2016 US Presidential Election

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:54 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Clinton gets enough delegates to be called the nominee. Sure, it relies on the pledges of the unpledged delegates (ie: superdelegates). But lets be frank, reality isn't going to change for Sanders.

Obama is expected to officially endorse Clinton soon, likely after the obvious results are cast tomorrow. Clinton IIRC only needs 3% of the delegates tomorrow to get the nomination. I'm not sure what Sanders is waiting for anymore.

Great. Now we are left with a choice between George W Bush's fifth term, and an autocratic narcissist.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Qaanol » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:02 am UTC

“Dewey defeats Truman”

Bernie is still very much viable, and the fact that he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump (as evidenced by all the polls both state and national) gives him a great case to make at the convention.

Especially after Bernie beats Hillary in California and most other states that vote today.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:44 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Bernie is still very much viable, and the fact that he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump (as evidenced by all the polls both state and national) gives him a great case to make at the convention.


What ever happened to "Superdelegates are corrupt and unfair"?

Hilary Clinton has already captured the popular vote by a margin of roughly 3 million. Why did everything flip on its head so rapidly? Frankly, Bernie Sander's only "hope" (if you can call it that) is to take advantage of the Superdelegates to override the popular vote. The fact that he remains in this race with this hope is hypocritical beyond all hell.

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Clinton gets enough delegates to be called the nominee. Sure, it relies on the pledges of the unpledged delegates (ie: superdelegates). But lets be frank, reality isn't going to change for Sanders.

Obama is expected to officially endorse Clinton soon, likely after the obvious results are cast tomorrow. Clinton IIRC only needs 3% of the delegates tomorrow to get the nomination. I'm not sure what Sanders is waiting for anymore.

Great. Now we are left with a choice between George W Bush's fifth term, and an autocratic narcissist.


I'm having issues figuring out which one is which. Lol. Can you be more specific with those descriptions?
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Xeio » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:30 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:Great. Now we are left with a choice between George W Bush's fifth term, and an autocratic narcissist.
I'm having issues figuring out which one is which. Lol. Can you be more specific with those descriptions?
I'm more curious if they're talking about Bush Sr. and don't realize he had only 1 term... or if they're seriously saying Obama was two more terms of Bush.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Yakk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:17 pm UTC

From the perspective of "finance industry does almost what it wants, military continues to kill people around the world with imputy at a slightly faster or slower pace than before" and the like, Obama was different in *degree*, not *kind* to Bush/Clinton/Bush/Reagan/etc.

The baseline assumptions are nearly identical.

In terms of social policy determining if a given minority group in the USA is oppressed? Sure, difference. But if someone cares about the other many-billion people on the planet as much more than sexual, gender, religious or racial minorities within the USA, every recent US president is cut from the same cloth. Degree, not kind. All are solid backers of the US military-industrial-political-finance complex that has been running roughshed over the planet for the last 60-odd years.

Not saying they are the *same*, but they are only significantly different at certain levels of magnification and along some specific axes. And I'm not saying that a full on halt to the US hegemony would be better than the current state of affairs. I'm just saying the position is both understandable and defendable.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:43 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:From the perspective of "finance industry does almost what it wants


Do you have friends in finance? Because they're shitting their pants about this fiduciary duty thing Obama just shoved through the Department of Labor.

Remember: Doctors don't have to prove that all of their recommendations are in support of their patients. Financial advisors for retirement accounts now have to however.

US military-industrial-political-finance complex


I almost always just stop listening when people bring this up.

These things have good, specific, unambiguous names: Lockheed Martin's F-35 Project for example. But Lockheed Martin is a different company than Boeing, and those companies are different entities from the TSA, FBI, and Army.

If you're against something, just state it in terms of what the hell is going on. EX: Army / Navy / Air Force is wasteful with the Joint Strike Fighter program and that should be punished somehow. (still vague, but at least I'm using real entities to describe the problem). You see, "military industrial" complex works in fiction when games like "Metal Gear Solid" when the storyteller needs to be vague and string together an epic plotline.

But in the real world, if you want to hold actual people accountable for their actions, you need to be more specific. The overacting / hyperventalating characters of Metal Gear Solid get a free pass because fiction needs to be vague (to connect with the widest audience) and interesting. And yes, I realize the term is older than the video game. But seriously, we're in the real world, and the real world calls for a measured, reasonable discussion.

