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(Visual.ly)   How lobbyists run Washington DC. Translation: we're screwed, and will continue to be screwed for a long, long time   (visual.ly) divider line 359
    More: Scary, Washington DC, lobbyists  
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13408 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Mar 2012 at 10:11 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-06 01:00:02 PM

robbiex0r: Have you considered that perhaps there's a lot to be upset about? A lot of issues that nobody is paying attention to?


Yeah, but by dissipating focus, you lose momentum.

You have to pick a specific goal and aim for it.
 
2012-03-06 01:00:43 PM

JackieRabbit: odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?

I won't say that your vote is meaningless, but it is pretty damed close to meaningless. Not only do the same people who hire the lobbyist manipulate the electorate, they have already bought and paid for the people you are voting for. People have been trying to either eliminate lobbying altogether or, at the very least, put some rather draconian restrictions on it. All efforts have failed and there is bipartisan opposition to real reforms. So those clowns we vote for can (and do) tell us what we want to here to get our vote, but they know who they really work for. It ain't you, partner. Face it. We've lost our government. That isn't cynicism; that's a fact.


You can't ban lobbying, or even restrict it heavily.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lobbying involves the freedom of speech and of assembly (IE, people from group A meeting with politician B), and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.
 
2012-03-06 01:01:44 PM

jda007: sheilanagig: I appear to have angered a lobbyist in my circles in G+ when I posted a link to this.

"So one or two black sheep make it ok to incriminate all politicians and lobbyists? No, I say. This is trolling, nothing else. I shall report this article and anyone who distributes it. This is no matter of opinion or free speech any more, these are serious accusations of criminal behaviour and it is my professional ethical duty to fight this."

I guess. I pointed her in the direction of the wikipedia article on politicians convicted of crimes, largely fraud and corruption charges, both federal and state and local. There are hundreds of them. It would be different if it were one or two black sheep, but it isn't, and to claim such a thing is disingenuous.

Seriously?? What a bunch of children.

I'm a lobbyist and I laughed and promptly sent it to a ton of people I know.


Yeah, seriously. When I pointed out that the system is rigged by the people running it, and that loopholes were being exploited, she said that she was reporting the post and a friend of mine who commented on it, but that she would be merciful and not report me for abuse. Instead, she would only block me.

I could swear we were being polite too.
 
2012-03-06 01:02:01 PM

Mugato: jda007: I'm a lobbyist

Ugh. Is there a class in "lobbyist school" that teaches you how to say that sentence and not want to kill yourself?


I went to law school.

Yes I'm opening that one up but as you can imagine, being a long-time fan of fark, I've learned to laugh about a lot and have a sense of humor.

All the anti-lobbyist WHARRGARBL is entertaining at best, scary due to the ignorance of it all at worst.
 
2012-03-06 01:02:02 PM
We are so thoroughly screwed!e efforts of

BTW, I'd like to remind you that the legality of Pot was squelched due to the efforts of ONE lobbyist, who was famous in his time. He had no real opinion on the subject either way until Randolph Hearst hired him to make the 'evil weed' go away.

Most of congress didn't care either way also. Pot was mainly used for hemp rope, which was used in great quantities at the time. However when it turned out the plant made a great and cheaper substitute for pulp paper without all of that logging needed and shredding of the nations trees, Hearst got upset.

So, not only did he own nearly every major newspaper in the US, he also had extensive interests in the pulp paper companies that provided the paper and in the logging industry which got the trees.

So, if Farmers were to raise tons of hemp (pot), he would loose profits. Huge profits and he didn't like that. Even though it would have saved vast acres of the nations valuable trees.

So he hired the lobbyist (whose name I can't recall right now) to make the growing of any form of hemp illegal and a key subject was that a portion of the plant could get you stoned.

This was during the era when you could buy cocaine and paregoric OTC, patent medicines often had morphine or heroin in them and even iconic Coke was served up with a bit of 'coke'. Plus, if you didn't smoke tobacco in some form, you weren't a REAL man.

The lobbyist accepted the commission and well paid, promptly presented legislators with a host of bad things hemp/pot could do. Smoking pot was made to look like the road to hell. The fact that most of his dire warnings were made up didn't matter.

