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Old 04-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #201
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Apples & oranges. What's negotiated into a CBA & what money is spent bribing politicians is two desperate things.


If it walks like a duck.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:32 PM   #202
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Can we remove a freedom just because we don't like the result? Depends on who you ask, but some would argue their ability to hire someone to represent their best interests is protected in the constitution. I had a buddy say he wanted "ALL" special interests gones from Washington. I asked why and of course he cited corporations. I then asked him if he'd be ok with all the others losing their voices as well: unions, civil rights groups, scientists who specialize in areas that the public at large doesn't care and/or is not educated about enough to form a good opinion on. Not all special interests are bad. Many aren't bad or good, but necessary because they represent an industry or aspect about our society that requires some expertise, and while not controversial, is important to society and must be factored into codefied law.

How many average citizens even care about each individual issue in our government? Do we as citizens take ownership of the consequences of ALL these things?
There's a difference between representing your case and buying votes.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:47 PM   #203
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If it walks like a duck.
Where's Sheldon Adelson and his $150 million from 2012?
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:47 AM   #204
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So what you're saying is Unions shouldn't be allowed to make political contributions.



2012 Spending (including soft money from PACs)

Business $2,708,652,702
Labor $141,153,422
Ideological $208,591,929
Other $559,743,023



It's almost like corporations and the government are linked somehow!!!!




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Old 04-11-2013, 06:33 AM   #205
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It's almost like corporations and the government are linked somehow!!!!
QFT!!! These guys keep dancing around with their desperate answers, pretending their perspectives on this are correct, whilst avoiding the rather large elephant in the room.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:37 AM   #206
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Oops.

Naw. They're just getting their lawful representation.



That's okay. I'm sure those people have a deep and abiding interest in the "general welfare" of the American people.

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Old 04-11-2013, 07:04 AM   #207
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Who is claiming special interests have the welfare of the American people? They don't. They care about their special interest. That's why they're special interest groups. Every group does this. Labor doesn't care if their industry is obsolete or if the country would be better if their factory closed. Pharm companies want to make money and charge a lot. Abortion activitists want their moral views forced on everyone else. Their whole existence is to champion small causes - regardless of the ethics.

I would argue you need special interest groups or you have majority tyranny.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:18 AM   #208
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Who is claiming special interests have the welfare of the American people? They don't. They care about their special interest. That's why they're special interest groups. Every group does this. Labor doesn't care if their industry is obsolete or if the country would be better if their factory closed. Pharm companies want to make money and charge a lot. Abortion activitists want their moral views forced on everyone else. Their whole existence is to champion small causes - regardless of the ethics.

I would argue you need special interest groups or you have majority tyranny.
The truth is they believe that just because they elect someone he/she's automagically going to defy human nature and start representing only the collective interest over their own personal ambition. What they fail to see is that 99% of the time, winning that election is just the first step towards fulfilling a personal ambition in the first place. Everyone has a 'special interest.' Even us. Even the people we elect.

Government has to balance those interests. Not suppress them. That's why the founders saw separation of powers as so important. Unfortunately we keep tearing those separations down in the name of collective will, and it all ultimately works against us. We need forgiveness for we know not what we do.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:20 AM   #209
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Who is claiming special interests have the welfare of the American people? They don't. They care about their special interest. That's why they're special interest groups. Every group does this. Labor doesn't care if their industry is obsolete or if the country would be better if their factory closed. Pharm companies want to make money and charge a lot. Abortion activitists want their moral views forced on everyone else. Their whole existence is to champion small causes - regardless of the ethics.

I would argue you need special interest groups or you have majority tyranny.
I agree. That's what freedom of speech is all about. Let them speak. But that's a whole different thing from energy companies (for just one example) writing the legislation and handing to their reps in congress who pass it without even reading it in exchange for a fat campaign contribution. What we have now is tyranny of the special interests, like TR said, twisting "...the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will."
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:34 AM   #210
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It's almost like corporations and the government are linked somehow!!!!
I'm not saying they're not linked. It's obvious business has influence in government. Then again, the 'official' union spending numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...031850026.html



And unlike the 'business' category you monolithize so easily, that Labor spending pretty much all goes to one party. By a ratio of about 10:1.

But my purpose was never to say that one equals the other in influence either way. The point was my asking how far does this definition of "special interest" go? Or is this just about getting only the business spending out so unions can utterly dominate elections, like they did several decades ago.

