Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:25 am

Snake-Aes wrote:Not the case here. They work 3 days per week, and around a hundred of the congressmen(of 230) don't go on any given day, working 6 hours a day. Any work they are called to outside the standard journey is worth an extra day's pay, around 2 grand.

That part was a generally speaking (as noted in the reply) - The work politicians en general do is usually said to be a lot less than they actually do, just because most of it is meetings and preparation for meetings.

There are genuinely news poutets here that think that our parliamentarians only work when in the chamber, and that that is the indicative measure of whether they are working or not.
Yes, being in the chamber can be important, but with 8 political parties (and more or less always 2 blocs - yay and nay, who is what depending on the issue) there are clearing agreements so nothing gets passed (or defeated) because someone has other meetings they need to attend to.
In parliamentary systems its actually not the voting that gives the results, in most parlimanetary systems the voting is a formality, the stances are known beforehand, and the result is given - everything has been cleared up far in advance through meetings and compromises.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby fuzzygeek » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:34 pm

Remarkably even keeled article on Syria, which makes me wonder if I've missed something or if it panders to my own biases. Can anyone find anything objectionable about this?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wor ... ed-to-ask/

Granted it's a fairly simplistic overview, but is anything actively incorrect?
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fivelives » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:24 am

Question:

Wouldn't it be more feasible for the US to try and convince NATO to send in peacekeeping forces, set up a DMZ and split Syria up along currently controlled regions rather than opt for nearly unilateral "limited" military action?

Right now, the way I see it we're damned if we do and damned if we don't, regarding military action. I personally wouldn't put it past the rebels to have gassed themselves to frame Assad just to get outside intervention and global public opinion further on their side. Beyond that, if we support Assad, we're going against everything we stand for (yay Democracy! Yay 'MURKA!) - but there again, if we openly support the rebels then we're also going against everything we've been standing for for the last decade and some change. After all, you can't turn around and fight one group of jihadist terrorists while supporting another group of jihadist terrorists, at least not without being shown up for blatant and unapologetic hypocrisy. However, if we don't do anything now that chemical weapons have been used - and at this juncture it's moot as to who used what on whom, the important thing is that they have been used, period - then that sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow suit. Think Israel vs Palestine, Iran vs Iraq, or N Korea vs S Korea. I can see any or all of those quickly following suit once Syria gets a pass on their use of them.

I've been really busy with work lately, so I haven't been really keeping up on things as closely as I'd like to; so could someone with a bit more knowledge of the situation explain why we aren't pushing for a joint NATO peacekeeping action instead of military strikes? Because it really does seem to me to be the best, or at a minimum, the very least worst of the possible options (limited military strikes against terrorists or dictatorship regime, unilateral invasion force supporting either terrorists or dictatorship). If we go the peacekeeping route, we would at least be able to disarm the country of WMDs like sarin gas.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:08 am

NATO is out - too many NATO countries don't want to intervene.
Britain voted no, Denmark (who was one of the first allies in iraq and afghanistan) are talking about political support only and I doubt the populace would look favourably on actual military intervention without the UN.
Basically, in Europe the UN means a whole lot more than in the US - probably for historical reasons.

As for supporting the rebels, I agree that it would be contrary to whats been done for ages, but the rebels aren't "jihadist terorrists" - well the terrorirst part is a matter of debate of course, as a rebel, more or less by definition, could be said to be a terrorist - but parts of the rebellion is jihadist, not the rebellion itself.

I'd also say there is a distinct diffference in regards to how far the risk goes in regards to not intervening, this is a civils war / rebellion - unlike the other examples where it would be one country attacking another - you would have a clear aggressor that would be acting in violation of the UN treaty, which would grant automatic rights to intervene - especially if an alliance already exists.

If Assad attacked Turkey, no UN mandate would be required to intervene on the part of NATO, as that would be an attack upon a memeber of the alliance, and the musketeer oath would take effect.

All that being said, I do not have a lot of insight into the specific conflict in Syria, but based on what you wrote I wanted to contribute what lnowledge I have.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Levantine » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:26 am

Well Australia just chose the greater of two evils to be their next representative party. Great.

I just get frustrated when people I have to associate with don't understand the concept of macro economics being not at all the same as managing a household budget.

