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Doug's Workshop's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter. 817 posts. 2 reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist.


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thejeff wrote:

The rich do have different rights to political speech than the poor. The poor can't give thousands of dollars to politicians, because they're poor!

Arguing that limiting the rich to only giving far more than the poor will ever be able to give instead of overwhelmingly more is giving the poor more power than the rich is utter nonsense.

Well, I'm white, male and straight. I'm not likely to oppressed for any of that in this country, despite the complaints of some, so I'm not too concerned. I do work for a living and don't have piles of money laying around to give to politicians, so I'd say I'm already being oppressed by the rich's easy access to influence. Like 99% of us.

So a basic, fundamental right, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, should apply differently to different people, depending on which group they belong to?

Guess that whole "equal in the eyes of the law thing" really does have an Animal Farm quality to it.

"All animals are equal
But some animals are more equal than others."

thejeff wrote:

Any limit imposed is going to be arbitrary in that sense. One dollar more is never going to be so much worse it's clearly horrible, while one dollar less was fine.

Following that chain of logic leads inexorably to either banning all campaign donations or having no limits whatsoever.
This also applies to all other laws involving points on a continuum. Whether it's speed limits, age limits, blood alchohol limits for driving, whatever.

And of course, we're talking about a decision that does allow hundreds of thousands of dollars to be given, just not all directly to one candidate.
And the poor man isn't going to be able to give $2600 either.

Because the rich should have different rights to political speech than the poor? You're the one advocating for interests groups to have more power in the law than another. Maybe someday you'll have your own interest group oppressed and you'll get to see the fruits of your labors up close. I hope not.

thejeff wrote:

And keep telling yourself you're standing up for everyone. To bastadize Anatole France, "The poor as well as the rich, must be legally free to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns."

$2600 vs $2601

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:
Further laws exist to define libel and slander, as well as laws against speech that directly encourage others to commit specific or imminent illegal actions.
Yes, and so our positions overlap a lot more than it may seem. The only difference between us germane to the current thread is that I disagree that the Supreme Court's rulings on money-as-speech actually support the meaning of the 1st Amendment, and you do. You might be interested in this thread as well.

I'd thought about joining the thread, but a man's only got so much time to waste on the internet.

thejeff wrote:

Divide and conquer. It's the only way sucha a small minority can ever keep control.

And yet I'm the one who wants to treat everyone with the same First Amendment rights.

Divide and conquer, certainly. It's what the left does with every interest group they court. Poor vs rich. Black vs white. Men vs women. Straight vs gay.

The "haves" vs the "have nots."

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Yeah, I can quote it (and a large volume of the rest of his writings and correspondence). The barriers are not arbitrary if they serve to remind people that, "hey, you're overstepping your bounds and beginning to step on mine."

What can be considered arbitrary is the decision of where those bounds lie, exactly. I tend to think that, if someone in the store hits me with a shopping cart, I should be allowed to kick their ass. Mrs Gersen tirelessly reminds me that the law sees it differently.

And that's what it comes down to: at some point you need a written code of laws so that everyone, even if they don't necessarily agree, sees where the limits have been drawn.

I agree.

And we have that written code. The First Amendment of the Constitution. Further laws exist to define libel and slander, as well as laws against speech that directly encourage others to commit specific or imminent illegal actions.

Using my example above, giving $284 vs $283 is not libel or slander (depending on written or spoken words), nor does the act of my giving those funds advocate for illegal activity, much less the necessary "specific/imminent activity" that the law requires.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
The thing is, Jefferson wrote a lot about "rightful liberty," as opposed to "total liberty." It's sort of a very important distinction, because the latter is internally self-contradictory when applied to more than one individual or group.

I understand.

But is it rightful to disregard the rights of others, or to set up arbitrary barriers to the exercise of those rights?

I donate $2600 to a candidate for office, and I'm within the letter of the law. I donate $2601 and I'm breaking the law.

If I give $283 to 435 candidates, I'm legal. If I give $284 to each I've broken the law. This latter example is what this entire thread is about.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

thejeff wrote:

So when were we a free society, by that standard?

