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Wonderment
01-21-2010, 03:00 PM
Supreme Court conservative majority decides. (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-court-corporations22-2010jan22,0,4141508.story)

Starwatcher162536
01-21-2010, 03:09 PM
...You know, this may be the rare issue that could actually spawn an amending of the Constitution.

cragger
01-21-2010, 03:47 PM
Not a chance. How many state legislatures consisting of politicians (owned subsidiaries of various corporate interests) do you think are likely to vote to reduce their cashflow?

The "logic" of considering corporations as having any rights escapes me. Corporations aren't people. We might collectively agree that it is handy to grant corporations certain privlidges such as we find useful to people, but the idea that they have rights?

I'm with Wonderment on this - sounds like the death knell to a meaningful functional democracy.

TwinSwords
01-21-2010, 04:10 PM
Supreme Court conservative majority decides. (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-court-corporations22-2010jan22,0,4141508.story)

It was just yesterday that Wonderment correctly observed that possibly the leading problem facing the nation was the money in politics, the domination of our society by wealthy interests.

And now this from the Supreme Court -- a perfect capstone on a failed yearlong effort to pass health care reform, an effort that by the end of December 2009 was heavily compromised by concessions to the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies, and by January 20, 2010, had been defeated by industry candidate Scott Brown.

I actually think there's a big silver lining in all of what's happened since Obama was inaugurated, and especially these last two months. We have a more transparent society than ever. More information is flowing than ever, to more eyeballs than ever. More minds are contemplating the state of the nation than ever. Honest people can only come to one conclusion: the system isn't working for Americans, it's working for our corporate masters, at our expense. And a bright light is now shining on it. In our defeat, we're keenly realizing the flawed nature of our democracy, and not a few of us have a mind to fix it.

The plutocrats and their armies of teabagging lunatics will prevail in the short term, the medium term, and maybe even the long term. But injustice cannot prevail forever. We will defeat them.

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 07:05 PM
Eh, I dunno. Seems to me that anyone who's rich has, is, and will always be able to find a way to funnel money into politics. It might be better if things are more aboveboard, and maybe this decision will provoke legislation ensuring better disclosure and reporting about who's giving what to whom.

I agree that money is seriously screwing up our democratic process. On the other hand, I am highly sympathetic to the ideals of the free speech principle at play here.

While I would love to figure out a way to keep the richies from having undue clout, and all of the horrible consequences that entails when it comes to choices made by human politicians, I am also highly skeptical that it's possible to do so in a formal, legal way.* Even more importantly, I am dubious that it's possible to do so in a way that won't end up screwing the little guy more. Seems to me that rules limiting organizations from giving (and spending on their own ads, GOTV efforts, etc.) are likely to be more of a hurdle to true grassroots organizations than they are to corporations. Which takes me back to sentence 1.

==========
* 100% public financing is the only possibility that occurs to me, but (a) good luck on getting that passed, and (b) I still have a problem with aspects of it; e.g., shouldn't I be allowed to spend my own money to try to win an election? Yes, perhaps (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=4793) BLOOMBERG THE SALT MONSTER IS A FASCIST, but I'm talking principle here.

Starwatcher162536
01-21-2010, 07:08 PM
Think so? I think both parties can have much of their base described as populist. I think many of the union democrats have alot more in common with the palin republicans then they do with liberals. I think many different factions in each party have more in common with select other factions in the opposing party then they do with many factions in their own party. I think there is more then one stable configuration all these factions can be meshed together in a two party system, and it's merely an accumulation of historical accidents that we happen to be in the particular configuration we are currently in. I think recent events may very well be pushing us past the activation energy required to push us into another configuration. I think that there is the potential for a constitutional change to occur in the death throws of the current configuration (each party would fight for the populist vote...and neither could afford the appearance of being a big business lacky).

Whenever I think of the current political climate...I am reminded of of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallization)

cragger
01-21-2010, 08:29 PM
If you would like to place a wager on a Constitutional change blocking corporations from spending on elections let me know. It doesn't even have to be a change that makes an iota of difference ("gosh, that ad wasn't about the election, it was just the company's view of certain issues, heh, heh").

Five year timeframe? Ten years? $100? $1000? Yeah, yeah, yeah, sometimes things change. Other times power becomes more entrenched. The latter is clear enough to me to put my money where my ... keyboard .. is. Not much consolation for seeing "the last best hope" fling itself headlong down the bowl, but it is what it is. So .... ?

graz
01-21-2010, 09:15 PM
Well it may not be much, but here is something:
http://salsa.mydccc.org/o/30019/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4&tag=redirect

http://grayson.house.gov/2010/01/grayson-save-our-democracy.shtml

Lyle
01-21-2010, 10:02 PM
http://reason.com/blog/2010/01/21/bitterly-divided-court-careles

http://reason.com/blog/2010/01/21/antonin-scalia-vs-john-paul-st

http://reason.com/blog/2010/01/21/reason-writers-around-town-mat

Free speech really does mean free speech, and the laws that the "Citizens" ruling overturned directly and heinously restricted the stuff. [...]

Citizens United, a conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded a dozen political documentaries over the years, produced a critical documentary about Hillary Clinton in 2008 entitled "Hillary: The Movie." By a decision of the federal government, which was enforcing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known more broadly as McCain-Feingold), this piece of political speech was banned from television.

Let's boil it down to the essential words: Political documentary, banned, government.

cragger
01-21-2010, 10:02 PM
Nice idea, but hard to see how any law, in the unlikely case any of these proposals pass, would trump the SC. Having just struck down limitations on corporate political spending it seems highly probable that the Supremes would just strike any of these proposed laws down as well.

JonIrenicus
01-21-2010, 11:13 PM
they removed spending restrictions in the same area for unions too though didn't they?

Even if the benefits are asymmetric do to withering union membership, it does not only effect corporations.


And frankly so what. If the people you elect are so feckless they they roll over and support any policy they are told to support then you should not support them for reelection if you think they are promoting bad policy.

TwinSwords
01-21-2010, 11:24 PM
shouldn't I be allowed to spend my own money to try to win an election?
Okay, maybe, but what about these massive international corporations that don't even have any particular loyalty to the United States? And they aren't spending money on their own campaign; they're investing millions of dollars per election cycle on a full slate of candidates at ever level of government, local, state, and federal -- and in other nations, too.

It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't know with certainty that (a) their influence over politicians is determinative, i.e., it gets results, and (b) as I said, they don't even have any loyalty to the countries whose political systems they are influencing, and (c) as Wonderment said, all our politicians do, now, is collect cash, day after day after day.

There are a few reasons why our ruling class is in complete thrall to the wealthy; campaign finance is probably the biggest.

I like free speech, too, but the idea of corporate personhood is a 19th centural legal invention, not a principle of the Enlightenment that our Founders wrote into the Constitution. I don't believe rights like free speech should apply to legal entities like corporations.

It's not too much to say we have a society that is, in effect, dominated by corporations. Let's try to restore the balance and give the humans some control back over their lives and their nations.

claymisher
01-21-2010, 11:42 PM
Okay, maybe, but what about these massive international corporations that don't even have any particular loyalty to the United States? And they aren't spending money on their own campaign; they're investing millions of dollars per election cycle on a full slate of candidates at ever level of government, local, state, and federal -- and in other nations, too.

It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't know with certainty that (a) their influence over politicians is determinative, i.e., it gets results, and (b) as I said, they don't even have any loyalty to the countries whose political systems they are influencing, and (c) as Wonderment said, all our politicians do, now, is collect cash, day after day after day.

There are a few reasons why our ruling class is in complete thrall to the wealthy; campaign finance is probably the biggest.

Also notice they gutted the disclosure provisions. I can't wait for Saudi Arabia to use a shell company to buy the Republican party. I bet it's starting already. I'm sure FOX News will be all for it. "Next up on Glenn Beck: Why are the Democrats so mean to King Abdullah?!"

claymisher
01-21-2010, 11:43 PM
It's not too much to say we have a society that is, in effect, dominated by corporations. Let's try to restore the balance and give the humans some control back over their lives and their nations.

