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Politics: Harry, The Disastrous & The Unpalatable 281

nd writes: "Harry Browne has agreed to a roundtable discussion with everyone in a Kuro5hin Feature. He'll be responding to messages himself under his own account." It's been going on for a few days now, and is an amazing look at the future of political coverage. Reflecting a sentiment I hope is accurate, Jim Madison writes: "Despite the apathy, I think slashdot's members are actually quite well-informed, politically speaking. Our friends, however, are not. According to this article, 25% of citizens 18-24 cannot name both major party presidential candidates and 70% cannot name their running mates. Wow. This discussion at (disclaimer: a site I co-founded) questions whether online forums (like this one) can help make politics more accessible or whether it's going to take structural change in Washington before it gets any better. What's the point of the $200 mm spent on advertising if they can't even get unaided brand recall?" For whose pathologically opposed to the letter "W," CaptainZ asserts that "This guy [Jamin Raskin] over at MSN has a pretty good article about how Nader and Gore can both 'win.'" Finally, wallstrum writes with word of yet another worthy candidate (still, I'm more of a Quimby man).
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Politics: The Disastrous & The Unpalatable

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  • by mooredav ( 101800 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:24AM (#676125)

    I live in a swing state (Michigan) and I intend to vote for Nader. I would love to read the headlines: "Bush wins, Nader blamed". That would make my day.

    If Gore really wanted my vote, then he'd answer concerns about corporate welfare and corruption, as well as the other unheard issues that Nader wants to solve. Instead, Gore has done his best to dodge those issues, re-invent his record, and ignore Nader. Gore has demonstrated that he will continue to represent the very worst that I hate about elections: scumming votes from the most impressionable voters through TV ads funded by massive soft money contributions. Gore's actions and his record have failed to convince me that he will be significantly better than Bush.

    How long must I vote for the second-worst candidate in exchange for nothing? Four years? Eight? Twelve? How many more times will I be betrayed by the Democrats? It's time to send a "tough love" message to the Democrats who are so busy scraping votes from potential Republicans that they forgot that there's a job to do and work to be done.

  • by bmongar ( 230600 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:29AM (#676126)

    Why vote for the lesser of evils, when you can vote for the greatest evil Cthuluh.

    No more years! No more years!
  • by zzzeek ( 43830 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:36AM (#676128)
    According to this article, 25% of citizens 18-24 cannot name both major party presidential candidates ...
    I never believe these kinds of numbers. This is 25% of the people 18-24 who are silly enough to actually bother and waste 20 minutes with these survey people that yank you off the street or call you.
  • It's sort of a viscious cycle, really.

    As one of my friends put it: Why do politicians pander and spin? Because we (as a nation) are easily pandered to and spun about. Why do the preach fuzzy partizan ideologies? Because that's the level of dialogue we're at.

    The solution: either DON'T VOTE (if you're not informed) or but in the effort necessary to get informed. Let's define "informed" minimaly: as having spent more than 3-6 hours ACTIVELY seeking out information about a candidates history, funding, and positions. From sources other than their campaign (or their opponent's campaign, thank you). And REALLY informed would be if you'd actually spent some time studying aspects of policy, so that you could intelligently evaluate statements like "A free market always gives the best results," or "We need more funding for education" or "By floating this bond over a longer time period, we can afford this".

    But most of us don't. We make our votes on vague feelings and sometimes, passion for an ideology. The politicians know this. That's why they started doing things the way they're done. That's why apathy has increased....

    Break the cycle?
  • by frankie ( 91710 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:40AM (#676132) Journal
    A listserv of my friends [] has already arranged vote swaps just like the Slate article. Folks in politically safe states (such as Maryland) will give a green thumbs up for Nader, while our pals in closer states (such as Illinois) will hold their noses for Gore. Same final numbers, everyone benefits.

    Well, everyone except Dubya. We hope.

  • I had read somewhere, at some point in the last few weeks, that the race was pretty much over, except for the fig leaf of the popular vote, due to the electors slated to choose Dubyuh over the Stiff; not one single elector in any state had pledged to any of the other guys 'n' gals. Any accuracy to this?
  • I have some cousins that not only couldn't name the major party candidates. They likely couldn't even tell you the capital of the state we live in.

    Such ignorance unfortunately is common. Most of them could do quite well at a quiz of who are the qb's for all the NFL teams. But ask them who their senators and representative in congress are...

    Don't waste your vote. Choice freedom on Nov. 7
  • Maybe it would make a bit more sense if you read the article.

    It talks mainly about how people in swing states voting for Nader could 'trade' their vote with people in Republican won states (by means of the honour system) that want to vote for Gore. That way, Gore might win the swing states, screwing Bush, and Nader will still get the 5% he needs to get official party status for the Greens. It is significant in that it could be done with relative ease over the internet.

    I for one am particularly impressed by this idea, and although I would vote for Nadar (I'm a dual citizen, living outside the country), I would happily trade my vote so that Gore could make it in instead of Bush. All this would do is shift the votes to the swing states where they are really needed. It's voting strategy at it's best - now if only people could get organized enough to implement it.

  • I'm in the converse situation; I live in Texas, which is surely a lock for Dubya. That's why I feel great about voting for Nader, even though I know he has no chance nationally. Thus I must hold my nose & hope Gore wins overall; if the vote-trading scheme would help by delivering swing states' electoral votes, then I am all for it.

    After seeing what Bush has done to the TNRCC (the Tex. state enviro agency, where I used to intern) over the course of his reign, I dread to see what the state of the EPA (and, more importantly, our nation's environment) would be by the end of a Shrub presidency. Bush Sr. was bad enough, but at least a Dem House counterbalanced him & managed to get things like the Clean Air Act passed (which Dubya has consistently ignored in Texas). It's already too hard to breathe in Houston as it is....

    Gore really is the lesser of two evils, at least as far as energy & environmental policy is concerned. Do you really think Dubya will do squat about extinctions, pollution & global warming (at least until it's far too late)?

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:53AM (#676142) Homepage
    I'm a Gore supporter for various reasons, but I would still like to see the Green party grow in prestige. I don't think that voting Nader, especially in close states (like OR, WI, NM), is the best way to do this. Fortunately, the Pacific Greens in OR can get the leverage they need if 15% of the Oregon vote goes to either the Green Presidential candidate or the Green candidate for OR Secretary of State. (Source: Statement of the Pacific Greens in the OR voter's guide vol. 2 []) For this reason I'm voting Gore/Lieberman for the White House and Lloyd Marbet [] for Secretary of State.

    You may be able to help the Greens this way in other states too; check your local Green party and/or your local election laws. []

  • While Darth Vader is over 35 years old, he has the problem with being born in the United States. And I certainly don't think he's currently a naturalized citizen -- which means he can't even vote!

    Poor guy. I'd vote for him otherwise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @09:56AM (#676147)
    Face it. Domesticly the president is mostly a figurehead. The corporations and the congress (backed by corporate contributions) set the domestic agenda. They have for years. The only place where the president holds any sway is in foreign policy.

    If you look at their stands on most issues, Bush and Gore are mostly in agreement. On the really devisive issues where they differ, it doesn't matter what either one promises, it'll be the congress that decides what is done and how. The president can veto that which he doesn't like, but that leaves him with nothing. The president's choice is either compromise with congress (go back on campaign promises) or fight them, in which case he is either overridden by congress or he leaves office accomplishing nothing and not getting re-elected.

    The congress after this election will be so closely split between the two parties that consensus will be hard to reach. There aren't going to be enough swing votes in congress to allow either party to accomplish much.

    Net result: 4 more years of business as usual in Washington. (Money talks, the people can walk)

    Anyone who thinks that either Bush or Gore are going to make sweeping changes needs to up their dosage of reality. 'Cause it ain't gonna happen.
  • Do you really think Dubya will do squat about extinctions, pollution & global warming (at least until it's far too late)

    Do those extinct animals make anyone a profit? Then maybe they deserve to die -- they're just Looters, living off our hard work!

    What has the environment done for us lately? If it was worth saving it would work harder, like all good americans do! Why should we give welfare to the "environment" when it doesn't pay taxes, all it does is take, take, take?

    Don't you see, protecting the environment is for communists -- we live in a free country, and the government should stay out of it. If you want to fix the ozone layer, then do it on your own dime.

    Don't tell me to stop dumping toxic chemicals into your drinking water just because you're not profitable enough to afford a filter.

    Damn looters!...

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:00AM (#676150) Homepage Journal
    Ok, Fine he didn't create the internet.
    He wasn't the basis for the male character in love Story.
    He didn't room with Tommy Lee Jones in college.
    Maybe he did drink too much 20 years ago.

    He does have something that Gore does not. Integrity. Though I can see where someone could disagree with his politics. I don't agree with him on everything, but why the vitriol? Some of you people are hostile and down right nasty. Why?

  • I really want to go with the Libertarians, but I'm sorry, the general population is just not smart enough to govern themselves.