The threat of the majority trampling over the rights of the minority has been recognized since before the Constitution was ratified.

If you want to say "our society was never perfect, and therefore it is perfectly reasonable to inflict further wrongs against those we disagree with" you are no better than those who came before you.

Expect strong resistance from those who would not be serfs.

Ilja wrote:
Whenthe things doug/the rich likes are clnsidered fundamental rights that stand above all other rights, and we live in the perfect Hunger Games arena. Except the unarmed eleven-year olds arent allowed todisarm the paramilitary thugs, because thats stealing.

The freedom to speak applies to everyone.

The fact that you dislike what others say does not give you a moral right to limit their freedoms.

Or, Ilja doesn't want you to be able to exercise your liberties because SHUT UP.

bugleyman wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:

What does "multiple" mean in your world?

Also, what does "establish" mean? Because if you just ignore what I wrote, it's no wonder that you're wrong.

I frankly have no idea what you're trying to's completely incoherent.

In any event, you have failed to construct and support a rational argument, and I no longer have the patience to hand-hold you through remedial logic in the face of your breath-taking arrogance.

Enjoy your serfdom in the "plutocracy is freedom" theme park. I understand there are balloons.

I've said repeatedly that multiple Supreme Court decisions have established my point. You apparently have a different definition of "multiple" than I do, because I can (and do) disagree with single decisions. But several decisions, over the course of decades, do carry a different weight.

Plus, you demand that I "establish" what the Supreme Court has said many times. Establish the historic record? Because it's totally not written down? You seem to use "establish" as "convince me." Hard to do when the one needing the convincing doesn't go do the work to read the decisions.

Good luck to you.

thejeff wrote:

1) Not all federal revenue is income tax, so that's a major distortion, right there.

2) You still haven't said what percentage of the population you think the "poor and middle class" is.

3) Are you suggesting that government spending on each income class should be directly proportional to the tax revenue they contribute? If that spending includes actually hiring people to do work, it's not going to work very well.

4) You're also ignore that a lot of "welfare" to the rich is done as tax expenditures, which don't show up as spending.

4) If the rich didn't have such a high percentage of the income and even more so the wealth, they wouldn't be paying such a high percentage of the total taxes. Over the last several decades the percentage of income taxed from the wealthiest has dropped significantly. The percentage or revenue from the wealthiest has risen, because they've gotten even wealthier over that time.

While I don't disagree, the point remains the same: If we can pass laws that take away the rights of people we don't agree with, we've reached a point when we are no longer a free society.

Kryzbyn wrote:

You missed my point.

You're right. I did. Sorry about that.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:
You don't know any rich people, do you? The majority work extremely hard, and they are rewarded for their ability.
On the contrary, I lived for a number of years in New Canaan, CT. Google it sometime. I knew a number of notables at the country club there.

Knew? Or caddied for?

There's a difference.

Hitdice wrote:

Doug, do you think that a first generation millionaire (who could very well be someone who inherited $990,000 after taxes and owned $11,000 of their own beforehand) is even in the top 10%?

That's an honest question, but I've got to say that at this point someone with a million dollars in assets is not riding around in their lear jet and eating lobster every night for dinner. I wouldn't be surprised if they're within the middle class tax bracket, tbh.

According to Leonard Beeghley (from 2004), the top 5% of households had a net worth of $1,000,000 or more. Usually in the form of a house.

So, yes, I'm confident that someone with $990k is in the top 10%.

Kryzbyn wrote:

One of those jobs can be taken right out of high school (or with a GED). The other usualy involves an entire career invested towards becomming an CEO/CFO to even be possible.

To try to equate them in any way is ridiculous.

Richard Branson seems to be doing okay, and he dropped out of school at 16.

Larry Ellison founded Oracle.
Kenneth Hendricks founded ABC supply.
Andrew Carnegie.

Do you want more? Or do just want to admit you were wrong?

Davick wrote:

If it wasn't radioactive, why did you bring it up?

