Author Topic: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.  (Read 2830 times)

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2019, 10:53:24 AM »
The kinda person I want in charge?

Probably not realistic, but maybe we'd get people who pretended well enough that the end result would be indistinguishable from the desire.  :P

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2019, 10:54:06 AM »
Ontario, possibly Canada, makes public the salaries of all civil servants making over $100k. Not indexed to inflation so it's a growing list over the years.

Salaries of public servants are published in the US, all of them AFAIK. Salary is different from tax return.

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2019, 10:56:40 AM »
The kinda person I want in charge?

Probably not realistic, but maybe we'd get people who pretended well enough that the end result would be indistinguishable from the desire.  :P

What we'd get it people who either planned for being in public office from birth, those that from childhood on felt the desire to rule over others and planned accordingly (along with the assistance from powerful parents) or we'd get people that were really good at hiding their finances. You'd create a huge disincentive for average people to one day decide to embark into public service. It's a good way to ensure a ruling class.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2019, 10:56:46 AM »
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Oh. ok. You're moving the goal posts here. You said it was about having more power than the average citizen but now you think it should be about being elected. Ok.

Just because you tilt your head to the side and squint, doesn't mean the goalpost actually moved Crunch.

More power than the average citizen to elected. That's a huge difference.
Someone elected, does have more power, yes?
If anything this "move", would take say... my employer off the list, or the traffic cop.  They got more power in many respects. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2019, 10:57:54 AM »
More power than the average citizen to elected. That's a huge difference.

That's because elected is inherent in the definition of President, which is what you originally asked about. You don't get to go from a soccer field to a football field and then claim the goalposts have moved.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2019, 10:59:40 AM »
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You'd create a huge disincentive for average people to one day decide to embark into public service. It's a good way to ensure a ruling class.
Said it before, but I'll do so again:  This is crap.  "Average people" don't have anything to hide in their tax return other than protecting their identity from criminals.

You'd create a huge disincentive for people who made their living exploiting people and loopholes their whole life from deciding they want not JUST more money but more power over others as well.

Fenring

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #56 on: July 10, 2019, 11:17:39 AM »
Let's face it, this particular issue about 'average people' is a red herring, because in the current system it's literally not possible for an average person to just run for President, let alone win. The DNC and RNC each have their own little tricks for sidelining candidates in the primaries who the party doesn't care for, even those with a large popular following. And these are still people with either a career in politics or else signficiant monies. History allowed for a Ross Perot (RIP) but only because he was a billionaire. It would not allow for Joe American working in an office to run in any way other than 'it's technically legal'. So really we're only talking here about whether rich unpolitical people should be hobbled in advance or not if they want to run.

If the issue was *really* about how to give Joe American a real chance to be President so much would have to be changed in the party system, their relationship to media networks, and the way money plays into politics, that tax returns would be a spit in the ocean compared to the other issues needing tackling.

TheDrake

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #57 on: July 10, 2019, 11:17:56 AM »
It's about having the MOST power, not some power. The power to launch military strikes (Clinton). The power to unilaterally declare punishing tariffs and sanctions (Trump). The power to round up citizens and put them in camps (FDR). The power to suddenly stop deporting non-citizens (Obama). The power to suspend habeas corpus (Lincoln). The power to drop a *censored* atom bomb (Truman).

Of course the highest ethical standards are for the President, and not your county clerk or junior congressman.

Seriati

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2019, 11:56:20 AM »
So, public service should require disclosure, ordinary people have nothing to fear and ordinary people won't get into public office anyway.  And you don't think you've goal post shifted?  Lol.

It sounds like you guys don't believe privacy has any value.  You don't believe tax returns should be confidential.  You don't believe the IRS is capable of catching illegal tax shenanigans during an audit (love to see the reasoning on this given the number of cases in tax court, and people in jail).   You don't believe that someone living in a liberal neighborhood has something to fear from showing her donation to the NRA, or someone in a conservative neighborhood from their donation to Planned Parenthood.  I mean really?  We live in a time when a 10 year old kid, mini-AOC, received death threats and had her family doxed for generally mild political criticism.  In a time when certain people on the left have called for turning people out their jobs and ruining their lives, preventing them being in public or going to a public restaurant, for thought crimes, or even for wearing a hat.

