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Comment Service Client (Score 4, Insightful) 115

Microsoft has long been interested in becoming a service provider. Initially the idea was to get paid monthly or annually for the use of their software (Windows, Office, etc.) but recently it seems that they are more interested in becoming a distributor of other publisher's software, where they offer a standardized platform (Windows OS, UWP apps, Azure) for developers to target and they get a cut of the proceeds. To ensure that they could provide the largest market, the platform the end-users use would be offered free (hence, Windows10). Windows 10 Cloud just seems to be a furtherment of this objective, albeit stripped down to lessen the cost to Microsoft (and possibly to ensure that end-users would /have/ to use the app-store if they want to get anything done by not providing any built-in applications).

Comment Re: Meh (Score 4, Insightful) 952

Also, he is blowing up the very foundational concepts of the country that happen to be the things that made America powerful and great (like freedom of movement, freedom of speech, immigration etc) - he is fundamentally anti-American.

Furthermore, the core philosophy of America was that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights, not just its own citizens. The US government can only ensure that those rights are protected for people living within its borders but even somebody living under a totalitarian regime is, according to to this philosophy, endowed with the same rights as the most privileged US citizens (it just happens that that poor schlub's government is preventing him from exercising those rights. US intervention is often based on the philosophy that we must remove these unlawful government so that the innate freedoms of those foreigners can be practiced).

Within the confine of the United States, however, the rights of all can be protected. Yes, in certain cases We-the-People might have to sacrifice some of those rights for the common welfare (so though I may have the right to yell "Fire" in a crowded room, we've agreed - in the form of law - that this would be a bad idea and have laid that right aside). Certain privileges and responsibilities (voting, holding public office) are restricted to citizens, but these are quite limited. It is possible through criminal action for certain individuals to abrogate some of their rights, but these will only be lost through a decision of the courts, and made on a case-by-case basis.

Specifically targeting a group - whether because of race, creed, sexual orientation or citizenship - and saying "No rights for you!" is contrary to the basic concepts of America. It's why slavery was so wrong, it is why the incarceration of the Japanese-Americans in WW2 was wrong, it is why it is wrong to deny homosexuals marriage, and it is why it is wrong to specifically say that foreigners are not afforded the smae privacy protections as the USA's own citizens.

Comment A story about politicians (Score 5, Interesting) 277

A story about politicians

This is a story I've wanted told for a long time. I think it is a story worth reading, even if you do not necessarily agree with its conclusions because I think it offers an interesting alternate view of our politicians.

The thing is, this isn't really /my/ story to tell. Rather, it is a recounting of various conversations I have had with a friend? (Peer? Acquaintance? A guy I did business and with whom I had some interesting discussions.) While I myself have had little contact with politicians, this gentleman has, and over several years he has shared some of his insights on them; how they think and why they do the things they do. I've actually asked him to come here and share these thoughts with the people on Slashdot, but he has always demurred. Partly - although he has never said so in as many words - because he doesn't think it's worth his bother talking with IT geeks on a tiny, fairly inconsequential website but mostly because he values his discretion and feels that were he to make a public statement it might be traced back to him and reflect badly not only on him but on the people for whom he works. On the other hand, I have mentioned that I intended to share his thoughts - properly anonymized - and he didn't seem too upset about it.

So who is this gentleman? I guess the best description for him would be an "Aide" or "Secretary", although I recall him once self-effacingly describing himself as an "incredibly overpaid intern" and a "go-fer". He is one of those mostly faceless people who work with our politicians, actually going and and doing most of the things they order. His tasks have varied from simply mundane chores as fetching coffee, to meeting and negotiating with other power brokers, to helping read and write bills his patron intended to back. He himself has no official rank and his position has varied over the years, but it probably would not be too far off the mark to consider him second behind his master. He has worked for politicians on both sides of the Aisle - although he tends to favor those on the Left - and has over the years worked with politicos of all levels, from local government, to state legislative, to members of Congress. It's allowed him to garner an interesting viewpoint of the hows and whys of government.