Fuck it. Let's take the vote away from people and give it to corporations.

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 11:48 PM
Fuck it. Let's take the vote away from people and give it to corporations.

GOOGLE FOR PREZNIT!

TwinSwords
01-21-2010, 11:54 PM
Also notice they gutted the disclosure provisions. I can't wait for Saudi Arabia to use a shell company to buy the Republican party. I bet it's starting already. I'm sure FOX News will be all for it. "Next up on Glenn Beck: Why are the Democrats so mean to King Abdullah?!"

I work in a Fortune 40 corporation, and I've seen the reactions inside the walls when these types of decisions come down. Let's just say that they are ready to go, as you say, on day one with a plan to take full advantage of the change in the law (whether the passage of new legislation, or when old legislation is struck down by courts).

Most glaring example was passage of NAFTA. My company was ready to take full advantage as soon as the ink dried, and the lawyers I talked to said things like "we're going to test the limits of this legislation and see how far we can push it."

TwinSwords
01-21-2010, 11:56 PM
Fuck it. Let's take the vote away from people and give it to corporations.

Yeah exactly. There's quite a few people who actually will argue that most people are too dumb to vote. Will Wilkensen is one, isn't he?

Oh well.

TwinSwords
01-22-2010, 12:01 AM
GOOGLE FOR PREZNIT!

I vote for Amalgamated Iron!!!!!1!!

With Ball Bearings Inc for VP.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 12:24 AM
I vote for Amalgamated Iron!!!!!1!!

With Ball Bearings Inc for VP.

You guys got it backward. People don't get to vote anymore, only companies do. You give the companies dollars, and they buy the elections with your dollars. I suppose we could also replace our elected representatives with corporations too.

A Splendid Republic of Corporations! Let's write the new Constitution. I think we keep the Supreme Court but replace the other two branches with the Legislative Market. Every four years there's an auction for shares in LM. A coalition representing a majority in the LM form a government -- a Prime Corporation and cabinet made of corporations. So you'd have PC ExxonMobil, Secretary of the Treasury JP Morgan Chase, Secretary of Defense General Electric, Secretary of State Walmart, etc. No campaigns, no lobbying, no fuss, just a quick electronic auction. Hell, the could even rebate the proceeds back to the people. Instead of trudging to the polls you'd get a check in the mail. How happy everyone would be!

Wonderment
01-22-2010, 03:04 AM
Every four years there's an auction for shares in LM. A coalition representing a majority in the LM form a government -- a Prime Corporation and cabinet made of corporations. So you'd have PC ExxonMobil, Secretary of the Treasury JP Morgan Chase, Secretary of Defense General Electric, Secretary of State Walmart, etc. No campaigns, no lobbying, no fuss, just a quick electronic auction. Hell, the could even rebate the proceeds back to the people. Instead of trudging to the polls you'd get a check in the mail. How happy everyone would be!


Or you could go Old School by keeping the current system in place as a sort of museum of democracy or a dramatization of "real" politicians. The corporations would just hire prostitutes and zombies to impersonate presidents, legislators and governors. Oh wait, we already have that system.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 03:21 AM
Or you could go Old School by keeping the current system in place as a sort of museum of democracy or a dramatization of "real" politicians. The corporations would just hire prostitutes and zombies to impersonate presidents, legislators and governors. Oh wait, we already have that system.

The Legislative Market Auction (not an election!) would be in cash, so conceivably actual people could come together and buy the election. Worked for Obama in 2008.

Come to think of it, it's what Bloomberg does already.

Francoamerican
01-22-2010, 03:22 AM
There are a few reasons why our ruling class is in complete thrall to the wealthy; campaign finance is probably the biggest.

I like free speech, too, but the idea of corporate personhood is a 19th centural legal invention, not a principle of the Enlightenment that our Founders wrote into the Constitution. I don't believe rights like free speech should apply to legal entities like corporations.

It's not too much to say we have a society that is, in effect, dominated by corporations. Let's try to restore the balance and give the humans some control back over their lives and their nations.

Absolutely true. I would add that nowhere else in the world has the idea caught on that corporations are like individuals endowed with the right of free speech.

In every European country elections are publicly financed and electoral campaigns strictly limited in duration. And the quality of political speech is much better as a result!

wreaver
01-22-2010, 04:29 AM
"Democracy" is overrated...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Rational_Voter

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 10:50 AM
"Democracy" is overrated...

Not when you understand it as Mr. Churchill did (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/364.html).

Francoamerican
01-22-2010, 11:38 AM
Not when you understand it as Mr. Churchill did (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/364.html).

That reminds me of what he said of Americans:

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 11:49 AM
That reminds me of what he said of Americans:

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

In this case, Churchill was an optimist.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 12:05 PM
"Democracy" is overrated...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Rational_Voter

You know that was about the dumbest book in the world, right? That economists are smart and people are stupid? "You're all idiots because you're not a libertarian like me!" What a fucking asshole.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 02:28 PM
You know that was about the dumbest book in the world, right? That economists are smart and people are stupid? "You're all idiots because you're not a libertarian like me!" What a fucking asshole.

That sounds like Ad Hominem.

Do you have a cogent argument against the thesis of the book?

wreaver
01-22-2010, 02:31 PM
Not when you understand it as Mr. Churchill did (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/364.html).

I'm familiar with that Churchill quote...
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

That statement has a presupposition that I don't share.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:37 PM
I'm familiar with that Churchill quote...


That statement has a presupposition that I don't share.

Care to elaborate?

claymisher
01-22-2010, 02:52 PM
That sounds like Ad Hominem.


It is ad hominem. What's Latin for "don't waste your time with bullshit artists"?


Do you have a cogent argument against the thesis of the book?

Yeah, it's that the presumption that libertarian economists are right and everybody else is wrong is bullshit. It's a hell of a trick: define "rational" to be "agrees with libertarians" and then say everybody is irrational.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 02:58 PM
I'm familiar with that Churchill quote...


That statement has a presupposition that I don't share.

Care to elaborate?

I was purposefully avoiding elaborating to avoid a long debate/argument :-)

But, (assuming I understand Churchill's quote) the presupposition in his quote is that the state is needed or necessary. But given my goals, and how I judge things to be moral and immoral, the state does not seem to needed or necessary.

Which doesn't mean the state is arbitrary or that no one benefits from it. But neither is "higher religion" arbitrary. Nor is it the case that no one benefits from "higher religion".

Both the state and "higher religion" are what they are. But I don't share the presuppositions for either of them.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 03:07 PM
Do you have a cogent argument against the thesis of the book?


Yeah, it's that the presumption that libertarian economists are right and everybody else is wrong is bullshit. It's a hell of a trick: define "rational" to be "agrees with libertarians" and then say everybody is irrational.

And just where in in the book does it define "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 03:12 PM
I was purposefully avoiding elaborating to avoid a long debate/argument :-)

If you're not stealing music or downloading porn, what other possible reason is there to be on the Internet?

;^)

But, (assuming I understand Churchill's quote) the presupposition in his quote is that the state is needed or necessary. But given my goals, and how I judge things to be moral and immoral, the state does not seem to needed or necessary.

Ahhhh ... we won't be having a long argument, because this is crazy talk. We need something stronger than "glibertarian" to describe this thinking.

Yes, I would agree with you that a state is not necessary, provided we have only 1,127 people on the planet. Much past that, it's either set up some sort of system to keep a society more or less together, or it's just fighty kicky punchy shouty shooty all the live long day.

And anyway, in the ideal, the government in a democracy is the people. Granted, that's a very hard ideal to attain, especially with a large number of people, but at least we're aiming at a goal where the government is merely the mechanism by which we carry out our shared objectives.

