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The Full Nader Plus a Taste of Bush and Gore

Roblimo posted more than 13 years ago | from the are-you-scared-yet? dept.

United States 1368

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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Re: "Social Engineering" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#660247)

People who complain about taxation for the purposes of social engineering fail to understand that ALL taxation is social engineering, intentional or not. Frankly, I think I'd rather have someone who thinks about the social consequences of his tax policies than someone who believes his tax policies have no social impact

A great example is the flat tax. Proponents often believe it has zero social-engineering impact, due to a leap of judgement that all things mathematically simple must therefore be socially simple. This is not only wrong, but more than a bit dangerous. If we implement a TRULY flat tax, those who earn under poverty level will be taxed out of their cardboard boxes, so we have to exempt them and jack up the "flat" rate to compensate for the resulting lack of revenue. Even Forbes admits this. Oops, it's a little less "flat" now. Now if we keep examining the flat tax, we realize that there's a middle class that gets taxed down just above poverty level and could easily get sent into poverty with something as simple as a medical emergency. Whoops, maybe we should give them a somewhat lower rate so that they have a safety cushion for unavoidable expenses. Now we need to jack the higher rate to compensate for lack of revenue. Hmm, now we have a three-tiered tax system. And how many tiers does our current "progressive" tax system have?

Yes, Nader was a bit contrite with "we like this" and "we don't like this". But since ALL taxes engineer our society, don't you think it's better to think about the results of this engineering? If you look at our current tax structure, taking into account sales/property/income/excise taxes, we tax the poor, not the rich. In Washington state, the poorest 20% of the population pays 17% of their income in ALL taxes (federal, state, local). The highest 20% pays 3%. And before you start talking about the mathematical simplicity of smaller totals necessarily giving larger percentages, why don't you imagine earning under half the median income. And then paying 17% of that. Now imagine a seven-figure salary. And imagine paying an extra 1% of that. Which hurts more?

And the question of the day is, what kind of society are we engineering right now?

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (1)

Jim Buzbee (517) | more than 13 years ago | (#660259)

I assume by "we" he means the People (although in reality it's the Party).

Uh, we're all People. If Nader were to be elected, you'd just have to be sure you were the "right" people. If you're not in the right group, you'll lose the money you worked hard to earn. His "party" line: If you have wealth, you must have oppressed someone to get it.

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

What kind of thing? Wealth creation? Job creation? Let's make sure no one gets rich. [sarcasm]That will make everyone work hard to get ahead.[/sarcasm]

Forget about your dreams of a beautiful house, vacations, and nice things for your family. Why work hard when the government will tax away 90% of that extra dollar...

Always vote your true conscience (1)

AxelBoldt (1490) | more than 13 years ago | (#660277)

Voting in such a large country as the US is a completely irrational act; the probability that your vote is going to affect the outcome of the election is virtually zero: you are much more likely to be hit by a car on your way to the voting place.

It makes only sense to vote if voting makes you feel good, for instance because you think it is "the right thing to do" or because some forefathers died for your right to vote. Voting is an utterly irrational and idealistic act.

I'm not arguing against voting of course: idealistic acts are good. But never vote for "the lesser evil", it doesn't make sense: your vote has not effect anyway. Vote idealistically, vote for whomever you think is the best candidate. Strategic voting works in the senate but it is idiotic in such a large country.

--

We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#660311)

Why? I do not understand this? The stockmarket has made so many people wealty and he wants to tax it more????

Re:6) Encryption.... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#660313)

say = says....
Opps;->

Re:So Nader walks into a bar... (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 13 years ago | (#660322)

No, this response is not "better than a socialist and a libertarian." At least those candidates took the time to answer the questions personally.

Nader's like Citizen Kane. He wants to lord his "gift" of freedom and justice over an island of ignorantly grateful monkeys.

That bitch belched, lemme add that nothing but the shades of injustice will change by voting Republicrat. If you want to change the colors, vote your heart.

--

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 13 years ago | (#660357)

I agree... I quoted it from the article.

Re:it's we the people, moron (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 13 years ago | (#660358)

<sarcasm>

Thank you for your reasoned response, free of ad hominem attacks. It's a gift that you have, really.

</sarcasm>

At one point, the majority in this country thought it right to enslave another race. At one point, a majority in this country thought women shouldn't vote. At one point, a majority thought seperate but equal really was...

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

Hooptie (10094) | more than 13 years ago | (#660362)

If I have to pay taxes so other people don't starve, I'll pay.

Then please feel free to do so. Libertarians are not saying that noone should be allowed to help anyone they see fit. But, no person should be REQUIRED to contribute to charities. Should you feel the need/desire to do so, no one will stop you, but do not try to force me to.

