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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three 572

Posted by kdawson
from the madisonian-moment dept.
circletimessquare writes "The Obama administration opened a discussion forum in January of this year which has become an electronic suggestion box. It is now entering stage three, following brainstorm and discussion phases: the draft phase, in which the top subject matter is codified into suggestions for the government. 'Ultimately, the visitors advanced more than 3,900 ideas, which in turn spawned 11,000 comments that received 210,000 thumb votes. The result? Three of the top 10 most popular ideas called for legalizing marijuana, and two featured conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama's true place of birth.'"
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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three

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  • Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:58PM (#28433833)

    Not sure if that's a brilliant idea or not, but surely removing it from schedule 1 status is the right thing to do.

    That Nixon-era policy makes classifies it as having "no medicinal value" and is considered "highly addictive". Both are jokes.

    The status above cocaine gives law enforcement more incentive to go after potheads than Colombian smugglers. Ridiculous.

  • by Tom90deg (1190691) <Tom90deg@yahoo.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:01PM (#28433857) Homepage

    Ahh, once again, the power of the internet proves that the majority of people are pretty stupid. Of course, we already knew that because of Myspace. Yay glitter!

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:07PM (#28433919) Journal

    "...But until then I don't see why it merits the time of our government."

    I think that's part of the point. All this other crap going on and we're still arresting people for smoking pot!?!

  • by twostix (1277166) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:10PM (#28433957)

    Let me guess...the "majority of people" doesn't include you does it?

    Funny that.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:11PM (#28433967)

    And for some reason marijuana is an important issue? Are you kidding me? I don't see how it could possibly be more relevant than any of the issues I already listed. If we could solve all of them, then I would be comfortable with our national government looking into this "marijuana issue" (whatever the hell the issue is). But until then I don't see why it merits the time of our government.

    Lets see... You legalize marijuana and you can cut down on the number of arrests made, cut down on the number of cops, when you legalize it you would also allow for new industries to thrive, tax dollars to collect, Assuming even only a moderate increase of marijuana consumption as a part of it being legalized, you open up an entire new industry, more jobs, less spending for the government, more freedom and more revenue.

    There is no way you can argue for marijuana to not be legalized by a purely financial standpoint. Plus, legalizing it will cut costs, and spend less time looking at the issue rather than the more time you are foolishly suggesting.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:13PM (#28433989)

    Democracy is a POS form of government. Has been at least as far back as the Greek empire. And there is no promise of a democratic form of government anywhere in the foundational documents of the United States of America, every state is guaranteed a republican form of government, just like the national government was intended to be. Democracy is the enemy of liberty just as surely as tyranny is.

  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:19PM (#28434067) Homepage Journal
    It's not surprising people want to get get high.
  • Re:Really?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PottedMeat (1158195) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:20PM (#28434079)
    Arresting pot smokers is an incredibly lucrative business! That's why it's still banned.
  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:21PM (#28434089)
    And, I'm sure if you spent enough time creating moral panic over alcohol, tobacco and easy to find over-the-counter drugs, you would find that the results are the same if not worse.
  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:23PM (#28434099) Homepage Journal

    The only way to have a truly free government is to have a government that protects only against force and fraud.

    If so, then people who ask for a "truly free government" should be careful what they wish for.

    That way you have freedom to do whatever you want to while being safe because of the government.

    Well, no, not quite. A ban on force and fraud is, itself, a restriction on your freedom: you aren't free to do whatever you want if what you want involves force or fraud. It's a perfectly justified restriction, but it's still a restriction.

    More importantly, a government that only protects against force and fraud is a government that doesn't regulate industry. We've seen where that leads, from healing tonics to meat packing to investment banking. There's plenty of deception and destruction that doesn't quite fall under the umbrella of "force and fraud".

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:28PM (#28434159)

    I'm fairly certain they're still ignoring the issue that the most people who participated in this poll and who are in all likelyhood are not representative of the voting publicwere interested in changing, legalization of marijuana.

    Fixed that for you.

    An online poll conducted like this is going to be ridiculously skewed. Even if no one cheated, voting hundreds of times for their own "legalize pot" suggestions, the demographic here is going to be much MUCH younger than the average voting population. No age restrictions. And half the people who posted on there probably sent a link to all their friends and posted it on like-minded forums. Those people who are really REALLY opposed to legalization are also less likely to participate in this. Likewise, a lot of those people most in favor of legalization don't vote or can't vote yet.

    I think it's more likely this was actually a way of getting younger voters interested in government.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:28PM (#28434163) Homepage
    Of course, so would be taxing pot smokers.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:31PM (#28434193)

    Well, no, not quite. A ban on force and fraud is, itself, a restriction on your freedom: you aren't free to do whatever you want if what you want involves force or fraud. It's a perfectly justified restriction, but it's still a restriction.

    Well, by design governments are meant to limit freedoms in some ways and the only way to function without a government is to have a sort of "spiritual anarchy" where people follow a code because they want to (usually because of a religious belief)

    More importantly, a government that only protects against force and fraud is a government that doesn't regulate industry. We've seen where that leads, from healing tonics to meat packing to investment banking. There's plenty of deception and destruction that doesn't quite fall under the umbrella of "force and fraud".

    Ok, if the healing tonics say that they work and they don't you can sue them for fraud. If the meat packing industries claim they are safe to eat (or insinuate it due to advertising or product placement) and they aren't you can sue them for fraud. If the investments aren't as secure as their ratings say they are, you can sue them for fraud. Eventually, businesses will regulate themselves especially in today's atmosphere of information, it only takes a few leaked photos of unhealthy conditions snapped by a disgruntled employee to make people second guess buying those products. I would imagine that if regulations of businesses by governments ceased, we would see a raise in third-party de-facto regulations. Just look at the ESRB ratings or the ones that came before that (if I remember correctly Sega had one) that regulated games that had no potential for any harm. Think about how much more third-party regulators would do for things that might actually cause illness.

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:37PM (#28434271) Homepage Journal

    Legalize it, then it can be taxed and regulated. We should strongly consider doing the same thing with other drugs, too. If drugs were legally available, there would be no profit in the illicit drug trade, we would see a reduction in crime at all levels, and the medical costs associated with overdoses and adulterated drugs would also decrease. Legalizing marajuana would be an excellent test case.