    It's good to know that someone out there is willing to take over responsibility for my personal decisions. Sadly, I'm just not smart enough to know what's in my own best interest.

  • One of my questions was answered and fairly well, including this quote: "If the two great military powers of the last 50 years couldn't keep military knowledge from spreading ... what makes anyone think that the government can devise rules and regulations that would keep non-military IP from spreading?"

    This is exactly what *I* think--so do I vote for Browne? Unfortunately, I have to still say no. I want Browne to win, but I think a vote for Nader is the only way to get there. Voting for Nader gets across the message I want to get across: Campaign Finance Reform, God Dammit! After that happens, Browne has my vote.

    BTW, it isn't really Harry himself answering the questions, at least he didn't answer MY question despite the fact that his nick was "Harry Browne".

    PS: If the Republicans get a lock on Congress AND the Presidency, maybe the Democrats will push finance reform in 2004 hard enough that it gets in.
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
  • by dgb2n ( 85206 ) <dgb2n@com c a s t . net> on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:08AM (#676154)
    Unlike 1996 when Clinton was free to alienate the left wing of the democratic party, Nader has become the voice of truth.

    In 1996, Clinton very shrewdly looked at his consituency and decided to alienate the voters that were sure to vote for him in favor of winning the center vote. He did this by signing the Defense of Marriage Act, a direct slap in the face of the homosexual community, and signing the Welfare Reform Act. Both the poor and the homosexual vote where basically foregone conclusions for the democrats. The strategy worked. Immediately after the election both Clinton and Gore began complaining about the bills that Clinton signed into law only a weeks before.

    Nader has become Gore's truth detector. Now the left wing of the party recognizes that Gore, although he is advocating huge increases in the size of government, wants to appeal to the center and they're abandoning him in favor of a candidate who presents a consistent view and actually has some credibility that he means what he says. Gore doesn't. I say vote Nader. At least you can trust the man. You certainly can't trust Gore.
  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:11AM (#676155) Homepage

    I respectfully disagree. This election isn't just about who's going to sit in the White House for the next four years; it's about who's going to sit on the Supreme Court for the next twenty.

    Bush has stated that his favorite Justices on the Supreme Court are Scalia and Thomas. At present, at least two and maybe four Supreme Court justices are approaching the point where they will need to retire from the bench. These justices are all moderates or liberals and their replacements could decide on issues of privacy, reproductive freedom, and civil rights, in the very near future. A Bush election could mean the end of Roe v. Wade. A lot of people on the left would perceive this as a major loss, and it's not just Bush that they're going to blame.

    I humbly submit to the reader, that a Bush win means four white-knuckle years for the Left, a Democratic party that's going to shift further to the right under the direction of the Democratic Leadership Council, and a Green Party that will lose its legitimacy with the Left. A Gore win gives the Left more wiggle room, and a chance to 'guilt' Gore into following up on his proposed policies in his book Earth in the Ballance [].

    That's my two cents, although it's probably worth less than that. []

  • [rant]

    Well, maybe it's because 100% of the major candidates don't have jack for policy that is of interest to anyone under 40. I mean, come on, prescription drugs in Medicare? Eliminating the marriage penalty? More crackdowns on kids surfing for porn or safe sex advice? None of this is of any value to anyone who isn't old, or married, or getting married, or with kids old enough to have their own personalities, which pretty much excludes the old 18-29 demographic.

    I'm 29, and I'm voting for Gore, [] for various reasons, but I'm also a political junkie. Non junkies not in the "swing demographic" can be forgiven for feeling ignored. When they're ignored, well, of course they don't vote.

    Look at Nader, for fuck's sake. The guy's policies would be a disaster in my view - but you've gotta hand it to him, he sure knows how to make younger voters feel like they're not just ATMs to be tapped to pay for the Pentagon and corporate welfare. Friends of mine who work for Nader have been brought to tears by his concern for us. Ask the Young Republicans for Dubya if they feel that way -- if you can find any.


  • by krlynch ( 158571 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:14AM (#676157) Homepage

    This may be slightly off topic, but here goes. I firmly believe that one of the main problems with voter apathy and the political process is the lack of respect and loss of etiquette and civility in recent times (since WWII, probably). Look at the headline of this story for just one example:

    Politics: Harry, The Disastrous & The Unpalatable

    Harry? When referring to a candidate for office in the story (I realize asking all posters to do so would be too much :-), he should be referred to by the proper rules of etiquette, based on his rank or position (to which I must plead ignorance, unfortunately). At the very least, Mr. Browne would be appropriate, while Harry is not, even if he asks you to call him that.

    Same with the other candidates: Governor Bush and Mr. Vice President. And the current president is to be referred to as Mr. President, not Mr. Clinton, (even a womanizing, purjurious pervert occupying the Office deserves to be shown the proper deference due his position) etc. etc. etc. And former presidents should be referred to properly as well, Governor Reagan, Ambassador Bush, etc. etc. etc., not Pres. Reagan, Mr. Reagan, Ronald Reagan, etc. etc. etc.

    I realise this is idealistic, perhaps even silly, and is really only a symptom of a much larger loss of civility in society. But, some diseases really ARE best cured by addressing the symptoms, and this would be one good place to start. Perhaps the /. editorial staff could be persuaded to attempt adherence to established protocol as a strike for journalistic integrity and societal civility? :-)

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:15AM (#676159)
    Unlike tangible goods and real property, the nature of IP -- or any form of knowledge -- is to spread."

    Looks a lot like "Information wants to be free" to me.. :)

    Yes, but then he goes on to say []

    As far as IP being worthy of being safeguarded, it matters little to me whether or not a week's worth of my labor was spent fashioning a dining room table or writing code -- both consumed part of my life and are fruits of my labor, and I want both to be guarded from those who would take them without my giving me something in exchange.

    The (unspoken) implication is that copyright, patents, and other forms of IP are OK, although strictly speaking he did not state that explicitly.

    I think he (and a lot of people, both here and elsewhere) need to be educated and made to realize (or at least confront and argue against) the notion that a government mandated and enforced monopoly isn't necessary for IP creators to be fairly compensated and, furthermore, has a stifling impact [] on the field of endeavor so affected, not to mention the society [], culture [], and the economy [] as a whole.

    Nevertheless, while Libertarians are split on the question of IP (and he perhaps falls on the wrong side of that debate), he is quite correct in saying that "our first step on the road to freedom is to return to the Constitution as the rule of law for our nation." We can (and must) fix the debacle that is IP, but he argues (perhaps correctly) that getting bogged down in that is putting the cart before the horse.

    Although I disagree with his (implied) stance on patents and copyrights, I have been persuaded to vote for Harry Browne over Ralph Nader nevertheless. There is no candidate I agree with on every issue, but I agree with Harry Browne's agenda on far more points than I do with any other candidate.

    (And yes, as someone who was going to vote for Ralph Nader based on his stance WRT corporate and special interests influencing government, I have had my mind changed. This happens from time to time, if one's mind is truly open.)

  • I'm sorry about seeming confrontational, it just seemed that you were implying that you would have to 'give up' your vote for Nader to vote for Gore.

    I agree that that isn't the way to go, but if you switch with someone else who intended to vote Gore then wouldn't you still make your contribution to the Green party while at the same time providing an effort to keep Bush out? I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to just look for the long term gains of voting 3rd party or to also try to minimize the short term damage of having a Rep. president - I agree that there isn't much difference between the 2 major parties but IMO the democrats are still more favorable than the republicans.

  • Instead of shouldn't they get []?
  • On what basis do you say that he has integrity? Because he exagerates his record in Texas? Because he is adept at misconstruing Al Gores record? Because he has real-world experience in driving a $20 million company into the ground at the expense of some family friends who hoped he'd be able to repay the favor someday once he was in public office?

    I'm not a fan of Al Gore (I'll be voting for Nader) but I don't trust Bush any further than I could throw him. The guy's a politician, no better than Gore, but with 5% of the brains.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:23AM (#676168) Homepage
    damn! My 6 year old son can name both candidates and their running mates, although he still thinks he should vote for Bush because "Bush is famous" - I guess that's what 90% of Bush's supporters must be thinking. . .
  • If people are ignorant of the candidates, the parties, and the process, they don't have any business voting. Voting is a civic duty that every American should participate in. But the duty of voting does not consist of going to the ballot box and just checking off whatever comes to mind, what your friend thought was a good idea, etc. Responsible citizens explore and try to understand the issues, the differences between the various candidates, and then vote in the best interests of the nation. While the founding fathers recognized that factionism would likely occur, they still regarded voting for the best candidate for office as a civic responsibility, rather than simply voting self-interest.

    People who can't name vice-presidential candidates or who don't know the issues shouldn't be voting. They should be learning.
  • by Srin Tuar ( 147269 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:32AM (#676178)
    As a result of being on the Internet, my heart has turned dark.
  • He does have something that Gore does not. Integrity.