Many Democrats only started lamenting other peoples' special interests when it began to tip the balance of power away from them.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:36 AM   #211
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Who is claiming special interests have the welfare of the American people? They don't. They care about their special interest. That's why they're special interest groups. Every group does this. Labor doesn't care if their industry is obsolete or if the country would be better if their factory closed. Pharm companies want to make money and charge a lot. Abortion activitists want their moral views forced on everyone else. Their whole existence is to champion small causes - regardless of the ethics.

I would argue you need special interest groups or you have majority tyranny.
BS. Majority tyranny!? You know what other word means majority tyranny? DEMOCRACY.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:40 AM   #212
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I agree. That's what freedom of speech is all about. Let them speak. But that's a whole different thing from energy companies (for just one example) writing the legislation and handing to their reps in congress who pass it without even reading it in exchange for a fat campaign contribution. What we have now is tyranny of the special interests, like TR said, twisting "...the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will."
I really think part of what needs to happen is that government needs to slow down and start dealing with major issues one at a time. More than half of what goes into those bills wouldn't pass on their own accord. But lube it up and shove whatever you want into a byzantine "energy bill" or "defense bill" and as long as each politician gets some chunk they can take home to brag about, they're all good with just about anything that's put in there.

You can talk about sunlight and influence all day. But the government does this intentionally to keep real issues from ever even being discussed.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:46 AM   #213
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BS. Majority tyranny!? You know what other word means majority tyranny? DEMOCRACY.
Let me switch contexts for you.

http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/on...on_for_pu.html

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Amidst the growing excitement these days about democracy breaking out all over the world, one might be tempted to call for greater respect for "the will of the people" right here at home. New polling by Rasmussen indicates that 65% of Americans favor prayer in our nation's public schools. So why not give the people what they want?

The argument that whatever the majority wants, it should get, is a dangerous and misguided understanding of democracy -- one which quickly leads to an ugly state of affairs in which the rights and dignity of minorities is readily ignored. Tocqueville called this phenomenon "tyranny of the majority", but whatever it is called, it is a real problem when we fail to recall that terms like "will of the people" refer to both a collective people and also to all of the individuals who make up that collective.
Many, if not most, school districts across the United States have overwhelming Christian majorities. Let them do what they will? Is that what Democracy requires?
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:57 AM   #214
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Let me switch contexts for you.

http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/on...on_for_pu.html



Many, if not most, school districts across the United States have overwhelming Christian majorities. Let them do what they will? Is that what Democracy requires?
They're obviously not in the majority. Not to mention that Rasmussen has a track record for skewing his poll numbers.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:01 AM   #215
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Right now,I would say we're suffering from the tyranny of the minority. Our country has a a lot of work to be done,and all the rightards can do is obstruct,putting the country in gridlock.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:11 AM   #216
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They're obviously not in the majority. Not to mention that Rasmussen has a track record for skewing his poll numbers.
How about Gallup?

http://www.gallup.com/poll/18136/pub...c-schools.aspx



More religion in schools! So Saith the Democratic Majority. 1st Amendment be damned?
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:29 AM   #217
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...the 'official' union spending numbers are just the tip of the iceberg...
So you're going to continue to pretend that unions have as much power and control in Washington as corporations?
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:40 AM   #218
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So you're going to continue to pretend that unions have as much power and control in Washington as corporations?
I think I said I wasn't equating the two. Business' influence is probably greater overall, but far more bipartisan. Not that that necessarily matters from some people's perspectives.

But, like I also said, the object of reform can't just be to cut out the other guys' special interests while maintaining your own. Even if they're slightly less well-funded. I guess that's just a principle statement though. In reality it really is about kneecapping the other guys' supporters. His interests are always "special interests" My interests, are of course, "the will of the people"
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:14 AM   #219
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Many, if not most, school districts across the United States have overwhelming Christian majorities. Let them do what they will? Is that what Democracy requires?
A majority also want more school funding, including higher education, better paid teachers, etc. A majority believe the US government caters to special interests rather than the people. A majority believe the US should guarantee healthcare for everyone. A vast majority believe there's too much income inequality. (Last I checked, neither party supported these majority opinions.)

If you're still scared that the tyrannical majority will force all students to hate science and worship Allah, try social democracy.