    Also, if marajuana was legalized, then hemp would be legalized, and the USA would again have a valuable cash crop to grow on marginal lands. It is stupid that hemp is an illegal crop... the only reason for it being illegal is that it seemed easier to pass a law against hemp than to train law enforcement personnel in the simple botany needed to make the distinction. I, for one, think that our cops are smart enough to learn how to do a simple field test.

    Of course, legalizing any of the highly profitable black market drugs would mean bucking the lobbying efforts of one of the USA's major industries, and one of the very few that enjoys freedom from paying any taxes on its profits. So I don't expect this to happen soon or without great effort.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:39PM (#28434291)

    Well, some people *are* better than others.

    Let me guess. You are not one of those that scores high in anything?

    Funny that.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:42PM (#28434329) Homepage Journal

    Ok, if the healing tonics say that they work and they don't you can sue them for fraud. If the meat packing industries claim they are safe to eat (or insinuate it due to advertising or product placement) and they aren't you can sue them for fraud. If the investments aren't as secure as their ratings say they are, you can sue them for fraud. Eventually, businesses will regulate themselves [...]

    That's easy to say, but in practice it hasn't worked that way. It took the establishment of the FDA and SEC to actually make food and investments safer, and even now it still isn't perfect (witness the recent banking fiasco).

    Think about how much more third-party regulators would do for things that might actually cause illness.

    It's nice to imagine things like that, but again, if it's as simple as you make it sound, why haven't third party regulators actually sprung up and done anything? No one stopped third party food and drug regulators from coming into existence before the FDA, so where were they? Where were the independent securities rating agencies during the recent banking fiasco? They were in the pockets of the very institutions they were supposed to be rating.

  • by Toe, The (545098) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:01AM (#28434481)

    Democracy is not strictly defined as majority rule. If you read the linked site, most of the developing governance systems are about consensus democracy, liquid democracy, or other more advanced and thought-provoking forms than mere rule by the 51%.

    The scenarios you suggest don't play out when consensus governance systems start in small communities and gradually scale to larger and larger ones. instead, you find that interested people work to make their communities genuinely better.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:20AM (#28434623) Homepage Journal

    The reason why third party regulators didn't step in before the FDA is because people back before The Jungle was published were blissfully ignorant. [...]

    For the investment firms, most Americans didn't really care how they were investing. Rather than doing research they decided to hire someone to put their money in a bunch of stocks that they didn't pick out. Thats what carelessness gets you.

    So, we should just resign ourselves to endless cycles of "get screwed, pay a little more attention, wait for third-party rating firms to spring up, put your trust in a third party rating firm that seems OK (not that you can tell, because you're not an expert on the subject, which is why you need them in the first place), pray they don't become corrupt, eventually become complacent, get screwed again"?

    I, for one, would rather have an organization with a government mandate that's transparent and accountable to the people, not a smorgasbord of private organizations where I'll have no idea which ones to trust and where none of them are really accountable to anyone.

    Managed funds serve a vital purpose: it's unreasonable to expect everyone to hand-pick every component of their portfolio, and most of them would do a terrible job anyway, because they aren't professional investors. Likewise, it's unreasonable to expect everyone to be an expert on medicine, auto repair, or any other service they're considering. If you lack the knowledge to be a doctor, you probably also lack the knowledge to recognize whether a doctor knows what he's doing, as well as the knowledge to recognize whether the third party telling you that a doctor knows what he's doing actually knows what they're doing.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsm_sf (545316) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:29AM (#28434691) Journal
    And all you prohibitionists can think about is getting stoned.

    No, they're thinking about their jobs. Fewer people to arrest, fewer people to jail, fewer people to track once out on parole. Hell, the prison guard's union in california consistently lobbies for harsher sentencing for drug offenders. That's repugnant.

    I think it needs to be made clear that the two main supporters of prohibition are bad cops and drug dealers. That really tells you all you need to know.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:30AM (#28434697)

    Interestingly, if you think about it, if 9 out of 10 internet users prefer the porn and screaming matchs, the world really isn't all that bad, nor does it appear that there really is that much to get all uppity about.

    Thats probably why there really isn't any 'change', its not actually bad enough that people want to put for the effort to do so, they'd rather just enjoy the porn.

    Me, I would like to change things, but only so that the ISPs stop fucking with me and my bandwidth and caps, so I can download more porn.

    Its a fine balancing act, the government.

  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:52AM (#28434857)
    The irony of this is, twofold: One, this is the administration that that had added a huge increase to tobacco taxes, and these people think that the government is actually going to legalize marijuana? Hah hah hah! Good one.

    Two, it's just sad that our country's main concern is legalizing some drug that's major benefit is to get people high. While marijuana has a lot of medical uses, and banning it is pointless, it's just pathetic that nobody cares about inflation, an overzealous foreign policy, the sick demented system of child "protection" services ruined to scam parents and ruin the family, the court system being a guilty-until-proven-innocent fiasco where the court orders you to prove your innocence and you have to pay for court costs, drugs tests, psych exams, and etc. to prove your innocence, and freedom from censorship. Nope, us Americans gotta have our weed! Gotta get high so we won't have any other problems to worry about, just pretend they don't exist with a nice pipe in front of us.

    I guess there is also a third point of irony: Weed stupifies you, you'd think the government would favor deregulating it so they could tax it to the sky's limit and get more money off of you that way, while having a bunch of people too high to care about the other rights the government keeps taking away.
  • and give rise to revolution or a strong man who throws out all the rights in the republic to reestablish order, leading to autocracy

    if you aren't explicit about the whole democracy thing, you wind up with an aristocratic elite with a firm grip on the government. study the history of all republics, this is a natural evolution. for all of its flaws, democracy has a feature which trumps everything else: it manufactures legitimacy. the will of the people is consulted, and the government is chosen from that will. the people are happy they have their say. there is always malcontent, in any system, but it is held at a minimum in democracy

    without the explicit consultation democracy provides, the will of the people and the agenda of the ruling class begin to drift apart over time. simple miscommunication and entropy can be the culprit, no real malice, although there's always enough of that around. mistrust and illegtimacy is the result, and social stability decays, eventually leading to outright revolt or an incredibly weak government that gives way to a strong man and autocracy who reestablishes order, but at the cost of all the precious rights you look to a republic to guarantee

    so you're stuck with democracy. it provides stability. a republic without democracy isn't stable, it decays

    and i really have to wonder what makes you so distrustful of your fellow man. some sort of blind conceit on your part probably, a personal failure of yours

  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:02AM (#28434915) Homepage Journal
    I hope a drunk hillbilly runs you off the road, you lose some limbs, a kidney, get a pin in your hip, and end up with 200k of medical bills and the inability to ever get out of your chair and do another bit of work to earn your pay for the rest of your life. Then when you get wheeled out of the hospital, I'd love to see the look on your face and reality sets in... that 200k was just for your stay... You have a lifetime of expensive medical needs... you will never have a job to pay for it all... there will never be enough charity to pay it all... and it wasn't your fault. At that moment, I will spit in your face. You deserve no less, sir.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:07AM (#28434953)

    Democracy is a POS form of government. Has been at least as far back as the Greek empire.

