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Round 1. Illusionsaregrander v Poet1b: Partisan Conspiracy

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posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 01:51 AM
The topic for this debate is "The dominant political parties in America are part of a conspiracy to limit truly democratic government".

Illusionsaregrander will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Poet1b will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

There are no limits on the length of posts, but you may only use 1 post per turn.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. A debate moderator must be contacted to request any necessary edits. Check your spelling and use the preview post function- editing will be minimal.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post. No post shall contain more than 10 sentences quoted from a reference. Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference. There is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.
When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceeded by a direct answer.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate. Limited grace periods may be allowed if I am notified in advance.

Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.

posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 11:27 AM
First, I would like to thank both my opponent, Poet1b, and the moderator, The Vagabond for the opportunity to debate this issue.

The topic is, "Are the dominant political parties in America part of a partisan conspiracy to limit truly democratic government?" I am arguing that they are indeed part of a conspiracy to limit truly democratic government. Since there is constant open and televised battling between the parties, this position at first may not be the obvious one. Conspiracy implies a group of people huddled together actively working with one another to set an agenda, consciously, deliberately, and methodically. Although in some cases this may in fact be the case, I personally do not believe that in a dank and dusty back room somewhere lit only with a naked bulb, George W. and Barack Obama are smoking cigars and drinking whiskey while plotting to take away the rights of the American people. I offer instead this legal definition of conspiracy by the American Defense League.

In this legal definition, the conspirators must be in agreement about the end, in this case the limiting of democracy for the American people, but they need not know all the details of the conspiracy or be associated personally with all the players.

from the American Defense League definition found at the link provided above;

A conspiracy may be a continuing one; actors may drop out, and others drop in; the details of operation may change from time to time; the members need not know each other or the part played by others; a member need not know all the details of the plan or the operations; he must, however, know the purpose of the conspiracy and agree to become a party to a plan to effectuate that purpose. Craig v. U. S., C.C.A.Cal., 81 F.2d 816, 822.

Although the actors in the game may change, and they may not personally associate, I intend to show a clear pattern of behaviour that shows a single purpose. This purpose being to limit a true democracy in which the American government acts in the interests and according to the wishes of, the American people as a majority. Though the game plays out like a "good cop, bad cop" strategy, with the Republicans being more openly adverse to the best interests of the American people at large and the Democrats being a "kinder, gentler" master, I believe it is demonstrable that both parties intend to undermine democracy itself, and are using a single means by which to do so, and for a single, though multifaceted, beneficiary.

I intend to argue that Corporations are this beneficiary, and the wealthy minority that control them, and I intend to show that a systematic refusal to enact effective means of removing corporate money from the financing of campaigns is evidence of willing and knowing collusion of both parties against the best interests of the American people at large and democracy in America itself.

I believe it can be shown that;

1) Corporate funding is the force that determines the candidates that are allowed to have air time. In a country as large as our, access to the media is crucial in developing name recognition. By "locking out" candidates who have an agenda that does not suit corporate interests, a "false choice" is then provided to the voting public. We are led to believe that we have to choose between the lesser of two evils, rather than something that might actually be to our benefit. In true democracy this would not be the case. I am confident that the trail of evidence for a conscious refusal to remove corporate funding from campaign finance leads to both "doors." Democratic and Republican.

2) The American military, and the taxpayers dollars consequently, are increasingly being used by corporations to further their own interests, even when these interests and expenditures run counter to the "greater good" of the American citizen. I can show that while opportunities may or may not have been present to implement policies during certain terms in office, a consistent agenda has existed in both parties.

3) Corporate rights are being increased, and expanded, at the expense of the rights of the American worker and consumer, in a bi-partisan campaign where methodology and packaging may differ between the parties, but the end result is the same. A net loss to the American public, and to Democracy itself.

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 11:32 AM
Poet1b is late and forfeits his first post. Illusionsaregrander may continue his argument.

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 10:08 PM
In order to show that the dominant political parties in America are part of a partisan conspiracy to limit truly democratic government, I feel it would be useful to define democracy, and in so doing, democratic government. There is not one "true" form of democracy that everyone agrees upon. Wikipedia offers a very good overview on the various manifestations of democracy here;

Since the topic is defined by the question, "Are the dominant political parties in America part of a partisan conspiracy to limit truly democratic government?" I am going to select the definition of democracy that best reflects that intended by the founders of this country, with some small modification. The founding fathers did not intend initially to extend democracy to all inhabitants of the United States, however they did provide means by which the Constitution could be amended, and it has been, and so the definition of democracy that I will use as "true democracy" will be that democracy intended by the original framers, modified to include all legal US above the age of 18 as eligible voters.

This form of democracy intended by the founders of this nation is defined in the Wikipedia article as a Liberal Democracy. Where some forms of democracy are pure rule of the majority, liberal democracy is not, the will of the majority is constrained by a governing "rule of law" or Constitution. This was an intentional safeguard built into the US democracy to ensure that certain rights of the minority could not be overwhelmed by the majority. In pointing this out I wish to make it clear that these individual rights were considered so important to the foundation of our country, and democracy itself, that they were protected from the whim of the majority voters by the Constitution. And so I will then state that our Constitutional rights and individual freedoms are an essential component of an American "true democracy," including those rights and freedoms granted by Amendment to the Constitution, where these amendments are achieved by legitimate means.

One of the requirements for an American democracy, therefore, is a "free press." The why that this is so, may not be obvious to everyone, and so I will briefly examine the reason this may be so. In order for the American people to express their will, and to vote accordingly and elect representatives who will act in good faith on their behalf, it is important for the electorate to have access to accurate information regarding issues that affect them and their country. Without freedom of the press, or in a situation where the press is limited by some power, the information that reaches the people may be skewed in such a way that the electorate cannot effectively know where their interests lie. Assuring a free press was intended to allow the public access to the information needed to make decisions about what was and was not in their best interests and vote accordingly.

Thomas Jefferson was a particularly vocal and adamant supporter of freedom of both the press and speech. Wikipedia- "Freedom of the Press" found here,

summerizes his position on freedom of the press thusly;

"Thomas Jefferson wanted to unite the two streams of liberalism, the English and the French schools of thought. His goal was to create a government that would provide both security and opportunity for the individual. An active press was essential as a way of educating the population. In order to be able to work freely, the press must be free from control by the state. Jefferson was a person who himself suffered great calumnies of the press. Despite this, in his second inaugural address, he proclaimed that a government that could not stand up under criticism deserved to fall.

Jefferson said: "No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all avenues of the truth"."

Jefferson and the other framers of the Constitution could not have predicted the way technology would change our lives. They could not have foreseen the consolidation of information into the hands of so few that has occurred in the years since the introduction of television. In their day, "the press" was a simple thing, and anyone with a small amount of money could write, and print, and distribute information and opinions. In our day, a 30 second ad on television can cost enormous sums of money and even if someone came up with that sum, there is no way to "force" the television networks to air it.

MoveOn, a political group, sought to purchase airtime during the Superbowl in which to run an ad critical of George W. Bush's fiscal policies. CBS declined to run the ad, at any cost. Another thing that did not air on network television, at least not while I was watching on the edge of my seat in disbelief during the 2000 election scandal was footage of the protests of George W's inauguration. I didnt see this type of footage until years later, in a DVD documentary. Although this clip is much shorter and less comprehensive than the footage on the documentary I watched, it gives the flavor of what we were kept from seeing on the nightly news.

