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The Full Nader Plus a Taste of Bush and Gore 1368

Posted by Roblimo
from the are-you-scared-yet? dept.
Today we have Ralph Nader's -- or at least his staff's -- answers to your questions. And, as a little bonus, one Slashdot reader's question we sent over to WebWhite&Blue (at their request) was answered by both Gore and Bush, neither of whom has yet seen fit to answer Slashdot questions directly.

This came out as a series of position papers rather than as direct answers to our questions. Reportedly, Mr. Nader "...wasn't going to answer any more questionnaires," so this is what we get. Note that not all questions were addressed. (Draw your own conclusions.)

1) War on Drugs
by Tim Doran

The War on Drugs has been a consistently neglected topic in discussions surrounding this federal election. My question is, do you believe the War on Drugs has been an unqualified success, and if not, what would you change about it if elected president?

Reply:

"Nader said the current war on drugs is a colossal failure that is costing the taxpayers dearly and coming up pitifully short on results."

Read More: "Sept. 8. "Nader Urges New Strategy for the War on Drugs"

"The War on Drugs has failed. It has corrupted many law-enforcement institutions and officials, it's filled our prisons with nonviolent offenders at a cost of billions of dollars a year to the taxpayer. We've got to look at the drug situation in this country the way we look at alcoholism and nicotine addiction - as a health problem, as a prevention problem... Drug addicts represent a serious health problem, and they've got to be dealt with in a very humane and effective manner. You don't throw them in jail with hardened criminals and allow corporations to build more jails with more tax dollars." Read More: "Ralph Nader Hemp Raider" interview in the Sept. 2000 issue of High Times magazine

2) Minority Religions...
by Electric Angst

What will you do to protect the rights of atheists and those who hold minority faiths, such as Wicca, Santaria, Shinto, et al?

No Reply

3) Why give a tax cut?
by funkman

With the surplus, everyone has been saying "Let's have a tax cut, Let's have a tax cut." In the meantime, Alan Greenspan and friends are trying to keep inflation and the speed of the growing economy in check so it doesn't burst. Which they are doing by raising interest rates periodically. (6 times this year)

A tax cut flies in the face of what Greenspan is trying to do. A tax cut will inject more money into the economy and do what Greenspan is preventing.

Why is a tax cut so big? Wouldn't the money be better spent on the deficit so when worse times roll along, a tax cut can be easily given by not paying as much on the debt?

Reply:

"I'd really put meat in the process of progressive taxation. The richer people are, the more the percentage you pay. After all, it's their influence that rigged the system to get them that rich to begin with. And, second, we should tax things we don't like. We should tax stock market speculation. We should tax pollution. We should tax activities that we don't like, like sprawl, in order to get a better planning system and better zoning system. And we should lighten the taxes on things we do like, like honest labor, like food."

Read More: Jim Lehrer interview with Ralph Nader, June 30, '00

Corporate Vs. Individual Taxation

Hey, Corporate America! Show Taxpayers Some Appreciation!
By Ralph Nader
February 23, 1999

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that April 15th of each year be designated Taxpayer Appreciation Day, a day when corporations receiving taxpayer subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of corporate welfare can express their thanks to the citizens who provide them.

Though it may not be evident, quite a few industries - and the profits they generate -- can be traced back to taxpayer-financed programs whose fruits have been given away to (mostly) larger businesses.

Read More: Ralph Nader's "In The Public Interest" column, Feb. 23, 1999

Also see:
Ralph Nader's "In The Public Interest" column, "Distribution of Wealth" June 12, 2000

4) electoral reform
by carleton

Some people, especially those that favor '3-rd' party candidates, have called for the ending of the electoral college system to be replaced by a simple purely popular vote, or at least allowing for splitting the electoral votes by each state. The best recent example was the Bush-Clinton election. Clinton received 43% of the popular vote (but a sufficient majority of the electoral vote), whereas Perot got at least 10% of the popular vote but zero electoral votes. If memory serves, Vermont is the only state which does currently allow for its votes to be split; if someone wins 60% of the Vermont popular vote, they get 2 votes and the 40% candidate gets 1. This in contrast to California, where someone can get 51% of the popular vote, and therefore gets 53 (or whatever it is nowadays) electoral votes. What is your position on this issue?

Reply:

Open up the two-party system: PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The two major parties, thanks to their addiction to big money, are converging into one corporate party with two heads. This leaves voters who are longing for alternatives without any significant choice on the ballot. This must change.

Every one of us has to stop saying that we are going to surrender to a winner-take-all political system. In our country we need a discussion about proportional representation and we're going to get it. With proportional representation, more votes count. There is greater voter turnout and more citizen interests can participate in government.

Read More: http://www.votenader.org/issues/politicalreform.html

5)How Do You Feel About Intellectual Property?
by Phil Gregory

In this age of the Internet, intellectual property has become a very important concept to many people. Many companies make their living on the artificial scarcity provided by intellectual property laws, selling information that they have either created or aggregated. Some others, mostly in the Free Software world, make their living seemingly in spite of these laws, selling their services based on information that is freely given.

Do you feel that out current system of intellectual property is a good one? Which parts of it (e.g. trademarks, patents, copyrights) do you feel are well suited to the world of the Internet and which do you think need to be changed (and, if changes are needed, what changes are needed)?

Reply:

Then there is the Clinton/Gore policy on the scope of patents. The administration is embracing the policy of patenting "anything under the sun." This includes, for example, political campaigning on the Internet, picking stocks, accounting methods, uses of tax shelters and even golf swings. The administration is rushing through thousands of poorly conceived and unnecessary patents on business methods, including many which deal with e-commerce.

In the area of copyright protection, the administration has been extremely aggressive supporting legislation to reduce privacy and ban new technologies that could lead to unauthorized use of copyrighted materials. The theft of company trade secrets is now a federal crime.

Read More: Wired Debate, "Nader: Al Takes Too Much Credit"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next issue will be copyright, as ICANN considers corporate proposals to use the ICANN control over domain names and IP numbers, to become an ever-ambitious police for alleged intellectual property infringements. In the trademark areas, ICANN is already throwing concepts such as fair use or free speech out the window. Mostly, however, it is an issue of corporate privatization.

Read More: Wired Debate, "Nader: Al Isn't Net's Best Friend"

The entire Wired Debate can be viewed at: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,39293,00.html

6) Encryption....
by SquadBoy

Many tech people think that strong encryption is one of the best ways we have to protect freedom both now and for future generations. For example to preserve information that future not so friendly governments may think we don't need to have and to make sure that things we want to have remain private remain private. Given this what would you do to help preserve our right to privacy through the use of strong encryption? Also in a related question what are your thoughts and what do you plan to do about the fact that we can not export many forms of strong encryption?

No Reply

7) Rising Political Protests
by sterno

In the last year or so we have seen a tremendous escalation in the quantity and size of political protests against globalization and the rising power of corporate multi-nationals. Do you believe that these people have reason to be concerned? If you do believe that they have reason for concern, what steps would you take as president to deal with their concerns?

Reply:

"Things have changed dramatically in the movement against corporate globalization in the last six months. However unlikely such large-scale protests against international financial institutions which cultivate secrecy might have seemed last year, they now appear to have emerged as a part of the political landscape.

The growing protest movement against the IMF, World Bank and the World Trade Organization -- and the even broader public disenchantment with these organizations -- in part reflects a demand for minimal accountability from public institutions...

Read More: "In the Public Interest" column, 4/18/00

- Also check out Ralph Nader's speech before the April 16 (A16) Protest against the International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC www.votenader.org/downloads/000416NaderSpeech.mp3

8) Asteroid Defenses
by Ethelred Unraed

Would you renew funding of programs to research and develop global defense systems against asteroids or other such threats from space?

No Reply

9) The Future of the Country, and of Humanity
by 11223

I'm very concerned with the future of the country, and about what our national mission seems to be. Looking back through American history, every period seems to have a defining popular mission - like the "manifest destiny" movement in the 19th century, the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. During these times, there would be one struggle or idea that captivated the attention of the nation, sort of providing a national mission.

I'm a little confused as I look around today. What is our mission? To me, it seems to be "to watch TV and use the Internet." What would you say the defining national mission of today is? What should it be? Furthermore, how would you show this in your activities as a lawmaker? (For instance, if our national mission is the pursuit of science, then would you increase funding for scientific pursuits in the budget?)

Reply:

Over the past twenty years we have seen the unfortunate resurgence of big business influence, generating its unique brand of wreckage, propaganda and ultimatums on American labor, consumers, taxpayers and most generically, American voters. Big business has been colliding with American democracy and democracy has been losing. The results of this democracy gap are everywhere to be observed by those who suffer these results and by those who employ people's yardsticks to measure the quality of the economy, not corporate yardsticks and their frameworks. What we must collectively understand about the prevalent inequalities is important because so many of these conditions have been normalized in our country.

Read More: Acceptance Statement of Ralph Nader For the Association of State Green Parties Nomination

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The Full Nader Plus a Taste of Bush and Gore

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    PRESS RELEASE
    31-Oct-2000

    Former Vice-President Dan Quayle was today hired by Andover.net to provide spellchecking services to the popular tech news site Slashdot.org.

    In his first proofreading action, Quayle mistakenly spelled Ralph Nader's last name "Neder". Jon Katz is currently hard at work analyzing if this is a Republican conspiracy.

    ~jef
  • No, it just means a large portion of /. readers aren't in the US. While you are probably right that only a minority will vote, it just doesn't follow from a large turnout of non-citizens in a /. poll.

    Looking at the fact that, as of this writing, even Nader beats out "Voting is a waste of time", I can at least hope that of the /.ers who CAN vote in the US, most of us WILL vote. I'm far less optimistic about the rest of the country.

    ----
  • Just because I thought it would be interesting to try, I decided to keep track of some of the variables in this poll. I only tracked five of the possibilities, so this could be off, but I think it shows that Bush supporters are linking to this site and having their supporters tip the poll.

    Some snapshots since the poll went up:

    1667 total votes (excluding too young, waste of time, not citizen)

    27% (457) for Bush
    31% (520) for Gore
    23% (389) for Nader
    12% (213) for Browne

    5% (88) for Jeff (none of the above, undecided?)

    ---

    8024 total

    27% (2206) for Bush
    31% (2503) for Gore
    24% (1888) for Nader
    13% (1021) for Browne

    5% (406) for Jeff

    ---

    12654 total

    28% (3595) for Bush
    31% (3880) for Gore
    23% (2969) for Nader
    12% (1537) for Browne

    5% (653) for Jeff

    ---

    24048 total

    29% (7023) for Bush
    31% (7346) for Gore
    23% (5441) for Nader
    12% (2932) for Browne

    5% (1306) for Jeff

    ---

    38270 total

    31% (11993) for Bush
    30% (11563) for Gore
    22% (8359) for Nader
    12% (4474) for Browne

    5% (1881) for Jeff

    Personally, I'd be more inclined to believe the early polls that are not likely influenced by ballot-stuffers. Since things began, Nader went up one point, back down a point, and has appeared to go down one more point. Gore has only gone down by one point. Browne broke 13% at one point, but then came back down. Jeff (which I'm taking to mean undecided or other) has remained steady. If we attempt to adjust for ballot-stuffing on the part of Bush, some interesting values may come up. I wouldn't be surprised if supporters of any of the other candidates have moved numbers around as well..
    --
  • Mr. Nador [sic] can't even be bothered to answer questions himself

    Yes he can. But, he was in Chicago this morning, in Madison by midday, in Milwaukee this afternoon. Tomorrow noon he is in Seattle, and in Denver at night, to depart for LA for the next day.

    What is he doing all over the country? Talking to people, and answering questions. If you go to one of his events you might be able to ask him your question. Nobody will screen you or anything-- you can just go up to the mic and ask him.

    I went to one of his events last week, so I saw this first hand.

  • At least, that's my current thought...

    Browne is great at rousing the converts (and getting their cash) but his message is way, way too radical for the masses. He has also been consistently less than truthful, and part of a clique that has lead the national party down a failing path [jacobghornberger.com].

    I desperately want the L party to succeed and become a major player. In fact, in 1996 I ran my wife's campaign for a state level office and we were in the top 5 nationwide in Libertarian vote-getters that year. But Browne and his lot are poison to the party, and I hope their failure acts as a reverse mandate, bringing about change in the party leadership.
    --

  • What mother would ever sacrifice her child to save herself?

    Er, I think in the majority of these cases, when the mother dies, so does her unborn child. So the question might be better worded as: What mother would refuse to allow the doctor to save her life?

    Besides, even if the child can be saved, it will be born motherless (perhaps even parentless if the father is dead/gone). Certainly we already have plenly of orphans in the world (just ask around in the Balkans). Besides, as cold as it sounds, the mother can have another child later after recovering from having to sacrafice her unborn child to save herself.

    Finally, isn't it a sin to commit suicide? Isn't this what the mother does when she doesn't get an abortion when the growing child will kill both of them?

    Gak, I can't believe I replied on this thread!
  • While I agree that Nader would most likely not actually win an election, I do think that if given a fair chance he would pull in closer to 10-20% of the vote, rather than the 4-5% he's polling now. Things such as shutting him out of debates, the media ignoring his rallies (which are often bigger than Bush's or Gore's), and his refusal to take soft money donations do hurt him significantly.
  • Except that it's not pro-choice legislation that's the issue - that wouldn't pass in the first place. It's pro-life legislation that did pass with a majority vote but was then struck down by the Supreme Court.
  • Yes, the rich *DO* benefit more from having good roads, stable banks, and non-corrupt governments. If you don't believe me, go to Somalia and ask any rich person you find. Uh, can't find any? Right.

    The fact of the matter is that government enforcement of property rights benefits those who have more property, more than it benefits those who do not have property. Which is as it should be, since the whole goal is to increase the wealth of the nation, and the wealth of the nation is increased by people increasing the amount wealth (property) that they own and/or produce. So yes, the wealthy *DO* benefit more from government. If armed thugs took all my property, I'd shrug and buy a new futon and laptop and be back up and running the next day. If armed thugs seized the Microsoft campus, billions of dollars of wealth would disappear.

    TO summarize:

    Government protection of property benefits the wealthy more than it benefits the poor.

    Thus the wealthy should pay a percentage of their property to the government as proper recompense for that fact, since yes, they ARE receiving more services there than the poor receive.

    Simple, eh?

    -E

  • I live in the central city. My area has had water and sewage service for over 50 years. I resent having to pay taxes to extend water and sewage services and widen the roads to "Horizon VIsta Hills Yuppy Snout House Community" so that some yuppies can get a three-car garage to park their Ford Valdez in (you know the one, that comes with its own oil tanker and won't fit in a regular garage?). Why should I be taxed money to extend services to these yuppies? Yet with the current system of development that's often what happens -- very few communities charge impact fees to recover the costs of extending services to these yuppie havens.

