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United States

Slashdot, The Elections, and Space Exploration 345

We've been putting off coverage of the US elections for a long time now, but with the election only weeks away, we figure its time to let loose. The stories about the election will be posted under the United States topic, and will stop with the announcement of the winner. Stories that are selected will be very few, so expect to be have submissions rejected. Submissions must have some sort of angle for them to be considered for Slashdot, and we will be brutal: we're not CNN here. And if you don't care about the election, login and disable the United States topic and you'll be free from this. We're starting this off with a link from TOTKChief where you can read NASA Watch's of journal of space-related election news, which is just the first of many issues we think is relevant in this upcoming election. Read it, make up your own mind, and vote goddammit.
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The Politics of Space

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  • There's a fundamental difference.

    Your election in Minnesota was not an electoral college voting system. This is why a third party candidate has no chance of winning.
  • Perhaps some other people are voting to counteract your vote and they would otherwise cast 3rd party votes. If you stop first, they will stop too. But you never give them the chance.
  • After all, I thought Libertarians were experts in economics? And taxes are a cost of living (or a cost of doing business), and thus automagically accounted for in salaries and pricing. If you reduce taxes, you'll reduce prices, but you'll also reduce wages. Ultimately everyone's buying power will be the same.

    This analysis is a variant on Bastiat's Fallacy of the Broken Window [econlib.org].

    To extend Bastiat's argument, if a city were so riddled with vandals that everyone had their windows broken every few days, then window repair would be part of the "cost of living" which is "automagically accounted for in salaries and pricing". Your argument implies that if the vandalism were stopped, then prices and wages would fall in such a way that the net standard of living would not increase -- which is absurd, since it is obvious on its face that people who are constantly beset by vandals have a lower standard of living than people who are not.
    /.

  • Um...no. The point of the fallacy of the broken window is that society has lost the value of the broken window. It is gone, an amount of money that is essentially disappeared forever, because the labor and materials for the window that is broken no longer benefit anyone.

    When you pay taxes, you don't "lose the window". The taxes go to pay for things that have naterial value that society benefits from (the degree and type of benefit is usually what people argue about).

    It's the same as people who claim that space research is a waste of money because we don't see the benefits on earth. The money we spend on space exploration isn't sent to the sun to be burned up, it's spent right here on salaries for researchers and materials to build equipment. No money is "lost" into space, and no window is broken. Society is no poorer for having spent the money on space (though you can certainly argue the opportunity cost of not spending it elsewhere).

    And, to counter your "extension" of Bastiat's argument (which really wasn't Bastiat's argument at all, he was talking about the lost value of the window and the fallacy that replacing it was good for the economy): If an entire city were constantly breaking windows, YES, IT WOULD be accounted for in the price of goods and labor. It would be a predictable cost that people and businesses would have to account for. In modern America, insurance is certainly a cost of living that poeple pay attention to, and it varies from place to place for exactly the reasn you state -- if you live in a place with high vandalism rates, your cost of insurance will go up. If your salary cannot pay the insurance rate, you may well move to somewhere else or find a different job. Many people avoid buying sports cars because the insurance is too high. It's a cost that is taken into account by most people when they buy cars -- how expensive are the repairs, the insurance?

    I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
    Q.Tell me what the trail was.
  • "I'm not buying into this whole 'voting for them gives them more power' thing"

    What don't you understand about this concept?

    To become a politician you must receive the most votes. All politicians need votes to get elected and they will pay attention to any large group of votes (i.e. labor unions, minority groups, the elderly) and they will try and win their vote. Is this not obvious from the treatment of Social Security (seniors are very likely to vote and social security is their biggest issue in general) in this election.

    So how would you react as a politcian trying to win an election if you saw that in the past election (or better yet, in the past 2 or 3 elections) that a lot of votes went to a 3rd party? You would investigate why the votes went there and try to win them yourself, right? You might mention the third party candidates name in a speech and talk about how you agree with their position on X because it might win over some of those votes.

    In my mind, it is a straight forward conclusion that voting for a third party candidate will have two effects: either it will increase the stature of that third party candidate, or it will help push the main party candidates towards the positions on issues you care about.

    Now, lets look at what not voting for a third party candidate will do. The winner of the election and the loser will not see any opposition that applies to both of them and the next election will likely become even more partisan. Finally, the third party candidates because they received fewer votes become discouraged, those viewpoints are weakened and evetually they start to disappear .

    Vote third part in this election (I suggest Brown, but any 3rd party vote is better than a vote for Gore or Bush).
  • Please read the parent comment.
  • Like it makes a difference. On one hand you get Al "Info Superhighway" Gore, whose gang preaches that its your duty to help the needy because "society" decrees it a virtue, and on the other hand you have George "Coke Spoon" W. Bush, whose gang says its your duty to work under an effective 40-50% tax rate (see above) to help the needy because "God says its the right thing". And to make matters worse, you have morons like Nader, capitalizing on the whole scene, being LEGITIMIZED by a bunch of sandal wearing trust-fund babies passing out fliers.

    Vote for YOURSELF this election - plug in, log on, and drop out.

    Shrug.

  • by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:48AM (#703188)
    The election this year between Gore and Bush is going to be really close. The 5% that Nader might get, or the 5% that Brown might get, would radically change the election if those people wer instead to vote for one of the "Dumb and Dumbers."

    What is the consequence of this? Maybe the losing party will look at the results sand say "Well, gee, if we had Nader's vote, we would have won."

    So what do they do the next election? They take on a platform that will hopefully woo the Nader (or Brown, or Perot) voters.

    This is precisely how Populist and Socialist positions were incorporated into the Democratic Party, how Dixiecrat positions were incorporated into the Republican Party, and how deficit reduction became a major issue for both parties after Perot's performance in 1992.

    A third party doesn't have to win; it just has to do well enough to scare the Establishment.
    /.

  • In the late 1980s he promoted the commercialization of the InterNet which then was mostly a military and academic set of networks. He borrowed the metaphor of his father's Interstate highway system legislation. Poor Al took some flak with silly name back then. And now he takes flak for this claiming to invent the InterNet.
  • I agree. If everyone voted for who they REALLY want to be president, this two party crap might go out the window.

    My general opinion is that if you vote for either of the two whatsisnames that get all the publicity, you probably are brainwashed and you probably made your decision by watching television.

    Ask yourself one question:
    If I could vote for anyone I want, who would I vote for?

    Well, you CAN vote for anyone you want. So quit being so brainwashed.

    Just my opinion.
  • Get it through your thick skull, you can only create something once

    Really, so when was the internet created? It should be a simple question, since it can only be created once.

    Was it the first connection between DARPA systems, the invention of TCP/IP, the opening to the public?

    I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
    Q.Tell me what the trail was.
  • 'net (which might have taken off a decade earlier with lower taxes instead of higher spending)

    Of course, you have plenty of evidence that with lower taxes the Net would have come up 10 years ealier, right? Nevermind that most of its infrastructure, most of the protocols have been developed thanks to gov't funds.

    Of course, with all that done, you can fantasize all you want about your bloody "taxpayer's money".


    --

  • Well, first of all, about half of the population doesn't even vote. So I'd hardly call the other have a "mass majority".

    Also, ask people walking down the street why they are voting for who they are voting for and you'll probably get all sorts of stupid reasons. Like those brain-dead survey groups: "Oh, he seemed nicer" "I like the environment n stuff" "He is for guns and I like guns" "He's 'tough on crime'"

    Seems to me the "mass majority" of people have bought into the millions of dollars of marketing and hype and have no friggen idea why they're voting! Why do people buy the shoes or clothes they do? Image, that's why.
  • Let's just pretend that Minnesota did have an electoral college system. Perhaps each county could have a certain amount of electoral votes won in a winner take all fashion similar to how each state has a certain amount of votes won in a winner take all.

    How would that have changed the Minnesota election? What is it about the electoral college voting system that fundamentally prevents a popular third party candidate from wining an election?
  • Most of the points made in his favor in this topic are that he was actively evangelizing the USE of the internet by government agencies, and trying to get people in government excited about how to use personal computer network access in the 80s, which is a little more active than just voting for spending bills...

    I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
    Q.Tell me what the trail was.
  • Well I usually mute the commercials...can't stand them. Unfortunately my girlfriend gets the jingles stuck in her head the the meme spreads. It's awful. It's like they own a portion of you're head. You can't even hum a friggen Beatles tune these days without being reminded of some damn computer or electronics company or car.