He passed around generous 'gifts', which was allowed back then, pointed out dangers to the economy -- even if there were none and within a very short time, everything related to pot was illegal.

Today, we spend billions in fighting pot. Congress, once paid off, tends to remain paid off and rarely changes major laws. So, instead of growing hemp in the US, we started importing it, which cost us even more money. (Remember, hemp, the non-drug part of pot, was used for rope making, linens and cloth, as well as being used as materials for things like baskets and rugs.)

Hearst went on to happily strip hundreds of thousands of acres of trees for his pulp paper plants, which would later contribute heavily to the deforestation of America, which would then require new laws to stop and cost billions more for replanting programs.

Not to mention disaster relief. It seems when you stripped the hills of old growth trees, rainy seasons tended to move the hills down on surrounding villages and towns.

All of this, and more, simply because of one man's greed and the persuasive powers of basically an expert bullshiatter.

(Look it up.)
 
2012-03-06 01:02:32 PM

Geotpf: JackieRabbit: odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?

I won't say that your vote is meaningless, but it is pretty damed close to meaningless. Not only do the same people who hire the lobbyist manipulate the electorate, they have already bought and paid for the people you are voting for. People have been trying to either eliminate lobbying altogether or, at the very least, put some rather draconian restrictions on it. All efforts have failed and there is bipartisan opposition to real reforms. So those clowns we vote for can (and do) tell us what we want to here to get our vote, but they know who they really work for. It ain't you, partner. Face it. We've lost our government. That isn't cynicism; that's a fact.

You can't ban lobbying, or even restrict it heavily.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lobbying involves the freedom of speech and of assembly (IE, people from group A meeting with politician B), and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.


Fine, send them a letter.
Snail mail.

YOU MUST KILL THE MONEY.
So simple.
 
2012-03-06 01:02:46 PM

Amos Quito: [i1121.photobucket.com image 631x615]

Don't forget to vote!


"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." -- unknown
 
2012-03-06 01:03:30 PM
Was the obvious tag off lobbying congress for a tax break?
 
2012-03-06 01:04:04 PM

Geotpf: The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.


True, that's why they have to go after the money. Money should not be considered "free speech."

But unfortunately, thanks to Citizen United vs, FCC this can only be done with a constitutional amendment and how likely is that going to be passed under the current system?
 
2012-03-06 01:04:15 PM

robbiex0r: Serious Black: Rashnu: Community organizing and responsible citizenship will always be fighting an unequal and losing war, even if winning the occasional battle, if they take on corporate lobbying power on an issue-by-issue basis. The lobbies responsible for regulatory capture and other ills tend to be relatively small groups of people with very focused and narrowly defined shared interests that they pursue with the single-minded dedication of hunting lionesses and heaps of money.

Any group of the electorate large enough to be effective is more like a milling herd of cats. Look at large protests and the madcap multitude of pet issues and inchoate nonsense all clamoring for attention. You'd have to pick issues at the heart of the problem, hit hard and make it count. Like if the Occupy protests had been exclusively focused on and dedicated to demanding a specific set of expert-reviewed, toothed, and good public policy vetted campaign finance and lobbying reforms in some non-hypothetical, legislation ready to be submitted format.

This has been my biggest grievance with the Occupy movement. It is fantastic that people are getting involved and participating in political discussions, and it is great that people are realizing that there are more forms of government than representative democracy, but they have been completely unable to settle on a small set of goals they want to get passed into law or the Constitution. I've been pushing my local Occupy group to settle on a list of the biggest ones and push for those, but consensus is damn difficult to find.

Have you considered that perhaps there's a lot to be upset about? A lot of issues that nobody is paying attention to?


The problem with the occupy movement is they're trying to draw attention to the fact that the fundamental building blocks of society are completely skewed in favor of enriching the very wealthy at the expense of everybody else. It's hard to boil a concept like that down into something that'll fit on a bumper sticker, which, sadly, is the only way to sell an issue to the average person.
 