    GWB? "Integrity"? This is George W. Bush you're referring to, right? No doubt Dubya's spinmeisters are happy to know how well they've succeeded.

    I don't have any "hatred of GWB", I'm just disgusted that he and Al are what the Republicrats and their corporate owners are offering us. Near as I can tell, Dubya and Al register about even on the ol' integrity-ometer -- for both of them the needle is pegged ... at the low end.

  • "who presents a consistent view and actually has some credibility "

    Give me a break. Nader made millions on technology stocks. He profited from 50+ h workweeks many geeks put in yet he is the one calling for 32 h workweek without salary cut.
    One fucking credible fellow.
  • by Crixus ( 97721 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:35AM (#676183)
    How long are you "serious voters" going to let yourselves get taken hostage by these ridiculous arguments that a vote for Nader equals a vote for Bush?

    They (meaning "THE MAN", the 2-Party apologists, etc...) will have one of those arguments every 4 years if we don't START to put a stop to it RIGHT NOW. Sure, maybe Nader won't win this time, or next time, but as the articles says, he needs the votes to get on the Green Party Ballot next time.

    And who knows, maybe in 12 or 16 years we'll have some real alternatives to the 2-Party, pro-corporate-welfare JERKS who take bribes to sell out their constituents.

    Aren't you people tired of this crap? I know I sure as hell am.

    And don't forget, Souter turned out to be one of the cooler justices in the court and HE wasn't appointed be a (sellout) Democrat.

    Don't waste your vote by voting for jerks who sellout to corporate dollars. Vote for someone who ACTUALLY cares and will enact REAL change.


  • It's things like these that make me glad we live in a reprentative democracy...

  • by MarNuke ( 34221 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:41AM (#676190) Homepage
    Props for Harry Browne, he's cool as hell. Althrough repealing the War & Emergance Power ACT is something that should be done, his method would crumble American. There has to be some method to get this country back to a constitutional goverment and away form the unlawful social empire goverment we have today (ouch, mod'ing hurt). Harry Browne is the only presidential candidate that is for returning the goverment to what made it great while keeping it modern with the rest of the world.

    As far of the 18-24 years old not knowing who is who, I look at like this, they don't feel like there is anything that can be done. They get the same crap every four years. It's boring. Look at tv today, you see two guys on the media: Bush and Gore. Both are drug addicts, one is a lier the other is a whimp, they talk about boring unrelated issues to 18-24 year olds. So they say. What do 18-24 year old want? While most are busy having sex, having a social life, and working towards or for thier jobs. Not to mention it's nerdy to understand goverment and knowing the issue (of course nerds make more money and don't work as hard).

    So how do you fix this "problem"? Heck you fix like every other problem in life, education. And you do that by getting people involed.

    I can sit here and listen to talk radio until my ear bleed, or read stories until my ear balls hurt, but it won't make a lick of sense until the rest of American wakes up to the truth, see above.

    My vote goes to Harry Browne.

  • by SpryGuy ( 206254 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:41AM (#676192)
    This is easy.

    First of all, he's not only really dim witted and stupid, he's woefully unqualified to hold the highest and most powerful office in the free world.

    Beyond that, there are his ties with the religious right, that threaten the freedom of everyone who is non-Christian, or 'unapproved' by Christians (such as gays).

    He's very anti-gay (fighting to keep the Texas Sodomy Law on the books, for example), which represents a direct threat to my personal civil liberties.

    He's fiscally irresponsible, given his promise to throw the surplus back at rich people who aren't hurting for the money, and not concentrating on paying down the debt, or more carefully 'targeting' the tax-cut so as not to over-stimulate the economy, etc., etc.

    He's inarticulate and really inexperienced in foreign affairs... do you really want this guy who can't even prounce words in his own Mother Tongue in sensitive negotations with other countries?

    He represents a switch back to the ways of the past... with the potential to roll back hard-won freedoms in the areas of gay civil rights, a woman's right to choose, freedom of (and from) religious expression in public life, etc... he'd rely almost exclusively on the same advisors his dad used (in a few cases that's not so bad, but in most it is)... and really, do you want to go back to the state this country was in in 1990/91?

    And as for integrety, Bush is every bit as vunerable on that as Gore is. He's lied (or mistated) just as much. What about his AWOL time in Alabama (where he never reported to duty), and he has no idea where he was for that time, and can't answer any questions about it? How about that Texas 'patients bill of rights' he takes credit for, when the reality is that he fought it tooth-and-nail the entire way?

    And then there's the whole environmental issue. And the way he coddles corporations. He wants to give them practically free liscense to do anything they want (even ignore Clean air/water acts if they so choose), and he wants to remove the ability of individual consumers to sue 'big companies' for damages in such cases.

    As far as I'm concerned, George W. Bush represents a direct and real theat to my own personal freedoms and even my existance.

    - Spryguy
  • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @10:47AM (#676199)
    The problem with so-called strategic voting is that it only works -- when it does -- in the short run. In the long run, it just encourages the "major" parties to keep feeding us the same old bullshit. If enough people would have the guts and brains to tell the "major" parties to go fuck themselves, then they'd stop being able to screw us.

    "Insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

  • Oh for a mod point....
    but I couldn't use it here
    posted already.
  • But pay attention to his point about "tough love" for the Democrats. What will do more to remind Democratic office-holders to attend to progressive issues? A Gore win and a surprising Green turnout in Texas, or a Gore loss due to a strong Green turnout in Michigan?

    Then there's also Ralph's point, made in a news conference today, that there must be a point where a candidate flunks your standard of vote-worthy. There are getting to be too many issues where I find Gore's position and record unacceptable, and I'm happy to accelerate progress toward being able to elect an acceptable candidate, even if it's not this year.

    If progressive voters do not send a message that they are willing to abandon the Democrats, they will always get candidates that are as close to Republicans as possible.
  • That is probably the most insightful thing I've read all day (Mod it up!). It would definately open up many more possibilities.

    I'm afraid that something like this might be a long time coming in our political system though. Seeing as this type of system would seriously damage the amount of power that the two major parties would have they would probably fight against it tooth and nail.

    I guess implementation would have to change as well - it would be hard to read everyones numbers on the ballots, but if the election booths were digital and run on an isolated system you could have everyone go to the booth once, just type in their numbers (the system could regulate it so that they adhered to the rules) and it would be calculated and done with in no time. Mind you that we would have to have an extremely secure and fail-proof system, but it would probably be safer than the archaic ballot counting system we're using now anyways!

  • Every election year my mom goes back to her closet and digs up that old button.

    Every once in a while someone gets the point.

  • If you only count the times that the VP has become president IN THIS CENTURY, it has happened a disturbing 3 times (turn of the last century (sorry, my recall of the names is rusty), Roosevelt-Truman, Kennedy-Johnson, Nixon-Ford)

    Actually, that's four, and it should be five. The complete list for the 20th century is: McKinley-Roosevelt, Harding-Coolidge, Roosevelt-Truman, Kennedy-Johnson, and Nixon-Ford.

    Also, if formal procedures for handling long-term Presidential incapacitation had been in place at the time, we probably would have added Wilson-Marshall.

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @11:01AM (#676212) Homepage Journal
    I just can't understand how any intelligent republican can even think of voting for dubya.

    I'm a Republican because of two issues Gun Control and Abortion.

    Given the two men with any chance of winning, GWB is the man who gets my vote.
  • This is exactly what *I* think--so do I vote for Browne? Unfortunately, I have to still say no. I want Browne to win, but I think a vote for Nader is the only way to get there. Voting for Nader gets across the message I want to get across: Campaign Finance Reform, God Dammit! After that happens, Browne has my vote.

    The Green party is gung-ho to get x amount of votes so they can qualify for federal matching funds next time around.

    Browne has qualified and turned down the money.

    I helped pay for the Libertarian convention - because I'm a member of the party and wrote a check to them specifically. Unfortunately, I also helped pay for the Republican and Democratic conventions, with money those parties extracted from me with the threat of force. Nader's "reform" would involve forcing me to pay for his party, as well as the Republicrats, by threat of force.

    I don't consider this much of an improvement.

  • by binarybits ( 11068 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @11:10AM (#676215) Homepage
    Sadly, too many Libertarians (especially online) make really bad arguments. Those Libertarians who have thought about the issues in some depth and read more than Atlas Shrugged have a much more nuanced world-view than simply believing that everyone needs to look out for himself and ignore others. Libertarianism is a political theory, not a philosophical one. It holds only that Big Government is destructive of society, not that individual shouldn't help one another. The choice is not between cooperation and selfishness. The choice is between voluntary relationships and coercive ones. Voluntary relationships promote harmony, and progress. Coercive means lead to strife and special interest wrangling. Indeed, one of the strongest arguments for libertarianism is that Big Government destroys the good will and cooperative spirit that voluntary relationships promote. There are of course many other reasons-- government programs are inefficient, threatening to civil liberties, benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, and many other bad things. But please don't dismiss Libertarianism because of the stupidity of a handful or Randroids. An idea is not responsible for the intelligence of its adherents.
  • Harry Potter [] for President!
  • Maybe I hate W because he seems to be slightly dumber than some fenceposts I know. I don't trust his ability to do critical analysis when presented with conflicting expert opinion, or to coherently negotiate with other nations.

