# The politics of the United States, and where it is leading our nation.

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I have already made my point clear and I love the way this discussion is going, for there are those that can articulate facts much better than me. So this is just to post a relevant article to the conversation in a broader perspective. Yet another example of how the government is playing as body guard to the corporate control. The video is a few years old, but I think it is relevant to the discussion, and example of further control being put upon us in the name of profits.

While the problem did get somewhat resolved, the underlying problem is, why does the state own water that comes from the sky onto ones business or property. I just find that ridiculous. I mean it grays the lines. I sometimes think of the day when they will charge us for the air we breathe, because its owned by the state of course.(sarcasm)

When the criminal justice system becomes a profitable business, the system becomes corrupt and they end up having the tax payors pay for many lawsuits of prison immates who die due to prison guards brutality when it wasn't provoked by the immate. I live in Arizona and our criminal system is so corrupt that our prison system allows their employees to commit murder and are above the law so no punishment is given or sometimes a week off without pay. Az has tougher sentences for victimless crimes and it is those individuals that make up the highest percentage of immates.

There is absolutely no rehabilitation and there never was in the justice system. Once a felon, you are branded for life and hardly anyone wants to hire a felon, rent to a felon, on your credit report and nevermind all of the costs involved to get your case closed. We have the dumbest laws with very harsh sentences and if you ever had the opportunity to sit in a courtroom and listen to a judge, you wonder how this person got the position to be a judge who absolutely makes no sense when deciding the verdict.

Luckily, I have not had the misfortune to be subjected to this corrupt system but I know many individuals who have and I would sum it up to pure insanity. It amazes me that the public allows our justice system to behave without justice.

This is a very good point made by you, and it has been made by others on this thread, so kudos to them as well. It seems like an obvious attempt to keep people who do bad things in the eyes of the state constantly under the control and guardianship of the state. Granted I don't think mass murderers and such should be free to wander our society, but I do not support what seems to be the creation and maintaining of a slave group of people used for the gain of a few. The reason it seems felons are exploited this way is unfortunately because no one in our society wants to help or be associated with a felon. Unless that association is imprisoning them.

I would also like to add I nearly completely agree with Phi's positions on this, but it just seems that the corporate and governmental powers that be always seem to win in the long run, despite the efforts of the former Teddy Roosevelt and others.

iNow,

Before I read your link I will say, although you might already cover it there, I think it's important that we differentiate between mediocre criminals and those who deserve punishment and revenge. I believe that some crimes are unforgivable and should be treated with a level harshness that fits with those crimes.

I find it curious. Revenge in and of itself to me, is a crime against humanity. Also I think most who are educated in law to some degree would agree that law should not be about revenge, it should be about protecting and promoting the public.

Furthermore, it seems like when you say,

I believe that some crimes are unforgivable and should be treated with a level harshness that fits with those crimes.

Remember, you do not speak for everyone. I on the other hand believe that forgiveness should not be a factor in handing out a sentence to someone convicted of a crime. Forgiveness is personal. Meaning that it is one's choice whether or not to forgive someone, therefore the courts cannot and should not speak for it. They instead should look out for the public's safety, as opposed to making a sentence based on whether the jury, judge, or public forgives someone for the given crime.

Finally on a more personal note, why would you want to let what some criminal does dictate your personal feelings? Just my thought on it. The act of forgiveness is a choice made by one, not by some underlying moral consciousness nor should it be dictated by the actions of others.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that it is not that certain crimes are unforgivable, it is that you are unable to forgive them. The ability or inability to forgive is a personal responsibility, it is not a set in stone thing. In the end it is, to a great degree, your choice.

Although this may seem like a blur between politics, sociology, and self awareness to some degree these three studies blend together quite a bit, and to completely ignore the fact that they do would be silly. But I don't want to get too off topic so please don't take it as a personal knock against you, instead I am just trying to prove my point that in my opinion forgiveness and revenge have no role in law.

Edited by toastywombel

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Also I think most who are educated in law to some degree would agree that law should not be about revenge, it should be about protecting and promoting the public.

Many lawyers and law enforcement officials echo this sentiment, but attempts to reform the system are shot down almost every time by Congress, which tells us someone is making money on the system the way it is and doesn't want it to change. I read recently where 1 out of every 31 Americans is either in jail, in prison or on some kind of supervised release. Are we really such a country of criminals? How can we consider America the best place to be when we have more criminals than any of the countries we'd rank as the worst places to be?

When you think about it, our Congress has the ability to change absurd things relatively quickly, so when something seems so obviously wrong but doesn't get changed, you can usually find that profit is influencing our government representatives somehow. Can it be as simple as removing the corporate clout to solve so many of our biggest problems?

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Can it be as simple as removing the corporate clout to solve so many of our biggest problems?

It wouldn't solve all problems, but would solve many IMO. Yes.