2012-03-06 01:04:15 PM

KiplingKat872: robbiex0r: Have you considered that perhaps there's a lot to be upset about? A lot of issues that nobody is paying attention to?

Yeah, but by dissipating focus, you lose momentum.

You have to pick a specific goal and aim for it.


That reminds me. I gotta go pee.
 
2012-03-06 01:04:48 PM

KiplingKat872: Geotpf: The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.

True, that's why they have to go after the money. Money should not be considered "free speech."

But unfortunately, thanks to Citizen United vs, FCC this can only be done with a constitutional amendment and how likely is that going to be passed under the current system?


The same holds true for any sort of lobbying ban.
 
2012-03-06 01:05:02 PM

jda007: Mugato: jda007: I'm a lobbyist

Ugh. Is there a class in "lobbyist school" that teaches you how to say that sentence and not want to kill yourself?

I went to law school.

Yes I'm opening that one up but as you can imagine, being a long-time fan of fark, I've learned to laugh about a lot and have a sense of humor.

All the anti-lobbyist WHARRGARBL is entertaining at best, scary due to the ignorance of it all at worst.


You need an attitude adjustment.
You are not going to enjoy it.
 
2012-03-06 01:06:03 PM

mod3072: Was the obvious tag off lobbying congress for a tax break?


Watching the unelection results on Fox.
 
2012-03-06 01:07:03 PM

odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?


By keeping myself informed and discussing political issues w/ anyone who listens. The vote is only part of the social contract. Active political discourse is a responsible citizen's obligation and I believe the more important step. Voting is the act of realizing the ideas reached through said discourse.
 
2012-03-06 01:07:59 PM

jda007: Mugato: jda007: I'm a lobbyist

Ugh. Is there a class in "lobbyist school" that teaches you how to say that sentence and not want to kill yourself?

I went to law school.

Yes I'm opening that one up but as you can imagine, being a long-time fan of fark, I've learned to laugh about a lot and have a sense of humor.

All the anti-lobbyist WHARRGARBL is entertaining at best, scary due to the ignorance of it all at worst.


You stole our government.

There is no way around that, you guys have WAY more power in money than any group of American voters. I'm sure you all play the victims amongst yourselves to rationalize what you do, but honestly? Out here in the real world? Fark you.

Eat shiat and DIAF.

We're know what you have done and we're more than slightly pissed.
 
2012-03-06 01:08:15 PM

Geotpf: JackieRabbit: odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?

I won't say that your vote is meaningless, but it is pretty damed close to meaningless. Not only do the same people who hire the lobbyist manipulate the electorate, they have already bought and paid for the people you are voting for. People have been trying to either eliminate lobbying altogether or, at the very least, put some rather draconian restrictions on it. All efforts have failed and there is bipartisan opposition to real reforms. So those clowns we vote for can (and do) tell us what we want to here to get our vote, but they know who they really work for. It ain't you, partner. Face it. We've lost our government. That isn't cynicism; that's a fact.

You can't ban lobbying, or even restrict it heavily.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lobbying involves the freedom of speech and of assembly (IE, people from group A meeting with politician B), and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.


You damn sure can restrict it when there is a compelling state interest behind that narrowly tailored restriction. I'd say that banning lobbyists and public officials from crossing over is a legitimate exercise of federal power.
 
2012-03-06 01:10:16 PM

sheilanagig: jda007: sheilanagig: I appear to have angered a lobbyist in my circles in G+ when I posted a link to this.

I'm a lobbyist and I laughed and promptly sent it to a ton of people I know.

Yeah, seriously. When I pointed out that the system is rigged by the people running it, and that loopholes were being exploited, she said that she was reporting the post and a friend of mine who commented on it, but that she would be merciful and not report me for abuse. Instead, she would only block me.

I could swear we were being polite too.


Reporting you to who?? They crybaby police? Wamp, wamp.
 
2012-03-06 01:10:43 PM

KiplingKat872: Geotpf: The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.

True, that's why they have to go after the money. Money should not be considered "free speech."

But unfortunately, thanks to Citizen United vs, FCC this can only be done with a constitutional amendment and how likely is that going to be passed under the current system?


But what if money buys speech? TV ads aren't free.

