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Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cataclysm - Part V

Moderators: LyricalRico, WizStorm, miller31time, nate33

Post#856 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:33 pm by dobrojim

Induveca wrote:Jim, interesting would be a better approach for all...bringing in essentially a *foreign* mediator/expert to present all factual information in a more informal setting. Almost like a classroom environment.

It makes sense in that representatives are not subject matter experts, they must educate themselves on topics and take a position for each vote.

Seems like, today, most simply go with their gut or take the lead from the most vocal opponent/champion of the cause in their party (due to lobbying, past grudges etc). Lazy/sloppy approach.

This year will be frightening to watch, with the executive orders on guy control (which I agree with 150%) and the debt issue, a political battle the likes we have never seen in our lifetime is brewing.

The only way out of this is for both sides to get out of their party trenches and actually educate themselves on the topic. Maybe even broadcast the "classrooms" to the American people. It's a format everyone in America understands and could truly participate in.....


I think you're right that they (pols) either go with their gut, in many cases deeply
held ignorance, or they act in response to money, either to receive the most
or to insure that they do not become the target of big bucks in a negative way.
Not that different from the people they represent in a certain sense.
People often 'vote their pocketbooks' or emotionally in response to what
they 'know' however inaccurate that may be.
A lot of what we call 'thought' is just mental activity
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Post#857 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:49 pm by popper

dobrojim wrote:a while back we briefly brought up the topic of climate change

I recommended some small paperbacks from Nat Acad of Science.

Posting again now to recommend (even though I'm skeptical that cons
will listen to a show by Bill Moyers about anything)

http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-ending-the-silence-on-climate-change/

I think it's worth pointing out that it's a lot more likely to have reasonable
discussions when there is a framework which includes agreed upon realities ie facts.
I blame the media (to some extent) here in their attempt to be balanced thereby creating
false equivalencies. I also blame everyone, myself included, for being too captive
to our closely held beliefs.

A pretty long time ago I remember reading/hearing about a seminar based approach
to discussions between/among people of differing political philosophies regarding the budget.
The story was interesting due to the cooperation that resulted when accurate information
was at the foundation of the discussion. People actually came to pretty reasonable
policy positions in this scenario.


I watched the video dobrojim (and I'm a con) and found it informative. It starts with the premise that global warming and its detrimental effects on the globe are real and proceeds from there. I think there needs to be more effort invested in gaining a scientific consensus on the foregoing. I know most believers will respond that scientific consensus has already been achieved and now it's just a matter of translating that consensus into policy.

I would disagree to the extent that even the professor's own description of the six publics that may or may not need additional convincing prove there is more work to be done. Perhaps your observation on a seminar based approach to reaching a consensus would be helpful in this instance.

Bottom line to me - I want to see more scientific debate on the issue in a public forum before I'm comfortable moving forward with potential solutions. If I'm convinced by the scientist that global warming is real and detrimental then I would want to go through the same debate process as our political leaders propose solutions.

I know this reluctance to move forward now must frustrate those who have already made up their minds but people like me, according to the professor, are the reason that consensus has not been achieved yet. Because of that there's insufficient political will at the moment to move forward.

If our leaders were in fact "leaders," they would schedule a nationally televised debate where the best scientist would argue the pro and con merits of the issue so the public would have more confidence in their own respective decision either in support of, or opposition to the issue.
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Post#858 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:02 pm by dobrojim

popper wrote:
I watched the video dobrojim (and I'm a con) and found it informative. It starts with the premise that global warming and its detrimental effects on the globe are real and proceeds from there. I think there needs to be more effort invested in gaining a scientific consensus on the foregoing. I know most believers will respond that scientific consensus has already been achieved and now it's just a matter of translating that consensus into policy.

I would disagree to the extent that even the professor's own description of the six publics that may or may not need additional convincing prove there is more work to be done. Perhaps your observation on a seminar based approach to reaching a consensus would be helpful in this instance.

Bottom line to me - I want to see more scientific debate on the issue in a public forum before I'm comfortable moving forward with potential solutions. If I'm convinced by the scientist that global warming is real and detrimental then I would want to go through the same debate process as our political leaders propose solutions.

