LGP Political Discussion Thread

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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:56 pm

While I remain skeptical that free market/volunteeryism can replace all aspects of government, IMO it's things like this that make a strong case for free market environmentalism. If a private company owned an aquifer and allowed it to be polluted, they'd be out of business.

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.



http://pipeline.post-gazette.com/news/a ... 0-aquifers
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby columbia on Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:59 pm

That seems more like a case of the government *allowing* companies to do whatever hell they want, which presumably the goal of the promoters of an unfettered free market.

So I'm not sure what you are getting at....
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:12 pm

columbia wrote:That seems more like a case of the government *allowing* companies to do whatever hell they want, which presumably the goal of the promoters of an unfettered free market.

So I'm not sure what you are getting at....


No, corporatism is more akin to fascism than capitalism.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby columbia on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:16 pm

That's correct, but that doesn't have anything to do with these companies polluting the water.
Unless you are assuming that they wouldn't have in a true free market.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby Factorial on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:19 pm

That Fox new reporter is the new Geraldo. Is he sporting a band-aid on the bridge of his nose yet?

Image
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:00 pm

columbia wrote:That's correct, but that doesn't have anything to do with these companies polluting the water.
Unless you are assuming that they wouldn't have in a true free market.


It has everything to do with it. Energy companies being given exemptions by the government to pollute government-run aquifers at the expense of the utility's "customers" is corporatism. Free market environmentalism has its limits, especially when it comes to species protection and whatnot; but there's no doubt that it would provide a more logical system than what we have now; which basically amounts to government officials seeing what they can get away with publicly and still take advantage of lobbyists' bribes/ big money campaign contributions. In a fee market system, aquifer owners would have better capacity to sue polluters, or if they consented to have their aquifer polluted; the public would have a better legal recourse as well.

edit: FME would, IMO, provide a necessary balance between water users and the impacts of fracking/energy exploitation that the government is inherently ill-equipped to provide.
Last edited by GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby columbia on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:04 pm

Do you really actually believe that?

How about the government just fracking not let them pollute in the first place and throw them in jail if they do?
That will end it real quick.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:07 pm

columbia wrote:Do you really actually believe that?

How about the government just fracking not let them pollute in the first place and throw them in jail if they do?
That will end it real quick.


Punishing big donors/revenue providers is not something the government is good at, and it is certainly not anything I would trust the government to do. See my earlier post about HSBC.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:10 pm

columbia wrote:Do you really actually believe that?


What aspect of it seems far-fetched? Like I said, it has to be an improvement over putting trust in government officials who are incentivized to work in the interests of the energy companies against the interests of the people.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby columbia on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:13 pm

It's bad enough that the EPA is signing off on destroying natural resources (and in the case you cited private property).
We certainly don't need a scenario where companies have free reign to do it and, no, a successful lawsuit is not sufficient punishment for slowly destroying the planet.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:21 pm

columbia wrote:It's bad enough that the EPA is signing off on destroying natural resources (and in the case you cited private property).
We certainly don't need a scenario where companies have free reign to do it and, no, a successful lawsuit is not sufficient punishment for slowly destroying the planet.



The free market isn't free reign. Property rights and recourse against trespass is a pretty powerful incentive to protect and maintain water supplies. Provided, of course, we have a trustworthy justice system; which I admit ,I'm going increasingly skeptical of.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby tifosi77 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:55 am

GaryRissling wrote:This is seriously disturbing; esp considering how it's received almost no media attention. I wonder how much HSBC contributed to Obama's campaign/ Super-PAC's.

According to influenceexplorer.com, from 2011 to 2012 HSBC North Americas spent about $270,000 on campaign contributions, divided along a 51-49 split in favor of Democrats. This sample does not include the 2012 election year.

Another HSBC subsidiary, HSBC Holdings, contributed about $111,000 in the same period and included donations to Mitt Romney ($9,650), Barack Obama ($9,616) and Rick Perry ($2,500). The total breakdown for this subsidiary was 53-46 Dem (1% 'other').