    I don't think we need to tax "sprawl", but I do think it's reasonable to expect people to pay their fair share of the road to their front door. My area of town has had paved roads for over 70 years. Why should I pay to widen the road to Yuppie Hideaway Grande Mesa Estates? I'm not ever going there (I don't associate with people who would buy a Ford Valdez). Let the freeloading scum pay for their own bleepin' roads!

    -E

  • In the case of underpaid foreign workers, know what? They accepted the jobs -- presumably because there was nothing better available. If there's nothing better available, these workers would be even worse off without the corporations' (admitted) abuse.

    Drifting into theory, here, from my econ classes long ago... The amount of money a company makes eventually (in a free market) ends up being just enough to convince them to stay in business, and nothing more. What a worker gets paid in such an economy is the same -- just enough to keep them willing to work, and nothing more. "to each according to his need"... sounds like what capitalism and communism give the little guy is eventually the same.

    I agree that labor is essential -- but it's also plentifully available. Supply and demand, wonderful stuff. Prices are an essential thing to be discussed in this kind of situation -- if you're paid $1 instead of $4, but that $1 buys you what would have been $5 of stuff, you're better off. Discussing how something affects people's pay without discussing its effect on prices is illusionary -- you're pretending that a bigger "pay" number results in a greater amount of value. Instead, it just causes inflation -- even though I don't make anything close, when the minimum wage goes up, I add that increase to the amount that I, as skilled labor, ask for in my raise -- after all, the cost of buying a hamburger at McDonalds just rose when McDonalds had to give their employees raises. Prices go up in proportion to the increased costs of production -- and guess what, labor may have a bigger dollar figure on their paychecks, but they aren't making any more than they used to; the only end effect is inflation.

    Want to start talking revolution? Fine! When the people are sufficiently dissatisfied, they'll revolt. So be it! As Jefferson wrote, a little revolution once in a while is a good thing. Revolution is almost akin to market forces, people being dissatisfied with a current provider of services and discarding in favor of another. I'm not about to complain about the possibility of its occurance.

    And finally, addressing the last issue... yes, a "vast, poor middle class" exists in America. But do 'ya know what? They have cars. And phones. And TVs. And electricity. In short, they ain't all that poor. Based on my income, I'm in poverty right now -- but that doesn't stop me from being happy with my life. When people are poor enough to revolt -- poor enough to be so unsatisfied as to stop merely complaining and take action -- then they will through their actions be deserving of the change they effect. Until such time, 'yall are a bunch of whiners. Shut up. :)
  • Erm, no. There really is such a thing as a growing economy -- one where more people (wealthy, not, whatever) are making money and buying stuff with it. It shouldn't take much convincing to see that this is a vicious cycle -- the more stuff you buy, the more money the folks you bought it from (and the folks they paid to make it, etc) have and the more they buy... etc.

    By diverting money out of this earn->buy cycle into the government, income taxes do direct and serious harm to the economy.
  • The very wealthy aren't under-represented. They're the ones getting the tax breaks meant just for them. The merely well-off (like the coder making $90-120) are the ones who're getting taken for a ride and don't have the access to do anything about it.

    There's not just "rich" and "poor" -- there's strata inbetween, some of which are quite important.

    Oh, btw -- I'm voting for Browne.
  • If the bank didn't have the rich guy's money to lend to the poor guy, then the bank would either not make the loan available or charge higher interest.

    And unless the poor guy gets the loan to buy the car, the other poor guy who works for the dealership and is trying to get a raise is out of luck.

    If the interest is a Bad Thing, that's fine -- the poor guy has the ability not to take the loan. Are you saying it's better he never gets the chance in the first place? He might need the car to drive to a new job.

    So the poor guy is making more money because the company he's working for is making money selling things to other poor guys who've taken loans out made possible by rich guys investing their money... see also people hired thanks to business loans, etc.
  • No, my relatives are not my responsability. They are their own responsabilities.

    You are not my responsability, however much you would like to make it so. Nor is anyone else.

    If you fuck up your life, I have no responsability to give you a loan. If you're starving, that's your own damn fault -- and I mean it, it is.

    I don't deserve your money, and you sure as hell don't deserve mine. Money is EARNED, and it is only by this right that one may become rich and maintain his personal honor.

    My father came from a family of ten, living off a single living wage. He worked his way through college and became a succesful manager. One of my best friends is a corporate lawyer from a family of immigrants, the first person in his family to ever go to college. A month ago I sold my old computer to a fellow from Burma -- the first such machine he's ever owned. Since then he's stayed up nights teaching himself Python and Java. My point? A determined individual can make his way in this world starting from nothing. I hope that five years from now that man makes twice what I do; he deserves it.

    The people who work for their money -- who go out there and bust their butts -- are the people who make this country succesful. Those who expect that they'll be GIVEN anything unearned are those who have nothing and deserve every bit. As for those who inherit wealth -- sorry, I don't like it either, but what can one do without infringing on men's freedoms to spend as they see fit?

    The man who starves on the street because he was unable to hold a job, because he refused to learn a trade, because he dropped out of high school to goof off, gets no sympathy from me. He deserves none.

    You may call this heartless and cruel. You're absolutely right. Hovever, a society would be far healthier after 200 years of cruelty -- simple Darwinism shows this out.

    Anything a man earns -- anything he has because someone agreed to give it to him, because he gave them something else of value in exchange -- he deserves. Anything which does not meet this standard he does not. Do you see anything wrong with this?

    I went through college without ever taking out a government loan, though it meant riding my bike across town to buy powdered milk. If you're too lazy to do that -- if you want to have my cash to live your lifestyle -- fuck you. If you can't produce anything worthwhile and so can't get a job -- well fuck you then too. If you've made commitments you can't fulfill -- had a family before finding means to support them -- then that's your own damn mistake, and if there's no safety net people will be a little more careful before making it, no?

    And one last thing. If you want to contest this, you do it on my terms. Don't tell me that I'm heartless and cruel -- I know I am, and I think everyone needs to be moreso. Tell me why your society is better, and remember one last thing:

    I come from a tiny oilfield town. I saw people dependant on welfare, people who tried to take rather than earning not only as a stopgap but as a lifestyle, families who bore more children just to have more welfare benefits. Not just a few of them, a lot of them. Worse than making these people dependant, it made them soft. They lost their drive, their will -- the very thing that motivates those who truly work hard. Knowing that there's a safety net there reduces motivation to produce, and it's in this production that all good lies.

    Charity is evil and wrong. It promotes the welfare of the undeserving. My morality lies in producing -- doing good -- and being rewarded for it. Reward without production is wrong; production without reward is every bit as much so.

    Now tell me why I'm wrong.
  • There's a simple solution.

    If the prevailing wage isn't enough in your area to feed you, then MOVE. The companies where you live will either start paying more to retain workers, or go out of business in favor of those that can pay enough to keep people present.

    As for scholarships, they're given in return for a service -- increasing the available labor pool in your field. If they were given simply out of the goodness of the giver's heart, that's when I'd call it wrong. I've recieved grant money which helped out during my education, but worked for it (doing some research into secure physical tokens to replace credit cards, helping a prof w/ a neural network program, etc). I also chose a university in an area with a very low cost of living (Chico, CA, US).

    And btw, I understand volunteerism. I've spent a large number of hours assisting the library back in that little oilfield town. I didn't do this out of the goodness of my heart; I did it because they were providing a service to me, and I wished that this service continue to be available (even with folks helping out, they've been forced to cut back their hours severely). And btw, while I hold that those who work make the country successful, I don't claim that volunteers are without benefit. I *do* claim that we'd be better off having both no volunteers and no people who take unfair advantage of charity than being in our current state today.
  • I may have an advantage in terms of training and education -- but that doesn't give me the ability to get any job I like.

    When I decide to laze off and watch Law & Order in the evenings, my friend Gun (who bought my junker -- a machine most folks would throw away -- to teach hemself to program) is staying up all night learning Python -- or maybe he's on to C now. If you claim that I've still got some unfair disadvantage which will give me the job we both want -- nuh-uh. Two years from now, I honestly expect him to not only be a better programmer than I, but to be able to prove that to the satisfaction of any employer.

    Now, would I (as the kid from the rich family with the education) put that much time into my work? Not really. Would I be willing to give up my evenings and sleep only in what would otherwise be my free time? Nope.

    Is Gun more deserving of a good job than me? Yes. Will he get it? Yes. The system works.

    The question, then, is this: If I were born to a poorer family, would I turn out like Gun, and so earn the position I enjoy today? Quite possibly not. Is it fair that Duff-born-to-a-sorta-rich-family turns into a fairly succesful guy while Duff-born-to-a-poor-family doesn't? Not really. But if Duff-born-to-a-poor-family were half as driven and resourceful as Gun (or Emmanuel Campos, another friend of mine who did the bootstraps thing), then he'd not only be deserving of his current position, but he'd make it.

    So the only real question is the mediocre people. The really good people make it no matter what. The really lazy folks lose it even if they're born with it. So what of the folks in the middle? Simply put, they have the ability to turn themselves into the really good people. All Gun needed to start his way on to becoming a programmer was $200 and some friends willing to loan him books. Any average joe from a poor family -- given that he has the ability to read and think critically -- can do the same. But what makes the good people different from the mediocre people? Simply put, drive. Will. And if some mediocre guy can't put together the drive to pull himself up (because he's content with his lot or is simply unwilling to work hard), leave him there.
  • People are -- as a basic right -- entitled to be free. I think we can all agree that making people work for their freedom is wrong.

    People are not entitled to be rich. Can you really see anything wrong with making people work for their money?

    After all, people have to have something to work towards; this work ethic is what makes them succesful and society productive. Giving everyone a middle-class life (were it possible) and having an upper-class life as the goal achieved by those of extrordinary productivity doesn't work for a lot of people -- myself included; I'd far rather make $40K, work few hours and live in a small town than make $90K and sleep in my cube.
  • As I read it, he's simply making the (entirely valid) point that trying to force an economy to play the way you like it Just Doesn't Work.

    Redistribution of wealth is bad. Forcing a minimum wage (with the expectation that it will improve poor people's buying power) is bad.

    And to chew a bit more on the meat of his point...

    Okay. I'm some rich guy. I can do one of two things with my money. I can save it, or I can spend it.

    If I invest my money in a bank, and the bank loans it out to some poor guy trying to buy a car, and the dealer spends it on his employees and on the purchase of the car, and the car company spends it on their employees, labor, and also part on making some other rich guy richer (who will then either save it, starting the same cycle as my money did, or spend it and stimulate the economy just as much), then EVERYBODY WINS.

    The rich guys win, the guy buying the car wins, the dealer's employees win, the car company's employees and suppliers win. All because of some rich guy who decided to put his money in a bank. Do you really think you'd rather have the government take this money and throw it at some defense project, or building a dam because some senator agreed to support a bill in return, or otherwise doing something much more specious in nature?

    It's because of this that the money supply isn't fixed. Because I have more money sitting in a bank doesn't mean you can't afford that car -- rather, it means that you have an easier time getting the loan, that your employer can better afford to give you a raise, etc. Stop thinking of money in terms of "the more he has, the less I have". Realize that greed and selfishness -- which you're never going to get rid of -- can be directed towards the common good, and that this is the only way to overcome their destructive effects.
  • Some of us actually believe that people's actions have effects, which these people are then responsible. We believe that these effects -- or the lack thereof -- are due to the decisions causing the actions. In short, we believe in personal responsability.

    I have no responsability to you.
    You have no responsability to me.
    The responsability of government is to enforce contracts and prevent people from harming one another. Nothing more -- not even to prevent people from harming themselves.

    The government's place is not to do whatever tinkering is needed to make society work, but rather to keep its hands of and let society do its thing.

    I do not claim that the federal government is greedy; just that it tries to do too much, including things which could be more efficiently done at the state level.

    As for government protection of rights, I have no right to be wealthy. I have the right to pursue wealth. Nor have I any right to food or shelter -- but I have a right to gain them through my work.

    As for not using government benefits, I don't. I rode my bike across town to buy powdered milk from Food4Less in college rather than take government loans. In the time between when I was kicked out of my apartment and when I found a new place to stay, I lived with -- and played the piano for -- an elderly woman who appreciated my company rather than turning to the government-funded homeless shelters. I still have my ideals -- indeed, they're made stronger by the certain knowledge that a dedicated individual, even in hard times, can and should survive without government handouts.
  • The federal government of the US is permitted to provide certain services to its citizens. Primarily, these are the courts, the national defense, the post roads and postal service, the USPTO, and the foreign affairs offices. With the exception of the "post roads" (one can only assume this now refers to the massive and horrendously expensive Interstate system), it's easy to see that everyone benefits equally from these services. One can argue that national defense preferentially serves those with the most money. I disagree, because I interpret the purpose of the national defense to be the protection of citizens' lives from foreign invasion, and all lives are equally valuable. The protection of one's property is the responsibility of either the owner or the police, depending on the laws of the state in which the property-holder lives.

    This is a solid argument for a true flat tax. The cost of government services which benefit all citizens equally should be divided by the number of citizens, and each one should be required to pay that amount. If one considers only the legitimate constitutional tasks of the federal government, I would estimate that amount at about $1200 a year (about 240 billion divided by 200 million Americans 16 or older), which is less than or equal to what any working citizen currently pays in federal taxes (consider: the (unconstitutional) minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, which is about 10,000 a year. Social security + medicare cost 7.45% - times 2 because the "employer contribution" really comes out of employee pay - which is $1490. 15% tax on 10,000-745-7,200=$203. The total tax is thus approximately $1693. So even a minimum wage worker would find himself paying less in taxes than he already does.) Of course, this type of plan only works if the federal government is restricted to its constitutional roles, and does not engage in income redistribution as it currently does (illegally).

    What about services that do not benefit everyone equally? Use taxes are clearly the answer. Project the amount of expected use and the expected cost of maintaining or providing the service, divide (2) by (1), and charge users that amount per use of the service. The obvious example is toll roads. If it costs (warning: complete fabrication) $10,000 per lane-mile to maintain a freeway for 1 year, and you have 100,000 miles of 4-lane freeway, the total cost of maintenance will probably be about $4 billion. If you expect that Americans will drive 100 billion freeway miles a year, then clearly you should charge about $.04 per mile. Setting up silent full-speed electronic toll-booths every exit or two with prepaid untraceable toll markers would allow for privacy, excellent cost analysis and data collection, and of course, recovery of costs in proportion to use. In this way, you also avoid unfairly charging non-drivers directly for freeway use. Of course, they will still pay indirectly for their use of goods and services transported by road. This type of system provides maximum fairness by allowing consumers to decide for themselves how best to use government services, and at the same time gives government officials a good indication of what level of services are needed - if relatively less revenue is collected, the demand for that service is low. If more revenue is collected, that signals a need for expansion - and, conveniently enough, also provides the necessary funding for that expansion. The free market works, if we let it.