I know this reluctance to move forward now must frustrate those who have already made up their minds but people like me, according to the professor, are the reason that consensus has not been achieved yet. Because of that there's insufficient political will at the moment to move forward.

If our leaders were in fact "leaders," they would schedule a nationally televised debate where the best scientist would argue the pro and con merits of the issue so the public would have more confidence in their own respective decision either in support of, or opposition to the issue.



Good for you for watching the vid

I guess you can put me firmly in the camp that does indeed believe that a scientific
consensus HAS been reached, at least as far as published research in peer reviewed
journals. My own bias leads me to conclude that the likelihood that this is some
kind of conspiracy on the part of scientists to make themselves more important
and therefore better funded is exceedingly low compared to the likelihood that
those who's ox's are likely to be gored, big coal/big oil, are doing everything they
can to create a scientific controversy where none actually exists.

but as the professor pointed out, < 10% of people actually fall into that category
of outright deniers, but they get an inordinate amount of media attention for
some strange reason (false equivalency/laziness on the part of the media).
A lot of what we call 'thought' is just mental activity
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Post#859 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:52 pm by dobrojim

re an agreed upon set of facts...I hear pro-gun folks trying to claim
that more people are killed with baseball bats. Hard to talk to people
that believe this kind of nonsense.
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Post#860 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:17 pm by Zonkerbl

Induveca wrote:Jim, interesting would be a better approach for all...bringing in essentially a *foreign* mediator/expert to present all factual information in a more informal setting. Almost like a classroom environment.

It makes sense in that representatives are not subject matter experts, they must educate themselves on topics and take a position for each vote.

Seems like, today, most simply go with their gut or take the lead from the most vocal opponent/champion of the cause in their party (due to lobbying, past grudges etc). Lazy/sloppy approach.

This year will be frightening to watch, with the executive orders on guy control (which I agree with 150%) and the debt issue, a political battle the likes we have never seen in our lifetime is brewing.

The only way out of this is for both sides to get out of their party trenches and actually educate themselves on the topic. Maybe even broadcast the "classrooms" to the American people. It's a format everyone in America understands and could truly participate in.....


Well, I've talked to and worked with a lot of politicians. They spend a lot of time (a LOT of time) talking with their constituents and learning directly from the people they represent the impact of various issues on their lives. Very little of a politician's job is (or should be) doing independent research of an issue (except in cases where the issue is just too damn complicated and the constituents instructions are to go in there and represent them, darnit). Politician's job is to advocate for their constituents, full stop. It's mostly the constituents' responsibility to be well informed about what affects them.

In certain cases you have to get into the weeds and negotiate over things, like the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation. That was a very complicated agreement and there are a few key congressfolks who specialize in that sort of stuff who are tasked by their party to hammer out an agreement. Most of the long standing congressfolks have become a subject matter specialist in something or other just because they got assigned something their constituents care about and over the years they've learned a lot about it. But it would be ridiculous to expect every politician to be a subject matter specialist in everything. That's impossible.
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Post#861 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:35 pm by Nivek

Zonkerbl wrote:Politician's job is to advocate for their constituents, full stop.


Is it? I think you could get extensive debate on this issue. Constituents are not a monolithic group. Politicians are always in the position of picking and choosing which group they want to advocate for. And, what about a politician following his conscience and doing what he thinks is right, what he thinks is best -- even if his constituents don't agree?
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Post#862 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:36 pm by popper

Good article on CO2 emission reduction policies in CA. Our recent discussion on global warming could have included these types of policy complexities to illuminate the grey areas that exist between good intentions and desired results.

http://www.newgeography.com/content/003 ... connection
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Post#863 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:02 pm by Zonkerbl

Nivek wrote:
Zonkerbl wrote:Politician's job is to advocate for their constituents, full stop.


Is it? I think you could get extensive debate on this issue. Constituents are not a monolithic group. Politicians are always in the position of picking and choosing which group they want to advocate for. And, what about a politician following his conscience and doing what he thinks is right, what he thinks is best -- even if his constituents don't agree?


Politicians have to do things their constituents don't like all the time, it's called compromise and why people think politicians are all liars. I don't think advocating for your constituents and doing things they don't agree with are at all exclusive -- just a fact of political life.