But we do have a free press in the US dont we? Certainly we do not have any laws directly limiting what is and is not shown on the networks. The word of the Constitutional law has been followed, but the spirit of allowing the free flow of information to the American people has not. Noam Chomsky points out that were the government to attempt to impose direct limits on the press, it would likely fail miserably. Instead, by allowing media to become consolidated in the hands of a few large corporations, control of the media is achieved indirectly. The media chooses not to report things that will affect its parent company's interests. Corporate interests. Since corporate interests have become, in effect, the government's interests, the media has become in a sideways fashion a propaganda machine for corporations and the government that serves them, and not us. Violating the intent of the amendment guaranteeing a free press, but not the letter of Constitutional law.

A nice article outlining this process is provided by FreePress. Be certain to follow the links to each page to get the full tour of the way corporate interests have hijacked the media in the US.

Once the relationship between the media and corporate control becomes apparent, it is easier to see the mechanism by which our democracy is being undermined with the aid of our political leaders in both parties. A feedback loop is revealed by which;

1) Corporate dollars supply vast sums of money to provide advertising of candidates to the American people.

2) Corporate media also limits the ability of non-corporate approved candidates to air their messages, not by governmental force, but simply because as corporations themselves they share the many of the same interests that other corporations do.

3) The American public, deprived of a clear picture of what is going on in the government and the world at large, are given the impression that they only have the choices presented to them by the "free press." The voting public never gains an understanding that the press is NOT "free" but rather is self limiting, because they have the belief that the Constitution is sufficient assurance that the press will be free. So they elect one of two candidates that corporate interests deem "safe" enough in terms of protecting their interests to fund.

4) These political leaders then act in the interests of the corporations that fund them, refusing to enact limits that would prevent the hijacking of the American democracy by corporations via lobbying and other influxes of corporate monies. They also continue to license the public airwaves to corporations, and allow the deregulation of media. This allows the "swallowing up" of smaller dissenting voices and consolidates the message heard by the American people.

5) In return for these favors, corporations pump more money into campaign funds to ensure that politicians who are likely to do them favors are the ones who will build name recognition.

And the loop begins again. Although the players may not all be aware who the other players are, they are aware that their actions are in effect limiting democracy. They are aware of what side their bread is buttered on, and they understand that media access is imperative to winning an election in America today. Election 2008 spending on television advertising alone is expected to top $3 billion dollars. To win a $400,000 dollar a year job. (not including expense accounts of course)

posted on Feb, 20 2008 @ 03:34 PM
First, I have to apologize for my late response. Presidents day weekend has been an annual event for my friends and family for over a decade now, and the snow was great in Tahoe. I arrived late Monday, and did not have the time to answer Tuesday due to other obligations.

Excellent topic, I would like to thank the moderator for choosing such a relevant topic for this period in history.

Illusionsaregrander has made some great points. I wish I had initiated my participation much sooner.

To address the topic, "The dominant political parties in America are part of a conspiracy to limit truly democratic government", in order to believe this statement to be true, I think that you would have to believe that their is no real difference in political ideology between the two parties, and that this conspiracy has taken control of both parties, and continues to maintain control in order to achieve their objections.

History has well recorded the rift between the two ideologies, liberalism verse conservatism, which created our two party system, which can easily be traced to the very beginning of the U.S. government. Shortly after the ratification of the constitution, during Washington's presidency, the two political party system was first formed. The conservative philosophy was represented by Adams, Hamilton, and Burr, while the liberal philosophy was represented by Jefferson and Madison. I find it hard to believe that anyone would believe that Adam's and Jefferson's ideological differences on the role of business leaders in controlling the government verses the rights of the individual and the common man in being able to exert their control over government were anything but legitimate differences of opinion. While the original premises of this debate have shifted over the two centuries since our nations inception, they still fall loosely between these ideals, these days being championed for the main part between Clinton and Reagan, and the debate rages on throughout the internet. This leads me to my first question.

QUESTION 1 - Do you recognize a true ideological difference between liberalism and conservatism or do you think this ideological divide is an illusion of some sort, or maybe just a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding advanced by such conspirators as is proposed, or something else?

It is my belief that the two party system originally developed along the concepts of liberalism and conservatism because of a true ideological difference of opinion between the great thinkers of the time, and that certainly Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison, were not engaged in a conspiracy to limit democratic government when they developed the two party system, nor were they the minions of others who might have engaged in such conspiracy in creating the two party system.

I suspect we will both agree on this, and then the question becomes, at this point in time, have the two parties been taken over by conspirators to limit democracy. Certainly there are those individuals and organizations out there that would like to limit true democratic government, and that these individuals and organizations often join together to achieve their mutual goals. Even further, there are times when they do in fact succeed in limiting true democracy.

Currently giant corporations do exert tremendous control over our government, not only at the federal level, but the state and local levels as well. It has been well demonstrated that modern media, such as television, radio, print media, and more and more the internet, has vast influence over people in the forming of public opinion, and that these media outlets for the most part are controlled by a relatively small group of individuals. In addition, the cost of financing a major political campaign has become astronomical, once again, giving great influences to those with large sums of money who desire to control the outcomes. I can not deny the massive influence that the wealth of individuals and giant corporations have in controlling the outcomes of our election processes.

In addition, there are different well know groups to which all, or most of our presidents, and many other high ranking individuals in our government, belong, like the Council on Foreign Relations, The Tri-Lateral Commission, The Bilderberg Society, and don't forget the Bohemian Grove. This leads to my second question.

Question 2 - Does membership in certain societies automatically include one in a conspiracy to undermine democracy?

I would argue that it does not. It makes sense that a young person with political ambitions would join any and all influential societies that they would consider to be helpful in advancing their careers, but that does not mean that they necessarily agree with the philosophies of those societies, nor that they intend on advancing the political agendas of those societies. I think many of us are fans of the famous quote from "The Godfather" movies, "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer". It also makes sense for those who disagree with the ambitions of certain groups to join those groups in order to keep track of their activities.

The greatest problem in succeeding at conspiracy is keeping the plans of the conspirators secret. I tried to find a quote from Heinlein's book, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" about how to succeed in a conspiracy that has always stuck with me, but could not locate the reference I was looking for. Essentially, the premise is that the more people involved in a conspiracy, the chances of success decrease exponentially. The success of conspiracies is very dependent on maintaining secrecy. While these societies exist, they certainly can not include all members in any or all conspiracies that may exists, simply because the more people who are brought into the conspiracy, the more likely the conspiracy and the core conspirators will be revealed, and thus foiled.

What makes it even more unlikely that any conspiracy could succeed in controlling either major political party is that both parties are themselves very fractured in ideology, control of such political parties tends to be minimal and temporary at best, and control of either party tends to fit well into the very popular modern express "like herding cats". While there most likely are fragmentary groups within both political parties who are working to undermine democracy, because of the very loose nature of the organization of political parties, no group small enough to succeed in a conspiracy is able to take control of either party in order to succeed in making either party part of a conspiracy to undermine democracy. The core of each parties existence is based on the ideology on which the parties were founded. When either party veers too far away from its ideological core, it loose influence over its membership and declines in power.

The best chance any conspiracy would have in undermining true democracy in the U.S. would not be to attempt to control the political parties, which would be an almost impossible task, or make the political parties a part of the conspiracy, which would greatly undermine the conspiracy by greatly increasing its exposure, but to undermine the influence of the major parties. The political parties which have existed since our nation was founded succeed in bringing together people of like minded political philosophies. These political parties allow the voices of many to become one, giving vast diverse groups political power in the U.S., in spite of the attempts of the rich and powerful to drown out the voices of individuals, and therefore, because of their loose nature our political parties repeatedly succeed in advancing true democracy. The political parties are not a part of any conspiracy, they are in reality the greatest obstacle to the success of any conspiracy that might seek to undermine democracy in the U.S..

posted on Feb, 21 2008 @ 04:03 PM
I would first like to say I am very glad my opponent has been able to join the debate. He brings to the table important issues, and in a very well reasoned way. I appreciate the opportunity to address these issues, as I feel it will strengthen the overall argument.