I didn't say it wasn't radioactive. What is it with not reading what I write? Is it some sort of competition?

Davick wrote:

The difference is no one is saying blackness = speech. Just because it's a bad idea to allow mob rule doesn't mean a plutocracy is a good idea.

If rights can be eliminated by simple majority vote or a law passed by Congress, then this is indeed what we are talking about.

Just because you don't like "the rich" doesn't mean you get to infringe on their rights through government action.

Maybe our representatives are outraged at homosexual groups using the "Eich Treatment" and therefore passes a law saying gay groups cannot advertise on television? Or that black musicians have too much influence thanks to the popularity of the hip-hop world and limit the number of albums that are sold to allow the acoustic-folk crowd to gain market share? Or that I can''t contribute $2601 to a candidate, but $2600 is fine?

I know it won't matter to you.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

"The rich" don't really work for the lion's share of their money. Their position and assets generate wealth, which is then taxed at a much lower rate than actual earnings from labor.

Take a the CEO of [radacted], a modest Fortune 500 company. His salary is $1M, which is reasonable. But somehow his "total compensation" is actually $11M with stock options, and his total earnings including capital gains are off the charts.

You don't know any rich people, do you? The majority work extremely hard, and they are rewarded for their ability.

85% of millionaires are first-generation millionaires. Which means they started at the bottom and worked.

bugleyman wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:

I don't have to establish it. The Supreme Court has ruled, repeatedly, to my point.

As some wise and handsome fellow said upthread:

bugleyman wrote:
Your argument is predicated on the premise that the SCOTUS is infallible. One needs look no further than Plessy v. Ferguson or Dred Scott to see that this is untrue. Unless, of course, you agree that blacks people are “an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race..."
To which you replied...well, nothing. Nothing at all. :P

What does "multiple" mean in your world?

Also, what does "establish" mean? Because if you just ignore what I wrote, it's no wonder that you're wrong.

Ilja wrote:
There is the working class that has to sell its labor, and there is the owning class that lives on the worker's labor. Yes, there is a small group that is in the borderline between them, but it's ridiculous to view them as a separate class.

Everyone who works in the US trades their labor for money. Even "the rich." Turns out their labor is just worth a lot more than yours.

meatrace wrote:

It's disingenuous to talk about social security and medicare/medicaid because they are part of segregated and managed funds. The US is not allowed to spend money from those funds on anything but SS/Medicare.

News flash: For decades, the government spent SS funds on things other than SS. The "lockbox" never existed.

meatrace wrote:

I'd like to reiterate, why is 70% of the federal budget going to 80% of the population seen as a giveaway to those 70%. It's as if you, DW, are suggesting MORE should just be given away to the rich.

The top 10% pay about 70% of federal income taxes. Which means the government takes from "the rich" and gives to "the poor and middle class." This risks the very real situation where the bottom majority simply vote to eliminate the rights of others and simply award others' property to themselves.

DeTocqueville noted, over a century ago, that is is what led to the downfall of previous democracies.

And you want to ban DeTocqueville from speaking for the simple reason he has more money than you.

Irontruth wrote:

The problem is that stating the statistic as you did, it sounds as if you're claiming that 70% of the budget is being spent on social welfare benefits.

I'm responsible for you misreading what I wrote?

You misread it, blame me for writing it, and then admit that I'm right.

Perhaps instead of banning speech, you should take a moment and try to listen.

Dennis Harry wrote:
meatrace wrote:

How the crap do you figure 70% of federal spending goes to the poor or middle class? Social Security and medicare "goes" to people who are eligible to collect, including the rich, who pay proportionally less into the SS fund than do people of lower income. Since SS, Medicare and Defense add up to about 60% of the budget, that's already a BS figure.

Even if you did somehow did the twist semantically, that 70% of federal money goes back to 90% of the population still seems like a raw deal.

In reality about 13% of the federal budget goes to social safety net programs like unemployment and foodstamps.

More than 50% is spent on the military alone. Not counting intelligence agencies....

