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Kerry's Record On Electronic And Civil Rights

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the reason-listens-to-you dept.

Privacy 328

An anonymous reader writes "John Kerry lambastes John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act, positioning himself as a crusader for civil liberties. The question is, how much substance is there to his rhetoric? This article was an eye-opener to me, in evaluating just that. Slashdotters tending to be passionate about the Patriot Act, encryption, and electronic monitoring - subjects this article tackles with respect to Kerry."

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DMCA (1, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638589)

Will Kerry rescind the Clinton-passed DMCA???

However, since Shrub certainly didn't do it while he had 4 years to do it, we can be sure he won't if he wins four more wars.

Re:DMCA (2, Informative)

Phleg (523632) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640947)

Repeat after me: "The President is not in the Legislative Branch. The President is not in the Legislative Branch."

Time to hit the books... (2, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641554)

Repeat after me, too: "The President is not in the Judicial Branch. The President is not in the Judicial Branch."

Civics lesson (continued from the Eighth Grade): Once a bill is voted on and passed by both Houses of Congress, the President either signs it into law or he vetoes it. He can either explicitly veto it, or he can simply ignore it (called a "pocket veto").

Once he signs it, there is little else (as in nada, zip, nuthin') he or a successor can do on his own but enforce it.

He can ask Congress to alter the law, which follows the above process.

He can have his Department of Justice bring suit in the courts to have the law struck down, but then the DOJ is just another party in a lawsuit. The judge can decide the case either for or against the DOJ's side, and even if the judge sides with the DOJ it doesn't mean the law will be struck down (i.e., the case can just be decided on its merits or some other way that doesn't affect the law).

Article text.... (3, Informative)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638611)

For John Kerry, the specter of Attorney General John Ashcroft trashing Americans' civil liberties has been a useful campaign prop. In campaign stops, Kerry has promised to "end the era of John Ashcroft and renew our faith in the Constitution." In a Kerry administration, he promised the liberal group MoveOn last year, "there will be no John Ashcroft trampling on the Bill of Rights." In his 2004 campaign book, A Call to Service, Kerry accuses Ashcroft and the Bush administration of "relying far too much on extraordinary police powers."

In contrast, Kerry positions himself as a civil libertarian -- or at least as a proponent of a reasonable balance between liberty and security. "If we are to stand as the world's role model for freedom, we need to remain vigilant about our own civil liberties," Kerry writes in A Call to Service. He calls for "rededicating ourselves to protecting civil liberties."

Kerry, like every other senator in the chamber except Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), voted for the USA PATRIOT Act in the wake of 9/11. Now he is co-sponsoring the SAFE Act, a bipartisan measure that restricts some of the powers that the PATRIOT Act granted the government. Furthermore, he is critical of the package of proposals from Ashcroft's Department of Justice (DOJ) that has been dubbed Patriot II. Citing his experience as a prosecutor -- he was an assistant district attorney in suburban Boston in the '70s -- Kerry writes, "I know there's a big difference between giving the government the resources and commonsense leeway it needs to track a tough and devious foe and giving in to the temptation of taking shortcuts that will sacrifice liberties cheaply without significantly enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement. Patriot II threatens to cross that line -- and to a serious degree."

Sacrificing Personal Privacy

This isn't the first time Kerry and Ashcroft have been at odds over civil liberties. In the 1990s, government proposals to restrict encryption inspired a national debate. Then as now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and electronic privacy groups locked horns with the DOJ and law enforcement agencies. Then as now, Kerry and Ashcroft were on opposite sides.

But there was a noteworthy difference in those days. Then it was Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) who argued alongside the ACLU in favor of the individual's right to encrypt messages and export encryption software. Ashcroft "was kind of the go-to guy for all of us on the Republican side of the Senate," recalls David Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

And in what now seems like a bizarre parallel universe, it was John Kerry who was on the side of the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the DOJ. Ashcroft's predecessor at the Justice Department, Janet Reno, wanted to force companies to create a "clipper chip" for the government -- a chip that could "unlock" the encryption codes individuals use to keep their messages private. When that wouldn't fly in Congress, the DOJ pushed for a "key escrow" system in which a third-party agency would have a "backdoor" key to read encrypted messages.

In the meantime, the Clinton administration classified virtually all encryption devices as "munitions" that were banned from export, putting American business at a disadvantage. In 1997 Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed the Secure Public Networks Act through his committee. This bill would have codified the administration's export ban and started a key escrow system. One of his original co-sponsors was his fellow Vietnam vet and good friend from across the aisle, John Kerry.

Proponents such as McCain and Kerry claimed that law enforcement could not get the key from any third-party agency without a court order. Critics responded that there were loopholes in the law, that it opened the door to abuses, and that it punished a technology rather than wrongdoers who used that technology. Some opponents argued that the idea was equivalent to giving the government an electronic key to everyone's home. "To date, we have heard a great deal about the needs of law enforcement and not enough about the privacy needs of the rest of us," said then-Sen. Ashcroft in a 1997 speech to the Computer and Communications Industry Association. "While we need to revise our laws to reflect the digital age, one thing that does not need revision is the Fourth Amendment....Now, more than ever, we must protect citizens' privacy from the excesses of an arrogant, overly powerful government."

But John Kerry would have none of this. He had just written The New War: The Web of Crime That Threatens America's Security, a book about the threat of transnational criminal organizations, and he was singing a different tune on civil liberties. Responding directly to a column in Wired on encryption that said "trusting the government with your privacy is like having a Peeping Tom install your window blinds," Kerry invoked the Americans killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. "[O]ne would be hard-pressed," he wrote, "to find a single grieving relative of those killed in the bombings of the World Trade Center in New York or the federal building in Oklahoma City who would not have gladly sacrificed a measure of personal privacy if it could have saved a loved one."

Change a few words, and the passage could easily fit into Attorney General Ashcroft's infamous speech to the Senate Judiciary Committee in late 2001 -- the one where he declared, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberties, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists -- for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve."

If Ashcroft was encryption advocates' go-to guy on the GOP side in the encryption debate, Kerry played that role for law enforcement among the Democrats. "John Kerry was always a pretty strong proponent of law enforcement and the military, and the NSA was not terribly crypto-friendly, and the FBI was extremely uncrypto-friendly," says Will Rodger, who covered the encryption debate for USA Today and is now public policy director at the Computer and Communications Industry Association. "John Kerry's support for limiting encryption wasn't a real shock to most people who had followed his voting record."

Eventually, the strength of the business and civil liberties opposition -- plus the sheer impossibility of keeping up with encryption technology -- led the Clinton administration and Kerry to accept relaxed encryption controls. Today it seems laughable that software would ever have been labeled as "munitions"; even Ashcroft's DOJ did not try to include a key escrow system in the PATRIOT Act.

"Get Their Ass and Get Their Assets"

The Bush administration is not likely to point out Kerry's position in favor of encryption control, because it is trying to paint him as soft on crime and terrorism. Kerry does hold many traditionally liberal views on crime, including a consistent opposition to the death penalty. But encryption was just one of many issues in Kerry's Senate career where he and civil libertarians were on opposite sides. And while Kerry is in some respects singing a different tune today on civil liberties, he has never walked away from his statements in The New War. In fact, he displays the book in an ad that began running in late June as evidence that he authored an antiterrorism strategy way back in the late '90s.

Although the encryption fight appears to be over, similar battles are being fought today. For instance, as with encryption, the FBI now wants preemptive design mandates so it can have an automatic mechanism to tap into Voice over Internet Protocol, the fledgling technology that allows people to make phone calls online. Once again, law enforcement wants tech firms to build a "back door" for the police. Wayne Crews, director of technology studies at the pro-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, notes that Kerry has been silent on the FBI's efforts. "The only thing I've heard from Kerry on technology regulation is continued investment from the federal government," Crews says.

This isn't the only issue that could be worrisome for civil libertarians, given Kerry's record in the '90s. In general, whenever the ACLU was aligned with business interests, Kerry took the side of law enforcement against what he called "big money."

An example is the fight over asset forfeiture. In the 1980s war on drugs, the laws were stretched so that property that had been used for criminal purposes could be seized by law enforcement even if the owner of that property was innocent. If a drug dealer rode in your car or your airplane, for example, it was subject to seizure, and you would have to sue to get it back by proving you had no knowledge that a dealer had used it for illicit purposes. This was the case even if you had never been charged with any crime. The resale of impounded property became a source of revenue -- and corruption -- for local police departments. Even in cases where there were actual criminal convictions, governments would often seize assets that were not related to the crime or to compensating victims.

In the mid-1990s, a bipartisan movement arose to reform the forfeiture laws, with conservative Republican Reps. Henry Hyde of Illinois and Bob Barr of Georgia joining with such liberal Democrats as Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Barney Frank of Massachusetts. They wanted to increase the burden of proof on the government when it seized property. As with encryption, there was stiff opposition to reform from Janet Reno's Justice Department.

What was Kerry's position? He thought U.S. asset forfeiture laws were working so well that he wanted to export them. "We absolutely must push for asset forfeiture laws all over the planet," Kerry wrote in The New War. "In the words of one plainspoken lawman, 'Get their ass and get their assets.'" There was, tellingly, no discussion at all of civil liberties issues.