    There never was a "Greek empire" with democracy. There were separate city states, with varying forms of government. The "empire" you think of is most probably Athens, where democracy did work, but that's not because of the system. It's because everyone knew everyone else, and honor was considered more important than life. If you got caught with a lie, even your grandson would be called a son of a liar.

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:12AM (#28434977)

    Legalize it, then it can be taxed and regulated. We should strongly consider doing the same thing with other drugs, too. If drugs were legally available, there would be no profit in the illicit drug trade, we would see a reduction in crime at all levels, and the medical costs associated with overdoses and adulterated drugs would also decrease. Legalizing marajuana would be an excellent test case.

    Also, if marajuana was legalized, then hemp would be legalized, and the USA would again have a valuable cash crop to grow on marginal lands. It is stupid that hemp is an illegal crop... the only reason for it being illegal is that it seemed easier to pass a law against hemp than to train law enforcement personnel in the simple botany needed to make the distinction. I, for one, think that our cops are smart enough to learn how to do a simple field test.

    Of course, legalizing any of the highly profitable black market drugs would mean bucking the lobbying efforts of one of the USA's major industries, and one of the very few that enjoys freedom from paying any taxes on its profits. So I don't expect this to happen soon or without great effort.

    I agree with you entirely that marijuana (and many other drugs) should be legalized. The vast majority of the problems associated with drugs are direct results of their being illegal, and enforcement accomplishes nothing but raising the price.

    I'd like to ask the slashdot community if they've ever heard of anyone who wanted it having trouble getting pot (or almost any common street drug for that matter). If we're not making access to the drugs difficult, what exactly are we doing? It's pretty damned obvious what the negative effects of making drugs illegal are - at the most basic level, the drug trade funnels millions of dollars to organized crime. Then there's the fact that it's much harder to help people with drug problems if they're afraid of being treated as criminals. Finally, without regulation and control, otherwise safe drugs (at least as safe if not safer than alcohol) can be adulterated and made toxic. The laws don't seem to be doing anything other stuffing our overcrowded prison systems. Personally I dislike pot - I think it makes people stupid and boring, and I don't like my mind to feel dull - but it's pretty damned obvious to anyone with half a brain that right now we're doing nothing but harm.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:21AM (#28435041)
    Which is exactly why it WON'T happen.

    There are big industries making obscene profits due to hemp being outlawed. You think for one second they'll let it be legalized without a huge fight?

    Any politician who so much as suggested it would be committing political suicide.
  • by AdamHaun (43173) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:21AM (#28435045) Journal

    This is insightful? In a world where BILLIONS of consumers can rate and review the efficacy and truthfulness of products on the web, government regulation of healing tonics is worthless.

    Consumers don't run double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Precious few even know what that means or why it's important. The result of deregulating medical products is a whole lot of snake oil. You can see this on your local store shelves in the form of the unregulated supplement industry. Consumer reviews don't work as well where marketing, cultural factors, and the placebo effect collide.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:30AM (#28435105) Homepage Journal

    In a world where BILLIONS of consumers can rate and review the efficacy and truthfulness of products on the web, government regulation of healing tonics is worthless.

    Tell that to the people who lost their sense of smell by using Zicam.

    Meat packing? Do you really think government regulations has made food safer, or market forces?

    Government regulation.

    Market forces can't go into a food processing plant and see what's going into the vats. Health inspectors can. Market forces can cut off your future profits, but they can't put you in jail or take away the fortunes you've already earned by turning your employees into sausage.

    Investment banking is a world regulated by government's manipulation of their near-worthless fiat currency. I don't blame the banks, I blame the people in charge of creating the fluff-money most people think has value over their lifetimes.

    As opposed to, say, gold, which is a fluff-metal most people think has value over their lifetimes. The only difference is the gold supply is controlled unpredictably by mining companies, natural deposits, and industrial use, rather than regulators who control the supply intentionally to achieve policy goals.

  • add a few more, real and imagined

    and marijuana is still less harmful than alcohol and nicotine. do you really want to stack the health effects of marijuana you list against the health effects of nicotine or alcohol?

    and so its not logically coherent to have nicotine and alcohol legal, and thc illegal. ban all three, or legalize all three. that's the only logically coherent position. a sound pharmacological understanding of the relative effects of the three drugs leads to the inevitable conclusion that making one of the three illegal is arbitrary, and really nothing more than a racist historical artifact from when marijuana was a scary loco weed that mexicans used. the frontier judge's daddy meanwhile was a proper german or irish drunk: familiarity. therefore, legality. no other good reason exists for marijuana's illegality than historical xenophobia. certainly not pharmacological science

    i can see meth permanently banned and the DEA waging war on that drug forever. same with cocaine, same with heroin. the addictiveness of these drugs is off the charts, combined with long term incapacitation (unlike nicotine, which is extremely addictive, but doesn't incapacitate). you can't work. you can't have a relationship. you can take meth, cocaine, and heroin and turn someone who would otherwise have a productive life into a zombie that forsakes the difficulties of your average relationship and your average job in order to feed a need

    but marijuana? its lightweight

    please. this isn't about legalization of all drugs, just marijuana. and please don't suggest legalizing marijuana means we have legalize far, far worse substances. that's like saying allowing gay marriage means we will have to legalize bestiality and necrophilia. fear mongering bullshit

    just legalize marijuana already. keep the hardcore substances banned. its simple pharmacological common sense

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:39AM (#28435155)

    > it is less addictive than most cough syrups.

    There are good arguments for legalization but idiots like you spewing stuff that doesn't pass the most basic smell test aren't helping your cause.

    Ok, survey says 6% of the US population uses a product that is illegal and has enough enforcement that it accounts for a fair percentage of inmates in prison. They are willing to deal with the criminal underworld to get the stuff, pay black market prices and risk jail, loss of their job in many cases, etc. What percentage of the population is chugging Nyquil?