At least if you hope for anything to actually get done. Besides, no one actually is "for the military-industrial complex". Its a meaningless term politically. Its purely a slur you use to defame someone you disagree with.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Yakk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:25 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Yakk wrote:From the perspective of "finance industry does almost what it wants
Do you have friends in finance? Because they're shitting their pants about this fiduciary duty thing Obama just shoved through the Department of Labor.

Remember: Doctors don't have to prove that all of their recommendations are in support of their patients. Financial advisors for retirement accounts now have to however.

Yes, I said almost what it wants.

Almost.

It still is the primary distributor of excess credit, gets to rent-seek on money itself, self-regulates to determine the inflation and hence unemployment rate, can engage in activities that collapse huge chunks of the world economy and get off with no criminal sanctions, etc.

The various parties and regulators disagree about how thick a glove they should use when they slap their wrist, and how much paperwork should be required to absolve them of any liability.
US military-industrial-political-finance complex

I almost always just stop listening when people bring this up.

The US has an Ouroboros of industry, military, banks, regulation and politicians, with money prestigue and politices sloshing around them. This isn't new, but it is much stronger now than it was prior to WW2 and the Cold War.

For MIC, we get money funneling from the Military to Contractors. Contractors and Military set up bases/factories/etc around the nation, making politicians beholden to them. Contractors set up think tanks that provide policy advice to Politicans, hire Military officers after their military career is done, and give "donations" to politicians who play ball. People who work for the Military or Contractors vote for pro-MIC Politicians vote to inflate the Military. Think tanks hire Politicians and Administrators.

No grand conspiracy, just feedback loops and people acting in their self-interest.
If you're against something, just state it in terms of what the hell is going on.

The corrupting Ouroboros itself.

It happens not just in the military -- it happens in telecom regulation, finance regulation, etc. The mixture of medium-strong government, strong self-interested industry, money and politics.
You see, "military industrial" complex works in fiction when games like "Metal Gear Solid" when the storyteller needs to be vague and string together an epic plotline.

I'm quoting fucking Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not "metal gear solid".
But in the real world, if you want to hold actual people accountable for their actions, you need to be more specific. [...] But seriously, we're in the real world, and the real world calls for a measured, reasonable discussion.

Yes, the "real world" is the world constructed by the MIC. By definition anyone who follows the precepts of the "real world" as you dictate is only marginally different in those terms than another person who follows those precepts.

I agree that significant change carries risk. Duh. But claiming that "that might require significant change, that isn't possible" is simply not true. There have been many significant changes in how government works in many areas of the world all over history.
At least if you hope for anything to actually get done.

Mate, there are many things that can be "done" that wouldn't be same-old same-old.

Many of them would result in disaster.

They happen all the time, around the world. Often the government falls and civil society collapses.

I'm not avocating for it, I'm just saying that this is a defensible position, that the current crop of politicians are working within a consensus that varies only on details (do we permit discrimination against a few million US citizens or not?), not on substance, *by some measure*.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

I'm quoting fucking Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not "metal gear solid".


I recognize that. Doesn't change the fact that you're continuing to talk in abstractions.

Assign a name to these entities. Are you saying that the local Lockheed Martin office in your region is exercising undue political control over your local representative? Because THAT'S an argument that will actually get somewhere.

But speaking in abstractions is for... Metal Gear Solid. So... yeah.

"Corrupting Ouroboros " doesn't count as reality either btw. Ouroboros is a fictional snake.

For MIC, we get money funneling from the Military to Contractors. Contractors and Military set up bases/factories/etc around the nation, making politicians beholden to them. Contractors set up think tanks that provide policy advice to Politicans, hire Military officers after their military career is done, and give "donations" to politicians who play ball. People who work for the Military or Contractors vote for pro-MIC Politicians vote to inflate the Military. Think tanks hire Politicians and Administrators.


You're missing about 50 layers of red tape in there btw. Do you think the RFP process is corrupt? Do you have any proposals or contracts that you can say was poorly handled?

Because the rules can change. The rules do change. At the moment, my concerns are that RFPs are overly focused on "small businesses" who are majority-owned by a minority (ie: female Asians). Probably not a major problem, and good for "enforcing" diversity. But its kinda getting into quotas and stuff... which isn't really the way I'd prefer that things happened...

Look, what I'm saying is, we can get things done correctly by protesting the incompetent way that the F35 JSF was handled and contracted. I think this is the closest example to a MIC-like behavior that you'll find. Furthermore, the failures of the F35 project as well as its political... convenience... are well documented. And they do make me feel like the whole thing is fishy.