You gain a certain amount of trust -- "political capital" -- from your constituents by getting things done for them. You have to spend that capital sometimes to get an agreement. Use up all your capital and you're out.
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Post#864 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:17 pm by hands11

popper wrote:Thanks for the kind words Doc. These threads are a healthy outlet for me to try and stay engaged in both political discourse and in the Wizards (how pathetic is that .... though we have been looking good lately). I have learned a ton from all who post on this site and enjoy the dialectic that is essential in understanding and appreciating the views and positions of others. My greatest frustration with our politics and our media today is the absence of thoughtful discourse between political opponents. When done in good faith, it should lead to better and more effective solutions to our myriad problems. Our leaders could set a better example for the country if they would first seek to understand before they push to be understood.


Sadly for way to many in the House and Senate, that is not their job anymore. They are not there to understand. They are there to promote. They are lobbyist. Hired guns of their corporate donors. They are there to make money, not to serve the public good. So to do that, all they need to do is understand what their big donors want them to say (lie) to convince the public that something that makes no sense...makes sense. You know.. think like...deficits don't matter or tax cut pay for themselves.

Its public pressure that ultimately forces policy to change. That is the real challenge. How does the public get their information and how do you get them pissed off enough to act. What information they get it key. Because you can give the public bad information and get them pissed off to vote and they will vote for bad things. Things like voting for people that want to go to war and cut taxes without paying for them.

But things seem to be changing. People are waking up again.
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Post#865 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:45 am by Zonkerbl

I think it's really misguided and unhelpful to view a politician's job as anything but advocating for his/her constituents, hands. Lobbyists are not evil. They are the core of the democratic process. Politicians are not the problem. Lobbyists are not the problem. The refusal of constituents representing different points of view to listen to each other, the steadfast vilification of members of the other "tribe," is the problem.
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Post#866 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:29 am by Induveca

Zonkerbl wrote:I think it's really misguided and unhelpful to view a politician's job as anything but advocating for his/her constituents, hands. Lobbyists are not evil. They are the core of the democratic process. Politicians are not the problem. Lobbyists are not the problem. The refusal of constituents representing different points of view to listen to each other, the steadfast vilification of members of the other "tribe," is the problem.


You don't know many lobbyists I do....they are the furthest thing from harmless.

I was sued via a major lobby about 10 years ago, purely to protect the profit of a much larger company in California from whom I had been taking a ton of business. They refused to take their business online and at the time and stuck with printed delivery via physical store.

I actually ended up having to sue a lobby in DC, and spent about 60k in attorneys fees and lost a few hundred thousand in sales. They took down web presences online via fraudulent DMCA notices....right after I refused to sell to a company they represented in California.

Long story short my firm in DC found some folks who worked there, and confirmed they were illegally pushing out DMCA notices and using this tactic to put potential competitors out of business. All in all, smart strategy....bravo to them.

Companies completely isolate themselves, and use associations to act on their behalf. Takes a long time, and a lot of money to prove the intent....and meanwhile your site is taken down by law from an accusation. The definition of "guilty until you prove yourself innocent". At the end though, I won and now that division of the company is dead....and I sold to another company in 2007.

Since that time, I use a few lobbyists for my own purposes. It's very standard practice, and crucial at top levels of government. Preferential treatment at government agencies, applications "moved". Most top lobbyists are pretty much the equivalent of union thugs. Don't let the nice environment/buildings and old lady secretaries fool you. Top associations are ruthless, and actively grease politicians in a variety of ways to ensure they are a dominant force in their respective sector.
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Post#867 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:35 am by closg00

I hope NBA union rep Billy Hunter gets tossed, this latest scandal plays into stereotypes about union corruption. 3-year 15 million dollar self-extension. Disgusting!!!
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Post#868 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:41 am by Induveca

closg00 wrote:I hope NBA union rep Billy Hunter gets tossed, this latest scandal plays into stereotypes about union corruption. 3-year 15 million dollar self-extension. Disgusting!!!


Hunter has done a solid job for them, not easy to make the likes of Stern bend. Personally he annoys me however.