    Yes the fact booze is legal again goes a long way to account for the fact most people have more sense than to chug 20 proof Nyquil when 80 proof whiskey is equally available and is a lot cheaper per ounce. But the point still stands that weed makes folks do irrational things that can't be explained without assuming addiction. A lot more addiction than cough syrup.

    So now lets put on our thinking caps and examine a world after legalization. That 6% would double overnite just from people who would use but fear what a conviction would do to their career. Then again from people who would use if they didn't have to deal with the criminal underground. Smokers, for all their other problems (and second hand smoke kicks me square in the NUTS. I hate smokers!) can be productive members of society. Before we chased em all outdoors they didn't even take too much (if any) of a productivity hit. Not sure what would happen if a quarter if the population was baked out of their heads. And unsure on such an important question is bad.

    Personally I'd favor legalization of EVERY drug on one condition. That anyone wanting such full liberty signed a statement taking full responsibility for the consequences. That means no welfare, no public funded trips to rehab, nothing. They could buy any insurance they wanted on the private market, but not a dime of the taxpayer's funds. Because total liberty is incompatible with a welfare state. That is my big objection to legalization, it would be great in a Free country but we don't live in one of those anymore.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:54AM (#28435223) Homepage

    A well armed society is a polite society.

    I'm guessing this is why the English have been, for centuries, known around the world for their ignorant, rude, brashness whilst the Americans are recognized far and wide for their dainty manners and eccentric etiquette?

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:20AM (#28435399) Journal

    ... and a point is made. The United States is NOT a Democracy. We are a Republic. Under a Democracy, the majority forces their opinions on the minority and it eventually turns into an Oligarchy. This is done over years and years of manipulation to grant power to a more specific group each term. We've been boiling down to an ever strong President with lap dog Congressmen and the Federal Reserve who control our country instead of the people it was intended for. You, me, and your neighbor.

    In our Republic, laws are set forth through a strict set of procedures to ensure fairness to all parties involved, not just the most popular. This is why we were formed as a Republic and NOT a Democracy. This is why the Constitution does not state that we are a Christian country (even though some people would like that, namely the church because that gives them power over law.)

    Recently though, people tend to forget this. They think that if they get enough people behind an idea, they can make other people follow it their way. Instead of petitioning their Congressmen and voting in their preferred representative (in local and federal elections), they think that they can change America by selecting one person to change it all. It's an affront to the Constitution and what it means to stand by Democracy and what it means.

  • by nohup (26783) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:35AM (#28435503)

    So, I'm middle class income. I bought health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, etc. I also buy supplemental insurance to cover anything that the primary health or disability insurance doesn't cover, so I'm fully, 100% covered for any contingency like the one you described above.

    Now, I get in the accident and have 200k for hospital stays (fully covered), lifetime income (fully covered), and lifetime health insurance (fully covered). Now my neighbor who never bothered with any of that ends up in the same condition. Are you arguing that despite the fact that he didn't take any of the precautions I did, he should be entitled to it? And who should pay for that? The government? Why then did I bother then to get covered?

    If the government is going to cover us all, we might as well do away with private insurance. Yay! I was tired of paying those disability and supplemental insurance premiums anyway! I'm absolutely sure the government would have a better run system that costs less. There's no way this agency could go bad, it would have just one mission: helping the people. The executive branch would always make sure only the best non-partisan people were appointed to head this agency and the money would never be misused. And efficiency? It's logistics and operations would be the envy of every private business out there. And jobs, lots of jobs, this is money that is much better spent here in government, the number of jobs created is far more than all those private insurance businesses employed anyway. Bring it on!

  • true morality (Score:3, Insightful)

    is not empty pronouncements followed with "or else!"

    any moron can say "don't conceive a child you didn't mean to!" "don't get addicted to nicotine!" "don't gamble all your money away!" "don't not have health insurance!"

    "you did?"

    "oh well!"

    any idiot can say these things

    but this is not morality

    a true moral compass is what your policy is about people who cross these thresholds of bad behavior

    beware social policies that are more cruel than the the supposed "crime" someone committed. some people actually believe in a "morality" that makes society implicitly more immoral than those who do immoral acts. some supposed vanguard of "morality" proscribe punishments worse than the "crime" they are punishing. a true moral society always punishes people less than the magnitude of their crime. crime feeds crime. so if you are exceptionally harsh relative to the crime someone committed, you are actually pumping more cruelty into the system. thereby breeding more crime

    for example: "you don't have health insurance and you broke your arm? oh well! sucks to be you!"

    you don't want society to have a common fund for such people? ok

    but what your ignorant ass doesn't realize is that not paying to have the uninsured guy have his armed fix costs society a hell of a lot more. if the guy is the sole breadwinner int he family, now you have a family starves, that can't afford to educate its children resulting in people with no marketable skills, that forces people to turn to crime in desperation to feed themselves, to become beggars. this is a hell of a lot more expensive than just fixing the uninsured guys arm

    but i know people like you. out of your ignorant blind selfishness for not agreeing to a common fund to fix the guys arms, you'll look down your nose at him as he is forced to therefore beg in the street, unemployable

    there's a lot of blind ignorant types like you in the world. and your selfish ignorance costs society a hell of a lot more than the uninsured, that's for sure

  • Re:Really?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twostix (1277166) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:35AM (#28435509)

    Why yes, yes I do, much more than you do it would seem.

    $14 trillion is your DEBT you illiterate. Debt is money owed which is a fraction of your total obligations.

    The government does more than just borrow money it creates programs to spend that money on and each American (currently) also has half a million dollars worth of *obligations* to pay for. The government can't put 100% of the money it receives into paying back debt without taking money away from it's programs and services. Which is why I clearly stated that it would take over a century to pay that 14 trillion down even with 100% of Americans wages going in as the government also has to pay for it's obligations (Social Security, Medicare, Military, Beauracracy) which are increasing rapidly over time, even if they didn't allow new spending starting now.

    Your current tax level isn't even coming *close* to paying for the governments obligations *let alone* making repayments on the debt and interest owed on bonds. Which is why your government has borrowed nearly 10 trillion dollars from the citizens of China, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and others in the last decade to keep the good times going.

    So you're either going to raise taxes to an astronomical level, slash and burn your government services and keep taxes at the same level or do the tried and true practice of bankrupt governments and devalue your currency or worse simply default.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-05-28-debt_N.htm [usatoday.com]

    Comprehension is good.