Even if you still think there should be some type of governmental welfare program in place, would it not be better to implement such a program at the state or local level. Federal bureaucracies are notoriously inefficient. And the Federal government will impose the same program on the residents of Barrow, Alaska and Key West, Florida. Would it not be better to have more local control over such programs?

Hooptie

Re:Neder? (1)

crank (10291) | more than 13 years ago | (#660365)

Proper name = no assistance from spell check!

Not that one was probably used!

Nader and the War on Drugs (1)

cnicolai (14338) | more than 13 years ago | (#660393)

The Onion reports [theonion.com]

Re:So.. (1)

Brent Shultz (19642) | more than 13 years ago | (#660424)

Why reinvent the wheel? While a personal response from Nader would obviously have been preferable, his staff did an acceptable job responding to the majority of questions presented. I just don't see how restating Nader's previously expressed opinions and/or policies in a germane manner is considered "disrespectful."

canadian election reference (1)

nonent (24911) | more than 13 years ago | (#660456)

I'll trade you 1 stockwell day for 1 ralph nader.

Nader : Tax people I don't like (1)

spRed (28066) | more than 13 years ago | (#660465)

When some people are getting stuff for free based on arbitrary legislation, that is bad (on this Nader and I agree). His answer seems to be that there is no way to reverse the trend, we can just penalize people he doesn't like (corporations) to try to offset the trend.

If he wants to end special interests, he should be for that. What he is for is an "Us vs Them" voting issue. No man is a corporation, therefore they all sympathise with the "Us" and can safely demonize "Them"

Don't forget that Unions (or any profession that manages to get itself regulated to keep out competition) is playing the same game that corporations do.

-spred

an aside, my favorite analogy for the current tax system [warning, profane] is that eveyone is getting fscked in the ass, but some poeple are getting reach arounds. Instead of trying to repeal laws that are dicking everyone in the ass, people try to curry favor so that they are one of the few that gets a reach around.

Corporatism vs. Nader (1)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 13 years ago | (#660498)

This battle isn't about any of your issues. I wish it were, but it clearly is not. It is not even about Bush vs. Gore; it is about Corporatism vs. Nader. The two main political parties have set themselves up as the only two choices you have; in actuality giving you only the illusion of a choice. Nader is the real choice; and it baffles me that no one sees it that way. Nader is the only candidate out there who has an anti-corporatist message. Gore's weak attempts to speak against corrupt HMO's during the debates were nothing more than pathetic. These people say nothing reassuring.

For anyone voting for Gore or Bush: click this link to find out what corporations with no federal government regulations are capable of:

http://theawfultruth.com/salbmw [theawfultruth.com]

Then, go vote [votenader.org] for Nader.

-Dan Rempe

You are fundamentally incorrect. (1)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 13 years ago | (#660499)

Most products are not manufactured in the United States that we use here, except for domestic farm products, which become more and more corporatized every day. Trust me, I live in Nebraska, and the picture of the average family farmer is not exactly pretty around here. Given that you are obviously a Republican, and that you don't like to give any of your money away, you're probably not willing to support measures which give aid to poor farmers, since I'm sure corporations can do so much better. (Insert sarcasm here).

Free trade is not good for the average worker. What you are saying is a myth. In actuality, there are very few things produced in the US which could not be produced abroad, and the fact that poorer countries have fewer rights than we do makes them easier to exploit as labor. Why hire a bitchy US union type who will demand fair pay and benefits when you can get some kid from Indonesia who's never heard of unions?

Your other point about how everyone should invest their money has also failed. Not everyone owns stock; only the wealthiest own a significant enough portion that they can be successful from it. Investing is NOT creating new jobs, despite what you think, and it is certainly not putting money in anyone else's hands. Government programs like Medicare and Social Security, though far from perfect, are still making better attempts at it than the wealthy would ever do on their own.

Reagan thought this way, and it damn near ruined the country. Trickle-down economics have never once been shown to work for anyone, especially the lower and middle class.

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 13 years ago | (#660502)

Of course we should tax something that makes people wealthy! It's simple economics! Tap the biggest sources of income/wealth first. What are you going to tax? Food stamps?

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 13 years ago | (#660503)

You haven't read anything that Nader has said at all. Nader sticks up for the labor class; the class that does all the REAL work in this country and gets paid almost squat for it. Not to mention that due to increased exploitation of cheap foreign labor markets, our laborers are ALL in severe danger of losing their jobs. Just ask my Dad, who worked at the same warehouse for 23 years before he got laid off in an anti-union corporate merger, if he thinks that the labor class is so well-off these days.

The problem with jerks like you is that you don't even try to understand anyone else's problems. You just whine about having to give a few more dollars of your precious wealth away. Thanks a lot.

