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user-inactivated  ·  803 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Barack Obama's $400,000 speaking fees reveal what few want to admit

    Who else do you want to do the job?

People who are qualified, properly vetted, and don't have prior, current, or potential future conflicts of interest.

    Because what IS cronyism?

You and I both know what cronyism is. Do not patronize me.

    "Cronyism" is an easy epithet thrown from people who are not in the room.

Or it's actual concerns voiced by people who are actually paying attention who see potential issues with what's going on.

    No Wall Street banker is going to invite a megaphone-wielding, hoodie-wearing #Occupy protester to to the table to join in the discussion because they are not equipped to handle the conversation at that level. So the protester cries "Cronyism!" and goes out and gets another facial piercing.

But they'll totally invite a guy with a background in political science who just so happened to bail out their banks during a debt crisis that was totally their fault. So, I mean, you're right. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Huh?

    And ya know what? Bribes work when the system doesn't.

    Here in the US your permit gets denied for some esoteric detail. The mysterious machinations of the people behind the doors do their voodoo, and you are denied. (Just ask KB.)

    In Eastern Europe you just pay the guy another $50, and it is taken care of right there. No questions asked. Quick and easy. And ya know what? Nobody cares, because they know the system is fucked and overly complex and stupid.

This is not a serious argument. Bribes are a band-aid. A crutch. People need to stop and ask, why are the bribes happening, and what can be done to fix it? Is it because people in official positions aren't being paid enough? Address that. Is it because the system takes too long and is too complex? Address that. Is it because there is very little oversight and people think they can get away with things? Address that. Bribes are a short term fix for a more serious problem, and once again, people shrugging their shoulders and saying "that's normal" isn't gonna fix jack shit.

    I understand you don't want it to be this way. I get that. I really do. But think about it practically... what other possible outcome is there? Politicians get their information from the sources that are available to them, and those sources are largely their "cronies", who, in any other context, would be called their "circle of friends."

    Should those circles expand? Absolutely. Should they include scientists and academics? Absolutely. But who is paying the scientist or academic to sit outside the Senator's office and meet with them? Imagine if a scientist applied for funding for their project, and the second largest line item on the Projected Expenses page was "Lobbying". What's the first line that gets cut, when the budget isn't approved? Double-blind testing? Researcher salaries? Lab equipment? Heh. Right.

Serious question. Serious, honest, one hundred percent straightforward question. Why do you keep using this hand waving argument with me like it's the only way things happen. Cronyism, nepotism, kickbacks, and all sorts of shady shit are real. It happens, we see it, people are currently concerned about it with Trump. People were concerned about it with Hillary when she was running for President. People were concerned with Obama and Bush and Clinton. It's a sliding scale, it's murky as shit, and all I keep on doing is pondering "Hmm, I wonder where a good place to start drawing lines are" and all I keep on hearing from you is "Silly little redneck, there's no lines to draw because the issue is all in your head."

I am trying my best to keep calm about all of this, but I honestly feel like you're being unfairly dismissive for some reason I don't know why. I mean, I'm not saying you're attacking me or anything, but I am saying this conversation keeps on getting pulled in a direction I don't want to go in because it's not what I want to talk about. All I see is some murky fucking pool going on and all I want is someone to throw some fucking flares into it or something so I can get some better understanding of shit. Seriously. Fuck.

    I'm not denying your base position that this is not an ideal way to run our system. But it is the reality of it, and railing against that is pointless. This is a system that can only be changed from the inside, over extraordinarily long time-scales.

The system can be changed from the inside, from the outside, in small growths, in large bursts, by so many mechanisms. Public perception of the issue and the conversations that arise from them, is part of that outside pressure. Saying "shit's normal, nothing to see here," is counter productive. The Model T was normal as balls on an ox back in the day. People demanding and expecting more is how we've gotten the Ford Fusion today.