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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:40 am 
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So seeing the comments from Conryn referencing the fact that knowing the full text of a bill prior to a vote is a "luxury we can't afford" makes me wonder...

What do you all think about transparency of process? Should a bill come up for a vote to open debate without something concrete?

This is quite reminiscent of the "We have to pass it to know what's in it" comment Pelosi made, and seems to indicate a disregard on both sides for open and transparent legislation (imo).

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/34 ... -dont-have

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:07 am 
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Its a luxury *they* can't afford because the full text of the bill will show just how horrible their plan is.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:36 am 
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I'm fine with Senators and Representatives not personally reading the text of a bill - given that the bill itself is usually just hundreds of pages of statutory legalese and disjointed amendments - but I do think the bill needs to have been fully drafted and then effectively analyzed and summarized by the staff before anyone votes on it. I think of it like a big corporate transaction. The Board members and senior officers who make the decisions don't read the thousands and thousands of pages of contracts and diligence documents for the deal; they just get the bullet points and rely on their subordinates to flag relevant issues. It's the only way to possibly do major transactions and major legislation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:24 pm 
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Releasing a bill to the public is not a requirement - so it's a luxury.

And leadership can hold a vote whenever they want. It really comes down to the people holding their rep accountable for their vote, and that rep having the balls to say they aren't voting if they don't get enough time to review.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Calling the Senate version of the bill an Obamacare repeal is pretty much blatantly false, it's a Medicaid expansion repeal and Medicaid cut. Under the Senate bill, the Obamacare marketplaces remain, and there are very few substantive changes to them. The mandate is replaced with a six-month lockout from the marketplaces if you don't maintain continuous coverage, but that's basically it. The income-based premium subsidies remain, and they tacked on banning Planned Parenthood from the program for one year to gain political points.

The Medicaid cuts are extreme, however. The expansion is killed entirely, and then they additionally cut the pre-Obamacare Medicaid by between 25 and 33 percent. The bottom line is, if you earn income equal to 133% of the federal poverty line or more, almost nothing changes for you. If you don't earn that much, you basically don't get non-emergency healthcare anymore unless you're totally and completely disabled or if you're totally indigent AND have minor dependents. And I wouldn't count on Medicaid sticking around if you're disabled, you're the easiest target and thus will be the first thrown off via waiver when money gets tight.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:03 pm 
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Arathain Kelvar wrote:
Releasing a bill to the public is not a requirement - so it's a luxury.

And leadership can hold a vote whenever they want. It really comes down to the people holding their rep accountable for their vote, and that rep having the balls to say they aren't voting if they don't get enough time to review.


Do you think that's appropriate, however? That public release of a bill (or even having the text of a bill) is not a requirement?

Seems a bit off in even a representative democracy, to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:20 am 
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NephyrS wrote:
Arathain Kelvar wrote:
Releasing a bill to the public is not a requirement - so it's a luxury.

And leadership can hold a vote whenever they want. It really comes down to the people holding their rep accountable for their vote, and that rep having the balls to say they aren't voting if they don't get enough time to review.


Do you think that's appropriate, however? That public release of a bill (or even having the text of a bill) is not a requirement?

Seems a bit off in even a representative democracy, to me.


It pisses me off, but yeah, I guess it's appropriate. You're voting for an individual to represent your interests - you're not voting on each bill, so you don't get a say. If you don't get a say, you don't need to see it.

It takes away your opportunity to say WTF! Don't vote for that POS! But then, he should already know that since you made that clear during his election.

With today's 24/7 media coverage, I can certainly understand the motivation to not spoil the debate with misinterpretations and spin.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Burn it all to the ground, bury it and forget it and hopefully a forest or farmland will be peacefully there in a few hundred years.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:25 pm 
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Arathain Kelvar wrote:
NephyrS wrote:
Arathain Kelvar wrote:
Releasing a bill to the public is not a requirement - so it's a luxury.

And leadership can hold a vote whenever they want. It really comes down to the people holding their rep accountable for their vote, and that rep having the balls to say they aren't voting if they don't get enough time to review.


Do you think that's appropriate, however? That public release of a bill (or even having the text of a bill) is not a requirement?

Seems a bit off in even a representative democracy, to me.


It pisses me off, but yeah, I guess it's appropriate. You're voting for an individual to represent your interests - you're not voting on each bill, so you don't get a say. If you don't get a say, you don't need to see it.