18% is spend on the Dept. of Defense. Now, I'm no path PhD, but I'm pretty sure 18% < 50%.

Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security alone are about 50% of the budget.

I'm not talking about "social safety net programs." I'm talking about the whole of federal spending. 70% is sent to the poor and middle class. That includes things like military salaries, for those who can't quite grasp how this figure is arrived at.

Tell me, what other minorities should have their rights restricted in arbitrary ways?

bugleyman wrote:


Until you establish that money is speech -- which you have not -- the rest of your argument is moot. keep rephrasing the same argument and ignoring your debunked premise. Did you think no one would notice? :P

I don't have to establish it. The Supreme Court has ruled, repeatedly, to my point.

Dennis Harry wrote:

Was it not radioactive (or at least not dangerously so) or were you wearing protective gear?

The naturally occurring metal isn't highly radioactive, so for short periods of exposure you don't have to worry about it. Sort of like x-rays: the technician running the instrument sits 20 feet away from where you're actually getting the dosage, because one zap isn't dangerous to you, but she's doing it all day long.

I can say there was nothing between my eyes and the dull gray block except my normal eyeglasses. We did wear gloves, though.

My initial reluctance was overcome, and I managed to get a great lesson in how nuclear explosions worked. Thus starting my lifelong addiction to things that go boom.

Dennis Harry wrote:
If curbing money speech protects the fundamental rights of the many against the few is that not a strong public policy argument for limiting such speech?

Actually, given that 70% of federal spending goes to the poor and middle class, I think the bigger risk is exactly what Madison warned in Federalist #10:

Madison wrote:
When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government. . . enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed.

The risk (nay, the reality!) is that the majority will destroy liberty in their quest to "punish" those who have more. Many of the checks and balances the Founders put in place to prevent the masses voting themselves largess from the public coffers have been removed, usually as a result of judges like Breyer who rationalize that a "collective" right warrants such action.

So by saying "No speech for you!" what you're really allowing is the majority to ignore the rights of the minority. This will be a detriment to all our rights, as well as the public good.

Please try to rationalize why anyone should have to beg for the privilege of speaking their mind from a government bureaucrat. The only way you can reach that conclusion is to take away the minority's rights.

You wouldn't do that based on race, would you? Or religion? Well, some of you would, based on your previous posts. What about gender? Are the rights of a minority, any minority, only given at the whim of majority vote?

I know what some of your answers will be, so no need to post them here. Besides, I'm working again this weekend, and then taking much needed vacation. But you should really, seriously, think about how quickly you want to strip the rights away from a minority you don't particularly like.

Dennis Harry wrote:
Good luck draining the swamp? Good luck finding two honest politicians to rub together much less the thousands who govern Federal, State and Local governments in this and every other country. You place the blame on dishonest politicians making it an individual choice. However, campaign finance laws are designed so that such moral weakness is removed from the equation, or at least they are supposed to anyway. It is much easier to resist moral quandaries if you are not placed in one!

You said you were swamped. I wished you luck in draining it. That's all.

Davick wrote:


Are you sure?

Yeah, I'm sure. It was very heavy for its size, and very boring.

It wasn't depleted uranium dust, as your first link suggests, nor was it caesium.

So I don't know exactly what your point was.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

So we can limit the right to yell fire in a crowded theater because it would affect others but we cannot limit someone's ability to drown out others right to speech?

Durgrun, I already answered this, too, but I'll do it again.

Shouting fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire endangers people's lives in a very immediate and direct way.

Your right to free speech is not "drowned out." Your right to free speech does not entail the obligation on others that you be heard.

Or look at it this way: "Only those who meet predefined and arbitrary criteria may shout fire when in fact there is a fire (i.e. if you have more money than I think you should, you are not allowed to shout fire)." While it's not a perfect analogy, it is just as ridiculous.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

Are the wealthy automatically the "best speakers" and the poor the "worst speakers"?

Nope. But better speakers tend to attract more money than bad speakers.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

If you're limited to one ad because of your finances and I'm limited to five ads by the government, do you have less freedom or do I?