I met this gentleman many years ago when he needed assistance with some IT work. It was a very brief professional acquaintance, but over the years we have kept in touch; he often reached out to me to answer a quick IT-related question. Over the years we have had a number of chats and he told a number of interesting anecdotes - all sanitized of names to protect the innocent - and it's from these discussions that I have distilled the following insights. I will be the first to admit that my friend has his own biases and - like most of us, works in his own bubble - but I think that's partly what makes these stories so interesting. You might not agree with his conclusions or argue that he is defending the indefensible, but I think he was being honest. I - like many here - tend to revile our political leaders, thinking them all untrustworthy and corrupt, waffling on important issues, indebted to corporate masters, etc. These tales offer a different light on thing. It's all going to be a bit stream-of-consciousness, I'm afraid, as I remember things he told me, but I hope you find it interesting as well.

So.

One of the first insights he gave me was that most politicians tend to enter into the game because they have one issue they really care about. Maybe some of them have two, or even rarely three, but - whether it is gun-control, or military spending or health care, pushing that issue is usually the primary force behind not only their entry into politics but also the reason they stay in politics and keep pushing up the ladder seeking positions of more power and authority. They want their issue to succeed, and they keep reaching upwards in hopes of not only getting it achieved, but also - if they are successful - ensuring that it won't be rolled back. They are rarely too strongly concerned with other issues, even if they are major planks of their party's platform (or even their own stated platforms); it's the ONE issue they really care about. Thus, they are quite willing to compromise on these other issues if they feel it will strengthen their chosen belief (and - oddly enough - they are even willing to sacrifice that chosen issue temporarily if they feel that in the long run it will strengthen their end-goal). They would quite willing deal with the opposition on lesser issues if it would allow them to push the issue they really cared about A big part of the political game, he explained, was figuring out what that major issue was for each politician because once you knew that, you had a handle on him. A lot of what ordinary people saw as waffling or ignoring issues or capitulating to corporate interests were often done because the politician in question felt that - by doing so - he could further his own chosen issue, the one he felt was most important. These officials felt so strongly about it -felt that getting their issue passed was so important to the weal of the nation - that they were willing to sacrifice other issues. It wasn't about corruption or malfeasance; it was just that the officials had /different priorities/.

Of course, in order to get that issue resolved, the politician had to stay in power, and that's not easy. There's already been a lot of discussion elsewhere about how much time politicians have to spend working their election campaigns, gaining support and donations. My colleague suggested that maybe 40% of an official's time was spent on working for donations - either for his own behalf or for his party - with the other 40% being spent dealing with local issues (which surprisingly are usually very small-scale complaints from his constituents, of the "the local garbage men only pick up once a week" sort, which the official usually has very little direct say over but he can sometimes lean on the local government to do something), with the remaining 20% being used to actually, you known, govern. But a major issue that every politician faces is the loss of jobs in his district, and this is always one he takes very seriously.

Even a small loss of jobs - say the closing of an office with 50 employees - can have wide-spread effect, especially if the district isn't very densely populated. Not only do those 50 people directly employees lose their jobs, but the janitorial staff that keeps the office cleaned will probably get cut, and there will be less deliveries from local business, so more jobs might be lost, and because people have lost their jobs, they will be buying less, so that affects the economy even more, rippling outwards. And people blame their representatives when their economy goes to shit. Thus, when a corporation comes to a politician and says something like, "hey, there's this recent bill that's going to raise our costs by 4% - because it's a tariff, or because it adds extra procedural regulation, or whatever - and I'm afraid that means we're going to have to close our operations in your district", even if it is a tiny operation, you can bet the politician is going to take notice and start compromising to keep that bill from passing (or at least neuter it enough) so that corporation isn't going to close shop. Because if they do, it could cost him the election and then his BIG ISSUE - the one he really gives a damn about - is threatened.