GaryRissling wrote:The free market isn't free reign.

Yes it is.

Just look to the instances of corporate shenanigan we see on a daily basis in a world with regulation. My mind spins when contemplating the possibilities of what would happen in a 'free' market.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:07 pm

tifosi77 wrote:According to influenceexplorer.com, from 2011 to 2012 HSBC North Americas spent about $270,000 on campaign contributions, divided along a 51-49 split in favor of Democrats. This sample does not include the 2012 election year.

Another HSBC subsidiary, HSBC Holdings, contributed about $111,000 in the same period and included donations to Mitt Romney ($9,650), Barack Obama ($9,616) and Rick Perry ($2,500). The total breakdown for this subsidiary was 53-46 Dem (1% 'other').

GaryRissling wrote:The free market isn't free reign.

Yes it is.

Just look to the instances of corporate shenanigan we see on a daily basis in a world with regulation. My mind spins when contemplating the possibilities of what would happen in a 'free' market.



My point about HSBC possibly influencing legislative/administrative proceedings through campaign contributions was a bit narrow on my end. I should have included money spent on lobbying as well. Again, I'm not arguing Republicans v Dems, as they're all the same.

HSBC $4,026,000


Most Frequently Disclosed Lobbying Issues

Banking, Taxes, Trade, Copyright, Patent & Trademark
Most Frequently Disclosed Bills

Bill No. Title
H.R.1573 To facilitate implementation of title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, promote regulatory coordination, and avoid market disruption.


I was asserting that influence peddling is most rampant in activities that operate either outside the free market (public utilities) or in a closed/protected market (banking); whether that influence comes in the form of campaign contributions, lobbyist bribes, or promise of a cushy job outside politics is immaterial.

Regulatory bodies make our current system even worse as the public has little or no possibility of redress against the FDA, SEC, USDA, TSA, etc, etc.

And you do realize that by taking the position that the free market would be worse; you are going to be defending such regulatory bodies as the USDA, SEC, FDA, TSA, MMA, etc. Do you really think they operate on behalf of the the people; or do they work to protect the businesses they are supposed to regulate? I can pull disastrous instances of each one of these bodies utterly failing, and incentivized to put us at risk. Recently failing. Brazenly failing in the case of Deepwater Horizon and the financial meltdown. This isn't capitalism. Just look at the revolving door that exists between most of these agencies and the businesses they regulate.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby GaryRissling on Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:51 pm

I'd also like to add a personal anecdote about the EPA. My family owns an old industrial site (outside of PA), parts of which we were razing. Long story short, our plans were approved by no less than five government agencies- including the EPA. We began the demo, and an inspector from the EPA came in and said we were not in compliance. They arbitrarily added a new requirement which increased our demo cost ten times over. The only real recourse for us was to seek help from politicians, which we did. At a cost.

If the mob ran these agencies, you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby DelPen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:37 pm

GaryRissling wrote:I'd also like to add a personal anecdote about the EPA. My family owns an old industrial site (outside of PA), parts of which we were razing. Long story short, our plans were approved by no less than five government agencies- including the EPA. We began the demo, and an inspector from the EPA came in and said we were not in compliance. They arbitrarily added a new requirement which increased our demo cost ten times over. The only real recourse for us was to seek help from politicians, which we did. At a cost.

If the mob ran these agencies, you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference.


Well at least now you can get an injunction while you fight their nonsense which prior to the 2012 Supreme Court ruling was impossible. Even if you knew you were 100% right, like the EPA fining you $37,500 a day for disrupting non-existant and undocumented wetlands, you can at least fight it in court.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby ExPatriatePen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:03 pm

DelPen wrote:
GaryRissling wrote:I'd also like to add a personal anecdote about the EPA. My family owns an old industrial site (outside of PA), parts of which we were razing. Long story short, our plans were approved by no less than five government agencies- including the EPA. We began the demo, and an inspector from the EPA came in and said we were not in compliance. They arbitrarily added a new requirement which increased our demo cost ten times over. The only real recourse for us was to seek help from politicians, which we did. At a cost.