Also I legitimately half expect Australia to turn into the next Russia when it comes to social liberty.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:00 am

Levantine wrote:I just get frustrated when people I have to associate with don't understand the concept of macro economics being not at all the same as managing a household budget.


That's a pet peeve of mine as well. Although "pet peeve" might not be the right word for something that's dragging economies down all over the world.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:49 am

Household budget analogy works, some of the way, but faisl becaus ethe premise on the macroeconomical level is that the numbers mean nothing, as govt prints its own money / decides what theirown paycheck (from the analogy)is through taxes.

Also, its more like the household budget with monthly payments that are equal, and equalized over the years expenses (Keynes)
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:49 am

Nooska wrote:Household budget analogy works, some of the way, but faisl becaus ethe premise on the macroeconomical level is that the numbers mean nothing, as govt prints its own money / decides what theirown paycheck (from the analogy)is through taxes.

Also, its more like the household budget with monthly payments that are equal, and equalized over the years expenses (Keynes)


Also, spending your household money does not make your income rise, which can often happen in macroeconomics.

More specifically, you can't spend your way out of a bad period, while a government can do exactly that.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby theckhd » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:33 am

Klaudandus wrote:It would also be nice if they would cut the salary of congresscritters -- and take their health benefits.


In addition to the other problems that have been raised with this idea, if you don't pay Politicians well enough, you essentially limit those positions to the independently wealthy.

I don't have statistics for this, but I'm fairly certain we already have this problem in America. It's extremely expensive to get elected, even with the assistance of a political party. Most regular people simply can't afford to take the time off of work to campaign, let alone have the resources to fund that campaign. So by and large, the people running for any state-wide office tend to be wealthy. And it only gets worse the higher up the political food chain you go.

Whether that's a good or a bad thing is up for debate. I'm sure there's a correlation between intelligence and income (in both directions - higher income often means more/better schooling, and better schooling often leads to higher-paying jobs). And this probably isn't a recent thing, as your average poor farmer or factory worker probably didn't run for office in the 1800s. On the other hand, the independently wealthy don't have to worry about starving if they do a poor job and don't get re-elected. I'm not sure whether one or the other is more susceptible to bribes.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:39 am

Ok, fine. But I still don't see why congresscritters should last more than two terms in any position.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:23 am

BEcause th epeople electing them think that they are doing a good job.. (yeah, I recognize the problems with this statement, but thats the principle)
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Sagara » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:33 am

The politicians we deserve, not the ones we need?
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:46 am

Well democracys one huge failing is the people.. I mean, most people vote for someone they know, rather than someone they agree with, which also make sthe age of penetration that much higher in democracies where you get elected through relativity, rather than through single person districts - add to that that people (in general) who get a taste of the "power" of being elected, rarely want to give it up.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:56 pm

Paxen wrote:More specifically, you can't spend your way out of a bad period
That's not true at all.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:46 am

Fridmarr wrote:
Paxen wrote:More specifically, you can't spend your way out of a bad period
That's not true at all.

In the household budget it is.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:12 am

Of course it isn't. There are tons of examples, the most obvious is paying for (or to more closely match gov't, borrowing for) training/schooling.

You're merely talking about spending money on something for which the result is that ultimately either income is increased or expenses reduced.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Qeeze » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:40 am

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:13 am

Fridmarr wrote:Of course it isn't. There are tons of examples, the most obvious is paying for (or to more closely match gov't, borrowing for) training/schooling.

You're merely talking about spending money on something for which the result is that ultimately either income is increased or expenses reduced.


You can invest in a household. The government only has to spend.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby fuzzygeek » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:16 am

Fivelives wrote:Wouldn't it be more feasible for the US to try and convince NATO to send in peacekeeping forces, set up a DMZ and split Syria up along currently controlled regions rather than opt for nearly unilateral "limited" military action?


As stated, NATO involvement has already been vetoed (and is almost always a horrible idea anyway). Also Syria's in the middle of a civil war -- the world unilaterally stepping in and setting up new borders has, historically, not worked well in the Middle East.

Fivelives wrote:Right now, the way I see it we're damned if we do and damned if we don't, regarding military action.