Kerry added that we can't reasonably expect another country "to assist us in our struggle with crime if it does not see direct benefit for itself, especially if it is among the countries with highly limited funds for law enforcement." It didn't seem to occur to Kerry that, without safeguards, countries "with highly limited funds" might go after the assets of innocent people or third parties with only a tangential relationship to the criminal. Indeed, the only "dark and dangerous underside" of international forfeiture he identified was the possibility that criminals would give up assets in exchange for avoiding jail sentences. "We must ensure that asset forfeitures do not become a substitute for serving time," he wrote. (In 2000, after being watered down by the Reno Justice Department, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act passed the Senate by a voice vote and was signed into law by Clinton. Kerry did not object on the Senate floor; neither did Sen. Ashcroft.)

Know Your Candidate

Even a semi-sympathetic review in the liberal Washington Monthly called The New War "a kind of international edition of Reefer Madness," referring to the notoriously overwrought anti-drug movie of the 1930s. Kerry is an avid drug warrior, and after having discovered some genuine instances of bad guys' stashing their money at the $23 billion Bank of Credit and Commerce International, an international financial institution that was shut down in 1991 by various countries' bank regulators, he became a crusader against banks holding "dirty money." (BCCI had dealings with drug lords, Saddam Hussein, the PLO, and the KGB.) While it may be too much to ask a major-party presidential candidate to ponder drug prohibition's contribution to dirty money, Kerry's solution to money laundering was -- and is -- to deputize banks and force them to spy on all their customers.

Many on the left and right worried about overreach from the federal "Know Your Customer" regulations of 1997-98, which would have required banks to monitor every customer's "normal and expected transactions." Those proposed rules were eventually withdrawn after the ACLU, the Libertarian Party, and other groups generated more than 100,000 comments in opposition. But from his writings and statements, John Kerry seemed worried that the regulations did not go far enough. "If the standards by which banks accept money were lived up to with the same diligence as that by which most banks lend money, the 'know your customer' maxim would have teeth," he wrote in The New War. "But too many bankers pretend they are doing all they can to know what money crosses their threshold and pretend they are not as key as they are to law-enforcement efforts."

Kerry then expressed his belief that bank customers are entitled to essentially zero privacy. "The technology is already available to monitor all electronic money transfers," he wrote (emphasis added). "We need the will to make sure it is put in place."

Has a politician who seven years ago proposed all electronic transfers be monitored changed his views on civil liberties? That's the question I asked officials at Kerry's Senate office and presidential campaign. He promised to have someone answer questions about his civil liberties positions, but as of press time no one has responded to my calls. A close look at Kerry's statements on the PATRIOT Act, however, reveals that there is less to his opposition than meets the eye.

The Real Problem Is the Law

As noted above, Kerry is co-sponsoring the SAFE Act, which would limit the circumstances under which "sneak- and-peek" warrants can be issued under the PATRIOT Act. (PATRIOT broadened the government's power to conduct such searches, in which the person whose property is examined is not notified.) It also puts some brakes on PATRIOT provisions that give the FBI the power to search records on individuals held by third parties -- such as libraries, bookstores, and Internet service providers -- and the power to require the third parties to keep silent about the search.

But Kerry signed onto the SAFE Act only after his right flank was protected; the bill's original co-sponsors included conservative Sens. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as well as Feingold. More tellingly, Kerry's support is premised on what he calls Ashcroft's abuses of the PATRIOT Act, not on PATRIOT itself. "John Kerry stands by his vote for the Patriot Act," says a March 11 campaign statement. "You can sum up the problems with the Patriot Act in two words: John Ashcroft....The real problem with the Patriot Act is not the law, but the abuse of the law."

In fact, the "real problem" is the law's provisions, which would be troubling in any administration. Responding to Kerry's statement, Gregory T. Nojeim, associate director of the ACLU's Washington National Office, says, "People from the left to the right agree that John Ashcroft is no civil liberties angel, but the problems of sneak-and-peek warrants and an overbroad notion of what constitutes terrorism are dangerous in the hands of any attorney general." Nojeim observes that the definition of terrorism is so broad that it could cover groups practicing civil disobedience, such as the anti-abortion Operation Rescue.

Meanwhile, Kerry continues to support intrusive efforts to stamp out money laundering. His campaign statement points out that Kerry "authored most of the money laun-dering provisions" in PATRIOT. Those provisions were largely based on an old money laundering bill that Kerry had introduced and which was opposed by economic conservatives and the ACLU. Kerry and other Democrats insisted that the money laundering provisions be attached to the PATRIOT Act. An October 2001 Associated Press article quoted Kerry as accusing Republicans of trying to remove the provisions "by fiat." The article noted that Kerry "underlined the political influence of Texas bankers."

The money laundering provisions, which became Title III of the PATRIOT Act, are some of the most privacy-threatening aspects of the bill. (See "Show Us Your Money," November 2003.) They go beyond the "Know Your Customer" rules of the late 1990s, bringing real estate brokers, travel agents, auto dealers, and various other businesses under the rubric of "financial institutions" that must monitor their customers and file "suspicious activity reports" on deviations from customers' normal patterns.

It was the Title III money laundering provisions that the FBI used in the much-criticized Operation G-String, an investigation of a strip club owner in Las Vegas accused of bribing local officials. The case had nothing to do with terrorism. Kerry -- whose provisions allowed it to happen -- has not cited this operation as one of Ashcroft's abuses, even though other Democrats have.

We have been told repeatedly that the world has changed since 9/11. Indeed, that is the explanation many have offered for Ashcroft's change of heart on civil liberties. But what about a candidate who, well before 9/11, consistently advocated measures that would have eroded those liberties? Would he be more or less constrained in the middle of a war on terror? To raise the issue is to take Kerry's own advice from his new book -- that we "remain vigilant about our own civil liberties."

Well.. (3, Insightful)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638641)

Kerry's record in this regard is awful. But so is Bush's. So, I guess that leaves us with Badnarik who has all rhetoric and no record.

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638728)

Kerry's record in this regard is awful. But so is Bush's. So, I guess that leaves us with Badnarik who has all rhetoric and no record.

And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

No matter how much we'd all like it to be so, without voting reform (specifically, something like Instant Run-off Voting, but there are other options), it's a two party, two choice, system for President. Vote accordingly then fight to change the way the system works.

Re:Well.. (3, Insightful)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638945)

I'm not entirely sure but I think if any candidate manages to get 3% of the popular vote he'll receive some federal funding for the next campaign.

Re:Well.. (2, Informative)

squarefish (561836) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638989)

I believe it's 5%- nader was short last time.

The money also goes to the party for the following election, not the canidate.

Re:Well.. (3, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639440)

Problem is, if anyone gets the 5%, they will raise the bar for the next election. It's the Democrats and Republicans holding up each end of the bar, after all. How high can the bar go before the general public notices and cares about what going on?

Changing the electoral system in a way to benefit third parties can't be gradual, changes must be so swift and sudden that any attempt by the incumbents to retaliate by changing the law will be obvious and ugly.

And then what? (4, Interesting)

melquiades (314628) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639599)

I'm not entirely sure but I think if any candidate manages to get 3% of the popular vote he'll receive some federal funding for the next campaign.

And then what?

Maybe if you're really, really, lucky, your candidate will gain popular support ... and five, ten years down the road, they win!

A third party president! How exciting!

And then what?

The two major parties are going to start nipping at the heels of your platform, reorganizing their own positions to eat into your party's base. You'll have to compromise, build coalitions, to remain in power. Eventually, the political coalition-building will tip to the point where one of the three parties is no longer viable.

And, voila, after all your hard work, after all those votes that sacrificed immediate advantage for the long-term hopes, you're right back where you started: two parties, both of them sprawling coalitions that don't really please anybody all that much, but please about half the population juuuust enough.

Even if you win, you lose.

This already happened once. Back in the 1850s, the Democrats and the Whigs where the two major parties. A third party came along, got their candidate elected, chaos ensued, and within five years, the Whigs were defunct, with the political boundaries redrawn, but only two parties left. That third party was the Republicans.

Yes, ponder that: the Republicans were once a third party.

The problem is, you can't escape Duverger's law [wikipedia.org] : as long as we have plurality votes, we'll only have two viable parties, except in times of extreme political chaos.

Re:And then what? (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639671)

The two major parties are going to start nipping at the heels of your platform.
I'd tend to think that would be the point. Idealists aren't as concerned with getting their man elected as they are with getting their message across. Nobody cares that the Turtle Party Candidate looses so much as the turtles are protected.

Re:And then what? (1)

KDan (90353) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640057)

The UK has a tri-partite system that works fine and has been doing so for a good while.

Daniel

Re:And then what? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640543)

As an ex-member of the Liberal Democrats, I'm not sure I agree with you. The UK has a two party system with an additional "spoiler" party. The result is that, at least from 1979 to 1997, Britain had an immensely unpopular government that was difficult to get rid of. The current government seems, to me, to be more representative of how the British see themselves and is fractionally more popular than that government, but only because the "spoiler" at the moment is not a natural home, at the moment, for ex-Tories.

What the system seems to do is make sure the most organized, least factionalized, of the two main parties wins, regardless of how representative its values are.

I gave up membership of the Lib Dems after the last election because I looked at their manefesto and thought it was one of the worst, basist, appeals to popularism over rationality I'd seen in a long time. It was representative of a party that knew it wouldn't get elected and was only interested in broadening its support base. It's trying to do the same tactic as Ralph Nader is trying to do in the US, only it's significantly more successful and more damaging.

Re:Well.. (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640612)

> he'll receive some federal funding for the next
> campaign

The Libertarian Party receiving money from the Federal government?

