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Doc Democracy

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Everything posted by Doc Democracy

  1. Dunno about Canada but in the UK there is no job description for being an MP. Each Member decides what is needed in a particular constituency. Having thought a lot about it, I think that is a practical situation for one of the most unusual ways of making a living. As I said, there are too many things to become informed on, so Members will seek sources they trust. If we, the electorate allow it, that source, most often will be their party and they will follow the party whip on all policies except for those they have a particular interest in. I think that Members often refer questions for information on an issue to a Minister because it is a way to engage the resources of the civil service. It also ties the Government to a position. I can understand why Members do this (especially having seen the size of their mailbags). I think that Members are sometimes less sensitive to whether you are asking for information or asking for their opinion. Doc
  2. It is a rubbish job and, in the UK, a pretty intense one. They are expected to be informed about everything which is obviously impossible. They also get huge numbers of people coming to them with all kinds of requests. The key part of their job seems, to me, to consist of deciding which issues they want to become informed about. They CAN become informed about anything they want, they CAN choose to believe whichever information source satisfies or suits them to believe. In many cases they choose sources that are politically convenient rather than spending time becoming informed as many issues will not interest them personally. Well, that might be describing our behaviour and politicians behavioural response to that behaviour. It is not yet the system we operate under. The UK definitely elects a person rather than a party as shown by the lack of any requirement for an MP to seek re-election if they choose to change party. For most OST things I blame the press rather than MPs for many things, the way they are reported drives a lot of their behaviour. Doc
  3. I just thought I would weigh in here. I am not going to argue that the UK tax system should be simpler but I disagree that complexity essentially renders a subject incapable of democratic oversight. It is not just tax that is complex, general economic theory, social science, real science, diplomacy, everything gets complicated. As such you have your experts informed commentators and interested commentators. Everyone is seeking to influence Government policy. Ministers in the UK set policy direction. They do so with the advice of career civil servants and politically appointed advisors, each of these will be producing extensive briefing designed to inform the Minister. The Opposition has its own advisors but no access to the civil service. Parliament has its research Library and the select committees that allow it to scrutinise Government policy in a more detailed fashion than any individual MP might manage. These Committees have the power to send for people and papers as part of their inquiries. I think that there is indeed a decently supported system of scrutiny that allows MPs to properly engage with the most complex of subjects, if they want to. It is indeed democratic to expect any one of us to be able to stand for election and subsequently engage with any topic necessary in scrutinising government or passing legislation. The desire to do so harks back to the political structure of our political parties and is thus more of an issue of culture than ability. Doc
  4. They were not really parties as they are recognised today, more loosely affiliated voting blocks for the purposes of Parliamentary process and MUCH more fluid than today. I think political parties in the UK became more of a thing in the late 19th century (after the Great Reform Act) and definitely in the early 20th century when we actually had universal suffrage.
  5. We have gotten ourselves into a bad place with politics. We vote (in the main) based on tribal loyalties rather than on the people we are electing. If we elected people we trusted to do the right thing rather than the party brand that we have invested in, the political incentives of those seeking power might change. I speak as someone who sees the inside of politics in the UK but I still feel those tribal loyalties influence my vote at almost every election. Parties are new things in western politics and they make it easy for politicians to decide how to vote. I think that anything that makes it easy for politicians to decide how to vote is probably bad for democracy. I want my politicians to go to their parliament, to become informed and to make decisions that I am not able to make. I want my politicians to base their decisions on what they think is right rather than on the uninformed opinions prevalent on the internet or the pre-baked policies of the parties to which they are affiliated. The onus is on us, the electorate, to engage with the system, I believe we get the politicians we deserve and as long as we base our voting decisions on shortcut things like what party the politician declares allegiance to, we will continue to get politicians that game the system. it is like D&Ders that declare their character is chaotic good, but effectively play as neutral evil. ?. We need to find a way to label politicians with the label that fits their actions rather than the label they want to wear. I think the only way is for us to be willing to take a greater interest in who our politicians are and on building institutions we can trust to provide us with real information rather than the selective presentation of data we currently get. No idea how we get there though, most people are content in their tribalism either because they like their tribe or see supporting the other tribe as the only way to defeat the one they like least... Doc
  6. You might consider flipping some undead categorisations on their heads. Skellies are often the weakest variety of undead, moving up through vampires and liches. In your world skeletons might be the greatest form of undead and vampires bestial blood drinking vermin that are actually quite easy to kill. It is never a bad thing to sometimes stand things on their heads and pervert player expectations.