Note that there is something about "the state" in your view that is itself a presupposition, and this is kind of a cheat, in that you're introducing a loaded word instead of talking about "government."

claymisher
01-22-2010, 03:18 PM
And just where in in the book does it define "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?

Yeah, I'm going to go read the whole fucking book just to counter your stupid question.

Lots of social democrats use the rational actor model in their toolkit. That's not the issue. The issue is the Caplan's presumption that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 05:00 PM
But, (assuming I understand Churchill's quote) the presupposition in his quote is that the state is needed or necessary. But given my goals, and how I judge things to be moral and immoral, the state does not seem to needed or necessary.



Ahhhh ... we won't be having a long argument, because this is crazy talk. We need something stronger than "glibertarian" to describe this thinking.

That sounds like Ad Hominem.

(Or are you trying to coax me into debating. If so, keep in mind it's Friday, and there might be a bit of waiting for replies.)

Yes, I would agree with you that a state is not necessary, provided we have only 1,127 people on the planet. Much past that, it's either set up some sort of system to keep a society more or less together, or it's just fighty kicky punchy shouty shooty all the live long day.

You seem to be setting up a Straw Man argument.

The libertarian argument is not that lack of government will make everything OK.

And anyway, in the ideal, the government in a democracy is the people. Granted, that's a very hard ideal to attain, especially with a large number of people, but at least we're aiming at a goal where the government is merely the mechanism by which we carry out our shared objectives.

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

Note that there is something about "the state" in your view that is itself a presupposition, and this is kind of a cheat, in that you're introducing a loaded word instead of talking about "government."

I tend to use "the state" and "government" interchangeably. "Government" is a euphemism for "the state" AFAIK. (Although I think the euphemistic nature is not known to most people now a days)

wreaver
01-22-2010, 05:05 PM
And just where in in the book does it define "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?

Yeah, I'm going to go read the whole fucking book just to counter your stupid question.


If you haven't read the book, then from where have you gotten the notion that the book defines "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?


Lots of social democrats use the rational actor model in their toolkit. That's not the issue. The issue is the Caplan's presumption that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong.

How is Caplan presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong? (Please point to specific things he wrote that support your claim.)

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 05:16 PM
That sounds like Ad Hominem.

Here's five cents, kid. Go buy yourself a new retort.

(Or are you trying to coax me into debating. If so, keep in mind it's Friday, and there might be a bit of waiting for replies.)

Let us just say worries about oxygen depletion will not be chief among mine.

You seem to be setting up a Straw Man argument.

Damn it. I should have given you a dime.

The libertarian argument is not that lack of government will make everything OK.

Didn't say it was. I was responding to what you said, which is what I meant by saying we need a term beyond glibertarian.

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

Okay, fifteen cents. And that's it.

I tend to use "the state" and "government" interchangeably. "Government" is a euphemism for "the state" AFAIK. (Although I think the euphemistic nature is not known to most people now a days)

In a discussion such as the one we may or may not be having, I think my objection stands. "The state" connotes an overarching, separate presence, more or less immune to the wishes of the people. "The government," not so much.

Now, since you've evidently got it in your head that the two terms are equivalent, and equally bad, I think there's no point in our continuing to bat this around. Our starting beliefs don't sufficiently overlap. I think it is not in touch with reality to say that a large population can maintain a society without some sort of government, and I'm not interested in discussing anything related with someone who won't even agree with that.

Starwatcher162536
01-22-2010, 05:25 PM
How is Caplan presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong? (Please point to specific things he wrote that support your claim.)

From Wikipedia;

In a modern democracy, not only can a libertarian be elitist; a libertarian has to be elitist. To be a libertarian in a modern democracy is to say that nearly 300 million Americans are wrong, and a handful of nay-sayers are right.
~Bryan Caplan

Starwatcher162536
01-22-2010, 05:28 PM
Not much consolation for seeing "the last best hope" fling itself headlong down the bowl, but it is what it is. So .... ?

What does that mean?

wreaver
01-22-2010, 05:44 PM
That sounds like Ad Hominem.
Here's five cents, kid. Go buy yourself a new retort.


(Or are you trying to coax me into debating. If so, keep in mind it's Friday, and there might be a bit of waiting for replies.)
Let us just say worries about oxygen depletion will not be chief among mine.


You seem to be setting up a Straw Man argument.
Damn it. I should have given you a dime.


The libertarian argument is not that lack of government will make everything OK.
Didn't say it was. I was responding to what you said, which is what I meant by saying we need a term beyond glibertarian.


Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.
Okay, fifteen cents. And that's it.


Wow. Nowhere in there do I see any kind of cogent argument. Just a whole bunch of Ad Hominem.

In a discussion such as the one we may or may not be having, I think my objection stands. "The state" connotes an overarching, separate presence, more or less immune to the wishes of the people. "The government," not so much.

That sounds much like an ideological belief. And since I've already stated I think democracy is overrated, it's obviously not one I share. It's like Christians who object to having their faith called a superstition (but are fine with calling other faiths superstitions).

Now, since you've evidently got it in your head that the two terms are equivalent, and equally bad,

I've made no claims of good or bad. I don't think any kind of productive conversation can be had in this forum doing so. I recognize that different people have different ways of "calculating" what is good and what is bad.

(That is why in an earlier post I spoke of my goals and my way of "calculating" what is immoral and what is moral. Now these aren't unique to me. Nor was I the first to have them. But no everyone has them.)

I think there's no point in our continuing to bat this around. Our starting beliefs don't sufficiently overlap.

That's fine.

I think it is not in touch with reality to say that a large population can maintain a society without some sort of government,

Define "maintain".

and I'm not interested in discussing anything related with someone who won't even agree with that.

That's fine.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 05:50 PM
How is Caplan presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong? (Please point to specific things he wrote that support your claim.)

From Wikipedia;

In a modern democracy, not only can a libertarian be elitist; a libertarian has to be elitist. To be a libertarian in a modern democracy is to say that nearly 300 million Americans are wrong, and a handful of nay-sayers are right.
~Bryan Caplan

I found the article where that quote is from...

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2006/11/the_mirage_of_l.html

That quote is taken out of context. Please refer to that article.

(If you don't feel inclined to read it, I can quote it here an highlight the relevant parts.)

claymisher
01-22-2010, 06:01 PM
If you haven't read the book, then from where have you gotten the notion that the book defines "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?



How is Caplan presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong? (Please point to specific things he wrote that support your claim.)

The wikipedia page you linked to.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 06:03 PM
Wow. Nowhere in there do I see any kind of cogent argument. Just a whole bunch of Ad Hominem.

(*rolls eyes*) You kids and your Word of the Day calendars.

I'll stick with the first and last sentences of my previous response (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147680#post147680).

You should learn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem) that just playing the AH card won't cut it, particularly when you do so in every post you put up. You're trying to claim that your arguments have merit and that I am ducking it. I'm not. I'm saying you have no sensible argument, and therefore, I'm making jokes at your expense.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 06:04 PM
If you haven't read the book, then from where have you gotten the notion that the book defines "rationality" differently than the common social science way of defining it?



How is Caplan presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong? (Please point to specific things he wrote that support your claim.)

The wikipedia page you linked to.

As I mention in that other reply....

I found the article where that quote is from...

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...rage_of_l.html

That quote is taken out of context. Please refer to that article.

(If you don't feel inclined to read it, I can quote it here an highlight the relevant parts.)

wreaver
01-22-2010, 06:08 PM
Wow. Nowhere in there do I see any kind of cogent argument. Just a whole bunch of Ad Hominem.

(*rolls eyes*)

I'll stick with the first and last sentences of my previous response (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147680#post147680).

You should learn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem) that just playing the AH card won't cut it, particularly when you do so in every post you put up. You're trying to claim that your arguments have merit and that I am ducking it. I'm not. I'm saying you have no sensible argument, and therefore, I'm making jokes at your expense.

Then stop committing Ad Hominem. Calling someone names or insulting someone (as you are doing) is not cogent argument; it is Ad Hominem.