That sound you heard was of thousands of Libertarians suddenly crying out in terror, and suddenly silenced.

Re:Well.. (1)

clickster (669168) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641038)

I think candidates who use Gentoo should automatically receive public funds, because Gentoo is the best distro. **Shameless plug in an unrelated topic**

Harry Browne refused his matching funds (1)

scotay (195240) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641705)

Harry Browne refused to take his qualified matching funds in 2000 as any good Libertarian would. If we ever do win, it will be precisely because we DONT suckle at the federal troughs with all the other pigs. A lib in NJ also qualified for state fund and did take them. The LP current stance is to let the individual candidate decide to make the takings, but no Lib that takes the blood money will ever get my vote. We want to win, but not by using YOUR money to do it.

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639092)

He gets my vote, regardless of wasted or not. Now I live in Montana, and am sure that the difference between the two leaders will be signficantly more than 1 (or 1000 or 100000) votes but even if I could somehow have forknowledge that my vote would cost my second choice (Bush-by a narrow margin according to voter choice's survey) Montana's 3 electoral votes I would still vote for him in the hope that it would drive both parties that much closer to the LP ideals. Crap I voted libertarian for the Senate candidate who died hisself blue over too much silver nitride (preY2K scare) so I will certainly be voting for a smart, well-spoken guy who might qualify for FEC funding (even if the party refuses on principle).

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10639615)



And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

Kerry doesn't have a chance of winning so he isn't really a choice either. You might as well just vote for Bush since he is the only real choice(ie he is the only one who is going to win).

Re:Well.. (2, Interesting)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640511)

Vote accordingly

I live in a no-way-in-hell-are-we-a-swing-state. We don't even get TV ads. I plan on voting Libertarian. Sure, it won't change things (at least not WRT the President), but IMO if enough people do that, it'll cause the party to look and see that they're losing people due to some of the more extremist positions.

Heck, Nader/Badnarik/etc can still change things. In a swing state, 5% of the vote would send it to the other candidate. That affects opinions and policies, if only because "otherwise we won't win".

Re:Well.. (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640968)

And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

With the winner-takes-all setup of the Electoral College right now, unless you're in a battleground state your choice doesn't really matter as much anyways. In Georgia, George Bush will take the electoral vote. I could convince every single person I know to vote for Jesus H. Christ this election, and it wouldn't make a damned bit of difference.

place your bets! (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641178)

And no chance of winning, so he's not really a choice, even if he's on the ballot.

The presidency is not a horse race. The winner is not a foregone conclusion with voters "placing bets". Your vote decides the outcome. If you and your friends and their friends vote for Badnarik, then he will win, just as assuredly as Kerry would win if you vote for him or Bush if you vote for him. If you don't vote for what you believe, you'll never get what you want. It's not as if Bush/Kerry is going to pay more attention to what you say since you voted for him - he'll just be laughing all the way to the White House.

PS You want Condorcet [eskimo.com] , not IRV [electionmethods.org] .

Re:place your bets! (3, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641582)

The presidency is not a horse race. The winner is not a foregone conclusion with voters "placing bets". Your vote decides the outcome. If you and your friends and their friends vote for Badnarik, then he will win,

I wish that were true, but it isn't.

While it is true that if most people voted for Nader or Cobb or Badnarik, or whoever, that person would win, but the system is designed in such a way (either intentionally or not) that it makes it harder for a third party candidate to win, even if that person would win based on everyone voting their true preference.

just as assuredly as Kerry would win if you vote for him or Bush if you vote for him. If you don't vote for what you believe, you'll never get what you want. It's not as if Bush/Kerry is going to pay more attention to what you say since you voted for him - he'll just be laughing all the way to the White House.

You are right, but that illustrates my point. In order to vote for the "spoiler" (which is to say, of the three people, you would have voted for your #2 choice, but instead are voting for #1), you have to accept the possibility that your vote will have the effect of actually helping your last choice pick win the election.

In essence, you are no longer voting for President, you are voting against President. If choices 2 and 3 are so similar that you don't mind the getting choice 3, or if the polls are so overwhelming for one of the candidates, then chosing your #1 pick can make sense, but don't delude yourself into thinking that you are actually voting for President. To do so helps justify and reinforce the system.

It's true that you are throwing away your vote (for President) if you vote for Badnarik (because you know he can't win), or if you vote for Kerry or Bush, but really don't like your choice (because you are then no longer voting for who you really want for President). If you make either compromise, then the real battle should be for election reform, to enable a system where a vote for your ideal candidate and your "strategic" vote don't have to be at odds.

Nader tried to build a third party, but a three party system is unstable in the way our elections function. You'll inevitably end up with two parties again (even if they aren't the original two parties). He is doing a great service (as did Perot in '92) in making it far more difficult to believe the system currently serves the people. Perhaps through their, others, and our own, efforts, we'll move to a more democratic Presidential election, and for once have real choice.

PS You want Condorcet, not IRV.

Probably. IRV was just an example.

Re:place your bets! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641666)

Condorcet sucks because we need strong leaders, not rock stars who can get everyone to like them just enough so that nobody dislikes them.

Re:Well.. (0, Troll)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641657)

Face it, in this election, *nobody* is voting for anybody. Watch the ads, listen to the speeches, talk to the people around you, and you will see that everyone is planning to vote for what they perceive to be the lesser evil.

Again, nobody is voting for anything, we are all voting against something else.

Following this logic, a vote for Nader/Badnarik/Cobb/etc. is a against both Bush and Kerry. Not a wasted vote at all in my book!

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638774)

This is largely why I will be voting for Bush. I disagree with the rhetoric on the war, I think it is going as well as can be expected. (Please, this is not a request to "correct" me on this; I've heard it all before. I mean, sure, feel free to whack that reply button, it's your right, but don't expect me to suddenly see the error of my ways or anything. Caveat over.)

But I don't love everything Bush has done. His administration is disturbingly secretive, and while I freely concede the need to keep some things secret, it is clear to me a lot of people are using "security" as an excuse to cover things up. I understand the "You are with us or against us" line in the context of countries (where IMHO it does make sense in context), but they apply it to individuals too often where it doesn't make sense. The deficit bothers me. Some other things bother me.

OK, I understand the war is a big deal, and a lot of people disagree with me. For me it is a big issue, but not big enough to call myself a one-issue voter. Kerry could have definately picked me up on other issues.

But any issue I care about, he has voted against (which sometimes manifests as a "vote for", like the Patriot act). Civil liberties? Copyright issues? Smaller government? Nope, nope, nope. At best, silence.

You take away the war issue, and there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them. That leaves me mostly deciding on the war issue and I personally think that it is going as well as can be expected. (For reasoning on that, see a lot of the arguments here [64.235.242.204] , and no, I don't expect you to swallow that uncritically, and no, there likely isn't much you can say to change my mind on the issue at this point.) So, Bush it is. But I'm probably voting libertarian on all the other races that I can.

Re:Well.. (4, Insightful)

edalytical (671270) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638839)

You take away the war issue, and there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them.
Um, Outsourcing!

Let's see Bush is for it. Kerry is against it. Hmm, Kerry gets my vote.

Re:Well.. (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638866)

Good point. Not enough to sway my vote on my personal value scale, but good point. Thank you.

Re:Well.. (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638901)

Kerry SAYS he is against it ... his own actions and policies say otherwise however example: Boston Capital & Technology [gogov.com]

Also note the actual stats on outsourcing as provided via the National Review Online [nationalreview.com]

Re:Well.. (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639966)

Don't forget Kerry owns a million dollars worth of Wal-Mart stock, hardly the position of an anti-outsourcing candidate.

If the Parent thinks Kerry is anti-outsourcing, he probably think Bush went AWOL and let the terrorists, I mean, insurgents, steal that weapons cache.

Love those stats. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641065)

So, let's compare the number of off-shored jobs to the total number of jobs in the US (including burger flippers and such).

Why, it will take 7,000 years to replace all of those jobs at the current rate of off-shoring.

Nevermind that we're not talking about off-shoring burger flipping, just manufacturing and software and such. You know, the jobs that pay better than burger flipping and coffee-serving.

Re:Well.. (3, Insightful)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638912)

Does it really matter what the president's opinion on outsourcing is anyways?

I mean, what's Bush going to do, propose tax increases for big companies?

Outsourcing is caused by business being really expensive here in the US--in fact, so expensive that moving entire factories and buildings overseas ends up saving the company money.

I'm not really a Republican (because somehow they've gone crazy in the last 10 years or so) but it would seem that legislation that would make inland business less expensive would be more of a Republican thing.

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

scotch (102596) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638995)

Does it really matter what the president's opinion on outsourcing is anyways?

Probably not much. The stronger critique of the Bush adminstration is the alleged tax break given to out-sourcing companies. I never did hear Bush respond in the debates to this break, so I'm not sure what the counter-argument is. Ideally, the US government might be tax-neutral towards outsourcing. Some might support an administration that would take efforts to prevent outsorceing. Bush answered the outsourcing question with answers about increased education opportunities. Education helps, but I'd rather he give a firm answer to the crticism. Some might even support more agressive means to prevent outsourcing (taxes, trade resticitions, embargoes, etc). I'm not saying I'm in that camp, but surely the president has more influence on this issues that just his opinion.