Unions are by their very definition corrupt. They exist to further a single cause, and make others pay more at any cost to fund that cause's well-being via persistent negotiation (blackmail). Hard to coin that as anything but corrupt. :)
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Post#869 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:56 am by Zonkerbl

Induveca wrote:
Zonkerbl wrote:I think it's really misguided and unhelpful to view a politician's job as anything but advocating for his/her constituents, hands. Lobbyists are not evil. They are the core of the democratic process. Politicians are not the problem. Lobbyists are not the problem. The refusal of constituents representing different points of view to listen to each other, the steadfast vilification of members of the other "tribe," is the problem.


You don't know many lobbyists I do....they are the furthest thing from harmless.

I was sued via a major lobby about 10 years ago, purely to protect the profit of a much larger company in California from whom I had been taking a ton of business. They refused to take their business online and at the time and stuck with printed delivery via physical store.

I actually ended up having to sue a lobby in DC, and spent about 60k in attorneys fees and lost a few hundred thousand in sales. They took down web presences online via fraudulent DMCA notices....right after I refused to sell to a company they represented in California.

Long story short my firm in DC found some folks who worked there, and confirmed they were illegally pushing out DMCA notices and using this tactic to put potential competitors out of business. All in all, smart strategy....bravo to them.

Companies completely isolate themselves, and use associations to act on their behalf. Takes a long time, and a lot of money to prove the intent....and meanwhile your site is taken down by law from an accusation. The definition of "guilty until you prove yourself innocent". At the end though, I won and now that division of the company is dead....and I sold to another company in 2007.

Since that time, I use a few lobbyists for my own purposes. It's very standard practice, and crucial at top levels of government. Preferential treatment at government agencies, applications "moved". Most top lobbyists are pretty much the equivalent of union thugs. Don't let the nice environment/buildings and old lady secretaries fool you. Top associations are ruthless, and actively grease politicians in a variety of ways to ensure they are a dominant force in their respective sector.


Is that a lobbyist or a lawyer? To me a lobbyist is someone who talks to political representatives and other political actors to try to advocate for a certain point of view. A lawyer is a tool used to bend the application/interpretation of laws to serve your interest. Lobbyists are a kind of lawyer, but not all lawyers are lobbyists, and not all lawyers who call themselves lobbyists are "lobbying" all the time.

Ruthlessness is not evil. It's being good at your job within the rules that are permitted/enforced. Using a lobbyist to take advantage of market failures introduced by government intervention is smart business. Allowing the government intervention to produce the market failure in the first place is the root of the problem. Is it fair that big businesses have economies of scale in hiring lawyers/lobbyists to peddle their influence? No. Does that make lobbying evil? No. What's evil is that small businesses can't afford lobbyists -- they cannot buy as much democratic representation per dollar that a large business can. Rather than labeling democratic representation as evil and trying to suppress it, we would all be much better off figuring out ways to lower the cost of democratic representation for smaller entities. That's what consumer advocacy groups are for. That's what online political campaigns are for.
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Post#870 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:08 am by Induveca

Nice spin Zonk. :)

Problem is, it's an extremely corrupt system. Multiple layers of bribes to shelter the politicians and those greasing the wheels.

You have to pay off lobbyists to hold these "political discussions" you reference. They in turn, pay off the politicians via various means.....lobbyist consulting fees vary depending on connections and size of your business.

And no it has absolutely nothing to do with attorneys. Sure the lobbyist firms employ them, as many of the resulting favors from bribes end up as favorable laws for their "clients".....and to wage war on the PR corruption front. Of course many lobbies are purely fronts for a major business.

Can't get more corrupt than that, just the common Joe doesn't get it.....it's organized crime at the highest/most intelligent level....

What's the difference between NY Mobs (formerly) controlling trucking in NYC via well placed local and state government payoffs, and corporations being awarded exclusive rights to operate on federal owned and/or controlled land via not so discreet lobbyist bribery?

Not much....
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Post#871 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:55 am by DCZards

Induveca wrote:
Unions are by their very definition corrupt. They exist to further a single cause, and make others pay more at any cost to fund that cause's well-being via persistent negotiation (blackmail). Hard to coin that as anything but corrupt. :)


Indu, your views on unions (thugs???) are straight outta the 1930s and 1940s. You need to come into the 21st century. I know how unions operate (just like you seem to know how businesses operate) and I can assure you that your opinion that unions "exist to further a single cause" is very uninformed...unless that "cause" is fighting for the rights of workers, families, children, minorities, senior citizens, etc. :)
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Post#872 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:59 am by DCZards

Lobbyists get a bad rap. A lot of what I’ve been reading here about evil or corrupt lobbyists are gross overgeneralizations. I work with men and women who “lobby” for a living. They happen to advocate for educators and schoolchildren. And I know first-hand that not only are these men and women righteous individuals but so are the issues they lobby/advocate on behalf of.