  7. Just after I finished my last post I remembered reading a novel recently (Battle Mage by Peter Flannery). Despite lots of good reviews I did not enjoy the books but the battle scenes are relevant - the enemy are called the Possessed and defeated foes become Possessed. Might be worth scanning if you can do it cheaply (library or borrowing - I cannot in good conscience recommend spending money on it). Doc.
  8. War is an interesting element here. If soldiers are undead then you are destroying the labour backbone of the country if the war does not generate more undead than it consumes. The undead army is also going to want to utilise weapons that do not break, rend and tear opponents, you do not want to spoil potential future labourers. Other nations might find it difficult to drive its soldiers to war, they are not just risking death but unlife... The driver for the campaign might be a new technology that allows the Kemeti forces to disable their opponents at range, thereby tilting the balance to war being almost certan to deliver more undead than it consumes...
  9. I watched the film with son and friend at the weekend. I could easily have fallen asleep at almost any time in the first hour, the second hour was more entertaining but the film did not grab me and while it passed some time quite pleasantly, I cannot imagine ever wanting to watch it again. Unlike Winter Soldier which I would re-watch any time it happened to be on.
  10. The problem with that is the same as the problem of fire extinguishers, they can give a false sense of security that you might be able to handle a situation when you are well out of your league. In the case of a fire, you dont report it early enough - dont think I want teachers going up against someone armed with even just a semi-automatic pistol wielding nothing but a taser...
  11. My key issue with arming teachers is that it instantly puts more guns inside schools. More guns would surely mean a potentially increased availability of guns to those young people inclined to use them... I think this would make school shootings more likely, not less.
  12. I think it often relates to the political rhetoric. it is convenient for opposition parties to make frequent reference to the inadequacies of Government as shorthand for the inadequacies they want to paint onto their political opponents. The constant drip-feed of criticism of the wheels of Government has the unsurprising effect that people begin to believe it is true. We have had the same issue with the EU. Domestic politicians always found the EU to be a convenient scapegoat, until they wanted to convince people that the EU was something they should want to belong to. You do not reverse the propaganda of 40 years with a few choice words during a referendum campaign... Doc
  13. That is a bigger problem than climate change I think....
  14. Too complicated. The answer to this is "Exactly, no one of us can change what needs done, it needs co-ordinated Government action. I need the Government to change things so that I can change my behaviour in line with everyone else".
  15. Looking from the outside, I am not sure this is something the parties can fix. I can see American folk, all of whom have more in common than they have that separates them, idly castigating the other half of the nation. It is like the experiment they did separating kids into blues and greens, purely at random. i can see us taking the same path in the UK, where large swathes of the country see no circumstance under which they could see themselves voting for the "other side". I detect it in myself. The initial gains for the parties are soon lost when those people don't want to vote for "their" side and "can't" vote for the "other" side. Where do they go? They become disillusioned with politics in general and disengage. Politics therefore operates in a smaller and smaller pool of extremities but the power remains there because that is how it has been set up. People then begin to feel politicians have no legitimacy as they pander more to their core group and engage less with the country as a whole. they also look at the past through the lens of the present, attributing failures and successes to the right or left, even when those terms no longer have anything approaching the meanings they did when they were attributed. It is a mess. I have no magic solutions and no actual hope that any will emerge before things become much worse.... Doc. :-(
  16. Just want to say that this thread was essential in me getting Hero Designer up and running again. I haven't been able to reset the file association but I do now have a tiny batch dfile with the hero.ico on my desktop which will open HD. whatever works, huh? thanks fr the help. Doc
  17. I think there is a huge variety of things in what people think of as a right. We often speak of them but we rarely, and I think for very good reasons, try to define what a right is. I think that it is difficult to say any right is inalienable and absolute under all circumstances. The right to think what I want had me stumped until I thought about juries. I will not be allowed to sit on some juries if I think that religion is a good reason to attack people, or that one race is inherently bad or greedy or any number of other things. So I will have my ability to sit on a jury impinged by what I think, even if I have never acted detrimentally to someone due to those beliefs. I think there are likely to be other cases but this is the HERO forums dammit - we should all be bought into the no absolutes rule!!! (Or is that, in itself an absolute....) Doc
  18. I think my problem with antifa is when they take the the offensive. There is a need to stand up for freedom and to fight for them in the streets if necessary. You should not go looking for those fights.