  • Of course you're describing exactly the system that the US has already. How clever of you.

    Except you've omitted one tiny fact: the US system costs the US government (and thus US taxpayers) approximately 4 TIMES MORE per citizen than socialized systems, and the quality of care is demonstrably lower.

    You don't do socialized medicine because it's kinder to poor people (although it is)
    You don't do socialized medicine because it creates a healthier and more productive population (although it does)
    You don't do socialized medicine because it removes the profit motive (i.e. denial of care) from the healthcare equation (although it helps to do this)

    You do socialized medicine because it's cheaper.

    Anyone who tells you that socialized medicine is more expensive, and/or will lead to a poorer standard of care, either works for a US insurance company, or is willfully ignoring all the evidence from every other industrialized 1st world country, or, like you I suspect, is just a fsckwit.

  • Re:My suggestions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:56AM (#28435615)

    1. Like hell it's not.

    Has Congress declared War? If not, then Habeas Corpus is in full effect.

    2. Where does the Bill of Rights say "This only applies to citizens"?

    Where?

    3. Yes. End all "X race is more equal than Y race" rules. End all types of discrimination.

    4. The ideal marriage law is none at all. Marriage is an institution of the church you belong to. Government should have no bearing in that, nor any tax breaks. Let those who can consent do as they wish.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:03AM (#28435647)

    ... and a point is made. The United States is NOT a Democracy. We are a Republic.

    You say that as if they're mutually explusive. They're not. Dictatorship and democracy are mutually explusive. Monarchy and republic are mutually exclusive. But all democracies are either a republic or a monarchy, and the US is not a monarchy. It's a democratic federal republic (although you could argue about how democratic it really is, considering how the system is organised to effectively only allow two parties to be represented in Congress, and a president can be elected on a minority vote).

    Under a Democracy, the majority forces their opinions on the minority and it eventually turns into an Oligarchy.

    Not necessarily, although it is what's hapened in the US. But that's more because of the lack of real democracy in the system.

    In our Republic, laws are set forth through a strict set of procedures to ensure fairness to all parties involved, not just the most popular.

    In which republic exactly? Definitely not in the US, where only the two biggest parties have any real chance of representation.

  • by rve (4436) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:16AM (#28435743)

    In the country where I currently live, a high profile politician tried an online suggestion box, specifically stating they would base their party program on it.

    Predictably, the suggestion box was rapidly filled with exactly the populist crap you expect to be posted on an unmoderated, anonymous political forum: insults, trolling, racist and xenophobic rants, spam, flame wars and advertisements.

    Politicians: do not go online just for the sake of looking modern, hip and in touch, you just end up showing just how much out of touch you really are.

    I don't want my politicians to be modern, hip and in touch, I prefer them to be more mature than I am.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:24AM (#28435793)

    Wow, you're a douche.

    Seriously. Douche.

    What happens to the guy who spent 20 years paying his insurance costs while working for a single company, never getting sick a day of those 20 years, then you suddenly get laid off due to downsizing? Losing your insurance benefits, you walk out frustrated with your box of crap off your desk and you get hit by a bus. Damn son, you shoulda had insurance.

    Or how about that single mother of 2 who works 2 jobs and has to decide between insurance and having a house, getting utilities, and feeding her kids. Too bad her husband died in Iraq and her family passed away from congenital heart disease and cancer. But you know, it's all her fault.

    Your incessant whine about how people are stupid for not having insurance or should "have more money" as if cash can just appear out of nowhere is ridiculous. You say people should go to night school to earn more money. Do you realize that night school costs money and, I dunno, some vital resource called sleep?

    Jesus. I thought I was an arrogant, selfish son of a bitch and then I read this shit. But hey, let's let the company set their own costs so that a simple checkup costs me $200. Perfectly legit since only people who deserve to be healthy can pay for it.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jabithew (1340853) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:27AM (#28435811)

    Parties!=political parties. In this case it means corporations, special interest groups, charities, private citizens. Ideally that list would extend to ecosystems and foreigners, but what can you do.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogjobber (880402) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:28AM (#28435815)

    First of all, you need to get your terminology straightened out. The terms democracy and republic describe different aspects of government and are not mutually exclusive. The United States is both.

    But using your definitions, you seem to be arguing that we have moved from a government with *more* tolerance for minority opinion to a government with *less* tolerance for minority opinion. This is laughably false.

    Maybe you would like to rephrase your argument and give specific examples of what you are talking about. You seem to rambling on with the same "things aren't as good as they used to be" rhetoric that reactionaries have spouted for all of recorded history. How are we less republican or democratic now compared to ten, fifty, or a hundred years ago?

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @03:53AM (#28435943)

    But the point still stands that weed makes folks do irrational things that can't be explained without assuming addiction.

    Recent events have shown that file sharing will likely get you into similar amounts of trouble. What percentage of people do you think are happy to grab a few songs off The Pirate Bay ? Are they irrational as well ?

    Not sure what would happen if a quarter if the population was baked out of their heads.

    This is what's called a non-sequitur.

    Personally I'd favor legalization of EVERY drug on one condition. That anyone wanting such full liberty signed a statement taking full responsibility for the consequences. That means no welfare, no public funded trips to rehab, nothing. They could buy any insurance they wanted on the private market, but not a dime of the taxpayer's funds. Because total liberty is incompatible with a welfare state. That is my big objection to legalization, it would be great in a Free country but we don't live in one of those anymore.

    Your argument is is a straw man. You don't support of welfare in the first place, you're just emphasising that lack of support as weak support for your moralising.

  • Registering (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JimboFBX (1097277) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:06AM (#28436007)
    So registering on the site isn't https. I know this isn't credit card information but still, I wonder how many people use the same password for this as they do their email. Too easy to snoop such a high profile web server.
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:19AM (#28436069)

    >Legalize it, then it can be taxed and regulated.

    That's nothing compared to the value of slave labor that can be derived from the prison-industrial complex.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glarbl_blarbl (810253) <glarblblarbl&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:57AM (#28436247) Homepage Journal

    That's an absurd overstatement. Or naive. No public policy of any type can ever truly be a "good idea in virtually every imaginable way."

    Actually it's quite possible, you see, because Prohibition is such a bad idea in every imaginable way.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:58AM (#28436249)

    Remember it's the burden of proof of those that want legalization not those that view it as being harmful.

    Wrong. The burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused. That's quite some backwards logic you have there.