    All of the same arguments apply at the state level. In this vision of government, most services are provided (or not) by the states. This gives citizens in different geographical areas with different needs the ability to choose and pay for as much or as little government as they need, as well as to decide who should pay for it. For example, citizens of Nevada might prefer a small, weak government providing few services and collecting few taxes, with the tax load placed mainly on visiting tourists. Citizens of Oregon, however, might prefer a larger, Nader-style government, monitoring and taxing a wide array of activites, and actively seeking to redistribute income. These two styles of government are very different, but there is no reason both groups of citizens ought not be permitted to enjoy their desired forms of government. This is why the federal system was devised in the first place, so that each state might have great freedom to compete for the finest citizens. That system is a joke today. States have virtually no rights to levy taxes nor to choose the size and scope of their governments, because the federal tax burden is so great that states cannot tax their citizens adequately to provide services, and states whose citizens do not want large governments are nevertheless compelled to pay for them. The system is broken, and I doubt it will be fixed without violence. One can only hope that the many men and women who buy the freedom of the next generations with their lives will be better remembered by their decendents than we remember those who created the system we abuse today.

  • I find it hard to believe that someone writing such a cold statement would ever consider the slightest of giving to charity.

    Understand that charity is not for your well-being, but others, as it seems you have this confused.

    Your relatives should be a responsibility to take care of, not 'charity'. The fact that you feel that others who didn't step on the right combination of stones or have the right parents in teh right law firm when they were born should be denied medical attention because they 'may not deserve' the entitlement is a sad reflection of our selfish society.

    I would really like to know who 'doesn't deserve' some form of welfare system for unfortnate situations. I want reform of our system, I agree that welfare does give a lot of money to people who don't deserve it, but that is not a good reason to throw it away.

    I find it hilarious how so many people think that so many other people 'don't deserve' things, when in reality probably at least 30-40% of them are talking about each other.

  • ...is a vote for civil war.

    --
  • but this is a democracy

    Incorrect. This is a Republic, assuming you're talking about the U.S.

    I would be more judicious in your use of the term "moron."

    --

  • Votes are cast in seceret. I know who I'm voteing for (Howard Phillups, though I might go to browne at that last minute)

    Lets assume for the sake of discussion I'm voting for Bush. I can still sign up as a nader supporer, and promise to vote for Gore in my state (which is contested). Then I go to the polls, seceretly vote for Bush, yet tell everyone I voted for Gore. Nobody knows that I got two votes for bush in, one in my state, and one as a vote for nader giving a possibility that Bush could win anouther state that previously he had no chance in.

  • Chrismas is a pagan celibration of [The shortest day of the year]. It has, and never has had anything to do with Jesus, other then a few hipacrats in various churches who were unwilling to give up their old beliefs after admiting christianity is the right religion.

    To this day many perpetuate the myth that Jesus was born in december (we don't know when, but december is very unlikey), in order to continue their old celebration under a new name. A rose by any other name smells as sweet. You could die the fur of a skunk, but it would still be a skunk. Christians do not celebrate christmas, pseudo christians celebrate christmas.

  • I can't be the only one who is going to vote for someone not listed. While normally I agree that you can't cover all options, they could have at least had an option "Someone else". Sure those like me amount to only a small amount, but you can't count on use as either Nader or Browne voters if we vote.

    OTOH, you are rihgt, everyone's vote counts, if they use it. My canidate won't win, but his goal never was to win, it always was to send a message to his former party that they are not representing him, and the more who vote for him the stronger that message is.

  • the fact that he [Nader] is a very one-faceted politician that stands for very little and is not knowledgeable enough in the majority of issues that this group want to discuss, let alone all of the issues that the country wants to discuss and have answers from.
    I think part of why Nader didn't himself specifically answer these questions is because he has written volumes (literally) on many of these issues.

    Admittedly these don't cover certain questions. But I don't think that necessarily implies he simply doesn't care about them.

    Maybe you were just being crudely sarcastic... is there going to be a crisis on the middle east and Nader goes "well, it's not what I'm all about so I won't deal with it" or "well, it doesn't have to do with giving people a tax cut, so it must not be worth my time"?

    I can imagine Bush saying this, but Nader seems to be serious and thorough about nearly everything he does (to a fault, even). And his parents are from Lebanon, so he's unlikely to apathetic on the Middle East.

  • I'd love to know where you came up with those numbers. Care to provide a reference? Also, it would be quite beneficial to know much of the money in the country that 1% controls. That would have a direct impact on how much you can tax various segments of the public. As another poster pointed out, once some small portion of the population controls a very large percentage of the wealth, the tax system is in trouble due to thinking such as yours.

  • The number I quoted was something GW Bush said in a debate. Gore seemed to nod in agreement with the number. I've also read a similar figure elsewhere but can't find a reference right now.

    Forgive me if I'm skeptical of their numbers. And I'd still like to see the numbers on how much of the wealth they control in this country. It tends to put the tax thing into perspective.

    A really fair tax system would require people to pay for their fair share of the burden, rather than as a proportion of what they earn.

    Sure, if everyone got the money they have without getting anything from the government then yeah... it wouldn't be fair. But that's not reality. You'd like everyone to believe that all these unimaginably wealthy people got that way by hard work and smart investments. Everyone knows that's a load of crap. Corporations are huge recipients of welfare paid for by taxpayers. So, in effect, many of these incredibly wealthy people are getting kickbacks on the taxes they pay. Additionally, they have a lot more power to direct the creation of legislation in this country than people in the middle to lower class. Therefore they are able to get laws passed that favor them and their businesses over regular workers in this country, thereby moving more wealth in their direction.

    Look at the copyright extensions. Those were bought and paid for by big corporations that wanted to make sure they would continue to get government protection for their information monopolies rather than allow the information to become public domain as it was intended. Did anyone mention any of this to the public? Hell no. Did the media say anything about it? Nope. Why? Guess who owns the media. There was once a balance struck between the creator and the public. That balance is long gone. Now we get crap like the DMCA and other major laws passed anonymously by our Congress with a voice vote. Why are they afraid to let their position be recorded? Because they know they're serving corporate masters and are taking precautions against people gathering evidence against them.

    Taxation helps make the country liveable for most people. Pity the poor souls who make more money than most people can fathom and then have to pay a few percent of it in taxes. They should pay that few percent and be happy that most people don't realize just how many benefits those few get from this country that the rest of the people don't get. They are the fortunate ones. The taxes they pay have no noticeable impact on their quality of life, unlike most other people. Talk about ungrateful. Kinda getting tired of them continuously trying to tip the scales even more in their favor.

  • And simply being rich does not mean that said rich-person stepped on a lot of people to get where they are.

    It doesn't necessarily mean that, but that doesn't mean it's not true a lot more often than not. Between corporate welfare and lobbying and the destruction that is done in the name of capitalism, I think there were plenty of people stepped on for the majority of the incredibly rich to get that way.

    The judicial system is quite often very unfair to those with little money, and beneficial to those with a lot of money. I don't see the rich doing anything to change that. They know they have a lot of advantages over others. Kinda sick to see them bitch and moan about paying a few percent in taxes.

    The trend is well established. The rich are getting richer. This keeps up and we'll be no different than any of the third world countries we bomb every so often where there is a tiny ruling class that controls 90+% of the wealth.

  • You obviously have no idea how these people who run the corporations get around tax laws. It is very much relevant.

  • This argument reminds me of the middle east peace talks.

  • You wouldn't happen to have any statistics on what happens to their rates of single victim shootings, would you?

    Just ask him where he got his stats and be done with it.

    Single-victim shootings down 9%.

    Where? Prof John Lott's (UChicago) exhaustive study of the topic.

    fwiw, violent crimes involving personal contact (murder, rape, mugging, assault, etc.) down by about that amount generally; burglaries and similar crimes NOT involving personal contact up about 5%.

  • Have a look at Larry Elder's "Why I'm "wasting" my vote" at http://www.jewishworldreview.co m/c ols/elder.html [jewishworldreview.com]:
    I intend to vote for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne. Many say I waste my vote. You've heard the argument -- vote the lesser of two evils. But at his brother Robert's funeral, Ted Kennedy quoted his late brother: "Some men see things as they are and say 'why.' I dream things that never were, and say 'why not.'"

    I say "why not."

  • Turns out Ford underinflated the tires at the factory by almost 50% of the Firestone recommended PSI (20 vs. 35). Non-Firestone tires haven't fixed the issue unless they are properly inflated, and those same Firestone tires have no issues on other vehicles when inflated to the correct pressure.

    Just a bit of a correction.

    --
    Ben Kosse

  • Holding a stock for 2 days is a long-term commitment compared to 1 day.

    It used to be that holding a stock for 30 years was considered a long-term commitment. Now they're allowed to speculate on it for a mere 12 months.
  • by Eric Green (627) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @02:20PM (#661546) Homepage
    Let me get this straight. You decry the current system of taxation because it "unfairly taxes the rich". Yet Microsoft and Cisco, both multi-billion dollar companies with billions of dollars in the bank, paid exactly $0 (ZERO) in income tax to the federal government last year.

    You can bet that Bill Gates did not pay huge amounts of money in taxes either, because, like most Microsoft employees, he takes much of his compensation in the form of stock options, and stock capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate than the "unfair" rates charged to me on my income (I'm in the highest tax bracket, but my income is less than 1% of Bill Gates's).

    The current system of taxation is unfair to whom? Certainly not to Cisco or Microsoft or Bill Gates or anybody who is truly rich.

    Meanwhile, local retirees are up in arms because their property taxes have been raised to the point where their homes, which they worked hard for all their lives to buy, are about to be taken away from them. At the same time, local developers continue to line up for multi-million dollar subsidies from government, ranging from stadiums to "redevelopment" projects. So let's see... today's system of taxation is unfair to the guys lining up at the government teat?

    Yeah, right.

    -E

  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:23AM (#661547)
    There's just one major issue with that kind of system.

    How do you intend to motivate people to produce without the ability to get rich?

    My father was once a mid-level manager for PG&E. He singlehandedly raised the output of every area he worked in while reducing the number of men needed. He now (despite being below retirement age) takes a much lower-paying job doing coordination and planning for a tiny town in the middle of a desert. He isn't producing as much. There are more people who could do what he does now than what he did then. However, due to your "progressive taxes", he decided that the extra effort wasn't worthwhile.

    You may see this as fine -- after all, it doesn't seem to hurt the working class any. However, if this ONE MAN could cut the operating costs of a branch of a utility company by 20%, and you drive him out of this position, you just raised the utility bills of everyone in the area.

    Okay, you say, that raise in utility bills is compensated for by the lower taxes they're paying, since my father's paying them instead. Oh, wait, he isn't. He quit that job, since the reward was no longer sufficient. Oops. By contrast, if you permitted my father a higher income ("unearned" or no), and he spent this money on purchases rather than taxes... who makes the stuff he buys? The working class. By permitting the "upper class" more effective income, you make jobs for the labor class and (by increasing the sales of the companies they work for) allow them to be paid more. By removing the ability of people with extrordinary abilities to make corresponding amounts of pay, you doom society to mediocrity.

    What you forget is that the whole point to this "income" stuff that you're taking is to motivate to do things to the best of their ability. Take away that motivation and you just decreased the nation's productivity -- and it's that productivity that determines how much your beloved Working Joe pays for that new car he wants.

    Remember that the thing that caused the Depression wasn't the stock market crash itself, but people who stopped spending what money they had because of their fear. What matters in terms of people's actual wealth isn't how much money they have but how much they spend, and taxes take directly from money that would be spent.

    An even better measure would be elimination of the minimum wage. Keep in mind that every dollar that a store spends on its checkers is a dollar that's paid for by the markups on the items it sells. By eliminating the minimum wage which forces people to be paid more than their labor is worth (by definition -- its worth is what a free market would make it be) you decrease prices to consumers, thus compensating for their reduced pay and stimulating the economy further (as those are paid more than your "minimum wage" would have been are given still more buying power, permitting them to make more purchases, increasing jobs and pay). By eliminating this artificial inflation of costs, this also reduces the flow of jobs out of the country, which you so bemoan.

    And one more thing. I'm expecting, right now, an attack as being from a family of rich people, and thus guaranteed a position of security while the poor are doomed to poverty. My father came from a family of 10 people trying to eat off a single living wage. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps. I've a friend from a family of immigrants, the first person in his extended family ever to go to college; He's a corporate lawyer. That people can't change their positions in society is a sorry excuse given by those without enough ambition and intelligence to do so themselves.

    And one last thing. The labor class doesn't nearly get paid squat. Where I am right now (Chico, CA) a single person can easily live off of $6000/yr -- I've done it. Not a particularly high quality of life, but food/shelter/clothing are all there. The supposed "poverty line" here is in the range of $30K/yr. That leaves $2000 a month for luxuries (or for buying real milk instead of powdered, or owning a vehicle... I'll be the first to admit that when doing $6000/yr I was cutting it pretty close). And you say the working class here in America is paid squat? Hardly!
  • by Ian Bicking (980) <ianb&colorstudy,com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:57AM (#661548) Homepage
    Until we get smart and implement a flat tax, people are just going to engage in whatever sort of financial misdirection they can to avoid paying taxes
    The flat tax is based on the premise that somehow the really tricky part of the tax code is when you have to look your income up on the tax table and write in the number next to it. I don't know about you, but I've had few problems with this portion of taxes.

    There's some other details -- tax breaks, tax credits, special exemptions galore -- and yeah, I think those should be wiped. Mostly because they are sneaky ways to give welfare to the rich. But the flat tax doesn't really change anything about those.

    Taxes will be complicated. Does the flat tax get rid of deductions? Depreciation? I haven't heard anyone talk about these, but I'm sure it doesn't, because these (complicated) rules are methods of calculating people's real income. All forms of the income tax require calculating income. All forms of the income tax are somewhat complicated. The flat tax isn't any better.

  • I can't speak for Nader or the Green party, but I can offer definitions of my own (which seem to imply some of the positions that Nader does have).

    CEO's who earn $100 million a year aren't making honest money from honest labor -- you just can't make that much money from labor. You can make it by selling your influence with businesses and politicians, but that's not honest. You are just manipulating a corrupt system.

    Extra taxation on wages that excede the lowest paid worker by a certain factor is one way of taxing this sort of situation. For example, all wages above 20x the lowest paid worker are subject to corporate taxes. I believe Nader supports something like this (though I don't know the specifics).

    Capital gains certainly isn't money from honest labor, since it doesn't involve any labor. Right now capital gains taxes are much lower than taxes for other sorts of income, which seems quite unfair.

    I don't think Nader would propose special taxes on certain professions, but rather makes a distinction between money earn by labor and money you get otherwise.