By keeping things real, we get solid examples, can organize a real protest that can be easily written into law. Now we just need to come up with an action plan to change the RFP procedure to prevent another mistake like the F35 project.

Or... you can continue to talk in terms that sound like Metal Gear Solid to me.

-------------

From a very different perspective, lets look at a new arm of US Contracting services. What do you think the "Silicon Valley" style 18F procurement process is more fair? Do you think it addresses your concerns? Things are changing every day yo. If this isn't a step in the right direction, what would be a step in the right direction for you?

Or is 18F still the same old, same old to you? If so, tell me a project that happened in 18F's new style of procurement that demonstrates the "corrupting Ouroboros" effect.

----------

No one is for the F35 Bullshit that has occurred. Literally no one. There are military people who want the F35, but everyone agrees that the handling of this $100+ Billion over-budget, 7+years late project is a disaster.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:19 pm UTC

Nature of government. You can get a problem that literally everyone recognizes is a problem, but that nobody can actually fix.

It's too big, at this point.

And you're not getting that money back even if you cancel it.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Nature of government. You can get a problem that literally everyone recognizes is a problem, but that nobody can actually fix.

It's too big, at this point.

And you're not getting that money back even if you cancel it.

That's because you're over simplifying the issue. If we say person X has a problem, it doesn't mean we see the same thing. I could say he's too fat, and another could say he's too thin. We aren't going to solve it even though both agree there's a problem.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:46 pm UTC

Well, at this point, everyone agrees it's taken way too much time and money. So, the specific problem is okay, but agreeing on a solution is right out. Especially given that we're mostly talking about suck costs.

In part, it's about regionalism, because every politician is gonna protect portions that funnel money into his district. Gots to, even if he knows it's padding the overall cost.

It's also just really common for humans to underestimate costs, particularly with larger projects. And feature bloat is always a concern. The longer a project goes on, the more risk there is for it, too, so it's a compounding issue.

Yeah, trying to make a solution for all the services is part of the problem, but it's far from the only one. Previous aircrafts have been designed for a multiservice role without being this sort of clusterfuck. The A-7 Corsair, for instance. Of course, that project was a relatively minimalistic incremental upgrade, not a sweeping overall designed to change all of the things at the same time.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Nature of government. You can get a problem that literally everyone recognizes is a problem, but that nobody can actually fix.


The issue is that most problem statements are too large and abstract to actually act upon.

I think we all can agree that unwarranted killings of innocents is a bad thing, in general. The problem is that everyone in the discussion has a different idea of what an "unwarranted killing" is, and who and/or what is "innocent".

What I'm trying to note is that some problem statements are overly broad and overly vague. If problems were specified and specific, then we can actually work on them.

We should "mitigate the Military Industrial Complex". Okay, so everyone agrees. Sure, talk to a military guy and they might think that means that the contracting of the F35 project was poorly managed and needs to be revamped. Talk to a liberal, and it actually means that the War in Iraq / Bush's war was conduced poorly for oil or something and shouldn't have happened. Talk to a Redditor, and they'll start talking about Snowden and whistle-blower protection.

It is so fucking broad that it's lost its meaning. The only useful place the term has is in works of fiction and entertainment. On the other hand, actual specific issues can be addressed. Whistleblower protections can be enacted. Procurement processes can be revamped. Foreign Policy / choice of wars can be better selected.

In any case, I welcome the discussion of the F35 failures. Mostly because its a real problem and its actually productive to talk about.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:55 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:We should "mitigate the Military Industrial Complex". Okay, so everyone agrees. Sure, talk to a military guy and they might think that means that the contracting of the F35 project was poorly managed and needs to be revamped.


Nah. A military guy wouldn't bother to use the term at all, these days.

People in the system tend to have far more specific targets to bitch at than vague philosophical labels.

MIC is almost invariably used by leftists to gripe about military spending, corporations, and quote that one specific part of a single Eisenhower speech without ever referencing any other portion. It's almost as strong as a tell as the way people use the word "socialist".

A big problem with F35 is, at this point, what are you going to do? Cancel it, shelve all the work, start over, and realize that now, all the services need a NEW next gen fighter project? Abandon the idea of air superiority? Just keep throwing money at it hoping that sooner or later, enough has been spent? Fixing feature bloat midstream is nigh impossible.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:18 pm UTC

I think the lessons of the F35 project is to see the damn airplane before buying $100 Billion+ worth of said airplane. The contract is written, too late now to change it really. All ways out are just different versions of "lesser evil" at this point.