-Dan Rempe

Pleased (1)

FeeDBaCK (42286) | more than 13 years ago | (#660518)

I am glad to see that we (Slashdot) seemed important enough to the other third party guys to warrant a personal response. I can also understand Nader's position of not wanting to personally answer any more questionnaires, especially this close to Election Day. I am sure that he is a busy man at present. I cannot endorse any person who is going to be *my* employee if he cannot even answer questions which I have asked him. I surely would not get a job if when I was at an interview I told my prospective employer that I was far too busy to answer all his questions... Here is my prepared statement... and umm... Hire me. *grin*

I think the single biggest thing that people forget when dealing with the government of the USA is that these people are OUR employees. They are not granted some right by God to be in office. They are elected by us.

Go out and vote. Please. Vote for Mickey Mouse for all I care... just make your voice heard.

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

Owen Lynn (46218) | more than 13 years ago | (#660527)

Most speculators lose their ass to the market. Speculation is hard, and you have to exert extraordinary self-discipline in order to succeed. Professional traders have often lost 2 or 3 fortunes before finally learning enough to make a living at it. Others have gone sideways for 10 or 20 years, before finally figuring it out.

Those "evil speculators" absorb a lot of risk and chaos. If you eliminate the speculators, that chaos has to go somewhere, and wherever else it goes, I don't think you'll like where it eventually ends up. Keep the chaos on the speculator - he/she actually wants it.

That being said, I think that inexperienced traders are using way too much leverage when trading, and that's the main problem. I'd be in favor of some sort of graduated system, where you're allowed to use more leverage as you gain experience (and manage to survive). Put the mandates on the brokers and let them do the enforcement.

Why I'm voting for Nader (1)

grytpype (53367) | more than 13 years ago | (#660544)

I have decided that this year, I am going to be a single-issue voter. (Gun nuts and the abortion-obsessed do it, why can't I indulge for once?) My single issue is personal liberties. I reviewed Bush & Gore's positions, and I was appalled that personal liberties are not even an issue between the two major candidates. They both support the increasingly intrusive police/survelliance state. They both wholeheartedly support the War on Drugs, and want to expand it even further. Clinton's record on civil liberties is a total disaster. The Republicans are no better. What choice do I have?

I decided that a vote for Nader would be the best way to express my views. I know, he's a flake. His economic policies seem to be aimed at turning the U.S. into either India or France, I can't really tell which. He'd make a terrible president. But he's come out in favor of relegalizing cannabis, which for me this year, is the touchstone.

Why not vote for the Libertarian, Browne? Because he's going to get less than 1% of the vote. My protest is louder when I combine my voice with numerous others.

For those of you who would vote for Nader but don't want to help throw your state to Bush, check out the Nader/Gore vote exchange sites [msn.com] .

Encryption & DMCA (1)

Coward, Anonymous (55185) | more than 13 years ago | (#660546)

This may not be the ideal thread to ask this, but since encryption was mentioned, it shouldn't be too offtopic.

IANAL, but my understanding of U.S. law is that any evidence used against you in court must be obtained legally. There are certain laws which allow law enforcement officers to do certain things that ordinary citizens can not, such as search your home when a search warrant has been issued, however law enforcement officers must otherwise obey the law when obtaining evidence. The DMCA outlaws access control circumvention, so if you encrypt your files to prevent law enforcement from accessing them, doesn't the DMCA make the attempted decryption of these files illegal? Is there a section of the DMCA which exempts law enforcement or is there some other law which grants law enforcement officrs the right to violate the DMCA?

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

wnissen (59924) | more than 13 years ago | (#660558)

Spoken like a true market neophyte. Capital gains are taxed at less than the rate income is taxed, encouraging people to make money in the stock market rather than working for it. I will soon be in the 31% federal bracket, plus 6.5% Social Security, plus 9.3% state tax bracket. I can pay 31+6.5+9.3=47% of each dollar I earn to the government, or I can pay capital gains taxes of around 20%. Which is the better deal? Am I going to work hard to increase my salary or to increase the returns on my portfolio? That is what Nader is referring to when he says we shouldn't tax things we like.

Walt

Nader, webwhiteblue (1)

jesser (77961) | more than 13 years ago | (#660628)

Why isn't Nader participating [webwhiteblue.org] in the webwhiteblue [webwhiteblue.org] debate? Is he so frustrated that he wasn't able to get into the televised debates that he won't accept a smaller offer? Does he think his "I was excluded from the debates" campaign will suffer if he agrees to participate in this online debate? Any other ideas?