    Check out: www.adbusters.org
  • by nd ( 20186 )
    First of all I'd just like to thank you for the intelligent reply.

    "Voting for someone you're pretty sure won't win isn't "throwing your vote away." A poster on Slashdot long ago said "It's not a horse race." You're choosing who you think is the best person for the job, not "the lesser of two evils.""

    In my opinion (and I'm sure many disagree), Browne is the best person for the job, and Bush is the lesser of the two evils (strangely enough, I've seen many say the same for Nader/Gore). But, can you explain why it isn't throwing my vote away? Or why we shouldn't vote for the lesser of two evils?

    "You, and the rest of the country, have more than two choices for President, Governor, House and Senate members, etc. It's just the largest two parties have done a good enough job of skewing the electoral system in their favour that other voices almost never get a chance to be heard"

    Yes, I'm very aware of this.. and it disgusts me.

    "I suppose that Jesse Ventura guy in Minnesota doesn't exist - after all, he's not a Republican or Democrat, so Minnesota voters must have thrown their votes away. "

    As it happens, I'm a Minnesota resident. Minnesota is generally known to be a liberal state, so my vote for Bush may be as equally futile as it is for Browne (I sound like I'm on your side now, heh).

    "Even if your favoured candidate loses, your vote shows there are some people who believe a candidate is right. The more people who vote their conscience rather than just stay home because "it doesn't matter," the more it proves to others that non-Republicrats might be worth listening to"

    If my favored candidate loses (i.e, Gore wins), I'm doomed to further expansion of the government, more programs, more taxes, etc. This seems to be an issue of principal versus practical effects. I'm still finding it difficult to see positive practical effects of voting 3rd party.

    However, I'm only 19.. and though I thought I was final in my decision to vote for Bush, your post has forced me to re-consider [again - I already went through this Browne vs. Bush thing in my head before]..
  • "Any information penetrating my home is deliberatly chosen."

    It's easy to take this too far, though. Sure, you don't want commercials blaring at you from every surface--but neither do you want to be unaware of options OR lose your critical thinking skills.

    When my wife and I watch TV together we generally leave the commercials unmuted--so we can mock them. We don't just say things like "nice hair, stupid" (although we say that, too)--we also point out the logical contradictions or hidden assumptions (it sounds boring when put like that, but really the race to be the first one with a snappy-but-accurate one-liner is fun).
    --
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
  • In Minnesota this is too true -- "we" decided that the Republicans and Democrats were just not offering what we wanted. And we got an ex-wrestler. Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.

    Our Governor Can Beat Up Your Governor
    Bumper sticker seen immediately after Jesse Ventura's election

    Your Governor Is Smarter Than Our Governor
    Bumper sticker seen six months after his election
  • by Snocone ( 158524 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:55AM (#703218) Homepage
    Not as omnipotent as advertised, I guess.

    Not even as omnipotent as me with a Hummer and a postmount .50 cal.

    "And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron."
    -- Judges 1:19

    I think we've moved on past needing HIS help...
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:57AM (#703221) Homepage Journal
    In the current installment [wirednews.com], Reed Hundt makes a thinly veiled argument for the BS that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.

    Bullshit. A vote for Nader is a vote for Nader.
  • by nd ( 20186 )
    Why, thank you for such a well thought out response..

    Um, it may not really be my team.. but it's the team that matches MUCH MUCH more closely with mine.
  • by tewl ( 226290 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @06:02AM (#703230)
    And I cannot believe how many people are running for President....

    Listed as running:

    Harry Browne - Libertarian
    Pat Buchanan - Reform
    George Bush - Republican
    Al Gore - Democrat
    John Hagelin - Natural Law
    James Harris - Socialist Workers
    Denny Lane - Vermont Grassroots
    David McReynolds - Liberty Union
    Ralph Nader - Progressive/Green
    Howard Philips - Constitution

    It's too bad that most of these people haven't gotten any press, I would be interested in knowing what other than Bush, Gore, Nader, Browne and Buchanan think. Does anyone know what the others stand for?

    It's just too bad that no one other than the 2 major parties have a chance in winning, their ideas are so stale...
  • The Shuttle's turn around time was to be 15 days. Now we are launching them every month. NASA doesn't have the funding...it's all about dollars and NASA doesn't get them. Why is the Shuttle what it is today...with the External fuel tanks that burn up and the SRBs that get detached? Because of budget cuts in the early 70s.

    "Defund NASA if you want space exploration" - will private companies fund space telescopes that don't make them any money? Will they fund new deep space engines in tests? Will they spend money to send probes to the outer planets or comets?

    No to all three - because a private company needs to spend money to make money. Exploration has never been funded from the private sector. NASA does explore space...as well as it can with it's budget.
  • Read that link I posted, it's explained pretty well there.
  • Actually due to something called The Electoral College [nara.gov] your vote does not matter. You do not elect the president.
    From the FAQ "Your vote helps decide which candidate receives your State's electoral votes. It is possible that an elector could ignore the results of the popular vote, but that occurs very rarely."

    I want someone to give me a good reason why I should vote for the president. As long as we have The Electoral College [nara.gov] I will not vote for president.
  • Boycott the election?

    That proves nothing but apathy. Apathy does not cause change but promotes the status quo. If you want to enact change you must do something.

    No. An election boycott does not entail political apathy. If coupled with grassroots political organization, it means a rejection of the corporate-dominated politics in favor of true democracy.

  • In sweden, I believe it is possible to vote blank. Choosing "e) none of the above" is a way of expressing dipleasure with the process.

    You can do this in Nevada as well. Unfortunately it doesn't have the real effect it does in Sweden, but I would say that none of the above winning 50% of the vote would be a serious issue of interest to many. What I would really like is for none of the above winning to mean that the office goes unfilled. That is, if the voters didn't find any of the candidates acceptable, that none of them would get the job. The thing is, though, it's very likely that one of the 7 candidates on the ballot (in the case of the presidential election) is close to your views. So there's seldom a reason to vote none of the above if you've researched the candidates beforehand. This doesn't necessarily apply to local offices, though; often candidates run unopposed, and that's where none of the above really comes into play. Unfortunately most states don't have that option.

  • Well, then how do you explain the exponentially higher level of gun-related deaths per-capita in the states, relative to other countries, like Canada?

    Americans are crazy violent motherfuckers, that's why.

    That is serious, really. If you just magically whisk away all gun-related crime, you will STILL have murder/assault rates five to eight times greater per capita in the US than in Canada. So it seems that the problem is not actually guns then, yes?

    In reality, it's just plain demographics. If you compare Canada against a population of similar size and demographics -- say, Idaho, the Dakotas, and Kansas -- you'll see that crime rates are pretty much the same.
  • You said it, sister! The best way to protest the system is to drop out completely, therefore giving them TOTAL control over you (because you no longer have a say). Of course, you still have to live in their society under their laws...you just won't have a vote in the matter.

    Good thinking.
  • Want to eliminate corporate financing of campaigns? Make airtime free. Think the media corporations won't go for that? That's too bad. We own the airwaves, not the corporations. We can take them back if we want.

  • Don't you think that there might be people who think it is important to keep Gore out of office? That they too might want to vote 3rd party. Why not vote for what you think is right and encourage others to do the same? Do you want to vote against particular candidates for the rest of your life?
  • This is a dangerous idea that I often see expounded. I can agree with the idea in some emotional terms, but the economic terms are harsh:

    • Space is still expensive as all hell. The cost to fly is $1000/lbm or so. That's all well and good in the com-sat market, because the technology is reliable enough to get stuff into orbit safely and effectively. This is not the case with manned spaceflight, as we still have many things to learn. Only governments have enough cash to do this--and I'd rather see the government lay out specifications and tell Boeing or LockMart to build to spec rather than pass out money to contractors. I work in commercial spaceflight, and I can tell you that no corporation can think of it all. Our government has expertise in this area, and they should rightly take the lead.
    • If commercial spaceflight was going to work, don't you think that Boeing or LockMart would be part of the X-Prize? Most of those prototypes are so outrageously hideous in their ignorance of solid aerospace engineering principles as to be laughable. If Boeing or LockMart thought there was money in commercial spaceflight, they'd tell the government to kiss off and go on their own. Remember, Boeing is one of the largest civil aviation companies around.
    • NASA's budget has remained constant or been cut, with respect to inflation, for some time now. The Clinton Administration has starved NASA and encouraged Dan Goldin to promote his "faster, cheaper, better" ideal to the point that the last two Mars exploration missions failed miserably due to lack of oversight and understaffed engineering groups.