(Different, but related, topic.)

Basically, I think to have serious reform of this sort, one would have to limit freedom of speech (which I'm against on general principles), and would require a constitutional amendment (which will never happen).

But the counter is to lobby back. The ACLU, Greenpeace, AARP, NRA, etc. aren't (mostly) funded by big corporations, they are funded by indidividual donors.
 
2012-03-06 01:10:58 PM

Rik01: We are so thoroughly screwed!e efforts of

BTW, I'd like to remind you that the legality of Pot was squelched due to the efforts of ONE lobbyist, who was famous in his time. He had no real opinion on the subject either way until Randolph Hearst hired him to make the 'evil weed' go away.

Most of congress didn't care either way also. Pot was mainly used for hemp rope, which was used in great quantities at the time. However when it turned out the plant made a great and cheaper substitute for pulp paper without all of that logging needed and shredding of the nations trees, Hearst got upset.

So, not only did he own nearly every major newspaper in the US, he also had extensive interests in the pulp paper companies that provided the paper and in the logging industry which got the trees.

So, if Farmers were to raise tons of hemp (pot), he would loose profits. Huge profits and he didn't like that. Even though it would have saved vast acres of the nations valuable trees.

So he hired the lobbyist (whose name I can't recall right now) to make the growing of any form of hemp illegal and a key subject was that a portion of the plant could get you stoned.

This was during the era when you could buy cocaine and paregoric OTC, patent medicines often had morphine or heroin in them and even iconic Coke was served up with a bit of 'coke'. Plus, if you didn't smoke tobacco in some form, you weren't a REAL man.

The lobbyist accepted the commission and well paid, promptly presented legislators with a host of bad things hemp/pot could do. Smoking pot was made to look like the road to hell. The fact that most of his dire warnings were made up didn't matter.

He passed around generous 'gifts', which was allowed back then, pointed out dangers to the economy -- even if there were none and within a very short time, everything related to pot was illegal.

Today, we spend billions in fighting pot. Congress, once paid off, tends to remain paid off and rarely changes major laws. So, instead of ...


BTW, hemp also makes a very fine paper.
Predating papyrus?
Hearst had a lot of help from Big Cotton(not so big now) and our butt buddy, Anslinger.
A perfect con job.
 
2012-03-06 01:11:01 PM

jda007: All the anti-lobbyist WHARRGARBL is entertaining at best, scary due to the ignorance of it all at worst.


Nothing personal, but the work you do is pretty much paramount to evil, taking power away from the American voter to put it in the hands of big business.
 
2012-03-06 01:11:25 PM

jda007: sheilanagig: jda007: sheilanagig: I appear to have angered a lobbyist in my circles in G+ when I posted a link to this.

I'm a lobbyist and I laughed and promptly sent it to a ton of people I know.

Yeah, seriously. When I pointed out that the system is rigged by the people running it, and that loopholes were being exploited, she said that she was reporting the post and a friend of mine who commented on it, but that she would be merciful and not report me for abuse. Instead, she would only block me.

I could swear we were being polite too.

Reporting you to who?? They crybaby police? Wamp, wamp.


That's pretty much what I replied with, but in prettier words. I told her that she was free to block anything she didn't like, and I couldn't stop her if that was how she wanted to be.
 
2012-03-06 01:11:42 PM

hitlersbrain: Don't vote for people who take bribes (see lobbyists for money).

Don't vote for people with powerful corporate connections.

Otherwise, yeah, we're gonna get screwed a lot.


So, you're saying don't vote? I'm not sure that will fix the problem.
 
2012-03-06 01:12:10 PM

Serious Black: Geotpf: JackieRabbit: odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?

I won't say that your vote is meaningless, but it is pretty damed close to meaningless. Not only do the same people who hire the lobbyist manipulate the electorate, they have already bought and paid for the people you are voting for. People have been trying to either eliminate lobbying altogether or, at the very least, put some rather draconian restrictions on it. All efforts have failed and there is bipartisan opposition to real reforms. So those clowns we vote for can (and do) tell us what we want to here to get our vote, but they know who they really work for. It ain't you, partner. Face it. We've lost our government. That isn't cynicism; that's a fact.

