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Thread: democracy and lobbying

  1. #1 democracy and lobbying 
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    recently i was considering the justification for lobbying. many democratic societies such as america permit corporations to give money to politicians in exchange for their votes. however, the very core of democracy is that each member of a society is supposed to have an equal say in their government.

    the way america accomplishes this is by allowing each person one vote in an election in their area. a floridian has a vote for a floridian senator, a floridian house member, and the president of america. whereas a californian has a vote on a californian senator, a vote on a californian house member, and the president.

    each of these people votes for people with equal power, and every single person in america gets the same one vote in each of their elections.

    so, at this point we're looking at the definition of a democratic system, the government should represent the will of the majority of its people. but, now we start to consider lobbying.

    lobbying is done by one of the three types of businesses. sole proprietorships and partnerships do not lobby in the government, money given by their owners are considered donations, and do not buy political favors. corporations on the other hand are legally regarded as separate from their owners, the money they give to politicians is sufficient and legally sound to buy a political favor.

    now, according to a democratic society these separate legal bodies which are subjects of the government have a right to be represented. and according to the ideals of democracy, each of them should get an equal say in the government they are subjects of. so, do they now? well with the lobbying system you get a say proportional to how well you grease the palms of those in power. so, if i were to buy all of the stock in a new corporation and selected a CEO who tried to lobby for my company to get mineral rights on a patch of land, but if the CEO of one of the rich oil companies paid another politician, or the same politician, more money than i did, that corporation would be better represented than my own.

    this is the fundamental flaw in our lobbying system, it is based not on equal voting, but on oppurtunistic bribery where the bourgeoisie gains a distinct advantage over the proletarait.


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    It gets even worse when you consider companies like Haliburton or Lockheed-Martin that make a considerable portion of their income from government contracts. So, they're paying senators out of funds they received from the US government. This would mean that their "lobbying costs" would have to be included in their expenses when proposing a contract. (Just like how advertising costs are factored into the sale price of consumer goods.)

    It's like a revolving door for public funds. Whoever is willing to dishonestly divert the largest portion of their final contract into the campaign funds of an influential senator is probably going to be the one to whom that contract is awarded.


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    it's the same thing in all cases of lobbying. with companies lobbying for government contracts, they pay the government to pay more for services. in other areas such as oil corporations, they pay the government to give them mineral rights which in turn give them oil which they sell for money. every case of lobbying involves companies making more money out of it than they put in, corporate greed and the profit motive dictates that the companies would only commit money to lobbying if it was profitable in the long term.

    the main concern i have with this is what it turns money into. we go from a society where money is something that is used to pay off a debt and used simply as currency to buy official goods, and this is also a society that could possibly be governed by a true democracy where each individual has an equal say in the government, to a society where a rich corporation with the ability to control many aspects of the economy automatically becomes a powerful corporation with the ability to buy votes in the government.

    lobbying at its very base is anti-democratic. it is a direct link between corporations and the government. which, as a basic idea isn't neccisarily bad, corporations could have a vote in elections, giving them the same representation that every other legal individual in america has. but with the current system it isn't equal to the vote each american gets, depending on what they're willing to invest, a corporation could buy a majority vote in the house and the senate, and bipass a presidential veto with some more money for any law they wanted passed. this is a power that no voting individual in america has, and they are subject to the same exact laws the people are.
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    It's the fatal flaw of representative government, but there's not much you can do about it.
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    what do you mean not much we can do about it? that is the kind of thinking that would have allowed the vietnam war to go on. and it's the kind of thinking that allowed racism to thrive long after civil rights laws were passed in the late 1800's. and that kind of thinking is the only reason that we can't do anything about it.

    the corporations aren't garunteed the right to lobbying by the constitution, and even if i'm wrong there, if two thirds of the senators that the people elect find that it is wrong for corporations to have this power then the constitution can be ammended. a popular movement against corporate power could easily create a congress that is made up of members that truely believe lobbying is wrong or at least that will vote as if they believed that in order to remain in power.
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    Lobbying is also known as "free speech." The Supreme Court made a ruling about this recently.

    How come nobody is complaining about the news media? They have a lot more influence on elections than corporate lobbyists, but are pretty much unregulated. Do you want to regulate what they can print and broadcast?
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  8. #7 Re: democracy and lobbying 
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    corporations on the other hand are legally regarded as separate from their owners, the money they give to politicians is sufficient and legally sound to buy a political favor.

    now, according to a democratic society these separate legal bodies which are subjects of the government have a right to be represented. and according to the ideals of democracy, each of them should get an equal say in the government they are subjects of
    Goodness, I've heard the term "corporate citizen", but I've never seen it taken so literally. Corporations get way too much power by lobbying, do you want to allow them to vote as well, same way people do?
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    How much influence is too much? Most politicians have no clue about the needs of business and industry, unless they were in that industry in a former life. Left to their own devices, without corporate input, they would likely pass legislation that would kill the industries that their constituents rely on for jobs.