Re:Well.. (5, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639152)

It's not as much of a tax break as it sounds. Most countries tax income earned domestically. So take Diagio (the parent of Guiness) they tax the income it earns in the UK. The US taxes the income of Anheiser-Busch globally with a tax credit for foreign taxes paid, with a major loophole (if you reinvest the proceeds in the foreign country you can deferr the taxes). The loophole is designed to allow companies to earn tons of money in foreign countries, but they have to spend it in the foreign country--hence the pro-outsourcing tilt of the group. Both sides should know that it mostly equalized our tax law with foreign competitors (which US companies scream bloody murder about) as opposed to really supporting outsourcing.
As an example take a Toyota factory in Ohio the US would tax the domesitic subsidiary of Toyota for the profits from the cars built in the factory and Japan would not. If Ford were to do the same thing in Osaka, however, the US would tax income both from cars exported to Japan and cars built in Japan. This puts Ford at a bit of a disadvantage to Toyota, and lots of companies lobbied hard for the tax break to equalize them. Now you know a bit more about the "outsourcing tax break."

Re:Well.. (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639202)

Thanks for the analysis. Question. Does this apply to people or just corporations? That is, if I'm a US citizen living abroad and making money abroad (dual citizenship, if that helps), does Bush's tax break apply to me as well, or do I still need to pay US income tax?

Re:Well.. (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639510)

No expert hear, but every story I've heard says the US doesn't tax the income. The stories mostly reference building highways in Africa. But, I think that it's as long as you work for a foreign company. Not sure about multinationals.

Re:Well.. (2, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640311)

First off the US considers you a citizen or not a citizen, thier is no such thing as dual citizen as far as the US is concened.
As a US citizen you have to pay taxes on money you earned no matter where it was earned. Now there are a few things that subtract from the amount you have to pay the US tax office.
1) If the US has an agreement with the opposing country you can subtract a portion of what you paid that country from the US taxes. 2) This is the primary benifit. If you are out of the US(your primary residence is not in the US) for 330 days of the tax year you get a deduction of up to $80,000 (can be a little higher depending on housing costs). So Bush's tax breaks do apply if you do still make enough money.
So where you really start cleaning up on money as a US citizen is by working in a country that does not have income taxes. You then get all the regular deductions plus the $80,000 and getting to keep an additional 35% of your income is really,really nice.

Re:Well.. (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640899)

My understanding of the rules are that you pay tax on income earned if you are a US citizen, but you can take a credit or deduction for foreign taxes paid. I guess I'll have to learn by April, as I bought some foreign stocks this year outside of a mutual fund. This wasn't the big Bush tax break (passed last year that reduced taxes on dividends, boosted education and child care credits, and generally hosed single people in favor of families). There were a few changes to individual tax law in the recently passed bill (still sitting on the Pres' desk AFAIK) it was mostly changes to corporate tax law.
Oh and groups should be laws or groups of law in my prior post.
/that'll learn me for trying to post something long after the second glass of wine.

It doesn't matter how educated you are. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641134)

Bush answered the outsourcing question with answers about increased education opportunities. Education helps, but I'd rather he give a firm answer to the crticism.

Actually, education does not help.

As long as the people willing to do the job for less money have the education sufficient to do that job, you having more education will not get that job for you.

Some might even support more agressive means to prevent outsourcing (taxes, trade resticitions, embargoes, etc).

I'd start by killing any "free trade" with any country that cannot meet or exceed our levels of worker and environmental protections (they move up, we don't move down). It isn't equal if they don't have the same protections. Then it is just a race to find the people with the fewest protections so they can be exploited.

Outsourcing (1, Flamebait)

sybert (192766) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639495)

Bush is for it, he gets my vote.

I have personally been involved in developing IT services for Foreign Companies, Foreign Governments, and International Organizations. Anyone who is against free trade in services loses my vote. And for the economy as a whole, service exports (insourcing) are increasing much faster than service imports (outsourcing).

Re:Well.. (1)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640351)

Dude, that is like saying that you are against educating children.

The president can not really affect outsourcing directly . If they try to do this with taxes, EU/WTO will slap trade sanction, since taxes against world economy are in many cases illegal.

Meanwhile, if Kerry manages to get Congress to increase the minimum wage, we will see more pressure for outsourcing (as everybody's wage will start going up, due to inflation). In the long run the falling value of the dollar will eventually balance this out.

Bush is not for outsourcing, but giving businesses huge tax breaks, when the economy is balanced to drive the money out of the country is insane. Talk about overcompensating. This is what is causing the inflation now. (that, and rising energy prices)

Libertarians are not your friends either. They will want to ease restrictions on work (and workers).

On the topic of WTO....
Does anyone else find it strange that the rules of free trade aren't forcing countries into private medicine? After all socializing an industry is one heck of a major subsidy. Shouldn't Europe and Canada be sanctioned for this?

Or am I misunderstanding WTO rules. Anyone with knowledge please post.

Re:Well.. (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640605)

Libertarians are not your friends either. They will want to ease restrictions on work (and workers).
I'm not sure that's completely a bad thing, at least, not in terms of restrictions on who can be employed and where.

Part of the rush towards outsourcing has been because Americans over-priced themselves during the late nineties, Slashdotters frequently said they wouldn't accept a programming job that paid less than six digits. At the same time as this was happening, there was a backlash against H1-Bs, H1-Bs were being used as the sole method of increasing outside skills, and H1-Bs are, ultimately, not an attractive proposition for anyone outside of the US except a small minority of people who aren't tied down and do not want to become Americans. The backlash meant the INS enforced salary requirements - not as much as many wanted, but enough to ensure H1-Bs wouldn't have much affect.

So H1-Bs didn't push down salaries. Companies that employed H1-Bs got it in the neck. And it became more and more expensive to operate entire facilities within the US.

Hence outsourcing.

Now, take a more libertarian view on who you can employ and on immigration: make it easier for skilled people to come to the US (especially those who want to become Americans) and drop the salary restrictions. Suddenly it becomes much more affordable to operate entire facilities in the US. This keeps jobs and money within the country - yes, some of those jobs will come from people coming in, but it's not as if they're going to spend their entire salaries in other countries, which is what's happening now. As a whole, the numbers of jobs increase.

The problem is that immigration = more jobs is one of those equations that isn't intuitively obvious, and indeed runs counter to propaganda from anti-immigrant campaigns over the centuries. The fact is though that immigration does mean more jobs: it means more competition on salaries, which keeps jobs in the US because ultimately it has to be affordable to operate local facilities, and it means money stays in the US and gets spent in the US.

I don't agree with the entire Libertarian platform, but this is one of those things I think they have right. Now, if they can avoid gutting health and safety, and minimum salaries, at the same time, I'd even consider their position moral.

Re:Well.. Kerry in a landslide! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10641615)

Kerry gets my vote

Yours and a landslide of others baby, yeah!

Just look at the End Of Days groupie losers. Their rhetoric is now limited to 'baseball scores!', 'what smoking crater economy?', 'what smoking crater from tons of looted high explosive nuke precursors?', 'what chronic lies and theft?', 'what dead and tortured?', 'love it or leave it to us fascists!'. It is their days that are numbered, next stop prison.

Re:Well.. (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641656)

here's what Steven Landsburg, an economic writer for MSN has to say about that (and I agree with him, basically, protectionism is racist)
---
If George Bush had chosen the racist David Duke as a running mate, I'd have voted against him, almost without regard to any other issue. Instead, John Kerry chose the xenophobe John Edwards as a running mate. I will therefore vote against John Kerry.

Duke thinks it's imperative to protect white jobs from black competition. Edwards thinks it's imperative to protect American jobs from foreign competition. There's not a dime's worth of moral difference there. While Duke would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of skin color, Edwards would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of birthplace. Either way, bigotry is bigotry, and appeals to base instincts should always be repudiated.

Bush's reckless spending and disregard for the truth had me almost ready to vote for Kerry--until Kerry picked his running mate. When the real David Duke ran against a corrupt felon for governor of Lousiana, the bumper stickers read, "Vote for the crook. It's important." Well, I'm voting for the reckless spendthrift. It's important again.
---

Not only that, but you are against outsourcing then? really? do you want your next computer to cost 200,000$ because it was built by american union members? prepared to pay a thousand dollars for a pair of jeans? everything would get really expensive in a hurry if we _didnt_ outsource.

Re:Well.. (1)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638920)

I didn't vote for either candidate and did for for Badnarik for the reasons you cite. If one were to remove the war from the equation Bush and Kerry are on the same EFFECTIVE side of every issue. Meaning that they both have allowed the same policies to come thgough, Bush mostly by action and Kerry mostly by inaction.

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

Undefined Parameter (726857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639083)

I'd like to make an observation and ask a question, if I may. My obvservation is that you seem to be siding, and I know I'm mangling this quote, with the evil you know over the evil you don't. Whether you're right or wrong in doing so--if you are doing so--is not my place to say.

As for the question, I base it on these two quotes from your post:

OK, I understand the war is a big deal [...] For me it is a big issue, but not big enough to call myself a one-issue voter.

and

[...] there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them. That leaves me mostly deciding on the war issue [...]

My question is: How do you reconcile those two statements?

~UP

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

Proteus (1926) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639167)

You take away the war issue, and there isn't much reason for a Slashdot type to vote for either one of them.
Separation of Church and State. Now, I'm not saying Bush has crossed the line here. I'm even one who defends the idea -- if not the current implementation of -- faith-based services [0]. And, I am aware that Kerry is religious, and that such will affect his decisions.

