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Comment: Re:For disasters (Score 1) 85

by iserlohn (#48036967) Attached to: Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize

Your post is insightful, but I have to disagree on your main point. HK politics is not about saving face. If it was, then CY would have been ousted long ago. HK leaders are propped up by Beijing, irrespective of the feeling of locals. There is no need to save face as their political reputation is not where they derive power from (unlike the politics inside the CPC).

My point is that the demands of the protesters, which will inevitably lead to Beijing losing face if they gave in, is the result of the different culture in Hong Kong. They are forcing China's leaders into a reality they are not comfortable with and what will happen is anybody's guess.

Just because that HKers by and large accept that sovereignty rests with Beijing doesn't mean that HKers respect the legitimacy of the government there. You said that it's not something they can do anything about, but this protest is in reality a direct challenge to Beijing - CY Leung is just a proxy!

Comment: Re:For disasters (Score 1) 85

by iserlohn (#48036459) Attached to: Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize

The next step will be the protesters blocking the government from functioning by blocking entrances to government buildings and facilities. The HK government will be partially paralysed and this will be the real test. CY Leung has already lost control of the situation and the narrative is definitely on the protesters side right now.

I have a feeling that this will end with the intervention of Beijing one way or another, which is what Bj is trying desperately to avoid. There is no scenario for the central government to get involved which will not damage them in some way. The fact that Mainland politics is really old-fashioned and based heavily on "saving face" compounds the difficulty. From the protesters point of view though, it is not their problem - A political apparatus that isn't flexible or modern is a fault of China, not Hong Kong. I think it is an excellent test for Beijing on how to deal with an educated, engaged and motivated populace that doesn't see any reason to respect its legitimacy, because it's not going to be the last time they need to deal with it, isn't it?

Comment: Re:For disasters (Score 1) 85

by iserlohn (#48034995) Attached to: Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize

A part of the problem is that the executive and other political appointees in power in HK is very much geared towards the appeasement of Beijing and will not confront them on the behalf of the people of HK.

The communist party has indicated that they will not take back a decree on the Chief Exec election (basically rigging and interference from Beijing on the nomination process, so you get to vote for a choice of 3 different puppets). That just shows how arrogant these politicians are in Beijing - and yet they accuse the students of not compromising.

Comment: Re:House of Lords? (Score 1) 282

by iserlohn (#47580047) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Hum.. that was a bit confusing.. maybe to rephrase -

No, when the constitution was drawn up, it was not foreseen that Congress will vote to refuse to fund government (via refusing to issuing bonds) on things that Congress itself already approved to fund in the budget. This political point scoring shut down the federal government at the detriment to everybody.

This will never happen in a parliamentary system as 1. the legislature form the government, and 2. money bills failing to pass will automatically trigger new elections.

In fact, the founding fathers of the US already tried a weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. 8 years after full ratification of the Articles, it was replaced with the U.S. constitution that swung the balance of power to a federal government. This was because there was too much inter-state conflict and states refusing to honour their obligations under the articles.

Comment: Re:House of Lords? (Score 1) 282

by iserlohn (#47580043) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

No, when the constitution was drawn up, it did not foresee that Congress will vote to refuse to fund government (via refusing to issuing bonds) on things that Congress itself already approved to fund in the budget. This political point scoring shut down the federal government at the detriment of everybody.

In fact, the founding fathers of the US already tried a weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. 8 years after full ratification of the Articles, it was replaced with the U.S. constitution that swung the balance of power to a federal government. This was because there was too much inter-state conflict and states refusing to honour their obligations under the articles.

This will never happen in a parliamentary system as 1. the legislature form the government, and 2. money bills failing to pass will automatically trigger new elections.

Comment: Re:House of Lords? (Score 4, Insightful) 282

by iserlohn (#47577521) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

So who is whipping up the fevour? More likely than not it is people with money and connections.

Democracy allows government to be directed by the mob. Who controls the mob controls the government. That's the whole problem with campaign finance and lobbying in the US. In such a system, the politicians in government are only puppets servings moneyed interests. These are the people funneling money into lobbying and the political machine (e.g. Koch brothers) or controls the press (think Murdoch and Fox news).

It is blindingly obvious that it is not the people in government that calls the shots, it's the people that have the money to get the people in government.

Comment: Re:House of Lords? (Score 5, Interesting) 282

by iserlohn (#47577033) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

The House of Lords is a vestige political body with only powers to delay legislation, but because it is unelected (as of yet), it actually serves a very useful function in British politics.

Montesquieu, whose political theories heavily influenced America's founding fathers (especially regarding the balances of powers in government, which he greatly admired in the British government at the time), also supported hereditary aristocracy. In any case, most of the House of Lords are not longer hereditary peers, as life peers are now the norm.

The reason an aristocracy is *sometimes* desirable in government is that they do not have to answer to the whims of the masses as they are not elected. The political fervour that is whipped up in the populace, from security theatre / war on terror, the war on drugs, etc, takes a life of its own in a pure democracy. The idea is that you with an aristocracy, the actors can take a long term view and can judge and react independent of popular sentiment.

The British parliamentary system actually contains elements of three different types of government - Monarchy (constitutional, providing the head of state which is apolitical), aristocracy (the House of Lords comprises of hereditary peers and also life peers appointed for certain accomplishments), and democracy (the House of Commons). The House of Commons, as the constitution currently stands, holds all of the cards, but the House of Lords (and to a lesser extent, the Crown) also serves to temper the populist nature of the politics in the House of Commons.

As the government is formed by the biggest party in the Commons, the executive is formed by the biggest party in the legislature, it is no surprise that the British system is more productive politically - it rarely ends in gridlock like the US government. If it does (the government losing confidence of the Parliament), then new elections are called to end the gridlock. Arguably, if America adopted this system, it would be a huge step forward. This also points to a major advantage of a system with a unwritten constitution - the political system can gradually evolve, whereas in countries with written constitutions (such as the US), it is much more difficult for better or for worse.

Comment: Re:Make-work Project? (Score 1) 219

by iserlohn (#47515839) Attached to: China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC

It's what they have always done. The candidates you get to chose however are all from the same party, or officially blessed.

Haven't you heard of all that stuff going on in Hong Kong, how Beijing previously promised direct elections for the Chief Exec via Universal Sufferage in 2017, and just recently then they announced that all candidates have to be vetted by the 1200-person "Election Committee" stacked with pro-Beijing representatives? That caused ~500k people to take the streets and protest in Hong Kong.

Comment: Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 533

by iserlohn (#47478563) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Actually, your point was addressed multiple times. A barebones government would be more influenced by vested interests, not less.

We don't need big government nor small government. We need smart government and we need to put in the right regulations to ensure that power is distributed and kept in check for the common good.

Comment: Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 533

by iserlohn (#47470713) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Um, that's why we have the rule of law to protect fundamental rights and a democratic process to ensure accountability.

There's several reasons why we have elections in our representative democracy. To elect a dictator is not one of them. The problem is that this system has been thoroughly polarised and distorted due to the amount of money that has been thrown at this process.

Comment: Re:Gots to find more ways to avoid taxes (Score 1) 533

by iserlohn (#47467943) Attached to: Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

No, (democratic) government requires constant upkeep and attention by its citizen in order to work properly. That's the idea that libertarians like you don't (and actively try not to) understand, and hence undermine.

You're so focused on promoting your own little ideology, that you forget about the big agenda. People like you is what caused the whole federal government to shut down and nearly ruined the global financial system.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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