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While the problem did get somewhat resolved, the underlying problem is, why does the state own water that comes from the sky onto ones business or property. I just find that ridiculous. I mean it grays the lines. I sometimes think of the day when they will charge us for the air we breathe, because its owned by the state of course.(sarcasm)

I could see that. Or how about taxing us for what we exhale? I've heard they have already started to tax for the flatulence of livestock in some countries.

The reason it seems felons are exploited this way is unfortunately because no one in our society wants to help or be associated with a felon. Unless that association is imprisoning them.

I would have to disagree with this in a way. I know that in some ways you are judged by your criminal background, but it also depends on who is doing the judging. I can't speak for anything but personal experience on this though. Where I work I am involved with the hiring in some aspects. We hire tough people to do a tough job, so although we do look at a criminal background it is not a deciding factor by any means. In fact I would say a good majority of the people we hire have at one point or another been in some trouble with the law. I guess the point I am trying to convey would be that I can see the point, but I wouldn't portray it is an undeniable fact.

I find it curious. Revenge in and of itself to me, is a crime against humanity. Also I think most who are educated in law to some degree would agree that law should not be about revenge, it should be about protecting and promoting the public.

Oh, I agree. Maybe I should have worded that differently. I meant revenge through punishment within the bounds of justice. If that makes any sense. Sometimes the way I voice my thoughts doesn't make sense to a whole lot of people.

Remember, you do not speak for everyone. I on the other hand believe that forgiveness should not be a factor in handing out a sentence to someone convicted of a crime. Forgiveness is personal. Meaning that it is one's choice whether or not to forgive someone, therefore the courts cannot and should not speak for it. They instead should look out for the public's safety, as opposed to making a sentence based on whether the jury, judge, or public forgives someone for the given crime.

I also should have worded this differently. By using the word unforgivable I was intending to convey the harshness of a crime, not to imply that the justice system should act with a level of emotion. Also my choice for the word of revenge would be a personal vandetta for the families harmed through the crime, not an act to be lifted from the bounds of true justice. I believe in what they say, that justice is blind. If it truely is...it should be. So your point is well taken. Edited by JustinW
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Many lawyers and law enforcement officials echo this sentiment, but attempts to reform the system are shot down almost every time by Congress, which tells us someone is making money on the system the way it is and doesn't want it to change. I read recently where 1 out of every 31 Americans is either in jail, in prison or on some kind of supervised release. Are we really such a country of criminals? How can we consider America the best place to be when we have more criminals than any of the countries we'd rank as the worst places to be?

When you think about it, our Congress has the ability to change absurd things relatively quickly, so when something seems so obviously wrong but doesn't get changed, you can usually find that profit is influencing our government representatives somehow. Can it be as simple as removing the corporate clout to solve so many of our biggest problems?

The problem is that at it's root the notion of getting corporations out of politics is really getting money out of politics. But the big regulatory government mentality makes that impossible as it gives government increasing control of the corporate world, who will always have money. But everyone likes money and everyone likes power... giving government officials more power and more access to money doesn't lead to a more independent government. How do you fix this? It is a system that invites greed.. but then so do all economic, governmental systems.

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There's no chance of corporations getting out of politics as your government has privatised almost everything(nearly even the welfare system). Its kind of unbelievable to me, its blatantly been done in a corrupt manner, no hiding it or anything. Unless some kind of shock happens, that makes it neccesary to do something about it(which is probably likely).

A proper democracy would partly solve the problem, mob rule basically, everyone has a say in anything that effects them. Just even rules might work, proper regulation against both government and companys. An intelligent population and a decent media which doesnt suck up to the government by not mentioning the torture word might help.

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... giving government officials more power and more access to money doesn't lead to a more independent government. How do you fix this?

Laws could be passed to attempt to remove the necessity of large funds. First we can ask why are funds needed for presidential campaigns? Generally speaking, in the US, this is for two reasons; Advertising, which consumes the largest part of the funds, and creating coherent manifesto's/party programs. In view of this, advertising, in the private domain, could be banned, which would remove large sums being directed into associated networks. VOA could host all party broadcasts, and it could in fact be reorganised into being the channel of debate and dissemination. This could potentially do a number of things, such as remove biased news coverage and remove the incentive for smear campaigns, whilst at the same time removing the fundraising needed for the air time. It could also potentially remove an incentive for large corporate raisers given for future rewards or grace and therefore at the same time reduce the number of allegations of bias and corruption. Consider the disparity, just for the sake of quantity, between, say, Obama's 2008 campaign and The Conservatives 2010 campaign; ~$1 billion and ~£60 million respectively (i see no harm in assuming that information transmission costs are the same in both nations). This leaves funding the research needed for the manifesto, which is costly, but not that costly. Fundraising would be limited to private donations, and they could be required to reveal the source over a certain threshold, say,$1 million. Detailed accounts could be another requirement of the parties; legally they should be viewed as corporations, not clubs.