I think the simultaneous testing and production phase was a mistake.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:48 pm UTC

The question is whether we're talking about a single problem (the F-whatever), or talking about an overall pattern of problems. Because a pattern of problems is itself a problem, and is itself an identifable, specific problem. The first step in solving a problem is identifying just what it is. And as said earlier, even if you can agree that the problem is that there's a pattern of problems, you still have to agree what that pattern is before you can get beyond the political bluster stage and into the solution stage.

So, the F-whatever was a problem.

The pattern of military/government things-costing-too-much-and-too-little-oversight is also a problem.

Addressing one is not a substitute or proxy for addressing the other.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:03 pm UTC

ucim wrote:The question is whether we're talking about a single problem (the F-whatever), or talking about an overall pattern of problems. Because a pattern of problems is itself a problem, and is itself an identifable, specific problem. The first step in solving a problem is identifying just what it is. And as said earlier, even if you can agree that the problem is that there's a pattern of problems, you still have to agree what that pattern is before you can get beyond the political bluster stage and into the solution stage.

So, the F-whatever was a problem.

The pattern of military/government things-costing-too-much-and-too-little-oversight is also a problem.

Addressing one is not a substitute or proxy for addressing the other.


You demonstrate a pattern by naming multiple issues and then describe the fucking pattern.

Lets take three major examples:

* F35 Project, as discussed earlier
* TSA (specifically the preflight screening process)
* The Healthcare Website

Three expensive, government projects that cost too much and don't do enough for Americans. What's common between them?

Erm... like nothing. Nothing at all. F35 is a joint program between Navy / Marines / Air Force, and the collaboration of three major agencies on a single project is seen as a key contributor to the complexity and costs of the F35 project. Furthermore, the project innately funnels into a death spiral when minor mistakes are done. The loss of confidence in F35 has caused Japan and Canada to become uncertain about their purchase of the aircraft, which has caused higher costs to be placed on the US (which made other allies nervous, which causes higher costs, etc. etc.). A full understanding of why the F35 project is so damn expensive will take us into international politics / NATO allies.

The Healthcare Website is seen as a failure of the Department of Health / National Institute of Health on understanding websites. They simply had no expertise in judging contractors or keeping up with the progress / development of the program and then got fucked when it deployed. The creation of 18f to create a team of computer-savvy government workers / project managers / procurement experts (for small technological tasks) will help future projects.

The TSA just has issues. It isn't even a project. Under the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA is in charge of checking bags and stuff before they go into airplanes. But in practice, the FBI has demonstrated that they don't work very well. The simple task of checking bags before passengers boards an aircraft seems flawed to me. I think the very existence of this project is a flaw, despite the good efforts of so many people. I think its a knee-jerk reaction from 9/11. Brussels has demonstrated that terrorists will simply start blowing up people standing in line. Terrorists have already shifted their strategy and I doubt we'll see another bomb on an airplane. There are simply easier targets (like... the lines in front of the airport).

Do you see a pattern here? Because I don't. But maybe you can figure out a pattern for us to discuss. Clinton was in charge when F35 project started. Bush Jr. for TSA. Obama for Healthcare website. Each of the leaders of the respective projects have been replaced (over and over again in the case of the F35). These cost overruns happen in different departments and so forth.

Contractors? No, the TSA is 100% Government. The Healthcare Website / F35 projects can be seen as failures in the procurement process, but the differences between the projects are striking.

----------------------

If we go into non-government projects... like Rovio's failed Angry Birds 2 or Duke Nukem Forever, or Mighty No. 9, video games and other multi-million $$ projects also have cost overruns and are delivered years late. Does the pattern continue to these failed projects? Or are you going to arbitrarily draw the line at Government-only stuff?
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:19 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Do you see a pattern here?
Yes. Bringing up a strawman to demonstrate the lack of a pattern. If there's a pattern of government screwup, maybe this is not it. That doesn't mean it's not there.

Addressing the three items you presented and looking for commonality, I would look at whether the components were perhaps too insulated from the immediate consequences of failure, and/or too insulated from the ultimate consequences of failure. I'd also look at whether the definition of "success" and "failure" is consistent across all stakeholders.