The government just told you "we will punish you if you continue speaking your mind." So, we both have less freedom, because if the government can punish you for speaking your mind, there's nothing stopping them from punishing me from speaking mine.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

Am I to assume then you are against any laws against slander or libel? You are against laws preventing fraud? You believe people have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater? People should be allowed to encourage people to riot or commit violence against others?

Does this only apply to speech or all of the first amendment? Does a right to freedom of religion allow animal or human sacrifice? Genital mutilation?

How about the other amendments? Should we have the right to grenades or high explosives? Do we have the right to "bear" nuclear "arms"?

I've already answered those questions.

And for the record, I've handled a 40lb block of uranium. Not really that exciting.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

And if you didn't have the money for one commercial, are you still getting your right to free speech? If you have to gather other people together in order to match my message, do you still feel you have the same free speech that I do? If it takes 100 of you to equal 1 of me, are our rights equal? Is your position everyone has a right to free speech but the rich have a greater right to it?

Of course our rights are equal. I have the same right to stand in a public space and preach my message as you do, and you have the same right to buy 100 commercials on television as I do. Do we have the same ability to do that? Probably not.

Now, are you suggesting that the least able speakers should have parity with the best speakers? Or the worst messages should have "equal time" to the best messages? To "level the playing field" in regards to ability, you'd have to set up a system that does impact freedoms, because the only way to standardize ability is to hamstring everyone down to the lowest common denominator, and tell the more effective ones "You may not speak your mind, and if you do we will punish you."

Are you really suggesting that "freedom of speech" should mean some people are held to a different legal standard than others? So, just throw the 14th Amendment out the window?

Davick wrote:

Since no one was "drowned out" then it's not an issue of speech being hindered regardless of how much money is spent. In which case the problem is corruption. And given the example, we see that the corruption stems from money's influence. So instead of limiting speech, we should be limiting money. Good idea.

PS: You can't keep agreeing with the idea that money=speech while also trying to argue that having more money != more speech.

No, power corrupts. Money is a tool, nothing more. It can be used for good or ill.

The issue presented showed that both sides got to speak. Neither voice was drowned out. The situation could just have easily been a manufacturing company that offered to build a new facility, bringing dozens of new jobs and the tax revenue that those jobs bring. A morally weak mayor was corrupted by the power his tiny office afforded him. Thus the reason why we should encourage speech, to shine light on shadowy deals and roaches in suits and ties.

Now, in regards of hiring people to go door to door, what do you have against that? It's another form of speech. Maybe it's more effective. Maybe it's cheaper. You aren't in a position to tell anyone how they should exercise their right to get their message out.

Finally, you said you wanted all parties to have an equal chance to speak. So, you want the Pansexual Peace Party to share the stage with the Knights Party, while also sharing time with the Communist Party USA, at the same time having "equal time" with Republicans and Democrats?

Not all ideas are equal. Poor ideas (like the first three political parties I mentioned) don't get airplay not because they don't have money, but because no amount of money will attract people to those parties.

My stance is very simple, Davick. "Congress shall make no law respecting the freedom of speech" is pretty unequivocal. Are you so proud of your own position that the words of the people who lived through tyranny mean nothing? Political speech, even though you don't like the message, should not be restrained in any way by government, or you have a bureaucratic inquisition set up for those who wish to exercise their right to speak freely.

I know you don't believe in that concept, and you'll just have to live with the fact that, luckily, the Constitution was written by people who had lived through far more than you'll ever experience.

Davick wrote:
And that explains why there's so much money being pumped into an ark "replica" because that all makes so much sense. I mean, have you never seen a bad movie? How did they get funding? The amount of willful ignorance necessary to think this brand of crazy stuff boggles the mind.

Yeah, and it's not surprising that there will never be a Gigli 2.

And why should you care if other people build an ark replica or not? You didn't earn the money, you had no part in them earning the money. You seem to think that people should believe exactly what you believe, and then get angry with them when they don't.