If the mob ran these agencies, you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference.


Well at least now you can get an injunction while you fight their nonsense which prior to the 2012 Supreme Court ruling was impossible. Even if you knew you were 100% right, like the EPA fining you $37,500 a day for disrupting non-existant and undocumented wetlands, you can at least fight it in court.


And who's funding this lawsuit and all of the subsequent appeals?
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby tifosi77 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:30 pm

Susan Rice withdraws from secretary of State consideration
Susan Rice, who came under heavy criticism for her defense of the Obama administration after armed militants killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of State on Thursday as the president began to narrow his choices for key Cabinet positions.

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a one-page letter to President Obama. “That tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.”

So the squealing children (aged 76 and 57) have won their little turf war and - in the elder's case - held on to relevancy for one more day.

Frankly, there's no way Kerry would get the nomination if it were me making the decision. (Probably best that I'm not) And I'm not convinced that I wouldn't still nominate Ambassador Rice, anyway.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby ExPatriatePen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:37 pm

tifosi77 wrote:Susan Rice withdraws from secretary of State consideration
Susan Rice, who came under heavy criticism for her defense of the Obama administration after armed militants killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of State on Thursday as the president began to narrow his choices for key Cabinet positions.

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a one-page letter to President Obama. “That tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.”

So the squealing children (aged 76 and 57) have won their little turf war and - in the elder's case - held on to relevancy for one more day.

Frankly, there's no way Kerry would get the nomination if it were me making the decision. (Probably best that I'm not) And I'm not convinced that I wouldn't still nominate Ambassador Rice, anyway.


The question is... will the PotUS cast his eyes on another party "shill" or will he do the right thing and nominate someone who's got credibility and respect in the international community?
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:48 pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... _opinion_0

The trouble with a newspaper column lies in the word limit. Last week, I wrote about some of Susan Rice's diplomatic misadventures in Africa during her years in the Clinton administration: Rwanda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But there wasn't enough space to get to them all.

And Sierra Leone deserves a column of its own.

On June 8, 1999, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. Rice, then the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, delivered testimony on a range of issues, and little Sierra Leone was high on the list. An elected civilian government led by a former British barrister named Ahmad Kabbah had been under siege for years by a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front, led by a Libyan-trained guerrilla named Foday Sankoh. Events were coming to a head.

Even by the standards of Africa in the 1990s, the RUF set a high bar for brutality. Its soldiers were mostly children, abducted from their parents, fed on a diet of cocaine and speed. Its funding came from blood diamonds. It was internationally famous for chopping off the limbs of its victims. Its military campaigns bore such names as "Operation No Living Thing."

In January 1999, six months before Ms. Rice's Senate testimony, the RUF laid siege to the capital city of Freetown. "The RUF burned down houses with their occupants still inside, hacked off limbs, gouged out eyes with knives, raped children, and gunned down scores of people in the street," wrote Ryan Lizza in the New Republic. "In three weeks, the RUF killed some 6,000 people, mostly civilians."

What to do with a group like this? The Clinton administration had an idea. Initiate a peace process.

It didn't seem to matter that Sankoh was demonstrably evil and probably psychotic. It didn't seem to matter, either, that he had violated previous agreements to end the war. "If you treat Sankoh like a statesman, he'll be one," was the operative theory at the State Department, according to one congressional staffer cited by Mr. Lizza. Instead of treating Sankoh as part of the problem, if not the problem itself, State would treat him as part of the solution. An RUF representative was invited to Washington for talks. Jesse Jackson was appointed to the position of President Clinton's special envoy.

It would be tempting to blame Rev. Jackson for the debacle that would soon follow. But as Ms. Rice was keen to insist in her Senate testimony that June, it was the Africa hands at the State Department who were doing most of the heavy lifting.

"It's been through active U.S. diplomacy behind the scenes," she explained. "It hasn't gotten a great deal of press coverage, that we and others saw the rebels and the government of Sierra Leone come to the negotiating table just a couple of weeks ago, in the context of a negotiated cease-fire, in which the United States played an important role."