Addressing (for example) the F35 as if it were a part of a bigger issue, I'd look at other gross military budget overruns and project failures. I'd look for commonality there, specifically looking for whether or not failure was insulated from consequences, whether or not there were crossed incentives, and whether or not the stated goals (such as better national defense) matched the unstated goals (such as Jobs for Peoria!). Now, I'm not actually going to do that; I have no (stated) opinion on it I'm trying to defend. But that's how I would proceed. And I do recognize that purity in politics is unattainable. If "Jobs for Peoria" causes influence, then it is almost by definition undue influence, but that's unavoidable in the real world. The question is whether or not it's "too much" undue influence.

If there's a pattern of abuse, then you have to address the pattern; individual cases are just whack-a-mole.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:21 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Do you see a pattern here?
Yes. Bringing up a strawman to demonstrate the lack of a pattern. If there's a pattern of government screwup, maybe this is not it. That doesn't mean it's not there.

Addressing the three items you presented and looking for commonality, I would look at whether the components were perhaps too insulated from the immediate consequences of failure, and/or too insulated from the ultimate consequences of failure. I'd also look at whether the definition of "success" and "failure" is consistent across all stakeholders.

Addressing (for example) the F35 as if it were a part of a bigger issue, I'd look at other gross military budget overruns and project failures. I'd look for commonality there, specifically looking for whether or not failure was insulated from consequences, whether or not there were crossed incentives, and whether or not the stated goals (such as better national defense) matched the unstated goals (such as Jobs for Peoria!). Now, I'm not actually going to do that; I have no (stated) opinion on it I'm trying to defend. But that's how I would proceed. And I do recognize that purity in politics is unattainable. If "Jobs for Peoria" causes influence, then it is almost by definition undue influence, but that's unavoidable in the real world. The question is whether or not it's "too much" undue influence.

If there's a pattern of abuse, then you have to address the pattern; individual cases are just whack-a-mole.


Fair points.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:24 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
I'm quoting fucking Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not "metal gear solid".


I recognize that. Doesn't change the fact that you're continuing to talk in abstractions.

Assign a name to these entities. Are you saying that the local Lockheed Martin office in your region is exercising undue political control over your local representative? Because THAT'S an argument that will actually get somewhere.


I think you're under-appreciating the scope of the problem. Pointing to one specific company won't get you anywhere when the US has fifty companies that each have over a billion dollars in military contracts. Lockheed Martin performed over 100,000 separate activities for the government in in 2015 alone.

More generally, when people talk about a "military-industrial complex", what they're referring to is the fact that the United States government procures some $400 billion per year in military hardware and services. This industry employs tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. These companies all mutually benefit from the United States maintaining an aggressive military posture on the world scene; mutually benefit from the present military build-ups around China, Russia, and Iran; mutually benefit from militaristic, rather than diplomatic solutions to problems like the Syrian crisis, the invasion of Iraq, ISIS; mutually benefit from the expansion of the security state; and mutually benefit from the gargantuan amount of taxpayer dollars flooding into the military. And the combined weight of all of the mutually beneficial relationships between these corporations allows them to exert a huge amount of influence over the elected representatives and, consequently, US foreign policy objectives. Effectively, the military procurement process is a massive corporate welfare program, and trying to stop the tap for legitimate policy or financial reasons is going to result in massive pushback.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:45 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I think you're under-appreciating the scope of the problem. Pointing to one specific company won't get you anywhere when the US has fifty companies that each have over a billion dollars in military contracts. Lockheed Martin performed over 100,000 separate activities for the government in in 2015 alone.


And all of which is dwarfed by Social Security. Yeah, the US Government is big, what else is news?

Image

More generally, when people talk about a "military-industrial complex"


Trust me, you can't get any "more general" and non-specific than "military industrial complex". The problem continues to be that you and Yakk are speaking in terms so generic I'm not even understanding what you're talking about can possibly be applicable to the real world. You might as well be preaching to me about "bad things happen to good people" at the level of abstraction you're talking.

As I asked earlier: so what do you propose we change?

* Do you wish for the procurement process to change, like how 18F is changing government contracting?

* Do you wish for the US Government to spend more money and hire more federal workers? To try and retain talent within the government instead of relying on contractors?

* Or are you just anti-military and want the military budget to shrink? (Which is fair. We can have political disagreements about this sort of thing.)

* Do your concerns about the government procurement process apply to non-military spending, like the The Affordable Care Act website disaster? Or is it really specific to just the military?

I don't even know what you're arguing for. That's how worthless this "Military-industrial complex" language / abstraction is. What do you want to happen?