    The Constitution states that the government should promote "useful arts and sciences". Few things are more useful in terms of science than space exploration. The project I work on promises to make unbelievable advances in fiber optics and human prosthetics--and yet we're underfunded and threatening to slip our schedule far out into the ISS service life. It's great to be commercial, but it would be nice to have government funding on this as well.

    Let's just get rid of Dan Goldin.


    --
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:02AM (#703257) Homepage Journal

    It isn't possible to get such a system while the existing parties hold power. The only way to get from here to there is to get a third party into power by voting for them.

    Pretty dismal.

    I have an idea, but it's so wacky that I don't think it'll take off. The third parties are wildly different from one another, but this is one thing they can probably all agree on: election reform to make it possible for third parties to get representation. So... if all those parties (with wildly different idealogies) could somehow get a primary and put forth a single candidate and get their power bases to support and vote for that candidate (even though many of hem might hate that candidate (e.g. I'm a libertarian and I hate Nader)) then perhaps that candidate would have a chance of getting elected. Then, there would at least be some real power which could be used for election reform.

    I'm just dreamin', aren't I?


    ---
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox !!!!!!
  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:04AM (#703261) Homepage Journal
    When Ralph Nader spoke at my university a couple of weeks ago, he brought Michael Moore with him, and Moore warmed up the audience before Nader stepped onstage. The thing I remember most was when he told us to ask people these two questions:

    "When you elect a representative or a senator or a president and you send him to Washington, do you expect him to vote what he believes?"

    Most people will say something along the lines of "Of course!

    "So why don't you?"

    And that is why I will not vote for Gore or Bush, and have to figure out who I really support. I don't agree with a lot of what Nader says, but damn, I can actually believe in the guy instead of wondering what he's really thinking behind that mask.
  • What he said was "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Which, if you bother to read the article and learn the facts, is a fairly truthful statement.
    About as truthful as if Prince Leopold had stated that he took the initiative in creating Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

    Or if Ronald Reagan had stated that he took the initiative in creating the B2 bomber.

    Sorry, Gore took credit for more than he should have. He helped get funding for it, but that was all.

  • One major concern I've seen among potential protest voters is that they'd like to support an Nth party candidate instead of "the usual guy", but don't want to risk "the other guy" becoming president because of their lack of support. The main example I've heard is "I like Nader, but a vote for him is a vote for Bush, and I'd feel awful if that happened".

    My friend Justin Boyan sent me the answer. http://hotlinescoop.com/ [hotlinescoop.com]. If your state favors either Bush or Gore by at least 10 percentage points, then feel free to vote however you want. Statitically, your one vote is not going to change the outcome.

    The only places that can affect the final tally now are the "swing states", with a 5% margin or less. Your chances of moving the electoral count are well above epsilon, although still less likely than winning Ben Stein's money [futility.com].

    Some states will decide what happens the next four years. Other states can decide what happens after that. Vote! (but not for Bush).

  • Bush has trouble with the kinds of questions you'd see on SAT tests. He'd probably fail the 4th grade TASC test he requires all Texas students to pass. However, other presidents may have done worse, such as Reagan. But there are other kinds of intelligence such a people skills. Reagan was good at speeches. Clinton and Johnston were good at politicking legislation. Brainy SAT-types like PhD Wilson or engineer Carter did not do as great overall. You have to judge the whole package.

  • You don't vote Green or Libertarian or Reform. You vote Nader or Browne or Buchanan. Party affiliations are a good sign of what that candidate stands for, but (from the Green site Platform Summary [greens.org]):
    This platform is not binding for candidates on any level.

    Here is a link [pair.com] to the Platform endorsed by the Nader/LaDuke campaign.
    On their specific platform, there is no mention of the 10x minimum wage-100% taxation rate. A vote for Nader is a vote for Nader, not a vote for the Green Party.
    -----
  • If you don't live in the US why do you have the US topic enabled?

    Simple. The US is a pretty big dog, and has a track record of using underhanded pressure to get their way globally. If we do something totally whacked, (or rather, our leaders do) you better bet they're going to lean on everyone else to follow suit.
  • by drivers ( 45076 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:33AM (#703271)
    In this article Nader writes: (link is to page 3 of the letter):
    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,39295-3, 00.html [wired.com]


    In looking at the Internet, one might also ask what has the administration done to support the open-source movement, either through procurement policies (very little), funding for open-source software (not something the administration talks about) or protecting free software developers from software patents and anticompetitive practices targeted at the free-software movement?
  • First of all I'd just like to thank you for the intelligent reply.

    Yer welcome - I've done my good deed for the day, back to Mozilla shilling now:)

    In my opinion (and I'm sure many disagree), Browne is the best person for the job, and Bush is the lesser of the two evils (strangely enough, I've seen many say the same for Nader/Gore).

    Probably because Nader, Browne and Buchanan all have something called an "opinion", which I think candidates for the Big Two aren't allowed to have anymore. Pretty sad, really; I tend to respect a candidate more if s/he takes a position and maybe even proposes actual solutions, even if I think the opinions and solutions are just plain bad (*coughBUCHANANcough*).

    But, can you explain why it isn't throwing my vote away? Or why we shouldn't vote for the lesser of two evils?

    A vote is as real as a slap in the face. There's no such voting category as "protest voting" or "voting against". When you put that mark down (or pull that lever, whatever), it's taken to mean you choose that candidate to do the best job possible. If you vote for someone because they're the lesser of two evils, not because you think they're the right person for the job, you're lying to yourself and your country.

    Even if Nader/Browne/Buchanan get 5 votes total, those 5 votes still show support. Vote Browne if you think he's the right man for the job - even if it's a losing cause now, losing causes need support before they become winning ones, and voting is the best show of support you can make - because in the end, it's the votes that decide who is president. Not how much money was spent, or who had the flashier commercials. It's that vote tally at the end. I bet if all the people who voted for one of the Big Two out of resignation voted their conscience instead, I wouldn't have to make these kind of posts.

    Voting for a dork just because they're a Republicrat with a chance of winning now just gives them more support and weakens the cause of third parties in the future - like I said, there is no such voting category as "protest voting" or "voting against" on the ballot, just "voting for".

    If my favored candidate loses (i.e, Gore wins), I'm doomed to further expansion of the government, more programs, more taxes, etc.

    Yeah, but are you going to vote for someone who you still disagree with just because they're not the other guy? Put it this way - it looks like things aren't going to go your way immediately this election (never does - change takes time and work), so you might as well vote for who you feel is right and prove to others trapped in the two-party lie that there are alternatives to vote for.

    This seems to be an issue of principal versus practical effects.

    Yeah, and practically, things still aren't going to go the way you want for a while yet. Best to at least start the work toward the future you want, rather than truly waste your vote by picking someone you don't support and take support away from those you think deserve it.

    I'm still finding it difficult to see positive practical effects of voting 3rd party.

    Adding support to a 3rd party gives them backing for the next election it can build on. There are legitimate financial benefits related to party support that someone else (I think in this thread) mentioned. Practical effects != immediate satisfaction. I know we all want change now, but short of an armed revolution and coup d'etat it just doesn't happen that way, and the violent solution usually wrecks things for a long time afterward in ways the revolutionaries never intended. Hey, that's life, do what you can.

    However, I'm only 19.. and though I thought I was final in my decision to vote for Bush, your post has forced me to re-consider

    I'm 20. I've voted once before in a local byelection, but this is the first time I'll be able to vote in a federal election (oh, I should mention - there's a very good chance Canada will have an election called in the next week - might even have been called as I type this - which means we'll vote very soon after you do - this will be rather interesting).

    Glad to hear something I said has had (what I think is) a positive result. Hope you come to a conclusion you're comfortable with, whatever the consequences.


    -------------
  • D'oh. Stupid me - This is just some guy, not NASA itself. I should have looked more closely at the rest of the page, instead of just hunting for any reference to "those other guys."
  • This is too good, I have to quote it here for anybody who is interested in the candidates' opinions on internet, and free-software/open-source issues:

    In looking at the Internet, one might also ask what has the administration done to support the open-source movement, either through procurement policies (very little), funding for open-source software (not something the administration talks about) or protecting free software developers from software patents and anticompetitive practices targeted at the free-software movement?