  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:54AM (#661550) Homepage
    Bush HAS taken out a bunch of pro-Nader ads.

    truth can be stranger than fiction. . .
  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @02:15PM (#661551) Homepage
    ah, but speculation is NOT taxed at a higher rate than honest hard work.

    In other words, you can get taxed less by holding stock for at least 12 months, than you can by working. In other words, hard work is to be discouraged. Don't earn your money. Invest daddy's money. Don't build anything real, build paper.
  • by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @08:15PM (#661552) Homepage
    I accept atheism as a philosophy, but a religion?

    [Atheist church service]

    Atheist#1: There is no God.

    Atheist#2: Nope.

    Atheist#1: Nosiree. No God. Not one.

    Atheist#2: No God.

    Atheist#1: ...

    Atheist#2: Nope.

    Atheist#1: I knew this one guy who thought there was a God. I think he was wrong.

    Atheist#2: Yeah. He thinks he's going to heaven when he dies, but he's just going to be dead.

    Atheist#1: I can prove there is no God.

    Atheist#2: That's ok, I'm convinced already.

    Atheist#1: Nooooo God.

    ...

    Have I left anything out?
  • by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:41AM (#661553)
    And since the majority of people are probably not college graduates and the majority of people do not make as much money as they wish they did, they always find happiness in persicution of those who are doing better than they are, financially.

    The majority always were happy to do a lot of other things that we all know are great injustices. The duty of the country is to protect its citizens -- not to please the many by the harassment, theft or persicution of the few.

    Of course, should be and is are worlds apart.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:14AM (#661554)
    The process of democracy in this country encourages everyone to vote. You can be as stupid as a pumpkin and still vote. "Get out the vote" rhetoric only further encourages those who wouldn't vote in the first place to go and do so, adding to the number of people who will vote on things like "how much will it increase my wellfare/social security/income" and "what government programs will it create to help my particular selfish need". Or worse, "which candidate went on what cheesy day-time talk show and who looks better on a magazine?"

    There are more people who will vote for Candidate X because their family has always voted the party-line or who don't like the other candidates' race/sex/religion. There are always more people who will vote for someone because Paula Poundstone, Alec Baldwin or Rosie O'Donnel told them they should. In short, in a country where religious orders, celebrities, television and commercials perform the functions of critical thinking for the majority of individuals, there will never be a drastic positive change. Governments will always grow larger, taxes will always climb (on the grand scale, though year to year they may fluctuate) and we'll always sacrifice our liberties "for the children".

    I know of no way to resolve this dilemma, short of neglecting the entire philosophy that the country was supposedly founded on. So it seems that it is part of our political structure that we will always be forced into mediocrity -- at best.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:27AM (#661555)
    I whole-heartedly believe that the people who think those who make more should pay a higher percentage of their income are completely mathematically illiterate.

    The government, though bloated, should still seek taxation as a form of revenue for the funding of things we as a country have deemed worthy. Too many political figures and groups seek taxation as a form of retribution.

    And what are they seeking retribution against? Hell if I can figure it out. I guess hard work is no excuse for deserving money -- so you need to have yours taken away so those who make lesser wages can feel better about themselves.

    Hell, I don't know. I don't like to sound so angry over money and taxes, but I'm disgrunted that I have relatives who could really use a bit of the 52% of my salary that the government is taking out of my checks.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:55PM (#661556)
    Heheheheh.

    That wasn't quite my point, however. To someone making six figures, seven figures is a lot -- tax the hell out of everyone making seven figurs cause they're richer than I am!

    To someone making 50k, 100k is pretty good -- tax the hell out of those bastards!.

    To someone sitting at home on wellfare or living off of their social security, someone making $25k is doing really well -- tax the hell out of those people!

    To someone flipping burgers, most of us are doing pretty well I'm sure -- but that doesn't mean we should be taxed to death. I mean, at least leave us enough money so that potential for owning our own house isn't obliterated. Maybe leave us enough of our own cash to invest in our own retirement...

    Certainly, someone who is wealthy enough that they're buying massive yachts and 10 million dollar houses and have a collection of 80 sports cars should pay more than someone who is struggling to feed their two kids and keep a house over their head and only earning $20k -- and you know what? They already are! That's the whole point of a flat-percentage tax. 10% of a billion is a lot more than 10% of $30k. I mean... duh... So why should the 'rich' have to fund the rest of the country?

    It would be nice if the wealthier people just gave away all their money to the destitute so everyone could hold hands and live in harmony, but then we wouldn't be living in a capitalistic society and nobody would have their flashy computer systems, nice cards and funky techno-gizmos that everyone's fond of. Socialist countries aren't exactly the most thrilling to live in, as you may have noticed. There's a reason our quality of living is so high here and why we can buy disposable everything. Wellfare/re-distribution and capitalism just don't integrate very well. You either have to say "you should get to keep what you work hard to earn" or we need to just give up and let the government accept all of our income for us and let them hand out a little bit to us here and there, like an allowance from your parents, no matter what job you work.

    I'm the first to admit that there are gross fortunes out there being wasted (Ted Turner, Bill Gates, many entertainers...) but I can't ever get over the fundemental injustice in forcing one man to give something that is his to another man. Taxation is no longer about funding the required elements of a government so that it can perform its duties. Taxation is a form of class-retribution and serves only to support every experimental program that some dreamy-eyed highschool graduate pulls out of their ass to fix the world. We're a country and people of contradictions and I really don't care about it anymore. Let me make my money, save my cash, buy my house, do my own thing -- and die. Elect who you want to, social-engineer the hell out of everyone.. whatever... I honestly don't care much anymore because I'll hopefully have croaked in another 50 years when the effects of all this idiocy is finally evident.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by Signal 11 (7608) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:54AM (#661557)
    Considering that any of us could have provided the answers to this by reading a bunch of web sites, please don't act like Nader is any Better than Bush or Gore, just because someone on his staff happens to read /.

    --

  • by Syberghost (10557) <syberghostNO@SPAMsyberghost.com> on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @03:09AM (#661558) Homepage
    We should tax stock market speculation.

    Well, at least the man is admitting he wants to use taxes as a means of getting around the 4th and 5th amendments, to punish people without all the bother of convicting them of crimes.

    The above sentence means he wants to punish people for investing in American businesses.

    It means he wants to punish 401k plans and pension plans.

    This basically negatively affects everybody who doesn't work in the fast food industry, and it affects them too if they're management.

    -
  • by jms (11418) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:15AM (#661559)
    Of course there is a provision that exempts law enforcement. Laws are to control the citizens, not the government, silly!
  • by FallLine (12211) <fallline@NETBSDoperamail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:21AM (#661560)
    I've heard Nader speak on the issue. What he's really talking about are day traders and the like. These are a distinctly different breed than the ones who are generating wealth. In fact, virtually EVERY day trader looses money on the aggregate (hint: That's not how you build wealth). They may win on a couple trades, but for everyone of those they lose or just break even. It's virtually impossible to beat the market and if you can't the transaction costs (i.e., the price you pay per trade) will eat you alive.

    Nader wants to tax ALL trades, believing that people who turn over their portfolios a lot will get hit, and thus be discouraged, while "grandma" who holds on to her portfolio will only incur nominal taxes when she sells. However, this is pretty foolish because, as I pointed out, they already are losing on average. Secondly, this does nothing to override windfall profits on a particular trade. Thirdly, even speculators (not all speculators are alike) can (and do) play a postive role in the markets, they can and do absorb risk (i.e., by buying a stock when it's falling). Fourthly, though I don't have the exact numbers on hand, I don't believe the more recent volatility in the markets is the result of "pure" day traders; rather, it's something in between. It's the mass of new and inexperienced traders that, although they aren't necessarily turning over their portfolio every day, they don't understand the fundamental nature of the market. They buy into the hype, the fear, the fud, etc, and are easily spooked as a result. It is doubtful that a tax would address these people, unless it was really high (in which case, it'd absolutely kill the economy).

    As for your second point about people "buying" up large quantities of stock so they can profit, that's absolutely baseless. If it were anything close to a sure thing, it wouldn't be called speculation anyways.
  • by mjuarez (12463) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @10:29AM (#661561)
    I don't know about you, but I'm deeply indebted to Mr. Gore for his contribution to the world in creating the Internet. Even though I can't vote, since I'm not a US citizen, I couldn't let this opportunity to thank him profusely for what he has done go by.

    :)

  • The primary problem I have with your argument is that even Nadar wants government to have power
    This is absolutely wrong by the definition of government of the USA. Why can't the federal government just provide defense, and postal services?
    Tell me what is so bloody wrong with that? Nadar just said to tax the things that are not honest labor - government is crossing it's bounds. Sure, go vote for your different government, that's fine.. but don't cry when it's just the same old government pulling different tricks.
    As for myself, I could give a shit less about Rocko the homeless guy who is able to work but panhandling is easier so he does it and collects welfare.
    I think that for welfare to be collected, you should have to provide medical evidence of your inability to work or at least 3 rejection letters as to why you didn't get a job flipping burgers at McDonalds
    It's easy to get a job, it's really easy. Anybody who says it's not is lazy and has too much pride to be accountable for their own stupid mistakes.
    Bullshit bullshit bullshit. It's not my responsibility - but I get forced to pay so bloody much so Rocko can constantly get my money. He's cheating the people who need help.. let him starve, if it means someone who needs help gets it.
    Yeah I'm cold.. so what.. some people need to be that way to get things done. Until a person like that is in a position of power it's gonna be the same old shit, with the same old tricks.
    Maybe I'm just bitter, but looking at my yearly tax summary and seeing that the money I pay in taxes in a year could pay for a complete college education for my kids - and I'm talking *good* schools.. Ivy leage not your local community college.
    (Granted, I dont have kids.. but I will at some point).
  • by ywl (22227) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @10:07AM (#661563)
    It's supposed to be a joke but seriously, two points:

    1) You don't really need a God to have a religion. Examples include Buddhism, Taoism and probably a lot others that I don't know. Yes, you can define religions as an organized belief system that must involve a God or Gods. But that will come to the following:

    2) Organized religions are better protected than Atheism. For example, you will have a chance to exempt from military service if your 'religion' prohibited violence. Similar benefit is not enjoyed by a pacifist atheist, no matter how strong his belief is.

  • by Rombuu (22914) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:13AM (#661564)
    I'd really put meat in the process of progressive taxation. The richer people are, the more the percentage you pay. After all, it's their influence that rigged the system to get them that rich to begin with. And, second, we should tax things we don't like. We should tax stock market speculation. We should tax pollution. We should tax activities that we don't like, like sprawl, in order to get a better planning system and better zoning system. And we should lighten the taxes on things we do like, like honest labor, like food."

    Silly me, I thought the reason we had a tax code was to raise revenue, not to engage in this sort of asinine social micromanagement..... Until we get smart and implement a flat tax, people are just going to engage in whatever sort of financial misdirection they can to avoid paying taxes (as they should).

    Me, I'm voting for Bush, since I think we all deserve a tax break, not just those of us who engage in whatever behavior the government wants to encourage....
  • by egon (29680) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @09:26AM (#661565) Homepage

    Where is the "I wish I wasn't a US Citizen" option?

    --
    Give a man a match, you keep him warm for an evening.
  • by BacOs (33082) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:13AM (#661566) Homepage
    Although I like some of Nader's ideals, Harry Browne [harrybrowne.org] fits my leanings more closely. I also like his responses to the Slashdot poll. [slashdot.org]
  • by Foogle (35117) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:15AM (#661567) Homepage
    Uh, it did come out of campaign pamphlets... Nader didn't give these answers; they're from an assistant. The ones that weren't answered were the ones where the assistant wasn't sure where Nader stood on the issue, or wasn't comfortable issuing a statement about it.
  • by beroul (52668) <[ten.xunilku.luoreb] [ta] [neb]> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:30PM (#661568)
    I came to the United States about ten years ago. I was 15 at the time, and wasn't particularly fond of the idea of leaving all my friends behind, etc. My parents came here with hopes for a better life. My father was a electrician, had been working at a large company in Europe for about 20 years, but he felt he had a better oportunity here. My mother was a daycare teacher, and thought that coming here would be good for me and my siblings.

    You've answered your own question. You did well in life because you got a good start: your parents were well-educated and supportive. If they had been illiterate, I doubt that you would have fared as well. Poverty breeds poverty.

    There are about one million Americans who work full-time, but are still homeless. Moreover, there 1.2 billion people in the world who live on less than $1 a day. I find this unacceptable. Since I earn far more than most, I think it's right that I should give a large portion of my income to help those who are less well-off.

    For more about global poverty, see this [undp.org].

    For the causes of poverty, see this [corpwatch.org].

    Then read this [attac.org] or this [zmag.org] or this [monde-diplomatique.fr] to find out more about what can be done.
    --

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:29AM (#661569)
    Crap, I just posted this in another thread in response to the Heinlein quote. It's even more appropriate here.

    In response to a post where I said I preferred Bush to Gore on Heinlein's "find a well-meaning fool, ask him how he intends to vote, then vote the other way" strategy, someone wrote back:

    > By this you mean that Bush is a malicious fool?

    My response was "Actually, yes [as in yes, I agree Bush is a malicious fool] ;-)"

    The difference is, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, that the malicious at least sleep. Those who mean well never rest.

    Gore's position is to give "targeted tax cuts" to things he likes. Nader wants to tax "things he doesn't like". Both are using the power of the state to micro manage individual behavior.

    Given the choice, I'd vote Browne. But given that Browne's not gonna win, I'll take Bush. A fool? Sure. Malicious? Perhaps. But at least malice sleeps at night. Those with good intentions never rest.

    "The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

    -C.S. Lewis
  • Oh boy.. Do I see the fledgling religious war comming on?

    First of all, the "body" inside the womb is the combination and product of two humans. Without the support of at least one of them, that "body" will most certainly die. You can coerce the woman to have the child, and you can even take the child away from her, but you're fighting an uphill battle to bring to child to a worthwhile life.

    Beyond that, the fetus does not belong to the mother anymore than the body belongs to the mother. We are in turn products of the earth. Divine significance is left as an exercize to the reader. The point is that there is no such thing as physical ownership. There is only brute force (either psychological or physical) protection of materials. It is the perception of ownership that allows us to commit "atrocities". I own this land, I can burry what-ever I want here.. I own this forest, I can cut it down and make a profit. These are my children, I can discipline them however I choose. This is my wife, I can have sex with her whenever I like (anybody remember this old addage?)

    So from that, you should be able to morally justify that a woman can't just claim that this is my fetus, and I can rid myself of it however I choose. You'd be right except for one small detail... Circumstance. Assuming that I can convince you that we do not "own" anything, but merely protect our possessions, then take that every cell in your body is an independant possession. Each of which has had it's destiny mapped out for it.. Depending on what part of the body it happened to start out as, it is designed to have a certain life expectancy.. They are individual life forms, no less significant or magnificant than a fully functional Einstein. Man, in all his knowledge has never reverse engineered cellular life. These cells have been chosen (through divinity or natural selection) to work together as a team, and thus take part in their destiny. Most of these cells will sacrafice themselves for the good of the many. Your epidermous, your hair, your red blood cells.. All of which go through a living stage and will physically die in order to fullfill some organized purpose. In fact, the act of consciousness is little more than a high level functioning machine. The potential supernatural aspect is wholely independant of the mechanical wonders of the mammal's body.