Present a cogent argument, and I'll debate it.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 06:10 PM
... Ad Hominem ... Ad Hominem.

What we need here is an EX-parrot.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 06:19 PM
Then stop committing Ad Hominem. Calling someone names or insulting someone (as you are doing) is not cogent argument; it is Ad Hominem.

Present a cogent argument, and I'll debate it.

We'll give up ad hominem if you give up ad nauseam.

The argument is really, really simple: based on the evidence of reality (and not blackboard libertarian fantasies) social democratic policies enhance human capabilities and lead to greater productivity, economic growth, and human welfare. The widespread support of social democratic policies is justified, Caplan is wrong, the 300 million are right, and his book and the whole libertarian project is really fucking stupid.

Starwatcher162536
01-22-2010, 06:26 PM
Fair enough.

I should have been more hesitant to pull info from Wiki, it isn't very reliable on things that are closely related to politics.

cognitive madisonian
01-22-2010, 06:27 PM
We'll give up ad hominem if you give up ad nauseam.

The argument is really, really simple: based on the evidence of reality (and not blackboard libertarian fantasies) social democratic policies enhance human capabilities and lead to greater productivity, economic growth, and human welfare. The widespread support of social democratic policies is justified, Caplan is wrong, the 300 million are right, and his book and the whole libertarian project is really fucking stupid.

In small, homogeneous states without significant militaries, and with the trade-off of economic dynamism.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 06:28 PM
We'll give up ad hominem if you give up ad nauseam.

The argument is really, really simple: based on the evidence of reality (and not blackboard libertarian fantasies) social democratic policies enhance human capabilities and lead to greater productivity, economic growth, and human welfare. The widespread support of social democratic policies is justified, Caplan is wrong, the 300 million are right, and his book and the whole libertarian project is really fucking stupid.

Please back up your claims with evidence.

Like I told the other gentleman, present a cogent argument and I'll debate it.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 06:29 PM
Please back up your claims with evidence.

Like I told the other gentleman, present a cogent argument and I'll debate it.

Fuck you, troll. I'm out.

Starwatcher162536
01-22-2010, 06:30 PM
Now that I have looked at it, I don't see why that quote is not a succinct summary of his thinking. Why do you think it is misleading?

cognitive madisonian
01-22-2010, 06:31 PM
Fuck you, troll. I'm out.

There's always my post :p

wreaver
01-22-2010, 06:32 PM
Fuck you, troll. I'm out.

More Ad Hominem.

TwinSwords
01-22-2010, 07:04 PM
More Ad Hominem.

Hey, no offense. But you just have to realize that not everyone wants to engage on this topic. Most of us talked out these far-out theories (oops, ad hominem!!1!) with our college buddies years ago. It was interesting for a couple of late night conversations around a table at the bar. But apart from that, it's just not that interesting. It's kind of like wondering how could there be war and disease if there is a loving god. Yawn.

There are a couple reasons it's not worth discussing.

Foremost: It will never happen. No matter how right you may be, your dream of an anarchist state is simply never going to come to pass.

Second: Nobody wants it. You'll never get more than, say, a tenth of a percent of the population to support anarchy. Why waste your time on it? Why not plot to relocate the human race to the moons around Saturn? Both are equally likely.

Third: It's not just. Most people are going to support just social arrangements. Anarchy isn't one of them. And no, I don't want to get into the philosophy of what's "just," unless FrancoAmerican and Claymisher (and maybe some others) want to jump in. I'm always interested to hear what those "gentlemen" have to say about political philosophy. Anarchists not so much.

That said, I appreciate your coming here and sharing your views. I hope you stick around. It's always interesting to watch someone try to promote a non-mainstream viewpoint.

wreaver
01-22-2010, 07:25 PM
Hey, no offense. But you just have to realize that not everyone wants to engage on this topic.

I actually didn't really want to get into this discussion.

Note @bjkeefe 's reply here...
http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147643#post147643

And then my reply here...
http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147648#post147648


Third: It's not just. Most people are going to support just social arrangements. Anarchy isn't one of them.

I actually agree.

Although I think it is important to make the distrinction between anarchy an libertarianism. Anarchy is much more than just libertarianism. For example, libertinism is also anarchy. But... I know what you meant.


I think you are no more likely to just get rid of statism as you are no more likely to just get rid of religiosity. (And note, I don't mean "statism" in an inflammatory way. I just don't feel like using euphemisms. "governmentism"?)

My interest ATM (which this thread had absolutely nothing to do with) in this is not to promote or to proselytize, but to understand why statism plays the role it plays. For example, like exploring Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast book "Violence and Social Orders" in relation to this. (I appreciate views other than mine, because I think they are more motivated to be critical.)

Unit
01-22-2010, 07:42 PM
You know that was about the dumbest book in the world, right? That economists are smart and people are stupid? "You're all idiots because you're not a libertarian like me!" What a fucking asshole.

It works both ways though. How many times do you hear leftists say that single-payer is the way to go even though the majority of the country is not on board with it. Isn't that elitism too?

claymisher
01-22-2010, 07:52 PM
It works both ways though. How many times do you hear leftists say that single-payer is the way to go even though the majority of the country is not on board with it. Isn't that elitism too?

I didn't say anyone was elitist. And I'm pretty sure single-payer for the over 65 crowd (Medicare) ain't getting repealed anytime soon. Hell, even Scott Brown is for Romneycare in MA (even voted for it), just not for America, or so he says.

Unit
01-22-2010, 08:13 PM
I didn't say anyone was elitist. And I'm pretty sure single-payer for the over 65 crowd (Medicare) ain't getting repealed anytime soon. Hell, even Scott Brown is for Romneycare in MA (even voted for it), just not for America, or so he says.

The point is not to debate single policies. It's a theoretical point. Are majorities always right? Or are there minorities that have better ideas? Caplan takes middle-of-the-road ideas within the economic profession and compares them to what the majority thinks and finds a gap. Note that the average economist is a moderate Dem.

kezboard
01-22-2010, 09:24 PM
Like Canada?

cognitive madisonian
01-22-2010, 09:58 PM
In small, homogeneous states without significant militaries, and with the trade-off of economic dynamism.

Homogenous--check
Absolutely meaningless in terms of international politics--check
Lacking economic dynamism (unless you count the boatload of resources Alberta happens to possess)--check

So, yes.

cragger
01-22-2010, 10:11 PM
The quoted phrase is a much co-opted historical reference. Exercise left to the reader.

wreaver
01-23-2010, 04:09 AM
Now that I have looked at it, I don't see why that quote is not a succinct summary of his thinking. Why do you think it is misleading?

In that article, Caplan is not presupposing that libertarians are right and everybody else is wrong. He is telling libertarians they should do whatever they can (without violating (individual) liberty) to increase (individual) liberty, even if it is not popular and even if other people call libertarians elitists.

TwinSwords
01-23-2010, 03:10 PM
Rachel Maddow discusses the Supreme Court's devastating assault on our democracy:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0mHrx3caA

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9_YqSnirGU&feature=channel

Unit
01-23-2010, 07:04 PM
Rachel Maddow discusses the Supreme Court's devastating assault on our democracy:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0mHrx3caA

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9_YqSnirGU&feature=channel

and yet the AFL-CIO (http://www.cuvfec.com/documents/case-08-205/Supplemental_Amicus_Brief_of_AFL-CIO.pdf) and the ACLU (http://www.cuvfec.com/documents/case-08-205/Supplemental_Question_Amicus_Brief_of_ACLU.pdf) wrote amicus briefs in support.

TwinSwords
01-23-2010, 11:48 PM
President Obama condemns Supreme Court blow to democracy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkUeqD7M5t0


From Huffpo (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/23/obama-weekly-address-vide_n_434082.html):

"This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet message. "It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way -- or to punish those who don't."