    In the area of corporate welfare, tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations, there is no end to what this administration will do for the e-commerce industry.

    But when it comes to supporting an astonishing citizen movement that is protecting the Internet from Microsoft and other would-be monopolies and providing huge benefits to the economy, the administration is completely inarticulate.

    During the government's antitrust investigation of Microsoft, Mr. Gore's daughter went to work for Microsoft. Could he at least respond to the repeated requests for the administration to talk about procurement and the free-software movement? Or find a way to use the federal acquisition regulations to fund the development of public-domain software?

    And what can we expect from Mr. Gore on the issue of intellectual property rights? Right now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is pushing as hard as it can for the public to accept patents on business methods.

    We have patents on methods of Internet auctions, patents on one-click shopping, patents on methods of picking stocks, patents on methods of avoiding taxes on credit card transactions, patents on methods of political campaigning on the Internet, and even patents on Internet Web standards.

    Mastercard has foolishly sued me, claiming their trademark rights can stop my use of parody in political ads, including using the word "priceless" itself.

    There are lawsuits over hypertext links in Web pages. The Girl Scouts are told to pay royalties on campfire songs. Trade-secret laws are now a federal criminal offense. Students have been thrown in jail for refusing to turn patents over to giant corporations who fund university facilities.

    I am opposed to patents on software, and opposed to patents on business methods. I believe that parody should be protected in copyright and trademark, that copyright enforcement should not override privacy rights, and that use of patents, trademarks and copyrights should be limited by fair use, and when necessary, compulsory licenses.

    The public domain should be protected, and public figures need to speak out against the ever-escalated march of corporate lobbying for expanding intellectual property rights.

    There is finally the issue of the privatization of law and policy making on the Internet, and the easy way that Mr. Gore has pushed for the elimination of democratic institutions. The creation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is at the center of the Clinton/Gore Internet strategy.

    ICANN is a nonprofit organization that is largely controlled by corporate interests. The initial board for ICANN was largely picked by then-IBM executive Roger Cochetti. The majority of ICANN's board is controlled by a handful of structures that are controlled by corporate interests. The ICANN board and Clinton/Gore administration officials claim this is a feature, not a flaw.

    What is ICANN, and what will it do? That is the interesting question. Right now ICANN is using its power to protect big corporate trademark interests. The next issue will be copyright, as ICANN considers corporate proposals to use the ICANN control over domain names and IP numbers, to become an ever-ambitious police for alleged intellectual property infringements. In the trademark areas, ICANN is already throwing concepts such as fair use or free speech out the window.

    Mostly, however, it is an issue of corporate privatization. ICANN is a private government. It isn't the same as no government. It is a government where regular people either can't vote or will never be able to elect a majority (in the current election, ICANN will only permit five of its 19 board members to be elected by Internet users).

    These are really only a few of the information society issues confronting citizens today. People can think about these issues, and ask themselves, will Vice President Gore stand up for their interests as citizens, consumers or owners of small businesses, or will he protect powerful corporate interests?

    If you truly believe Mr. Gore is your friend and your advocate on these issues, then make him take a stand for users and consumers on these fast-emerging issues and (stop) fronting for autocratic interests over the Internet.


    Damn! Microsoft bashing aside, he really knows what he's talking about. Contrast that with the exaggeration and self-congratulation of Gore and the obscenely ignorant "internet turns hearts dark" Bush. Is there anybody here who *isn't* convinced Nader is the best choice as far as internet/IP/software issues are concerned?

    (BTW, I am pro-Nader, but didn't know anything about his internet/software stance until reading this article - which just made me like him even more!)
  • I think the system for this section should not actually submit the stories, but rather the stories that are submitted go into a pool for each of the IP classes (A,B,C) of the submitter. From that pool, you then select the story with the most plurality (same story submitted multiple times). Then those stories would make up the electorial submission. They all get together and select what story really should ultimately be submitted.

    ----

  • I'd really like to vote for Browne, but it doesn't make sense if he has no chance.

    Why not? This isn't a popularity contest, and you don't win a stuffed animal if you "choose" the winner. This election is not going to be decided by 1 or 1000 votes. Whether you or I vote for Browne or Bush has absolutely no effect on who will win. When you vote for Bush, you are explicitly saying, "yes, I do want more socialism, just not quite as much as Gore wants". When you vote for Browne you are rejecting the mainstream big-government parties, and if enough people do that they will eventually take notice.

  • Who here really cares about who wins this election anymore. It's come down to the point where people are voting for one just to keep the other candidate out! Sure as hell says a lot about our wonderful "democracy" when our candidates are Dumb and Dumber, in any particular order. Oh yeah, and a few other candidates who'll get a couple of dozen sympathy votes each.

    Face it folks, our once proud nation has lost its way. Rather than serving the people, our government has tried it's damdest to become our ruler instead, starting with the imposition of the 16th Amendment, making it "legal" for them to steal from us with impunity. This century has seen the Government steal more and more power from the people, all in the name of liberalist "protecting the children" legislation that violates our God given Constitutional rights.

    As a citizen of America who was once proud of his nation before he saw what it was really like, I urge all right-thinking Americans to boycott the election and prepare to fight to regain control of the Government. If we don't fight back now, an already bad situation will end in tyranny and oppression the like of which we haven't seen since we overthrew the English.

    ---
    Jon E. Erikson

  • by boing boing ( 182014 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:06AM (#703289) Journal
    The fact that you are 19 is the greatest reason to vote 3rd party. You have probably 60 or 70 years of your life yet to live. If you ever want to see candidates that you can whole-heartedly vote for, you have to start empowering them now. Otherwise you will end up voting the lesser of two evils for life. What a scary thought.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:37AM (#703290)
    Whether you side more with Democrats or Republicans you are screwed either way in this election. Both are moving so far into the middle that they are virtually clones except for a few cosmetic differences in opinion. I considered myself a "democrat" until Bradley lost the primaries. But regardless of our differences, you and I are BOTH being screwed.

    So I urge you, vote Browne if you believe in the Libertarian ideas. If only to give the Republican party a kick in the ass and a wake up call. Many progressives will be doing the same with Nader. Democrats have also abandoned progressives.

    This is the first election I can vote in, and I thought Bradley was a decent candidate until I found out about Nader. It is an utter crying shame and disappointment when I see kids my age, college kids, high school kids, fall into the two-party mentality trap, and choose a candidate like they are choosing a soda brand. It bewilders me when polls show Gore has a humongous amount of young people supporting him. I want to turn to those kids and say "wake up!". If you want to get active in politics, get active with a burgeoning party that respects you and that you can make a difference in. Don't get sucked in by the two parties that don't really give a damn about you and are only using you and throwing you away.
  • It's hardly a conspiracy.

    You must have a lot of blind faith in the people you elect.

    "If you haven't read the latest edition of my Blind Loyalty booklet, you need to do so and then you will fully understand that we really have no idea of who is getting elected in this country at any level. The facts speak for themselves. If these electoral college delegates, or electors as they are called, allegedly cast their vote for a candidate according to the popular vote which comes in electronically, then that vote is being manipulated by our rigged elections.

    If an electoral college delegate is under no obligation or restriction, which they aren't, to cast their vote according to the popular vote results coming in, who do you think a Republican or Democrat electoral college delegate will vote for- a Reform Party candidate for President? In a pig's ear. "

    The key is getting 3rd part electoral college delegates in there. Until then, a vote for a 3rd party candidate for President is a wasted vote.

    I ask you this: Where did all those votes get Ross Perot, besides on a Trivial Pursuit question?

  • YES IT DOES.

    If only Republicans and Democrats are electors for the EC, you are NEVER going to get a 3rd party candidate to win! The deck is so heavily stacked against it. It is utterly ridiculous.

    They are under zero obligation to vote for the popular candidate. As is common in the House and Senate, they will fall in line with the party, and vote thusly.

    I don't see how you aren't making the connection here. I'm not trying to be insulting, I apologize if I'm coming off as such, I'm just trying to be realistic.

    It's not gonna happen unless major changes in the election process happen.
  • Well, clearly we have different views of the system. Let me tell you about mine.

    Running the country is not an easy job. Just like any other job, there are things you need to know, and most people don't know them. When I choose to elect someone, I want somebody who is informed, smart, and knows about how things work. I want somebody who will spend time studying the laws because I don't have enough time. The majority is rarely right, and when it is it's usually by accident. I want somebody who will realize most drug laws are bad and vote that way, regardless of what his constituents believe. (Or maybe he'll figure out that they're good and have better evidence than I do. Not likely, but it could happen, and I'll respect that.)