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Who is claiming special interests have the welfare of the American people? They don't. They care about their special interest. That's why they're special interest groups. Every group does this. Labor doesn't care if their industry is obsolete or if the country would be better if their factory closed. Pharm companies want to make money and charge a lot. Abortion activitists want their moral views forced on everyone else. Their whole existence is to champion small causes - regardless of the ethics.

I would argue you need special interest groups or you have majority tyranny.
I can't decide if you're Gordon Gekko or a Randroid.

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BS. Majority tyranny!? You know what other word means majority tyranny? DEMOCRACY.

Exactly. Democracy is a fascist's biggest fear. This isn't hyperbole - all the right-wing heroes (Friedman, Mises, Rand, etc.) have spoken out against democracy, feel free to google.

To bring this discussion back on topic, this is why Margaret Thatcher supported fascist dictators, and why the US not only supports them, but slaughters citizens of publicly elected democracies.



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Old 04-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #220
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Exactly. Democracy is a fascist's biggest fear. This isn't hyperbole - all the right-wing heroes (Friedman, Mises, Rand, etc.) have spoken out against democracy, feel free to google.
Pure Democracy, of the kind you seem to be arguing for was also James "Father of the Constitution" Madison's biggest fear.

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A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.

Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
If this sounds familiar, it's because it should.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:02 AM   #221
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Wow great point, but you left out that James Madison was an aristocratic a-hole who was terribly afraid of people who didn't own land.

Whenever Madison talks about "the weaker party" or "the minority" it's obvious the minority he has in mind: wealthy landowners.

"the Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period." - Gordon Wood

Or as Madison's close colleague John Jay put it,
"Those who own the country ought to govern it."

That's not really in dispute among Madison scholars.

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Old 04-11-2013, 10:20 AM   #222
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Wow great point, but you left out that James Madison was an aristocratic a-hole who was terribly afraid of people who didn't own land.

Whenever Madison talks about "the minority" it's obvious the minority he has in mind: wealthy landowners.

"the Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period." - Gordon Wood

That's not really in dispute among Madison scholars.
Gee wiz. A group of guys who built a whole system of government around the idea that purely-democratic tendencies needed to be checked believed democratic tendencies needed to be checked. Who wouldda thunk?

But I've gotten where we needed to go. This is the dead end, where there is no room for agreement.

The Constitution is imperfect, maybe. So therefore, some people think a few of it's more inconvenient restrictions should be ignored.

The problem is, imperfect or not, this is the one document to rule them all. The one that binds. If you want to change it 'democratically' you need to work within the provided democratic constructs and amend it. Do it the right way.

But that's too hard to do (democratically) for many people so instead, they'll settle for a little judicial or legislative fiat when it suits them. Unfortunately, however noble their intentions that day, once you start playing that game, everyone else gets to play it too. The Bill of Rights becomes subject to a 51/49 vote. And all hell breaks loose. Just as Madison predicted.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:32 AM   #223
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I got a little worked up there.

To be fair, Madison was precapitalist, and he saw the owners as benevolent people who'd oversee the welfare of the majority. He wasn't thinking of corporate executives stamping on people to maximize wealth. When Hamilton began to push the country that way, Madison became very upset which started their epic disagreements.

If you could bring him, or any founding father 200 years in the future, they'd be disgusted, depressed and I believe vehemently anti-capitalist.

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Old 04-11-2013, 10:48 AM   #224
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If you could bring him, or any founding father 200 years in the future, they'd be disgusted, depressed and I believe vehemently anti-capitalist.
They would probably be disgusted, maybe depressed. At the end of the day though they'd probably wonder why we undid most of the protections they gave us and then sit around b****ing about the results.

And they'd probably also believe we the people ultimately got the government we deserved.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73947.html
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:25 PM   #225
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Margaret Thatcherís last years were spent coping with dementia, a terrible illness. If, like us, you were disgusted by how she treated the least well off in Britain and around the world, the old line about not wishing something on your worst enemies still applies. We canít help but think itís pretty lousy to celebrate or gloat over anyoneís suffering and death and we donít want anyone else to do it either.

We just want to place front and centre people who had no place in the Thatcherite worldview. And we want to do that in a way that can actually do some good. You can help us by donating to the excellent charities we have chosen to represent a fraction of them Ė the homeless, minersí families, gay teenagers, Hillsborough survivors and South African victims of the Apartheid regime.
Ė a quote from a British liberal group called Donít Hate, Donate
http://donthatedonate.com/
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