Obama said that means public servants who stand up to Wall Street banks, oil companies, health insurers and other powerful interests could find themselves under attack when election time rolls around.

"I can't think of anything more devastating to the public interest," he said. "The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections."

graz
01-24-2010, 12:13 AM
Obama said that means public servants who stand up to Wall Street banks, oil companies, health insurers and other powerful interests could find themselves under attack when election time rolls around.


Let's hope he tests the theory.

look
01-24-2010, 12:52 AM
"I can't think of anything more devastating to the public interest," he said. "The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections." lololol

Unit
01-24-2010, 01:03 AM
President Obama condemns Supreme Court blow to democracy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkUeqD7M5t0


From Huffpo (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/23/obama-weekly-address-vide_n_434082.html):

Right. From the guy who just finished handing out a couple of 1,000,000,000,000.00 US Dollars to said corporations.

kezboard
01-24-2010, 01:18 AM
I'll give you the second one, but the first one, please. I might give you the third if you explained what you meant by economic dynamism.

kezboard
01-24-2010, 01:20 AM
Proving the heretofore disputed fact that sometimes groups that are perceived as left-wing make bad decisions. ;)

Unit
01-24-2010, 01:24 AM
Proving the heretofore disputed fact that sometimes groups that are perceived as left-wing make bad decisions. ;)

Or proving that this decision is really about access to political speech and what McCain and Feingold want to do is to restrict that access.

Unit
01-24-2010, 02:59 AM
Or proving that this decision is really about access to political speech and what McCain and Feingold want to do is to restrict that access.

Maybe I should be more clear: I'm talking about *my* access, the individual citizen's access. Why would you lobby the govt to restrict your own access to political speech? I want to hear what the unions think, I want to hear what corporations are pushing. The more choice I have the better. In the end, my opinion might still be changed by a bhtv-forum commenter. So scrap McCain-Feingold please.

AemJeff
01-24-2010, 11:53 AM
Or proving that this decision is really about access to political speech and what McCain and Feingold want to do is to restrict that access.

What person's speech was limited by McCain/Feingold? Were corporate decision makers somehow more disenfranchised than the rest of us, and in need of a special remedy?

Unit
01-24-2010, 11:59 AM
What person's speech was limited by McCain/Feingold? Were corporate decision makers somehow more disenfranchised than the rest of us, and in need of a special remedy?

I guess you didn't read my follow-up: McCain-Feingold is not really about restricting speech, it's about restricting access to speech sources. At the bottom of it they're saying voters can't be trusted with who they listen to.

AemJeff
01-24-2010, 12:10 PM
I guess you didn't read my follow-up: McCain-Feingold is not really about restricting speech, it's about restricting access to speech sources. At the bottom of it they're saying voters can't be trusted with who they listen to.

That's a better argument. My point of view is that corporate speech is a class of speech that is inherently advantaged over that of individuals. Therefore restricting it is necessary to enforce fairness.

Unit
01-24-2010, 01:26 PM
That's a better argument. My point of view is that corporate speech is a class of speech that is inherently advantaged over that of individuals. Therefore restricting it is necessary to enforce fairness.

But is it possible to do? to enforce fairness through law-and-order? From my point of view, the govt is just one more large corporation and it will use the power you give it to advance its own agenda, whatever that might be. I too love the idea of the govt as the impartial spectator, the third-party, that levels the playing field, but in practice that doesn't happen very often.

Anyways, I don't think this ruling is the major catastrophe that it's made out to be, and at the same time not a huge "success" (for whom?) either. Are corporations celebrating? Not that I know. OTOH the govt can't ban dvd's, books, documentaries etc.. and that's good thing. Can you imagine if the govt banned Michael Moore's Farenheit 9-11 movie because it was airing to close to the 2004 election?

AemJeff
01-24-2010, 01:31 PM
But is it possible to do? to enforce fairness through law-and-order? From my point of view, the govt is just one more large corporation and it will use the power you give it to advance its own agenda, whatever that might be. I too love the idea of the govt as the impartial spectator, the third-party, that levels the playing field, but in practice that doesn't happen very often.

Anyways, I don't think this ruling is the major catastrophe that it's made out to be, and at the same time not a huge "success" (for whom?) either. Are corporations celebrating? Not that I know. OTOH the govt can't ban dvd's, books, documentaries etc.. and that's good thing. Can you imagine if the govt banned Michael Moore's Farenheit 9-11 movie because it was airing to close to the 2004 election?

What would you call property laws? Constitutional governments operate by a set of agreed upon constraints that makes them a distinct class of organization. Nothing's perfect (and the degree to which they operate within constitutional constraints is a valid argument) but the alternative is what? I'm not ready to live in a Hobbesian Hell.

Unit
01-24-2010, 01:45 PM
What would you call property laws? Constitutional governments operate by a set of agreed upon constraints that makes them a distinct class of organization. Nothing's perfect (and the degree to which they operate within constitutional constraints is a valid argument) but the alternative is what? I'm not ready to live in a Hobbesian Hell.

I for one try to respect someone else's property not because there's a law, but because I was brought up that way. One could argue that the notion of property rights is antecedent to govt enforcement. It's also not very well defined, hard to really legislate with paper and pencil. Think of the controversy with intellectual property rights. But even in more mundane settings, have you ever put your coat on a chair in a cafeteria to claim the spot? That's not written law, it's unwritten. A lot of the law emerges from society from the bottom-up.

The role of the Constitution is an interesting one. I don't know where I fall on that.

AemJeff
01-24-2010, 01:58 PM
I for one try to respect someone else's property not because there's a law, but because I was brought up that way. One could argue that the notion of property rights is antecedent to govt enforcement. It's also not very well defined, hard to really legislate with paper and pencil. Think of the controversy with intellectual property rights. But even in more mundane settings, have you ever put your coat on a chair in a cafeteria to claim the spot? That's not written law, it's unwritten. A lot of the law emerges from society from the bottom-up.

The role of the Constitution is an interesting one. I don't know where I fall on that.

It's pretty clearly evident that people aren't that polite without enforced societal constraints. Why do you think looting is always an issue during a breakdown in external authority?

Unit
01-24-2010, 02:18 PM
It's pretty clearly evident that people aren't that polite without enforced societal constraints. Why do you think looting is always an issue during a breakdown in external authority?

Looting is blown out of proportion because it makes news. What is unreported is the extraordinary level of cooperation that goes on on the ground. First-time responders are often not officials, but regular people. This is always under-reported, especially now in Haiti.

cognitive madisonian
01-24-2010, 05:22 PM
I'll give you the second one, but the first one, please. I might give you the third if you explained what you meant by economic dynamism.

I mean that when you get beyond Alberta, the economy reminds me of Britain's--nationwide the unemployment rate is 6, but Alberta's is only 3.7%. If Canada didn't have Alberta, it'd probably be virtually indistinguishable from France--high sustained unemployment, high taxes fostering a large welfare state. The economy is basically stationary.

Francoamerican
01-25-2010, 07:09 AM
I mean that when you get beyond Alberta, the economy reminds me of Britain's--nationwide the unemployment rate is 6, but Alberta's is only 3.7%. If Canada didn't have Alberta, it'd probably be virtually indistinguishable from France--high sustained unemployment, high taxes fostering a large welfare state. The economy is basically stationary.

The unemployment rate of France is now not much greater than that of the US. Nor is the economy stationary. As for almost every other significant criterion of national prosperity and well-being, Canada and France are superior to the US. You might want to read something by someone outside your libertarian fantasy world. This for example:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17726

cognitive madisonian
01-25-2010, 09:46 PM
The unemployment rate of France is now not much greater than that of the US. Nor is the economy stationary. As for almost every other significant criterion of national prosperity and well-being, Canada and France are superior to the US. You might want to read something by someone outside your libertarian fantasy world. This for example:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17726

But that's because we have Obama, who desires to move us to being like Canada and France.