    For this reason, unless a candidate is a Communist or a Nazi, I will vote for the honest smart man over the man who agrees with me every time. I'm even starting to wonder about my exclusion of Communists and Nazis. I am sick and tired of lying being considered a normal part of the political trade, and I am sick and tired of wondering what those things the President just said really mean.

    If a direct democracy is ever implemented, it will be the end for this country, or whichever country it is that does it. Remember, even if you are of perfectly average intelligence (whatever that means), half the people in the country are dumber than you! Even if you could spend the time required to make effective decisions for the country, your education is almost certainly to be in the wrong direction. What do you know about how things really work? (Just in case you're a lawyer or something, well, quit whining and run for President already!) I'm scared enough at the idea of having my next-door neighbors help decide who the next President will be (although I fully support this idea), and the idea of having them involved directly in important decisions is frightening.

    There are more reasons than the technical ones as to why we have a representative, instead of a direct, democracy.
  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @03:45AM (#703300)
    And if you don't like Gore or Bush, vote third party. Nader, Browne, Buchanan. They won't win, but:

    1) If they get a certain percentage of the vote this election, they get more official money and recognition in the next election and more power between times

    2) It's a form of protest. If you are sick of the system as is, protest vote for a third party.
    --
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
  • One mistake I think a lot of people make is looking solely at the candidate, rather than the beliefs of the party. Obviously the candidate matters, but I think the party actually matters more. Let me explain.

    Despite what the popular press would have you believe, Presidents simply don't have that much power. They have most of the foreign policy power, but most of the domestic policy power lies in Congress. Presidents can suggest legislation, but all bills are ultimately written by congress. The President only gets the ability to do a thumbs up or thumbs down on the whole package (unless he eventually gets the line-item veto). That's why you see weird things get attached to bills, because a President is reluctant to down an entire bill over one pork-barrel project.

    Bottom line, even if you don't like a particular candidate, vote for the party anyway. For example, I don't think Bush is the best possible candidate in the U.S. However, despite my reservations about the religious wing of the Republican party, I would much rather have conservative, limited economic government policies than the Democrat's "socialism light". Without economic freedom, all other freedoms are just an intellectual exercise.

    And by the way, don't let anyone tell you that there is "no difference to the parties". That is just idiocy. Anyone who says that is simply ignorant and is just parroting things they have "heard" with no rational thought.


    --

  • >> For some reason, in this age of scientific enlightenment and reason it is truly sad to see someone hold such deep piety.

    So I take it you will hold the writings of Issac Newton, and Albert Einstein higher than the words of the Bible. If you're so sure that science proves religion to be outdated then why were two of the greatest scientists in history also devout believers in God?

    Instead of spouting your completely unconfirmed by science opinion that God does not exist, how about giving some proof? In fact, you cannot prove one way or another that there is no God. Neither can I. But I have personal experience of Him and while I can't prove that scientifically, for me that's all I need. I don't try to convert anyone else, and likewise, I don't appreciate people telling me my beliefs are nothing but fantasy.

    I watch the sea.
    I saw it on TV.

  • I'd like to be a fly on the wall when the Slashdot forum is explained to Dubyuh...
  • U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13, Section 311. Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are -

    1. (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

    2. (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia

    So even if you're not in the active duty military, reserves, or national guard, there's a good chance that you're a member of the militia. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that the framers intended that the militia be armed and capable of using those arms effectively -- hence, "well regulated."

    And for those with short memories, the best kept police states of the twentieth century have been those where only the government had the right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps the folks who don't like the U.S. Constitution, INCLUDING the Second Amendment, would prefer to have lived in the utopias of Stalin's U.S.S.R or Hitler's Nazi Germany?

  • you mean "with all the taxes you save from the rest of the LP platform, you can buy a package of services on the open market about half as good as what was available when everyone was pooled together. We've heard of economies of scale, but want no part in them".

    The implicit assumption behind your argument is that there is no loss in the transfer of your money (through tax collection) to the government, and then no loss during the transfer from the governmnet back to you. That cannot be true and in fact is the reason why even with "economies of scale" the government cannot compete with you purchasing something directly for yourself.

    Furthermore, this system incorporates loss in the fact that these "economies of scale" provide identical "packages of service" to those who receive them. Yet some individuals have different needs that others, so some loss is guaranteed.

    From my point of view, it is difficult to imagine the government ever doing anything as efficient as an individual. There is a large amount of beuracracy (sp?) involved in government that makes almost everything inefficient and unfair.

    Why not leave private those things that we individuals can do best?

    BTW, my political bias is towards libertarian positions, if you had not figured it out, but I don't understand how anyone anywhere can believe the government is more efficient and effective than an individual.

  • I have always found it funny when people make fun of Gore for his misstep about inventing the Internet when in reality what he said was taken out of context and not well phrased by him.

    I remember back in 1994 or so when some Internet books had forwards by Gore. Gore knew about the Internet and was pushing for more use of it even during the time when the Internet was really used for the DOD or Academia.

    He didn't explain himself well in that infamous interview, but his role in government defintely helped, not hurt the progression of the Net.

  • ...I suppose that the elections in the US do affect the world... so I might accept that as an 'international' story... seeing as though /.'s audience is more than just americans...

    ...but is it really news for nerds? I get enough crap about the US elections on TV these days... and to tell you the truth, I couldn't care less...

    I can't affect your election - I just would like to know the outcome...
  • I'm not a history buff, so I can't really comment on those.

    I do recommend you read this however:

    http://www.devvy.com/thrdprty_200003 03. html [devvy.com]

  • Maybe the ideas are just bad ideas? Nah, that couldn't be it.


    --

  • ...and the point about news for nerds still stands IMHO.
  • but instead the solution is (somehow) getting a preferential voting system.

    Did it ever occur to you that the ideas of the third parties are simply rejected by the mass majority of people? I love it; if no one like your candidate, then it must be the system's fault.


    --

  • If you think that with the way this country is run, that a Green Party candidate is EVER going to get a majority of the vote in not just 1 state, but enough to actually win an election, you are seriously mistaken.

    The Electoral College is seriously flawed and does not give third party candidates a fair chance at winning. But life isn't fair, I suppose.

    "Opponents of the Electoral College system also point to the risk of so-called "faithless" Electors. A "faithless Elector" is one who is pledged to vote for his party's candidate for president but nevertheless votes of another candidate. There have been 7 such Electors in this century and as recently as 1988 when a Democrat Elector in the State of West Virginia cast his votes for Lloyd Bensen for president and Michael Dukakis for vice president instead of the other way around. Faithless Electors have never changed the outcome of an election, though, simply because most often their purpose is to make a statement rather than make a difference. That is to say, when the electoral vote outcome is so obviously going to be for one candidate or the other, an occasional Elector casts a vote for some personal favorite knowing full well that it will not make a difference in the result. Still, if the prospect of a faithless Elector is so fearsome as to warrant a Constitutional amendment, then it is possible to solve the problem without abolishing the Electoral College merely by eliminating the individual Electors in favor of a purely mathematical process (since the individual Electors are no longer essential to its operation).

    Opponents of the Electoral College are further concerned about its possible role in depressing voter turnout. Their argument is that, since each State is entitled to the same number of electoral votes regardless of its voter turnout, there is no incentive in the States to encourage voter participation. Indeed, there may even be an incentive to discourage participation (and they often cite the South here) so as to enable a minority of citizens to decide the electoral vote for the whole State. While this argument has a certain surface plausibility, it fails to account for the fact that presidential elections do not occur in a vacuum. States also conduct other elections (for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, State Governors, State legislators, and a host of local officials) in which these same incentives and disincentives are likely to operate, if at all, with an even greater force. It is hard to imagine what counter-incentive would be created by eliminating the Electoral College. "

    Source: http://jceb.co.jackson.mo.us/fun_stuff/electoral_c ollege.htm

    I recommend you go to Google and search on 'third party candidates electoral college'. You'll find a lot of interesting reading.
  • Economics isn't a zero-sum game.

    Of course, you're right -- I'm not really suggesting there is a direct, linear relationship between taxes and costs and salaries, that everyone will always make the exact same amount under any tax system. Im just trying to point out that taxes are (in general) accounted for in the equations of living.