    Maybe it's because in Texas the governor has very little power due to a very weird constitution, and he hasn't had any real experience, but even the little bit he's had seems to be indicitive of a man who'll cut my taxes and make the rest of the country suffer.

    Maybe I don't like the idea of a Republican dominated Supreme Court.

    Maybe I forgot to buy into the character assassination of Gore.

    Maybe I'm just smarter than you.

    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @11:18AM (#676222) Homepage Journal

    Can you show me a source for GW favoring making it illegal for a man to love another man?

    He's fiscally irresponsible, given his promise to throw the surplus back at rich people who aren't hurting for the money, and not concentrating on paying down the debt, or more carefully 'targeting' the tax-cut so as not to over-stimulate the economy, etc., etc.

    The truely poor get MORE back under GW's tax plan than they do under Gore's. While it's true that "rich" people get more money back, THEY PAY MORE IN THE FIRST PLACE. If I get 20% back and Bill Gates get's 2%, of course he gets more money back than I do because he paid a 1000x more to begin with. The budget surplus that Gore's looking to spend on the geezers relies upon a projected increase in the economy. In order to have the money in the first place, the economy has to GROW!

    He's inarticulate and really inexperienced in foreign affairs... do you really want this guy who can't even prounce words in his own Mother Tongue in sensitive negotations with other countries?

    I nearly forgot, to some people being able to tell a lie well is more important than the ability to tell the truth.

    He represents a switch back to the ways of the past... with the potential to roll back hard-won freedoms in the areas of gay civil rights

    I hate to be the one to tell you, but you don't have a right to sodomy.

    a woman's right to choose,

    To choose murder? That's why he gets my vote.

    freedom of (and from) religious expression in public life, etc...

    Freedom of religion is not the same as freedom from religion. Do you ask Jewish people not to wear certain articles of head covering when they're in your presence? Would you ask me to cover the Hex on my chest if we were swimming at the same public pool? Would you ask a muslim woman to remove that silly little veil so that you can see who you're talking to?

    do you want to go back to the state this country was in in 1990/91?

    Are you seriously asking ME that? Socially, absolutely. Back when it was not a federal crime to protest the wrong type of business. Back when the tree huggers and dirt kissers didn't have the ability affect public policy because the people in charge weren't in bed with them. Back when I didn't have to worry about flipping channels only find to hairy faces lip locked on MTV. Back when no mainstream politician had the audacity to suggest taking over 1/7 of the US economy or suggest that I pay for someone to murder her own child.

    I'd love it. Please give me the good old days.

  • Call it what you want. If the democrats held the same views as I do, I'd be a democrat.
  • Maybe I don't like the idea of a Republican dominated Supreme Court.

    I think that I already know the answer to this one, but I'll ask first. Why do you not like that idea?
  • it doesn't matter what either one promises, it'll be the congress that decides what is done

    On most economic issues, yes, they'll end up in roughly the same place. But there are also things a President can affect unilaterally:

    • Abortion Rights -- the President appoints new Supreme Court [] Justices. He also appoints the FDA, which has the authority to allow or withdraw RU-486.
    • the environment -- the President appoints the the EPA, Interior, etc. They control mileage and emission standards [] for vehicles. They choose between spotted owls and logging companies. etc.
    • Microsoft -- the President appoints the Attorney General and DOJ prosecutors []. They decide whether or not to keep Bill Gates in court for the rest of his life. The President also appoints the federal judges who hear these cases.

    If you care about these issues, then there is a difference between them.

  • by Diesel Dave ( 95048 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @11:30AM (#676231)
    --- I really want to go with the Libertarians, but I'm sorry, the general population is just not smart enough to govern themselves. ---

    I agree 100%. But who do you think makes up the government!?!? Those same idiots wandering around that can't even balance their checkbook. (And in their hands it's a trillion dollar checkbook!)

    This is the missing puzzle peice that completly proves anarchism is the only rational path for human beings; only TRUE ABSOLUTE freedom allows progression of the human race.

    Ideologically I don't believe in voting. (AKA relinquishing your right of free choice to another) But Browne gets me pretty damn close to where I want to be, so he's getting my support instead of me voting all 'None of the above' this year.

    As for your drivel about how we are a 'country', a team, I owe you for something....
    It's called dualistic thought. A flaw in human nature, and you've got it bad.

    Voting for president is not like betting on a horse race. You gain nothing by choosing the winner. It is about supporting someone that doesn't have an interest in holding a gun to your head to make you do things you don't want to do. Harry Browne is the only one that qualifies.
  • Slashdot

    I've been a bit puzzled by this myself. I suspect the reason is that the consensus among commentators is that Bush is a dummy and Gore is brilliant. Slashdot people tend to appreciate raw brainpower more than the average, so they can respect Gore's command of the issues. This is the way the race has been spun in most places.

    At the same time, I don't think the slashdot consensus is accurate. Consider the following issues:

    The Issues

    Bush had the guts to put Social InSecurity on the table, which is a HUGE issue for any independent contractors who happen to be around here - if you want to be paying 12.5% tax for the rest of your life on a program that's not going to give you a dime when you retire, by all means vote for Gore. Granted, Bush doesn't go as far as I'd like, but at least I see a glimmer of hope in where he is headed.

    Gore will only cut taxes for people who behave his way; Bush's tax cuts are across the board. That's why they go mainly to the top 1% of the nation; the top 1% pays more, so they get more back. If you're single and without kids, Bush's cuts will help you a darn sight more than Gore's. And I would expect that many slashdot readers are in income brackets where tax cuts would be quite attractive. And if you're not in them now, consider what might happen in a few years. Does anyone here seriously think of government as anything but a rampaging beast out to get every dime they can? The only way to tame the beast is to cut its food supply so it won't grow and envelop us all.

    His statements in the debates on net censorship are appalling - sadly, Gore's record is equally bad, if not worse. Gore has a proven record of getting serious about cultural issues such as porn and XXX-rated music lyrics; I doubt Bush will push them with any degree of enthusiasm. I could be wrong, but I'd be extremely surprised if there was any advantage to free speech in voting for Gore.

    There's a definite advantage in terms of net taxes in voting for Bush; I think he'll be much more protective of the net economy than Gore.


    By all accounts, Bush has been quite successful in administrating a major state and building a policy consensus. Of course you can nibble at his record at the margins, but no politician does a perfect job anywhere. Bush came to office saying he would focus on certain issues, including education. He focused, and those areas have improved significantly.

    I'd count this as the mark of a successful leader of men, not a dumbass. A successful leader doesn't have to be the smartest person on the block; instead, he has to be inspirational and know what principles to work on. I'm probably smarter than my boss, the person who runs the company I work for, but he has the skills needed to rouse the troops, and he adheres to the principles that make the company successful. You could say I'm like Gore and my boss is like Bush. Guess what? He does a darn sight better job than I would, because he has skills I lack.

    Same with Gore and Bush. Gore strikes me as a playground bully; Bush is a concilitator. Who's going to do better at negotiating with Congress?

    Inconsistency on the Issues

    Gore has perfected the chameleon-like poses of Clinton. He's swung violently from the left to the right on a wide range of issues. Take the environment. In Earth in the Balance, he wanted to ban the internal combustion engine. Now he doesn't, because it would cost him votes. He's taken enormous donations from tobacco interests, and served them well in the senate; now he's as against tobacco as anyone.

    Gore has put on a large number of masks in the campaign, from populist to conservative who won't change a thing from the Clinton years. He's particularly upsetting as a populist; the mask of "fighting for the american people" feels so phony you can almost see the rubber.

    I don't think we've seen the Real Gore yet. I do think we've seen the real Bush. He's been extremely consistent in his positions throughout the campaign.

    Governing Policies

    Bush is a lot like Reagan: Create a program consisting of four or five major points, and once in office push like crazy for those points. Keep focused.

    This is why Reagan, a supposedly dumb man, managed to get a heck of a lot more done than theoretically smarter Clinton, Carter and Bush Sr. The more you are inclined to get into details, like Gore does, the more bogged down you are doing the actual work of the Presidency.

    I'm going to make a prediction: Bush will be a much more effective President than Clinton or Gore if he wins. He has a disciplined, well-managed team behind him, and he's focused on the issues he cares about. I think that's an enormous plus.

  • These people are our _servants_. They are public servants. They are our _employees_, not royalty or a higher caste in society. They are elected to do a job, and can be thrown out if they are treacherous- if they are incompetent they should not be 'hired' by our votes again.

    Never forget that.

  • Government cannot exist without the tacit consent of the populace.