The primary difference, to me, is that Bush is unwilling to look at his decisions outside the context of his spiritual beliefs. He doesn't even appear to be trying to acknowledge his biases in this regard. At least Kerry acknowledges his bias, and promises to do his best not to let them color his decisions.

When a president supports a constitutional ammendment to define a word -- and a word that stands for something that's historically been a right of each State to legislate -- he crosses a line. When he declares that a belief system (in this case, Wicca) "isn't a real religion", and supports acts that repress its practice, he crosses a line. I think Kerry is at least pragmatic enough that if he has such feelings he knows better than to bring them into his politics.

And, international perception. Now, what the world thinks of the US isn't the most important thing; but, it is worth considering. When all of the US' allies view our president as a would-be dicator, and view his administration's foreign policy as insulting and threatening, it should give one pause. The fact that the international commuity at large is hoping that Kerry will win because they feel that Bush is insane, we have to consider that maybe their opinion is worth considering.

The war issue, for me, isn't about "how it's going"; I agree we're doing pretty well, all things considered. For me, it's about how we shouldn't have gone in the first place, and how the administration continues to try and deceive the public into believing that Saddam attacked (or was about to attack) the US. If Bush had gotten on television and said "Saddam may not be a direct threat to the US, but he is a vicious dictator. Eliminating him will bring stability to the region", I wouldn't be so angry about the war in Iraq.

But, war issue aside:
  • Kerry is more pragmatic on religion-influenced issues
  • Kerry is willing to alter his opinion when new data are available; Bush sticks to his guns even when he's proved wrong
  • Kerry is respected by, and is likely to win the support and friendship of, the international community

Now, I think several of the 3rd-party candidates are actually better choices, but since I live in Minnesota, I'm voting Kerry. Simply put, and war aside, Kerry is less insane than Bush.

[0]: If implemented correctly, faith-based services would allow religious groups to have the same standing as secular groups when it comes to charitable work. As long as all faiths are treated equitably, this wouldn't violate the Establishment Clause, and would be (IMHO) a good thing. For the record, I'm an atheist (though of an odd sort).

Re:Well.. (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639644)

Many of us have heard the Separation of Church and State is not in the Constitution statement before. I've also heard arguments that legally a State could declair an official religion. But as I said to a friend the other day, I still think the separation is a good idea. In the same breath, I explained to my pro-Bush friend that marriage is a religious institution. And that if you could find a religion that would sanction your particular design of marriage, be it straight, gay, plural or time limiting ala RA Heinlein, so be it. The State does not have the right to define the constructs of religion. Nor should it in my opinion penalize anyone for joining into any type of religious union, by way of marriage licenses or tax penalties. George Bush does not have the social power to decree anything on a subject that's already on shaky ground. In my opinion, gay marriage will be a reality.

As for Kerry's ability to acknowledge his bias, I'll give him credit for that. But, he seems to be too reactionary for me. He doesn't give himself enough time to evaluate a situation. Instead of saying, "In light of new information, I have changed my opinion." he makes excuses that make him sound wishy-washy. The article also illustrates why many independants say there is no real difference in the two parties. Neither want to protect individual rights except their priviledged own.
Besides, I just don't really like Kerry. Call it a personal thing.

I live in North Carolina and will be voting Badnarik-Campagna.

Incidentally, I am a little curious about what sort of odd atheist you are. I'm weird and agnostic, but they are independant of each other.

Re:Well.. (1)

Proteus (1926) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641637)

Many of us have heard the Separation of Church and State is not in the Constitution statement before.
That is technically true, Separation of Church and State is a doctrine, not Constitutional Law. And I believe Kerry will adhere to that doctrine, while Bush will not. Disestablishment is something a lot of Slashdot readers support, which is why I brought it up: the original claim was that there weren't many reasons for a Slashdot reader to vote for Kerry.
I've also heard arguments that legally a State could declair an official religion.
That's explicitly excluded. The Disestablishment doctrine may not be law, but it is based ont he Constitution. Specifically, the Constitution states that Congress can make no law (a)establishing a State Religion, or (b)preventing the free exercise of religion. (A) means, at least, that the government cannot unfairly sponsor a particular religion -- that's often been expanded to the idea that government and religion should be completely separate. The former is law, the latter is legal doctrine.
Instead of saying, "In light of new information, I have changed my opinion." he makes excuses that make him sound wishy-washy.
Ah, politics. Most voters wouldn't stand for Kerry making a statement like the above. Sad but true, though I happen to agree with you. Still, I'd rather a President sound "wishy-washy" than sound like an incompetent fool, as Bush is wont to do... ;-)
I live in North Carolina and will be voting Badnarik-Campagna.
Excellent! I support 3rd-party votes; I would normally vote in that manner (Cobb is my candidate of choice, though I don't entirely agree with him), it's just that in Minnesota, it would be an effective vote for Bush. For once, pragmatism is more important to me than idealism...
Incidentally, I am a little curious about what sort of odd atheist you are. I'm weird and agnostic, but they are independant of each other.
First, a question: when you say "agnostic", do you mean "don't know, don't care" or "the nature of deity is unknowable"? Just curious, I don't know many people in the latter class.

I'm an odd atheist in that I don't believe conclusively that no gods exist. Rather, I believe that it just doesn't matter if gods exist or not, because it has no effect on our world. If you believe in a deity and that motivates you to be a good and decent human, then great. If it doesn't, your belief is a waste. And, if you would be a good and decent human without a belief in god, then it doesn't matter if one exists. In short, whether god exists or not matters far less than what people believe "god" to be.

I do believe that there is value in worship; I see gods as cyphers for preserved knowledge. Ancient peoples figured out certain truths, and because writing systems were rare and/or confined to the elite, the knowledge about the experience was encoded into gods and the rituals of worship and veneration surrounding them. I don't believe the gods exist, but if one suspends that disbeleif and worships as though the gods do exist, one can gain access to some of those ancient epiphanies.

So, I'm an atheist, but a practicing neo-pagan; and, I don't see any conflict in the two. All of which is a bit unusual for an atheist. :)

Answers (0, Flamebait)

sybert (192766) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639361)

Civil liberties? The best way to protect civil liberties is to have law enforcement use the best technology and tools, including the Patriot act, to enforce the law with the fewest number of police. Bush has been criticized for not having enough police, Kerry is both for the Patriot act and for hiring more police. Computers, don't infringe civil liberties, people do. So why are libertarians not in favor of using the Patriot act and other technology to cut both the budget and the size of the police force?

Smaller government? Bush has limited the growth of regulation [heritage.org] and is for much less spending than Kerry. His tax cut is actually too small [yahoo.com] according to the Economics Nobel Prize winner.

War? The world is now more peaceful than ever. Coverage of war and bloodshed on the news may be at an recent high but the actual number of conflicts and amount of bloodshed has declined to an all time low [agonist.org] under Bush. Bloodshed in Iraq is less than under Saddam. The long war in Afghanistan is over, and the Administration has negotiated a cease-fire in southern Sudan, ending a civil war that killed over two million people, and the Administration has kept Darfur from turning into a Rwanda. Bloodshed has also decreased in Palestine, Kashmir, and Africa.

Re:Answers (1)

reverius (471142) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639585)

Yet, somehow, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq monthly hasn't been declining at all since the beginning of the war (not that it's been going up significantly either).

Worldwide bloodshed might be going down, but -our- body count in Iraq isn't.

1107 and counting, people.

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Re:Well.. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639420)

If you believe that Kerry and Bush are roughly equal on all the issues that affect you, you're significantly under-informed. Make sure you're not getting your understanding of Kerry's position from any of the US news stations, pro-Bush right-wing pundits or from Bush and the rest of his top level staff. Kerry's positions on a number of the items you speak of have been repeatedly distorted with little or no effort shown by major "news" organisations to check facts, correct mistakes or do anything other than pass on GOP talking points verbatim.

Re:Well.. (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639711)

So what you're saying is that the Congressional record, the DNC's own web site and transcripts of debates with an independant factcheck filter are not to be trusted?

Re:Well.. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640471)

I'm saying that make sure you've read them directly and not relied on someone else's interpretation of them.

Re:Well.. (-1, Flamebait)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639981)

Like the Bush AWOL story and the weapons cache canard that CBS and the NY Times have floated to hurt Bush?

Get a grip, tool. The media isn't 'right wing', despite what you say.
Go back to your Chomsky and pseudo-intellectual mental masturbation.

If you want the truth, look at Kerry's words and his record. The guy is a blatant political opportunist of the worst sort. His 'nuance' is little more than changing with the polls, which is why the Founding Fathers didn't found a democracy, but a Republic -- people are idiots.

You have just proven this nicely.

Re:Well.. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640260)

This is largely why I will be voting for Bush. I disagree with the rhetoric on the war, I think it is going as well as can be expected (Please, this is not a request to "correct" me on this; I've heard it all before. I mean, sure, feel free to whack that reply button, it's your right, but don't expect me to suddenly see the error of my ways or anything. Caveat over.)

In other words, let's not be so silly as to bring reality into this: the war is going well, so any facts brought forward are just "rhetoric". Well, look at the rhetoric.

Things in our favor:

  1. -Overwhelming military superiority. We have better training, guns, armor, APCs, tanks, gunships, medics, precision bombs, and communications.
  1. -The insurgency lacks a coherent political agenda. Beyond being against the occupation, it's unclear what they are for.
  1. -The insurgency lacks central command and coordination. In fact, it is better viewed as a network of separate insurgencies, with separate aims- radical Islaamists, Baathists, Sunni Nationalists, Shiites, organized criminals, and I'm gonna guess Iranian agitators. So (unlike the US) they couldn't all get together and attack simultaneously.
  1. -Several regions are fairly stable- the Kurdish North is under control, and the Shiites are able to organize and coordinate themselves. It's primarily the center of the country we have the huge problem with.