    In your example of HR calculating how much they will pay a person -- the simple truth is that no company is going to pay the janitor enough to buy a mansion. If taxes go down so that everyone's disposable income goes up, it very well may happen (as you state) that the cost of goods will rise as supply cannot meet demand (if everyone has an extra $10,000, there aren't enough new cars for them all to buy). So lowering taxes will give us all more money, but inflation will rob it of some value.

    Which means, at the end of the day, everyone still has the same buying power. The janitor still cannot buy that new car because the guys making more than him are willing to pay more for it than he has to spend (they got $15,000 back in taxes, compared to his mere 10,000).

    "If you reduce taxes, you'll reduce prices, but you'll also reduce wages."
    Why? This doesn't follow.


    I misspoke -- if you reduce taxes, you'll reduce the cost, though the price may well stay the same (or go up, as you point out). But, according to Libertarian frictionless economics, if the cost goes down so should the price, because everyone knows that only the government keeps the market from being perfect.

    A very significant portion of our current GDP is being used by government, which is decidedly more inefficent than the free market. Transferring a significant chunk of change back to the more efficent system will generate a significant economic improvement all around.

    But that's not necessarily true -- the government has an economy of scale that an individual doesn't. As much as medicare gets criticized, the truth is that it is more economically efficient (it spends less on overhead and more on patients) than any private insurance group.

    There is no law of nature that says government==less efficient than private. If there are cases where it is true, then by all means we should take advantage of them, but stating flatly (as most people do) that with less taxes we'd all have more money assumes, essentially, that the government offers no value. And value is a matter that has to be taken on a case-by-case basis...

    I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
    Q.Tell me what the trail was.
  • ...I forgot my high-school civics. For what underlying reason (beyond "That's what the Constitution says") do we still need to use the Electoral College instead of direct popular election of a President? Heck, we went to electing Senators that way a while back and it seems to work OK.
  • by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @03:51AM (#703330)
    People who make fun of Gore on this one should read this Salon article on the subject [salon.com]. Of course, he never actually said he "invented the internet." What he said was "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Which, if you bother to read the article and learn the facts, is a fairly truthful statement.

    Gore was instrumental in securing lots of funding for networking in the 80s between Universitites that really poised the 'net to take off. Republicans have ridiculed his statement because he didn't have anything to do with opening the 'net to commercial traffic, as if that is the only thing that matters. Techies have ridiculed him because he didn't invent any protocols, as if the funding he secured in the 80s was irrelevant.
    ---

  • You and Ms. Kidd are totally and completely wrong. Here's a quote from an article at Policy.com [policy.com]:
    Critics also argue that because the Constitution allows electors to use their discretion, there is a possibility of a "faithless" elector not casting his vote for the people's choice but for his own preference. However, this has only happened seven times and never had a real effect on the outcome of an election. Electors now are usually pledged to support a party's candidate.

    This clearly shows that if a third party candidate ever received a plurality of the votes in particular state, the electors are bound to support the candidate. There is simply no evidence of a third party candidate receiving a plurality of the votes, but not receiving the electors from a state. Until you can show me this, then there is no evidence that the electoral college is doing anything to prevent third party candidates from winning the presidency.

    Also, its a shame that your only source is Ms Kidd. She clearly doesn't understand the electoral college process since she can't understand why H. Ross Perot didn't receive any electoral college votes:

    How come Mr. Perot received 0 electoral votes despite the fact that he allegedly received almost 20 million votes? Mr. Bush took 168 electoral votes with allegedly twice as many popular votes but Perot gets 0 for about half the number of votes Bush, Sr. allegedly received. The why is simple: There are no third party electoral college delegates that I can find in the Electoral College.

    She tries to blame the fact that Perot received 0 electoral votes because there are no "third-party" electoral college delegates in the "Electoral College". If she understood the way the Electoral College works, she would know that the reason why he received no electoral college votes was because he didn't receive a plurality in any state, not because of a conspiracy.

  • And get rid of the silly treaty about commercialization of moon, etc.

    NASA is like any other gov entity: political decisions, not economic/practical decisions. The shuttle has been a huge failure in the latter terms -- no where close to plan. E.g. turnaround times of 30 days, not 2 days, so expensive we can't build any more, ...

    Meanwhile, they have closed down each and every private competitor --> the Chinese and Russians are launcing our satallites.

    NASA has no economic reasons for existance, and so we haven't been back to the moon in 30 years, we don't have a moon colony as a base for further space exploration, ...

    Defund NASA if you want space exploration.

    Lew Glendenning
  • I don't feel any incentive to vote this election. Furthermore, I don't want to take part of the blame for putting either of the two frontrunning bozos into office.

    You can have one of these, but not both. It's o.k. no one will blame you. The only thing you do by not voting is make everyone else's vote more powerful. From what you said (everyone else goes from evil to dangerously insane), you are a complete fool if you don't vote. And you can still be blamed.
    --
  • What, you mean you got an average citizen, somebody who was in military service, who had a real day job, and actually snuck into office? Unheard of!

    You know, representation used to be about every day citizens standing up and performing civil service. Now it is about career politicians blowing millions of dollars to brainwash you into thinking they are the only choice and that you shouldn't vote for another brand.

    Sure, it's easy to make fun of him, but where has Ventura failed as a civil servant? Huh? Everytime I hear him he sounds rather competent and seems like he's doing a pretty damn good job. So stop bitching. He's certainly better than the run of the mill egomaniacal career politician.
  • It's too early in the morning. I meant 2,000,000. This is a good reason why Mondays should be eliminated.

    -
  • I come from a law enforcement family. As such, I talk to a lot of law enforcement officers. None of them I've talked to have thought gun control laws made any difference. To paraphrase one, "the people who can't buy a gun on a whim today aren't the same people who are shooting at me." So if the laws aren't doing any good, what's the point behind them?

    Control. We fought the British and won. How would that fight have gone if no American had owned a gun? Our government is just trying to watch their backs. Keep folks from having guns, and they can't fight back when we roll into their town to violate their other rights.
  • From what I can see, republicans are evil, democrats are stupid, Nader is a fruit loop, Libertarians are scary-stupid, and Buchanan is dangerously insane. I have to go to really obscure people (the Natural Law party) before I find anyone whose policies I can agree with.

    I think this statement says a lot more about you than the politicians you hate so much.

  • While I agree with Platinum Dragon's basic premise, I do have to say that the nature of the presidential election itself has contributed significantly to the dominance of the Two Party Sustem. Individual candidates not only need the widespread legitimacy to overcome the "throwing your vote away" stigma, but they need to do it in each and every state.

    After all, we're technically not voting for a single candidate. We're technically voting for the group of electors who will vote in the actual presidential election. If I cast a vote "for Gore," I'm actually casting my vote for the "electors which have been chosen for my state by the Democratic party."

    So it's all or nothing. ...in each state. This is why presidents can technically be elected even if they don't have a popular majority. They just need to win in the high-electoral-vote states, and they can come away with a victory no matter what the voters in Rhode Island think of them.

    ...and third party candidates thus need as much legitimacy spread across the nation as one of the Two Biggies to stand a chance.

    Ludicrous, if you ask me.

    Of course, my cynicism won't stop me from voting for Nader. I'm too bloody-minded. :)

  • If you vote for the lesser of the two evils, because a 3rd party doesn't even have a snowball's chance, even if you prefer a 3rd party candidate, you're part of the problem.

    Remember, the 3rd party problem is a vicious circle:

    3rd party candidates get little coverage/money/debates because they have small percentage of the vote

    3rd party candidates get small percentage of the vote because of no coverage/money/impression that they can't win

    Go back to first step

    So, if a 3rd party candidate fits, VOTE FOR HIM! Don't believe the Bush/Gore thing that "a 3rd party vote is a vote for my opponent"!!!!

  • Seems to me that the confused Reform party should just split and throw in with either the Libertarian or Green party. The "Buchanan"-ish wing seems more Libertarian to me...and the "Hagelan"-sh I'm-a-brilliant-physicist-let's-save-the-environme nt wing seems closer to the Greens. The Constitution party could probably throw in with the Libertarians too.

    Oh well, that's my biased opinion. I'm sure the Reform party wants the Libertarians and Greens to join *them* ;)
  • Not as omnipotent as advertised, I guess.

    My wife has a fridge magnet dropped in by some Mormon missionaries while she was out. It says "The Lord could not be everywhere at once so he sent his visiting teachers".