    Given this, you _must_ accept that death is a part of life.. That life regularly chooses who among them will die before their time.. There is nothing un-natural about death or selected killing (even indiscriminant killing). The question becomes what is best for the species, the individual, the particular organ... Or fetus. 99% of the time, our conscious selves are shielded from these sorts of descisions.. We don't have to make life-and death descisions (or at least we tend to delegate such authority to a select few). That's fine as a way of handling order and peace. But that is a choice of a particular community. Each of us regularly subconsciosly chooses the death of innumerable living beings.. Everything you eat is evidence of this.. Every wooden structure you utilize, every blade of grass you stomp apon... We think little of it, and so we should.. But we can't neglect that death is around us, and is wholly natural.

    Variously religious Dogma's have placed priority on human collective life, as would be expected by any life form... Life always looks after it's own (it's more of that evolutionary/engineered rationalle). We also place heavy emphasis on the new-born... Sub-consciously, this is our hope for survival as a race... The Motherly protective instincts in most of us.

    But you have to understand that life is about choices.. That choosing to take a baby into an unwanting family (especially in the cases of rape, or if it caused the death of the mother), will do no species good. In nature, unwanted children are physically killed by their families. You may claim that we have the benifit of a collective peer consciousness, but understand that we don't have all the answers... I make the claim that if we continue on with our "collective" wisdom as we have done for the past 200 years, we will eventually rid the Earth of our grotesque selves. Learning to vote ourselves tax breaks, allowing every human wanting desire to be fullfilled in part or whole... To promote greed, wastefulness, anonymity and thus removal from responsibility... When natural resources are so scarce that we must fight for them, I garuntee you that the fat cats of the world will not gratiously share with one another.. War will be eminant, and life will be scarce thereafter. Heven help us if we learn to travel through space to other colonizable worlds.. Has anyone actually seen Independance day?

    In summary. Life is wonderous and prescious, but there are powerful forces that choose expiration dates. We are one of those forces, and it is merely politics (at the personal and pseudo-religious level) that decides who and how we should exercize that right. Never forget that you have Godlike powers across the earth (in terms of the level of control you wield), and with that comes God-like responsibilities. You may very well choose to limit your influence on death, but just as you must eradicate the very much alive cancer and bacteria in your body, you must sometimes allow for sacrafices.. Even of your own kind....

    -Michael
  • by kbs (70631) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:28AM (#661571)
    Investing in the stock market in of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It can provide a company with much needed capital to produce greater growth. However, speculation is the act of putting money into a company on whim; for short term. Speculation, as I see it, is the factor in the stock market which destablizes it. Instead of investing in the long term, day traders do by the minute profit catching, irregardless of the actual value of the company. Additionally, I think it's safe to say that Nader is against any method in which you could make significant amounts of money at the expense of someone else, which is exactly what stock market speculation does: when everyone sells off their stock simultaneously to profit off of the skyward bound IPO, and it tanks, the people who joined in late are screwed.

    It falls in line with the core belief that corporations, and those who are fortunate to have money to place in corporations, shouldn't be wholeheartedly congratulated for screwing over the hard working laborer.

    For more information concerning the ways that corporations screw over democracy, check out this interview [zmag.org] done with MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.


    yours,
  • by phutureboy (70690) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:13PM (#661572) Homepage

    As long as our government is in the business of providing medical care for people who fall sick, I think it's fair that the people who put themselves at disproportionate risk of costing the system SHOULD be taxed.

    This is a prime example of how government grows from one area into another. With federal money *always* comes federal control.

    The same dynamic applies to the school system. Until recently, government schools were were run at the state and local levels and received no federal funding, and no federal control. Now, since schools are receiving more funds from the federal government, there is a push for central "standards" and "accountability". In other words, we are moving more toward centralized, federally approved curriculum and standardized testing.

    I'm no fan of government schools of any kind, but I would have to choose decentralized local schools over centralized federal schools any day.

    As far as health care, I'd like to see the federal government out of that business too. And postal delivery. And ketchup-testing, and swiss-cheese-hole-size-regulating. And funding of political campaigns and corrupt debate commissions.



    --
  • by Trinition (114758) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:29AM (#661573) Homepage
    Flat tax? What is a flat tax? Here's how I define them:

    Flat Tax:
    A flat tax is a constant dollar ammount that is calculated by the total needed money divided by the number of tax-paying citizens.

    Flat Tax Rate:
    A flat tax rate is a constant percentage rate where people pay that portion of their income.

    Now, what would be the fair thing to do? Well, if you consider that taxes pay for roads, defense, etc., then everyone should pay the same flat tax as we all have equal access to those things.

    However, if you consider that taxes pay for the upkeep of such things, then maybe you should pay according to how much you use them. A telecommuter should pay less for roads thana commuter. A rich person with a lot of property should pay more for protection and defense than someone in poverty.

    Or, as it seems Nader sees it, a tax should be use to fund a country based on how the people benefit from the country.

    So, I just don't know what is fair. I certainly don't think any of these above are entirely fair. What do you think?

  • by karzan (132637) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:10AM (#661574)
    I assume by "we" he means the People (although in reality it's the Party). If it were the people, you can rest assured most people do _not_ like pollution, etc. I see nothing wrong with using tax as a way to fight this kind of thing.
  • by Yardley (135408) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:41AM (#661575) Homepage
    Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph
    A Letter from Michael Moore to the Non-Voters of America

    Dear friends,

    DISCLAIMER: If you are planning to vote for Al Gore in November, good for you. Don't let what I'm about to say change your mind because I've been told by all the experts that if you do change your mind based on what I'm about to say, George W. Bush might win the election and I certainly couldn't live with myself if that connoisseur of pharmaceuticals (the kind you snort up your nose or the kind you inject on death row) won, [michaelmoore.com] in part, because of a letter I spit out over the Internet.

    So let's review -- you like Gore, you vote for Gore. He's a decent guy. I met him last year at some benefit, he came up to me, big hug -- whoa, this veep is no stiff, I thought -- and thanked me for this and that. He even quoted lines from "The Awful Truth" - whoa, scary, I thought, what's he doing watching cable channels above 40 on the box...not much to do on this veep gig, eh?

    I told him I admired what he did when he came home to America as a Vietnam Vet and spoke out against the war. That took a lot of courage, I said (his dad lost his Senate seat for being an early opponent of the war).

    So, if Al Gore is your man, go for it. In fact, I insist on it, even if you are just throwing your vote away.

    What I am about to say, though, is not intended for any Al Gore (or George W.) voters. If you are one, please click off now.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I address this letter to the largest political party in the United States - the 55% of you in the voting public who are so disillusioned with politics and politicians, so sick and tired of all the broken promises, so disgusted with all the b.s. that you have absolutely no intention of voting in November.

    You know who you are.

    AND YOU ARE THE MAJORITY!

    You rule. You are the Non-Voters, all 100 million of you!

    Until now, you have been the subject of scorn and ridicule. You've been called apathetic, lazy, ignorant. Your actions have been viewed as unAmerican (I mean, what kind of citizen in the World's Greatest Democracy would not exercise his or her most important and cherished right - the right to freely choose your leader!).

    Well, may I be the first to tell you that, not only are you NOT stupid and apathetic, I believe you are smarter than all the rest of us combined. YOU figured it out. YOU uncovered the scam. And YOU had the guts to no longer participate in a lie. Way to go! In 1996, you helped set the all-time American record for lowest turnout ever at a presidential election.

    The reason you, the majority, no longer vote in America is because you, the majority, realize there is no real choice on the ballot. The "two" parties both do the bidding of the wealthy and agree with each other on 90% of the issues. They take 90% of their money from people who make over a hundred-grand a year, and then enact over 90% of the laws those contributors want passed.

    On the ballot this November, you already know there is no contest. The independent Cook Political Report in D.C. last week announced that, out of 435 House seats up for election in November, there are only 47 seats where there is a "true race" between opponents - and, of those, only 14 seats have a race that is even "close" between the two candidates. 14 out of 435!

    "Ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of incumbents running for re-election will be returned to Congress in November," according to the Cook Report.

    The Non-Voters already understand this. And they are not going to waste one iota of their day on November 7 driving to some smelly elementary school gymnasium to participate in a Soviet-style election with no friggin' choice on the ballot.

    So, to you brave voter-resisters, I say congratulations on your act of civic disobedience! I joined you this primary season and refused to go along with this charade of "choice." Nearly 80% of those of us of voting age - over 160 million Americans - staged a sit-in on our living room couches during this year's primaries. THAT is the great untold story of this election year. How much longer will the punditocracy be able to get away with dismissing this massive no-show as "a sign Americans are content with the booming economy?"

    Now that we have made our presence known (you all don't mind me speaking for us, do you? Good. In fact, I'll just assume the currently-vacant mantle of this majority party and serve as your leader until you say otherwise...), it is time to find a way that says, loudly and clearly, just how mad as hell we are and how we are not going to take it anymore. We need to find a way where our vote screams "None of the Above!" A chance to act, like that Chinese guy in Tieneman Square, standing in front of a moving tank and stopping it in its path.

    In November, we should find a way to follow in the footsteps of those intelligent Minnesotans who, even thought they could care less about professional wrestling (and even less, I'm sure, for Jesse "The Body"), proved to the world that they not only have a sense of humor, but they know how to stick it to the whole bloody system. Think of just how high their level of anger must have been against the One-Party-With-Two-Heads monopoly! I mean, state government is no joke - somebody's gotta build the roads, run the schools, catch the criminals. You don't want to turn the asylum over to the chief lunatic but, damn it, that's what the people of Minnesota did - just to send a message! Wow. That took some guts.

    So, for those of you who weren't going to vote anyway, well...what if you actually did? What if you drove down to that stinky gym where the little shell game behind the pretend curtains is taking place ("Pay no attention to the voters behind the curtains!"), walk in, sign in, take the ballot they hand you, and toss yourselves inside the booth like a political molotov cocktail.

    Boom!

    "You wanna tell me there's a choice here between two guys who both support NAFTA, WTO, the death penalty, the Cuban embargo, increased Pentagon spending, sleazy HMOs, greedy hospital chains, 250 million guns in our homes, more bombing of Iraq, the rich getting richer and the rest of us declaring bankruptcy?"

    Boom!

    Not me.

    Boom!

    I'm voting for Ralph Nader.

    KAAAABOOM!

    Friends, we are losing our democratic control over our country. We may have already lost it. I hope not. But in the last 20 years of the Reagan administration, Corporate America has merged and morphed itself to such an extent that just a handful of companies now call all the shots. They own Congress. They own us. In order to work for them, we have to take urine tests and lie detectors and wear bar codes on chains around our necks. In order to keep our jobs we have had to give up decent health care, the 8-hour day (and time with our kids), the security that we'll even have a job next year, and any unwillingness we may have to compete with a 14-year old Indonesian girl who gets a dollar a day.

    And how frightening (and great) is it that the last place we can freely try to inform and communicate with each other is on this very Web? Six companies run by six men control the majority of the news we now get from newspapers, television, radio and the Internet. One out of every two books is bought at a bookstore owned by one of only two companies. Is it safe in a "free society" to have the sources of our information and mass communication in the hands of just a few wealthy men who have a VESTED interest in keeping us as stupid as possible - or at least in keeping us thinking like them so that we vote for THEIR candidates?

    I fear the cement on this new oligarchy of power is quickly drying, and when it is finished hardening, we are finished. The democracy, the one that's supposed to be of, by, and for the people, will cease to exist.

    We must not let this happen, no matter how cynical and disgusted we've become at the whole electoral process.

    Ralph Nader, to me, represents a chance for us to at least temporarily stop the cement from drying. We need him in there kicking things up, stirring the pot and forcing a real debate about the issues. Whether it's Ralph as Candidate or Ralph as President, he may represent our last hope to get our country back from the clutches of the powerful few.

    I am not writing these words lightly. I am hoping to sound a siren and rally the majority who, for good reason, have given up - but might just have it in them to find the will for one last fight against the bastards.

    Can Ralph win? Well, stranger things have happened in the past decade. C'mon, think about it, not a single one of us ever thought we'd see the Berlin Wall come down or Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa. After those two things happened, I joined a new school of thought that said ANYTHING was possible. Jesse Ventura started with 3% in the polls and won. Ross Perot in '92 started with 6% and, after proving to everyone that he was certifiably insane, still got nearly 20% of the vote.

    Ralph already has between 7% and 10% in the polls - before he's done any serious campaigning. He's gone from 3% to 8% in my home state of Michigan. These are amazing numbers and the pundits and lobbyists and Republicrats are running scared. Hey, you like to watch scared Republicrats running? Tell a pollster you're voting for Ralph.

    Now, look, before you all send me a lot of mail about how weird Ralph is 'cause he doesn't own a car or is a "sell-out" 'cause he's got a few million dollars, let me say this: I used to work out of his office, and Ralph is definitely one of a kind. In a future letter I will write of those experiences but, for now, let's just agree that Ralph is at least half as crazy as Jesse Ventura - and about a hundred times as smart. I'd say he's also saved about a million or so lives, thanks to the consumer and environmental legislation he has devoted his life to.

    And between Gore, Bush, and himself, he's the only person running who would guarantee universal health care for all, the only candidate who would raise the minimum wage to a decent level, the only one who would get up each morning asking himself the question, "What can I do today to serve all the people of this country?"

    The list goes on and on. You can read more about what Ralph stands for by going to his website (http://www.votenader.org [votenader.org]). You'll agree, I'm sure, there's lots of common sense there, regardless of what political stripe you are.

    But remember. If you are even THINKING of voting for Al Gore, vote for Al Gore. Ralph Nader does not need a single Gore vote. There are a hundred million of us out there who are uncommitted and currently not voting. Right now, Gore and Bush are each hoping to win by getting only 40 million votes.

    If you are in the Non-Voting majority and want to let 'em all have it, if you want to get our country back in our hands...well, if even half of you show up and vote November 7 then you won't be held responsible for Bush winning the White House.

    In fact, you won't be held responsible for putting Gore in the White House, either.

    Rather, you will have made history by putting a true American hero at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    And you will have given every company, every boss who's done ya wrong, the worst nightmare of their lives.

    November 7. Payback Time.

    The revenge of the Non-Voters!