That's when the wheeling-n-dealing begins; that's when Republicans vote for more gun control and Democrats vote to cut back on public education.

Mind you, despite the impression we all have of our politicians, it's rarely open corruption; large corporations almost never say, "hey, here's this bill we want passed, vote for us and we'll give you election money, or a high-paying consultancy gig after you leave office, or even an open bribe"; 99% of the time, it's "this bill is going to cost your constituents jobs". And they bend over because they don't really care about most of that stuff, they care about their ISSUE. It's what pork is all about; it's a hate but necessary part of the job.

Here's another thing. Politicians have no power, or far less than most people think they do, and they themselves certainly feel powerless most of the time. They feel consistently stymied by... well, everyone; local government, the bureaucracy, their higher ups. They can give an order "this must be done!" but it is passed through so many layers - often through people that disagree with their decisions - that even though the command is obeyed, it is done haphazardly, or slow, or done in a way that nuanced and neutralized the action to the point where it is like nothing was done (the military, apparently, is great at this). And more often than not, they don't actually have the authority to get something done by fiat, by simple order; at best, they can nudge, influence, threaten. "If you don't push to fix this lady's garbage problem, then I'm going to vote against funding for YOUR issue". But there is constantly a sense that if they just get to the NEXT level of power - local government to state legislature, state legislature to governor or congress, first-term representative to senior, /THEN/ they'll actually be able to get things (read: their ISSUE) done. But it never really seems to help and - my friend suspects - this feeling goes up to the highest levels, that even the President feels that "if only I had stayed in Congress, maybe I could have been speaker of the house and then... THEN I'd shake things up" (and the speaker feels the same way towards the presidency). So the politicians are constantly pushing, trying to gain support and money, to make it up to the next level so they finally have the authority they need to fix the country.

This leads to a related problem: the belief (both among the politicians and - more commonly - among their constituents) that a problem can be fixed NOW, and if it isn't, then it is because the politician isn't trying. Electricity costs too much? Just pass a bill that makes the companies charge less; how hard can that be, right? Except a) nothing is ever that simple, b) "passing a bill" itself is a long, long process, and c) it probably won't fix things anyway. True change - true fixes - can take years or even decades. Few politicians have that sort of staying power, and unless it's THEIR issue they won't concentrate on it for that long anyway. So what happens is that either nothing is done or a half-hearted "something must be done, this is something, so this is what we'll do" bills get pushed through and the problem doesn't get fixed (or, more likely, gets worse). But a lot of this is because everyone involved has a simplistic way of looking at the world and refuse - for a variety of reasons - to allow people the time to work things properly. It's a "do it now" attitude that screws us over again and again... and usually it takes until the problem is so big that it becomes THE ISSUE for a lot of politicians who are willing to sacrifice all other issues to get it fixed (health care seems to be of these now)

The political parties? They hate them, probably more than we do. Firstly, they demand a lot of time from the officials, far more than they are worth, it often seems. A lot of time is spent working the phones on behalf of the Party, begging donations, which never seems to come back to them. The parties also have big platforms with lots of issues - 99% of which the official doesn't really care about but has to show at least some loyalty towards if they hope to benefit from the party's political clout. And it's yet another layer of bureaucracy they have to deal with, another group which nominally works towards their benefit but doesn't actually listen to them.

They hate the complexity of the laws too. We've all read stories about laws essentially written by corporations, or laws that get passes even though nobody reads them and - my friend admits - yes, that happens. Nobody wants it to happen, but these bills are so complex - and often needfully so, because the issues are complex and you need to hammer down all exigencies - and they keep changing as they are revised and added to. Often they entrust their aides - my friend included - to read these things and simplify them down for them because they just don't have the time and - yes, because often they aren't that concerned if the bill doesn't affect their ISSUE - but mostly our lawmakers try to keep abreast of things, even though it is ultimately an impossible task (remember, 80% of their time is either spent dealing with their future campaign or handling local affairs). They trust their people, and those people often trust (so-called) experts and sometimes that backfires on them.