Unit
02-16-2010, 07:27 PM
The unemployment rate of France is now not much greater than that of the US. Nor is the economy stationary. As for almost every other significant criterion of national prosperity and well-being, Canada and France are superior to the US. You might want to read something by someone outside your libertarian fantasy world. This for example:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17726

For the last two decades Western European unemployment averaged around 8.5%, compared to 5.5% in the US.

bjkeefe
02-17-2010, 11:55 AM
Here's something that sounds like a good step (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17wed1.html):

“Hi. I’m the C.E.O. of (Fill in the Blank) Corporation, and I approved this message.” If Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen have their way, you’ll be hearing those sorts of disclosures in political ads for November’s Congressional elections.

That's from an editorial. A straight news account on what the bill proposes here (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/lawmakers-want-to-reinstate-barriers-on-campaign-spending-by-corporations-others/) -- about eight specific items, as it now stands. Basically, it's all about disclosure and reporting, which means that the transparency!!!1!-loving Republicans are sure to unite against it as The Destruction Of Free Speech.

AemJeff
02-17-2010, 01:09 PM
Here's something that sounds like a good step (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17wed1.html):



That's from an editorial. A straight news account on what the bill proposes here (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/lawmakers-want-to-reinstate-barriers-on-campaign-spending-by-corporations-others/) -- about eight specific items, as it now stands. Basically, it's all about disclosure and reporting, which means that the transparency!!!1!-loving Republicans are sure to unite against it as The Destruction Of Free Speech.

Disclosure is an intolerable burden for me, but not for thee.

bjkeefe
02-17-2010, 01:29 PM
Disclosure is an intolerable burden for me, but not for thee.

Heh. Sad but true.

bjkeefe
02-17-2010, 05:21 PM
... the transparency!!!1!-loving Republicans ...

Speaking of whom (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/16/steele-appeases-tea-party-activists-in-lengthy-meeting/) (via (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/02/17/the-farce/)):

[Republican National Committee Chairman Michael] Steele met with about 50 Tea Party leaders from grassroots organizations around the country in a lengthy bull session at the Capitol Hill Club, a cushy Republican meeting-spot located next to RNC headquarters.

The closed-door event, organized several weeks ago, ...

bjkeefe
03-13-2010, 03:59 AM
And on another front, another severe blow (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-cuts-thomas-jefferson-out-of-its-textbooks/).

Longer article here (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html).

[Added] Another nugget here (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_03/022823.php) (via (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/03/12/exhuming-mccarthy/)).

TwinSwords
10-01-2010, 06:53 AM
Goodbye what little semblance we had to democracy

Rachel Maddow describes how corporations and wealthy interests are now actively buying the US Congress (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2NX_Ps2_A0), and using the tea party for cover.

operative
10-01-2010, 08:29 AM
Do you object to the massive political spending of corporations like Moveon.org?

SkepticDoc
10-01-2010, 12:36 PM
Do you object to the massive political spending of corporations like Moveon.org?

Do you object to the massive military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan?

chiwhisoxx
10-01-2010, 02:50 PM
Do you object to the massive military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan?

That's not at all relevant to what they're talking about

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 03:08 PM
That's not at all relevant to what they're talking about

I thought Doc's non sequitur set off op's non sequitur fairly neatly.

Wonderment
10-01-2010, 05:38 PM
I thought Doc's non sequitur set off op's non sequitur fairly neatly.

I didn't think it was a non sequitur. Defense lobbyists own Congress, promote perpetual militarism and ensure that the executive and legislative branches are overwhelmingly pro-war and inclined to be so at the drop of a hat.

MoveOn is a broad-based public advocacy organization or PAC that is motivated by liberal values. It can't be sensibly compared to corporations that are motivated simply by profit from the sale of their goods and services. A better comparison might be large unions that are motivated by enhancing the employment opportunities of their members.

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 05:54 PM
I didn't think it was a non sequitur. Defense lobbyists own Congress, promote perpetual militarism and ensure that the executive and legislative branches are overwhelmingly pro-war and inclined to be so at the drop of a hat.

MoveOn is a broad-based public advocacy organization or PAC that is motivated by liberal values. It can't be sensibly compared to corporations that are motivated simply by profit from the sale of their goods and services. A better comparison might be large unions that are motivated by enhancing the employment opportunities of their members.

I wasn't making a value judgment about Doc's point. It was a non sequitur ("does not follow") in the context of op's contribution, just as op's didn't follow from the point Twin was making. I saw it as illustration of the weakness of op's point.

operative
10-01-2010, 07:09 PM
I didn't think it was a non sequitur. Defense lobbyists own Congress, promote perpetual militarism and ensure that the executive and legislative branches are overwhelmingly pro-war and inclined to be so at the drop of a hat.

MoveOn is a broad-based public advocacy organization or PAC that is motivated by liberal values. It can't be sensibly compared to corporations that are motivated simply by profit from the sale of their goods and services. A better comparison might be large unions that are motivated by enhancing the employment opportunities of their members.

Moveon is a multi-million dollar corporation funded by one of the richest men in the world. You may agree with its goals but denying that it is a corporation is rather silly. And attempting to justify huge spending by one corporation while condemning other corporations is applying selective standards.

Wonderment
10-01-2010, 07:56 PM
Moveon is a multi-million dollar corporation funded by one of the richest men in the world. You may agree with its goals but denying that it is a corporation is rather silly.

Yes, silly me.

In the future, I will have to append the new letters to all organizations you tell me to. I'll start with MoveOn, Inc. UN, Inc. and Humane Society, Inc.

Are there other corporations you'd like to make up? Keep me posted.

operative
10-01-2010, 08:48 PM
All I'm saying is don't single out corporations that don't happen to be met with your seal of approval. If you don't like big corporate money, then criticize Moveon.org. Because otherwise it just comes out as "grrr conservatives!" And honestly, I see much of this debate over campaign finance as a way for liberals to try to give themselves by limiting campaign contributions from groups that aren't as supportive to them, while not limiting them to unions and doing nothing about the activity about big corporations like moveon.org and media matters.

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 09:08 PM
All I'm saying is don't single out corporations that don't happen to be met with your seal of approval. If you don't like big corporate money, then criticize Moveon.org. Because otherwise it just comes out as "grrr conservatives!" And honestly, I see much of this debate over campaign finance as a way for liberals to try to give themselves by limiting campaign contributions from groups that aren't as supportive to them, while not limiting them to unions and doing nothing about the activity about big corporations like moveon.org and media matters.

op, you're confused. Your argument conflates two things that aren't the same and tries to draw an erroneous conclusion. MoveOn is an advocacy group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy_group), specifically a 501(c)(4) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501%28c%29%284%29#501.28c.29.284.29).It's "MoveOn.org", by the way - i.e. not for profit. The comparison to "big corporate" organizations doesn't hold any water.

operative
10-01-2010, 09:18 PM
That's why I mentioned the artificial distinction that advocates of campaign finance reform make. "Advocacy group" vs corporation. So it's ok for billionaire George Soros to funnel millions of dollars into a left-wing "activist group" but it's baaaaaaaaaaaaad for a medium sized corporation to want to donate to a non anti-business candidate. Please. If big money is a problem in politics (and I don't think it is), then it doesn't matter what distinction you give said big money.

operative
10-01-2010, 09:24 PM
Btw, Wonderment, just out of curiosity, were you involved with SDS back in the 60s? You may be a little too young to fit the time frame, at least for the earliest days of SDS, but if I get the sense that your idealogical progression starts there or somewhere similar. And no, that doesn't mean that I'm going to accuse you of being sympathetic or supportive of the Weather Underground ;)

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 09:26 PM
That's why I mentioned the artificial distinction that advocates of campaign finance reform make. "Advocacy group" vs corporation. So it's ok for billionaire George Soros to funnel millions of dollars into a left-wing "activist group" but it's baaaaaaaaaaaaad for a medium sized corporation to want to donate to a non anti-business candidate. Please. If big money is a problem in politics (and I don't think it is), then it doesn't matter what distinction you give said big money.