It takes away your opportunity to say WTF! Don't vote for that POS! But then, he should already know that since you made that clear during his election.

With today's 24/7 media coverage, I can certainly understand the motivation to not spoil the debate with misinterpretations and spin.
How do I know if I approve of the actions of my Representatives if I don't know what they are voting on?

How can I contribute to his/her understanding of their constituents interests of I don't know what they are voting on?

This stinks of "were the government and were smarter than you. We don't want you to be confused by the facts. Just trust us!"


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:17 pm 
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Midgen wrote:
How do I know if I approve of the actions of my Representatives if I don't know what they are voting on?

How can I contribute to his/her understanding of their constituents interests of I don't know what they are voting on?

This stinks of "were the government and were smarter than you. We don't want you to be confused by the facts. Just trust us!"

Come on now... they have to pass the laws so you can see what's in them.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:25 pm 
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Screeling wrote:
Midgen wrote:
How do I know if I approve of the actions of my Representatives if I don't know what they are voting on?

How can I contribute to his/her understanding of their constituents interests of I don't know what they are voting on?

This stinks of "were the government and were smarter than you. We don't want you to be confused by the facts. Just trust us!"

Come on now... they have to pass the laws so you can see what's in them.


That's really not what she meant there. Its a terrible sound bite, taken WAY out of context. As much as I dislike Pelosi, this isn't really one of the reasons.
https://www.mediaite.com/tv/the-context ... ill-quote/

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Müs wrote:
Its a luxury *they* can't afford because the full text of the bill will show just how horrible their plan is.


Just goes to show Republicans shouldn't try to learn from Democrats.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Müs wrote:

That's really not what she meant there. Its a terrible sound bite, taken WAY out of context. As much as I dislike Pelosi, this isn't really one of the reasons.
https://www.mediaite.com/tv/the-context ... ill-quote/


Thanks, never bothered to look that up. Her conduct throughout the process was pretty bad, but I'll let the quote go.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:54 pm 
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Midgen wrote:
This stinks of "were the government and were smarter than you. We don't want you to be confused by the facts. Just trust us!"


Yes, it does. It's the entire point behind a representative democracy. The founding fathers firmly believed that they were smarter than the average colonist.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:08 pm 
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They were. And, in point of fact, most politicians are smarter than the average citizen. Bureaucrats and civil servants aren't, though, and that's where things break down.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:06 am 
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shuyung wrote:
They were. And, in point of fact, most politicians are smarter than the average citizen. Bureaucrats and civil servants aren't, though, and that's where things break down.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:24 pm 
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Müs wrote:
shuyung wrote:
They were. And, in point of fact, most politicians are smarter than the average citizen. Bureaucrats and civil servants aren't, though, and that's where things break down.

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The irony being that George Carlin was an idiot by his own definition.

In any case, we do not have an absolute democracy in this country. The Constitution specifically grants Congress the power to create its own parliamentary rules, and has no mechanism for either referendum or public debate on laws. The role of the people is simply to select who they want as members of that body.

The intelligence or lack thereof of anyone, politician, bureaucrat, average person, reporter, etc. isn't the issue. The average person is not "stupid" at all; that's a form of laziness indulged in by people who think having a viewpoint other than their own is a sign of stupidity - an issue of arrogance, not intelligence.

The issue is that there is no incentive in our system for the average person to be reasonable. There is no "Bill of Responsibilities". The average person has no incentive beyond their own intellectual integrity to avoid the common practice of adopting ill-informed, unreasonable positions on issues, then wondering why the entire Congress - including the 533 members that represent someone else - won't "do their jobs" by simply imposing that individual's preferred viewpoint. People have forgotten that Congress, as a whole, doesn't have a job to do; each individual member of Congress has a job to represent their district or State, according to the platform they ran on, and that no matter how much of a dick you think Senator Schmukatli from <a_state_I_don't_live_in> sucks, his job isn't to represent your state, it's to represent his.

George Carlin is intellectual trash. Funny or not, the problem was and is that people think he represents actual insight. Unfortunately, Carlin elevating himself and his audience ("see? I'm not one of the stupid people! I recognize how stupid they are and make fun of them, and since you appreciate my work, you must be a smart person too!") above the "average stupid person" is neither insightful, nor accurate. Carlin is appealing to the audience's vanity, not making a profound observation.