Pretty much. The problem with the situation is:
1) deterring the use of WMDs is good
2) supporting the rebels is not so good
3) blowing the shit out of Assad is de facto supporting the rebels

I mean, if Country A invaded Country B and Country A used WMDs, then it becomes fairly cut-and-dry that Country C can come in and blow the shit out of Country A in retaliation, yes?

When it's a Civil War it becomes considerably less clear. Should countries intervene when another country is blowing the shit out of its own citizenry? In some cases apparently yes (see: UN Peace Keeping Missions in various 3rd world countries. Also see how well those have worked out).

The argument is generally that destabilization in a country is bad for its neighbors (refugees, armed conflict on borders, etc.), so you quell an area to keep things from spreading. I am not certain how well this works, when there are no peaceable solutions to the underlying problems that lead to violence in the first place.

But anyway. Is some kind of intervention necessary? I'd argue so. I'd also argue that a sternly worded letter from the UN might be enough of a token effort in this situation (see: Iraq 1984-2001). It's a little odd that the subtext would be "it's okay to WMD your own country, but don't make us come over there."
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:23 am

I never understood the blatant need of the US to play World Police.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby fuzzygeek » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:55 am

The simple answer is self interest. A more accurate answer is considerably more complicated and prone to a lot of finger pointing and accusations of duplicity.

I'd be very curious to see what would happen if the US closed every foreign military base and suspended all foreign aid for a year.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:49 pm

Paxen wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:Of course it isn't. There are tons of examples, the most obvious is paying for (or to more closely match gov't, borrowing for) training/schooling.

You're merely talking about spending money on something for which the result is that ultimately either income is increased or expenses reduced.


You can invest in a household. The government only has to spend.


That's splitting hairs and still not true.  For instance if a couple decides to pay for daycare so that one of the spouses that was staying home with the kids can enter the workforce, they would accomplish the same thing.
 
The notion that the simple act of spending by a government can lead to prosperity is tenuous at best.  Just like a household, the government needs to be concerned with ROI.  I mean the government could buy 1 trillion dollars worth of lottery tickets all with the same number on them.  While that might make some ink, paper, and garbage handlers happy for some time, that's hardly going to result in a net positive.
 
I'm not suggesting that household economics and government economics (the topic that started this chain) are the same because there are significant differences.  This just isn't one of them. 

One of the more fundamental differences (and I haven't even seen it mentioned here, but I don't read this much these days so I may have missed it) is the concept of retirement.  People plan and spend for an eventuality that they won't be able to (or won't want to) work for money at some point.  Whether by planning on clearing debts when that age is reached or by investing for a residual income or both, there's no real equivalent to that in government. 
 
Business economics are a bit more comprable though.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:54 pm

Fridmarr wrote:The notion that the simple act of spending by a government can lead to prosperity is tenuous at best.  Just like a household, the government needs to be concerned with ROI. 


They are not the same thing. A household on its own will not significantly affect the rest of the economy. A government, on the other, can't help but have a huge impact. If they spend, money starts moving, and that generates economic activity.

The aggregate of all household spending has a similar effect on the macroeconomic level, but you can't control that with your single household. A government can.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:22 pm

What isn't the same thing? 
 
I never suggested that a single household would affect the entire economy.  I don't even know what the heck you are talking about at this point. 
 
As a way to illustrate a difference between the economy of a houshold and that of a government, you said that a household can not increase its income by spending money but that the government can.  I pointed out, that that is obviously false, because a household most certainly can spend to increase its income.  That is all.  
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:58 pm

Fridmarr wrote:What isn't the same thing? 
 
I never suggested that a single household would affect the entire economy.  I don't even know what the heck you are talking about at this point. 
 
As a way to illustrate a difference between the economy of a houshold and that of a government, you said that a household can not increase its income by spending money but that the government can.  I pointed out, that that is obviously false, because a household most certainly can spend to increase its income.  That is all.  


I stand by my point. A governement can spend to get a macroeconomic effect which can be beneficial, while a household can't. They operate at totally different levels, so using analogies between a household economy and fiscal policy can be very misleading, even more than analogies usually are.

The point is that a government can effectively throw money away and get a positive result, which makes no sense whatsoever if you try to compare it to a household economy.
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