  19. Hmm. I am not sure where to start but I shall attemp to live by the rest of you post that is, like the rest of us, shaking our heads at how we have come to the point of active conflict on our streets. As to the above, I initially thought you were riffing on the National Socialist name but I think there are misconceptions behind what you are saying. My first question would be how you define socialist, there are many but I am not sure many of them would include Hitler and the nazis beyond the inclusion of the actual word. You will, I think, agree you judge people not by what they call themselves but how they act? I am amazed that you can say nazis are socialist and so are many on the left. In America I am not sure many on the political left would call themselves socialist, I am almost certain most nazis would not define themselves as such. To me a socialist, and I class myself as one, looks for a society based on equality of opportunity, where no one is denied the basics of a decent life and everyone has access to the levers of power. A socialist state would also prioritise labour (those who work and create) over capital (those who inherit wealth). I don't think the nazis in Germany sought any of those principles, nor do many of the groups currently described as nazi. To me a nazi looks for a society based on race, where some are superior and more deserving than others. Nazis appeal to the working class by blaming outsiders for the deficiencies in their lives and defining those outsiders as the enemy. Most nazi organisations are based on personality leaders with no real way of getting rid of them outside of political assassination. A nazi government is authoritarian and restrictive. I think it is easier to locate Trump closer to the latter than the former, regardless of labels.
  20. I would say that the whole thing probably rests on whether you consider the ownership of weapons to be a right (as in the US) or a state sanctioned privilege (as in the UK). Rights should not be breached trivially, privileges get trumped by rights (such as people's right to keep breathing). Even here though it is a judicial process, it seems acceptable for there to be a judicial process to balance rights.
  21. I have a real problem here. I think that the right wing (in any country) are a real problem. I do not think that we have an equivalent left wing issue to point to. Those who oppose right wing marchers have a problem in that those marchers often consider it acceptable to use violence against those that oppose them or to prevent them accessing areas that do not wish their presence. What do they do? Do they passively resist and accept the beatings etc that come? Do they stand aside and allow marches despite opposing the march? Do they fight back? One of my favourite songs is the Ghosts of Cable Street which remembers ordinary people erecting barricades in the streets to prevent the British fascists in the 1930's marching through jewish areas of London. The similarities with today in the US are amazing. In 1936, about 20,000 anti-fascists were met by 6,000 police to permit a march of 2,000–3,000 fascists. The police ended up fighting the demonstrators because the Government would not ban the marching. The battle of cable street however did effectively end the ambitions of the fascist movement in the UK and put us firmly on the right side of the conflict that followed a few years later. Doc
  22. 29 downloads

    Mock up of tabloid expose
  23. Thanks Ninja-Bear, I have people in my group that get freaked by the HERO sheet and I have had to adapt to get them past the hardware and into the game.
  24. 80 downloads

    This is an alternative way of laying out a character sheet purely for playing in a game session. The aim was to get it to fit in half a side of A4.
  25. I wanted to challenge this as it is my own default assumption set. I think it is easy to berate the media, especially labelling them as liars. I think it is easy to believe the best of people and their willingness to do things better. Those two easy things make it feel that the current situation must be the result of machinations at the highest levels, classic conspiracy fodder. Now, who is to blame if we have a lying media? Us of course. We buy the newspapers, browse the advert supported sites and share the stuff we buy into and even the things we want to decry to our friends. In a first world democratic nation, The key driver for a lying media that peddles fake news and a right wing agenda is the right minded people that pay for the media. That is those same people that back fairness and inclusion, a chunk of whom help vote in the politicians that drive the policy debate in response to the dog whistle politics of that very same media. At some point we need to stand up and admit that we are responsible for our country's politics and culture. We are the ones allowing or facilitating it to happen and that if we cannot stop it, either accept the limitations of our fellow countrymen or accept that we might need to lose some of the choice and freedoms that have been our main goal over the past century. (Or did I go a bit too far at the end there?? :-) )
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