    The illegalization of marijuana was never based on proof. It was outlawed to protect business. The main supporters of it's illegalization used the public's fear of minorities and anti-marijuana propaganda to accomplish that.

    If you'd like you can read up on Harry J. Anslinger for some examples of what kind of "proof" was originally used by the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to describe the problem and afford more power to his position. I've posted some of those examples below.

    There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.

    The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.

    Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.

    You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:58AM (#28436253) Journal

    Your guns just keep you dangerous to each other - while the Bankers rob your unborn grandchildren, and sell your labor into debt-bondage 'til your graves.

    Any Iranian is freer, weaponless and ruled by priests, than the average American with all of his guns.

    The events of the past week have demonstrated this clearly. Armed with placards and fearlessness, they walk into sniper fire. Florida in 2000 was a cowards paradise, by any comparative measure.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by selven (1556643) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:22AM (#28436371)

    Remember it's the burden of proof of those that want legalization not those that view it as being harmful.

    In terms of the way the system should be working, the default is anarchy and any deviation from that default must be justified, and it must continue to be justified to stay in law.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:26AM (#28436677)

    Having defended myself with a firearm, I disagree about their social utility. I am in physical danger from other citizens, not the government.

    Mere paper debt is an inconvenience, not a disaster.

    Iranians aren't fighting to be free (or they'd be killing Mullahs and destroying theocracy),they just want a piece of the economic pie.

    "Any Iranian is freer, weaponless and ruled by priests, than the average American with all of his guns."

    E-rage much? USians have far more personal freedom from religion than the Iranian, and far more economic mobility. No one ruled by priests is free until they reject the belief and kill the priest.

  • by icebrain (944107) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @07:51AM (#28437105)

    Now, I'm a fan of small government and a general "hands-off" policy. But there are reasons why we don't get rid of things like basic food regulations, safety regs for airlines and buses, and really, market regulations in general. Those reasons are rooted in the basic flaws of the free market: lack of information, and externalities. I'll play a "devil's advocate" for a minute.

    Let's say you completely deregulated the airline system, and got rid of all FAA safety and certification regulations. Let's also say you cleared the market out, and started up ten new airlines. Some are safe, some are not. But how do you know which one's which? The average person without aviation experience or an engineering degree can't make an informed judgment because he doesn't know anything about it, and he doesn't have the time or knowledge to learn all about it, inspect the facilities, measure competency of the employees, etc. If we waited for incidents and accidents to happen to judge the relative safety of these airlines, people will die--and as a society, we have generally decided that having the general population test products with their lives is a bad thing (except in very specific circumstances like clinical trials). We've also decided that the penalty for doing so shouldn't just be "lose your business". It's one of those tradeoff-for-living-in-civilization things.

    Further, the relative safety of an airline does not affect just the paying customers, but also everyone else under the aircraft's flight path. Someone who wants no part of the airline's business can still be killed by it. Diseases from contaminated food may spread to other people. Bad medical providers can hinder, or even actively reverse, efforts to deal with widespread public health emergencies. There's an old saying about a lot of FAA requirements having being "written in blood"; design, maintenance, and operational safety standards often come about only after accidents, and many times the operators and manufacturers have to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance.

    Finally, private analysis groups may work well for evaluating, say, consumer electronics, but they lack (among other things) the accountability of a government group like the FAA. It's one thing if the standards board screws up and your washing machine turns out to be a piece of crap; it's another when the standards board screws up and people die. Private groups are merely accountable to their shareholders; government ones are (at least in theory) accountable to everyone. Agencies like the FAA and FDA may have their own problems (don't even get me started on the FAA), but when you're dealing with matters of public safety and health, they're the best we've come up with so far.

  • Re:Really?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maztuhblastah (745586) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:11AM (#28437213) Journal

    Holy hell, someone modded you Insightful.

    Wow.

    That's alright, I shouldn't blame you. You're probably just one of the DARE generation. Just so as to avoid misleading others, let's spend some time and fix your post:

    • "Enhanced cancer risk" I got some bad news. A 2000+ UCLA study concluded that you're full of shit. [washingtonpost.com]
    • "Decrease in testosterone levels and lower sperm counts for men"/"Increase in testosterone levels for women and increased risk of infertility". Funny, but I couldn't seem to find any long term, controlled studies across large groups that proved either of these points.
    • "Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure" - Clearly you've never fucked whilst stoned. Anyone who has will tell you how laughably wrong this claim is. And even if it were true, so? A vast array of things can affect one's sexual pleasure.
    • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect. I was about to post and point out that people don't tend to develop a tolerance to any of the cannabinoids in marijuana, but then I realized you said "psychological". Well come on... People can develop a psychological addiction to anything -- surely you've seen the articles about people who play WoW or Starcraft obsessively. Somehow I don't think that anyone's advocating a DEA crackdown on Blizzard....
    • Sleepiness Indeed. Marijuana is a useful, safe, non-addictive medication for treating insomnia. Oh. You meant that as a bad thing? Well consider this: reading "Catcher in the Rye" is still legal, and I'll be damned if I didn't sleep like a baby throughout most of middle-school English.
    • Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory When under the influence of larger doses, yes. It wears off though, and as far as we can tell, the effect isn't permanent.
    • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination,such as driving a car. Yes, when under the influence, your coordination is impaired (although to a lesser extent than alcohol.) Driving under the influence is a bad idea, but I don't see how that's a strike against marijuana.
    • Increased heart rate/Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease If only this were mentioned in some authoritative government study. Oh wait. It has been. Acute Effects of Marihuana by the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse talks about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana. Their findings? That while the drug causes an increase of +10 to +40 BPM over baseline, but poses no significant acute danger to users' cardiovascular health. Translation: it raises your pulse rate, but it's not dangerous.
    • Bloodshot eyes Completely harmless.
    • Dry mouth and throat Probably due to the presence of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the salivarly glands. THC's a CB1 agonist, and there are most certainly some (at least partial) CB2 agonists in marijuana. And (in case you haven't spotted the pattern yet) this too is harmless.
    • Decreased social inhibitions Highly dependent on the individual.
    • Paranoia, hallucinations In very high doses, yes. For patients with a pre-existing history of mental illness, marijuana use is probably a bad idea. In healthy people, there appears to be absolutely no risk of long-term psychological damage.
    • Impaired or reduced short-term memory You... er... you listed this earlier in your post. :)
    • Impaired or reduced comprehension (and other similar claims.) True, but highly-dose dependent.
    • Psychological dependence See above. Executive summary: same goes for everything.
    • Intense anxiety or panic attacks Some people experience these when they smoke too much. This is highly user and dose dependent though, and listing
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pbhj (607776) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:42AM (#28437447) Homepage Journal

    ... and a point is made. The United States is NOT a Democracy. We are a Republic.