Sure there are lobbyists/lawyers (as well as politicians, business owners, police officers and priests) who are corrupt and evil. What’s new?
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Post#873 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:09 pm by dobrojim

Zonkerbl wrote:
Is that a lobbyist or a lawyer? To me a lobbyist is someone who talks to political representatives and other political actors to try to advocate for a certain point of view. A lawyer is a tool used to bend the application/interpretation of laws to serve your interest. Lobbyists are a kind of lawyer, but not all lawyers are lobbyists, and not all lawyers who call themselves lobbyists are "lobbying" all the time.

Ruthlessness is not evil. It's being good at your job within the rules that are permitted/enforced. Using a lobbyist to take advantage of market failures introduced by government intervention is smart business. Allowing the government intervention to produce the market failure in the first place is the root of the problem. Is it fair that big businesses have economies of scale in hiring lawyers/lobbyists to peddle their influence? No. Does that make lobbying evil? No. What's evil is that small businesses can't afford lobbyists -- they cannot buy as much democratic representation per dollar that a large business can. Rather than labeling democratic representation as evil and trying to suppress it, we would all be much better off figuring out ways to lower the cost of democratic representation for smaller entities. That's what consumer advocacy groups are for. That's what online political campaigns are for.


Bravo.

Lobbying ~/= right of redress of grievences

I agree with what I take as your basic premise, that big money has an unfair advantage
in lobbying. That has resulted in our current society of a tiny number of haves, and a
large number of have-nots.

I stumbled across an interesting panel discussion last night on C-span (from GWU)
on ending poverty. That's a lobby that could well use the kind of resources that
plutocrats and corps currently have. One of the speakers repeated a quote
(not sure who first said it) but the gist of it was that we have a highway to
poverty and a sidewalk out to the middle class. This affects people of all
political persuasions, ethnicities etc.

fact - we have the greatest disparity in wealth and income of any advanced country.
Some of the cause of that is due to the influence of big money on political decisions
and priorities (by BOTH parties).

link to video of panel discussion http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/TavisSm
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Post#874 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:49 pm by dobrojim

Induveca wrote:Nice spin Zonk. :)

Problem is, it's an extremely corrupt system. Multiple layers of bribes to shelter the politicians and those greasing the wheels.

You have to pay off lobbyists to hold these "political discussions" you reference. They in turn, pay off the politicians via various means.....lobbyist consulting fees vary depending on connections and size of your business.

And no it has absolutely nothing to do with attorneys. Sure the lobbyist firms employ them, as many of the resulting favors from bribes end up as favorable laws for their "clients".....and to wage war on the PR corruption front. Of course many lobbies are purely fronts for a major business.

Can't get more corrupt than that, just the common Joe doesn't get it.....it's organized crime at the highest/most intelligent level....

What's the difference between NY Mobs (formerly) controlling trucking in NYC via well placed local and state government payoffs, and corporations being awarded exclusive rights to operate on federal owned and/or controlled land via not so discreet lobbyist bribery?

Not much....


I think a lot of people get it to a much greater extent than my interpretation
of your post would indicate. These people are just confused/scared/cynical/apathetic
about how best they might act to change it.

Social media has some potential to change this.
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Post#875 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:08 pm by Zonkerbl

Induveca, what's the difference between organized crime and government?

Competition vs. monopoly. When one warring tribe defeats the other, it goes from being a "roving band of militants" to being the "government in power."

Having lived in Siberia for a year, Indu, I can very strongly assert that if you think the U.S. system is corrupt, YOU AIN'T SEEN NUTHIN.

The U.S. is one of THE LEAST CORRUPT countries out there. This will be about the tenth time I've repeated this quote in this thread: Democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others we've tried.

Corruption is a symptom of institutional dysfunction. No institution is perfect -- what we can do is try to identify the root causes of dysfunction and fix it.
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