Dennis Harry wrote:

Doug, let me know what you think about this example and let me know if you can see how one person's (or collective people's) free speech is being drowned out by money speech.

BY the way this type of stuff happens all of the time around the US. I am a Manhattan Attorney and I have been involved in cases and had friends involved in cases where similar things have happened just in case you are wondering how I came up with this scenario.

I am swamped this week so I will not be able to respond to anything else that I found interesting on the thread.

But the developer didn't drown out the voices of the public. The candidates heard both sides. If the mayor decided to continue on with the project against the will of his constituency, that's not a problem with free speech, it's a problem with the moral fiber of the candidates.

Good luck draining the swamp. Catch ya later.

Edited to add: Please note I'm not defending the mayor in this case, simply stating that, as presented, the "drowning out" did not occur. The mayor likely has a great career ahead of him working for the Developer as Vice President of Communications (a situation I have first-hand knowledge of).

Davick wrote:

Yeah, that was Galileo's problem. He...

I'm glad you brought up Galileo. He went up against the organization that had a monopoly on thought. I mean, how dare he! Why, he might have been a climate change denier. He had the wrong ideas, right? He should be prevented from speaking!

Let me see if I understand your position, and you tell me exactly where I go wrong:

"The people I don't like should be prevented from speaking so that the people I agree with have a chance to speak."

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:

Maybe you can make that argument at 2:1 but what if I buy ten commercials to your one? 100? 1000? What if I buy all the airtime so your commercial cannot play? What if I pay so much for my airtime that the cost of airtime is raised beyond your reach? Do any of these scenarios affect your free speech?

Given the sheer multitude of television channels, print media, radio airtime, internet advertising, billboard space . . . no, they don't.

Because even if that happened, you could still hire people to go door-to-door (or get volunteers).

Besides, if you buy 10 commercials to my one . . . so? I've still been able to put my idea out to the masses. Or maybe my idea is just so poor that no one wants to donate money to my cause.

Irontruth wrote:

So, you think the free market should control our politics too?

Why not just assign each person a number of votes based on their net worth?

I was illustrating a point, that you apparently missed. I'll leave it to you to decide how you should handle that situation.

Davik, you're going to have to show me the full study, because the AJPH has a history of . . . shall we say . . . 'massaging' data to get the results they wish.

For example, the abstract doesn't mention that people who anticipate violent confrontations (like criminals, or frequently-robbed store owners, or women with violent stalker ex-boyfriends) might be more likely to possess guns, just like people who go fishing are more likely to have a fishing pole.

I'll say it again, because you seemed to have tuned it out in your rant against anyone who you disagree with: If the message is good, money will find it. If the message is not good, no amount of money will convince a majority of the people to support it.

Maybe your message just isn't good, Davik.

Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
I think what they are trying to ask, Mr. Workshop, is: does free speech give you the right to drown out someone else's free speech? If you are trying to exercise your right to free speech, do I have the right to stand next to you and yell so loud that no one else can hear what you are saying? And if so, do you still have free speech then?

Thank you for the question, Durngrun.

First, I would disagree with the notion that allowing someone else to speak somehow drowns out other speakers.

If you want to buy air time on a television station supporting your candidate, you are not being "shouted down" if someone else purchases air time on a regional or nation-wide station. Nor are you being drowned out if I purchase two advertisements to your one.

Does anyone complain that Budweiser "drowns out" competition during the Super Bowl? Because I still see lots of successful beers in the adult beverage aisle that aren't Budweiser, but I don't remember Killian's Red advertising during the largest sports event in the US.

Dennis Harry wrote:

I do not think it is an asinine question, just a direct question. All the same thanks for answering what you believed to be an asinine questions.

Now I understand your argument. You don't agree the ruling because the Supreme Court ruled on it, which was the impression you were giving me, you ruled on it because you believe that it is the correct ruling.