The bureaucracy of the government is, as I said, a constant issue but not necessarily one they consider a major problem; as much as it slows down things for them, it also slows down their opponents. Nonetheless, it was suggested that one reason that privatization was so popular was because it was a way for the officials and lawmakers to bypass the bureaucracy by essentially handling a task to a company that - nominally - would then be indebted to the lawmaker (and thus Do What I Say when the official gave an order). It rarely worked out that way - and in the long run usually bit the official in the ass - but it was a very appealing short-cut to many.

Corruption? My colleague steadfastly argued that this was overblown. Certainly there were some bad apples (and most politicians apparently knew exactly who they were and who they were beholden to; needless to say, I didn't get any names ;-) and nobody in office was against some "polite" feathering of the nest, but this was mostly along the lines of pushing for a bill that would allow, say, larger mansions to be built in a neighborhood the official was interested in building himself a nice big house. Nothing so uncouth as taking direct moneys or aid from anyone in exchange for favors; just setting up a situation where the official could take advantage (but so could anyone else who was paying attention). And even then, discretion was called for; politicians who appeared to greedy probably wouldn't be called out on it but it would cost them political points; their party wouldn't back them as strongly, they might not get called on for the good committees, and all their peers would be watching them more closely. Corporate bribery was even more rare, although - he suggested - this might be more because the CORPORATIONS saw no profit in it; they had enough hold on the politicians just by threatening jobs. Yes, corporations donated thousands and millions to political campaigns, but with the really big money the corporations pretty much gave to BOTH sides just to cover their bets. These donations created more a sense of indebtedness to the political parties than the candidates. If - I was informed, and here was really the only time I heard true and vehement disdain in my colleague's voice - I wanted to see REAL out-n-out corruption then I needed look no further than my local government. That's where the real crime and vice was happening and the "real" politicians apparently looked down on local government as being not much better than what you'd find in some third-world country.

Oh, I feel like there's so much more I could say (even though at the moment I'm drawing a blank on what more I could add). Still, the general feeling I always got from these discussions was that my friend believed very strongly that - in the end - our politicians (local government aside) were well-meaning people who had strongly-held beliefs about what it took to make the country better, and were in office to further those beliefs more than to better their own position. But the fact is that the government is so big and our politicians are, ultimately, only human; at best, they could only nudge it, and often only by sacrificing everything except their chosen issue to do so. They try to be as honest as they can but the situation of things too often makes this impossible - either because it would cost them their Issue or because things - and their position on things - keep changing (all the more so since nowadays we seem to demand simplistic sound bites for complex problems)

How accurate is all of this? I am personally in no position to confirm any of this; I do think it is a different way of looking at our lawmakers rather than seeing them just as "the fat pigs up in Washington". As I said, my colleague certainly has his own biases; he works with these people every day, sees them as friends, probably unconsciously whitewashes some of their actions because of it. But is that any worse than our broadly tarring the lot of them in ignorance? The truth is -as always - probably somewhere in between.

What can we take away from this? Well, I think the the big one - the one that was consistently stressed by my colleague - was that we should all try and learn what each candidate's "big issue" was, which admittedly will rarely be clearly stated (and sometimes might not be a stated platform at all, if it runs contrary to his constituency's or parties beliefs). But never expect a candidate to support a broad platform; there's going to be one or two things he really supports, and all other issues he will wheel-n-deal on to push the main ones forward. I think he had a bit of disdain for voters who didn't really do the work to try to understand this, which I personally think is a bit unfair although I can sort of see his point. Furthermore, don't assume everything a politician does that you don't agree with is due to corruption; more often, it is a sacrifice made to further a politician's chosen issue, or because the problem is too complex. It almost never is "because this will help me get more money for my next election". And don't trust local government in the least, because more than anyone else they are the ones affecting - and screwing - your day-to-day lives.