    I think this is backwards - most people realize that some form of government is a good thing. They may not agree on what or how much the government does, but they prefer some form of organization to mob rule.

    Your (well, Fred's) quote assumes that people don't want government but keep forgetting to get rid of it. It is more the case that when presented with the alternative, most people prefer to have some sort of government, and vote accordingly.

    Voting is not an expression of power, but an admission of powerlessness, since it cannot do otherwise than reaffirm the government's supposed legitimacy.

    But a government selected by the voters is legitimate, at least if we are considering legitimacy in terms applicable to democracy or a republic. I'm sure there are some people who don't consent to the legitimacy of a particular government (either because of election fraud or just from being sore losers), but those folks are welcome to leave for somewhere which has less government or a different one.

  • Because Republicans are very unlikely to agree with me on issues involving personal privacy, gay rights, corporate rights, HMO liability, environmental issues, police searches, and yes, abortion.

    Seeing as I have no idea who exactly might be picked on either side, it's a bit of a crap shoot on any given issue, but democratic beliefs tend to mirror my own a little more accurately than republican beliefs, though both are mirrors of the funhouse variety.

    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • Because Republicans are very unlikely to agree with me on issues involving personal privacy, gay rights, corporate rights, HMO liability, environmental issues, police searches, and yes, abortion.

    Though you listed it last, I'd be willing to bet that like most other democrats, that's one of your BIG issues. As long as you can fuck your brains out and not have to worry about the consequences, everything else is secondary. Right?

  • I really want to go with the Libertarians, but I'm sorry, the general population is just not smart enough to govern themselves.

    If they are not smart enough to govern themselves, how are they smart enough to choose someone else to govern them?

  • What's that whole.. "pursuit of happiness" thing I hear so much about...

    Ever heard of NAMBLA? Am I to assume that you're just as much in favor as their right to the pursuit of happiness?

    Ahhh, the "murder" card! Touche! Didn't see _that_ one coming!

    Take it up with Susan B. Anthony, she is the first person that I've seen who called it child murder.

    But you seem to have taken simplistic arguments to an artform.

    I'm illustrating your absurdity by being absurd.

    Federal Crime to protest a business? Huh? Be a little more vague and mysterious, please.

    FACE. It's illegal to protest an abortion clinic if someone inside "feels threatened" by you being there. It's a federal crime that could land you in federal prison and get you a 6 figure fine.

    I'm sorry you are scared to watch MTV. Maybe you should see a therapist about that...

    I'm not the one who has a problem.

    No, they'd rather they just take over other people's lives and tell them how they should live. That's the ticket!

    I'd sacrifice the "right" to sodomy and infanticide if it means preserving my right to free speech and self defense.

  • I nearly forgot, to some people being able to tell a lie well is more important than the ability to tell the truth.

    Who's telling the truth? Gore and Bush both lie, just that Bush doesn't say it as well.

    I hate to be the one to tell you, but you don't have a right to sodomy.

    It's kind of funny to hear these people talking about the "moral decay" in this country promiting views that it's ok to hate, but not ok to love. And some people might want to think that the guarantee of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" might include being able to be with the person who makes you happy without requiring government approval.

    It's not their fault some people have decided it's more important to take moral advice from a book that talks about selling daugthers into slavery and having a bear maul kids to death over making fun of someone's bald head.

    Freedom of religion is not the same as freedom from religion. Do you ask Jewish people not to wear certain articles of head covering when they're in your presence? Would you ask me to cover the Hex on my chest if we were swimming at the same public pool? Would you ask a muslim woman to remove that silly little veil so that you can see who you're talking to?

    Freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion. You're not really free to believe what you wish if you're still required to believe in one of them. But that doesn't mean being free from all religious symbolism anywhere, since you have to respect the freedom of others also, but it means not having religion forced on you by the government.

    Besides, Bush doesn't believe in freedom of religion. He's already decided to pick and choose for himself which belief systems are legitimate religions and which aren't, and he's stated publicly that he doesn't consider Wicca a religion - and stated he plans to sign an executive order to prevent Wiccans from practicing in the military. Never mind that pesky first amendment.
  • Of course, I just want consequence-free sex. That's why I have a 4-year old daughter who I love dearly, and who has brought joy and a lack of sleep into my life, even though I'm not married, and it was accidental.

    You're right, I do love to fuck my brains out without worry about the consequences. Now that I have one child, I know that if the consequence is another child, I'd be delighted, if surprised.

    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • Nader's made the point that not a single Democratic senator voted against Thomas.

    Fuck Roe v. Wade.. We've got bigger fish to fry.

  • "There he goes with the fuzzy numbers again."
    G.W. Bush
  • What will do more to remind Democratic office-holders to attend to progressive issues? A Gore win and a surprising Green turnout in Texas, or a Gore loss due to a strong Green turnout in Michigan?

    If Gore loses to Bush by a few percentage points, the Democrats have two options:

    1) Move left to capture a small ~5% pool of Green votes
    2) Move further right to capture the huge center

    I don't know the numbers, but I believe there are more centrists than either Democrats or Repulicans. Democrats would have a more likely chance to capture a few more of these votes. Plus the centrist values would be less likely to upset "New Democrats" than greener values. The Democrats will also realize that many of those ~5% have never and will never vote Democrat, always seeking to push the spectrum further left.

    This leads to the conclusion that a Gose loss with push the Democrats further right to the "Repulicrat" party! :-(

  • YOU have a right to it, why don't I?

    To my knowledge in my state there are no prohibitions of any kind against sodomy.

    Sodomy includes oral sex (only in the Texas law, the wording specifically states that only sodomy between same sex partners is illegal... this is the reason it was invalidated, because it violates the equal protection clause... what is legal for me should be legal for you)

    So then you can have all of the sodomy you want as long as you can find a willing woman? That is the same deal that I get. The fact that you may not want a woman is immaterial. Some people want children, is that a violation of the equal protection clause?

    A typically overly simplistic spewing of dogma.

    Child murder is a term that I picked up from Susan B. Anthony. It's not mine, I will not take credit for it.

    What if it's in the first few weeks, when the "fetus" is little more than a microscopic group of cells?

    You're not going to get away with playing that word game with me. Fetus means baby. What you're doing is equivalent to saying that "It's not a baby, it's a baby!".

    Science is no real help here

    I beg to differ. Science is able to tell us that the baby is a separate and distinct person from the mother because they have different genetic codes. Science is able to tell us that the mother's body recognizes the baby as a foreign entity because of her immunological response to the presence of the baby.

    Why can't Bush's claim to "Trust the people to do the right thing" with their tax money be applied to 'trust the people to do the right thing' with regards to abortion?

    Why should people be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to any type of murder? Would fvor trusting people to do the right thing when it comes to deciding when Grandma has lived long enough and should be put out of her misery? After all it's a moral and value judgement as to whether an elderly person's life is still worth living. Why should the government be involved with legislating moral and religious issues?

  • by fable2112 ( 46114 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2000 @12:31PM (#676255) Homepage
    If Al Gore was recognizably the same Al Gore who WROTE Earth in the Balance, then I would have to agree. I'd barely recognize him, myself -- he's been pandering to the center and center-right for the past eight years, and I for one am getting very nervous about continuing to support an increasingly non-progressive Democratic party just because they are marginally saner than the Republicans on social and environmental issues.

    I am not terribly fond of the idea of 4 years of Shrub in office, but I'm beginning to wonder if there is any other way to get this message across.

    It's a lose/lose proposition. I'm voting for Nader precisely because I don't like either one of the major party candidates.
  • So, not only does it block VIOLENT (violence being defined as both physical and MENTAL) and aggressive protesting at Abortion Clinics, but.. *gasp*... religious institutions. So.. its not all bad after all, is it?

    FACE has been used to remove people who were passively sitting across the street from abortion clinics holding protest signs.

    So you're practicing "sodomy"?

    There's nothing in the worly quite like a good "Lewinski".

    Your love of bringing up extreme cases to bolster your own argument just illuminates the lack of depth to your own.

    Clarity is best achieved at the ends of the spectrum. Either a right is absolute or it isn't.

  • I would not call what Social Security provides a reasonable retirement income.

    My parents are huge savers and don't need a dime from me or the government - and since they and I aren't particularly close, in all honesty I don't feel any obligation to them even if that wasn't the case.

    I was addressing self-employed people because Slashdot has a large proportion of them, including myself less than a year ago. Believe me, I felt the horrendous pain of that 12.5% every year. That's why this is such a personal issue for me.

    I have absolutely zero faith that what I collect from Social Security, if anything, will be enough to pay for a meal in a half-decent restaurant, let alone be capable of sustaining human life.

    Social Security is 100% ripoff. Simple as that. Nobody should be forced into an investment programme that takes more and gives less.

    Reagan cut taxes across the board, increased defense spending in a manner that was very effective in intimidating the soviets, and definitely helped destroy the Soviet empire. He also changed our perception of government substantially; now almost nobody talks about going to the bad old high-spending days of the 70s.