To begin, I would like to address my opponents Socratic questions.

QUESTION 1 - "Do you recognize a true ideological difference between liberalism and conservatism or do you think this ideological divide is an illusion of some sort, or maybe just a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding advanced by such conspirators as is proposed, or something else?"

The short answer to this question is that I believe the true ideological difference between liberalism and conservatism relates to means but [not ends. It would be difficult, and I think foolish ultimately, to attempt to argue that there are no differences between the parties, and I would like to be clear that that is not my argument. My argument is that despite differences between the parties regarding the means by which a true American democracy is undermined, and the people divested of the ability to make choices that reflect their own best interests, the end, an actual limiting of true American democracy that divests the American people of the ability to make choices in their own best interests is one common to both parties.

Does this mean that every member of each party is a conspirator? No. Just like every employee of a company convicted of price fixing need not be involved in the conspiracy to fix prices, or every member of a "corrupt" police department need not themselves be corrupt, every member of a political party need not be involved in the conspiracy to demonstrate that there is indeed a bipartisan conspiracy to undermine "true" democracy in America. What needs to occur is that members of the party who are not complicit in the conspiracy must be marginalized, and not allowed into positions where their lack of compliance can derail the overarching goals of the conspiracy.

I know it is difficult for the reader and my opponent to read numerous links provided in the alloted time, an so I will attempt to be sparing in this regard. In order to demonstrate the principle I have outlined above I offer this article ;

"The illusion of choice in US elections: Does it herald the dissolution of these United States of America?"
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

My opponent also brings up the point that certain of the original founders of our nation were clearly not a part of any conspiracy to deceive the public with an "illusory" two party system, and that they were legitimate in their idealogical stances, and not minions of some "other" power. I would have to agree with my opponent on this point. Clearly the many of the founders founders intended an interplay and a repeated balancing of multiple ideologies, though the actual parties themselves were not mentioned in the Constitution and formed only after ratification of said Constitution. The stances of these ideologies and the titles assigned to them have shifted over time, the parties formed shortly after the founding of our country were not labeled "democrat" and "republican," in fact the party of Jefferson was labeled, "Democrat-Republican" and the other dominant party the "Federalists."

However these ideologies were labeled at the time, I agree that it is clear that there was some intent that the balancing of these ideologies was intended to be a fair and legitimate one, that reflected the wishes of voters (at that time limited to white males of a certain age) with Constitutional limits in place to moderate this and to protect the minority. This is demonstrated by the Constitution itself, and, as I pointed out earlier, an amendment providing for for free speech, a free press, etc. If this were not the case, if they were not legitimate in this desire, I would have no foundation upon which to build. For if they were not sincere in this desire for a free democracy that allowed the balancing of ideologies, there would BE no "true American democracy" that I could then argue was being undermined by a conspiracy in the the years that followed the creation of this democracy. So I will gladly concede my opponents point that the original intent of the founders was that there be in place a means of balancing ideologies, and that the electoral system was intended to provide a mechanism by which these ideologies were moderated, balanced.

It would be difficult in the context of a debate with these constraints to cover all of US history in sufficient detail so as to prove the genesis of such a conspiracy to undermine true democracy, however I believe that demonstration of the origins of the conspiracy fall outside my burden of proof that there be one in the present. It is not that I think such a discovery could not be made and proven, only that proving both the origin and history of the conspiracy and the fact that one currently exists is not possible with any integrity within the character and resource usage limits of this debate. It appears to me that the conspiracy originated in one ideology, and then over time, with evolution of the Corporation and the changes in the media, it has slowly evolved to its current form, with conspiracy now involving both parties against a "truly democratic government."

My opponent then poses a second question;

Question 2 - Does membership in certain societies automatically include one in a conspiracy to undermine democracy?

For this question, I have a much shorter response. No. The definition of conspiracy does not require that ALL of any group participate. Nor does it require that the goals of the conspirators be achieved 100% of the time. It requires a common goal, in this case the limiting of " a truly democratic government in America," and it requires a pattern of participation in the furtherance of this goal by members of both parties. Success in the furtherance of this common goal of the conspirators does make proof of the conspiracy more resounding, but, technically speaking, success in achieving the "end" is not a requirement for proving a conspiracy exists. History is rife with examples of failed conspiracies, and if in doubt, a quick search on the internet will remedy that.

So, I would like to address the last two points my opponent raises. I have already, in fact, addressed them in my last two posts, but I will reiterate.

1) He brings up the problem of secrecy. He mentions that to be effective the conspiracy must be secret. I disagree. A fair percentage of Americans do have a feeling or belief, to varying degree, that politicians are no longer acting in the best interests of the American people. That part is not "secret" at all. What is concealed from the American people are;

a) The degree to which our press is "not free" by means of deregulation,
thus allowing the consolidation of media power to occur. The people, as I
stated earlier, are under the impression that they have a "free press" and
with that there is an assupmtion that they are getting unbiased coverage,
when in fact they get almost zero coverage of some, particularly foreign
policy, issues. Coverage of protests by the American people are also
aired, like the protests of Bush's inauguration.

b) That there are dissenting voices in American politics. Certain political
messages are simply not aired by the mainstream press. Examples in
earlier posts.

c) Misleading messages, suggesting that "on the whole" our fellow
citizens approve of these policies, decisions, etc. are aired by the media
"nipping in the bud" any potential dissent. The idea is planted that; "If
the majority thinks this is ok, what can I do about it?"

Propaganda was refined to an art form by Hitler and his Third Reich, and the power of propaganda as a tool by which to control the masses was not lost on our leaders. Modern lifestyles and the sheer magnitude of opportunities for media exposure have only increased its effectiveness. The consolidation of the media into fewer and fewer hands has as well.

2) The existence of factions within political parties is "proof" that there could be no conspiracy. I would disagree. I would say that the existence of diversity between individuals in the parties, and between individuals in separate parties, does NOT preclude the possibility of conspiracy. Instead we have to look to see if there is some consistency, some common ideology in the candidates that make it through the conspiratorial "filter" and actually gain power. The question we need to ask, is, given that there IS a great deal of diversity in political opinions and ideologies, why do only those who further the interests of multi-national corporations at the expense of the American public gain high office in sufficient numbers to shape policy? And why is this the case whether or not the majority of American people support this policy? I would say if anything the existence of "factions" both within and between the parties acts to distract us from the fact that there is one common goal that is being pursued and implemented by the conspirators. It is an illusion of diversity that never actually manifests in policy.

I would like to invoke my Socratic privilege.

1) Do you agree that it is impossible to win an election, Congressional, Senate, or Presidential, without access to television advertising in the US today?

2) If you do not agree with the above, can you provide examples of someone who has managed it?

3) Which recent President, (recent being within the last 30-40 years,) do you hold out as an example of someone NOT furthering the interests of corporations at the expense of the American people?

posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 12:23 PM
Thanks fro the rely, I am short on time, but I think I have adequate time to reply.

I would argue that in order for collusion to be called conspiracy, it must be planned and carried out in a secretive and deceptive manner, otherwise it is a collaboration, a policy, an agenda. What separates a conspiracy from normal collaborations is the intent to deceive which requires a level of secrecy. Below is a definition that I think fits the situation fairly well.

—Synonyms 1. collusion, sedition. 2. Conspiracy, plot, intrigue, cabal all refer to surreptitious or covert schemes to accomplish some end, most often an evil one. A conspiracy usually involves a group entering into a secret agreement to achieve some illicit or harmful objective: a vicious conspiracy to control prices. A plot is a carefully planned secret scheme, usually by a small number of persons, to secure sinister ends: a plot to seize control of a company. An intrigue usually involves duplicity and deceit aimed at achieving either personal advantage or criminal or treasonous objectives: the petty intrigues of civil servants. Cabal refers either to a plan by a small group of highly-placed persons to overthrow or control a government, or to the group of persons themselves: a cabal of powerful lawmakers.