It's not ok to try to draw conclusions from facts that you're misrepresenting. Whatever issues the two types of organizations might have with political funding are unlikely to be analogous. Arguing against one on the basis of problems associated with the other is simply nonsense. You're also implying that MoveOn's funding come's from a single source. That's clearly false and further undermines any point you might be trying to make.

operative
10-01-2010, 09:32 PM
It's not ok to try to draw conclusions from facts that you're misrepresenting. Whatever issues the two types of organizations might have with political funding are unlikely to be analogous. Arguing against one on the basis of problems associated with the other is simply nonsense. You're also implying that MoveOn's funding come's from a single source. That's clearly false and further undermines any point you might be trying to make.
Oh no, there are other absurdly wealthy left-wing ideologues who donate to moveon.org, too.

Campaign finance reform proponents argue that elections should be won on ideas and not on campaign contributions. So why is it ok for George Soros to buy elections through investing in moveon.org but not for Target Co. to do the same by donating directly?

Wonderment
10-01-2010, 09:36 PM
Btw, Wonderment, just out of curiosity, were you involved with SDS back in the 60s? You may be a little too young to fit the time frame, at least for the earliest days of SDS, but if I get the sense that your idealogical progression starts there or somewhere similar. And no, that doesn't mean that I'm going to accuse you of being sympathetic or supportive of the Weather Underground

I was never a member of SDS, but I was definitely part of the movement that was broadly called the New Left. I was a street protester at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.

operative
10-01-2010, 09:54 PM
Ah, thanks for answering. One more question (maybe it will turn into more than one, but for now one): do you still have a generally positive view of political protest, in regards to either their efficacy and/or their sign of the health of democracy? There's a pretty interesting debate in PS literature about whether protests demonstrate the health of a democracy (people are active, involved, passionate, etc.) or its dilapidation (leadership class not responding to the people, people dissatisfied with the conventional means of democratic expression, etc.)

Ocean
10-01-2010, 09:55 PM
Would you consider a bunch of kids lined up in front of a school bus, a mob, and a symphonic orchestra just the same because all three are " a group of people"?

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 09:58 PM
Oh no, there are other absurdly wealthy left-wing ideologues who donate to moveon.org, too.

Campaign finance reform proponents argue that elections should be won on ideas and not on campaign contributions. So why is it ok for George Soros to buy elections through investing in moveon.org but not for Target Co. to do the same by donating directly?

You're not making a case, here. If you want to complain about Soros, find a reason to complain about him. Be prepared to explain why you think Soros is a problem, but you haven't bothered to mention Mellon-Scaife, the Kochs, etc... There's no analogy in the issue you've tried to claim here - Wonderment gave you a huge clue toward an actual argument earlier, when he mentioned labor unions. And even that only goes so far, since labor unions aren't for-profits, and are only roughly comparable in that there's a strong relationship between them and for-profit corporations; and, union donations occupy a somewhat analogous niche for the Democrats as corporate money does for the Republicans.

operative
10-01-2010, 09:59 PM
Would you consider a bunch of kids lined up in front of a school bus, a mob, and a symphonic orchestra just the same because all three are " a group of people"?

That'd be more like comparing your average netroots activist who gives a hundred bucks to Obama with a corporation. I really wouldn't place Soros in the category of the kids in front of the school bus.

operative
10-01-2010, 10:01 PM
Well the union exemption was the most blatant example of Democrats using campaign finance reform to try to selectively discourage political involvement from generally unfriendly groups while promoting it from others, but a union, much like a corporation, is interested in its own survival. And I can think of few corporations that behave as badly as teachers unions.

The fundamental issue is about money in politics, and I don't understand why you're not acknowledging this. The rhetoric for campaign finance reform centers on candidates getting an 'equal' footing and not letting elections be bought. Wouldn't you agree with those sentiments?

Ocean
10-01-2010, 10:20 PM
I really wouldn't place Soros in the category of the kids in front of the school bus.

True. I would think of him as the orchestra conductor. But never mind, trying to over-interpret won't do.

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 10:37 PM
Well the union exemption was the most blatant example of Democrats using campaign finance reform to try to selectively discourage political involvement from generally unfriendly groups while promoting it from others, but a union, much like a corporation, is interested in its own survival. And I can think of few corporations that behave as badly as teachers unions.

The fundamental issue is about money in politics, and I don't understand why you're not acknowledging this. The rhetoric for campaign finance reform centers on candidates getting an 'equal' footing and not letting elections be bought. Wouldn't you agree with those sentiments?

I'm going to ignore the blatantly partisan appeals in the first graf. You can't argue an issue reasonably if you don't understand that your point of view doesn't govern the equities in a debate. There are arguments for and against corporate and union money in politics. The arguments are not, for the most part, equivalent. So an argument pro or con one side doesn't necessarily imply anything about the other.

I think corporations represent a slice of the society that's disproportionate to their wealth, and I think that's a strong argument against unfettered corporate largesse in the political sphere. There are good arguments against that view.

The fundamental issue is not "money in politics." Some nice lady giving fifty bucks to her local congressman's campaign for reelection is money in politics. And it's a generally good tbing. The fundamental issues are conflicts of interest and overall fairness. The problem is finding definitions people can agree on.

Wonderment
10-01-2010, 10:38 PM
One more question (maybe it will turn into more than one, but for now one): do you still have a generally positive view of political protest, in regards to either their efficacy and/or their sign of the health of democracy? There's a pretty interesting debate in PS literature about whether protests demonstrate the health of a democracy (people are active, involved, passionate, etc.) or its dilapidation (leadership class not responding to the people, people dissatisfied with the conventional means of democratic expression, etc.)

I'm a big supporter of grassroots organizing and participatory democracy that goes beyond the act of voting and supporting candidates. Protest is just one of the tools in the kit. I don't think protests per se are decisive, but in general I'd go with the "health of democracy" side of the argument. Protests/marches/demonstrations/rallies are usually a fairly good gauge of how deeply people care about an issue.

operative
10-01-2010, 10:41 PM
I'm going to ignore the blatantly partisan appeals in the first graf. You can't argue an issue reasonably if you don't understand that your point of view doesn't govern the equities in a debate. There are arguments for and against corporate and union money in politics. The arguments are not, for the most part, equivalent. So an argument pro or con one side doesn't necessarily imply anything about the other.

I think corporations represent a slice of the society that's disproportionate to their wealth, and I think that's a strong argument against unfettered corporate largesse in the political sphere. There are good arguments against that view.

The fundamental issue is not "money in politics." Some nice lady giving fifty bucks to her local congressman's campaign for reelection is money in politics. And it's a generally good tbing. The fundamental issues are conflicts of interest and overall fairness. The problem is finding definitions people can agree on.

Well, when I say 'money' in politics, I don't mean those small donations. I mean the mega donors, the ones who are good at skirting campaign finance regulations by giving tons of money to third party organizations, or by bundling, etc.

jummy
10-01-2010, 10:47 PM
i'm told this kind of rhetoric is the essence of domestic terrorism:

Goodbye what little semblance we had to democracy

must be because he can't handle the idea of a black man on the supreme court.

someone pat him down for a gadsden flag.

etc.

AemJeff
10-01-2010, 10:51 PM
Well, when I say 'money' in politics, I don't mean those small donations. I mean the mega donors, the ones who are good at skirting campaign finance regulations by giving tons of money to third party organizations, or by bundling, etc.

You only seem to complain about donors whose political agenda is different from your own. That seems to be about something other than your stated issues regarding fairness, or your appeals regarding "bad behavior" on the part of teacher's unions.

operative
10-01-2010, 11:03 PM
You only seem to complain about donors whose political agenda is different from your own. That seems to be about something other than your stated issues regarding fairness, or your appeals regarding "bad behavior" on the part of teacher's unions.