    I'd say that's enough for any President - it's certainly a lot more than Clinton can claim credit for.


  • Well, maybe it's because 100% of the major candidates don't have jack for policy that is of interest to anyone under 40

    How about Social Security reform? Right now, 15% of your salary is being taken to support this pyramid scheme, and if you're really lucky (i.e. you live long enough and payroll taxes aren't raised again) you might come out of it with a 1-2% return, vastly worse than even letting the money sit in a savings account. George W Bush realizes this is a problem and has proposed a first step toward a solution by letting you invest part of your SS taxes in personal retirement accounts. That way you own actual assets instead of a vague promise from the government that the Supreme Court has already ruled they are under no obligation to keep. Predictably, Al Gore is screaming that Bush's plan will result in seniors being thrown out of their homes and forced to eat dog food, which is of course a complete lie as it would have no effect on current benefits.

    This is a very serious issue for people our age, as it could literally mean a difference of hundereds of thousands of dollars when we retire. Compound interest is a wonderful thing...

  • That being said, look at the differences between their parties' platforms. IN THEORY the republicans want to distribute the power allowing the states to have more control and the federal government less. This distribution of power seems much more along the lines of what geeks would ask for. Just as OS is all about giving choices in programs, letting states set the laws would give people more of a choice (granted noone really wants to move) and more space to experiment with different approaches. Also, things like school vouchers foster competition for money, just like the OS programs keeping companies on their toes.

    This is a complete oversimplification. While comparing government to the software industry may make some nice sound bites, the two operate so completely differently that it can't go very far beyond the surface.

    Even more important for a president, I think Bush would do a better job with foreign policy than Gore. I simply think Bush has the balls to do the right thing with the military to avoid the complete screwups of Clinton. I would even propose that something in the liberal mindset makes them poor commanders-in-chief. I wouldn't be alone in making that proposition, either.

    This may be your opinion, but it doesn't really explain why geeks shouldn't want a liberal President. Being technically adept does not necessarily mean you consider all liberals to be pansies.

    I completely blame Clinton for many things icluding the price of oil and the current slowdown of the US economy (and it is a slowdown...).

    Greedy members of OPEC are completely innocent? The rush of overzealous and underinformed do-it-yourself investors had no long-term impacts? All that money that venture capitalists threw at ultimately unviable dot-coms wasn't wasted?

    That's a lot of blame to put on one guy, especially one guy whose job doesn't include drawing up the budget (that's Congress' job).

    The economy is far too complex to put the blame for its failings on any one person. No matter who that person is.

    Zardoz has spoken!
  • You are wrong []. The link is from 1996, but Browne also qualified for matching funds this year.
  • It's not that I don't agree with you. But "the redneck idiots that are too lazy to vote" is not quite the usual voice of liberal compassion.

    So since you're talking about using (or, as my libertarian cohorts say, stealing) the efforts of the non-redneck non-idiots who DO vote to support these people that you don't really have that much compassion for... what IS your driving reason to give the ugly hoi polloi a left up?

  • Gore is the best vote for the Internet Community

    I can't believe anyone can say this with a straight face, after the Communications Decency Act, Clipper Chip, encryption export controls, and Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The Democrats are no better at protecting freedom on the Internet or anywhere else, and are worse in many ways.

    Regarding an issue where there is a real different, vote for Bush or Browne if you'd like a chance of recovering any of your Social Security payments.

  • I am, by no means, a Clinton supporter. Further, I believe the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") to be unconstituional: it is overreaching (see the recent Violence Against Women Act decision) and likely a violation of the "full faith and credit" clause. And even if it were constitutional, I don't believe it to be good.

    That said, Clinton had no real choice. The bill garnered such high support in Congress that it was veto-proof; even if he had vetoed it, it would still become law. Why fall on your sword? Sticking to his principles (even if this is Clinton we are talking about, let's assume he has some) would be political harikari, except no one would care.

    Presidents cannot change the culture by signing bills or vetoing them. To think they can is foolish. Ralph Nader, President? QED.
  • I'm not going to disclose my total income last year, because it was embarassingly low. Let me just say for the record that, no, I was not subject to that limitation and had to pay the full 12.5% in social security taxes. This year, I won't. :-)

    You're right. The Bush proposals don't go far enough in my view. Personally, I would like to see Social Security destroyed. However, unfortunately, I recognize that I have to be a realist here. Anything politicians can do to help me save for a real retirement instead of a chimera is a big plus for me. (I now make too much money to qualify for the Gore plan, in case you were going to mention that).

    If you look at my original posting, you will see very clearly that I was addressing the self-employed - I was saying many Slashdot readers are self-employed, and they should recognize that at least Bush is attempting to start doing something about the SS mess.

    Either way, even the 6% of income wage earners are paying for SS is way too much in relation to the pathetic benefits they might receive, assuming SS survives in anything like its current form.

    We could continue citing leftist and rightist cant forever this evening, but I fear better debaters than you or I have done much better jobs with the remaining issues.


  • That was Nixon's opinion. He was wrong, and he resigned before he could be held accountable for his actions as President.

    The office is held in trust. It is a job. It does not convey automatic, obligatory respect and deference- there are limits. You might consider the statement, "The King ought not be beneath any man- but he is beneath the law, and God" (attribution? I remember this from a book I read about Watergate, but don't know the original context)

    Let's look at that for a moment. Our President is not a 'King', but he is in a similar position. It is reasonable to expect (indeed, insist) that he not lick the boots of, say, Bill Gates, or any industrial robber baron or special interest. He should not be _beneath_ such people, he should not be _beneath_ Joe Sixpack.

    However, he is not _above_ Joe either. There is a name for that- 'class'. America was _meant_ to be basically egalatarian- the President is neither a King nor a special upper caste held automatically superior to the common peasants. He's a guy doing a job- it's always been that way. He has enough authority to do that job but the office does not grant him mystical powers, or make him royalty. The office does not deserve respect- the office should EARN respect. If you are an American citizen it is your DUTY to question the Presidential office and the guy occupying it- if it seems to you that he's abusing the office and not living up to it.

    That is why we have impeachment laws: because that top office is a job, not divine appointment. How difficult can this be to understand?

    In an era where both major party candidates have alarming flaws (Bush isn't smart, and Gore isn't trustworthy) it is all the more important to remain aware that the Presidency is a job, not a position of royalty. Our political system allows for the man to be FIRED. In order to judge this, you cannot simply look at the office- you must look at the man, the job he's done, the actions he's taken. You must overlook the office- having the office does not put the guy above the law.

  • You don't have a say in abortion, you don't have to carry the child for 9 months.

    I'm a tax paying member of this society. I have as much of a say about the welfare of it's other members as anyone else.
  • Fine, allow them to have abortions and save the other 96% of babies that are murdered.
  • Actually, I took a political quiz somewhere (I don't remember the site) and that's EXACTLY how it ranked them for me. Browne and Nader have similar positions on personal freedoms, though their economics are pretty much diametrically opposed. My economic views didn't really line up with anyone, so that category didn't have much of an effect.
    Obfuscated e-mail addresses won't stop sadistic 12-year-old ACs.
  • Yeah you are. It's called homophobia.

    I'm not afraid of anyone, homosexual or not. It's a misnomer. Homophobia is a term that was invented to shame people into hiding their natural aversion to deviant sexuality.

    You don't understand homosexuality, so you want it banned.

    Some guys like guys, some girls like girls, some girls and guys like both girls and guys. It's a pretty simple concept to understand. I don't "want it banned". I don't care how or with whom you have sex. There is nothing more interesting to me than my own action, and nothing less interesting to me than yours. Tolerating and accepting are not the same thing.

    Someone you know and care about is gay... you just probably don't know it.

    In fact I know several people whom I care about that are either homosexual or bisexual. That doesn't change the fact that I feel that they don't have a right to sodomy.

    And last I heard, embryos and fetuses weren't infants.

    Only because you refuse to listen. Fetus is a latin term for(drumrolll please) baby. Are you going to tell me that babies aren't infants? There is none so blind as him who will not see.

    And would you REALLY give up ever getting a blowjob ever again, or ever going down on a woman ever again?

    In exchange for saving babies, absolutely.

  • You didn't address the questions about rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

    Rape? Allowed. Incest? Allowed. Life of the mother? Allowed. But the problem comes in when the laws are worded to read the "health of the mother". Because mental health can be used as a justification. A woman only need to claim that she's had a few bad dreams and that it will be too stressful for her to carry the baby to term and she gets a pass.

    Abortion is an agonizing decision for any woman.

    Ok, I'm glad you mentioned that. Why is it so agonizing? Because they know that it's a person that they're killing.

    And you can ban them all you want, but all that will do is lead to illegal back-alley abortions and lots of mutilated and dead young women. You really think that's better?