A month later, Ms. Rice got her wish with the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord. It was an extraordinary document. In the name of reconciliation, RUF fighters were given amnesty. Sankoh was made Sierra Leone's vice president. To sweeten the deal, he was also put in charge of the commission overseeing the country's diamond trade. All this was foisted on President Kabbah.

In September 1999, Ms. Rice praised the "hands-on efforts" of Rev. Jackson, U.S. Ambassador Joe Melrose "and many others" for helping bring about the Lomé agreement.

For months thereafter, Ms. Rice cheered the accords at every opportunity. Rev. Jackson, she said, had "played a particularly valuable role," as had Howard Jeter, her deputy at State. In a Feb. 16, 2000, Q&A session with African journalists, she defended Sankoh's participation in the government, noting that "there are many instances where peace agreements around the world have contemplated rebel movements converting themselves into political parties."

What was more, the U.S. was even prepared to lend Sankoh a helping hand, provided he behaved himself. "Among the institutions of government that we are prepared to assist," she said, "is of coursethe Commission on Resources which Mr. Sankoh heads."

Of course.

Three months later, the RUF took 500 U.N. peacekeepers as hostages and was again threatening Freetown. Lomé had become a dead letter. The State Department sought to send Rev. Jackson again to the region, but he was so detested that his trip had to be canceled. The U.N.'s Kofi Annan begged for Britain's help. Tony Blair obliged him.

"Over a number of weeks," Mr. Blair recalls in his memoirs, British troops "did indeed sort out the RUF. . . . The RUF leader Foday Sankoh was arrested, and during the following months there was a buildup of the international presence, a collapse of the rebels and over time a program of comprehensive disarmament. . . . The country's democracy was saved."

Today Mr. Blair is a national hero in Sierra Leone. As for Ms. Rice and the administration she represented, history will deliver its own verdict.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby columbia on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:57 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:
tifosi77 wrote:Susan Rice withdraws from secretary of State consideration
Susan Rice, who came under heavy criticism for her defense of the Obama administration after armed militants killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, withdrew her name from consideration for secretary of State on Thursday as the president began to narrow his choices for key Cabinet positions.

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a one-page letter to President Obama. “That tradeoff is simply not worth it to our country.”

So the squealing children (aged 76 and 57) have won their little turf war and - in the elder's case - held on to relevancy for one more day.

Frankly, there's no way Kerry would get the nomination if it were me making the decision. (Probably best that I'm not) And I'm not convinced that I wouldn't still nominate Ambassador Rice, anyway.


The question is... will the PotUS cast his eyes on another party "shill" or will he do the right thing and nominate someone who's got credibility and respect in the international community?


He did pretty well with his first choice, in that regard.
I'm not talking about Rice of course. :wink:
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby tifosi77 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:33 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:The question is... will the PotUS cast his eyes on another party "shill" or will he do the right thing and nominate someone who's got credibility and respect in the international community?

I can completely understand being reluctant to nominate her because of her involvement in Africa during the Clinton years.

But this nonsense about Benghazi has to stop. It's silly.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby ulf on Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:45 pm

anyone else as pumped as i am for their 2% paycut January 1st?
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby Hockeynut! on Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:59 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:The question is... will the PotUS cast his eyes on another party "shill" or will he do the right thing and nominate someone who's got credibility and respect in the international community?


I've heard Chuck Hagel's name bandied about. Not sure if he's really in consideration, but I think he'd be a solid choice.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby ExPatriatePen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:05 pm

ulf wrote:anyone else as pumped as i am for their 2% paycut January 1st?


2%?

If only it was going to be capped at 2%... I'd consider that a Christmas Present.
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Re: LGP Political Discussion Thread - Latest news at top

Postby shafnutz05 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:06 pm

ulf wrote:anyone else as pumped as i am for their 2% paycut January 1st?


I'm hoping my merit raise makes up for it, but it's still depressing. Is 2% it? I heard more
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