EDIT: And I'm sure we'll reveal a source of disagreement if we continue this discussion long enough. For now, I'm simply stating that the language "Military Industrial Complex" is completely meaningless to me. And even with your longer explanation, things are so abstract that I can't even get a good grip on what you're suggesting we do about it.

Or are you really just complaining about a special interest group with political you disagree with? I'd hate to imagine that the argument comes down to "I disagree with those people over there", because that's kinda hard to work with.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:11 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I think you're under-appreciating the scope of the problem. Pointing to one specific company won't get you anywhere when the US has fifty companies that each have over a billion dollars in military contracts. Lockheed Martin performed over 100,000 separate activities for the government in in 2015 alone.


And all of which is dwarfed by Social Security. Yeah, the US Government is big, what else is news?


Social Security has a much narrower focus of activities though. Military is by far the largest amount of discretionary spending.

More generally, when people talk about a "military-industrial complex"


Trust me, you can't get any "more general" and non-specific than "military industrial complex". The problem continues to be that you and Yakk are speaking in terms so generic I'm not even understanding what you're talking about. You might as well be preaching to me about "bad things happen to good people" at the level of abstraction you're talking.


Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:23 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.

I like talking about the issues. And from what I can tell, your issue is that we're spending too much on the military. All of the other stuff is just meaningless political posturing as far as I'm concerned.

-------------

Or do you have more to say about the current relationship between the federal government and its spending on federal contractors? Anything more than just "we spend too much on that"? Do you want to see special rules placed to barricade relationships between companies, policy makers, and bureaucrats in charge of procurement? Rules that limit gift-giving, or campaign contributions even in unofficial capacities?

Are the current rules sufficient? If not, what additional red tape do you wish to levy on federal contractors so that this worry about "special relationship" status is eradicated?

Once again, I'm asking here because I still don't know what you're arguing for. You wouldn't have filled an entire paragraph about "Companies exerting political influence" unless you had a bigger gripe than "we spend too much money on military"
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:45 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.


Are you being deliberately obtuse here? Let me repeat my problem in big bold letters for you.

I have a problem with people wanting the country to go to war for their own personal enrichment.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.


Are you being deliberately obtuse here? Let me repeat my problem in big bold letters for you.

I have a problem with people wanting the country to go to war for their own personal enrichment.


Okay. I think we're getting somewhere then.

1. Do you have list of people who would benefit from this? I'm assuming you're talking about the CEO of Lockheed Martin, or Northrop Grumman, or any of the other big-name contractors. But just a short list of specific example people who'd fit your mold for this problem (not necessarily the name. But whoever you refer to needs to be specific enough that we can actually talk about the problem. CEO of Lockheed Martin would work... and even a more generic statement like "any worker who works for any company that holds at least one federal contract" (CEOs included of course))

2. What rules / regulations do we put into place that will prevent people in #1 from affecting politics in such a way that they can politically lobby for a war? Do you believe the current rules in place are insufficient?
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:03 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.


Are you being deliberately obtuse here? Let me repeat my problem in big bold letters for you.

I have a problem with people wanting the country to go to war for their own personal enrichment.


Okay. I think we're getting somewhere then.

1. Do you have list of people who would benefit from this? I'm assuming you're talking about the CEO of Lockheed Martin, or Northrop Grumman, or any of the other big-name contractors. But just a short list of specific example people who'd fit your mold for this problem (not necessarily the name. But whoever you refer to needs to be specific enough that we can actually talk about the problem. CEO of Lockheed Martin would work... and even a more generic statement like "any worker who works for any company that holds at least one federal contract" (CEOs included of course))


Er, Hillary Clinton.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:36 am UTC

Quit looking for some kind of specific instance. The phrase means nothing more than what happens when military procurement and/or basing is so tied to the economy that it makes getting anything done, good or bad, difficult. One example might include an abomination called the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Meant to reduce the difficulty of closing military bases that fed local economies. It isn't any particular contractor or action. It is the result of having, what I understand to be, the worlds largest military budget.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby elasto » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:13 am UTC

Looking at LaserGuy's links, it's also a result of massive financial warchests being so key to getting elected. Whether there is any truth to it or not, it's impossible to avoid the perception of being compromised.

I'm amazed that political parties in the UK run entire election campaigns for single-digit millions of pounds. A single, run-of-the-mill politician in the US will typically outspend all our politicians combined - and I'm not even talking about a presidential candidate here...

(And this is part of Trump's appeal of course - his claim that he running his campaign on small donations and self-funding alone; though, in reality, I bet he makes a personal profit on it win or lose - especially now...)