In answer to your questions:

1) Do you agree that it is impossible to win an election, Congressional, Senate, or Presidential, without access to television advertising in the US today?

Not at this current time, but with the growth of the internet, who knows in the future.

2) If you do not agree with the above, can you provide examples of someone who has managed it?

So, no need to respond here.

3) Which recent President, (recent being within the last 30-40 years,) do you hold out as an example of someone NOT furthering the interests of corporations at the expense of the American people?

I would say that both Clinton and Carter put the interests of the average person above the interests of the corporation. Both reduced the military which is a policy that our giant international corporations oppose, as our giant military helps them a great deal in their international business activities, and in addition, military contracts and the industrial complex in general would be far more of a part of any conspiracy to undermine democracy than the political parties could ever be. Carter followed tough monetary policies, the opposite of GW, who in my opinion openly supports the interest of the most wealth, and those who seek undermine democracy in our country. Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, and reversed the policies of Reagan, re-regulating the economy, and producing economic growth as a result, which has made the Clintons the enemy of the media, which makes it a regular point to undermine the Clintons public image at every opportunity, even when they are pretending to praise the Clintons.

While your arguments that the media and giant corporations in general are greatly able to influence the outcomes of elections might possibly be true, this does not prove in any way that the major political parties in the U.S. are part of any conspiracy to undermine democracy, it only demonstrates that giant corporation, and very wealthy and powerful private interests are able to out manuevere and out flank our political parties, and leverage great influence over our elections, on a fairly regular basis.

As you agree with, the ideological split that created our two party system was based on true ideological differences, and all evidence points to the reality that the current parties to this day represent true ideological differences in what the true nature of democracy is. While powerful and private interest are certainly able to greatly influence our political parties, there is no proof that both parites have become part of any conpiracy to undermine democracy. While the republican party does openly pursue policies that tilt in favor of the rich and powerful, one could argue that this is only a pursuit in their belief as to how a true democracy should work, with those who have achieved the most, getting a larger say in government policies.

When you look at the current presidential election, we currently have three candidates that are not the candidates one would think that any conspiracy would choose to undermine democracy. Obama is currently getting most of the votes, and the policies he espouses are ones which would aim to promote the general welfare, and support democracy, Hillary and McCain also espouse policies that support the will of the people and the rights of the individual. These candidates are succeeding in spite of the efforts of the powers that be that might want to undermine democracy.

In conclusion, I would say all evidence suports the idea that the political parties continue to support ideological differences, and that there is no legitimate evidence that both of our major political parties are colluding in some conspiracy to undermine democracy. I would even further suggest that the reality is that both of our political parties are currently pursuing their own beliefs in true democracy.

posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 06:57 PM
I will begin by pointing out that contrary to my opponents position that the definition of conspiracy MUST include secrecy, only three of the seventeen definitions offered by my opponent via his link contain any mention of secrecy. Hardly, I think, grounds for his argument that secrecy be a requirement. I will also remind the reader that the legal definitions, those that are used in US courts in prosecuting and convicting actual conspirators, contain no such requirement that there be secrecy.

In any event, I would further ask the reader to consider that lying about ones true intentions, is a means of keeping a secret. That politicians say one thing, and then in fact do another is so well known that jokes are made of this. Ie; Question; "How can you tell if a politician is lying?" Answer; "His/her lips are moving." I would propose that aside from an attempt to define conspiracy in a narrow way, my opponent has offered little in solid evidence to actually show that first, there is no secret, and secondly, that lying about ones true motives does not constitute the keeping of a secret.

I would like to thank my opponent for his thoughtful responses to my questions.

1) He states that he does not believe that it is currently possible for an aspirant to Congressional, Senatorial, or Presidential office to gain office without access to television advertising.

He goes on to say that with the internet, it may at some future time become possible to do so. I will remind the reader that in order to show conspiracy in the present, it is not necessary to speculate on the future probability of the success of the conspiracy. Many conspiracies do indeed, fail, and it is my most fervent hope that this one does. I, like my opponent, consider the internet a beacon of hope in the free and fair dissemination of information. However, let us not overlook the fact that the conspirators have also taken notice of this fact. The privatization of the internet IS occurring. The presumed reasoning behind it seem innocuous. Bringing in market efficiency. However, there are some very real dangers that are being kept "secret" by not being disclosed explicitly.

How does corporate owned media get away with refusing to air paid political advertisements by say, Or refuse to include in debates candidates that they find distasteful or "unimportant?" The mechanism that allows this censorship, ironically enough, lies in the right to "freedom of speech" itself. Hitler is credited with proposing to "use the mechanisms of democracy to erode democracy." This strategy is alive and well, and is a primary means of implementing the conspiracy to relieve Americans of the burden of "true democracy." In 1986, in Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v Public Utilities Commission, the Supreme Court upheld a corporation's right NOT to speak. It did again so in 1996, in International Dairy Foods Associations v Amestoy. Links to the actual case law, as well as a summary overview can be viewed here at;

"Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers" by Jan Edwards et al.

Essentially, no Corporation, nor Corporate owned entity, can be MADE to provide information to the public, because Corporations have been granted the same rights and privileges that human citizens have. What this means is, if the Internet becomes Corporate owned, it can choose NOT to provide any information it pleases not to. Any at all. The 1996 ruling makes clear that this includes political speech as well as factual speech. In essence, this would allow the stranglehold on the flow of information in electronic media to be complete.

Of course, there is concern among "Netizens" that privatization will limit the freedoms of the internet, and a report to the US Senate can be viewed here;

Of particular interest are pages 7,8,9, and 10, where strategy is discussed regarding the need to gain some measure of cooperation with the internet community at large, the plan to have "at large" seats on the board of directors elected online, to ensure the appearance of some measure of public control, and the immediate attempts to erode the ability of these "safeguards" by both attempting to reduce or eliminate altogether the "at-large" seats vs "appointed" seats to a non-majority, to spare you the dry reading,

"He proposed instead a “well-balanced public-private partnership” that involved an increased role for national governments in ICANN, including
having several voting members of ICANN’s Board selected by national
governments. The president also proposed changes that would eliminate
global elections of at-large Board members by the Internet community,
reduce the number of Board members selected by ICANN’s supporting
organizations, and have about a third of the board members selected
through a nominating committee composed of Board members and others
selected by the Board. He also proposed that ICANN’s funding sources be
broadened to include national governments, as well as entities that had
agreements with ICANN or received services from ICANN."

Consider also the changes in the rules regarding connectivity, as outlined in this article "A Democratic Internet " by Art Brodsky.

Combined, it is apparent that information and the control of information is being shifted from the public sector, who paid for it in the first place, to the private sector, where it is no longer accountable to the US citizen. Of note is that the ICANN policy proposal makes clear that governments and "entities" with agreements with ICANN will help to fund, and elect board members and so control this corporate entity. In light of our trend to multinational corporations and the move to erode individual nations sovereignty by the formation of "Free Trade Unions" I feel this is a significant threat to the flow of information that a "true democracy" requires. Consider also the comments the Pentagon has recently made that we must consider the Internet an "enemy weaposn system." The BBC has a good article on the "Information Operations Roadmap" signed by Donald Rumsfeld, should anyone desire to learn more.

Now I am going to reply to my opponents answer to my third question. His answer to the first question removed the need for an answer to the second.
The question was, "Which recent President, (recent being within the last 30-40 years,) do you hold out as an example of someone NOT furthering the interests of corporations at the expense of the American people?"