You can't ban lobbying, or even restrict it heavily.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lobbying involves the freedom of speech and of assembly (IE, people from group A meeting with politician B), and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.

You damn sure can restrict it when there is a compelling state interest behind that narrowly tailored restriction. I'd say that banning lobbyists and public officials from crossing o ...


You can have a "narrowly tailored restriction". You can't "restrict it heavily".
 
2012-03-06 01:12:46 PM

Geotpf: But what if money buys speech? TV ads aren't free.


Limited air time given to all candidates allotted from the FCC. Everyone gets the same amount of airtime they can use as they see fit.
 
2012-03-06 01:13:45 PM

Geotpf: JackieRabbit: odinsposse: Strik3r: odinsposse: .....Because the only method that change will realistically come through is voting. Unless you want to sit on your ass waiting for a revolution to erupt you need to get involved politically if you want political change.

THIS is the lie. The VOTE is a lie. ALL the candidates are already neatly in the hands of these lobbyists.

You're right. What a fool I've been. Tell me, without voting how are you changing things?

I won't say that your vote is meaningless, but it is pretty damed close to meaningless. Not only do the same people who hire the lobbyist manipulate the electorate, they have already bought and paid for the people you are voting for. People have been trying to either eliminate lobbying altogether or, at the very least, put some rather draconian restrictions on it. All efforts have failed and there is bipartisan opposition to real reforms. So those clowns we vote for can (and do) tell us what we want to here to get our vote, but they know who they really work for. It ain't you, partner. Face it. We've lost our government. That isn't cynicism; that's a fact.

You can't ban lobbying, or even restrict it heavily.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lobbying involves the freedom of speech and of assembly (IE, people from group A meeting with politician B), and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.


Of course. The first amendment gives us the right of redress. But if we put money in a politician's pocket for his vote we have committed a felony. Lobbying is just a pretty word for bribery. We go to jail; they get bonuses. Don't you just hate that our own constitution is being used to subvert the constitution?

There really is only one solution: political campaigns must be 100% publicly financed and giving anything of more value than a beer and a sandwich to a politician is illegal, with a zero-tolerence approach.

Actually, there is another solution. Originally, members of Congress were not elected. They were appointed by the governors of the several states to serve a term of one year. Maybe we should get back to this.
 
2012-03-06 01:13:47 PM

Geotpf: KiplingKat872: Geotpf: The First Amendment encourages lobbying, especially in the "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances" part.

True, that's why they have to go after the money. Money should not be considered "free speech."

But unfortunately, thanks to Citizen United vs, FCC this can only be done with a constitutional amendment and how likely is that going to be passed under the current system?

But what if money buys speech? TV ads aren't free.

(Different, but related, topic.)

Basically, I think to have serious reform of this sort, one would have to limit freedom of speech (which I'm against on general principles), and would require a constitutional amendment (which will never happen).

But the counter is to lobby back. The ACLU, Greenpeace, AARP, NRA, etc. aren't (mostly) funded by big corporations, they are funded by indidividual donors.


What?
Speak all you want.
Just NO MONEY!
You can't hide that chit these days. Enforcement is not difficult if you actually do it instead of just theatre.
 
2012-03-06 01:14:42 PM

KiplingKat872: Geotpf: But what if money buys speech? TV ads aren't free.

Limited air time given to all candidates allotted from the FCC. Everyone gets the same amount of airtime they can use as they see fit.


We tried thet once. They raped it in a year.
 
2012-03-06 01:15:24 PM

snocone: KiplingKat872: Geotpf: But what if money buys speech? TV ads aren't free.

Limited air time given to all candidates allotted from the FCC. Everyone gets the same amount of airtime they can use as they see fit.

We tried thet once. They raped it in a year.


Seriously? When?
 
2012-03-06 01:17:25 PM
JackieRabbit-You can't do anything you want to do without completely eliminating the constitution and starting over. You want a benevolent dictator, which usually just turns into a straight out dictatorship.
 