I'm not in favor of limiting campaign donations, even in the case of people and organizations whose behavior I find extremely objectionable (eg teachers unions). So I may concentrate on those organizations that I object to, but I'm still not in favor of having the government tell them how much they can donate.

popcorn_karate
10-04-2010, 03:32 PM
i'm told this kind of rhetoric is the essence of domestic terrorism

wow, what kind of ignorant moron would say something that like?

Don Zeko
10-04-2010, 04:16 PM
Who do you think would be the net beneficiaries if all restrictions on campaign fundraising were abolished, i.e. any politician or outside group could engage in any kind of electioneering with funding, either disclosed or not, from any source?

operative
10-04-2010, 04:28 PM
Who do you think would be the net beneficiaries if all restrictions on campaign fundraising were abolished, i.e. any politician or outside group could engage in any kind of electioneering with funding, either disclosed or not, from any source?

It's really hard to say. Corporations and unions would be more forceful in their spending. I really don't think there would be much of a swing one way or the other.

Don Zeko
10-04-2010, 04:29 PM
It's really hard to say. Corporations and unions would be more forceful in their spending. I really don't think there would be much of a swing one way or the other.

So you think that corporations and unions have roughly similar amounts of money available with which to influence policy?

chiwhisoxx
10-04-2010, 04:51 PM
i'm told this kind of rhetoric is the essence of domestic terrorism:



must be because he can't handle the idea of a black man on the supreme court.

someone pat him down for a gadsden flag.

etc.

Melodramatic, overblown, and bordering on demagoguery? Sure. Domestic terrorism? Don't really see where you're getting that from...

stephanie
10-04-2010, 05:16 PM
Who do you think would be the net beneficiaries if all restrictions on campaign fundraising were abolished, i.e. any politician or outside group could engage in any kind of electioneering with funding, either disclosed or not, from any source?

Lots more money gets spent, probably. You and I probably agree on who benefits the most, at least from such an entirely unregulated environment.

Is anyone here seriously arguing that not just restrictions on spending, but on disclosure also, should be done away with? (I know there are arguments about what the disclosure should be.)

stephanie
10-04-2010, 05:30 PM
Campaign finance reform proponents argue that elections should be won on ideas and not on campaign contributions. So why is it ok for George Soros to buy elections through investing in moveon.org but not for Target Co. to do the same by donating directly?

MoveOn.org set up a PAC, which Target was entitled to do under McCain-Feingold also (and so was Citizens United, an entity that is more like what we think of MoveOn.org, probably, than like Target). One could easily think that PACs are different, or even that non-profit corporations formed for political purposes (including Citizens United) are different -- that was an argument the gov't made -- without there being some partisan basis for that distinction.

Your argument seems to be that it's silly to suggest that it matters that MoveOn.org operates through a PAC and Target (hypothetically) would prefer not to, that it's unfair not to let Target just act directly. But it's important to note that the reason Target gets to act directly is precisely because the SC held that operating through a PAC is not the same as acting directly -- it's harder, you have to meet various regulations, including disclosure of donors, which corporations acting directly would not.

So MoveOn.org is not really a good comparison, as others have pointed out.

You could argue that it probably doesn't make that much difference, because PACs were always an option, and -- so long as we have reasonable disclosure laws -- I'd probably agree. (Even though I also suspect the potential influence of corporate donors ends up being higher in an non-presidential election year.)

The more general question of why a corporation should be considered a person with first amendment rights for the purposes of a campaign is an interesting one, although it was resolved already by the SC before the most recent cases, so I don't think there's a policy purpose in rearguing it. I'm not actually sure (beyond who benefits, and I'm sure no one here would be that cynical) what the connection is between that belief and political ideology, so I'd be interested in the argument for that from anyone who strongly believes it. In that it's not been an open issue, I haven't really bothered formulating an opinion on it, so am pretty open to good arguments.

jummy
10-04-2010, 08:13 PM
mark potock, frank rich. you know, progressives in general (e.g., link (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/25/perry-tea-army/)).

i mean, how long can we allow people to say stuff about the country's elites destroying democracy before they start saying really scary stuff like "take our country back (http://tremoglieteatime.blogspot.com/2010/04/liberal-hypocrisy-taking-our-country.html)"?

...oops. wrong link. here it is...

..."take our country back (http://www.joshuakennon.com/what-take-our-country-back-really-means/)"?

operative
10-04-2010, 09:40 PM
So you think that corporations and unions have roughly similar amounts of money available with which to influence policy?

Major corporations have theoretically larger pockets but they're not going to devote outrageous sums of money, in part because of the major negative press that would result.

stephanie
10-05-2010, 11:19 AM
mark potock, frank rich. you know, progressives in general (e.g., link (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/25/perry-tea-army/))....

Is this supposed to be coherent?

jummy
10-06-2010, 08:59 AM
uh-dur duh-dur duh gurgle?

sorry, i didn't get that. did you say something?

popcorn_karate
10-06-2010, 12:59 PM
that is not acceptable behavior, douchebag.

use the quote function correctly or leave it alone.

jummy
10-06-2010, 11:53 PM
i am a douchebag, but i have the complete dvd set of dr. quinn:medicine woman, and this makes all the difference.

you don't say?

Don Zeko
10-07-2010, 12:21 AM
Don't feed the trolls, kids!

I think you've moved the conversation in a very productive direction, Jummy.

jummy
10-07-2010, 09:06 AM
now can we get to the business of making blockquote pyramids?

thusly:

HELLO? hello, hello, hello...hello...hello..........

stephanie
10-07-2010, 02:41 PM
I think you've moved the conversation in a very productive direction, Jummy.

Well, there's always something to be said for bringing in Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. Too bad he had to violate one of the few completely clear rules of forum conduct to do it. (Despite being warned already by popcorn karate.)

stephanie
10-15-2010, 06:14 PM
Here's (http://crookedtimber.org/2010/10/15/whats-happening-to-the-republican-party/#more-17455) an interesting discussion about the changes in the funding of campaigns and how it relates to the 2010 election, from frequent blogginghead Henry Farrell:

It's worth reading the whole thing so that the following quotes aren't out of context.

Now the Republican Party is changing, because it is being hit with two simultaneous shocks. The first is Citizens United, which makes it much easier for business to pour money into the electoral process without any real accountability. The second is the advent of new forms of small-donor fundraising, which are both more efficient than the mailing-list model that Richard Viguerie pioneered in a previous generation, and less easy for party grandees to control.* The interesting question for me is which of these is likely to prevail over the other. Citizens United suggests the continued – and perhaps increased – dominance of big money in electoral politics. The proliferation of Tea Party candidates, and of small-donor fundraising mechanisms that may be escaping the control of either the Republican party or business suggests the dominance of conservative activists.

You can see arguments for both cases.... But it’s also highly plausible that the internal tensions of the Republican coalition will increase. The conservative activists within the Tea Party look isolationist on foreign policy (scaring neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol). They are probably not especially keen on free trade either (which leads to worries for Republican-friendly business). And a less centralized Republican party will be less easily able to manage these tensions than a more decentralized one, in which dissenters have independent financial and organizational resources to draw upon. It could be that all of this is resolved (if e.g. corporate money simply swamps grassroot donations and energy over the longer term, and at the primary level as well as in elections. It could be, as some argue, that this is an illusion and that the Tea Party are mere puppets of big business (I don’t think this is true myself – even if Koch, Armey etc helped get things started, they don’t look to me as though they are in control – but I could be wrong). But I’m cautiously betting myself on substantially increased tensions within the party, and perhaps even a fracturing of the underlying coalition over the next few years.

Yes, I know, ChiWS thinks that liberals always think the Republican coalition is going to fracture, and I'm skeptical myself.

*It's interesting, because a lot of people also speculated that the increasing ease of small money donations (exploited by Obama) would help the Dems and make Citizens United less significant. Makes sense the traditional conservative donors might lag a bit behind but come on strong, especially given their positive experience with mailing lists and such and the presence of lots of religious groups on the net.