He answered,

"I would say that both Clinton and Carter put the interests of the average person above the interests of the corporation. "

Due to limited space, I am going to leave Carter in the capable hands of Noam Chomsky. His knowledge and research far surpass my own, and due to the constraints of this debate, I only have space to handle one President, and even then incompletely. This is provided as a convenience, and reading it is not critical to the debate unless you feel a need to satisfy yourself that both examples offered by my opponent have furthered a Corporate agenda.

Since President Clinton is often held to be the "Anti-Bush" president, and the more contemporary of the two, I will use him as the example. I will begin with the Internet issue outlined above. From that same government document, on page one,

"As you know, the U.S. government supported the development of
the domain name system and, in 1997, the President charged the
Department of Commerce with transitioning it to private management."

Who was the President in 1997? Why, it was William Jefferson Clinton. 1997 was the cusp of his two terms in office. In 1996, Bill Clinton signed into law the "Telecommunications Act of 1996" that removed restrictions on how many media outlets can be owned by a single company, as described in the article "Only Six Corporations Dominate Major Media Outlets" authored by Jim Condit Jr., available here;

Notice that John McCain, who is held out by my opponent as a candidate who will surely represent the best interests of the people, not the Corporation, helped push this Act through.

Clinton also signed into law the "Financial Services Modernization Act" on November 12, 1999; allowing the financial institutions virtually unlimited ability to merge.

Despite Hillary's condemnation of the Iraq war, she voted to authorize it, and that should not surprise anyone seeing as how it is a continuation, albeit an escalation, of an agenda that Bill Clinton also did everything in his power to further. Although I am out of links, a December 16, 1998 article covers the "Operation Desert Fox" strikes against Iraq implemented by the Clinton administration.

Clinton is quoted in the 11 March 1993 edition of USA today as saying; "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans..."

Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into Law in 1993. One of the interesting little bits of this agreement, Chapter 11, allow Corporations to sue the countries, (US, Mexico, and Canada) if the governments of these countries enact laws that adversely affect their investments. Even if these laws are passed to protect the citizens. (More can be read at "Nafta" on Wikipedia.

My opponent suggests that what is going on is an out maneuvering of the politicians by corporations. I say the evidence shows that this is not the case. What the evidence shows is a clear, conscious, bi-partisan pattern of the laws being altered to abridge the rights of Americans, and undermine our Democracy, and to expand the rights of Corporations.

posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 04:31 PM
Back at home now, I can now reply with less time restriction. Illusionsaregrander makes some very excellent points that I would like to address.

Whether or not the word secret is in every possible definition of the word conspiracy, secrecy is clearly an intrinsic part of any successful conspiracy in order for it to succeed in it's illegal or malevolent plan. Without deception, which requires secrecy, there is no conspiracy, there is simply an agreement to do what ever action is planned. Conspiracy requires that the plan be hidden at least at the beginning, and without this important point, the word becomes meaningless. It makes no sense that two or more people conspire to commit a crime without doing so in secret, and any crime or wrongful act which is publicly announced before any part of the plan is put into execution can hardly be called a conspiracy.

I must again restate that just because corporations and the media at times work to undermine our democracy does not mean that our political parties are co-conspirators in these actions. The people who form corporations and other organizations do have rights afforded by our constitution. Balancing the rights of individuals when the rights of one come into conflict with another is not a easy thing to do, especially when it concerns the rights of organizations, and this is the very reason we have competing ideologies that created our political parties in the first place. Simply because one group is winning the debate as to whose rights take precedence does not mean that this is a result of a conspiracy against democracy. It is very reasonable to argue that the winning group is actually promoting their interpretation of true democracy.

When it comes to the media in all its forms, there is a great deal of money to be made, and when you look at the richest people in our nation at this time, this becomes very evident, so of course there is a great deal of competition for control of the media. Simply because private interests compete to control our media does not mean that they are trying to undermine democracy, the more logical reason is that they are tying to make money. Participating in the market system is certainly a part of democracy.

When it comes to political debates, it only makes sense to restrict who may participate in the debates by only allowing those who have succeeded in garnering a certain percentage of the vote. There has to be a way of reducing the number or participants in political debates to those who the public have indicated that they are interested in. These private organizations who spend the money to put on these public debates certainly have a right to make money from their efforts, and are arguably providing the public with a valuable service. Even when it comes to advertising, businesses should have the right to refuse to air advertisements that they find distasteful or feel might alienate their audience. When it comes to secrecy, privacy is one of our rights, established in the bill of rights, and certainly the people who form corporations and other organizations have rights to privacy, and therefore the right to keep secrets, and the fifth amendment clearly upholds an individuals right to refuse to answer questions that might incriminate themselves, even when they are part of a group. These are issues that are beyond the ability of political parties to control, and offer no proof that the political parties are colluding in some conspiracy. These issues that you provide as proof of conspiracy are more reasonably explained as conflicts of interest which spring from market competition.

Finally, we come to the point of whether or not the politicians I stated as defending democracy were in fact a part of a conspiracy to undermine democracy.

First of all, I will address the article by Noam Chomsky. As I stated in my first post, membership in an organization does not prove that the member is in agreement with all or any of the policies of that group. The Chomsky article goes on and on about an report issued by the Trilateral Commission, which was written by people which the article does not link directly to the Carter's administration. This report goes on and on about manipulating politics in other nations. It is interesting stuff, but, the political reality of the U.S. is that a majority of people in the U.S. support our nations activities overseas in the protection of our national interests abroad, and while, if they were fully informed of what exactly this involves, they might not be so supportive, it is also arguable that most do not want to know about all these activities, and prefer to be in the dark. When a majority of the people support our strong military presence overseas, even when that may entail undermining democracies in other nations, and our political representatives comply, this is not undermining democracy in the U.S., this is complying with democracy in the U.S.. What else can you expect when the democracy of one nation is in conflict with the democracy of another. In addition, probably the primary reason Carter did not win a second term is because he was considered to be too soft on protecting U.S. interests abroad.

This finally leads us to address Bill Clinton's role in either defending democracy in the U.S. or conspiring against it. Bill Clinton is not the anti-Bush, he is the anti-Reagan. Maybe GW might think of himself as the anti-Clinton, but Bill Clinton followed Reagan and GH, and essentially reversed Reaganomics, for which corporate media has forever hated him.

The reason behind eliminating the restriction of the number of media outlets a company may own in any particular area was removed is because of the development of cable companies, the internet, and satellite communications. With these new technologies any media outlet anywhere in the world has access to virtually any media market in the world, with the exception of countries like China, so it no longer made sense to restrict media outlets on a geographical basis, as was the case before the telecommunications act. If anything, we now have more media outlets than ever. Technology has completely re-written the map on access to information. Heck, I have my own blog that is accessible from practically anywhere, google poet1b if you might be interested. ;-)

Now, Clinton's signing of Financial Services Modernization Act certainly was his biggest mistake in my opinion. I am not sure how much this has undermined democracy, but it has lead to some incredibly stupid financial moves on the part of a large sector of our economy. In my opinion, this act eliminated the restrictions that have successfully prevented a depression since the last Great Depression. The thing is, after the Great Depression, the numbers of the super rich decreased substantially, and the average working person emerged more financially secure than ever, and democracy was strengthened. Arguably, by signing this law, Bill gave the free marketeers all the rope they needed to hang themselves with.

As far as Bill Cinton's Military actions, see my comment above on Carter.

As far as NAFTA is concerned, there is a substantial number of people who feel that a trade agreement like NAFTA helps to promote democracy abroad by promoting the market system through trade agreements. Many people approved of NAFTA, in fact, if I am correct, Bill Clinton's approval rating went up after signing NAFTA. I do not think that Clinton's approval of NAFTA undermined our nations democracy anymore than Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase or Jackson's Manifest Destiny policy. It has not been NAFTA that has hurt our economy and rights as workers, but illegal immigration, that NAFTA might have reduced if only GW made some effort in enforcing our immigration laws. In 2000, when Bill Clinton left office his administration was prosecuting a half a million employers of illegal immigrants a year, by 2003, GW had stopped all prosecutions of these employers.