2012-03-06 01:17:27 PM

imontheinternet:

But really, how is lobbying different from bribery, aside from the fact that the criminal code treats it differently? I'm honestly curious.


How is lobbying different from donating to a campaign and writing your congress person? Other than the amount donated, not much. That makes it regulating it more difficult than just banning it. Set limits on amounts? no corporations? What about non-profits?

The sad news is that policymakers (congress people, staffers, and some other appointees) rely on lobbyists for information as much as money. Say a piece of legislation comes up and a Congressional staffer has no clue about the subject matter (e.g. Internet piracy). Staffer has 3 choices:

1. Go to relevant gov agency (if they know it exists and who to ask) and asks for info. Wait for weeks to get some answer, maybe. If the gov folk who know the answer can get a response approved through their management chain.

2. Post some public request of information, wait for weeks to get a flood of answers (maybe) - some of which are trolls and cranks pimping their pet theories/businesses. Staffer has little knowledge to sort good from bad info.

3. Go to the local lobbyist for the subject matter, get a full color report and presentation a few hours later.

I've seen this happen lots of times to the point that staffers don't even bother asking folk other than lobbyists anymore.
 
2012-03-06 01:17:59 PM

Geotpf: Some of what lobbyists do is very legitimate. They point out things like "Don't do that, it'll kill my industry and won't even accomplish what you want to do!"

It was the failure of lobbyists from tech companies pointing out that PIPA/SOPA were retarded (because the movie/TV/music lobbyists were more powerful) that required the whole public pr ...


The system of government you're describing is feudalism. The serfs have no real power, so they hope that some lord or lady will be arguing their case to the decision-makers.
 
2012-03-06 01:18:16 PM

robbiex0r: Serious Black: Rashnu: Community organizing and responsible citizenship will always be fighting an unequal and losing war, even if winning the occasional battle, if they take on corporate lobbying power on an issue-by-issue basis. The lobbies responsible for regulatory capture and other ills tend to be relatively small groups of people with very focused and narrowly defined shared interests that they pursue with the single-minded dedication of hunting lionesses and heaps of money.

Any group of the electorate large enough to be effective is more like a milling herd of cats. Look at large protests and the madcap multitude of pet issues and inchoate nonsense all clamoring for attention. You'd have to pick issues at the heart of the problem, hit hard and make it count. Like if the Occupy protests had been exclusively focused on and dedicated to demanding a specific set of expert-reviewed, toothed, and good public policy vetted campaign finance and lobbying reforms in some non-hypothetical, legislation ready to be submitted format.

This has been my biggest grievance with the Occupy movement. It is fantastic that people are getting involved and participating in political discussions, and it is great that people are realizing that there are more forms of government than representative democracy, but they have been completely unable to settle on a small set of goals they want to get passed into law or the Constitution. I've been pushing my local Occupy group to settle on a list of the biggest ones and push for those, but consensus is damn difficult to find.

Have you considered that perhaps there's a lot to be upset about? A lot of issues that nobody is paying attention to?


Sure, there are a huge number of issues to be concerned about. The problem is that many of these issues are leaves on the proverbial tree. Whacking those off (no pun intended) will do nothing to stifle the growth of other issues. You have to strike the root of the problem to make other solutions possible. Health care costs and coverage, college tuition costs, Robin Hood taxes, controlling financial speculation, developing renewable energy sources, all of these and many more issues are all fundamentally the result of people with tons of money collaborating together to capture the legislative agenda of local governments, state governments, and the federal government. Nothing will get effectively solved until those roots are destroyed. That's what Occupy should be focusing on IMO: striking at those roots.
 
2012-03-06 01:19:21 PM

syberpud: I've seen this happen lots of times to the point that staffers don't even bother asking folk other than lobbyists anymore.


They don't consider "4. Get on the internet and research the subject yourself?"
 
2012-03-06 01:19:37 PM

qorkfiend: snocone: Geotpf: Some of what lobbyists do is very legitimate.

Sorry, I think you are wrongo.
There was a reason the Rebels had this one man/one vote thingie in their heads.
This be it.

Do you really want more super-pac-my-ass-full-o-lies?
Do you really think corporations deserve protection from civil laws and the rights of personhood?
The lobby door is where your Liberty leaves the building.