    So sayeth their unappointed leader, yours truly,
    Michael Moore
    mmflint@aol.com [mailto]
    http://www.theawfultruth.com [theawfultruth.com]
    http://www.michaelmoore.com [michaelmoore.com]

    PS. Come to think of it, Democrats should be on their knees thanking Ralph for running. Rather than taking votes from Gore, Ralph's going to be the one responsible for turning the House back over to the Democrats.

    When millions of these Non-Voters enter that booth to vote for Ralph, and they come across their local race for Congress, they will find no Green Party candidate in most of the 435 Congressional districts. So who do you think Ralph's army of Non-Voters will plunk down for Congress? The Republican? I don't think so.

    The Democrats are only six seats short of regaining control of the House. Ralph Nader will be the reason the Democrats get the House back for the first time since Newt's Contract on America in 1994.

    Democrats should send their checks to Nader 2000, P.O. Box 18002, Washington, DC 20036.

    (Or, better yet, let's try to elect enough Greens to Congress -- a dozen or so -- and they'll hold the deciding votes because neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will have the majority. It'll be a friggin' Knesset!)

    PPS. If you're still worried this letter might convince a weak-kneed Gore voter to flip over to Nader - and thus lead to President George W. stacking the Supreme Court to make abortion illegal, well, it's all a bunch of hooey. Please read my latest grassroots.com column entitled, " I Ain't Fallin for That One Again. [grassroots.com]"

    PPPS. Tonight, Wednesday July 19, on "The Awful Truth" (Bravo, 10 p.m. ET/PT), Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken makes a surprise return visit. Don't miss it!

    PLEASE PASS THIS LETTER ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO REPRINT ANYWHERE.

    --

  • by Skald (140034) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @08:20PM (#661576)
    I think that, in a sense, you are quite right.

    Roe v. Wade is indeed liable to be reversed. But whether this is a good or a bad thing, from your point of view, depends only secondarily on what you think of abortion. First you must decide whether you believe the end justifies the means.

    I believe the US Constitution should contain a guarantee of privacy. It doesn't. Neither does the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee a woman's right to an abortion, except under the most wilful misinterpretation.

    Maybe it should. I'd change the Constitution in a bunch of ways, if I could. Fine as it is, it's far from a perfect document.

    Anyway, I personally don't give a hoot about abortion one way or another. But I detest the notion that the Constitution, or any other law, is a "living document", whose evolution is determined solely by a handful of unelected goverment officials. If the law can be bent so easily in a (debatably) "good cause", it can offer little protection when the wind changes.

    When the end is used to justify the means, the end all too often turns out much, much worse. The degradation of our constitutionally ennumerated rights is, IMHO, a result of the same judicial activism that decided Roe v. Wade. For this reason, I will use my vote to try to achieve the very court that you warn of.

    I would say that you're factually wrong on this point:

    if ONE Supreme Court justice is replaced by another yes-man like Clarence Thomas, abortion rights are history.

    If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion rights by Federal Judicial fiat are history. Abortion issues then devolve to state legislatures and constitutions... to the more normal processes of democracy. This is far from saying abortion shall be banned, or that abortion rights are history.

    Written with respect for your opinion.

  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:32AM (#661577)
    As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger when they were surrounded by Indians, " Who's *we* whitey?"

    I'm sorry, but that one statement is about the scariest damn thing any of the candidates has said. Well, except for Buchannan, but he's a loose channan on the deck.

    It is nothing short of tyranny.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:44AM (#661578)
    Its not ridiculous that we tax capital gains per se, but that we depend on cap gains taxation to provide so much of the national budget.

    Guess where the surplus came from? Thats right! Capital gains taxation. When the market goes, these taxes vanish, and there goes the surplus.

    This nation will soon learn the error in depending too much on the taxation of speculation to prop up the budget, particularly whne most of the speculative behavior tapers off in a bear market.

  • by glowingspleen (180814) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:45PM (#661579) Homepage
    Me? I hate politics. Let me say that again. I HATE POLITICS.

    Why? Because they accomplish nothing. People just vote for whatever they think they are: Democrat or Republican.

    That's why voting is a big waste of time to me. I don't like either party and I don't consider myself to be so one-sided as to "fit" into either declared system of beliefs.

    I almost didn't vote this year, because I feel that it accomplishes nothing. Both Bush and Gore are the same people. Maybe they have differences of opinion in speeches or debates, but let's face it: they will do the same thing every president does after they win. And that's do whatever they feel like, past promises be damned.

    Then I started reading a little. I went to http://www.speakout.com/votematch/ and took the poll. It was EXTEREMELY interesting to find out what "my" views were in regards to the candidates. If you have 20 minutes to spare, your should do it too. I assure you that you will be suprised by the results. I'll bet that your views are actually more like a different candidate than the one you plan to vote for on November 7th.



    I'm voting for Ralph Nader.

    Why?

    Not because I think he can win. Let's be serious, he can't.

    But if he gets just 5% of the vote in this country, he qualifies for government funding in the 2004 election. That means that for the first time since well...as far back as my memory goes, we will have a SERIOUS 3rd-party candidate in the running.

    Why is that good? Because it is a 3rd choice, and having more than two choices is a good thing. I, for one, am appalled by the fact that in America, the greatest country in the world, we limit ourselves to only two guys for the leadership of our nation. We force OURSELVES to make a choice simply on who we hate LESS. That's horrible.

    Now I bet some of you know the issues involved in the media about Nader. Here is my reply to them:

    Q: Nader isn't going to win. He is a wasted vote.
    A: If you already plan on NOT voting, take half an hour out of your life (it only happens every 4 years, you can spare it) and vote for Nader. Simply make your voice heard that you WANT a 3rd choice, regardless of who it is. One more guy to choose from is one more way to make the other two guys more honest.

    Q: A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.
    A: Not true really, math-wise. It's just a vote for Nader. Maybe you would have went with Bush, maybe with Gore, or maybe with no one because it used to be worthless to pick.

    Q: Bush/Gore is going to win my state, so why bother?
    A: If you live in a state that is already "projected" to be an overwhelming victory for one candidate, then you have NOTHING TO LOSE by voting for Nader. So instead of adding another vote for the guy who already has 90% of them in your state, you can still be happy that Gore/Bush won your state AND use your important vote to add to Nader's small pile.

    Q: Nader won't get 5%, this is a waste of time.
    A: Nader already has 10% of California alone and over 5% in a few other states. This is not going to be a 1-2% deal. It is going to be close. Maybe 4%, maybe 5%, maybe 6%. It's that close right now. So use your vote to make a difference in our democracy for a change.

    My hope is that one person that reads this will look into the issues and give Nader their vote. If he hits that 5% mark, we can expect to see a 2004 election that is unlike the usual tripe and empty promises we expect from politics.

    Make a difference. Vote for a change. Vote Nader.

  • by Borodog (210706) on Friday November 03, 2000 @11:57AM (#661580) Journal
    Christ on a crutch, you really think you will get a tax break worth lifting your eyelids to see from a Dubya Administration? Mr. Bush plans to hand out a huge honking tax slash extravagnza to all the people who are millionaires already and don't even know now how to spend all the money they've got, and for you, guy-who-works-for-a-wage, you'll get some trifling little bonus that isn't worth half the value of this or that existing government program, which you rely upon, that he plans to dig out from underneath your feet.

    You are so full of shit it's not even FUNNY. All you people who spout off about "spending the surplus on the wealthiest 1%" forget WHO'S GODDAMNED MONEY IT IS. You talk about math that doesn't add up? Let's take an example. Johnny gets his ass taxed loose at a rate of 40%. Billy gets not-so-vigorously-ass-raped at a rate of 20%. Frankie is bought dinner and a movie to give it up at a rate of 5%. Now, cut all their tax rates by the same 5%. What happens?

    • Well, Johnny gets 1/8 of his own money back.
    • Billy get 1/4 of his own money back.
    • Frankie gets 100% OF HIS OWN FRIGGING MONEY BACK

    And you know what else? The "rich" end up paying a HIGHER PERCENTAGE of the remaining tax burden now, since Frankie USED to pay, and now DOESN'T. But that's just not enough for people like you. You want to put a gun to Johnny and Billy's heads, take their money, and GIVE it to Frankie. Fuck you. And guess what? I'm not even a millionaire. I just want to be one some day. You think you'll get "targetted tax relief" under Gore? Better run out and buy your electric car and get that photovoltaic system for your roof. Better have some kids of exactly the right age, or pound out some new ones. Better be a stay-at-home mom. Better put those kids in a Federally Funded and Approved afterschool program. After all, you've got to show the Government that you NEED your own fucking money. Christ on a crutch. Wake the fuck up.

  • by DrQu+xum (218745) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @09:30AM (#661581) Homepage Journal
    Food and clothing are already tax excempt

    Not in Ohio they aren't. Thousands of border-dwellers on the Ohio side buy their clothing on the No-Tax-On-Necessary-Clothing PA side.

    Notice that candy does not count as food

    My 2: Penguin Mints should be re-classified as "pharmaceutical/non-prescription" and thus tax-free. :)

    Now that I'm thoroughly off-topic...
    If it wasn't for Gore, I'd be voting straight Democrat this year (Ron Klink for US Senate, Terry Van Horne for Congress (PA 4th district), and my incumbent PA state senator and rep), as I've done in '96 and '98. Why am I not voting for Gore?
    Because there are better candidates out there. Nader and Hagelin for two, probably others.

    And now for the real reason voting for anyone other than Bush'n'Gore (which sounds like a Porno Snuff film) is a wasted vote...The Electoral College.

    We know that it's going to be a damn close election, electoral-vote-wise. Let's assume that Nader gets lucky and wins one or two states, thus causing nobody to have an electoral majority. Then the next President will be chosen by the CURRENT House of Representatives. Which means Bush will win, since the Republicans control the House (two-party politics strikes again.)

    Once the Electoral College is abolished like the anachronism it is (along with the Patent Office and the x86 instruction set :), only then will the non-Democlicans/Republicrats have a sporting chance to become President.
    Thus sprach DrQu+xum, SID=218745.
  • by Gendou (234091) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:17AM (#661582) Homepage
    There's piles of information to mill through. There's been a lot said. The debates rage.

    But who should we be voting for? I don't have the time right now to really dig through the material and read pages after pages of policy and view points. I have class work to do - I need bottom lines. As a geek, there's certain rights that I'd like to see preserved. Al Gore and the Democrats want to see them removed (DMCA). On the flip side, George Bush is anti-abortion and I believe that women have a right to choose. Economists at my school have told me that Nader's financial plans are a joke. The fourth guy just doesn't matter. *chuckle*

    One might argue that my lack of time to do proper research means that I shouldn't influence the election - but I feel it's my duty as an American citizen to vote (people shed blood so that I could have this privaledge). But, I don't like any of the candidates.

    What is the general opinion of the /. community on who is the least evil - or are there any alternatives to casting a direct vote that still enables me to fulfill my duty? (Someone from the UK had mentioned sploiling the vote - something similar for the US?)

  • by Cappucino Buzz (247617) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:19PM (#661583)
    I think Nader is 100% correct by saying we should tax things we don't like. Pollution _should_ be taxed. Air pollution causes up to 80,000 deaths in the US each year and adds millions in health care costs. As for taxing sprawl, the real problem with sprawl is that it is a direct result of our insane automobile subsidies. There is this myth that gas taxes cover the costs of our roads, highways, etc when in fact it doesn't even come close. If drivers (i.e. road users) had to pay the real costs of driving out of their pocket, gas tax would be at European levels. Last time I looked, Europe did not have problems with sprawl.
  • by DG (989) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @07:52AM (#661584) Homepage Journal
    I too, am voting Liberal in the upcoming Canadian election.

    Canadian Alliance? Nope, Stockwell gives me the shivers. I liked Preston (Refooooooooooorm Party!) but Stockwell has that weird look in his eyes...

    Progressive Conservatives? Not on your life. I'm looking forward to the day when the party of Mulroney no longer exists. And poor Joe Clark... shouldn't someone tell him that everybody else left?

    Bloc Quebecois? *snort* Even Hop-Along Lucien wants nothing to do with them anymore.

    NDP? After seeing what an NDP government did to BC? Not freakin' likely.

    So it's Liberals for me.

    Besides, you gotta like having a leader who'll take the time to punch out a whiny protestor. :)

  • by byoung (2340) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:32AM (#661585)
    I find it interesting that Bush supports privacy:

    "In October 1999, I proposed fundamental reform of the U.S. high technology export system -- including encryption export laws -- to allow companies to export products..."

    while Gore still wants to maintain the FBI's right to choose:

    "I believe that the best encryption policy is one that balances our commercial and privacy interests with national security and law enforcement concerns"

    He also goes on to say that what they've done in the current administration has been the right balance.

    I don't see how anyone interested in privacy could waste a vote on Gore, who wants more of the same (Clipper, government key escrow, etc.).

    I understand that most people on Slashdot aren't likely to put their vote in the (R) column on November 7th, but at least Nader or Browne would support strong encryption and privacy concerns.
  • by Amphigory (2375) on Sunday November 05, 2000 @06:41PM (#661586) Homepage
    There's something that I've just got to get off my chest.

    Probably, way too many people (even on Slashdot) are voting for Bush on the theory that he's the "Christian" candidate. After all, Clinton/Gore are morally pretty icky, and they support abortion, right?

    However, if you are in that position, I want you to think about the following propositions:

    1. Abortion is not mentioned in the Bible once. Not once.
    2. Failing to care for the poor is repeatedly mentioned (especially in the minor prophects). Its specifically mentioned 147 times. How 'bout Proverbs 29:7, which says "The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern?" That is just one example.
    3. The Bible is distinctly opposed to some things that are core parts of corporate practice. For example, hoarding of property and charging interest.
    4. If you think there are no poor people in this country, then you've lived a sheltered life. My wife runs a food bank (I help) -- I meet poor people regularly. There are people with no place to stay. There are people who can't work and have to live on a wopping $512/month from social security. (And no, they really can't work.) There are people working their butts off at dead-end jobs who can't afford to feed their families. (And a lot of dead-beats. The solution is not to cut off the people who really need it to get the dead beats.)
    5. Stop whining about the "marriage penalty" -- every day families are broken up by the welfare system, and not so Suzie can have a new radio for her SUV, but so that the family can survive. The solution is not to abolish it, but to really fix it. It's going to cost more -- so be it.
    6. Let's not forget issues like the fact that in 10 years we're going to have to pay taxes on our thoughts because some company will have patented them!
    7. What's the first responsibility that God gave man? To cultivate the ground. Genesis 2:5. That doesn't mean clear-cutting it. Guess what people: Christians SHOULD be environmentalists.
    8. Guess what: there are people who can't afford medical care, and who can't buy health insurance at any price. My mother was one of them. Here last 36 hours cost $37,000 at a time when my father was making $40K! Should we just allow those people who can't afford health insurance to die in the service of the almighty buck?
    9. And, oh yeah, the federal government created a lot of these problems. The welfare system, for example. Or the high cost of healthcare, which was created back in the days when Medicare/caid would pay pretty much any charge without blinking. The federal gov't is the only one who can fix them.
    So who am I voting for? Not Bush, with the silver spoon stuck to his tonsils and the big oil backers who would rather die than see real environmental regulation.

