Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Wolf PAC is worse than useless

I watch The Young Turks since it's a reasonably entertaining way to stay informed about not-very-important-to-me topics so that I have things to smalltalk or argue about with the Commoners. Sure they're biased, but they're biased in only a slightly more way than we all are. They're nowhere near the Fox News style of conscious bias and conscious we-must-say-this-or-else style. They reflect the cultural bias of American upper-middle class society. I also get to select what I want to watch out of the subscription box based on title instead of hoping the next segment is decent, but I digress to a general statement that à la carte entertainment will always beat pre-programmed entertainment in a fair fight. (And even in an unfair fight Netflix is still kicking ass.)

So anyway, TYT sometimes pushes this group they created called Wolf PAC. Please go look at their home page so you get the full context, because I'm going to demolish it in pieces. It's cute, but also harmful. That's what it means to be worse than useless. It's harmful because it's going to fail miserably, destroy wealth (albeit a minimal amount), and crush the hopes and dreams of any supporters it gathers. It also would in all probability be harmful if it actually succeeded.

Our politicians are bought. Everyone knows it. Conservatives know it. Liberals know it. The Democrats are bought. The Republicans are bought. They don’t represent us. They represent their corporate donors who fund their campaigns and promise them well paying jobs after they leave office. We have taxation without representation. Our democracy is in serious trouble.

If everyone knows it, why isn't there more of an outcry if people are against it? While it's true they don't solely represent the Commoner, it's hard to say they solely represent Wall Street. (Which is what you're implicitly saying, because it's not like Microsoft is offering them well-paying programming jobs after they leave office to get them off their back in bundling IE with Windows.) But hey, they're not supposed to represent solely the Commoner. We don't have a democracy, thank fate. So something we don't even have can't be said to be in trouble. Also, there are three million full and part time Federal employees (not including contractors), all of whom are essentially incapable of being fired after three years, and all of whom contributed in some form and extent to what we call "Federal government activity." Are all these people bought too, considering they hold much more power than the actual elected officials who mostly just sign stuff (if they're involved at all) that comes from lower down?

What happened? CLICK HERE to find out.

Ah, maybe you'll explain. Let's CLICK and find out. On the page they say:

Starting in 1978, the Supreme Court began to allow corporate money to influence politics. Since then, average Americans have seen their wages stagnate and their share of taxes rise significantly, while corporations have seen their tax burden shrink and the top 1% have literally tripled their income. There has been a massive redistribution of wealth in this country. And it’s going straight to the top. Yet corporate wealth and corporate power continues to grow unabated as the Supreme Court ruled last year in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations can now spend unlimited money in politics.

I'm pretty sure corporate money influenced politics well before '78. But let's say the Supreme Court legitimized it (not that they have any enforcement power). What was the court case? You didn't say...

Are you saying that because corporations bribed politicians, the wages of Americans stagnated and their taxes increased, and this would not have happened otherwise? Can you even come up with an alternative hypothesis even if you think it's less plausible than the current one? How about for this so called "redistribution", as if money is literally being taken from people who have none and somehow, despite being a trifling sum (if they really have little money), managing to triple the incomes of the top 1%?

There's nothing wrong with income inequality, what's wrong is people living below the absolute poverty line. Technological growth implies income inequality, thus the absence of inequality implies the absence of technological growth. You wouldn't want America to become a third-world country would you?

Citizen's United is troubling. Fortunately our Savior Obama doesn't actually have to enforce anything the Supreme Court says. As was once said, "Justice Marshall has made his decision - now let him enforce it." Do you think if the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, things would be any different? Well, that quoted section is all you had to say about "what happened", so you can't answer me any more here. Let's go back to the home page, and continue.

So what can we do to regain our ability to make our votes count and take back our democracy? We have to concentrate all of our resources into one single attack – making sure we take corporate money out of politics. The only way to do that is to bypass the corporate owned Congress and the Supreme Court – and pass a Constitutional amendment. We must pass an amendment saying that corporations are not people and they do not have the right to spend money to buy our politicians.

Ah, so two out of the three branches of Federal Government are compromised. Why isn't the Executive branch, who holds all the power of enforcement, also compromised? Suppose you actually got this amendment passed--so what? Who's going to enforce it? Are the States going to de-fang the Federal Government? Not a bad idea. But that's not what's being proposed.

If our votes don't matter, which they don't (especially if you live in a colored state and like the opposite color), then what remains to control the government from acting on its own accord? The publicly traded corporations and individual billionaires! You see, they're the People's last hope of influencing government from the outside! Because we all know how a government behaves when a government is let loose to do as it pleases, that's why our Constitution sought to chain the government. The problem, of course, is that the chains were made of paper and the government holds both ends.

I'll let the tactically unsound "concentrate all our resources into one single attack" plan speak for itself. Perhaps you're confusing it with Blitzkrieg? That tactic is quite different.

The objective of Wolf PAC will be to raise money and raise an army for the sole purpose of passing this amendment. We need a Constitutional revolution to get unlimited corporate money out of politics. Please join us and help retake our democracy.

Yeah, you're definitely not following any form of Blitzkrieg though I'm concerned you think you are. What you're doing is begging for money to burn. Now I know you're using "raise an army" figuratively (right?), but isn't that quite violent rhetoric one would only expect from Republicans?

Amendments don't cost money. If only I could buy a set of rights from the government and create a KickStarter page to pay for new ones! I don't really need the right to arms, since I'm peaceful by nature and I haven't hunted for years, if I could put some money in my pocket (even a tax credit would be nice) by rejecting access to that right that'd be fine by me. There are some other rights I don't really care about either--for instance, while I enjoy the right of free speech, I don't have much use for the right of religion, being an atheist. I also haven't really needed to use the third amendment either, and really it's a worse deal for the soldier who in out-of-wartime (since you're not protected if we're at war) decides to sleep in my house and listen to me (as is my right under free speech) tell him how morally bankrupt he is the entire time.