--

ummm... yeah (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 13 years ago | (#660639)

Let's say that someone driving the other way on the road has Firestone tires on his truck. It just so happens that a tire on his truck comes apart right before we pass, causing his truck to swerve head-on right into me, flattening me in my Volvo. Of course I'm not dead, yet, I get to enjoy dying a long aganozing death at the hospital after spending 5 hours trapped inside my crushed car.

Now I'm dead, and *I* didn't even buy the fucking tires on that damn truck! Dammit, I think those corporate officers at Ford and Firestone who knew about the problems but didn't tell anyone should be held responsible, but, that'll never happen with your attitude. It's not all about Nike shoes and Starbucks latte.

I'm voting for Freedom! (1)

ovapositor (79434) | more than 13 years ago | (#660640)

If you are interested in personal liberty and freedom, please check out:

http://www.lp.org

Nuff said.
Thank you

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

kootch (81702) | more than 13 years ago | (#660647)

if the price is beyond what you can buy (such as berkshire hathaway), buy the minimum # of shares you can buy. buy 5 shares. buy 10 shares.

and 40% of the gains that someone walks away with from the stock market goes to the capital gains tax.

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 13 years ago | (#660680)

The real problem is that you don't understand how the market works. Supply and demand levels itself to a great equilibrium if people like Nader don't MESS with it. Instead, you prefer to keep the poor man poor, rather than having him learn and get a skilled job.

Besides, no one is in trouble of losing to foreign jobs if you allow free trade. USA also has stuff that China, for instance, would love to buy. By meddling with it, you keep yourself at the bottom.

I'm not at all against our laborers. They are very necessary. However, I'm against meddling with their economies and keeping them down, which is all that will really happen when you limit trade and growth.

Mike Roberto
- GAIM: MicroBerto

Re:The wealthy have a duty to society... (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 13 years ago | (#660681)

In no way am I wealthy. However, you are right, we have a duty to society - to SPEND and invest our money. That way, jobs can be created and money flow is kept high. Giving it to the government for absurd reasons is not anyone's duty. It's a mistake.

Mike Roberto
- GAIM: MicroBerto

Punish those who work hard (1)

MicroBerto (91055) | more than 13 years ago | (#660682)

I love how Nader wants to punish those of us who have succeeded, and reward those who have not. It all makes sense to me. I work hard and have to basically give money to one who doesn't. Thanks a lot.

Mike Roberto
- GAIM: MicroBerto

Re:Jesus.. you would think they'd know better... (1)

acacia (101223) | more than 13 years ago | (#660729)

While I sympathize with your abhorence of complex tax codes, which do in fact make it simpler to conceal who pays what, the flat tax is a bad idea. A flat rate tax structure is simply too regressive to be socially just. Note that I use the words "socially just" because any taxation system _DOES_ involve social justice and value judgements, contrary to what you may have been indoctrinated into believing.

As for the type of micromanagement you allude to, people have become so imbued with the idea I don't think it can be engineered out of society immediately. It can be exposed, however, which is really the only area in which the flat tax really shines.

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (1)

jgrr (103745) | more than 13 years ago | (#660750)

He wants to "tax things we don't like." Clearly capital gains are included. I suspect his argument would be that the stock market is about corporate power, and he dislikes the influence of corporations in public policy and in national activities.

This was raised in a context of progressive taxes, in which the concept is that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate. So your point about the wealth the stock market created is the same one he would make in favor of his taxes.

Politics are funny.

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (1)

Taufiq (106390) | more than 13 years ago | (#660762)

After all, it's their influence that rigged the system to get them that rich to begin with.

So no one in this country has ever gotten rich because they worked hard?

What a bunch of communist bull.

Typical parasite (1)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 13 years ago | (#660777)

Take from the rich, give to the poor. It's clear he has no idea how wealth is actually created.

See, if you need proof, http://www.votenader.org /is sues/agriculture_letter.html [votenader.org] He thinks falling prices for commodities is a bad thing! Hello? Who does he think buys these things? This is a trend that's been going on for hundreds of years. Does he know that around 1900, a family typically spent over half its income on food?

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

oreilco (125097) | more than 13 years ago | (#660840)

When you put it like that, you seem so simple.

Neder? (1)

Mr.Phil (128836) | more than 13 years ago | (#660848)

Spell check, spell check, spell check

Who's Ralph Neder?

One cheer for Ralph! (1)

YIAAL (129110) | more than 13 years ago | (#660853)

Well, he's better than Gore on the drug war, IP misuse, and some other issues. But he says nothing about encryption, and his comment on how rich people are rich because they've rigged the system shows that he doesn't know much about how the economy works. Not that rich people don't try to rig the system, and sometimes even succeed, but they usually do so AFTER they get rich. See, e.g., the MPAA and RIAA.