Under Bill Clinton wages and salaries rose again for the first time in over twenty years, and Bill Clinton began enforcing the laws to defend workers rights as well as to fight illegal immigration, and protect consumers. As you mentioned, corporate controlled media seems to work to undermine democracy, and corporate controlled media hates the Clintons.

While there are times when our elected representatives conspire with private interests, the acts of various individuals and groups do not mean that the political parties that these individuals belong to are a part of this conspiracy. It is simply not reasonable to hold an entire organization responsible for the actions of a few. In truth, the political parties work against the efforts of corporations and other powerful interests to undermine democracy. While there may be times when the political parties fail in their efforts to adequately support democracy, these failures are not part of an overall grand design to undermine democracy as part of a conspiracy, but because of failures in ideology, poorly planned intentions, or simply because they have been duped by those who aim to undermine democracy.

Our political parties exist because of deeply rooted ideological differences in the true form which democracy should take. The ideological foundations of our political parties are so critical to their existence that they tend to only be effective at pulling together people of like minded ideology, and tend to crumble when used to oppose the principles on which they are founded. While conspirators may attempt to gain control of our political parties, they have yet to succeed.

posted on Feb, 25 2008 @ 07:17 PM
I would like to open my closing argument with a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

" You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

In a democracy such as our own, it is not necessary to do either. Instead what is needed is to "Fool a majority of the people, around election time."

My opponent has spent a good deal of his argument on the definition of "conspiracy." Or, as made infamous by Bill Clinton in his interview before the grand jury regarding his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, "It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is..." I would suggest that continuing a line of argument based solely on the definition of the word "conspiracy" is a similar error of reason. Evidence has been presented by both sides for the definition of the word, there is no single universally accepted definition, though the legal definition should carry some weight in my opinion, and I would suggest that in closing argument that it is time to move on to the evidence provided, and away from semantics. By now, the reader should have some idea in his or her own mind as to what it necessary for conspiracy to exist.

My opponents main argument appears to center on three things.

1) The precise and narrow definition of the word conspiracy as a "secret."

2) Whether one can argue that a "secret" is indeed being kept.

3) The fact that there are differing opinions within the parties and between them.

I believe the opening statement and the earlier arguments provided by both my opponent and myself have shed as much light as possible on this first point. Ultimately, the reader has to decide for themselves which definition they prefer. In a court of law, in the US, the definition I have provided would be used, and I find it sufficiently credible to continue.

His second point seems to be whether or a secret is being kept at all. Although one is not required by the legal definition, I believe I have indeed shown some level of "secrecy" in the form of withholding the necessary information to make good choices in their own behalf, democratically, on the part of both parties and corporations, the conspirators. The way by which these "secrets" are kept varies, but one I have tried to outline in detail, with supporting evidence, is a "loop" by which laws are made by the politicians that favor corporate rights, including the right to control information, and then this control of information is then used by corporations to ensure the election of politicians that will continue to enact laws that will favor corporate rights.

My opponent does not even disagree with this. He says;

"I must again restate that just because corporations and the media at times work to undermine our democracy does not mean that our political parties are co-conspirators in these actions. The people who form corporations and other organizations do have rights afforded by our constitution. Balancing the rights of individuals when the rights of one come into conflict with another is not a easy thing to do, especially when it concerns the rights of organizations, and this is the very reason we have competing ideologies that created our political parties in the first place."

Let us then examine his statement that corporations have rights afforded by the US Constitution. I provided a link to the evolution of corporate rights in America. As a review, the idea of "person-hood" under the Constitution was initially limited to free white males 21 and over. As time has gone on, this idea of "person-hood" has been extended. First, by amendment to the Constitution, to African American and other ethnic males. Later, the Constitution was again amended to include women of all ethnicities in this definition of "person-hood." While the original founders did not define "persons" as all human American citizens initially, there is logical and scientific evidence and reasoning that supports this natural extension of the concept of "person-hood" to all human citizens. We are of the same species, we are alive, we share most of our DNA, etc. Although customs of the time dictated this initial limiting of "person-hood" to a specific sub-set of humans, we have recognized that this was too narrow a definition to carry forth in an enlightened society and we amended the Constitution to reflect this recognition by legal means, as outlined in the Constitution itself.

This has never been done for Corporations. Logic and reason, and science, do NOT support the idea of including the corporate form in the definition of "person-hood." They are NOT living biological organisms, certainly they are not humans and not of the same species. It is of note that this has never been attempted. No specific amendment to the Constitution affording corporations status as "persons" has been passed. Instead, there has been a quiet and covert, and un-democratic insinuation of the idea of "corporate person-hood" into case law that has been accomplished via corporate initiative and funding, which could not have been successful without collusion from elected and appointed officials from both parties.

My opponent accepts without reservation this extension of the concept of person-hood to corporations, and goes on to elaborate that corporations SHOULD have the right to secrecy, and in the case of corporate media, should be allowed to refuse to air dissenting views. I would like to remind my opponent and the reader that corporations do not own the airwaves. The citizens do. They are managed for the American people by our leaders, presumably with the fiduciary duty that they act in our overall best interests. Leasing the airwaves to the highest bidder, (if indeed that is the case) when that lessee then uses that property to undermine the interests and rights of the owner of that property, (in this case by undermining democracy itself,) cannot really be called "acting in our best interests." Clearly they are acting in the interest of the corporations and themselves, and this is indeed collusion.

My opponent proposes that rather than conspiracy to undermine true democracy, that this is in fact democracy in action. He offers that because "one group is winning the debate as to whose rights take precedence" one should not leap to the conclusion that a conspiracy is taking place. Of course not. I agree. But when the "one group" that is winning is effectively controlling the outcome of the election by not allowing the free flow of information, and politicians from both parties are passing the laws that allow this to be the case, AND providing the corporations the means, (the airwaves) with which to control the outcome of elections, I say that IS evidence of a conspiracy.

My opponent suggests that instead this is the natural and democratic action of market forces. There is a great deal of misunderstanding demonstrated by this statement about economic theory. In order for "market forces" to be considered democratic, one has to assume a "free market." In order for the invisible hand to work, however, and for a free market to be democratic, some factors need to be in play, perfect information, and perfect competition are two of those. While there is not time for a lecture on economics at this stage of the debate, I think it is clear that "perfect information" is almost a myth. Even the last bastion of "perfect information" is under attack as an "enemy weapons system." Allowing the deregulation of the industries mentioned in earlier posts has decreased competition, not increased it. Currently 6 corporations control somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of media outlets, down from 50 in 1983 according to this article;

Even if those figures are off slightly that is hardly a description of a "free market" or "perfect competition." It is descriptive of an oligopoly. A description can be found for those unaware of what an oligopoly is at Wikipedia.

He also "blames the victim" by suggesting that the American people dont really want to know whats going on anyway.

"It is interesting stuff, but, the political reality of the U.S. is that a majority of people in the U.S. support our nations activities overseas in the protection of our national interests abroad, and while, if they were fully informed of what exactly this involves, they might not be so supportive, it is also arguable that most do not want to know about all these activities, and prefer to be in the dark."

One study indicates that 81% of Americans (presumably adult Americans, it is hard to envision 5 year olds doing this) access the news daily. This is reported on the PBS link provided below.

I find it hard to believe that this many citizens would seek out some form of news if they really wanted to be "kept in the dark."