    You say that as if they're mutually explusive. They're not. Dictatorship and democracy are mutually explusive. Monarchy and republic are mutually exclusive. But all democracies are either a republic or a monarchy, and the US is not a monarchy.

    I can't see how a monarchy can be democratic. The monarch has ultimate power and so the people do not. A monarchy can be superficially democratic in order to avoid the monarchs subjects from getting pissed-off and establishing an alternate government but it's never truly a democracy if, when you've voted for something, the monarch can just say "nah, don't like that" and refuse to instigate it.

    I'm in the UK, you may have guessed, and I'm actually growing to like HM The Queen being there because she's apparently benevolent and not out to get rich like most members of her government appear to be. I think she'd find a lot of support amongst her subjects for dissolving the current parliament too.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:54AM (#28437541) Homepage

    So now all the employers in your vicinity work you 90 hours a week at the equivalent of $3 per hour. And they collude (there's nothing forceful or fraudulent about that), and say that if a particular candidate doesn't win elections in your area they're going to fire everyone (there are plenty of replacement workers out there, since only half the number of people are employed thanks to the 90 hr/week rule). And before you say that some of those unemployed masses could just start their own businesses, the same employers in your area also make deals with anyone who could possibly distribute what those businesses would be selling in order to prevent them from doing business with anyone who isn't part of the cartel. Any retail-oriented businesses are driven out of business by either not selling goods to them wholesale at all, or if they do sell wholesale sell to the small businesses at 3 times the price they do to the big box store that's part of the cartel.

    And if you think that's a completely made-up scenario, I suggest you read up more on US Steel, Standard Oil, J.P. Morgan, or the mining industry. That's a big part of how the great fortunes of the Gilded Age came into existence.

    In short, economic coercion exists, and that leaves you slave to an unelected group or individual with financial power rather an elected government.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcvos (645701) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:36AM (#28437997)

    Ideally that list would extend to ecosystems and foreigners, but what can you do.

    Huh? Seems to me that allowing outsiders a say in your government is a pretty bad idea, seeing as they don't hold a stake in things.

    Of course foreigners have a stake in things. That's why there are so many international negotiations over tons of issues. And in the case of the US, that stake is bigger than with most countries.

    Oh wait, I forgot. It's only other countries (like the US) that are supposed to let foreigners tell them what to do... your own country is fine and able to handle itself, thankyouverymuch. Silly me...

    Get off your high horse. It's true for any country.

  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:41AM (#28438055) Homepage Journal
    So you are saying that your next door neighbor DOESN'T deserve to be covered because he has a Forrest Gump IQ and can only seem to hold down mundane minimum wage jobs?

    Fact of the matter is, not everyone has the same opportunities. It isn't about how much "effort" you put into it. If no one informed you, life isn't fair and we all aren't on equal ground. By default no one person is more deserving than another. Measuring who deserves what, based on what opportunities are afforded to them is naive at best.
  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:12AM (#28438395)

    Let me spell it out for you: The United States is a "Goldman Sachsocracy"

    So is the whole world. The communists made a slightly different game of it, but there will always be an elite class.

    Freedom? You have more people incarcerated in your borders than any nation in history. Why? It's good for business.

    Not quite. People in this country support tough-on-crime politicians and the war on drugs. Combine that with racism and ghettos and you have a recipe for a large prison population. The private prison industry is a symptom, not a cause - though I concede that they are now powerful enough to help sustain the cycle.

    They just stole over a hundred billion dollars from your earnings and your next two generations, and GAVE it to a firm that prints your money, runs your fiscal policy and just paid out the BIGGEST bonuses [guardian.co.uk] in its 140 year history.

    You're off by an order of magnitude. Goldman got $10 billion in TARP funds and by almost all accounts can't wait to pay it back as soon as the US government lets them. Goldman is being rewarded by the market for making the right moves a year and a half ago in the mortgage market. They are one of the last men standing and in the absence of much competition have been exceedingly profitable. The bonuses are record-breaking because the profits are record-breaking. This is not an AIG example where bonuses are being paid out by a failed firm.

    Wake up.

    Not gonna happen. Your best bet is to work within the existing system, which can be quite lucrative.

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FreekyGeek (19819) <thinkstoomuch@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:17AM (#28438467)

    When you say that it's "obvious to ANYONE ELSE WHO KNOWS THEM [pot smokers]: pot has long-term personality effects.", you're quite simply wrong.

    In SOME people (addicts), long-term heavy use can change personality somewhat. Everyone knows a few complete stoners who are high so much of the time that their capacity to deal with things is reduced. But the mistake you're making is assuming that EVERYONE WHO SMOKES POT IS AN ADDICT. And that's a big mistake.

    We all know how alcohol can change people's lives - but MOST people who drink alcohol are not alcoholics. In the exact same way, just because SOME people get addicted to pot, smoke too much, and get side effects does not mean that everyone who smokes occasionally will have the same effects.

    It's a perception-bias issue: you think that pot changes personalities because you only NOTICE the people who are addicts. For the vast majority of people who smoke pot, you can't tell that they do, because they don't abuse it. Believe me, If everyone you know who smoked wore a big neon sign that said "I smoke pot sometimes", you'd realize that for most people, which smoke occasionally and responsibly, those kinds of "personality effects" don't happen. It's easy to tell when someone is drunk, or if they clearly have a drinking problem, but for people who only drink moderately or occasionally, you can't tell them from anyone else because they're not abusing it.

    You're taking extreme cases and generalizing them to a huge group of people. That's a serious mistake. It's like saying that everyone who plays poker is a gambling addict.