So yes, there are some things in our favor. OK, stuff against us:

  1. -Money. About 500 million from the former regime is helping to fund the insurgency.
  1. -Arms. Besides the Kalashnikov-in-every-house factor, arms caches were looted (often as US troops stood by) in the wake of the invasion. Weapons are widely available, and cheap. They include the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle as well as machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, plastic explosives, and shoulder fired surface-to-air missiles. The IEDs seem to be getting better- the insurgency can now take out the tracked Bradley fighting vehicle.
  1. -Motivation. The American people have limited patience for large number of casualties in a war with no clear justification. The insurgents have already demonstrated their willingness to lose thousands of people, and thousands more- even for people to kill themselves in suicide attacks. Even if we kill 10 insurgents for every 1 GI, we may tire of all the blood before they do.
  1. -Understanding of the battlefield. We don't know the Iraqi language, culture, people, or country very well. Iraqis, of course, know all these things really well.
  1. -Widespread resistance to the occupation, sypathy for the insurgents, and fear. Guerrilla warfare depends on a friendly, or at least passive, population base. It forms their logistical support. These factors also mean that people are reluctant to cooperate with the occupation- or even be seen talking to foreigners. People could speak out, but they are too afraid.
  1. -Ineffectiveness of American military force for the present conflict. The American military is designed to take on a Soviet tanks and aircraft, not guys with RPGs. Many of our weapons systems are useless in urban areas because of high civilian casualties. Many of the military's tactics and advantages- for instance its ability to move rapidly and outmaneuver enemy forces- are of limited use in a stationary guerilla war. I would go further and say that the American military simply lacks the mindset for this kind of operation, which requires fundamentally different tactics and strategies than engaging a conventional force.
  1. -Excellent intelligence on the part of the insurgency. The slaughter of 50 Iraqi troops was clearly planned by people with a detailed inside knowledge of their movements. Likewise, the ability to strike inside the Green Zone suggests an inside job. The United States is surrounded by many of the people it is supposed to be fighting.
  1. -Lack of intelligence about the insurgency.The US clearly has no comparable ability to understand who the insurgents are, their plans, or their movements. Since much of the country is now a no-go zone, it's unlikely that the commanders have a good grasp of the situation.
  1. -They have a clear idea of who to shoot: the guys who don't look Iraqi. Insurgents look just like everybody else to us, though.
  1. -Lack of central leadership. This also counts against us. A single enemy could coordinate against us, true. However, they would also be vulnerable to targeted assination of their leaders. Instead, we have half a dozen groups to understand, track, and attack simultaneously.
  1. -Lack of leadership from the Bush administration. The Bush administration is simply not willing to make carefully reasoned, rational decisions about Iraq. The contractor killings in Fallujah were awful, but the administration's decision to retaliate (while "resolute"... at least initially) went against the advice of the commanders on the ground. Then, when causalties piled up on both sides, the administration "wavered", "flip-flopped" and threw Fallujah back to the insurgents. So now it was pissed off, but not pacified- even more dangerous than before.

The list of factors against us just goes on. The conclusion is pretty obvious: we have won every battle, but we are currently losing the war. Attacks are up 25% since the start of Ramadan, to something like 80-90 per day. The military is stretched to its breaking point, with soldiers kept from leaving and support troops taking front-line roles. Western Iraq is out of our control. Westerners are afraid to leave the Green Zone without heavy protection, and Iraqis are afraid to talk to westerners. And there are still those deluded people who wonder why the media doesn't report all the good news coming out of Iraq. I don't know if America can turn this war around. But I know that George W. Bush can neither win it, nor admit that he cannot win it. And that's why my vote is for John Kerry.

Re:Well.. (4, Informative)

scotch (102596) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638950)

When questioned about the Patriot act and civil liberties in Debate two, Bush said
BUSH: I really don't think your rights are being watered down. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't support it if I thought that.

and little else (see this for the full text [debates.org] . Kerry said:

KERRY: Former Governor Racicot, as chairman of the Republican Party, said he thought that the Patriot Act has to be changed and fixed.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, he is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said over his dead body before it gets renewed without being thoroughly rechecked.

A whole bunch of folks in America are concerned about the way the Patriot Act has been applied. In fact, the inspector general of the Justice Department found that John Ashcroft had twice applied it in ways that were inappropriate.

People's rights have been abused.

I met a man who spent eight months in prison, wasn't even allowed to call his lawyer, wasn't allowed to get -- finally, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois intervened and was able to get him out.

This is in our country, folks, the United States of America.

They've got sneak-and-peek searches that are allowed. They've got people allowed to go into churches now and political meetings without any showing of potential criminal activity or otherwise.

Now, I voted for the Patriot Act. Ninety-nine United States senators voted for it. And the president's been very busy running around the country using what I just described to you as a reason to say I'm wishy-washy, that I'm a flip-flopper.

Now that's not a flip-flop. I believe in the Patriot Act. We need the things in it that coordinate the FBI and the CIA. We need to be stronger on terrorism.

But you know what we also need to do as Americans is never let the terrorists change the Constitution of the United States in a way that disadvantages our rights.

Saying there is no problem doesn't make it go away.

You may be right about the records. The record isn't everything for this issue, though. Sinse almost everyone on the hill voted for the Patriot act, correcting it will either take politicians admitting they were wrong (aka flip-flopping), a massive turnover of congress-critters (you can thank gerrymandering for that not happening), or some intervention by the supreme court (hopeful). Badnarik is another possibility, but pretty remote.

Re:Well.. (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640704)

But he said and you quote.

"I believe in the Patriot Act. We need the things in it that coordinate the FBI and the CIA. We need to be stronger on terrorism."

Combined with all the other quotes in his article, it sounds as if kerry believes law enforcement should have many powers, but they should just be expected to not abuse those powers. Whats going to keep law enforcement from abusing those powers? Nothing, according to all of Kerry's statements.

This is unrealistic, and a complete ignorance of the idea of checks and balances.

Re:Well.. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640778)

Wanted to back up what I just said with a good quote from Kerry. Here we go..

"John Kerry stands by his vote for the Patriot Act," says a March 11 campaign statement. "You can sum up the problems with the Patriot Act in two words: John Ashcroft....The real problem with the Patriot Act is not the law, but the abuse of the law."

Re:Well.. (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641105)

Well, neither candidate is ideal, most of us can agree on that. But on one hand we have someone who says there is no problem, and on the other we have someone who seems to think there might be some problems, either in execution or definition, and who at least is considering legislation to correct the problems. So the point stands, there is a some difference in the candidates here, perhaps not as much as I'd like, but if you're trying to support Bush with this tactic, it seems pretty weak to me.

Re:Well.. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641471)

Combined with Kerrys support for property-forfeiture, and other laws. Yes, I'd say Kerry is worse than Bush on these issues.

Re:Well.. gun grabbers get a F on civil rights (2, Insightful)

Zeio (325157) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639357)

Right to bear arms is a fundamental Civil Right in the US. Kerry is awful in this department.

I'm voting for Badnarik, and we need a strong third party to help create a new, healthier political system without these two bought and paid for parties that "represent"

However, I want to be free from Mobocracy, and believe in a constitutional republic with armed civilians and with NONE of the rights being collective, all being individual.

The right to speak freely, pursue religion, marry a dog or same sex, freedom from illegal warrants and searches (like the Patriot Act provides) is married to the right to bear arms. I refuse to allow people who champion certain civil rights portray themselves and activists when the support communist/fascist notion of a Totalitarian state, the collective right - in most cases would be totalitarians disguise their fear of an armed public by saying the Framers intended the right to bear as collective, thoroughly disproved in the Federalist Papers and by many quotes from the framers and reflected in the Framer's respective state constitutions.

When thinking of the words of Rand and Kozinski, why is it that the only people who truly appreciate America escaped from Totalitarian communist regimes?

To quote Alex Kozinski - he said history would be vastly different had American slaves or Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto been able to arm themselves.

"The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for re-election and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees," wrote Judge Kozinski, a native of Romania. "However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once," he wrote.

And to those fools who speak of any right being collective; here is Ayn Rand to the rescue: "If you accept the Totalitarian idea, if the words "State" or "Collective" are sacred to you, but the word "Individual" is not -- stop right here. You don't have to read further. What we have to say is not for you -- and you are not for us. Let's part here -- but be honest, admit that you are a Totalitarian and go join the Communist Party or the German-American Bund, because they are the logical end of the road you have chosen, and you will end up with one or the other, whether you know it now or not. ...
-- That each man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken from him for any cause whatsoever. These rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

-- That the right of life means that man cannot be deprived of his life for the convenience of any number of other men.

-- That the right of liberty means freedom of individual decision, individual choice, individual judgment and individual initiative; it means also the right to disagree with others.

-- That the right to the pursuit of happiness means man's freedom to choose what constitutes his own private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement; that such a pursuit is neither evil nor reprehensible, but honorable and good; and that a man's happiness is not to be prescribed to him by any other man nor by any number of other men.

-- That these rights have no meaning unless they are the unconditional, personal, private possession of each man, granted to him by the fact of his birth, held by him independently of all other men, and limited only by the exercise of the same rights by other men.

