring in comparison, but that is to do with the culture, I think. If politicians here made their campaigns so glitzy and obviously emotional, it would actually turn people off and make them suspicious.
    Being "low-key" has very little to do with the expense; in most of Europe, people have to vote for political parties that control regional representatives rather than vote for specific individuals who are more accountable to constituents than the party leadership-expensive campaigns is the price of greater accountability, and public financing of campaigns would empower party bosses at the expense of voters.

  8. #18
    Feelin' FiNe speculative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I am a big fan of representative democracy, and as such I'm brought down by an anxiety that our government (already antiquated and lagging behind other developed democracies) is becoming less and less of one and more and more of a corporatocracy.
    There was an interesting show on PBS tonight about journalism. It stated that during most of the last century, there was 1 reporter for every PR person. Now, there is 1 reporter for every 3 PR people. Newspapers are drying up, and network news isn't doing original investigative reporting. Remember how CBS' 60 Minutes used to go around with hidden cameras to used car lots that were scamming people and similar things? They haven't for many years. People just go to a location where a press conference is being held, and then they broadcast the press conference. Next, they just have a bunch of talking heads sitting around giving their opinions on the subject.

    That's not a left/right thing, but a structural change in the system, and that's not journalism. An uninformed electorate is just one more piece in the puzzle of the shift toward a corporatocracy. It's what leads to people standing around in line waiting for their "Obama money." :/
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  9. #19
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    "The Titanic sails at dawn
    Ev'rybody's shouting
    "Which side are you on?"
    -Dylan, "Desolation Row"

    "It's not dark yet
    But it's getting there..."
    -Bob, "Not Dark Yet"

    While of course I support the free flow of money to fund political advertisements, hawk ladies undergarments, attempt to get me to join the AARP, urge me to gobble sixteen toxic Rx medications, join the army and get all blowed up in Afghanistan, watch Ryan Semencrest, drink carbonated sugar-water, etc. I certainly don't delude myself into thinking that doing so will save America. America chose it's fate loooooong ago. All that's left is sanguine joy of watching the mushroom cloud rise over the hills, drink in hand, from the safety of my steel reinforced concrete bunker...

    For your amusement:

    Fred On Everything

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  10. #20
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    All very interesting. The picture I'm getting is like, free-market capitalism for the poor and socialism and government subsidy for the rich.

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