    I guess that knocks omnipresence on the head as well.

    Rich

  • Political representation (ie, as opposed to direct democracy) is what we have specifically to prevent the common man and his common ideas from infilitrating the political process.

    This is not true. There are some very good reasons to have a republic over a democracy. One of the key one's is to protect the minority (or unrepresented) from the tyrany of the majority.

    They could have achevied their goal of 'keeping commoners out' by having a democracy that only rich landowners could participate in without the layer of abstraction a republic requires. The reasons for the reforms were _because_ not in spite of government being a republic. What do you think would have happened if the 'wealthy landowners' were given a direct vote to decide if the poor underclass were permitted voting rights?
    It was the representitives that the wealthy landowners elected that ulitimately made the decision that the poor were entitled to vote.

    "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship." This quote is by a British professor, Alexander Fraser Tyler, prior to the american revolution. I'm sure this any many other problems with direct democracy weighed on the founding father's minds when they wrote the constitution.

    Unfortunately in this day and age a virtual direct democracy has sprung forth through the use of instant polls to track the opionions of the american people. The result is that canidates play to these polls offering the majority exactly what they want at the moment and therefore sacrificing the major reason to have a republic over a democracy.

    We are rapidly approaching a dangerous point in the country, where the majority of voting citizens pay nothing into the system (income taxes) but reap the most benefits. As it is, 49% of the population pays 80% of the taxes. Both Bush's and Gore's plans would make that 100%, with 51% of the popluation with no tax burden. Hopefully you see the problem here. The majority can vote themselves whatever additional benefits or handouts their little heart's desire, without feeling any of the price for that benefit. The majority will quickly vote themselves benefits and vote the country out of a viable economy.

    -- Greg

  • HE could have had this money spent on more nukes, for instance. Would the world have been a better place? I think not.

    --

  • 1) If they get a certain percentage of the vote this election, they get more official money and recognition in the next election and more power between times

    Of course, with money comes squabbling and divisiveness, like that which characterized the Reform Party convention earlier this year. I was disappointed to see Buchanan hijack that party; they seemed to actually support practical reforms without all the political idealism/ideology (see, it can be good or bad) of the other third parties.

  • I see. The people are to be trusted with choosing representatives, but are utterly incompentent to decide even the smallest issue. I'm sorry, but I give the public more credit than that. People already decide issues indirectly (through choosing representatives who espouse their views), and the sky won't fall if we eliminate the middleman.

    People are capable of deciding the smallest issue. They are not capable of deciding ten of them, day after day after day.

    Bzzt! Sorry, but thanks for playing. Switzerland has effectively had a direct democracy for some time now, and shows no sign of disappearing.

    I'm curious if you have some links to information about this. The pages I found while waiting for slashdot to let me reply to this all seemed to report a fairly standard three-branched representative democracy.

    Then why not a scheme where the voter can choose either one? Let the 'representative' become a 'proxy' instead. If the voter is not interested in a particular subject, his representative votes for him. If the voter is interested enough to vote directly on an issue, his vote is counted and his representative's voting power is reduced by an equivalent amount.

    With a system like this, everyone is satisfied. The 'dumb' voters you detest won't bother to vote on each issue (and won't want to), while those who want to exercise their rights directly can do so.


    Actually, with a system like that, everyone is unhappy. Representatives would become even less responsive than they are now, since dissatisfied people are more likely to just vote directly than they are to try to unseat him, but he'll still hold enough power to effectively drown out the direct participants. The direct participants will be unhappy with this, and people who went for the representative will be unhappy because many of the direct types are making decisions with even less information than usual. I would rather go for a complete direct participation system than a compromise system like this.
  • 40-50% tax rate?!?! Where are you pulling those numbers from?? Bush's platform is pulling for an across the board tax cut, scaled by income (highest percentage goes to lowest income). And with a republican congress, he'll get it.

    But what I'm really P.O.'ed about is the fscking partisanship in Congress. Where is FDR when you need him? The man who didn't care what party his own advisers came from. The man who appointed a socialist woman (scandalous in those days) to Secretary of the Interior simply because he liked her idea of a "social security" system! Now, when Billy Boy took office, he took longer than anyone else in history to make his appointments, because the criteria was that you had to be a FOB (Friend Of Bill)...I.E. bought the position with campaign funds. The only candidate even close to this, even close to being able to work through the partisanship, is Bush. I already voted for him (absentee). And I'd do so again. If anyone can get anything done in Washington, it's not going to be the Big Government Liberal Washington Politician, it's going to be the outsider to the washington scene.

    I voted for Bush because I'm sick of Big Government beaurocracy telling me how I need to run my life. I'm sick of my hard earned money being wasted on studies on the effectiveness of watermelon on Dung Beetles. I'm sick of the waste, the scandal, the disgrace of our marines being killed and dragged through the streets of some African country without any action, the partisanship, and the stalemate in Washington. I think that Big Government == Big Brother. And I think it's time we did something about it.
  • I don't think you people read my initial post. MY STATE DOES NOT ALLOW WRITE-IN CANDIDATES. NO THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATES WERE ABLE TO GET ON THE BALLOT THIS ELECTION. The *only* two ways I am allowed to vote are for Gore or Bush. And I don't want to vote for either.

    If you have any suggestions for me, I'm more than willing to hear them. I seem to have only three options; Gore, Bush, or frustrated silence.
  • When you pay taxes, you don't "lose the window". The taxes go to pay for things that have naterial value that society benefits from (the degree and type of benefit is usually what people argue about).

    But government programs are not efficient. If they were, then socialism would work. Instead, most people are better off under capitalism even with the disparate amount of wealth at the top.

    Society is no poorer for having spent the money on space (though you can certainly argue the opportunity cost of not spending it elsewhere).

    Exactly, that's the point. No money is actually "lost" in programs that pay farmers not to grow corn, but surely there is productivity that such programs destroy.

    Assume your argument is true: taxes are eliminated, and your employer compensates by lowering your salary. That means the company's expenses go down, and their profits go up. What happens to these profits? They either get invested, creating more economic growth, or they go to the shareholders. In the second case, the shareholders will save or invest it themselves, and it means that you will get a better return on your own stocks.

  • How does the electoral college system prevent anyone from winning? Can you name an election in which the candidate that received a plurality of the votes did not win the election?

    While the electoral college system causes third party candidates to win zero electoral college votes, it doesn't cause them to lose the election. Nothing about the electoral college system limits the ability of a third party candidate to challenge the two party system. Its the candidate's inability to garner more then 10%-15% of the vote. I challenge you to give me one piece of evidence to justify your belief that things would be different if the presidential election was decided by a strict plurality. There are numerous barriers for third party candidates, but the electoral college system is not one of them.
  • You don't vote Green or Libertarian or Reform. You vote Nader or Browne or Buchanan.

    You are 100% wrong. In the US, you vote for a party's slate of electors, and they vote for the President. In most cases, they are not bound by the popular vote in any way, and are free to cast their vote for whomever they please.

    There are documented cases on record of electors not only voting for someone other than their party's nominee, but even voting for someone from another party.

    The electors are chosen by the state parties, and are usually party faithful being rewarded for their service. I have been an alternate on this list, I am well aware how the process works.

    -
  • If i remember correctly he was quoted by some news source saying "I took the initiative to starting the internet" or something similar
  • Boycott the election?

    That proves nothing but apathy. Apathy does not cause change but promotes the status quo. If you want to enact change you must do something.

    A vote for Nader or Buchannan would have a chance to make some difference. Neither of them can win the election, they're well aware of that. What it will do, is at the very least send a message to the major parties that they need to pay more attention to the average person.

    A third party vote this election also could pave the road to open things up in the future. In 2008, it could be entirely possible that other parties/independents have a realistic chance, if 15-20% of the vote goes toward a 3rd or 4th canidate.

    You need three things to make change happen. Activism, Vigilance, and Agreement. If all of these are not there, no change is going to occur.

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:11AM (#703425)
    "...the solution is (somehow) getting a preferential voting system."