Anyway, I hope this was an enlightening take on things. I know it came across a bit messy but it definitely made me take a new look at my lawmakers and now I try to see them not so much as greedy corporate pawns but perhaps - perhaps! - as overworked but generally good-intentioned (if still flawed) humans who are trying to better their country. It might be a bit idealistic and I myself do not entirely believe it but it is good to have another way of looking at things, and I hope you feel the same way.

Comment Re:Another Reason Not To Trust These Surveys (Score 2) 196

The same company also has a staff appraisal rating from 1 to 5. Anyone with a rating of 1-2 shouldn't be working there as they're no good. 5 is considered an impossible target as there's no such thing as a perfect employee. 4 is considered really good, but there's no incentive to improve. So everyone with a job gets 3: meets their role's requirements but needs to improve.

I had a similar experience, except the reasoning behind it was more blatantly self-serving. Raises were tied to your rating, with "5"s getting a raise (although it was barely a cost-of-living increase), "4"s getting to keep their jobs but no raise, "3"s getting warnings and "1-2s" were basically "we're looking for your replacement". I was specifically instructed numerous times not to give any employees any "5"s, because that would cost the company money; only give the very best employees a "4" (to show we "appreciated" them), give everybody else a "3" (to put the fear of unemployment into them so they would work harder), and was required to give out a few "1-2"s, because new employees tend to be cheaper.

I said fuck that, gave my best direct reports "5"s and most of the "4"s rest (it was a great group), got chewed out for it, successfully fought for the "5"s, lost out on the "4"s, and generally got reamed for not playing ball. I left the company shortly thereafter and later learned that my reviews were "re-done" by my replacement, and they got "4"s instead (a year later, the division was closed down and shipped to India). Yeah, it was that sort of place.

I have no doubt customer satisfaction surveys are treated similarly, where they are ignored if they don't meet the expected narrative of the executives. They are pointless and probably mostly used to prove the employee is in the wrong rather than truly encourage and reward good service.

Comment Another Reason Not To Trust These Surveys (Score 2) 196

I also once read that customer satisfaction surveys are, in general, only answered by people who were on the extreme ends of the customer satisfaction ratings; that is, most of the time the only people who bother with a survey are those who had a really awesome or a really bad experience. The experience left them emotionally charged, and they feel the need to share/vent, and the survey gives them that opportunity. The average customer, on the other hand, doesn't have this emotional need and so - when offered an opportunity to rate their experience, gives the whole thing a pass and - if forced into it - tend to give wishy-washy middle-of-the-road answers (e.g., all 5 out of 10s) just so they don't have to think about it.

I imagine it is also easier to be on the receiving end of a "terrible experience" than an awesome one too, which only further biases the reviews. I mean, as a customer I can imagine a dozen ways in which a cashier could piss me off, but have a hard time thinking up a way that cashier could make me EXCITED about paying for my groceries). So the end result is very biased against the person getting reviewed, because most of the people who bother to respond to the reviews are those who had a bad experience. If they forced /all/ customers to take the survey and somehow ensured their honesty, you might get a better overview of how the employee is performing, but by leaving it up to the customer the employer is getting a very unbalanced response.

Not to mention I never know how to answer those because I never know what is considered "average". Is a 5/10 average or do I have to base it on the US grading system, where 7/10 is "average"?

Comment Source of the apps (Score 1) 52

The article is not very clear as to from where these VPN apps are being downloaded.

Are these (or were these) apps available on Google's/Android's native App store, or did the user have to enable a third-party repository to get these programs?

If the former, this is a fairly serious indictment of Google's policies, which should not only check to see if publishers are loading up their apps with spyware/trojans, but also determine a basic fitness test on the program (does it actually do what they say it does)? This is the whole point of using a curated market and if Google isn't even performing this sort of basic filtering, then they have seriously dropped the ball.