    Corporations are not allowed to buy votes. That would be a bribe. So what we are talking about is corporations that contribute to election campaigns. Essentially that means they pay for air time or newspaper ads to support a candidate. I.e, it's free speech. You don't like it, then contribute to your own preferred candidate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    How much influence is too much? Most politicians have no clue about the needs of business and industry, unless they were in that industry in a former life. Left to their own devices, without corporate input, they would likely pass legislation that would kill the industries that their constituents rely on for jobs.
    You mean something that would prevent plundering nature?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Corporations are not allowed to buy votes. That would be a bribe. So what we are talking about is corporations that contribute to election campaigns. Essentially that means they pay for air time or newspaper ads to support a candidate. I.e, it's free speech. You don't like it, then contribute to your own preferred candidate.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that they don't always just think to themselves "hey, we like this candidate!" and then support his campaign with no strings attached. Quite often, candidates have to make a more or less under-the-table commitment to represent the interests of their corporate sponsors. In this way, while not able to buy constituent votes, they sometimes buy politicians - and their votes in various bodies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that they don't always just think to themselves "hey, we like this candidate!" and then support his campaign with no strings attached. Quite often, candidates have to make a more or less under-the-table commitment to represent the interests of their corporate sponsors. In this way, while not able to buy constituent votes, they sometimes buy politicians - and their votes in various bodies.
    That's the way it works for any person or group that contributes to an election campaign, whether it be an individual, a corporation, a union, or any special interest group. They vote for the candidate who gives them some commitment, under the table or otherwise, to represent their interests.

    What do you have to say about news media? They buy their ink by the barrel, and obviously have more influence on an election than you or I.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    What do you have to say about news media? They buy their ink by the barrel, and obviously have more influence on an election than you or I.
    In one word: they make me sick. I have seen more of their power than I can palate, stomach, or excrete without grievous bodily harm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that they don't always just think to themselves "hey, we like this candidate!" and then support his campaign with no strings attached. Quite often, candidates have to make a more or less under-the-table commitment to represent the interests of their corporate sponsors. In this way, while not able to buy constituent votes, they sometimes buy politicians - and their votes in various bodies.
    That's the way it works for any person or group that contributes to an election campaign, whether it be an individual, a corporation, a union, or any special interest group. They vote for the candidate who gives them some commitment, under the table or otherwise, to represent their interests.
    It's called bribery.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    How much influence is too much? Most politicians have no clue about the needs of business and industry, unless they were in that industry in a former life. Left to their own devices, without corporate input, they would likely pass legislation that would kill the industries that their constituents rely on for jobs.
    I would agree with this, if there were a counter balance. Anything industry says about its own situation is self reporting (and inherently unreliable source of information.)

    It's true that they know their own situation, but wouldn't they then get listened to anyway, even without the bribes? I like to hope that, however ignorant congressmen and senators may be about business, that they still care about it enough to listen to a knowledgeable source who's willing to explain the consequences of a proposed bill to them.

    What about other sources? Are we to assume that all knowledgeable entities have lobbying funds available to spend?


    Corporations are not allowed to buy votes. That would be a bribe. So what we are talking about is corporations that contribute to election campaigns. Essentially that means they pay for air time or newspaper ads to support a candidate. I.e, it's free speech. You don't like it, then contribute to your own preferred candidate.

    My brother just decided to give up on being a truck driver. Since the unions broke up in the 1980's, it just really doesn't pay anymore. You can honestly make more money at a minimum wage job flipping burgers after all the rules and contingencies factor in. So, their half of the industry is breaking down, but the corporate side is just as profitable as ever.

    How do you propose they fix that? Where would they get the money to lobby their own side?
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    So what we are talking about is corporations that contribute to election campaigns. Essentially that means they pay for air time or newspaper ads to support a candidate. I.e, it's free speech.
    That's not free speech - it's corruption and bribery on the one hand, marketing and propaganda on the other.

    And why should a corporation get free speech anyway? That's like giving a backhoe free speech.
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    What do you have to say about news media? They buy their ink by the barrel, and obviously have more influence on an election than you or I.
    What's wrong with news and information having an influence on elections?