Personalised replies would have been nicer (1)

karzan (132637) | more than 13 years ago | (#660866)

It's a little disappointing that he didn't personally reply to all the questions. Also, with the three third party candidates having responded and still no response from the Democrats or Republicans, one wonders if they're ever going to respond. If they had any clue about Slashdot they'd be wise to do so, considering they can reach several hundred thousand voters at least!

try www.nadertrader.com (1)

Sonicboom (141577) | more than 13 years ago | (#660889)

http://www.nadertrader.com it was working ok yesterday. NA-DER NA-DER!!!

Only answered 6 out of 9 ??? (1)

twingo_gtx (161891) | more than 13 years ago | (#660950)

What kind of politician is he? You have to have an answer for everything. You can't abstain. Just one more reason not to vote for this guy, he doesn't even bother to answer the questions asked of him. Every answer he gave sounds like it came out of their campaign pamphlet and they didn't really spend any time on this reply.

what Nader doesn't like (1)

bluesninja (192161) | more than 13 years ago | (#661022)

What scared me is the comment about "lets tax things we don't like." Fuck you and what you don't like!!! I thought liberalism was about not telling people what to think? Leftist hypocrite motherfucker...

I think Bush has more of a brain than this guy (or at least his supporters). Unfortunately, Bush actually has a chance...

/bluesninja

NEDER? (1)

ellingtp (198719) | more than 13 years ago | (#661045)

Dew knot trussed you're spell checker two fined awl miss steaks.

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 13 years ago | (#661067)

ok it's flamebait .. but i'll respond anyway .. boohoo you have to give more money than poor people do to the big bad federal government that builds and maintains the roads, provides your safety net once you get old, educates you and your children, protects your oh-so-important monetary interests here and abroad, and invented the internet (which is probably the reason for your success in the first place). democracy only works if there is opportunity for the non-successful to become successful. OLD money is stagnant money. i feel so sorry for rich people who have to suffer being slightly less rich while poor people are allowed to walk the streets.

pezpunk
Internet killed the video star,

How about "No Comment"? (1)

Siqnal 11 (210012) | more than 13 years ago | (#661088)

WTF? How can you not reply?

--

www.lp.org is outdated (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#661124)

I'm voting for a new generation, though I'm torn between

www.cups.org

or

www.lpng.org

(though the good old leftist favorite www.lpr.org is nice, too)

Want to vote Nader, but don't want Bush???? (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 13 years ago | (#661144)

There was a solution on how you can make your vote really count. voteswap2000.com [voteswap2000.com] . However, they took this site down down because it could be construed as brokering votes.

So I suggest that people remove themselves to the IRC channels and discuss this with their friends in other states.

The wealthy have a duty to society... (1)

Gendou (234091) | more than 13 years ago | (#661157)

Of course the rich should pay more. If they are wealthy, then they should support our economy more than the average Joe. They got wealthy as a result of our society, and therefore, owe something back to it.

That way, more money can be allocated to lesser income groups such that they can have a better chance at higher success to. Personally, I would enjoy reduced taxes - I am in school right now and I'd be nice to funnel all of my money into getting my loans paid off afterwards, rather than filling part of the role of someone who's currently lavishing in success.

Now, if I ever become successful to the point where money is no longer a serious issue, I'd be more than happy to do my share. I'd owe it to the society.

Re:6) Encryption.... (1)

JurriAlt137n (236883) | more than 13 years ago | (#661168)

Encrypted reply?

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

JurriAlt137n (236883) | more than 13 years ago | (#661169)

I work hard and have to basically give money to one who doesn't. Or can't. Thank you a lot for your ,ehh, social approach. If I have to pay taxes so other people don't starve, I'll pay.

So Nader walks into a bar... (1)

grovertime (237798) | more than 13 years ago | (#661174)

This is ridiculous. At least it's better than a socialist and a libertarian, but it's still a pretty weak post. As much as I'm sure all Slashdotters are deeply concerned about the thoughts and devotions of Ralph's press secretary (or more likely the press secretary's secretary), this is a load of election-trail gobbledegook that no one with any kind of authority sanctioned. I'm starting to wish Ross Perot was back in the third party saddle.

  1. O P E N___S O U R C E___H U M O R [mikegallay.com]

Four years of Bush is worth it (1)

(27-Shaner) (238088) | more than 13 years ago | (#661176)

But you poor yanks are going to have to suffer. I guess suffering through four years of Bush is the price to pay for a real Democracy. (Not just a two party system). Suck it up and vote Nader!