You certainly are not alone, the principle that freedom of speech should not be restricted is a sound one. However, I believe that there is a strong public policy argument against allowing (practically) limitless contributions. If money equals speech then more money equals more speech or at least a greater ability to be heard than those with less money. Therefore, by allowing (practically) limitless contributions, you erode the one person one vote rule by drowning out those voices which cannot afford to be heard.

As far as your argument that the campaign finance rules don't work so they should be abolished appears to be logically flawed to me. People are still being murdered and we have laws against murder so should we then abolish laws against murder because some people choose to break those laws? I do not think so and I don't think you do either. It appears that you think there is a better way to restrain corruption. We can discuss that in your blog post, I will re-post my responses there later on in the day.

For the record I am really just playing devil's advocate here, I think the entire system works exactly the way it was supposed to work from inception. A Madison quote the Government "ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority". If that does not say it all I do not know what else does.

Now, to address some of your issues.

People are being murdered, and we do indeed have laws against murder. But we also have laws that prevent people from effectively defending themselves. By removing those laws, it turns out that the murder rate drops.

So I disagree with your notion that in order to support free speech we should limit speech.

Regarding Madison's quote, he was quite right. Democracies tend to fail because "the people" disregard the natural rights of others. Two put it into common parlance, two foxes and a chicken voting on what to have for dinner. The Constitution was written precisely to prevent such things from occurring, and to temper the heated passions of "the people" with time and judgement. If you don't believe me, just study the French Revolution.

As for those with less money not being heard, I find that to be outright wrong. Unions have been on the decline for decades, but they still tend to donate large piles of money. Who don't we here from? Fringe political groups. I can't remember when the Communist Party had snowball's chance of winning a majority.

If the message is good, money will find it. If the message is not good, no amount of money will convince a majority of the people to support it.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Meh. Either way, people who deal with computers, rather than other people, tend to develop the same kinds of weird antilogic. Present company excepted, of course.

Remember that B.S. "scientists against evolution" petition? Mostly computer scientists/software engineers, not physical scientists.

Yeah, you know how the IT guys seem to not always "get" the issue you're having? It's because you don't speak their language, and vice versa.

My role is bridging the divide. So, customer service.

Plus, as these particular new systems are deployed, I needed to establish that everything is going to work for the users when they return on Monday. So, working with the system as a regular user would, not as a system admin. Although I am called on to do sysadmin stuff. And regular chemistry stuff. And leadership stuff when they get to the bottom of that particular barrel. And training. And root-cause analysis.

Life was a lot simpler when it was just routine chemistry, but the pay wasn't nearly as good.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Also, I hope nobody minds if I cry a little bit.

New England men aren't very emotional (unless that emotion is anger), even when it turns out their fathers had a stroke, but, thankfully, I have a goblin avatar here on and goblins aren't nearly as reserved.


Ah, that's better.

My dad had one last year. I understand. Good luck.

Vive le Recovery!

BigNorseWolf wrote:

You DO realize that a 4 year degree is not a guarantee of a position in your field once you get out right?

Which is why it's extremely stupid to take on student loan debt.

Maybe you should go to school part-time.

Dennis Harry wrote:
Oh I think not responding to direct questions does make one of us look ridiculous... I will respond more in depth tomorrow. I am enjoying the back and forth!

Dennis, I did respond.

And in light of every post I've made, where I advocate liberty to the fullest extent possible, you want me to answer an asinine question?

Yes, I agree the Supreme Court ruled this case correctly, because the First Amendment of the Constitution plainly says Congress can't limit free speech. Since getting a message out (even one you don't personally like) requires money, yes, you're going to have to suck up the fact that some people have more money than you and will spend it in ways you don't like. I'm with Justice Thomas on this: All arbitrary campaign finance laws should be swept away. I understand you don't agree, and that's fine. There are plenty of campaign finance laws still in place, including the limit on the amount an individual can give a candidate directly.

I don't think, after 40 or so years of campaign finance rules, there's been a decrease in corruption (heck, Leland Yee was just arrested for GUN RUNNING! Maxine Waters intervened with federal regulators when they started poking around in a bank she and her husband had substantial investments in. William Jefferson kept $90k from bribes in his freezer). Campaign finance regulations are infamously called "Incumbent Reelection Laws" for a reason. So perhaps, after finding out that something doesn't work, we should try something else.