    I have no compassion or sympathy for someone who dies as a result of their attempt to murder a defenseless child. The "Safety" pro-abort argument is as idiotic as claiming that we should legalize bank robbery because illegal bank robbery has caused people to kill innocent bystanders or be killed by the police in the commission of their crime.
  • I'm not saying that sometimes the law isn't sometimes over- or mis-utilized, but... isn't this the exception instead of the rule?

    I have no statistics on that, in fact I have no idea if any even exist. That's not my point. The law was written to be abused. It was written to silence the voices in opposition to abortion on demand.

    Thank God... a Clinton reference. Now the scorecard is complete.

    I like a good BJ as much as the next man, however I'm not so vain as to believe that just because I enjoy something and that I want it makes it something that I have a right to.

    I think the problem is that you don't believe in absolute rights, though. Just for the ones you believe in.

    Sure I do. The right to freedom of speach is absolute. The right to defend one's self from harm is absolute. I could go on, but I think that you get the point.

  • You don't pay 12.5% of your income in Social Security Taxes if you are not self employed.

    Sorry, that is not the case.

    If you expect Mr. Spacely to keep paying your salary of $50,000 and your "employer share" of $3125, then you need to keep producing work worth at least:

    a. $50,000

    b. $53,125
    c. 100 quatloos on the newcomers
    (Answer: b)

    If the whole Ponzi scheme is abolished, that $3125 will end up

    a. nowhere

    b. bidding up the price of labor
    c. buried in Hemos' mattress
    (Answer: b)

    You will eventually collect Social Security so you will get something back.

    Most people my age understand enough basic economics to realize that they are more likely to see a flying saucer than a Social Security check.

  • I don't "want [homosexuality] banned".

    I feel that they don't have a right to sodomy.

    It's traditional to separate mutually exclusive statements by at least three full paragraphs (or more, if you suspect that someone might actually be paying attention).

  • And this brings up "Motor Voter" and a lot of other silly election laws. Why should someone who can't even get up the initiative to go to their library or postoffice to register be allowed to vote? These are the last people I want voting! The franchise should only be given to those who actually want it.
  • I'm from Australia, so I can't vote in the election. It is of interest to me, though, because the US goverment is probably as important to Australia as our own (Sad but true).

    I tend towards the left side of the centre politically, so there was no way I was really going to be a fan of Harry Browne's political views. After doing some reading in preperation for the K5 interview I was truely shocked at how naive the mans views are, though. I realise that he can afford not to have his idealistic Libertaian views tempered by reality because he isn't goint to win, but I did think he would/should care more about the specific issues rather than the politics.

    Take his stance on environmentalism []. I'm sure it is nice from the Libertaian political point of view, but from the environmental point of view it sucks, badly. Rather that go into it, read my about it - I got fairly worked up. []

    He clearly ;has no idea about intellecual property []. Suggesting protecting it by saying use encryption make for a good sound-bite, but doesn't address specific issues like patent reform.

    I could go on but I won't. All I'll do is say he sounds just like a hundred other politicions. He just echos the same statements over & over. Read his website - you won't find anything new in the K5 interview, because he doesn't want to say anything. Nothing jumps out and makes me think "Now there is a leader".

  • I think he (and a lot of people, both here and elsewhere) need to be educated and made to realize (or at least confront and argue against) the notion that a government mandated and enforced monopoly isn't necessary for IP creators to be fairly compensated and, furthermore, has a stifling impact on the field of endeavor so affected, not to mention the society, culture, and the economy as a whole.

    Government mandated and enforced monopoly? Do you have any idea what libertarians even are? Take a look at all of the intellectual property articles at Free Nation [], especially this one []. You don't need an official government pronouncement to make something property. Do you think that if the trespass laws were repealed that fence builders would go out of business?
  • it gives corporations more freedom in things they can buy sell and own

    Well, like, yeah! Of course. Real freedom is for everyone, not just the people you like. It is impossible for you to be free unless Bill Gates is free. This is what Nader doesn't understand, and why he offers a pseudo-freedom.

    If you want freedom, vote Browne. If you want a free beer, vote Nader.
  • I really want to go with the Libertarians, but I'm sorry, the general population is just not smart enough to govern themselves.

    Libertarianism is a political philosophy, not a personal way of life. There is much, much more to libertarians than the Randroid Objectivists (who are a minority in the movement). Don't mistake self interest for selfishness. But libertarianism is about neither self interest nor altruism. It is about initiating violence against others. Simple. Defense but no offense. Nothing more.

    So, you think that people are not smart enough to govern themselves? Then who are Nader, Buchanan, Gore and Bush? People! If they can't govern themselves (and I know that Clinton is unable to), then what makes you think they would do any better governing you and I?
  • Fortunately in California this election I can actually vote for a major party candidate I like: Tom Campbell []. He's the republican candidate for senate, but he's a fairly strict consitutionalist, and has the distinct advantage of actually having a chance at winning.

    When someone's platform is "the war on drugs has failed", does it really matter whether they call themselves a libertarian?

    So I'll be voting for him, otherwise straight libertarian.
  • he's stated publicly that he doesn't consider Wicca a religion

    If that's true, it's about the only sensible thing he's said ever. Wicca isn't a religion, it's a load of made-up mumbo-jumbo which a bunch of long-haired fruits have managed to convince themselves has any basis in history or myth.

    Of course, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed for soldiers. In fact, Wicca should be given equal protection with any other religion -- none. The only point I'm making is that Wicca is considerably more fucking stupid than Christianity, because all of its practitioners are intelligent enough to realise it's a load of rubbish, but choose not to.

  • Social Security will go bust:
    a) Whatever the growth rate of the economy

    b) On the assumption of a sensible, 2.5% growth rate
    c) Only if you assume a growth rate of 1% per year.
    Answer c)

    Bush's plan is to invest contributions in the stock market instead. If we assume a 1% growth in GDP, the stock market will:

    a) continue on upwards through the roof, forever

    b) Deliver anything close to the historic long term return of 10% which people typically use in these comparisons
    c) Return at most 1%, since the market can't grow faster than the economy in the long term, at worst have negative returns since it's already so high
    Answer c).

    Most people my age understand enough basic economics to realize that they are more likely to see a flying saucer than a Social Security check.

    "Basic economics" can sometimes teach you the durndest things. Slightly more advanced economics often tells you that it ain't necessarily so.

  • But it raises the question, since he is bound to fail, why do you believe voting for him has any value?

    Well, one of the major party candidates is going to lose also. Which meant (means) in the final analysis, he had no chance either. So I guess all of those voters wasted their votes as well since their guy didn't (isn't going to) win.


  • When I moved to Atlanta, back in the days when you had to look in a book to find information, I went to the library and got myself a library card. When I told the librarian I had just moved to the area, she handed me a voter registration card, which I filled out, making me a registered voter in Fulton County, Georgia.

    It was so nice that they did that at the library.

    Now they do it at the driver's licence office, too. You get your license and they register you right there. This bothers me. Although I am a fan of democracy, I am also a fan of informed democracy; after all, would you rather have a government elected by people who know how to drive, or who know how to read?

    OTOH, Arandir [], there are an awful lot of people who live in deplorable conditions, and they take it for granted that since the rest of society ignores them, screws them, mistrusts them, and otherwise puts them down, they pretty much take for granted that they are not just figuratively disenfranchised.

    Some of them are amazingly dumb, true, but most of them are at least as smart as the middle class soccer moms who keep shoving their SUVs into my lane while driving home to watch Oprah. The main difference is that these disenfranchised citizens don't know what they can do and what rights they have, because nobody bothered to tell them. To explain it away with some glib statement that "the franchise should only be given to those who actually want it" assumes they even know that their franchise exists, let alone how to use it.

    The degree of isolation and segregation--both economic and social--that creates these circumstances is amazing. The schools given to these people offer them no hope, and no education: a third drop out, and a third of those who stick around are still functionally illiterate.

    • Nobody tells them not to get drunk while they're pregnant.
    • Nobody tells them not to mix bleach with ammonia.
    • Nobody tells them how to write well enough to fill out a job application.
    • Nobody tells them how they could change their lives if they voted.

    The the gap between us and them is like an Antarctic crevasse. Over on our side, we have a sustainable economy, one that can exist with or without them. If we can ignore them, we will, because our lives are already too goddamned busy to worry whether somebody who will never play a role in our lives is being fucked so badly by their own government and society that they're going to starve. I'm not talking about random Ethiopian refugees; I'm talking about people who live within fifty miles of you, or ten.

    So before you go saying things like "if they don't know, they don't deserve to know", remember just how incredibly easy it is for you to find out just about anything with your thousand dollar computer and your $20/month 'Net access. Then remember there are millions of people, right there in your own "developed" nation, for whom twenty dollars not spent on food is two days they and their children don't eat.

    A lot of things you haven't been taught are non-obvious. It's not obvious to separate light and dark colors in laundry; it's not obvious it is that AB+AC=A(B+C). It's not obvious that you should wash your hands before you handle food or that you should vaccinate your babies. And when you've been told since birth that your sole purpose in life is eventually to die, it's not obvious you have the right to vote.