Lastly, there is my opponents claim that the apparent differences in ideologies precludes the possibility of conspiracy. I have argued that the apparent differences are more about means than ends. Is one party pursuing a "kinder, gentler" method of relieving us of the burden of democracy? yes. However I argue this is a political version of "Good cop/Bad cop," with the means being in dispute but not the ends.

As evidence, I offer this tool, a wonderful site that lets you explore the revolving door of politics, and examine some of the relationships between politicians of both parties and corporations. Here you can explore motive, method, and opportunity for conspiracy, should you choose.

I would like to thank my opponent, the moderator, and the readers for the opportunity to present this argument.

posted on Feb, 25 2008 @ 10:20 PM
To be honest, I almost did not bother rebutting your attempt from the beginning to define conspiracy, because in your posts you do recognize the importance of secrecy to any successful conspiracy.

In conclusion, my points that show that our major political parties are not part of a conspiracy have been consistent from the beginning. They are as follows:

The basis for our political parties existence is an ideological divide on the true nature of democracy, that has been the situation from the beginning of our nation and continues until this very day, and the debate continues on.

The loose organization of our political parties makes them extremely difficult to be controlled by any single group, which makes them even more difficult to be included in any conspiracy considering the importance of secrecy to a successful conspiracy.

While individual politicians can be influenced by private interests and drawn into a conspiracy, that does not mean the the political parties themselves are a part of the conspiracy.

When you look at the activities of the U.S. government, even in its overseas military activities, the U.S. government continues to act in a manner that is supported by a majority of U.S. citizens, and the political parties continue to elect representatives that listen to the polls and respond to the wishes of the majority. The current crop of leading presidential candidates is in fact an indication of the political parties responding to the majorities demand for change. Our political parties continue to cater to their supporters, and that is the nature of democracy.

In final response to my opponents arguments that the political parties are a part of a conspiracy to undermine democracy, I offer the following responses.

Corporations are given rights because they are owned and controlled by individuals, and individuals who invest their property in corporations should continue to have the same rights in the control of their property as all business owners, and individual have. Recognizing the rights of investors to their corporate property investments is not undermining democracy. What you claim are the results of a conspiracy are in reality the results of the hard fought for policies that represent an interpretation of property rights, and the extension of the rights of individuals into their business practices.

Even my opponents claims that the control of our media is being controlled by fewer and fewer corporations is not correct. the link he provides states that AOL controlled 25% of the media market, but if you look at the current numbers, AOL only controls 10.2% of the market at this time, and the company with the largest control currently is ATT with 18.2%. The top 23% of internet providers control less than 80% of access, and with wireless communications and cel phones getting into the act, even more players are going to be jumping into the market. This indicates that our media is becoming less concentrated. In addition, the link he provides does not even mention the current juggernaut of Google. 45 years ago, news was dominated by three main companies, ABC, CBS, and NBC. There were indeed independent newspaper companies around the country, but in this modern internet world, print newspaper companies are struggling just to stay alive, which is why many are consolidating. I stopped paying for my newspaper a couple of years ago, and they keep sending it for free. At this day and age, we are able to obtain our new from far wider sources. I will add that at this time corporate controlled mass media in the form of television might still dominate our elections, but they are holding on by a paper thin margin, and chances are by the next election it will be internet companies that exert the greatest influence on the outcome of our elections, and any kid with a digital cam can broadcast, and take the national spotlight. It is a brave new world.

My opponent contends that "In order for the invisible hand to work, however, and for a free market to be democratic, some factors need to be in play...", and this is where he makes his biggest mistake. The market system is not democracy, it is not a form of government, and my opponent is confusing the two. The market system is an economic system, and can never function as a form of government and can never be democratic. There is no such thing as a free market, the concept is as idealistic and foolish as communism. In a democracy, every one gets one vote, and they are all counted as the same, while in contrast, a market system is based on competition, and the person with the most leverage has the most say in how goods and services are exchanged. While the two systems work together, they are as different as a motor and a transmission.

In addition, I did not claim that the American people did not want to know what is going on in our country, only that when it comes to overseas activities in the defense of our nation would people rather not know some of the specifics. Just as a statement by Bill Clinton was taken out of context, so was this statement of mine, and chances are that Clinton's statement was as equal distorted as was mine.

While you only need to fool a majority of the people at the right time to control the results of an election, you can never satisfy everyone. Even though at times you may get your way, even then, almost all the time it never turns out to be what you wanted.

The real truth is that the political parties are too busy squabbling not only with each other, but equally as much if not more within their own ranks to be made a part of a conspiracy. Even the republican party, with their strong tendency to support corporate interests is pursuing their own version of democracy. The best any conspiracy could hope for is to out maneuver and out flank the political parties, which tends to be a far easier way to go.

Thanks for taking the time to participate in this debate, I find it to be an excellent subject to debate. Also, Thanks to vagabond and all the others who are making this competition happen.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 12:02 PM
Good job gents. This one is in the judges' hands.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 01:15 PM
Illusionsaregrander has won the debate and will advance to round 2.

Judges comments:

(Illusionsaregrander) bogged down a bit in semantics as far as defining democracy, but he was arguing with himself at the time, so it didn't really hurt him. When his opponent showed up, he was more on message and did a good job.

Poet1b really blew himself out of the water by contradicting his argument that secrecy is required, but absent, by saying that Americans might not be so supportive of our actions abroad if they were informed.

Poet's secrecy angle just wasn't that compelling, and although I didn't necessarily agree with everything Illusions presented politically, he definately defended his side of the debate more effectively.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 04:10 PM
I again want to thank the judges, moderator and my opponent. I know that the time constraint Poet was acting under contributed to my win, and in truth, it takes a bit of the shine off the victory. I am certain that under different circumstances his argument would have been more difficult for me to refute. Hopefully, if we ever face off again, it will be on a more level playing field, and he will have the time to smack me around a bit better.

posted on Feb, 26 2008 @ 10:22 PM
I think you both did very well.

I still probably would have gave you the edge anyway, even if poet made the first response and wasn't out playing in the snow (lucky dog, I haven't seen snow in years). I was able to agree more with your argument and see your counterpoints clearly.

A big
to you both, and good luck in the second round Illusions,

better luck next time poet, now you can sit with me on the bench!

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 04:57 PM
I think Illusionsaregrander made some very good points, in his last couple of points he began to attempt to tie the political parties to laws that have been written which suggests that our political parties might be involved in some conspiracy, but I thought I did a very good job of showing the logic for allowing corporations to maintain secrecy and to have the rights of the shareholders extended to the corporations, which were the specific points he made. Also I felt that I successfully countered the argument that our media has been taken over by a small group of companies, by showing the large and growing influence of the internet, as a legitimate reason for changing the rules of media outlets in specific regions. I think my argument that what my opponent claims to be evidence of conspiracy were more logically evidence of ideological differences, and that the activities of corporate media were examples of the political parties being out maneuvered were very sound, and if not, I would like to hear why.

I find that I must protest the judges decision, as the reason given for their decision had nothing to do with the points that I made.

My debate was not based on the necessity of secrecy in a conspiracy, that was a side issued that was first brought up by my opponent is his first post to which I responded. This is normal, as the person with the pro position of course wants to define the term in question under the broadest of terms, and debating the con side I want to narrow the definition. This was a side issue, and not critical to my position, so it makes no sense that the judges made their decision on this side issue. It seems that basis on which I made my position was completely ignored, and that hardly translates to a reasonable judgment.

The middle comment

" Poet1b really blew himself out of the water by contradicting his argument that secrecy is required, but absent, by saying that Americans might not be so supportive of our actions abroad if they were informed."