Good luck with the continued debate. I've got a IT deployment coming up, so I won't be able to continue the conversation. Feel free to drop a comment on my blog. I've even set up a special post welcoming you.

Dennis Harry wrote:

First off I never assumed you agreed with them, what I...

I'll quote myself: Repeated rulings by the Supreme Court do, in fact, start to make a moral argument.

I believe that if YOU want to change the plain language of the Constitution, you need to advocate for an amendment.

Until then, the plain language of the Constitution clearly says "free speech shall not be infringed by laws." The Supreme Court has upheld that speech does, in fact, relate to money.

Therefore, if you say "we need to stop 'the rich' from giving money,' what you're really saying is you see nothing wrong with limiting free speech. I initially laid out how ridiculous this looks when applied to other rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

If you wish to continue to look ridiculous in light of all this, you are free to do so.

meatrace wrote:

Except that we've already done this dance.
Money is not speech, but it can be EXCHANGED for speech, or to silence others as it is indeed being used. Thus we can regulate how money is exchanged for political speech in a way that will maximize your and my ability to exercise our own without some big union or corporation or billionare drowning out our voice.

The silly argument you put forth here suggests two things. 1) That you are perfectly aware of the corrupting influence of money on politics, as the alternative to your argument would be arguing in my favor.

2) That you've run out of ideas where to go rhetorically, since money isn't speech and we both know it.

Power corrupts.

That you think money helps or hinders doesn't matter. If you think it does, you need to start advocating for a Constitutional Amendment.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Thank you for the response, Comrade Pravda.

I admit that I may have muddled a bunch of concepts together, as usually happens whenever I contemplate the world of high muckety-muck finance.

The pot had to affect something.

Dennis Harry wrote:

I just wanted you to reiterate what you said so that I understand you clearly. In your opinion, if the Supreme Court makes a ruling then that ruling is both wise and moral and should not be questioned. That must be what you are saying. So you don't really have an opinion either way as to whether the ruling is proper or improper because it is unnecessary in light of the fact that the Supreme Court is ok with it.

I am wondering what YOU believe, not what the Supreme Court believes.

Let's examine some other Supreme Court cases shall we?

Dred Scott v. Sanford , 60 US 393 (1857). The Supreme Court holds that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in Federal Court.

Korematsu v. United States , 323 US 214 (1944). The Supreme Court holds that Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship, was constitutional.

So would you agree that the Supreme Court ruling in these cases are just fine as well?

BTW, I have been quite gracious in my responses, I expect the same treatment from you. Assume you are standing right in front of me when you are talking, I can assure you, you would not be rude to me were this discussion held in person. Basically, I am saying I don't like the tone of your last sentence.

Repeated rulings by the Supreme Court do, in fact, start to make a moral argument. If you want to cherry pick single decisions and assume I agree with them, I can't stop you. But there's that whole "assume" thing again.

You didn't read what I wrote. I suggested you do that. If you assume I'm rude, that's your assumption and I really can't do anything about that. If we were face to face and you thought I was rude, my suggestion would be to walk away and take a minute to reevaluate your emotional state.

meatrace wrote:

Your logic doesn't follow.

If money is not speech, then money can (and perhaps should) be regulated, as to what it can be spent on. Free speech should have as much leeway as possible since it is a constitutionally guaranteed right, whereas money is not a right and can thus be regulated.

That regulation, as the constitution establishes, is up to our duly elected legislators, which we all get to vote on.

If money=speech then goats=oranges.

If money is not speech, then any limit on money will not affect free speech (since they're independent of each other). So, removing the limit on money will not affect speech at all (since they're independent of each other). Therefore, in order to have a more efficient system, all the contribution limits should be abolished, because no matter what the contribution limit, free speech won't be impacted.

Thank you folks, I'll see you next week! Tip your wait staff and bartenders.

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