In any event, the standard for mandatory release is to change the law or establish probable cause.  End of story.  For voluntary release its a stupid tradition that adds nothing to the picture and Trump should continue to ignore it.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #59 on: July 10, 2019, 12:01:49 PM »
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It sounds like you guys don't believe privacy has any value.
It sounds like accountability goes up relative to the power of the office. 

I'll admit, my position on this is idealistic if not outright naive.  But any tool added to the box to make our public leaders more accountable and less corruptible (or disqualify those who already are) is a huge win in my book. 

Were I him, I'd ignore it as well.  I think we need laws mandating the release, not going by the "honor system"  for a system that everyone seems to agree has zero honor...  (and some don't mind)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 12:04:15 PM by D.W. »

Fenring

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #60 on: July 10, 2019, 12:16:51 PM »
It sounds like you guys don't believe privacy has any value.  You don't believe tax returns should be confidential.

I do think it's possible to have separate standards for specific scenarios. For instance someone wanting to join the FBI is going to get a heck of a lot more background screening than I would when applying to work at the post office, and they don't need probable cause for that kind of deep investigation.

And actually I don't see any reason not to create incredible disincentives to take public office. There are so many benefits to having such an office, including status, prestige, possibly wealth through indirect means, and power over others, that the hassle of actually having to do the job seems to hardly act as a disincentive for ambitious people. So what if being in the Congress meant having to live with a camera in your face for life, all on C-span? What if being President meant having to declare a vow of poverty, give away all his stuff, renounce ever owning property or investments again, and never be allowed to take another job other than living off his government pension? How many would line up for the job then? And even under these conditions the sheer power and prestige would be enough that there would be contenders; but not profiteers.

Anyhow these weren't exactly meant to be real suggestions, but more hints at the fact that I don't see why occupying these offices needs to be treated as if it's just another job. D.W. is right that it will take more than oversight by bozos to make sure the highest office isn't abused or corrupted.

Seriati

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #61 on: July 10, 2019, 12:20:09 PM »
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It sounds like you guys don't believe privacy has any value.
It sounds like accountability goes up relative to the power of the office.

No one has made a single point on accountability that isn't satisfied by the audit process and the ability to pursue evidence of a crime.

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I'll admit, my position on this is idealistic if not outright naive.  But any tool added to the box to make our public leaders more accountable and less corruptible (or disqualify those who already are) is a huge win in my book.

Objectively, public release has not made them accountable or less corruptible.

Fen - the process already requires greater scrutiny.  The idea that it doesn't is false.  Public release of tax returns is invasive and not actually designed to make the process better.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #62 on: July 10, 2019, 12:27:15 PM »
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Objectively, public release has not made them accountable or less corruptible.
This, by it's nature is unproveable.  How can we know who has steered clear of the highest office and those a rung or two down because they did not care to have people poking into their business? 

What more may we have to put up with in the future when others see that expectation/tradition can be flouted? 

Fenring

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #63 on: July 10, 2019, 12:38:06 PM »
Fen - the process already requires greater scrutiny.  The idea that it doesn't is false.  Public release of tax returns is invasive and not actually designed to make the process better.

Greater, but great enough? Anyhow I was only detailing how "it's unfair" doesn't have to be accepted as an argument regarding certain types of public office. It can be overtly 'unfair' and yet be the only way to make it functional. It's an engineering problem, not a moral problem.

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #64 on: July 10, 2019, 01:56:28 PM »
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You'd create a huge disincentive for average people to one day decide to embark into public service. It's a good way to ensure a ruling class.
Said it before, but I'll do so again:  This is crap.  "Average people" don't have anything to hide in their tax return other than protecting their identity from criminals.

You'd create a huge disincentive for people who made their living exploiting people and loopholes their whole life from deciding they want not JUST more money but more power over others as well.

It's weird how on one thread you talk about the need for regaining privacy and on this thread talk about how we to take more of it away.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #65 on: July 10, 2019, 02:01:06 PM »
Ya I had the same thought while typing it. 
I suppose the way I justify that conflict is that I honestly believe that those with that much power over other people must be "better" and beyond reproach and corruption.  If the methods to achieve that are not palatable, then those are the exact people I wanted to weed out.

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #66 on: July 10, 2019, 02:12:05 PM »
Wouldn't it be better to reduce the power these people can have rather than erode our rights?

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #67 on: July 10, 2019, 02:16:39 PM »
I don't think so. 