-- That the only just, moral and beneficent form of society is a society based upon the recognition of these inalienable individual rights.

-- That the State exists for Man, and no Man for the State.

-- That the greatest good for all men can be achieved only through the voluntary cooperation of free individuals for mutual benefit, and not through a compulsory sacrifice of all for all.

-- That "voluntary" presupposes an alternative and a choice of opportunities; and thus even a universal agreement of all men on one course of action is neither free nor voluntary if no other course of action is open to them.

-- That each man's independence of spirit and other men's respect for it have created all civilization, all culture, all human progress and have benefited all mankind.

-- That the greatest threat to civilization is the spread of Collectivism, which demands the sacrifice of all individual rights to collective rights and the supremacy of the State over the individual.

-- That the general good which such Collectivism professes as its objective can never be achieved at the sacrifice of man's freedom, and such sacrifice can lead only to general suffering, stagnation, and degeneration.

-- That such conception of Collectivism is the greatest possible evil -- under any name, in any form, for any professed purpose whatsoever.

Gun nuts get a F on Constitutional Law (2, Funny)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641579)

Right to bear arms is a fundamental Civil Right in the US. Kerry is awful in this department.

What utter fscking BS. Kerry is a gun owner and a hunter. He has never advocated taking all guns away from Americans.

You are just another one-issue deluded voter who wants to twist "a well regulated militia" into unregulated ownership of any and all weapons capable of killing people. Well here's a clue for you: The founding fathers didn't intend for you to be able to buy .50 caliber machine guns, bazookas, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, or nuclear weapons. Nothing in the Second Amendment precluded state or federal laws which ban or limit the sale of certain types of weapons. Nor is it unconstitutional to prevent convicted felons from owning firearms. Get over it.

And before you make an ass of yourself in your reply, know that I just went to a gun show in the last few weeks and bought a Yugoslavian M-24/47 Mauser (8x57mm) to add to my collection, so don't try to paint me as some kind of anti-gun extremist.

There's only one choice left... (1)

melquiades (314628) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639576)

Kerry is not the perfect, ideal candidate of libertarians. Who'd have thunk it?

Next thing you know, some nutcase will be claiming that plurality voting [wikipedia.org] requires voters to make compromises. Compromise is for weenies.

Sure, it's impractical and probably contrary to your interests in practical terms, but the symbolic gesture will buoy you with a smug sense of moral superiority for years: I say, cast your ballot for the candidate who you agree with completely on everything.

That's why I'm casting a write-in vote for myself.

Re:There's only one choice left... (1)

VultureMN (116540) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641691)

I would like a copy of your newsletter, sir, to further explore your position.

irrelevant (1, Insightful)

nusratt (751548) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638643)

If you're the kind of person who's horrified by the Gang Of Bush's encroachments on civil liberties, then you're likely to be someone who's also concerned about an entire constellation of related issues.

In that case, you're also likely to be someone for whom there's no doubt that Kerry will be at least a marginal improvement.

You apparently didn't read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10638654)

Because Kerry has always been anti-privacy when it comes to encryption and the like.

Re:You apparently didn't read it (2, Insightful)

nusratt (751548) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638711)

You miss my point.
The Bush administrattion has been *so* bad on these issues that virtually no one who's capable of securing the Dems' nomination could be equally bad, *regardless* of the historical record.

Virtually every President -- with the exception of the near-pathologically saintly, like Jimmy Carter -- secretly deems his first priority to be winning a second term. Kerry knows that moving too far to the right, even if he were so inclined, would threaten his re-nomination.

You didn't say equally bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10638733)

You said Kerry would be marginally better. I don't believe that's the case.

Re:You didn't say equally bad (2, Insightful)

GryMor (88799) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639352)

At this point it's not even a question of being better, so long as the badness is different, we have a chance of recovering from some of the damage Bush has done to our standing as a sane nation. If we reelect Bush, we are confirming to the world that 'We the people of the United States of America agree with and aprove of the actions taken by George W. Bush'.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

On the other hand, we need Badnerick or someone else whose issues are civil liberties. I'm still weighing things to see if I can risk voting Libertarien this year.

Re:You apparently didn't read it (1)

douthat (568842) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639338)

Kerry knows that moving too far to the right,... would threaten his re-nomination.
Neither major U.S. party has rejected an incumbent President a nomination for a second term, if he has sought one, in over 100 years. [wikipedia.org]

Re:You apparently didn't read it (1)

sybert (192766) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639399)

Ronald Reagan almost won the Republican primary against incumbent Ford. With the Clinton's power over the Democratic party, I think it would be very easy for Hillary to knock off Kerry in the 2008 primary. She could run either to the left or right of Kerry depending on how he screws everything up.

Re:You apparently didn't read it (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640509)

Of course, Ford was not actually elected to either the Presidency or Vice-Presidency. Only President in history who can say that...

And even then, with an unelected President, Reagan could only manage "almost won the Republican Primary".

Re:You apparently didn't read it (1)

Media Girl (823578) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639390)

I think one thing to remember is that if Kerry wins, he almost certainly will be dealing with a Republican Congress. And that means that draconian anti-privacy legislation is unlikely to get a fast track from either party. And that is all good in my book!

Re:irrelevant (5, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639094)

"In that case, you're also likely to be someone for whom there's no doubt that Kerry will be at least a marginal improvement."

I'm pretty sure Kerry will be bad, different bad, and the calculus of badness is pretty hard so I'm not sure I'd be so bold as to say Kerry will be a "marginal improvement", I'd just stick with they are both going to be inevitably bad. What do you expect when you have two spoiled rich kids, Yale grads, Skull and Bonesmen, elite of the elites, never done an honest days work in their lives.

Though I should qualify there is a big plus in having different parties controlling the White House and Congress because grid lock is a big plus when both major parties have gone insane and are completely corrupt, since it slows them down, they can't make major policy changes and are confined to colluding to hand out the massive pork to their friends. Gridlock is kind of like a straight jacket for the criminally insane. So if the Republicans hold Congress, having Kerry in the White House would probably be a marginal improvement and vice versa.

Me I'm taking the long view so I think it would be best if Bush/Cheney win, the Republicans get 60 seats in the Senate, build their lead on the House, and get the Supreme Court stacked early in the next term. It would be especially good if the election looks really tainted, rigged and stolen.

Why you ask? Have I gone insane? Well no, you see I'm pretty sure the Republicans will tilt in to an insane binge of right wing extremism in the next term if they hold power and especially if there is another terrorist attack to use an excuse. In fact I'm willing to bet they will stage their own attack if Al Qaida doesn't oblige, like the Anthrax letters. Terrorist attacks are pure gold when you are trying to seize power.

Why is this good? Because things might get so bad it might wake up sane Americans that their government is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people, and it doesn't really matter which party has power because they are both screwing the people. If Kerry were to win people might say, whew, glad thats over, and not realize Kerry and the Dems are screwing them pretty much the same as Bush and the Republicans, just with a different style.

Maybe, just maybe, if things gets really bad people will wake up and unite to do whatever it takes to take their government back, either peacefully through a real third party, or if it appears the Republicans are stealing the elections using as much force as is necessary, something which I'm pretty sure all the founding fathers would bless. The founding fathers knew and feared tyrannical government and they thouroughly expected one would eventually seize power in America despite their best efforts in the Constitution to prevent it and we are pretty close.

The U.S. is in desperate need of a renewal of its Democracy and ping ponging between really bad Republicans and really bad Democrats is precluding that rebirth. America needs a Master Reset and a reboot to clear a corrupted system.

Re:irrelevant (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639467)

I'm pretty sure Kerry will be bad, different bad, and the calculus of badness is pretty hard so I'm not sure I'd be so bold as to say Kerry will be a "marginal improvement", I'd just stick with they are both going to be inevitably bad. What do you expect when you have two spoiled rich kids, Yale grads, Skull and Bonesmen, elite of the elites, never done an honest days work in their lives.
I'm sorry, but this is crap. While Bush was busy running one previously successful company into the ground after another, Kerry; "After graduating from Boston College Law School in 1976, John Kerry went to work as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts." That's an honest day's work -- much more so than failing to find oil in Texas, or involvement in some fairly suspect deals related to a baseball team.

Your Republican trick of "Bush Bad, Kerry Just As Bad" doesn't work on me any more.

Re:irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10640046)

OMG - I'm not even american but I can easily see that Kerry is atleast just as bad Bush.

I'm even from scandinavia where most of our news coverage has a distinct socialist slant on everything.

Probably the "bush will reinstate the draft" statement while saying he wants to enlist atleast 40.000 more troops is the weirdest thing Kerry has been stating.

The attacks on the Iraq war are to a large degree unfounded (granted before they started, Bush should have given more credit and say in the matter to Powell then the Pentagon). Unfounded because all data suggest that Kerry would have done the same thing. Don't think that Kerry would have worked more with the international community than Clinton did. Kerry wouldn't have been able to convince the French either (they wanted Saddam so they had some security that they would get the Iraqi debts on french weaponspurchases back).

Also on the US domestic field data suggests that Kerry would be worse. If he is any thing like Al Gore just get ready to let the state decide what you can do on a multitude of new issues.

Re:irrelevant (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641054)

Now, I'm not attempting to make a comment on the validity of either of you two's insights, but let's recap what just happened here:

GP Poster: "Bush is bad, but Kerry will be bad because of A, B, C, D, and E as well."