If the users are downloading from an unvetted third-party repository, well... there is a reason Google warns against this. There are some trusted third-party markets, but if a vendor asks you to allow their repository, it should immediately raise red flags and make you look more closely at their offerings.

Comment Re:To what end? (Score 2) 23

Especially since the source of most of these infections are - third-party app "stores" which offer pirated versions of software found on the official repositories - are not likely to obey the law about registering either.

This has nothing to do with stopping malware. This has everything to do with the Chinese government controlling the flow of information to their people from Western countries and companies.

Comment Re:Emergency response (Score 1) 140

At intersections they can just keep going at speed, passing each other after a short negotiation and small speed adjustment to create and time the right gaps in the flow of traffic, with the traffic lights turned off.

Thank God the only things that use intersections are cars, and none of those pesky pedestrians or bicyclists, which we wisely exterminated in the Great Purge of 2021.

Comment I don't get it... but maybe I'm not supposed to (Score 5, Insightful) 116

I don't really see the point of the Switch, for either Nintendo or its customers.

It wants to be a home-console system, except without the power to match the PS4 or XBox360, and without the huge line-up of games.

It also wants to be a portable, except without the convenient "drop-in-your-pocket" size, the ruggedness or (comparative) cheapness (enough that you can give it to your 10-year old without worrying if he'll break or lose it) of the DS line.

It wants to be a tablet, except without all the extra non-gaming features (email, Facebook, chat, web, even word processing) that modern tablets offer.

And while its controllers are "neat", they look - and early reports confirm, feel - terrible to play with over long periods of time.

Frankly, I think Nintendo would have been just as well to release a slightly updated version of the Wii and the 3DS and call it a day. Combining both lines into one jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none just doesn't seem to be a winning move. Nintendo seems to be sacrificing both lines - despite their claims that it is not a replacement for the DS - on the altar of the Switch.

Then again, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not anywhere near Nintendo's target market; I'm not ten years old . The requirements and likes of those markets are about as far from mine as you can probably get. The Wii and its games were amazingly popular with the pre-teen crowd and arguably the Switch is exactly what the kids want. But as a parent, I'd dread giving my kids a $300 portable device that looks as if it would snap in half if dropped (say what you want about the controls and graphics of the DS line, those things could take a beating).

Comment Re:is uber smart or stupid? (Score 5, Interesting) 92

I'm no expert in these things, but the best explanation I've seen for Uber's recent activities is that the company is over-valued for a taxi service (sorry, "ride-sharing service"), they KNOW they are over-valued, and are trying to justify that value by entering into other business areas. They are trying to position themselves not just as a transport company but instead as a tech start-up because once saner heads start looking at what their core business is, their price will drop like a stone. A taxi companies is not worth $20 billion, but a tech company that is developing its own auto-driving vehicles? The sky is the limit!

Comment Re:One party rule (Score 1) 2837

Which is fine. However, ObamaCare never billed itself as the be-all-end-all solution. It is a starting place, it was compromised to hell just to scrape into law.

This is my major complaint with the Affordable Care Act. It was indeed sold to the populace as just a stepping stone to something better (with the end goal, I think, of ultimately achieving something like the socialized medical systems found in European nation, once American could swallow such a "bitter" pill). The problem is that, once established, it became a government bureaucracy with the added disadvantage of being a money trough for the insurance companies; this created two huge stumbling blocks to ever changing or improving the system. The insurance companies like the ACA - it's basically free money because people are now legally obligated to get insurance - and so have no desire to change to a less profitable (e.g., socialized) model that cuts them out of the loop. The bureaucracy keeps the system from moving forward - or backwards - just from sheer inertia. So ultimately we-the-people end up with a terrible system that - while born of good ideals - is unlikely to improve.

Personally, I'd like to see the ACA scrapped just to clear the path for a truly reformed and workable medical system. I just don't feel the ACA itself is salvagable.