    News media is no problem. Propaganda media - like what you get if you allow wealthy and powerful backhoes to fill up the media output with stuff in their interest - is a problem, of course, but not news media.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    News media is no problem. .
    Careful iceaura. I think oyu are on dangerous ground. Are you happy with FoxNews?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    News media is no problem. .
    Careful iceaura. I think oyu are on dangerous ground. Are you happy with FoxNews?
    I'm not certain Fox News can reasonably be considered "news media." Just sayin'.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    News media is no problem. .
    Careful iceaura. I think oyu are on dangerous ground. Are you happy with FoxNews?
    I'm not certain Fox News can reasonably be considered "news media." Just sayin'.
    That was the repsonse I anticipated, but you see the danger? We selectively decide that this instance of a news medium is accetpable because it is balanced and objective (i.e. it holds to a world view similar to mine), this instance of a news medium is in fact a propaganda outlet that is not worthy of the name news medium (because it hols a world view that is the antithesis of mine).

    Dangerous ground.
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    Let's be clear. I wasn't speaking against allowing them to say what they want. I was not speaking against free speech, either. I was just suggesting that perhaps Fox is not to be best described as "news."
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    What do you have to say about news media? They buy their ink by the barrel, and obviously have more influence on an election than you or I.
    What's wrong with news and information having an influence on elections?

    News media is no problem. Propaganda media - like what you get if you allow wealthy and powerful backhoes to fill up the media output with stuff in their interest - is a problem, of course, but not news media.
    What if a newspaper or broadcasting company is a corporation. Uh-oh. They are filling the airwaves with stuff in their interest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that they don't always just think to themselves "hey, we like this candidate!" and then support his campaign with no strings attached. Quite often, candidates have to make a more or less under-the-table commitment to represent the interests of their corporate sponsors. In this way, while not able to buy constituent votes, they sometimes buy politicians - and their votes in various bodies.
    That's the way it works for any person or group that contributes to an election campaign, whether it be an individual, a corporation, a union, or any special interest group. They vote for the candidate who gives them some commitment, under the table or otherwise, to represent their interests.
    It's called bribery.
    well, this is exactly what i'm talking about where lobbying doesn't fuse well with democracy. not only do corporations gain the power to buy politicians, but anyone with the economic power to "donate" to a politicians campaign gains a similar power.

    democracy is defined by "government by the people; especially : rule of the majority" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy). in order for the rule of the majority to occur, each person must have equal power, that's a simple matter of logic. and the act of donating to a politicians campaign adds to that politicians chance of winning. this means that donating is a form of exerting power over the elections. so, any donation by a private group to a candidate is by definition undemocratic.

    that is the core of the point I was attempting to raise with this topic. although i'm a socialist on the verge of being a communist and i'd love to insist that capitalism itself can't co-exist with democracy, i recognize that this just isn't true, however the economic power of money cannot be allowed to enter anywhere into the democratic process, or else it is not truely democratic, somebody has had a greater say than someone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ophiolite
    That was the repsonse I anticipated, but you see the danger? We selectively decide that this instance of a news medium is accetpable because it is balanced and objective (i.e. it holds to a world view similar to mine), this instance of a news medium is in fact a propaganda outlet that is not worthy of the name news medium (because it hols a world view that is the antithesis of mine).

    Dangerous ground.
    If we honestly can't recognize news and information, and separate it from falsehood and propaganda and deception, then there's little value in free speech in the first place.

    Political discourse is reduced to marketing and hypnosis and conditioning by repetition, reason plays no role, comparison is impossible, judgment is power or chance, and there's nothing to be gained by allowing everyone their say.

    If there is an arena for reason and judgment, that benefits by a free exchange of actual opinions and human thought, then excluding amplified machine output and corporate marketing power is worth doing.

    Same reason you turn off the vacuum cleaner when the phone rings. It's not a theoretical matter, but a pragmatic one. Deaf people don't bother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    If we honestly can't recognize news and information, and separate it from falsehood and propaganda and deception, then there's little value in free speech in the first place.
    If that were true you would have nothing to complain about. The corporate propaganda would be instantly recognized and separated from the true information. People would vote for the correct issues and candidates.

    At least political ads are recognized as opinions. The more insidious propaganda is disguised as news. The media members get to decide what is news and what is not news. They put their spin on it. You are being propagandized without realizing it.