Makes no sense at all. Please tell me how recognizing that secrecy exists in the operations of our intelligence agencies and military in covert overseas operations translates into proof that our political parties are engaged in conspiracy to undermine our democracy, because I would really like to see that line of logic. Especially since a large majority of Americans approve of our nations overseas activities as necessary in protecting our nation. While the public MIGHT not approve of those operations, they very well MIGHT approve of those operations. Being that the public is very aware that our intelligence agencies keep secrets, in that security clearances are well known, and clearly approves of the governments need to keep some things secret, it is hardly wrong to say that the public does not want to know about all the activities of our military and intelligence communities. As I originally stated this shows that democracy in our nation is working, not the opposite. The pacifists are in the minority.

I have read through a few of the other debates and the decisions and the reasons behind those decisions, and I have to say, I do not have a high regard for the way the judges are making their decisions.

I believe if you are going to criticize, then you should say something positive as well, and offer some suggestions for improvement, so I offer the following.

These debates do tend to get long and fairly tedious. If a small number of judges are doing all the work here, I can easily see how they would tend to speed read through the posts, and make as quick of decision as possible.

This is how I think that the judging of these debates could be vastly improved.

The Judges should not be anonymous, this policy completely destroys the credibility of the contest. If the judges are not willing to stand behind their decisions, then they should not be judges.

I think the best solution to improve the quality of how the contest is judged would be to require that participants also have to serve duty as judges. Assign three judges to each contest to avoid ties. The judges write their decisions and the reasons behind those decisions without any collusion on a special page for each judge to log their decisions. Once the contest end has been announced and all three judges have written their decisions the decisions are all posted on the debate at the same time along with the names of the judges attached to their decisions. Being that the contestants that are being judge could very well be judging the those who judged them in the future, I think this system would greatly encourage a serious effort on the part of the judges to be as fair as possible, as well as spreading the work load. This type of system would fall much more in line with the concept of being judged by a jury of ones peers.

People who have strong opinions about the subject being debated should recuse themselves from being judges in those contests.

Senior contributors should be given first choice in which contests they judge, as the third judge setup would require that some contestants judge more than one debate. Participants, and only participants, should be allowed to rate the quality of the judges decisions, so that at the end of the contest, those judges who received the highest ranking from the participants wind up judging the finals.

Honestly, I am very dis-satisfied with the way the contests are being currently judged, and I think changes are needed if the debate contest is going to gain credibility. As things stand, I would not choose to participate again. Sorry if I have offended anyone, but this is my honest opinion. I appreciate the efforts put out by those who are doing the work to put on this debate contest, and that is why I wanted to take the time to fully respond. I hope I have not offended anyone.

posted on Feb, 27 2008 @ 10:40 PM

add your feelings to the current discussion ... partway down the 'a question of protocol' thread in the debate forum, TheVagabond asked for us to chime in on future rulings.

Just so you know, the last debate was member influenced judging. There were star counts and the judge got to use 5 stars for their decision I believe. So that way, if you had enough stars, even the judge couldn't sway it against you.

Don't quit, help make it better!

I wouldn't mind if you just copied and pasted if you don't wish to change wording at all, just so it is all in one thread.

I appreciate your input, and I am not in full disagreement. I am in doubt about having anonymity of the judges, though I respect it. I think having members judge like last tournament is the best way to go. Gets more ATS members active and participating.

posted on Feb, 29 2008 @ 09:09 AM

Originally posted by poet1b
I think Illusionsaregrander made some very good points, in his last couple of points he began to attempt to tie the political parties to laws that have been written which suggests that our political parties might be involved in some conspiracy, but I thought I did a very good job of showing the logic for allowing corporations to maintain secrecy and to have the rights of the shareholders extended to the corporations, which were the specific points he made.

I am actually glad you brought this up, as you mentioned it in your closing argument, and I had no chance to reply. Just so you know for your own personal information, Corporations do not, nor could they, derive their rights from their shareholders.

The Corporate form was created to allow the owners, shareholders, to escape personal liability from the actions of the corporation. This "distancing" of the shareholder from liability or personal responsibility, also distances the corporation from the "rights" of the shareholder, which is why Corporate rights have had to evolve out of the 14th Amendment.

In order that the persons owning the corporation not be held responsible, liable, for the actions of the corporation, the corporation had to be created as a separate "entity" which over time, has evolved via case law into an idea of "person-hood."

Bottom line, Corporate rights and shareholders rights are completely separate issues, and that is inherent in the design of the corporate form itself.

posted on Feb, 29 2008 @ 12:46 PM
That was a good read fellas.

I thought you did a great job Poet1b; however, sometimes your posts seemed a little wordy. The overall meaning got lost many times. For instance, I caught the part about Carter not being reelected due to his being soft on foreign affairs, but many may have missed the importance of the statement.

I think you also stayed on defense too much. Perhaps I missed it in the scanned through, but did Illusions ever really prove that members are conspiring? Though he did well in pointing out not everyone need know of the conspiracy, for there to be a conspiracy, there must be some collaboration.

I think you should have stressed that more often Poet1b. It would have been interesting to see what would have resulted if you pressed Illusions for a source proving some sort of collaboration between high ranking members of each political party.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and I'm in no way an expert debater.

*edited to add
Oh, and I do agree with you. For there to be any conspiracy there must be secrecy. The act itself can be done in broad daylight, but the intentions behind it must be secret. Otherwise, it's not really a conspiracy, it's just an act. And in all reality, Illusions conceded there was secrecy behind it by not providing sources of who was in on it. If they weren't being quiet about it, there would be no debate.

[edit on 29-2-2008 by Sublime620]

posted on Mar, 2 2008 @ 01:36 PM

Good point, I would have gone this way if I were you making your argument. As myself, I would then argue that this allows corporations to act without having to get consensus from the numerous investors, which would make a corporate construct too slow to respond to the market. The recent requirement for a CEO to certify corporate budgets is an attempt to correct this problem, and shows that the political parties are still fighting over this issue of holding corporations responsible, in nutshell.

I don't think you ever made a solid argument against my point that what you contend are evidence of conspiracy are in reality conflicts in ideology, and you were still were adjusting to my angle.

I think Sublime makes a good point, that this led to me spending more time concentrating on countering your points, waiting for you to counter my points, but it is all academic at this point. You did a good job, I am just not happy with the reasons the judges offered, not only on this debate with another specific debate which I posted to. I did get too wordy, not my best effort.

I would have debated the pro side using the current presidential election as the main point. I see Republican and democratic support for Obama as proof of collusion, especially when combined with the media's obvious fawning over Obama, while nit picking everything the Clinton's have done. Obama has made some incredibly twisted statements where he is clearly trying to have things both ways, and the media has responded by blaming the Clinton's for criticizing, as proof of the Clinton's bad behavior, proving that when it comes to big media, the Clintons can not win. In the meantime, the media has made light of all the numerous skeletons in Obama's closet. If Obama gets the nomination, which he very well might, then we will see if the media changes their tone, which I am betting that they will. In addition the democrats primary rules are clearly set up to extend any nomination contest, greatly expending campaign resources, while the Republican's have clearly set up their campaign to end the nomination process as quickly as possible. This give republicans a tremendous advantage by allowing republicans to save resources and prepare for the general election, and at the same time gives the republicans ample opportunity to pick the democratic candidate of their choice, as I think we are witnessing in this election. I would say that this clearly shows that their appears to be some collusion between democratic party leaders and republican party leaders to give republican candidates a clear advantage in the presidential race.

Personally, I am fed up with the democratic party. Too bad there currently aren't any decent third parties available. The libertarians believe in the free market, which is re-packaged communism in my opinion, otherwise I could support many of their beliefs, end the war on drugs, stop spending huge military budgets overseas supporting international corporations, start enforcing the laws against illegal immigration. In general I think we should end all immigration of Muslims, and start setting up programs to help young Muslims escape the cult if they so desire. We need fair treaties that push for increasing worker's rights and pay around the globe, prosecution of white collar crime, ect..

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