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:18 am UTC

Back on topic,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/us/po ... judge.html
If this counts, then this will be the second time Trump has ever backpedaled. So his red lines that Trump should not cross (or else risk losing even more votes) are punishing abortion mothers and over racism? Every time I wonder if the GOP hit rock bottom, and then I see Trump start digging...

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby heuristically_alone » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:17 am UTC

If Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president, I would vote for him. He may lie to his wife, but he won't lie to his country.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:24 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.


Are you being deliberately obtuse here? Let me repeat my problem in big bold letters for you.

I have a problem with people wanting the country to go to war for their own personal enrichment.


Okay. I think we're getting somewhere then.

1. Do you have list of people who would benefit from this? I'm assuming you're talking about the CEO of Lockheed Martin, or Northrop Grumman, or any of the other big-name contractors. But just a short list of specific example people who'd fit your mold for this problem (not necessarily the name. But whoever you refer to needs to be specific enough that we can actually talk about the problem. CEO of Lockheed Martin would work... and even a more generic statement like "any worker who works for any company that holds at least one federal contract" (CEOs included of course))


Er, Hillary Clinton.


I'll give you that point uncontested.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:25 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Back on topic,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/us/po ... judge.html
If this counts, then this will be the second time Trump has ever backpedaled.


I don't think it counts yet. He hasn't retracted his comments--he's said that his comments have been "misconstrued." There's a big difference between "I shouldn't have said that--my bad" and "You people shouldn't have taken my statements at face value--your bad."

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:13 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Back on topic,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/us/po ... judge.html
If this counts, then this will be the second time Trump has ever backpedaled. So his red lines that Trump should not cross (or else risk losing even more votes) are punishing abortion mothers and over racism? Every time I wonder if the GOP hit rock bottom, and then I see Trump start digging...


Trump changed his views on Abortion.

He didn't change his view here. Read Trump's actual statement.

Normally, legal issues in a civil case would be heard in a neutral environment. However, given my unique circumstances as nominee of the Republican Party and the core issues of my campaign that focus on illegal immigration, jobs and unfair trade, I have concerns as to my ability to receive a fair trial.


Trump still thinks that the judge is being unfair. He's just not explicitly saying "because he's a Mexican" anymore.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby leady » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:17 pm UTC

Doesn't Trump have a point however he put its across? As numerous commentators have pointed out, I can't imagine a huge acceptance of a white judge that belonged to an explicit ethnic club as being disinterested.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:32 pm UTC

leady wrote:Doesn't Trump have a point however he put its across? As numerous commentators have pointed out, I can't imagine a huge acceptance of a white judge that belonged to an explicit ethnic club as being disinterested.


But what does that have to do with Trump University?

If Trump had an argument about being treated unfairly by this judge, he'd comment on how he was being treated unfairly. IE: This judge is ridiculous, he's doing X, Y, Z. He's not letting me show the jury the evidence, or whatever. Plus, there are appeals courts for when judges make wrong decisions.

In any case, this just shows how Trump will abuse his position as President (or Presidential Candidate) to get ahead in personal matters. He's making comments about a private civil case in campaign speeches.
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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:44 pm UTC

Trump is overtly looking for opportunities to cash in on his campaign. Not that he's doing that great of a job, but he's much more overt about it. You'll never hear Clinton say "after I'm elected, you're gonna buy all my stuff so I make money". You're suppose to cash out afterwards, or do it subtly with your friends err I mean lobbyists.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby leady » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:56 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
leady wrote:Doesn't Trump have a point however he put its across? As numerous commentators have pointed out, I can't imagine a huge acceptance of a white judge that belonged to an explicit ethnic club as being disinterested.


But what does that have to do with Trump University?

If Trump had an argument about being treated unfairly by this judge, he'd comment on how he was being treated unfairly. IE: This judge is ridiculous, he's doing X, Y, Z. He's not letting me show the jury the evidence, or whatever. Plus, there are appeals courts for when judges make wrong decisions.


If judges were perfect AIs this view would be correct. In the real world judges are just people that make subjective judgements based on their own and prior interpretations of law and the validity and relevance of evidence provided. I look forward to you supporting a Texan Baptist judges views on the validity of abortion controls...

In any case, this just shows how Trump will abuse his position as President (or Presidential Candidate) to get ahead in personal matters. He's making comments about a private civil case in campaign speeches.