Parent Poster: "E is wrong. Therefore, your entire conclusion is wrong and you are a slimy Republican."

I can just as easily say that your Democrat trick of "Bush Bad, Kerry Not As Bad (we promise)" doesn't work on anyone anymore. That is, with the minor exception of the average American voter. D'oh.

You really don't understand people. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641249)

Why is this good? Because things might get so bad it might wake up sane Americans that their government is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people, and it doesn't really matter which party has power because they are both screwing the people.

Those that have not woken up yet are not going to wake up.

Until it is them being abused, most people are more then happy to accept the government's claim that the people it is abusing are "bad" people who want to hurt the "good" people in this country.

It all comes down to emotion. Once you can get someone to react emotionally, they tend to turn off the logical portion of their brain. Find out what scares people and you can control them.

That's why Bush and Co are running those wolf ads in the swing states. The US citizens aren't getting any smarter but the political parties are getting smarter about packaging their candidates.

Re:irrelevant (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641654)

Me I'm taking the long view so I think it would be best if Bush/Cheney win, the Republicans get 60 seats in the Senate, build their lead on the House, and get the Supreme Court stacked early in the next term. It would be especially good if the election looks really tainted, rigged and stolen.
...
Why is this good? Because things might get so bad it might wake up sane Americans that their government is no longer of the people, by the people or for the people, and it doesn't really matter which party has power because they are both screwing the people.

I disagree with this view. You seem to think that if things just get a little worse, if we just invade another country or two, if the economy just goes a little further downhill, if civil liberties are just rolled back a little more, then Joe Sixpack will rise up in a fit of Libertarian outrage. That's just not a likely outcome.
If you spend your time reading Slashdot and similar forums, you might not realize that most Americans actually support the Patriot act [lifeandliberty.gov] *. Repeal of civil liberties is always sold as security; and recent history has shown us that the public is by and large willing to make that trade. Especially when they don't think they are losing liberty - hence Bush being able to claim in the debates that the Patriot act doesn't restrict civil liberties without being laughed off the stage. If a second Bush administration, as you suggest, were to stage another terrorist attack (unlikely, do you think they want to get caught doing that? why stage it when you can just antagonize the world and egg terrorists on), Patriot II would pass easily, with public support.
Increased repression will be just that - it won't cause a "Master Reset and a reboot" unless it is done carelessly and incompetently. And the one area in which the Bush administration has shown extreme competency is the shaping of public opinion.
So, while the feature article does make me even more uneasy about Kerry than I already was, I say getting Bush out is A Good Thing.

*Didn't have time to find more recent polls. This is from 2003.

people who believe what Republicans and Democrats (1)

dh003i (203189) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638660)

are stupid. Both parties are filled with a bunch of worthless liars. The only good one I can think of off the top of my head is Ron Paul ("Dr. No").

Re:people who believe what Republicans and Democra (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641220)

Dr. Paul is only one I know of that's consistently pro-America and pro-liberty. There are a few others that are good on their pet issues. Tancredo on immigration reform, for instance.

Re:people who believe what Republicans and Democra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10641591)

Delaware senator Joe Biden is pretty cool. :/

Crappy submission (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638695)

There's not nearly enough information there to have a suitable knee-jerk reaction. What am I supposed to do now, RTFA?

Bush's plan... (-1, Troll)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638833)

Look at the record. The "Clear Skies Act" which made the skies dirtier. The plan to get a man on Mars, followed by a NASA budget cut. The "No Child Left Behind Act" which, being unfunded, left children behind.

Kerry may not be the best choice, but with this kind of Orwellian naming, I can just imagine what Bush will do with technology...

The Privacy act will ban any encryption but DSA, the "standard".

The Freedom to Share act will require a revised version of the Windows EULA to be the sole software license, ever, effectively banning the GPL. In addition, it will ban any kind of "peer-to-peer" network. A judge will rule that this effectively bans email and instant messaging.

The Patriotic Software act will require all machines on the Internet to have a VNC server open to the government, and will give any government official the right to look at any files or source code they wish, and format the disk if they suspect terrorism.

The Digital Peace act will ban all video games except America's Army. A judge will rule that PBS, Mother Jones, fair.org, and especially slashdot are all video games.

The Middle Class Prosperity act will increase the tax on software by 300%. The funds will go to the Antitrust Enforcement Fund, which will be under the sole control of Microsoft.

I don't like all of Kerry's positions, but given the choice, I'd sooner elect a very small shell script [thinkgeek.com] than George W. Bush.

Re:Bush's plan... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639010)

There should really be a mod option for "I really shouldn't be laughing", or "its funny cause I can see it happening"

Brain

Re:Bush's plan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10639539)

This post is completely off topic, why is it modded up

Re:Bush's plan... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639870)


OMG, wish I had some points to spend on you..... talk about FUD.

This is like saying that Linux will never achieve the Desktop...

That Linus will be thrown in jail for conspiracy

That Apple Pie will be banned

That baseball will be declared to be a communist sport...

point made?

Yes, basically you are an imbecile and incompetent to boot...

Nothing you describe will come to pass.. because we have checks and balances... if not a reasonable president....

FUD, pure and simple... not interesting at all.....

Re:Bush's plan... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640565)

<Comical Ali> I now inform you that there are no civil liberties issues here and your civil rights are completely unaffected by our legislation. </Comical Ali>

The sad thing is, when we heard this sort of spin during the Iraq invasion, you couldn't help but be amused, in a disturbed kind of way. When we hear it from a western world leader, far too many people just don't think about it and lap it up. Some of the mods of, and other replies to, your post are scary.

Apparently attitudes change (2, Funny)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 10 years ago | (#10638964)

TFA goes to some pains to cast a bad light on Kerry, but it also tells a different story: Ashcroft's views on civil liberties have flipped 180 degrees. So it seems that the real lesson is that when Kerry transitions from the legistlative to the executive branch his views on civil liberties will completely reverse. Good to go, then.

Re:Apparently attitudes change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10639164)

Ashcroft's views changed because a. he's in a position that requires a strong judicial stance (attorney general) and b. terrorism. The Presidency doesn't require a., and b. already happened. Kerry's views on these matters are where they are. He came from this background.

YRO ??? Politics !!! (1)

dago (25724) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639024)

I guess this article has been put in the "Your Rights Online" to be pushed in the face of the ppl who let politics out of their /. homepage ...

Re:YRO ??? Politics !!! (1)

dago (25724) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639060)

And I just read (part) of the FA and it's just putting spin on the various records and sayings.

For example, for the usual securit means less privacy claims, Kerry says that nobody would disagree to lose a bit of privacy while Ashcroft says that only only the adversaries of peace would do that with phantom of lost liberties.

Re:YRO ??? Politics !!! (1)

wcbarksdale (621327) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639085)

Obviously whenever some right-wing magazine writes an editorial, it's major news, especially to those who don't look at the politics section.

Re:YRO ??? Politics !!! (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639177)

This one is under BOTH YRO and Politics.

Go figure...

LK

Re:YRO ??? Politics !!! (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639543)

This one is under BOTH YRO and Politics.


Go figure...

LK

Simple, really. Politics threatens your rights online, not to mention your rights everywhere else as well.

Ashcroft's tearing up of the bill of rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10639045)

And not a moment too soon will Kerry take office and end this outrage. Why, I can't even go to my mailbox anymore without seeing a gang of jack-booted thugs in brown shirts arresting some poor hippie while Ashcroft cackles happily away.

BTW, Chicken Little called. Something about the sky.

Free Dimitri! (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 10 years ago | (#10639904)

So after watching Ashcroft abuse the DMCA, Kerry pushed USA-PATRIOT, then was surprised that Ashcroft abuses it?
This is the guy criticizing Bush for lack of foresight?

Voice Vote (1)

macinrack (314691) | more than 10 years ago | (#10640889)

Dont hold your breath for much to change with the DMCA. This was a radical change to copyright laws that have existed for an eon, and this was passed in the Senate on a VOICE VOTE. Those gutless Republicans and Democrats didnt even have the honor to show their constituents what their voting record on this issue was. If they cannot even fess up to it, how can you expect it to change in ANY administration? Money buys everybody, on both sides of the aisle.

Intellectually dishonest (3, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 10 years ago | (#10641690)

I'll even go further then argue Kerry voted for the Patriot Act.

HE ACTUALLY AUTHORED PROVISIONS IN IT! AND SO DID JOHN EDWARDS!

But let's get past the political hackery that Reason is promoting... "WHAAA! John Kerry voted for the Act, and now he's criticizing it, how can you trust him!? Whaaaaa!!!!" It's an amazingly thoughtless critique, even more so intellectually dishonest in that it criticizes Kerry for criticizing the Act.

But the truth of the matter is the Patriot Act wasn't a well thought out bill, or one that was even debated thoroughly. What it was, was a collection of hundreds of little issues that various Congresscritters had brought up over the years, all jammed together. So when Kerry and Edwards wrote parts of it, they wrote the parts which deal with dealing with money launderers and things like that.

And when they criticize it, they're complaining about the parts that allow the FBI to search your Library checkout records.

And GW Bush would have you believe the opposite, that Kerry and Edwards are complaining about the parts they themselves wrote.

The truth is... Parts of the Act are Good, and parts are Bad. AND THAT IS WHY JOHN KERRY IS SUGGESTING WE REVIEW IT!

The reason.com article is intellectually dishonest in suggesting otherwise.
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