I disagree. Lobbying is a natural extension of the rights to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances; there's no reason a group of people shouldn't be able to get together to advance a common interest. The problem is the money and the amounts available at the sole discretion of lobbyists.


This. Well put.
 
2012-03-06 01:21:30 PM

JackieRabbit: Originally, members of Congress were not elected. They were appointed by the governors of the several states to serve a term of one year. Maybe we should get back to this.


Eh? When was this?

Under the original Constitution, Senators were appointed by the states (in whatever manner the state decided) for terms of 6 years.
Under the Articles of Confederation, the states chose delegations of between two and seven people, who collectively had one vote, and individuals may not serve more than three out of any six years.
 
2012-03-06 01:21:43 PM
There is one elected official in DC who doesn't pander to lobbyists.
 
2012-03-06 01:21:51 PM
Sucks how all the recommendations on how to fix the *broken system are unconstitutional...
 
2012-03-06 01:23:12 PM

syberpud: imontheinternet:

But really, how is lobbying different from bribery, aside from the fact that the criminal code treats it differently? I'm honestly curious.

How is lobbying different from donating to a campaign and writing your congress person? Other than the amount donated, not much. That makes it regulating it more difficult than just banning it. Set limits on amounts? no corporations? What about non-profits?

The sad news is that policymakers (congress people, staffers, and some other appointees) rely on lobbyists for information as much as money. Say a piece of legislation comes up and a Congressional staffer has no clue about the subject matter (e.g. Internet piracy). Staffer has 3 choices:

1. Go to relevant gov agency (if they know it exists and who to ask) and asks for info. Wait for weeks to get some answer, maybe. If the gov folk who know the answer can get a response approved through their management chain.

2. Post some public request of information, wait for weeks to get a flood of answers (maybe) - some of which are trolls and cranks pimping their pet theories/businesses. Staffer has little knowledge to sort good from bad info.

3. Go to the local lobbyist for the subject matter, get a full color report and presentation a few hours later.

I've seen this happen lots of times to the point that staffers don't even bother asking folk other than lobbyists anymore.


Exactly. Legislation is so complex these days nobody really knows WTF is going on other than people who really, really care about a specific portion of it. Your average Joe doesn't really, really care about most issues. Most of the people that really, really care about something have a financial interest in the outcome.
 
2012-03-06 01:23:20 PM

PAPASandBEER: Sucks how all the recommendations on how to fix the *broken system are unconstitutional...


Or very bloody.
 
2012-03-06 01:24:02 PM

DrPainMD: There is one elected official in DC who doesn't pander to lobbyists.


Who?
 
2012-03-06 01:24:10 PM
The "Revolving Door" issue is a problem that needs to be addressed with lobbying money since it contributes to the lack of industry regulation.
 
2012-03-06 01:25:26 PM

KiplingKat872: Like I said, armed rebellion is the only thing that will chance the system as is stands now. Tearing down the government in order to cleanse it.

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."


I agree that at this point the system is unsalvagable in so far as the average citizen is concerned. But I think we should preface any armed uprising with a mass-mailing campaign to every politician at every level consisting of:

The above snippet of the Declaration,
Detailed accounts of events and legislation that have effectively made the government 'destructive to these ends',
and in as strong of language as can be managed without violating existing laws, the public will exercise their right as stated above if these shenanigans continue.

Even if only half a percent of the population did this, that would be 1.5 million pieces of mail to each and every politician's office, and that might be enough to start the change.
Before you ask, yes, I am compiling a list of the addresses I need to send this to now, and calculating the postage. (Would this count as real economic stimulus?)

Remember there are four boxes with which to defend freedom: Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo. They are meant to be used in that order. In this situation, the soap box is being subbed out for the mailbox.
 
2012-03-06 01:26:03 PM

Geotpf: Exactly. Legislation is so complex these days nobody really knows WTF is going on other than people who really, really care about a specific portion of it. Your average Joe doesn't really, really care about most issues. Most of the people that really, really care about something have a financial interest in the outcome.