    But not Gore either. As far as I'm concerned, he lost my vote when he supported a known felon and adulterer as president of the United States because it was politically expedient. (I am also voting againt Senator's Warner and Robb, as well as my representative, on those grounds.) Not to mention the fact that he supports aggressive expansion

    As for Harry Browne -- well, Laisez Faire economics is bull, always has been and always will be. Anyone who thinks that corporations will take care of their workers in the long term needs to go back and read some history. Start with the industrial revolution. (Besides, the end of that path is corporate Feudalism and "the Company Store". Why don't we just repeal the Thirteenth ammendment -- which abolished slavery -- and get it over with?)

    I guess its Nader. There are some things I'm not comfortable with. His stance on abortion. His stance on homosexuality. His desire to expand government without bound. But what's my choice?

    I would really like to see a candidate with a bit of common sense. Sadly, no one with any sense would want the misbegotten job.

    --

  • Gore doesn't really give us anything apart from politispeak regarding encryption. "a balanced encryption policy that increases privacy and security for families and businesses, while addressing the legitimate needs of national security and law enforcement." What the hell is that supposed to mean? It's a wishy-washy non-answer that doesn't tell us much.

    Bush's answer, on the other hand, is a complete, detailed response that not only addresses the concerns surrounding use and export of encryption, but also points out that the Bush campaign has taken the time to deal with the important issue of information collection and notification. With specific examples of how they are enacting these principles today:

    Notice and Consent. Everyone has the right to know what information is collected and how it will be used, and to accept or decline the collection or dissemination of this information - particularly financial and medical information.
    Access. Individuals have the right to correct any inaccurate personal information.
    Security. Institutions must provide sufficient security to prevent unauthorized access to personal information.

    Bravo, Bush! Say what you like about George Doubya personally, or Republican policies in general, but you have to admit that they seem to care a whole lot more about the rights and freedoms of individuals.

    --
    "How many six year olds does it take to design software?"

  • by Some guy named Chris (9720) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:06AM (#661588) Journal

    "I'd really put meat in the process of progressive taxation. The richer people are, the more the percentage you pay. After all, it's their influence that rigged the system to get them that rich to begin with. And, second, we should tax things we don't like.

    And just who is this "We" that gets to decide what "we" like and what "we" don't?

    Just another quest for power. Who is he to tell anyone else what they should or shouldn't like?

  • by Bearpaw (13080) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:48AM (#661589)
    It's clear that the overwelming majority of americans either don't have a problem with the way any of these corporations do business or they do not feel the corporation's activitys are worrysome enough to put effort into seeking alternative products.

    Actually, it's clear to me that the overwhelming majority of US citizens are either oblivious to or are in deep denial about the way corporations do business, and that corporations are ever so happy to encourage them to stay that way.

  • by Benjamin Shniper (24107) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:20AM (#661590) Homepage
    Why vote Nader if you don't want him to be President?

    What is his stance on why he should be Commander in Chief? Why does he deserve to command foreign policy? What would he do as President to overcome his low stature as a diplomat? How will he work with a congress divided between two parties he has no influence in?

    No! This is not a time to protest-vote, not for me anyway. If I vote for a man to be President, he should in some way resemble a national leader with an ability to conduct foreign, not just national, policy. I will vote _only_ for someone I want to actually be President. Not this populist gadfly who I simply cannot take seriously.

    -Ben
  • by anonymous cowerd (73221) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @04:25PM (#661591) Homepage

    Me, I'm voting for Bush, since I think we all deserve a tax break, not just those of us who engage in whatever behavior the government wants to encourage....

    Christ on a crutch, you really think you will get a tax break worth lifting your eyelids to see from a Dubya Administration? Mr. Bush plans to hand out a huge honking tax slash extravagnza to all the people who are millionaires already and don't even know now how to spend all the money they've got, and for you, guy-who-works-for-a-wage, you'll get some trifling little bonus that isn't worth half the value of this or that existing government program, which you rely upon, that he plans to dig out from underneath your feet.

    Don't take my word for it because a.) I am nobody and b.) you can't believe everyone you read on the Internet, obviously. But would you grant any authority to, say, a full professor of economics at MIT? who is also a regular columnist for the New York Times? I mean, you might not agree with such a fellow on every nuance of policy but will you not go along with the notion that here, at least, is a man who can add?

    This MIT professor is named Paul Krugman, and if you have the stomach to put up with the NYT web site's totally annoying password nonsense, then please examine this [nytimes.com] column from October 1st,, entitled "Oops! He Did It Again" [nytimes.com] which contains (short "fair use" quote, thank you) the following:

    ...Needless to say, honest accounting is a given. After all, the interviewers do their homework -- they would pounce on any obviously wrong numbers.

    But I guess some people get special treatment.

    I really, truly wasn't planning to write any more columns about George W. Bush's arithmetic. But his performance on "Moneyline" last Wednesday was just mind-blowing. I had to download a transcript to convince myself that I had really heard him correctly. It was as if Mr. Bush's aides had prepared him with a memo saying: "You've said some things on the stump that weren't true. Your mission, in the few minutes you have, is to repeat all of those things. Don't speak in generalities -- give specific false numbers. That'll show them!"

    Note that this isn't Krugman's first column on the numerical anomalies in Mr. Bush's proposed budget, it's just the others scrolled off the NYT web page by now. Krugman goes on from there; concluding:

    ...Is there any way to explain away Mr. Bush's remarks -- three major self-serving misstatements in the course of only a couple of minutes? Not that I can see. We're not talking questionable economic analysis here, just facts: what Mr. Bush said to that national television audience simply wasn't true...

    While I'm quoting Krugman, here [nytimes.com] is his column of the 25th of October, a cheery little note entitled "Fuzzier and Fuzzier" [nytimes.com] which ends on this upbeat note:

    Indeed, the motto for this election year -- and the epitaph for the soon-to-be-departed budget surplus -- should be: Real men don't think. Unfortunately, what you refuse to think about can till hurt you.

    If you began paying into SS last year, excuse me for annoying you with my trivial personal concerns. I've been paying into SS for thirty years. Believe it or not I would be very displeased to find out, in the unlikely event that I live to retirement age, that I will get no money back because the so-called Social Security Trust Fund has been handed over, in the main, to millionaires and stock-jobbers.

    I expect certain things from slashdot readers, which I would not expect from randomly selected members of the general public. In this case, specifically, a decent respect for the laws of arithmetic. You can't expect the average guy to know or care too much about numbers, but, like, "news for Nerds," right? The point to all this typing, then, is that Duh-byuh's stuff just plain doesn't add up.

    It follows then that somewhere in the big scheme of things, certain promises will not be kept. There are 800 or so people have contributed $95-million out of $100-million his election campaign has brought in. Mr. Bush has promised their social class, in which he also personally enjoys membership, a vast and majestic tax cut. Also Mr. Bush has promised you, Mr. Nobody #26,981,102, and me, Mr. Nobody #165,220,748, some trifling sort of tax relief. Now assume Mr. Bush gets elected President. Also assume, optimistically, that the laws of arithmetic continue to hold into the near future. Then one of those two groups - the campaign contributors, or the nobodies, is in for a letdown.

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • by jesser (77961) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:30AM (#661592) Homepage Journal
    voteexchange2000 and voteswap2000 shut down: yahoo (reuters) [yahoo.com] cbs [marketwatch.com]

    Nader Trader [nadertrader.org] is still up, though.

    --

  • by petroele (81470) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:48AM (#661593) Homepage
    Can I just cast an anti-vote?
  • by Brighten (93641) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:39AM (#661594)
    Me, I'm voting for Bush, since I think we all deserve a tax break, not just those of us who engage in whatever behavior the government wants to encourage....

    Here is an excellent justification for, as Nader puts it, taxing the activities that we don't like. Those "activities that we don't like" are, more specifically, activities that negatively affect society as a whole. By taxing them, the taxpayer repays society for the harm caused, and the taxpayer is also encouraged to cause less harm.

    Take pollution for example. A company that pollutes is harming shared public resources -- air, water, land, etc. -- and is directly or indirectly causing harm to thousands or millions of people. Taxing that company proportional to the amout of pollution its factories emit will generate revenue which can be used by the government to help the environment, and will encourage the company to pollute as little as possible.

    I think it's an excellent system that fits in with a free market very well.

  • by gwalla (130286) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:43PM (#661595) Homepage
    What you're running up against here is the classic argument between how things should be and how things are.
    Yes, we should have a system where fringe candidates can hold some hope of wielding political power. Something like Australia, where you can list your preferred order of candidates. But the fact is we don't. We have a winner-take-all, two party system.

    Actually, it's possible to change this. Especially if your state has an initiative system. While the electoral colege is a federal institution, the method of selecting a state's electors is up to the state. So, this can change, by bits and pieces.

    So the reality is that if you're voting for Nader, particularly in a swing state, you're helping to give the election to Bush. You're not "making a statment" or "voting your consicence". You're handing the country over to the Republicans.

    Remember, the only significant part of the election as far as the Presidency is concerned is the electoral vote. The popular vote is unimportant, except for the fact that it can qualify third parties for federal matching funds. As long as the Green vote doesn't impact the electoral vote significantly, it's hardly "giving the country to the Republicans".

    So, it is safer to vote Gore than Nader in a swing state, but in a state that's already locked up, it hardly matters. In that case, vote your conscience, comfortable in the fact that it won't negatively effect your second choice.

    California looks to be essentially a lock for Gore, despite Bush's recent efforts, so I'm voting Nader. Gore doesn't need my vote here.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • by thesparkle (174382) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:33AM (#661596) Homepage
    When asked about taxation, Ralph Nader believes in lighter taxation on "honest labor". What is the definition of "honest labor" today?

    I mean, in the good ol' days, I guess honest labor good be catergorized by some blue workshirt wearing, hardhat guy with a shovel, hammer or rivetgun building the American dream.

    What is "honest labor" categorized as today?

    Also, Nader claims he wants to tax certain things. For instance he mentions "sprawl". I take it that means urban sprawl. I will admit many of those areas are butt ugly, but who gets taxed? The parent company who bought the land and planned the buildout? The builder? The city or county officials who approved it? The homeowner? [Personally, I just want them to tax the people who come up with those stupid names - Horizon Vista Hills Community, etc. Blah].

    Polluters get taxed? Who? Me and my car which is the only option available to me based upon size, use and price? Or me, because I drive a car and there is no mass transportation that works for my needs? Or GM/Chrysler/Ford/etc for only providing internal combustion engine transportation? Is location a factor here? In many Northeast burgs, there is a variety of train, bus, and other mass transportation that the folks in Montana simply don't have. Who gets penalized?

    Does anyone have answers for these questions? If not, I am afraid Nader is no different than any other politician who makes statements and policy without telling me how it is going to work.

    PS - I have been to the Green Party website. No luck.
  • by G Neric (176742) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @06:21PM (#661597)
    if ONE Supreme Court justice is replaced ... abortion rights are history

    No! if the balance on the court tilts, abortion rights are back in the hands of the people where they belong in a democracy. In a democracy, the definition of murder, manslaughter, medical care, legitimate, illegitimate, you name it, is in the hands of the people. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, The People will get the choice again, and many states (New York, Mass, Calif, etc) would not outlaw abortion, though they would probably curtail disgusting procedures like the infamous brain sucking late term techniques.

    Furthermore, I think if The People were able to express themselves on the abortion issue, we'd see less polarization and more acceptance of differing opinions. If you don't trust The People with Choice, how can you trust them with children? ;)

  • I have the right to defend my womb from foreign agents who would suck my life force for their own benefit.

    The fundamental flaw in your reasoning is that you can't separate your body from its fundamental function of reproduction. Your body is more than the vessel for your brain. Part of being human means reproduction, and being a woman means you have the potential to host a new human being.

    What this means is that a woman is NOT totally a sovereign entity. Once your womb is carrying a new human being, your body has temporarily become "owned" by that new human being.

    I know you don't like to think about it this way, but you can't separate your brain from your biology. New humans come into existence through the sharing of another body, and thus they have a fundamental right to the use of "their" host.

    Bottom line, your womb is not only your womb. Your womb becomes joint property once a new sovereign human being starts growing within it. Now, if that new life really was a real and imminent threat to the life of the host (kind of like violating the terms of the "joint ownership", so to speak), then there is a justification for aborting the new human.

    You're probably angry at this, but don't get angry at me. This is biology, pure and simple. You can't separate your brain from your biology.

    And by the way, yes, if I was capable of having children, I would feel exactly the same way. It's not a question of whether society (or "me") have dominion over another person's body, it's whether the new human life does. And it does.


    --

  • by WillSeattle (239206) on Thursday November 02, 2000 @07:40AM (#661599) Homepage
    Inquiring minds want to know ...

    Oh, wait, I guess we're supposed to vote for Bush, right?

    Can we write in Linus Torvalds for President instead? I know he's Finnish, but I don't mind voting for people from other religions, and since this Linux thing must be a religion or something, he might not do too well down south.

    Also, if Linus wins, does that mean that we keep Bill Gates as CEO of the World, or do we have to have another election afterwards?
  • by jjinglebones (249725) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @02:12PM (#661600) Homepage
    I am a Pro-Life supporter. Before you get your panties in a wad, I have never bombed an abortion clinic, nor attended a picket or rally on the issue. In fact, I am sick of seeing all the lines drawn in the sand over the issue. Can't we all just throw this out as a political sledgehammer, and focus on more important things?

    There are medical situations that may justify an abortion. For instance, if the mother and baby are both in jeopardy, then I would suggest that the mother's health should be the first consideration. What really ticks me off, though, is when BABY MURDER is used as a means of birth control. And don't doubt for a moment that it is used in such a heinous fashion.

    In todays world, there is very little need to resort to such brutish, evil behavior to satisfy anyones pursuit of happiness. With all the modern methods of preventing conception today, there is NO excuse for multiple unwanted pregnancies. Supposedly the 'pill' is what 98% effective? And condoms are 99% effective? Hell, add those two up and you have 197% protection! (oh yeah, I do know that that doesn't pan out exactly statistically speaking) Add to that a diaphragm and some spermicidal lubricant, and you would be hard pressed to get knocked up.

    Of course, if that is too much trouble, there is the old fashioned, but guaranteed 100% effective method of keeping it in your pants(men), or keeping your legs closed and pants on(women). Oh yeah, all those things get in the way of my instant gratification, poor me.

    Gosh, you know, my parents are becoming a real inconvenience. Maybe that day after pill will do them in, too {{SARCASM}}, and don't get me started on that good for nothing grandma of mine {{MORE SARCASM}}.