Of course, this doesn't prevent a big problem with party politics (nor is it an exhaustive argument obviously). The problem of the feedback of funds increasing awareness increasing the following increasing the funds… leading to the poorer political groups remaining poor and remaining a minority. This could attempted to be offset by subsidising the funds raised based on following (taken from Bogdanor, 97), so the more following you get the more you are subsidised. True, the popular parties would get more subsidy but they have more following and more funds to begin with so it wouldn't mean as much to them as it would to the lesser known and more minor parties.

So basically, to sum up, remove the money and increase the law. This could, in the principle of a Republic (although not in practice regrettably), be done very quickly.

On a personal note, i think plebiscites should be used far more frequently, especially on encroaching legislature, in the attempt to give power back to the people; maybe akin to that used in the Swiss Republic.

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Toastywombel, I agree with your opening statement.

... giving government officials more power and more access to money doesn't lead to a more independent government. How do you fix this?

The answer to your question is return to liberal education and transmitting the culture for democracy with liberty, that is found in the Greek and Roman classics. This education internalizes authority, whereas education for technology and Christianity, externalize authority and are deadly to the democracy we defended in two world wars.

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• 5 months later...

An older thread, but a good discussion. I was reminded when I decided to share this from the new HBO series, "The Newsroom."

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The following was written in 1830 by a French man who visited the US. His book begins by explaining our democracy in glowing terms, and ends by explaining what will happen to Christian democracies. On another page his explanation of what this has to do with our relationship with military forces, is worth our attention.

http://www.marxists....merica/ch43.htm

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest – his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not – he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances – what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a net-work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described, might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom; and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people. Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to remain free: as they cannot destroy either one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite; they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large that holds the end of his chain. By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again. A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large. This does not satisfy me: the nature of him I am to obey signifies less to me than the fact of extorted obedience.

Just want to remind everyone, we have had education for a technological society with unknown values since 1958. The liberal education we had before this, was built on the classics that brought Europe to democracy and ended the system of serfs in Russia. And one last thing, God trumps human laws, and you all want eliminate the word "God" from our vocabulary, leaving nothing but the law of man.

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iNow, a very impressive piece of scripting. Right up there with the final speech from "The American President".

I missed this one the first time around and having read it I find one thing rahter interesting, the continued emphasis on "Corporations" and their influence. Corporations are always business and business is always aligned with the right. The problem isn't "Corporations", the problem is "rich and powerful special interest groups". The World Wildlife Fund stands to make some $60 Billion if a world carbon market can be brought into being, are they protecting the environment or making a profit? If Exxon stodd to make a tenth of that we all know what the answer would be, don't we? Greenpeace own "Renewable Energy" power generating companies in Europe, is their desire for continued subsidies for "renewables" out of a desire to save the planet or to increase the bottom line? If they were a coal company there would be no doubt as to the answer. I don't know the situation in the USA, but in Oz we have "Industry Superannuation Funds" these are often controlled by Unions, hardly a bastion of right wing thinking. Picking CBUS, because few industries are as heavily unionised as the building industry we see they have some$17 Billion in assets under management. As the owning unions get a percentage as "Management Fees", where do their loyalties really lie?

Continued emphasis on "Banks" and "Corporations", always thought of as being right wing aligned and quite often with the word "greedy" added in front ignores half the problem. Organisations on the left are doing exactly the same thing. Moreover they are doing it without scrutiny because those most opposed to their agendas are only looking over the fence and aren't seeing what is going on behind them. As I said above, the problem isn't Corporations, it's well funded special interest groups.

I believe that good governance of a nation is about the effective balance of three forces; Government, Capital and Labour (or Unions if we are talking groups). Previously when one group started getting uppity the other two could knock it down a peg, however in recent years with investing etc, too many of "Labour" are also now part of "Capital" which hamstrings the governments ability to regulate. Those Union funds flowing freely to a political party are a great inducement to do as you are told.

*Cue spooky music and go for close up on crones face*

"Beware the corporation that does not look like one!!! Beware!!!"

*Sound and camera fade as we zoom in on the crones twitching left eye*

Edited by JohnB
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Why do we think everyone is up to no good? Is this about capitalism? Is it about how we organize ourselves? Is it about human nature? Isn't human nature an expression of culture and what influences culture more than education? It seems to me people enjoy talking about politics and religion, more than culture, but it is our culture that defines for us what we should be, how we should act, and our politics. The US is no longer the democracy it defended in two world wars. The citizens rarely have an understanding of civic and family duty. Our problems begin education and are resolved with education, and we need to return to liberal education, because education for a technological society with unknown values is destroying US. A moral capitalism can not be tolerated. A divided and excessively competitive nation, can not be tolerated.

Democracy is a dream of our human potential and education for technology is destroying it, because it has brought out the worst in us.

http://circeinstitute.org/2011/05/are-the-seven-liberal-arts-a-classical-education/

Edited by Athena

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