I was worried for a minute... (1)

Xenopax (238094) | more than 13 years ago | (#661177)

When I first read that Nader had No Reply over the issue of asteriods crashing into the earth I was really worried. But after I thought about it for awhile I relized there is nothing to worry about because all we need to do to stop an asteriod is slap a drilling team in a spaceship with minimum training and no experince and we'll all be fine.

Re:Punish those who work hard (1)

PackMan97 (244419) | more than 13 years ago | (#661191)

Or can't. Thank you a lot for your ,ehh, social approach. If I have to pay taxes so other people don't starve, I'll pay.

Well...if making sure people don't starve is so important...why don't we hand over control of farms and supermarkets to the federal government to make sure not a single person in America starves?

When are people going to realize that the government can't solve all our problems (there will ALWAYS be starving people regardless of how much we try to feed them) and that quite often the government is part of the problem, not the solution.

PS: Anyone complainging about HMO's and the health care system should look up the HMO Act of 1973 and see that the government caused our current mess.

NEWS! - Dan Quayle hired at Slashdot (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#661221)

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

A vote for Nader... (2)

Brian Knotts (855) | more than 13 years ago | (#661243)

...is a vote for civil war.

--

6) Encryption.... (2)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 13 years ago | (#661271)

No Reply....

That say something.......

Re:It's All Very Simple (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#661291)

Sorry, but voting requirements contradict this.
---
seumas.com

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 13 years ago | (#661312)

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.

I love how outraged some people act about this. Hello? This already happens, in effect. The people in charge now give tax breaks for things they do like, which mostly end up as the various types of corporate welfare, and mostly line the pockets of those who then complain about any attempt to tax their "hard-earned" profits.

Re:Personalised replies would have been nicer (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 13 years ago | (#661314)

If they had any clue about Slashdot they'd be wise to do so, considering they can reach several hundred thousand voters at least!

I'm curious about what your number is based on. (Keep in mind that even if Slashdot has that many readers -- which would surprise me -- not all of them are US citizens, and not all of those are potential voters.)

Slashdot is arguably influencial in a certain subset of society, but I think it's really small beans in terms of overall media reach, and politicos and their handlers have other priorities. But major media outlets pretty much ignore so-called third parties -- aside from the occasion sophomoric horse-race crap about Nader "hurting" Gore -- which leaves third party people available (and desperate) to talk to almost anybody willing to listen to them.

Re:Vote Nader!! -- www.votenader.org !! (2)

chivo (20329) | more than 13 years ago | (#661336)

Yeeaaahhhh, so what was your point again? I don't understand how your rant on the 'legalization' of an abortion had anything to do with Nader's responses.

Oh, and the supreme court didn't legalize abortions. That would take a law passed by the legislature and signed by the president. The SC simply said a woman has the _right_ to an abortion

Those of you in close states-please vote for Nader (2)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#661339)

I certainly hope those of you, especially in states that have very close races, vote your conscience and vote for Nader.

Those of us who want to see Bush elected will certainly appreciate it....

Can we be rational here? (2)

dface (26059) | more than 13 years ago | (#661346)

I believe Nader's usage of the word "like" was merely a faux pas. I believe his real intent was not to 'tell' you what you do and don't like but to represent what the majority wants to see in their future. I doubt anyone would want to see tax breaks in place for pollution and sprawl (two key environmental disasters that are destroying our furute) over breaks on food and honest labor. I wish we could not be so nitpicky and look at what the candidates are actually saying.

-----

Speculation is already taxed higher than investing (2)

Greg@RageNet (39860) | more than 13 years ago | (#661372)

Speculation is already taxed higher than long term investing, thats the way the capital gains tax system works.

A day trader or regular speculator gets into and out of stocks rapidly; any income they make from a stock they hold less than a year is taxed at their normal income tax rate.

Investing, long term, in a company means holding that stock for quite a few years. Any stock held longer than a year is taxed at a reduced capital gains rate (20% or 10% depending on your income bracket).

Lastly, why should long term investing be taxed at a lower rate than normal income? Long term investing helps the economy and the country. Investors take risks which could result in them losing their savings to help new companies create jobs for people and tax revinues for the government. Any income they derive from that investment has already filtered through the IRS via corporate taxes of 36%, then again at the capital gains rate of ~20% (making the total tax burden for that income 56%). If the company goes bankrupt the workers keep all their pay up to the last day they worked but the investor loses all he invested and he cannot even deduct that amount against his regular income (it can only be deducted from other capital gains increases).

Thus investors both help the economy and government while creating jobs and pay a total real tax on their investment higher than their income tax.

-- Greg

The question that should have been asked... (2)

Greg@RageNet (39860) | more than 13 years ago | (#661374)

Mr Nader, who exactly is holding the gun to your head to drive a Chevrolet SUV, drink a Starbucks latte, or wear Nike shoes? If you don't like a corporation than don't buy their products, own their stock, or take their jobs.