    This is getting a little nastier than I intended, so let's change the pace. I don't know how many of you out there have children, or how many of you have had abortions. I have my first son now. He is 6 1/2 months old now. My wife and I dated for 6 years before we married, and have been married for 5 1/2 years now. You know what? She has not had to choose an abortion, for any reason. I miss the three times a day sex now that we have a baby (OK, lets get honest, since we have been married - you married guys know what I mean;-), but I do not regret it one bit.

    I saw the ultrasound at 4 months. There was a heart, and it was beating. There were arms and legs. There was a spinal cord and a head. There was even a penis. He was moving around.

    What is the definition of life? What is a baby? What is innocence? Does life experience and memory have anything to do with it? If so, then what about permanent amnesia sufferers. What about Alzheimers. What about the idiot savant.

    Abortion for medical reasons, maybe. This is the area where choice is appropriate. Abortion because of carelessness? Recklessness? Irresponsibility? Inconvenience? That is just plain old murder.

    sane_one@wowmail.com

  • by Some guy named Chris (9720) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:32AM (#661601) Journal

    I see nothing wrong with using tax as a way to fight this kind of thing.

    First, the tax system was not intended as a carrot and stick system to punish behaviour the government doesn't like, and reward behavious it does. It's purpose was, and should be, revenue generation. If a behaviour is so bad that you want to stop it, criminalize it. But, that won't work, because outright criminalization of certain activities, like tobacco use or alcohol consumption would cause an uproar in the populous, not to mention raise serious constitutional challanges. So, they instead play games with the "cost" of these activities. It's a way of controlling your behaviour without getting you all hot and bothered about it.

    Secondly, it is all to easy for the "we" to start to include only those who think like we do. We are a society which was built by those who feared tyrany, be it tyrany of a king, or tyrany of the majority.

    It's a slippery slope, deciding which behaviours "we" approve of, and which we don't. Govenrment should be kept out of my daily life as much as possible. Let me make decisions for myself, as long as I'm not depriving anyone else of their rights, including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Just because you don't like my choices doesn't mean you have to take them away from me. You don't always know what is best for me!

    </rant>

  • by The Iconoclast (24795) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:41AM (#661602)
    Ok, it is quite simple. Pollution is a problem. I causes us to have bad air, and bad water and general ickiness. So how do we fix the pollution that has been caused already. Well, why don't we have the government pay for it like we do now? (Superfund) This makes you and me, the average shmoe have to pay for big belching factories' boo-boos. Well, what Nader is proposing is simply taxing pollutors. Think of it as a pollution fine or "paying for the privalage" of f*cking up our ecosystem.

    What is wrong about asking those responsible for pollution to contribute the most to fix.

    Similarly, I believe there should be a HIGHER tax on gas, and maybe even cigarettes. By increasing the cost of driving around a big honkin' INEFFICIENT SUVs or whatever, it will tend to make people buy more efficeint vehicles. Same thing with cigs. If they are more expensive, people will smoke less beause they have an economic incentive.
  • by plunge (27239) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:03PM (#661603)
    This is utter nonsense. Nader doesn't have a chance not because of two party monopoly, but because his platform is one that few Americans support. Do you really think any more than at MOST 11% of Americans will vote for a man who wants to tax stock trades? Or is even a little lefty? What's worse is that the Green Party isn't even a true left party. Where are the African Americans? THe Latinos? The feminists? The unions? How can one posssibly have a new left coalition without these groups? Nader thinks he can. He's wrong.
    What's really sick is that most of the people voting for him really don't have much to lose. They're rich white college kids. If Bush wins, they'll probably BENEFIT, though they don't see it that way. They'll be disappointed, but they wont see their _personal_ interests torn to shreds. No, they can parade around their big moral victory of a Nader vote while gays, blacks, unionists and pretty much the recipients of progressive movement get screwed.
  • by Thalia (42305) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:24AM (#661604)
    Scare tactics with respect to Abortion? Hardly!

    The fact is, Roe v. Wade was upheld 5-4 in the last battle. So, if ONE Supreme Court justice is replaced by another yes-man like Clarence Thomas, abortion rights are history. If you look at the last major abortion opinion, Stenberg v. Carhart [findlaw.com], you will find the following:

    Five justices who voted to strike down the law restricting abortions: Breyer (delivered opinion), joined by Stephens, O'Connor, Ginsburg, and Souter. Notice that the two appointees of Clinton's, Breyer and Ginsburg, are solidly in the pro-choice camp.

    Four justices voted to uphold the abortion restriction: Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas. Every one of these justices was appointed by a Republican. And, of course, Mr. Thomas was appointed by Bush, Sr.

    Now, Justice O'Connor is sick (she has ovarian cancer), and justice Stephens is getting quite aged. It is very likely that one of these two liberal/middle-of-the-road justices will retire in the next four years. On the other hand, all of the conservative justices are young & healthy. So, the fact is your vote will affect a woman's right to choose.

    Hope that clears up the confusion,

    Thalia

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @02:20PM (#661605)
    > [Gore's "targeted tax cuts" weren't] ... so much about "rewarding those who do what we wish" but rather trying to target an income range that's almost impossible to _solely_ target without implementing a tax scheme where different brackets pay different rates- which is politically unacceptable to most people.

    First, you're absolutely right that any standard tax cut will benefit the rich more than the poor. The rich pay most of the income tax in this country; it stands to reason that any cut across all tax brackets will benefit them more on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

    That said - I disagree when you say that Gore had no choice but to implement his cuts the way he did. It's a question on what you mean by "cut taxes across the board". Cut tax rates across the board, and you'll favor the rich. But you can cut taxes across the board and maintain any degree of progressivity you like in the tax system.

    Here's a snapshot of the federal tax rates for a single filer (ignoring standard deduction, we're talking rates here):
    $0-25,350 - 15%
    $25,350-61,400 - 28%
    $61,400 - 128,100 - 31%
    $128,100 - 278,450 - 36%
    $278,450 and up - 39.5%

    There are zillions of ways to "target the middle class" without "rewarding those who do what we like" while still "giving everyone who pays income tax a tax cut".

    • Make the 15% into 10%, and the 28% bracket 15%".
    • Change the numbers - $25350 -> $30000, $61400 -> $100000, $128100 -> $200000, $278450 -> $300000.
    Bush's plan is similar to one of these - everyone gets a cut.

    Don't wanna give "the rich" a break? Fine, go with the earlier variation.

    But for the love of God, don't go the Gore route and say "If you have a kid under age one, and pay $FOO in child support, and earn less than $BAR, you'll be able to deduct $BAZ, and if you have a kid in college, and earn less than $FROTZ, you'll get a $XYZZY deduction, and if you..."

    If the tax system is "code", the Bush approach involves changing some constants. The Gore approach is to cruft on a whole series of if/then/else structures. Ug. Gore's proposal a kludge, a horrible kludge to an even kludgier system.

    Given the wide range of options available, the Gore approach is clearly more concerned with behavior modification than tax relief.

    (And the cynic in me says that both approaches are engineered as efforts to pander to specific demographics - Gore for the "Soccer Moms" in his party's base, and Bush for the economic conservatives in his party's base.

    That the Slashdot rhetoric mirrors the campaign's rhetoric -- "Big Oil vs. the middle class" (if you vote Gore or Nader) and "big government vs. your paycheck (if you vote Bush or Browne) is indicative that both campaigns have succeeded.

    Both the progressive and the libertarian want "fair" tax cuts - but can argue for megabytes over whose cuts are "fair" - because they disagree at the most fundamental level on what constitutes "fairness".

    (Of course, they also disagree on what constitutes "middle class" - $70K is dangerously close to poverty in the Bay Area!)

  • by TrevorB (57780) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @02:50PM (#661606) Homepage
    Does that mean the rest of us get to rule your country?
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @10:43AM (#661607) Homepage Journal
    I am hardly mathematically illiterate, but I do think that progressive taxation makes sense for a wide variety of reasons.

    First, and most bluntly, the wealthy have the most to lose, and therefore, gain the most from the societal structure of law and order that keeps them in their privileged position. Treat the masses like dirt while giving the wealthy a free ride, and you can expect another Soviet-style revolution.

    Secondly, as many others have pointed out, basic neccesities of life need to be exempted from the tax scheme, and since the wealthy spend so much less (as a percentage) on those items, they will end up paying more in tax.

    Lastly, I think you'd rather be angry over money and 52% taxes, than over the daily battles of living paycheck-to-paycheck without any hope of building a future through home ownership or higher education. If things are so bad, then why don't more high-earners flee to tax havens abroad?

  • by Yardley (135408) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @09:10AM (#661608) Homepage
    Ain't Fallin' For That One Again [grassroots.com]
    Michael Moore [michaelmoore.com]
    Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    I think the first time I remember hearing this political urban myth was in the 1976 presidential election. Somebody told me the reason I had to vote for Jimmy Carter was because if Gerald Ford was elected, women would lose their right to choose to have an abortion. Abortion had been legal for only three years at that point. It was considered a great victory, one we all wanted to support.

    So, I voted for Jimmy Carter -- and guess what? One of the things he did was to stop all abortions provided for women or wives in the armed services! He also stopped any further funding to birth control groups overseas that offered abortion as an alternative. And he ended all Medicaid payments for poor women in need of an abortion.

    I felt a bit abused. I mean, Gerry Ford had been pro-choice. His wife was an ardent supporter of women's rights. And it was a Nixon appointee to the Supreme Court -- Justice Blackmun -- that wrote the majority opinion making abortion legal. What was I thinking? (Other than that the Nixon Nightmare years had to come to an end! That, I correctly rationalized, was worth the vote for Carter.)

    Four years later, Democrats and liberals were going nuts over the possibility that Ronald Reagan might unseat Carter. Dire warnings were issued to all: If Reagan gets in, abortion will be illegal, period.

    Well, I didn't vote for Reagan OR Carter, Reagan got in, and then something strange happened: Abortion remained legal! Sure, Reagan built on Carter's abortion restrictions, but Roe v. Wade was still the law of the land when the Gipper rode off into the sunset eight years later.

    Yet Reagan had appointed plenty of wingnuts to the Supreme Court, so when the doomsayers in 1988 warned that George Bush would CERTAINLY send women back to the alleys to have illegal abortions, another bizarre thing happened -- Bush got elected, and ... four years later ... ABORTION WAS STILL LEGAL!

    But Bush did leave us with Clarence Thomas, so when the Democrats came to scare the bejeepers out of me with what Bush would do to a woman's right to choose if he got a second term, I decided to vote for Bill Clinton.

    So what's happened under our first feminist-man president?

    Perhaps Clinton misunderstood his mission: he was supposed to support a womanÕs right to choose, not his right to choose women. Roe v. Wade is still on the books (mainly because of the consistent and unwavering support from the Reagan-appointed Justice O'Connor, the Ford-appointed Justice Stevens, and the Bush-appointed Justice Souter! They have voted to uphold abortion rights every single time). But it is now twice as hard for a woman in America to obtain an abortion as it was when Clinton took office. The anti-abortion terrorists have been so successful in their campaign of violence against abortion clinics and doctors and hospitals who perform abortions that a woman can now get an abortion in only 14% of the counties in the United States. That's right. Terrorism has scored its first victory on U.S. soil by assassinating enough doctors and firebombing enough clinics so that no one wants to perform an abortion. So if you live in one of the 86% of counties where not a single doctor will do an abortion, let me ask you this: what good is a "right" to an abortion if you can't get one?

    The stunning thing about this virtual elimination of abortion in America is that it has occurred at a time when nearly 70% of the country supports some form of legal abortion. The terrorists have literally gotten away with murder -- with a pro-choice attorney general sitting in Washington, D.C., doing damn little about it. About the only reason I voted for these clowns was because of this issue -- and where the hell have they been?

    Which brings us to Ralph Nader. Vice President Al Gore, on Meet the Press this week, told Tim Russert WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if George W. were elected president. Women would lose their right to have an abortion, Gore bellowed, with no equivocation and no hint of shame for what has happened on the Clinton/Gore watch.

    All the pundits -- and the Democrats -- tell us that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush because all Ralph will end up doing is siphoning off votes that would have gone to Gore. This is their mantra:

    "IF BUSH IS ELECTED, HE WILL APPOINT JUSTICES TO THE SUPREME COURT AND THEY WILL DECLARE ABORTION ILLEGAL!"

    Well, I've fallen for this before and I ain't fallin' for it again. In fact, I will go so far as to say that George W. Bush, if for some reason he is magically elected, will NEVER do ANYTHING to make abortion illegal.

    Here's my proof:

    1. To recap what I have already stated: Roe v. Wade was written by a Republican, and upheld for 27 years by Republicans. No Republican president has made abortion illegal, and none will this time around.

    2. George W. is, first and only, a politician. For crying out loud, if 70% of the country favors legal abortion, trust me, that party boy is NEVER going to cook his goose on this issue. He is already moving to the center on abortion and has been doing so since the primaries. He wants to win. He already has the majority of women supporting him in the polls, in part because a lot of women are confident he will not upset this apple cart.

    3. The New York Times two weeks ago did a study of Bush's court appointees in Texas and found that he did NOT appoint right-wing crazies, but rather moderates or moderate conservatives who have upheld legal abortion in Texas and struck down some cases that tried to put restrictions on a woman's right to choose.

    4. Sometimes even conservatives end up accepting that the tide has turned against them. The most stunning example of this came last month when ultra-conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist insisted on writing the MAJORITY opinion for the court upholding the Miranda ruling that requires the police to inform an arrestee of his or her constitutional rights. Now, you know a guy like Rehnquist personally just hates forcing the police to read someone their rights. But in his decision keeping Miranda the law of the land, Rehnquist wrote that the Miranda rights are now "part of the American culture" and therefore should not be done away with. Even pro-Miranda liberals had never heard that line used by the Supreme Court in backing a decision, but it was, in essence, the truth. Reading someone their rights is now like apple pie -- and so is a woman's right to choose what to do if she should become pregnant. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe it a decision best left with a woman, her doctor, her God -- and it's nobody else's dang business. That, too, is part of the American culture. It's called privacy, and it's been around for over 200 years. Nobody, regardless of their political stripe, wants the politicians or the justices in their bedroom.

    So, this year, I'm not going to let the fearmongers scare me into voting against my conscience. And I'm not going to let the Democratic candidate for president cynically use this issue when he himself has served in D.C. for 8 years allowing the right to get an abortion to be whittled away to near nothing.

    Plus, I believe the true Nader constituency out there is among the 100 million nonvoters who have given up, thinking they no longer have a say in what really goes on in Washington. Gore shouldn't worry about Ralph taking votes from him. Rather he should think about what his administration with Bill Clinton has taken away from the women of this nation.

    Come November 7, I plan to enter the voting booth and vote not from fear, but from a desire to see this country returned to the people.

    --

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