Comment Re:One party rule (Score 1) 2837

I've contemplated that - should Trump prove to be as unmanageable a president as he was a candidate - that the best bet for the Republicans is to find something to get him impeached (I get the impression that might not be so hard) and then have Pence as their spokesperson. It would be a sour pill to swallow (yet another Republican president impeached!) and cause some momentary unpopularity, but it would probably let the Republicans push through their agenda more readily. Right now Trump has almost as many enemies in the Republican party as he does across the aisle and it seems like he'd be almost as much an obstruction to the Republicans as the Democrats).

Not only would getting Trump out of office give the Republicans a firmer grip on the government, but it would win the Republican party points with the Democrats (which, again, would give the Republicans an even firmer grip on the government because now the Democrats owe them a favor). Properly managed, I think Pence would be a good president for the Republicans and might - after the upswell of disappointment following a Trump impeachment - bring the party into even more prominence (whether that is good or bad for the nation is an entirely different argument).

It could even be done without losing too many points among Trump supporters (the "drain the swamp" segment of the electorate) if they could portray Trump as a scheming villain who never truly represented their ideals. Unfortunately, the past two years indicate that the Republican party might not have the finesse to do so (any moreso than the Democrats). Unabashed and unsophisticated as he might come across, Trump is a brutally effective demagogue and has a good handle on how to attract people to his cause. The established parties have yet to show they can effectively oppose such a compelling personality, regardless of how unattractive his message or personality may be.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 5, Insightful) 2837

I hope you aren't "getting shit" for voting for Jill Stein due to accusations that you "cost Hillary Clinton the election". Looking at the numbers, I don't see one instance in any state race where the outcome would have been any different had the independents not run. That is, even if all the people who voted for Jill Stein voted for Hillary Clinton, it still wouldn't have given her enough votes to win in the states where she lost to Trump (and similarly, none of the states where Trump lost might have been won had he gotten support from Gary Johnson voters). So if somebody is accusing you of costing Hillary Clinton they have absolutely no standing besides sour grapes.

Similarly, I despise people who accuse anyone of voting Independent as having "thrown their vote away". Elections are not a popularity contest and just because "your guy" doesn't win does not make your vote wasted. Voting is how citizens say, "this is the direction I want the country to go". If enough people vote for a third-party candidate, it can cost the major parties their victory, and in future elections the major parties will be forced to change to win back those third-party supporters. Unfortunately, voters have become extremely short-sighted, and cannot see beyond the immediate election (largely due to indoctrination by the major parties, who would prefer to minimalize third parties so they don't have to change). Catchy campaign slogans aside, voting third party really is the only way to force the major parties to alter their ways.

Personally, I find this one of the most disappointing things about the election, because - Trump's rhetoric aside - this was less a victory for the average citizen and more just a sign that things will continue to be the same (Trump is not going to "drain the swamp; he just filled it with Republicans who now control the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and most of the governors; they have no reason to significantly change tactics). I was really hoping that the independent candidates could make a decent showing this year - 4% of the vote would have been nice - to threaten both the Democrats and Republicans party enough to induce change. Unfortunately, the status quo has been maintained.

Of course, the most terrifying thing is that the Republicans have such a strong grip on the country. I say this not because I necessarily disagree (or for that matter, agree) with their policies; I just am extremely wary of any one power-block having, well, so much power. I would have felt the same had Hillary Clinton won and the Democrats gained control of Congress too. Ideally I would like the Congress controlled by one party (well, the House by one party and the Senate deadlocked), and the Presidency by the other party under the principle that the government that governs least governs best. I do not generally subscribe to the Libertarian philosophy of tiny government, but I do believe that any time one power block has such a sure grip on things, they fast track their policies and swift action like that is never good for the nation. Deadlocked government forces change to a crawl and requires compromise to get anything done, which is the ideal.

So, the short of it is, good for you for voting for a third party if you believe that the major party candidates did not adequately represent you. Don't let anyone tell you that you were wrong to do so.

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