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. If everyone in america was so horrified by the activities of a given corporation then they should cease purchasing their products and providing them a labor force. Then the company will have no course of action except to go bankrupt.

If corporations aren't bad enough that you avoid using their products than what justification is there to bring the force of government to bear against them?

-- Greg

Out of context (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#661383)

Ok, please remember that some of these quotes are coming from much longer essays, and speeches, and that you may be picking up the wrong vibe, or not getting the tone in which these were said. So I urge you instead to check out www.votenader.org, read over all the blurbs on the issues, and perhaps even catch some audio or text of his speeches. Nader is often facetious and lightheartedly pokes fun, so don't interpret everything that is said off the cuff literally without finding the context in which it was said. Perhaps some of these things need <rant> tags around them - but, hey, there's good reason to rant these days.

Vote for Nader = Vote for Bush?!? (2)

GooseKirk (60689) | more than 13 years ago | (#661389)

Here's what I don't get... seriously, I don't know the answer to this and I'm hoping someone here does.

The popular vote doesn't mean anything, it's the electoral vote that counts. If the electoral college is under no obligation to vote the way the popular vote goes, and frequently doesn't, then why would a vote for Nader be a vote for Bush? What's all this noise about "stealing" votes from Gore?

A few weeks ago someone here posted the results of popular votes v. electoral votes. I seem to recall Perot getting a very substantial number of the popular vote and ZERO electoral votes. So what's the deal? Who did Perot steal votes from? Did all the Perot popular votes have any influence on the electoral votes at all? I assume that Nader won't get as many votes as Perot did in 92, so I assume that he won't be getting any electoral votes, either. So how does this work in practice, and why do people go on about "strategic voting" when it doesn't appear to matter at all?

no reply? (2)

kootch (81702) | more than 13 years ago | (#661417)

I think the fact that he wasn't able to reply or chose not to reply illustrates Nader's biggest shortcoming:

the fact that he's 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.

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"?

Re:We should tax stock market speculation?? (2)

apocalypse_now (82372) | more than 13 years ago | (#661419)

Not really. more than 80% of all wealth generated by the stock market has gone to the wealthiest 10% of the population. They make much of it through speculation, or buying mass quanities of a particular stock or group of stocks, driving up the price beyond that of the small investor.
--
Matt Singerman

Like Father Like Son (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#661427)

Remember the ill-fated phrase, "Read my lips, no new taxes!"? Remember how to tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving. 'Nuff said.

Did Bush actually answer the question? (2)

Lish (95509) | more than 13 years ago | (#661445)

Did anyone else feel that Bush's answer read like a canned statement that only peripherally related to the question? The paragraphs about the importance of privacy were informative as to his views, but they felt way out of place, like they'd been cut-and-pasted from some other statement. I got the impression of being assaulted by buzzwords, and the gratuitous reference to how "the Clinton Administration" has botched export laws and the attack on Gore were unneccessary. Never mind that I'm sure he didn't write the response himself. It doesn't sound like him at all. Do you think Bush actually knows what "opt-in" means WRT spam?

Yet another independent, undecided voter searching for a candidate with the whole clue....

Re:no reply? (2)

gwalla (130286) | more than 13 years ago | (#661474)

I think the fact that he wasn't able to reply or chose not to reply illustrates Nader's biggest shortcoming:
the fact that he's 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 it has to do more with the fact that all of his answers here are clipped from earlier essays and interviews. That's what they meant by "a series of position papers".


---
Zardoz has spoken!

Re:6) Encryption.... (2)

gwalla (130286) | more than 13 years ago | (#661475)

It says he doesn't know a whole lot about encryption. Not surprising, really--not a lot of people do outside of the geek community (beyond the "secret decoder rings" they got in cereal boxes as kids). I bet none of the candidates know much about it. At least he's not going off half-cocked, spewing uninformed opinions about subjects he's unfamiliar with.

Given his position on free speech and IP freedom, I believe he'd make the right decision about it as long as somebody gets him the facts.


---
Zardoz has spoken!

Re:Punish those who work hard (2)

gwalla (130286) | more than 13 years ago | (#661476)

So-called "free trade" encourages maquiladoras and other overseas sweatshops. When all trade tariffs are removed, the race goes to the country with the lowest wages and worst labor laws.


---
Zardoz has spoken!