By definition, average people are not stupid. They're average. There is no abstract definition of "intelligent" humans ought to live up to. Furthermore, if an average person were stupid, that would mean even highly intelligent people were only mediocre and the entire concept would be an oxymoron. Snarking off that "well yeah humans are dumb, look at all the stupid stuff we do" is nothing more than intellectual laziness; throwing the label "stupid" at surface impressions of decisions we don't like and telling oneself one is not among the stupid by dismissing complexities and subtleties and details as "bullshit".

If you disagree heartily with a particular part of the political spectrum, dismissing them as idiots is the last thing you should do. Underestimating one's opponent is hardly a wise decision.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:28 pm 
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Arathain Kelvar wrote:
Midgen wrote:
This stinks of "were the government and were smarter than you. We don't want you to be confused by the facts. Just trust us!"


Yes, it does. It's the entire point behind a representative democracy. The founding fathers firmly believed that they were smarter than the average colonist.


Not necessarily smarter, per se, but certainly better informed. That was certainly true in a day when communication and information was at such a premium; wealth and status meant access to information that the average person simply didn't have.

Today, uninformed people still readily exist, but not because the information isn't available, and not necessarily because they are stupid. People either choose to be uninformed, or they have never developed the skills to take data and turn it into information and then into knowledge. Being informed is work. In fact, we would be better off if we recognized that we expect our politicians to be informed on so many subjects that it is unreasonable to expect they will succeed at all of them.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:57 pm 
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Diamondeye wrote:
In fact, we would be better off if we recognized that we expect our politicians to be informed on so many subjects that it is unreasonable to expect they will succeed at all of them.


But... its kinda their job? This, to me, is like saying "Well, I can't expect the guy making the burgers to know how to assemble *all* of the burgers. That's unreasonable."

If you're going to vote for/against something, I'd expect you to have at least a passing familiarity with the subject. And not think, for example, that Guam would fall into the ocean if the US base wasn't there. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:27 am 
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Müs wrote:
But... its kinda their job? This, to me, is like saying "Well, I can't expect the guy making the burgers to know how to assemble *all* of the burgers. That's unreasonable."


No, it's really nothing like that at all, and simply saying "it's their job" is irrelevant. The degree to which it's reasonably possible to accomplish a task is unrelated to whether someone has been assigned that task. It's the "job" of drug companies to invent cures; that doesn't mean it's reasonably possible for them to make a cheap, side-effect-free, universal cancer cure.

Second, making hamburgers is an uncomplicated task that has a discernible process. The comparison is wildly inappropriate on that basis alone, but to take it further, burgers are all assembled the same way. Political issues are not necessarily the same, and they are interconnected with other political issues in ways burgers are not. It is much more like going to an engineer at General electric who works on jet engines, and then complaining he's not intimately versed in the details of their newest light bulb production, and then saying "but it's his job!" Politicians speclalize like everyone else. Congress has committees and subcommittees for precisely that reason - so that every Congressman doesn't have to be fully informed on every issue, an impossible task. Did you perhaps take a moment to think about that before saying "it's their job!"?

I really shouldn't need to explain this to you, but I know why I do - you, like tens of millions of other citizens of America and other democratic countries, like being able to Monday Morning Quarterback. You don't want to face the reality that you, like most people, have a lot of unrealistic expectations. This is not a partisan problem; it exists in every portion of the political spectrum. Practically everyone has at least a few unreasonable political expectations - and often we don't even know, or don't know why, they are unreasonable, and we shield ourselves from that knowledge by simply dismissing any complexities that arrive as bullshit. We like the visceral clarity of black-and-white issues.

It is also the "job" of reporters to understand myriad issues they have little or no training in, an dhtey regularly - as in, on a daily basis - utterly fail at that. Regularly, much more than politicians. Yet we don't hold them to that standard even though "it's their job!" It is just as impossible for them as politicians, and they specialize for the same reason. Yet when they demonstrate complete ignorance with a straight face, we tune right back in the next night. These people regularly assert themselves to be "guardians of democracy", an unelected, corporate 4th arm of government passing approval and disapproval of what stories are worthy of attention, and what kind of attention, yet we fail to hold them to the standards we expect of politicians who we can vote out of office. Even criminal behavior is met with a wall of "1st Amendment!" as if being a professional reporter excused any and every sort of misconduct - certainly not behavior acceptable from people asserting their status as a de facto arm of government.