CLICK HERE to read our proposed amendment.

You fooled me once with your vacant "CLICK HERE", you shan't...okay fine. What is the text of your amendment?

Corporations are not people. They have none of the Constitutional rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.

Holy crap my head almost exploded from this garbage. Let's combine the first two sentences into something more intelligible without sacrificing intent: "Congress shall make no law granting any type of Corporation rights, protections, or otherwise, nor shall this Constitution imply any; all corporations of any type shall have only the rights granted to them by their State of incorporation." While not legally solid, since I'm not a lawyer (did they have a lawyer look over this?), I think it is a lot more precise and also codifies the fact that a corporation is a legal entity.

Now let's get to the next sentence, "Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly." Are you sure you want to have this? You do know that politicians are paid by tax-payer money, right? This is implying that corporations should not pay taxes. While that would be wonderful, I don't think you want this. Toss it out. Also you really need to define "giving money indirectly" if you want to save even a modified form of this--does giving physical goods count? Does reducing the standard price of something count?

Now the last bit... "No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed." So... um... what's the limit of public finances? Or are we saying that all politicians are granted $100 by the federal government, since it's a single entity? If there's no limit from the "publicly financed" source, and you enforce this silly $100 limit for people and companies, what's to stop television networks, Kinkos, and other medias involved in the creation of campaign advertising from skyrocketing their prices come election time such that the tax payer is forced to give them money just so the voter is informed about who is even running? Also, what about money from the politician themselves? Can they personally finance to any limit? Or are they included with the $100/entity rule like everything else? What if they worked at a corporation for 10 years and saved up a few million dollars, then became a politician and outclassed everyone else with their pitiful $100/person? What if they invested in Facebook and now have a billion dollars they want to enter the political game with? What if they once were a politician, go to work for a corporation, then become a politician again after that? How would this stop corporations from offering (since they're not giving) a sweet job after the politician retires? Or is a politician "tainted" after they quit for life? How will they earn a living if they quit early (or, you know, are unelected) when they're not allowed to be paid by a corporation?

Join the Fight

No thanks. I don't fight with losers incapable of the most basic analysis.

The objective of Wolf PAC is not theory, it is results. We will pass the amendment and we will regain our democracy. Here is how we're going to do it.

Hahaha... Sorry, I can only laugh at you now.

We must gather up a fighting force. We need programmers and organizers and lawyers and leaders. We need this movement to be in all 50 states. So, first we are doing a call for generals in this army. Please write into us and tell us what your expertise is and how you can help.

Again the violent rhetoric. I wouldn't trust any programmer you get to be competent enough at programming if they're so incompetent at analysis as you are. What do you want them to program, anyway? Websites? Robots? Big Data systems? What? You definitely need organizers and lawyers. If Cenk isn't going to be your leader, you need leaders too. (But you should have a Supreme Leader--corporations have managers and a board of directors after all but they also have a CEO.) Why does it need to be in all 50 states? You only need 38.

Oh, you want me to tell you how I can help. Because clearly, you have no idea what you're doing or what help you actually need. You're pathetic.

Our Congress is completely infected with the virus. So proposing an amendment through Congress seems hopeless. But luckily there is another way. We can do this purely at the state level. The states can call for a constitutional convention and they can ratify an amendment that comes out of one. And there is nothing our corrupt federal government can do about it.

Well, except, you know, not enforce the amendment. The military is controlled at the federal level, and soldiers are trained to follow orders. If Lincoln was able to convince the Union soldiers that the succeeding states were rebels that needed to be brought back in line, I'm sure Obama or whatever President we get next can convince our current soldiers to once again fight for Liberty and Justice and Freedom and Democracy and all these other warm-fuzzy words they grew up with to fight the rebel states. Of course some would desert, I doubt it would be the majority.

Of course, if you really had everyone but the 3 million federal employees on your side, you're right, there's nothing the Feds could do because they'd be outnumbered and any military support they had would be gone. But this is a two-fold problem. On one hand, you're facing the same problem any Utopian vision faces of requiring near 100% agreement on several issues of several dimensions. On the other, you're calling for an overthrow of the reigning government. Treason is a high-crime, are you ready to face the costs Good Citizen?

We are hoping that the first wave of volunteers help us organize at the state level. Let's go occupy the states!

So what exactly did the Occupy movements accomplish? Sure, they got people talking about the issues, sort of. But this is like Breast Cancer Awareness. It's also like the KONY ad campaign. Once everyone is aware, then what?

Also, now you mention you're looking for volunteers. So let me get this straight: you want me to take time out of my day and money out of my pocket to support your cause in various ways that you don't even know (you want me to tell you) that's first of all incredibly unlikely to succeed, and even if it did succeed as currently envisioned would be incredibly damaging to this country? Are all of you involved with Wolf PAC insane?

I don't consider myself a cynic, but even the most novice of cynics ought to be able to see right through this. I want to say anyone with above average intelligence should see through this but I'm sometimes surprised at the stupidity of people smarter than me, so I won't go that far. I wrote most of this post before they had their first failure in California on the first step of their plan, and it was delicious on many levels. I look forward to watching more failures of this group, because since then I've thought: "Perhaps they're not worse than useless, perhaps they'll provide me and other people capable of seeing through them with some great amusement as they burn their cash and destroy the hopes of any clueless followers they attract." Taking delight at the misfortunes of others is a common human trait, perhaps even a universal. With that in mind, the net utility might be in their favor to keep going and keep failing. To be sure, there are plenty of laughs still to come.

Posted on 2012-05-22 by Jach

Tags: government, rant, stupidity


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