Related to today's topic:
"Joe Biden Used Tax-Code Loophole Obama Tried to Plug"  -WSJ

This is the kinda thing I believe the people should know.  Maybe it impacts their support, maybe not.  But at least making an (a more) informed decision is possible.

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #68 on: July 10, 2019, 02:38:19 PM »
Wouldn't it be better to reduce the power these people can have rather than erode our rights?

I don't think so. 

Why? Why would you want anyone having that much power to compel you to do whatever they want you to do? If they couldn't get the power you want them to have, then the corrupt would be a much smaller threat. Why is the solution that we all must give up some of our rights?

Fenring

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #69 on: July 10, 2019, 02:40:39 PM »
Wouldn't it be better to reduce the power these people can have rather than erode our rights?

You cannot reduce the power people have in a society where power can be accumulated privately. You can reduce the power they assume when appointed to an office, but the more you weaken the office the more you strengthen those that the office is designed to reign in. The current system of governance doesn't seem to have any structure to really disperse powers and create more lateral functionality compared to creating some few very high-profile positions. The problem of governing 300 million people is that you actually do need an incredible amount of centralized power to steer it all. De Tocqueville's opinion was that the moment the idea of aristocracy was taken off the table for America it was literally inevitable and almost required that it adopt a system of supreme central executive authority. Most of the power in the hands of few. Ironically the power was much more dispersed in the old monarchical systems and feudal arrangements.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #70 on: July 10, 2019, 02:47:50 PM »
We seem to be conflating things.  I don't think "we all" need to.  As to the rest, I believe there are many things a government is good at.  I don't even believe we could strip away enough power to be "safe" from corruption or even that we'd be likely to encounter smaller threats.  I'm not THAT much of a libertarian, even if I do find a lot of their positions compelling. 

Consolidated power can be dangerous sure, but it can also accomplish a lot of good.  As long as we protect it from those who would abuse that power.  We've got a darn good system in place to prevent that.  I'm not ready to tear it all down out of fear.  But closing loopholes so it operates as intended?  I'm down with that.

Crunch

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #71 on: July 10, 2019, 02:49:03 PM »
An argument for massive centralized power. Wow.

That's why we're supposed to be a republic, so we don't have to govern 300 million people. The federal government was designed to be relatively weak with power residing in the states. We could get back to that. Or we could continue to erode our rights and create an all powerful central government in a far away land that knows what's better for us than we know ourselves.

I prefer the former. I suppose a second civil war is inevitable.

D.W.

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2019, 03:02:27 PM »
Massive compared to what?  Today?  I think we're already pretty big... 
But civil war huh?  Wow indeed.

Fenring

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Re: Selective outrage, and selective historical context.
« Reply #73 on: July 10, 2019, 03:22:23 PM »
An argument for massive centralized power. Wow.

It is a perspective on reality, not on what 'we would like'. Certain types of structures have inevitable end states, whether you like it or not. The argument, such as it is (and it is not my argument) is that a democratic republic will inevitable fall into and even require a powerful central government, since the hierarchical chain of aristocratic offices is gone. Incidentally I do think there is a strong argument for massive centralized power, within certain strict bounds. Those bounds are grossly exceeded right now, and it is obvious why: because powerful people see themselves as having no vested interest in neutralizing the limits of their own power.

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That's why we're supposed to be a republic, so we don't have to govern 300 million people. The federal government was designed to be relatively weak with power residing in the states.

I think there was massive dissention about this even at the time of the founding, and I also think it was inevitable that governing 300 million people (i.e. the entire populace, regardless of the number) was always going to be the endgame. Maybe a different type of governmental structure, like a Chomsky anarcho-syndicalist system could have led to an entirely different beast, but as things were power was always going to be consolidated, for many reasons.

And even if there was any chance of maintaining states as being the primary government, any chance of that working would be wiped out as soon as the U.S. had a permanent standing army that was frequently at war. In a wartime mentality the power will always become central as an 'emergency' measure, and it will never be walked back after the war, because war never ends (or so the strategy goes). Forestalling such centralization could only be a temporary measure at best, and at worst the lack of *properly* centralizing it before it became inevitable meant that whoever did seize that power could structure it however they wanted. I actually do think the military aspect, along with military budgeting, is one reason why the central power structure was always going to dominate over the individual states.