But you know, if I can take the time to read through a bill before voting on it (and in CA they would provide the full text of the propositions as part of the voting pamphlet, or at least they used to), why can't lawmakers? I mean, that is why we hired them.
 
2012-03-06 01:27:33 PM

Geotpf: Serious Black: You damn sure can restrict it when there is a compelling state interest behind that narrowly tailored restriction. I'd say that banning lobbyists and public officials from crossing over is a legitimate exercise of federal power.

You can have a "narrowly tailored restriction". You can't "restrict it heavily".


Narrowly tailored laws can still heavily restrict an activity. I would classify the outright ban on polygamy as a restriction that is both narrowly tailored to address a problem and a heavy restriction considering it allows nobody to engage in that activity legally.
 
2012-03-06 01:27:40 PM
Yeah, that's the ticket. Let's start an armed revolution to overturn the First Amendment!

Oh wait, that's an absolutely horrible idea.
 
2012-03-06 01:29:00 PM

KiplingKat872: syberpud: I've seen this happen lots of times to the point that staffers don't even bother asking folk other than lobbyists anymore.

They don't consider "4. Get on the internet and research the subject yourself?"


No. They don't - mostly using the "don't have time" excuse to even do a basic Google search. It also goes back to knowing what is good info and what is bunk. Lobbyists develop working relationships with staff/congress people that helps them more than just some webpage.
 
2012-03-06 01:30:37 PM

KiplingKat872: Geotpf: Exactly. Legislation is so complex these days nobody really knows WTF is going on other than people who really, really care about a specific portion of it. Your average Joe doesn't really, really care about most issues. Most of the people that really, really care about something have a financial interest in the outcome.

But you know, if I can take the time to read through a bill before voting on it (and in CA they would provide the full text of the propositions as part of the voting pamphlet, or at least they used to), why can't lawmakers? I mean, that is why we hired them.


Cause they spend up to 70% of their time calling individuals and corporations asking them to donate money to their reelection fund rather than sitting in committee meetings and general assemblies of their house.
 
2012-03-06 01:30:45 PM

spacelord321: qorkfiend: snocone: Geotpf: Some of what lobbyists do is very legitimate.

Sorry, I think you are wrongo.
There was a reason the Rebels had this one man/one vote thingie in their heads.
This be it.

Do you really want more super-pac-my-ass-full-o-lies?
Do you really think corporations deserve protection from civil laws and the rights of personhood?
The lobby door is where your Liberty leaves the building.

I disagree. Lobbying is a natural extension of the rights to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances; there's no reason a group of people shouldn't be able to get together to advance a common interest. The problem is the money and the amounts available at the sole discretion of lobbyists.

This. Well put.


That I totally agree with.
Speak, assemble, demonstrate.
All well and good.
NO FARKING BRIBES!
Kill the money!

Money trumps all logical debate
Only morality can check it.
 
2012-03-06 01:30:48 PM

Saberus Terras: KiplingKat872: Like I said, armed rebellion is the only thing that will chance the system as is stands now. Tearing down the government in order to cleanse it.

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I agree that at this point the system is unsalvagable in so far as the average citizen is concerned. But I think we should preface any armed uprising with a mass-mailing campaign to every politician at every level consisting of:

The above snippet of the Declaration,
Detailed accounts of events and legislation that have effectively made the government 'destructive to these ends',
and in as strong of language as can be managed without violating existing laws, the public will exercise their right as stated above if these shenanigans continue.

Even if only half a percent of the population did this, that would be 1.5 million pieces of mail to each and every politician's office, and that might be enough to start the change.
Before you ask, yes, I am compiling a list of the addresses I need to send this to now, and calculating the postage. (Would this count as real economic stimulus?)

Remember there are four boxes with which to defend freedom: Soap, Ballot, Jury, Ammo. They are meant to be used in that order. In this situation, the soap box is being subbed out for the mailbox.


Maybe, but only if we had actually started prepping and were ready to make good on any ultimatum in a very short time frame. I think the reaction from the lawmakers and industries to a mass mailing like that would be mass arrests (now legal under NDAA) and putting down any protest or rebel groups with violence.
 
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