    "Somehow", indeed. You think the Republicrats are going to implement a system like that? The only way to get something like that in is to give the third parties more power--which means voting for them.
    --
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
  • by Anne Marie ( 239347 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:12AM (#703432)
    Rather than serving the people, our government has tried it's damdest to become our ruler instead, starting with the imposition of the 16th Amendment

    Actually, this isn't entirely far from the truth when you go back and look at which states actually ratified the 16th amendment and which states were counted as having done so even though they didn't. Kentucky's senate voted against ratification, yet they were counted. Oklahoma voted to ratify a substantially different version of the 16th amendment (making provision for appropriation according to census, not the absence thereof as in the official version of the 16th amendment). There's even an argument to be made that while Texas did vote to ratify, it could not have done so according to law, because it would have violated certain provisions of Texas's own constitution to do so. (The interesting part of the argument is whether state's own constitutions can restrict their ability to ratify federal constitutional amendments -- the language of the Constitution is ambiguous and perhaps even approving on this point).

    So, then the result is a corrupt central government aggrandizing this power onto itself without respect for the contitutional processes that bear legitimacy. A similar argument can be made concerning the 14th amendment (which was ratified by southern "states" which hadn't been fully let back into the union since seceding) and even the original constitution (which required a smaller number of states ratifying it than even the 3/4 majority needed for amendment under Article V, much less the unanimity required under the Articles of Confederation). But it's sad, none the less.
  • by Deosyne ( 92713 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:24AM (#703442)
    While I did enjoy reading up on Bush's and Gore's viewpoint as they specifically relate to space and other sciences, I find it rather sad that they are yet again the only candidates to get a mention. It appears that the folks at NASA Watch took some time to find out about the candidates' viewpoints on the space program, but they couldn't spend just a few minutes learning who the other candidates running on the majority of the ballots were and what they thought? I understand the thinking behind the whole "wasted vote" philosophy which so many people abide by and therefore disregard third party candidates, but it is that kind of thinking which has resulted in this two party oligarchy that currently holds power in the USA today and will continue to do so until people learn that you shouldn't vote against a candidate but for a candidate. The Republican Party was a third party once as well, until a guy by the name of Abraham Lincoln ran on their ticket back in 1860, and that was 140 years ago, when to find out what candidates were about, you had to run your dumb ass all over hell and gone just to catch a rally and hear what they were about. These days, we have so much info without ever getting off of our asses, that there really is no excuse for not knowing who's running, what their stances are, etc.

    If you are still in the dark, cruise over to www.vote-smart.org [vote-smart.org] to get a brief view of the candidates and links to their official sites, or for a cool website concerning the candidates' stances on many issues, check out Issues2000.org [issues2000.org]. Oh, and don't neglect to learn about your local Congresscritters, either, especially since their decisions have a hell of a lot more impact on your daily life than the president's does. Whatever you do, don't just whine about not being able to make a difference, because that's a load of horseshit; even if your candidate of choice doesn't win, at least your vote is officially tallied so that whoever is elected will realize that, although they may have won, there is a large number of people, voting people, who support a different way of doing things and that they do well to find out why so many people voted a certain way. So go out, learn about the candidates and their views, decide who you would like to support and, most importantly:

    Vote!

    Deo
  • by bguilliams ( 68934 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:27AM (#703463)
    I see too many people speaking of boycotting the election. People don't want to pick the lesser of two evils, so they're choosing not to vote. This is not the best response.

    Don't vote for the lesser evil. Find a candidate you do believe in and vote for that one. You're not throwing away your vote. You're showing that you're fed up with the two main parties. That you are no longer represented by them.

    This govenment is not going to be changed overnight. Ralph Nader, for instance, has no chance in hell of winning this election. But, if all the people who believe in his ideas vote for him, instead of voting for the big party candidate that they fear the least, a very clear message would be sent to the government. And then in 4 years, maybe Ralph Nader, or another 3rd party candidate, would really have a chance.
  • by cowmix ( 10566 ) <mmarch@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:29AM (#703465) Homepage

    Doesn't anyone else think we should have a 'ask the candidates' forum on /.? I think there are a lot of issues that we are concerned about that each parties platform does not address.
  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:33AM (#703487) Journal
    The solution is not throwing away your vote every 4 years for the same lost cause,

    This is the Big Lie that's ruined the chances of any third party and wrecked what was once the model of democracy for the rest of the world to follow.

    Voting for someone you're pretty sure won't win isn't "throwing your vote away." A poster on Slashdot long ago said "It's not a horse race." You're choosing who you think is the best person for the job, not "the lesser of two evils."

    You, and the rest of the country, have more than two choices for President, Governor, House and Senate members, etc. It's just the largest two parties have done a good enough job of skewing the electoral system in their favour that other voices almost never get a chance to be heard - witness Nader not even being allowed to view the debate even though he had a ticket, never mind - horror of horrors - he could actually get a chance to espouse his left-wing, anti-corporate views in front of a nation that believes it only has two choices. And Harry Browne and his Libertarian wingnuts? He absolutely must be kept silent, lest people start thinking they actually have a choice that could result in politicians having less power and individuals having more freedom.

    I suppose that Jesse Ventura guy in Minnesota doesn't exist - after all, he's not a Republican or Democrat, so Minnesota voters must have thrown their votes away.

    Vote your conscience - vote for Brown (or Nader, or whomeever). Don't give extra votes to people you think are morons just because they're the "lesser of two evils" (even though you have more than two choices!), and don't eschew going to the polls. Elections are the one time when individuals such as yourself actually wield more power over the formation and direction of government than lobbyists and "friends", and it's a shame more people don't exercise that power. Even if your favoured candidate loses, your vote shows there are some people who believe a candidate is right. The more people who vote their conscience rather than just stay home because "it doesn't matter," the more it proves to others that non-Republicrats might be worth listening to.
    -------------
  • by ABetterRoss ( 216217 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:33AM (#703490) Homepage Journal
    Thought this was interesting... Prince Al has taken a lot of shit for his Internet claim, and Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn (Two of the nets original architects) have written an open letter to actually back up his claim to have "taken the initiative in creating the Internet."

    Dave and Declan,

    I am taking the liberty of sending to you both a brief summary of Al Gore's Internet involvement, prepared by Bob Kahn and me. As you know, there have been a seemingly unending series of jokes chiding the vice president for his assertion that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    Bob and I believe that the vice president deserves significant credit for his early recognition of the importance of what has become the Internet.

    I thought you might find this short summary of sufficient interest to share it with Politech and the IP lists, respectively.

    ================================================== ============

    Al Gore and the Internet

    By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

    No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.

    Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

    As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

    As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This "Gore Act" supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.

    As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation's schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.

    There are many factors that have contributed to the Internet's rapid growth since the later 1980s, not the least of which has been political support for its privatization and continued support for research in advanced networking technology. No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

    The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Monday October 16, 2000 @04:34AM (#703492)
    Ralph Nader and Gore advisor Reed Hundt (former FCC chairman) have been having a back-and-forth on Wired.

    In Nader's latest, he really sounds like a slashdotter. He takes what I consider to be all the stands on open access to information while criticizing Gore for taking money from Vance Opperman (former CEO of West Publishing who claim to "own" all the legal opinions in the U.S.) and doing nothing to support open-source:

    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,39295, 00.html

    Nader points out that while Gore did in fact play a prominent role in early public investment of the internet, he has "coasted on his earlier deeds, [and] he has actively pushed for a new approach to the Internet as something that is far less public."

    It's a great debate and really highlights how pitiful the "presidential debates" are when they leave out third party candidates.

    Reed never really addresses Nader's arguments and just attacks Bush...
  • by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost&syberghost,com> on Monday October 16, 2000 @05:07AM (#703501) Homepage
    In 1850, there were two major political parties; the Democrats, and the Whigs.

    The Republicans were a tiny little third party, with no chance of winning.

    In 1860, the first Republican president took office, and the Whig party was all but gone.

    That's ten years, folks. Pretty damn short period of time.

    Admittedly, things are a tiny bit different, since the Civil War split both parties. But there are an awful lot of things going on now that are splitting the Republicans and Democrats, with people from both parties abandoning them for the Libertarians, Reform, and Greens.

    Would you choose only from Windows 98 and Windows NT, because nothing else "has a chance of winning anytime soon?" I suspect for most people reading this, the answer is "no".

    However, before you vote for a third party as a protest vote, go do some research. Make sure you're voting for someone who agrees with you.

    Make sure you're OK with the elimination of the Microsoft anti-trust action before you vote Libertarian.

    Make sure you're OK with 100% taxation of all income over 10x the minimum wage before you vote Green.

    Make sure you're OK with increased censorship before you vote Reform. (I'm talking their Presidential candidate only, not their party platform, although the Religious Right can be difficult to shed once they've latched on.)

    -

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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