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If you're going to vote for/against something, I'd expect you to have at least a passing familiarity with the subject. And not think, for example, that Guam would fall into the ocean if the US base wasn't there. ;)


I don't know what you're referring to with Guam, but it's economy would certainly be in pretty bad shape. Guam is US territory; we do not "have a US base there", we just "Have a base there", it is no more controversial than having one in Texas.

Second, a "passing familiarity" is not what I'm talking about. Being "informed" on a subject is not the same as having a "passing familiarity". Yes, Congressmen should have a "passing familiarity" before voting - that is why they have committees to report on things, an present (at least) a passing familiarity to everyone else.

In fact, in most cases, most Congressmen have more than that, get more than that from the committee, and are much more familiar with the issue than the average citizen ***** about how "stupid" they are, while knowing essentially nothing about the issue at hand and loudly insisting that any citizen with a different bad opinion and similar lack of interest in learning anything is also an idiot for daring to have a different flavor of ignorance, on that issue. Our two ignorant citizens may, on another issue, be well-informed indeed, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that we, as citizens, regardless of political bent, have a responsibility to have expectations of government that are reasonable and based in the reality.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:27 pm 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesSRfXqS1Q On Guam. For reference.

I get what you're saying, I do. But many of these congresscritters on both sides really don't seem to have a grasp on even the basics. Even basic science and stuff learned in grade school.

I don't think its an unrealistic expectation to have that people representing us have some sort of basic knowledge base.

And yes, it is unreasonable to expect the dude working on Jet Engines to explain how the new CFL works. But it is reasonable to expect the dude working on jet engines to be able to explain how the jet engine works. As it should be equally reasonable to expect someone crafting/voting on legislation on healthcare to actually read the goddamn thing before rubber stamping it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:58 pm 
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Müs wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesSRfXqS1Q On Guam. For reference.

I get what you're saying, I do. But many of these congresscritters on both sides really don't seem to have a grasp on even the basics. Even basic science and stuff learned in grade school.

I don't think its an unrealistic expectation to have that people representing us have some sort of basic knowledge base.


I've seen "basic <science, English, math, other subjects>" thrown in front of a lot of things that aren't, in fact, basic, or learned in grade school, and often are really things people think they learned in school, but are really opinions they formed in their school years and they don't even realize are opinions. I don't put much stock in the idea that successful people don't know "basic" anything, especially when the "basic" in question is neither basic nor factua

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And yes, it is unreasonable to expect the dude working on Jet Engines to explain how the new CFL works. But it is reasonable to expect the dude working on jet engines to be able to explain how the jet engine works. As it should be equally reasonable to expect someone crafting/voting on legislation on healthcare to actually read the goddamn thing before rubber stamping it.


Except that the entire point is that the Congressman works on a lot more than just health care legislation. They, like the CEO, need to know about every issue. The CEO should know about the jet engines his company makes. He should also know about the light bulbs. It is unreasonable to expect him to, and it is not his job to, be intimately familiar with the technical details of all of them. A Congressman might be voting on health care one day, and North Korea sanctions the next; he's not necessarily going to be intimately familiar with both, and if he is there's likely to be something else that he isn't.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Diamondeye wrote:
Except that the entire point is that the Congressman works on a lot more than just health care legislation. They, like the CEO, need to know about every issue. The CEO should know about the jet engines his company makes. He should also know about the light bulbs. It is unreasonable to expect him to, and it is not his job to, be intimately familiar with the technical details of all of them. A Congressman might be voting on health care one day, and North Korea sanctions the next; he's not necessarily going to be intimately familiar with both, and if he is there's likely to be something else that he isn't.


Much like a CEO... Congresscritters should know exactly which resource to tap to get information from his support staff.

My CEO knows who to go to if he wants reliable accounting information, who to go to in order to get reliable Marketing Data, etc. If a Congresscritter cannot be bothered to make sure he has the appropriate resources at his disposal... should he/she/it be representing us?

ie- Bob you read this healthcare bill with your staff. I want a 2 page summary with the pros and cons of this bill. Jim you and your team are on the Employment bill. Joe- Debt Relief Bill.

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