    Like-minded journalists get together and decide how to report the news in such a way as to make their candidate look better. (See JournoList.) If a particular story makes their candidate look bad, it is simply ignored . If it makes the opponent look bad, it will be played up. And like a sheep you follow right along thinking you are making rational decisions based on the facts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    If that were true you would have nothing to complain about. The corporate propaganda would be instantly recognized and separated from the true information. People would vote for the correct issues and candidates.
    Not at all. In order to separate you have to have both. Corporate wealth and power displaces news and information - one actually, like the average Fox viewer, becomes less informed by watching the "newscast".

    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    At least political ads are recognized as opinions. The more insidious propaganda is disguised as news. The media members get to decide what is news and what is not news. They put their spin on it. You are being propagandized without realizing it.
    OK, but if it is actually news and information, merely spun a little, physical reality corrects it, partly anyway, over time.

    Spinning things is different than inventing them, and degree of spin makes a qualitative difference: the line is crossed when there is no longer a primary interest in fidelity to fact, when the "newscast" becomes - technically speaking now - bullshit . That is not true of all mainstream news. Granted that it is severely biased rightwing and authoritarian, spun accordingly, news is still visible in it; a loyalty to fact curbs its digression somewhat, in most areas. On Fox that is not so.
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    Understood. You want to ban corporate ads and Fox news. Anything else you want to ban?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Understood. You want to ban corporate ads and Fox news. Anything else you want to ban?
    nobody wants to ban corporate adds or fox news. i'm very far from right-wing, but i still recognize the importance of fox. the majority of the news media is left wing and they throw their spin on the issues while also reporting the news. fox reports primarily on politics.

    i can say that as a fox news viewer. i watch two or three of their programs daily while also watching left wing news channels. the difference is that the left wing news channels such as NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all report local and important news while also covering politics, ik've not seen one instance of a show on fox that does not devote 90% of its program to politics.

    of course both divisions of the news/propoganda media(they are actually quite hard to separate) must be taken with the appropriate grain of salt. with most left wing media they simply lean left and you must be wary of what they report about right wing politicians and what they don't report about democrats. with fox news one must always bear in mind that the main point(although sometimes pitifully obvious) is to promote conservatism and defame any attempts at progressive logic.

    so, banning either side of the arguements puts us into a society where free speech is limited and an exchange of opinions cannot occur. so, if people are intellegent enough to understand what it is they're listening to, and to get both sides of the story then fox is not a problem. it only becomes a problem when left wingers only watch left wing television, and right-wingers only watch fox. that type of indoctrination causes a nation so polarized that people can only see the good that their side does and the bad that the other side does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by harold
    What do you have to say about news media? They buy their ink by the barrel, and obviously have more influence on an election than you or I.
    What's wrong with news and information having an influence on elections?

    News media is no problem. Propaganda media - like what you get if you allow wealthy and powerful backhoes to fill up the media output with stuff in their interest - is a problem, of course, but not news media.
    What if a newspaper or broadcasting company is a corporation. Uh-oh. They are filling the airwaves with stuff in their interest.
    How's that any different from a government filling the airwaves with stuff in its own interests? Especially, if the topic at hand is pending legislation, or a bailout, or a decision to go to war that is likely to lead to some lucrative government contracts?

    The key to having a balanced media is to put it in a position where it is never reporting on itself, only the "other guys". Companies that have military contracts should be banned from reporting on Iraq. (They would still be free to pay for advertising on rival networks, I guess. They just can't get it for free by owning an outlet.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    At least political ads are recognized as opinions. The more insidious propaganda is disguised as news. The media members get to decide what is news and what is not news. They put their spin on it. You are being propagandized without realizing it.
    Not if the political ad is citing facts out of context as part of it's opinion. Only specialists in the field are likely to see that for what it is. Everyone else thinks they're being educated.


    Like-minded journalists get together and decide how to report the news in such a way as to make their candidate look better. (See JournoList.) If a particular story makes their candidate look bad, it is simply ignored . If it makes the opponent look bad, it will be played up. And like a sheep you follow right along thinking you are making rational decisions based on the facts.
    Do you not see the difference between playing favorites by way of just liking someone better because you think they're great, and playing favorites by way of advocating actions that will benefit you financially?

    By your definition, a bribed politician could still be making objective policy decisions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It's the fatal flaw of representative government, but there's not much you can do about it.
    Please don't inform that a known system disorder is not fixable.
    Perhaps some fine tunning that eliminates the bribery and racketeering disguised as 'lobbying' will do the system some good.
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    My understanding is the rich ,upper class or business can lobby government people or give money for the political campaign and pay for the advertisement.But bribery and kickbacks are illegal.

    And the rich ,upper class or business cannot have friends in government.
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