At least he is honest about it - its completely unremarkable how rich ex world leaders magically become during and after being in office.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:34 pm UTC

leady wrote:Doesn't Trump have a point however he put its across? As numerous commentators have pointed out, I can't imagine a huge acceptance of a white judge that belonged to an explicit ethnic club as being disinterested.
I imagine a lot of black men serving time felt much the same way about the white male judges who sat at their trials. Those judges belong to a very exclusive group.
leady wrote:If judges were perfect AIs this view would be correct. In the real world judges are just people that make subjective judgements based on their own and prior interpretations of law and the validity and relevance of evidence provided. I look forward to you supporting a Texan Baptist judges views on the validity of abortion controls...
Is there a point in their somewhere? You may have noticed a fight going on over here on a Supreme Court judicial nominee over his political leanings and those of the man who nominated him. The Donald should watch his mouth. Call a man a shithead and you may reasonably expect that he will be pissed. Piss a judge off and you may expect to get exactly what you asked for.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby leady » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:43 pm UTC

The point is that its a reasonable point and not one that should cause mass craziness. As you point out, the same argument is used in many other contexts. Whether its a sensible one is a different debate.

Although if Trump is a manipulative genius it was an impressive way to get La Raza into the mainstream consciousness indirectly.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:44 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:You demonstrate a pattern by naming multiple issues and then describe the fucking pattern.

Lets take three major examples:

* F35 Project, as discussed earlier
* TSA (specifically the preflight screening process)
* The Healthcare Website

Three expensive, government projects that cost too much and don't do enough for Americans. What's common between them?

Erm... like nothing. Nothing at all.


Yuuuup. I mean, commonalities end up being nearly uselessly vague. Sure, you can justify "managing big projects is hard", but where does that actually get you?

You can't ditch big projects entirely. No matter what your opinion of war, we probably need warplane projects regardless. You probably need airport security regardless(though I would argue that the TSA themselves do not need to exist). You probably need websites that do stuff. The nature of government and the size of the US means that these things are just going to be fairly big, but the solutions for each are rather specific.

ucim wrote:Addressing the three items you presented and looking for commonality, I would look at whether the components were perhaps too insulated from the immediate consequences of failure, and/or too insulated from the ultimate consequences of failure. I'd also look at whether the definition of "success" and "failure" is consistent across all stakeholders.


Gonna go out on a limb here and say that the military branches involved certainly benefit pretty directly from a successful warplane project.

Definitions may not be entirely identical between involved people, but there's *got* to be pretty good agreement that the current state represents failure for all concerned.

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Er, I literally just explained what I meant. To repeat: The military industrial complex describes a whole bunch of people (including within the military and government) and corporations who have a vested interest in the country building up our military capacity and/or going to war, and have sufficient political influence that they are able to direct policy in that direction. Talking about at it the level of contractors and procurement ignores the implicit assumption that the US needs to be actually making those purchases in the first place.


I mean, if you're simply for cutting military spending... just say you're for cutting military spending. That's a hell of a lot clearer to me.

I like talking about the issues. And from what I can tell, your issue is that we're spending too much on the military. All of the other stuff is just meaningless political posturing as far as I'm concerned.


This is almost invariably what people railing against the MIC want. They're trying to wrap up various anti-corporate attitudes in this, but if you're looking for actionable stuff, they believe that too many dollars are being spent on the military. Which is a valid thing to discuss, sure, but...it's way more productive to do so directly.

LaserGuy wrote:Are you being deliberately obtuse here? Let me repeat my problem in big bold letters for you.

I have a problem with people wanting the country to go to war for their own personal enrichment.


Why on earth is that a problem?

Don't people, in general, believe that war should be engaged in because that decision will be better for their lives than otherwise? Why else would you engage in war? And what on earth is wrong with making money off of this activity, as opposed to any other?

Sure, people are routinely overly-optimistic over planning big projects such as wars, so their belief may be incorrect, but outside of error, why is this necessary function one that people shouldn't make money for?

And of course, it ends up being utterly non-actionable for us, the voters, even if you DO hate war somehow. It's not as if we have any options to vote for with a significantly different viewpoint.

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Re: 2016 US Presidential Election

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:46 pm UTC

leady wrote:
At least he is honest about it - its completely unremarkable how rich ex world leaders magically become during and after being in office.

So if he blatantly breaks the law, then we shouldn't jail him? The reason world leaders try to downplay it is because they could go to jail if they blatantly take money. In fact, the more blatant the money grab, the worse off your country probably is.


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