I actually respect him for not commenting on some (2)

gwalla (130286) | more than 13 years ago | (#661479)

Well, he's better than Gore on the drug war, IP misuse, and some other issues. But he says nothing about encryption,

I'm actually glad he did so. I don't think he's had much of a chance to do research into the issues there...it's not, after all, an issue a whole lot of people are familiar with--I'd be willing to bet he hasn't heard much about it. I admire his discretion in not making up an opinion off the top of his head on an issue he is unfamiliar with.


---
Zardoz has spoken!

Re:So.. (2)

person (177272) | more than 13 years ago | (#661511)

So, by your reasoning, we shouldn't vote for Gore or Bush, either. At least there is some response from Nader or his staff. And read what he has to say, he makes some very good points.

Let's also consider this: most of the questions asked by /.ers could be answered with things that /Nader has already said/! I find it remarkable that Nader is addressing these important issues, before we even ask about them (while at the same time, Gore and Bush focus on lame issues and refuse to take stances, lest they offend either the voters or the businesses with which they are buddy-buddy). Now THAT says something.

Re:canadian election reference (2)

bluesninja (192161) | more than 13 years ago | (#661513)

wouldn't that be 1.4 stockwell day's for 1 nader?

/bluesninja

Re:It's All Very Simple (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 13 years ago | (#661514)

As far as selfishness goes, the aim of democracy is to make as few people unhappy as possible. People are happy if their selfish needs are fulfilled. Thus, it's appropriate to vote based on what you want. If most people agree with you, than the solution that makes the most of you happy will probably be adopted. As far as being influenced by others, that's part of society and it's going to exist no matter what, unless we have a government that is ignorant of the demands of the people. (That's Arrow's Theorem: the government that minimizes conflict is a dictatorship.) That's what democracy is, folks. People have a right to believe what they want to, regardless of where they hear it. Sure, it would be nice if people were as educated as Slashdot readers (although perhaps a little less belligerent), but a population doesn't have that luxury. So don't be elitist about voting, you're not the only person in this country.

Re:One cheer for Ralph! (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 13 years ago | (#661515)

I'd say that he probably does know how the economy works; it's just poor wording. After all, he doesn't say that they got rich by rigging the system, it's that they got that rich, indicating that if they didn't rig the system, they'd be less rich, which is true. Besides, with capitalism it's easy to say that become rich is abusing the system somehow. :-)

Lame questions.... (2)

Deskpoet (215561) | more than 13 years ago | (#661531)

I shouldn't complain as I did not send any questions in (I already had the answers to my questions), but I have to say that more than a couple of those questions were stinkers.

The particularly smelly one, though, was the "mission" one. The very premise that America HAS a mission is itself a false one: this country, like that of it's father, the UK, is based on the principle of wealth accumulation and manipulation by the powerful. In other words, the US is just like any other nation state you'd care to name; it's just been incredibly successful at its real purpose.

Don't look to the government or a geographical location for the meaning that is absent in your life; look within yourself. Once you do that, I wager you'll see these "missions" for what they really are and realize how little they speak to the "values" professed by those who pride themselves on being "American".

Patriotism: just say no.

Re:It's All Very Simple (3)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#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

It's All Very Simple (3)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#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

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (3)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#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

Jesus.. you would think they'd know better... (3)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#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....

I prefer Harry Browne (3)

BacOs (33082) | more than 13 years ago | (#661566)

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]

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (3)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#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

yes we should Re: stock market speculation?? (3)

kbs (70631) | more than 13 years ago | (#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,

Re:Jesus.. you would think they'd know better... (3)

Trinition (114758) | more than 13 years ago | (#661573)

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?

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (3)

karzan (132637) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Re:Scooby votes Nader! (3)

Yardley (135408) | more than 13 years ago | (#661575)

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.

--

Exuse me, tax things we don't like? (3)

kfg (145172) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Capital Gains taxes are already ridiculous (3)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Tough decision... (3)

Gendou (234091) | more than 13 years ago | (#661582)

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?)

Bush supports privacy, Gore law enforcement? (4)

byoung (2340) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Ug. Social Engineering! (4)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 13 years ago | (#661588)

"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?

voteexchange2000 and voteswap2000 shut down (4)

jesser (77961) | more than 13 years ago | (#661592)

voteexchange2000 and voteswap2000 shut down: yahoo (reuters) [yahoo.com] cbs [marketwatch.com]

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

--

Re:Jesus.. you would think they'd know better... (4)

Brighten (93641) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Questions for Nader (or Nader Raider's) (4)

thesparkle (174382) | more than 13 years ago | (#661596)

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.

Re:Ug. Social Engineering! (5)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 13 years ago | (#661601)

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>

Re:Ug. Pollution (5)

The Iconoclast (24795) | more than 13 years ago | (#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.

Vote Nader!! -- www.votenader.org !! (5)

Yardley (135408) | more than 13 years ago | (#661608)

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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