  • there is malcontent in any system, but in a democracy it is kept at a minimum because the people's will is explicitly addressed

    in any republic that does not do this, an entrenched aristocratic elite develops and the agenda of that elite and the people begin to drift apart

    then you have revolution

    or a weakened government, allowing for a strong man to come in and dissolve all of your rights so as to reestablish order, autocratic order

    so you really need to be a democracy, for the legitimacy and social stability that creates

    and i don't know how or why you or anyone thinks the usa isn't a democracy. i believe barack obama was just elected by the people of the usa

    for saying that, i am now awaiting of course the typical incoherent rants about media mind control and corporate money controlling everything

    no folks, the usa is not an oligarchy, no, its not a corporatocracy. it has plenty of room for improvement and to get financial influence out of the system of course, but it fares no worse in regards to undue financial influence than any other government in the world today or any that has ever existed, or any you could dream up. money is a horrible corrupting influence on all governments, and it takes real hard effort to curb that, not some magical ideological statement you think has occured to no one else before except you

    painting a dystopian picture and trying to equate it with what we currently have is some sort of weird desperate attempt on your part to vindicate your failed perceptions

  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lillebo (1561251) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:34AM (#28438673)

    But the point still stands that weed makes folks do irrational things that can't be explained without assuming addiction.

    [citation needed] Please refrain from spitting personal opinions you can't back up with scientific data onto this site. There is no evidence that weed alters a person's basic personality structure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)#Effects) - and if you define "irrational" as being willing to break the law, you need to reconsider your usage of the word.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:39AM (#28438759)
    Although in general people should be responsible for themselves, there are so many problems with your rant I can't begin to cover them all.
    1) Are current model is if you get heart disease without insurance, you have the operation anyway, run up hundreds of thousands in debt, then declare bankruptcy, leaving all the paying health care customers to make up the difference. Good luck with passing a law restricting health care to only those who pay fully in advance!
    2) Not all diseases are directly caused by behavior. Some people are genetically predisposed to cancer, diabetes, and even obesity, and will contract diseases no matter how healthy their lifestyle. I'm sorry, but "Born with a congenital medical condition? Well, you should have picked better parents, asshole!" doesn't really cut it.
    3) Your philosophy of "do whatever it takes to pay for your own health care" seems to encourage armed robbery, murder, kidnapping, drug dealing... whatever it take to afford it. Faced with committing a crime or dying, most people would choose to do the crime. After all, if they fail, they won't live long in jail anyway.
    4) It is human nature to not place a high value on preventative care, and only seek treatment when symptoms start to have a tangible effect on their life. It is in the best interests of all of us to subsidize preventative medicine, e.g. vaccinations. I agree that not all procedures should be subsidized. The Oregon Health Plan sorts all procedures by cost/benefit ratio, then draws a cut line based on available funds. A national health plan would need to do the same; we simply cannot afford to take extraordinary measures to prolong the life of everyone. Note that we already have a system that rations scarce donor organs, e.g. one cannot get a liver transplant if they have a history of alcohol use.
    5) Demand curves for medical services are the most inelastic imaginable. The free market simply doesn't work to keep medical costs in check. (When was the last time you heard of someone shopping around for an emergency room?) Individuals paying out of their own pocket must pay whatever the supplier demands. The consumer would be better off with a system in which medical goods and services are purchased in bulk by a large enough player to lean on suppliers and drive costs down, the way Walmart does with everything it sells.
    6) There is a fine line between being true to libertarian ideals and being an asshole.
  • Re:Legalize it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:45AM (#28438847) Homepage

    Okay, I'll be honest. I don't know where to get any street drug, including pot. And I'm honestly perplexed at the people who claim that everyone already knows where to get them. (I'm not asking for directions, FBI.) I don't know of any friends who do them, and any friend who I suspect would have connections, I haven't talked to in so long they'd probably be suspicious.

    So, how much of an outlier am I?

    Oh, you're not an outlier. But you may not know your friends as well as you think you do. :) Personally, I went from knowing zero friends who smoked pot, to knowing at least a half dozen. And my list of friends hasn't changed.

    See, your average pot user doesn't going around advertising it. They aren't going to randomly bring it up in conversation. They aren't, out of the blue, going to offer you a joint while you're hanging out at their place. They will, in all probability, keep it between themselves and their other known-pot-smoking friends, because a) it's not their place to push it on people, b) it's illegal so it's worth keeping quiet about, and c) many people aren't comfortable talking about it, so why bother bringing it up?

    So, while I'm sure you *think* you don't have connections, you probably do. Heck, even if your immediate friends aren't users, they probably know someone, or know someone who knows someone, who is.

  • Re:Lol Democracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:11PM (#28440189)

    Honest question from a skeptic: if hemp is a miracle plant with all these uses, why isn't it being grown all over the world on an industrial scale? We should be seeing cheap hemp paper imports wiping out Weyerhauser and GP, hemp fabric imports wiping out the US cotton industry, and hemp sourced fuel putting ExxonMibil out of business.

    Why have these things not happened yet?

  • "It needs to perform actions that might not directly be popular with the people (elections, I'm looking at you)"

    this exhibits lack of faith in the common person. this is your failure, not the common people's. an appeal to some sort of elite group who somehow knows better for what the people need than the people themselves is logically false, and exhibits anti-democratic and authoritarian instincts on your part

    please cure your self of this woeful ideological failure

    no one, absolutely no one, knows what is better for the people than the people themselves. to think some sort of special class of people knows better, is somehow better indoctrinated into a special clique according to arbitrary reasons, is the root cause of most suffering in this world: "we are better than the common people"

    fucking evil bullshit, on your part. examine and reflect upon this failure of yours

  • all of human political history, all of the world, not just the west, is defined by malice, trickery, gross incompetence and manipulation

    people who are reflexively cynical at the lowest common denominator level are laughable only because they think these tired common thoughts are original, and worse, they think these "revelations" are deep. they speak of feeble minds who actually swallowed weak lies to begin with (my government is noble! dear leader is impervious!). they speak of the somehow dramatic and amazing grand discovery that the truth is **shock** **gasp** not everything in my government is all honey and roses! then of course, it becomes the alternate retarded theme: it's all doom and gloom!

    no. how about the world is populated by assholes, AND virtuous people, and our government actually represents some of the best of humanity, and some of its worse

    nah, this is impossible, its too balanced a view, right? it has to be all doom and gloom, right? completely mindless negativity is the ultimate deep revelation! pfffffft

    the issue is not that you have some sort of grand revelation to tell us about the west (why the west? in the east everything is gold and diamonds? wtf?), the issue is why are you so low iq that you believe your thesis is some sort of amazing original thought that no one else realizes? that an overarchingly cynical view of the government is somehow some unique concept that no one has thought of before?

    get this... deep dark secret... bad things happen in our government and we shouldn't trust them completely! corporations act irresponsibly! and... hold on to your socks... they get away with it sometimes! no fucking way!

    money corrupts people! oh my gosh! i've been so enlightened!

    zzz

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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