  • I'm not going to point out the reasons why you are an idiot.. however I will say browne is on 49 of 50 states. Pretty damn close I think.

    Let me get this straight...

    The above poster spends a good deal of time making many, many good points about the failings of the Libertarian Party platform. Failings that cause people who consider themselves libertarians (note the small "L") such as myself --people who want to actually go beyond sales-pitch catchphrases such as "Government doesn't work" and "My first question to nominess for the Supreme Court; 'can you read'?" and find out what a Libertarian presidency will actually try to accomplish should Browne be elected -- to question whether or not they plan to vote Libertarian this year.

    And your well-considered and measured response is a two-sentence cheap ad hominem attack?

    I really, really hope your reply is not the typical attitude of the Libertarian (note the big "L") voter or party member, because if it is the Libertarian Party will never, ever move beyond being a fringe party, and you'll have only yourselves to blame.

    What's the current membership of the party, anyways? 40,000 or so? Kinda fell short of the mark that the LP's Project Archimedes [], which boasted of trying to increase membership from 26,000 registered members to a goal of 200,000 "contributing supporters", was trying to reach. According to the LP's own news release [] in February, Archimedes was falling short of its mark and had only increased contributing supporters by 18,000 to around 39,000 (wait a minute, if you started at 26,000 and added 18,000, shouldn't that be 44,000? Where did 5,000 people go?). And that's counting "contributing supporters", which are distingished from registered party members in some unclear way -- I guess if you're giving the LP money, that's as good as actually supporting their principles.

    (The same press release, by the way, claims that the goal of Archimedes is to reach 60,000 members by the end of 2000. Where did the 200,000 number go, I wonder?)

    Maybe the LP had trouble generating support because people don't like being called "idiots" when they ask questions about the Party's actual plans for accomplishing its goals and expect more substance than regurgitations of LP press releases and position papers.

    As for why your candidate isn't on the ballot in all 50 states, why is it that the Arizona Libertarian Party has split into two separate parties, with the party faction sponsored by the national Libertarian Party suing the Arizona Libertarian Party for the right to be the "official" LP of Arizona? And unsuccessfully, at that; the ALP is still the official party, and is endorsing their own candidate, L. Neil Smith, as the Libertarian candidate for President. (There's a thought; maybe the LP should fracture even further, and have 50 LPs each offering their own presidential candidates? The [Ll]ibertarian voters can write in the candidate that they feel is best...) []

    And doesn't say much about the LP's stance regarding "initiatory force" if they try to use the "meddlesome" court system to force the state of Arizona to recognize their faction as the "official" ALP, does it? Apparently the courts should keep their hands off of Microsoft, but heaven forbid that Arizona libertarians want someone other than Harry Browne as their presidential candidate!

    Jay (=
  • I understand the concern, but I think you have the cause and effect reversed. Corporate power isn't the opposite of government power. They are one and the same thing. Corporations get the power *through government.*

    Your example of the media is an excellent one. The media are among the most heavily regulated industries in the nation. The government has effectively monopolized the cable market, and has given billions in free spectrum to broadcast journalists. Corporations are now pushing for limiting "pirate" radio stations.

    The other thing to keep in mind about the media is: what's the alternative? Having the government run the media would be even worse, and corporations are always going to conspire to use the power of government to their advantage. Ultimately, the only way to prevent corporations and/or government from using the media to their own advantage is for consumers to be alert to the biases they hold. If that doesn't happen, there's no way we can prevent the monied interests from using their power to disadvantage the rest of us.

    In terms of the broader issue of monopolies and market power, I think you'll find that in most cases monopolies are created by the government. This is true in the cases of public utilities, phone, cable, and to a lesser extent trucking, taxi service in many states, pharmaceutical companies, and many others. Regulatory agencies like th FDA, ICC, and EPA exist primarily to protect the interests of the big firms in the industries they regulate.

    If you look at purely free markets, history does not bear out your position. A good example is Standard Oil. They had about an 85% market share in 1890. At that point they had driven the price of oil down by an order of magnitude. They certainly tried to monopolize their industry after that, but in fact their market share *declined* from 85% to about 65% by the time of the breakup in 1910 or so.

    In other words, Standard Oil was certainly big and powerful, but without the help of government, they were unable to take or keep a monopoly on the industry, and in the process of trying, they drove down prices and benefited consumers immensely.

    Contrast this with AT & T, which in the 1920's was in the same position. Their telephone patent had expired, and they were losing market share to smaller competitors. They lobbied for more government regulation of their industry, and effectively achieved a government-imposed monopoly. Had the government left them alone, they might still have a large market share, but there would likely not be the regional monopolies in local service we see today.

    The pattern is the same in virtually any industry you pick-- those with the most government interference show the greatest concentrations of economic power. Nor should this be surprising. As leftists like to point out, our politicians are bought and paid for by special interests. Why, then, should we be surprised when government interference ends up helping rather than hurting those special interests?
  • Are publicly funded programs eliminated?

    At the federal level, most of them would be. Harry Browne has a whole book on what he'd do, so it can't be summarized to easily, but the basics are:

    * Sell of unneeded government assets. There are trillions of dollars in mineral reserves, land, old military bases, etc that the government has no Constitutional business owning. Browne estimates this would bring at least 5 trillion in.

    * Use the proceeds to pay down the national debt and buy private retirement anuities for those currently dependent on social security. For younger workers, free them from the social security tax so they can afford to save for retirement.

    * Cut most government programs. Return the money saved to taxpayers by ending the income tax. The Constitutional functions of the government would be funded by excise and sales tax.

    * End corporate welfare. This fits in with the above, but it deserves some emphasis, as it's one of the biggest costs to the Federal government.

    * Repeal regulatory agencies whose primary effect is to protect large firms from competition by harrassing their competitors, such as the FDA, ICC, EPA, OSHA, etc.

    * End the drug war. Free federal prisoners convicted of non-violent drug crimes.

    * End US imperialism abroad. The Browne administration will oversee an orderly withdrawal of our troops from foreign nations. Stop bullying other countries, bombing their cities, propping up their dictators, and giving their rebels weapons. Cut the military to the size needed for a purely defensive military force.

    There's much more, obviously, but those are the high points. A Libertarian government would be about 10% of its present size, with most of its current functions handled by the states or the private sector. I think you'd see much more rapid growth, much more rapid progress for the poor and disadvantaged, much less corporate power over government, less threat of terrorism abroad, less drug-war-fueled crime, and many other benefits.
  • I personally don't care if you enjoy nasal sex. My point is that sodomy isn't something that you have a right to.
  • If there weren't publicly funded clinics that provide abortions and it was done by private doctors by no public subsidies, it would be ok?

    No more than it is ok for the mafia to carry out hits and gangland executions. They're all privately funded. My standing to speak about it and hold an opinion comes from the fact that I am a member of this society.
  • What about RU-486? The 'morning after pill'? What if it's taken within the week of conception, maybe even before the egg has implanted? How is that any different than a miscarriage? How is that a 'murder', if the only thing lost is a microscopic group of nearly undifferentiated cells?

    I have no problem with a "morning after" pill. If a woman is raped, it can prevent her from becoming pregnant. My problem with RU486 is that it can be used for several weeks after the pregnancy has begun.

    And from your final statement, you'd aparently try to jail any woman who attempted to get an abortion I guess. Would this be grandfathered? All women who have ever gotten an abortion would be crowded into prisons if you were elected? Remember, be consistent here!

    Yes. Women who get abortions should be jailed when we recriminalize abortion. As for your second question, it's a red herring. Have you ever heard of ex post facto? It means that you can't be charged with doing something that is now illegal if it was legal when you did it.

  • I grew up in rural California, and it must be a whole different universe than urban Georgia. For one thing, every child went to school, and civics class was required. It din't matter how rich or poor you were, or what your skin color was. You took civics in both junior high and high school.

    If you were born a citizen in California and went to school there, you KNOW you have the right to vote. If you are a naturalized citizen, then you had to study for your citizenship test, and you KNOW you have the right to vote. It's time Georgia gets its act together.

    As for my $20 dollar net connection, this will be the first presidential election in which I am not classified under the poverty line. And I've voted in five previous presidential elections...
  • If there is a Libertarian president in the near future, what happens exactly? Are publicly funded programs eliminated?

    There are different "factions" within the libertarian movement. The anarcho-capitalists favor eliminating all publicly funded programs immediately. The gradualist faction argues that it took up a century to get us into our present straight, and that it will take a century to get us out, and favor a gradual "growing down" of the government.

    Most libertarians are in the middle. They recognize that some functions of government are necessary. And those functions are already delineated in the consititution. We favor getting rid of all non-constitutional roles of the federal government as soon as possible.
  • It's called "the great Libertarian offer," although you might not be able to order it in time for the election. The basic ideas are also at his web site, to: []

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain